Archive for December, 2011

North Carolina WR Dwight Jones-

Jones has a solid blend of height, weight, and speed for a #1 WR in the NFL but his inconsistent hands are a huge disappointment and liability.

Dwight Jones started off this game hot and made an instant impact by coming down with a very nice catch for the first score of the game. On this play Jones demonstrated his natural receiving skills by going up over the defender and out positioning him for the football. This catch showed that Jones has pretty good concentration skills, although he did somewhat mis-time his jump. Jones has proved that he can be a reliable red-zone threat, but I would not consider him to be elite in this area of the field by any means. The big issue I have and many others do as well is Jones inability to catch the ball with his hands. Far too often Jones lets the ball get into his body, resulting in drops and even turnovers at times. In this game for instance his quarterback Bryce Renner fired a pass down the left sideline to squeeze it in between the cornerback underneath and safety closing in from over top. The ball got to Jones in perfect stride, however Dwight was unable to secure the pass and bobbled it some, leading to an interception after the ball was dis-lodged from his body. Here I would have liked to see Jones secure the catch with his hands instead of letting it get to his body, giving the safety that extra split second to dis-lodge the pass. Jones needs to show much more confidence in his hands if he is ever to be relied upon as a #1 wide receiver at the next level. Overall I have come away unimpressed by Dwight Jones this season despite his solid statistics. I just don’t see the type of player who can be considered your go-to-guy when you need a reception or big play. I like his combination of speed and size but he is lacking in one, if not the most important areas of wide receiver play in consistently making the catch with his hands and not his body. Jones should not be considered a potential 1st round pick and is much closer to the 3rd round than the former in my opinion.

North Carolina G Jonathon Cooper-

Jonathon Cooper has very good movement skills for a big man and all the tools necessary to become a starting guard at the next level. He should come back to school his Senior year and continue to refine his game in hopes of becoming one of the top overall prospect at his position for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jonathon Cooper was a player who caught my eye in the game I watched between North Carolina and Virgina Tech. Only a Junior it would be wise for Cooper to by-pass the NFL this season and come back for his Senior season in my opinion. I say this because if he can continue to play at the level he has been playing this season next year, he should find himself towards the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft as one of the premier interior line prospects available. The 2012 NFL Draft will be top heavy with very talented OG prospects such as David DeCastro, Cordy Glenn, Keleche Osemele, and Kevin Zeitler that would likely push Cooper out of the initial two rounds and maybe even Day 2 altogether. The thing I love about Cooper is his superior movement skills for a man his size at 6-3 310 lbs. He is very agile and light on his feet and his quick release off the line of scrimmage gives him initial leverage and advantage in gaining positioning on his opponent. Due to Cooper’s athleticism he is capable of getting to the 2nd level almost effortlessly, making him a natural pulling guard capable of getting out in front on screens and other plays designed to the outside. At times Cooper can however be a little indecisive and could show more awareness when asked to get out in front and block for the ball carrier. On one designed screen in this game Cooper was hesitant and didn’t keep his eyes up field, allowing a defender to take down the ball carrier. With that said Cooper displays very good awareness in pass protection when working with team-mates and executing combination blocks. Cooper shows the awareness necessary to pick up stunting or twisting defensive tackles or delayed blitzes from linebackers. His athleticism and nimble feet allow him to re-direct and re-set quickly enough to pick up these oncoming defenders who threaten his zone. Another area I think Cooper could stand to work on is learning how to stick his foot in the ground and anchor. At times he was easily pushed back but held his own for the most part. Cooper has areas of his game to work on but the future will be bright for him if he can continue to develop his technique and work on his strength. Should Cooper declare he may fall behind other highly notable players at his position, but he will present one of the better values in the draft due to his upside as he continues to develop.

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples-

Coples may never become a feared pass rusher in the NFL but he has more than enough skills and ability to find a way to impact the game on a weekly basis.

Quinton Coples is a player who was projected by some to be a Top 5 overall type player entering this season. However, after a somewhat disappointing Senior season in which he drew extra attention and protection to his side of the field, Coples struggled to make much of an impact as he saw double and even triple teams on a weekly basis. Coples came on late this season and while he didn’t replicate or exceed the numbers he put up last year, he was still pretty effective given the circumstances he was facing. Many are projecting Coples to be a better fit in a 3-4 system, but he also has some value as a 4-3 DE in my opinion.  Coples does a good job using his hands to disengage from his opponent and force pressure on the quarterback or finding his way to the ball carrier. Coples shows natural strength and his impressive frame allows him to easily control his man at the point of attack before making his way to the ball carrier. Coples doesn’t show elite awareness as a read and react defensive end but he seems to understand containment and gap responsibility/discipline. North Carolina’s defense was gashed in this game but most of that came up the middle where the interior line was consistently moving defenders off the football and opening up huge holes to run through. While Coples isn’t necessarily to blame for this, he also made his share of mistakes that led to extra yardage as Missouri continually handed it to the North Carolina defense which is jam-packed with what some consider future NFL starters. Questions have arisen about Coples motor as it seems to run a little hot and cold at times, but for the most part I was generally pleased with the amount of effort he gave in pursuing to the football. Coples showed a lot of hustle in chasing down ball-carriers and seemed to be one of the only players on the UNC defense who was consistently giving their best effort.  Coples doesn’t possess elite quickness and speed to turn the corner but his combination of length, power, and athleticism make him a menace for opposing tackles responsible for containing him. Many times Coples is just one step away from getting to the quarterback but is just a second or step to late. In this game Coples was at the forefront of a forced turnover in which he disrupted the quarterbacks throwing motion leading to a mis-throw and one interception. I really appreciate how Coples always seems to pin-point the quarterbacks high shoulder and football when coming around the edge. The know with all to understand how to force fumbles and mental alertness to go after the football is an encouraging sign and something I think he will be very good at the next level. Coples may never be a 10 plus sack a season type player but he finds ways to make an impact and is a very solid player overall, who seems to  have a knack for forcing turnovers. While he may not have lived up to the Top 5 billing he was garnished with at the beginning of the season this is still a very solid player who shouldn’t fall out of the Top 15 picks overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

North Carolina LB Zach Brown-

Zach Brown's inconsistencies in tackling and below average read and react skills make him a risky player to be drafted in the 1st round despite his athleticism.

North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown is one of the most physically gifted and athletic players eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft. He has shown elite burst and closing speed to get after the quarterback and many times he looks more like a secondary player than linebacker when asked to drop back into coverage. However, this was a very poor showing by Brown in this game as he accounted for multiple missed tackles and never truly wrapped up, which was something that had concerned me in his previous game I scouted. Brown was able to lay a big hit early in this game on a pass out in the flats on an unexpecting running back, but even on this play he simply dropped his head and threw his shoulder into the player rather than wrapping up. Brown was also able to make an acrobatic/athletic interception on a pass intended for a wide receiver 20 yards down the field. This speaks to the type of range Brown has as a player as he is able to cover a vast amount of ground. His interception showcased the impressive coverage, concentration, and ball skill ability he has as a player, which should entice many teams. However, this does not tell the whole story with Brown. Early on in the game he was caught out of position on a mis-direction play that subsequently went for six as Brown tried to recover but was too late in his recognition. On another play he was in pretty good position working the left sidelines in a zone coverage before he allowed Missouri Tight End Michael Egnew to sneak and sit down along the sideline behind him and secure the catch. On this play Brown got a little flat-footed and off-balance when the ball was in the air and seemed a little lost in coverage, allowing Egnew to make the play behind him. The biggest thing that concerns me about Brown is his lack of an impact in the run game. His instincts are only average at best and due to his slight size he tends to get caught up in the wash on many occasions. In fact it has been very rare to see Brown make many plays from behind the line of scrimmage as many of his tackles happen down the field. His lack of size has always been concerning but when you pair this with questionable instincts, recognition, and awareness you have a player that may in fact be a tad over-rated. Look, there is no doubting Zach Brown’s potential but the fact is he has many holes in his game and red-flags that do not make him a complete player. I would not feel comfortable drafting a player like Zach Brown in the 1st round and his stock will take a dip due to his performance in this game, where many of his weaknesses were polarized on a national stage.

North Carolina LB Kevin Reddick-

Kevin Reddick offers good size and tackling ability but has failed to make many impact plays and stand out for me much this season.

I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t  given Reddick the type of attention when scouting games that I should. However, I do feel like I have somewhat of a read on him as a player after watching some games he has played in this season. Todd McShay is a huge Reddick supporter and I can see why he would be. Reddick possesses good size for an NFL linebacker at 6-3 240 lbs. Reddick’s overall range and athleticism has been questioned by some but while he may not have elite quickness I do believe he has enough to make an impact and be effective at the next level. Reddick seems to have better overall instincts than team-mate Zach Brown and most definitely is the more reliable tackler of the two. Reddick also offers pretty good coverage skills as he is rarely caught out of position. I will agree that Reddick probably is a bit under-rated in comparison to his team-mate and fellow linebacker Zach Brown, but it should also be known that Brown may be one of the more over-rated players in this entire draft. Reddick failed to fill many holes and blow up plays before they happened in this game and is as much to blame for the struggles the UNC defense had in defending the run in this game as his fellow team-mates, including Zach Brown. Reddick failed to fill holes and make plays for a defense that struggled all night and never really made any impact plays the entire season, judging by his lack of a statistical output in the sack or interception/turnover categories. I still need to do more film work on Reddick but I would have to say the fact that he hasn’t really jumped off the film once to me when scouting other players on the UNC defense this season is a bit concerning for a player that many consider a Top 50 player.

Missouri TE Michael Egnew-

Egnew's combination of size, speed, and athleticism will entice team's looking for a player who can create the type of mis-match current NFL Tight Ends Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski present for NFL defenses everywhere.

Micahael Egnew is a player I have highlighted as being one of the more under-rated players at his position in this draft. Egnew offers great size and pretty impressive athleticism for a player of his stature. As I highlighted last time I spoke about Egnew here; Egnew is a player whose production has dropped off some this season, mostly as a result of losing star quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Egnew has always displayed strong hands and the unique ability to make the tough catch in traffic. His strong hands and physical demeanor after the catch are two of the things that most excite me about a player like Michael Egnew. Missouri likes to use Egnew lined up in the slot and off the line of scrimmage and he is very rarely asked to come down inside and become an in-line blocker. This is the biggest question mark with Egnew as he is definitely far from refined in this particular category and will need to work on his hand usage, strength, and technique to become a player who can make a positive contribution on running plays. However, Egnew is playing in the perfect era for his nearly perfect combination of size and physical skill-set as the Tight End position has changed from a more blocking based position to a position that values the ability to create mismatches and make a bigger impact in the passing game. Egnew looks to have just enough speed to stretch the defense vertically and find holes down the middle of the field (seams). It will be fun to watch what type of impact Egnew will have and how quickly teams pounce on a player that represents this type of value after seeing what players like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Jermichael Finley have done for their respective offenses.

Thanks again for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed and come back for more!

– Brandon

Boise State QB Kellen Moore:

Kellen Moore's lack of size and true arm talent will severely limit his upside once he reaches the NFL. However, he has shown to be an accurate quarterback who knows how to win with a 50-3 career record as a starter which will stand the test of times.

Kellen Moore is one of the most decorated passers in college football history having gone 50-3 during his career at Boise State, while also breaking numerous school and national records for a quarterback. Moore stands a mere 6-0 195 lbs. and is very undersized to be considered a top flight prospect despite the considerable and impressive stats he has put up with the Broncos. The area of Moore’s game that has allowed him to be so successful at the college level is his high football IQ and accuracy/ball placement. Moore is a very cerebral player who understands coverages and is quick to make his pre and post snap reads to gain an edge on his opponent. This one area allows Moore to stay a step ahead of the defense and find the mismatches and advantages he has before the ball has even been snapped. In the NFL this will be much more difficult for Moore as defensive coordinators do a great job of disguising coverages and confusing quarterbacks, especially young ones like Moore. The other area in which Moore excels is his ability to place the ball where only his guy can get it. Moore may possess one of the most accurate arms in the entire NCAA  connecting on 74% of his passes this season (69.83% career). While this somewhat has to do with the type of offensive system the Broncos run there is little doubting just how accurate Moore has been throughout his career in Boise. Kellen throws a very pretty deep ball with uncanny touch and accuracy, although he may not have very good arm strength I have been impressed with his ability to get the ball down the field and stretch the defense vertically. Kellen also displays very good anticipation on his throws, many times delivering the ball before his receiver has even started into his break. It is easy to see that the game comes very natural for Moore and the system he plays in has drawn to his strengths as a passer, relying on timing and accuracy rather than pure arm strength where it is imperative to be able to throw into tight windows and thread the needle so to speak. True arm talent is the area in which Kellen struggles as his arm is just average for a college quarterback and will be considered below average once he reaches the NFL. He doesn’t show the ability to drive the ball down the field, although I have seen him make some throws from one hash to the sideline. His ball tends to float a little and comes out with much less velocity than you would like to see from a potential NFL quarterback.  This lack of arm strength will limit Moore’s upside as he will have trouble to drive the football into those tight windows that NFL quarterbacks are relied upon to make. With all this said I personally would much rather have a player with high football IQ, accuracy, and anticipation skills than simply a strong arm. You have to appreciate the amount of leadership and poise Kellen showed during his time in Boise as he was a huge component in bringing the Broncos into the national spotlight during the last four years. Kellen Moore has meant so much to that program and he will surely be missed by coach Peterson and his team-mates next season. Moore isn’t the type of player that will wow you and light the world on fire but the kid’s a winner and natural born leader with the skills to make some sort of impact and stick on with some team at the next level.

Boise State RB Doug Martin-

Martin's compact build and overall balance, patience, speed, power, and vision as a runner make him a unique threat that can take it the distance at anytime. Martin should shine at the next level and is easily the best Senior running back prospect in this draft.

Boise State’s Doug Martin comes in a little short at 5-9 210 lbs but he has a pretty solid build for a player of his stature. The thing you notice about Martin almost instantly is that he has excellence patience and showcases a very good burst/acceleration to hit the hole once he see’s an opening. The aspect of Martin’s game that I absolutely love is his blend of speed, power, and vision. I’m not sure there is a better back in this draft outside of maybe Trent Richardson who has this combination of natural ability. Martin is also a very balanced runner who presses the line of scrimmage quickly and can get up field and through the 2nd level in a hurry. He has good break away speed to break the long ones and hit pay dirt once the opportunity presents itself. This was very evident on the opening play of the game when Martin took the opening kickoff for a TD, showcasing the type of speed to beat defenders in a foot race. I would guess his top speed is somewhere in the 4.4-4.45 second range in the 40 yard dash if I had to go purely on speculation and assumption. Another thing I really like about Martin is the fact that he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Martin has clean hands and shows the added ability to make an impact on passing downs as a check down receiver or useful player in the screen game. Martin also isn’t afraid to mix it up with bigger players and take on blitzers as a blocker in the backfield or when executing a chip block on a defensive end before releasing out into his route. I love the way he sticks his nose in there and isn’t afraid of contact. You really love to see this as a coach or player evaluator because you know he can hold up and be trusted on 3rd downs and be on the field at all times. Due to Martin smaller stature he already plays with a lower center of gravity and pretty good pad level. His running ability and overall skill-set reminds me of Ray Rice, although I’m not sure he has the ability of Rice to punch it in at the goal line consistently due to Ray’s superior leg drive. This is not to say that Martin does not possess power however as he shows the ability to run through arm tackles by keeping his legs churning and lowering his head to pick up the hard extra yards. Another player that I believe Martin takes after is Ahhmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants. Both have a similar build and running style that makes them effective both between and outside the tackles, although I prefer Martin’s top end speed better than Bradshaw’s, but prefer Bradshaw’s hard charging run you over type attitude when finishing his runs more than Martin’s. Either way both are very good runners and Martin should enjoy similar success at the next level and deserves every right to be considered a solid 2nd round option and top 50 overall player despite the NFL’s recent transitioning to a two back system. Martin is one of the most under-rated players in the country and should shine during the off-season leading up to the NFL draft when he can finally escape the shadow of Boise State’s star pupil Kellen Moore.

Boise State DE Billy Winn-

There is nothing too flashy about Billy Winn's game, but he is a versatile player who will become a solid player in the NFL.

“My Billy, sweet Billy boy, I knew you would go back, No one can stop you if you try, Don’t I have a nice….okay seriously lets talk about Boise State’s Billy Winn, not Billy Madison, even though that movie is hilarious and Adam Sandler is great. Getting back to Billy Winn, he has solid NFL size at 6-3 300 lbs. His size and skill-set makes him a good fit for either playing defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or DT in a 4-3. This versatility makes Winn a very sought after player by all teams and should result in a good draft day position for him to be selected earlier on day 2. What you notice about Billy is that he doesn’t offer all that much as a true pass rusher. Boise State likes to use Winn all over the line of scrimmage, playing from a 3-technique or 5-technique and he gets much of his pressure from his sheer hustle and motor. Winn is the type of player who does a pretty good job collapsing the pocket but isn’t the penetrating type of player that will consistently collapse the pocket, but rather consistently work and pursue to the football to collect what  I consider “hustle or desire sacks/plays”. It is the run game where Billy Winn really makes his presence felt and is a big reason why Boise State was so effective defending the run this season. Here Billy Winn uses his violent hands and technique to take up space and get into position to take down the ball-carrier. Winn shows pretty good athleticism and can occupy blockers before disengaging to make a play due to his functional strength. Due to this it would make sense for Winn to be drafted to a team in need of help defending the run who also possesses defensive ends/OLB’s capable of forcing the quarterback up into the pocket for players like Winn to clean up the play (Ie: Packers). Overall I like Winn, although he is not all that flashy of a football player. Winn will be a solid pro who has starter potential if drafted into the right system and scheme that fits his individual strengths as a player. Right now I would consider Winn a late 2nd to early 3rd round draft pick.

Arizona State QB Brock Osweiller-

Osweiller is still raw and continuing to learn the game but make no mistake he is both a supremely gifted athlete and quarterback prospect.

Brock Osweiller is a supremely gifted player and although he struggled in this game he still has very good potential. Osweiller struggled all night and never really looked comfortable. his accuracy was off due to the pressure he was facing and he made some bad decisions in this one with the football. It was clear Boise State was the superior team and they imposed their will on a Arizona State team that struggled down the stretch and saw its head coach Dennis Erickson fired. Despite all this I came away impressed with how Brock handled himself. Osweiller never backed down and never gave up, despite the fact that many of his team-mates did (Other than WR Gerell Robinson). I loved when he took control and showed he wasn’t just going to sit down by telling his coaching staff and punting team to stay off the field on a 4th down play. Although he didn’t covert, this showed me the type of competitor Osweiller is and it says a lot about his character, drive, and determination to win. The upside this guy has and the type of talent he possesses is undeniable. Osweiller is still pretty raw as a prospect but has time to come back and get better to improve his draft status next year, which I am sure he will do on his way to becoming one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict-

Bufict needs to re-shape his game and play with more discipline if he's ever going to live up to his potential and become the player he is capable of becoming.

Vontaze Burfict has been at the epicenter for many calls, conflicts, and flags on the Arizona State defense this season. Burfict was actually benched for the first quarter or so of this football game by Coach Erickson and his coaching staff for reasons that I am not entirely sure of, but most likely involved a lack of discipline. In this game Burfict made an appearance for a very short period of time before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty once again drew him farther into the doghouse and on the sidelines for the rest of the game. There is no doubting Burfict’s skill set and rare athleticism to become a physically imposing middle linebacker, but he will now need to answer some tough questions about his on field actions and justify why he essentially gave up on his team. I very much disliked his attitude after the penalty on the extra point as he more or less jaw jacked with the official for the call and showed little effort in making an attempt to block the extra point. I’ll be the first to admit that he has been the recipient of some calls that were quite ridiculous and would have been non-calls if it was any other player, but the fact is he has gotten that type of attention from refs all season and just needs to deal with it and adapt as best he can. His actions came off as immature and selfish to me and I can understand his frustration, but some sort of line has to be drawn and he clearly is letting all of this get the best of him. I think Burfict has all the talent in the world and will need to harness his energy and passion to be a more level-headed and disciplined player in the NFL. There is little doubting this season has severely dropped his stock and for good reason, but he has the opportunity to regain it by being a man about it and admitting his shortfalls/mistakes and backing it up with his play. I’m a fan of Burfict and want to see him succeed because I know what type of potential he has but I do think it will be important for him to go to a team with a veteran presence in the locker room where he can learn and grow from other players on the defense. I believe two of the best landing spots for a player like Burfict would be in Baltimore with the Ravens and Ray Lewis or New York with the Giants who have a veteran squad, coach, and city that hold each other accountable.

Arizona State WR Gerell Robinson-

Gerell Robinson has essentially come from out of nowhere this season to become a threat in the passing game for the Sun Devils. Time will tell if he is simply a late bloomer or a product of solid QB play under Osweiller.

Gerell Robinson is a player that has essentially come out of nowhere this season, setting career highs in nearly every statistical category and almost doubling all his statistics as well from this season to last. Robinson’s physical prowess is impressive at 6-4 222 lbs. and he uses this frame well to shield defenders away from himself and the football and create separation. Robinson also seems to have above average hands as he consistently plucked the ball away from his body and immediately got up field. He doesn’t seem to have much speed but his run after catch ability seemed to be at least average and good enough to get the job done at the next level. Robinson also seems to understand how to find soft spots in coverage and settle into passing lanes for his quarterback. While I don’t thing Robinson will ever become a game breaker in the NFL or even a reliable every week starter, he should be able to contribute as a 4th/5th receiver at the next. level. It will be fun to see if Robinson gets some attention and invitations to some all-star games leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft thanks to a performance in this bowl game in which he had 13 receptions for 241 yds. and one td. Who knows Robinson could be one of those players that is a late developer or player who was overlooked because of shaky quarterback play, before Brock Osweiller took over under center and really took off this year. Either way it will be fun leading up to the draft to see what happens with Robinson and see whether he is worth a late round pick, I know I will be paying attention.

Thanks again for reading my post. Hope you enjoy and come back for further analysis and insight.

Sincerely,

Brandon

Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill-

Ryan Tannehill has everything you look for in a potential franchise QB but is overshadowed by the other QB's in his conference. This is a player who should be a 1st round pick on upside alone, as he has all the tools to succeed... he just needs time and coaching.

Every time I get a chance to watch and break down Ryan Tannehill I always seem to come away impressed and feeling that he has a tremendous amount of upside as a pro prospect. It is unbelievable to me that Tannehill is only in his 18th game as a starter at quarterback and has already accomplished and grown so much. Tannehill shows great zip and natural arm talent as a passer who is capable of making all the throws. Tannehill could stand to improve on some of his mechanics, most importantly his 3/4 to sidearm type throwing motion that results in passes batted down at the line of scrimmage due to his low release point. Ryan Tannehill stands a very stout 6-4 225 lbs. as he is a former/converted wide receiver for the Texas A&M Aggies. He won the position half way through last season after taking over for then quarterback Jerrod Johnson and leading his teams to six straight wins and a school record 65% completion rate. Tannehill is obviously still developing and he needs to improve on some aspects of his game, most notably his decision-making as he has had issues with throwing the ball into coverage when faced with pressure. Watching Tannehill play this season it is easy to see the leaps and bounds he has made at his position showing much more poise in the pocket and overall pocket presence. Tannehill throws a very clean and tight spiral and is effective throwing on the run and making plays with his feet outside the pocket once the plays break down. Ryan shows the type of athleticism that made him a very fine wide receiver on occasion when asked to scramble, and I think he would be wise to utilize this aspect of his game more at times. Tannehill is most comfortable making throws towards the sidelines and shows the necessary accuracy, ball placement, and arm strength to drive the ball into tight windows. I still need to see Tannehill display more touch and air on his throws as his long ball comes out a little flat, however I believe he is still developing this part of his game. Despite playing in what is considered a spread offense at Texas A&M Tannehill still makes a lot of NFL caliber throws that rely on timing and anticipation. One thing I have a lot of respect for in Ryan’s game is his ability to get the ball out quickly and on time, hitting his receivers before they even break out of their routes. This shows me that Ryan is both an intelligent and skilled passer who understands route timing and how to hit your receivers in stride. I would like to see Tannehill take some ompf of some of his shorter passes as he sometimes guns the ball to his receiver when he does not need to. Tannehill has special arm talent but could stand to take some speed off his throws that require much less arm strength and more touch. Tannehill shows good overall footwork and pocket presence as he routinely climbs and sits in the pocket before making his throw. Being a former wide receiver also helps out Ryan as he understands routes and timing better than most QB’s at the collegiate level due to his experience at the position, giving him a better understanding on how a wide receiver and quarterback must work together and be on the same page at all times. Ryan will make pre-snap reads and adjustments going through his progressions nicely and shows the natural ability to use his eyes and shoulders to keep defenders honest and open up routes developing on the back side.  There is much to like about Ryan Tannehill and although he has some work to do in areas the sky is really the limit for this kid. With more time to learn the quarterback position and gain starting experience in college I have very little doubt Tannehill wouldn’t have become one of the top overall quarterback prospects in this draft.  Whoever drafts Tannehill will be getting a very talented and gifted young man with all sorts of upside. Tannehill is the type of player who may need to sit some time and learn behind a veteran before taking the reigns and is just the type of player you can feel safe about drafting as your quarterback of the future. Make sure you tune in to watch Tannehill play in his final collegiate game against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on Saturday, December 31st.

Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray-

RB Cyrus Gray has some wiggle and wrinkles to his game that make him effective at times. However his lack of size, speed, and overall running ability could limit his upside once he reaches the next level.

Cyrus Gray stands 5-10 200 lbs. and is a bit on the smallish side to become an every down NFL player to begin with. There is no doubting his contributions to the Texas A&M team as he is a very reliable and gifted receiver out of the backfield. Gray shows very good hands and naturally plucks the ball away from his frame with ease. Once he reels in the catch Gray does a nice job setting up his defender thanks to his ability to shake n bake/wiggle a little bit and make the first man miss. Gray is able to pull this off because of his very good lateral agility, balance, and cutback ability. Cyrus does not however possess very good burst or top-end speed as he was caught from behind on more than one occasion. It is this inability to out run defenders and break away that makes Cyrus Gray an average type back with very little upside. In fact Gray may not even be the best back on his team as running mate Christine Michael showed much more polish in the run game and was utilized on more occasions than the aforementioned Gray. Cyrus Gray also will at times bounce things outside and believe too much in his speed and lateral cut-back ability to make something happen out of nothing. On one occasion in this game Cyrus kept bouncing outside and trying to get the edge when it was obvious he should have gotten up field and taken what the defense was giving him. Plays like this make me belive Gray will have a tough time making much of an impact and seeing the field in the NFL. I just didn’t see much upside and can’t see him becoming much more than 3rd down type back, thanks largely in part from his skills as a receiver out of the backfield more than his ability as a natural runner.

Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller-

Jeff Fuller has had a very disappointing Senior season and will have a lot to prove to NFL Scouts if he is going to get his name back up into the upper echelon of wide receiver prospects.

Jeff Fuller has struggled mightily in his Senior season to make the same sort of impact he made as a Junior when he hauled in 12 TD passes. Standing 6-4 220 lbs. Fuller has the type of body size and length you look for in a potential #1 target, but he does not seem to be playing with very much aggressiveness or overall strength this season. It is evident when watching Fuller that something has changed this season as he does not seem to be the same type of player who was getting attention as a first round pick just one year ago. Fuller has struggled with injuries this season, but just how much those injuries are limiting him is somewhat of an unknown and will need to be answered leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft and Combine. One thing that has always caught my eye when watching Fuller is his effort as a blocker down field. Fuller executed a perfect crack block in this game, taking the proper angle and breaking down nicely before sealing off his defender from the play. This execution and effort in the run game is encouraging and something all scouts like to see from big men on the outside. Fuller however doesn’t seem to be selling his routes too well, making it easy for defensive backs to read and diagnose his movements before making a play on the ball. He needs to show much more suddenness in and out of his breaks as well as the ability to get his head, hands, and eyes around in a much more efficient manner. In past games I have watched Fuller has been a little slow to do these things successfully, which has resulted in dropped passes and throws that seem to get there before he is ready for them. Fuller did make a few good catches in this game and showed the natural ability to find the hole in the zone and sit down for his quarterback. I like that he always tries to make the catch with his hands but would like to see him focus on catching the ball and getting up field rather than jumping before making the catch on most balls thrown his way. This wasted movement results in an easier target for the defender to make a tackle as well as a wasted opportunity to make some important yards after catch. Fuller may also not have the strongest frame or hands, even though his body would suggest otherwise as he struggles to haul in passes in traffic. I need to see Fuller shield the defender from the ball like I know he is capable of if he is going to move up on my draft board. Right now it is hard to tell just what is effecting Fuller so much this season as his drop-off has been plain to see and his talent is now in question amongst NFL Scouts. Fuller will have to work hard in the draft season to regain back some of the notoriety he was receiving after a very succesful Junior campaign.

Texas A&M LB Sean Porter-

Sean Porter is a player that knows how to get after the QB and is very comparable to fellow draft prospect Zach Brown of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Sean Porter is a player that has jumped off film this season and really caught the eye of NFL talent evaluators every where. His 8.5 sacks on the season rank 1st on an Aggies defense that knows how to get after the quarterback, ranking 2nd nationally in team sacks for the season with 43 (behind only Cincinnati). Sean Porter is an excellent edge blitzer who uses his sheer speed, burst, acceleration, and quickness to get around the corner and chase down the ball-carrier. Porter’s closing speed is very good as he shows the willingness to pursue plays from behind and make plays all over the field. Porter also displays a very nice spin/twist move that allows him to pressure the quarterback from all angles. He is extremely disciplined and has a natural feel for which angles to take to get after the player with the ball. Porter could use some work tackling as he tends to dive and take out players at their knees rather than wrap up, but overall he has been effective in taking down the ball carrier this season. I came away very impressed with the level of discipline Porter showed in maintaining his gap integrity while always keeping outside contain and forcing the play back up into the traffic. This was extremely evident on a big 4th down stop where Porter and team-mate Jonathon Williams worked together to close the gap and utilize a high-low take down to keep the ball carrier from reaching the first down. In the run game Porter shows good fight and slipperiness in not allowing opponents to get a hold of him and take him out of the play. He works hard to find his way around blocks and does a good job using his hands to disengage and fight his way into the play. The Aggies like to use Porter lined up over the slot receiver and drop him down to blitz whenever they feel like he has a chance to make a play. Overall Porter appears to be a pretty fluid athlete in space who can change directions and cover players in their routes. The fact that the A&M coaches trust him with this responsibility says a lot, although I would like to see more film before I can make a true assessment of his skill in this area. Porter comes off as very smart, aware, and instinctual defender on film and it is somewhat surprising to not see him mentioned with or compared to similar player, linebacker, and athlete Zach Brown of North Carolina who some see as a first round pick. To me both of these players possess similar skill-sets and have practically the same body size, it will just depend on whether Porter decides to forgo his Senior season and make himself eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft.

Missouri TE Michael Egnew-

Michael Egnew is an intriguing prospect that has many tools working in his favor. He will need to get bigger and stronger to become a better overall player, but his receiving skills and ability to stretch the field and make the tough catch in traffic is unique.

Michael Egnew has had a huge drop off in production much like Jeff Fuller from this year to last. This could largely be attributed to his loss of Blaine Gabbert or a change in offensive philosophy, but there is no doubting Egnew is a special kind of player. At 6-6 245 lbs. Egnew undoubtedly possesses a very good frame with the ability to add some extra weight without sacrificing much speed to make him a better in line blocker and better overall prospect at the next level. In fact the area of Egnew’s game that is holding him back the most is his blocking ability. The Tigers like to use Egnew off the line, lined up in the slot or out wide where his true skill set can be best utilized. Egnew is a terrific hands catcher who shows the natural ability to make tough catches in traffic and come down with the football consistently with players all around or even drapped all over him. It is his physicality and demeanor after the catch which excites me as well as he immediately gets up field and isn’t scared to lower his shoulder for a few extra yards. Egnew also has above average speed to vertically stretch the field and find the seam routes that make him a large target for his quarterback downfield. His 90 catches last season were a career high, but his numbers have dipped to what initially may seem like a pedestrian 47 catches so far this season. However, his yards per catch average is nearly 2 yards more this season showcasing his ability to stretch the field some and make plays in the vertical passing game. As I said earlier Egnew seems to struggle when blocking. His inability to control and stay in front of his man is concerning and he seems to be somewhat lost when converting from receiver to blocker or just trying to find a player to block down field. Egnew got away with a block in the back in this game as he was unable to control his man at the point of attack and thus made a drastic effort to recover, which could have resulted in a costly penalty if it had been called. Egnew will need to become stronger and add some weight, while working on his blocking technique if he is ever going to become a complete tight end. Michael Egnew has tons of upside as a player but is not quite there yet since he was never asked to line up on the line of scrimmage and block for the Tigers that much in his career. Egnew will need a team that can be patient with him and develop him into the type of player he is capable of becoming. His receiving skills are very good and he should be able to make an impact in the passing game almost immediately for whichever team chooses to draft him.

Other players that caught my eye in this game include. Texas A&M LB Davontre Moore, who I see as becoming a good defensive end prospect once he reaches eligibility and gains more starting experience. LB Jonathon Stewart who was all over the field making plays, showing good instincts and awareness. And K Randy Bullock who went on to win the award for best college kicker, showing good leg strength, poise, and accuracy to make a big kick in a pressure filled situation. Missouri players who caught my eye include LB Andrew Wilson, DE Jacquies Smith, and a pair of Sophomore CB’s in Randy Ponder and E.J. Gaines he seemingly made plays in the secondary all day.

Thanks again for reading my post, hope you enjoy!

-Brandon

Virginia Tech RB David Wilson-

David Wilson's incredible blend of speed, balance, and burst make him a supremely gifted and talented athlete. However, he still has some holes in his game that will need to be cleaned up before I can proclaim him as a future 1st round draft pick.

David Wilson has had a very solid Junior season in Blacksburg with 1627 yds. on 266 carries with 9 td’s (10 overall). Although he has yet to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft like other ACC standout RB Lamar Miller already has, Wilson will have a very tough decision to make considering his increasing draft stock. In past games I have watched of Wilson he has displayed an excellent blend of balance, speed, and burst. His ability to finish runs and continue to make yards after contact make him a very special weapon as well. In this game Wilson showed the same type of burst and top-end speed that makes him a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. However, he still struggles to try and bounce things outside far too often and really believes in his speed too much at times. Playing against a defense like North Carolina really put this issue on full display as Wilson tried to force things outside against a defense that was just too fast and too disciplined to allow Wilson any running room inside or out throughout the game. This to me is the biggest difference to me between Wilson and Miller as Miller consistently takes what the defense gives him and gets up field in a hurry. I would like to see Wilson attack the line of scrimmage with more authority instead of bouncing it outside, trying to create something that isn’t there. It should also be noted that Wilson had done much of his damage against inferior competition in playing early season games against teams like Appalachian State, East Carolina, and Marshall. In this game he faced a legitimate defense with speed and talent and struggled to make an impact, which could be a concern depending on your vantage point. Wilson also showed a lack of blitz pick-up by more or less letting LB Zach Brown get to the QB, resulting in an errant and dangerous throw. I need to see him be much more physical and take on defenders to protect his QB before writing him off as a complete player and potential first round prospect. Wilson also had some ball-security issues in this game, coughing it up twice although one was not called a fumble and the other was luckily recovered by Virginia Tech. The skill is there for Wilson, but is obvious he is not yet there as a prospect as he is not as talented as former Virgina Tech RB Ryan Williams who went on to become a 2nd round pick last year.

Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin-

Boykin is an intriguing prospect with size and speed. He shows the natural ability to make the tough catch look easy and seems to do the small things that make all the difference for his team.

Boykin is a player who has caught my eye on multiple occasions in the past and he continued to impress in this game. Boykin has an impressive frame standing 6-2 215 lbs. In this game Boykin really displayed his field awareness and natural hands as he routinely plucked the ball away from his frame and showed the uncanny ability to make the tough catch look easy. At times he has a tendency to let the ball get into his pads, but he seems to have above average mits for a WR at the next level. I love how he always knows where he is on the field at all times and comes down in bounds no matter where his body is in space. To me this is a skill that cannot be taught and shows just how much work he has put in to work on his superior concentration and receiving skills. Boykin also shows the ability to make plays both on the short and long routes, speaking largely about his ability to become a legitimate weapon at the next level. Boykin has already become Tech’s all-time leading receiver and his future sure seems bright as I see him becoming a solid #3 WR at the next level. Boykin is a player who does all the small things right, including working to make blocks downfield to spring his team-mates for a few extra yards. I have also noticed that Boykin has above average to good top-end speed to separate from defenders and his ability to create after the catch is also a plus in his book. Overall I like Boykin and think he will find a way to contribute at the next level in what is already a deep WR class. Somebody very well could be getting a steal with a player like Boykin in the 4th round or later.

Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley-

Hosley plays with a chip on his shoulder and shows a lot of heart, however his size might limit his effectiveness and ability to become a starter at the next level.

Hosley had a strong game overall and seemed to really be competing and bringing his A-game against one of the better receivers in the nation in North Carolina WR Dwight Jones. Hosley has a slight frame at 5-10 170 lbs., but seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he would not back down from anyone tonight. Hosley routinely came up in run support and did an above average job in taking down the ball-carrier, although he did miss on one occasion. He seems to be a reliable open field tackler who knows that the low man usually wins, as he consistently attacks his opponents by cutting their legs out from under them. On one pass down the sideline to Jones, Hosley failed to turn his head and locate the ball, although it was later concluded that Jones had actually pushed off to gain separation and offensive pass interference was called. Despite this I would still like to see Hosley get his head around much quicker, even if he was interfered with. Hosley seems to be most comfortable playing off coverage in a zone coverage scheme where he can mask some of his size deficiencies and convert on his skills to make a play on the football. On ca couple of occasions in this game Hosley did an exceptional job in playing the football and breaking up the pass. He shows above average awareness and ball skills to consistently bat balls away without drawing contact or costly pass interference calls. I have always had somewhat of a soft spot for undersized players who play with a lot of toughness and heart and that is exactly the type of player Hosley showed me he is with his play tonight. However, it will be difficult for Hosley to match up with taller more physical receivers due to his lack of great size or length. I love his toughness and attitude I’m just not sure he can match up with these type of players in the NFL on a consistent basis quite yet….more tape and information is needed before I can make this claim/assumption.

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples-

Quinton Coples displays an impressive combination of size, length, and strength. While he may not be a true edge rusher, Coples is one of the most complete players in this draft and should come off the board early.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Coples is his frame standing a strong 6-6 285 lbs. Coples numbers are down this year but that can largely be attributed to the double and even triple teams he has experienced at times this season. Teams are also doing a good job of using their RB’s to help chip before releasing out into their routes on Coples. Despite all this Coples numbers aren’t down that much and he has really starting to come on as of late. In this game Coples was in complete control and it was very easy to see his natural ability to effect the play on any down. One thing you notice when watching Coples is that he doesn’t exactly display the type of elite burst or get-off the line of scrimmage you would expect from an elite pass-rusher. You also notice that Coples tends to fire out of his stance a little high and his upright style can get him in trouble from time to time. This is not to say that Coples doesn’t display great athleticism and speed for his size, just that his burst and explosion off the line of scrimmage is not enough for tackles to be truely concerned with his speed around the corner. The area Coples excels at is utilizing his body and hands to create space between he and his defender to continually work the edge and force the QB up into the pocket. Coples is extremely effective at using his body lean and tight footwork/ankle flexibility to get below his opponent’s shoulder pads. He shows that he is very balanced, coordinated, and flexible and knows how to get after the QB despite his lack of true speed. In the run game Coples is your classic stack and shed player who knows how to hold the point and use his hands and leverage to routinely disengage from his defender and track down the ball carrier. Coples also did a nice job wrapping up and punching towards the football as he was able to jar the ball loose from RB David Wilson on more than one occasion in this game. Scouts have questioned Coples motor as he sometimes will stop pursuing and doesn’t show the type of consistent effort you would like from a top 10 player. However, in this game I saw a bit of both as Coples slowed up at times and at others kept pursuing to the football laying a vicious hit on an unexpecting RB on one occasion. It was also nice to see Coples get his hands up and deflect a pass when he knew he wasn’t going to make it to the QB. This was a game in which Virginia Tech left Coples in one on one situation more times than not and we saw exactly how impactful this big man can be when given these types of opportunities. There is no doubting Coples physical abilities and overall skills as he has the talent to become an impact player at the next level. While Coples may never be that true edge rusher in the NFL who puts up huge sack numbers, he has solid skills and size that will make him a very good pro. His ability to make an impact in both the run and pass game make him a complete player who can play all three downs as well. While he may not be the top 10 pick many projected him to be, this is still a very solid football player who should be the first player drafted at his position and come off the board within the top 15 picks if not sooner.

North Carolina LB Zach Brown-

There is little doubting Zach Brown's coverage and blitzing ability as he shows impressive burst and closing speed to get after the QB. However, his slight frame and inability to make much of an impact against the run has to concern most scouts and teams.

The “Zach Brown Band” as I like to call him displays incredible athleticism, however his size is a meer 6-2 230 lbs. One of things you have to appreciate about Brown is his coverage ability as he seems to feel very natural and comfortable settling into coverage. Brown has safety speed and cover skills to pick up backs coming out of the backfield and shows the ability to turn and run with players vertically when asked to. Brown is also an effective blitzer whose closing speed and acceleration/burst to get after the QB is second to none in this linebacker class and has even drawn comparisons to potential Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller now with the Denver Broncos. Brown’s knack for getting in the backfield and disrupting timing and passing lanes is something that cannot be taught and comes very natural to him. I would like to see him be utilized more in this capacity at UNC as I don’t believe his 5.5 sacks on the year do him any justice in this department and his skill-set could be used better by the Tarheel’s coaching staff. The questions I have in regards to Brown come in his ability to make any sort of impact in the run game. His smallish frame makes him an easy target for downfield blockers and most of his tackles happen down the field. He needs to become more aggressive and show me the type of instincts to consistently make plays in the backfield and disrupt plays before they happen. I will say that Brown is a pretty slippery player who knows how to avoid blocks and escape oncoming defenders, however I would like to see him stick his head in the play more often and show the type of aggressiveness and willingness to make an impact in the running game. Right now I am up in the air on Brown as I feel he has a very unique skill-set with his ability as a blitzer and player in coverage, but his ineffectiveness in the running game concerns me to a degree. Brown natural fit is at weak side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and it will be imperative that whoever drafts him has the players up front to keep him clean and best utilize his skills in the areas of blitzing and coverage.

North Carolina WR Dwight Jones-

Dwight Jones had a lack-luster game overall and his effort in this game left a lot to be desired. I will be watching closely to see how he responds in his bowl game against Missouri on December 26th.

If there is one thing this draft has a ton of talent and size at it is at the WR position where Jones is one of many who displays great body size at 6-4 225 lbs. Lets just say this wasn’t one of Jones better games, although he was able to eclipse the 100 yard mark for the 5th time this season. One thing that has concerned me in the past about Jones is his tendency to let the ball get into his body and trap the ball against his shoulder pads. Jones did this again on a couple of occasions in this game resulting in one drop and a bobbled ball which he was able to haul in just before heading out-of-bounds. This shows me he doesn’t always trust his hands despite his impressive hand size. I need to see Jones pluck the ball away from his frame and show the natural hands that many other WR’s in this draft possess. I also came away unimpressed in Jones effort blocking downfield to help spring his team-mates. His angles and commitment seemed lack luster and truthfully half-ass and as if he was simply going through the motions at times. This definitely needs to change if he is going to get a complete grade from me as I need/want to see more effort to become an all around WR who helps out on plays he isn’t the necessarily the focus of the defense on. At one point Jones did make a nice catch in traffic along the sidelines but was subsequently called for an offensive pass interference for pushing off his defender to create separation. I’m not quite sold on Jones deep speed or acceleration/burst just yet, but that will come with more film work, when I can get a better feel for him overall as an NFL prospect. This was not the type of game I expected from Jones who is considered one of the better WR prospects in this draft. I will be watching closely to see how he follows up this performance against Missouri in the Independence Bowl December 26th, 2011.

North Carolina G Jonathon Cooper-

North Carolina Guard Jonathon Cooper plays with very good technique and his quick feet/athleticism are a strength that give him an advantage in both the run and pass game.

Jonathon Cooper was a player who caught my eye in this game and for very good reason. The area Cooper excels in is his ability to shuffle and move his feet as he shows the type of nimbleness and lateral agility to consistently get him in great position to execute his block. Cooper is extremely light on his feet and always keeps his feet moving and shuffling, allowing him to re-direct and re-set quickly. He also plays with good overall technique, always maintaining a wide base and active hands, although he could stand to drop his butt more as he is somewhat of a waist bender. The other area that was impressive to me was Cooper’s ability to fire low out of his stance and gain initial leverage and position on his opponent, allowing him to consistently seal off his player from the ball. Jonathon’s ability to keep his pad level low and keep chopping his feet allowed him to consistently move his defender off the ball and create room to run for his back. In the pass game Cooper displays good patience and gets good arm extension to wall-off his defender from his body. I wouldn’t say that Cooper displays a powerful punch or over-powering strength, but his sound technique and active/good hand placement allows him to control his defender on a relatively consistent basis. Cooper also did some pulling in this game and was extremely effective at getting out in front and locking onto the first defender. He did a nice job breaking down while hitting a moving target, although he was somewhat over-anxious on occasion to pre-maturely release to the 2nd level and was thus called for an ineligible player down the field penalty. The other thing I liked was how he always seemed to play with his head on a swivel, actively searching for and picking up players who threaten his zone on combination blocks. Cooper is definitely a player you can trust to use out in space and get out in front of his runner on screens, due to his supreme athleticism and quick feet. Cooper is a player I am excited to watch more film on as he shows a very good skill set that translates nicely to the pro game. Right now Cooper is a better run blocker that pass blocker at this point, but shows good enough ability in the passing game to be effective. Watch out for Cooper if he declares to be a player who might move into the top 100 selections before it’s all said and done and surprise some people who unaware about this big man’s pro potential.

Initial 2012 NFL Mock Draft

Posted: December 8, 2011 in 2012 NFL Mock Draft
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*Team Rankings are as of Week 14 NFL Standings*

1- Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck is the best quarterback to come out since Peyton Manning. The Colts would be foolish not to draft Luck and move from one franchise quarterback to the next without having to deal with the ups and downs many franchises endure. Just look what it did for the Green Bay Packers who moved on from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and went on to win the Superbowl last year. Point is you don’t pass up on a player like Luck who comes around once in a decade, unless you receive a ransom of picks in exchange.

2- Minnesota Vikings: OT Matt Kalil

The Vikings desperately need to invest in a tackle to protect their future franchise quarterback Christian Ponder who already has somewhat of  a slight build. This is especially apparent when you play in the same division as players like Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews who can wreak havoc on your quarterback and send him to the IR at a moments notice.

3- St. Louis Rams: WR Justin Blackmon

Bringing in Brandon Lloyd was a great move by the Rams organization and they would be wise to make it a priority to resign him this off-season. With that said, Lloyd makes a much better #2 WR and the Rams and especially Bradford could use a big play threat with the ability to become a star. Enter Justin Blackmon who would be the best wide receiver to suit up in Rams uniform since the days of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

4- Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Morris Clairborne

Jacksonville could really use some offensive firepower to help out their young quarterback Blaine Gabbert. However, with no solid wide receiver options available this high in the draft, a cornerback like Morris Clairborne would be a wise investment and a wise move in taking the best player available.

5- Washington Redskins: QB Matt Barkley

The Redskins need to find a franchise quarterback after doing essentially nothing in last year’s draft to fix the broken position. Both John Beck and Rex Grossman have proved to be good fill-in starters from time to time, but nothing special. Barkley would give them a player to build around and possibly take them to the next level as an offense and as a team.

6- Philadelphia Eagles: LB Luke Kuechley

The Philadelphia Eagles may have some elite names on their defense, but so far those elite names have done little defensively to make an impact on the struggling Eagles team. Linebacker is a position that has plagued this franchise the entire season and is in definite need of an upgrade. Kuechley would come in and immediately start and contribute for a team struggling to find its defensive identity.

7- Carolina Panthers: WR Michael Floyd

The Panthers would be wise to invest in another receiving threat for their top rookie gun Cam Newton. Michael Floyd has had some off the field concerns, however he seems to have moved past them and grown into a much more mature human being. There is no doubting Floyd’s ability, although some have questioned his route running ability and lack of true speed. Another receiver to pair with the electric Steve Smith would give them both a speedy exciting playmaker receiver and true red-zone threat in Michael Floyd.

8- Miami Dolphins: QB Robert Griffin III

Chad Henne just hasn’t turned into the quarterback prospect the Dolphins were hoping they were getting when they drafted him. Now would be a good time to invest in another quarterback in Miami and hope for the better as Robert Griffin possesses a unique skill-set that could make him a true game-breaker at the next level. Griffin has some work to do and should not start immediately, however his talent and upside as a passer is undeniable.

9- Cleveland Browns: RB Trent Richardson

The Browns would be getting great value in nabbing Trent Richardson at this point in the draft. Although running back importance has declined some in the NFL there is something to be said for a player of Richardson’s ability to become an every down back in the NFL. The Browns played exceptionally well when they had a true running back last year in Peyton Hillis and have struggled since he has been banged up. Montario Hardesty also cannot stay healthy and has looked lack luster when given his opportunities up this point. The Browns need to surround their young QB Colt McCoy with solid options, and one of the best ways to help him is by giving him a legitimate running game, which they would be getting with Richardson.

10- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Dre Kirkpatrick

Let’s face it, CB Ronde Barber isn’t getting any younger and their other starting CB Aquib Talib may not be on the team much longer due to some off field incidents/arrests. The Bucaneers have done a solid job addressing their defensive line, however they must now look for a potential replacement for their aging and longtime CB Ronde Barber. Dre Kirkpatrick has plenty of skill, talent, and size to match up with some very good receiver’s who call the NFC South home.

11- Arizona Cardinals: OT Jonathon Martin

Current RT Brandon Keith has had his fair share of struggles this season and has proved to be nothing, if even an average NFL tackle. Jonathon Martin possesses very good skills as both a pass protector and run blocker as he excels at getting to the 2nd level and opening up holes in the running game. I belive Martin is much better suited for the right side in the NFL and would do an exceptional job as a rookie as he continues to get better.

12- Seattle Seahawks: DE Quinton Coples

The Seahawks would love to grab their QB of the future with their pick here, however not many options other than Landry Jones are available to them. Quinton Coples would give them a solid defensive end with the ability to get after the QB and make plays in the backfield. Coples has great upside and could become yet another good defensive lineman to come out of North Carolina and contribute to an NFL team.

13- Buffalo Bills: OG David DeCastro

The Buffalo Bills already have one of the leagues most potent rushing attacks and adding a player like David DeCastro would only do more wonders for them as a running team. DeCastro excels in the run game and is one of the best guard prospects to come out in quite some time. Not only does DeCastro fill a need for the Bills, but he also presents a very good skill-set to open up even more holes for the both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

14- San Diego Chargers: DE/LB Courtney Upshaw

The Chargers seem to have struck out with former first round pick and pass rushing specialist Larry English. Upshaw can fill this void and fits in very good with the what the Chargers look to get out of their linebackers. Courtney Upshaw is an exceptional talent who flashes the ability to use both his speed and strength effectively to set the edge.

15- Kansas City Chiefs: OT Riley Reiff

Kansas City is another team who could look to fix their QB problem as current starter Matt Cassell does not seem to be the franchise QB everyone was beginning to think he could be. However, Riley Reiff presents very good value for the Chiefs in this position and fills a definite need. The Chiefs have done a nice job assembling their line and replacing Barry Richardson with a player like Riley Reiff would be another move in the right direction for this franchise.

16- New York Giants: LB Vontaze Burfict

Injuries and inexperience at the linebacker position have costed the Giants against both the run and pass this season. Adding a player like Vontaze Burfict who is a notoriously hard hitter and relentless defender could be the spark this team needs to put their defense over the edge. The Giants also have a very veteran heavy locker room that could groom and nurture Burfict to play both with passion, but also within himself and rules of the game. To me the New York Giants would be an excellent spot to land for a player like Burfict whose mental-makeup has been highly questioned by scouts and the like.

17- Dallas Cowboys: S Mark Barron

The Cowboys could really use an upgrade in their secondary, especially at the position of safety where Mark Barron could become an integral member of this unit. Barron is a heavy-hitter who can come up in the box and help out against the run as well as lay the big hit from time to time. Barron is still developing in coverage but seems to have all the necessary tools to become a good starter at the next level, replacing Gerald Sensabaugh.

18- Tennessee Titans: DT Brandon Thompson

The Tennessee Titans found some great role players with the potential to become starters down the road in DT’s Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug. However, another player like Thompson to add to the rotation would do wonders for this team as they would be able to keep players fresh and rotating in and out consistently throughout the game. Brandon Thompson gets up field quickly and can penetrate the opponent’s backfield in a hurry, making him a desirable commodity in today’s NFL and for a team still looking to replace the hole left by Albert Haynesworth. They may also consider adding a weapon at receiver or a cornerback to replace soon to be free agents Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin.

19- Cleveland Browns: WR Kendall Wright

The Browns continue to look for playmakers to help out QB Colt McCoy. After grabbing Trent Richardson with their first pick they now turn their attention to a wide receiver with the ability to stretch the field and get vertical. Wright possesses great straight line speed and his quickness makes him a nightmare to defend one on one.

20- New York Jets: DE/LB Melvin Ingram

Rex Ryan loves athletic players, especially ones he can mold and play around with in to get the most out of their ability much like he has done with recently acquired and former first round pick Aaron Maybin formerly off the Buffalo Bills. Ingram is still developing but his athleticism makes him one of the most intriguing players in this draft due to his upside. Ingram should test well at the combine and catch the attention of a defensive guru like Rex Ryan who can get the most out of his potential.

21- Cincinatti Bengals: CB Alfonzo Dennard

The “Fonz” is an extremely good cornerback with the type of skills to become a very good starter at the next level. Although Dennard doesn’t necessarily stand out in one particular area his overall skills and feel for the game are highly attractive. The fact that the Bengals may lose CB Leon Hall this upcoming free agency also makes the cornerback position a serious area of need for this team.

22- Chicago Bears: C Peter Konz

Last draft the Chicago Bears wisely invested their first pick on an offensive tackle from Wisconsin named Gabe Carimi. Carimi was off to a very good start before an injury to his right knee landed him on the IR as many prominent Bears have suffered injuries this season. Carimi has a very positive future with this team and it would be of no surprise for them to add another player like Konz whose ability as a center is rare and second to none in this draft. Konz and Carimi were team-mates at Wisconsin and would prove to be very good additions to a line in charge of protecting QB Jay Cutler and opening up holes for stud RB Matt Forte. Not to mention the ability for Konz to fill the void left by former stand out Center Olin Kreutz.

23- Cincinatti Bengals: RB Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller is one of the few RB’s in this draft who has the ability to become a first round pick. Although not elite Miller displays very good vision, speed, and footwork to become an effect back at the next level. Teaming with the aging Cedric Benson would give the Bengals a good 1-2 punch from the RB position and take some pressure off QB Andy Dalton.

24- Denver Broncos: RB David Wilson

The Broncos choose to jump at the opportunity to add another dimension to their running game with the addition of David Wilson. Seeing that the Broncos seem to be committing to the “All I do is Win” approach set forth by Tim Tebow by adding in what looks to be a spread option type offense makes Wilson a reasonable play in this situation. His speed and ability to get out on edge of the defense would add another element to what is already an extremly rare and exciting offense to watch.

25- Detroit Lions: OG/OT Cordy Glenn

The Lions have ignored their offensive line for far too long and are need of a serious upgrade at many spots if they are going to take the next step. Glenn offers great size and inside run blocking ability, as well as the potential to fill in at RT if need be. His versatility and ability to create holes in the run game make him a sound choice to become the Lions first round pick this year.

26- Houston Texans: DT Dontari Poe

The Houston Texans have already proven to be one of the better overall defenses in the entire NFL. Poe is a small school player from Memphis with a tremendous amount of upside, but also comes with some risk due to his level of competition. If Poe can become an effective NT in the Texans scheme this defense will add yet another playmaker in what is already a very sound defense.

27- New England Patriots: WR Alshon Jeffrey

One thing you have to respect about Bill Bellichick is his propensity to take calculated risks on a yearly basis. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not, but he and owner Robert Kraft always seem to put their team in a situation to succeed. Alshon Jeffrey is the type of player who has all the ability in the world to become a special WR and playing in an offense with future hall of famer Tom Brady slinging you the ball could become one of the more exciting QB-WR combinations to watch in the NFL. Not to mention that New England could really use a big red zone threat at WR, although they already have a reasonable threat in TE Rob Gronkowski who is an absolute beast.

28- New England Patriots: DE/DT Jared Crick

Jared Crick is a highly active player who always hustles to the football and gets by more on his sheer will power and strength than his actual skill. Crick would make for a perfect fit in the Patriots defense and give them a player to groom after losing All-Pro player Richard Seymour a couple seasons ago.

29- Baltimore Ravens LB/DE Ronnell Lewis

Ronnell Lewis possesses more than just the same initials to fill the vacancy that will soon be left by future hall of famer Ray Lewis. Drafting Lewis now would give Ray the ability to groom and mold Ronnell into the type of player that can become a leader, role model, and team spokesman for the Ravens both on and off the football field. Ronnell flashes impressive closing speed and overall instincts and surely has the ability to become one of the better prospects to come out of this draft.

30- Pittsburgh Steelers OT Mike Adams

Protecting the QB and not giving up sacks has proven to be very difficult for the Steelers since they brought in Ben Roethlesberger to play the position. Roethlesberger has been sacked 34 times already this season and is well on pace to be the most sacked QB in NFL history. The Steelers would be wise to invest in some offensive lineman who can give Ben some time back there, even though he has a tendency to escape the pocket prematurely and account for sacks that lie mostly on his shoulders. Adams is one of the better right tackles prospects in this draft and is a player who works hard to sustain his blocks, making him a good fit along the Steelers offensive line.

31- San Francisco 49er’s- CB Chase Minnifield

The 49er’s defense is already among the leagues most elite, however adding a CB opposite Carlos Rogers would make this team even more stout against both the run and pass. Surely the offense could use some more playmakers, but Minnifield presents what could be very good value in a player that has been under-rated and overshadowed by some of the bigger names in this draft at the CB position.

32- Green Bay Packers- DE/OLB Andre Branch

The Green Bay Packers are set on offense and their defense isn’t far behind, allowing them to take some risks with a pick this low in the first round. Branch is a player that has come on as of late and is starting to climb his way up NFL Draft Boards. His ability to play upright or with his hand in the dirt makes him a valuable pass rusher and somebody the Packers can mold into being an effective player in Don Capers aggressive 3-4 scheme.

We have almost reached our one month anniversary here at NFL Draft Round-Up Blog and I would like to share a few things about what I have learned up to this point. One of the first and most important things I have learned about scouting is that you must try your best to treat each prospect individually, while taking into consideration their unique situation, skills, and attributes. Every prospect is entirely different/unique and its imperative to put in the time and effort to get to know them on an individual basis. This means learning everything you possibly can about this person (injuries, character/off field behavior concerns, starting experience, position changes, drive/work ethic, offensive/defensive coordinator changes, stats and whether they have increased or decreased over time, etc) This can be somewhat hard in some instances since not all information is readily available to us, however making the effort to learn as much as you possibly can about a prospect is always most desirable and most efficient way to develop a true understanding.

Another important step in scouting is putting in the time to get a good feel for each prospect. The minimum number of games I scout of an individual prospect is three and even that is somewhat of a small sample size. Every prospect has fluctuations in performance from one game to the next so it’s hard to get a very good feel unless you have plenty of tape to expose all the positive and negative aspect of a prospect’s overall game. Each team/player presents a unique challenge to an individual player’s skill set, so it’s imperative to watch plenty of tape to see both the good and the bad each prospect has to offer, and more specifically any limitations they may have. Another thing worth noting is remembering that you’re not only scouting that player for where they’re now as an overall prospect, but how they project into the future/NFL. Many player’s develop late and there are plenty of instances of player’s becoming much better NFL players than they were college football players. This somewhat goes back to my 2nd point of gaining the necessary knowledge of each individual player before coming to a consensus. Remembering that each player has a unique ceiling and amount of upside is one of the hardest things to project, but it’s a vital step in the scouting process. There will be plenty of player’s who I feel have much more upside than another, and thus rank them higher, even though they may not be a finished product or on the same level as another player at their position just yet.

Last thing I want to discuss before going on a rant is setting up a select/certain scouting criteria for each position. I have started to create my own list of what I feel are the most important attributes for each specific position. For instance a quarterback needs accuracy, arm strength, size, mobility, anticipation, pocket presence, decision-making etc…This is a great way to get each player on a level playing field and critique them on their individual strengths and weaknesses. If your truly interested in scouting then I suggest you sit down and come up with your own list of attributes you see as being most important…its a great way to organize your scouting reports. Lastly, I want you to know that my scouting reports will always begin with a size section. There a couple of reasons for this but the most important is because when it all comes down to it size really is everything. I mean think about it, a few things always come to mind in terms of size…for instance, the size of your house, the size of your bank account, the size of your diamond ring, the size of your….well you get the point. So next time your wife/girlfriend/significant other tells you size doesn’t matter you can tell them you heard it here first, SIZE WILL ALWAYS MATTER! Well, thanks for listening to my mini-rant there, but I just wanted to share with you some of the things I have thought about lately when it comes to scouting. Hope you’re enjoying my blog and continue to find the information relevant, interesting, and insightful. Again, don’t hesitate to let me know how I can improve the site and make it more interactive for you the reader. As always thanks and I look forward to providing you with more analysis in the future.

Sincerely,

Brandon

First edition of my 2012 NFL Draft Big Board. Things are sure to change as we continue to advance into the scouting season. Hope you enjoy and will let me know if you think there is a player I missed that should be included.

1- QB Andrew Luck Stanford: This is the one part of these rankings that will not change between now and the 2012 NFL Draft. Luck is the best quarterback prospect I have ever scouted and probably ever seen coming out of college since Peyton Manning, who he ironically might replace in Indianapolis.

2- OT Matt Kalil USC: Matt Kalil is an oustanding athlete with unbelievable size and length. In my opinion Kalil is the only franchise worthy left tackle in this entire draft, which will make him a very valuable and hot commodity come draft time.

3- RB Trent Richardson Alabama: You can’t say enough good things about Trent Richardson. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he is an absolute load to bring down. Trent does most of his damage after contact and is a complete running back that can become a feature back in the NFL…something that is extremely rare in today’s game.

4- WR Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State: Blackmon doesn’t possess elite speed to burn you deep consistently, but he has outstanding hands and ball skills. His body control and ability to high point the football make him a threat in the red-zone and potential #1 wide receiver in the NFL even though he sometimes has lapses in concentration resulting in dropped passes.

5- CB Morris Clairborne LSU: Clairborne has made everyone in Baton Rouge forget about Patrick Peterson this year. His play has been great and he possesses elite size/length, athleticism, and excellent ball skills to become a lock down cornerback at the next level.

6- QB Matt Barkley USC: Matt Barkley has grown up and grown up nicely in the bright lights of Southern California where the quarterback position is talked about more than in some NFL cities. Barkley has rare intangibles and his pocket presence, poise, and decision making is second to none outside Andrew Luck.

7- LB Luke Kuechley Boston College: You want to talk about a great player, look no further than Boston College’s Luke Kuechley. Kuechley possesses rare instincts and very good coverage ability as he seems to have an extraordinary feel for the game and his position. I believe his best fit lies in a 4-3 scheme, particularly the Cover 2 where his skills can be on full display from the middle linebacker position.

8- QB Robert Griffin III Baylor: Is there a more exciting player in all of college football right now than RG3? Griffin has unbelievable athleticism and has a very strong/accurate arm. His deep ball and ability to hit receivers in stride on stick throws 20+ yards down the field is fun to watch. Griffin has some clean up work to do in the areas of footwork and transitioning from a spread offense, but the sky is the limit with this kid.

9- LB Manti Te’o Notre Dame: When talking about aggressive football players Manti Te’os name is one of the first to come up. Te’o flashes impressive athletic ability and blitzing skills. His downhill attacking style of play makes him a perfect fit in the 3-4 scheme where he can contribute on all downs.

10- WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame: I can’t wrap my head around why Floyd has been downgraded so much this season by NFL Scouts. Floyd is an exciting player with the ball in his hands and is a player who can beat you on short, intermediate, and long routes. His skill-set is rare and I for one am a firm believer in his ability to become a #1 wide receiver in the NFL.

11- OT Jonathon Martin Stanford: Jonathon Martin plays with very good pad level and his mirroring ability is extremely fun to watch. I’m not quite sure Martin has the ability to play on the left side in the NFL, but his ability to get to the 2nd level and run block is one of his greatest strengths.

12- DE Quinton Coples UNC: Coples has had somewhat of a disappointing Senior season after bursting onto the scene in 2010. Coples has elite size and his scheme flexibility makes him a very intriguing option for team’s in need of an impact defensive end. In a weak defensive end class overall Coples should benefit by being the first player taken from his position.

13- OT Riley Reiff Iowa: Iowa seems to put out massive talented offensive lineman prospects every single year and Reiff is next on that list. A former All-State Wrestling Champion from South Dakota, Reiff knows how to use leverage and techniques to neutralize his opponent. I love the way he finishes blocks and keeps his feet chopping. Reiff has some work to do in terms of balance and being more patient but he looks to be every bit as good if not better than former Hawkeye and 1st round pick Bryan Bulaga.

14- OG David DeCastro Stanford: Seeing a guard rated this high is extremely rare and speaks to the immense physical talent DeCastro has shown this season. DeCastro has great size and is an absolute road-grader in the run game, consistently opening up holes for his running back to run through. His ability to get to the 2nd level is exceptional and his pass protection is above average, making him a complete player worthy of this ranking.

15- CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama: Kirkpatrick possesses more than adequate NFL size and length, but it is his physicality and effort in run support that really stands out. Dre has the ability to be a great cornerback in the NFL, however his ball skills need some work if he is to become a complete player who can impact the game from a turnover standpoint. Upside is most definitely there though.

16- DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw Alabama: Upshaw is just a part of the piece that makes up a talented and scary defense for the Crimson Tide. Courtney Upshaw is an effective pass rusher who shows natural ability to disengage from his defender and get after the quarterback thanks in large part to his strength. In run support he sets the edge better than any player in the country and his versatility to play upright or with his hand in the dirt makes him special.

17- CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska: Dennard has somewhat flew under the radar this season as he has been hampered with an injury. Now healthy, we are starting to see the same player who looked better than former Cornhusker and #1 draft pick Prince Amukamara last season. Dennard will probably get drafted later than he should and will present excellent value for whoever drafts him.

18- LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State: Bufict has had a rough season this year with many mistakes and penalties that have caused evaluators to question his mental make-up. Despite all this Burfict still presents a freakishly athletic skill-set that is better than any I have ever seen at his position. He plays out of control at times, but when he is on he is on. Burfict needs to go into the right situation where he can get the proper coaching and guidance from teammates he needs to become great.

19- C Peter Konz Wisconsin: You want to talk about tough, physical, and mean then you have to watch Peter Konz play football. Konz is an extremely good run and pass blocker who takes pride in finishing his blocks and driving his opponent all the way to the ground. Konz is a special center who should be one of those rare players at his position to wind up being a first round draft pick.

20- WR Kendall Wright Baylor: Wright is RG3’s favorite target and a heck of a football player and prospect in his own right. His speed and quickness allow him to separate and beat you deep. Kendall Wright is the type of player who can blow the top off the defense and make big plays, making him a bit of a poor man’s Mike Wallace.

21- OT/G Cordy Glenn Georgia: Cordy Glenn is the kind of prospect that grows on you the more and more you watch film of him. He has great size and above average feet for a man his size. His best fit in the NFL will be inside at the guard position, but I’m starting to believe he has right tackle ability, which would make him very valuable due to his versatility to play multiple positions along the offensive line.

22- DT Brandon Thompson Clemson: Brandon Thompson benefits some from what is somewhat of a poor defensive tackle class. There are no elite defensive tackles but a number of above average ones in this draft (depth). Thompson creates penetration and gets into the backfield quickly thanks to his impressive burst and get-off the line of scrimmage.

23- LB Ronell Lewis Oklahoma: Ronnell Lewis is an extremely good football player. He’s smart and instinctive as he always seems to be in position to make a play thanks to his supreme awareness and discipline. Lewis also displays fantastic closing speed and ability to deliver the violent hit. 3-4 teams will love Ronell’s skill and he could end up being the type of player who has a better pro career than college career.

24- WR Alshon Jeffry South Carolina: There is little doubting just how physically imposing and dominating Alshon Jeffry is as he continually out-muscles defenders for the football. However, I have questions regarding his ability to consistently separate at the next level due to his lack of great top-end speed. Jeffry does possess great hands and uses his big frame well to shield defenders from the football. Should Jeffry decide to come out this year his workouts leading up to and through the combine will be closely watched and scrutinized by talent evaluators looking to see just how athletic/skilled this big man is.

25- WR Mohammed Sanu Rutgers: Sanu may be the best kept secret in all of college football and may not mean more to his team than any other player outside Andrew Luck. Sanu has been a staple for the Rutgers football team and in the Big East Conference since his Freshman season. Those who don’t know much about Sanu as a prospect soon will once film begins to get broken down by NFL evaluators as he displays great pass catching skills and is absolutely a terror as a blocker down the field.

26- QB Landry Jones Oklahoma: Landry Jones is an intriguing and interesting prospect. On one hand he has a great arm that is capable of making all the throws. On the other hand his decision-making and accuracy is erratic, unpredictable, and inconsistent at times, especially in the face of pressure. Jones would be wise to stay another year at Oklahoma to better improve his skills and declining draft stock in my honest opinion.

27- DE/OLB Jarvis Jones Georgia: Only a red-shirt Sophomore Jones would be wise to come back to school and continue to develop size, strength, and more pass rush moves. With that said Jones has a tremendous amount of upside and his ceiling is possibly higher than any other defensive player eligible for this year’s draft. He can bend the edge like no other and gets after the quarterback, never giving up on the play.

28- DT Devon Still Penn State: Devon Still has played lights out this season as he has the ability to get skinny and penetrate the opposing team’s backfield in a hurry. His burst and explosion is undeniable, but I still have some questions about his stamina and ability to anchor in the run game as he plays with somewhat of a narrow base at times and has a tendency to twist his upper body and raise his pad level when neutralized off the snap.

29- DE/OLB Melvin Ingram South Carolina: Ingram has burst onto the scene this season and has had an enormous impact making splash plays for the Gamecocks all season. I still need to do more film-work on Ingram and I could be way off by saying this but my initial impression of Ingram is that he is a better athlete than football player right now. Not saying he can’t become a good one, but I just don’t feel comfortable putting him in my top 25 as of yet.

30- CB Chase Minniefield Virginia: Chase Minnifield is a vastly under-rated player in my opinion. He is the son of former All-Pro cornerback Frank Minnifield who played for the Cleveland Browns. Minnifield displays impressive ball skills and I love the way he challenges and is willing to fight wide receivers for positioning and the ball. Chase is also a film room junkie, which is something that always entices me as an talent evaluator.

31- S Mark Barron Alabama: Barron has really improved his play from a year ago. He seems to be much more comfortable in coverage and his ability to come up and fill versus the run is something that has always been impressive about his game. I’m not completely sold on Barron just yet and need to put in more film work, but he seems to be the best saftey prospect in what is a relatively weak position in this draft.

32- LB Zach Brown North Carolina: Zach Brown is an incredibly athletic linebacker who has the ability to play sideline to sideline. His first-step quickness and closing speed is second to none, making him a terriffic blitzing linebacker. He also seems to be reliable in coverage and is quick to pick up receivers coming out of the backfield, with the ability to run with them vertically. However, Brown lacks prototypical NFL size for the position and his tackling leaves something to be desired. Brown will need to get stronger in order to dis-engage consistently from bigger lineman/tight ends and would be best off by going to a team with two big DT’s that can keep him clean (Lions). Sky is the limit for Zach, but he definitely has some areas of his game to improve upon before he can be considered an elite prospect.

Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson-

Russell Wilson posesses top notch intangibles despite his lack of quality NFL size for the position. Wilson will be an exciting and interesting player to watch and follow leading up through the 2012 NFL Draft process.

There a few things that stick out about Russell Wilson’s game when you watch him play QB. First of all, Wilson stands just 5-11 205 lbs. lacking prototypical NFL size for the position. However, Russell Wilson is not your average QB and has many intangibles that make him a very interesting NFL prospect. The first thing that needs to be discussed is just how athletic Russell Wilson is. Wilson shows a great ability to feel pressure and escape the pocket. Once he has converted from thrower to runner, Wilson can become a defensive nightmare as he shows a rare ability to make plays with his feet and keep the play alive. Wilson is such an athlete that he was selected in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies (#140 overall). The other thing that stands out to me and is often overlooked by many in scouting circles is how quickly Wilson has become a leader for a Wisconsin Badger team that once had hopes for a potential National Title type season before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State. To come in with little to no knowledge about his teammates, the system, coaching staff, or general surroundings and go on to become a leader for your team with very little time to earn their trust and adapt is something that needs to be considered. I find myself wondering just how good this Badger team could have become if he was allowed a little more time to adapt to his new situation after transferring in from NC State, or if he had yet another year left of eligibility. Another thing that makes Russell Wilson special is how well he protects the football. To this point in the season, Wilson has thrown just 3 interceptions in 260 attempts. Which equals out to 1 interception every 86.667 pass attempts, ranking 2nd in all of the FBS QB’s who have attempted at least 250 passes on the season, behind only Houston’s Case Keenum who plays in a spread offense system. Add on to this that Wilson ranks in the top 10 for TD passes and his 10. 4 yds per pass attempt is 2nd in the nation, behind only Baylor’s Robert Griffin and Wilson ranks very favorably with many of the top leaders at his position in college football. While at NC State, Wilson also set an NCAA record by attempting an astronomical 389 consecutive passes before throwing an interception, breaking Andre Woodson’s all time record of 325. Enough with the stats, lets delve into how Russell Wilson looked in this particular game. First of all Wilson does a nice job making quick decisions and getting the ball out quickly, which would make sense considering his high completion percentage of 72.7%, also ranking in the top 5 nationally. He has a quick compact throwing motion and exhibits enough zip on the ball to fit it into tight windows. One concern I do have is Wilson’s tendency to sail the ball on stick throws downfield. I’m not sure if this has to do with footwork quite yet, but I have seen him sail a pass when trying to drive it downfield on more than one occasion this year so that is something I will be looking for in future games. Overall I have been impressed with Wilson’s ball placement and overall accuracy, especially when on the run. You can tell when watching the Badgers play that they have become a team predicated on the run, thanks to their superb offensive line and running back, which we will get into a bit later. However, when asked to make a play this season Wilson has performed his job as well as anyone in the country. Wilson displays good overall footwork and his pocket presence seems to be above average, although he sometimes will escape the pocket before he has to and try to do too much. I want to see Wilson step up in the pocket more often to evade the rush, but overall I like his awareness, overall feel for the game. I will be posting another “Instant Impressions” analysis of the Badgers vs. Purdue game soon and will be paying very close attention to this weekend’s Big Ten Championship Game against the same Michigan State team that shocked and stunned Badger nation and the rest of the college football world with their last second hall mary pass to win the game. Stay tuned for future analysis, but Russell Wilson is quickly becoming one of my most favorite players to watch and scout leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Wisconsin RB Montee Ball-

Montee Ball seems to lack top-end speed and a 2nd gear to pull away from defenders and become a big play threat. However, it is Ball's vision, patience, balance, and overall nose for the end zone that will excite NFL teams.

Montee Ball plays with some very great pieces around him. He has one of the best and biggest offensive lines in the nation that would rival and challenge some NFL rosters with big men Ricky Wagner, Peter Konz, and Kevin Zeitler leading the way. Forward charging and all around under-rated and under-appreciated FB Bradie Ewing is also a vital component of the Badgers overall running game. Montee Ball is no slouch either though as he plays the game with incredible patience, balance, and vision. I love how well he follows his blocks and waits for the hole to open up before getting up field and gaining positive yards, making him a better overall fit for a zone blocking scheme. As evidenced by his astounding and potentially record-breaking pace of 29 rushing td’s and 34 td’s overall, it is easy to see why these attributes have allowed him to be so accustomed to finding his way into the end zone. The one thing Montee Ball will not do too often however is break away from the pack. He does an above average job at attacking and pressing the LOS, but Ball will never astound you with his overall burst, acceleration or top end speed. He will however excite you by his lateral agility and overall feel for creating cut-back lanes. This is perhaps the most apparent aspect of Ball’s game as he consistently bounces and keeps his feet moving and chopping before getting up field. This ability to plant his foot in the ground and go makes Ball a better overall back, even though he doesn’t display the necessary burst to become a big play threat at the next level. Another thing I noticed the Ball does exceptionally well is making the first man miss. This is something that cannot be taught and is innate in Ball’s overall athletic ability. Ball doesn’t break too many tackles but he also doesn’t shy away from contact as he will lower his head and fight for extra yards when the opportunity presents itself. Out of the backfield Montee Ball has done his part this season, however there was a couple instances in this game where he was late getting his head around when escaping the backfield. This nearly lead to an interception and later lead to an incompletion that could have went for a big gain had Ball been more prepared to get the ball. This is not to say that Ball does not posses above average ability as a receiver out of the backfield, just that he still has some aspects of this part of his game to work on. Not in this game but in past games I have also noticed that Ball doesn’t always do a good enough job in pass protection as he will sometimes only throw a shoulder at an oncoming defender. I need to see him become more physical and show the type of aggressiveness to hold up against pass rushers before I can trust him protecting my QB on passing downs. Overall I am a fan of Ball’s game, although I admit his upside is somewhat limited due to his lack of top-end speed. With that said I believe it is Ball’s ability to find his way into the end zone and create positive yards consistently that will make him a staple in his future NFL teams running attack.

Wisconsin WR Nick Toon-

Nick Toon has great NFL size and comes from a lineage that makes him an attractive prospect. However, Toon has seemed to disappear for long stretches in games this season and I have questions about his ability to create separation at the next level.

Nick Toon is a WR that possesses a great NFL frame at 6-2 225 lbs and also a great heritage as his father Al Toon was an All-Pro receiver with the New York Jets. In the two games I have watched of Toon he has either disappeared or become ineffective in getting open and making an impact in the passing game. I dont know if this has to do with his inability to seperate or if teams have been bracketing him and throwing more coverage his way because of his capability to impact the game. Toon’s numbers on the season aren’t anything to get supremely excited about as he currently has 52 receptions on the season for 788 yds. and 9 td’s. His 15.2 YPC average is in the top 20 nationally for receivers with at least 50 catches on the season, suggesting he has some ability to stretch the field and create yards after the catch. An aspect of Toon’s game that is strongly apparent when watching his film is his strong and natural hands as a pass catcher. Toon does a nice job attacking the ball in the air while catching the ball at its highest point. Toon also displays very good body control, using his body to create separation from the defender as well as the ability to adjust to the ball while it’s in the air. In this game Toon also displayed great spacial and field awareness on a couple passes in knowing where the sideline was to come down with the catch in bounds. I’m not quite sold on Toon’s ability to separate at the next level and I need to do more work on him to get a better feel for his route running ability. Right now I see Toon as a possession type receiver in the NFL who will struggle to consistently create separation and become a playmaker at the next level. I still need to see more from Toon, but to this point I have been underwhelmed by his overall  performances and ability. Hopefully Toon will get more opportunities in the next coming games as he could very well be the one defenses have targeted in on to stop Wisconsin’s aerial attack, seeing as only Toon, Pederson and Abberderis seem to be the one’s who are catching ball’s in the Wisconsin offense consistently.

Wisconsin C Peter Konz-

Peter Konz has NFL size and NFL ability. Barring any set-back Konz should declare a year early and should hear his name called fairly early as the top Center in the draft...he's that good.

Peter Konz has to be the best center in this class and he should come out this year, even though he has another year left of eligibility. Konz stands a strong 6-5 315 lbs. and plays with violent and heavy hands. Konz’s hand usage overall is very good and you have to be impressed by the way Konz finishes his blocks. Peter does a superb job of driving his defender to the ground and it is the way he finishes the job by pancacking his opponent that gets you excited about his level and style of play. Konz displays good leg drive and consistently moves his opponent off the ball on running plays. His initial pop off the LOS allows Konz to generate sound leverage in winning nearly evey battle he has at the point of attack. Another area of Konz’s game that he does exceptionally well is executing seal blocks and thus creating running lanes off his back side. In pass protection you can tell that Konz has a great feel and awareness for his blocking assignments and zone. It is in this area that Konz shows great discipline as he repeatedly picks up the first defender that crosses his face or attacks his zone. When not engaged with a defender, Konz is more than willing to help out his fellow teammates in chipping and assisting with blocking assignments. At times I have seen Konz over-engage and get knocked down, but not enough times for it to become a concern as he seems to play with excellent balance and overall technique to wear down his opponent. Konz fights to the whistle and works hard to sustain blocks when locked on with his defender. In this particular game Konz did a nice job pulling, as Wisconsin seems to like his ability to get out in front of the runner and open up running holes. Konz did an excellent job locking on and taking out the 1st defender and showed the ability to reach and hit moving targets at the 2nd level. Konz also shows a nice ability to anchor and prevent bull rushers from collapsing or penetrating the pocket. As you can tell there isn’t much I don’t like about Konz game and there is no doubt he is playing exceptionally well and better than any other Center in all of college football right now. If Konz does declare I could see him cracking the first round as he has day one starting ability.

Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler-

Kevin Zeitler is a physically big and imposing blocker who excels in the run game by opening up holes. His game has some flaws but he is soundly becoming one of the better Guard prospects in the country.

Kevin Zeitler displays the type of talent that would put him up there with the other top G prospects in Stanford’s David Decastro, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn, and Iowa State’s Keleche Osemele. The aspect of Zeitler’s game that is fun to watch is his ability to open up holes in the run game. I absolutely love Zeitler’s effort in the run game as he shows the ability to fire out of his stance and gain proper leverage and initial advantage and positioning on his opponent by playing with proper pad level. Zeitler also displays sound balance and technique and consistently stymies his defender with his overall form and size at 6-4 315 lbs. Zeitler is developing into a sound run blocker who takes great pride in his craft and has the ability to become an absolute road-grader as he is big, mean, and physical and best suited for a power run scheme at the next level. Zeitler displays above average feet and athleticism and can get out in front when asked to pull and be a lead blocker, but he needs to be more decisive and come around the corner hard and with his head on a swivel. On one pulling play in this game this was evident as Zeitler didn’t show the type of aggressiveness to get up into the hole and thus was beat to get position by a defender looking to fill the hole. It is in this area that Kevin could also take better angles as he tends to get a little out in front of himself. Zeitler does however do a good job at getting to the 2nd level and does a nice job controlling his opponent with proper positioning and technique, although he sometimes tries to penetrate the 2nd level before truly finishing off his first block. This is where Zeitler needs to show some patience and make sure his defender has been taken out of the play before proceeding to his next assignment. In pass protection Zeitler does a good job of mirroring his opponent while playing with a good solid wide base to anchor. He always seems to be in control and in solid position and has enough athleticism to recover when beaten initially. Overall Zeitler is a better prospect than former Badger Guard John Moffitt, who was taken 75th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. This is in large part thanks to his ability to become an effective pass blocker and really excel in the running game where he is a reliable in opening up running lanes. I’m excited to watch more film of Zeitler as both he and Konz play very sound football and work very well next to each other. Presenting what is most likely the most balanced, gifted, and special interior offensive line play in not only the Big Ten but the entire NCAA.

Ohio State OT Mike Adams-

Mike Adams will have to answer questions about the Ohio State Tatoo Scandal that kept him sidelined for much of his senior season. Adam's has good size and possesses very good awareness, but his lack of foot agility concerns me in his ability to stay at LT in the NFL.

Ohio State’s OT Mike Adams possesses good overall size and length standing 6-6 320 lbs. The thing I really like and appreciate about Mike Adam’s is his overall awareness and ability to keep his head and eyes up to pick up oncoming defenders. Adam’s is very successful when asking to re-direct and always plays with his head on a swivel, knowing when and where blitzers may be twisting or stunting off the edge. Mike also displays an above average punch and overall strength to jolt and stymie defenders to get them off-balance and temporarily out of the play. Adam’s is also a very effective blocker when asked to down block at an angle and seal the edge. He was extremely effective at taking a proper blocking angles and getting good hand placement on his opponents’ to drive them out of the play and on more than one occasion all the way to the ground. You can also tell that Adam’s is a competitor in short or goal-line situations as he routinely fires off the ball and displays the type of passion and enthusiasm you want in somebody trying to move his defender off the ball as he plays hard through the whistle. One area that Mike Adams needs to improve on is his tendency to pop-up a bit when coming out of his stance. He needs to do a better job of creating leverage by playing with better pad level and sinking his hips to get into proper position. I also noticed that Adam’s somewhat struggles to keep his legs driving through contact and develops somewhat of a lean in the running game. Although Adams has great size and overall ability, it is this lack of discipline and technique that gives him trouble in sustaining his blocks for a long enough period of time. When coming set into his pass protection I am not quite sold yet on his ability to stay at LT in the NFL due to his footwork as it seems at bit sloppy and slow at times. Adam’s doesn’t possess superior athleticism, or feet and his lack of agility and foot quickness leave something to be desired for a man who is asked to protect the QB’s blind side. I’m just not sure I can trust him matching up against speed rushers off the edge, even though I have yet to see him get beat to the outside as of yet. I do know that Mike struggles with shorter athletes who possess the ability to beat him with their overall quickness and use of spin moves. Adam’s sometimes is a bit slow to recover when beaten initially and struggled to rebound when his hands and feet were out of position and he was knocked off balance. Overall I like his skill set and I would like to believe at worst he can become an effective RT but I need to see more of him in this department before I can make this assumption. Adam’s will also have some very tough questions to answer leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft pertaining to his involvement in the Ohio State Tatoo Scandal that kept him sidelined for much of his senior season.

Ohio State C Mike Brewster-

Brewster's lacks the type of aggressiveness and tenacity I like to see in my offensive lineman. However, his starting experience, leadership ability, and overall knowledge and intelligence for the game make him a good center prospect moving forward.

Standing 6-4 305 lbs, Mike Brewster has a good frame to fill the position in the NFL. Mike Brewster is a four-year starter who has now tallied 47 consecutive starts for the Buckeyes and has become a leader on the team. His excellent blend of starting experience, intelligence, and durability is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game of football. The one area of Brewster’s game that I have pin-pointed as my personal favorite is his ability to position himself between the ball carrier and defender to create adequate holes and rushing lanes to run off his backside. He is able to do this because of his ability to maneuver himself into position quickly, while reacting fast enough to shuffle, slide, and mirror his opponent. By doing this Brewster consistently opens up cut-back lanes and gives his runners enough space to run and make defenders miss in space. Although Brewster is quick to get into position he doesn’t always fire off the snap like he should and has a tendency to get knocked off balanced. When firing out of his stance he has a tendency to drop his head and lose sight of his opponent, making him susceptible to defenders with good swim and push-pull techniques to beat their man one on one. Another area I would like to see improvement from Brewster is in his physicality and aggressiveness as he doesn’t show the type of want to or mean streak of a player like Peter Konz who works to finish his blocks. At times it seems Brewster can become satisfied with executing only one blocking assignment and doesn’t always continue to work towards a 2nd block that can be the difference between a 3 yard gain and a potential hole busting block. To me this type of blocking is more of an attitude thing and I know Brewster has the capability to be a good 2nd level blocker, it will just depend on if he wants or has the desire to become this type of player for his team. It should also be noted that in the two games I have watched of Brewster (Wisconsin & Penn State) I saw a total of four errant snaps where Brewster either thought his QB was under center and not in the shotgun, or just simply rushed his snap and delivered an errant ball. Either way this type of thing is inexcusable and seems to be uncharacteristic of a player of Brewster’s caliber. With this said Brewster does do an exceptional job sealing off his player from the ball while moving well laterally to get himself into position. Mike could stand to develop a little more strength, although he seems to get a decent push in the run game. Right now it is hard to gauge where Brewster stands as an NFL prospect for me as I feel the two games I have watched were inconsistent and possibly uncharacteristically bad play from a usually sound football player. Time in the film room will tell, but Brewster seems to be one of the top 3 centers eligible for this year’s NFL Draft.

*Sorry this was such a long post, but it involved multiple games of film study for each prospect listed so I wanted to go into a little more detail. I also wanted to give mention to a few other players who flashed and stood out in this game. Players like Wisconsin FB Bradie Ewing, LB’s Chris Borland and Mike Taylor, FS Aaron Henry, OT Ricky Wagner, and TE Jacob Pederson all had good games and will be players to focus on for Wisconsin in future games/seasons. On Ohio State DE John Simon consistently put pressure and forced Russell Wilson out of the pocket. FB Zach Boren, RB Dan Herron, TE Jake Stoneburner, and QB Braxton Miller all did very good as well and deserve to be mentioned in this post. Thanks again, hope you enjoyed the read and can come away with some valuable information and insight.

Sincerely,

Brandon