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As I said yesterday, I am going to write a piece every morning this week, leading up to the start of the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday. In each edition I will profile three guys who I think are flying a bit under the radar, and have a good chance to be solid contributors at the next level. Today, my guys are Christine Michael of Texas A&M, Khaseem Greene of Rutgers, and Charles Johnson of Grand Valley State.
Christine Michael, RB Texas A&M
Christine Michael was the 2009 Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He won the award showing amazing big-play ability. He has a very muscular frame, which makes him hard to bring down. He also has very good speed, usually being able to out run defenders in space. He is a good pass catcher out of the back field, and while his pass blocking does need a little work, it is not a huge concern. He turned some heads at the combine, where he set a running back record in the vertical jump at 43 inches, and tested very well overall. Athletically, Michael just might be the best back in this draft.
The problem is, there are extreme injury and character concerns. In 2010 he had a broken right tibia, and in 2011, a torn ACL. He has also missed time due to off the field character issues. Apparently, at the combine he over slept and missed two interviews, I am sure that did not sit well with NFL teams. If he can stay healthy, grow up, and stop making immature decisions, Michael has a bright future in the NFL, and would be a draft day steal in the 3rd round, which is where he is being projected to go. Check out Michael’s impressive highlight tape below.
Khaseem Greene, OLB Rutgers
Khaseem Greene had a great season for Rutgers in 2012. It was impossible not to notice him while watching the Scarlet Knights defense, the guy was simply all over the place. He fits in nicely as a outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense at the next level. Greene is very fast and athletic for a linebacker. His combine numbers will not blow you away (4.71 40 yard dash, 30″ vertical jump) but they are not bad enough to make you question whether he can play. He is one of those guys that just shows up on film. He is a fantastic tackler and run defender, but he is also good enough against the pass that he can definitely be a 3 down linebacker. He does struggle shedding blocks at times, so he probably is limited to just playing the outside of a 4-3 defense, although I believe he will continue to do that extremely well. Greene will probably go somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round. Take a look at his highlight tape below.
Charles Johnson, WR Grand Valley State
Johnson was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he was extremely impressive during Grand Valley State’s Pro Day, in front of representatives from 24 teams. The 6-foot-2, 215 pound Wide Receiver ran a 4.38 40 yard dash, had a 39 1/2-inch vertical jump, and 133 inch broad jump. He would have certainly been a top performer at the combine, and his workout has teams buzzing.
Johnson initially went to Eastern Kentucky, where he was suspended. In 2008 he went to Antelope Valley Community College (Calif.), he took the 2009 season off, and started at Grand Valley State in 2010. His path to Grand Valley State has risen some red flags, but most seem to think he is a good person, and I do not think it is affecting his draft stock much. Johnson shows good hands and route running ability. He seems to have a great feel for the game, and knows how to make people miss. There are always question marks about guys that come from lower levels, so it is hard to say whether his athleticism will translate to the NFL, but I think it will. Johnson could go as high as the 5th round in the draft. Below is a highlight reel for Johnson, that starts with his pro day stuff, and after that, some game film.