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
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
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
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
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
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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