Every year around this time the NFL adds some 256 players from the college ranks to the 32 teams' rosters. Every one of those players compiled an impressive set of numbers and a slick YouTube highlight video for all to see. Every one of them was a big fish in their particular college pond.
Now they're small fish again in the NFL ocean.
Nevertheless, while the stats don't mean as much anymore, they are indicative of something, of excellence at one level that teams and fans hope and expect to translate to the next level.
Before these numbers get old, we present to you our 12 draft choices' college career statistics, along with notes on each player's most noteworthy achievements. Below are the season-by-season college stats for our first six selections in Rounds 1-4. Tomorrow we'll present the stats for our six picks in Rounds 5-7. Noteworthy numbers are highlighted in yellow.
- Calvin Pryor is a striking young man, both off the field and particularly on it. He reminds fans that he's a complete safety, but he admits, "Most people know me as a hard-hitting safety because I had a few hard hits in college." His impact included 100 tackles and five forced fumbles in 2012 and 75 more tackles from the deep middle last season.
- How will the Jets coaches use Jace Amaro? The same way his Texas Tech coaches did, he said, "just throwing me around on the field everywhere." With that approach last year, he set the NCAA single-season tight ends record for receiving yardage and led all FBS TEs in receptions by a wide margin.
3. Dexter McDougle prides himself on being an all-around corner. He didn't get to show much on the field last season before his shoulder injury, but his three picks in the first two-plus games, one returned for a TD, showed his pass defense and his junior tackle total hints that he enjoys playing the run.
4A. Jalen Saunders playfully captures his playing style as a cross "between a gorilla and a terrier. They're real small and people don't expect too much from them. ... I'm real feisty." He's also very dangerous to opponents: At Fresno State and Oklahoma combined he scored 26 receiving TDs and three more on punt returns and every year he's had at least one play of 76 yards or longer.
4B. Shaquelle Evans wore uniform No. 1 at UCLA, which was appropriate because as the Bruins' stock improved in 2012-13, Shaq was the offense's leading receiver, combing for 107 catches, 1,586 yards and 12 TDs in those two seasons.
4C. Statistics are thin for O-linemen, but one that stood out for Dakota Dozier was his 14 starts for Furman last season and how they were split up: First 12 starts — in fact, the first 44 starts of his college career — were at left tackle. The last one he moved inside to left guard for the FCS playoffs. G or T with the Jets? "I'm just ready to come in and play wherever it is," he said. "I'm very excited to be a Jet."
Tuesday: College Stats for Our 6 Picks in Rounds 5-7