We’ve already profiled the four Virginia Cavaliers who are most likely to hear their names called in this weekend’s NFL Draft. There were a few other seniors on this year’s team who are on the NFL’s radar, and while they probably won’t drafted, there’s a good chance they’ll make somebody’s roster in training camp.
These guys are listed in alphabetical order.
Doni Dowling, WR – Dowling had a pretty nice career for the Hoos, totaling 118 receptions and 1413 yards. That’s 12th all-time in receptions and in the top 20 in yards.
Dowling tore his ACL prior to his sophomore season, and returned midway through the season. But, it was clear that he wasn’t the same player. He had just 1 catch, for -1 yards over 8 games. He played mostly on special teams. Over his final 2 seasons, he totaled 100 catches and averaged over 50 yards per game.
Dowling’s performance at the UVA Pro Day was poor. He clocked just a 4.7 40, which is slow for a WR. He also measured just 6’0” and 213 lbs, though he was listed at 6’1” 220. Unfortunately, he’s not big enough to be that slow. He’s a good route runner, and has some elusiveness in space. But neither of those skills are elite. He’s also a very strong blocker for a WR, and has shown strong special teams skills.
That last piece is what may get him into the NFL. Special Teams is an underappreciated aspect of the NFL and teams are always looking for a guy who can excel there. Some of the best special teams players are WRs who simply aren’t good enough as WR to make an impact there. Dowling may fit the bill there. Don’t be surprised if Dowling gets a real shot to make a team as a special team’s ace.
Jack English, OT – The Hoos have a pretty good track record of putting offensive linemen in the NFL. English isn’t likely to be drafted, but he’ll get a shot at somebody’s camp. At 6’5” 305, English has the size necessary to play OT in the NFL. He also has a bit of a mean streak, which NFL teams like.
English was measured and weighed at the UVA Pro, but it looks like he didn’t participate in any drills. Don’t know if that’s because of an injury or what, but it certainly isn’t going to help him. Still, he’ll get a chance to impress at somebody’s camp.
Daniel Hamm, RB – Hamm is a track guy who also played football, a combination that hasn’t often ended up with NFL stardom. Hamm was never really the featured back for the Hoos, though he has been the featured punt returner for the past two years. He’s got speed, though he didn’t necessarily show it on the football field. He also has good hands.
His only real shot at the NFL is as a return man and 3rd down back, but even that is a longshot. He’ll get a chance at somebody’s training camp because of his pure speed. But don’t bet on him making an NFL roster.
Andre Levrone, WR – Levrone might have actually been on the draft radar had he stayed healthy for his career. He missed 13 games in his career, and spent several others mostly on the sidelines due to injury. The lack of consistent QB play also hampered Levrone’s UVA career.
With Kurt Benkert at the helm this year, Levrone had a big year. He had just 34 catches, but averaged over 20 yards per game, totaling 689 yards. He also had 7 TDs. Overall, his career numbers of 59 catches, 1079 yards and 9 TDs are underwhelming.
But here’s why Levrone is on the NFL’s radar: he ran a 4.4 40 at the UVA Pro Day in March. He put up 18 bench press reps, hit 34 inches on the vertical jump and 10’1” broad jump. All of those numbers are very impressive for a WR measuring 6’3” and 225 pounds. Levrone is a physical beast. And he has good hands. His routes need work, which is the main reason he’s unlikely to be drafted. He’s met with a handful of NFL teams, and there are rumors around of him going late in the draft. If not, he’ll be one of the more sought after undrafted free agents. That size and speed have NFL teams salivating over his potential with some seasoning.
Jack McDonald, G – Like his fellow OL English, McDonald didn’t really participate in the UVA Pro Day in March. He was weighed and measured, and at 6’3” 305, he’s got good size for an interior OL. McDonald is coming off an injury, which may be why he didn’t participate.
Also, like English, McDonald isn’t likely to be drafted. But he has played some center, and NFL teams are always looking for a guy who can play center. McDonald didn’t play much this year because of the injury, and that means he’s out of practice. Still, like English, he’ll sign and get an invite to camp. From there, he just needs to impress the right people.