Futures: Deep Diving for Small-School Sleepers

The S.S. Football Sleeper Submersible. Photo by NOAA Photo Library.
The S.S. Football Sleeper Submersible. Photo by NOAA Photo Library.

TE James O’Shaughnessy, WRs Darius Davis and Dezmin Lewis, and RB Zach Zenner are small-school players worth monitoring.

By Matt Waldman

In his recent article on CSU-Pueblo quarterback Chris Bonner, Mike Tanier referred to me and Optimum Scouting’s Eric Galko as “deep divers” of the draft analyst community. With my caps and “seafarer” grooming, I admit that I sport a resemblance to Steve Zissou on occasion. (I probably bear a greater resemblance to Russell Crowe lost at sea, but I’m hoping to sell you on Bill Murray. We all have our little delusions of self we like to hold onto.)

I have always been fascinated with deep dives — be it the water, watering holes, or football prospects. No matter how remote you go, there’s always someone going deeper. So as Mike Tanier leans over the railing of the S.S. Hangover holding a hair of the dog and pointing out the spot where he last saw me, I’m 2,000 feet below in my atmospheric diving suit at the edge of an underwater cliff as I spot Emory Hunt’s submersible, the S.S. Football Gameplan, ascend from only God knows where. Hell, judging by the species attached to its hull I’m wondering if Emory found an undersea wormhole to another galaxy.

I share this because the first two players featured in this exhibition of my deep dive are prospects I first saw at Football Gameplan. Hunt, Gene Clemmons, and Turron Davenport do quality work and they deserve some props.

Tight End James O’Shaughnessy, Illinois State

The cutups of the Redbirds’ tight end are deceptively outstanding. Built like an H-back (6-foot-4, 245 pounds), O’Shaughnessy does what he’s supposed to do against “small-school” competition:

  • Beats defenders up the seam.
  • Makes receiver-like adjustments on deeper passes.
  • Breaks tackles and carries opponents for yards after contact.
  • Makes the first defender miss in the open field.
  • Gains position, punches, and drives defenders at the line and in the open field.

See for yourself. After 90 seconds you probably won’t be overcome with the desire for your team to draft O’Shaughnessy. None of these plays are electrifying, until you put the Illinois State tight end’s pro day into context of the tape.

“Shag” (a perfect nickname for a tight end) ran a 4.68-second 40, a 4.17-second 20-yard shuttle, and a 6.76-second 3-cone, and leaped 39 inches in the vertical jump. Shag’s 40-time was the third-best for tight ends this year — and it was his worst performance of these four drills.

Read the rest at Football Outsiders

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