Wake-Up Call: Ducks In the Draft


Chip Kelly likes him some Oregon players, you may have heard.

From Dennis Dixon to Jeff Maehl, he brought in plenty of familiar faces to play a variety roles as he transitioned from college to the pro game. There are six Ducks currently on the roster (DE Brandon Bair, S Patrick Chung, LB Josh Kaddu, Maehl, LB Casey Matthews and WR Will Murphy), which is the most players from any one university on the squad.

Safe to say Kelly will have some opinions on the Oregon players that have declared for the 2014 draft, seeing as he recruited and coached them in a former life. It’s probably a good idea that we become familiar with them.

Below is a list of the top Oregon prospects along with a brief write-up and draft projections, courtesy of NFLDraftScout.

CB Terrance Mitchell
Height/weight: 6-0, 190
Projected Round: 3rd

Mitchell feasted on quarterbacks avoiding Ekpre-Olomu’s side of the field in 2013, leading the Ducks with five interceptions, easily the best production of his three seasons as a starter. Rather than risk losing momentum with longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti retiring and Oregon’s starting safeties Avery Patterson and Brian Jackson graduating, Mitchell made the decision to leave school early despite a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee that he characterized as “not a fair evaluation.”

WR Josh Huff
Height/weight: 5-11, 211
Projected Round: 3rd-4th

Huff has only average height, but is very well put together for his size with the natural athleticism you want at the position, showing explosive cuts and fluid body control to be a dangerous threat after the catch. He catches the ball with his hands, but his ball skills are very average and his streaky focus is the main concern – an early day three draft pick who will prove a steal if he can eliminate the drops.

RB/WR De’Anthony Thomas
Height/weight: 5-9, 170
Projected Round: 6th-7th

Thomas leaves Oregon in the conversation as the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards trail only all-time greats LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, with whom Thomas teamed in the Ducks’ most recent Pac-12 championship season of 2011. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he’s fourth in career scoring (278 points). Also a standout member of the UO track and field team, Thomas anchored the 4×100-meter relay that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships and ran the sixth-fastest time in school history, 39.89 seconds.

Added Go Ducks: Thomas will be seen as a luxury in the NFL, and it could be argued he was considered that this year for the Ducks. His career could travel in the way of Darren Sproles‘, which is best case scenario, or Dexter McCluster‘s, a role player who has not lived up to expectations.

DE Taylor Hart
Height/weight: 6-6, 287
Projected Round: 6th-7th

Hart was a first-team all-state player on the offensive and defensive lines coming out of Tualatin, Oregon. He went on to become a very versatile player for the Ducks, lining up as a defensive tackle, nose guard and even as a standup outside linebacker, on occasion.

OLB Boseko Lokombo
Height/weight: 6-3, 230
Projected Round: 7th-FA

(From Ourlads):  Lokembo is a tools-rich athlete with the frame, length, and speed you want out of a do-it-al linebacker. A quick look at him and he may become one of your favorite defenders in this class. Lokombo became a factor in the Oregon defense in 2012 after consistently grading out as one of the fastest/strongest players on the team in workouts. I want to like Lokombo but he was very average in 2013. He doesn’t seem to click mentally when diagnosing plays. He has poor reaction time which consistently leaves him in poor positions to make plays and/or get off blocks.

TE Colt Lyerla
Height/weight: 6-5, 250
Projected Round: 7th-FA

Lyerla is a physical marvel with excellent athleticism, good hand-eye coordination and toughness after the catch. He possesses impressive straight-line speed, as well as the agility and balance to operate in space…Perhaps due to the incredible talent competing for the ball at Oregon, he never emerged as a statistically dominant player in Eugene. He caught just two passes for 26 yards in an abbreviated 2013 campaign and his career-high 25 catches for 392 yards and six scores in 2012 aren’t exactly eye-popping, given his size and athleticism…While he possesses tantalizing upside, NFL teams will certainly have to do their homework on Lyerla, who comes with alarming off-field issues, most important a Dec. 27, 2013 guilty plea for possession of cocaine.

FS Avery Patterson
Height/weight: 5-9, 190
Projected Round: 7th-FA

(From Ourlads): He is a quick decision maker that can reach the sidelines fast. While he isn’t as physical, Patterson has shown reliable tackling ability in space. His versatility in the defensive backfield will earn him a draft-able grade.


Some thoughts on Joe Banner, and what his time in Philly taught the Eagles.

Connor Barwin’s role is unlikely to change despite who’s playing opposite him, Sheil writes.


Phil Sheridan says the Eagles need to find a stud return man for 2014.

Ideally, the Eagles would be able to draft a player like Cordarrelle Patterson, the rookie wide receiver who burst into the league as an impact return man for Minnesota. Patterson was the guy who prompted the Eagles to kick short to disastrous effect in their game against the Vikings.

Guys like Patterson aren’t easy to find, but the Eagles could well find themselves drafting a wide receiver in the first or second round. LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. averaged 26.4 yards per kickoff return and 8.4 yards per punt return. ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. had the Eagles taking Beckham in the first round in his recent mock draft.

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level looks at Riley Cooper and the receiver situation.

The surprising part about Cooper was he wound up being an adept deep threat, using his 6’3”, 222-pound frame to box out smaller defensive backs. With less than ideal speed though, it’s questionable whether he could match his 13 receptions of 20-plus yards.

The thing is, a team that doesn’t have a viable deep threat may be willing to pay for Cooper’s unique talent. There are multiple teams who didn’t have a single player with 13 receptions of 20 or more yards—the Eagles had three, and Maclin is perfectly capable of doing it as well.


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