Potential 2015 NFL Draft Picks - Kansas Natives

Jordan Phillips, a projected 1st rounder, played high school at Circle in Towanda. (photo: Rivals)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Apr 30, 2015

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Below is a list of players that are Kansas natives or played high school football in the state of Kansas. There is also a list of notable players from state colleges that aren't KS natives that have an opportunity;

Blake Bell, Oklahoma (Bishop Carroll ’10)

Bell, who was one of the most decorated prep quarterbacks to ever come out of Kansas, experienced some success at the same position at OU before a position change took place after his junior year to tight end. However, it wasn’t a bad position change, as Bell stands around 6-foot-6 and weighs 260 pounds. He was invited to the NFL combine and could be a mid-to-late round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. His dad (Mark) and uncle (Mike), also Carroll alums, both played in the NFL after successful careers at Colorado State.

Luke Eakes, Northern Illinois (St. Marys ’10)

Eakes is projected as an H-Back or Tight End at the next level and may feature better size as a blocking back (6’3 246). Eakes had over 500 career receiving yards and caught four touchdowns for the Huskies, while starting parts of all four seasons. He had a nice pro day, benching 225 pounds 21 times, a vertical jump of 33 inches and running a 4.8 forty yard dash.

Ben Heeney, Kansas (Hutchinson HS ‘11)

Ben Heeney has been projected to go as a mid-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. He had a great showing at the NFL combine and finished his career at KU as one of the best linebackers in the Big 12 in 2014. Heeney was an all-state selection at RB for Hutch in 2010 and rarely played defense in high school.

B.J. Finney, Kansas State (Andale ’10)

The former AVCTL IV MVP in high school didn’t have any big time scholarships in high school and almost went the D2 route. Instead, he walked on to Kansas State, later to go on and start all four years and become an All-American. Finney, who was invited to the NFL combine, has been listed on most boards as a mid-round pick.

Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma (Hutchinson ’10)

Grissom had a lot of recruiting hype coming out of high school in Hutchinson, ranked four stars by most publications. It took a while for him to find his fit at Oklahoma, transitioning from defense to offense and back to defense, but he had two big seasons as a junior and senior for the Sooners. He racked up eight sacks, 17 tackles for loss and two interceptions in his last two seasons. Expect him to be a mid-to-late round pick (4-7) in this year’s draft at the outside linebacker position.

Ryan Mueller, Kansas State (St. Thomas Aquinas ’10)

Mueller, who was set to go to the Division II route out of high school, ended up walking on for the Wildcats. It proved to be a good choice as he earned All Big 12 and All-American honors. Although he was undersized at 6-feet-2, 245 pounds, at the defensive end position for Kansas State, he will again look to prove his doubters wrong by getting invited to an NFL camp.

Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma (Towanda-Circle ’11)

Phillips is one of the biggest defensive lineman in football, weighing over 330 pounds and standing 6-foot-6. He was one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school, battled some injuries at Oklahoma, but still had a solid career. He had 39 tackles, seven of which came for loss in 2014. He is projected as high as a late first round pick.

Shane Ray, Mizzou (Bishop Miege ’11)

Ray was said to have the quickest first step that Tim Grunhard, former Miege head coach and NFL pro bowler, had ever seen. Grunhard’s observation proved to be right as Ray has been listed as high as the #1 overall pick for this years NFL Draft. However, the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, may have cost himself some spots in the draft after an arrest for Marijuana earlier this week. Don’t expect him to go in the Top 15 with the arrest and turf toe, but someone will get themselves a steal any pick after that.

Curry Sexton, Kansas State (Abilene ’10)

Many draft boards aren’t giving Sexton a chance, but he had quite the senior season at slot receiver for the Wildcats with over 1,000 yards receiving in 2014. Sexton doesn’t have great speed, running in the high 4.6 range, but his hands are like glue. His uncle, John Dorsey, is the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs and one may think that may help this kid with an opportunity in the NFL. Regardless if he’s picked up or not what a great career at Kansas State.

Max Shortell, Jacksonville State (Bishop Miege ’11)

Former Miege star Max Shortell started out his career at Minnesota where he made eight starts for the Golden Gophers. He then transferred to Jacksonville State, where he has been a part-time starter over the last two seasons and experienced a thumb injury as a senior that altered his throwing ability. He earned All-Ohio Valley Conference as a junior in 2013. Don’t be surprised if he is invited to a camp. He features great arm strength and has the size at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds.

Dreamius Smith, West Virginia (Wichita Heights ’11)

The Former Wichita Heights all-stater was originally slated to go to Kansas out of high school but ended up at Butler County. After two years at junior college, he signed with West Virginia. Although Smith didn’t get a ton of carries, he nearly went for 1,000 rushing yards combined in his short two years for the Mountaineers. He features nice 4.5-40 speed for his size of 6-foot and 217 pounds. Don’t be surprised to see a late round pick up, but expect a free agent deal.

Jonathan Truman, Kansas State (Kapaun ’10)

Former Kansas State walk-on Jonathan Truman is your typical Bill Snyder walk-on. Going from a nobody to becoming one of the best defenders for the Wildcats over the last two seasons. He has an opportunity to pick up a shot as a Free Agent.

Lucas Vincent, Mizzou (Olathe North ’10)

Vincent, a former all-state lineman and state wrestling champ at Olathe North, has the size and athletic ability to make a late round pick or free agent pick up. He is a two year starter at Mizzou and has ran a 4.97 40-yard dash weighing in at over 300 pounds.

Austin Willis, Emporia State (Shawnee Heights '10)

Willis had a much more successful career in college than he did in high school at Shawnee Heights, where he was a second-team all league pick. Willis originally attended ESU on a track and field scholarship before walking on to the football team. He had over 1,900 yards recieving the last two seasons for the Hornets. He recently ran a 4.3 40 at his pro-day and featured a vertical of 39 inches. He also showed extreme strength for his size of 5-10 185 pound by benching 225 pounds 21 times. You could see a team invite him to camp.

Not Kansas natives, but other notables from in-state colleges with opportunities

DeVante Bausby, Pittsburg State - DB (Late Round – Free Agent)

Randall Evans, Kansas State - DB (Late Round – Free Agent)

Nick Harwell, Kansas - WR (Late Round - Free Agent)

Nigel King, Kansas – WR (Late Round- Free Agent)

Tyler Lockett, Kansas State - WR (2nd – 3rd round)

Gavin Lutman, Pitt State - WR (Late Round-Free Agent)

Dexter McDonald, Kansas – DB (Late Round – Free Agent)

Jimmay Mundine - Kansas - TE (Late Round - Free Agent)

Trevor Pardula, Kansas – P (Late Round – Free Agent)

Jacory Shepard, Kansas - DB (Mid-Late Round)

Keeston Terry, Pitt State - DB (Late Round – Free Agent)

Jake Waters, Kansas State – QB (Late Round – Free Agent)

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