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2018 Minnesota Gophers prospect primer

Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

2018 Minnesota Gophers prospect primer

Below are the notable Minnesota Gophers prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. The Golden Gophers were, as is to usually be expected, solid in many facets of the game last year. The team was competitive and finished with a strong 9-4 record in the Big Ten Conference; their highest win total in 13 years. That competitiveness should be present again this year, as the Gophers have a lot of gifted players to work with.

Offense

Running Back Rodney Smith – 5110, 205 – Redshirt Junior

Smith is another back in a field full of them that doesn’t necessarily do anything exceptionally well, but does a lot of things very good. Smith is well built and capable of toting the rock 25 times a game to help wear down defenses. He’s in a perfect spot in Minnesota, who will stay dedicated to the ground game and make sure he and his backfield mate Shannon Brooks get their touches.

Running Back Shannon Brooks – 6000, 210 – Junior

Brooks is a bit more dynamic than Smith, who runs more like a glider. Although he was the back-up, Brooks still finished third on the team in total yards from scrimmage and is the #2 returning yardage player on Minnesota’s offense; behind only Smith.

Tight End Nate Wozniak – 6100, 275 – Redshirt Senior

Wozniak is outrageously tall and presents a huge red zone target for his Quarterbacks. He can be a bit awkward in space due to his size, but he’s more of an inline style Tight End anyway.

Interior Offensive Lineman Garrison Wright – 6040, 320 – Redshirt Senior (JUCO)

Defense

Defensive Tackle Steven Richardson – 6000, 300 – Senior

Richardson was the most disruptive force along the Gophers defensive front last year. He logged an impressive 11.0 tackles for loss to go along with 7.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. While Richardson doesn’t present the most desirable measurables to play at the NFL level, his presence is much, much larger. Richardson is thickly built and plays low to the ground, which allows him to force his way through tiny creases and get backfield penetration.

Linebacker Blake Cashman – 6020, 225 – Junior

*BONUS* Want to feel old? Minnesota is starting one Antoine Winfield Jr. (a true sophomore) at Cornerback this season. Here’s hoping he plays as good as his father. 

Kyle Crabbs

Kyle Crabbs is the founder/Director of Scouting of NDT Scouting Services, a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the lead NFL Draft analyst for the FanRag Sports Network.

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