***Hey ya'll, I know it's been a while since I've actually written anything. Engineering school has gotten kinda crazy lately, but the semester is starting to wind down and I should be on a more regular schedule with my writing***
Among all the hoopla with the basketball team reaching the NCAA tournament, Hurley bolting for Arizona State, and Nate Oats being named as the new head coach, the NFL draft has creeped up on us and will be taking place in two weeks in Chicago, Illinois.
Among the draft hopefuls is former UB defensive tackle Kristjan Sokoli, who is looking to become the second UB player in the past two years to be drafted into the NFL. Sokoli finished his senior season with 32 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 6 pass breakups.
For a good recap on Sokoli's career up until this past season, some of his strengths/weaknesses, and some professional film breakdown* check out the link below.
*And by professional film breakdown, I mean some video stills I edited in Microsoft Paint.
After a somewhat lackluster senior season, Sokoli was snubbed from the NFL Combine but put up some killer numbers at the UB Pro Day held at the ADPRO Sports Center adjacent to Ralph Wilson Stadium.
My client Kristjan Sokoli (DL, U of Buffalo) just came in at 6050/290lbs, ran a 4.84 w/a 38" vert, 9'11" broad, 7.19 3-cone & 31 bench reps!— Brett Tessler (@TesslerSports) March 12, 2015
We already knew that Sokoli was a mammoth of a man standing at 6-5 and weighing in at 290 pounds, but his sneaky fast 40 time would've been 14th among defensive linemen that participated at the Combine, ahead of USC's Leonard Williams. His 31 reps on the bench would've been 4th best among defensive linemen, his 38' vertical 3rd among defensive linemen, and his 9'11' broad jump would've also been 4th among defensive linemen. A lot of solid numbers that compare well with some of college football's best.
For his efforts, Sokoli was mentioned by CBS Lead Draft Analyst Dane Brugler as a combine snub that could be drafted.
A two-year starter, Sokoli immigrated to the United States from Albania with his family in 2000, took up football and earned a scholarship to Buffalo. A tireless, blue collar worker, he doesn't play with ideal functional strength, but he played out of position at nose guard in college and shows the movement skills and size dimensions that are worth developing.
Sokoli has also had predraft visits with several NFL teams including the New York Jets, New York Giants, and most recently the Indianapolis Colts after visiting the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.
Kristjan Sokoli (DL, U of Buffalo) is now on his way to visit the Indianapolis Colts after wrapping up his visit with the Seattle Seahawks.— Brett Tessler (@TesslerSports) April 16, 2015
He's also gotten some buzz from some other draft analysts as well.
Another intriguing DT I watched was Buffalo DT Kristjan Sokoli. An Albanian immigrant, Sokoli is ruthless with a high motor.— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) April 16, 2015
As for what this amateur draft guru thinks, I think Sokoli has a good shot at being drafted in rounds 5-7 of the draft, he has great measurables, and a non-stop motor that defensive line coaches love. He does have some rough edges that need some smoothing but in the right system he could thrive.
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