At least seven Boston College football prospects are expected to hear their names called this April during the 2019 NFL Draft, more than the program’s ever had selected in the league’s seven-round model (1994-present). But there’s also a handful of other Eagles who could find themselves on a training camp roster. Heading into the last week of March, here are BC’s top-five potential undrafted free agents.
1) Michael Walker
*Height: 6-foot | Weight: 195
In the NFL, there’s always a spot for players that can make a name for themselves on special teams, and Michael Walker could very well be one of those guys. The Naples, Fla., native rounded out his BC career with back-to-back seasons atop the nation’s combined kick return yards chart. This past year alone, Walker—an All-ACC Second Team selection—finished seventh and 22nd in punt and kick return average, respectively. That said, he did have trouble with ball security—the senior coughed up four fumbles during the Eagles’ 12-game slate. Whether or not Walker could eventually see snaps at wide receiver is up in the air. One thing’s for sure, though, he’s got the athletic tools to line up outside. At BC’s Pro Day last week, he recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash, a 36.5 inch vertical, and 21 bench press reps.
2. Jeff Smith
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 195
Will Harris might have stolen the show at the NFL Combine, but Jeff Smith owned BC’s Pro Day. The quarterback-turned-wide receiver flashed a 4.34 40-yard dash—a time that would rank seventh among 2019 Combine participants—and a brisk 6.87 three-cone drill. Smith turned in the most productive season of his career as a senior, recording 529 yards from scrimmage and seven total touchdowns. At times, he looked like a premier ACC wide receiver, like when he racked up six catches, 145 yards, and two touchdowns at Wake Forest. On other occasions, the 6-foot-1 speedster was a non-factor. His versatility—a wideout that can play the slot and run the jet sweep—is attractive, but it’s his 40 time that will turn heads.
3. Taj-Amir Torres
Height: 5-foot-9 | Weight: 180
Considering that BC has sent four defensive backs to the NFL in the past three years and could very well have two more drafted this April, it’s understandable that Taj-Amir Torres has been slightly overshadowed. That’s not to say that he doesn’t belong in the same conversation. According to Pro Football Focus, the senior logged 16 stops in coverage, the most among ACC cornerbacks. Not only that, but—as of mid-November—he was leading all other defensive backs in the league in coverage grade from the slot. Like teammate Hamp Cheevers, Torres is undersized and, more importantly, has had his fair share of lapses in coverage. Still, his 4.37 40-yard dash at BC’s Pro Day and game film are enough to warrant scouts’ attention.
4. Ray Smith
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 305
Like Torres, Ray Smith was surrounded by a host of NFL-caliber players during his four years in an Eagles uniform. Pinned between the likes of Harold Landry, Zach Allen, and Wyatt Ray, the stout, but deceptively quick, interior lineman quietly stitched together an impressive career on the Heights. The three-year starting nose tackle served as an anchor of sorts in the trenches, piling up 50-plus tackles each of the last two seasons. This past fall, Smith logged four tackles for loss, batted down three passes, and tallied his first career interception. The 305-pound All-ACC Third Team selection dove to haul in a deflected pass for a highlight-reel pick that capped a Week One blowout victory over Massachusetts—that play and his 4.9 Pro Day 40-yard dash just go to show that he’s more than just a burly nose tackle.
5. Connor Strachan
Height: 6-foot | Weight: 230
Wherever the ball is, there’s a good chance Connor Strachan isn’t too far behind. A bully of a linebacker, Strachan is as tough as they get, as evidenced by the 2018 campaign. After suffering a season-ending knee injury as a senior, the Wellesley, Mass., native returned as a graduate student this past fall and totaled a career-high 91 tackles, eight of which were for loss, marking his third collegiate season with 75-plus tackles. Even though he doesn’t have the coverage ability of many prospects at his position, he has no trouble closing gaps, plugging the run, and occasionally rushing the passer. Strachan’s character and experience will undoubtedly give him a fighting chance in training camp somewhere.
*NOTE: All heights and weights are pulled from BC’s 2018 roster.
Photo by Celine Lim / Heights Editor
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor