Draft Gems: Are McGee, Reilly QB sleepers of Brady's ilk? LB Sidbury too
Draft Gems: Are McGee, Reilly QB sleepers of Brady's ilk?
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Enlarge By Brendan Maloney, US Presswire
Stephen McGee's coach at Texas A&M, former Packers coach Mike Sherman, said the quarterback, left, has the skills to play in the NFL.
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Video: Texas A&M's Stephen McGee could be an NFL draft sleeper
Sun, 19 Apr 2009 12:15:28 -0700
Yahoo! Buzz Digg Newsvine Reddit FacebookWhat's this?By Tom Pedulla, USA TODAY
USA TODAY takes a weekly look beyond the obvious first-round choices in the NFL draft to find Draft Gems, players who are not household names but who have a chance to make an impact for their new teams once the April 25-26 draft is over.
Matt Forte, a second-round pick for Chicago, was among our Gems last year before he ran wild as a 1,000-yard rusher for the Bears. Then again, past performance does not guarantee future results.
Here are three more Gems, Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee, Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly and Richmond linebacker Lawrence Sidbury:
STEPHEN McGEE, QB
Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 225
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School: Texas A&M
Hometown: Burnet, Texas
VIDEO: Breaking down Stephen McGee
Key statistics: Completed 75% of his passes (21 of 28) on third and fourth down in 2008.
College highlights: Finished Texas A&M career as school's all-time leader in completion percentage (59.5%). Also placed second in total offense (7,225 yards), third in rushing yards by a quarterback (1,750) and fourth in passing yards (5,475). Earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors. Team captain honored with Aggie Heart Award as senior.
Upside: Size, intelligence, dedication and leadership all make him a project worth undertaking for some team. Led nation in interception percentage in 2006 despite playing all 13 games with a torn triceps in throwing arm. One of three passers in the nation in 2007 to throw for 2,300 yards while rushing for 875 or more.
Downside: Injuries a major concern. Started first two games in 2008 before spraining his throwing shoulder. Sat out one game before returning and aggravating the injury. Had missed spring practice while recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Arm strength is adequate but nothing special.
Projected round: Sixth
What they're saying: "I think he's definitely a sleeper in this year's draft. He's more than capable of handling the pro game athletically and mentally. He has a great recall of what happened on every play. If I missed something, he would tell me what happened." Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman
"Somebody is going to have to take a shot. The natural ability is there. Lack of playing time as a senior will hurt him." Ron Jaworski, 'Monday Night Football' analyst
MORE DRAFT GEMS: Connor Barwin, Gerald Cadogan | Rashad Jennings, Zack Follett
MIKE REILLY, QB
Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 214
School: Central Washington
Hometown: Kalispell, Mont.
Key statistics: Completed 65.2% of his passes (207 of 414) in 2008.
College highlights: Started all 46 games at Central Washington after transferring from Washington State, where he was a walk-on. Amassed 3,706 passing yards in final season with 37 TDs, six INTs. Added another 415 yards on the ground.
Upside: Team captain praised by coaches for understanding of defenses and ability to make the right adjustments consistently. Can make some yards on his own when nothing else is there. Consecutive game streak speaks to his durability.
Downside: Faces huge step up in competition. Was not impressive in East-West Shrine game. Must work to accelerate release.
Projected round: Seventh
What they're saying: "His wasn't the easiest tape in the world to get. I just saw an NFL quarterback. This is a guy who has (Tom) Brady-like attributes." 'Monday Night Football' analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski
LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE
Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 266
Hometown: Cheltenham, Md.
Key statistics: Collected 11.5 sacks as a senior.
College highlights: Ranks fourth in school history with 20.5 career sacks. His 11.5 sacks stand third on the Spiders' single-season list. Forced three fumbles last season as mainstay on defense that ranked second nationally in turnover margin (plus-24). Member of Richmond's track and field team, competing in 100 meters and shot put, his first two years.
Upside: Tremendous. Delighted scouts by running fastest 40-yard time for a defensive lineman (4.64) at the combine. Shows impressive burst off the line of scrimmage. Has displayed the ability to get to the quarterback that all NFL teams covet, causing him to rocket up many draft boards.
Downside: Lack of exposure to top-tier competition hurts his cause. Will need to add more pass-rushing moves to what is a very limited arsenal. Will probably be nothing more than a situational player early in his career, and it remains to be seen whether he can develop into more than that.
Projected round: Third
What they're saying: "He's got tremendous physical skills and his best football is ahead of him. He's one of those guys who can run, and when you can run, you've got a chance. Everyone is looking for first- and second-down value, third-down value and special teams. He can do all three." Richmond coach Mike London
"Athletically, he doesn't have many equals and he plays a position the pro game covets as an outside pass-rusher. The problem is he played at a lower level of competition and his production doesn't always match his athleticism." NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi
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