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 Post subject: 2059 Draft Review - Detroit Vampires
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:52 am 
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Detroit's Front Office was under siege this offseason. Beset by the fans and ownership after the simply appalling team performance in 2058, GM zenzog decided to do the unthinkable and trade away their 1.1 for three first round picks from Honolulu. Though QB Kirk Fryday was the consensus #1 overall pick, the front office wanted to capitalize on their championship window and find players that could be useful right out of the gate.

DE Ken Stephens, Notre Dame
6'0" 278lbs

In any CFL draft, there are always teams that say they want to take the best player available and the top talents should go at the top of the draft without reaching for a position. By that rationale, Stephens should be the No. 1-overall pick for the 2059 CFL Draft because he is the best player available.

Scouts discussed Stephens and Chester Anagnostis in the same sentence as high school prospects, but Chester declared for the CFL draft after just one exceptional season at Ohio State. Stephens played well for the Fighting Irish, but the team was just bad. He was overshadowed his junior year by DE Garrett Hitchcock who also went into the draft after just one year at Penn State. It wasn't surprising then, that Stephens would complete his senior year at Notre Dame, leading them to their first ACC Championship in some time.

Stephens won't set any speed records, but he possesses a unique combination of agility and balance that allows him to sink his hips and bend around tackles as well as the strength to fight off blockers. His instincts and reputation for film study make him hard to fool and he can redirect well to pursue the ball. His short stature prevents him from blocking passes at the line over taller linemen but helps when holding his gap against downhill runs.

While he played in a 4-3 for Notre Dame, Stephens will likely be asked to fit in as an outside linebacker for the Vampires. The spot is vacant since Preston Randall and Aidan Walsh have both exited the team and Stephens could see snaps in week 1.

Pre-Camp: 49/84
TC: 51/87
Post-Pre2: 55/78

DT Jace Hoover, Texas
6'2" 293lbs

Entering the 2057 season, the Texas defensive lineman who had the most hype was defensive tackle Dave Milliken. However throughout the season, it was clear that Hoover was the difference-maker and a standout player on the Longhorns' defensive line.

As a freshman who picked up starting time halfway through the season, Hoover recorded 40 tackles, 6 TFLs, and 3 sacks. Milliken would then go on to declare for the 2058 CFL draft, where he fell to the 6th round. Hoover took his game to another level in 2058 and became an excellent interior pass-rusher with the power to shed blocks. He finished his sophomore year with 8 sacks, 70 tackles, and a whopping 15 TFLs and declared for the draft the following year.

As a prospect, Hoover relies on his strength and technique to rush the passer from the interior. He has enough speed to fire by guards, but won't set any records. Hoover's explosiveness allows him to close on ball carriers in a hurry, and his power makes him very tough to single-block. Hoover can be a physical defender in the ground game as well. He has a strong base to anchor and is able to eat up some guard/center double-teams without getting blown out of his gap.

For Detroit, Hoover's smaller size will likely be employed as a 3-4 DE and is expected to fill in for an aging Riley Gray as opportunities arise.

Pre-Camp: 36/64
TC: 36/65
Post-Pre2: 40/62

QB Rondell Alexander, Boston College
6'5" 224lbs

Rondell Alexander is a polarizing prospect to many. As an Eagle, he became the starter in 2057 and helped BC to a respectable 8-5 finish. That season, he completed 63 percent of his passes for just shy of 3,000 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also ran for 620 yards with 7 scores. In 2058, Alexander's numbers dipped, completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,700 yards with 20 touchdowns and ten interceptions. His production on the ground stayed about the same with 650 yards and 8 scores.

BC's defense was tremendous in that 2058 season and Rondell could be overlooked as those players enter the 2059 draft. FS Alex Leskun, CB Everett Kasica, and DT Gustavo Nagi all intend to enter the CFL and they likely will. A poor receiving corps and backfield contributed to the declining buzz around Alexander, but a look at the film reveals the extent of their issues. Every Boston College game I looked at included Alexander making some precise throws downfield that were dropped by his receivers and robbed the Eagles of good drives and points.

Knowing BC's receivers were subpar, the coaching staff focused on Alexander's greatest strength-- quick timing passes across the middle. His ability to fire fastballs into tight windows was showcased week in and week out. His composure in the pocket is also impressive. As defenders are running free to hit him, he keeps his eyes downfield and delivers the ball knowing he will take a hit. His athleticism is another asset and his ability to scramble and pick up yards on the ground, as well as his size and strength, make him a difficult quarterback to bring down.

However, there are some real flaws in Alexander's game that have turned off a lot of CFL evaluators. His accuracy can become streaky and prone to overthrowing. If defenses can disrupt his receivers', Alexander can struggle to adjust to the timing. He also demonstrates inconsistent decision making and protecting the football can become a secondary concern. In addition, off field conduct has proved detrimental to his draft stock.

There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams in the CFL and Mitchem's poor 2058 season is motivation enough to find a future successor. Devan and the Vampires were able to come to an agreement for the next five years, but there's certainly some potential for a change under center if his struggles continue.

Pre-Camp: 20/41
TC: 20/51
Post-Pre2: 23/40

WR Wes O'Donnell, UCLA
6'0" 197lbs

UCLA hasn't been producing many wide receiver talents for the CFL lately, but O'Donnell looks to buck the trend going into 2059. As Kaleb Galloway and Parker Hallman made their debut in the pros, Wes was the lone receiving threat for the Bruins. Of course, most of the offense ran through the transcendant RB Thurman Hitchcock, but O'Donnell finished his final season with 90 receptions for 1,223 yards and 10 touchdowns as the number one receiver.

For the CFL, O'Donnell is a speedster with reasonable size and strength. He routinely outruns defensive backs and opens space for Hitchcock to do his thing. When he catches the ball, he picks up yards by getting North and South while also being able to dance around defenders in the open field.

His hands occasionally have trouble keeping up with his speed and he is prone to drop catchable balls as he focuses on getting downfield before fully securing the ball. He also hasn't demonstrated the ability to run more technical routes as UCLA primarily employed him to take the tops off the defenses.

WR Rusty Von Wyss is clearly the top dog in Detroit, but the number 2 and 3 spots are up for grabs. O'Donnell could prove to be a strong candidate with his elite speed and agility but will need time to fully develop.

Pre-Camp: 23/37
TC: 25/41
Post-Pre2: 25//37

CB Xavier Spamer, Fresno State
5'11" 195lbs

Fresno State always has surprises for us in the draft and this year it's two solid defensive backs. Last year it was a pair of tight ends and the year before that it was a WR and DE. Spamer and Pritchett were the core of a secondary that kept the Bulldogs in many a close game.

Spamer played well in 2058, locking down No. 1 receivers and producing some big plays for the Bulldogs. He had 43 tackles with 17 passes broken up and one interception. He is a natural cover corner with speed, quick feet, and agility. He excels in one-on-one coverage and does a fantastic job of running with receivers to prevent them from gaining separation. If they get a step, he is quick to recover with nice hips to turn and run downfield with speedsters as well.

It's becoming a rarity these days, but Spamer is a willing run defender who contributes regularly to the ground defense and makes fundamentally sound tackles in the open field.

Spamer has some ball skills, but tends to swat the ball away from receivers instead of attempting the interception. This conservatism prevents him from being a high draft pick, but his excellent coverage skills more than makes up for it. He does struggle to defend larger receivers that turn 50/50 balls into 70/30 balls with their leaping ability, but he rarely gives up yardage after the catch.

Detroit prides itself on maintaining a stable of talented defensive backs and Xavier Spamer is not likely to see much game time outside of dime packages or against run heavy teams.

Pre-Camp: 24/55
TC: 26/54
Post-Pre2: 29/50

WR Preston Schell, Georgia
6'2" 212lb

Georgia has never been a pass first team. Randal Newhart was their last notable QB and he was cut soon after being drafted in the 6th round. As such, Preston Schell did not have much of a chance to produce on the field.

However, with one season at Georgia under his belt, he did manage to at least get his name on the board as a consistent source of yardage. Schell had 55 receptions for 550 yards and excelled in short to medium depth routes as a secondary read. Where he really made an impact, however, was on special teams as both a gunner and return man.

In the CFL, Schell has a quick release and fluid bodywork that helps timing based routes succeed. He isn't the fastest or biggest receiver, but his ability to get open quickly make him a dangerous weapon in the red zone or when guaranteed yards are needed. He isn't often required to track the ball downfield but he does a fine job and he avoids the mistake of extending his hands too early and tipping off defenders.

Schell is short and lacks length, so he isn't going to be receiver who wins a lot of 50-50 passes against CFL cornerbacks. He also could have issues getting off jams from bigger press-man corners. Schell could play outside, but it he is most likely to be used from the slot. He also should prove valuable on special teams where his motor can be on full display.

For the Vampires, Schell and the other two rookie receivers have a shot at being a solid No. 2 option next to WR Rusty Von Wyss.

Pre-Camp: 13/44
TC: 13/56
Post-Pre2: 16/39

OG Aiden Strauser, Clemson
6'2" 302lbs


Pre-Camp: 22/54
TC: 25/56
Post-Pre2: 26/49

WR Bill Rushing, Alabama
6'0" 197lbs


Pre-Camp: 29/45
TC: 27/44
Post-Pre2: 36/54

QB Scottie DiCosomo, Mississippi State
6'2" 219lbs


Pre-Camp: 9/51
TC: 9/36
Post-Pre2: 14/63

LB Harris Paredes, Nebraska
5'9" 243lbs


Pre-Camp: 24/45
TC: 26/40
Post-Pre2: 28/41

GL Division Champions: 2057
EFC Conference Champions: 2057

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