Posts Tagged ‘Marshall’

West Virginia QB Geno Smith #12

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

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

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

West Virginia WR Tavon Austin # 1

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

West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey #3

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

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

Marshall WR Aaron Dobson #3

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

Virginia Tech RB David Wilson-

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

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

Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin-

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

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

Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley-

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

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

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples-

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

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

North Carolina LB Zach Brown-

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

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

North Carolina WR Dwight Jones-

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

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

North Carolina G Jonathon Cooper-

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

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