Archive for the ‘Film Sessions’ Category

OT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M

Blessed with incredibly light feet and great balance/flexibility it is easy to see what makes Joeckel one of the most highly touted LT prospects in all of college football. Joeckel’s athleticism and foot speed allows him to effectively release off the line and get into his stance/drop quickly. Joeckels is also very fundamentally sound, bending at the knees and maintaining leverage by getting good arm extension and inside hand placement. In the run game Joeckels takes very good angles and uses his size, length and footwork to effectively seal off his defender from the play and create running lanes. Joeckel produces just average push as a run blocker but he does a great job of sustaining and latching on once engaged to efficiently neutralize his opponent. Joeckel’s ability to coordinate his feet and re-direct by moving laterally is top notch and allows him to recover if beaten intially our caught out of position. He does a great job sinking his hips and sitting into his stance and his knee flexibility allows him to re-position and ride defenders around the edge and close the door on outside in pass rush moves. One of the biggest areas for growth for Joeckel will come in his ability to absorb the bull rush and anchor. His base and lower/upper body strength needs improvement. Too many times Joeckel got bull rushed into the backfield. Players who were able to convert speed to power gave Joeckel troubles today as he got caught flat footed and guessing at times. More time in the weight room and more repetitions on the practice field should clean this area of his game up and allow him to fully take advantage of his enormous potential as a franchise pass protector at the next level. He has all the tools necessary to be great but just needs seasoning.

OT Jake Matthews Texas A&M

The son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, Jake not only has the bloodlines but also the skill-set and abilities to be a very good player for a long time just like his dad. While not blessed with the same nimble footwork and athleticism as his teammate, Matthews still has plenty going for him as a player. Perhaps the most impressive part of Matthews game for me was the patience he showed in pass protection and also his functional playing strength. Once you are engaged with Matthews it is simply over, his ability to latch on and sustain blocks is very good due to his incredibly strong hands. Matthews also does a very good job of shooting his hands nicely out of the holsters, displaying a nice  punch to jolt his opponent and knock them on their heels. Matthews also plays with a very good wide base and showcases a strong anchor to absorb the bull  rush, simply neutralizing his opponents momentum on contact, thanks to his refined technique and ability to extend his arms and find his”fit” quickly. In his set Matthews is patient and smart, not opening up the inside door by over-commiting and getting caught out of position. His ability to mirror his opponent in the pass game gives him a great edge to react to his defenders movements and beat his main to the point. In the run game Matthews is equally impressive as he works hard to create rushing lanes for his running back. Matthews pre-snap awareness and quickness out his stance are also good and allows him to seal off gaps and beat his man to the punch. Matthews is ideally suited to the right side of the football and will likely be one of the top prospects at his position should he declare early. Texas A&M definitely has two of thse best offensive tackles in the entire NCAA with both Joeckel and Matthews.

RB Christine Michael Texas A&M

A relatively quiet game for Michael overall but he did show good hands out of the backfield and the shifty elusive running style that has caught the attention of scouts. Michael had a few good runs, displaying great vision and feel to find the cut back lane while also displaying the footwork and change of direction ability to make defenders miss in the hole. His burst and acceleration was above average and his slipperiness allowed him to slip defenders and run through arm tackles with solid pad-level and a tailor made spin move. Overall it was just an average game for Michael overall as he received only 13 carries for 33 yards. The key for Michael this season is to prove he can handle a full workload while remaining healthy for the entire season. If he can do that, Michael has the potential to be the first Senior running back off the board next April.

WR Ryan Swope Texas A&M

Another Aggie who had a relatively quiet game in this one, Swope managed just 5 receptions for 16 yards. With that said, Swope proved last season just how effective he can be when he gets the opportunity. Freshman QB Johnny Manziel is more of a run first quarterback at this point but would be wise to take greater advantage of his Senior wide receiver. While not overly ahtletic or explosive, Swope is incredibly intelligent and knows how to work his way open out of the slot position. Swope has sticky consistent hands and is a dependable downfield blocker and all around team player. Swope is your classic over achiever who may slip some in the draft and go behind more highly athletic guys with potential but Swope will surely outperform many of them due to his instincts for the position and effort on every play.

LB Sean Porter Texas A&M

Porter burst onto the scene last season for the Aggies, often drawing comparisons to former stand out and All-Pro Von Miller. Porter however is a different breed from Miller and plays the game a bit differently, with a different set of skills. One of the things that stuck out to me was how aggressive Porter was with his hands, ripping off blocks to disengage and converge on the ball carrier. Porter is a very fluid athlete with plus movement and change of direction skills which allow him to side step and sift through trash to avoid blocks and find the ball carrier. I love how well Porter does this while also keeping his head and eyes up and feeling his way down the line to take the correct angle to the ball. His smaller frame allows him to get engulfed at times and washed out of the play but his agility and ability to knife his way through and around blocks makes incredibly difficult to corral and contain. Porter is also extremely effective in coverage thanks to his superb athleticism which allows him to turn and run with almost any player. A&M trusts Porter in this area so much they have the trust and confidence in him to line up over the slot receiver on a large number of occasions. Although he doesn’t blitz nearly as much as he did last year since he moved to linebacker in A&M’s new 4-3 defense, Porter still has unique pass rush ability. His speed, flexibility, coordination and foot speed make him a nightmare to handle one on one as he has the ability to keep offensive tackles off balanced and constantly guessing. While he may not be as talented as Von Miller, Porter certainly has the skills necessary to transfer to the next level and make him a high pick come next April.

DE Damontre Moore Texas A&M

Moore caught my eye last year and was virtually all over the field in this game, accounting for numerous sacks and countless hurries. Moore plays the game with great urgency, hustle and effort and fights through the whistle consistently. For a man that stands 6-4 250, Moore has plus movement skills and burst off the football, which allows him to challenge up field and come back underneath. With that said I’m not sure how well he bends as his pad level rises and he struggles with flexibility turning the corner. I would also like to see him become more physical with his hands and use a better pass rush repertoire to fight off and through blocks.  With that said, Moore certainly has a lot of untapped talent and potential and is still adapting and growing as a pass rusher. His strength and technique needs to improve at the point of attack if he is to become more than a situational pass rusher, however his ceiling is very high if developed and coached up correctly. I appreciate how hard he fights through tackles and make plays from sideline to sideline thanks to his great motor and range. Certainly Moore is a player that finds ways to make and impact and is hard to keep contained for long stretches of time. His versatility to play multiple positions along the offensive line, as well as his ability to take correct angles and use his closing speed to chase down ball carriers make him an incredibly intriguing player. Moore seems to impact the play on more ocassions than not and is always involved in the play thanks to his superb awareness and instincts. He needs to do a better job setting the edge and resisting from crashing down and losing contain at times but overall Moore is an extremely dependable player and someone you want to have on the field as much as possible. I’m anxious to see how well Moore adapts to his new position as he is off to a very hot start and is definitely one to watch as the season wears on.

DT Shariff Floyd Florida

Regarded as one of the highest rated prep DT’s in the country, Floyd immediately made an impact for the Gators in his Freshman season while earning All SEC Freshman honors. Last season Floyd was asked to play outside at defensive end due to injuries and depth issues, performing admirably at his new position. Floyd is back inside again this season and certainly impressed me with his natural ability at his more natural position. While Floyd doesn’t possess the burst and quickness off the snap to consistently challenge gaps and make his way to the quarterback, Floyd is more of a technician in the middle whose biggest impact comes against the running game. Floyd has extremely powerful hands and uses his big mitts to effectively disengage and fight his way off blocks. Floyd also plays with very good and consistent pad level and is not afraid of contact. His pure strength and ability to anchor down and hold his position makes it hard not only for offensive lineman to move him off his spot but sustain blocks on him for long periods of time. I also appreciated how well Floyd moved laterally and made his way down the line to make plays against the run. These movement skills allow him to make plays in pursuit and should translate well to the next level. Don’t expect Floyd to cause much stir in terms of sacks and impact plays this season but there is no doubting he is a solid all around player who is a key cog in the middle of the Gators defense.

OT Xavier Nixon Florida

Nixon was hot and cold tonight but overall I didn’t quite see a player that I think will be a starter at the next level. His quickness and pre-snap awareness was off and allowed his opponent to get an early head start on him on more than one occasion. Nixon also played upright and allowed his base to get narrow while executing a poor drop step to gain depth on his kick step. I also question his flexibility and balance at times and also think he lacks a physical demeanor to consistently fight through the whistle. His lateral agility is lacking to a degree and had a bad habit at bending at the waist instead of the knees at times. I don’t mean to completely bash him but Nixon simply played uninspired football, struggling to find and locate blockers at the 2nd level. I did appreciate Nixon’s ability to anchor against the bull rush and recover when caught out of position at times but feel he has a long ways to go if he is going to play at the next level.

West Virginia QB Geno Smith #12

To say that Geno Smith was in total control this past Saturday would be an understatement. Geno was nearly flawless in every aspect of the game and finished the day 32/36 for a 88.9 completion percentage with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Smith’s command of the offense was magnificent to watch and his football IQ was on full display as he consistently made changes at the line based on the defensive alignment to put his team in the best position. Geno’s footwork both inside and outside the pocket was top notch and his rhythm and balance as a passer carved up the Ohio secondary from the first offensive whistle. I loved how well Geno moved within the pocket as he side stepped and used subtle shoulder movements to evade the rush and extend the play with his legs. Smith’s improvisational ability to make plays with his feet once the play broke down is what makes Geno such a tough quarterback to defend as he can beat you with his arm or feet but does not look to scramble before letting the play fully develop. Geno is the epitome of a dual threat quarterback but will try and beat you with his arm before his legs by keeping his head and eyes downfield and truly has remarkable field vision to see the whole play develop before making his decision where to go with the ball. Geno Smith added 65 yards and a touchdown on just 8 carries in the game and had a remarkable touchdown run after a broken play tested Geno’s ability to improvise with his feet when the play went awry. His gliding running style was eerily reminiscent of another great running quarterback in Vince Young, the difference being that Geno’s upside as a passer far surpasses that of the legendary Texas quarterback.

Geno Smith was in complete command of the West Virginia offense Saturday and showed the poise, composure and skills necessary to be an early NFL Draft pick next April

As a passer one of the first things you notice about Geno Smith is his great throwing mechanics. Smith plays with a good natural knee bend, a wide base and always holds the ball high and tight to his chest ready to let it rip at any time. His throwing motion is quick and compact and I love how well Geno does in getting his feet around to square his body to his intended target, especially on the run.  His superb throwing mechanics is one of the reasons why Geno is able to enjoy so much success in the accuracy department to all levels of the field. Although, his deep ball is not quite elite, as the ball comes out a little flat at times, Geno consistently puts his receivers in the best position to make a play on the ball. It is in the short to intermediate routes where Geno’s accuracy truly shines and stands out where he consistently hits receivers in stride and gives them the opportunity to make the run after the catch. Geno Smith’s arm strength is also very good and he displays the type of arm talent to make throws to all levels of the field including from the hash to far sideline. His ball comes out clean and tight with great velocity and RPM’s, especially on stick throws and passes between the numbers. Overall, Geno Smith started his season off remarkably well and his surely put his name towards the top of the early Heisman debate/contention. With that said, I am excited to see how well Geno plays against the more talented defenses of the Big 12 as he faced an Ohio Bobcat team that rarely put pressure in his face and forced him to make a decision with chaos happening around him and a defender bearing down. Surely, Geno will face much tougher defenses that will force him to show the same type of ability when faced with a much tougher defensive pass rush. After his performance this opening weekend I have firmly cemented Geno Smith as a first round pick as I think he has enormous upside, potential and ability to be a unique talent at the next level given his overall skill-set.

West Virginia WR Tavon Austin # 1

Lighting in a bottle, that is the image and phrase that comes to mind when best trying to describe Tavon Austin. Austin’s first step quickness is remarkable as he can accelerate to full speed in the blink of an eye, making him an extremely dangerous player in the open field to contain. Austin is undersized and has a slight frame at just (5-9 175) but his quick feet, agility and suddenness to make people miss should protect his body from taking many direct hits at the next level, pro-longing his shelf life in the NFL. The other thing that will pro-long Austin’s shelf life and enhance his value in the NFL is his ability as a kick returner. Austin has a unbelievable stutter step that makes opponents hold their breath in fear of what he can do when he has some open field to work. Tavon’s explosiveness and ability to change speeds and directions on a dime, and his balance, vision and shiftiness are all qualities that will make him a dangerous weapon in the NFL for a long time to come. On the downside, the NFL’s new kickoff rules will slightly diminish Austin’s value as a returner, however Austin has the hands and ability to work out of the slot to be a mis-match in the passing game as well and should be a 5-10 touch a game player with the ability to take it to the house with his blazing speed and track like quickness at a moments notice.

West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey #3

Stedman Bailey may not receive the same hype as West Virginia stars Geno Smith and Tavon Austin, but make no mistake he is surely an integral cog in the Mountaineer offense and has quality NFL skills to boot as a pass catcher.

Although Austin gets much of the attention and recognition for his game changing ability, it is Bailey who has the more upside as a wide receiver at the next level. Bailey, (5-10 190) has the better size and NFL frame of the two West Virginia receivers and is much more polished player overall. Bailey runs very tight, crisp and efficient routes and uses no wasted steps or movements to alert his defenders of his route or intentions. He also has incredibly strong and soft hands to consistently pluck the ball away from his frame and did a great job with timing his jump, body control and high pointing the football to come down with his first of two touchdown receptions on the day. Bailey and star quarterback Geno Smith have a relationship and connection dating back to high school and surely have developed a deep feel, trust and chemistry for one another’s ability to make plays on the field. This connection took off last season when Bailey accounted for 72 receptions for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns for a yards per reception rate of 17.8, which ranked third overall in the entire FBS for receivers with at least 70 receptions on the season. Although Bailey is not as explosive an athlete as his teammate Austin, Bailey still has plenty speed to burn, athleticism and quickness to make yards after catch and make people miss in the open field. On the flip side, Bailey is a much more physical receiver capable of running through arm tackles and matching up with more agressive and competitive defensive backs. The other thing I really appreciated about Bailey was his football IQ as both a a receiver and blocker. Bailey is very active in the running game and looks to put a hat on a hat to seal off his defender and make running room off his backside. In the receiving game, Bailey did a tremendous job of working his way back to the QB when the play broke down and forced Geno Smith to move outside the pocket and find an open receiver. Bailey could be seen working his way back to the football to get open and give his quarterback a target. This shows me that Bailey has the acute awareness, mental intellect and football IQ of a veteran receiver and most surly will be noticed by NFL Scouts who break down his game tape. Look for Bailey to have an even stronger Junior season and potentially declare a year early with his partner and high school teammate Geno Smith, in what could be a very special season for the Mountaineers.

Marshall WR Aaron Dobson #3

Dobson had a mediocre game in my assessment as he seemed to quit on his team and disappear during the 2nd half, and although he did have some nice plays they did little to affirm my belief that he is one of the top wide receivers in college football. Dobson did a nice job of changing up his speeds effectively and using double moves to get behind the defense. West Virginia chose to use single coverage on Dobson a lot throughout the game but surprisingly Dobson did very little with the opportunity. His 4 catches for 72 yards are not terrible but 40 of those yards came on a busted coverage in which Dobson was able to get behind the defense. Other than this one play Dobson appeared slow coming out of his breaks and rounded off his routes, drifting away from the intended path, while also showing very little effort on the backside when the play was designed away from him. This lack of effort and inability to step up and respond to the adversity when his team fell behind will surly leave a lasting negative impression on scouts who were able to take in his performance. I will be watching Dobson closely within the coming weeks to see how he responds to what was overall a very lack luster performance.

#21 South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

Coming off a knee injury last fall, Lattimore showed little ill effects displaying great agility, athleticism and instincts to find and hit the hole with great consistency. Lattimore has all the makings of a true number one running back.

Lattimore got off to a rough start Thursday evening when his first carry led to a turnover, after fumbling on his first attempt following knee surgery last year. However, Lattimore quickly redeemed himself by finding the endzone twice and conjuring up his 9th career 100 yard game in route to South Carolina’s 17-13 win over the Commodores. Lattimore’s fumble likely had more to do with rust and inexperience with contact than actual ball security issues, however it is still something to watch moving forward. While it is apparent that Lattimore may have  lost some burst and explosion as a runner since his knee injury last fall, Lattimore was extremely impressive in all assets of his game. Marcus was decisive and displayed excellent footwork and vision to feel and hit the hole, getting up to the 2nd level very seamlessly. I also appreciated how well Lattimore converted from runner to receiver or blocker as he made a few key blocks to open things up for Connor Shaw and also found clean releases to become a check down option out of the backfield. His ability to stay on the field on all downs is what makes Lattimore a true work horse back. Perhaps what was most impressive was how agile and athletic Marcus Lattimore is for not only a big back (6-0 218) but especially for one coming off a major knee injury. His ability to change directions and elude/side-step would be tacklers without losing much momentum or speed is extremely rare and something NFL Scouts will certainly notice and covet come draft time. Add on to this the fact that Lattimore runs with very good pad level upon contact and through arm tackles regularly and you have all the makings of a true number one running back who can stay on the field for all three downs. With Lattimore you get a solid and dependable back who refuses to leave yards on the field and consistently picks out and finds the correct hole or cut-back lane. He most certainly showed a lot following his injury to scouts and assuming he can stay healthy for the entire season, we could be talking about the first running back taken next April, should he choose to declare a year early.

#98 South Carolina DE Devin Taylor

Blessed with incredible length, size and athleticism (6-8 265 lbs), Taylor is an ultra tall and linear defensive lineman with great upside as a pass rusher. With that said I didn’t always see a player who has put it all together and lived up to his immense upside and potential quite to this point. With Taylor you get flashes but not much consistency as he displays good burst and explosion off the line but the dis-interest to be physical and play with urgency that is incredibly frustrating to watch. Too many times Taylor is the one absorbing the contact rather than delivering the blow and he must improve his technique and strength at the point of attack to effectively disengage and slip blocks with greater frequency . Taylor’s high cut frame also makes it difficult for him to dip and run the arc to the quarterback as his pad level and flexibility to turn the corner is just not quite there to this point. Taylor also lost contain on more than one occasion by choosing the wrong gap and giving up outside positioning. On the bright side, Taylor is a player with a good get-off for his size as he shows the burst and acceleration to challenge upfield, showcasing great movement and change of direction skills for a man of his stature. I also appreciated the hustle and effort I saw from Taylor as he could be seen chasing and pursuing the play from sideline to sideline and as far as 20+ yards down the field to get involved. Overall, I get the feeling that Taylor is seemingly not getting the most out of his frame and ability as he seems to lack much physicality and aggressiveness, playing softer than a player with his size and ability should.  Predicted by many to have a break out year opposite star rusher Jadevon Clowner, Taylor must play more like his counterpart and teammate if he is to reach the lofty goals and expectations that have been placed upon him this season.

#7  South Carolina DE Jadevon Clowney

Clowney’s talent was on full force, although he was typically fazed out by the play calling by Vanderbility. He displayed outstanding recognition and change of direction skills to get after the quarterback with reckless abandon. Although not yet draft eligible, Clowney has all the makings of a future first round pick.

Jadevon Clowney is a bad man. Clowney was extremely physical and agressive, while displaying a nice get-off. Couple this with his very good change of direction and overall movement skills and you have a defensive end that is extremely disruptive and difficult to contain. This is why Vanderbilt generally ran and executed plays to the opposite side of Clowney, while also using a running back ore extra tight end to chip or help out with the extremely talented defensive end for the Gamecocks. Clowney is a balanced athlete who displays excellent closing speed and range to make plays all over the field and in space. The biggest difference between Clowney and his teammate Devin Taylor is the functional strength and leverage he plays with as compared to his counterpart. Clowney gets good pop and contact and is extremely strong and physical at the point of attack, blowing up blocks to free up others and knocking his opponent on their heels with a very good jolt. I would like to see Clowney use his hands a bit more often as he has a tendency to lean and throw his shoulder into his opponent, rather than use his hands to stack and shed a block. However, Clowney was still extremely effective thanks to his pad level and the fact that opponents must respect both his speed/quickness and also his power. Overall, I was very impressed and pleased with Clowney and believe he is a sure-fire future first round pick, especially in a league where pass rushers have become and extremely valuable commodity  in today’s pass happy NFL.

#2 Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy

Coming off a career year in which he rushed for nearly 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns, Stacy was generally held in check for most of the night, as he accounted for only 48 yards on 13 carries. With that said, Stacy seemed to be battling either cramps or some sort of lower leg injury throughout much of the game. Stacy did have a couple nice runs where he displayed quick feet and a good burst to find the hole and get up into the 2nd level of the defense. Being that Stacy is a smaller back (5-9 210) he isn’t one to break tackles and move a pile with his strength but his ability to make you miss and change directions in space is what can make him so effective. I am excited to watch more of Stacy this coming year and although this wasn’t his best game I know from watching him last year that he has plenty to offer in the running game for the Commodore offense and should build on his excellent Junior campaign from last season.

#11 Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers

The younger brother of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Jordan certainly has the ability to become a nice quarterback prospect of his own with a strong Senior season.

The younger brother of Superbowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Jordan has a tough mark to live up to but showed well in last nights game against a very talented Gamecock defense. Rodgers was confident and made quick decisions and although I believe the ball could come out quicker at times, I thought Rodgers was efficient with both his ball placement and accuracy, especially between the hashes. His ability to extend and make plays outside the pocket with his feet makes him a tough quarterback to contain. This mobility and dual threat ability is what makes Rodgers an intriguing prospect. If he can become a more efficient passer this season, Rodgers has the type of ability that can be intriguing to NFL teams, especially those operating a west coast type of offense. Although he seemed more poised in the pocket from this season to last, I still need to see him keep his eyes downfield and let the play develop before looking to escape. His internal clock is good but needs some fine tuning to learn and trust his arm just as much as he trusts his legs. Rodgers looked much more confident and comfortable in the pocket and seemed to be in good command of the offense and I generally liked his footwork and balance within the pocket as well as his throwing mechanics and anticipation to make the correct throw. Rodgers seems to have upside as a passer and it should be fun to watch him operate this under-rated Vanderbilt team in what is most likely the most talented conference in all of college football.

#87 Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews

Matthews has excellent size at 6-2 205 lbs and his frame allows him to snare catches away from his body with relative ease. His stat line of 8 receptions for 147 yards and a long touchdown was impressive and Matthews is certainly a smooth athlete but I get the feeling that he is more of a one speed, one gear athlete that lacks much burst and acceleration to consistently gain separation. I still need to see more of Matthews, however nothing about his game really stood out to me that would make me think he can be a special receiver at the next level.

Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell #24

Le’Veon Bell was literally the “Bell Cow” (pun intended)  for the Michigan State Spartans offense last night. Bell toted the rock an astounding 44 times for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns, while hauling in 6 receptions for 55 yards as well. Bell’s 265 total yards from scrimmage in the game last night out performed the entire Boise State offense by nearly 50 yards. Bell is a big strong runner (6-2 245 lbs.) who lacks elite burst, explosion and top-end speed but is a chains mover who can get the tough yards inside. One of the most impressive aspects of Bell’s game last night was his ability to slip blocks, as he showed some elusiveness in the open field as well as natural and nimble footwork to side-step would be tacklers. Watching Bell reminded me of a more complete LeGarette Blount, especially considering this impressive leap over a defender in the 1st quarter last night.

Le’Veon Bell showed impressive agility, power and vision while torching the Boise State defense for 250+ yards from scrimmage in last night’s season opener

However, Bell isn’t simply just a bruiser who can grind inside and wear down a defense, as he also showcased impressive ability in blitz pickup and becoming a receiver out of the backfield. Showcasing the ability to be a complete back is what separates Bell from a player like Blount. Perhaps the greatest improvement from this year to last from Bell was his ability to feel out and find the cut back lane, showing the vision, patience and power to consistently pick up positive yardage, as he consistently fell forward and displayed the leg drive to churn out yards after contact. Bell also changed gears effectively and has the start stop ability to keep the defense honest and respect his overall skill-set. I would like to see Bell become more of a downhill runner as he doesn’t  always attack the line of scrimmage and show the burst and acceleration to get up to the 2nd level of the defense. Overall, Bell was extremely impressive last night and is well on his way to an All-American type season, assuming he avoids injuries from his high number of carries. If State is to challenge for the Rose Bowl this season their pass game will have to improve as it will be hard for Bell to carry the offense, especially once conference games begin.

Michigan State TE Dion Sims #80

Sims was a consistent target over the middle and in the flats for the Spartans offense last night and for first-year starter Andrew Maxwell. Sims nabbed 7 receptions for 65 yards to lead all Spartan receivers and displayed soft hands and good hand-eye coordination to consistently pluck the ball away from his body and extend his arms on passes over his head. Sims size (6-5 285) is NFL quality and while his athleticism and quickness is impressive for a man of his stature, I am not quite sold on his ability to stretch the defense to this point but need to see more film of him. He is a big target and safety blanket type player who can also present some matchup problems being split out wide, while matched up with a linebacker.

Sims is still improving in the run game as a blocker and shows good effort and seems to do just enough to get by, but is in no way a talented in-line blocker to this point. Sims needs technique work as he seemed to struggle sustaining blocks, bending at the waist rather than the knees and dropping his head and falling off blocks. Staying square to his target and developing more upper body strength is needed for Sims to be a more effective blocker in the run game. Sims was good not great in his first game but I certainly appreciated his ability to make key catches and pick up crucial first downs by finding the first down marker, sitting down, squaring to his quarterback and giving Maxwell a big target to throw to. Sims will certainly be a big part of the Spartans offense this season, on a team that lost many key starters in the receiving game.

Michigan State DT Anthony Rashad White #98

White has the challenging task of replacing former Spartan Jerel Worthy who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2nd round of last years draft. A native of Battle Creek, Michigan White is best known for his key field goal block in overtime of last years bowl game against Georgia to seal the win for the Spartans. Coming into the season White has had limited starting experience and production. However, White has the size (6-2 330 lbs.) to become one of the better NT prospects in this draft with a big senior year. With that said, I didn’t always like what I saw from White last night. He appeared to lack the initial quickness off the line or the lateral agility to make plays along the line of scrimmage. The most troubling part was seeing White struggle to hold his ground in the run game with much consistency or slip blocks to make plays away from his body. While White did command attention and double teams at times his simply lacked proper technique and the motor to fight through contact when his initial move was neutralized. White has to show much better overall awareness and ability to shed blocks/disengage before earning a better grade from me.

Michigan State DE William Gholston #2

William Gholston has an intriguing blend of size and athleticism but his burst and explosion off the line is far from elite or consistent.

William Gholston has a unique blend of size (6-7 280 lbs.) and athleticism but his game was lacking something to be desired last night. Gholston’s burst and acceleration off the blocks was just average and I thought his pad-level off the snap could have been better. Gholston was disruptive at moments but his lack in variety in the pass rush department was troubling. He needs to work on his handwork and becoming a better leverage player to make a difference in both the run and pass game. Gholston’s flexibility was also just average as he struggled to dip his long frame underneath the tackles shoulder pads to get the edge, as tackles simply rode him around the corner and past the quarterback on multiple occasions last night. The good news for Gholston is that he looks to have the body type and frame to add even more weight and become a quality 5 technique prospect at the next level, however he also got off to a rough start and will need to show me more in the following weeks to earn the first round grade many have given him.

Michigan State MLB Max Bullough #40

Bullough was impressive last night as he proved to be very instinctual and smart, always lining up the defense and putting his team in the best position to make the play. I appreciated how well Bullough flowed to the football and moved to his left and right while keeping his head and eyes up to sift through traffic and defeat blocks. While not overly athletic or dynamic, Bullough appeared to have plenty of range to make plays not only between the hashes but also outside on the edge. You can tell he really trusts his eyes and reads his keys well and while he may have taken a false step from time to time, he consistently made the correct decisions to beat blocks and find the football to disrupt the play. In coverage Bullough tended to get a little flat-footed and upright and may not have the foot speed to keep with faster backs coming out of the backfield but I need to see more of him in this department before putting that in concrete. Overall Bullough has a lot of qualities you look for in a quality linebacker and caught my eye and attention with his play last night.

Michigan State CB Johnny Adams #5

Adams (5-11 177 lbs.) has a thin frame especially in his lower half but is a quick twitch athlete who did a nice job defeating blocks and coming off his man to make tackles in the open field. Adams is both quick and fast and moves smoothly changing directions, while showing an agressive and competitive attitude in coverage. Adams did let his man get behind him for a big play once last night and while his recovery speed was decent, it wasn’t enough to make up for his inability to jam his receiver at the line. Adams struggled on more than one occasion re-directing his man at the line, much less getting a hand on his receiver to not give up inside positioning on an easy pass a catch for a first down late in the game. I liked Adams physicality in the running game but his inability to press in man to man was discouraging and I will look to see how he performs in that area within the coming weeks.

Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard #31

Dennard led the Spartans with 3 passes defensed and showed solid coverage skills, awareness and physicality to match up on the outside

Dennard was the more impressive of the two Michigan State corners in my estimation last night. Dennard was agressive, flippedhis hips and broke on the football nicely. His change of direction ability and physicality at the catch point led to 3 passes defensed as he was able to stay in his receiver hip pocket and play tight coverage, not allowing much separation. Has good footwork and can turn and run with just about any receiver thanks to his impressive speed and athleticism. Dennard did gamble at times last night and was over agressive at times, appearing to guess and let his man get behind him while also struggling to find and locate the football in the air which led to a flag. However, Dennard responded well to his bad plays and followed them up with good showings while the ball was in the air, displaying a short memory which you love to see in a defensive back. His ball skills, discipline and awareness were all sound for the most part and he was rarely caught out of position except on a couple occasions.

Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden-

Brandon Weeden has a live arm and is extremely accurate with the football. However, his age and discomfort in the face of pressure is a big concern. Weeden would be best served to go to a team like the New York Jets where he can compete for a starting job immediately on a team that has many good pieces in place already.

Brandon Weeden is one of the more talked about players in this NFL Draft not only because of the position he plays on offense, but because of his rare background and older age as a passer and player. Weeden is 28 years old and will be nearly 29 by the time NFL training camps open up next season. This is one of the bigger knocks against Weeden, and rightfully so as many believe we would be talking about a potential first round pick if it wasn’t for this one issue. After a failed baseball career in which Weeden was selected in the 2nd round by the New York Yankees Weeden turned his attention to football where he has succeeded, leading Oklahoma State to a Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford and likely #1 overall pick Andrew Luck. With the age issue comes both positives and negatives in my opinion. On the positive side he is likely much more mature both on and off the football field as he has had experience as a professional player and knows how to handle everything that comes with being a high draft pick. On the other hand his ceiling is extremely limited as he will likely only be able to play 6-8 seasons and maybe even less as a starter. Here are some of the things I noticed about Weeden in this football game.

Brandon Weeden has a pretty live arm capable of making many NFL throws. I would grade his arm at being good but I would not say it is elite and capable of making all the throws, although he is close. The other thing I really appreciate about Weeden is his superb accuracy and ball placement, especially when defenders are around. This ability to fit the ball in tight windows is extremely nice to see as he shows an uncanny ability to make touch throws and drop the ball over the top of coverage and between defenders with relative ease. Not only is this a good quality to have for a passer but it shows his confidence in his arm and ability to deliver the ball into tight coverage. In the pocket Weeden shows good balance and overall footwork and seems to have a nice bounce and pop to drive the football down the field on intermediate to long routes. Weeden also shows great poise and composure in the pocket and in leading his team down the field, showing light feet that can get his body into position to make all the throws that are asked of him. Weeden’s ability to escape the pocket is just average however and he isn’t much of a threat to beat you with his legs, although he is competent enough in this area to be effective from time to time. Another thing I noticed about Weeden is that he is extremely quick in finding the laces and getting his grip on the football. This allows Weeden to get the ball out quickly on designed wide receiver screens that Oklahoma State likes to use often. When Weeden does escape the pocket and is asked to throw on the run he shows very good accuracy down the field. However, I did notice that Weeden drops the ball to his waist area before winding up and also shows a uneccessary ball pat that slows his release time. You can tell that Weeden has an extremely good feel for the Oklahoma State offense as he always seems to know where his check down receiver is. However, I have been saying for a while now that Oklahoma State utilizes an offense that doesn’t ask it’s quarterback to make many special throws or reads and it doesn’t hurt playing with a wide receiver like Justin Blackmon. This does not mean that Brandon Weeden cannot do these things but I do have my reservations and these are the reasons why.

First of all it concerns me that Weeden seems to make poor pre-snap reads and seems to have his mind made up before the play even happens. Many times he will stare down one receiver and fail to go through his progressions. Multiple times I have seen him diagnose his passes by locking onto his primary before the play has even taken place. This shows a degree of laziness and poor understanding of coverages, which is very concerning to someone who you would prefer to see ahead of the curve due to his current age. Too often he looks for Blackmon to bail him out and seems to think he can get away with sloppy quarterback play because of the talent Blackmon possesses. I do think that not only has the Oklahoma State offense helped limit this weakness of Weeden’s, but also that playing with a receiver like Justin Blackmon has padded his stats and make him seem better than he actually is…he may not have this type of luxury once he gets to the NFL. Other issues I have with Weeden include the decisions he makes when faced with pressure. I understand that many quarterbacks struggle in the face of pressure but Weeden routinely throws off his back foot and seems to alter his throwing motion entirely just to avoid contact and being hit. Weeden appears to be a sitting duck back there and although he shows great ability when given a clean pocket, his inability to improvise and stand tall in the pocket before delivering the football in the face of pressure is a big concern for me. I have also said that Weeden may not process information all too quickly. It seems that he will wait for his target to come open before making a throw and doesn’t show much anticipation in feeling these receivers coming open before they really are. Not only is this a big indication of a simplified offense but it also shows a lack of understanding and overall feel for the game by Weeden.

Look, I want to be a fan of Weeden and do think he possesses some quality traits that could make him a very good quarterback and potential starter down the road. However, being that he is already 28 years old and is still struggling in some very important areas of quarterback play (decision-making, anticipation, progressions) he cannot be considered in the first round in my opinion. I do think Weeden would be a good fit in New York with the Jets, where current starter Mark Sanchez has fallen off the horse some/out of favor and could possibly use some competition to spark his competitive fire and get him motivated to earn and keep his job. This is the type of situation Weeden should go into as the Jets are already a pretty good team and have the pieces in place to compete right now. Brandon Weeden needs to arrive in a spot where he can succeed early in his career and potentially start, but also earn his reps while in a quarterback competition. To me this would be the most ideal situation for a player with limited time before he begins to age and regress from a physical standpoint. Hopefully, if this does happen he has more success in the big city than his first stint as a high draft choice by a New York sports team.

Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon-

Justin Blackmon is a supremely gifted and physical wide receiver capable of making big time catches in key situations. His speed limits his potential some but he is a solid NFL prospect that belongs in the top 6-8 players overall in this draft.

Wide receiver Justin Blackmon has sometimes been given the term “diva wide receiver” for his play and antics on the field. However, I have been told and seen for myself that Blackmon simply is a competitor who wants the ball in key/clutch situations. Although he sometimes comes across as a player who is playing the game for himself and his own stats, that could be very far from the truth. Blackmon comes from a military background and upbringing from his father and I have been told that he couldn’t be a more down to earth player off the football field. Watching more film on Blackmon I have noticed that these accusations could be unwarranted to a degree as Blackmon proved in this game to be a reliable team-mate who is a more effective blocker on the outside than he is given credit for. Blackmon did a good job positioning his body to seal off and keep his defender at bay and away from the ball-carrier. I liked to see this effort from Blackmon as some have questioned his effort in this area, especially when he isn’t the focus of the play. Justin Blackmon also has big strong hands and is a natural hands plucker. I love the big frame he has, as he squares his body to his quarterback, creating  a big target for his quarterback to get him the football. Blackmon’s catching radius is also very impressive and has been reported to be as large as a two car garage by ESPN’s Sport Science…the same they measured for All-Pro NFL wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions.  On top of this Justin Blackmon shows incredible ability while the football is in the air. This was never more evident than when Blackmon timed his jump absolutely perfectly and made an adjustment to the football while in the air. This play led to a TD for Blackmon and Oklahoma State and spoke to Blackmon’s unique and extremely gifted ability to use his body in space as his spacial/kinesthetic awareness skills have alwasy been very good. I also enjoyed watching Blackmon compete after the catch showing good running ability and physicality as he routinely fought for extra yards instead of simply heading for the sidelines. This speaks to the type of competitor and player Justin Blackmon is and I have very little doubt that he is the most gifted receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft. I wouldn’t say that Blackmon is elite and worthy of a Top 5 pick, just because his top end speed and ability to stretch the defense isn’t on par with other game changing receivers that have went high in past drafts, but Blackmon is a top 6-8 prospect in my mind. He struggled a bit with the physical play of Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson but was able to hold his own for the most part finishing with 10 receptions for 99 yards and a TD.

Oklahoma State OT/G Levy Adcock-

Levy Adcock shows surprisingly nimble feet that allow him to re-set and re-position himself quickly. I feel his more natural fit will be inside at guard where he can use his solid footwork and strength to his advantage.

Levy Adcock is a player I feel projects much better inside at the guard position than his current position of offensive tackle for Oklahoma State. Adcock shows good mirroring skills and patience while also displaying surprisingly nimble feet. Adcock’s feet allows him to shuffle and re-set well, allowing him the ability to recover if beaten initially. This agility is also one of the reasons that Adcock shows nice ability in riding out his defenders past the pocket and away from the quarterback. The other thing I really appreciate about Adcock is his awareness as he is quick to help out his team-mate inside with chip blocks if his zone is clean and clear of threats. The thing that makes me feel he will be a better fit at guard is his anchoring ability and overall athleticism as he is quick and agile enough to move left or right and re-set and is a very difficult man to disengage from due to his functional strength. Once locked on and engaged Adcock looks to be a very hard object to get around let alone move. This is due to his nice wide base and solid leverage, although I did notice a few times that he got more jersey and could have been flagged for holding but wasn’t. Adcock excels in pass protection and I have little doubt that this will be his strongest suit at the next level, whether he sticks outside at right tackle or not. Run blocking is another question as he is not used in this capacity all too often, however I have liked what I have seen when he is asked to block in the running game. I have been told by Oklahoma State fans that followed the team closely that Adcock was the offensive lines best run blocker so that is a good sign as well. Nonetheless, this will be something to keep an eye on during the Senior Bowl and leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft. One area Adcock could improve on happens when he drops his head upon contact. This makes him susceptible to defensive lineman who can execute push-pull moves to disengage from Adcock’s firm grip. Overall I am a fan of Levy Adcock and think he will make for an above average guard in the NFL once he learns the positions and adapts. Adcock could also prove to be a spot-starter at right tackle in the NFL from time to time, which should increase his value as well and make him a solid 2nd day pick.

Oklahoma State S Markelle Martin-

Markelle Martin once again struggled with his tackling technique. His coverage skills were more impressive overall but I need to see more consistency from him overall.

Markelle Martin’s tackling ability is something I had questioned before and once again proved to be an issue in this game. Too many times Martin will dive at ball-carriers legs and drop his head far too early, resulting in missed tackles and big gains for the other team. Markelle missed an open field tackle down the right sideline by trying to lunge at the ball-carriers lower body and feet when he could have simply used the sidelines to his advantage to get the player out-of-bounds. One thing I will say is that Markelle times his hits very well and shows the ability to make the big hit from time to time, although he will simply throw a shoulder instead of wrap-up, which is also an issue and indicative of his poor tackling technique overall. Later in the game Markelle struggled to get off a chop block and work his way around his man, leaving the entire sideline wide open for an easy score. Usually Martin has proved to take good angles to the football but this inability to dis-engage was semi-concerning for me, although I would say his man-made a better block on him than he was maybe expecting. Martin was also less active around the line of scrimmage in this game but looked better overall in coverage as well. He did a good job sticking with his man and tacking away inside position while reading the QB’s eyes. These coverage and anticipation skills on the back-end were good to see, however I need to see more consistency from him in this area. There is no doubting Martin has a beautiful combination of size and athleticism but he isn’t standing out in any one category from the film I have watched so far. Upside and intrigue will get him drafted in the initial two rounds more than likely, but the team that takes him will have to understand how to develop an athlete that is still learning the game and has some holes/liabilities.

Oklahoma State CB Broderick Brown-

Size will always be a limiting factor with Brown but it's hard to measure, hustle, heart, and effort which Brown has plenty of.

I have raved about the type of competitor Broderick Brown is as a player but the fact remains his lack of size for the position will be an issue his entire career, hindering his potential and ability to rise up draft boards. Standing 5-8 185 lbs, Brown is extremely small for the position and lacks the height necessary to go up and challenge bigger wide receivers for the football. Due to his slight frame, Brown struggles to out-position his man for the football, although he does show above average to good ball skills as he continually fights for the ball and positioning with his man. Brown routinely puts himself in a good position to make a play but many times is simply over-matched by players that are bigger than him. This makes me believe Brown will have to play over the slot in a Nickel-type role where his size deficiencies can best be masked. I really like Brown’s open field tackling ability as he shows a lot of heart, effort, and desire in this area. Brown is also extremely gifted at reading the quarterbacks eyes and breaking on the football as he is most comfortable playing off his man in a zone based cover scheme. Size will always be a limiting factor for Brown and I’m not sure how much higher he can increase his draft stock by coming back for another season, which it looks like he might do. Nevertheless, Brown is a competitor who shows above average ball skills and awareness in coverage that should find a way to contribute on whichever team chooses to draft him.

Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson-

Leonard Johnson stepped up in this game and really brough his A-game all night against Justin Blackmon. I like Johnson's competitive attitude and believe he is a player to watch and keep an eye on leading up to the draft.

Leonard Johnson came to play in this game and brought the best he had to offer against one of the best wide receivers in the game in Justin Blackmon. Standing 5-10 200 lbs. Johnson possesses a solid but not spectacular build for the position as his length isn’t anything to get too excited about but it’s good enough to get the job done. Leonard proved to be a physical/aggressive type corner who didn’t back down from the superior Justin Blackmon. Johnson did a good job pressing and re-directing Blackmon at the line of scrimmage and did a nice job of using the sidelines as an extra defender all night. He showed the ability to turn and run with Blackmon down the sidelines, although he could have done a better job getting his head around on a throw in which he was in perfect position but Blackmon simply adjusted to the underthrown ball and walked into the end zone. Johnson stays low in his back pedal/stance and displays above average to good footwork overall. Johnson also shows natural plant and drive ability, displaying loose hips and ability to change directions with relative ease. An issue I had with Johnson came when he was working against Blackmon on quick slants where he had a tendency to hook his man and get into his body before the ball had arrived, resulting in a pass interference penalty. Here Johnson has to play with more discipline, although I would say his coverage was pretty good overall and he was going against one of the best slant route runners in all of college football. Leonard Johnson was responsible for two turnovers in this game and you could tell he was very well prepared and studied, showing great hustle and effort overall. On the fumble recovery Johnson was simply in the right place at the right time, but this showed a keen awareness to never give up on the play and fight to the whistle in which he was rewarded. The other came on an interception late in the game in which he was playing off Blackmon before jumping and out positioning Blackmon for the football on a simple hitch route that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. This play showed a lot of desire as he simply out-flanked Blackmon for the ball and wanted more than the other player. As a talent evaluator I love to see this from a prospect and it definitely caught my attention in what was a huge game for Leonard Johnson to show he could hang with the best of the best. Right now I am giving Leonard Johnson an early 3rd round grade, which could improve with his performances at Combine and at all-star games leading up to the draft…he’s a player to watch.

Iowa State OT/G Keleche Osemele-

Although it was only one game Osemele struggled and looked off in tonight's game. His lack of agility and mobility are concerning which is why he is a much better fit inside where he can use his sheer size and nice hand to hand combat skills to neutralize his opponent.

Keleche Osemele is a massive player standing a stout 6-5 350 lbs. making him a homogeneously large object to get around. The first thing you notice about Osemele is his incredibly quick hands as he shows the natural ability to strike and deliver a violent punch move that stuns and knocks his opponent off-balance. Osemele’s hand to hand combat skills are very good as he is able to re-position his hands and get good hand placement on his opponent. The issue that will keep Osemele from sticking outside in the NFL is his lack of mobility and overall athleticism. His lateral agility and ability to plant and pivot is lacking and his feet seem a little heavy as if they’re stuck in the sand sometimes. This inability to re-direct, leaves him susceptible to getting beat inside as his movement skills are below average. I also noticed that Osemele doesn’t show the best awareness or look necessarily that comfortable on the outside where he made some mental mistakes in this game. On one occasion Osemele abandoned his zone and chased a defensive lineman that was stunting to the inside. By leaving his zone he completely left his area unoccupied and open to a blitz, where his quarterback had to scramble for his life to escape the rush. On another play later in the game the defense was showing an over-load blitz to Osemele’s side when he failed to pick up any of the three players that were attacking his zone. These two examples make me believe Osemele might be lacking in overall awareness and blitz pick-up where he seems to get overwhelmed or play undisciplined in some instances. Keleche Osemele also does not fire out of his stance to quickly and his lack of overall athleticism and mobility concerns me to a certain degree with players who can beat him to the inside with their sheer quickness and explosion off the snap. On the few occurrences when Osemele was allowed to run block he did a nice job firing out of his stance and seemed to show much more passion and enthusiasm for getting his hands on someone and driving them off the football. Osemele does need to stay more balanced as tends to stand up and get a little upright in his stance, allowing defenders to get around him with relative ease and missing his assignments. Here Osemele needs to stay more in control and be more balanced as he tends to get off his feet from time to time. Osemele’s inability to change directions very efficiently/quickly are concerning to me and I worry that he has a lot to work on from a technique standpoint overall. His upside and ceiling is high but he is a pretty raw prospect overall that needs some work. Osemele will be a player to watch closely leading up the draft at the various events that prospects are invited to participate in.

Other players who caught my eye include Iowa State WR Darius Reynolds and Iowa State LB A.J. Kline. Thanks again for reading, hope you enjoyed this post!

– Brandon

Stanford QB Andrew Luck-

Andrew Luck's game is ready for the next level and it has been for some time. Colts fans should be rejoicing and celebrating in the streets, they just landed the next Peyton Manning if their smart enough to pull the trigger and do the wise thing.

Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way right now…Luck is the best overall prospect in this draft and is hand’s down the best quarterback prospect to come out since Peyton Manning and the Colts would be foolish not to draft him, period! He is nowhere near lacking NFL arm strength and for those who say they don’t see many “NFL caliber” throws, y’all need to go get your eyes checked or actually watch some film. There…that felt good to get out, now I can sleep at night and feel good about myself but not really because Luck is as close to a can’t miss quarterback prospect as your ever going to find and these are the reasons (facts) why. Andrew Luck is incredibly efficient and smart with the football, his football IQ is undeniably brilliant as he is more or less a coach on the field. He consistently puts his team in good situations by making pre/post snap reads, adjustments, and audibles to give his team a numbers/competitive advantage. Luck is so incredibly cerebral as a player his coaches actually allow him to make the calls…hell they barely need an offensive coordinator, Luck’s got it covered. When I talk about the type of player Andrew Luck is I like to say that his greatest strength or skill is his conceptual awareness as a passer. By this I mean he has an uncanny ability to take abstract and complex situations and break them down into individual pieces and make meaning out of them to solve the problem at hand. Luck’s ability to see how the pieces around him inter-relate with one another is very uncommon and something uniquely special to his ability as a football player. This speaks to his ability to process information quickly and make the correct decision consistently. He see’s the game in a different way and on a completely different level…if there were a test on being a great quarterback Andrew Luck would be the teacher. Off to a good start? Well that’s just one aspect of Luck’s overall game, we still got two more to go!

First he beats you with his smarts now he beats you with his…you guessed it, his legs. Watching Andrew Luck it is very easy to see that he possesses very good pocket presence and awareness. His internal clock of when the football needs to be delivered or when he needs to escape the pocket is almost second nature. His athleticism is undeniable and was on full display here. Look, I understand this highlight has almost nothing to do with his running ability but come on, that’s a great catch and a Heisman worthy moment if you ask me. If anything it speaks to just how athletic and coordinated Andrew Luck is and if he can do that I’m sure he can make plays outside the pocket to extend the play, plus his accuracy and ability to throw on the run is a thing of beauty. When outside the pocket Luck displays the ability to square his body to his target and deliver a clean and accurate pass with velocity. Luck is able to do this because of his extremely good footwork where he is able to get his body into position by squaring to his intended target. Ever heard the phrase…”it all starts from the ground up”? Well that is what Luck does better than anyone at his position. His footwork is incredibly smooth and he is able to navigate his way in and outside the pocket because of his feet. I’m not saying that Luck is the next Michael Vick or anything, he doesn’t possess that type of speed and athleticism but he has more than enough to pick up as many yards as possible when he can’t find a viable option down the field.

So now that’s two things Andrew Luck is extremely efficient at, now let’s look at what puts him on an entirely different level completely…his physical ability as a passer. Andrew Luck possesses a live arm capable of making all the throws to all levels of the field. He makes quick decisions and gets the ball out in a hurry, showing nice anticipation and timing on his throws. Luck can drop the ball in a bucket where he shows the ability to drop the pass over the top of the corner and before the safety was able to come over the top and jump the route or blow up his receiver. This throw takes an incredible amount of touch and timing and his deep ball is as good I have ever seen from a collegiate quarterback. What makes this so remarkable is that he makes this look so incredibly easy and that’s because it is to him, he was born to play quarterback. Luck also does a remarkable job of throwing his receivers open and allowing his receivers the ability to pick up extra yards by throwing away from defenders and coverage. His ball placement/location is superb and is one of the things that allows him to make everybody around him better, which is what a great quarterback can do. Andrew Luck is also a great leader who always seems to respond to adversity, showing poise and methodical execution. I have seen Andrew Luck time and time again put his team into position to win by executing the two-minute drill to perfection. Smart decisions and not trying to do too much while being in total control at all times is what Andrew Luck is all about. He’s not afraid of the big stage or moment and seems to thrive in clutch situations when his team needs him most. The fact is if it weren’t for a missed field goal at the end of regulation Andrew Luck would be being celebrated as a Fiesta Bowl champion and the best field/clock manager we have maybe ever seen at the collegiate level.

Look..I don’t like to normally crown a player before the fact unless I know and am confident that player is uniquely special and elite, which Andrew Luck is. His game is so incredibly balanced/polished he is ready to suit up right now and compete on a high level. There aren’t enough good things to say about the type of player Andrew Luck is and I could go on and on but that would be a waste. His game is as close to compete as it possibly can be and the whole “Suck for Luck” motto/phrase is completely true and warranted. Congratulations Indianapolis Colts, you just ensured your team the ability to compete for the next 10-15 years, just don’t screw it up by getting cute!

Stanford TE Coby Fleener-

Coby Fleener's size and versatility is an enticing option for team's looking to add another wrinkle to their offense and create mis-matches all over the field.

Coby Fleener possesses great height and overall size for the tight end position and has consistently been a threat to stretch the field vertically, evidenced by his astounding 19.6 yards per reception this season. Fleener had what would be considered a quiet day and had to leave the game early because of a leg injury, finishing the game with just two catches for 19 yards. What I really appreciate about Fleener is that he is essentially a wide receiver in a tight end body. The Cardinals love to use Fleener split out wide as another wide receiver. This ability gives his offense another added dimension and all sorts of versatility to create-mis matches in the pass game. The NFL is quickly becoming a passing league and player’s with Fleener’s skill-set and ability  is in high demand, which should make him a premier target in the 2nd round for a team looking to add another dimension/wrinkle to their aerial attack. While Fleener isn’t the most physically gifted blocker, capable of sustaining blocks for a long period of time and over-powering his opponent he has steadily shown improvement in this department. Fleener shows enough strength to hold up at the point of attack and gets good arm extension upon contact, although I would like to see him fire out of his stance with a little more authority. Nevertheless, Fleener has proven capable of executing seal blocks and took a very good angle and put his body in position to set the edge and create a massive running lane for his running back in this game. I really love Fleener’s ability to create separation as he shows the ability to get into and out of his breaks cleanly and efficiently using nice body control/positioning. Fleener isn’t extremely physical, capable of out-muscling defenders for the ball like a Rob Gronkrowski or Jimmy Graham but he isn’t afraid to mix it up and use his body to create space for himself to work. Fleener also does a nice job of squaring himself to the football, getting his head around quickly and giving his quarterback a nice target to throw the football. Coby Fleener strikes me as the type of player who can open up your offense because of his ability to stretch the field vertically and open up holes underneath the coverage. He may never be an elite tight end or even good one for that matter but his versatility gives your offense another added dimension to open up your playbook and create opportunities for other players to make a play. His skill-set and ability reminds me some of current Detroit Lions tight end Tony Sheffler, whose ability to work/stretch the seam allows players like Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson to work the underneath routes and is a big reason why the Lions have enjoyed such a balanced offensive attack this season.

Stanford OT Jonathon Martin-

Jonathon Martin has a lot to offer in the run game and should be an above average right tackle in the NFL. I just don't see him becoming a franchise Left Tackle because of my concern for him to handle speed rushers at the next level.

Jonathon Martin has enjoyed a very solid season and recently announced his intentions to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Martin stands a solid 6-6 305 lbs. and has always been highlighted as being one of the better run blocking tackles in the entire country. Jonathon Martin is a very agile athlete with good overall footwork, allowing him to seek out and destroy blockers at the 2nd level. Watching Martin run block it is very easy to see that he understands the importance of playing with leverage as well as the low man principles, especially in short yardage situations. Here Martin shows solid technique in getting good pop off the line of scrimmage while keeping his pad level low and driving his feet upon contact. This allows Martin to consistently win his individual battles and knock his man off the ball to create running room for his back. Jonathon Martin also shows very good movement skills for a man his size and makes a seamless transition at getting to the 2nd level and executing blocks on moving targets. This ability to make combination blocks and find defenders to pick up speaks to his ability to make a solid impact in the running game and make big time blocks at the 2nd level to spring his back for the big gain. In pass protection Martin does a very good job of staying balanced and playing with sound technique. Martin’s mirroring skills are good as he follows and reads his opponent’s movements very soundly, knocking his man down to the ground on multiple ocassions after waiting for his opportunity to strike while he had his man off balanced and beat. Jonathon is also very patient and shows good to great hand to hand combat skills. Martin does an excellent job of keeping his elbows in close to his body before delivering a punch move to jolt his defender and knock them off-balance and keep his defender away/off his body. The biggest issue I have with Martin comes with his ability to handle players that possess a combination of power and quickness. I worry about his ability to ride speed rushers around the edge due to his shorter than ideal arms (assumption) from what I have noticed when watching film. It seems Martin could do a better job getting better arm extension and playing with greater leverage to ride these defenders behind the quarterback to give his man a clean pocket to work with. Part of this has to do with his inability to gain much depth on his initial kick out when setting into pass pro. I have noticed that he tends to take shorter more choppy drop steps, allowing defenders that possess speed and quickness off the line to gain an initial advantage on the edge. Never was this more apparent when Oklahoma State lined up a standing linebacker to blitz on third down. Knowing a blitz was coming and his kick out would not be enough to cover the jump his man would get off the line, Martin began to slowly lean back out of his stance before the snap. Although he got away with what should have been a false start this spoke to Martin’s confidence in his ability to hang with speed rushers who can threaten the edge with their initial quickness off the line. From what I have gathered I could see Martin struggling not only with these type of players, but also players who possess the ability to turn speed into power as I am not quite sold on Martin’s ability to anchor quite yet either. Players like Brooks Reed exposed this weakness in Martin’s game last year and is the biggest reason I don’t see him playing Left Tackle in the NFL, at least initially if ever. For this reason it’s hard for me to give Jonathon Martin a Top 10 grade like many other NFL Draft pundits have. I can see him becoming a solid Right Tackle, however it’s hard for me to justify a Top 10 pick on a player I do not see becoming a team’s future franchise Left Tackle. There’s no doubting Jonathon Martin is talented and will go high but in my opinion he should not be a Top 10 pick because of this inability to handle elite speed rushers.

Stanford OG David DeCastro-

David DeCastro is an extremely gifted run blocker who possesses elite quickness, hand placement, and leg drive which should put him in high demand come April

David DeCastro has absolutely flown up NFL Draft Boards everywhere due to his stellar play and impressive ability as a run blocker. DeCastro (6-5 310 lbs.) possesses NFL measurables for the position and absolutely flies out of his stance, giving him a natural advantage to gain inside position and control his man from the on-set. DeCastro plays with great pad level and his leg drive is what allows him to consistently move his opponent off the football. Pair this with the fact that David DeCastro gets very good hand placement when engaging his man at the point of attack and it is easy to see why he enjoys so much success. DeCastro also shows natural athleticism and overall fluidity in pulling and picking up the first defender while showing the ability to hit moving targets consistently. This natural athleticism allows DeCastro to attack the 2nd level very effortlessly as he is very gifted in moving in space while showing the agility to move to his left or right to get up into the hole and make a block. Stanford loves to get DeCastro out in front by pulling him and allowing him to execute reach or kick out blocks, which he has proved to be extremely effective at doing while at Stanford. In pass protection DeCastro shows above average to good skills overall, however I would like to see him play a little more balanced and sink his butt by bending more at the knees to gain leverage and hold up against the bull rush better. Nevertheless, DeCastro shows more than enough ability to hold up in the pass game and should do just fine at the next level in this area. DeCastro is very aware at picking up delayed blitzes/stunts/twists and seems to play with his head on a swivel at all times. David DeCastro is the ideal guard to line up and run behind in short yardage/goal-line situations due to his impressive run blocking ability and quickness off the snap. DeCastro will be the first player to come off the board from his position in the 2012 NFL Draft and could go potentially as high as the Top 15 overall, he’s that gifted and good at what he does and should be in high demand come April.

Stanford LB Chase Thomas-

Chase Thomas offers some pass rush ability and shows great effort and hustle on nearly every play. However, he could refine his tackling technique and continue to develop making it a wise decision for him to return next season.

Stanford Linebacker Chase Thomas enjoyed a successful season in Palo Alto finishing fourth on the team with 51 tackles, while going on to register 8.5 sacks. Thomas has good size at 6-4 240 lbs and projects nicely as a 3-4 OLB.  Stanford likes to use Chase Thomas all over as a blitzing linebacker or defensive end with his hand in the dirt. Thomas is a high motor player who shows great effort in pursuing to the football even when the play is occurring away from his current position. His effort on the backside to pursue to the football is a very encouraging sign and something that will earn him extra points when scouts and personnel men break down his film. Thomas shows above average athleticism and his ability to change directions is also pretty good. Thomas also offers some pass rush ability and executed a nice swim move to beat an offensive tackle outside and nearly make a sack. His overall speed and quickness is nothing to get too excited about but it is his hustle and effort that allow him to make so many impact type plays. Thomas needs to improve on his tackling as he was largely absent from this game and struggled to wrap up on a couple of occasions. I believe it would be a wise move for Thomas to come back for his Senior season to better his overall game and work on his tackling technique/pass rush moves.

Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden-

Brandon Weeden's age is a huge concern for me as is his inability to go through his reads and progressions. His tendency to stare down his receivers and get happy feet in the face of pressure makes Weeden a player that I cannot and will not give a high grade.

Brandon Weeden has enjoyed one of the better season’s we have ever seen from the quarterback position at Oklahoma State. Weeden possesses NFL measurables for the position at 6-4 220 lbs. but that is not quite the issue with Weeden. The biggest knock against Weeden is that he will be nearly 29 years old by the time training camp opens up next season, making him a very old rookie. This will likely leave 6-8 years at best for him to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and that will all depend on how advanced he is and how quickly he can pick up a new playbook and system. To me this has to be a big concern for everyone and is something that should knock him down come draft time in April. Putting the age issue aside here are my instant impressions from the Fiesta Bowl on Weeden. We will start with arm strength where Weeden appears to have enough zip on the ball and would seem to be above average to good in this particular area, although I would say it’s closer to just above average at this point. Weeden’s accuracy is also pretty good and I love his ability to hit on seam routes with proper touch and accuracy. Dropping the ball over top of the linebacker and underneath the safety is something that Brandon Weeden is extremely good at, which speaks volumes about his ability as a touch thrower who can place the ball in a basket down the middle of the field. Weeden also shows pretty good poise and comfortability in the pocket and stands tall before delivering a catchable pass. When the play breaks down, Weeden shows enough escapability as a thrower but I would not say this is his strong suit as he isn’t the  most fleet of foot. Due to this Weeden can be chased down with relative ease, although he does keep his eyes downfield when escaping the pocket and shows the ability to extend the play to a certain degree…I would say he’s just good enough but not really a threat with his feet.

The issues I have with Weeden come somewhat from the offense he plays in but also his decision-making and inability to go through his progressions that well. On the first play of this game Weeden dropped back to pass and immediately stared down his extremely gifted wide receiver Justin Blackmon who was running a corner route trying to settle between his corner and a dropping linebacker. Weeden was telegraphing this throw from the get go and seemed to be making his decision pre-snap about where he was going with the football. This lead to an extremely easy interception for the dropping linebacker, who simply read Weeden’s eyes and body language and settled underneath the coverage, creating instant momentum for Stanford. One of the other big issues I have with Weeden is his tendency to wait for his man to come open before delivering a pass. This lack of anticipation is a concern because it displays a lack of processing information at a high level and I am not sold on Weeden’s ability to improvise when his first read is covered and he has to create on his own. Playing with Justin Blackmon these past two years have done wonders for Weeden’s overall stats but his game is just not that refined, especially for a older than average college quarterback. The system he plays in at Oklahoma State and under coach Mike Gundy doesn’t require or ask him to make many reads and his throws seem to be on the easier side. Weeden did make some nice pre-snap reads seeing Blackmon singled up on the outside without inside help, resulting in an easy slant route that went for a first down and big gain. However, all three of Weeden’s TD’s on the night were relatively easy throws to make. Another issue I have with Weeden comes with his tendency to fall away from his throws when faced with pressure. On a couple of occasions Weeden seemed to be bracing himself for the hit and even flinched, resulting in errant throws and noticeably affecting his throwing motion and accuracy. Weeden also displays a bad habit of patting the ball before he makes a throw, which could possibly be a habit he has acquired from his day’s playing baseball all those years. While this is correctable it is an issue that needs to be fixed because not only does it slow down his throwing motion but it gives defenders a read or hint that Weeden is about to turn it loose. All in all it is hard for me to give Weeden that high of a grade because he plays in such a simple offense while playing with one of the best college receivers in the past decade. Weeden is not a complete quarterback and while I admit he has some tools to work with, his age and inability to make reads and go through progressions to this point in his career is a huge concern for me. Right now I am giving Weeden a late 2nd to early 3rd round grade for now. I simply believe there are better options because they have time on their side to develop while Weeden does not have this luxury. It should also be noted that he was competing against Andrew Luck in this game, who can make nearly any quarterback prospect seem inferior and incompetent. Also, Weeden does now possess a 6-0 record against some of the top quarterback prospects in college football by beating the likes of Luck, Barkley, and Robert Griffin. Nonetheless I consider this to be a better tell-tale sign of the football team and Mike Gundy’s offensive system, rather than Weeden’s skill as a passer.

Oklahoma WR Justin Blackmon-

The two-time Biletnikoff award winner has unbelievable spacial and body awareness. His lack of true speed is concerning but Blackmon is extremely effective at creating separtion in other ways and should enjoy a very productive NFL career.

Justin Blackmon has been terrorizing college secondaries and frustrating and keeping defensive coordinators up at night with his solid play the past two seasons at Oklahoma State. A two-time Biletnikoff winner, Justin Blackmon has been the epitome of consistency and success the past couple years. Blackmon stands a solid 6-1 215 lbs. and shows good size and girth for the position with the capability to hold up to repeated hits/blows he will receive in the NFL.  Justin Blackmon is not a burner at all and his top-end speed is nothing special. However, Blackmon does an incredible job creating separation due to his superb ability to use his body in space. Blackmon’s body positioning is one of his greatest strengths and he is extremely effective at using this skill to create separation and keep defenders away from the football. Blackmon shows great spacial and kinesthetic awareness, always knowing where his body is in relation to the space he has around him as well as any defenders in the area. This gives Blackmon a natural advantage as a receiver and is a big reason for his ability to make big plays despite his lack of speed and quickness on the field. Justin Blackmon is a fluid athlete and route runner showing the natural ability to create space and separation from his defender. This was extremely apparent in this game when Blackmon was able to manipulate his defender and get him to rise up from his stance for just a quick second on an inside slant. This allowed Blackmon to attack the defenders inside shoulder and gain position on his man. This ability to read a corners movements and attack them when they’re most vulnerable and out of position demonstrates a natural feel for running routes and is another reason Justin Blackmon is such a great weapon. The area that Blackmon really excels at is running underneath routes like drags and slants, where he uses his ability to get into and out of his breaks quickly extremely well and efficiently. Blackmon has also proved to be a very good red-zone threat/option due to his ability to use his body extremely well in confined areas. Justin Blackmon has good jump ball skills and should become an effective player who can climb the ladder or defeat his man on corner fades on a consistent basis. Blackmon does have lapses in concentration and will drop some balls he should catch, however he has proved to be a sure-handed receiver with strong hands capable of making catches in traffic in his career as well. I also do not like Blackmon’s effort on running plays or plays in which he is a decoy or know’s he will not be getting the ball. I get that he wants the ball and is confident in his ability to make big pays but that type of diva attitude will get him in trouble with the coaching staff at the next level and is something that needs to be improved/taken care of immediately. Many people will compare Justin Blackmon with former Oklahoma wide receiver and current Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant, but the two are two pretty different players. Bryan’ts upside is undeniable and he can be as good as he wants to be. I would say Bryant’s overall skill-set is a little better than Blackmon’s but the two aren’t that far apart talent wise, it’s just they do different things than each other well. Blackmon will and should go Top 10 in the upcoming draft and has the ability to be a number one receiver at the next level.

Oklahoma State OT Levy Adcock-

I believe Levy Adcock's most natural fit at the next level will be inside at the guard position where his lack of athleticism and natural strength can be best utilized.

Levy Adcock possesses extremely good size at 6-5 320 lbs. and took over the starting Left Tackle position after predominately playing Right Tackle his entire career at Oklahoma State. If there is one thing you notice almost instantaneously with Adcock is that he doesn’t possess the type of athleticism to stick at Left Tackle in the NFL. His quickness getting out of his stance is only average and he doesn’t fire out of his stance and get into his sets with much very much authority. The thing that makes me believe that Adcock future will not lie outside at tackle but inside at a guard position is his above average feet, as he shows natural ability to re-direct and re-set his feet to get into position and neutralize his opponent. This allows Adcock the ability to recover when beaten initially and moving him inside turns what was a weakness for him on the outside to become a strength on the inside where overall athleticism isn’t extremely important. Adcock also proved to have solid overall awareness for twisting and stunting defensive lineman by recognizing and picking up players that threaten his zone. I would like to see Adcock use better overall hand usage as he allows his opponents to get into his body too easily at times but feel he will improve in this area with proper coaching. Adcock also sometimes has a bad habit of dropping his head at the point of attack and will need to develop more from a technique standpoint rather than simply over-powering and controlling his man with his strength. Adcock’s strength gives him an advantage and he possesses an above average to good punch move to knock his defenders off-balance. Overall I like Adcock as a prospect but feel he has areas of his game to work on and improve. His most natural fit will be inside at guard but he may also be able to play Right Tackle in the NFL. This versatility should get Adckock drafted somewhere in the 3rd round.

Oklahoma State S Markelle Martin-

Markelle Martin is a long rangy athlete capable of covering a lot of ground and coming up in the box to help out against the run. However, I still have questions about his awareness in coverage and overall tackling ability but the physical skills are definitely there.

Markelle Martin is a long-bodied rangy type player at 6-1 200 lbs. and displays the type of athleticism and burst to cover a lot of ground. Martin’s game is predicated around the line of scrimmage as an in the box type safety where his instincts and awareness almost make him another linebacker for his defense. Martin flows to the football very efficiently and shows the natural ability to sift through traffic and take proper angles to the football. Markelle Martin is a smooth athlete who possesses the ability to make plays all over the field and I am a big fan of how well he reads his keys and trusts his eyes when flowing to the football. On a play early in the game Martin laid out a receiver coming across the middle putting the crown of his helmet right in the receivers ear hole. This is a play that showed the type of burst, explosion, and closing speed that Markelle has as a player as well as his ability to read the quarterbacks eyes and make a play on the football. However hits like this will normally result in fines and penalties in the NFL from Roger Goodell. I need to see Markelle tackle with better overall form more consistently as he tended to make a good tackle and follow it up with a missed one. It seemed to me that Markelle could do a little better job lowering his pad level and breaking down upon contact while shooting his arms up through his man to wrap up. I still need to see more of Markelle in this area but that was my instant impression from the instances I saw of him making a tackle in this game. Markelle Martin proved to be a downhill type defender who makes many of his plays in or around the line of scrimmage but I would to see better overall awareness and skills in coverage from him. At one point lined up with a wide receiver, Markelle chose to play off his man giving him a good 10 yard cushion. Playing and getting a bit high in his back pedal, Martin slipped when trying to change directions and left his wide receiver wide open for an easy TD. This lack of awareness and discipline in coverage was very evident not only on this play but on other occasions in this game as well. There is no doubting that Martin has the physical tools I just need to see him become a more rounded player before I can give him a higher grade.

Oklahoma State CB Broderick Brown-

Broderick Brown is a small corner (5-8 185) but displays good ball skills. He took some gambles and got beat/exposed in this game but he should come back next year and build on a solid year overall.

Broderick Brown is remembered largely in part because of this incredible play he made last season when defending a pass by Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. This plays shows the great athleticism and awareness Brown possesses and speaks volumes about his effort and hustle to never give up on a play. The problem with Brown is that he possesses less than adequate size at a listed 5-8 185 lbs. although he plays a lot bigger than his size would indicate. The impression I got from Brown in this game is that he is an extremely competitive player who isn’t afraid of contact and is more than willing to sacrifice his body to make a play. This was evidenced by a big collision at the goal-line when Brown threw his body into the ball carrier to knock him out of the end zone and keep six off the board. This is good to see however Brown did get fooled and exposed multiple times in this game. Andrew Luck had his way with Brown using pump fakes and play actions to pick on the feisty risk-taking corner that Brown has proven to be. This aggressiveness is something that Brown needs to control as he puts his team and especially his fellow members of the secondary in tough situations. On the play actions and pump fakes that Brown fell for he would stop his feet and get caught with his eyes in the backfield. Broderick Brown will need to prove that he can play more within himself and the defensive system to shake the risk-taking label he has earned this season. Now this is not to say that Brown isn’t a talented player capable of making big plays as he was able to tally 5 interceptions on the season, but he has to learn to control this impulse to gamble. Brown is a player that has flashed for me a couple of instances this season and it was fun to watch him go against one of the best quarterbacks we have seen in college football in Andrew Luck. I would tend to believe Brown’s mental mistakes were more a product of just how good a quarterback Andrew Luck is rather than how bad a player Broderick Brown is…he simply got exposed by one of the games best. It’s too bad that Broderick Brown wasn’t a little bit bigger but he should be able to build on a good year by coming back next season and continuing to learn and develop while increasing his draft stock.

Other players who caught my attention include Stanford TE Zach Ertz, Oklahoma State LB Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State S Daytawion Lowe, Stanford WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the post.

– Brandon

Bernard Pierce displays great overall vision and inside running ability. He won't wow you with his athleticism but is the type of back who can pick up short yardage first downs and continually be an option at or near the goal line.

Temple RB Bernard Pierce:

Bernard Pierce is a nicely built running back prospect at 6-0 215 lbs. and displays a tough physical running style that makes him a good fit for a power running scheme. The first thing you notice about Bernard Pierce is his incredible vision, patience, and feel for holes opening up. Pierce isn’t the type of player who will wow you with his overall athletic ability and quickness but he is a decisive runner who doesn’t hesitate when picking a path. Bernard is also very good at slipping through even the smallest of creases and displays very good balance when getting through the hole. His lateral agility is above average allowing him to make defenders miss in space and his above average feet make him a menace at working in confined areas and short yardage situations. Pierce is the proto-typical short yardage back who is extremely effective between the tackles and near the goal line, evidenced by his school record 27 rushing TD’s this season. Pierce does an astounding job at setting up defenders and almost lulls them to sleep before suddenly accelerating and changing gears to pick up positive yardage. All of these skills make Pierce and extremely effective player at consistently moving the chains and picking up those tough first downs to extend drives. This is exactly the type of role Pierce should serve in the NFL as his top-end speed and home-run hitting ability is average at best. Pierce won’t dazzle you in any way or make many highlight worthy runs but his ability to move the chains and drone the defense to sleep will allow his offense to control the tempo of drives and the clock. Pierce runs with above average leg drive and shows the ability to move the pile. His physical running style and strong inside running ability allow him to run through arm/ankle tackles. I also love the way Pierce protects the football by covering the points in traffic. Bernard Pierce also does a nice job in pass protection and isn’t afraid/scared to get physical and pick up blitzing linebackers with good overall form. I would like to see more from Pierce in this area but he displayed above average skills in this area from what I saw in this game. Pierce has not proved to be an effective receiver out of the backfield at Temple, however I don’t know how many opportunities he was given to show this aspect of his game at Temple. For this reason, this will be something to watch leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft at his Combine and Pro-Day. Overall I am a pretty big fan of Bernard Pierce and would recommend him somewhere in the 3rd round. His skills don’t make your jaw drop but he is extremely effective and will prove to be a valuable back for whichever team decides to draft him. If Price can continue to stay healthy as he did this season he should enjoy a long/productive career in the NFL due to his incredible vision and ability to get “skinny” and make the most out of even the smallest of creases. Pierce is the type of player that you know what you’re getting and know what you’re not. Due to this, he is an extremely safe player who should produce and impact your offense positively from day one.

*Bernard Pierce officially declared for the 2012 NFL Draft while I was writing this report. Pierce should come off the board sometime on Day 2 and present an excellent value for a team in need of a short-yardage back who is effective between the tackles, best of luck big man!

Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill-

Tannehill's draft stock is soaring and will continue to climb once NFL evaluators see the type of potential and upside he has as a starting QB.

Tannehill is a player I have been touting and been high on for a while now. He just seems to be progressing and getting better with each passing game and he has a good amount of upside. In this game Tannehill seemed to be very much in control and the game seems to be slowing down for him some. For the most part Tannehill has improved his decision-making although he at times will trust/believe in his arm almost to a fault, thinking he can make any throw. This shows that me that while Tannehill is improving he also doesn’t quite understand his limitations as a passer just quite yet, but this should come with more time and experience under center. I really like the velocity, anticipation, timing, and accuracy Tannehill possesses as he is capable of making throws from both inside and outside the pocket. He shows nice ability and looks comfortable in rolling out to his left or right and throwing a deliverable ball down the field, especially towards the sidelines. In the pocket Tannehill is beginning to look more and more comfortable in the pocket, especially using his footwork and shoulder dip moves to evade the rush and create more throwing room. One question I have had with Tannehill this season is his ability to deliver a nice deep ball with proper arc and touch. Before this game his deep ball lacked touch and seemed to come out a little flat. In this game Tannehill showed natural touch and was mostly accurate in delivering the long ball where his receiver had an opportunity to make a play. Another thing I am beginning to see from Tannehill is the ability to make pre-snap reads and adjustments. This shows me that his understanding of the game and coverages are beginning to show as well as the fact that he is putting in the extra time to get a leg up on his competition. As I have said before Tannehill is a prime candidate to have sit for a year or so before throwing him into the wolves so to speak. Ryan Tannehill is an excellent player to groom and develop for your future, I just hope the team that takes him understands this and gives him the proper time to develop his game and not ruin his confidence.

Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller-

Fuller's draft stock has taken one of the bigger hits out of anybody this season. He needs to be more physical and display the type of ability he showed during his Junior campaign.

Fuller is a player that has disappointed all season and failed to live up to the expectations that were put upon him for this season. In this game Fuller made some big catches, including a TD that was big for his team. Fuller’s long frame allowed him to come down with a couple big time catches in key situations for the Aggies offense. I can see Fuller becoming  a pretty reliable red-zone threat as I appreciate his ability to extend his long body/arms and go up for the football. I have always appreciated Fuller’s long nicely developed frame, however he needs to become much more physical if he is ever going to make an impact in the NFL. Far too many times in this game Fuller would receive a quick screen and instantly make his way towards the sidelines, avoiding contact. I fear that corners who can match his length and get physical with him at the line of scrimmage will be able to re-route and throw him off his intended path. Fuller isn’t the type of a player that scares you deep so it could be very simple for team’s to take him out completely by challenging him with man to man coverage as he has also struggled to make catches in traffic this season. I don’t know if injuries have been the reason for Fuller’s decline in production or not, but he surely needs to do something drastic to get back to where he was at the end of the 2010 season. Currently I would rank Fuller outside of my Top 100 players, but with a good off-season he could work his way back up some people’s draft board. Jeff Fuller is a player that reminds me of Chicago Bears WR Roy Williams.

Texas A&M LB Sean Porter-

Porter will have a tough decision on whether he wants to return for another season at College Station, however he already possesses the skills to be a high draft choice due to his great pass rushing potential.

Porter got off to a hot start in this game and showed why he is one of the premier pass rushing players in the entire country. In the first few possessions Porter’s great burst and athleticism was on full display, showing the ability to dip his shoulder and work around the corner in tight quarters by lowering his center of gravity around the edge. Unfortunately for Porter he likely would have recorded up to 2 or 3 sacks if not for the fact that he was held on multiple occasions. The sad part was that the refs seemed to miss these blatant holding calls time and time again as he was more or less tackled to be prevented from getting to the quarterback. The refs missed these calls today, but scouts will surely take note of these plays and understand that he can impact the game by creating pressure, making sacks, and drawing holding calls due to his impressive pass rush skills. One thing that really excited me in this game was seeing Porter show the added ability of turning speed into power. On one play Porter set up his man and threatened the edge before timing his bull rush just as the offensive lineman was opening his hips to turn and run with Porter up the field. This timing allowed Porter to knock his man off-balance and create some push as a bull rusher, collapsing the pocket. There is no doubting that Porter could stand to get stronger and develop more power to his game but it is exciting to see him scratching the surface of another dangerous pass rush arsenal that would take him one step closer to being an elite pass rusher. Porter is also very reliable in coverage and seems very natural settling into his zone. He shows good instincts and looks comfortable/fluid in space in picking up players entering his zone or area. He made a great stick/form tackle by reading the quarterbacks eyes and jumping a wide receiver working a drag route underneath his coverage. On another play later in the game he stayed in his zone despite that the play was moving away from his side of the field. Staying true to his assignment he was rewarded when the quarterback turned back to his side of the field and threw it completely across his body where Porter made a play on the ball and almost came up with the pick. This awareness and discipline is very admirable in a young linebacker and makes you confident in his ability to stay on the field at all times and feel confident about it. I’m not sure if Porter will choose to declare this season but he has surely caught the attention of NFL personnel people everywhere and should be a highly valued player once he decides to come out.

Texas A&M Linebacker Damontre Moore-

Moore is a player that shows good hustle and ability to continually work the edge on his way to the QB. Only a Sophomore, Moore is a player to keep an eye on in the coming years.

Damontre Moore is the other quality linebacker on the Aggies defense and is only a Sophomore. Standing 6-4 245 lbs. Moore has good size and really started to come on during the later part of the season, collecting 6 of his 8.5 sacks in the final four games of the season. Moore is a player who doesn’t possess spectacular speed around the edge but continually works his man around the corner to collect hustle sacks and plays. I’m not sure if he will make a better defensive end in a 4-3 quite yet or if his natural fit is at outside linebacker in a 3-4 but he is definitely a player to keep an eye on in the coming years. I really appreciate the body lean and angles he takes around the corner as well as his consistent motor to bend the edge and get after the quarterback. Moore also works down the line of scrimmage very smoothly and shows good pursuit to the football. Moore needs to do a better job keeping contain and trusting his eyes as he fell for many zone option read plays in this football game. These read and react skills will hopefully develop some in time and I am excited to watch him next season as he continues to develop a more consistent overall game.

Wisconsin QB Russel Wilson-

If Russel Wilson was merely 3-4 inches taller we would be talking about a potential first round draft pick. Wilson has many of the attributes you look for in a starting NFL quarterback and can make plays outside the pocket with his legs and arm, making him very dangerous and potent weapon.

I’ll start by saying this…I’m a big Russel Wilson fan and think he will succeed in the NFL despite his lack of quality size (5-10) and is good enough to eventually become a starting quarterback. We all know Wilson’s biggest knock is his small stature and many are concerned about his ability to see over his offensive line and find passing lanes at the next level. To this I say… make it work, fit your system around his individual strengths, skills and deficiencies! This means executing 7-10 step drops like they have for him at Wisconsin and letting him work predominately out of the shotgun like many teams in the NFL already do. This gives him the ability to see the entire field and effectively go through his reads and progressions. His height is a concern but there are ways to diminish this negative aspect of his game and it starts by building your offensive system around him. But it doesn’t stop there…another thing you must do if you’re going to draft Wilson to be your “Quarterback of the future” is allow him to roll out to his left or right and make/extend plays with his legs. Wilson is terrific at throwing with accuracy on the run and can make many NFL caliber throws outside the pocket.

Another thing I like about  Wilson is that he throws a very clean spiral and can get the ball out with a simple flick of his wrist very quickly. Wilson is also a very good decision maker who protects the ball and his TD/INT ratio has always ranked very highly. His arm strength really is under-rated and above average as he is able to make throws to all levels of the field. I would like to see Wilson step up into the pocket more often and really show the ability to drive the football into tight windows on stick throws, but overall he has enough arm strength to get the job done. I also have come to appreciate the football IQ Wilson has demonstrated during his time at Wisconsin and this was evidenced by a play in which he checked out from a designed running play and made a quick slant pass due to the defensive alignment that Oregon was showing. This shows a deep understanding of coverages and that he is confident in his decisions and leadership ability to go ahead and make that call. Another thing I appreciate is how well Wilson sells his play action passes. He uses his head and shoulders well to sell the fake and also does this when settling into the pocket before making a throw. One of the more special throws Wilson made in this game came on a play in the 3rd quarter when he was able to sit tall in the pocket and make an anticipatory throw to his wide receiver Nick Toon in the front right corner of the end zone. What made this throw special was the pocket poise Wilson showed as well as his ability to hold the safeties to one side of the field with his head and eyes and come back to Toon, throwing the ball to a spot before he even broke to the front right pylon of the end zone. Seeing this makes it plain to see that not only does Wilson trust his eyes and reads but he also goes through his progressions very efficiently. Russel Wilson is simply put a competitor who will do whatever it takes to win as he could be seen throwing blocks downfield for Montee Ball at one point early in this game.

A couple of issues I do have with Wilson involve his throwing mechanics as he tends to hold the ball a little low and not as close or high up on his chest as I would like or prefer. This will only take a little tweaking, but could speed up his already good throwing motion. Another correctable issue comes when the pocket around him begins to break down. Wilson has a tendency to escape the pocket before he necessarily has to and I would like to see him not leave the pocket so prematurely and instead step up into it and give himself more room to make the throw. I believe this has been an issue for Wilson due to his lack of height, as the closer his own offensive lineman and the opposing teams defensive lineman come to his face the more his lack of ideal height becomes an issue as his passing windows become smaller and smaller and his is unable to see the entire field. One way in which Wilson has afforded himself the ability to see over the offensive line and make good throws despite his lack of ideal height is ability to contort his body and throw from multiple platforms. Part of this is due to his above average arm strength, but most of it is just his natural ability as he has found ways to be successful despite his lack of height having dealt with this issue his entire life/career. Look I’m not saying Russel Wilson is the next Drew Brees or anything but he surely is the type of player who can be effective and become a starter at the next level. I have heard nothing but good things about Wilson’s intangibles in regards to his work ethic and film study as he is said to have a very good head on his shoulders as well. The fact that he learned the Wisconsin offense in about a month and was thus named the starter and co-captain of the team says a lot about his leadership and ability to pick up on concepts quickly. I have no doubt that Wilson would be a 1st or 2nd round pick if we were simply talking about his physical ability, however his height is the one thing that will make him drop some as well as his possibly smaller hands. For now I have Wilson rated in the early 3rd round and I am higher on him than most scouts out there. Just because I am from Wisconsin does not make me biased, I feel I know talent when I see it and Russel Wilson definitely has some, he just needs one person to see that and adapt their offense around him as I stated before.

Wisconsin RB Montee Ball:

Montee Ball has incredible lateral agility, cut-back ability, vision and receiving skills out of the backfield that will get him drafted early and make him a valuable commodity come draft day.

Montee Ball enjoyed one of the better seasons we have seen from a collegiate running back position since Barry Sanders. Ball is a decent sized back at 5-11 210 lbs. and has been said to have lost up to 20 lbs this past off-season to make himself into a more dynamic runner. Ball has incredible vision and lateral agility that allow him to meander through traffic and find ways to consistently pick up positive yardage. Montee is also a very decisive runner who uses his one cut running style to take what the defense is giving him and is not afraid to lower his head to finish his runs and pick up extra yardage. Although Ball is not a very physical back he is also no pushover either. Ball shows the ability to run through arm tackles and consistently makes the first man miss due to his impressive footwork. Ball’s top end speed will be somewhat of an issue at the next level as he is not a burner by any means and he is much more effective running between the tackles rather than bouncing the run outside and beating you with his sheer speed. Much has been made of the TD numbers Ball has been able to put up this season (39), however those numbers are somewhat extrapolated from the incredible guard-center duo he had blocking for him in Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler. Both of these big men will be high NFL Draft picks whenever they decide to come out, which I will get into a bit later in this post. One of my favorite things about watching Ball run is both his lateral agility and cutback ability but also his incredible spin move that constantly leaves defenders in his wake. Ball’s spin move has been extremely effective for him during his career and has allowed him to finish his runs and pick up those much-needed extra few yards. Perhaps the other most impressive trait about Ball is his feel and vision for cut back lanes. His combination of skill sets as a runner make him a better fit for a zone blocking scheme, however I think he can thrive in a power one as well. The other thing that will get Ball drafted on the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft should he come out is his ability as a receiver out of the backfield. Ball has extremely reliable hands and he has proved to be a savvy route runner who knows how to get open and find ways to make an impact in the passing game. On a big third down early in this game Ball was releasing out into the flats on a simple arrow route when the play began to break down and Russel Wilson scrambled to his right to buy himself more time. Being initially covered by a linebacker Ball broke off his route and worked his way back towards the middle of the field away from coverage and created a passing lane and outlet for his quarterback to get him the ball. This play went for a large gain and showcased the football IQ and overall awareness Ball possesses as a receiver. Later in the game the Badgers used Ball split out wide one on one with a cornerback. Ball ran a quick slant route, beating his man for inside position and picking up the first down. Instances like these make me believe Ball can be on the field for all three downs and contribute both in the run and passing game, which will make him a valuable commodity for many teams out there in need of another back to fill their two back system. Ball does need to improve somewhat in his pass protection as his technique and awareness for picking up defenders needs some refinement but is a correctable issue. Overall I think Ball is a solid 2nd round pick and guy you can feel comfortable about drafting and contributing early on in his career. He has his limitations, however he also offers an exciting blend of skills that will give him the ability to contribute early and score TD’s inside the red zone and near the goal line for whichever team drafts him.

Wisconsin C Peter Konz-

In my assumption Peter Konz is NFL ready right now and is the best Center prospect to come out of the Big Ten since All-Pro C Nick Mangold.

Peter Konz is a player I am extremely high on as I have considered him to be the best center prospect to come out of the Big Ten since Nick Mangold. This is high praise considering how good of a career Mangold has had up to this point in his career for the New York Jets. Konz has been rumored to be considering returning for his Senior season, however I feel he is NFL ready right now and his draft stock will be as high as it will ever be based on his film from this season. Center’s don’t go that high in the draft in the first place but I feel like Konz has solidified himself as a 1st round pick and would simply be risking injury to improve his already high prestige/regard in the minds of NFL scout and General Managers. Peter Konz is a player that is an absolute mauler in the run game who consistently knocks his defender off the football and finishes his blocks. He does this by playing with great leverage and overall technique as his initial pop off the line of scrimmage is something I can definitely appreciate. His leg drive and ability to open up rushing lanes/holes off his backside is extremely polished and he seems to take extra pride near the goal line or on short yardage situations where it all comes down to the battle in the trenches. In pass protection Konz plays balanced and displays natural knee bend while also getting good arm extension to wall off his defender once engaged. Konz’s technique allows him to absorb bull rushers and stymie his defender with solid overall hand placement and leverage. Konz also packs an above average to good punch move that can jolt his defender and knock them off-balance from time to time. The other thing I love about Konz is how well he communicates gap assignments and works with his fellow offensive lineman. Konz does a great job making sure everyone is on the same page and knows their assignments. Both Konz and Zeitler work extremely well together and probably better than any other guard-center duo in the entire country, as they both understand gap assignments, spacing, and splits extremely well. To me it is an easy decision on whether Peter Konz should declare for the NFL Draft or not, but ultimately it is his decision and not mine as there are factors to consider that I am most likely not aware about. Should he declare Konz is a near lock to go in the 1st round and will surely be the first player drafted at his respective position.

Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler-

Kevin Zeitler is an extremely effective run blocker whose best fit appears to be in a power based running scheme. This ability in the run game will entice team's looking for an inside big man to open up holes and improve their ground game.

Kevin Zeitler is the type of guy who can immediately come in and improve your teams running game. Zeitler brings a lunch pail type attitude to run blocking and plays extremely inspired in or around the goal line, where he seems to take pride in making the big block to spring the ball carrier for a touchdown. His push in the run game is one of the reasons why Montee Ball was able to enjoy so much success in punching it in for six this season an astounding 33 times. Zeitler’s best fit appears to be in a power run blocking scheme where he can make the most out of his ability and consistently open up holes in the running game. Wisconsin offensive lineman are extremely well coached and is one of the reasons why we see such a pedigree in the NFL of Badgers offensive lineman. Zeitler is next in this line of this tradition as his overall skill set appears to be better than former Badger guard and 2011 NFL Draft pick John Moffitt. One knock on John coming out was that he lacked the athleticism/lateral movement necessary to play the position in the NFL. Zeitler doesn’t have this problem as he can get to the 2nd level very smoothly/efficiently and seal off linebackers on a consistent basis. The Badgers also love to pull their big men and get Zeitler out in front of the pack. Here Zeitler shows an uncanny awareness for picking up oncoming defenders and neutralizing them at the point of attack. In pass protection Zeitler plays with natural knee bend and a solid base, his hand to hand combat skills and hand placement are two things he does very well when battling with defenders one on one. It is Zeitler’s hand placement that allows him to consistently get his big paws underneath and around his opponents shoulder pads and control/drive them off the football. Zeitler will be a good-great run blocking option once he gets to the NFL and his pass blocking skills are above average. Kevin Zeitler should find himself drafted, should he come out within the initial 2-3 rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Wisconsin WR Nick Toon-

Nick Toon has NFL size and ties and is a team player who seems to do all the little things right. His limited explosion/burst is a limiting factor but he should find a way to contribute at next level.

Nick Toon is a player with NFL size 6-2 220 lbs. and NFL blood lines as his dad Al Toon was an All-Pro Wide Receiver for the New York Jets after being drafted 10th overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. His son Nick is also a very good receiver who has been given high praise by scouts leading up to his Senior season. The 2012 NFL Draft is extremely deep at the wide receiver position which will knock Toon down some, however he is a solid prospect in his own right. One of Nick Toon’s better qualities as a receiver is his great body positioning. Toon does a great job of using his big body to shield defenders from the football and seems to be most comfortable working underneath coverages on short to intermediate routes such as drags, slants and deep ins/outs. Toon is a big target who is also a very smart and reliable receiver. In this game Toon was working across the middle on a critical 3rd down late in the game when he noticed coverage and attention to his route being brought towards the middle of the field. Immediately Toon changed directions and worked his way back towards the sidelines away from coverage to save his quarterback and give him a throwing lane/option. After securing the catch Toon lunged and used his long frame to stretch for the first down and keep the drive/game alive for the Badgers. This play showed incredible awareness of the situation and is a telling sign that Toon simply gets the game of football thanks in part to his NFL pedigree. Another aspect of Nick Toon’s game that I love to see is his effort as a downfield blocker, decoy or pick player. Toon doesn’t give minimal effort when he knows he is not getting the football or when the play is not coming to his side of the field and he’s working a backside route. He understands teamwork and selling his routes to open up opportunities and plays for his team-mates whether it be by blocking downfield or keeping defenders occupied with his routes. The reason Nick Toon will fall some is because of his lack of speed/burst/explosion. Toon doesn’t display the ability to get into and out of his routes very quickly, which will limit his ability to create separation at the next level. I would like to see him lower his body weight more effectively before breaking or stemming off his routes. I also noticed in this game that Toon has a bad habit of taking a mis-step on his initial push of the line of scrimmage. This is something that can be fixed relatively easily but needs to be addressed as it limits his already limited a ability to explode off the line of scrimmage and get into his routes/eat up cushions.  As I said before Nick Toon seems to have reliable hands and is a possession type receiver at the next level. However, sometimes Nick has a bad habit of trapping the ball against his body at times instead of securing the catch with his hands. Although I have not seen him drop one of these yet, it is a sign he doesn’t completely trust his hands. Overall it’s hard not to like Nick Toon as a prospect because of his NFL pedigree and commitment as a team player by doing all the small things right. However, I’m not sold on his speed or ability to separate in the NFL which is my biggest cause for concern for him and aspect of his game that makes him slip a little. There are definitely holes to his game but Toon is a guy I would feel safe taking in the 3rd round.

Oregon RB LaMicael James-

LaMichael James is slight of build but his open field running skills, suddenness, and shiftiness as a runner make him a dangerous arsenal in a two back system who can bring the flash and awe to a team's running game.

LaMichael James is a player that nearly everyone is aware of due to the impressive stats and runs he has put together during his illustrious career at Oregon. James is a player with a slight build at 5-9 190 lbs. but has under-rated leg drive/power and is more effective between the tackles than he is given credit for. Surely his stats have been a little extrapolated by the system he has played in at Oregon for the past three seasons, but he is also a very skilled player who can bring the speed and dazzle to a two back system in the NFL. James is a player that is very comparable to Jahvid Best but has a little better inside running ability and is less prone to injuries, although James also dealt with an injury of his own this season. However, Best’s top-end/long speed seems to be a bit better than James overall and his size is just a bit bigger. Best went on to become a 1st round draft pick for the Detroit Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft and would definitely be warranting that spot if not for a multitude of concussions he has suffered both in college and in the NFL. Like Best, LaMichael James is a very slippery runner who bounces outside efficiently and has very good foot speed and quickness. James is also extremely agile and quick in space and seems to work very well in confined areas where his short-area quickness is best utilized. On top of this James also shows the ability to accelerate and decelerate very efficiently/quickly making him tough to contain in the open field. LaMichael James also shows very sudden cut-back ability who can change directions/gears in a blink of an eye. As a runner James is also very patient and follows his blocks well, showing the same feel for cut-back lanes and vision that Montee Ball also possesses. In the open field James is a very creative runner who eludes defenders and knows how to avoid big hits, which will allow him to stay healthy in his career for the most part. Another thing you have to appreciate about LaMichael James is that he doesn’t try to do too much and picks up what he can get while always seeming to fall forward working north and south rather than east and west. James isn’t much of a threat at the goal-line despite his high rushing TD numbers in college, although he is capable of punching it in from time to time. Seeing that the Adrian Peterson just went down to a serious knee injury and that the Vikings were rumored to be interested in Jahvid Best before it would make sense for them to add a player like LaMichael James to their arsenal. Other teams that would seem to make sense are: Bears, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams, Bengals, Browns, and Broncos. Wherever James ultimately winds up he should find relative success in a two back system where he can bring the flash and awe. James has already declared and made himself eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft, which I believe to be a wise decision on his part as he will have trouble increasing his draft stock any higher due to his limited size. In what is becoming a deeper/top-heavy 2012 running Back Draft Class James might slip a little but he will have to be considered somewhere in the bottom half of the 2nd round in my opinion. James will have to prove he can be an effective receiver out of the backfield, but he has enjoyed some success of already doing this while at Oregon. The bigger question will be how he holds up in pass protection, which will be something to keep a close eye on at the NFL Combine and his Pro-day.

Wish I had the time to write about everyone who caught my attention but here is a list of the other players who caught my eye in this game FB Bradie Ewing, LB Chris Borland, LB Mike Taylor, LB Michael Clay, WR DeAnthony Thomas, LB Kiko Alonzo, WR Lavasier Tuinei. Hope you enjoyed the reading!

-Brandon

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