Under-the-Radar Small-School Prospects - Offense

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

With the draft a little more than a week away, it’s time to look at some of the most underrated small-school prospects no one seems to be talking about. These are players who were not at the combine, nor did they participate in the Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl. All are prospects who could make a roster this fall, or at the very least land on the practice squad. We’ll look at the players on offense first.

Taryn Christion/QB/South Dakota State: Christion is a player I’ve liked for a while, and I went so far as to tweet that I believe he is the best quarterback prospect from the Missouri Valley Conference the night the Jackrabbits played Easton Stick and North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs. Christion measures 6-foot-1.5 and 218 pound and is super athletic with a live arm. He timed 4.48 seconds in the 40 during pro day -- which matched his teammate cornerback Jordan Brown -- and made all the throws. Christion needs to improve his pass placement, but he has great upside and there are many who feel he will land in the seventh round of the draft. Christion visited and worked out for the Baltimore Ravens, and the team’s quarterback coach was on hand for his pro day. The Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins are also showing genuine interest in Christion.

Marcus Marshall/RB/James Madison: Cornerback Jimmy Moreland understandably gets the lion’s share of headlines at JMU, but don’t sleep on Marshall. He tips the scales at just 179 pounds but completed 21 reps on the bench during pro day, and he timed 4.46 seconds in the 40 and hit 35 inches in the vertical jump. Marshall plays to his speed and shows a lot of versatility as a ball carrier and pass catcher out of the backfield. His performance on special teams this summer is key, but Marshall has the makings of a third-down back at the next level. The Detroit Lions have shown a lot of interest in Marshall, with the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs next in line.

Shawn Bane Jr./WR/Northwest Missouri State: Bane was ignored by scouts before the season, which is a shame  In four years at Northwest Missouri State, he combined for 212 receptions, 3,363 receiving yards and 31 receiving touchdowns. He also had a four-year average of 11.9 yards on punt returns. Bane is a big-play receiver who tips the scale at barely 170 pounds, but he timed 4.40 seconds during pro day and plays to that speed. He’ll be a great addition as a slot receiver and return specialist at the next level, possibly for the Washington Redskins or Tampa Bay Bucs, two teams showing a lot of interest.

Matt Kaskey/OT/Dartmouth: Kaskey is a player who caught my eye in 2017, partly because it’s impossible not to notice his 6-foot-7, 326-pound body moving around the field. He’s a dominant big man with decent agility and above-average skill at the second level. He’s also someone I mentioned last season as a Week 6 Riser. Kaskey is a work in progress, but he’s a size prospect with decent upside. The right tackle-needy New York Giants have done a ton of homework on the big blocker.

Nathan Trewyn/C/Wisconsin-Whitewater: Trewyn had the benefit of participating in the NFLPA Game, but he deserves mention. He’s a tough, wide-bodied blocker at the pivot who plays with terrific fundamentals. Depending on who you speak with, there are as few as seven draftable centers available this year, and a few of them are guards who project to center. The result is that Trewyn could land in the seventh round. He’s presently drawing a lot of interest from the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.