Meanwhile, in a year of athletic OTs, Northern Illinois junior LT Doug Free could be the most athletic. Free is a tad undersized at just 290 pounds, but some scouts think he runs well enough to project to TE at the next level; Free, though, does have long arms and a bit of a defensive temperament. Free blocks for one of the most productive backs in the country in diminutive NIU junior RB Garrett Wolfe. For the record, the 5-7, 180 pound Wolfe ran for almost 1,600 yards this past season in just 9 games; in fcat, had 3,200 yards and 34 TDs the past couple of seasons. Wolfe is fast enough with reported 4.45 speed, but excels because of Darren Sproles type quickness, acceleration and instincts. Wolfe is also a decent receiver coming out of the backfield. And while smallish, Wolfe has been durable enough at NIU.
Seems like Free is a guy to look out for in 2007. But it's his teammate for 2006 that I'm more interested in right now: C Brian Van Acker
CFBnews.com had this to say about Van Acker this past summer:
CFB News.com wrote:Van Acker is a promising 6-4, 287-pound prospect, who spun a breakthrough year in 2004. Heâ€™s an unusually athletic lineman with great feet and a penchant for exploding after the snap and pulling on running plays like a top-flight guard. Van Acker can survive in the MAC at his size, but would benefit from some additional bulk before next spring. ... Van Acker grew into a star earning first-team All-MAC honors as one of the league's most dominant run blockers. He's athletic and good on the move, but his real talent is as a one-on-one drive blocker.
Considered an undrafted prospect right now, but a name to keep your eye on as a target for the Falcons in the latter rounds. Sounds like a guy that Gibbs likes, even though I'm sure he's not quite what many of us want.
Also more insight on CB Tye Hill, who I feel is a likely target for this team in Round 1.
GBN Report wrote:Sticking with great athletes out of the ACC, Clemson CB Tye Hill could give the 2006 corner class a real boost. Indeed, while positions like OT and LB look like they could be gold mines at this yearâ€™s draft, the whole secondary could be something of a wasteland. The Tigersâ€™ Hill, though, at least brings some special speed to the table. Hill, a former ACC champion in both the 60M (indoors) and 100M (outdoors), for example, can downright fly. Indeed, he likely will challenge the 4.3 mark at this winterâ€™s pre-draft workouts. Hill has been very productive on the field, breaking up a remarkable 21 passes in 2004, before picking off 5 this season. And while not overly big at under 5-10 and 180 pounds, Hill will come up and support against the run. Hill, though, is a converted RB who has only been playing Cb for a couple of years so still needs to work on the techniques of the position; right now he just outruns his mistakes, something he wonâ€™t necessarily be able to do at the next level. That speed, especially in a weak year at the position, means he wonâ€™t have to wait all that long to get a call this coming April.