While I'm not one to relish in moral victories, I can take away positives from an unfortunate…
Pro Day Preview
Beyah had a very promising start to his career at Middle, instantly proving himself as a legitimate deep threat due to blazing speed. While he might not have the yardage or flashy number of receptions draft scouts like to see, he did lead a deep Blue Raider receiving corp in yards with 497. He also tied for the team high in touchdowns with 6, so he was definitely a consistent target all over the field.
Beyah is possibly the best bet to be drafted from the offensive side of the ball for Middle, and all of that starts with his 40 time. He's got legitimate 4.3 speed, and that is sure to turn heads, and possibly convince a team to take a closer look. I think Beyah has a shot at being a third day selection by a team that is willing to take a chance to find a nice slot receiver.
Eric Russell, Defensive Back
From the first time I saw Eric Russell suit up for the Blue Raiders, I knew he was a pro. In 2011, Russell led Middle in tackles (88), interceptions (2), and all-purpose yards (1133). He is a legitimate threat to take any kickoff or punt to the house, and is a sure tackler to boot (7 tackles for loss in 2011).
There are things that set certain players apart, and whatever it is, Russell has it. He's a bit small to play safety at the next level, but he definitely has the speed and ball skills to be a nice cover corner, and at the very least could contribute to special teams. I like Russell to make it two picks for Middle on the third day of the draft.
Darin Davis, Linebacker
Darin Davis was arguably the best linebacker the Blue Raiders had in 2011. He finished the season second in tackles (64) and had six tackles for loss with 1 1/2 sacks.
Davis has decent size (6'1", 220) and solid speed for a linebacker. Problem is, today in the NFL linebackers have blazing speed. I definitely think Davis could contribute to an NFL defense in the right scheme and situation. Don't look for his name to be called on any of the draft days, but he has a shot at being on an NFL roster come September.
Arness Ikner, Defensive Back
Arness Ikner could possibly benefit the most from 2011 draft selection Rod Issac's selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ikner led the Blue Raiders in pass deflections and has solid ball skills. The biggest question to scouts will be his speed. If Ikner can perform well on Middle's Pro Day like Issac did in 2011, he could definitely impress scouts enough to get a shot at the NFL.
Sancho McDonald, Wide Receiver
Sancho McDonald definitely has the size to be an NFL receiver at 6-3. Add in the fact that he finished ninth in receptions and eighth in receiving yards all-time at Middle, and he's a very intriguing prospect at wide-receiver. Sancho had six touchdown receptions tied for the team high in 2011. McDonald has the reliable hands to be a solid receiver at the next level, but the biggest question will be if his overall speed is up to the level of the speed of the NFL.
Stay tuned to BlueRaiderZone.com for more exclusive coverage of Middle Tennessee athletics!
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