A couple days later, the question of how Chris Polk went undrafted is still on the minds of a lot of UW fans.
So I thought I’d run it by a guy who, like him or not, is deeply associated with all things NFL Draft — ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.,. He held a conference call with reporters today and I got on to ask a couple of questions.
First, I asked Kiper what he thought happened with Polk. Here’s what he said:
“I think it was a couple of things. The Senior Bowl situation didn’t help him down there going down to Mobile was number one. He doesn’t have great explosiveness or great elusiveness — that hurts, number two. Being a running back is the other thing — very few teams needed them. A lot of good running backs did not get drafted — he wasn’t the only one. You look through the list and you’ll find some decent backs — Edwin Baker almost didn’t get drafted out of Michigan State who had a huge year two seasons ago. Polk can catch the ball he doesn’t fumble, he’s the kind of guy who moves the ball, he didn’t play behind a great offensive line or run behind a great offensive line but he put up good numbers. I think he’ll make the team. I think he will definitely be a guy that when you move forward a couple of years in the NFL you’ll say ‘why didn’t he get drafted?’ He’ll have a chance with the Philadelphia Eagles now to show what he can do. But as I said before, you think about running back and you look at all the guys that didn’t get drafted at that position that had the ability to be drafted — Jonas Gray at Notre Dame definitely had draftable ability, Tauren Poole at Tennessee, Brandon Bolden at Ole Miss, Lennon Creer at Lousiana Teach looked great at the one all-star game didn’t get drafted. Go down the line other guys — Jonathan Grimes, I like him out of William & Mary, he didn’t get drafted, Derrick Coleman at UCLA, so a lot of backs — Rodney Stewart at Colorado. So he’s (Polk) in the same category as a lot of kids that had NFL ability but again you go back to Arian Foster doesn’t get drafted – it’s happened before — LeGarrette Blount, undrafted, Priest Holmes, undrafted. This has happened before it’s going to happen again and that’s why Polk dropped all the way to the free agent category. But I think he will play in the NFL, like those other guys I mentioned have done and it’s been proven at running back where guys automatically drop down then they should every year.”
You’ll notice, as I did, he didn’t say anything about any injury, which has been thought by most to be the biggest factor in Polk’s fall — Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com said today he’d heard that three teams took Polk off their board due to health issues (namely, his shoulder). So when I had another chance, I asked Kiper that I noticed he didn’t mention Polk’s health and if he thought that was a factor. Here’s what he said to that:
“Todd (McShay, also an ESPN draft analyst) and I talked about that — Todd took the injury standpoint that that was the thing (that hurt Polk) but that’s part of the game, that’s just the way it is — most of these guys have some injuries they are dealing with and are beat up a little bit. But I thought it went beyond that a little bit You factor all that into the equation and it’s all in the totality. But Todd took the perspective of the injury, I took the perspective of how he played.”
I also asked Kiper what he thought of Keith Price’s NFL prospects. Here’s what he said:
“In terms of quarterbacks moving forward, how some of these other guys develop is going to impact Price — how do some of these guys come along? The height for Price is important. Right now I have him at 6-1, let’s see what his exact height is — 6-1, 197 is what I have him at. So again, you are under 6-2 — 28 of the 32 starting quarterbacks are 6-2 or taller. There are only two successful quarterbacks under 6-2, that’s (Drew) Brees and (Michael) Vick. What’s his height is going to be. I’m waiting to see Matt Barkley, too — he’s listed at 6-2, I hope he’s 6-2, I wouldn’t want to see 6-1, 6-1-and-a-half for obvious reasons. If you are below 6-2 you’ve got to beat the odds, bottom line. So for Price, we’ll see. But he’s in that mix with Logan Thomas (of Virginia Tech) and Tyler Bray at Tennessee and A.J. McCarron at Alabama, Casey Pachall at TCU and Tahj Boyd at Clemson, Aaron Murray at Georgia — there are a lot of quarterbacks in that class of juniors that are going to have a chance to show what they have for the NFL.”