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Checking in with the prospects on the ACC’s Hokies. Wes Bunting
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For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will be breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who could warrant the most interest from NFL teams in the 2011 draft.
Therefore, today we take a look at the Virginia Tech Hokies.
TaylorICONTaylor is a threat every time he gets into the open field.
QB Tyrod Taylor: No. 5 (6-1, 214)
An undersized quarterback prospect who lacks ideal height and will struggle to consistently see over the line of scrimmage at the next level. However, he’s a gifted athlete who has a good feel in the pocket when asked to buy time and knows how to keep plays alive with his feet. Is a shifty, well-balanced athlete who can make defenders miss, side-step pressure and be a real threat in the open field. Is a gifted stop-and-start athlete who gets up to speed quickly and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and fight for tough yards in the open field. A big-time threat once he breaks containment and is a consistent threat to take off.
However, isn’t the most decisive passer at this stage and is really limited in his ability to quickly decipher information and go through his progressions. Gets spooked easily by any pressure, which causes his eye level to go down quickly and he’ll prematurely take off. Displays a strong enough arm to make all the necessary throws at the next level and does a nice job getting the ball out of his hands quickly with a high, compact throwing motion, as he can really spin the football. Exhibits average touch and accuracy as well when his initial read is on and has the ability to throw receivers open and get the ball out of his hand on time. However, it’s when he has to go through any type of progression that the game really seems to speed up on him. Is limited to only reading one side of the field, and if nothing is on, he has a tendency to take off too quickly. Exhibits the ability to improvise with the best of them in college football, but relies on that skill set far too often.
Impression: A gifted athlete who can create with his legs and be a threat in the open field. However, although he has improved in the mental aspects of the game over the past couple seasons, he still has a long way to go. Will get a look though as an athlete/wildcat option who could catch on as a team’s number three QB at best.
DE Steven Friday: No. 82 (6-4, 238)
A tall, lean defensive end prospect who lacks ideal flexibility when asked to sit into his stance. Looks a bit leggy when trying to coil up, struggles to keep his butt down and doesn’t quite look natural from a three-point stance. However, he possesses a really explosive first step off the edge, can consistently threaten the corner and gets on top of opposing linemen quickly. Does a nice job keeping his pad level down off the edge and definitely has some natural bend to his game. Possesses the body control to drop his shoulder, maintain balance and really accelerate when flattening out around the corner, and doesn’t give offensive tackles much of a target to hit.
Now, fails to generate a lot of pop on contact on his bull rush, allows his pad level to rise and doesn’t generate much leverage. However, does a nice job extending his arms into opposing linemen and is really sudden when asked to disengage. Looks natural/balanced slipping blocks on contact when asked to work inside and knows how to keep himself clean.
Lacks an ideal base when run at, can be overpowered on contact and washed on the edge. But, he does display some violence in his hands and explosion when asked to crash down the line, quickly can shed/slip a block and break down on the ball carrier. Is a long guy with a big wingspan and wraps up well behind the line.
Impression: Played behind a lot of talent at Virginia Tech, but it’s now his time to shine. Possesses a good-looking frame, an explosive first step and some natural bend around the corner. Is raw in some areas and doesn’t have a ton of experience. But he has the frame to add some weight as a 4-3 DE or might be ideally suited as a 3-4-pass rusher. Either way the guy can get after the QB in a big way.
DT John Graves: No. 91 (6-3, 281)
Possesses an athletic-looking frame with long arms and can really coil up into his stance. However, struggles to keep his butt down and has a tendency to get too upright off the snap, limiting his overall burst/explosion off the football. Doesn’t generate much leverage at the point and although he does a nice job extending his arms into contact, he too often fails to get his hands inside the chest plate of opposing linemen. Therefore, he doesn’t create much of a pop on contact off the snap and isn’t much of a bull rush threat inside. Now, exhibits some natural lateral ability and athleticism when asked to disengage and fight his way off blocks. But, struggles to maintain balance, lacks great body control and seems to eventually get too upright and allow opposing linemen to get their hands on him, lock out and seal him from the play.
Fires off the football too high inside vs. the run game, although he does do a nice job of extending his arms into blockers. He simply lacks the type of size, anchor and/or leverage to hold the point of attack consistently. Is easily washed from plays and sealed away from the football and can be run at routinely inside.
Impression: An above-average athlete for an interior lineman, just isn’t overly effective in any area of the game. Looks more like a strong side defensive end in a 4-3 to me who could give you some reps down the line on first and second down. But isn’t much more than a developmental/camp guy at this stage.
CarmichaelICONCarmichael has the burst to quickly click and close on the football and make up for a false step
CB Rashad Carmichael: No. 21 (5-10, 180)
A smaller, thinly put together corner who lacks ideal muscle tone and girth through both his upper and lower body. However, he’s an explosive defensive back who exhibits very good straight-line speed when asked to turn and run down the field and has the ability to make up for a false step. Is at his best in zone where he can keep his eyes in the backfield, squat on routes and drive on the football. Exhibits good instincts in space and combined with his closing burst he has the ability to consistently put himself around the play. Has experience playing both the boundary and field position at Virginia Tech and does a nice job playing sound assignment football. However, isn’t quite as effective in man coverage at this stage, especially when asked to play up near the line. Isn’t real physical in press and seems to really rush his footwork in his drop. Exhibits good bend in his back pedal initially, but his pad level seems to rise the further he has to sit into his drop. Also, gets long and leggy with his footwork and lacks ideal balance when asked to turn and run. Exhibits good fluidity in the hips, but allows himself to get too high when transitioning to run down the field and it will take him a couple steps to get back up to top-end speed.
Isn’t a real impressive tackler and struggles to break down on ball carriers in the run game. Tends to take poor angles, drops his head and fails to see what he wants to hit. Now, isn’t afraid to throw his body around and try to disengage the ball from man, but just has a tendency to whiff too often both in a phone booth and in space.
Impression: An explosive athlete who can really run and click and close on the football. Displays good ball skills as well, just lacks ideal footwork in his drop and balance out of his breaks. However, he’s a very good off man/zone guy and looks like a crafty nickel back at the next level.
SS Davon Morgan: No. 2 (6-0, 193)
Plays the rover position on the Virginia Tech defense and showcases a good feel when asked to read his run/pass keys. Does a nice job keeping his feet under him in his drop, quickly deciphers information and reads routes well in front of him. However, looks stiff through the hips and struggles to maintain balance when asked to transition out of his breaks and get back up to speed quickly down the field.
Plus, he has only one gear, lacks even average speed/range and struggles to quickly get from point A to point B. Isn’t real physical inside the box either, gets knocked off balance easily, struggles to pick his way through traffic and lacks the closing burst to consistently make plays in pursuit. Now, does take good angles in the secondary and breaks down well on contact. Nevertheless, he too often sees his angles outpaced in the open field and isn’t real rangy when asked to tackle in space.
Impression: Lacks the size to play inside the box and doesn’t run well enough to get much of a look playing in the deep half at the next level.
NFL draft/college football questions? Get them answered at Wes.Bunting@nationalfootballpost.com
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