While Mike Edwards and the Buccaneers are hours away from taking on the reigning champs in Super Bowl LV, many NFL players are already looking forward to the offseason; most notably the incoming rookie class. Prospects are doing everything they can to raise their draft stock between now and late April, several of whom are former Wildcats.
Center Drake Jackson had an impressive showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, so much so that Jim Nagy, the event’s Executive Director, shot this message out to his 62K Twitter followers.
Analytics and scouting match up on @UKFootball OC Drake Jackson, who sustained a separated shoulder on second snap of last week’s @seniorbowl and played the rest of the game. Drake said post-game, “I wasn’t going to let you down”. Some NFL team will be getting a steal in April. https://t.co/UOh9VdXio4
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 4, 2021
Yes, you read that right: Jackson separated his shoulder on the second snap of the game. He then proceeded to finish the game.
Something you always hear coaches say they look for in offensive lineman is a “bulldog mentality.” I can’t think of anything Jackson could have done to exemplify that characteristic more than by hitting his man over and over with a bum shoulder last week.
What drives someone to push through that type of pain? James Willis put it quite simply in a reply to Nagy’s tweet:
He is a Kentucky boy. Small Injuries font keep you from doing your job.
— James Willis (@JamesWi11047973) February 4, 2021
Even local legend Kash Daniel jumped in to heap some praise on the Woodford County product.
And has the football IQ of a head coach. Dude just gets the game and everything it throws at him. https://t.co/oU7tfZH0kj
— Kash Daniel (@KashDaniel15) February 4, 2021
Most mock drafts/analysts I’ve seen don’t have Jackson being selected in the first two rounds, but he seems to be a popular Day 3 selection, falling anywhere in the 3rd to the 7th round range.
Kelvin Joseph, perhaps known better as Bossman Fat, got some love from ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Saturday.
Mel Kiper just said on ESPN Radio that Bossman Fat is the 4th best Cornerback in the NFL Draft and could go as high as late 1st Round
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 6, 2021
Kiper isn’t alone, either. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah posted a video analyzing Joseph’s game and praised his fluidity at the position.
There’s a lot of buzz about Kentucky CB Kelvin Joseph. Just starting my study. Smooth/fluid/explosive dude!! https://t.co/gLHjT6jw9L
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 4, 2021
If there’s one thing that NFL teams love in cornerback prospects, it’s raw ability. You can’t teach size or speed, and Joseph checks both those boxes. Tack on the fact that he had a productive season with four interceptions and you’ve got the makings of a Day 1 or Day 2 selection. If UK is able to hold a pro day in the coming months, Joseph could bump his stock up even more.
There will be much more draft talk between now and April surrounding these former Cats, but it’s exciting to already see their name circulating in February.