Small-School Prospects To Watch

Baltimore has found talented prospects such as CB Lardarius Webb in less-known places.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Categories: 2012 NFL Draft, Ryan Mink

Quarterback Joe Flacco (Delaware). Cornerback Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State).

The Ravens know that some of the best players don’t always come from the biggest schools.

And this year, there’s a bounty of talented small-school prospects in the draft that Baltimore may be interested in.

Webb, who recently signed a six-year deal, reportedly worth $50 million, had some advice for his small-school brethren in this year’s class.

“Once you get in here, all the smalls schools, all the colleges, go out the door,” Webb said. “Everybody has on some Ravens shorts and a Ravens shirt. Just come in and play ball. You will be equal once you get in.”

Here are some small-school prospects to keep an eye on starting tomorrow:

CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
Senior; 5-foot-10, 191 pounds; 53 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries
Projected Round: 1-2
Considered perhaps the best cover corner in the draft, Jenkins will likely be the first small-school prospect off the board. He’s not quite a small-school guy, however, considering he transferred to North Alabama after being dismissed from Florida. He does have some character concerns.

OG Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State
Senior; 6-4, 312
Projected Round: 1-2

He’s an athletic player who can get to the edge, but his nasty demeanor and physicality are what stand out. The team captain was a college tackle, yet projects to slide inside to guard in the pros. Silatolu reminds some of Pro Bowl Eagles guard Jahri Evans, who played at Bloomsburg (Pa.).

WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Senior; 6- 4, 220; 53 receptions, 917 yards, 8 touchdowns
Projected Round: 2-3

Quick is a size-speed prospect (4.50-second, 40-yard dash) who has big upside. He’s an outstanding leaper and has the hands and long arms to pluck catches within a wide radius. He’s still unrefined, however, and has had some concentration drops.

WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
Senior; 5-9, 178; 72 receptions, 1,038 yards, 7 touchdowns
Projected Round: 3-4

Hilton may be one of the top playmaking offensive weapons in the draft. He became a playmaking force, both as a returner and wideout, in the Sun Belt Conference. He scored four touchdowns on kick returns. After a hamstring injury kept him out of the combine, Hilton ran in the 4.3s at his pro day.

FS Janzen Jackson, McNeese State
Junior; 6-0, 185; 29 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
Projected Round: 5-6

A former Tennessee transfer, Jackson has some major character concerns. On the field, he’s a smooth, fast safety with top-notch cover skills. He’s got soft hands and notched five interceptions in his sophomore season at Tennessee, returning them for a combined 114 yards.

C Gino Gradkowski, Delaware
Senior; 6-3, 300
Projected Round: 6-7

A former West Virginia transfer, Gradkowski is also the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. He reportedly visited the Ravens, and has drawn praise for his leadership, work ethic and dedication to fundamentals.

ILB Shawn Loiseau, Merrimack
Senior; 6-0, 240; 121 tackles, 4.5 sacks
Projected Round: 7-Undrafted
A muscled-up extremely intense competitor, Loiseau could develop into a special-teams beast. He’s an emotional leader who put up more than 120 tackles in each of the past three seasons. He’s not overly athletic, but has good straight-line speed.

TE Lamont Bryant, Morgan State
Senior; 6-5, 225; 21 receptions, 371 yards, 2 touchdowns
Projected Round: 7-Undrafted

The local prospect has been reportedly working out for multiple NFL teams and could be taken in the draft. He’s a former quarterback who converted to tight end early on in college. He has turned some heads after a standout pro day in which he ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds and put up 19 reps on bench.

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