James Harrison, Antonio Gates, Joshua Cribbs ... Jameson Konz?
It’s a leap of faith to suppose Konz, a Lake High School graduate, can be the latest undrafted free agent out of Kent State to make it in the NFL.
On the other hand, unlike Harrison, Gates and Cribbs, Konz might actually be drafted.
Konz made 21 starts at linebacker for Kent State before moving to offense as a senior in 2008.
He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the ’08 opener against Boston College. That bought him an extra year of eligibility.
Playing H-back and tight end in 2009, he caught 21 passes for 298 yards.
He needed way more than that to get the NFL’s attention. He delivered it at Kent State’s pro day.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. still was raving about Konz on Wednesday, calling Konz’s pro-day performance one of the best of the year.
“He’s a helluva an athlete,” Kiper said during a national conference call. “He had as good a workout as anybody at any position.”
According to NFL Draft Scout, Konz ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, a sensational time for a prospect measured at 6-foot-3 5/8, 234 pounds.
His vertical jump was an off-the-charts 46 inches. He has bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times, better than some offensive linemen.
“Just about every team has come here or been calling since that workout,” Kent State Head Coach Doug Martin said Wednesday.
Konz looked like former Ohio State Buckeye A.J. Hawk, with flowing blond locks, before cutting his hair recently. Konz flew like a hawk with that vertical jump, a Michael Jordan-in-his-prime effort.
“He actually did it. I was there,” Kent State spokesman Alan Ashby said. “They had to re-set the apparatus because Jameson touched all the way over it the first time.”
Safety Eric Berry, projected as a possible Browns pick at No. 7 overall, had a 43-inch vertical jump at the NFL Combine. Tim Tebow, a rare athlete at quarterback, came in at 38 1/2.
The Patriots didn’t take that chance that former Kent State quarterback Julian Edelman would be available after the 2009 draft. They picked him in Round 7, converted him to wide receiver, and got immediate results. Someone might look at Konz — perhaps the Browns, the only team represented at his pro day — and say, “Let’s not take a gamble that we can sign this guy after the draft.”
Martin said Konz came out of Lake playing linebacker because Kent State was thin at the position. Martin thought Konz’s pro prospects could improve with the shift to offense, but the injury stalled his progress.
“I fully believe Jameson can play in the NFL,” Martin said. “It’s gonna come down to how well he catches the ball when he gets in a camp.
“At times, Jameson made some phenomenal catches for us. He has the ability.”
Konz was in Martin’s first recruiting class at Kent State.
“He did everything at Lake, returning punts, playing wide receiver, tight end, defense. He never came off the field,” Martin said. “His versatility was tremendous.”
Martin went on to address another area that appeals to Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini.
“The best thing about Jameson is his character,” Martin said. “He comes from one of best families we ever dealt with here. He wasn’t a vocal guy, but he was a great leader by example.
“And he’s intelligent. He is going to learn quickly.”