We are merely days away from the NFL Draft and everybody's biggest question being answered: where will these rookies be drafted? As of now, all we have to talk about is a prospect’s collegiate career, NFL Combine results, and their Pro Day results. These are indicators as to how a prospect could translate to the next level, but a huge role in a prospect's success is the system they are drafted to. We have all heard about D.K. Metcalf and his absurd numbers at the combine and Kyler Murray being the next quarterback to possibly take over the league. However, there are two prospects that seem to be flying under the radar.
Darwin Thompson, RB Utah State
Darwin Thompson is an electric running back who has had quite a long road to get where he is now. He was a three-star back out of high school and received no scholarship offers at any collegiate level. Thompson enrolled at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College and was redshirted his first year in 2015. Upon completion of Thompson’s redshirt season, he played two seasons at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. Over those two seasons he put up stats which gained interest from multiple Division 1 programs.
Games Played: 10 12
Rushing Attempts: 150 185
Rushing Yards: 1029 1391
Rushing Touchdowns: 9 8
Receptions: 8 13
Receiving Yards: 119 150
Receiving Touchdowns: 0 1
There were a total of five division one programs which offered Thompson a scholarship. He accepted a football scholarship to Utah State, where played for one season before declaring for the NFL draft.
* Courtesy of Sports-Reference.com
Thompson has flown under the radar for most of this offseason. Although Thompson is a bit undersized at 5’8”, 200 pounds, he is quite a physical runner and very strong for his stature. He is a patient runner and exhibits great vision when running between the tackles. He ended his college career with a very respectable 7.1 yards per carry average. Also, Thompson exhibits great pass catching ability and finished his college career with a 14.1 total yards per catch average. Thompson has shown over the years his work ethic and willingness to improve at all aspects of his game. He dedicated himself to getting stronger and gaining weight since he is only 5’8. By Thompson getting stronger and gaining weight he became a more physical and elusive runner. With elite level coaching and training facilities NFL organizations provide, Thompson delivers huge upside and would be a solid asset to any organization.
Anthony Johnson, WR Buffalo
Anthony Johnson is a 6’2”, 209 pound wide receiver who was not recruited out of high school. Johnson attended multiple community colleges before receiving scholarship offers from Buffalo, Marshall, and South Alabama. He accepted a football scholarship to University at Buffalo and finished out his final two years of eligibility with the program.
While attending Butler Community College and Iowa Western Community College Johnson was not able to convey his full potential while a part of the program. Both programs ran a more run-heavy offensive system during his time on campus which hindered Johnson’s ability to show his full potential.
2014 - Butler Community College 2015 - Iowa Western Community College
Games Played: 11 Games Played: 12
Receptions: 21 Receptions: 19
Receiving Yards: 559 Receiving Yards: 434
Yards Per Game: 50.8 Yards Per Game: 36.2
Yards Per Catch: 26.6 Yards Per Catch: 22.8
Receiving Touchdowns: 5 Receiving Touchdowns: 2
Upon arrival to Buffalo Johnson, was redshirted his first year on campus in 2016. In the 2017 season, he began showing off his true potential while playing with a fellow 2019 NFL Draft prospect at quarterback, Tyree Jackson. They built a chemistry that put them both on the radar for NFL scouts. Johnson continued to prove he is capable of playing against higher level competition.
* Courtesy of Sports-Reference.com
Johnson has shown speed and quick burst out of his routes to create separation from the defender. Johnson is quite athletic and has very strong and reliable hands. Over the course of his college career, he holds a 19.4 yards per catch average. With an average such as this, Johnson is capable of big-play ability and yards after the catch ability. For a team that is lacking depth at wide receiver Johnson would be a great addition to the depth chart. Whichever team gives Johnson an opportunity will be gifted with a very athletic wide receiver who is capable of playing all over the field.