This was a game that I watched because I was rooting for USC to make NCAA history, but also because I wanted to get a good look at some of the prospects that maybe the Falcons would be looking at in the draft. Three players that I was trying to key on were DB Michael Huff (Texas), OT Jonathan Scott (Texas), and S Darnell Bing (USC).
I must say I wasn't blown away by any of the prospects. I've seen Scott before, and I think he's a good player, but he's not the type of LT that really makes me salivate. He needs some work on his game, and it helps when you have one of the best in Gibbs potentially teaching him, but if he's the best available come pick #15, I think it indicates how poor this draft class may be at the top. If we were picking #28, I'd start to think about taking him, but at this point he seems like a 2nd round prospect to me.
Pros: Has lots of experience in zone blocking scheme of Texas. Has good feet and good technique in terms of his footwork. Moves well for his size and has good power to block players downfield.
Cons: Inconsistent. Needs to play with better balance, better hand use. Not explosive into his run blocks. Doesn't seem to finish blocks nor does he lock onto defenders when blocking on the 2nd level.
Final Analysis: A developmental type that I think if Gibbs can work with him can make him into a solid LT that is capable of going up against top RDEs in the NFL. But he needs work, and is not the type that could be an immediate upgrade over Shaffer (which is what I'd like to see from a potential 1st round pick).
One of the problems with watching and scouting from TV games is that DBs are harder to really evaluate. Basically, you only see them when they make a big play or a big mistake. From what I saw in Huff, he's a good player. Not exactly what I'd call a potential shutdown corner. I know we've argued that doesn't exist anymore in other posts, but basically a guy that can go up against top wideouts and basically do what the top corners do, I'm not sure he is. BUt he's a good player that I believe can be an excellent #2 corner in the NFL, maybe on par or slightly better than a Andre Dyson/Anthony Henry caliber player. He'd be an upgrade over Webster definitely, but I didn't really fall in love with him based on his play in this game that I expected from a CB in the Top 15.
Bing was the least impressive of the bunch. What I was looking for was a guy that was a solid hitter and had good speed and range. He is that, but he's not the impact player I expected to see. He showed he can hit, make tackles in run support, has speed, and some good range, didn't seem lost in coverage, but just didn't make the impact. I think one of the things you have to look for in a 1st round safety is if he's an impact player. Guys like Taylor, Reed, Roy Williams, Archuleta in recent drafts have been impact guys. In the case of Williams, Archuleta, and Thomas Davis, they weren't complete safeties, but they at least excelled in certain areas and were impact guys on the football field. Basically, he is the lone USC defender that has a good chance of being a 1st day pick this year, and I didn't see much from him that would indicate he is that much better than your typical 3rd/4th round safety. I've heard some evaluations that said he is overrated with all the Round 1 fanfare he's getting, and from this glimpse I'd agree with them.
Some comments on the game in general, I'd have to say that this draft class may look very very good if Young, Bush, and LenDale White all come out early. With Leinart in the mix, there's no doubt those 4 players are the 4 best players in the draft and 4 oustanding centerpieces to any franchise. I'd love to be in the position that the Texans, Saints, Titans, and Jets would be in to know that they would be able to exit this draft with 1 of those 4 players.
Young definitely outshined Leinart tonight, and White did so to Bush, but I still believe that Leinart and Bush are the top 2 prospects in this draft. But make no mistake about it, "settling" for Vince Young or LenDale White is not at all a bad move. Not one bit.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.