Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.
Maryland‘s fortunes have been a bit down through the first two years of the Randy Edsall era, but the Terps are still able to churn out some NFL-caliber talent acquired by former head coach Ralph Friedgen. Unfortunately for them, these were some of the team’s biggest contributors and they’ll certainly leave some gaping holes on both sides of the ball. Recruiting is improving for the Terrapins with Mike Locksley back in the fold, but it’s still a gradual process to rebuild the necessary pipelines.
Matt Furstenburg, TE, Senior (Projected: Fifth Round)
Furstenburg comes into this draft as a bit of a wildcard, leaving scouts around the league a bit confused. His productivity as a receiver wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive during his four years (60 catches, six scores on his career), but I’d chalk a good deal of that up to the terrible quarterback situation at Maryland these past two seasons. While he has some of the physical tools to succeed (6’4″ and 242 pounds), there’s also concern he’s a bit undersized for the position and that it removes the effectiveness of his best skillset (run-blocking). But with some great receiving skills and a more-than-respectable 40-yard dash time (4.6), it’s doubtful teams will allow him to drop much further than the fifth round.
Joe Vellano, DT, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
If Vellano fails to be drafted, he won’t be searching long for an employer, that’s for sure. I’d even add that the only reason he’s not higher up on draft boards is his history of various injuries during his collegiate career. Beyond that, it’s tough to just look past a defensive lineman with a quick first step and tireless work ethic who flirted with 100 tackles his junior season (unheard of). Vellano’s played various positions along the line (end, tackle, nose tackle), which certainly gives him a bit of a boost, but his size isn’t necessarily ideal for any of those positions, save maybe the nose tackle spot — and an undersized one at that. At 6’2″ and 306 pounds, he’ll need the right environment in order to thrive, and teams will need to be willing to make a several-year investment.
Kenny Tate, SS, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
Tate certainly has the size (6’4″ and 220 pounds) to succeed at the NFL level, but with several knee injuries in the past, and only marginal speed (4.71 40-yard dash time), there’s already a huge concern he’s not cut out for the safety position. He’s a good (not great) tackler and knows how to cover large portions of the field, but can also encounter issues with timing and overall strength against larger receivers. Though his speed (or lack thereof) is certainly a concern, much of that could be mitigated if he’s picked up as a free agent special-teamer. It’s not his ideal route, I’m sure. But it is the best chance for him to be on a roster come the fall.