Friday mailbag

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Time to dip into the mailbag as a slow week comes to a close in College Park.

Loyal reader Slatter is full of questions this week, and he wants to revisit something from the preseason…

In the early part of the football season, I asked you which players you thought had pro potential. Now, looking back, which players do you think played their way in to or out of the NFL Draft? Bonus question: who do you think will find their way onto an NFL roster through being undrafted (a la Stephon Heyer, Andrew Crummey, Erin Henderson, etc.)?

Now, as then, I don’t claim to be a pro scout or an NFL general manager. So these are more estimates based on my viewing of a single team rather than a rooted-in-reality opinion of someone up to their eyeballs in such matters.

It’s tough to say anyone really helped themselves a ton on this Maryland team based on in-season production. Maybe Edwin Williams. Maybe Kevin Barnes, who fared well until his season-ending shoulder injury.

The other offensive linemen won’r be valued more as a result of their work this season. Wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey was spectacular in brief spurts but not on a week-to-week basis. Tight endDan Gronkowski got better, but all those drops in the Boston College game aren’t exactly a great final regular-season impression to leave.

Defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre and linebacker Dave Philistin fared about as well as expected.

I thought the defensive MVP for the season (a full accounting of awards will come later in the month) was Moise Fokou. The guy was everywhere, played banged up and is athletic enough to get a look somewhere next year.

Just a guess, but Fokou will impress someone next summer. Enough to stick around? Hard to say, though his history of playing special teams will help him much like it did for Isaiah Gardner, who managed to stick around with Jacksonville’s practice squad (and now 53-man roster) all season.

Gronkowski’s another guy who might fall into that category. He’s big, he can block and he can haul in a catch or two. That’s a nice combination. But if Joey Haynos didn’t get drafted last year, my guess is Gronkowski will go the free agent route as well before latching on somewhere.

Again, I’m not a pro scout and don’t claim to be one, and those meanderings are worth the HTML code needed to put together this entry. But those are some semi-decent comparisons, and the presence of either on a practice squad (or Fokou as an almost full-time special teams guy next year) wouldn’t be astonishing.

Patrick Stevens

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