The supplemental draft of 2014 will be noted for, well, nothing. This is the second year in a row in which none of the eligible players were chosen by any NFL team. Since none of the four eligible players were not picked; SMU running back Traylon Shead, New Mexico wide receiver Chase Clayton, North Carolina linebacker Darius Lipford, and Virginia-Lynchburg defensive tackle LaKendrick Ross are all now undrafted free agents and can sign with any club.
While the fact that none of the players was taken wasn’t a huge surprise, what interested me in this year’s crop of players was that according to NFLDraftDiamonds.com, the Eagles took a look at LaKendrick Ross. The Eagles were amongst twelve NFL teams in attendance at Ross’ pro day. I was happy to hear the report as I still believe the Eagles need to improve upon their pass rush.
That’s not to say that defensive ends Cedric Thornton, Fletcher Cox, and defensive tackle Bennie Logan are in danger of losing their starting jobs to a raw undrafted rookie, but I wrote this article a few weeks back asking the question if Bennie Logan can be the force in the middle the Eagles need him to be. I do believe Logan will improve upon his rookie season, but I also think there’s room for depth along Philadelphia’s three man defensive front and Ross could provide for that need.
If you haven’t heard LaKendrick Ross’ background yet, check out this article which claims he is the “real Blindside” story. When he was 12 years old, LaKendrick’s mother died from a heart attack, and at that point on he lived in 10 different group homes. The only person who showed him any love at all was his coach. Ross continued on exhibiting substantial mental fortitude overcoming obstacle after obstacle throughout his life, and it makes me want to root for the young man. However, his physical gifts are what intrigues most scouts.
At his pro day this past Monday July 7th, Ross weighed in at 366 pounds and measured in at 6’4. Ross has a 83.5 wing span and ran a 1.81 unofficial 10 yard split, and according to reports one scout said he timed him from a 5.4 to 5.5. Another report has that Ross benched 225 pounds an impressive 46 times.
Ross played in only six games at Virginia-Lynchburg, but he made the most of his opportunities recording 19 tackles, including five tackles for loss and four sacks. While he is certainly raw and needs coaching on his hand technique and how to gain leverage over a player, his quickness and agility for a man of his size is astounding. Check out this video of the big man dunking a basketball.
Ross told NFL Draft Diamonds reporter Joseph Muia what he liked best about playing on the defensive line is,
“Sacking the quarterback and hitting running backs. I love making stops for losses. I love being the anchor with the linebacker on defense.”
Realistically, if the Eagles had chosen Ross in the draft, the fact that he needs to be coached up would have placed him probably no higher than the third or fourth string on the depth chart. However, given Philadelphia’s needs to improve upon collapsing the pocket and LaKendrick Ross’ raw talent, I think the team should at a minimum consider bringing him in to training camp for a longer look.