Draft Dish: Stanford duo has intelligence, intangibles to make it in NFL
PUBLISHED 4 days and 46 minutes ago
LAST UPDATED 4 days and 38 minutes ago
Russ Lande SN Icon Sporting News
Here's a look at draft prospects who lack ideal athleticism but whose intangibles give them a good chance to make it in the NFL:
Beeler is a tough, highly competitive player who has been a solid, productive lineman despite lacking athleticism. With his intelligence and awareness, he is consistently able to make the correct protection calls and communicate well with other linemen. He doesn't have the athleticism or strength to excite scouts, but Beeler's intangibles should enable him to make it as a backup center and emergency guard.
Players like Owen Marecic and Chase Beeler have the ability to make up for a shortcoming and carve their an NFL niche.
Lemon resumed a productive career after he missed the 2009 season with a torn ACL. Much of his success can be credited to his smarts, toughness and competitiveness. Lemon has the necessary bulk, weight and strength, but he lacks the athleticism and speed to be effective playing off the ball in coverage. Still, he has great instincts to sniff out plays and gets started toward the ball in a flash. He won't become a starting linebacker but should have a long career as a backup -- especially if he plays in a 3-4 scheme.
Marecic is a classic overachiever who lacks the all-around athleticism NFL teams desire. After being a good fullback his first three seasons, he became Stanford's starting middle linebacker this season and a rare two-way player. He has consistently shown the smarts, competitiveness and versatility to be productive wherever he lines up on the field. Marecic is not an elite athlete, but fullbacks like him often work their way into starting jobs and become solid contributors.
McElroy is not a top athlete and lacks a big-time arm, but he has been quietly efficient. On film, it's clear much of his production is because of his intelligence and intangibles. He reads defenses very well, finds open receivers and is able to make good, accurate throws. He was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and has everything above the shoulders to make it. Though McElroy is viewed by many as a late-round pick, we believe his physical tools are good enough that he could become a solid, productive starting QB who can manage games effectively.
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