Draft Scout Snapshot:DS Rating on 2-3-11: #14 TE, #256/750 Overall, 7th round...DS Rating on 9-1-10: #4 TE, #84/750 Overall, 3-4th round 2010: Suspended...did not play in 2010...2009: Junior tight end who was named to the Mackey preseason Watch List... played in 12 of 13 games making 10 starts...ranked third on the squad with 32 receptions... logged 353 yards receiving, 11.0 yards per catch with three touchdowns... started quickly with 12 catches in the first two games...2008: Appeared in all 13 games, making three starts... caught 16 passes for 214 yards, an average of 13.4 yards per catch... caught three touchdown passes, second on the squad...2007: Put together a solid freshman campaign that saw him garner Freshman All-SEC honors by the Sporting News... played in 11-of-12 games, missing only the South Carolina State contest... caught 12 passes for 151 yards, an average of 12.6 yards per reception.
Weslye Saunders/South Carolina football Videos
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In Our View: With great size and surprising overall athleticism, Saunders has the tools of a throwback player from another generation. He's not the receiving specialist hybrid so en vogue in today's NFL as his rather pedestrian career totals (60 receptions for 718 yards and six scores) can attest. A team willing to take a gamble could be rewarded, as Saunders has the bulk and strength to compete with defensive ends, the speed to beat linebackers down the seam and the soft hands to snatch passes away from defensive backs. As much as his unique talents are intriguing, Saunders' brash personality and year-long suspension will take him off some boards. Considering that there are only a few teams left in the NFL utilizing big tight ends, Saunders, despite his hype, could still be hoping to hear his name called on Day Three of the draft.
Positives: Rare combination of size and receiving ability for the position and can be a true matchup nightmare. Can lock on and drive defenders out of a play as a blocker when motivated. Looks for someone to hit downfield. A natural receiver with soft, reliable hands. Capable of making the reception with defenders draped over him and is a security blanket for quarterbacks going over the middle. Can track the ball over either shoulder and shows better body control than one would expect for a player his size. Can adjust to poorly thrown passes and has a large catch radius due to his large frame and long arms. Surprising leaping ability for jump-ball situations. Possesses good power and is tough to bring down one-on-one. Lowers his shoulder into defenders and relies on his size and physicality to generate extra yardage.
Negatives: Lacks suddenness off the snap. A one-speed player. Lacks the straight-line speed to challenge defenders deep and doesn't show the quick feet or agility to consistently gain separation underneath. Lazy route-runner. Rounds off routes, showing little explosiveness out of his breaks. Limited run-after-the-catch ability. Lumbers downfield and doesn't show the acceleration to run away from defenders or the agility to make them miss. Inconsistent effort as a blocker. Was suspended for the entire 2010 season and kicked off the team after an NCAA investigation determined that he'd accepted improper benefits from an agent.
Suspended...did not play in 2010.
Junior tight end who was named to the Mackey preseason Watch List... played in 12 of 13 games making 10 starts... named fourth-team All-SEC by Phil Steele... ranked third on the squad with 32 receptions... logged 353 yards receiving, 11.0 yards per catch with three touchdowns... started quickly with 12 catches in the first two games... caught four passes for 50 yards in the season opener at NC State then had the best day of his career when he caught eight passes for 96 yards at Georgia... had just two catches over the next four contests... got hot again at the end of the season with 13 catches over the final four regular season games, including a five-catch, 62-yard performance against Florida... caught a TD pass against the Gators, then added two more scores in the regular season finale against Clemson.
Appeared in all 13 games, making three starts... caught 16 passes for 214 yards, an average of 13.4 yards per catch... caught three touchdown passes, second on the squad behind McKinley... made his first collegiate start against Wofford... also had starts against Ole Miss and Tennessee... caught a seven-yard touchdown pass for the game-winning points at Kentucky... caught a 26-yard touchdown pass against LSU... had his best game at Clemson when he caught four passes for 58 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception... named the Most Improved Tight End in the spring.
Put together a solid freshman campaign that saw him garner Freshman All-SEC honors by the Sporting News... was a Sporting News Honorable Mention Freshman All-America and a CollegeFootballNews.com third-team Freshman All-America... played in 11-of-12 games, missing only the South Carolina State contest... caught 12 passes for 151 yards, an average of 12.6 yards per reception... had a season-high four receptions for 32 yards at LSU... caught a 48-yard pass, the longest of his career, against Kentucky and appeared to be going into the end zone for a score when the ball was dislodged from his hands... had three catches for 31 yards versus Florida.
Played tight end and defensive end for Riverside High School in Durham, N.C... coached by Tommy Blalock... helped the Pirates reach the 4-AA state championship game... team finished the season 11-5 after starting the year 3-4... caught 58 passes for 718 yards with seven touchdowns... also had 242 yards rushing with 10 scores on just 32 carries... logged 86 tackles and eight sacks as a defensive end... was a Shrine Bowl participant... was all-region and all-conference as a junior after recording 20 catches for 308 yards and six touchdowns at tight end, and 52 tackles, four sacks, 14 TFLs and two forced fumbles at defensive end... given a four-star ranking by both Scout.com and Rivals.com... Scout considers him the 18th-best tight end prospect in the nation... is the eighth-best player in the state of North Carolina according to Rivals.
Weslye Saunders is the son of The News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders... plans to study journalism and English... selected USC over North Carolina... also had offers from Louisville, Clemson, Florida State and several others.
Draft Scout Player News
12/07/12 - TE Weslye Saunders remains as Indianapolis' third tight end on the active roster. Saunders has been used primarily as an end-line blocker in short-yardage and goal-line situations, although he has proven to be a capable receiver when needed.
11/26/12 - TE Weslye Saunders was used more in the Colts passing attack against the Bills. Saunders has primarily been utilized as an end-line blocker but had one catch for four yards and was targeted twice in the Buffalo game. He has two catches for 15 yards this season.
11/25/12 - TE Weslye Saunders started for TE Coby Fleener, who was out due to a shoulder injury.
11/20/12 - TE Weslye Saunders has filled in admirably for injured starter Coby Fleener over the last several weeks. Saunders, who played in Bruce Arians' offensive system in Pittsburgh last season, gives the Colts good run blocking on the edge. But he also has proven valuable in pass protection and as an occasional receiver.
11/04/12 - TE Weslye Saunders started for the injured Coby Fleener. It was Saunders' first start for the Colts.
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