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 Post subject: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:42 am 
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As was the case last year, this will be the thread in which I'll post my thoughts, expectations, and potentially observations on many of the top pro prospects involved in this year's 35 bowl games.

Let's get started with tomorrow afternoon's 3 bowls...

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Wyoming vs. Temple
2 pm on ESPN

I haven't seen Wyoming play this year, but they always seem to have some decent late round or undrafted prospect on their roster.

It seems the most noteworthy Cowboy is CB Tashaun Gipson, who is viewed as a late round prospect potentially.

But for Temple, they have a couple of pro prospects. The best of them is RB Bernard Pierce. Pierce is a junior that has good potential, but I'm not sure he is quite there yet. Most people expect him to come out early. He has good size (6-0/220) and speed and has the power to break arm tackles, but I'm not sure he has quite the power to be a true workhorse. He's got good quicks and can bounce plays outside, and in a way reminds me a bit of players like Matt Forte and Rashard Mendenhall. But I don't think he's as physical a runner as either of them were in college. Pierce might become a starter in the league, but I would not expect that to happen right away. I have him graded as a potential 3rd round pick. I'm hoping I can see a strong performance in this bowl game.

The other two best senior prospects for Temple are TE Evan Rodriguez and OLB Adrian Robinson. Rodriguez isn't huge (6-2/245) but has decent speed and good athleticism. He's not a great blocker, but I think he has the ability to be a solid No. 2 TE, that in the right offense where he works mainly as an H-back, he can be a productive pass option. I think a good comparison is a poor man's Tony Scheffler potentially. I see him as a potential 5th/6th round pick.

Robinson lacks ideal size (6-1/240), but is a really solid pass rusher that is effective at getting under blockers pads because of his short build. He plays more of a hybrid DE/OLB in Temple's scheme and is a nice fit as a pass rushing OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He's a good pass rusher that I think has starting potential to develop down the road. Currently I have a 4th/5th round grade on him.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio vs. Utah State
5:30 pm on ESPN

Utah State is another team I have not seen, except really briefly for a couple of quarters against Auburn earlier this year. Their top prospect is ILB Bobby Wagner. My recollection of Wagner was that he definitely has solid NFL potential, although I have seen him ranked highly enough on some draft sites that could have him as a potential Day 2 pick.

Their other prospect is RB Robert Turbin, who is a junior. All I know is that he is 10th in the country with 1400 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.

For Ohio, there is really only one prospect worth watching: WR LaVon Brazill. Brazill has impressed me in two Ohio games I've seen this year. He's not very big (5-10/190) or blessed with blazing speed (4.48?). He's probably a backup, but has the potential to be a productive No. 3 or No. 4 option for a spread team working out of the slot. I like his hands and ball skills.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
9 pm on ESPN

UL-Lafayette is a team I have yet to see, but they do apparently have a really good TE prospect that I'm looking forward to seeing in Ladarius Green. Green is listed at 6-6/230 and has 4.65 speed. He is ranked high enough on some draft sites that he looks like he has Day 2 potential.

The other prospect on their team is CB Dwight Bentley who appears to be a potential mid-round prospect.

They'll be facing San Diego State, who I've talked a bit about before when talking about QB Ryan Lindley. Lindley was a guy that looked good in early games, but has been pretty inconsistent this year. I think he still has the potential to be a starter, but he'll need time to develop. But he's a guy that I think if he can have a strong performance in this bowl game, he can solidify his stock as a potential late 2nd/3rd round pick. Right now I have a late 3rd round grade on him.

I don't think SDSU really has another draftable prospect except maybe CB Larry Parker, who got off to a fast start this year with a bunch of INTs. He finished the year with 7 picks. He's smallish corner (5-11/170) but he has good ball skills. I'm just not sure he has the size, nor the hips or burst to really be a good matchup in man coverage. But he might be able to make an NFL roster and if he can be developed due to his ball skills could be developed down the road as a nickel corner.

Their other two prominent defensive prospects are DT Jerome Long and OLB Miles Burris. Long plays NT for them in their 3-3-5 stack, but his build (6-5/285) is a much better fit as a DE in a 3-4 scheme. He can stack and shed with a good motor that could impress a team in a camp to make a roster and develop into a rotational player down the road. Burris has nice size (6-2/240), but his speed and burst are just pretty average to really think he projects well to play defense at the next level. But he's a decent pass rusher that a 3-4 team might pick up and become a solid special teams player. But neither he nor Long are draftable.

If you're looking for future Falcons that could make a difference, then probably Pierce (Temple), Green (UL-Lafayette), and Turbin (Utah State) are probably the guys most worth giving a look.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:34 pm 
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Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl
Florida International vs. Marshall
Tues., 12/20, 8 pm on ESPN

Only really two prospects to keep your eye. For FIU it's WR T.Y. Hilton. Hilton is a smaller guy (5-10/185) but has burner speed and is a playmaker that looks like a good fit in the slot at the next level and as a return threat. He offers similar ability and potential to a player like Jerrel Jernigan and can add depth on offense, be an explosive return option and be valuable in the slot. Right now for Hilton, I have him with 4th round grade.

I haven't seen Marshall DE Vinny Curry since the beginning of the season. But he really impressed me in a game vs. WVU back in September. He has nice size (6-3/265) with a quick first step and the ability and potential to turn the corner as a rush end. He looks like he has the potential to be a guy that can be an 8+ sack guy at the next level, able to play on either side of the line, but a better fit as a rush end (RDE). I had a late 2nd round grade on him back in September, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do against FIU's lesser offensive linemen.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:17 am 
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SD County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
TCU vs. Lousiana Tech
12/21, 8 pm on ESPN

I haven't seen Louisiana Tech this year. I saw them a bit last year. Their top NFL prospect is MLB Adrien Cole. Cole has a short, squat build (5-11/245) and didn't really impress me with his speed or size as a tackler, but looked like a decent run defender with decent instincts. He looked more like a career backup than someone with starter's upside.

For TCU, their top prospect is probably a LB as well in ILB Tank Carder. Carder isn't very big (6-2/230) but has good instincts, a nose for the football and will make plays vs. the run. He's not a great tackler because of his lack of size, but you could see him adding another 10-15 pounds of muscle and being a very physical run defender at the next level. I like him as a good fit as a ILB in a 3-4 scheme, but I also think he's capable enough to play WLB or MLB in a 4-3 with some development. Right now, he's more of a WLB. He doesn't get a ton of reps in coverage, but the few times I've seen him there he seems to be comfortable and capable enough that you can see him being a competent everydown defender. Right now, I have a potential 3rd round grade on him.

Their other top prospect is junior RB Ed Wesley. Wesley is a smaller runner that is listed at 5-9/200, but might be a little closer to 190 or 195. But he's a quick back with good vision, runs hard for his size. He looks like he can be developed as a solid complementary rusher, but does have upside to think he could develop into a competent lead back. But I have questions about his durability since he's gotten nicked up a couple of times. I'm not sure if he comes out, but TCU has a loaded backfield, so it's not likely he'll return if he has to split carries with guys like Waymon James (sophomore) and Matthew Tucker (junior) again next year. Right now, I'm grading Wesley as a potential late 3rd/4th round prospect.

Besides them, the only other TCU prospects I've kept my eye on this year are CB Greg McCoy and P Anson Kelton. McCoy is a nice kickoff returner that seems limited in coverage. But he's the type of guy that you might think can stick as a reserve a la Darrin Walls and be developed for depth. But he might have trouble actually growing into a regular contributor on defense. Kelton is a little pudgy (6-2/260) that has good leg strength, but doesn't wow you there. But his best asset is that he's pretty good with getting good hangtime on his kicks and that's something that could make him worth developing down the road. McCoy is a competent enough KO returner that he might get some late looks at the end of the 7th round. Kelton seems like he's a year or two away, so he's an undrafted free agent.


MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Arizona State vs. Boise State
12/22, 8 pm on ESPN

I've only seen Arizona State once this year, and that was back in September against Missouri. Their biggest pro prospect is junior MLB Vontaze Burfict, who is a supremely gifted individual. He's a big, physical, mean defender that can run and hit with the best of them. He has good speed and range to make plays all over the field. But despite that hard edge like a James Harrison, he isn't very cerebral or instinctual player. He'll miss some stops and get caught out of position, and can be a bit lost in coverage because of that. I would compare him to Rey Maulauga who was also a supremely talented player that wasn't very instinctual. The Bengals were smart by having him grow into his MLB role, playing him for 2 years at SAM linebacker. I think that might be the best thing for Burfict as well. I also like him as a pass rusher, which is another reason why I think playing him at OLB where he'll get more of those opportunities. I've heard him compared to Derrick Johnson as well, which I think is another good comparison in terms of the potential that it takes him several years before he develops the level of consistency that his talent level warrants.

The other top prospect for ASU is their junior QB Brock Osweiler who is 6-7 and has a good, strong arm. But he doesn't wow you with his arm, at least not in the way that say someone like Joe Flacco or Ryan Mallett did when they were in college. He can move for his size, but that's not the strength of his game. I saw him being somewhat late on some of his throws and reads, and a tendency to stare down his first receiver. He played a lot in the shotgun, and his footwork within the pocket and playing from under center seemed like issues he'd have to deal with. I think he can definitely be a competent NFL quarterback, but I'm not sure if he's just another Derek Anderson or a guy with legit starter's upside. So that is something I'll be paying attention to in this game. I wouldn't expect him to come out this year but he's not exactly the traditional fit for new ASU coach Todd Graham's offense, whose offense traditionally favors the much quicker, more athletic passers. So he might turn pro early. Just based off that single Missouri game, I had a 4th round grade on him as a developmental backup that 2-3 years from now has enough upside to be a competent starter.

ASU has two WR prospects in Gerell Robinson and Mike Willie. Robinson is their leading receiver with good size (6-3/220) and a long frame. But he's long strider with average speed and dropped 2 passes in the Missouri game. He's a good blocker that uses his size well to get position, but I'm not sure he's productive because he's big, not because he's good. And I think with the bigger, better NFL corners, he could struggle to be anything more than a special teams player. Willie is less productive but also has nice size (6-2/215) and has better speed and burst to think that he might have better potential to stick at the NFL level. But he's mainly a developmental guy that looks like a No. 4 receiver at best. Both guys I have as undrafted guys, with Willie flashing enough ability that he might be a borderline 7th round guy.

Other than that, OC Garth Gerhart is a decent late round prospect as well. But he's a smaller guy (6-1/295) that doesn't really play bigger than his size woul indicate. He has quick hands, but doesn't do a good job locking on and won't get much push. I think he's competent enough that he might be able to push for time as a reserve on a zone-blocking team and possibly develop into a poor man's Todd McClure down the road if he develops.


For Boise State, this is the swan song for QB Kellen Moore. Moore is a prospect I like, but I've started to really see the limitations of his NFL potential this year. His accuracy and touch are impressive, able to lead guys, show good anticipation, and lead guys on many throws over the middle and downfield. But transitioning to the pro game could be tough because he'll be in a much more muddled pocket and confined spaces, where he'll have to rely on his arm strength to be able to fit tighter windows. And I just don't think his arm is up to the task. The more I saw of him this year, the more I saw a guy that really struggled throwing downfield. Even when he could step into his throws, beyond 20 yards his arm was just average. And due to his lack of height, he's going to be hard-pressed to find throwing lanes despite showing a good ability to move and slide around the pocket to avoid pressure. There is some Drew Brees to his game, but he's probably closer to Tyler Palko than anything. And while I think he could make a really solid backup because from the neck up he's really solid, I don't think he's physically capable enough to be able to be an effective starter over the long haul. Not unless he really improves his arm strength, which is certainly possibly, but still a few years away. Right now, I have a 6th round grade on him.

OT Nate Potter has been a highly rated prospect the past two years, but I've never really seen it. I think he has solid technique and decent footwork, but he struggles to match up with speed and he's not that strong. He needs to bulk up (6-6/300), but even then I think he's probably more of a swing tackle than anything. He just doesn't do much of anything as a run blocker. He has experience playing guard, so that's a positive for him, but I see him as a guy that might develop into a poor man's Eric Winston in a zone-blocking scheme, but would be a career backup for many teams. He's a 4th round prospect at best.

Boise State has a number of good DL prospects. Tops is DT Billy Winn, who is a guy that flashes ability, but in both seasons I've been impressed early, but the more I see the less I like. He has enough quickness and ability to be a disruptive player in a 4-3 scheme, as well as potentially project as a 3-4 DE, but he might be more in line with a really good backup than a productive starter. Earlier in the year, I saw him as a potential 2nd rounder, but now I'm seeing more of a 3rd.

DE Tyrone Crawford
is a nice edge rusher that can potentially contribute as a rotational player. He needs to get bigger and he's listed around 6-4/275, but I think he's probably closer to 265, or at least he plays like it. DE/OLB Shea McClellin is a bit of a tweener in my book, and is listed around 6-3/255. I think he has good speed as a stand-up rusher to project at 3-4 OLB, but he's not as fast or rangy as you want in a LB, and it shows the few times when he drops back into coverage. I think he can add depth at the next level either as a situational 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB, but not sure he has the upside to project to be anything more than a backup in either scheme. I have Crawford as a 6th round guy, and McClellin in the 7th.

S George Iloka is a better pro prospect than Jeron Johnson since he has better size. I think Iloka can be a competent SS at the next level but his biggest drawback is his lack of speed. He doesn't make really any plays in coverage and that will become even more apparent with the increased speed at the NFL level. But he's a solid to good run defender for the most part that I think can add depth and potentially be developed as a competent stopgap starter at SS down the road. He's a 5th round prospect in my book.

The best Boise State prospect is probably RB Doug Martin. Martin isn't that big (5-9/215), but he runs with good power, balance, and burst. He's not the most explosive back and it shows when he is forced to run east and west, but he's a solid runner that is productive in the passing game and can be a solid north-south guy between the tackles. He's a guy that I would love to see add another 10 pounds of muscle to really solidify himself as a power runner, but he might go the opposite way since right now his speed looks to be pretty average (4.55?) and he might try and slim down to improve his 40 time. But he's a guy that I think could be a good option to replace Michael Turner in the Falcons offense. He probably won't come in right away and wow you, but give him a year in the league and he could be a solid 15-20 carry running back. I have a solid 3rd round grade on Martin.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:39 am 
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I got the chance to watch the New Orleans Bowl earlier this evening (SD State vs. UL-Lafayette). Hopefully I get to the other two from Saturday tomorrow morning/afternoon.

First off, I have to say that Ryan Lindley is a guy that I have become less impressed with each time I've seen him this year, and I believe this game was my 4th viewing. I think he has a really strong arm, and he'll flash ability and make some really solid NFL-caliber throws. But he's just too inconsistent. And while I know he doesn't have great talent around him, a lot of it falls on his shoulders. I counted 8 dropped passes from his receivers, in this game. But part of the reason why the receivers dropped these passes was because he make things harder for them. He would throw some passes too high, too low, too far behind his guys that made them work too hard. He's not a guy that can consistently throw guys open, and earlier in the season I saw more flashes of that ability/potential in his game, and I've seen it less and less the more I've watched him. He's not particularly mobile and when you ask him to move he can struggle because he doesn't do a great job resetting his feet. He has the ability to get better there, but for now he's probably going to be a guy that is going to be a bit of a stature.

I think he has a good strong arm that if he can be developed, can really be an asset. But given how much experience he has, you would think he'd be a bit more polished and consistent than he seemingly was at the end of this past year. I think he's a guy that if he were to sit the bench for 3 years as a backup, and get comfortable in a system, he could be a competent NFL starter. But I don't see the intangibles or leadership to make me think he's a guy that can win at the next level, not unless he's surrounded by great talent. Like the very best I think he is is a Kyle Orton, but even I don't think he's quite Orton in terms of the intangibles department.

I think he ultimately makes a really solid No. 2 QB, but when you put him in the starting lineup over an extended period of time, you start to see his flaws and I think he's one of the lower tier starters at best.

I like CB Larry Parker's ball skills. But he's small guy that just doesn't really wow you with his ability in man coverage. In the back of my mind I always have a player like Brent Grimes as someone that I'm sure didn't look all that great in college, but really developed eventually into a good pro. And Parker has those type of ball skills, but he'll really need to polish his game to even be at a point where Grimes was a few years back to even have a chance to stick long-term on an NFL roster. I think he can be a nice depth pickup, but the type of corner that as a guy that can fill in for a few games here or there in the case of injury, but if you were asking him to play prolonged snaps over the course of an entire season, he would get exposed. He's just not that big or fast to think he can cover quality NFL receivers.

But I think he's tough and he showed it in this game where there were two consecutive endzone fade passes to ULL TE Ladarius Green in the fourth quarter that he did a great job breaking up. He was a bit handsy with Green, but there was no flag on either play, and both times he got position and made a better play on the ball than the 6-6 Green.

And speaking of Green, I liked his hands in this game. But I was a little disappointed that despite his 6-6 frame, he didn't really show the ideal length or ball skills that I think can really take full advantage of that frame. His ability to attack the ball in the air is questionable as in those two previously mentioned jump ball situations, as well as one on the opening drive of the game, I thought the corner made a better play on the ball than him. But he was productive in this game, catching 5 passes for 121 yards (24.2 avg) with 40 yards after the catch, 1 TD, on 13 targets. He's a guy that I'm going to have to go back and watch more of. But what I like about him is his size, speed, and hands. Green has potential to develop, but he's skinny as he's listed around 235 pounds. He'll have to add at least 15 more pounds of muscle before he can be an effective blocker. And even then I don't see that aspect of his game really developing. He just doesn't seem to have any passion for it, and is not as effective blocking corners and linebackers in space as someone with his size should be. The NFL player based off this one game that he reminds me of is Visanthe Shiancoe, in that he has the athletic tools to be a productive receiver, but isn't as reliable as you want and is limited and inconsistent as a blocker.

CB Dwight "Bill" Bentley is also a smaller corner, but he flashed good potential as a zone corner. When he could keep things in front of him he was effective, but he didn't really impress me with his ability to play and stick with receivers in man coverage. He made some nice plays vs. the run, showing good closing burst upfield to make stops on the edge (2 TFLs). I think he's a player that could go to a team like the Colts, and impress enough to land a reserve role and specail teams spot. But his upside is limited because he's not a guy that I would want covering quality NFL receivers.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Just watched the Wyoming-Temple game, and I thought Bernard Pierce looked much better in this game than in previous outings. Really liked his power, quick feet, and vision between the tackles. I do have to wonder if it was just from the fact that he was playing against an undersized defense like Wyoming's, but he looked more like a potential starter than a really good backup in this game. He had 25 carries for 100 yards, 2 TDs, and 54 yards after contact. Right now, I have a late 2nd round grade on him, but the needle is point up on him.

OLB Adrian Robinson is a prospect I like, but he's going to have a bit of a hard time sticking in the pros because of his short, squat build. But he's a very good edge rusher that played well in this game, as I counted 4 pressures, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and 1 QB Hit. But I think he has developmental potential as a 3-4 OLB that if he can stick early on special teams, has a chance to develop into a capable pass rusher despite not having the ideal measurables NFL teams are looking for. As a 6th round pick, I think he would be a good value.

For Wyoming, my first look at CB Tashaun Gipson didn't really impress me. He made some contributions in run support, showing he can cut the legs of the runner in space, but he didn't do a great job wrapping up as a tackler. He played more of a safety role in this game, which makes me wonder if he has the cover skills to play corner at the next level, as he didn't look like much of anything besides a special teams player as a safety. Maybe he can be an effective corner in a Cover 2 scheme.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Just watched Ohio-Utah State.

I was interested to learn that WR LaVon Brazill has a torn meniscus in his knee. I thought he looked a little under the weather in the MAC championship game, as they kept taking him out of the game, and that injury explains it. But it was a gutsy performance in the bowl as he had 8 catches for 108 yards with 27 coming after the catch, and a touchdown. HIs 44-yard touchdown catch on a deep post was a thing of beauty, doing an excellent job using his body to get position and high-pointing the ball in the air, showing soft hands and making the tough grab in traffic. Then he made the key catch on a 4th down at the end of the game to put the ball at the 1 yard line, ultimately giving Ohio the lead and the win. Had a defender draped over him on that play. I think he's still probably a backup at the next level that will probably need to play in the slot to be effective, but in a team that makes ample use of 3 and 4-WR sets he should be productive in that role, being a guy that can give you 30-40 catches a year, and ultimately be a nice backup that can start on the outside in a pinch in the event of injury. I think he's a player that can offer similar ability/production as a Harry Douglas in a spread attack, but he might be a step or so less explosive than Douglas, but he might be a bit more fluid and natural athlete. He's supposed to be going under the knife soon, in the hopes that he'll be 100% by the Combine. That might be pushing it, but he's a guy that will be worth keeping an eye on for his pro day come March.

For Utah State, I thought RB Robert Turbin looked good. Showed quick feet and the ability to dance and make guys miss in the hole with good vision. But he also showed the ability to lower the helmet and pads and run hard downhill and keep his feet moving after contact. He's got a squatter build at 5-9/215, but most of that mass is in his upper body as opposed to his lower body like most NFL runners. So I'd like to see him get on those squats. His running style reminds me a lot of Tim Hightower, although Hightower is a bit taller and might be a step or so faster in terms of his long speed. But I think Turbin projects well into a zone-blocking, one-cut scheme. The issue he'll have to face early on is producing in the passing game. Utah State's offense doesn't throw the ball a ton (19 attempts in this game) and he isn't asked to do much in pass protection, and he only caught 1 of the 3 passes thrown his way. Granted 2 of them were bad throws, but on the third (the final play of the game which he lateraled it to try and pull a Cal-Stanford), he caught the ball against his body, so it's not like he really showed much there. And a player like Hightower is a good receiver and was able to find a role quickly as a 3rd down back immediately in the pros. Don't see Turbin doing that, thus he might be one of the guys that doesn't make a lot of contributions in Year 1 or 2 of his pro career. But he shows the upside that playing for a team like the Texans, he coudl be a really productive player because of his quickness and vision.

Utah State ILB Bobby Wagner didn't really impress me in this game. He doesn't have great size (6-0/235) and has nice speed, but didn't really wow me with his range. He struggled making plays outside the hashmarks in this game, as he was constantly getting caught in the trash when he was working in pursuit. He's running around blocks and getting knocked downfield rather than showing the sort of ability in pursuit to make plays out on the edge. He did do some decent stacking and shedding at the point of attack, but can get engulfed at times against blockers. The only real thing I liked about him in this game is his ability as a pass rusher, and he was competent in coverage when working in space. I think he might make a nice complementary starter down the road in a 3-4 scheme on the inside and might be a decent 4-3 WILL linebacker. But he's probably a guy that starts as a reserve and 2-3 years becomes a decent to solid starter, but nothing special and not a guy that is going to make a ton of plays. The comparison I would make is a player like Donald Butler for the Chargers.

Another prospect that emerged in this game is TE Tarren Lloyd. He's a big guy (6-7/260) that functions as a third tackle for hte most part, although he did catch Utah State's first touchdown pass. He's got the tall frame and long arms that should make him a really solid blocker as he continues to develop at the next level. He can come in right away and function as a No. 2 blocker in the league, with the potential to grow into one of the better blockers down the road. It also wouldn't be crazy if some teams grade him as an OT, and try to bulk him up over the next few years and turn him into a full-time offensive lineman. He'll be basically a third tackle that can also potentially give you a couple of grabs (5-10?) in the redzone, and in run-based offenses he'll have a lot more value than he will in the majority of teams that throw the ball a lot and prefer a more capable pass catcher as their No. 2 TE.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:29 am 
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In the Marshall-FIU, there were really only 2 prospects I watched, so I basically just fast forwarded through all the parts where Marshall was on offense because I was just focusing on Marshall DE Vinny Curry and FIU WR T.Y. Hilton.

Hilton had two fumbles in this game because he did not secure the ball against his body. He also suffered a bruised thigh early on a touchdown run that bothered him the rest of game. These are two critical issues for his projection at the next level: ball security and durability. His smaller frame (5-10/185) just won't really hold up all that well to an NFL-level punishment as this game showcased. He got his lid rocked a number of times. I think Hilton has good speed and burst and will be able to make plays at the WR position on the next level. But he'll have to play in an offense that is going to utilize him correctly which is a lot of quick short throws designed to get him in space. He's good on the slants, drags, and outs, and working out of the slot he can be dangerous after the catch due to his speed and burst. I've compared him to Jerrel Jernigan before. Jernigan was a player I graded high last year, and to be honest it was because of all the hype that surrounded him. Watching him during the season at Troy, I wasn't really wowed with him and saw him as a good complementary option but not a go-to playmaker. But then with his off-season stock rising, I think I wound up giving him a higher grade than I really wanted to. And Jernigan did nothing this past summer with the Giants, and has done little to nothing this season. That's not to say Jernigan won't improve and become a good NFL player, but at this point, I don't see much to suggest Hilton is going to be any better a pro player than Jernigan was at Troy, and in fact he might be lesser because of those larger concerns about durability & ball security. So at this point, I see Hilton as a guy that can help out immediately on specail teams, but will only be a situational guy at WR that can make some plays, but unless he plays in a spread-based offense, then he won't be that much more than a 30-40 catch guy.

Curry impressed me in this game, although his production didn't really wow you. I credited him with 4 pressures, 1 QB hit, and a forced fumble. Perhaps the most impressive play was on the opening series where Hilton got the ball on a jet sweep, and Curry chased him downfield showing his athleticism, grabbed him from behind and forced the fumble by Hilton.

I like Curry's edge speed and first step and he shows some ability to bend and dip the shoulder to turn the corner. He's not super big (6-3/265) and he already has a fairly thick frame that isn't going to support a lot more weight. But as a rush end in a 4-3 scheme that likes to put its ends in wider techniques and allow them to attack upfield, he can be a solid pass rusher. He still needs polish, but with his burst off the line, if he can develop better technique and an array of moves, he has double-digit sack potential. He flashed a really good bull rush going up against FIU's right tackle, working him back into the pocket several times to get a few of his pressures. I think he'll fit best for teams like Philadelphia or Indianapolis who prefer those quicker, undersized DEs that have great get-off. For teams like that I could see him developing quickly into a very productive sack artist in 2-3 years.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:02 pm 
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That was such an odd game to watch, and really I didn't tune in until about the 4th quarter. One of those inept games where neither team wanted to screw the pooch and lose the game.

I agree from what I saw of Hilton on your assessment, flashes a lot of quick twitch but seems DJackson small to me (which means he'll continue to get walloped and prob fumble). Right system he could be a slot guy it seems.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:19 am 
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Sorry, I haven't posted here in a while. Going home for Xmas got me off-track and it's really taken me a week to get back into the groove. I'll try to post tomorrow night on some of my observations on the past week of bowls.

Monday's Bowls:

TicketCity Bowl
Houston vs. Penn State
Jan. 2, 12 pm on ESPNU

I haven't seen Houston play this year, as I opted to skip the Conf-USA championship game. The only time I saw QB Case Keenum play was two years ago in Houston's bowl loss to Air Force. Keenum really struggled in that game, showing a less than stellar arm and not being able to go to more than one read. He missed pretty much all of last year, and then came back this year and put up relaly solid numbers. But he's always reminded me of the classic undersized, weak-armed spread QB the only time I saw him. So I'll be looking forward to seeing if that appears different against a team like Penn State.

Other prospects to watch are WR Patrick Edwards and WR Tyrone Carrier. Both are really undersized guys, but Carrier is considered one of the top returners in the country, and Edwards did have 1500 yards receiving and 18 TDs this year. Both project as situational players that with Edwards he might have some future as a slot receiver.

Houston hasn't been typically known for the strong defensive prospects they've produced in recent years, but if anybody might be worth a look I hear it's LB Sammy Brown, who leads the nation with 24 tackles fro loss and is 5th with 12.5 sacks.

I have seen Penn State play this year, but only once. Penn State's top prospect is DT Devon Still who many are projecting as potential Top 20 pick. The one time I got to see Still I wasn't blown away with him. I see upside, but he seems pretty raw. But he has good size and can project potentially to play inside in a 4-3 or play DE in a 3-4 with his tall frame (6-4/305). In this game, I will expect him to dominate since Houston isn't chock full of top-notch NFL talent up front. Right now I have him graded as a potential late 2nd round pick, but generally speaking I do tend to grade DTs lower than many.

Also on PSU's D-line is DE Jack Crawford. He's never quite fully developed into the next good Penn State pass rusher, but he's got nice size and speed and you think he has the potential to bulk up (6-5/265) and become a decent rotational left end. You like his motor and if he could bulk up a bit more could be a solid NFL backup.

POtentially the next good LB from Penn State is junior OLB Gerald Hodges. Last year, I remember him standing out as a sophomore in some of the PSU games I watched, but watching him earlier this year I wasn't that much impressed. He looked like a good run and hit linebacker that lacked instincts and was limited in coverage that I think is probably best fit playing WILL in a 4-3 scheme. He has some ability as a pass rusher that might make him a decent projection to a 3-4 as well. But I should note that I thought very similar things about NaVorro Bowman when he was at Penn State, and he's turned into a fine NFL player.

On the offensive side of the ball, OG Johnnie Troutman is worth keeping an eye on because he's a big guy (6-4/325) that has upside. He still looks raw but has the potential with some development to be a good run blocker at the next level. His footwork and technique need work, but I think he has the potential to be a solid starter, but may never be quite as consistent as teams will want to be a guy that sticks long-term. You're potentially looking at a Derrick Dockery/Montrae Holland type of starter.


Outback Bowl
Michigan State vs. Georgia
Jan. 2, 1 pm on ABC

Michigan State is loaded with a lot of nice offensive prospects. The biggest name on that side of the ball is QB Kirk Cousins who was a player that was a little erratic at times, but a guy I liked last year. He is still a nice NFL prospect, but I no longer have the hopes that he turns into a sleeper as a starter. He is a smart, mature player that has been noted for his leadership during his career, but his decision making on the field doesn't always match that persona. He doesn't have a great arm, but can make all of the throws. But primarily, he'll be a guy that lives and dies by his ability to throw under 20 yards. I think a player I would compare him to is a poor man's Matt Ryan. Cousins is a player that I think can be an excellent No. 2 QB, and probably will get opportunities as a starter, but will limited early on. Because of the desperate need for QBs, he's the type of player that I think often gets thrust too early with being a starter like Trent Edwards, that typically isn't ready for it, and it ends up killing the rest of the career because they are seen as a "failure" because they were thrown to the wolves too early. I think Christian Ponder is in that same boat this past year, that I think he has the mental makeup to handle being an NFL starter, but lacks the physical gifts to really thrive there and ultimately after 2-3 seasons of mediocrity in that role he's going to get unfairly pushed out when he should have been holding a clipboard that entire time. I have him graded as a late 2nd/3rd round pick now.

WR B.J. Cunningham leads a trio of solid receivers for Cousins to throw to. He has good size (6-2/225), hands and ball skills. He's not the most sudden player and is not going to be much of a playmaker at the next level. But I really think he is a guy that can move the chains and while he won't separate against NFL-caliber corners, he is a guy that knows how to use his size to get position and make up for it. I see him developing into a Malcom Floyd-esque No. 2 option. Keshawn Martin is their more explosive, slot-receiver type. But he's not very big (5-10/185) and it shows when he's trying to play in traffic. He reminds me a lot of Harry Douglas but the part of HD's game that limits how good a pro he can be. I think in a spread attack that is looking for a nice complementary option in the slot, he can be a nice 30-catch receiver. His primary impact will likely be on special teams though. WR Keith Nichol is a former QB that has nice size (6-2/220) and decent speed, but there is nothing about his game that wows you.

TE Garrett Celek and Brian Linthicum are a nice pair of TEs. I like Celek a bit more because I think he's a more polished blocker, although Linthicum is the starter. Celek only has 14 career catches, but I think might be able to impact more quickly because of his blocking ability. Linthicum is an OK blocker and decent receiver, but does neither well enough to really think he's more than just a No. 3 guy at the next level. At least with Celek, I could see him turning into a Justin Peelle type of No. 2 blocker.

OG Joel Foreman is a widebody that will flash potential as a run blocker, but he's not very athletic and will likely struggle going up against the good NFL tackles at the next level. But I could see him developing into an OK stopgap starter down the road for a run-oriented team. Seeing how he handles the big athletes that Georgia has up front will be a good litmus test.

RB Edwin Baker is a junior that I've become less and less a fan of the more I've seen him. He runs hard for his size (5-9/190) but he's more of a speed guy that doesn't really get yards after contact because he'll struggle to break anything but arm tackles. I think he can add depth and value behind a zone-blocking line, but he looks like a nice No. 2, but nothing special.

Fellow junior DT Jerel Worthy is probably their only legit 1st round pick. Worthy flashes potential dominance but he has that sort of boom/bust potential with a lot of defensive tackles. He flashes a very explosive first step for a guy with his size (6-3/305), but he's a guy that if he doesn't win off the first step he lacks the technique to really make the play. But he's a disruptive guy that can provide pressure as a 3-technique at the next level. I grade him as a late 1st round pick, because he's not super polished.

For Georgia, they have some solid pieces on their O-line to try and slow down Worthy. LT Cordy Glenn is miscast at that position, but has a bright future if/when he moves back inside at the next level. He primarily played guard up until this year. He's a massive guy (6-5/340) that flashes power and ability to really push the pile as a run blocker, but he's not consistently dominant there because he's a waist bender. If he refines his technique and footwork he might be able to get by as a right tackle, but he's more likely to be a good interior run blocker that flashes the potential to be a Carl Nicks type of guy if he develops.

OC Ben Jones was a guy I really liked last year, but he hasn't wowed me this year. He's still a solid center prospect, but not the top notch guy I thought he was a year ago. He has good size (6-3/315) that will make him attractive to AFC teams that go against all those 3-4 nose tackles. But he doesn't get as much push as a run blocker as a player his size you would hope would, and his hands aren't super quick. He should be a solid starter, but not sure he's going to be a top-tier NFL center. I have him graded as a solid 3rd round pick.

I also like CB Brandon Boykin but more as a nickel corner than a reliable starter on the outside at the next level. He's athletic that helps him match up, but he's not that physical or disciplined. He has experience playing in the slot, so I think that is probably where he projects at the next level. Probably won't be a stud, but a guy that can definitely compete with NFL starters and be able to get the job done.

Other seniors include K Blair Walsh and P Drew Butler. Both are my top-rated prospects at their respective positions, although there is a much deeper crop of punters this year nipping at Butler's heels than Walsh, who pretty much stands out from the rest of the kickers I've seen this year. Walsh has a big leg that will definitely be able to contribute as a kickoff guy, and his upside as a FG kicker is high, but he's probably not the best bet to come in right away and be consistent. Butler similarly is a big-legged guy that gets nice hangtime, but not always consistent there. But both are definitely draftable specialists that may not hit the ground running right away in the NFL, but certainly should be able to be decent right away.

I'm a fan of TE Orson Charles who is a junior. He's a capable receiver that can make plays in the passing game. I just worry about his size (6-3/245) and whether or not he projects better as an H-back at the next level. He shows effort, so there's the possibility he turns into a Randy McMichael type that is a capable blocker despite less than ideal size. But I think he'll be best served playing in an offense that wants him to be a pass-catcher first and willing to play him more like a WR than a true TE.

I like junior DT Kwame Geathers as well who is a massive guy (6-5/35) at the nose. He's still raw with his technique and using his hands, but similar to Terrence Cody in that he's nearly impossible to move off the ball. I think he has Vince Wilfork like potential if he continues developing. I haven't paid much attention to redshirt sophomore LB Jarvis Jones. Apparently, he's planning on staying in school, but I'll at least keep my eye on him for this game.

Other underclassman I like is FS Bacarri Rambo. He's not a great run defender because he'll take some bad angles from time to time, but makes up for it with good burst to the ball. I like his ability to make plays in coverage with good ball skills when working in zone. I'm not sure if he's a guy that is going to be a playmaking machine at the next level, but I definitely think he can be a good ballhawking safety that will be a solid to good starter sort of like Brodney Pool on his good days. It sounds like Rambo might go pro, and if he has a good game vs. MSU, I think that becomes more likely.

Capital One Bowl
Nebraska vs. South Carolina
Jan. 2, 1 pm on ESPN

I've only seen Nebraska play once this year when they got beat by Wisconsin, but I saw them so much last year, that I didn't feel like I didn't know them that well.

DE Jared Crick had a disappointing senior year after breaking out as a sophomore and having a solid, but unspectacular junior year last year. Crick has the potential to play both in a 3-4 or 4-3, but right now I think he's more of a 3-4 guy. He's more of a stack and shed guy that I don't think really does a great job getting upfield and trying to get penetration. Against the Badgers, it looked like he started to wear down and the motor wasn't going as strong late in the game. I think he can be a solid starter at the next level, but I'm no longer confident his upside is as big as I once thought. To me he just looks like a solid to good NFL player rather than the superstar many were pegging him to be after his sophomore year. There just isn't enough for me to say he'll definitely be better than Adam Carriker who has been a solid, but not spectacular pro. I have Crick as a mid-to-late 2nd rounder.

LB Lavonte David is a prospect I do really like. He is undersized (6-1/225) but plays really physical for his size. And if not for his small stature I think would be at home playing MLB at the next level. But he needs to get bigger. The biggest issue for him going forward besides his size is that he's not great in coverage. He's a guy that you want attacking the ball, so playing as a WILL in a 4-3 works, as well as playing inside in a 3-4. But for him to play full-time inside, you want to see him put on another 10-15 pounds of muscle.

CB Alfonzo Dennard has never been a guy that has really impressed me. He's a good athlete that is a capable press corner, but I think his footwork and technique are raw and have just never seen the sort of discipline and ball skills of a potential 1st round corner that he's been billed as. I grade him as a 2nd round pick because of his athletic potential.

On offense, RT Marcel Jones is a big physical guy t 6-6/320. But he's limited in pass protection that has potential as a run blocker. But he might have to end up moving inside similar to a past Cornhusker OT in Carl Nicks where his limitations vs. the pass won't be as exposed as much. But I have him as a potential 4th/5th round guy that can add depth, but needs time to develop if he wants to be a starter.

South Carolina, I saw once very early in the year. I like OG Kevious Watkins is a guy with solid starting potential. He plays RT for them, but I think he is a capable position blocker that uses his size (6-4/320) well that won't really move the pile but is consistent that I think he can be a solid starter potentially in the same sort of mold as Justin Blalock that is capable, but not great.

I also liked their D-line prospects. DT Travian Robertson plays the nose and has a good enough first step to press the pocket. I think he can definitely help out a rotation, with the potential that down the road he can be a decent complementary starter in a 4-3 scheme.

Melvin Ingram looked more like a superb athlete than a great football player in the lone game I saw. But his athleticism is intriguing as he's a 6-2/270 guy that moves like he's 240. He has the potential to play FB, TE, DE, DT, or OLB at the next level. I probably like him a bit more as a OLB, but I think he probably needs to slim down some more to play there. I think he has nice speed as a pass rusher, but tends to get pushed around a bit. But he flashes the ability to dip the shoulder. He's an intriguing prospect that I'll be curious to see go up against Jones.

The player I like most is DE Devin Taylor who is a junior that in the lone game I saw really showed improvement from his sophomore year. Last year, I thought he was a long armed, tall-frame athlete that looked raw. His stock dropped this year because he didn't have the production to match his potential. But I see the potential of him being a very dangerous edge rusher because despite his tall frame (6-7/260), he shows the ability to dip and turn the corner. He'll need to fill out more though, but he could also get looks as a 3-4 OLB, although I think he's a bit more natural as a DE.

CB Stephon Gilmore is a solid corner that flashes the athleticism and ball skills to be a 1st round pick. I like his hips and burst that can be capable in both man and zone coverage and will also contribute in run support. He didn't wow me in the lone game I saw, but I definitely see the potential to be a guy that follows a similar path as Johnathan Joseph as a good No. 2 that turns into a solid No. 1 down the road.

WR Alshon Jeffery is an intriguing talent, but I'm not sure he's physically developed quite yet. He reminds me of Brandon Marshall in that he can be a physical mismatch for almost every CB in the NFL. But it seems like Jeffery has hardly hit the weight room since being in Columbia, and there have been various reports about weight issues and work ethic. There just looks to be very little muscle definition to his body and he seems a little round in the middle. He has excellent size (6-4/235), but he could be a boom/bust guy that teams fall in love with his potential, but don't realize he might need a few years of seasoning and could easily turn into the next REggie Williams. He also tends be a high-cut guy I'm not sure is as fluid as Marshall. But he has strong hands, body control, and ball skills. He definitely has the potential to be a go-to playmaker at the next level, but I think like Marshall he might be one of the lower-tier No. 1 receivers in the league that doesn't consistently have big games week to week.

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
Ohio State vs. Florida
Jan. 2, 1 pm on ESPN2

Ohio State is another team I only saw once this year. Mainly because of the suspensions to most of their top NFL prospects, none of whom I saw this year. Of those guys OT Mike Adams is probably the best. In the past, he looked like he could be overmatched as a LT that could get by due to his size, but would probably be a below average starter. Instead, he's probably a better fit to play the right side. But you could see him as a Max Starks type.

I do like OC Mike Brewster who isn't quite Nick Mangold but I think he's a physical, and technically sound center that could develop into one of the better centers in the league. He gets a late 1st/early 2nd round grade from me.

Junior DE John Simon I like a lot that sort of reminds me of Jason Babin in that he's not the biggest guy in the world and is a solid athlete that can thrive in a scheme designed to get upfield constantly. He plays inside and outside. I'm not fully convinced he's an every down player at the next level, but I think he can be one of the premier situational rushers if not.

OLB Andrew Sweat isn't very big (6-1/235) and has decent speed, but won't wow you there. But he has decent instincts and can work in zone coverage over the middle. I think he's probably a backup, but I think can potentially work his way into a starting lineup down the road. Probably his best fit is once he fills out a bit more is playing inside in a 3-4 that can be a decent complementary starter.

Other suspended players are RB Dan "Boom" Herron who in the past I judged as a fast guy that has enough ability to potential impact as a change of pace and No. 2 RB. WR DeVier Posey has good size (6-1/210) and speed to burn, but he seems like a one-dimensional option that looks more like Drew Carter than the next Joey Galloway.

For Florida, their pro prospects are down, at least for the seniors.

QB John Brantley looks like a career backup that I think could become another Joey Harrington-type of backup. A dink and dunk passer that can manage a game, but probably too unwilling to take the chances to really be nothing more than an over-glorified No. 3 in the long run.

RB Jeff Demps and RB Chris Rainey get their highest grades among the seniors from me. And both are just 4th round guys at best. I like Demps a bit more. He's got world-class speed that I think as a situational player can be very effective. He's small (5-8/185) but has Chris Johnson-like game-breaking ability. His primary value will be on special teams, but I think a zone-blocking team with a creative coach can use him as a matchup issue similar to Reggie Bush on occasion. Rainey is slightly smaller (5-8/175) that is a step slower that I think is less likely to get major reps on offense, and will be more limited to just special teams.

DT Jaye Howard looks the part of an NFL player (6-3/300), but he's slow off the snap and doesn't really use his hands well. He's a guy that I think will have to try his luck in a rotation as a 3-4 DE, but he's so raw that it's hard to see him doing much for the first 3 years of his career.

OT Xavier Nixon is a junior that has filled out his frame completely (6-5/290), but he's a nice athlete that I think can play on either side of the line. But he's probably best fit playing on the right side for a zone-blocking team. I think potentially he develops into a better version of Ephraim Salaam that is raw, but athletically able to hold up.

Rose Bowl
Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Jan. 2, 5 pm on ESPN

An intriguing matchup. QB Russell Wilson is probably the most interesting pro prospect in this game. Wilson is a player I've liked since his sophomore year at N.C. State. He was always a player that I wondered what he could be capable of if he fully committed to playing football, as he spent his springs/summers playing baseball. The player he reminds me of is Seneca Wallace in that he's a big-armed, but undersized (5-11/205) guy that is smart. The issue with Wilson is that while he is a good vertical passer, his field vision isn't great and he is a guy that can at times struggle to see throwing lanes from the pocket. So he'll run around a lot and try to extend plays with his legs. But when he does tuck it to run, he is dangerous with the ball. He's a guy that I think once NFL coaches can get a chance to work with him full-time has the potential to be overcome his lack of height like Wallace has or even Drew Brees and become a solid starter down the road. I see him a bit more as a good backup than a long-term starter like Brees. But he can definitely add depth at the next level, and might be a nice stopgap starter for a few years for a team.

Up front, Wisconsin has a number of good NFL prospects. OC Peter Konz is their best, but a junior. He's a good run blocker and solid pass protector that I think has the potential to be an elite center at the next level. OG Kevin Zeitler has put together a strong senior year. He can pull and is a good, albeit not great run blocker. But he's a guy that if he's your 3rd or 4th best blocker on your line, you are in very good shape. RT Josh Oglesby missed most of last year with injury. He has good size (6-7/330) but his technique is raw and he looks more like a career backup at RT that lacks the versatility to play more than 1 position.

FB Bradie Ewing is one of my top rated lead blockers. He needs to bulk up some more as NFL teams like their fullbacks to be much bigger than 5-11/235, but he's a solid lead blocker that rarely misses an assignment. And if he ever does add somewhat of a power element to his game, he should be a good starting FB.

WR Nick Toon has solid hands and looks like he can be a solid possession receiver at the next level. His lack of ideal speed is made up for by his good size (6-2/215). He should be a nice complementary receiver that you hope develops into a player comparable to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

CB Antonio Fenelus is a tough, fiesty undersized corner (5-8/190). His size hurts him when it comes to run support and matching up with big receivers, but he plays with heart and I see him sticking in the pros at least as a backup/special teams player because of it. FS Aaron Henry has the size (6-0/210) and speed you like in a safety, but is underwhelming in run support, and while decent in coverage, not quite good enough to make up for the fact that he would be a bit of liability vs. the run if asked to be a starter. He's a backup that I would target in the 6th round range.

RB Montee Ball is a junior that is a physical runner for his size (5-11/220) that I think has enough ability to be a starter at the next level. But he's more of a guy that should split reps with a quicker back than be a guy that carries the load. And while you see some good runs from him, the more you see him the more you are left wondering if he benefits greatly from having such a good line blocking for him.

I'm not sure if he'll play in this game, but the one Oregon I'm most keen to see is junior CB Cliff Harris who has missed time due to suspensions this year. In the one instance I saw him this year, he showed me good ball skills, but he's a rail thin guy (5-11/170) that doesn't always play with discipline because he's looking for the INT.

RB LaMichael James is their top prospect and also a junior. I like James, but I'm not sure how good a No. 2 RB he'll be. He's a smaller guy that has good speed, but I'd be surprised if he clocked anything faster than a 4.52 at the Combine. He's more quick than fast and has nice vision. At times he'll run hard, and others he'll run soft. I'm reminded of a guy like Steve Slaton that behind a zone-blocking line he can be an effective third down back. I don't expect him to fall off the face of the earth like Slaton did. But in that scheme, and one that likes to use ample screens he should be a good fit.

RB Kenjon Barner is also a junior that has probably better burst out of his cuts than James, but doesn't run with same toughenss or vision. He looks more like your run of the mill third down/change of pace back that won't be a regular part of the lineup. At least with James, his potentilal in the passing game is high enough that you think there is some potential to impact like a Darren Sproles in the right system.

TE David Paulson is a nice backup TE prospect that has good enough hands and speed to get some looks as a starter, but probably not a guy that will be more than a 40-catch guy in that role and is better served working as an H-back/No. 2 guy.

OLB Josh Kaddu is a decent pass rusher with nice straight-line burst off the edge, but at his size (6-3/235) he's a better fit as a WILL in a 4-3 than playing in a 3-4. He's a good run and hit player with nice speed, but struggles vs. the run when you ask him to play near the line of scrimmage.

I like the toughness of their safeties: senior SS Eddie Pleasant and junior FS John Boyett. They show some leadership and character, although Pleasant can get overly aggressive at times. Pleasant is a physical thumper that I've seen improve in coverage over the course of the season. I think he's good enough to start at the next level, but won't be great there. He's probably more ideal as a backup. Boyett has very good straight-line burst and speed which allows him to cover ground as a centerfielder. But he doesn't show great ball skills to make a lot of plays in coverage. And he's also an undersized tackler that I think can potentially develop into a starter, but again is ideally suited to add depth.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Stanford vs. Oklahoma State
Jan. 2, 8:30 pm on ESPN

This will mark Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden's final college games.Despite all the attempts to knock Luck, he's a superb QB prospect. He's not perfect by any means, but he has a good arm, good athlete, and flashes the ability to fight tight windows and throw with accuracy that reminds me a lot of the same way that Aaron Rodgers is playing the game today. The difference is that it probably won't take Luck 6 years to get there, more like 2 or 3. Weeden is a player that is decent, but he doesn't really wow me. As a 28-year old, I'm not sure if I was a team I would really put too much stock in his long-term potential. But he has a nice arm, flashes decent accuracy and shows some mobility. He's efficient. But the problem I have is that Okie State's offense relies heavily on the dink and dunk passing and when he's asked to throw beyond 10 yards, I think he becomes fairly average. I also think he can press at times and can struggle against pressure. I think he makes a nice backup because I think from the neck up he's smart and mature enough to be an effective stopgap in the pros, but I just think a team will be setting themselves up for disappointment if they tag him as a potential starter. I think he can get there down the line if/when he gets comfortable in a system, but more in the Kyle Orton mold as a competent, but not good starter.

Stanford's other best pro prospect is RG David DeCastro whose ability in a short area, mean streak, and ability to pull reminds me a lot of Logan Mankins. He's not a guy that is going to really push the pile, but I think he's a guy that in the right scheme that will use him like New England uses Mankins he could become of the better guards in the league. He's just a junior, but you imagine that he and LT Jonathan Martin could come out early to join Luck. Martin is a solid LT prospect that has nice athleticism, and uses his hands fairly well to make up for his lack of ideal quickness. He's not a guy that I'd want matching up with elite NFL DEs, particularly not right away, but I think he can develop potentially into an above average to good starting LT. Another junior is OLB Chase Thomas who flashes intriguing upside as a pass rusher off the edge, that I think has the potential to be a BRooks Reed type of player.

TE Coby Fleener is their best senior prospect and my top senior TE. He has good, reliable hands and flashes ability and potential as a blocker. I don't see him as an elite NFL tight end as a pass catcher, but a guy that in an offense that features the TE quite a bit can be production in the Heath Miller mold as a great No. 3 option, but a solid No. 2 option.

SS Delano Howell is a thumper that can deliver some hits. He's not the biggest guy, but when he's not trying to make the big hit is a fairly sound tackler that doesn't miss many stops. I've yet to see him do much in coverage, but he seems to not make mistakes either. But I project him as a backup that could develop into a decent stopgap starter in a Cover-2 scheme.

Also this will be the last game for Okie State WR Justin Blackmon. The player I consistently compare Blackmon to is Terrell Owens. Owens was a bit bigger at 6-3/220 while Blackmon is more 6-1/215. But I think they are similar in that they don't have great top-end speed but accelerate quickly to their 4.5 speed and are very quick and explosive despite not having the speed to simply run by corners. Blackmon also has lapses in concentration that can lead to drops and fumbles. He is good after the catch, but has a tendency to not secure the ball which again leads to some ball security issues. I think Blackmon can be a solid No. 1 receiver, but I feel he's more Michael Crabtree than the next truly elite WR. But with a good QB and an offense that is willing to give him a lot of work, he can be a productive starter. I also do think like T.O., Blackmon's football character isn't great. I think he can get frustrated and check out when he's not getting the ball enough. But I don't think you'll see him doing all of the off-field antics of Owens. So probably a better comparison is Roddy White in that he can create headaches and is diva-ish, but probably not to the degree that it really hurts your team.

The other top Okie State prospect is FS Markelle Martin. Martin is a good run defender despite not having great size, and also is capable in coverage. He's a guy that I don't see being a stud starter at the next level, but should be a capable and productive guy that can be like a rich man's version of Thomas DeCoud.

OT Levy Adcock I've seen ranked on some sites/lists as one of the premier senior OTs, and I just don't see it. I think he is a decent guy that I think can be a decent option as a zone blocking guard. But despite good size (6-5/320), he is a limited athlete that just doesn't have the pop, push, or footwork to stay outside IMO.

OC Grant Garner is a decent backup prospect that I think is good enough to add depth, but will be exposed if asked to be a starter for long periods of time at the next level.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Some thoughts on some of the games I've already watched from the past week. I tended to avoid the games with a ton of NFL prospects so I could watch as many as possible as quickly as possible since my DVR is getting really full.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Nevada vs. Southern Miss

Okay, this was my first glance at Southern Miss, who I paid little attention to once I heard ILB Korey Williams got hurt. But QB Austin Davis apparently has become some sleeper QB candidate. He did not play particularly well in this game, only completing 2 of 14 pass attempts that went beyond 10 yards. Part of it might have been the swirling winds. He has a decent arm, but his lack of size (6-1/220) and the fact that he struggled in the face of pressure don't make me really confident that he has starting potential. But I could see him being a capable No. 2 down the road if he gets comfortable in a system. He seemed like a decent decision maker, knowing when to throw it away and didn't really force any bad throws. So he seems smart, which is why I see him as a backup guy more than anything. I'll definitely try and go back and watch more tape of him however, but right now I saw a late 6th/7th round guy than a mid-round pick.

K Danny Hrapmann was the only other Southern Miss player I really paid much attention to. He has a nice leg that can drive the ball inside the 5 on his kickoffs that showed great range on his field goals. He was 1 of 3 in the game, missing a 50 and 48 yarder, but made another 48 yarder. The wind affected both misses, but he's a guy that I think could compete right away for a job, and eventually become a solid NFL kicker.

I had not seen Nevada this year. WR Rishard Matthews was a player I liked last year when he was the No. 1 target of Colin Kaepernick, but he missed this game with an injury. It's a shame because last year, I would have potentially graded him as a 4th round pick.

ILB James-Michael Johnson is their best prospect. He is a good run defender, but doesn't have great range and is fairly average at best in coverage. He reminds me similarly of a lesser version of Curtis Lofton. He has good burst and speed when he's running downhill, but is not a great lateral guy in pursuit which I think like Lofton makes him a better fit in a 3-4 than a 4-3. I think he definitely becomes a good backup, but might be a decent starter, but never a top-level guy. Graded him as a solid 4th round pick.

DT Brett Roy has had a productive year, but he's an undersized DT (6-3/280) that doesn't wow you with his burst or quickness. But as a rotational 4-3 defensive tackle if he can add some more bulk, with his good motor he might be able to help out a practice-squad early on and then be a decent 4th option in a rotation down the road.

Little Caesar's Bowl
Purdue vs. Western Michigan

Actually my first chance to see either team this year. Junior DT Kawann Short was a guy that popped on tape last year playing beside Ryan Kerrigan but while he flashes ability he seems more big than good in this game. He has nice burst and is a very powerful player, but his technique and lack of moves hurt him.

QB Robert Marve got some reps in this game, but did not look that good. I remember him 3 years ago when he was a sophomore splitting reps with the then freshman Jacory Harris at Miami, and I saw upside in him if he could continue to develop. But since transferring to Purdue, he's gotten only minimal playing time and it shows. He's a guy that might be better off playing a few years in the Arena Leagues to get that needed experience that he missed in college before trying to take a shot in the NFL.

OLB Joe Holland had 3 pass breakups in this game, but you wouldn't think he was a great coverage LB because he had fairly average speed and is an undersized tackler in run support. But if he were to add another 10-15 pounds, he might be able to add depth and be a special teams guy at the next level as a backup WILL in a 4-3. OLB Gerald Gooden is a hybrid DE/LB that stands up when they go to their 3-man fronts. His lack of speed and flexibility and struggles in coverage will make his ability to stick on the next level minimal. He's listed at 6-3/235, but moves like a guy that I would expect would be 6-3/260. So I think he's a guy that definitely needs to bulk up and play in a 3-4 scheme that will put him up on the line of scrimmage and not ask him to play a lot in space. In such a scheme, he might have a chance to stick as a backup. He has a nice first step as a blitzer/pass rusher and had 1 sack and a hit in this game. He also had 2 personal fouls, so he plays with a bit of an edge, which I think some teams might like. But both of these guys are just undrafted prospects.

Belk Bowl
NC State vs. Louisville

A good game. N.C. State has a bunch of nice prospects. ILB Audie Cole was a player I never really liked but in this game I started to see more of his potential. He's a really solid pass rusher, that is limited because of his lack of speed. I think he is a former DE or OLB, and it shows with his polish there as an edge rusher. But the problem is that his speed is really average. Like at best I would say he's probably a 4.8 guy, which is below average for an NFL linebacker. His size (6-4/240) is good, and I think he might be best playing outside in a 3-4 scheme in a scheme that isn't going to ask him to play a lot in coverage. I think he can definitely be a solid backup in the pros, and is the type of player that could definitely function opposite a really good OLB like say Erik Walden/Frank Zombo in GB opposite Clay Matthews.

OLB Terrell Manning is the opposite which is undersized (6-3/225) but with great speed/burst. He can cover a lot of ground, and reminds me a bit of the younger version of Sean Weatherspoon during his junior year at Mizzou. I think Manning is going to need to bulk up to play at the next level definitely, and he's not quite as polished in coverage as Spoon was in college, but to me I think he could potentially be a poor man's version of him. He is a junior, he's one of those guys that if he comes back for his senior year puts on a little muscle, he might really be able to solidify his draft stock. Right now, I put a late 2nd round/early 3rd round grade on him due to his potential as a very good 4-3 WILL.

WR T.J. Graham is a smaller (5-11/180) but fast receiver. He looks like a special teams guy and backup on offense. His speed can make him effective in spots at the next level, but he doesn't really show natural receiving ability with average hands, ball skills, and route-running ability. I think for a team like Pittsburgh that don't mind smaller, speedy vertical WRs, he could be a nice No. 4 guy. But he's not quite in the same realm of players as guys like Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders were in college.

TE George Bryan is a prospect that I've never quite understood why early on he was highly rated prospect. Some lists had him as one of the Top 3 seniors going into this year. He's always seemed like a good backup TE to me, even going back to last year. He's got great size (6-5/265) and good hands. But he has average speed and burst and is more in line with an outlet receiver. And while he flashes ability as a blocker, he's not quite as good as most TEs that are his size are in college. But he has room to grow there with better coaching at the next level. But ultimately the best you can hope for him is becoming a player like Dan Campbell that is a blocker first, and might be able to give you 25 catches in a good year. On probably 95% of NFL teams, he would just be a No. 2 guy that only really projects as a starter on teams that use a lot of 2-TE sets or don't really value their TEs as pass catches (i.e. Mike Martz offense).

DT J.R. Sweezy is has enough quickness and burst with a good motor and strength to think he can help out a 4-3 rotation.

For Louisville, TE Josh Chichester is an intriguing prospect because of his size (6-7/240). He still needs to add bulk to his frame, but he is a former WR and has nice hands and ball skills. I'm not sure he's going to be a guy that takes full advantage of his size even if he continues to develop at the next level as a receiver. But he at least can be a nice H-back option that can be a nice 30-catch receiver in the right scheme. The key for his potential as a starter will be if he can get stronger and improve as a blocker. He missed some key blocks in this game in short-yardage, and just is too long and lanky to really like him as an inline guy yet.

OLB Dexter Heyman passes the eye ball test as a NFL linebacker at 6-3/240 with a tall, long-armed frame. He has average speed however and isn't that physical as a run defender. His instincts are just so-so. But he's a guy that I think if he can play on special teams might be able to develop into a decent to good backup.

RB Victor Anderson is a player I liked two years ago as a smaller (5-9/185) RB, but took a back seat to Bilal Powell last year, and again this year split reps. But he runs hard for his size, having 19 of his 63 yards on 13 carries after contact. He had one particularly good run near the goalline and you can tell he gets that extra pep when he can smell the endzone. He kinda reminds me of a poor man's Jacquizz Rodgers. Anderson is and is a good receiver that has nice quickness. But he's not going to be much of an option besides a few carries as a runner. His biggest upside is in the passing game. I think he's too small as a blocker and it showed in this game as he gave up 3 pressures. He just struggled matching up with the NFL-sized LBs that NC State possesses, but it's not like he doesn't understand his assignments. It's just he's not a guy that quite knows how to compensate for his lack of size like someone like Quizz does or Warrick Dunn or others like that. I think he may get a shot in the pros, but he'll always have an uphill climb because NFl teams hate undersized backs in the draft, but they always seem to wind up doing okay once they get into a camp. Ultimately I could see him being good enough to play a role like Quizz does now, which is maybe he gets 2 or 3 carries, plays on third downs. Unlike QUizz, he lacks the upside to be more than that, but as a No. 3 guy I think he can play at the next level. Again, his problem is that unless he really impresses a team with his abilities in the passing game, he'll have a hard time sticking in any one place for more than a year or two.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois vs. UCLA

UCLA was a team I got to see quite a bit down the stretch in the Pac-10 championship. But RB Derrick Coleman is a guy that impressed me in that game and in this bowl game vs. Illinois. He runs very hard with good size (6-0/235) and to me has a similar physical disposition that is willing to run thru a brick wall like Marion Barber had. He has good straight-line burst and vision, but he's not a guy that has a ton of wiggle and ultimately I think he's a good complementary runner that gets the tough yards inside and plays on short yardage rather than a true starter. But as a guy that could potentially give you 8-12 solid carries a week, I think he could be good there. I have a 6th round grade on him.

WR Nelson Rosario is a big target (6-5/220) that will occasionally flash the ability to be a matchup problem, but just isn't consistent. Much of it is his average speed/burst and lacking route-running skills. He just doesn't get open that often. I think he's a guy that will intrigue teams because of his size and will get opportunities as a No. 5 guy/p-squad guy, but unless he can play on special teams I have a hard time seeing him stick. His hands are too inconsistent and just is not a reliable option to really think he has significant upside on defense. The type of role you envision for him is very similar to what Kerry Meier is doing right now for us.

Junior TE Joseph Fauria is a transfer from Notre Dame, and reminds me of a lot of former Irish TEs that made it into the pros like Anthony Fasano and John Carlson. I think he has reliable hands and a very large frame (6-7/250) that can be a very effective redzone guy. But I'm not sure he's a guy that will be a guy that can really exploit matchups consistently between the 20s. I think if he can refine his blocking technique he could be a decent guy, but I think like Carlson he'll be productive guy that can catch 40-50 passes every year, but you never really feel like he's a gamebreaker or one of the best TEs in the league. He can move the chains, add value in the redzone, make a big play every now and then, but rarely an impact player. The ideal role for him is in an offense with another good TE where they run a lot of 2-TE sets.

For Illinois, their stand-out prospect is DE Whitney Mercilus a junior. He reminds me of Aldon Smith a bit. He's got a very good first step and it doesn't matter whether he's playing DE or standing up, he can beat almost every OT he faces with a speed rush. His problem is his lack of moves when he can't just beat the guy around the edge. He needs to bulk up a bit more and do a better job getting leverage vs. the run if he'll be a DE. Which is why like Smith, I think he might be able to impact more quickly if he plays OLB in a 3-4. But he has double-digit sack potential. Right now I have a late 1st round grade on him. But I'll want to go back and see him against some of the better OTs he faced this year as the two Illinois games I saw this year (Michigan & UCLA) aren't great litmus tests as far as blocking goes.

WR A.J. Jenkins has nice speed and decent size (6-0/185). He has nice hands, but he's not a guy that is going to make the tough grabs in traffic. He gets a lot of work as Illinois' most dynamic playmaker on offense. In the two Illinois games I've seen this year, he had a combined 31 targets, but only caught 14 of them. Part of that is their QB Nathan Scheelhaase is more runner than passer. But he has good, but not great speed. But he should be a guy that can add some value inside or outside, and if he continues to develop as a route-runner can be a capable No. 2 starter. But he's probably more ideal as a No. 3, since I don't see him doing much unless he's playing opposite a really dynamic No. 1 target. He's more of a 40-catch guy than a potential 60-catch guy.

OT Jeff Allen is one of the reasons why I was never super high on Ryan Kerrigan last year. In their matchup last year, Allen handled himself pretty well against Kerrigan. Which I think was more of a knock on Kerrigan than a glowing appraisal of Allen. He's a capable college tackle that plays either side of the line as Illinois has a weakside/strongside system. He is a decent athlete that has OK strength and size (6-4/315). He can win in a short-area, but he does more grabbing on the edge than a guy that knows how to get his hands inside and lock on. As a run blocker, he uses his size to get position, but doesn't quite know how to lock on and drive a defender off the ball to get push. I think he's probably a better fit inside at guard than at tackle in the pros. But he's one of those players that I could see being able to be a utility backup that can play 4 spots in a pinch, although his upside as a starter might be limited to being a stopgap guard in a zone-blocking scheme.

CB Tavon Wilson played safety last year and it shows. He is a good run defender that did a good job tackling a powerful runner like Coleman in this game. He has good closing burst on the ball, gets low and cut Coleman's leg on several tackles. But his hips and burst in man coverage are limited and he doesn't really show the sort of technique there that is indicative of his limited experience at corner. His ball skills are also average, as there were several times he was in good position covering Fauria down the seam, but didn't do a good job turning back to locate the ball in the air. Had he, he could have potentially had 2 or 3 picks in this game. I think if he moves back to safety, he could potentially add value as a special teams guy and reserve.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Today, I watched the Poinsettia Bowl between LA Tech & TCU, and the Holiday Bowl between Cal & Texas.

Getting my first look at Louisiana Tech, I was somewhat impressed with DE Matt Broha early on. He really was terrorizing TCU's right tackle early in the game. But as the game wore on, and TCU started to get their focus back, he really started to become a non-factor. But he has a quick enough first step and shows some decent technique to use his hands to beat the block and dip and turn the corner as an edge rusher. He did not hold up as well vs. the run, but considering his size (6-4/250), that's not surprising. He also made some mistakes with his instincts and recognition vs. the run. But I think as is, he could be a decent 3-4 OLB and if he can add some muscle might be able to develop into a rotational player in a 4-3 at DE. But he's a guy that is probably going to have to play on special teams early on, and if he can develop you could see him being a decent role player down the road.

The other prospect I was watching was ILB Adrien Cole for Tech. Cole looked tiny on the field. He's listed at about 5-11/235, but I could hardly tell that he was bigger than TCU RB Ed Wesley who is listed at about 5-9/200. Cole has a decent nose for the ball, and is physical considering his size, but he's just too small to really like his chances at the next level. The TCU center kept engulfing him on the second level, particularly anytime TCU was running near the goalline or in other short-yardage. He has decent speed but not enough to think it'll make up for his lack of size. He honestly might have a better shot sticking in the pros if he converts to being a fullback.

For TCU, I wasn't very impressed with Ed Wesley in this game. He wound up having 16 carries for 76 yards in this game, but only 9 of it came after contact. That's something I've noticed in many games from Wesley this year. The 2nd game I saw him in vs. San Diego, he did a great job after contact, but that's a weakness of his game. He has good balance and burst, and is quick, but he doesn't seem willing to fight for the tough yards between the tackles. I think he can be a good complementary back, particularly in a zone-blocking scheme that will run stretches, sweeps, and slants on the edge. I think he's a good back, but I don't think he brings the complete package to the table that makes me believe he'll be able to become a player like Ray Rice, although his playing style is a bit similar. Instead of being a guy that can consistently and reliably produce with 15-20 touches a game, instead he looks more like the guy you target to give 8-12.

Tank Carder is a prospect that I've liked more and more each game I've seen this year (now up 4). He impressed me last year in the Rose Bowl vs. TCU with his ability to get penetration and make plays in the backfield. Carder isn't the biggest guy out there, as I'm sure I've mentioned before as he's only listed at about 6-2/230. And it shows at times when he's defending the run because he's not the surest tackler. But he's a player that I think if/when he adds another 10-15 pounds of muscle, he should be solid as a tackler. But the thing you like about him the most is that he has a good nose for the ball and instincts vs. the run. He was forced to play more in coverage vs. La Tech's spread attack in this game, and he struggled a bit as he doesn't show the type of balance, and flexibility you want moving smoothly in space. But I envision being a comparable player to Keith Brooking, which I know among Falcon fans tends to have a negative connotation. But I think with other good players around him, he's going to be a very valuable player. Maybe a better comparison is Chad Greenway that doesn't carry all that baggage that Brooking seems to.

CB Greg McCoy showed some nice ball skills in this game, having 1 INT and 2 PDs in this game. But he also showed his limitations projecting at the next level. While his technique and footwork is sound, he just doesn't have the burst and balance with his hips, changing direction, and out of his breaks to think he is going to be able to take advantage of those ball skills at the next level. I think he's good enough to make an NFL roster, but if he's put into extended playing time situations, he'll struggle to make plays. But the one thing that can help make up for that is that he's a good return man with good speed there, and he should be able to contribute on special teams despite being limited on defense.

P Anson Kelton had a good game. As I've mentioned before, I really like that Kelton consistently gets good hangtime on his punts. But he doesn't always consistently kick well for distance, but he flashed it in this game with a 67-yard punt when TCU was backed up near their goalline. He also showcased some directional kicking ability, hitting a 42-yarder from midfield that rolled out of bounds at the 8-yard line. I think he's a guy that can play in the NFL and be a competent NFL punter, but he's probably not a guy that I'd probably draft, nor do I think he's as polished as he needs to be to trust as a rookie. But if he gets a year or two to develop and bounce around a few camps, I could see him sticking after that point and becoming a solid punter.

This was my 3rd time seeing Cal this year, and 6th time seeing Texas. Cal has a bunch of solid prospects on defense, as does Texas. They are two of the few major programs that run a lot of 3-4 looks.

For Texas, Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho are a good pair of ILBs. Robinson I like a bit more because he's got a good nose for the ball, is a better run defender. He flashed more ability in coverage than I've seen all year in this game, on one play sliding to the seam, reading the QB's eyes and jumping into a throwing lane to almost pick off a pass underneath. Acho is fast and athletic, but he's undersized (6-1/235) and he's not a very physical tackler. He needs to add some bulk, but even then I think he could struggle to tackle NFL-sized backs. But he's a good run and hit linebacker that I think is a natural fit as a 4-3 WILL. Robinson is probably a better fit to play 3-4 ILB or potentially 4-3 MLB. I think Robinson is a solid 3rd round pick that can be a good albeit not great complementary starter. Acho has upside, but I think right now he relies heavily on his speed rather than good instincts and the fact that he can struggle at the point of attack also concerns me that he'll take a bit longer to develop. I have him as a 4th round prospect.

Cal has two nice ILBs too in D.J. Holt and Mychal Hendricks. Both are very good, physical straight-line players. Holt is a big run thumper that excels getting downhill between the hashmarks to deliver a big hit to the back in the hole. Hendricks is similar, but an undersized guy (5-11/240) that shows more range outside the hashmarks. I like Hendricks because he seems to consistently make plays when he's allowed to rush the QB. The problem with both is that I have questions about whether they can function in coverage. And while Hendricks somewhat masks that fact by his ability to rush the QB with his speed. So I question whether both will be good starters, although I think they can probably be capable/functional starters at some point. So I have both graded as 4th round picks.

Texas DT Kheeston Randall isn't an impact defender. He has decent quickness with good strength, but he lacks technique. He's a guy that I think can help out a rotation in a 3-4 scheme. Cal DE Trevor Guyton can be disruptive, but doesn't hold up well vs. the run, at least did not too well in this game. At his size (6-3/285), he might be better off bulking up and playing DT in a 4-3 scheme. DE Ernest Owusu I like a bit more because he's got a nice first step and burst to pressure the QB, but he's undersized and miscast playing inside in a 3-man front at 6-4/265. If he moves to LDE in a 4-3 scheme, I think he has some upside to develop as a rotational backup that can be like a quicker version of Chauncey Davis.. For Texas DE Alex Okafor is a junior, but he's been growing on me the more I see him. In this game, they dropped him a lot in coverage on zone blitzes, but he seemed like he was somewhat comfortable there. But Okafor looks a bit heavy to play 3-4 OLB although he's only listed at 6-4/260. Although I'm betting that he might be more like 270. But I've also seen him do a good job as an edge rusher and I think he can be a solid LDE if he can be developed there. He won't be a big-time pass rusher, but I think he could be a 4 to 6-sack guy potentially as a starter. His ability to project in both the 4-3 and 3-4 makes me like him as a 3rd round pick.

In the secondary, FS Blake Gideon is not a very good tackler. He has very good straight-line speed, but doesn't show the ball skills or awareness in coverage. He's purely a special teams guy at the next level. Teammate and junior SS Kenny Vaccaro is someone I like. He plays as the nickel corner in the slot, but he doesn't really have good technique to really think he has much of a chance to do that at the next level. But he's a versatile guy, that I think can be a better version of a player like Michael Griffin for Tennessee.

For Cal, they have two decent safeties. SS Sean Cattouse impressed me last year with his hitting ability, but I've noticed more of his limitations this year in that he's not a reliable wrap tackler that will take some bad angles and doesn't really show ideal awareness when working in coverage. FS D.J. Campbell is a guy that can run with good speed, but he too doesn't take the greatest angles or is the biggest tackler. He also was caught badly out of position in this game on a deep pass where he was in centerfield, but the receiver was easily able to run by th corner and get behind him as well for a big score. Both look more like depth/special teams options at the next level.

Offensively, Texas has little to write home about. FB Cody Johnson is a solid short-yardage/goalline runner, but he's still very raw as a lead blocker. With his size, there is potential to develop, but he really just doesn't understand the fundamentals of the fullback position. Nor is he a great short-yardage runner to think that he'll get many opportunities there. If he can produce early on special teams, he'll have the chance to continue to develop as a fullback down the road. You're hope is that he eventually develops into a player like Corey McIntyre who played defense while in college and then bounced around practice squads and working as a journeyman special teams player before he got his opportunity to be a starter with the Bills. But Johnson isn't worth being drafted.

For Cal, WR Marvin Jones is their best senior prospect. He has good hands, but he's got a thin build and lacks ideal speed. He struggles to beat press coverage. But you think as a slot receiver there is potential to develop as a solid No. 3 guy. Eventually you're hoping he turns into a player similar to Nate Burleson down the road if he continues to get better. But he's not a game breaker, just a guy that can be a nice possession option that will need to refine his route-running before he can be expected to separate from NFL corners. I think as a 4th/5th round receiver he could make a solid reserve early on with starting potential down the road.

TE Anthony Miller was a player I liked last year, but he's been disappointing me in what I've seen this year. He has the size you want in a blocker, but he struggled in this game with his blocking assignments, particularly when he was asked to block in space. And the fact that he's got below average speed means that he doesn't offer much value as a pass catcher. The best you're going to hope for with him is that if he can develop as a blocker, he might a poor man's version of Alge Crumpler when he was over the hill and playing for the Titans as a No. 2 guy. He's a 7th round pick.

LT Mitchell Schwartz is a nice prospect, but he's miscast to play the left side in the pros. He just doesn't have the quick feet, balance, or athleticism to like his chances there. But he has fairly good technique and will use his hands. But he needs to get better there, as his punch on the edge wasn't that effective. He got by more because of his size (6-5/325) makes him hard to get around. If he moves to the right side, I think he stands a better chance to becoming a starter. But even if he does, you're probably looking at a poor man's Tyson Clabo. And despite his size, he's a bit underwhelming as a run blocker. But he can add depth, and think that will development he can be a competent to solid starter down the road. He looks like a potential 5th/6th round pick.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:16 am 
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Allstate Sugar Bowl
Michigan vs. Virginia Tech
Jan. 3, 8:30 pm on ESPN

There are some good prospects in this game, but not a lot of guys that are going to be very high picks. But for the lack of top-notch NFL draft picks, it still should make a very entertaining football game. But if Michigan has one, it's probably OC David Molk. Molk is an undersized (6-2/285), but he's a solid technician that has quick hands and moves well. In a zone-blocking scheme like Houston, you could see him developing into a player like Chris Myers, who got snubbed for a Pro Bowl this year.

For Virginia Tech, the best pro prospect on the field will be CB Jayron Hosley. Hosley is a junior that continues the tradition of Tech producing some solid NFL corners: DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Flowers being the best of them. Jimmy Williams withstanding, defensive back is one of those positions that Tech has continued to produce quality NFL reserves, role players, and starters over the past decade. I've already done some comparing of Hosley with Hall and Flowers, and I think he's more likely to be an NFL player like Hall who can make a lot of big plays, but also will make some big mistakes as well. Hosley has excellent ball skills and the athleticism to match up with No. 1 WRs at the next level, but he doesn't play with great discipline with his technique. He gives up too much cushion at times and like Hall I don't think he pays a lot of attention to the details of playing the position because of his superb athletic tools. And he's soft as a run defender. That's understandable since he's a smaller guy (listed at 5-10/175), but I'd like to see him at least try and see what he hits. He never wraps up and always is ducking his head. And in the 4 Tech games I've seen this year, he's missed a combined 6 tackles. But I still think Hosley has a lot of potential worth developing and I think as he has No. 1 cornerback potential, but like Hall, he probably won't consistently play at the level throughout his NFL career.

The next best prospect is VT RB David Wilson, also a junior. Wilson is a player that I like, but there are some issues with his game. Ball security is the biggest issue, as he's fumbled in 3 of the 4 games I've seen. But Wilson has very good speed and runs hard for his size behind his pads. I think as a change of pace back he could be a very good NFL rusher. As a potential starter, I think he could get there, but he needs a bit more development. I have him graded right now as a 3rd round pick. But I've wavered between late 2nd and 3rd, so a strong game vs. Michigan could put him back up in the latter category for me.

I haven't mentioned Michigan QB Denard Robinson yet. I honestly don't think he's that much of an NFL prospect, at least not as a QB. He's not very accurate passer that has sloppy footwork and mechanics. Many of the big plays he provides in the air come from jump balls which his WRs such as Junior Hemingway are really good at making. Robinson is undersized for a QB as well (5-11/195) and has good speed and burst. But I think he's going to have to move to WR and if he commits to that position change he might be able to become the next Antwaan Randle El, otherwise he's probably just the next Brad Smith. And like those guys, Armanti Edwards, Julian Edelman, and Josh Cribbs, all college QBs turned NFL WRs, he is going to have prove himself on special teams, primarily returns. If not, then he's just going to go the way of Pat White. If he does commit to a position switch, then he can be a good, valuable role player. But right now, I have a 6th round grade on him if he were to come out this year.

Speaking of Hemingway, he's a big target (6-1/225) that has good hands and ball skills to win in traffic and make all those jump balls on Robinson's high and/or inaccurate throws. But he has average speed and will struggle to separate at the next level. And he's not as good a blocker as someone his size should be. But if he can play on special teams, he might be able to contribute as a No. 5 receiver that can help move the chains.

Like Hemingway, Tech has their own big WR in Jarrett Boykin who at 6-2/220 is much more physical. Boykin is a solid possession receiver that is a physical run blocker, and for many of those teams that run the ball a lot, they will fall in love with him there. His hands are good, but he'll drop some passes. In the 4 Tech games I saw this year, I counted 35 targets and 6 drops. His issue will be his speed and ability to separate from NFL corners. But with his size, it won't be a huge obstacle. I think he has the potential to be a starter in a run-first offense that already has a dynamic No. 1 target opposite him. If he develops, he can potentially fill the same sort of niche that Michael Jenkins filled here, but he'll basically be an overglorified No. 3 in most offenses, particularly with many more teams embracing the spread now. I have him graded as a 5th/6th round pick.

Michigan's best defensive prospect in their draft class is NT Mike Martin. He isn't your classic size for a 3-4 nose guy (6-2/295) but he's a high motor guy that can stack and shed and get leverage as a run defender. He's not the quickest guy, but he can be somewhat disruptive. He's probably a rotational guy but I think he can be able to play in any scheme and be a solid No. 3 DT at the next level if/when he develops.

For Tech, the only real defensive senior worth keeping an eye on is FS Eddie Whitley. Whitley is fast and he's tough despite being very undersized (6-0/190). He's a drag-down tackler, but he consistently wraps up and his closing burst on the ball allows him to make a lot more stops than a similar player with his size. He can stick with receivers and tight ends in man coverage, but lacks the sort of ball skills to really make any plays. Overall, he projects as a reserve that can definitely play on special teams.

Up front, on their right side, Tech has two prospects in OG Jaymes Brooks and OT Blake DeChristopher. Brooks is an undersized guard (6-2/310) that is a solid short-area player with mean streak that has nice pop as a run blocker. But he bends his waist too much and his footwork in pass protection is unpolished. I think he would project best as a center in most NFL offenses rather than a guard, although I think he could play some guard in a zone-blocking scheme. But he's more of a backup prospect. DeChristopher also projects to a zone-blocking scheme. He's undersized for an NFL tackler at 6-4/315 and doesn't play with very much pop as a run blocker. But he does a nice job getting position and has pretty good mean streak. His hands and footwork aren't that great either. But I think if he played inside in a zone-blocking scheme he could be a functional reserve that with more development might turn into a Mike Brisiel-esque starter, who can hold down the fort for a year or so, but you envision him as a backup. Both I have graded as 7th round picks, but Brooks could move up another round if he can show that he can also handle playing some center in the off-season.

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 Post subject: Re: 2012 Bowl Season Scouting Discussion Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Discover Orange Bowl
West Virginia vs. Clemson
Jan. 4, 8:30 pm on ESPN


If you can get a chance to tune into this game, you might want to just to take a gander at Clemson TE Dwayne Allen. Allen is a junior, but he's the best tight end in the country. Allen's combo of size (6-4/255) and speed (4.65?) potentially could make him the next great dynamic TE at the next level. He reminds me a bit of a faster version of Alge Crumpler. He has good hands and the burst to separate from corners. But he's definitely a 1st round pick in my book, but there doesn't seem to be as much hype surrounding him as I would expect. If (or rather when) he chooses to come out, I suspect that should start to get rolling

The next best prospects in this game will all be defensive linemen. Clemson DT Brandon Thompson is a good 3-technique DT, but also can play some nose tackle as well. He's got a good first step and is a disruptive playmaker. The biggest negative about him is that he doesn't use his hands or have developed technique, and he tends to be a bit of a straight-line guy. But he has the upside to develop into a good starter. I've seen some draft sites project him as a potential Top 15 pick, but he's more in line with late 2nd round talent if you ask me. I think he has good upside, but I don't think he's going to develop into one of the top DTs in the league. I think he can be a very good complement to another good interior player, sort of like what Brodrick Bunkley was for Mike Patterson in Philadelphia.

Clemson DE Andre Branch also is a solid prospect. Branch is a guy that can potentially project either as a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE, that has a good first step, and flashes the ability to bend off the edge. He could be a very difficult matchup for West Virginia's LT Don Barclay, who looks like a guy that at best is going to be a backup guard in the NFL. Branch doesn't wow you with his edge speed and is a bit limited vs. the run at the point of attack, but he can make plays in space and on the backside pursuit. I think he could probably impact more quickly in a 3-4 as a pass rusher because he's not going to have to add muscle/bulk, but even then he's probably a complementary pass rusher that you hope is the next Anthony Spencer rather than a guy that teams game plan against. As a DE, he's probably more likely to be a situational rusher early on, and if he can continue to get better vs. the run, he can be a solid guy that can give you 6 or so sacks per year. I have a 3rd round grade on him.

For WVU, DE Bruce Irvin serves as a situational rusher, but is very quick and explosive. The problem with Irvin is that he's had a down year and he doesn't use his hands very well. But he's not really a good candidate to play DE at the next level, and is probably purely a 3-4 OLB prospect. But his quickness off the edge means that there is upside to develop. He just might be a guy that takes some time to develop, because he doesn't do a great job getting off blocks and doesn't really have any developed moves besides just trying to run around blockers. I have a 3rd/4th round grade on him because of his potential.

Also for WVU, junior QB Geno Smith is a guy that could be a 2nd tier QB prospect next year. Smith flashes potential with a strong arm and mobility. It would not be nice to see if he can show the growth next year as a passer that Robert Griffin showed this past year. Smith flashes accuracy, but his decision making can be a bit erratic. Right now, if he were to come out today, I would slap him with a 4th/5th round grade. I think he has the upside to be a starter, but he's more likely to be a quality No. 2 at the next level. And if he does develop as a starter it will be only 3 years from now.

It'll be interesting for Clemson is junior S Rashard Hall and RB Andre Ellington come out early. Neither player look like they should be drafted before the 4th round this year. Ellington has excellent speed and quickness, but looks like a change of pace back because of his lack of size and the fact that he doesn't really show the ability to get the tough yards between the tackles. Hall can be capable in run support and in coverage, but he doesn't wow you in either and at this point if he develops, you probably only see him being an average starter that over the long haul proves to be a bit of a liability.

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