Vacuum hands. Reliable focus on throws away from his body. Seasoned route-runner. Sharp footwork at the stem to square off patterns. Deftly uses hesitation and timing mid-route to hide his intentions. High effort blocker. Uses sound hand technique and body position to engage/seal. Alert to quickly locate and slow defenders in space. Experienced inline and detached. Former walk-on (earned scholarship prior to the 2015 season) and finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy (nation’s top walk-on). Determined to out-working others and hone his craft. Graduated with a degree in finance (May 2017). Senior captain with the competitive make-up that earns respect in the locker room. Steady production the last two seasons as a starter. – Dane Brugler 1/21/2018
Lacks an explosive gear. Not a dynamic athlete before or after the catch. Only adequate leaping skills. Lacks the run power to break tackles. Needs to get stronger to handle routine NFL blocking assignments. Too easily redirected, giving up the edge. Dominated in short-yardage. Missed one game as a senior due to an injured left hamstring (Sept. 2017) – also missed time as a sophomore due to a broken thumb (Oct. 2015) that required surgery. Average statistical resume with only two 100-yard games and zero 110-yard games in his career. Not a proven playmaker with only one catch of 25+ yards in 2017, scoring a touchdown only once every 19.3 catches in college. Missing the index finger on his left (dominant) hand due to Amniotic Band Syndrome, requiring amputation at birth. – Dane Brugler 1/21/2018
IN OUR VIEW: Fumagalli has physical limitations and isn’t a big play threat, but he takes pride in being a complete player and his crafty routes and reliable ball skills will be his calling card to an extended pro career.
Former basketball player who wins on the gridiron due to many of the skills he learned on the court, including the slippery moves to get open, body control and core strength to box-out defenders and soft hands to pluck outside of his frame. Conklin is a savvy route-runner, varying his release and gait to generate separation. His best asset may be his hands and concentration with several impressive grabs on tape, including some one-handers. Conklin is a flexible, coordinated athlete who can pick up passes off the turf and shows good timing on his leaps to catch the ball at its highest point. While perhaps lacking elite size and strength, Conklin is a consistent, competitive blocker who can turn and seal off defenders from the ball, showing good hand placement, balance and grit to sustain. Didn't look out of place at the Senior Bowl, turning in several nice grabs. -- Rob Rang 2/24/2018
Comes with some 'tweener characteristics, lacking the quick-twitch explosiveness to be a true matchup issue as a move tight end or the bulk to play a more traditional in-line role as a blocking specialist. Not very creative after the catch, lacking the agility to make defenders miss and showing just average acceleration for the position. Suffered a major injury to his left foot prior to the 2017 season, undergoing surgery which will require a closer look by team doctors at the Combine. Wasn't considered a burner prior to the injury and looked slower upon his return...- Rob Rang 2/24/2018
Nick O'Leary, Bills - Like the 6-3, 252 pound O'Leary, Conklin lacks the preferred size and straight-line speed to warrant early round consideration. However, the same reliable hands and effort as a blocker that helped O'Leary outplay his 6th round selection three years ago could leave a team pleasantly surprised with Conklin.
IN OUR VIEW
Conklin is attempting the same late switch from the basketball court to the gridiron that has helped future Pro Bowl tight ends Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas (among others) slip through the cracks on draft day. While not as big or athletic as this trio, Conklin is a functional receiver and blocker, projecting as a Day Three pick with the potential to contribute as a move tight end or H-back early in his NFL career.
Impressive blend of size, strength and athleticism. NFL frame with outstanding length. Twitchy muscles and looks comfortable in space. Fluid redirection skills. Unlocks and accelerates to chase down ballcarriers. Plays up and down the line of scrimmage with the nimble feet to slither through gaps. Leverages gaps and plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage – 23.5 tackles for loss the last two seasons. Violent play style and competes with emotion Explosive upper body to dispose of blockers when his hands and feet are in sync. Generates power from his lower body when he drops his hips and pumps his legs. Showed noticeable improvement over his career. – Dane Brugler 1/29/2018
Flows with the action instead of finding the football. Frozen by eye candy, late to anticipate or react. Marginal instincts and takes himself out of plays. Tall center of gravity. Relies on his lower body movements instead of hand techniques, exposing his chest. Questionable gap integrity. Needs to contain his violence and improve his discipline. Numerous examples of late hits or immaturity on the football field, leading to ejections (see vs. Virginia Tech 2017). Struggled with hard coaching, specifically former UVA defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, and mental toughness has been questioned by scouts. Had a tough time finding a consistent playing weight, fluctuating between 285 and 315 pounds. History of minor injuries, including turf toe (April 2014), which required surgery on his big right toe; AC joint sprain in his left shoulder (Aug. 2014); right shoulder surgery (Dec. 2016). – Dane Brugler 1/29/2018
IN OUR VIEW
Brown has intriguing athletic traits and length for his size, but his skill-set lacks sophistication and immature character puts a buyer beware tag on this player. He is a high risk, high
STRENGTHS: Rangy body type with above average length…leaping skills to out-jump defensive backs, contorting his frame to finish…steady focus and tracking skills…bails out his quarterback with an expanded catch radius and quick reflexes…catches well without breaking stride to create chunk plays…strong acceleration off his plant foot to maintain route speed…short-area agility to shake defenders after the catch… gains proper route depth to reach the sticks…two-sport athlete at UNI, also running track as a hurdler…graduated with a degree in communications (Dec. 2017)…productive career and ranks top-five in school history in catches (150) and touchdown grabs (23).
WEAKNESSES: Suspect play strength and can be out-muscled vs. the jam or in crowded situations…routes lack functional nuance or tempo…needs to be more composed with his stem footwork to sell patterns…inconsistent sink in/out of his breaks, allowing defensive backs to squat…predictable double-moves…bad habit of letting the ball into his body at times, leading to drops…lacks experience against top-tier competition – had three starts vs. FBS opponents, combining for six catches for 44 yards and no touchdowns.
SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Northern Iowa, Fountain lined up on both sides of the formation, primarily on the outside where he led the Panthers in receiving each of the last three seasons. He also ran track at UNI and was the most glaring offensive snub for the Scouting Combine. Although he is far from a finished product, Fountain has an intriguing blend of play speed, body control and quick hands to pluck the ball away from his body. To survive in the NFL, he needs to be more physical to the football and improve his play strength to increase his odds in one-on-one opportunities vs. press and down-the-field. Overall, Fountain currently lacks polish, specifically with his route-running, but at worst, his athleticism and ball skills are worthy of the back-end of a roster or practice squad while his game develops.
Has a strong upper body with long arms and excellent wingspan, allowing him to stay extended and keep blockers away from his frame. Uses a quick first step combined with a slick spin move to pressure offensive linemen. Does a nice job of keeping outside containment against the run and shows some solid awareness in zone coverage. Turns the corner hard as a pass rusher and dips and bends to really press the pocket around the edge. Has a relentless spirit, does not slow down until the whistle. Has enough straight-line speed to run plays down from the backside and reach stretch runs. Is naturally athletic and is strong and in control at the initial point of contact with blockers. Uses hands persistently when fighting to disengage. Has a bull’s mentality when rushing straight ahead. Can rush with his hand in the dirt or from a standing position. — Hunter Ansley 2/2/2018
Although he does a nice job of maintaining leverage, he struggles to disengage from offensive linemen if his first move is unsuccessful. Can be overwhelmed by bigger blockers and driven back off the ball in the run game. Was not utilized as a pure pass rusher often enough in college and his repertoire of moves reflects that. Will get caught up in traffic trying to fight across or up the field to the ball. Can get myopic and focused more on his blocker than on the ball. Does not move well in man coverage and lacks the lateral agility to make a ton of plays in space. — Hunter Ansley 2/2/2018
Compares to: Everette Brown, Retired - Brown had a little more violence to his game, but both players possess a strong upper body, a consistent motor, and a dangerous first step. Brown and Obo also measured in a little shorter but had longer arms that they used well to keep blockers off of their frames while dipping and bending around the edge, and both were better when playing along the line in a 4-man front rather than standing in a 3-4.
In our view: Okoronkwo really helped himself at Senior Bowl practices by showing that his relentless demeanor and natural strength could translate into production from not just a standing position, but with his hand in the dirt along the line. He’s more of a straight-line player than a guy you’ll want moving laterally in coverage or off the ball, but he provides enough as a pure pass rusher with a high enough ceiling athletically to have pushed himself into the Round 2 conversation. The end of the first round isn’t impossible if a team is looking for a strict role-player off the edge.