ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. held a conference call today to preview next week’s NFL Combine and here’s what he had to say about some of the prospects out of Western New York:
On UB and St. Joseph’s WR Naaman Roosevelt: A heck of a player, but the big question is speed. He’s got huge hands and was a productive player at Buffalo, arguably one of their best players. But the speed issue is going to determine whether he is drafted or he’s not drafted. He’s a fifth to seventh round if he runs decent and he’s a free agent if he doesn’t. I think he can make a team. People forget that [Cowboys Pro Bowl WR] Miles Austin went undrafted out of Monmouth after having a great combine workout and a heck of a career at Monmouth. That’s not Buffalo. Buffalo is obviously a I-A program, but this kid Roosevelt, the speed issue is going to determine if he is drafted or not drafted. Either way, I’d want him on my team as a late-round pick or a free agent.
On Arizona and Williamsville North TE Rob Gronkowski: I thought all along that had he been healthy all year, Rob Gronkowski would have been the No. 1 tight end. I think he’s going to be a second-round pick with his size and the fact that he’s a complete player at the tight end spot. People forget he averaged over 17 yards a catch during his career. You’re looking at a guy who is great in the red zone as well, had a ton of touchdown receptions two years ago. But he had the back injury and was forced to miss all this past year, so instead of being a one he’s probably a two. I really like him.
On Syracuse and Riverside WR Mike Williams: I think the interview process is going to be big for him. But he’s a talented kid. Mike Williams has got a lot of ability, and I think it wouldn’t shock me if he went the second or third round. He’s got a ton of talent, but that interview process because of what went on at Syracuse is going to be very important for him.
On Ohio State and St. Francis DT Doug Worthington: Worthington was a heck of a college player, probably more of a later-round guy. But I think in a [defensive line] rotation he’ll help you in a backup role.
On UB and Niagara Falls RB James Starks: Starks I think third or fourth round coming off the injury. He’s got a lot of ability.
On UB safety Mike Newton: He has got a chance to make a team as an undrafted free agent as well.
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