Posts Tagged ‘NFL Combine’

Quarterbacks:

From the little I was able to see and take away from practice today it appeared that Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins were the ones competing for top quarterback on the roster. Overall it was pretty close as both had their moments but I will go over both individually. Russel Wilson (Wisconsin) showed good enough arm strength and I really appreciated his ability to snap his head around quickly to scan the field after coming out of a play action. He showed good timing and proved his ability to keep his eyes downfield when moving inside and outside the pocket. There were a few occasions where he was off target and threw behind some of his receivers but I imagine this had to do more with his unfamiliarity with his new receivers than anything. It was also noted during the NFL Network’s broadcast that while Cousins was running the play on the field, Wilson was off to the side going through the motions to test his knowledge and make sure he was on the right page. This shows something about his work ethic and commitment, even if it is just a small detail its worth noting. Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) on the other hand had more zip on his passes than I thought he would and his arm strength appeared to be the best of the group from what I was able to see. He made quick decisions and got the ball out fast, showing good anticipation, timing, and accuracy. It was also noted that Cousins has been the leader in team meeting, which should come as little surprise. Kellen Moore (Boise State) on the other hand was lacking in some important areas. His arm strength is below average and his ball comes out with very little zip. He is also on the shorter side (5-11) and has an elongated throwing motion. All these things will severely limit Moore not only this week but over the course of his entire career. We all know he has excellent ball placement and anticipation skills are very good but these things will only take Moore so far. I imagine he will have a difficult week ahead of him. It will be interesting battle between Wilson and Cousins all week to see who wins and steps up to become the leader of the North squad as both have top-notch intangibles and leadership qualities.

 Running Backs:

Being that the players are in shells today it is very hard to take much of anything from practice today for the running back group. However, both Chris Polk (Washington) and Doug Martin (Boise State) showed nice burst and acceleration from the little I was able to see of them today. Surely this will be a solid battle as well this week as I have both rated pretty closely and their performance this week will go a long way in separating themselves from one another in the minds of talent evaluators. Both players came in very strong with Martin showing up at a strong 5-9 219 lbs., while Polk came in at a sturdy 5-10 224 lbs. Both have the look of potential feature backs in the NFL with the capability to produce for whichever team chooses to draft them. Issiah Pead (Cincinatti) however did not look the part and I was disappointed to see him weigh in at a slight 5-9 193 lbs. I didn’t get to see much of any of Ohio State’s Daniel “Boom” Herron however and will have more on him in the coming days.

Wide Receivers:

The biggest winner from this group today had to be T.J. Graham (NC State) who showed plus burst and suddenness in and out of his breaks to create separation consistently. His hands were also very good as I did not see him drop a pass today. Graham is one of the faster players in this game and could time as well as 4.3 in next month’s NFL Combine. It will be interesting to see whether Graham has just track speed or if he is really a complete football player, as he certainly looked like the former in today’s practice. Graham has built some solid momentum going into Tuesday. One player who I had highlighted as a potential small school sleeper was Appalachian State’s Brian Quick. Quick had at least 3 drops on the day and seemed a tad bit intimidated by the big stage. His routes were sloppy and he really showed little burst and acceleration in and out of his cuts. Quick tended to round off his routes and was not nearly as crisp as you would like to see as he had trouble dropping his weight to generate momentum into his breaks. Today was a disappointing practice for the small school star but it will be interesting to see how he responds to what was a lackluster and disappointing day overall. I didn’t get a very good look at the rest of the wide receiver’s but Cal’s Marvin Jones is one player who was said to have a pretty good day as he beat Dennard on a vertical route in one on ones. Ohio State’s Devier Posey had an okay practice as he showed nice route running skills in 1 on 1’s but struggled hauling and looking in passes from what I was able to gather.

Tight Ends:

One of the more impressive players of the day for me was Missouri’s Michael Egnew who measured in at a solid 6-5 251 lbs., which is more than some expected coming in. Egnew looked good running his routes and seemed to be right where he needed and was expected to be at all times. Egnew also caught the ball very well, secured the catch and immediately turned his body up field. He also showed more aggressiveness and tenacity in the running game and it was nice to see him work as an in-line blocker as that was one of the bigger questions surrounding him leading up into this week. I’m glad the Vikings staff is giving him looks inside and getting him out of his element a bit to see where his blocking ability stands.

Offensive Lineman:

The player who generated the most buzz today was easily OT Mike Adams. First, Adams measured in at a strong and very stout 6-7 323 lbs. while displaying a massive 82.5 inch wingspan. This is the type of frame NFL personnel people crave from the position as it gives the player a very good blocking radius to work with to keep defenders at bay. In practice Adams showed up strong again, displaying natural athleticism and power as he showed very good quickness of the snap as well. He was sound with his hand placement and showed nice ability to anchor when bull-rushed. Adams also displayed natural knee bend throughout much of the practice but does tend to get a little upright at times, making it easy for defenders to get up under his pads like Marshall’s Vinny Curry was able to do on one occasion. All in all Adams had one of the better days overall and got a lot of praise from everyone in the scouting community. If he can continue like this the rest of the week he should become a sure-fire 1st round draft pick. Iowa State’s Keleche Osemele struggled at right tackle from what I was able to see. His lack of quality foot speed and quickness was very apparent and he played with poor pad level for much of the practice. I have always believed Osemele’s only fit would be inside due to his tendency to get stuck in the mud and struggle to change directions and keep with quicker defensive lineman. As Mike Mayock said on the broadcast his future lies inside where his massive size and strength can be best utilized as he is more of a phone booth type player. Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) had a solid practice overall, showing great technique by always keeping his elbows inside and staying square to his opponent. The leverage he is able to create comes from extremely good coaching and discipline, which all Wisconsin lineman seem to possess. Zeitler may not have the upside of a Cordy Glenn or Keleche Osemele but this is a very good football player who should start early in his career and have an instant impact in the running game. The last player I want to talk about is Ohio State’s Mike Brewster who had an up and down day in my opinion. He started out slow but seemed to gather himself and get more comfortable as the practice went on. Early he was overwhelmed and knocked back on his behind as he struggled with quickness and power showing little ability to anchor. However, as practice went on he displayed the nimble footwork that allows him to gain inside positioning on his opponent to create running lanes off his backside. Brewer is a player who seems to have loads of upside but never shows much consistency from week to week or snap to snap even. I’ll be watching this issue closely over the course of the next few days.

Defensive Lineman:

One player who received a late invite is a player I have hyped up quite a bit early on in the scouting process. Cincinnati’s Derek Wolfe was a menace today showcasing great pass rush moves, as his relentless motor was evident to everyone in attendance. He certainly looked like he had something to prove as he consistently plays with solid leverage and pad level. Wolfe is a player I think will be one of the biggest risers from this week when it’s all said and done and I am excited to see more from him during the week. A player who dissapointed today was Washington’s DT Alameda Ta’amu who struggled to create any sort of pass rush in individual drills. His lack of a pass rush repertoire is extremely concerning and his inability to answer back with any sort of counter move could limit him to becoming strictly a two-down player in the NFL.

Linebackers:

I really didn’t get to see much of the linebacker work today but one player did stand out as a pass rusher. Virginia’s Cam Johnson showcased very good quickness with his pass rush moves and absolutely burned Keleche Osemele with an up and under move, where Osemele wasn’t even able to get a hand on Johnson. This quickness, burst, and suddenness was extremely impressive and I will be watching Johnson much closer for the rest of this week because of it.

Cornerbacks:

The big loser of the day seemed to be Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard who struggled transitioning from his back pedal to running with receivers downfield. This is a concern because some had already questioned Dennard’s ability to turn his hips smoothly and run with receivers as he was burned by Marvin McNutt, who doesn’t possess too much straight line speed himself. Dennard looks more comfortable up at the line in press coverage and will surely have to be protected by over the top coverage, where he has a safety to pass his man along to. Dennard also looks much more comfortable when the play is in front of him, as he shows nice ability to click and close on his target. Dennard is a player that doesn’t fit all schemes but he is still an extremely efficient player who excels in other categories… it just so happened that today’s drill work exposed many of the main weaknesses Denard possesses as a prospect. I am expecting a better showing in the coming days and think he will do much better in the game on Saturday where the coach’s will play to his strengths and allow him to play in a scheme his is most comfortable in. None of the other corners were too impressive, especially Boston College’s Donnie Fletcher who got high in his back pedal and showed a lot of tightness in his hips as well. I am excited to see how this group responds to what I considered a lackluster day from all involved.

Biggest Winners from Day One: North Squad

1. Ohio State OT Mike Adams

2. NC State WR T.J. Graham

3. Cincinatti DT Derek Wolfe

 

Biggest Losers From Day One: North Squad

1. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard

2. Washington DT Alameda Ta’amu

3. Boise State QB Kellen Moore

 

Thanks for your attention, I hope you enjoyed the insight and analysis. Be sure to come back tomorrow for more content and coverage!

-Brandon

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Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill-

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

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

Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray-

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

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

Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller-

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

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

Texas A&M LB Sean Porter-

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

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

Missouri TE Michael Egnew-

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

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

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

Thanks again for reading my post, hope you enjoy!

-Brandon