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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:39 am 
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Watched Bowers from Clemson tonight. Nice player at a position of need for the Falcon's. I doubt he'll be available but if he is would take a shot on him.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:16 am 
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Just watched two Wisconsin games (vs. Indiana and Purdue).

I like Gabe Carimi, but I do think he'll make a much better RT than LT in the NFL. He is able to get by against speed because of his strength and above average technique and strong hands. But I think when he's facing much improve competition at the next level, he's giong to struggle quite a bit. I think he'll be OK at left tackle, particularly for a team that is a run-first team. But he would be overmatched a lot of the time in pass protection. I was looking forward to seeing him match up with DE Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), but they went at each other maybe 3 or 4 times. He played against the other OT, who is a redshirt sophomore and began the year as a backup before Josh Oglesby got hurt. And the fact that Kerrigan had only a so-so game doesn't well to his ability.

I also like OG John Moffitt. He's a similar prospect to Mike Johnson, excepts he's thicker in terms of his build. He's a very good run blocker, but can be a exposed in pass protection because he's a limited athlete that doesn't have great footwork. But he's got good strong hands and tends to dominate his opponents in a short area.

WR Nick Toon looks like he should make a very good No. 3 or a solid complementary No. 2. Good hands, body control, and decent speed. His success will largely depend on how good a route runner he becomes.

John Clay missed the IU game, but played some vs. Purdue. He is a powerful, but lumbering guy that is similar to T.J. Duckett. He doesn't hit the hole particularly hard, waits for his blocks, and lacks the vision to create. But behind a good O-line, he can be a productive player just like Duckett was and Brandon Jacobs is. More than likely however he'll be a complementary runner. I would like his chances a lot more if he dropped some weight. He's listed at around 250, and I think is probably better off slimming down to 235 to really try and make an impact in the NFL. I remember when he was a freshman and listed around that weight, he was a much more explosive runner.

Defensively, DE J.J. Watt is a good prospect. He's a playmaker that I think has a very good combo of size, strength, and athleticism. I think he plays a bit more like an oversized 4-3 DE at 6-6/290 than a 3-4 DE, but I think with time and development he should make a nice 3-4 DE in the Aaron Smith mold. I really like his recognition and instincts. I think an NFL team would be making a mistake however if they tried to move him inside full-time to 4-3 DT. I think he wouldn't be nearly as good a player there and would wind up like Adam Carriker and just be a rotational guy rather than an impact player. But I do think he can play in a 4-3, playing DE on run downs and kicking inside on passing downs. But his brightest future is playing 3-4 DE.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:56 pm 
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Just watched Baylor-OK State.

Baylor OT Danny Watkins is a guy that reminds me of Logan Mankins a bit. I like his mean streak, solid technique and good hands to be effective in a short-area. I think he'll have to move inside since he doesn't have the size, strength, or feet to hold up outside in the pros. He's more of a position blocker in terms of the ground game, but I think because of his mean streak and good hand use, he can get bigger and better there.

NT Phil Taylor is an underachiever. His motor is weak. He doesn't play with the power that a guy his size should be playing with as a pass rusher. He's a guy that unless you can light a fire under him, get him to make huge strides as far as technique goes, he'll never be more than a camp body. He's a guy that even if you can do those things, the best you hope for is another Gabe Watson, that is a good backup, but never good enough to be a starter.

P Derek Epperson is a good one. The only flaw in his game seems to be how long it takes him to set up and kick the ball from when he receives the snap. I'm not sure if that can be coached out of him and whether changing him to a more traditional one or two-step punter will hurt his game. But he's got a big leg, and is a very accurate punter able to consistently pin teams deep.

OK St. RB Kendall Hunter is a player that flashes Tiki Barber-like ability. He has good quickness and vision and with that he'll be a productive guy in any scheme. But at the same time, there are some ball security concerns with him. I'm not sure he's more than a complementary guy though that will be a good 3rd down back, but will be limited in a feature role. But in the right scheme, he can be productive, but not sure he's going to be reliable year to year because of his lack of ideal durability. So while there are flashes of Barber-like ability, I would wager his NFL career will mirror more closely Steve Slaton.

WR Justin Blackmon is a stud. I really like his hands, although he had a few lapses in concentration in the Baylor game. But he gives almost no effort as a blocker, and his route-running is suspect at times. He's big, strong, and fast. Not sure he is a guy that will go up and get the ball consistently on the deep throws/in traffic and come down with it every time. And I think that is probably the biggest difference between him and Dez Bryant. But his running ability is excellent and very good with the ball in his hands. He is a bit of a boom/bust prospect, but assuming his work ethic isn't terrible, he should be a good pro. Just not sure he's going to be a great pro.

I also watched MLB Orie Lemon for the first time. He is a big, physical run defender that does a good job between the hashmarks and when he is working upfield. Shows enough athleticism and ability in space to be decent in coverage, but not something I would want to throw him into the fire right away at. But I think in a 3-4 scheme he could be a very good complementary ILB. Someone like Ed Hartwell was to Ray Lewis when they were both in Baltimore.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:57 pm 
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Notes from the Kentucky vs. Tennessee game.

Mike Hartline – QB – Kentucky
Mike Hartline has had an impressive statistical year so I was curious to see how he looked in games. He was pretty impressive early but as the game went on I noticed some weaknesses to his game. He doesn’t have a very strong arm and he floats some passes instead of zipping them in there. He also struggles with his accuracy. A few times he put the ball on his receivers wrong shoulder and failed to lead them. Where he is at his worst though is with his down field accuracy. He threw deep, 20+ yards, maybe 5 times all game and none we’re even close to being completed and one was picked off. He does, however, throw well on the run. He rolled out quite a bit though which I didn’t like. It’s obvious the coaching staff wants to make things easier for him and he only had to read half of the field. Speaking of reads, he didn’t go through progressions much in the game. He got the ball out of his hands quickly and it was usually a short pass. When he does try to go through his reads he tends to hold onto the ball too long. He took a sack once because his #1 read didn’t get open and he took to long to find his #2 read. Also he stared down a his WR’s on quite a bit of plays. He plays in a pro-style offense so he can take snaps from under center, but he has a tendency to not move his feet in the pocket. He will keep his feet planted and doesn’t account for the new location of his WR. Hartline was also shaky in the face of pressure. He struggled to complete passes when Tennessee blitzed because he couldn’t make a quick decision and set his feet to make an accurate throw. Instead, he had a tendency to back away from the blitz and throw without stepping into the throw.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with Hartline but he did somethings well. He has nice size and mobility but he needs a lot of work if he wants a chance to stick around in the NFL.

Chris Matthews – WR – Kentucky
Chris Matthews is a very big physical WR who had a great year with the Wildcats. I was curious to watch him play but he left me a little underwhelmed. He is big and strong but he never used that to his advantage in this game. There was one nice catch he had on a deep post where the ball was poorly thrown. He shielded the ball away but he didn’t attack it and the Safety should have made the play. He is really slow off the line and out of his breaks. He just doesn’t have the speed to create any separation at the next level. He did, however, show that he can catch with his hands. He never trapped the ball against his body and he made a nice diving catch on a comeback route.

Derrick Locke – RB – Kentucky
Locke is a guy that a lot of people like as a sleeper. It’s mostly because he is exciting to watch and is really quick. He showcased some of that today but he had some downs to go with his ups. First thing you notice is just how quick he is. He explodes when he gets the ball and makes very quick cuts. He doesn’t lose much speed when he makes his cuts either. He runs low and has nice flexibility when running to keep his body balanced and he was able to filter through some bodies on a few inside runs. He showed some nice vision to find the cutback lane a few times which was nice. He also hits the hole hard and doesn’t slow down before getting inside. I also like how he lowers his shoulder on runs. Locke also looked good doing KR’s and catching balls out of the backfield. Now the not so good. He tries to bounce it outside way too often. It seemed like nearly every play he would cut and try to take it outside. Sometimes it worked because he beat defenders to the edge with his speed and other times he would get escorted out of bounds for a loss. This won’t work in the NFL where defenders are much smarter and faster. Most of his big runs came to the outside and a lot of his inside runs we’re for short gains. I noticed he has a tendency to just fall forward once he hits the hole inside instead of keeping his feet moving to pick up additional yards. He didn’t break very many tackles and he usually went down on first contact.

Denarius Moore – WR – Tennessee
Denarius Moore was the star of the game. I knew little about him coming into this game but he is one of my top sleepers after his performance. He did not drop a single pass and caught every accurate ball thrown his way. Before we get to his receiver skills, on one of the first plays of the game he actually threw a really nice block. He came on a crack back and drove a Safety back about 10 yards. You don’t see that outta WR’s often so it was a good sign. After that he completely lit up the Wildcat secondary. He caught an underthrown deep pass in double coverage. He tracked the ball and leaped up to high point the ball and come down with it. It was really impressive. He followed it up by making a catch down field on a nearly identical play. Once again the ball was a bit underthrown so he had to turn around and locate it before jumping up to make the catch. Then he made a nice catch on a back shoulder fade for the TD. Really the CB had good coverage but he made a nice play to stop, turn and locate the ball and make the catch. There was really no way to defend that. Also, all 3 of those catches we’re on the same drive. He made every catch with his hands and never let the ball get into his body. He really has strong hands. He showed good concentration later in the game when he made 2 catches back-to-back on deep out routes. Both times he caught the ball away from his body and dragged his feet to make sure he was in bounds. He really was the best player in this game and I’m puzzled as to why he’s rated so low. He has good size at 6’1 and while he doesn’t have great speed(4.50) he is a great deep threat because he can locate the ball so well in the air. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL.

Luke Stocker – TE – Tennessee
Stocker was also impressive in this game both as a blocker and as a receiver. He did have one bad play early in the game on 3rd and 1. He let the DE get underneath him and drive him back and he was able to make a TFL and forced the Vols to punt. Other than that he looked blocking. He played with good leverage and used his hands well to lock on defenders and drive them back. Stocker isn’t very fast and he won’t burn anyone down field but he is a good receiver. He has really good hands and never let the ball get into his body. He came up with a few big catches including a nice diving catch. He showed a decent burst off the line too which was good to see. Play of the game was when he made a catch on a shallow crossing route, he broke the tackle from the LB chasing him and then he lowered the shoulder and just ran over Kentucky’s safety. It was great to see and TE’s need to be physical like that.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:18 pm 
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I've only seen one Tennessee (vs. South Carolina) and Kentucky (vs. MIssissippi State) game this year, but I saw similar things out of those prospects you mentioned.

Hartline, I agree wholeheartedly on him. I saw flashes of arm strength, but it was erratic. His accuracy, mobility, and pocket presence were erratic as well. He just doesn't have a great feel for pressure, and struggles when you can pressure him. It does seem like Kentucky's offense is geared more to limit his mistakes and hide his weaknesses than to to showcase his strengths.

Moore made a lot of big plays down the field vs. SC, but I didn't see the range I like to see in an NFL receiver. Not sure he's anything more than another Drew Carter, who would be a nice third or fourth option in a pass-heavy, vertical offense. Tennessee's otehr WR Gerald Jones was more impressive vs. SC, showing the skillset necessary to make me think he could make a nice slot receiver and be able to fit in more NFL offenses/schemes than Moore.

I also like Stocker. I think of the top tight ends potenitally in this year's class (Kendricks, D.J. Williams, Rudolph), he'll probably be the best inline blocker in the NFL. Kendricks and Williams are very good blockers for their size, but it's going to be hard for guys with their size to impact as inline guys. To me they are much more suited to play a Dallas Clark-like role at the next level. Clark too was a pretty good blocker at Iowa, but also undersized. Stocker is similar to Jason Witten when he came out of Tennessee, although I'm not sure he's as natural a receiver as Witten was at this same point in his career.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:30 pm 
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Just watched a couple of Arizona and Stanford games, as well as watching another VT game. Gonna talk about the QBs on each team...

QB Nick Foles (Arizona) is a junior and definitely needs another year of seasoning. He has the size and arm that teams are looking for in starting QBs, but my beef with Foles is his lack of anticipation and recognition. In both AZ games I saw, he struggled when he was blitzed. Wasn't always consistently good moving around, stepping up, and sliding in the pocket to avoid pressure. And when he did, he had difficulty resetting his feet and making good throws. His lack of anticipation with his reads and throws also hurts, waiting for guys to get open. He does a lot of pump faking, but it's not to make defenders bite, it's because he is not very decisive with the ball and doesn't quite trust what he sees. Now with another year of development he can develop more of that awareness and anticipation, but at this point he seems like a guy that in 2-3 years could be coached into an OK stopgap starter, but has very little chance of being a long-term quality starter for a team.

It's hard to find flaws in QB Andrew Luck's game, and most of them aren't really big deals. It's the same nitpicking I recall doing with Matt Ryan. He needs to be more consistent with his footwork, and the ball doesn't come out as tight as you'd want on all of his throws, and his release could be quickened up, and he'll force some throws from time to time. But almost every single one of these things can be coached out of him with minimal effort and in time all of these flaws should disappear. He's basically improved in every area that I wanted to see him improve this season. I'm still a bit reluctant to give him as high a grade as I gave Ryan because I still think Stanford is a run-first team, and while he is much more central to their offense than he was a year ago, I don't think they've put as much on his plate as Ryan had as a senior, and thus I'm not as convinced how he'll handle the pressure as a rookie. I don't think he'll struggle by any means, but it's hard to see him as a guy that excels in adverse situations when I often see Stanford running just as much as throwing on critical drives.

Tyrod Taylor hasn't really improved in the areas I wanted him. I still think he struggles seeing the field from the pocket, and is reliant on scrambling around and waiting for guys to break off routes in a backyard-style. I don't think that's necessarily his fault as I think he's been coached to do that. He'll make a 5 or 7-step drop, look at his initial read and then try to escape the pocket either to extend play for a pass or just simply tuck it and run. I don't think he's lacking the intelligence as I've seen times when he does a good job recognizing blitzes, but when you ask him to throw from the pocket he shows very little anticipation and waits for his guys to get open before he throws the ball. At this point in time I would compare him to Troy Smith. I was high on Smith coming out of OSU, but it's been clear to me that I overrated him. Like Smith, I think Taylor can be an effective starter, but will never be a reliable pocket passer to be the long-term fit for a team.

I'm liking Virginia Tech TE Andre Smith more. He's a big guy that is a very good blocker because of his size. He's also athletic and a nice receiver. I don't think he has the speed or athleticism to be a big factor in the passing game at the next level. But on a run-first team that is looking for a fairly reliable TE that can catch 30 passes a year, he is a good fit.

Arizona DE Brooks Reed reminds me quite a bit of Kroy Biermann. Showed good edge speed beating Stanford OT Jonathan Martin several times in that game. I think he can be a solid situational pass rusher, but I think he'll be limited with his upside since he's an undersized run defender and doesn't play with great recognition. But if he can add some more moves, and improve his technique he has the chance to be a nice 5-sack guy in the pros.

Speaking of Martin, he did not overly impress in these games (vs. AZ, vs. ASU). A good athlete, but because of his inability to deliver a consistently good punch on the edge, he struggled vs. speed. He got bull-rushed a few times vs. Arizona State. Is a bit too much of a waist bender. He's a guy that I think has the potential to be a very good LT, but I definitely would want to see him play at least one more year at Stanford before investing too high a draft pick in him.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Some more notes:

RB LaMichael James, Oregon
I'm not super high on James. He's a good back that has good balance and power packed in a small frame. He's tough runner that has the speed to break long runs, but I don't think he has the size or frame to hold up to an NFL punishment. I also don't think he has quite the footwork to think he can excel in any scheme. I think he'll be limited to a one-cut zone blocking scheme. I just don't think he's a better RB prospect than ex-Oregon RB Jeremiah Johnson, who went undrafted because of a slow 40 (4.65) and injury issues. Now, I don't see those same things plaguing James when the time comes for him to get drafted, but he's a guy that unless he plays for a team like Houston, I don't see him being anything more than an above average No. 2 back.

RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
Like James, Williams is a redshirt sophomore that could go pro this year. I have similar concerns about Williams, mainly his durability. I have questions about whether he can hold up as a feature back, but I think Williams can excel in a variety of blocking schemes. He has good burst and quickness and can bounce things outside and has the speed to make the homerun plays. The only real flaw to him besides the questions of durability is that he tries to bounce things outside a bit too much. He'll ideally fit in a scheme where he splits carries with someone else. I would compare him to DeAngelo Williams because of his ability to break long runs, but also because of his inability to stay healthy.

RB Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
I think Allen has a brighter future in the pros than Jonathan Dwyer has shown thus far. I think Allen has a bit better vision. But I think at this point, his upside is limited as a short-yardage and complementary runner.

K/P Alex Henery, Nebraska
Henery is a rare prospect. He's a very reliable field goal kicker, but also a pretty good punter. I think his future is brighter at kicker because that is more valuable, but he could still make a really good NFL punter if he committed fully there. If anybody can pull off double duty, it would probably be him.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:52 pm 
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Texas:

OT Kyle Hix

Round: 5th-6th

Positive: Hands

Negative: Kickslide

Run Blocking: Above Average

Pass Blocking: Average

Agility: Below Average

RT Only: Yes

Other Spots: OG, RT



OG Michael Huey

Round: Undrafted (Camp)

Positive: Run Blocking

Negative: Kickslide

Run Blocking: Average

Pass Blocking: Average

Other Spots: None



DE Sam Acho

Round: 2nd (better in a 3-4 imho)

Positive: Burst

Negative: Lack of Pass Rush Moves

Run: Above Average

Pass Rush: Above Average




DE Eddie Jones

Round: 7th

Positive: Acceleration

Negative: Effort on Pass Rush at times

Run: Average

Pass Rush: Average

Other Spots: None



Curtis Brown (DB so I couldn't see film on him)

Chykie Brown (DB so I couldn't see film on him)




Nebraska:

RB Roy Helu JR.

Round: 5th-6th

Positive: Burst

Negative: Balance

Vision: Average

Power: Above Average

Homerun: Average

Elusiveness: Below Average

Pass Blocking: Above Average

Hands: Average



WR Niles Paul

Round: 3rd-4th

Positive: Breaking Tackles

Negative: Hands

Release: Above Average

Route Running: Average

Separation: Above Average

Hands: Average

Jump Ball: Average

Breaks Tackles: Rare



OG Keith Williams

Round: 6th

Positive: Strength

Negative: Top Heavy on P.B.

Run Blocking: Above Average

Pass Blocking: Average

Other Spots: None



OG Ricky Henry

Round: 5th-6th

Positive: Tenacity

Negative: Gets Top Heavy

Run Blocking: Above Average

Pass Blocking: Average

Other Spots: None



DE Pierre Allen

Round: 5th

Positive: Run

Negative: Hands

Run: Above Average

Pass Rush: Average

Other Spots: None



CB Prince Amukamara

Round: 1st

Positive: Top CB

Negative: None

React: Above Average

Man: Rare

Zone: Above Average

Recovery: Above Average

Run Support: Above Average

Ball Skills: Above Average

Other Spots: None



K Alex Henery

Round: 7th

Positive: Accuracy

Negative: None

Kick Power: Above Average

Accuracy: Rare

Kick offs: Above Average


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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:55 pm 
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Just watched two Alabama games, vs. LSU and vs. Auburn.

QB Greg McElroy, Alabama
I thought he looked sharped vs. LSU, showing good accuracy, but not so much vs. Auburn. He flashes skills. I saw some really good throws in both games, but I think he needs to quicken his release a bit to really make his arm strength pop. Flashes mobility and ability to move and slide around the pocket to avoid pressure, but other times will sit in the pocket and hold onto the ball too long. Doesn't always show the anticipation I want to see, and can be a sec late on the out throws. I think he's a guy that can be a capable starter down the road, but will need some polish and coaching up to do. Eventually I think he can develop into a Kyle Orton-type starter that may not necessarily be a top level NFL passer, but good enough to get you in the playoffs and if you put the right talent around him can get deep. I think there are times when I really think he benefits from having a WR like Jones on the roster, and I think he relies on him a bit too much.

QB Cameron Newton, Auburn (Junior)
In the Alabama game, particularly in the first half the blemishes of his game were really apparent. His footwork was poor and his decision making not very good early on. He was holding onto the ball too long, trying to evade the pocket instead of just giving up on the ball, and clearly showing a lack of field vision and awareness. There was a moment on the second series where he was visibly very frustrated after a 3 & out, and while it's OK to show emotions, it seemed a bit too early in the game to let them bubble up to the surface like that. I like my QBs a bit cooler and calm 9 minutes into a football game. But he was able to calm down a bit more and get into a bit of a rhythm. Made 2 great throws on the big plays that went for TDs, and continues to show his knack for throwing down the field. But at this point, I have to think he's nearly as raw as Tim Tebow. No, he doesn't have the really quirky mechanics that will limit him. He has a very quick release and a very strong arm, but his footwork is really poor to the point that I don't know if he can be an accurate QB unless serious improvements are made there. And the fact that he almost never has to throw to win and move the chains and when he did in this game, he struggled for the most part are major red flags. I also can't help but consider the possibility of him going pro so early in his development is another red flag. It just signals an overall lack of maturity. It just boils down to a lot of question marks, too many in fact for me to want to invest a 1st round pick in him. I see similarities with Josh Freeman, but at least Freeman had 32 starts under his belt, and you could see visible improvement from one year to the next, even if it wasn't huge. I just can't see Newton coming into the league and being good right away. His superb athleticism will allow him to make plays, but if you can confine him to the pocket (like Bama did early), then I think he can potentially fall apart. I just think you really have to go through extra steps to babysit him his first one or two years in the league, which is something I wouldn't want to do with a 1st round pick. It's just a huge roll of the dice with him, and I'm not sure I can sign off on him given what I've seen from a young Michael Vick and Vince Young over the past decade. It may not be the case and he may indeed be the guy that revolutionizes the position. But if I was a team, unless he blew me away in an interview, then it just seems like there are too many questions for me to want to invest that much money and energy into developing him. I'd rather settle for a Kyle Orton type.

RB Mark Ingram, Alabama (Junior)
He looked excellent vs. LSU, but mediocre vs. Auburn. Clearly, the blue and orange Tigers have his number, because he was average last year too. He had 1 fumble (punched out from behind), but two other times where the ball popped out when he tried to brace himself with his ball hand on the way down. I'm not super concerned with the ball security, but if he is a bit more fumble prone in the pros than he was in college, it wouldn't surprise me. The thing that you like about Ingram is that he has excellent balance, burst, and plays with great pad level. His vision is excellent and he basically has the skills that when he wants to avoid the hit, he can, but if he wants to run you over, he can as well. I still think back to the Nat'l Champ. game where he made Texas defense look like a bunch of boys, and maybe I'm too biased. And while not many are going to be high picks, but all 11 starters on Texas D last year will get a chance to play in the NFL and probably be drafted. So they may not have quite been SEC-caliber, but they were pretty darn close. If there is a major flaw in Ingram's game, it's his production in the passing game. But I think he'll probably be better there in the pros than he was in college. I don't think h he has great hands, but they are good enough that if in the right scheme, he can be a guy that catches 30-50 passes per year. He's very good on screens. And he's not good in pass protection, but he'll contribute and I don't think his learning curve is going to be huge. He should be a reliable 3rd down guy midway through his 2nd season at the latest, which is about how long it took Jerious Norwood.

WR Julio Jones, Alabama (Junior)
Wasn't overly impressed when I saw him earlier in the year vs. Penn State, but he really shined in these two games. He basically plays like Roddy White but happens to be in Michael Jenkins body. He's explosive, long, physical, and has good hands. He plays with an edge, although at times I think it might cross the line. But if a team can contain it or harness it, it's going to give him that extra something that can make him a great one. I think he can be a go-to guy like Roddy is this year, or Andre Johnson has been, where he is a guy that can be a one-man army.

ILB Don'ta HIghtower, Alabama (Junior)
When I saw him early last year, he outshone Rolando McClain in my eyes. But in now seeing him 3 times this year, he doesn't quite measure up. McClain wasn't the rangiest player, but I think he's more so than Hightower. Hightower is very physical and good when he can attack the line of scrimmage and work between the hashmarks. His tenacity as a hitter reminds me of James Harrison, so for a 3-4 team looking for a mean ILB, he's a good fit. But I think in order for him to be a top guy, he's going to need a really good ILB playing beside him that is going to free him up a lot. But he seems more in line with the talent that is the guy that frees up the other ILB. He's more Ed Hartwell than Ray Lewis is what I'm saying.

CB Patrick Peterson, LSU (Junior)
He lost his share of battles vs. Julio Jones, but won his share as well. BUt I would say he definitely lost the war. He and Jones really got after each other, which I like to see guys stepping up their intensity against top competition. I think LSU might have made the mistake of putting Peterson in too much off coverage at times vs. Jones. And I think they didn't push him to try and really press him. There was a play early where Peterson got a great jam on Jones and shut him down at the line of scrimmage, and that really impressed me. With Peterson, he needs to play with more discipline, awareness, and polish up his technique/footwork, but I think he'll do those things at the next level. He's such a superb athlete, that even if he doesn't, he's still going to be a Top 10 CB in the league. I think he's going to be a guy that will be the first corner in a while that really gets legit opportunities to play on offense. I guess there hasn't be a CB prospect like him since Champ Bailey.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:29 pm 
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Just watched the UCLA-Washington game from a few weeks ago.

QB Jake Locker, Washington
I like Locker, have watched him since his freshman year, and he's transitioned fairly well from a running option QB then to a decent passer now. But he hasn't shown the progress I'd hope to see this season as a passer. He's an outstanding athlete, plays with great toughness and grit, and you know he grades out well in the character department for those reasons. But the issue with him going forward is whether or not he is going to show the innate aptitude in the film room to really get the most of out of his talent. I think at this point if a team drafted him and tried to play him as a rookie, the results wouldn't be any better than what Jimmy Clausen has shown this year. He's just not ready to do much in his first year or two. He still makes poor decisions, forces throws, needs to polish up his footwork, and lacks the anticipation to think he can really take consistent advantage of the accuracy he does have. But the key with Locker is not what he does his first few years in the league, because the simple truth is that he's not going to be very good. It's going to wind up being 3-5 years down the line can all that work start to pay off and he starts to make the strides. And I'm not confident that unless he gets drafted by a team that has a head coach that is more of a QB guru and runs the offense whether that is going to happen. He's going to need a lot of coaching going forward. And unless he plays for a coach like a Todd Haley, Mike Holmgren, Jon Gruden, Andy Reid, etc. do I really feel confident he can live up to his potential. Which is why if I was a team in the 1st round I would be a bit tentative to draft him unless I had that type of situation going forward.

OLB Mason Foster, Washington

He's a prospect I like. He's good in space, makes plays in pursuit and is very active. I believe he's one of the leaders in the nation in tackles this year. He somewhat reminds me of a poor man's Sean Weatherspoon because of his speed and range. But he's not great in coverage and struggles at times at the point of attack. He's a good fit as a WILL in a 4-3 only and has enough ability and upside to be a productive starter, but not sure he's going to be a guy that really is an impact guy and will make a defense better.

SS Nate Williams, Washington
He's a good run defender, and made some nice plays in this game on 2 safety blitzes (QB hit and a TFL). He's OK for a college safety in coverage, and I think he'll be effective covering TEs on the next level, but not a guy that you want to leave in centerfield or covering a slot receiver. But he'll fit nicely as an in the box run-defending safety, and I think he'll be like a less-rangy Sean Jones.

DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington (Junior)
This is a prospect I've kept my eye on all year when he first impressed me early on with his size, athleticism, and motor. He's not a dominant interior player, but does a nice job anchoring, and flashes enough quickness and power to be able to press the line and make the occasional stop in the backfield. It's easy to make comparisons to Haloti Ngata, but isn't quite the playmaker. If he stays another year, and shows improvement with his hand use, ability to get off blocks, etc. he could be a sleeper for a 3-4 team looking for a nose tackle. At this point, I think it would be a better comparison to Ma'ake Kemoeatu than Ngata.

OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA (Junior)
I'm starting to get worried about Ayers and whether he has the fire to live up to his potential at the next level. I recall thinking in the past that Vernon Gholston didn't need to have fire to be a good pro because he was so athletically gifted that he may not be great player, but should at least be a good one. I have similar concerns with Ayers. His speed and range are very good. He's the type of guy that can chase down a back from the opposite side of the field. He shows potentail as a pass rusher, able to play with his hand in the dirt or come off the corner from a standup position. And has the athleticism that matching up in coverage and playing in space shouldn't be a problem. But he seems to be going through the motions too often. I've seen him be a dominant playmaker for halves and quarters in many games this year, but I've never seen him live up to his potential from the first whistle to the last one. And while he has the versatility to play in any scheme and play multiple positions, I wonder if he has the self-motivation to really be as good a pro. So he's a guy where interviews and character evals will be important. I think if he's a guy that can take hard coaching, he'll be worth a very high pick and be a player like Karlos Dansby. And Dansby didn't exactly hit the ground running as well for similar reasons. Or he could never really develop and wind up being a bigger version of Demorrio Williams.

Rahim Moore, UCLA (Junior)
Moore is a good safety prospect because he's capable in coverage. Can play centerfield and match up vs. slot receivers. But he's undersized, and there were a few times in this game (and others) that he'll take poor angles in run support, and isn't the biggest or best tackler in space. If he can add another 10-15 pounds of muscle that will help him. I see him more as a good cover safety, but I don't think he's going to be a ballhawk like Ed Reed, but at worst he'll be another Brodney Pool, but more likely to be at least as good as Nick Collins.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:56 am 
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Just watched the SEC Championship (my DVR didn't record the last 8 minutes of the game though, but since those were garbage minutes, it didn't really matter).

Here are my final regular season thoughts on Cam Newton...

I like Cam Newton, so my criticism isn't out of a dislike of the guy. But If I'm a GM/owner/coach that has to make what is a $50 million decision on whether he's my guy or not, then I'm more than likely going to pass. Newton has a lot of things to like about him. His arm is magnificent, and he made two throws in this game that went 55 yards in the air with excellent touch. I always consider Randall Cunningham to be the best deep passer since I've been watching football, and I think Newton could go toe to toe with him. Obviously, his athleticism is very good. But my gut tells me he is just like Vince Young. VY at Texas was also well-liked by teammates, personable, and outgoing in his personality. But I think Young was very raw as a passer and because of his success up to then and his athletic gifts had not quite developed a work ethic. And while I have no evidence to believe Newton has a lacking work ethic, I have seen no evidence to suggest it exists either. And people lose jobs when they assume things like that. If Newton had stayed for another year, and I could look at his progress from junior year to senior year and then use that to gauge his work ethic, but without that ability to measure growth and progression, I have nothing to use to project at the next level. To me, everything about Newton suggests bust. He's the type of player that 3-5 years down the line if he is a bust/disappointment, we'll look back at all the red flags and say "Oh man, that was so obvious" like it was with JaMarcus Russell or VY (although I wouldn't call Vince a bust).

And that's too much of a risk if I were a team in the top half of Round 1 and in a position to guarantee him something like $20-50 million right off the bat. It's too big a leap of faith for me to put up that much money at such a critical position.

He's more of a thrower than a passer, and I would say his mechanics/footwork are on par with what I'd expect to see out of a first-year starter as a sophomore at the college level.

I think the play of Michael Vick (and Josh Freeman) this season is likely to make Newton's stock higher than it probably should. Some teams will want to bring in a similarly big, athletic playmaking QB, and Newton certainly is that. But I have no reason to believe that at some point in his career when he is asked to be able to efficiently and consistently manage a football game, he will be able to do that. And there will be a point where he will be asked to do that. We had to wait 10 years before Vick reached that point, and we haven't seen it yet from Young. Freeman is showing he can do it. But 1 for 3 isn't a good enough percentage, not when the next 5-10 years of your franchise will largely hinge on whether this pick is a hit or miss.

Of the potentially QB needy teams in Round 1, MIN, JAC, and BUF are the only teams that I think I would consider good fits for Newton, mainly because they already have a veteran QB in place for at least 1 season, and they all have good enough running games that can keep Newton from having to throw to win. But I still worry like with Vince Young that 3 years down the road, when he's at the point in his career where he needs to show the work ethic, drive, and commitment to really make those jumps forward, he may not have it. I would only be able to learn that through face to face interaction with him, which I won't ever get, but based off what he does between the white lines, I doubt he has that.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:02 am 
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Okay, I just watched 3 Boise State games (vs. Idaho, Fresno State, and Nevada).

QB Kellen Moore, Boise State (Junior)
Okay, I've become a fan of Kellen Moore. The player he reminds me the most of is Drew Brees. I'll put him toe to toe with any QB in the country as far as what it takes from the neck up to play in the pros. HIs accuracy, awareness, anticipation, and recognition are second to none. And I mean that, NONE. Andrew Luck could learn some things from him. But all his struggles will be physical at the next level, and I can't underestimate that they will be some serious obstacles to overcome. His lack of size (6-0/185) hurts him a lot, and he's going to have to put on 20+ pounds of muscle before he's at a level where you think he can take an NFL punishment. BUt he's helped by the fact that like Brees, he has very good pocket mobility, able to step up and find throwing lanes. His arm strength is another obstacle. It's not bad, but it's just not good and at this point I would say that it's a shade below that of Chad Pennington. Like Pennington, he's going to struggle throwing down the field in the pros. He's good at the deep balls in college because he throws it up high and his guys can just run under it when they are in single coverage, but he won't have those opportunities too many times in the pros. But I think if he can get into a situation where he can sit and learn in an offense, and have the time to work on his arm strength and bulk up, then he should have a long NFL career.

QB Nathan Enderle, Idaho
Enderle you could say is the opposite of Moore in that he has the size and arm that NFL scouts love, but very little of the smarts. He stares down his receivers, doesn't throw with great accuracy or anticipation, and really struggles when you force him to move in the pocket. If a team can stash him on the bench for a couple of years, he might have the tools to be a competent No. 2 guy, but he shows none of the cerebral qualities one would expect to see in a four-year starter which suggests his intangibles and intelligence are on the very low end.

QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
He's got great combo of size, arm, and athleticism. And he's a great college player, but I'm not sure it translates to the pros. He just doesn't make great decisions. He's a player I've watched since his freshman year, and while he's better, it's not night and day difference in terms of his decision making. If you can confine him to the pocket, and prevent him from using his legs you can force him into some mistakes. I think he's a guy that I would probably advise him that his future is probably better to return to baseball than playing pro football.

QB Ryan Colburn, Fresno State
He has nice size (6-3/220), but the southpaw has limited arm strength. His mobility is decent which probably allows him to make more plays than his accuracy, anticipation, etc. should allow him. He's a guy that outside a slim hope at a practice squad spot if he impresses a team with his work ethic he has a very limited future in the NFL and probably is better off trying his hand in the CFL.

WR Titus Young, Boise State
A nice prospect, but I think is a bit overrated at this point. He's 170 pounds and plays like he's 170 pounds, meaning he's going to be small at the next level. 3rd tier CBs have little trouble tackling him when they can actually hit him. But that's not that easy to do because of his speed and burst. And while he shines as a deep threat at Boise State, I don't think he's going to be nearly as effective in the pros because of his so-so ball skills and lack of ideal height. In order to get the separation to make the deep grab, you often see him pushing off downfield and he doesn't attack the ball in the air. He has nice hands, but not great hands. He's a guy that I think can be a stud kickoff returner at the next level and a nice No. 3 option, but I don't see him as the dynamic offensive weapon that some see him as.

TE Virgil Green, Nevada
I'll be curious to see what Green measures at the Combine. He's listed at 6-5/240, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if he winds up measuring 6-2/228. He looks very small and it's why I think he'll be limited in the pros. Maybe if the Colts get their hands on him, he can be a decent No. 2 TE, but I think for most teams he'll be a No. 3 guy that works at H-back. Good hands, nice speed, and gives effort as a blocker, but not a guy that I think can create matchup problems as a receiver or as a blocker.

OG Nate Potter, Boise State (Junior)
He plays LT for Boise State, but won't be able to stick there in the pros. Just has too slow feet, struggles adjusting in space, and doesn't have a good enough punch on the edge to handle speed. In all three of the games, he struggled against the speed rushes of the opponents. He can move inside in a zone-blocking scheme. He's a nice run blocker that if he can add some more bulk he could be a solid interior guy. At the least he should be a good reserve/stopgap starter. I would compare him to former BSU LT Daryn Colledge in terms of his NFL prospects.

OG John Bender, Nevada
He's huge (6-8/325), but might be too big for his own good. He doesn't play with great pop as a run blocker, and takes too much effort to deliver a punch. Needs to improve his hand placement in a short area, and probably gets by because he's so big. Not very athletic and it shows in pass protection. Has some ability to develop as a backup OG in a zone-blocking scheme.

DE Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State
If he can bulk up some (6-4/270), he has a future in a 3-4 scheme at DE. But even then, he'll just be a rotational guy. He fits well in Boise State, but lacks the burst and speed off the corner to impact as a pass rusher and gets by because of his motor. He also got some work in the Fresno State game as a TE in a goalline situation. And there's a chance that his future may be there as a blocking TE, as he did a nice job getting leverage.

OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada
Has a very explosive first step off the corner to think he can impact as a situational pass rusher as a 4-3 DE. But he's undersized (6-1/235), and will need to bulk up quite a bit to get by there. And even so, he'll be very limited as a role player. Could be a good role player like Robert Mathis. As a LB prospect is where his best potential lies as an every down player, but I think he's more of a straight-line guy than a guy that can show the hips and range to drop off into coverage. His awareness, recognition, and ability to take on blocks are lacking.

OLB Chris Carter, Fresno State
I think I like him a bit more than Moch and they have similar size. He's not as explosive as Moch, but he has a very good first step. I think he's a bit more active and physical vs. the run, although he gets pushed around quite a bit. But I think his motor is better. I think his learning curve to play OLB is probably lower, although he has less potential to play DE than Moch.

CB Brandyn Thompson, Boise State
He looked very good vs. Idaho, but got beat quite a bit vs. Nevada. I think he's a guy that projects well in the zone, but may be limited in man because he doesn't have ideal awareness, instincts, or burst to match up. He's willing in run support, but he's undersized there (5-10/180) and will miss more stops than he makes. I think he can stick as a nickel corner, but unless he has Brent Grimes work ethic, he's not going to be more than that.

S Jeron Johnson, Boise State
He's a tough player that I like, but he'll be limited at the next level, at least initially. He's small (5-10/195) and it shows in run support. He'll throw his weight around, but he's not a great tackler when it comes to breaking down, wrapping up and making open field stops. He shows nice ball skills to play centerfield in coverage, so he has potential to develop there, although he doesn't have the ideal speed and range you want to see in an impact FS. But he can stick right away because he is a very good special teams player. I would say he's a blend of Thomas DeCoud and Erik Coleman.

SS Shiloh Keo, Idaho
Shows the size and toughness you like as an enforcer in the secondary. But he'll give up some plays in coverage, but flashes enough there where you think he wouldn't be bad covering the tight end over the middle. A good athlete that has good speed. He should at the least be a good backup SS if he can shine on special teams, but may not have the coverage ability you like in a starter.

K Kyle Brotzman, Boise State
His misses vs. Nevada withstanding, he's not a great kicker prospect. His accuracy is good, but not great. And his FG range even indoors goes only up to 50 yards. If he can't hit the clutch kicks either, then he'll be hard-pressed to stick in the pros. If he can hang around for a few summers, I think he could be a decent stopgap kicker for some team during the season, but lacks the skills to think he can really stick long-term.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:44 pm 
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I've watched Delaware QB Pat Devlin in these past two playoff games, and I have to say I've been impressed. Enough to rate him on par with Christian Ponder and ahead of senior QBs like Greg McElroy and Ricky Stanzi.

He has a strong arm, that reminds me with his quick release of Aaron Rodgers. He does a good job going through is progressions as you'll see him scanning the entire field and going from his first to second and even to third reads on a fairly consistent basis.

This does cause him to hold onto the ball a bit too long at times. And I haven't seen the sort of mobility within the pocket to move around, slide, and find throwing lanes. He took a couple of sacks vs. New Hampshire for this reason. So he might be a guy like a Kerry Collins that will take a bunch of sacks. The fact that he takes almost every snap out of the shotgun also doesn't help him with his pocket presence and footwork.

His accuracy is good and he shows nice anticipation. He'll be late on some throws, and he can be a bit off due to sloppy footwork. But I think because of his solid field vision, he's going to be an accurate QB at the next level.

The championship game isn't until January 7, but if he has another solid performance in that game, I think he might move past Ponder to be my second rated senior QB behind Jake Locker. Ultimately I think I would say he's a less mobile version of Rodgers that if you give him a year or two to sit the bench and tweak things he can come into the league and be one of the better starters in the league. If there is any question marks about him, it's his character/intangibles. And I think because he's a smart, accurate QB that it's not a lack. But whether he's a guy that has the leadership potential to be more like a Matt Ryan or is he more of a Matt Schaub.

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 Post subject: Re: 2010 Scouting Open Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:49 pm 
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I taped the Division III Championship game between Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union yesterday and watched it this morning to see Mt. Union WR Cecil Shorts III, who entered the season as a Top 10 WR according to some draft sites.

I came away impressed. He has decent size (6-0/190) with a thin build, but he's a smooth athlete with good speed and burst. He has nice hands and ball skills, but his main weapon is that burst & quickness that allows him to make plays downfield, be a factor after the catch, and get separation from defenders. Granted, he was going up against Division III level talent, but at least he was obviously the best athlete on the field. He even played two series at QB, and apparently played that position in high school. He made some nice throws, but obviously I don't think he has much of a future at QB. But it at least allows him some versatility that teams can put him in the wildcat and he can be a legit option to throw the ball. The two knocks I have against him are that he isn't super big and I'm not sure he is going to be hold up on the outside, so he probably projects better as a slot receiver. The other was his ball security. Twice he fumbled the ball when he was playing QB because he didn't do a good job securing the ball against his body when he was scrambling. He carried the ball in his inside hand on the first one, and a simple hit jarred it loose. Another he was stripped from behind again because he was carrying it away from his body. He also works as a returner, but he didn't do much in this game, although with his speed/quicks he should be able to do that well. He did muff a punt that went out of bounds, as well as made a poor decision fielding a punt inside the 3 yard-line.

I wonder if the buzz on him going into this season was higher because of Pierre Garcon, who also went to Mount Union, and the expectations that Garcon was going to be a solid starter for the Colts this year. Well Garcon has played pretty poorly this year, and I wonder if that will hurt Shorts stock.

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