The summer of our discontent is finally over; football is back tonight. Granted, it’s the Hall of Fame game, which is essentially a televised scrimmage, but it is football none-the-less. Purdue fans might have a little extra interest in this game as two Boilermakers are trying to make the Indianapolis roster, turn into Pro-Bowl performers and donate enough to put up lights in Ross Ade (ok, I made that part up). Let’s take a quick look at what Danny Anthrop is up against in his quest to make an NFL roster. I’ll have more on Frankie at a later date (read, when I have more time).
Danny Anthrop: 6’0-195-Rookie-Purdue
The Danny Anthrop we saw last year was probably at 70%. In true Anthrop fashion, Danny didn’t make excuses and grinded out the season on 1 1/2 legs. He is now almost 2 years out from his gruesome knee injury, and probably as close to 100% as he is ever going to get. He will be fighting it out with a gaggle of other receivers for a coveted roster spot, or at least, a spot on the practice squad. Anthrop was a great special teams player for Purdue his Freshman and Sophomore year, and will have to channel that iteration of his playing career if he is going to make the roster. If Anthrop can return to his kick covering demon ways, he’s got a real shot to make the roster.
Here is the competition:
Josh Boyce: 5’11 - 205 - 2nd Year - TCU
Boyce set the all-time record for career receiving touchdowns at TCU and was a 4th round pick by the Patriots in 2013. The speedy Boyce (4.38 combine 40) recorded 9 receptions for New England in 2013 before finding a spot on injured reserved list for the rest of the season. He was either on the New England practice squad or inactive in 2014, and was waived in August of 2015 by the Patriots. Boyce is a player Anthrop will be going head to head with for a roster spot, as they both project to be slot receivers. Boyce obviously has talent, but hasn’t been able to put it together in the NFL.
Quan Bray: 5’10 - 185 - 2nd Year - Auburn
Bray was mostly a punt return specialist at Auburn, and is the only player in Auburn history to score a rushing, return, and receiving touchdown in the same season. Bray went undrafted, but was picked up by the Colts and managed to find his way onto the practice squad after an impressive camp. Bray spent some time on the active roster last year, but didn’t record a catch. Bray is another guy Anthrop will be competing against, because he is also a slot receiver. The Colts have invested some time in Bray, and his ability to return kicks will be hard to beat out, but certainly not impossible.
Andre Debose: 6’0 - 190 - 2nd Year - Florida
Debose has the all-time University of Florida record for kick returns, and is tied for the all-time S.E.C. record. He was drafted by the Raiders in the 7th round of the 2015 draft and was cut in 2016. Debose is another guy Anthrop will need to beat out for a roster spot. Debose has the advantage of being a great kick returner, but Anthrop should be a better overall receiver. The Colts are kicking the tires on Debose to see if he can help in the return game, but he’s a guy Anthrop might be able to beat out.
Marcus Leak: 6’0-210-Rookie-Maryland
Leak is another guy coming from a downtrodden Big10 program (it still feels weird that Maryland is in the Big10) looking to make an NFL roster as an undrafted free-agent. Leak’s best season at Maryland was in 2013, when he put up 393 yards and 3 touchdowns, and is far behind Anthrop’s best Purdue season. Leak did suffer from playing on a bad team, with a bad coach, and bad quarterbacks, but so did Anthrop, and he put up significantly better numbers. Anthrop should be better than Leak.
Chester Rogers: 6’1-180-Rookie-Grambling State
Rogers is a tough player from a small school looking to make the Colts as an undrafted free agent. He runs somewhere between a 4.4-4.5, so that’s a plus, but he didn’t put up big numbers at Grambling against lesser competition, catching 30 passes for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. I don’t know about the quarterback situation at Grambling, but I’m fairly certain Danny Anthrop would have put up better numbers if you dropped him onto the Grambling State roster. Rogers is another guy Anthrop is going to have to beat out, but he should be able to do so.
Josh Stangby: 5’11-185-1 Year-Ottawa College
The fact that Josh Stangby is on any roster is a miracle, after playing for tiny faith based Ottawa College in Kansas. I couldn’t find much on Stangby because Ottawa isn’t much known for their football. He was signed and then quickly waved by the Falcons in 2015 and played for the Portland Steel of the Arena Football League last season. I have no idea about Stangby’s ability, but he plays the same slot position as Anthrop, and subsequently, Anthrop is going to have to beat him out and send him back to the Arena League.
Others Of Note:
The following players are WR’s but don’t really play the same WR as Danny.
MeKale McKay - 6’5-210-Rookie-Cincinnati
The Colts have a wide open depth chart after Phillip Dorsett, T.Y. Hilton, and Donte Moncrief. Danny has about as good of a shot to make the squad as any undrafted rookie. If he makes the squad, it’s going to be because he plays well on special teams and shows of the athleticism that made him a legit threat for the Boilermakers as a Junior.