In preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft, NFLDraftScout.com will profile the top draft-eligible prospects from FBS-level programs. This summer series will run until the start of the college football season.
NFL Draft picks the last five years: 6
2012 NFL Draft picks: 3 – RB Bernard Pierce (3rd round, 84th overall), TE Evan Rodriguez (4th round, 111th overall), LB Tahir Whitehead (5th round, 138th overall)
Temple returns to the Big East in 2012 after a seven-year hiatus in the MAC and as an independent. And they're back because of the positive results on the football field with more wins in the past three years (26) than the previous nine years combined (25). While Al Golden deserves most of the credit for the program turnaround, head coach Steve Addazio has picked up where Golden left off with nine wins in 2011, his first at the helm of the Owls. However, he will encounter a big test in 2012 as Temple loses their leading passer and rusher from a year ago, as well as, their top three receivers and five of their top six tacklers from 2011.
Temple tied a school-record this past April with three players drafted, the most in a single year since 1987. But despite the Owls recent success sending players to the next level, Temple is expected to take a step back in 2012 as the current roster doesn't boast the same level of NFL talent, especially in the senior class.
Top-five prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft
1. DL John Youboty (6-4, 260)
The younger brother of former Ohio State third round cornerback Ashton, John Youboty (pictured above) has the frame of an edge rusher, but plays mainly inside at defensive tackle for the Owls. He transferred from Marshall last season and showed enough in his first year at Temple to earn the top spot on this list. Youboty was a three-star defensive end out of high school and received scholarship offers from big programs like Michigan State, Nebraska and Missouri. However, he decided to enroll at Marshall to play for head coach Mark Snyder who coached his brother as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. After redshirting in 2008, he played in every game as a back-up in 2009, recording 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks. However, Snyder was fired prior to the 2010 season and Youboty found himself lost on the depth chart under the new coaching staff. He decided to transfer to Temple in 2011 and earned a waiver from the NCAA to play right away, starting seven games last season at tackle and finishing with 18 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and 1 fumble recovery. Youboty is playing out of position for the Owls, but works his tail off with an obvious passion for the game. He is a tad undersized to play with his hand on the ground and it will be interesting to see how Temple uses him in 2012.
2. RB Matt Brown (5-5, 170)
Although he has a diminutive frame, Brown runs much bigger than he appears and uses his size to his advantage. He played second fiddle behind Bernard Pierce last season, but he finished just shy of 1,000 yards rushing and will fight for the conference rushing title in 2012. Brown was a lightly-recruited player out of high school with most schools viewing him as a cornerback and was forced to spend a season at Milford Academy in order to qualify. Over the past three seasons, Brown has been forced to back-up duty behind Pierce, but has seen extensive playing time because of injuries (10 career starts). After finishing second on the team in rushing as a freshman, he led the Owls run attack in 2010 as a sophomore with 830 yards and seven touchdowns. Brown again finished second on the team in rushing last season, but set a career-best with 916 rushing yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He also has experience on special teams as a return man on both punts and kickoffs, recording his first special teams touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return last year. Brown is a shifty runner who uses his size to hide behind blockers and make something out of nothing with his swift footwork. He is a smart, tough runner, but the lack of size and power are question marks that will create doubt when he transitions to the NFL.
3. DE/OLB Marcus Green (6-1, 240)
A career reserve, Green should get his chance to start in 2012 as the Owls need to replace both their defensive ends from a year ago. With only 21 tackles and 1.0 sack over his first three seasons with Temple, he is still very green behind the ears, but has flashed the raw tools to be a productive player. Green was a little-known two-star linebacker recruit out of New Jersey, but earned playing time as a true freshman in 2009 on special teams coverage. He spent the majority of his next two seasons on special teams, but did register his first sack last season as a back-up edge rusher. Similar to Adrian Robinson who led the Owls in sacks in 2011, Green is undersized and lacks ideal length to consistently take on blocks, but he does a nice job using his eyes to track and anticipate the action. He isn't a speed demon off the edge, but plays with the body control and balance to play in space and will probably need to stand up at linebacker for his best shot at the next level.
4. C Sean Boyle (6-5, 325)
When he is on the field, Boyle is one of the top offensive linemen on the Temple roster. However, he has struggled to stay healthy, missing the last two seasons due to several injuries. Along with his twin brother Pat, Boyle arrived at Temple in 2008 and saw action in every game as a true freshman. He started the 2009 season opener as a sophomore but strained his labrum and was relegated to back-up duty for the rest of the season. Boyle needed two surgeries before his junior season to repair a torn labrum in both his left and right shoulders, missing the entire 2010 season. He reinjured his right shoulder prior to the 2011 season and was forced to sit out and miss another year of football. With one season of eligibility remaining, Boyle stayed healthy during spring ball and is slated to be the Owls' starting center in the fall. He is a tough, tenacious blocker with the finishing attitude and nastiness for the next level. Boyle has some NFL talent, but the four career shoulder surgeries create much doubt that a team will invest a draft pick in him next April.
5. K Brandon McManus (6-3, 190)
In the 2012 NFL Draft, four kickers were selected, the most in a single draft since 1993, proving that the NFL is always looking for fresh legs. Entering his senior season in 2012, McManus has a chance to establish himself as a legitimate draftable prospect for next year's draft. A Philadelphia native, he saw immediate playing time as a true freshman and has played in every game the past three seasons, handling both the kicking and punting duties. Although he battled some inconsistencies over his first two years, McManus set several school records last season as a junior, including extra points made (50 – all consecutive) and punting average (45.8). He also finished with 98 points which would have been the new program record had it not been for running back Bernard Pierce's extremely productive junior season. Over his career, McManus is 46-for-66 (70.0%) on field goals and 126-for-130 (96.9%) on extra point attempts. With less experience returning to the Temple offense, there is a good chance McManus, who also had experience on kickoffs, will receive more field goal opportunities to prove to scouts he can kick at the next level.
QB Chris Coyer (6-3, 230)*
CB Maurice Jones (5-10, 195)
OT Martin Wallace (6-6, 300)
For more 2012 college football draft previews click here.
Photo credit: US Presswire