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Scout's Corner

Year after year, NFL scouts comb the country looking at hundreds of pro prospects in preparation for the NFL draft. The teams with the best scouts usually are the ones who can find the 'hidden gems.' Denver has become notorious for finding late round talent. Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, and Mike Anderson, each who've been 1,000 yard rushers, were all drafted on day two of the draft. Plenty of NFL talent comes from the second day of the draft. Below, I'll disect this year's crop of 'hidden gems' , dividing them into three tiers. Each tier will be based on current draft status of the players. I'll break down each prospect by height, weight, 40 time, draft status, and a brief scouting report. Remember these names because they'll be on your favorite teams in a few short months

1st Tier Gems: Scotty Anderson, Marlon McCree, Corey Hall

Scotty Anderson, WR, Grambling
6'2', 187, 4.49/40
3rd-4th round projection
Scouting Report: Scotty was a two year starter at Grambling and a two time All-SWAC WR. He's got good size at 6'2' and he's a very smart player. He runs very nice, crisp routes, has a nice stride length, makes good body adjustments, has the ability to make the big play, nice leaping ability, and he blocks fairly well down field. He's been overshadowed by the other 'big name' receivers, but Scotty will be a welcomed adition to any team. He needs to add some weight, but with the proper conditioning, he can become a very solid NFL WR.

Marlon McCree, SS, Kentucky
6'1', 198, 4.53/40
4th-5th round projection
Scouting Report: Marlon has been a two year starter at OLB at Kentucky. He's started every game over the past two seasons and has become a very solid SS prospect. He led Kentucky in TFL the past two seasons. He's a very athletic, well-built, physical player who has good man/man cover skills on the TE and he's an excellent blitzer. He plays the run extremely well and he's a great open field tackler. Has all the physical tools to be one of the better safety prospects in this draft. In the right system, he could compete for a starting job immediately.

Corey Hall, FS, Appalachian St.
6'3', 192, 4.5/40
4th-5th round projection
Scouting Report: Corey was a four year starter at ASU and a two time All-American. He played some CB this past year, but will be a FS at the next level. He's very physical for a man of his slender stature. He's got excellent range and he covers the entire field, he's very fluid and smooth in his hip rotation, has good athletic ability and he plays the run very well. Has the ability to excel at the next level, but must add on the necessary weight to become more of a threat. Plays an intelligent game and reacts well to things in front of him.

2nd Tier Gems: Shawn Draper, Stan Bennett

Shawn Draper, OT, Alabama
6'4', 294, 4.95/40
5th-6th round projection
Scouting Report: Draper has played both TE and DE while at Bama. He's had only 3 career receptions and all came in 2000. Will make the switch to OT in the NFL because of his size and devestating blocking. He's an excellent blocker who stays low on the run. A very athletic, swift of foot player who brings added value because of his versatility. Nice arm length, good body control and good balance. Plays on his feet and he's mobile enough to work well in space. Very raw at this point, but has the room to grow and become a very solid pro tackle. Good work ethic.

Stan Bennett, OT, Villanova
6'5', 295, 5.25/40
5th-6th round projection
Scouting Report: Stan started every game at Villanova since he set foot on the field. A very solid pass blocker, with good run blocking skills. He's very physical at the point of attack and can dominate smaller opponents. He's got good arm length, nice body control, good balance, and he's a good enough athlete to block on the perimeter. A very smart and heady player who projects as a RT. Holds excellent value this late in the draft.

3rd Tier Gems: Sam Young, Cleo Lemon, Darnerien McCants

Sam Young, CB, Illinois St.
5'11', 180, 4.4/40
6th-7th round projection
Scouting Report: Sam is a two time All-Gateway Conference selection. He's a great tackler for his size and plays well in man/man. He ran a 4.39 for scouts early last week. He shows excellent burst and recovery speed. Very smooth, sleak looking CB with good hip rotation and good ball skills. He plays very well against the run and he's very physical. Shows a good amount of upside potential and that may get him selected in the 6th round area. Needs to work on his technique, but with good professional coaching, he can contribute as a nickel back right away.

Cleo Lemon, QB, Arkansas St.
6'3', 209, 4.75/40
7th round-high priority FA
Scouting Report: Cleo is a guy who possesses all the physical skills to warrant him being drafted, but his inconsistency may keep him from hearing his name called. He had over 1900 yeards passing with 13 TD's in 2000 and a 56% completion percentage. He's got a very good arm and shows the ability to throw the deep ball well. He's got very little wasted motion in his delivery and he throws a nice spiral with good velocity. He's mobile enough to make plays outside of the pocket and that may elevate him into the 7th round. He may benefit from a year on a practice squad or a year in Europe, but he has the tools to be a viable back-up in the NFL.

Darnerien McCants, WR, Delaware St.
6'4', 210, 4.53/40
7th round-high priority FA
Scouting Report: Darnerien played TE at DSU where he earned 1st team All-American honors at TE over Arthur Love of South Carolina St. In his senior season, Darnerien caught 36 balls for 692 yards and 18 TD's. He's a big, physical target who has good body control and a nose for the endzone. He also blocks well downfield, which will elevate his status overall. Hasn't had the proper coaching, but with his physical tools he can compete for a receiver spot early on. He may have to take a year in Europe to improve his overall game, but will get his shot at the NFL. A very intelligent player who could one day be a starter.

All feedback is welcomed. I like to hear comments on all of my Scout's Corner articles.