Archive for November, 2011

Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler-

Brock Osweiler is an extremely gifted and rare NFL prospect and athlete who is continuing to develop and gain starting experience. Osweiler's upside is unparalled as he shows the type of intangibles and physical ability to become a top pick when he declares.

Brock Osweiler is a uniquely rare and extremely special and gifted athlete, football player, and quarterback. I say this because Osweiler stands an enormous 6-8 240 lbs. and looks more like a TE or OT than he does a QB. Despite all this, Osweiler’s physical ability and overall athleticism is nowhere near lacking. Brock even received a scholarship to play basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but eventually chose football when he realized his immense potential as a QB. Osweiler shows more than adequate ability to escape the pocket and his top end speed and ability to scramble when the play breaks down makes him an extremely valuable and potent asset to his respective team. His 6-8 frame allows him to scan the entire field and overlook his offensive line with relative ease. Then there is this interesting nugget from ESPN Stats, “In 90 NFL seasons, only 13 quarterbacks taller than 6’5″ have ever played a down. And none of them has ever started 75 games or thrown for 100 TDs. If there were a Hall of Fame  devoted to tall quarterbacks, the first-ballot selections would be 6’6 passers Derek Anderson, Scott Mitchell and Marc Wilson.” A few others recently joined this list as well, including current players Joe Flacco (Ravens), Josh Freeman (Buccaneers), and Ryan Mallett (Patriots), respectively. The verdict is still out on many of these players listed, but we are starting to see a trend of relatively good QB’s who are taller than normal make their way into the NFL and find relative success to this date. Osweiler looks to be next in this list of QB’s and may very well end up becoming the best due to his physical skill-set. Brock has an extremely gifted arm as he shows plenty of zip on intermediate to long throws and is most impressive with his general accuracy and ball placement. Last night I couldn’t help at be astonished at how accurate Osweiller was, particularily on his deep ball where he consistently put his throws in the only place his receiver could make the play on it. Although Osweiler’s numbers weren’t overly impressive last night going 21/37 for 264 yds, with 3 td’s and two int’s, Osweiler hit many receivers in stride who were unable to haul in the pass that could have drastically changed the outcome of the game. With all of this said Osweiler still has some developing to do, particularily in the areas of decision making and overall pocket awareness as he tends to force and telegraph his throws at times and drop his eyes when faced with pressure. Osweiler is still gaining experience and it was encouraging to see him stand tall in the pocket and deliver strikes with trash at his feet and defenders delivering blows to his body. You can tell Osweiler has progressed this year and I have very little doubt from what I saw last night that he will not become a very high NFL Draft prospect as he continues to develop. Osweiler should be one of the top if not the top QB in the 2013 draft, should he declare after next season.

Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict-

Burfict plays with a level of aggressiveness and intensity that sometimes gets him in trouble, but his athletic ability and skill-set make him an enticing player for teams who can see past the baggage and see the potential.

Let me just say this about Burfict, dude is an absolute beast. He has incredible size, listed at 6-3 250 lbs. and displays the type of overall athleticism you would usually only find in players of much smaller stature. Burfict is explosive and can cover a lot of ground quickly. Last night’s game was a little hard to get a read on Burfict as he seems to be playing much more conservatively to avoid costly penalties that can have a negative impact on his team and his draft position. Luckilly, we already know Burfict has all the physical abilities in the world to succeed at the next level, however there are many issues he will need to correct to become a better overall player. Burfict has been labled as some what of a head hunter and dirty player who’s attentions go far beyond taking down the ball carrier. Due to this intense and aggresive style of play Burfict has been targeted many times by referees as this was in full effect last night. Vontaze was consistently targeted as the opossing team and referees were enticing and antagonizing Bufict all night waiting for him to slip up, and when he did they were there to slap him with some unwaranted personal foul penalties. This has affected Burfict’s play lately as he appears tentative and afraid to make a mistake, thus taking him away from his true playing style. In last night’s game it was apparent Burfict wasn’t hustling or playing with the same type of intensity that we have seen from him in the past, and while I agree that he tends to play a little out of control sometimes, the referees don’t need to target him as much as they have in the past few games. Burfict physical capabilities are striking, however he will need to play more within himself  to avoid costly fines and suspensions that could come his way as he tends to lead with the crown of his helmet at times. Burfict is also usually a pretty good tackler as well, but his over-agressive nature sometimes takes him out of the play as he fails to break down quickly enough to get into tackling position. Burfict definitely has the strength to bring down ball carriers with just a shoulder or arm, however I would like to see him work on his tackling form to become a better overall linebacker and player. Burfict also needs to do a little better job reading his keys and trusting his eyes as he sometimes fails to diagnose the play quickly enough. One thing that has impressed me is how difficult he makes it for opposing players to take him out of the play, Burfict is incredibly slippery and hard to engage as he moves aroud and through trash effectively. I still need to see more of Burficts overall game to see what kind of player he can become in coverage as I haven’t seen enough film just yet to make an assumption of his skill-set in this area. Burfict has a ton of potential but comes with a lot of question marks, so the team who drafts him will need to be careful he doesn’t commit costly penalties and become a targeted player like Ndumukong Suh has become in the NFL.

California WR Keenan Allen-

Keenan Allen is an emerging force in the Pac-10 who displays all the ability and potential to become as good as he wants to be.

Keenan Allen is a special player with a very bright future. This was the first time I have seen Allen play and I came away more than impressed. Allen is a gifted runner in the open field and it is easy to see he has the vision and overall ability to create yards after the catch. Allen posesses a good frame at 6-3 205 lbs and will look to develop more size and strength in subsequent seasons as he is only a Sophomore. Watching Allen it is plain to see he has exciting ability to create plays in the open field. He is an extremely effective cut-back runner who shows a unique ability to see cut-back lanes and read/follow his blocks nicely. I don’t believe Allen posesses break away speed but that is not to say he can’t beat you deep/stretch the field and use his big frame and body control to shield himself from the defender and the ball. From what I saw in last nights game, Allen also runs very crisp routes and is very sudden in and out of his breaks as he does a good job keeping the defender honest. It was also encouraging to see Allen working hard out on the edge to block for his team-mates and it was obvious to see he takes great pride in this part of his game.  Allen still has room to grow, but the future for this kid is bright…he may already be the best WR in the Pac-10. Keenan will go onto become the best WR to come out of California since Desean Jackson (Eagles), it will be fun to watch him and QB Zach Maynard develop chemistry over the next season or two.

California RB Isi Sofele-

Isi Sofele is a diminutive back who runs hard with passion and reminds some of former Pac-10 RB's Justin Forsett (Seahawks) and JaQuizz Rodgers (Falcons).

Sofele was extremely impressive in last night’s game and has been enjoying a very solid Junior season with the Golden Bears rushing for 1,266 yds to date and 9 td’s. Sofele has a compact and small build and is bit of a diminutive back, however he runs hard and is not afraid of contact. Sofele is in every essence a scat-back who hits the hole hard and can become an effective 3rd down back in my opinnion at the next level. I would like to see him become more of a pass catcher out of the backfield, but his overall skill-set is very favorable to former Pac-10/Oregon State RB Jaquizz Rodgers (Falcons). Rodgers went on to become a 5th round pick and I could see Sofele falling right around that range (5th-6th) after his Senior season. Sofele reminds me much of former Cal RB and current Seattle Seahawks RB Justin Forsett as well, who is built very similar to Sofele who stands at a very strong 5-8 190 lbs. Sofele is an exciting player to watch and I encourage you to pay attention to him the rest of this year’s and next’s, although his upside is limited due to lack of size. I still want to see him be more effective between the tackles as he is absolutely dangerous once he gets outside on the edge. Pass catching and pass blocking are also areas I need to see more of, but Sofele will find a home in the NFL, and will present good value for a team looking for a scat back type RB who runs with a lot of passion and suprisingly good power and pad level.

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This was one of my most favorite games to scout to this point in the college football season. That’s because we got to see two of the best linebacker prospects playing on one field in ND’s Manti Teo and BC’s Luke Kuechly. Both of these prospects are unique and awfully gifted, but for much different reasons. They are different players with Manti Teo standing 6-2 255 lbs and Luke Kuechly coming in at 6-2 235 lbs. Each has their own special skill set that will make them attractive to certain teams and the defensive schemes they run, it will just depend which player fits that scheme better. Lets get into each of these linebackers particular strengths and weaknesses as linebackers at the collegiate level and see how their sklls will transfer over once they enter the NFL.

Notre Dame LB Manti Teo-

Manti Teo is an extremely gifted linebacker who's downhill aggressive playing style will entice 3-4 teams looking for a mike LB with all the tools to become great.

Lets begin with one of the greatest strengths of Manti Teo’s overall game as a linebacker. Instincts and the ability to recognize and read your keys and then drive to the football is something both Teo and Kuechly do exceptionally well. You can tell that Manti Teo is an incredibly smart player who not only knows what to look for when analyzing the information in front of him, but also shows great discipline and knowledge in gap control defense. Manti Teo is very rarely caught out of position and understands how to play team defense, which is something that is very important not only on this level but the next. Teo is a downhill defender who attacks the LOS with reckless abandon and is not scared to take on lead blocks and stick his nose in a pile. This physicality and willingness to sacrifice his body is incredible to see and something that really intrigues teams running a defense predicated on having LB’s who can fill a hole and disrupt a play in the backfield. Another area in which Teo excels is in blitzing and getting after the QB. Teo does a very good job at timing his blitzes and shows great closing speed and acceleration to get into the backfield in a hurry. On more than one occassion last night we saw just how effective Teo can be a blitzing the QB as he was able to disrupt the timing, and hurry the throws of ND QB Tommy Rees before the play had fully developed. Teo is such an aggressive linebacker that sometimes it will play against him as he can get caught out of position or sealed off from the play entirely. Although rare, this is something Teo will have to work on to become a more disciplined overall player. At times last night and the game I scouted Teo before (ND vs. USC), Teo was a little quick to diagnose the play and therefore got sucked up into the wash on PA passes. It is in this area that Teo has to play a little more disciplined to become an elite NFL prospect. In coverage Teo shows good overall ability at gaining depth on his drops and reading the QB’s eyes and overall body movements. However, Teo is not as gifted in coverage as a Luke Kuechly, which we will get into later, but shows good overall awareness for players entering or attacking his zone. Teo does have a tendency to play a little flat footed in coverage at times and will need to improve on not stopping his feet or becoming frozen when the QB uses pump fakes or shoulder movements to open up holes and passing lanes in coverage. Manti Teo is a very sound and fierce hitter as he shows a great ability to break down and play with good pad level in getting lower than his opponent when tackling. Teo, however does need to do a better job of not dropping his head when wrapping up the ball carrier to avoid costly injuries to the neck and head that can result from poor tackling form. Overall Teo displays a great ability to take down the ball carrier consistently and plays very fast but in control at all times…he is the real deal. I love Teo’s overall skill set and think he will make for a very good to great linebacker in the NFL. Teo will be able to stick in the middle and shows a very good fit for a 3-4 defense but can also line up in a 4-3 if need be. However, I believe his best fit is in the 3-4 where his downfield attacking style of play can be most effective/utilized. Manti Teo will be a hot commodity in next years draft should he declare, and will have an outside chance of cracking the top 10 when it’s all said and done.

Boston College LB Luke Kuechly-

Luke Kuechly's instincts and overall awareness against the run and in coverage make him a perfect fit for a Cover 2 scheme in the NFL.

Luke Kuechly is a player who displays an incredible overall feel for the game. Kuechly trusts his eyes very well and is very quick to read and diagnose plays. Luke is also very rarely caught out of position as he trusts his instincts and is nearly always around the football making a tackle. In this game Kuechly registered his 33rd consecutive game in which he garnered double digit tackles. Luke Kuechly is an absolute tackling maching who pursues and flows to the football very well/naturally, although he can sometimes get caught up in the wash by bigger OL. Kuechly shows unique instincts not only as a tackler, but also as a player who moves well laterally while staying clean to make his way to the football. Kuechly does an incredible job of avoiding blocks while never losing sight of where the ball is and which angle is the most desirable to make his way to the ball carrier. At first I had thought that Kuechly may not display the overall range and athletic ability to play sideline to sideline and be able to stay at MLB in the NFL. That notion was very clearly and quickly made moot by Kuechly who shows a more than capable burst and overall acceleration to make plays all over the field and chase down ball carriers from behind. Although he may not display the type of athleticism as Manti Teo, Kuechly has more than enough to make plays all over the field. In coverage Luke Kuechly really excels and displays the ability to be a very reliable/dependable LB who can play on all downs (3 down LB). Kuechly shows incredible awareness and comfort when setting into his drops. He always looks in control and is very quick to pick up players coming into/threatining his zone. Kuechly does an incredible job of reading the QB’s eyes and shows very capable change of direction skills to flip his hips, plant his foot in the ground, and drive to the football once it is released. This may be one of my favorite strengths of Kuechly’s overall game and shows the type of ability he has to become an every down LB at the next level. Luke Kuechly is a very sure wrap down tackler who alomost always stops the momentum of the ball carrier moving forward. However, Kuechly does sometimes tend to hit a little high and needs to drop his hips more to gain better overall leverage on the ball carrier. It is very hard to gauge just how good of a blitzing LB Kuechly is as he is not asked to do that much if ever for BC. Kuechly’s game is much more predicated on using his eyes to diagnose plays and get into position to make the tackle, rather than getting after the QB as a pass rushing LB in my opinnion. Kuechly’s overall skill set makes him a very enticing MLB in a 4-3 defense, particularally in  a cover 2 where his ability to cover a large amount of area as a dropping LB can be utilized most effectivley. Kuechly is an incredibly gifted LB who will make an NFL team very happy. His game is very much reminiscent of Barrett Rudd in my oppinion, but I also see a little Brian Urlacher in him, although he doesnt possess the height, weight, speed ratio of this future hall of famer. With that said Kuechly is a very safe player who will do very well for himself at the next level and find himself at the top of the NFL’s total tackle list on a yearly basis.

Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd-

Michael Floyd displays the type of elite athleticism and run after catch ability to become a legitimate threat in the passing game.

Floyd stands at 6-3 225 lbs. and displays unbelievable quickness/acceleration ability, making him a unique threat as a WR with great RAC ability. Floyd finished this game with 10 catches for 92 yds. and proved to be very useful and explosive on slip/quick screens where he could make plays in the open field. Michael Floyd is a long strider who covers a lot of ground and eats up cushions quickly. BC did a good job of bracketing Floyd and keeping him contained in this game, although there were a couple times he slipped behind coverage. This shows me that BC has incredible respect for Floyd’s deep speed…he isn’t neccesarilly as fast as he is quick and sudden. This is a unique player who can stretch the field and be a very scary player on underneath routes, as he can beat you with his sheer athlteticism and strength as a WR looking to make yards after the catch. Another area that was impressive and has been impressive all season is the dedication and effort Floyd has displayed this year when blocking down the field. Floyd is beginning to show that he can become an all around player who takes pride in not only making an impact in the passing game, but the running game as well. Floyd also showed good spacial awareness with a couple catches along the sidelines that looked very effortless and natural for him. He shows strong hands but did have a drop when he didn’t look the ball into his hands with a LB coming down on him to make the hit. I need to see more of Floyd and really see him show the type of concentration, body control,  and route running to become an elite reciever. I love the way Floyd came back to the ball and attacked it in the air, however due to the lack of downfield throws I am not ready to proclaim him a top 10 pick just yet…although the skill appears to be there. Floyd appears to be right there with OSU WR Justin Blackmon as one of the best WR in the entire country, which should make him a high draft pick next April.

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert-

Tyler Eifert is still developing some aspects of his game, but shows great hands and athleticism to become a solid prospect.

Tyler Eifert took over for former TE Tyler Rudolph who went on to become a 2nd round pick for the Minnesota Vikings in last year’s draft and has not looked back since. Eifert shows impressive size at 6-5 250 lbs. and looks like he has the ability to add another 10-15 lbs. of muscle to his frame. Eifert shows a nice ability to release cleanly from the LOS and can become a threat to stretch the field with above average top end speed. I have been very impressed with Eiferts hands and concentration this year as he has routinely made catches away from his body. Last night he made an incredible one hand stab along the right sidelines. This play showed me just how much physical talent and skill this big man has as a receiver down the field. Efiert also fights for extra yards and showed the type of physicality to fight for a first down that make him a valuable commodity for the Notre Dame offense. An area Eifert will need to improve on is in the run game where he shows the ability to stand up to bigger DL but often loses the battle at the P.O.A. Eifert shows great effort but still needs to develop the strength and overall technique to take on these bigger blockers and become a reliable in line blocker at the next level. With that said I absolutely love Eiferts versatility to line up inside or outside and become a mismatch who uses his big body very well to shield defenders from him and the ball. This makes Eifert an extremely good player you can count on to work the short to intermediate routes and become a useful safety valve over the middle of the field. I believe Eifert has a very bright future but would be wise to come back to school for another season. He still needs to become a more effective in line blocker and could use the extra year to develop more strength and weight to his frame. Eifert will be a player to watch next year and could become the top overall TE prospect if he’s willing to put in the extra work and become the type of player he has the capability of becoming.

Georgia OG/OT Cordy Glenn-

Cordy Glenn has great size and suprisingly good feet and mobility. However, he needs to play with better pad level and aggresiveness to truely excite scouts.

Cordy Glenn is a massive human being at 6-5 350 lbs. Glenn’s impressive size gives him a natural advantage as a blocker, however I would like to see him sink his hips and drop his butt more when setting into pass protection (plays too upright). Glenn showed the ability to handle the LT position in this game, although it is apparent his game is most suited inside at the guard position. However, I have not ruled out the inability for Glenn to become an effective right tackle in the NFL just yet. One of the reasons for this was Glenn’s suprisingly nimble feet for a man his size as well as his ability to mirror his defender and shuffle his feet to get into position nicely. Glenn has shown that he struggles with speed rushers who can beat him on the edge at times this season, however he has been forced to play the LT position due to the inexperience on the Bulldogs offensive line this season. When watching Glenn I get the feeling that he could get more out of his impressive frame by using his long arms more effectively to keep defenders away from his body. Technique wise Glenn needs some work and I was underwhelmed by his lack of aggresiveness in the run game, although there were a few flashes that showed his ability to be a road grader. I dont know if its just the system Georgia runs but I prefer seeing Glenn use his big body to create and open up holes. I get the feeling that he gets pleasure when allowed to finish his blocks on power runs and use his sheer size and strength to over-power his opponent. This makes me believe his true position will be at guard in the NFL, however he may just have the versatility to man the RT position if need be. Glenn’s stock would obviously get a boost if this is the case, however I will need to see more of him to get a better understanding of his overall skill set and whether or not he has the ability to man the RT position in the NFL. Glenn also pulled and got out in fron on a few occassions in this game. He was a little slow coming out of his stance but once this big man gets up to full speed he can be a scary person to step out in front on, as he was able to get just enough of his man to create some room to run for his RB. I still need to see more from Glenn, but his play somewhat reminds me of Vikings OT Phil Loadholt who has become a pretty good player for Minnesota. Currently I would give Cordy Glenn an early 2nd round grade.

Georgia TE Orson Charles-

Orson Charles lacks legitimate NFL size to play the TE position. However, he shows a lot of heart and effort in run blocking and can stretch the field.

Charles struggled to get open and make an impact in tonight’s game. Given his size, which is listed at a mere 6-3 240 lbs. it is not hard to imagine Charles struggling to get off the LOS at the next level. There is no doubt that Charles presents a unique mis-match in the passing game due to his ability to stretch the field, but I was surprised to see him come up so ineffective in making plays down the field in this game. As far as blocking goes I was actually impressed with the effort and technique Orson showed when asked to run block. Charles works hard to sustain blocks as long as possible, takes good angles, and knows how to use hand placement to steer and gain leverage on his opponent. With that being said, Charles is not the type of TE prospect that you use on running plays as he will never truely be able to neutralize his opponent, although he does play with great effort in this area which is nice to see. This severly limits Orson’s value in my oppinion as he is pre-dominantly a pass catching TE and far from complete. Due to the NFL’s switch to a more pass-heavy scheme however, Charles is playing in an era where players such as him are considered valuable in their ability to create mis-matches. If Orson can go into the right system where an OC can take advantage of his unique ability to stetch the field and line up 1 on 1 with a LB, he just might make an impact at the next level. This will be dependent on Charles ability to release from the LOS and not get knocked off his routes. I need to see more of Charles as well before I get an idea of his pass catching ability, however he will have to show much more than he did tonight to get my approval as a top 50 player.

Georgia LB/DE Jarvis Jones-

Jarvis Jones displays impressive athleticism and the ability to bend the edge. He needs to develop more strengh and learn to turn speed into power to truely become a dynamic pass rushing OLB

Jarvis Jones and the whole Georgia defense forced tremendous pressure on Auburn QB Clint Moeseley. Jones showed impressive get-off and quickness/acceleration repeatedly as he was able to bend the edge and force Moseley to climb the pocket. One thing that really stood out to me was the hustle Jones showed throughout the game, as he never gave up on the play and pursued the ball relentlessly. Jones also did a good job timing his blitzes and showed the ability to stick his foot in the ground and change directions with relative ease as he twisted into open gaps when initially showing outside pressure. Measured at 6-3 235 lbs I’m not sure his frame will allow him to play DE in a 4-3 scheme unless he seriously bulks up, but his best fit is definitely going to be at OLB where his blitzing skills can be utilized to their full potential. Only a sophomore Jones is not yet a complete player. I need to see more of him dropping into coverage as well as how well he sheds blocks to make plays in the running game. Jones is still yet developing strength and doesn’t show the type of ability just yet to bull rush and turn speed into power as a pass rusher. With that said I have very little doubt that Jones cannot become a very good pass rusher due to his supreme athleticism and long arms/nice frame. The next year or two should be fun to see how this kid develops…if he can develop more functional strength and learn how to create leverage using his long arms, look out this kid could be something special.

Georgia C Ben Jones-

Ben Jones does a good job pulling and getting to the 2nd level. He plays with passion, intensity, and enthusiasm for the game and should become an adequate NFL starter at the next level.

Standing 6-3 315 lbs Jones has good size to play the C position in the NFL. Jones also has tons of starting experience dating back to his freshman season and to this point has started an astounding 45 games at center for the Georgia Bulldogs. Ben Jones has the unique ability to become an effective pulling center who routinely gets to the 2nd level to spring a block. One issue I did have in this game however was Jones tendency to cut/chop block and dive at the feet of the defender to take them out of the play. I would much rather see Jones engage his defender to take them out of the play, however he did do his job so I can’t complain too much (just want to see him not lunge as much in the run game). One thing I also noticed is that Jones has the tendency to twist his upper body when engaged with his defender one on one at the point of attack. This tells me that he still needs to develop more strength and play with greater leverage to really move his defender off the ball. He does a good job sustaining his blocks, just needs more polish in how to get under his defender and drive them out of the play. Ben Jones is also the player who was kicked out of last season’s Auburn game after defending his QB Andy Murray for repeated “cheap shots” by then Auburn DT Nick Fairley (Detroit Lions). Learning this made me appreciate the type of player Jones is and the edge and passion Jones displays in defending his teammate’s. I think there are better C prospects out there in this year’s draft, but you will do just fine with a player like Ben Jones. He has everthing it takes to become a starting center in the NFL, just not the type of upside as a player like Peter Konz.  With that said Jones is a Solid and durable prospect that will find a home as a starting center in the NFL.

*Ben Jones was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the week for his play against Auburn this past weekend. Marking his second consecutive week in a row to hold this honor. I will be highlighting the prospects for Auburn at a later date as I wanted to focus on some of the Georgia players who stood out in this post.

Thanks again for reading my analysis, I look forward to providing you with many more.

-Brandon-

McNutt's overall skill-set and size will make him an intriguing option in the upcoming NFL Draft

Iowa WR Marvin McNutt-

McNutt shows good size measured at 6-4 215 lbs and displays very good arm length (wingspan) to naturaly pluck balls away from his body. His natural hands are a great asset and he possesses the type of frame and body control to shield defenders from himself and the ball. McNutt impacted the game positively for the Hawkeyes and showed the natural ability to be the featured target for his QB all day. McNutt shows deceptive speed and does a good job releasing off the LOS (line of scrimmage) as well as the type of quickness and agility in his routes to gain seperation. His savy route running and ability to mis-guide defenders with his head fakes and body language is also one of the aspects to McNutt’s game that make him a valuable threat to get open on short, intermediate, and long routes. McNutt’s long strides eat up cushions quickly as he is able to close the gap between him and his defender with his long strides. Marvin was used on end-arounds in this game as well, and showed natural vision and burst to be an effective runner when the ball is in his hands. I also came away impressed with McNutt’s hands and concentration as he made a one handed stab that showed the type of  hand eye coordination and concentration that makes him a specail athlete and overall player. McNutt is a player I have had my eyes on for a while and he has really come on this year while becoming Iowa’s all-time leading reciever in yards and touchdowns for a career. McNutt is definitely a player on the rise who could wind up making his way into the 2nd round as a player who shows the ability to become either a #1 or #2 WR in the NFL.

Iowa OT Riley Reiff-

Despite not being a finished product, Reiff possesses the tools to become next in line of great former Iowa offensive lineman to make their way to the NFL

Riley Reiff stands as one of the best OT prospects in college football right now, partly due to him impressive size at 6-6 300 lbs.Reiff also shows a good build with solid arm length to keep defenders away from his body. As a former all-state wrestler Reiff has very functional playing strength and consistently over-powers defenders who challenge him one on one. In today’s game I saw many things I liked and some things I think he could improve on. Starting with the areas he did well on, I was very impressed with how Reiff finishes his blocks and always keeps his feet chopping through the whistle. This type of hustle and effort does not go unnoticed by NFL Scouts and personnel men, and is one of the aspects of Reiff’s game that you absolutely love. Another aspect of his game that was noticeable was his ability to mirror his opponent and anchor his feet in the ground when being bull-rushed. Once locked on to his defender Reiff shows a great ability to control his man by playing with a solid base and leverage, making him a very tough guy to move/get around once he has his hands on you. On the other hand I saw that Reiff tends to play a little out of control at times and does not always stay balanced throughout his blocking assignments. Reiff has a tendency to shuffle his feet on his kick out, bringing them too close together and leaving him susceptible for a split second to be knocked off balance by more experienced pass rushers. Although this did not affect him in this game necessarily, it is definitely something that will be exposed once he makes the leap to more talented pass rushers who can expose this weakness. When engaged with his defender, Reiff at times will get his weight a little too far in front of himself and needs to sit back and keep his weight balanced. Far too many times he looks to make the first contact and needs to show the type of patience to let the defender come to him. The good news is that many of these things are correctable; however he will need a coach who can teach him how to play with a little better technique. Currently I think Reiff’s best fit in the NFL is on the right side, due to the fact that he is not the most fleet of foot and could stand to improve as a better pass protector in some areas. With that said, this was only my first game watching Reiff so I cannot be too critical of him as a player just quite yet. It should also be noted that he was highly effective shutting down a good pass rusher in Michigan State’s William Gholston, who has really come on as of late. Currently I would rate Riley Reiff a little better than former Iowa Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga, who was drafted #23 overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 NFL Draft

Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins-

Kirk Cousins has the necessary intangables and mind-set to succeed in the NFL

This is the second game I have watched of Kirk Cousins and each time I have come away pretty impressed overall. First of all, for those who haven’t listened to Mr. Cousins speak or seen his competency to become a leader firsthand; seriously need to watch the speech he gave at this year’s Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon. Pretty impressive stuff if you ask me, but let’s get down to who this Kirk Cousins guy is as a football player. First of all I will be the first to admit that Mr. Cousins does not always show the type of arm strength and zip on his passes to get you excited about his potential to become a starting NFL QB. However, it is Cousins unique ability to put the ball where only his receiver can get it and his overall accuracy that will make him an effective QB at the next level. Routinely I have seen him put the ball away from the defender and put passes in areas to protect his receiver from the big hit. The other thing you have to like about a guy like Kirk Cousins is his experience as a starter and also his high career completion rate (64.3) and impressive TD/Int ratio (54/25). Add on top of this that he is only the second Spartan ever to be selected as Team Captain at least 3 times and you have a player with the type of intangables to succeed in the NFL. There are areas Kirk could improve in, none of which will be more important than learning how to extend the play by stepping up or climbing the pocket (pocket presence), instead of bailing on the play pre-maturely. Cousins will also need some technique work in learning how to tighten up his footwork in the pocket and quicken his release as a passer. Surely Cousins has some work to do and I’m not the guy saying he can be a starting NFL QB, however this is the type of player teams and coaches will fall in love with leading up to the draft. I have very little doubt that he won’t become at worst an adequate backup QB in the NFL with the chance to develop into a quality fill-in starter from time to time. Nevertheless, Cousins should do very well for himself in meeting the criteria set before him by former Spartan QB’s such as Brian Hoyer (Patriots) and Drew Stanton (Lions) who have gone on to be quality back-up QB’s.

Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham-

Cunningham's attitude, effort, and drive will help him stick and contribute in the NFL

Let me just say this about B.J. Cunningham….he may just be the most under-rated WR in the Big Ten Conference. Cunningham does an amazing job in helping out his QB in settling into the soft spots in coverage. He consistently works his way back to the football when the play breaks down and is a reliable receiver for his QB Kirk Cousins. The other area Cunningham excels in is his overall body awareness/control and ability to high point the football. Cunningham routinely plucks the ball away from his body and catches the ball at its highest point. Cousins shows the utmost confidence in his receiver in going to Cunningham when he needs a big play or first down. Cunningham is a natural hands catcher and the type of player who doesn’t necessarilly beat you with his athleticism and route running, but his intelligence and effort as a football player. Cunningham will struggle to gain seperation, but shows the ability to catch balls in traffic and use his more than adequate 6-2 215 lb. body to shield defenders from the football. Plain and simple B.J. Cunningham is a competitor who never gives up on the play and will find a way to contribute at the next level. I can see him becoming a good slot player as the 3rd or 4th WR on his team. Former Spartan WR Blair White was another player I was high on and astonished when he went undrafted who was overlooked by many, but has proved to be more than capable of making plays in the NFL when given the opportunity…Cunningham should enjoy similar success at the next level  due to his attitude and desire to contribute.

Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy-

Worthy needs to play with the same consistent effort he is capable of to become an elite player at the next level

Jerel Worthy posesses a physically imposing and intimidating frame at 6-4 310 lbs. Worthy showcases the type of quick first step penetration off the snap that makes him incredibly effective at getting into the backfield and making plays. Another area Worthy excels at is in the run game where he shows the natural ability to engage his opponent with good leverage, move laterally down the line of scrimmage, disengage and make the play. Worthy also consistently controls his man and shows the ability to clog up running lanes with his big body in the middle, making him an attractive option to man the NT in the 3-4 or UT in a 4-3. However, I believe his best fit is in the 4-3 scheme where his natural pass rush ability can be most utilized. Despite all this potential I have come away from watching Worthy play a little confused and unsatisfied overall. I need to see Worthy play with the type of consistency and tenacity he is capable of. Too often he dissapears for long stretches and seems to take plays off. This leads me to question his overall work ethic, attitude, and effort as a football player. It also leads me to believe he may have some stamina or weight issue concerns, which is discouraging given his abilities. Although I love Worthy’s burst of the LOS and spurts of potential he shows in making splash plays, I need to see him play with this type of passion and effort more consistently before I can make my final assesment of him. Overall my grade on him is incomplete for now, as I have seen flashes but not nearly enough to make me believe he can become the total package at the next level.

Matt Kalil posesses a rare blend of size an athleticism that make him a unique physical specimen and potential franchise LT

Grading Scale:

  1. Poor
  2. Average
  3. Above Average
  4. Very Good
  5. Elite

 

Measurables:

Matt Kalil possesses great size and length to man the position of LT in the NFL, standing 6-6 295 lbs. Kalil’s stature is physically imposing and even stands the ability to add needed weight and muscle if need be. He has extremely long arms, giving him a physical blocking advantage with a radius to keep oncoming pass rushers away from his body and his QB. Kalil could stand to add some lower body weight and strength, particularly in his hind end where he is a little flat on the backside. Matt’s height is also extremely good for a potential franchise LT and exactly the type of stature you look for in the guy responsible for protecting your teams’ greatest asset. The only reason I can’t rate Kalil as an elite physical specimen in this category is because of his lack of weight on the backside. However, I believe with time and leading up to the draft we will see Kalil add the necessary weight and possess the impressive wingspan that make him a top flight LT as far as his height and weight is concerned. For now I give Kalil a very good to elite grade in this category, but believe he comes much closer to elite once the official measurables start coming out this draft season.

 Grade: 4.5

Pass Blocking:

Matt Kalil is an extremely gifted athlete for a man his size, which is incredibly rare and hard to find in looking for a franchise LT. This is one of the things that makes Kalil such a valued commodity in scouting circles and NFL teams league-wide. His footwork is excellent and he utilizes his impressive stature and long arms to wall-off pass rushers and showcases the type of footwork, leverage, and athleticism to steer his opponent past his QB on pass rushers that threaten the edge. Kalil also shows the type of balance and patience when setting into his pass protection, always waiting for his opponent to come to him and then beating him with his impressive length and overall technique. Very rarely will you see Matt become off-balanced and let his opponent get the best of him. Matt’s technique is very solid as he plays with proper knee bend and a nice wide base while showing the ability to anchor when defenders threaten to bull-rush. Another area in pass protection Kalil excels at is his ability to slide and mirror his defender. He showcases good overall lateral agility in moving left and right, which makes him extremely effective and hard to get around as a pass rusher. One area Kalil could stand to improve on involves over-setting and giving up or making him susceptible to getting beat inside. Although this happens very rarely, Kalil will have to improve in this area to make him less susceptible to pass rushers who flash the necessary quickness and athleticism to fake outside and come inside ala Dwight Freeny. Despite all this Kalil most definitely has the type of athleticism to recover when beaten initially by gifted pass rushers who can keep Matt off Balance by mixing in a combination of speed and power rush moves. Matt Kalil is not over powering but showcases more than enough physical strength to stymie his defender with a jolting punch move. Matt has very fast hands that allow him to get into his defenders body, however I would not consider him to play with violent hands as he is more inclined to beating you with his sound technique and physical advantage. It is very easy to see when watching Kalil pass block why he is considered a potential franchise LT.

 Grade: 4.5

Run Blocking:

Run blocking is an area of Kalil’s game that needs some polish, but he most definitely is above average in this category and somewhat under-rated by many in this regard. We have already spoken at length about Kalil’s impressive athleticism which also helps him out when asked to open up holes in the running game. Matt has the ability to pull and get out on the edge to block downfield, while showcasing the ability to take good angles, lock on to a moving defender, and take them out of the play. This is extremely beneficial to teams that look to get their runners outside on designed sweep and toss plays, knowing they have a more than competent athlete to get outside and throw a block to spring the RB through the 2nd level of the defense. An area Kalil could improve on involves his tendency to not finish blocks all the way through the whistle as he sometimes pulls up before the play is truly over. At times it seems Matt is dis-interested and does not play with the type of tenacity and aggressiveness you want in a power run blocker. Another area Kalil could stand to improve involves his tendency to push/shove and lean into his defender, rather than drive them out of the play with his feet. Although this is rare as well, I have seen Kalil do this from time to time when he believes he can get away with it. An area where Matt can excel in the run game is when asked to use kick out, seal, or angle blocks that allow him to seal the edge and open up running lanes for his RB. Here he is given the ability to drive his hands up under the shoulder pads of his opponent and really drive them out of the play with great leverage and hand usage. I know Kalil has the ability to be an extremely gifted run blocker if he wants to be, it will be up to him to really refine and work on this part of his game. When asked to get to the 2nd level Kalil shows more than enough physical and mental make-up to get the job done. However, he looks a little hesitant to find his defender and lock on as he needs to keep his eyes engaged and head on a swivel to neutralize threats at the 2nd level. Up to this point I have seen times where Kalil does not display the type of passion or enthusiasm in the run game, but also believe he will become more consistent with this and show to be an above average to very good run blocker in the NFL given proper instruction and time to develop.

 Grade: 4

Awareness/Intangibles:

Matt Kalil comes from a strong background of football players. His is the brother of starting and All-Pro Center Ryan Kalil who was drafted in the 2nd round by the Carolina Panthers in 2007. It should also be noted that it was Kalil who kept freakishly gifted athlete and former USC OT Tyron Smith at RT, even though he would go on to become a top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. This is the type of heritage and background scouts love to see as it shows his unique bloodlines as well as his ability to match up with other highly talented players at his position. As I had said in the previous category Kalil could stand to show some more awareness when run blocking at the 2nd level by keeping his head on a swivel while looking to make his next block. However, Matt consistently showcases superior awareness in neutralizing the defender that threatens his area. I have noticed that as the play breaks down Kalil does sometimes lose awareness for where his quarterback is relative to him in space. This is one area I would like to see improvement from Kalil, but it hardly affects his overall grade because of his outstanding ability to pass and run block.

 Grade: 4.25

Toughness/Mean Streak & Tenacity:

When watching film of Matt Kalil it is obvious to see the desire and pride he takes in being an excellent blocker. As I have said I would like to see him play with a little more mean streak in the run game and finish his blocks, however he showcases the type of mental make-up and drive you look for in a franchise LT. I have seen flashes of greatness when he puts it all together and works hard when challenged by his coaches or opposing players. This mean streak and passion shines through in big ways when he plays up to the level he is capable of and showcases the type of toughness and tenacity that intimidates his opponents.

 Grade: 4

Overall Grade/Total Score:

21.25/5 = 4.25

Very Good-Elite

Projection:

Matt Kalil is a plug and play starting LT right now. I do believe it could take a little time before he becomes truly acclimated with the speed of the game in the NFL, but he showcases the natural and physical abilities to overcome this and eventually turn into a top flight LT. Not many athletes are blessed with his type of size and athleticism, which makes him a uniquely rare NFL prospect and a player who deserves his top 5 consideration in the upcoming NFL draft. I give Matt Kalil my official stamp of approval.

– Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon

Can Matt Barkley become a franchise signal caller in the NFL?

 

Grading Scale:

  1. Poor
  2. Average
  3. Above Average
  4. Very Good
  5. Elite

 

Measurables:

Barkley shows adequate size to play the position in the NFL, however some scouts have questioned his official height, believing Barkley stands much closer to 6-2 than the 6-4 frame the USC website lists him at. Using only my eyes to gauge his true stature I believe Barkley is every bit of 6-2 or 6-3, which may not be perfect by NFL standards but is tall enough to see over the line and scan the field. Barkley may need to add some weight to his frame (10-15 lbs.), but looks more than capable of adding this weight in preparation for the draft season. There really is no true way of telling just how tall Barkley stands until we can get official measurables at his pro-day and scouting combine, but I think Barkley will fit the bill when it’s all said and done.

 Grade: 3.5

 Arm Strength:

Matt Barkley displays good overall arm strength and zip on his passes, but is not supremely gifted in this particular area. Matt is extremely effective at squaring his body to his intended target and utilizing proper footwork and mechanics to drive the ball downfield. When given time to set in the pocket, he shows a live arm that is capable of making NFL type throws (far hash to sideline), driving off his back foot to deliver a nice ball. Barkley will never be considered as a QB with great arm strength, but displays the natural ability to get the most out of his frame by using proper mechanics in his throwing motion starting with his feet. Matt uses his feet well and does a nice job stepping into his throws to compensate for his lack of true arm strength. Where Barkley will struggle is when asked to make intermediate to long throws where proper zip and arm strength is key to fit the ball into tight windows. Here his throws have a tendency to sail/float on him, making him vulnerable to easily deflected or intercepted passes. Barkley’s game is much more suited for the quick passing attack that allows him to get the ball out of his hands quickly such as seen in a west-coast type offense. This allows Barkley to hurt you where he is most effective, which is in the short to intermediate passing game.

 Grade: 3

 Accuracy:

Matt Barkley shows great ability in throwing passes on the run, however where he is most accurate and effective are on throws to the sidelines. Here Barkley delivers a very accurate ball, putting the pass where only the receiver can make the catch. Again, it is the short to intermediate game where Barkley shows the most accuracy. However, I do have questions about his ability to deliver accurate balls downfield. It is hard for me to be extremely critical about this aspect of Barkley’s game because he is not asked to make many throws downfield, as USC’s passing offense is dictated towards getting the ball out quickly on short to intermediate routes, which is what Matt does best. On the throws I have seen when Barkley is asked to make throws 20+ yards downfield he has struggled to showcase the necessary touch and poise to deliver accurate long balls. When faced with pressure Barkley does a nice job overall in standing tall in the pocket and delivering an accurate pass. He doesn’t seem to flinch or get rattled too much when feeling the heat. All in all Barkley is an accurate quarterback from what I have seen from his play. It will be extremely imperative during the scouting season to see whether or not Barkley can showcase the type of touch and accuracy on the deeper throws to be successful at the next level. USC has done a nice job playing to Barkley’s strengths, but may be somewhat masking his inability to deliver on deep routes (this will be key in deciphering if he should decide to come out). For now I cannot downgrade Barkley too much on his potential inability to deliver an accurate deep ball, since he has not been asked to do that very much in his collegiate career at USC.

 Grade: 3.5

 Mechanics:

I have already hinted towards Barkley’s refined mechanics from his feet all the way to his throwing motion. Matt displays good overall footwork and knows how to get his feet into position to step in and make an accurate throw with enough zip. Matt showcases the awareness to keep the ball at his chest ready to cock and deliver an accurate pass while both inside the pocket, as well as on the move outside the pocket. He does a tremendous job in setting his feet and squaring his shoulders to his intended target. Matt stands tall in the pocket and looks extremely balanced at all times with the ball in his hands from start to finish as he follows through nicely to complete his throwing motion. His throwing motion comes over the top and one of the most gifted aspects of this passer’s game is his ability to get the ball out quickly with one swift motion. Mechanically Barkley’s game is very good and he has shown the ability to progress at this part of his game to make up some for his lack of true arm talent. This is an aspect of Barkley’s game that you can tell he has worked hard at over his years developing as a legitimate QB prospect.

 Grade: 4.25

 Mobility/Improvisation

Watching Matt work in and out of the pocket is extremely fun to watch. Due to his supreme footwork and pocket awareness, Matt has the unique ability to escape the pocket when protection breaks down, yet still keep his eyes down field to make a play. Although he is not overly gifted in this area Matt shows good awareness in knowing when to escape the pocket and move to his left or right to keep the play alive. While not a supremely gifted athlete Matt shows more than enough ability to make things happen when the play breaks down, which only adds to his value as a complete and competent QB.

 Grade: 4

 Pocket Presence:

Matt shows a unique ability to work in and out of the pocket using nice footwork and awareness to feel when pressure is coming (It doesn’t hurt having Matt Kalil protecting your blindside either). Watching Matt play it is obvious he knows when to step up into the pocket or climb the pocket, as well as escape when protection breaks down. Having the spacial awareness and sense to know where bodies are around you is one of Matt’s strengths as a signal caller. Another thing that is extremely obvious when watching Matt play is his ability to keep his eyes down field when moving around in the pocket. Overall, Matt is above satisfactory in this particular area and will wow scouts when they see the footwork and awareness he has while standing tall and balanced in the pocket.

 Grade: 4

 Football Intelligence/Decision Making Skills:

Matt Barkley is a smart football player. Barkley excels at managing the game correctly and knows his strengths and limitations. He doesn’t try to force throws and does a nice job going through his reads and progressions, while scanning the whole field before making a throw. He showcases the ability to use his eyes and shoulders in keeping the defense honest in where he intends to go with the ball. Matt also understands coverage’s and always knows where his check-down is. One of the things I have been most impressed with is his efficiency in the red-zone in taking what the defense gives him. Here you can tell he is extremely well coached and a savvy football decision maker, never forcing the throws or making bad decisions that can turn into swings in momentum or points. In this sense Matt is a very good game manager and someone you can trust to get you points when attacking the opponents’ goal line/red zone. Barkley also does a good job in exploiting and knowing where he has mis-matches in coverage. He shows great aptitude in this department and making the necessary pre-snap reads and adjustments to create an advantage for his team. One area Matt could improve on is not locking on to his primary receiver. Although he does not make this mistake many times, I have seen him tip his hand in where he is going with the football before making his throw. Teams have taken advantage of USC’s quick hitting offense by gambling and jump short underneath routes. Here Barkley must display patience and not lock onto a primary receiver pre-snap.

 Grade: 3.75

 Anticipation:

Matt does a good job in knowing when to get the football out of his hands. As we have discussed he shows an uncanny ability to deliver quick strike throws that rely on timing and anticipation as a pocket passer. Barkley displays a keen awareness and knowledge of where the ball should go and be placed, based on the defenses coverage. This ability allows Matt to be successful on many throws as he utilizes a very deceptive play action fake to suck in the Linebackers and make plays over the top on underneath routes where he has a window. USC’s offense limits Barkley’s ability to display anticipation on throws that happen in the intermediate to long passing game. This is another area to watch closely as Barkley makes his way through the draft process. Due to the lack of film on this area I will not downgrade Barkley as of now, but only grade him based on what I have seen on film.

 Grade: 3.5

 Overall Grade/Total Score:

 29.5/8 = 3.69

 Above Average-Very Good

Projection:

Overall I like Matt Barkley’s skill set, however his ceiling is not too high. With Barkley you know what you’re getting, which is essentially a smart football player who has very good mechanics and pocket presence as a passer. You also know you have a QB who lacks true arm strength to fit the ball into very tight windows and may never develop the type of down field accuracy to succeed in the NFL. Despite all this I would bet on Matt Barkley. He has shown to be a game manager who does the small things like not take sacks or force throws into coverage to keep you in football games. I don’t know if he will ever become an elite QB but I do know he is a guy who can help you win and build your football team around. It will be interesting to learn and see how much of a leader Matt is, what type of work ethic he has, and what his character is like leading up through the draft process. I do not have much information in this category, but from what I have seen watching film is that he is a highly respectable kid who looks to be in control while managing the huddle and pace of the game. Overall I would consider Matt Barkley a borderline Top 10 option in the 2012 NFL Draft who has the ability to become a franchise signal caller for a team that can see past his shortcomings in certain areas and work their offense around his individual strengths as a passer.

Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon