Nick Foles may have started a trend down in Tucson. Maybe the University of Arizona is the new “Quarterback U” — or maybe Mike Stoops did one thing right in finding talented quarterbacks.
While the Wildcats are not quite churning out top end prospects year after year, they are developing a reputation for producing quality talent that can make it at the next level.
This year is no different, as we know about the big name in quarterback Matt Scott. Some services are even speculating he could go in the same range that Nick Foles did in 2012, but there are two other Wildcats that could hear their names called during the 2013 NFL Draft.
Matt Scott, QB – 6-2, 213 lbs
I have broken down Scott in an extended look and have told you I don’t think he’s worthy of a draft pick higher than a fourth rounder. But the reality is his blend of athleticism, arm talent, and the trend towards read-option football could have Scott moving into a late day two selection.
Scott isn’t a guy I see making a contribution in 2013 wherever he is drafted, unless it is necessitated by injuries. But he has the talent, if given time to develop it, to make an impact in the league.
Best Fits: Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers
Dan Buckner, WR – 6-4, 212 lbs
In what can only be considered a disappointing season for Buckner, the Wildcat wide receiver never took the next step to replace the departed Juron Criner.
While Buckner produced good stats for the Wildcats opposite Austin Hill, he left many scratching their heads and moving him down and maybe out of draft day consideration.
Buckner’s saving grace may be that he showed well at his pro day, until the last ten yards of his forty-yard dash where he pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury.
The senior receiver shows a good catch radius, routinely making plays on balls thrown behind him, or somehow over his head, and displays good hands when catching the ball.
He isn’t a big threat after the catch and he doesn’t create a lot of separation in his routes. But if he can find a quarterback that trusts him when he is covered, he could make a roster at the next level.
Best Fits: Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers
Taimi Tutogi, FB – 6-1, 269 lbs
While the NFL moves away from the power run game, the fullback position seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. That would normally be a bad thing for a guy like Tutogi, the massive fullback for the Wildcats.
The funny thing is, blocking may be the worst aspect of Tutogi’s game right now. His ability to line up at multiple positions and be a receiving threat is what will have teams enamored with him.
Tutogi looks like he could line up as a FB, H-Back, or maybe even a TE at the next level, and get out in routes and make plays.
He isn’t an overly athletic player, but runs with a mean streak and always keeps his feet moving.
If Tutogi can learn to block, he could become a nice weapon at the NFL level as well as a special teams contributor.
There are still teams — mainly ones that run a West Coast Offense — that can utilize Tutogi’s skillset and that could allow him to hear his name called on draft day.
Best Fits: Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks
While these are the only three prospects I see having a chance to be drafted, that doesn’t mean they are the only Wildcats that could be invited to NFL training camps this summer.
Guys like Kyle Quinn and Dominique Austin could be part of NFL teams as well.
As the culture changes down at UA, the football program should see an upswing in NFL prospects. But for now these are the three guys with the best chance to be selected in April.