Fans love the NFL Scouting Combine even more than the coaches, general managers, and scouts since it has been televised. It gives every fan access to the exact same measurable stats for each player as NFL franchises. Thus, fans begin to get a glimpse into how difficult it is to pick great players in the […]Continue reading
NFL 1st- round draft picks bust for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they don’t have the love, desire, work ethic, or mentality to make it. Other times, they are poorly coached, asked to play out of position, or placed in schemes not suited for their skill set. General managers, scouts, and fans often fall in […]Continue reading
Will Grier: Fleeing from PEDs
In 2014, after being declared a four-star recruit, Will Grier signed with Florida. After redshirting his first season, he took over the starting quarterback position in 2015. However, after starting just six games, Grier tested positive for Ligandrol and was suspended for one season. He then transferred to West Virginia, sat out the 2016 season, and lit the world on fire in 2017 and 2018. Grier accumulated over 7,300 passing yards and 71 passing touchdowns in 2017 and 2018. According to PlayerProfiler.com, his 9.7 yards-per-attempt is in the 92nd-percentile, while his 81.9 QBR is in the 79th-percentile. On the field, Grier played extremely well.
Off the field, Grier has to continue to prove he is past his Ligandrol impulses. As far as his West Virginia career is concerned, Grier reported no drug issues.
“Never had an issue,” he said. “It’s just not who I am. I would never let my teammates down again in any circumstance.”
After going through countless drug tests and letting his Florida team down before, Grier appears to have grown in maturity. Look for an NFL team to take a risk on his upside.
Gary Johnson: Foster Care, Community College and Texas
Texas Linebacker Gary Johnson came from an unstable, to say the least, childhood. His mother gave birth to him when she was 14 and lost him to foster care when he was just 4 years old. Johnson was moved around for most of his childhood and adolescence. Shifting from family members, state-supported guardians and group homes. His youth brings stories of a poverty, hunger, abuse and academic issues.
Thankfully, Johnson found a way out of that life. In his senior year of high school, Johnson triple-lettered in football, basketball and track. He won the state championship for the 100-meter dash and found his way onto the Dodge City Community College Football Team. After amassing an incredible 133 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries and 3 defensive touchdowns, Johnson garnered interest from universities.
Ultimately, Johnson settled on Texas and quickly rose up the depth chart. In 2018, he led the Longhorns with 90 tackles, including 8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. This earned him an invite to the prestigious NFL Combine, where he caught scouts’ attention with his 4.43 40-yard dash. Now, he is projected by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com to be drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson, though he passed around from house to house as a child, has found his home in football.
For more on Johnson’s story, read here.
Kahzin Daniels: Football’s Daredevil
In the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks drafted an athlete without a left hand, Shaquem Griffin. Day three of the NFL draft is generally when teams take chances on players. Hoping they might overcome a lack of production, unathletic measurables, injuries, or uncommon physical features like the lack of a hand, or in Kahzin Daniels case, the lack of sight in his right eye.
Daniels, the Charleston edge rusher, is completely blind in his right eye. Despite that, he totalled 31.5 sacks in his final three seasons for the Golden Eagles. He was a reliable source of pressure for Charleston. The fact that he is blind in his right eye is undoubtedly a cause of concern for NFL scouts. But, he still is ranked 61st by Sports Illustrated in this year’s draft class. That is a great feat for a Division II player, regardless of their eyesight.
Kahzin Daniels, MEC Defensive Player Of The Week pic.twitter.com/FWta0Iiqcs— Mountain East Conf. (@TheMountainEast) September 17, 2018
“It did not limit his play at all. He played on both sides, left and right, and never used it as an excuse or crutch or anything like that.” –Coach Pat Kirkland
However, sight isn’t the largest concern for potential NFL suitors. Instead, his ability to move to linebacker will hold more value. Daniels, at 242 pounds, is a good 20 pounds less than other edge rushers like Nick Bosa or Josh Allen. Players in his size range either become linebackers or situational edge rushers. Both require the ability to cover receivers. But, Daniels didn’t do much coverage in college. His coaches didn’t ask him to. It remains to be seen if he can make the jump to the NFL. With that being said, he has already shown that he can overcome what would be detrimental to many. Look for a team to take a chance on him on day three of the NFL Draft.
“Even growing up, I never let anybody treat me different in any way,” he said. “I never used it as a disability, never got any checks for it or anything like that.
“I see through one eye and I live life to the best of my ability.”
For more on Daniels, read here.
Davion Taylor: A Player to Monitor for the 2020 NFL Draft
In the NFL, there are successful stories of athletes transitioning from one sport to another. Jimmy Graham is one of those players that comes to mind. A four-year Miami Hurricanes basketball player, he played only one year of collegiate football before making the jump to the NFL. But, Graham did play football in high school. Just like many other successful NFL athletes without the same collegiate experience. This is why Davion Taylor becomes so peculiar.
Shockingly, Taylor did not play any high school football. At all. He wasn’t allowed to. Because of his mother’s Seventh-Day Adventist faith, Taylor couldn’t perform in any sporting activities from Friday night until Sunday morning. Starting years behind other players, Taylor earned a walk-on spot at Coachoma Community College for both football and track. He then earned a scholarship to play football and run for Colorado. The linebacker racked up a modest 57 tackles (10 for a loss), 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 defensive touchdown in 12 games. These aren’t mind-bending numbers, but looking at his journey to Colorado linebacker displays a unique player.
Although Davion Taylor may be a late-bloomer in football. If he shows more promise in his senior season, he will certainly gain the attention of NFL scouts for the 2020 NFL Draft.
For more on Taylor’s story, read here.
Is the Unafraid Show missing anyone?
If you know of anyone who should be on this list, please comment below. We would love to learn more about the stories and players that propel this game forward.
In the wake of the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, there are many heroic stories surfacing. Athletes coming out of poverty, disability, remorse or broken homes to find success on the gridiron. This is why we love sports. Anyone, regardless of where they grew up, has the chance to make their mark. In these two articles, the seven NFL draft hopefuls with the most inspiring stories will be discussed.
The Most Compelling Stories to Watch for in the 2019 NFL Draft
Kaleb McGary: Foreclosures, RV’s and House Fires
As Kaleb McGary stated himself, his life story is “basically a country song” (If you want to hear the short interview, listen here). During the 2008 recession, his family lost their farm to foreclosure. Following that, McGary’s father was involved in a work accident and diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Without good credit or income, his family resorted to living out of an RV on his grandparents yard. Living in his grandparents house was not an option. McGary explained that 60 years of hoarding made the home unlivable. So, there he was, spending his final years of high school living out of an RV with his siblings and his parents.
However, McGary has made the most of his opportunities. The Washington right-tackle earned first team All-Pac-12 honors in three consecutive years. He also tested extremely well athletically. McGary recorded a 5.05 (84th-percentile) 40-yard dash, a 97.5 (86th-percentile) Speed Score, a 112.5 (93rd-percentile) Burst Score, and a 12.24 (70th-percentile) Agility Score. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave McGary a round one-two projection. Additionally, WalterFootball ranks Kaleb McGary as the sixth best offensive tackle entering the 2019 NFL Draft. Things have been looking up for McGary since his time living in an RV.
Kaleb McGary paved the way for his backfield this season. pic.twitter.com/XRtw17GuyU— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 13, 2019
Unfortunately, there is more to his family’s living situation. After his parents had finally cleared out livable space for themselves in the house, one of the RVs caught fire, burned down, and took half of the house with it. Even with a GoFundMe to help pay for the costs, McGary said that labor and repairs are now at a stand still. Home projects are far more expensive than he would have thought. With McGary’s high draft odds, he could easily become another athlete that takes care of his parents and siblings. Look for him to raise his family out of poverty and into a stable home.
Chandler Brewer: Strength in the Face of Invasion
Cancer is nothing to mess with. Almost everyone either has gone through a battle with cancer or knows someone who has. Regardless of the treatment chosen, cancer has a way of taking the best parts away from the host. However, sometimes cancer uncovers warriors.
This is the case of Chandler Brewer, offensive lineman for Middle Tennessee State University. Just before his senior season, in July of 2018, Brewer was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer surfaced in his left knee and he kept it secret, except from staff and family. Brewer was, according to ProFootballFocus, the University’s highest-graded returning player. His play would have been missed.
But, with permission from his doctor, he suited up to play. What’s impressive is that, despite six weeks of radiation mid-season, Brewer remained strong. He played all 14 games, averaged 67 snaps per game and only allowed two sacks on over 450 pass attempts. ProFootballFocus named Brewer on their Conference USA team of the week three times and their national team once. In addition, Brewer earned First-Team All Conference USA Honors.
After the season, Chandler came out to the public and he’s had to disclose his cancer to every NFL team or scout of interest.
Taking a chance on a player battling cancer is a bold move. But, the NFL’s offensive lines become depleted each and every season. Many teams look for depth by converting tight ends, defensive lineman or even athletes from other sports. So, taking a risk on a highly graded warrior like Brewer in the 2019 NFL Draft is a quality choice.
Christian Wilkins: Tragedy, Loss and Courage
The story of Christian Wilkins, Clemson defensive tackle, is one of great loss and greater courage. When Wilkins was just 15 years old, his grandfather, Eurie Stamps Sr. was tragically killed by a SWAT team on a raid. During the raid, in which SWAT were not after Stamps, he was killed by an accidental discharge of a weapon while he was lying face down on the ground. To all those opposing Colin Kaepernick’s ideals, remember that this is the kind of needless violence he is trying to prevent.
Anyway, Stamps was an incredible father-figure for Wilkins. He split time between his stepfather’s and Stamps’ house. Stamps was a local icon, involved in the community and beloved by many. For many, this would be an end to high aspirations. However, after a switch to Suffield Academy, Wilkins found joy and success in athletics and activities. He became well known for his affable and giving lifestyle at high school. Wilkins even acted as the junior-varsity’s “water guy”. It speaks volumes to his character.
Modeling his life around the example Stamps set for him, Wilkins chose the number 42 to honor Stamps at Clemson. Stamps was born in 1942 and Wilkins garnered plenty of honor to that number. Wilkins earned a degree from Clemson in two and a half years and was awarded the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy for outstanding community, academic and on-field performance. Lance Zierlein from NFL.com gave Wilkins a round-one projection for the 2019 NFL Draft. Additionally, ProFootballFocus put their claim on his NFL success.
For more on Christian Wilkins and his life after Stamps, read here.
Emanuel Hall: Injuries, Death and Athleticism
2018 was not kind to Emanuel Hall. The Missouri wide receiver only played eight games in his senior season. A nagging groin injury sidelined him multiple times. For a “one-trick pony” speedster, a leg injury is quite serious. However, a much larger obstacle came on October 11th of 2018. While still rehabbing from his groin injury, Hall learned that his father had unexpectedly passed away.
“This has been the toughest year of my life,” Hall said.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “you’ve still got to take care of your business, because the world doesn’t stop.”
Hall’s words ring true to those that have lost a loved one and persevered through the pain. Through every battle and knockdown, every person had the chance to fight. Hall did just that. He returned to football after dealing with both his groin injury and his father’s funeral with four receptions, 77 yards and a touchdown. Through the pain and recoveries, Hall has shown that, when on the field, he makes splash plays.
Athletically, Emanuel Hall is special. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Hall’s profile includes:
- 4.39 (95th-percentile) 40-yard dash
- 109.7 (89th-percentile) Speed Score
- 144.5 (99th-percentile) Burst Score
- 35.7% (69th-percentile) College Dominator, 22.4 (97th-percentile) College YPR
In college, Hall used that elite athleticism to win on deep routes. In just 18 games his junior and senior season, Hall amassed 1,645 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on a mere 70 receptions. He has to overcome his perception as a “one-trick pony”, but Hall has a good chance to become an NFL starter. He showed perseverance and grit through his injury and tragedy-laden senior season. Now he must show that in gaining success in a league that is faster and more versatile.