Archive for the ‘Scouting Reports’ Category

Size: Measured in at the combine at a stout 6-2 271 lbs. and has been said to have gained 10 lbs. of muscle in preparation for the scouting combine in hopes of staying at the defensive end position in the NFL. Nick Perry has a thick upper and lower half and is a very well proportioned athlete, as it is very evident that he has put in the time, effort and energy in the weight room to develop his athletic looking frame. With that said his frame appears to be nearly maxed out as there is little room on his body to add much more weight. Perry also possesses only average length with 33 inch arms but regularly gets the most out of his body thanks to his explosive athleticism and superb body control.

Nick Perry is a naturally explosive athlete with an impressive first step and strong upper body. Perry's potential to convert speed to power is a rare quality and something that makes him a unique and enticing prospect from a pass rushing perspective.

Pass Rush/Quickness:  Very good first step quickness (1.57 10 yard split). Has active and violent hands capable of slapping away his opponents attempt to corral him. Flexibility is only average and he struggles to get much bend and dip underneath his opponents shoulder pads when running the arc as he shows some stiffness in his torso and ankles. Shows good snap awareness and timing as he routinely coils out of his stance and explodes up-field with nice initial quickness. Understands hand placement and gains inside positioning quickly thanks to impressive array of hand to hand combat techniques making it very hard to sustain blocks for an extended period of time. Nick Perry has great body control and is natural playing with his hand in the dirt while working in confined areas thanks to his impressive short area burst and closing speed. Possesses a scary combination of speed and power and converts the two with relative ease. Needs refinement in this area but the potential he possesses here affords him the opportunity to keep his opponent off balanced and constantly guessing what move Perry will use next. Needs to develop a greater pass rush arsenal but flashes a useful spin move on occasion. Parlaying between his natural explosive speed and power makes him a difficult assignment to contain, game plan and prepare for. Offensive tackles must respect his speed and power and if Perry can do a better job of switching up the two and utilizing more useful pass rush moves like an up and under he could be a force off the edge for quite some time. Constantly collapses the pocket and narrows room/space for quarterback to move and work within. Not an overly sudden player but effective change of direction skills makes it hard to get and keep hands on him for an extended period of time. Does a nice job getting his hands up in passing windows when he can’t get to the quarterback and shows nice ball awareness in passing situations.

Run Defense: Solid upper body strength (35 reps @ 225) with a nice base, core strength and balance to anchor upon contact and hold the point against the run. Needs to do a better job fighting off blocks, especially against double teams as he struggles to disengage and find the football at times. Fires out of stance low and gets good initial push thanks to impressive power and explosion throughout his upper and lower body. First step quickness affords Perry the ability to get into/under his opponents pads quickly, showcasing impressive pop on contact and capable of knocking his opponent on their heels. Powerful and explosive player who does not shy away from contact as he jolts his opposition with a strong punch. Plays with disciplined leverage techniques and takes solid angles to the football and gives nice chase/effort on nearly every play. Mirrors, slides and shuffles his feet well laterally when moving to his left or right to follow the play and keep contain. Needs to learn how to disengage and find the football as he has a tendency to drop his head and miss on opportunities to make a play. Has the tools to get better in this area just needs more time and coaching.

Recognition/Awareness/Instincts:  Generally finds and locates the football adequately but can be a split second late at times to diagnose the play/action happening in front of him. Shows better awareness as a pass rusher at this time as he struggles to locate the football when engaged in the phone booth with his opponent against the run. A naturally instinctive playmaker with the wherewithal to find and locate the football routinely and pin point the passers high shoulder when coming off the edge. Disrupts passing lanes and settles into passing zones nicely while dropping into coverage and has an innate awareness to keep the play in front of him while working against the run or pass. Disciplined player who restrains from crashing down and losing outside contain.

Motor/Toughness: Nick Perry is a very durable and dependable guy who missed very little time during his three seasons at USC due to injury. Doesn’t shy away from contact and likes to mix it up in the trenches with the big uglies. Motor is above average to good but he could show a little better hustle and overall conditioning throughout the course of the game. Doesn’t give up on plays and shows adequate pursuit on the backside, although he could give better overall effort in chase at times. Brings it on nearly every play and goes hard from snap to snap. Wouldn’t consider him relentless in this area but he displays a good enough motor to be effective on every play.

Tackling/Coverage: Not overly affective at changing directions fluidly as he is athletic enough to drop into coverage but displays a good degree of tightness in his hips when asked to turn and move in space. Gets a little narrow and upright when moving his feet and would seem to have some man to man limitations as a 3-4 stand-up linebacker as of right now. Would likely face a pretty steep learning curve if drafted to play the 3-4 outside linebacker position but I could see him making the transition with time due to his impressive athleticism, drive and determination. However, I see Perry as being a better overall player as a 4-3 right defensive end due to his overall skill set and believe not only is that where he wants to play but should play given that he is already in his element and comfortable at that position. Where not only will his skills as a pass rusher transfer nicely but also in a more timely and efficient manner for him to make an impact right now. Not overly explosive as a tackler but has the power and strength to lay the wood on occasion. Wraps up nicely and nearly always finishes when he puts himself in good position to make a play and take down the ball carrier.

Intangibles: Has taken very well to coaching and developed/worked on his craft the past three seasons at USC. Fans, coaches and teammates respect his work ethic and desire as he was named USC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year for his play in 2011. Declared for the draft a year early after his Junior season in which he led the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks on the season and seems to be just scratching the surface of his immense potential. Grew up in inner city Detroit where he led his high school to a state championship in 2007 with an astounding 36 sacks on the season, which was good for a Michigan prep record. Decided to make something out of himself by choosing the game of football over the streets in an area where violence and turmoil was omnipresent. This decision speaks volumes about Nick Perry’s character, persistence and discipline not only as a football player but as a human being, as it would have been easy for him to succumb to the streets and go down the wrong path. Instead Perry chose the game he loves and has been consistently getting better every season thanks to his dedication in the weight and film rooms.

Nick Perry is a superb athlete with a very high ceiling. His combination of explosive power and speed make him a very dangerous weapon coming off the edge and may not be matched by any other single player in this draft. Perry’s explosive first step make him a consistent threat to gain the edge and his ability to utilize his body in space while displaying impressive hand to hand combat techniques is a very crucial skill to possess as a pass rusher. The best fit for Nick Perry in my assessment would be at the right defensive end position in a 4-3 defense and is a perfect fit for a “Wide 9” alignment, like those used by the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, due to his impressive first step and up-field pass rush ability. Expect to hear Nick Perry’s named called in the first round as he is certainly one of the premier pass rushers in this draft with the ability and potential to crack the top 20.

-Thanks for reading my scouting report on USC DE/OLB Nick Perry, please feel free to comment below-

  -Brandon-

Advertisements

Andre Branch has the speed, strength, and length to be an effective pass rush threat in the NFL. With more coaching and technique work in the areas of hand placement and pad level, Branch could present excellent value for a team looking to upgrade its pass rush.

Size: Tall athletic build for the defensive end position with long arms and defined mid section and upper body with enough room to continue to add to his frame without sacrificing much speed or explosion. Will likely need to add some muscle to become an every down defender as a 4-3 defensive end but has the type of frame to do so.

Pass Rush/Quickness: Good enough but far from elite first step and lacks true explosiveness to to threaten the edge consistently. Initial quickness is good and has the straight line speed to be a factor but has an inconsistent get-off and doesn’t always time the snap count as well as he should. Has some natural flexibility and dip and bend ability to avoid the reach of an offensive lineman and does a great job using his body to create leverage and push the pocket from the outside in. Long angular frame allows him to keep defender off his body as he works the edge and collapses the pocket while keeping his opponent at bay with his long arms (34 inches). Balanced and coordinated athlete with plus range and good motor to pursue on the backside. Hand placement is inconsistent and he could do a better job using this tool to create space and separation for him to work. Relies on upfield rush and lacks a quality counter at this point to be effective when initial momentum is neutralized. Pass rush arsenal is lacking at this point although he shows an effective club move and a degree of violence  when he is on his game. Upper body strength is good and has a lot of raw potential and upside as a pass rusher but is still learning and developing, especially in terms of turning speed into power. Would like to see him fight more through contact as he seems to want to go around rather than through his opponent at this point, however this can be learned and taught with better technique. Comes out of the three-point higher than he should and raises his pad level out of his stance at times. Pretty good movement skills and changes directions efficiently, making him a good candidate to move to outside linebacker in the NFL as a pass rushing 3-4 backer. Still raw and developing and has yet to put it all together and take full advantage of his god given abilities; good upside if motivated and coached up right.

Run Defense:Exceptional upper body strength but struggles in the phone booth a bit at the point of attack and cannot yet stand up to double teams. Effective at setting the edge on occasion and rarely loses contain or crashes down recklessly. Needs to do a better job protecting his lower body, however he shows the balance and mental alertness to stay on his feet and make his way to the ball carrier. Does a good job keeping play in front of him while mirroring action by sliding and shuffling his feet, using his lateral agility to stay involved in the play. Active in pursuit and gives good chase and effort downfield. Could take better angles to the football at times but takes tight angles around the edge and shows the ability to flatten and use his plus closing speed and acceleration to chase down the ball carrier. Still learning how to stack and shed and cannot yet be trusted to disengage consistently and slip blocks by using solid technique; needs to be coached up in this area. Will likely need to add at least ten pounds to hold up as a pass rush defensive end in a 4-3 system as he struggles to hold his ground in short yardage situations.

Recognition/Awareness/Instincts:Locates the football well and shows a good degree of discipline and integrity. Sets the edge, keeps contain and doesn’t over-commit. Well coached up layer who recognizes the play and trusts his eyes. Very rarely is caught out of position and shows the mental awareness to keep the play in front of him and honor his assignments. Cerebral enough to know that when he does not reach the passer he can still effect the outcome of the play by getting his long arms up to disrupt passing lanes. Snap awareness and timing needs to be improved but that will come with more experience and coaching.

Motor/Toughness:Has a consistent motor and will consistently give good effort in chase or pursuit. Doesn’t give up on the play and will work through the whistle. Flashes a mean streak but would like to see him fight through contact with more urgency and tenacity. Has the ability within himself, just needs to bring it on every play with greater frequency. Doesn’t play soft and usually will use his violent hands and physicality to wear down his opponent and keep them honest to respect his natural abilities.

Tackling/Coverage: Has natural movement skills and does  a good job getting his body into position to make the tackle. Shoots the arms through contact but doesn’t always wrap up as well as he should and has a tendency to drop his head prematurely. High points the shoulder of the quarterback coming off the edge and shows adequate ball awareness to force fumbles on occasion from the quarterbacks blind side. Has some tightness in his hips but has above average agility and change of directions skills to make plays in space and use his long frame to keep players contained and within his striking range. Good candidate to make the switch to 3-4 rushing outside linebacker because of his ability to drop into coverage and play well in space while identifying players that enter his area. Played the “Bandit” position at Clemson and while his main attraction to NFL teams will be his pass rush ability, Branch also has a good amount of upside as a player capable of playing in space and dropping into coverage.

Intangibles: Played behind former Clemson defensive end Daquan Bowers for much of his career but got consistently better every year while learning the game and working on fixing some of his weaknesses. Has blossomed into a good player with a solid Senior season in which he led the Tigers with 10.5 sacks. Has also took on a leadership role and seems to be a player others can aspire to, thanks to his work ethic and passion for the game. Consistent motor and gives good hustle on every play. No off the field issues that I could find or have any concern with.

High upside player who has yet to reach his full potential and take advantage of his natural skill set. Needs to improve his pad level and hand placement and will struggle to hold up in the run game until he adds weight and plays with greater technique. Natural ability as a pass rusher and has many tools working in his favor to become a consistent pass rush threat. Versatility to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and is a good candidate to mold and develop. If motivated and proves to be a coachable player, Branch has the ability to become a very good pro. Reminds me some of former Purdue defensive End and current Detroit Lion Cliff Avirl who also had great upside coming out of college as a pass rusher but had some raw areas to his game, while also showing the versatility to fit in both a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Will likely need some coaching and technique work but has the ability to make an impact as early as his first year if brought into the right scheme and system with a coach who knows how to mold the skills he possesses. I see Andre Branch going in the late 1st to early 2nd round and would be a good fit for a team like the Packers (28), Patriots (27, 31) or Dolphins (42) in the 2012 NFL Draft.

-Thanks for reading my scouting report on Clemson DE/OLB Andre Brach, please comment below with your thoughts or insights on this player.

-Brandon-

Photo Courtesy of John Posey (Urban Sports News)

Prairie View DE/OLB in an interesting prospect who absolutely dominated the Southwestern Athletic Conference this past season, accounting for a record-breaking 20.5 sacks, breaking the record formerly set by Robert Mathis, who has now went on to become a pro bowl player with the Indianapolis Colts. The thing that is most intriguing about Hamilton is that before enrolling at Prairie View A&M he was a highly coveted high school prospect coming out of well-known Dallas Carter High School, where he played alongside 49er’s WR Michael Crabtree. After initially enrolling at Oklahoma State out of high school, Hamilton was asked to grey shirt on account of the coaching staff handing out too many of their allotted 25 scholarships. Forced to make a decision, Hamilton chose to move on from Oklahoma State and walk on at Texas Tech to play alongside his former high school teammate Michael Crabtree, and under then head coach Mike Leach.

Hamilton played sparingly during his first season with the Red Raiders in 2008, however academics and a lack of finances forced Hamilton to drop out of school and once again give up his dream of playing for a major division one college football program. From Lubbock, Hamilton hit the books and worked hard to get his academics back into priority to re-establish his football eligibility while at Dallas Community College. Looking for just one more opportunity to show he belonged, Hamilton got his chance when Prairie View A&M Head Coach Gabe Northern, who was a former 2nd round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 1996 NFL Draft took in Adrian Hamilton, giving him a full scholarship and chance to compete in the game he loves so much.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Hamilton found it hard to find the field in 2010, where he was trapped behind a pair of talented defensive ends in Quinton Spears and Jarvis Wilson. Nonetheless, despite very little playing time Hamilton was still able to create some splash plays and make an impact by accounting for 5.5 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss and a blocked punt return for a touchdown. However, it was in 2011 where Hamilton finally made his name known, while getting him back on the radars of NFL scouts and personnel men, with a performance that we haven’t seen out of a defensive player in the SWAC since the legendary Robert Mathis. In 2011, Hamilton was able to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors where he continuously wreaked havoc in the backfield and made enough noise to get his name back into the mix. Every journey is different and unique, but Hamilton has overcome quite a bit of adversity to become the player he is today and this perseverance and never give up kind of attitude is the type of thing that endures you to an athlete and person. Here is what I saw when I broke down multiple games of Adrian Hamilton from his performances in the midst of his record-breaking season.

Size: Adrian Hamilton participated in the HBCU Bowl in early December where he measured in at 6-2 246 lbs. His hands were an impressive 10 1/8′, while his arms measured out 32 1/2′ with a 77 3/4′ wingspan. Hamilton possesses just average length for the position in the NFL and will likely be forced to move to outside linebacker in the NFL due to his less than ideal frame and size to stick at defensive end. Hamilton would be best served to add 5-10 lbs. to his frame in the NFL, without sacrificing too much of his timed speed (4.76, HBCU Bowl).

Pass Rush/Quickness: Adrian Hamilton possesses an above average first step but is likely to just be average at best in the NFL. He also has some dip and bend ability, showing adequate flexibility to drop his pad level around the corner without sacrificing the ability to stay on his feet and get knocked off-balance. Hamilton’s foot speed and change of direction ability is good and it allows him to consistently beat the heavy footed offensive lineman he faced at the collegiate level on a normal basis, as he executes a pretty effective up and under move thanks to his superior athleticism. This outside-in pass rush move is one of his favorites as he times that up with an equally effective spin move that is quick and sudden, leaving offensive lineman off-balance and unable to recover. Despite all this, Hamilton seems to be lacking in the pass rush department at this point and I can’t help but think he will struggle at the next level where NFL caliber offensive lineman will be able to match his athleticism and strength. The number of sacks Hamilton was able to put up this season were impressive but film analysis shows that many of these sacks came on missed assignments and simply poor foot speed/technique by his competition. In the NFL, Hamilton will likely struggle with longer-limbed offensive lineman who can match his foot speed and change of direction ability. Hamilton seemed to get by on sheer athleticism by simply running the arc, which will not translate to the NFL in my opinion. The reason I say this is because Hamilton routinely struggles with hand placement and doesn’t use his arms well enough to create space/separation and room to work for himself. Hamilton shows good to great upper body strength and has some bull rush ability but nothing stands out that makes me think he can become a premier pass rushing terror off the edge to this point. Hamilton also lacks many counter moves that can keep him in the play after his initial up field rush has been neutralized.

Run Defense: As I said before, Hamilton would seem to have exceptional upper body strength as he simply over-powered and practically bench pressed a player off of his body at one point in my film study. This type of upper body strength is extremely important and a nice tool for Hamilton as he is able to set the edge and use his big hands to control his man at the point of attack. However, Hamilton must work on his hand placement as he consistently fails to get inside positioning with his hands and will struggle in the phone booth and thus be washed out of plays on more occasions than you would like to see. His inability to stack and shed is concerning as he is unable to slip blocks with great frequency to find the ball carrier. At times Hamilton will simply fly up field and underwhelms with his hand to hand combat skills, exposing his chest and doing a poor job to create space and room to operate/disengage. Hamilton has some natural ability and tools to work with as he is also an absolutely ferocious and violent hitter who knows how to find the football and dislodge it from his target (6 FF in 2011). However, he also has a lot to work on, especially in terms of his hand placement and overall technique to disengage from offensive lineman who are easily able to latch on to his body and take control from the word “go”.

Recognition/Awareness/Instincts: Probably one of Hamilton’s best physical traits is his ball awareness skills as he always seems to know where the football is and work his way back into the play. His six forced fumbles last season are a testament to his ability to find the football and punch it out when he has an opportunity. This is an extremely effective skill to possess as it shows he understands the importance of turnovers and how to create them by going for the football. Adrian Hamilton also shows a good amount of discipline as he rarely crashes down and plays out of control, leaving the backside un-contained and open. Instead, Hamilton shows football smarts and trusts his eyes, as well as displaying the ability to break down in space and pursue to the ball even if he is simply in chase or pursuit.

Motor/Toughness: Just as persistent as he is off the field, Hamilton also shows a good amount of persistency while giving chase on the backside in pursuit. With that said, I do think Hamilton could be more physical at times and I am not sure if he gives his best effort from snap to snap. Hamilton’s motor is good, but I personally like to see smaller school players leave it all out on the field and having an unquestioned/great motor is something that either flashes or doesn’t; and in this case I didn’t see it from Hamilton consistently enough to catch my attention. Hamilton has the tools to be good but he needs to flash that mean, nasty, violent temperament that makes prospects stand out from the competition, especially if it is at a lower level. I also think this mean streak and relentless attitude would do wonders in terms of his ability to disengage and fight his way off blocks as he lacks that violent punch to jolt his defender.

Intangibles: Look, I really want to believe in Hamilton and he is certainly an intriguing player, but he has some issues he needs to clean up first. Hamilton deserves a chance and his story and remarkable perseverance and determination to make it this far despite the adversities he has faced is inspiring and something that will surely be a positive quality scouts will take note of. Having listened to Hamilton speak and talk while participating in radio interviews makes me believe he is a well spoken and grounded young man who is also humble and appreciative. The fact that he is making the effort to participate in many draft related events is a positive sign and shows me he is serious about getting his name out there in hopes of catching someone’s attention. I can’t wait to follow this young man’s journey, as it has already been one of many ups and downs, but this is the type of guy we all want to root for as he exudes the type of determination, drive, and attitude we are all seeking to find. Hamilton’s an inspiring young man who I could see going in the 7th round, but will likely be a priority free agent type player. He is a worthy, low risk player, whose greatest impact and chance to stick on a roster could lie in his ability to make an impact on special teams due to his violent hitting style and nice athleticism. I can see Hamilton being a practice squad player who could continue to develop while making his impact in the special teams’ game to begin with. Very rarely did Hamilton drop into coverage so it is hard to get a feel for how well he operates in space and how tight his hips are to stick with receivers coming into his area. This position change, along with his poor handwork are two of the biggest obstacles Hamilton will need to overcome to become a player at the next level. However, if his past is any indication, I wouldn’t bet against this kid somehow making a roster down the road.

-Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon-

Brandon Weeden has many of the tools you look for in a franchise quarterback but will be 29 years old early next season. He certainly has the type of arm talent you look for but his lack of anticipation, mobility/improvisation, and tendency to force throws into coverage make him a risky pick in the 1st round. I do believe Weeden should be an early day 2 pick, but his age severely limits his upside because of the limited amount of time he has to make an impact in the NFL.

Grading Scale:

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

 

Measurables:

Brandon Weeden possesses good size for the position standing at 6-3 220 lbs.  Weeden could stand to add some extra weight in muscle but his size and stature is more than adequate to see over the offensive line and scan the entire field. He has a good build for an NFL quarterback and should be able to absorb and bounce back from some of the hits he will take in the NFL. There should be little concern about Weeden’s size for the position moving forward.

Grade: 3.75

Arm Strength:

Overall I like Weeden’s arm strength as he shows the ability to make throws to all levels of the field both inside and outside the hash marks. His velocity is good and the ball comes out clean and tight with good trajectory, throwing a very catchable ball. Weeden also possesses the ability to throw with velocity on the move and seems to know how to mix up his arm strength and ball speed depending on the complexity/length of the throw. I wouldn’t say Brandon Weeden is capable of making all the throws quite yet but his arm strength is good enough to make many of the throws that will be asked of him, and it could simply be an issue of not having the opportunity in the offense he played in to fully show off this skill-set of his. When given a clean pocket Weeden does a nice job stepping into his throws and driving the ball down field into tight windows with defenders present. Here, Weeden executes nice weight transfer and snaps through his hips to fire the ball into tight windows with accuracy. I have always appreciated this aspect of Weeden’s game as it shows me he has confidence and trust his arm to place the ball where it needs to be with proper zip and speed. I’m excited to see Weeden throw at the Combine and I think he will do well in showcasing the type of arm talent that made him such a great baseball player and led him to being a high draft pick for the New York Yankees.

Grade: 3.75

Accuracy:

Perhaps Brandon Weeden’s most impressive trait is his accuracy. Weeden does an exceptional job with ball placement, consistently putting the football where only his man can get it. He is also very talented at dropping the ball in a basket, so to speak over the top of coverage and between defenders. This shows me he is great trust and confidence in his arm as he is not afraid to turn it loose when defenders are present. It also speaks to his uncanny and natural ability to use proper touch and arc on his throws. Weeden is also very good at putting the ball over the correct shoulder on deep throws, which speaks again to his superb and natural ball placement skills. Weeden does however struggle in the face of pressure and seems to fall away from his throws to avoid being hit, which can lead to inaccurate throws and questionable decisions at times. Weeden needs to tweak and refine his footwork to a certain degree as he tends to struggle after he has to re-set feet and move off of his initial launching point. With that said, Weeden is an extremely tough player to defend when he is given time and room to work (clean pocket). He is a very rhythmic quarterback who can hurt you when he does not have pressure in his face, which makes him a very dangerous and hard player to defend…we all have seen what Tom Brady can do when you don’t consistently get pressure in his face. Weeden can pick you apart and make you pay if you’re unable to achieve and establish consistent inside pressure and push.

Grade: 4

Mechanics:

Brandon Weeden’s throwing mechanics are pretty solid overall but he could stand to work on a couple of things. He displays a natural rock and bounce to coil up into his throws and he plays very well-balanced throughout his entire throwing motion. As was touched on earlier, his feet do need some work and he is only average in respect to his ability to escape the pocket and make plays out on the edge. His delivery is clean and relatively compact. However, Weeden does have a bad habit of patting the ball before he corks and delivers, but this seems to be an issue having came from his background in baseball and can be fixed with more repetitions and time with a quarterbacks coach. Weeden does at times show a hitch in his throwing motion, however this happens pretty rarely and is relatively minor at this juncture. Weeden does a good job throwing on the run, but again could stand to work on his footwork in relation to getting his body around and in positioning (square to target) to execute a clean throw. However, he displays good accuracy and loses little in terms of velocity when throwing on the move to the outside. Weeden also relies on his arm strength a little too much while on the move, and tends to drop his shoulder and wind up before making the pass. Many of Weeden’s mechanical mistakes are correctable but these are just a few I have noticed. All in all he seems to be pretty competent and comfortable in this area and is above average in my assessment.

Grade: 3.5

Mobility/Improvisation:

An area of Weeden’s game that is not the greatest comes in terms of his mobility and ability to make things happen once the play breaks down. Weeden does a nice job of keeping his eyes down field when forced to move off his spot but lacks the type of foot speed and athleticism to be considered a threat to beat you with his legs. I’m just not sold on his ability to move off his first read and work through his progressions quite yet. Seems to have his mind made up pre-snap and gets a little lazy with his overall mechanics and footwork at times…may have some concentration issues. Having a star wide receiver like Justin Blackmon definitely helped Weeden out at times as he sometimes forced the football to the two-time Bilitnikoff award winner…may not have this luxury in NFL. Played in a spread system in college and may take some time learning to read while working away from center, although I was impressed with his ability to grasp this at the Senior Bowl. Not one of Weeden’s finer points but has the opportunity to prove some doubters/skeptics wrong at the upcoming combine with a good performance.

Grade: 2.5

Pocket Presence:

Looks cool, calm, and collected in the pocket while standing tall to decipher and see the entire field. Keeps his eyes downfield and does a good job working inside the pocket, knowing when to slide or shuffle his feet to avoid pressure. Doesn’t have the foot speed to consistently escape pressure and does not possess the type of athleticism to make plays with his feet and avoid sacks, although he does have enough ability to buy himself a few more seconds on occasion. Looks genuinely poised and confident in the pocket but will struggle when having to move off his launch point and re-direct his body positioning…classic pocket passer. Has improved in this area with time and game seems to be slowing down for him some as he gains more experience.

Grade: 3.25

Football Intelligence/Decision Making Skills:

Brandon Weeden has a tendency to force the ball on occasion, although his decision making skills have improved with more experience and starts under his belt. Seems to understand pre-snap reads to a degree and will occasionally check out of the play and alter his play call at the line of scrimmage. Has a rudimentary understanding of where to go with the football but has a tendency to both stare down his receivers and almost seems to have his mind made up pre-snap with where he wants to go with the football. Gets a little lazy in this department as he depended on Blackmon’s skills too much on occasion and was bailed out by his stellar play many times from what I have seen on film. Would like to get a feel for the type of understanding Weeden has for coverages and what dictated some of the decisions he made. Seems to have a good feel for mis-matches dictated by coverage so I would like to think his understanding is pretty efficient, I just question his tendency to rely too much on the talents of his big name receiver to make him look better than he may actually be. Believe playing in spread system really limited the amount of information Weeden was asked to process, as well as how to effectively work through his progressions in a timely and efficient manner. Need to see more from him in terms of making good post-snap decisions with the football as he tends to lock on to a receiver and stare his man down for an inappropriate amount of time.

Grade: 3

Anticipation:

Anticipation to me is one of the most fundamental things a quarterback can possess and it has been harder and harder to evaluate college quarterbacks skill in this area with the popularity of the spread offense in today’s college football. One of the biggest issues I have with Brandon Weeden is that he seems to almost be waiting for his man to come open before getting rid of the football. He needs to show much more anticipatory skills in feeling when his man is about to come open, as he tends to wait for his receiver to come out of his break before letting it loose. This is an issue because I am not sure or sold on the fact that Weeden can throw his man open if coverage is pretty tight. He definitely has the tools, as his ball placement and accuracy is very good but this is one of the things lacking in Weeden’s game overall. The problem with these spread quarterbacks is that it is very difficult to make this assessment, or be too harsh in this area for the simple fact that there isn’t enough evidence to say he can or can’t make these type of throws. With that said from what I have gathered and been able to see to this point it does not seem Weeden does a very good job of this from the rare occurrences he was asked to make a throw before his receiver came out of his route while working in Mike Gundy’s prolific spread offense attack. This is one of the main reasons I cannot give Weeden a first round grade, other than the fact that he will be 29 years old next October.

Grade: 2.75

Intangibles:

A highly recruited baseball player who went on to become a 2nd round pick of the New York Yankees in the 2002 MLB Draft. Speaks highly of his athleticism and the fact that he has been paid to play professionally is a plus in the minds of scouts and general managers. Is in his late twenties and is more mentally mature than most entering the league. Has a wife and is said to have sound character and work ethic, who does a great job preparing and putting in the work to be the best he can be. Seems to go about his business in a professional manner and seems to be a self-starter. Gave up baseball career and moved on to football at Oklahoma State where he would eventually win the starting job and go on to set numerous school passing records. Has a history of injuries, including a shoulder problem that derailed his baseball career. Also played through the 2010 season with a ruptured tendon in his right throwing thumb, speaking to his mental and physical toughness. Performed very well against other notable quarterbacks this past season and was able to earn his team the win against players like Matt Barkley, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin, and Andrew Luck. Will be a 29-year-old rookie next October and may only have 6-8 years in the league. Issue moving forward will be whether he can come in and start his rookie season or whether he needs further development and time.

Grade: 4

Overall Grade/Total Score:

30.5/9 = 3.39

Above Average-Good

Projection:

Brandon Weeden has many of the skills you look for in a potential franchise quarterback, such as his arm strength and accuracy, however there are too many question marks for me to consider him a first round pick at this point. The fact that he played in a spread offense in college masked many of his deficiencies and played well into his strengths as a passer. Also, having a player like Justin Blackmon certainly did wonders in terms of the stats he was able to put up, although he does deserve a lot of credit for what he was able to accomplish at Oklahoma State. I do think you can win with Weeden but the age thing is just too much for me to get over personally. I’m not sold that he can come in and start right away with relative success and genuinely believe he needs to go to a team with some pieces in place already, and not to a team trying to rebuild. A team like the New York Jets would be an ideal landing spot for Weeden in my estimation, seeing that they already have a pretty talented team and there have been rumblings about whether or not Mark Sanchez is the answer. I fully consider Weeden to be a much better prospect than Chris Weinke, who was also an over-aged quarterback entering the league, so I will not make that comparison here. Weeden can play but the question is how soon can he start and make your team better? In my estimation that is at least a year down the road and although he has good tools in place, one can’t help but notice he will turn 29 at the beginning of next season. I still consider Weeden a Top 50 player and 2nd round pick but his upside is limited due to his age. If Weeden was 24, we would be talking about a first round pick but that is not the case unfortunately.

Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon

Lavonte David faces an uphill battle to prove his worth in the NFL due to his lack of ideal size for the position, however it's nothing he hasn't faced before as he has continually had to prove himself. His instincts, intangibles, and ability as a blitzer and in coverage is undeniable. Lavonte David will probably go a round later than he should and produce like a 1st round draft pick if put into the right scheme/system. Whichever lucky team decides to draft him and can look past his lack of ideal measurables and see that he is simply a football player could be getting one of the better steal/values of the draft.

Introduction:

Lavonte David is one of those rare players that found his way to a big time program like Nebraska after spending his first two seasons at Fort Scott Community College in 2008 and 2009. David is originally from Miami, Florida where he played for nationally renowned high school football powerhouse Northwestern High School. David won two state titles in 2006 and 2007 before enrolling at Fort Scott Community College where he would become one of the top JUCO prospects in the nation. His team lost to Binn Junior College in the 2009 National Championship Game when 2011 #1 NFL Draft pick Cam Newton (Panthers) was leading the team at quarterback before his Heisman and National Championship season with the Auburn Tigers in 2010. David enjoyed a successful tenure at Fort Scott where he was named the Defensive MVP in the game his team narrowly lost to Binn. David enrolled at Nebraska in 2010 and was thrust into the starting line-up after injuries to its linebackers corps. David excelled and never looked back while earning numerous honors as Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and All Big 12 First-Team All American. His 10.9 tackles per game ranked 11th nationally and his 152 total tackles were good enough for the Cornhuskers single-season record, passing former Nebraska standout linebacker Barret Rudd who had 149 in 2003. This season Lavonte David continued his assault, but this time on a new conference in the Big 10. David finished with 123 total tackles while also collecting 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions on the season. For his play in 2011 David was unanimously chosen to the First-Team All Big 10 team. Lavonte David ranks 5th in school history for tackles (274), even though he only played two seasons for Nebraska.

Grading Scale:

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

Size/Measurables:

This is undoubtedly Lavonte David’s biggest area of concern and the one reason why he isn’t a sure-fire first round pick in my estimation. Lavonte David stands 6-1 225 lbs and appears to be pretty small by NFL standards, which could take him completely off some teams’ NFL draft boards entirely. David did add 10 extra pounds to his frame in preparation for Nebraska’s switch to the more run oriented Big 10 conference. Some have estimated that David could be a good candidate to make the switch to safety where his speed, instincts, and coverage skills could still be utilized. There is no doubting there will be major concerns with David and whether his slight frame for the positon of linebacker can handle the constant beating between the tackles in the NFL. However, I personally am not too concerned about David’s long-term durability. David remained relatively injury-free and healthy for the Cornhuskers during his two seasons and his physical aggressive style of play is a testament to his durability and ability to handle a beating on a weekly basis. This will always be an issue and a concern for David but I think if anyone can see beyond this and look at his potential and overall skill as a defender, somebody will be getting one heck of a steal and great overall football player.

Grade: 1.5

Instincts/Recognition:

Lavonte David has incredible instincts and his feel for the game is as good as any in this draft. David reads his keys very quickly and he shows the ability to sniff out the play, especially on screens and toss sweep type plays where he consistently diagnoses and blows up the play before they can develop. David also does a tremendous job trusting his eyes and reacting to the play happening in front of him. His discipline is very good and it’s obvious he gets the concept of team defense as he continually sets the edge and allows others to make plays by attacking blockers with the proper shoulder and keeping outside contain. In coverage Lavonte David is just as instinctual as he is quick to pick up players entering his zone, as well as turn and run/trail opponents streaking across the field or coming out of the backfield. Very rarely does David bite or get fooled by mis-direction or play action type plays as his discipline is unquestioned, whether it be in coverage or against the run.

Grade: 4.5

Pursuit/Range:

Lavonte David is an extremely fast and quick defender. His speed is very good and he can accelerate and close to the football very efficiently with great overall grace, balance, and fluidity. His athleticism allows him to make plays sideline to sideline and he show’s an innate ability to stay clean when sifting through traffic to get to the ball-carrier. David takes solid overall angles to the football and consistently takes the most desired path to get after the ball-carrier. David will at times over-pursue the play, however his change of direction skills are top-notch and allow him to recover if caught out of position momentarily. David shows little to no hesitation to his game and his ability to keep his head up and flow to the football is a testament to his lateral agility and overall feel for the game and blocks coming his way. You would think a player his size would have a hard time sifting through traffic and getting caught up in the wash but this simply is not the case with Lavonte David. He has incredible spacial awareness and knows how to knife into the backfield through the smallest of creases/gaps to make a play.

Grade: 4

Tackling:

Lavonte David is not a physically imposing tackler who will scare you with his sheer power and strength, however he is a fundamentally sound and efficient tackler capable of taking the ball-carrier down consistently. David also shows the added ability to punch the ball out from time to time and is aware/smart enough to go for the ball and cause fumbles when he knows the ball-carrier is wrapped up. He breaks down in space nicely and keeps his pad level low before striking his opponent at the thighs and shooting his arms up to wrap up the ball-carrier. His tackling technique is lower than normal and there is some concern with his ability to consistently take down bigger defenders capable of running through arm tackles. He must also do a better job tackling in the open field as he fails to break down at times and instead goes for a quick leg sweep or diving attempt at his opponent’s legs. However, David is very consistent and reliable in this area overall and I have little concern with it going forward.

Grade: 3.5

Coverage:

We have already touched somewhat on this area as David possesses more than enough speed and coverage ability to keep up and defend opponents all over the field, whether it be in man to man or zone. His awareness in coverage is very good and he does a nice job knowing his assignments and responsibilities, consistently picking up receivers entering his zone or area. His overall athleticism is very special, affording him the ability to play and line up on players all over the field and even in the slot in a cornerback type role. He has loose hips and his ability to change directions and overall agility makes him very difficult to create much separation on. There is a concern on whether or not David can defend bigger tight ends because of his lack of size and possible tendency to be out-boxed for positioning by players with a bigger frame than his. While this could be the case I really like and trust Lavonte David in coverage. He is smart and instinctual, showing great overall awareness, and his ability to read the quarterbacks eyes is also above average and promising. This is one reason why some project Lavonte David to the Safety position in the NFL, which could be the case if it doesn’t work out for him at linebacker in the NFL. However, his size and coverage ability make him a very good fit in a 4-3 scheme at weakside linebacker and I believe his best fit is to stay at his current position.

Grade: 4

Point of Attack:

This is one of the other bigger concerns with David as he will struggle once engaged with a defender. His tendency to get caught up in the wash and taken out by bigger defenders due to his small frame is a concern and one of the reasons some are calling for a position switch by David. However, David does a superb job of using his athleticism and awareness to stay clean and away from trouble. He is incredibly hard to lock on to, due to his agility and will consistently flash the ability to slip blocks and find his way to the football. Lavonte David is also extremely physical and is not afraid to fill the hole and stick his head in a pile. He is a menacing force at the point of attack in this regard, despite his size and flashes the ability to come down hill and attack the ball-carrier with reckless abandon and little hesitation. I absolutely love how he fills and flies to the football and his ability to set the edge and take on blockers head on shows his willingness to sacrifice his own body for another to make a play. This area will never be Lavonte David’s strongest suit, however he does a lot of little things to make you a believer and gain your trust in his ability to not become a liability against the run.

Grade: 3.5

Pass Rush/Blitzing:

This is another area of David’s game where he can make a positive impact for your defense. Although he wasn’t used as a blitzer too often at Nebraska, David is able to register sacks by chasing down quarterbacks who are trying to escape the pocket. His closing speed, burst, and acceleration to the football are all very evident when he chooses to pursue to the quarterback and make a big play for his defense. He does a great job slipping through creases and getting after the quarterback and can be a weapon capable of making plays behind the line of scrimmage when/if given the opportunity. His 6 sacks in 2010 and 5.5 this season are a testament to this skill. As I have said, David will struggle once engaged and he could stand to use his hands and better combination of pass rush moves to become even more efficient and scary in this area. However, this is something that could come with time and more coaching, which could set David over the top as an NFL prospect and make him that much better.

Grade: 4

Intangibles:

Everything I can gather and see points to Lavonte David having very solid character and work ethic. The fact that he made it to Nebraska out of the Junior ranks is a testament to his drive and determination as well as his passion to develop for his love of the game. He came out of Northwestern High School as a two-star recruit and was largely over-shadowed and over-looked by some of his team-mates like Marcus Forston and Sean Spence who went on to star at the University of Miami. Many times you can see/find David clapping after the play as he seems to always display a positive attitude. I even saw him instantly go to his team-mate and offer words of encouragement after dropping an easy interception that could have easily turned into a pick six. David is also a team leader on defense that is asked to make the calls and line up his defenders and get them into place. You can tell that David is an extremely cerebral and intelligent football player by the way he lines up his defense and always seems to know what the offense is trying to do, based on their alignment. This understanding comes from natural instincts, but I would be hard-pressed to find that David didn’t spend a lot of time in the film room figuring out what his opponents like to do on offense so he is prepared. Lavonte David also shows good overall hustle and effort as he never gives up on a play and will keep pursuing until the play has been blown dead. Bo Pelini has even been quoted as saying David is a “coach’s dream” and that “he wouldn’t trade him for any other linebacker in the country”. That is pretty strong praise from your head coach and if I had to guess it I would say his future is bright.

Grade: 4.5

Overall Grade: 29.5/8 = 3.6875  (Above Average-Very Good)

Projection:

Even though David may grade out higher than the top-notch linebackers like Luke Kuechly and Courtney Upshaw on my scale I highly doubt he will go as high as them, let alone the 1st round. The fact is if David was even an inch or two taller he would be a sure-fire first round pick and guy we would be talking about a hell of a lot more often. He has top-notch intangibles, great production, supreme athleticism, unique instincts…but he lacks proto-typical NFL size which will undoubtedly hurt his bottom dollar and overall draft position. However, this does not mean he cannot or is not a good football player, he is in fact a great football player who will get drafted later than he otherwise should because of the league’s infatuation with bigger, faster, stronger. While I can understand this, it completely wipes players like Lavonte David under the rug who possess the ability to work past their limitations and make an impact. This kid is simply a football player who WILL stick on and NFL roster and WILL start and contribute. All I know is whoever picks him up in the 2nd round will be getting a steal with a player who can play like a 1st round draft pick if put into the right situation to succeed, which I deem to be at the weakside linebacker position in a 4-3 system.

-Thanks for reading my report as always, I hope you enjoyed the insight and analysis

– Brandon

Courtney Upshaw should be and is the premier 3-4 OLB prospect in this draft. His pass rush skills and incredibly quick and violent hands, as well as his burst and closing speed make him a nightmare to defend off the edge.

Introduction:

Courtney Upshaw has enjoyed a wonderful Senior season and overall career at Alabama, winning two National Championships during his time with the Tide. However, it has never been very easy for Upshaw who has had to work to get to be where he is now. Upshaw came to Alabama as a highly rated recruit and was regulated to special teams during his first season with Alabama. Here Upshaw flashed potential by leading the kickoff coverage team in tackles, while also seeing time as a reserve linebacker. In 2009 Upshaw ran into trouble off the field after being arrested for domestic assault charges on campus with his girlfriend, although charges were later dropped. During the 2009 season Upshaw finally cracked the starting lineup against Kentucky where he had 15 total tackles, four quarterback hurries, and returned a fumble for a key touchdown. From here on Upshaw never looked back and went on to enjoy a similarly successful game in what had to be considered the game of his life in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, registering one sack and recovering a fumble to seal the game. The 2010 season would prove to be Upshaw’s coming out party in which he lead the team in both tackles for a loss (14.5) and sacks (7) even after missing a couple of games due to an early season ankle injury. Against rival Auburn, who would go on to win the National Championship under Cam Newton, Upshaw was able to account for 10 total tackles, 3 sacks, and two forced fumbles. In the Capital One Bowl Game later that season against Michigan State, Upshaw once again brought everything he had and ended the day with 5 tackles, 3  for a loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble, in a game in which Alabama held the Spartans to -48 yards rushing. This season Upshaw returned to the Crimson Tide and delivered his most memorable season to date. Upshaw registered 9.5 sacks, 52 tackles and even collected an interception against Florida in which he returned for a touchdown. Upshaw would once again deliver on the big stage, in which he registered 12 total tackles and two sacks against a LSU team they would face in a #1 vs. #2 showdown during the regular season and once again in the BCS National Championship Game. For his performance in the National Title Game Upshaw went on to become the Defensive Player of the Game, as part of a Crimson Tide defense that allowed the LSU offense to cross the 50 yard line only once in the entire game. There is little doubting just how much Courtney Upshaw has meant to Nick Saban and the Alabama team during his collegiate career as he was able to produce in some of the biggest games of his life to date. Let’s take a closer look to see what sets Courtney Upshaw apart from the other players at his position.

Grading Scale:

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

Size/Measurables:

Courtney Upshaw stands 6-2 265 lbs and appears to have filled out his frame for the most part. He is a little on the short side to play at defensive end in a 4-3 but has good size and overall girth to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. Upshaw has some length but appears to have a stockier more compact build to his body. He has a pretty thick upper body with good size, and his lower half appears to be equally as balanced as he fills out his frame nicely, showing nice size and overall bulk to man the position of 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. Some have questioned Courtney Upshaw’s official listing so it will be something to keep an eye on once we do get official measurements at the NFL Combine and Senior Bowl.

Grade: 2.5

Instincts/Recognition:

Courtney Upshaw shows very good discipline and is a smart player who know’s his assignments. He shows good patience and trusts his eyes and reads his keys very well. One of the things he does better than most is setting the edge and forcing the play back into the teeth of the defense. He does a nice job of keeping outside contain by engaging his man with the proper shoulder to help turn the play back inside and dis-allow players to get around him on the edge. In pursuit Upshaw does a great job of hustling and working on the backside to take away cut-back lanes, showing the discipline and motor he possesses as a player. Instinctually Upshaw is very good at trusting his eyes as he shows the ability to sniff out screens, counters, and quarterback draw type plays while very rarely crashing down and breaking contain on quarterback reads or options.

Grade: 4

Pursuit/Range:

While not overly fast Upshaw has very good quickness and he shows an impressive ability to accelerate and use his closing speed to get after the quarterback or chase ball-carriers down from behind. His short area quickness is special and he works very well in confined areas. Courtney Upshaw also possesses active feet and shows good overall coordination and fluidity as he seems to play balanced and in control at all times. Upshaw’s change of directions skills are only above average and he does a good job of breaking down and moving laterally to get after the ball-carrier and pursue/flow to the football. I really enjoy how well Upshaw uses his eyes and how he always keeps his head and eyes up to find the football. Very rarely will Upshaw take mis-steps and he takes pretty solid angles to the ball.

Grade: 3.75

Tackling:

Courtney Upshaw is a very intimidating defender who can deliver violent hits capable of jarring the ball loose and leaving opponents wondering what area code they are in. His hits can be heavy and he carries a big stick when he has the opportunity to make a big hit on a ball-carrier. This power and strength as a tackler is very evident, however I would like to see Upshaw wrap up more often as well as refrain from leaving his feet and launching. These type of hits and lack of form will get him in trouble at times in the NFL as he has a tendency to throw his shoulder into his man instead of wrapping up. When Upshaw does leave his feet he usually only does so when he knows he has a stationary target and his man is more or less a sitting duck. Despite this I would like to see him form tackle more often, although he usually does a good job breaking down and taking his man to the ground, but this is definitely an area he can improve.

Grade: 3.5

Coverage:

Due to his versatility the Crimson Tide liked to use Upshaw near the line of scrimmage very often and very rarely was he asked to drop back into coverage and read the quarterbacks eyes. Upshaw does show some ability in this area however as he was able to collect an interception this season in which he returned for a score. I have little doubt that Upshaw can be successful in this area as he has flashed ability and seems to possess the type of awareness and instincts to make the transition. However, the film is a bit incomplete and although I believe he can do it, this will definitely be something to pay close attention to during Senior Bowl practices and NFL Scouting Combine drills. If he can prove to be an adequate player capable of dropping back into coverage his stock will only continue to rise, which I would envisioning happening unless I am missing something.

Grade: 3

Point of Attack:

This is an area of Upshaw’s game that makes him incredibly effective and tough to keep contained. We have already discussed how well a job Upshaw does at setting the edge and keeping outside contain by attacking and engaging with the correct shoulder, however there are other things that make Upshaw special in this category. Upshaw will struggle when he allows opponents to engage him and get to his body, but this has proved to be much easier said than done. Courtney Upshaw has incredibly active, fast, and violent hands capable of shedding and slapping away defenders who try to get their hands on him. These superior hand to hand combat skills make Upshaw a very difficult player to contain. Upshaw is also very strong at the point of attack and is able to hold his position and control his man by playing with great leverage and superior hand placement. This skill allows him to set the edge with relative ease while other players can effectively flow to the football and make plays for the defense. I have also enjoyed watching Courtney Upshaw keep defenders at bay when they try to cut or chop block him. Here Upshaw does a nice job of using proper hand placement to dis-engage from the block and keep himself clean and alive to make a play. The other thing Upshaw does an incredibly good job at is locking out his elbows and getting good arm extension once engaged to keep defenders from getting to his body and creating space between him and his man to work. This skill is important because it makes it easier for Upshaw to dis-engage from his man whenever he needs or wants to. Overall this may be Upshaw’s most effective area as he shows a combination of skills that make him incredibly hard to get a hand on. This skill will undoubtedly get him noticed and shouldn’t be overlooked as he shows great ability in this particular area.

Grade: 4.5

Blitzing/Pass Rush:

This is another area of Upshaw’s game that he has proven to be extremely effective at. Although he doesn’t possess an elite first step Upshaw does show some impressive burst and explosion off the edge. Upshaw is also pretty good at contorting his body and dipping underneath his opponents shoulder before turning a tight angle around the corner. Here, Upshaw’s short stature helps him to a degree as he is able to keep his pad level low and bend the edge by playing with good overall balance and nice ankle flexibility. Once around the corner, Upshaw has very good closing speed and can accelerate to the football supremely efficiently. Courtney Upshaw also times up the snap well and gets a good enough jump off the line to threaten the edge. One of the moves Upshaw is most effective at is known as the up and under. Here Upshaw initially attacks the tackle or ends outside shoulder with his speed before coming back under with a powerful rip move to knock his man off balanced and beat him inside. He is allowed to do this not only because of his impressive hand work but also because of his nice combination of speed and power. Upshaw is incredibly effective at keeping his man off balanced and does a very nice job of setting his opponent up for his pass rush moves. Upshaw has also shown some ability to turn speed to power  and will flash the ability to collapse the pocket from time to time and get a good push up field. These skills all make Upshaw in incredibly scary player to defend and should make him a staple for whichever team drafts him as a pass rush specialist, who can become a three down linebacker with coaching and experience dropping into coverage.

Grade: 4.25

Intangibles:

Courtney Upshaw did have one off the field altercation during his collegiate career but from everything I have found he seems to be a pretty good kid. He set up a fund in 2011 to help with aid for those affected by the tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa and left many devastated and/or homeless. Nick Saban speaks highly of Upshaw as an athlete and person and it is easy to see he has taken to coaching to continue and develop his overall game. He is considered by many to be the leader of the Alabama defense and is obviously a team player by the way he plays the game and stays disciplined. I also enjoyed his speech after he was rewarded with Defensive MVP after their 21-0 drubbing of LSU in the National Championship Game. This speech showed me that Courtney Upshaw is a pretty well-spoken and passionate dude who showed some humbleness in proclaiming that the Defensive MVP trophy belonged to the entire defense not just him. As with most prospects out there, Upshaw will have to clear up some off field concerns and will need to answer some things that happened in his past. However, if people can look past this one instance and see how much he has grown and matured, then he should do just fine in interviews and gain the trust of people making the final decisions.

Grade: 3

Overall Grade:

28.5/8 = 3.5625 (Above Average-Very Good)

Projection:

Courtney Upshaw should see his stock continue to rise as we make our way through the draft process/season. He is the premier 3-4 outside linebacker prospect in this draft which will make him a highly valued man come draft day. His skills as a rusher and against the run are very good and while he is still developing his coverage skills I think he will make a pretty seamless transition when it’s all said and done. With the recent success of players like Clay Matthews, Brooks Reed, and Von Miller, Courtney Upshaw should be a player in particularly high demand. His performances on the big stage and in big games is an incredibly good and positive thing to see and I’m sure they won’t go unnoticed by NFL personnel men. For this reason I project his stock will continue to climb and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him go in the Top 10.

-Thanks for reading my report, I hope you enjoyed it-

Brandon

Luke Kuechly is an incredibly instinctual defender who has an extraordinary feel for the game. These skills more than make up for his lack of elite size and athleticism. For this reason Kuechly deserves to be mentioned with the 2012 NFL Draft's elite and could go as high as the Top 10 once it's all said and done.

Introduction:

Luke Kuechly is a three-year starter who immediately took over the reigns after Mark Herzlich (New York Giants) had informed his team and general public that he had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Kuechly went on to become the ACC Rookie of the Year for his play in 2009. In 2010 Kuechly moved inside and set school records for tackles in a season and was named a 1st team All-American, which was the first in Boston College History since 1998. This season Kuechly once again blew up the stat sheet by accounting for an astounding 191 tackles, which was good enough for most in the nation. For his career Kuechly accounted for an amazing 532 tackles breaking his school and conference records set by Stephen Boyd, who made 524 career stops in his illustrious career. Luke Kuechly also went on to receive numerous awards at the culmination of the 2011 season including The Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, LOTT Impact Trophy and Bronco Nagurski Trophy. Luke Kuechly has decided to skip his final year of eligibility to enter the 2012 NFL Draft where he is considered by many to be the best linebacker available. Let’s take a look at what makes Luke Kuechly so special.

Grading Scale:

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

 

Size/Measurables:

Luke Kuechly possesses good but not great measurables for the position at 6-3 235 lbs. While his size is not ideal it is definitely not a huge concern as he shows a compact/nice build for the position in the NFL. Many are considering Kuechly to man the position of inside linebacker at the next level and while his body size might be more suited to an outside linebacker, I believe Kuechly’s most natural fit in the NFL will be at the Mike position. Kuechly looks capable of adding 5-10 lbs. of muscle to his frame. By showing up a few pounds heavier than his college playing weight Kuechly would help hinder some of the flack he has received about his size. Due to his current size limitations Kuechly would be best served to play behind a bigger defensive line and preferably in a 4-3 system where he can stay clean and be allowed to roam and flow to the football with a little more ease and comfortability.

Grade: 2

Instincts/Recognition:

Here is the area of Kuechly game that sets him apart and is more advanced than any other linebacker prospect in the draft. Kuechly does an absolutely great job of diagnosing plays and information by reading his keys. Kuechly’s overall feel for the game is very good as he trusts his eyes and seems to always be around the football. Very rarely does Kuechly take false or mis-steps and he puts himself in great positions to make a play. Kuechly also displays very good discipline and is rarely fooled by play actions or mis-direction type plays. I absolutely love how smart and instinctual Kuechly is, as you can see from his play that he understands and see’s the entire field and play happening in front of him at an alarmingly fast rate. The game comes easy to him and his natural-born instincts are on full display when you watch him play. This one skill is perhaps the most important skill for linebackers to possess as it can make up for a lack of athleticism, which some have to come to question about Kuechly.

Grade: 4.5

Pursuit/Range:

There has been a lot of talk about not only Kuechly’s lack of ideal size for the position but also his ability to make plays sideline to sideline. There is no doubt that Kuechly may not possess very good burst or overall athleticism and quickness but there are things Kuechly does that make up for this. We have already discussed just how quickly Kuechly reads and diagnoses plays, as well as the fact that he doesn’t take too many miss or false steps. All of these things work in Kuechly’s favor as he is able to make up ground by sheer mental intellect and awareness. When watching Luke Kuechly you can see that he possesses a 2nd gear and can accelerate to the football. His top-end speed is nothing special but he does a great job of staying clean and flowing to the football by taking proper angles. There is very little to no hesitation in Kuechly’s game and once he deciphers a play, his read and react skills are fantastic and put him in a postion to make a play. Luke Kuechly’s change of direction and closing speed are just average, however he does an impeccable job of planting and driving to the football taking the most desired path to the ball-carrier. Again this skill appears to be second nature to Kuechly and more than makes up for his inability to wow you with his pure athleticism and range. Kuechly is a player that shows up and plays faster on tape than he will test at the NFL Combine and Pro-day. However, Kuechly is simply a football player who understands the game and has discovered the secret to playing faster than you really are.

Grade: 3.5

Tackling:

Luke Kuechly has made a name for himself with his ability to tackle. His production has been unmatched and he shows the ability to finish the job on a consistent basis. He is not overly powerful and he’s not the type of player to lay the wood or stick players and stop them dead in their tracks. Kuechly does a great job of breaking down in space, playing with good pad level and overall form. Staying square to his target Kuechly keeps his head up and does a good job of shooting his arms up through contact. This allows Kuechly to consistently wrap up his ball-carrier and bring them to the turf. Very rarely will you see Kuechly fail to make a tackle. He is a sure as they come and while they might not be the most flashy hits in the world they are effective and even capable of jarring the ball loose from time to time.

Grade: 4

Coverage:

Luke Kuechly is outstanding in zone coverage. He gets adequate depth on his drops and is very aware of receivers entering his area. Kuechly is very active in coverage and is a reliable defender. He does a nice job settling into his zone and reading the quarterbacks eyes and his reads, showing the innate ability to feel the play developing and pick up any players that cross his face. Once a player does cross Kuechly’s face he does a great job of planting and driving to the football, using his 2nd gear and acceleration to come up and make a tackle. Kuechly does have some man to man limitations due to his lack of elite range and somewhat slow change of direction and lateral agility. However, Kuechly doesn’t appear to have stiff hips, nor does he tend to get flat-footed when quarterbacks execute pump fakes or manipulate defenders using their eyes and shoulders. Kuechly is a disciplined player that is smart and reliable and is a very good fit for a Cover 2 type defense.

Grade: 3.5

Point of Attack:

Being that Luke Kuechly is a smaller player he has a tendency to get caught up in the wash sometimes when offensive lineman are able to pick him up and get on his body at the 2nd level. One of the reasons I really love Luke Kuechly as a player is because you can tell he understands team defense and what his gap assignments or responsibilities are. Kuechly does a nice job filling his gap and taking on blockers with the correct shoulder to maintain his gap integrity and discipline. When engaged he has above average to good strength at the point of attack but could play with better pad level at times. He does a nice job of using leverage to his advantage and shows the ability to stack and shed or disengage from his opponent, although this isn’t particularly his strong suit. What Kuechly is very good at is keeping defenders off his body entirely. He shows a degree of slipperiness and knows how to slip by blocks and avoid the defenders trying to get a body on him to make his way to the football.

Grade: 3.5

Pass Rush/Blitzing:

This is an area of Kuechly’s game that is hard to grade not because he can’t blitz but just because he wasn’t asked to do this all too often at Boston College. Kuechly does lack some athleticism and his closing burst is just average at this point. However, Kuechly does do a good job of making plays behind the line of scrimmage and knows how to shoot gaps. It will be interesting to see how or if Kuechly will be used as a pass rusher, which my guess would be not. His main strengths include helping out in the run and pass game, however he is a much better coverage player than true threat to get after the quarterback. Kuechly probably wont make too many sacks in his career but he shows above average awareness, instincts, and hustle which should allow him to make some splash plays behind the line of scrimmage from time to time.

Grade: 2.5

Intangibles:

Luke Kuechly is a player who has been identified as having a strong work ethic and sound character attributes. His team looks to him for leadership and the passion, hustle, and motor he shows on the football field is enduring and inspiring to his defensive team-mates. Kuechly has proved to be a team player and his mental IQ and football intelligence is something that speaks to his off the field work in the film room. Luke Kuechly is extremely disciplined and his instincts and awareness are two of the best attributes he has going for him. His production at the collegiate level is unquestioned, although many do consider tackle totals to be mis-leading and not a true measure of how good a player is or will be. Kuechly has also shown good durability during his career and has missed very little if any time at all due to injury. Luke is probably never going to wow anyone with his overall athleticism and will likely take a backseat with his on field measurables at his pro-day and NFL Combine performances. However, it will be in team meetings and interviews where NFL personnel men and scouts fall in love with Kuechly as he is truly a student of the game with a high football IQ.

Grade: 4.5

Overall Grade:

 28/8 = 3.5 (Above Average-Very Good)

Projection:

I’m putting my money on Luke Kuechly. He deservedly warrants first round consideration due to his incredible instincts and overall feel for the game. In my book he is the top linebacker in this entire draft and has an outside chance at cracking the Top 10 overall, despite his lack of very good measurables for the position. When it’s all said and done Luke Kuechly will likely find his way into the Top 10 on my personal Big Board. His football intelligence and overall ability is just too much and greatly outweighs the few negatives Kuechly has going for him. He may not fly to the football like some would prefer but his read and react skills are second to none and do a good job of masking his lack of elite playing speed. Kuechly should enjoy a long-playing career and will likely eclipse the 100+ tackle mark season after season. Luke Kuechly is a player you can feel safe about choosing because you know what you’re getting and you know what you’re not.  He’s not an elite physical specimen but he’s simply a football player that understands the game and produces. The team that winds up drafting Kuechly will be getting a solid player capable of producing a good number of Pro-Bowl worthy seasons, while becoming an excellent starter for years to come.

Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon

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

Grading Scale:

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

 

Measurables:

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

 Grade: 4.5

Pass Blocking:

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

 Grade: 4.5

Run Blocking:

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

 Grade: 4

Awareness/Intangibles:

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

 Grade: 4.25

Toughness/Mean Streak & Tenacity:

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

 Grade: 4

Overall Grade/Total Score:

21.25/5 = 4.25

Very Good-Elite

Projection:

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

– Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon

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

 

Grading Scale:

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

 

Measurables:

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

 Grade: 3.5

 Arm Strength:

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

 Grade: 3

 Accuracy:

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

 Grade: 3.5

 Mechanics:

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

 Grade: 4.25

 Mobility/Improvisation

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

 Grade: 4

 Pocket Presence:

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

 Grade: 4

 Football Intelligence/Decision Making Skills:

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

 Grade: 3.75

 Anticipation:

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

 Grade: 3.5

 Overall Grade/Total Score:

 29.5/8 = 3.69

 Above Average-Very Good

Projection:

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

Thanks for reading my report-

-Brandon