Bison Pro Talk
Prognostication may be the wrong term for what I'm setting out to do here. My goal is not to predict where any of the players will end up, but rather to talk about a potential landing spot for each of them at the end of the month.
Of the 14 Bison players that participated in the pro day, Easton has the greatest odds of being drafted. The predictions and hype are starting to build about him which makes it tougher to know when he'll get selected, much less by whom. The fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh rounds all may be in play. Or he could go undrafted, which would make for an easier guess. I doubt that will happen but it's not beyond the realm of possibility, even with as well as he's done over the last 200 or so days.
His greatest advantage may be the position he plays. Even following a year where practically every team had a quarterback, it's still a position of need. The two teams that are most in need of talent infusions at the position are Jacksonville & Miami. They could each employ Washington's strategy from a couple years ago & draft one high then come back with one in the middle rounds. Speaking of the capital team, they will almost certainly go quarterback because of the injury to Alex Smith. I heard plenty of talk about the Dolphins time in Fargo last week so I would lean towards them as the favorites to draft Easton but any of the 31 other teams could swoop in and select him before they have the chance. That's the reality of living the charmed life of a quarterback with professional prospects!
On the other side of the in-demand scale is the running back position. It's the most replaceable position of all in the NFL Despite what Frank Gore & Adrian Peterson continue to do, it also may be the position with the shortest shelf life. The two facts are linked so it could well be that Bruuuuce remains available beyond the selection of mr Irrelevant. With his injury history, the odds may be too stacked against him to overcome. Or it could be that a team considers his speed, physicality & ability to catch and takes a flier on him before the market opens. I've already gone on the record that the Vikings should use one of their last four picks on Anderson as a back up to Dalvin Cook. Whether it will actually go that way or not, I have no idea but I'm rooting for it and it's possible so I'm going to stand by it.
After having arguably the best showing at the pro day, I consider Grimsley the third most likely player to end up on a roster. Maybe he'll even be studied enough by a team to have his name called on stage. The odds of that are extremely slim because of how late in the process he showed up like he did but the possibility does now exist. Every team needs to field special teamers so any of the 32 could make the call to select him. Any of them could also contact his agent after the festivities run their course to bring him in as fourth safety & special teams contributor. The Minnesota Vikings also have a need of such a player. Rick Spielman hasn't shown any genuine interest in having Bison players on the roster beyond rookie camp so to predict that two would be able to buck that trend may be unrealistic but the purple's depth at safety is non-existent so maybe the Hutchinson product can beat the odds and join his in-state team.
After having arguably the best showing at the pro day, I consider Grimsley the third most likely player to end up on a roster. Maybe he'll even be studied enough by a team to have his name called on stage. The odds of that are extremely slim because of how late in the process he showed up like he did but the possibility does now exist. Every team needs to field special teamers so any of the 32 could make the call to select him. Any of them could also contact his agent after the festivities run their course to bring him in as fourth safety & special teams contributor. The Minnesota Vikings also have a need of such a player. Rick Spielman hasn't shown any genuine interest in having Bison players on the roster beyond rookie camp so to predict that two would be able to buck that trend may be unrealistic but the purple's depth at safety is non-existent so maybe the Hutchinson product can beat the odds and join his in-state team.-
The rest of the way, it's coin flips. I'll still try to order it from most likely to least but I didn't think Chris Board had any shot of succeeding, only to make the Ravens 53 & actually contribute during the season. Which goes to show that sometimes it's impossible to know what can or will happen!
Every position is a position of need in the NFL, some just happen to have higher demand. With passing game's seemingly setting records every year, the need for Corners has never been higher. That's the advantage that Allison has in the process. He had the worst showing on the bench press but excelled in his 40 yard dash and vertical jump. Which means he could struggle as a press corner but could do well keeping up with receivers down the field and in jump ball situations. Marcus Williams went undrafted after all he did so I would predict the same outcome from Allison and with less impact in the NFL, at least in terms of interceptions. The Bears are a team that I think could bring him in but again, all 32 are in play for special teams guy's so it's just a hypothesis.
As a Defensive End, the opportunity to contribute is limited for Butler on the professional level. His best chance would be to either choose a team with a BAD defense or one that's light on rushers so that he could possibly make the practice squad. The Oakland Raiders had less than half as many sacks in 2018 as the next worst team on the list. Any team looking to get a shot as a pass rusher would be stupid to not consider going to the Bay. Butler was no Kyle Emanuel but between Sacks & Tackles-for-Loss he managed solid numbers at NDSU, especially over his final two years so the soon to be Vegas Raiders could be the landing spot.
I'm of the opinion that NDSU's offensive lineman are as good as any taken in the late stages of the draft. In recent year's it's only been Turner & Haeg that have cracked the barrier but each has managed to stick in the pros. I know that different offensive scheme's call for different skills but with all the embarrassments that just the Vikings have selected over the last half decade or so, I don't see why more of them aren't given a chance. That said, I don't which of this year's two would be considered the better. As far as the results from the pro day, they're pretty identical. Offensive line is almost as constantly in need of more talent as quarterback is. Pick any team at random and there will be some need for more protection. Each of the 32 will be in play for the services of OL's during the draft and afterward so I'll pick a couple based on specific merits but there's a chance that any of them could come calling.
Colin Conner & Tanner Volson
With the reigning MVP and significant needs on the defense, Kansas City will likely look to bolster their protection in the undrafted scrum.
New England. Few professional franchises have done a better job of finding guys that were lightly considered yet they make it to the Super Bowl every year. If there was a place for an unheralded Bison player to go & succeed, it's there.
I connected them because of the interchangability of their prospects.
Mr. Six may get some attention by the pros because of all the touchdowns he scored but he also has an injury history that could be a red flag by NFL teams. He would be another one that would have to prove it the hard way but the one thing he always managed to do was make an impact. There are never enough of those guys around so if he could continue to show that trait to any team that brought him in, he could get some good years in the NFL. Of the teams with presence in the bubble, the Falcons are another team to watch at the running back position.
While he wasn't a threat as a pass rusher at NDSU, he could be another guy to find a home with one of the worst defense's from last year. Being that they still employment Zimmer's defensive line rotation mentality, Cincinnati could be a possible first stop for Steidl.
Tight-end is another stalwart position at NDSU but as with the OL, it doesn't get much translation to the pros. Jenson was of little impact as a pass catcher but in the run heavy, pro-style offense of NDSU, he would be well versed as an inline blocker. That's not a glitzy part of the game but can still be useful to an offense. Of the teams that run for a large percentage of their offense, Dallas could be a possible landing spot for Jenson.
It's been a long time since a Bison receiver spent more than a few days in the NFL. While I don't see Shepherd bucking that trend, he could get a shot with a team looking to surround a high price QB with discounted talent. The Seattle Seahawks are just that sort of organization and with Wilson's mobility being a consideration, receivers that are able & willing to block is a key factor. Shepherd showed that well before his breakout senior campaign.
The first of two players who were out of the game for a while but still took part in the show. Beck graduated in 2014 yet there he was, going through the drills anyway. He was much more impactful at NDSU than his cohort of years gone by, but has also been away from the field for much longer. It would be pretty remarkable if he even managed to get a rookie camp invite, much less a training camp contract. It's not just his age but also that linebacker doesn't have as much importance as it once did, as defense's play with more DB's. If he really wants to make money playing the game, the Canadian league may be the ticket.
Kelly could be this year's Chris Board but he's actually less likely to even get a chance. He was a minimal contributor for NDSU that was kicked off the team a couple years ago. It's respectable that he's still chasing a professional Football dream but his ceiling is also the CFL.
Desmond Cain was an abject failure while at NDSU. He came in with some credibility to his name but did nothing while in Fargo. That he even participated in the pro day seems laughable to me but maybe he could somehow work his way into NFL circles. It would have to be the Adam Thielen route to success but the DL native managed to do it, so it could be replicated. Going back many years now, the best team at cultivating receiver talent has been Pittsburgh so maybe Cain could have success with the Steelers, at least could do enough to make some money.