Well, it's NFL draft time again and the Bulls are aiming to place yet another UB Alumni on an NFL Roster.
Two Bulls are likely to end up in camps this spring. The first is Josh Thomas who's them in the draft could be summed up as "Not if, but when". Davonte Shannon's questions is not when but if and how. Mike Newton showed last season that the Bulls defensive backfield had guys talented enough to make NFL rosters, even when challenged with walk on status.
That's good news for Shannon who put himself behind the eight ball at the 2010 UB Pro-day after running a pretty slow 40 time. He improved greatly this season but sometimes when you have an off junior pro day it raises red flags.
How does Davonte sit going into the NFL Draft?
NFL Safety Needs:
Tier one teams, teams that will have a failed draft if they don't walk away with a safety: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Indy, Kansas City, Detroit, New Orleans, Saint Louis, Seattle.
Tier two teams, teams that need a safety but have much more dire requirements going into the draft: Tampa Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas, Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York (Jets), Baltimore, Baltimore, Denver, San Diego.
Everyone else is a tier three team. These are the teams that are not looking for a safety but might burn a seventh round choice on one if they see the right guy
Where does Shannon sit?
Most sites have Shannon in the low 20's. That's about where I would put him. But some big outliers have Shannon in the top 15. Shannon has good size, his 2011 40 was respectable but his style of play might not be what a lot of NFL teams are looking for.
Shannon is a tough player to gauge as an NFL prospect. He's clearly an in-the-box safety who can be a detriment in pass coverage. It was nice to see an improved 40-yard dash time this year. That will at least get him a training camp invitation. He also showed in other drills that he's explosive and strong. So what you're looking at with a player like Shannon is someone who will have to play special teams at the next level and be a backup safety. -- Dan Kadar, Mocking the Draft
Nobody doubts his athleticism or his potential so sit on a roster but until he can show he can handle deep coverage at the NFL level he is going to be viewed as a project.
How many safeties usually get drafted?
Typically about 20 safeties get drafted so majority of the prognosticators out there put Shannon just on the outside of the seventh round. That's where Newton went into last years draft and he was quickly snatched up by Indy right after the draft.
I suspect Shannon has a similar experience this year. One of the tier three teams that are set at safety will see Shannon as a potential for depth, a special teams player with a nose for the ball, or a practice squad developmental project worth having in camp.
Some teams to watch might include the Cowboys (there was some noise on twitter draft) and the Rams. Saint Louis is a tier one team that is going to draft a safety ahead of Shannon but former UB coach Matt House is familiar with Shannon having helped him make all conference his freshman year.
The one other team that I think is a front runner for Shannon is Detroit. The Lions are going to draft a safety and probably pick up at least one UDFA to have a warm body in camp.