Sometimes great things come in small packages. . .even on the gridiron.
Several former Ducks will look to prove that tomorrow as Oregon hosts it’s 2016 Pro Day.
As has been the case in recent years, the word “undersized” is dominating headlines talking about this year’s (former) Oregon Ducks trying to make their way to the NFL. Google search any of the former Ducks current draft stock, sans Deforest Buckner, and you’ll likely find a whole lot of chatter about how small they are and just how much their size is affecting their draft stock.
But is the criticism fair? Not entirely.
Maybe I’m a little sensitive given my just-over-five-feet (on a good day) stature, but all that small talk is getting on my nerves. Sure, most NFL players are big. I get it. But there are plenty of successful players that don’t fit that perfect mold. And in Oregon, what players lack in size, they often more than make up in speed and the ever-coveted intangibles. The hill may be higher to climb but several former Ducks are finding success at the next level, particularly in Special Teams. It turns out Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas, T.J. Ward, Jairus Byrd and Patrick Chung were all “undersized” and under 6 feet tall too. The list goes on.
What often gets lost in all the combine/pro day/ draft talk is that Oregon’s “undersized” players go up against and often dominate those big guys who do fit the NFL mold. In modern day Oregon Football, players just seem to be bred a little differently. Does that mean they aren’t capable of making it at the next level?
You better believe a group of guys is ready to answer that question tomorrow.
An official list of players participating in Pro Day activities has not been released but it is expected that several fan favorites will be out to show NFL Scouts what they have to offer. Quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr., has said he will be participating and it’s expected that Bralon Addison, Byron Marshall, Tyler Johnstone and several others will also be going through drills. All four participated in the NFL Combine but will look to take advantage of another opportunity to showcase their talent- this time, in a familiar setting. There’s little doubt all will perform well. The question will be, will NFL teams be able to look past their size and take a gamble on that talent?
What do you think? Does this group of aspiring NFL players have what it takes to succeed at the next level?
Make sure to follow Nichole on Twitter @UOgridirongirl for live updates as she heads to Autzen for Oregon’s 2016 Pro Day.