The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday and two former Bears will be in the mix for NFL rosters spots.
Donald Liotine ’13 is currently ranked by BNB Football as the 71st running back out of 167 in this draft class. That puts the Stony Brook University star ahead of backs from such schools as Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Alabama. Though the FCS did not hold its own combine, Hero Sports aggregated the results of FCS runningbacks who performed at various combines and pro days. Liotine faired well in a number of metrics:
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.50 seconds (5th/27)
- Vertical Jump: 35.5″ (9th/25)
- Broad Jump: 123″ (4th/22)
- 3-Cone Drill: 7.06 seconds (13th/32)
- 20-Yard Shuttle Run: 4.13 (Tied 1st/23)
Jerome Washington’12 is also hoping to make his way onto an NFL roster. NFL.com gives the Rutgers senior an overall prospect grade of 4.86 out of 10, which projects him to at least be invited to an NFL training camp. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein lists his strengths as:
- Adequate play speed and athletic ability to offer help as intermediate target
- Adjusts body to off-target throws and secures the catch
- Drops to scoop low throws
- Hands are quick and soft
- Shows elevated focus when targeted in traffic
- Quick acceleration to stack YAC (yards after catch) yards on top of short catches
Zierlein is concerned about a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for most of the 2018 season, limiting his production. At BNB Football he is ranked as the 40th best tight end in the draft of 72 prospects, ahead of draft hopefuls from Auburn, Georgia, and LSU.
Kyle Crabbs at The Draft Network provided this in-depth analysis on Washington:
Route Running – Experienced middle of the field receiver who has effective release into the secondary. Would like to see some added variety on his vertical route stems as a means of producing false steps in the secondary. Smooth feet at the top of hard breaks to snap quickly.
Hands – Has let a handful of passes slip through the cracks, concentration appears to be the culprit as he has flashed soft hands in traffic. Does well to extend for the football and appears comfortable extending out away from his frame.
Versatility – Has notable receiving upside relative to his production courtesy of poor offense. Athletic mismatch who has ability to press hard up the field vertically and separate from linebackers in coverage. Can be an asset immediately as a blocker.
Contested Catch Ability – Big frame serves well in traffic to absorb blows and bring in receptions. Has found success as a box-out receiver in the middle of the field to shield the ball and convert targets. Would like to see more physicality at the top of stems to avoid high contested frequency.
Run After Catch Ability – Hasn’t had many opportunities to open up his strides but figures to be able to pull away in the open field, if given clean targets up the seam. Isn’t especially creative in the open field but does have the size and athleticism to break off gains as opportunities allow.
Power At POA – Creates movement from an in-line position with wonderful consistency. Latches onto ends and linebackers alike and is capable of taking defenders for a ride. Runs the feet and mirrors very well to stay sticky and extend blocks.
Flexibility – Shows good mobility through the hips and torso to hinge and slide feet while engaged with a defender. Has little issue opening the hips to work across the face and seal. Has ability to rotate and work back to greet the football on over the shoulder catches.
Competitive Toughness – Offers consistency on the edge. Looks for added work as a blocker and will work into spaces to help teammates. Physically stout, impressive functional strength to dictate reps to front seven defenders in the box.
Balance – Foot quickness and lower body mobility are strong qualities that allow for adjustments on the move and sustained framing of blocks. Recovery step is sudden and allows for effective mirror when hands are locked on a shedding defender.
Football Intelligence – Has been an accomplished blocker throughout two years with the program, thanks to strong sense of body positioning and understanding of angles to ensure a contested rep. Needs development on route running to maximize athletic gifts.
Overview – Washington is a promising prospect who has battled through injuries in his two seasons with the Rutgers program, durability is a looming question and medicals will have a large influence on his status. On the field, Washington projects as a TE2 in the immediate time frame thanks to his gifts as a blocker. There is developmental upside and athleticism to become a long-term starter under a patient staff.
Both Liotine and Washington are hoping to become the first Stony Brook players drafted into the NFL since Jack Medd ’40 went to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 89th pick of the 1946 draft.