Media Days Marathon: Draft Questions From The MAC
By Bill Lund
Eric Fisher made history for the MAC, becoming the first player from the league selected first overall in the 2013 draft. The MAC has long been an underrated talent pool of NFL prospects.
On the heels of MAC Media Day, we ask the following three draft-related questions.
1. Is there anyone in the MAC who warrants first-round consideration?
There are three players whose names you could be hearing in the discussion:
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: Mack has climbed up many draft boards during his first three seasons. He led the Bulls in tackles and he is currently the NCAA active career leader in tackles for a loss with 53. His ability to disrupt offenses is a commodity that many NFL teams covet.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State: The All-MAC RB/KR racked up 1,429 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns while averaging an astounding 9 yards per carry. Archer also had 561 yards receiving and four touchdowns. As a kick returner he had 591 return yards with three more touchdowns. With the NFL trending toward ultra-quick players to align in the slot (a la Tavon Austin), Archer's 4.2-second 40-yard dash and catching ability will make scouts seriously consider taking Archer in the first round or two.
Jordan Lynch QB NIU: The first player in the history of college football to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards was named the MVP of the MAC and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting. And he is the only QB in league history who can say that has taken his team to the Orange Bowl. With the growing preference for multi-dimensional quarterbacks, Lynch may become a coveted selection in the 2014 draft.
2. Should we be calling him "Jordan Football"?
When a player throws for 3,138 yards and rushes for an additional 1,815 along while totaling 44 touchdowns, wouldn’t most people would consider him a Heisman frontrunner? Perhaps if Jordan Lynch were playing for Texas A&M, he would have been. With many draft analysts looking at Johnny Manziel as a highly draftable prospect, they should be viewing Lynch in the same light.
Lynch not only led Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl, he finished with 4,953 yards in total offense compared to Manziel’s 5,116 yards and 47 touchdowns. Lynch measures at 6-foot, 216 pounds, while Manziel is listed at 6-1, 210. The styles of each player are similar, both operate offenses that highlight their arms and feet, with the only real difference between them being that Lynch plays on a smaller stage.
If Lynch can lead NIU back into the BCS hunt, who’s to say he isn’t a worthy Heisman candidate as well as a potential NFL starter at QB?
3. Is there anyone else in the MAC the NFL will be watching?
The 2013 draft was historic for the MAC, with Fisher going first. Next year, the class of MAC draft prospects could double.
Kent State and Buffalo each have three prospects who should get selected in 2014, with NIU, Toldeo and Miami (OH) having two prospects apiece. Here are the dozen most draftable prospects heading into the 2013 season:
Buffalo: Khalil Mack, OLB; Alex Neutz, WR; Branden Oliver, RB
Kent State: Dri Archer, RB; Pat McShane, OL; Roosevelt Nix, LB/DE
Miami (OH): Josh Harvey, OL; Dayonne Nunley, DB
Northern Illinois: Jordan Lynch, QB; Jimmie Ward SS
Toledo: David Fluellen, RB; Zac Kerin, OL