As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, May 8-10, fans of the North Dakota State University football team will have more than just a passive interest in the selections. This season, the Bison football team could see three former players become draft picks.
Brock Jensen, Billy Turner and Marcus Williams have generated the most buzz as they gear up for this year's draft. Turner has garnered the most attention but Jensen and Williams have also been mentioned as late round picks.
Here are my thoughts on the three players and if they will be picked in one of the seven rounds in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Brock Jensen - Quarterback
Brock Jensen warms up before NDSU takes on Kansas State University. (Photo by Mandy Thompson)
The Wisconsin native was never going to put up the type of numbers you saw from Eastern Illinois quarter Jimmy Garoppolo. The offense he played in at NDSU was never designed for throwing the ball fifty times a game.
Saying this hurt Jensen's draft stock would be incorrect, but it certainly hurt how people viewed him as a quarterback at the FCS level. Jensen has a strong arm, good size and plays smart. He does not project to be a starting quarterback at the NFL level but his record as a starting QB should get him a couple looks from teams.
In the end, Jensen will most likely go undrafted but receive camp invites from a couple teams. He still would have a long way to go to just make a NFL team but it is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Billy Turner - Offensive Lineman
Billy Turner has drawn high praise from draft experts. (Photo by Mandy Thompson)
Billy Turner will be drafted. I don't think there is any doubt about having his name called during one of the three days the draft takes place. The question is, what day will it be called?
Turner has all the particulars you look for in an offensive lineman. Size (6'5", 315 lbs) and pedigree (father Maurice played in the NFL) are two of the many things Turner has on his side. Sounds as if he will have to switch to playing guard if he wants to latch on with a team but Turner will do what he need to do to make a roster.
He has been projected anywhere between the third and sixth round. I think he will go late in the fourth round, with the team looking at him as a project. Someone that they could possibly mold into a starter in a couple years.
Marcus Williams - Defensive Back
Marcus Williams and his speed could be in question come draft weekend. (Photo by Mandy Thompson)
Marcus Williams has a lot of questions to answer. Is he fast enough for the NFL? Is he physical enough to play corner? Can he tackle well enough to be moved to safety? All unknowns at this point.
Williams was a lock, in many people's minds, to be drafted in some round but that thought has seemed to wane some as we've moved towards the draft. Williams ran a 4.57 at his Pro Day, which is considered a tad bit slow for a defensive back.
Regardless of the questions, Williams college career may be enough to warrant a team using a draft pick on him. You don't become the all-time leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns at the FCS level by being lucky. He also is versatile and can be used as a solid kick returner if a team is in need of one. I say Williams goes undrafted but will receive several calls from teams asking if he would like to attend their camps.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called The Pinto and White Shadow Show. Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.