The Combine Report: Franchise Builders For The 2015 NFL Season – Defensive Fronts

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

The necessity of building upon a franchise is essential for the productivity of the NFL. This continuous process is fueled by the annual NFL Draft and free agency, mainly the signing of undrafted free agents.

Since there is always uncertainty with new young players entering the league, the NFL needed to establish a plan C and D.

Through the NFL Regional Combine, the Shield provided a platform for teams to scope out talent, that flew below the radar, to become the beacon for their watchtower. Spanning from the RC, the NFL Super Regional Combine is the filter which magnifies higher skilled players.

The NFL Regional Combine ushered over 1,000 NFL hopefuls for the 2015 session. 122 players stood out and earned an invite to the NFL Super Regional Combine in Arizona.

Undoubtedly, some players were overlooked for the Super. Still, the system produced enough qualified individuals who are NFL ready to help constitute a successful franchise.

As the 2015 NFL Draft draws near, and clubs, for the most part, know who they want to select in the early rounds to become leaders for their organization. However, the players who earned the privilege to dress in a suit and walk across the stage to shake the hand of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, are not franchise builders.

Later round draftees and the undrafted free agents are the franchise builders. With the success of the SRC, more players are fashoined in the process to be the clay and bricks of the foundation to build a winning organization.

Entering the 2015 NFL Draft, the Shield purposely changed the template of the NFL Regional Combine, to not only sign players as undrafted free agents, but to be drafted.

On April 30 to May 1, enjoy and celebrate the players who get called out in Chicago because they earned it. After February 1st of 2016, cheer for those who established the franchise to win Super Bowl 50.

For the 2015 NFL season, here’s a peek at the “Franchise Builders” instituted by the NFL Regional Combine.


Last season, 17 out of 71 players from the NFL Regional Combine graced the league with their presence were members of the defensive front. Let’s see who may join them:

ILB Terry Ross, Winston-Salem

Terry Ross/

Terry Ross/

Ross is a pure athlete who is quick and agile. Importantly, he’s a leader, which his head coach Kienus Boulware quickly relied. “He took it,” said Boulware last August. “He didn’t ask to be a leader, he just said, ‘This is my defense now.’ I was really impressed by that, and I think that’s a good sign for us.”

The 6-0, 220-pound transfer from Marshall would fit into any defensive scheme.

ILB Travis Hughes, North Carolina

ILB Ron Omara, St. Francis Xavier, Can.

ILB Jonathan  Spain, Elon

ILB Aaron Roane, Richmond

OLB Travis Williams, Youngstown State


Travis Williams /

Williams started his collegiate career at the University of Miami. Similar to every collegiate player, playing time is critical in terms of peace of mind. At Youngstown State, the 6-3, 225-pound linebacker achieved his purpose of playing, and became an essential player for the program. An instinctive linebacker with great hands, the Virginia native should excel in a 4-3 scheme.

ILB Jordan Drake, Navy

ILB Julian Howsare, Clarion University

ILB Samuel Eguavoen, Texas Tech

ILB Tyrell Adams, West Georgia

ILB Jared Koster, New Mexico Highlands

ILB Jordan Stanton, Wyoming

OLB Joseph Koonce, Montclair State

Joseph Koonce/

Joseph Koonce/

Koonce stands at 6-3, 245-pounds, and is extremely fluent in his movement. He is an aggressive linebacker with a solid burst, and can play as a defensive end. Koonce prides himself as being a film junkie who studies his opponents from their schemes to each individual’s footwork.

OLB Boris Anyama, Louisiana-Lafayette

OLB Dion O’Joe, Southern Connecticut State

OLB Gabriel Middlebrook, Charleston Southern

OLB Shaun Ward, Florida A&M

OLB Cornelius Watson, Southern Arkansas

OLB Tavarus Dantzler, Bethune-Cookman 

OLB Kevin Kintzel, Western Illinois

OLB Michael Reynolds, Kansas

Michael Reynolds/

Michael Reynolds/

Reynolds is explosive and possesses great hands. He’s quick to the ball, and as a linebacker, the 6-1, 240-pound Kansas native has playmaking abilities. Reynold would be comfortable in any scheme, but would standout in a 3-4 setup.

DE Jamal Baker, Houston

DE Tyre Coleman, Hobart

DE Everett Ellefsen, McNeese State

DE Ra’Shawde Myers, Marshall

DE Darrius McMillin, Morningside

DE David Adebiyi, Savannah State

DE Michael Daniels, Prairie View

DE Joshua Bredi, Colorado State-Pueblo

DE Joseph Wiktorek, Lindenwood, Ill

Joseph Witorek /

Joseph Wiktorek /

Wiktorek is a versatile defensive player. He is a pure defensive end, but during his workout in Chicago for the RC, the 6-3 standout from the Illinois area was assigned to linebacker drills. Wiktorek is a calculated player as he move with purpose on each step. Wiktorek can cover space and is a solid athlete.

NT Terrace Bourne, St. Francis, PA

DT Dexter Blackmon, Arkansas State

DT Harold Legania, Minnesota

DT Bernard Little, Fort Valley State

DT Marvin Martin, University of Louisiana-Lafayette

DT Charles Hunter, TCU

DT Bryan Keys, Minnesota State-Mankato

DT Lexington Smith, Northern Colorado

DT Christopher Cornier, Indiana

DT Eric Thompson, Faukler 

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