Things looked like they were on the way up for Sales after he covered 172 yards and scored three times for the Orange in the team’s Pinstripe Bowl win over Kansas State at the end of the 2010 season. But running a red light with his brother, Michael, the following July turned out to be a costly error. Police found marijuana, pills and drug paraphernalia in the car, as well as an open intoxicant, leading to multiple drug charges and a year-long suspension from the football team. Eventually, a grand jury found no evidence he knew about the drugs before the arrest, dropping the major felony charges (though Michael still faced them). Reinstated for the 2012 season, Sales hopes to remind his opponents, teammates, and NFL scouts of his talent and also hopes to emulate the NFL success of former Syracuse receiver and Tampa Bay 2010 fourth-round pick, Mike Williams.
He was a high school All-American in Syracuse’s Christian Brothers Academy as a senior who decided to stay home to help the Orange return to respectability. He was involved in the team’s offense on occasion as a true freshman (14-160, TD) before taking a starting role in five of 12 games played in 2009 (28-324, 3 TD). Though Sales only started three times as a junior and had only five catches in the team’s first nine games, he came on strong to finish with 26 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns – including that breakout bowl performance.
Presents a nice combination of long arms and quickness off the line to play inside or outside in an NFL offense. Used on quick screens to get the ball in his hands in space. Sets up oncoming defenders to make a smooth cut. Snatches the ball out of the air with strong hands, flexible enough to adjust to throws behind him on speed outs. Aware of first-down markers, give effort to get there. Lowers his pads after the catch, can run through arm tackles and lean forward for the extra yard. Can be an effective blocker outside when he uses his length and strength to their fullest. Also tenacious to block downfield in front of teammates.
Suspended for 2011 season due to arrest. Has long legs for his height, bit of a strider so short-area quickness and elusiveness is not elite for an inside receiver. Does not adjust to low throws easily due to his build. Does not always run routes to their fullest when knowing he’s not the primary option. Hot-and-cold effort as a blocker, will wait for targets to approach and fail to keep the blocking angle so his man can get to the play.
Sales was suspended during the 2011 season after he was stopped for running a red light, leading police to find drugs, open intoxicants, and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. The drug charges against him were eventually dropped, helping him get back on the field for 2012. Sales hopes to remind scouts of the big-play ability he flashed in the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl (5 catches, 172 yards, three TD) with his play as a senior, and looks to become the next former Syracuse receiver with some off-field troubles (Tampa Bay’s 2010 fourth-round pick, Mike Williams) to perform well in the NFL.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.