Posts Tagged ‘Zach Brown’

Defensive Tackles

Most to gain:

 One player who has already impressed in the measurables department is LSU DT/DE Michael Brockers who came in at an impressive 6’5 322 lbs. Brockers also checked in with impressive 35 inch arms which will help him disengage and keep defenders off his thick body at the next level. Physically speaking Brockers is “cut from the cloth” and looks the part of a dominant interior player with the added versatility to play five technique in a 3-4 defense; which is where I like him most at personally. Brockers is a little bit on the raw side from a technical standpoint, which is to be expected for someone who declared after only their red shirt Sophomore season of college. With that said, Brockers should shine in drills and show plus movement skills, while also showing power and explosion in tests that measure his sheer strength throughout his well proportioned and athletic-looking frame. When it’s all said and done and the lights come down on the Scouting Combine in Indy I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Brockers stand out from the crowd and eventually gain the Top 10 consideration he most likely deserves due to his incredible upside and scheme diversity. Another defensive tackle sure to make his mark on the 2012 NFL Combine is Mississippi DT/DE Fletcher Cox who also possesses the ability to play in multiple fronts at the next level. Cox is a somewhat lesser-known player to the general public at this point but that should all change come Monday afternoon. Cox is an incredible athlete who displays an impressive motor and incredible effort from snap to snap. He’s not as physically imposing as a player like Michael Brockers at 6’4 298 lbs, but he is much more technically refined and battle tested. Cox was even named SEC Defensive Player of the Week an astounding four times this past season, which is very impressive in the highly competitive South Eastern Conference. Fletcher Cox is a player who should test well and show his versatility/athleticism to play in multiple fronts. Expect his name to be one of the players on the rise after a very successful and impressive performance at the combine. The last player I want to mention quickly is Memphis DT Dontari Poe who has great athleticism for a man standing 6’4 346 lbs. Now, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to watch much film on Poe myself but he is said to have great movement skills, while also displaying impressive power and strength. He’s raw but flashes the potential to be the premier nose tackle prospect in this draft which could send his stock through the roof with so many teams searching for a big/physical guy who can eat up blocks and free up other players in the middle. Poe’s performance will tell us a lot about him and what he has to offer, as it will be the first time many of us have seen him live and on t.v. since he played at a smaller school at Memphis. Nonetheless, I fully expect Poe to put on a note-worthy performance and generate some buzz and excitement about his potential. He already put up a very stout 44 bench press reps at 225 lbs, although his arm length is a little shorter at 32′ inches,which definitely helps him throw up that weight with greater frequency but it’s an impressive start to say the least.

Most to prove/lose:

Theres a few players in Indy this week who will have some tough questions to answer, however all three have immense potential and could come out of the combine with much higher accreditation to their names with good performances. The first player is probably the one with the least to worry about and the most upside, but still has questions to answer is Penn State’s DT Devon Still. Still is a player I am relatively high on and like but there are some questions floating around about not only his work ethic and desire to be great, but also his durability as he has battle injuries throughout his career and recently missed the Senior Bowl because of another physical aliment. From what I have seen, read, and heard to this point in the combine, Still seems to be doing a commendable job answering questions about his character, choosing to answer the questions delivered to him head on and with obvious thought and deliverance. Still checked in at a stout 6’5 303 lbs. with nice 33 1/4′ inch arms. One of my favorite things about Still as a prospect is his violent/heavy hands. Still has an incredible grip and seems to understand stack and shed techniques to quickly disengage and find the football. He needs to improve his pad level and may have some stamina issues as he tends to wear down over the course of a game, playing with sloppier technique and slower get-off. However, when fresh and rested there may not be a player more physically gifted and talented than Still, as he is also very effective at penetrating the pocket by getting skinny through the hole and shooting gaps off the snap, which also allows players around him to make plays. Still probably won’t wow us in drills and tests tomorrow, other than his solid punch in bag drills but he is a pretty fluid athlete, but is not on the same physical level as some of the players mentioned above. However, when the lights come and pads come on he might be the best of the bunch. Another player who plays the same position as Still and played in the same conference is Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy. Worthy is an incredibly frustrating prospect to evaluate as he looks like a sure-fire 1st round pick one week, but a completely less stellar prospect the next. And it doesn’t just stop there with Worthy as he also tends to disappear for long stretches of time and plays with inconsistent effort from snap to snap. With that said, when Worthy is on his game and playing up to his ability he can be nearly unstoppable because of his absolutely over-powering strength and extraordinary burst/get-off to quickly shoot gaps and penetrate the backfield. Worthy flashes nearly every game but it is his inconsistency that is most troublesome with him, as well as his tendency to get nicked up and show less than adequate stamina to stay in the game for an extended period of time. Worthy has drawn comparisons to former Texas DT Shaun Rogers because of this and could completely fall out of the 1st round just as Rogers did in the 2001 NFL Draft before he was taken by the Detroit Lions with the 61st pick overall. It will be interesting to see where Worthy falls as he has Top 20 talent but hardly ever plays up to his ability for an extended period of time. Teams will have to figure out whether they can motivate him to get in better shape and play up to his ability before spending a 1st round pick on a talented player when he wants to be. Interviews and team meetings will be key for Worthy but look for him to shine in explosion drills as well and put up some solid numbers overall. One more player to mention is Washington DT Alameda Ta’amu. Ta’amu is a player many scouts are also split on as he possesses solid upside but enjoyed relatively moderate success this season despite his physical talents. Standing 6’3 348 lbs. with 32′ inch arms, Ta’amu is another candidate to play nose tackle in the NFL however I think he is much better served to play the one technique shaded over the nose guard or as a one gap three technique tackle in a 4-3. When scouting Ta’amu I found that he tended to pop-up off the snap and had little to offer in terms of his hand work and disengagement ability. He’s a little bit of a leaner and his short arms do not allow him to create much space between he and his defender. I like Ta’amu’s get-off but he is far too inconsistent with his pad level and hand placement for me to give him a high grade at this point. Ta’amu will have questions to answer regarding his lack of production this season while at Washington.

Others to watch:

A couple other players to watch who deserve to be mentioned are Cincinnati’s DT/DE Derek Wolfe, UConn DT Kendall Reyes, and Michigan DT Mike Martin. Wolfe is a personal favorite of mine because of his scheme diversity and ability to play  DT in a 4-3 or DE in a 3-4. I’m not quite sure where I like him more at this point but I tend to lean towards five technique because he has some pass rush ability (9.5 sacks in 2011) and ability to be a reliable run stopping defender and make plays behind the line of scrimmage (19.5 TFL). Wolfe came in at a stout 6-5 295 lbs. while possessing 33 1/4′ arms and has effectively gained weight since the Senior Bowl to appeal to both 4-3 and 3-4 teams at the DE or DT positions. Wolfe plays with solid leverage and knows how to disengage by winning at the point of attack by establishing effective hand placement and inside positioning. Look for Wolfe to garner some attention in the 3rd-4th round area. Kendall Reyes is a player who flashed at the Senior Bowls last month winning many one on one battles during individual drills. At the Senior Bowl Reyes showcased active hands capable of keeping the defender off his body as well as above average explosion off the snap. Reyes is a player who could also warrant some consideration at five technique and I am excited to see his movement skills in the drills on Monday to get a better feel for him as a prospect. Lastly, Mike Martin is a player with less versatility, but is an effective player in his own right who deserves consideration in the 3rd-4th round range as well. Martin is a relentless work horse, measuring in at 6’1 306 lbs. with 32 1/4′ arms. Martin is a player who won’t beat you consistently because he is not that type of athlete but slowly can wear you down over the course of a game. He’s extremely hard to sustain blocks on because of his rounded frame and thick upper body; and his persistent attitude and work ethic make him a menace to deal with from snap to snap. Martin is a classic over-achiever type athlete who should make his mark on the NFL as a solid rotational type defensive lineman early on in his career with the ability to become a starter later on down the road.

Combine Star(s): LSU DT/DE Michael Brockers, Mississippi St DT/DE Fletcher Cox, and Memphis DT Dontari Poe

Defensive Ends

Most to gain:

One of the players I am most excited to see in Indy this week is USC DE/OLB Nick Perry. Perry has bulked up and checked in to the combine at 6-3 271 lbs. with 33′ inch arms. It would seem to me that Perry wants to stay at defensive end in the NFL and has put on the extra weight to show his desire to stay at the position he played in college. With that said, Perry will still most certainly get looks at 3-4 OLB thanks to his impressive movement skills, and I actually think he has the versatility to be effective at both. I really appreciate Perry’s first step quickness up field and think he does a good job keeping defenders off of his body by displaying active and quick hands to slap away grabby offensive lineman. Watching Perry’s movements skills and ability to turn the corner and display some ankle and hip flexibility to dip his shoulder and turn the corner will tell us a lot about his upside as a pass rusher. In a class that lacks many quality pass rushers, Perry could be a real riser this week with a good performance…especially if he shows the ability to play in multiple schemes. Clemson DE/OLB Andre Branch Cliff Avril who was also a little raw and one-dimensional coming into the NFL but has since went on to become a pro-bowl level player. If Branch can showcase the bend, flexibility, and overall combination of pass-rushing skills he could sneak his way into the 1st round as an upside type player. The other pass rusher who is carrying some steam into the combine after a good performance at the Senior Bowl is Marshall DE Vinny Curry. Curry is a player who absolutely dominated at a lower-level school in Marshall setting numerous conference and team records for sacks for a career. Now, with his eyes set on the NFL, Curry must also demonstrate the ability to bend and get around the corner. Curry showed well at the Senior Bowl against some very good offensive lineman and could be one of the better steals/values if he makes it to the 2nd round. Expect Curry to start garnering first round consideration with a solid showing.

Most to prove/lose:

Nebraska DT/DE Jared Crick has not played football for months and it has been a while since we’ve seen him perform after suffering a season-ending torn pectoral muscle early on in the season. Before his injury Crick was seen as a future 1st round pick who had a good amount of potential. However, the injury he suffered put his future on hold for a little while but you can be sure Crick is ready to put the past behind him and showcase the type of skill-set that made him so highly regarded in the minds of nfl scouts at one time. Having checked in at 6-4 279 lbs, Crick will likely be a little small to play three technique but should be a good fit as a five technique player who has drawn comparisons to all-pro San Francisco 49er’s DE   If Crick checks out medically and looks the part in drills and tests he could re-establish his first round status prior to his season ending injury and sneak into the bottom half of the initial round. Another Big Ten defensive lineman who is in need of a solid performance at the combine is Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus is a very risky player, seeing as he only had one productive season at Illinois as he boost onto the scene with an astounding 16 sacks and 9 forced fumbles on the year. Many of these sacks however were not of the impressive variety as he seemed to accumulate many “garbage” sacks after his team-mates had done the dirty work by collapsing the pocket and forcing the quarterback to his area. When watching film of Mercilus it occurred to me that Mercilus lacked a quality burst/first-step while also lacking much of any variety in his pass rush arsenal. He lacked a quality counter and seemed to struggle finding the football as he didn’t always seem to show the type of ball awareness I like in an impact defensive end. With that said, he definitely deserves a long hard look as that type of production doesn’t completely happen by coincidence and there are many things to like about the way Mercilus plays. However, he will be up against it trying to justify that he isn’t a one-year wonder type player to scouts who seem to be unimpressed by him for the most part. The last player player that has a lot to prove this week is UNC DE Donte Paige-Moss who was once considered a high upside type player thanks to his impressive athleticism. However, this athleticism never seemed to culminate as Paige-Moss was actually benched in favor of a younger player because of his lack luster play this season. Paige-Moss will likely look pretty good in drills as well as showcase the type of athleticism that once made him a highly thought of prospect in the minds of scouts because of his immense upside. Paige-Moss will also need to qualm and make good on some of the post game comments he made after North Carolina’s season had ended, in which he essentially called out the coaching staff and threw his fellow team-mates under the bus. Paige-Moss has a long road ahead of him to once again become a draftable prospect in my mind.

Others to watch:

There are a plethora of players to keep an eye on tomorrow at this position but we will just focus on a few that I will have my personal eye on. First up is one of my favorite players in this draft and player I feel is flying a bit under the radar to this point. Tennessee DE Malik Jackson is a player who transferred to Tennessee from USC after the scandal involving Reggie Bush. At Tennessee Jackson played out of position at defensive tackle and is much better suited outside as a pass rusher standing ath 6’5 284 lbs. with 33 3/4′ inch arms. Jackson plays with solid technique and leverage overall and he has flashed as a pass rusher capable of reaching the corner when given the opportunity. Being a highly recruited athlete and player with immense potential due to his impressive physical stature, Jackson is a player many are currently sleeping on but he should open up some eyes tomorrow based on his skill-set so keep a close eye on him. The next two players are two guys looking to make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL after having played defensive end throughout their college careers. Arkansas’s DE/OLB Jake Bequette is one of those players looking to make the transition after mainly playing with his hand in the dirt in college. Bequette has always been a player who has caught my attention and he really came on hot during the end of the Razorback season when he was able to collect eight of his ten sacks on the season in his last five games. Bequette doesn’t wow you with speed or athleticism but possesses a plus motor and is a relentless player who get’s after the quarterback and can force him to escape the pocket. Bequette will face a learning curve for his new position, so it could take some time but he is a good middle round prospect with upside. Another tweener type prospect is Virginia DE/OLB Cam Johnson who did well at last months Senior Bowl in the individual one on one drill sessions, showcasing very good quickness and ability to change directions effortlessly. Having measured in at 6’3 268 lbs. with 33 1/2′ inch arms, Johnson seems to be a player to consider at both defensive end and outside linebacker. His pass rushing skills entice me and I am excited to see how comfortable he is standing up and dropping back into coverage because I know he can get after the quarterback and cause havoc off the edge. One last player to keep your eye on is Syracuse DE Chandler Jones who has really picked up a head of steam after ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay has been touting him as a potential first round prospect and excellent value in the draft. I however do not personally see the same type of upside as McShay but do admit he does have a nice frame on which to build upon. Jones measured in at 6’5 266 lbs with 35′ 1/2 inch arms. A lot has been made about the lineage following Jones as he is the brother of UFC fighter and light heavy weight champion Jonny “Bones” Jones, while his other brother, Arthur Jones currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens as a 5th round pick from the 2010 NFL Draft. Having blood lines is great but I currently don’t see what all the infatuation is about to be perfectly honest. I see a player who is pretty raw and lacks much explosiveness to his overall game. His upside is nice but I wouldn’t currently touch him before the 3rd round personally, maybe tomorrow he will show me something I haven’t yet seen.

Combine Star(s): USC DE/OLB Nick Perry, Clemson DE/OLB Andre Branch, and Tennessee DE Malik Jackson

Outside Linebackers

Most to gain:

The player who may completely melt the track in Indy tomorrow with his performance in the 40 yard dash is North Carolina LB Zach Brown who has said he wants to run as fast as 4.3sin tomorrow’s marquee test. In fact, Brown is a player that should absolutely dazzle and leave mouths hanging in the annual “underwear olympics” that has become the NFL Combine. Fortunately for Brown, he is a player with incredible athleticism that will surely get some general managers in attendance enamored with his potential, however the tape tells a different story. Having done extensive film analysis of Brown I can tell you that he without out a doubt is a liability against the run and lacks the quality instincts to routinely get the most out of his physical talents. Right now, Brown is a much better athlete than football player and I wouldn’t personally touch him until the 2nd round because he plays so soft and seems to dis-like contact. This is not to say Brown cannot become a good football player as he definitely has the skills to be an effective blitzer and cover man, but he is currently not a three down linebacker. One would have hoped that Brown would have been able to adapt and learn the game by now but he seems to still be getting by on his athleticism which surely will not fly in the NFL. To me, Brown is a luxury pick that a team will undoubtedly jump on way too early based on his measurables and upside. From a height/weight/speed ration, Brown should excel in the NFL but my better judgement tells me he will vastly disappoint in the NFL. Perhaps my favorite player in this draft, who possesses quality instincts and recognition skills to make plays all over the field is Nebraska LB Lavonte David. David’s biggest knock has to do with his lack of ideal size, standing 6’1 233 lbs. However, David has put on 8-10 pounds since the Senior Bowl so it will be interesting to see how that affects his speed and athletic ability because he certainly has plenty to make plays all over the field, showcasing incredible range on film. David is quite simply is a gamer who ended up at Nebraska after spending his first two collegiate seasons at the junior college level before going on to set school records in just two seasons at a powerhouse program with great history and lineage at the linebacker position. David is incredibly smart and showcases very good football IQ and awareness to consistently find the football and unlike Zach Brown, he is much more physical and willing to get dirty and stick his nose in the trash and take on blocks/fill holes. David should impress in drills and will probably be a player that will shine in interviews as he is a bright kid he understands the game at an extremely high level. I have little doubt Lavonte David will be one of the bigger steals in this draft when he goes nearly a round later than he probably should, simply because he is a couple of inches too short and a few pounds too light….please! Another player who should wow scouts and general managers alike with his athleticism tomorrow is South Carolina DE/LB Melvin Ingram. Ingram enjoyed a great senior season for the Gamecocks this season while demonstrating his versatility to blitz the quarterback from multiple positions and angles. Ingram was highly impressive at the Senior Bowl last month as well, putting his explosion and athleticism on full display for those in attendance. Ingram is an interesting player because he is shorter than most would prefer at 6’1 264 lbs with just 31 1/2′ arms. Ingram has trimmed down about ten pounds since the Senior Bowl, likely because he wants to run a blazing 40 time so that might not be his actually playing weight in the NFL. Versatility will be key for Ingram in the NFL and I think he makes for an interesting pawn piece for a creative defensive coordinator who can line him up from all over the place and keep him rolling in waves from multiple angles/positions. Ingram will shine tomorrow and will almost assure you he will be a riser coming out of Indy. One last player to keep an eye on is Miami LB Sean Spence who is also undersized for the position at 5’11 231 lbs and is likely limited to weak side linebacker in a 4-3. With that said, I like Spence and think he will have a productive career in the NFL due to many of the same qualities I mentioned with Lavonte David. Spence is a reliable tackler who is an absolute missile, playing much bigger than his smallish frame would indicate. He comes downhill hard and can actually hit with a ferocious like mentality with good form and solid technique. He is also very quick and can cover a lot of ground while dropping into coverage. I will be watching closely to see what kind of ball skills both he and David have as they both seem to be comfortable in coverage.

Most to prove/lose:

One of the players that will be under close eye is West Virginia LB Bruce Irvin. Irvin is a player who had a very productive Junior season in which he accounted for 14 sacks, however he was completely out-of-place in the Moutaineers 3-3-5 defense in which Irvin was asked to play with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end. Although he registered 8.5 sacks this season, Irvin didn’t show much in terms of a pass rushing repertoire as he tends to rely greatly on his up field speed and ability to just simply run past college offensive tackles. This however will not fly/work in the NFL and Bruce Irvin seems to be a situational type pass rusher who can come in a certain passing plays and get after the quarterback. Right now he is more of a “one trick pony” type pass rusher who needs to show more than sheer athleticism if he is to get drafted in the Top 100 of this years draft. Irvin is a player that comes from a rough background but has sworn to have moved on and learned from his past mistakes. Tomorrow is a big day for him and while I expect him to shine in drills and test, I don’t know how well it will translate at the next level. Another player with something to prove to scouts and general managers is Oklahoma LB Ronnell Lewis who has had off-field troubles and academic struggles that led to him being benched just this past season despite his explosive edge rushing ability and bone jarring hits. Maturity questions and medical issues regarding his recurring back problems are all issues that need to be addressed and cleared before taking a player like Lewis within the initial 50 selections of this draft. I love Lewis’s short area quickness and closing speed to get after the quarterback but this is a very risky player with plenty of red flags. If Lewis can dispel some of these things scouts will most certainly question, while performing well in drills and tests he should be a player on the rise leaving the combine.

Others to watch:

One player that has me particularly excited as far as upside and mid-late round sleeper type material is San Diego State LB Miles Burris. Burris is a player who I recently came across and found myself relatively impressed with his ability to read and react to plays while showcasing the type of athleticism, closing speed, and hustle/motor to be a special teams demon and potential starter down the road. Burris checked in at a strong 6’2 246 lbs. while also putting up 31 reps in the bench press. He is strong with a good head on his shoulders as he comes across as a very mature young man with big dreams of making it in the NFL. If I’m a general Manager this is the type of player I’m targeting in the 5th round range to come on my team and compete for a starting job as a developmental type linebacker with fantastic upside. The next list of players all have something to prove as they will likely play a different position in the NFL than they did in college and must show the type of ability to play in space and drop into coverage. These tweener type players include Pittsburgh’s DE/LB Brandon Lindsey, Troy’s Jonathon Massoquai, and Boise State DT/LB Shea Mclellin. All three of these players will be asked to work out of their element and move in space. If they can showcase fluid coordinated movement with good awareness skills it will greatly increase their stock and versatility to rush the quarterback and play in coverage which could do wonders for their appeal and draft stock. Oregon LB Josh Kaddu is a player some have labeled as a possible under-rated athlete capable of becoming a strong side linebacker thanks to his size and ability to match up with tight ends in coverage so pay close attention to him as well. Arkansas State LB Demario Davis is another under-rated athlete to keep an eye on as he is said to have the athleticism and measurables to look very good and test very well. Can’t say I have seen too much film on him personally but I know a few people who like him better than most as a potentially under the radar player.

Combine Star(s): UNC LB Zach Brown, South Carolina DE/LB Melvin Ingram, and West Virginia LB Bruce Irvin

Inside Linebackers

Most to gain:

In my view the entire inside linebacker crop is very week in general but there are a couple of players worth pointing out. The first is Boston College LB Luke Kuechly who probably isn’t a favorite to run or test all that well but he is most likely one of the safer picks in this draft. Kuechly will gain notoriety not only for his tape in which he shows great instincts and wonderful diagnosing ability, but for his mental intellect and football IQ in interviews with teams and coaches. There is probably not on other player who has a better understanding or feel for the game than Kuechly and while he may not wow you with his athleticism he more than makes up with it in how fast he is able to read his keys, process information, and diagnose the play. Kuechly is no slouch either and he truly has under-rated speed and range as he shows adequate but good enough burst and closing speed to make plays towards the sidelines. Kuechly is also an extremely gifted coverage player who shows the natural ability to read the quarterbacks eyes and make a play on the football. Kuechly is one of my favorite players in this entire draft and he should do well for himself and cement himself as a mid first round pick. The other linebacker I am excited to see at the combine tomorrow is Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower.

Most to lose/prove:

This honor most definitely has to go to the player with possibly the most questions regarding his talent, attitude, maturity and character than any other player in this entire draft. Vontaze Burfict is one of the most physically imposing players who will take the field in Indy but with him comes a barrage of red flags and character question marks. Burfict plays out of control and his aggressive nature has gotten him in trouble with both the referees and his out coaches. There is no doubting his physical skill-set but despite this I still see a player that really isn’t as much as a menacing force as he is made out to be. Sure he makes an occassional big hit but overall I question his ability to get off blocks, find the football (ball awareness) and break down in space and tackle as he tends to over-pursue and play out of control looking for the bone-jarring highlight reel hit instead of wrapping up. Burfict is the type of player that needs to go into the right situation with a veteran leader/locker room and a coaching staff that will hold him accountable for his actions, as he can and probably will get called for many penalties and fouls resulting in fines and possible suspensions. Burfict has many questions to answer and I already don’t like how he chose to answer a question presented to him regarding this past season where he more or less blamed it on the coaching staff and pointed the finger. To me that is a sign of immaturity and what was once a very promising player with a bright future looks to be a player on the decline with a lot to lose if he doesn’t get his act together and own up to everything like a man and shift all the blame on himself. USC LB Chris Galippo was once a heavily rated high school recruit with tons of potential before signing with the Trojans. However, injuries derailed Galippo’s development and he struggled to get/stay on the football field throughout his career, ultimately being replaced by a red shirt Freshman on the depth chart this past season. Despite this Galippo never once clamored for attention or blamed the coaching staff, but simply went about his work and contributed on special teams. He will now have to convince and answer to teams why this happened and how he thinks it made him a better football player, who deserves to be drafted in the later rounds. If Galippo can impress in interviews and show some of the athleticism he once possessed he could be the type of player who serves a special teams role and becomes a good depth/character guy.

Others to watch:

Two guys grab my attention who deserve to be mentioned here. First is NC State LB Audie Cole who despite not having awesome athleticism and range to make plays sideline to sidelines, he is a very disciplined player who understands how to read his keys and decipher plays. Cole is a nicely built player at 6’4 246 lbs. with what I like to call sneaky athleticism, as he actually shows some burst and closing speed to rush the passer and force them out of the pocket. Cole is a developmental guy I like and is a natural fit in a 3-4 defense where his size will allow him to take on blocks and shed on contact. Solid depth player and guy I consider anywhere after the 3rd round in this draft. The next guy I like is California’s LB Mychal Kendricks who is on the short side measuring in under six feet tall. Kendricks however has a stocky build and has some aspects of his game that remind you of another under-sized middle linebacker who went on to enjoy a very successful NFL career in London Fletcher. While that is likely the ceiling for Kendricks, this is a player that has a lot going for him and probably will make it in the NFL as a back-up spot-starter type player. He’s a downhill defender who is aggressive and takes sound angles to the football. He makes his reads quickly and understands how to hit and wrap-up upon contact. Kendricks does get engulfed by bigger blockers and he’s not the type of guy who can win in the phone booth but he can and will always give his best effort and it’s hard not to cheer for guys like that. Keep an eye on Kendricks as a guy who can also provide good depth with the small chance to become a starter later on down the road.

Combine Star(s): Boston College LB Luke Kuechly & Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict

-Thanks for reading, I will be adding a secondary preview to this write-up tomorrow…hope you enjoyed!

-Brandon-

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These rankings include players that fit both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense. This is a preliminary ranking and players could move up or down based on off-season performances and both on and off-field characteristics that may come to light between now and draft day. Rankings currently reflect the Top 25 but I hope to add to this list as we go through the NFL Draft process. For now this is where I currently rank each player, enjoy!

Rank Position Player Name School Height Weight Year Projected Round
1 LB Courtney Upshaw Alabama 6’1 273 Senior Top 12 Overall
2 LB Nick Perry USC 6’3 250 Junior Round 1
3 LB Melvin Ingram South Carolina 6’1 276 Senior Round 1
4 LB Lavonte David Nebraska 6’0 225 Senior Round 1-2
5 LB Ronnell Lewis Oklahoma 6’2 244 Junior Round 2
6 LB Andre Branch Clemson 6’4 260 Senior Round 2
7 LB Cam Johnson Virginia 6’3 270 Senior Round 2
8 LB Bobby Wagner Utah State 6’0 241 Senior Round 2
9 LB Zach Brown North Carolina 6’1 236 Senior Round 2
10 LB Sean Spence Miami 5’11 228 Senior Round 2-3
11 LB Whitney Mercilus Illinois 6’4 265 Junior Round 2-3
12 LB Shea McClellin Boise State 6’3 248 Senior Round 3
13 LB Bruce Irvin West Virginia 6’2 245 Senior Round 3
14 LB Travis Lewis Oklahoma 6’2 228 Senior Round 3
15 LB Terrell Manning NC State 6’2 225 Junior Round 3-4
16 LB Jonathon Massoquai Troy 6’2 250 Junior Round 3-4
17 LB Nigel Bradham Florida State 6’1 237 Senior Round 3-4
18 LB Josh Kaddu Oregon 6’3 236 Senior Round 3-4
19 LB Jake Bequette Arkansas 6’4 264 Senior Round 3-4
20 LB Brandon Lindsey Pittsburgh 6’2 255 Senior Round 4
21 LB Keenan Robinson Texas 6’3 240 Senior Round 4
22 LB Kyle Wilbur Wake Forest 6’4 245 Senior Round 4-5
23 LB Emmanuel Acho Texas 6’1 235 Senior Round 5
24 LB Tyler Nielson Iowa 6’3 235 Senior Round 5-6
25 LB Adrian Robinson Temple 6’2 250 Senior Round 6

 

-Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading!-

– Brandon

Post All-Star Game Positional Rankings:

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Positional Rankings
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*Early on in the process, with just under 3 months to go from the 2012 NFL Draft these are my unofficial positional rankings as of 2/1/12. Much more film work and study is in session as you will notice some ties throughout these rankings. Ties are for players I currently rank very close to one another at a certain position, but will eventually chose one over the other once I feel comfortable and confident. Just because players are listed does not mean they will stay there and just because players are not listed does not mean they will not eventually find their way on to my list. Hope you enjoy and feel free to criticize these rankings all you want…your input is highly valued and well-taken.
 
Quarterbacks
1. Andrew Luck Stanford (6-4 235) – Top Overall Pick
2. Robert Griffin III Baylor (6-2 220) – Top 5
3. Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M (6-4 220) – Mid-Late 1st
4. Brandon Weeden Oklahoma State (6-3 220) – Mid-Late 2nd
5. Brock Osweiller Arizona State (6-8 240) – Late 2nd-Early 3rd
 
*On the Cusp:
Russell Wilson Wisconsin (5-10 205)
Kirk Cousins Michigan State (6-2 210)
Nick Foles Arizona (6-5 245)
 
 
Running Backs:
1. Trent Richardson Alabama (5-11 225) – Top 3 Overall
2. Lamar Miller Miami (5-11 210) – Late 1st
3. Doug Martin Boise State (5-9 220) – Late 1st Early 2nd
4. David Wilson Virginia Tech (5-10 205) – Mid 2nd
T-5. Chris Polk Washington (5-11 225) – Late 2nd-Early 3rd
T-5. LaMichael James Oregon (5-9 195) – Late 2nd-Early 3rd
 
On the Cusp:
Bernard Pierce Temple (6-0 220)
Issiah Pead Cincinnati (5-9 195)
 
Wide Receivers:
1. Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State (6-1 215) – Top 8 Overall
2. Michael Floyd Notre Dame (6-3 225) – Mid 1st
3. Kendall Wright Baylor (5-10 190) – Mid-Late 1st
T-4. Alshon Jeffery South Carolina (6-4 230) – Late 1st
T-4. Mohamed Sanu Rutgers (6-3 215) – Late 1st
5. Reuben Randle LSU (6-3 210) – Mid 2nd
 
On the Cusp:
Juron Criner Arizona (6-2 220)
Dwight Jones North Carolina (6-3 225)
Joe Adams Arkansas (5-10 175)
Nick Toon Wisconsin (6-2 220)
Jairus Wright Arkansas (5-10 180)
 
Tight Ends:
1. Dwayne Allen Clemson (6-4 255) – Early 2nd
2. Coby Fleener Stanford (6-6 245) – Early-Mid 2nd
3. Orson Charles Georgia (6-3 240) – Mid 2nd
4. Michael Egnew Missouri (6-5 250) – Mid-Late 3rd
5. Ladarius Green Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6 235) – Late 3rd-Early 4th
 
On the Cusp:
David Paulson Oregon (6-3 245)
 
Offensive Tackles:
1. Matt Kalil Southern California (6-7 295) – Top 5 Overall
2. Riley Reiff Iowa (6-6 300) – Top 10 Overall
3. Jonathon Martin Stanford (6-6 305) – Mid 1st
4. Mike Adams Ohio State (6-7 325) – Mid 1st
5. Cordy Glenn Georgia (6-5 345) – Mid-Late 1st
 
On the Cusp:
Zebrie Sanders (6-5 310)
Keleche Osemele Iowa State (6-5 335)
Bobby Massie Ole Miss (6-6 315)
Jeff Allen Illinois (6-4 305)
Nate Potter Boise State (6-6 300)
 
Offensive Guards:
1. David DeCastro Stanford (6-5 310) – Top 10 Overall
2. Cordy Glenn Georgia (6-5 345) – Mid-Late 1st
3. Keleche Osemele Iowa State (6-5 335) – Early-Mid 2nd
4. Kevin Zeitler Wisconsin (6-3 315) – Mid-Late 2nd
T-5. Brandon Washington Miami (6-4 320) Early 3rd
T-5. Jeff Allen Illinois (6-4 305) Early 3rd
 
On the Cusp:
Levy Adcock Oklahoma State (6-5 320)
Amini Silatolu Midwestern State (6-3 320)
Brandon Brooks Miami-Ohio (6-4 345)
Senio Kelemete Washington (6-3 300)
 
Centers:
1. Peter Konz Wisconsin (6-5 315) – Mid 1st
2. Ben Jones Georgia (6-2 305) – Mid-Late 3rd
3. Mike Brewster Ohio State (6-4 310) – Late 3rd-Early 4th
4. David Molk Michigan (6-2 290) – Late 3rd-Early 4th
5. Phillip Blake Baylor (6-2 315) – Early-Mid 4th
 
On the Cusp:
William Vlachos Alabama (6-0 305)
Quinton Saulsberry Mississippi State (6-2 300)
 
Defensive Ends:
1. Quinton Coples North Carolina (6-5 280) – Top 10 Overall
2. Melvin Ingram South Carolina (6-1 275) – Mid 1st
T-3. Nick Perry Southern California 6-3 250) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
T-3. Whitney Mercilus (6-4 265) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
T-3. Andre Branch Clemson (6-4 260) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
4. Vinny Curry Marshall (6-3 265) – Early-Mid 2nd
5. Jared Crick Nebraska (6-5 285) – Mid 2nd
 
On the Cusp:
Cam Johnson Virginia (6-3 270)
Chandler Jones Syracuse (6-5 265)
 
Defensive Tackles:
1. Devon Still Penn State (6-5 310) – Mid 1st
2. Michael Brockers LSU (6-6 305) – Mid-Late 1st
3. Dontari Poe Memphis (6-5 350) – Mid-Late 1st
T-4. Fletcher Cox Mississippi (6-4 295) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
T-4 Jerel Worthy Michigan State (6-3 310) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
5. Brandon Thompson Clemson (6-2 310) – Early-Mid 2nd
 
On the Cusp:
Josh Chapman Alabama (6-1 310)
Alameda Ta’amu Washington (6-2 340)
Derek Wolfe Cincinnati (6-5 300)
Mike Martin Michigan (6-1 310)
Kendall Reyes Connecticut (6-3 300)
 
 
Outside Linebackers:
1. Courtney Upshaw Alabama (6-1 275) – Top 10 Overall
2. Melvin Ingram South Carolina (6-1 275) – Mid 1st
3. Lavonte David Nebraska (6-0 225) – Early 2nd
4. Zach Brown North Carolina (6-1 235)  – Early-Mid 2nd
T-5. Ronell Lewis Oklahoma (6-2 245) – Late 2nd-Early 3rd
T-5. Sean Spence Miami (5-11 225) Late 2nd – Early 3rd
 
On the Cusp:
Travis Lewis Oklahoma (6-2 230)
Bruce Irvin West Virginia (6-2 245)
Brandon Lindsey Pittsburgh (6-2 250)
Terrell Manning NC State (6-3 235)
Bobby Wagner Utah State (6-0 240)
 
Inside Linebackers:
1. Luke Kuechly Boston College (6-2 235) – Mid 1st
2. Vontaze Burfict Arizona State (6-3 250) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
3. Dont’a Hightower Alabama (6-4 260) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
4. Audie Cole North Carolina State (6-4 250) – Late 3rd-Early 4th
5. Bobby Wagner Utah State (6-0 240) – Early 4th
 
On the Cusp:
None
 
Cornerbacks:
1. Morris Clairborne LSU (6-0 185) – Top 5 Overall
T-2. Janoris Jenkins North Alabama (5-9 190) – Mid 1st
T-2. Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama (6-2 195) – Mid 1st
T-3. Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska (5-10 205) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
T-3. Chase Minnifield Virginia (6-0 185) – Late 1st-Early 2nd
4. Stephon Gilmore South Carolina (6-1 195) – Early 2nd
5. Brandon Boykin Georgia (5-9 185) – Mid-Late 2nd
 
On the Cusp:
Casey Hayward Vanderbilt (5-11 190)
Jayron Hosley Virginia Tech (5-10 175)
Leonard Johnson Iowa State (5-9 200)
Dwight Bentley Louisiana-Lafayette (5-9 175)
Jammell Flemming Oklahoma (5-10 200)
 
Safeties:
1. Mark Barron Alabama (6-2 220) – Mid-Late 1st
2. Harrison Smith Notre Dame (6-1 215) – Late 2nd-Early 3rd
3. Markelle Martin Oklahoma State (6-0 205) – Early 3rd
4. Antonio Allen South Carolina (6-1 205) – Mid 3rd
5. George Iloka Boise State (6-3 220) – Mid-Late 3rd
 
On the Cusp:
Janzen Jackson McNeese State (6-0 190)
 
-Thanks for reading this report-
 
-Brandon

I know this is a day late but like they say, “better late than never”…let’s get into who/what caught my attention.

-Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden is the best quarterback down in Mobile this week and he has improved his stock greatly for his play. I have been impressed how well he has adapted to the pro-style offense as his footwork on his 3 and 5 foot drops look pretty crisp, and he is showing nice timing with his receivers. He’s not looking uncomfortable or overwhelmed at all, which was something that had potentially concerned me with leading up to the week. Weeden’s arm strength isn’t elite but it is good enough and he is showing good torque to drive the ball into tight windows. His balance when he drops back has also been impressive and he is proving to clear up many of the concerns I had with him leading into the week, including anticipation. Weeden still has questions to answer because of his age and whether he can come in and compete right away or needs further development and time, but this week has been a good step in the right direction for him.

Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer was a late add to the Senior Bowl after enjoying a successful week at the East-West Shrine Game. Creer has continued that momentum and parlayed that into another solid showing here this week. A former Tennessee Volunteer, Creer has always possessed a unique blend of talent to garner division one interest but he ultimately left and transferred to Louisiana Tech. Creer has pressed the line of scrimmage well and is showing some natural burst and lateral movement skills. I am excited to see how well he does in the game Saturday, but there is no doubt he has turned some heads and caught the attention of coach’s and scouts with his play the past two weeks.

-Florida WR/RB Chris Rainey has proved to be a very dynamic and versatile player all week. He has taken a lot of reps at Wide Receiver and while his routes have been a bit raw, his pure speed and quickness has been overwhelming for some Cornerbacks to keep up with. Speed kills in the NFL and Rainey definitely has it, which could get him drafted in the Top 100 because he is such a weapon in the return and passing game. The Dexter McCluster comparison definitely fits and Rainey is more of a luxury player who if you can get him his touches he could be a very viable and valuable weapon.

-Arkansas WR Joe Adams may not be as fast as Chris Rainey but he is a better Wide Receiver overall and is displaying some impressive traits. His foot speed and short area quickness are two of the things that make him such a nightmare to defend for an extended period of time and make him one of the best returners in this entire draft. He has also done a good job adjusting to the football and I really appreciate/like his overall skill-set as I think he can be a bit like an Antonio Brown or Randall Cobb in your offense and special teams unit.

-Arizona WR Juron Criner has opened up a lot of eyes this week with his play. Criner has displayed very solid hands even coming down with what had to be the catch of the week so far during Tuesday’s practice session. While he is not overly sudden or necessarily explosive in and out of his breaks he does a great job with body control and spacial awareness, which allows him to come down with the catch even in tight coverage. Criner is one of those interesting players I am excited to go do more film work on because of his performance.

-Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller has been extremely disappointing this week and looks like a shell of his former self. His lack of physicality has been exposed and he has a very tough time creating much of any sort of separation due to his lack of any quality burst or speed in and out of his routes. Fuller has also struggled to get his head around quickly enough to locate the ball and his concentration and hand-eye coordination has been lacking overall as he has failed to haul in some passes this week. Fuller reminds me of a poor man’s Roy Williams which isn’t saying a lot for him…his draft stock has dropped more than any other player from this year to last.

-North Carolina WR Dwight Jones has not impressed me this week. He struggled mightily with press coverage and failed to show the type of foot quickness and agility to create separation. He also got a bit upright and failed to drop his pad level when re-directed. I haven’t liked his level of physicality nor his attitude to compete at this point and while I admit he has loads of upside, he just hasn’t showed me enough to consider him in the 1st round as some have mentioned him in. Jones is more of a 2nd-3rd round WR for me at this point.

-Illinois OT Jeff Allen was a late replacement as well and has done a good job competing on short notice. A tackle for Illinois, Jeff Allen alternated between both the right and left side all season for the fighting Illini. His versatility had also been key for him here this week as he took snaps at guard and held his own for the most part. He is not overly athletic or long like some of the other highly touted offensive lineman prospects but don’t get it twisted Allen can play in the NFL. Allen plays with solid leverage and technique overall and can handle the bull rush by playing with a nice wide base and good inside hand positioning. His anchoring skills make him a soid fit to play at right tackle or guard in the NFL and I like him as a mid-round steal.

-Baylor C Phillip Blake has also caught my attention this week. Playing with players like RG3 and Kendall Wright it is very hard to notice a player like Blake on the line but he has held his own very well in 1 on 1’s. Blake is a thickly built player who neutralizes the bull rush and knows how to re-direct when beaten initially. He has quietly enjoyed a great week and will be getting extra looks on film from me and I am sure a handful of other scouts.

-Georgia OT/OG Cordy Glenn…or the “Dancing Bear: as I like to call him was the most impressive player for me today on either squad. He has nimble feet and displays nice quickness to get into his sets off the snap. His movement skills for a man who nearly weighs 350 lbs. is extremely rare and had me smiling and shaking my head at one point during team drills. On a toss sweep to the left Glenn pulled and fired out of his stance, getting out in front to pick up an attacking linebacker with great tenacity and aggressiveness. I was astonished at how well he moved and quickly he got up to speed to hit a moving target in space. Glenn also matched up very well with some of the best pass-rushers in Mobile this week in Upshaw, Coples, and Ingram and consistently held his own against these caliber players. Glenn is a long, strong, and surprisingly athletic big man who will be a very good offensive lineman in the NFL, who can start immediately. I was so impressed I haven’t ruled out the possibility of him staying at Left Tackle quite yet, but if that doesn’t work out he should be versatile enough to play Right Tackle or kick inside to Guard. I can’t wait to disect more film on this fine player, he is a real riser this week for me.

-Florida State OT Zebrie Sanders on the other hand struggled all week and really unimpressed me. He was consistently off-balance, dropping his head and bending at the waist, giving up ground to defenders all week. Granted he was lining up with some of the best defensive lineman in Mobile all week, he will face that caliber of competition on a week to week basis in the NFL. He lunged and got over-extended regularly and consistently failed to find his fit inside his man’s numbers. This was a big opportunity and week for Sanders to show what he is capable of but he failed to impress on a multitude of levels. I no longer see him as a potential first round pick and could fall out of the Top 50 overall completely with his poor showing.

-North Carolina DL Quinton Coples once again flashed his powerful and explosive nature by disengaging with relative ease on a consistent basis. As has been noted his get-off is nowhere near elite but he is just simply a sound and solid football player. I don’t think he warrants Top 10 talent but I would be shocked to see him fall out of the Top 15 overall at this point.

-South Carolina DL Melvin Ingram is probably the third best player on the South’s impressive defensive line after Upshaw and Coples. However, what makes Ingram special is his incredible quickness and athleticism as he does a great job of setting up his man and keeping them off-balance. His quick-twitch athleticism allows him to strike at a moment’s notice and his movements are extremely sudden and hard to mirror for opponents. Ingram is still developing in the handwork department and could do a better job turning his power to speed, but this a solid and versatile player who can make an impact immediately from multiple angles and positions along the defensive front….I like to call him the “Flying Torpedo”

-Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw has been the most impressive player in Mobile this week and while his lack of great height and sheer get-off may not be elite, Upshaw is a very fine player who has Top 10 talent in my opinion. No one player here can mix up his pass rush moves with speed and power better than Upshaw. He has extremely strong hands and plays with great leverage by consistently locking out and extending his elbows, being able to shed through contact. I really like Upshaw as a prospect and will be moving him up on my Big Board because of his consistent performances…I expect a big game from him Saturday.

-LB Zach Brown North Carolina has been flying around all over this entire week displaying his incredible range and athleticism..there’s a chance he could run as high as 4.4 in the 40 at the Combine. However, this doesn’t dis-warrant my notion that Brown is a better athlete than football at this point. I just don’t see his ability to make much of an impact in the run game and think he will be a liability in this area because of his average instincts and lack of physicality, as I’m not sure he enjoys contact. Brown will get over-drafted because of his great athleticism and while that is great because it makes him a great coverage player, I do not think he is a 3-down linebacker yet and prefer Lavonte David to him if I was an NFL Executive.

-Miami LB Sean Spence is another player turning heads and opening up eyes here this week. His physical demeanor and incredible instincts and ability to fly to the football is incredibly enticing despite his size (5-11 228 lbs.). Spence is another guy who was just a few inches taller we would be talking about a first round pick. Spence is one of my favorite linebackers in this draft despite his size…you just can’t teach attitude and physicality as it is something you have or don’t have, which Spence definitely does. 2nd-3rd round pick for me and solid player.

-Louisianna-Lafayette DB Dwight Bentley has intrigued me and others plenty with his play this week. Coming into the week I had heard he was a potential sleeper but never was I expecting him to be this good. He competed early and often and showed the ability to mirror his opponents and stay in their hip pockets with great consistency. His footwork and balance was good and he showed the ability to click and close on the football with good acceleration to a point rather than his man. I need to do more film work if I can find any on Bentley but he is the small schooler who got me most excited this week.

-Georgia DB Brandon Boykin has also been very impressive. His lack of height (5-9) and size (183 lbs.) will likely limit him a little, however this is one of the better slot/nickel corners available in this year’s draft. His footwork and short area quickness is very good and he competed hard on every rep from what I was able to see. The South squad has a lot of talented players in the secondary and Boykin is one of many who impressed this week. I’m giving him a solid 2nd round grade because of his coverage ability and for the fact that he can help you out in the return game.

-DB Casey Hayward Vanderbilt had an up and down week but was solid overall. His coverage was tight although he did struggle with foot speed at times. His punch/jam at the line is very good but I need to see him be a little less physical down the field as he got a little grabby well into the receiver’s routes..these things will draw P.I’s in the NFL. Nevertheless he seems to have very good ball skills evidenced by his 15 career interceptions and always seems to be around the football. I like him in the late 2nd early 3rd round range and think his best fit lies in a Cover 2 scheme.

-Last but certainly not least was North Alabama DB Janoris Jenkins who impressed greatly this week and showcased the skills that made him so effective against top SEC talent at Florida last year. He flips his hips so quickly and efficiently and can turn and run with receivers. He tends to gamble a little here and there by squatting on routes and stopping his feet, but overall he has been plenty impressive…just trying to make the big play instead of relying on his technique. He reminds me a lot of Asante Samuel and could be making a claim to be the 2nd CB taken after Morris Clairborne.

-Thanks for reading…sorry I was unable to get it out sooner.-

-Brandon

North Squad

Quarterbacks:

Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) was seen once again getting mental reps when not behind center and Wisconsin’s head coach Bret Billema had some very nice things to say about his work ethic. Noting that he is a quick study and a fast learner. Wilson is sort of the wildcard in this group but something about him has always intrigued me so I am interested to see him compete the rest of the week leading into the game Saturday. I didn’t get to see him throw too much today but on the one play I did see he showed read the  coverage and understood where to go with the football. Wilson kept his eyes on the high safety and saw the will linebacker move to the middle of the field before finding his open man to the left. These shows me he has some mental alertness and awareness with the football. Wilson strikes me as a player who does all the little things right.

– Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) was sort of an up and down day for Cousins as he made a great touch throw on a post corner at one point during practice. However, later during team he fell away from his throw and was late with the ball resulting in an interception by George Iloka of Boise State. I love Cousins intangibles and appreciate him as a quarterback but I need to see more of him. The competition between Russel in Kirk is heating up and I have to think it will only get better tomorrow, both these young guys have some things you like in a quarterback.

-Kellen Moore (Boise State) struggled again today with a fumbled snap (small hands) and showed very little in the arm strength department. He is going to have an extremely difficult time driving the ball into tight windows at the next level, which will limit his ability to be effective at the next level. His ball comes out with very little velocity and tends to float, making it easy for defensive backs to close on the football.

Running Backs

Doug Martin (Boise State) was the most impressive back today and gained some ground on his counterpart Chris Polk. Martin showed nice burst and explosion and did a good job pressing the line while running with a forward lean. His ability to change directions in an instant is extremely encouraging and one of the things that make him one of my favorite prospects in Mobile this week.

Chris Polk (Washington) struggled in one on one pass protection drills as he was essentially bulled-over by a smaller sized linebacker in Lavonte David. This was extremely discouraging considering many considered he would hold up well in pass protection. I am also starting to question Polk’s burst and acceleration through the hole as he doesn’t seem to possess much explosion to his game. I also noticed that Polk seemed to be going through the motions some as he didn’t finish his runs like he should. Today wasn’t the best day for one of the top backs in the draft, I’m excited to see how he responds tomorrow.

I didn’t get to see much of Pead or Herron running the football but both struggled in pass protection as well as they both were beaten and knocked off balanced with their poor technique.

Wide Receivers

T.J. Graham (NC State) didn’t have as impressive of a day as yesterday but was solid overall. He struggled a little bit with press coverage and had a double catch at one point, but overall he was solid and showed up for the 2nd day in a row which is encouraging. His routes still looked crisp and he also showed a lot of confidence in his hands. Graham’s stock should be on the rise after this week and I am interested to see how the coach’s use his talents in the game saturday.

Marvin Jones (California) once again had a good day as he showed natural burst and acceleration. He absolutely blew by coverage at one point and simply out ran the coverage. This deep speed is good to see and I will be watching him closer the rest of the week.

Brian Quick (Appalachian State) once again struggled for the 2nd day in a row. He had a couple dropped passes again today and was seen body catching more often than he had during film or yesterday at practice. There is no denying he has physical raw talent and potential with his size and length but he needs some refinement and work. His lack of explosiveness off the line is making him easy to turn and run with as he has created little separation all week. He looks stiff in and out of his breaks and is struggling to make much of an impact at this point in the week.

Gerrel Robinson (Arizona State) is a player who has caught my eye and intrigued me a little here and there. He has shown flashes of greatness by consistently catching the ball away from his frame. His long strides eat up cushions quickly and he is very quick to get on his man. His route running needs work but he is a smooth strider who covers a lot of ground and has been impressing me some this week. He’s a player on my radar that I will be watching closer in the coming days.

Tight Ends

Michael Egnew (Missouri) showed some potential as an in-line blocker yesterday but the same could not be said today. He struggled sustaining blocks and seems to lack strength at the point of attack. His routes were not as clean today and he showed less athleticism and ability to threaten the seam/stretch the field as well. I like Egnew but he needs to come out with a better showing on Wednesday and Thursday.

Offensive Tackles

Mike Adams (Ohio State) had a much more quiet day today than he did on monday. I liked the patience he showed setting into pass pro as he looked very strong and balanced. His play was quiet today and didn’t stand out on any good or bad levels, tomorrow I will watch closer.

Mike Brewster (Ohio State) is a player that has me frustrated. His battles in 1 on 1’s with Michigan’s Mike Martin are extremely chippy and fun to watch, especially considering the rich rivalry between their schools. However, his play has been too inconsistent to this point for my liking. One play he will get bull-rushed and knocked back into the quarterback and the next he will show good technique and movement skills to beat his man for positioning. Brewster has never really wowed me athletically and I am not that high on him as of right now.

Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) made some snaps from the center position today but looked a little uncomfortable and out of his element. He looked confused and out-of-place and his most natural place is inside at guard. I absolutely love his lunch pail type attitude as he is an absolute mauler and road grader up front. His technique is solid although he does struggle to reposition and sync together his feet and hips to recover on counter moves at times. Zeitler is very solid overall however and has helped himself this week, I have a solid 2nd round grade on him as of right now.

 Defensive Lineman

Vinny Curry (Marshall) has shown flashes but has yet to put it all together at this point. He is showing solid effort trying to bend the edge and run the arc but he is struggling with balance. He seems to be playing a bit stiff and bending at the waist, which is severely limiting his ability to turn the corner without being knocked off-balance around the corner. His pad level is nice but his ankle and hip flexibility seems to be lacking a bit. I wish I had the opportunity to see Curry run the figure eight drill to test this and see for myself firsthand, but I will just have to go with what I am seeing from him in 1 on 1 drills for now. Curry intrigues me and I am excited to watch more of him in the coming days of practice.

Mike Martin (Michigan) has been battling with Ohio State C Mike Brewster during 1 on 1’s for the last couple days and boy has it been fun to watch! Martin is built like a brick shit house and I got to meet him this summer during my internship with the Detroit Lions. I came away impressed with his attitude as he seemed to be a very well-spoken young man. He is squatty but thick, especially in the upper body where he has plenty of bulk. He is a relentless pass rusher that is very strong and powerful at the point of attack who wears you down with his persistent attitude as a rusher. Martin has improved his draft stock so far and scouts love his effort and motor on every play….he will find a way to make an impact in the NFL somehow , someway I can guarantee you that.

Kendall Reyes (Connecticut) has flashed all week and is one of the players I am going to go do more work on, based on the effort and film he has put out so far. He looks very quick and explosive off the line and is displaying nice handwork. His violent hands and impressive array of counter moves has gotten him noticed…he has been a riser and welcome surprise for many, including myself this week.

Alameda Ta’amu (Washington) responded well to a poor showing on monday. He showed nice quickness and explosion off the ball and gets a good push to collapse the pocket. We already know he lacks much to be desired in the pass rush department but his effort and tenacity on every play make him a good fit for a nose tackle role in the NFL.

Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati) didn’t stand out too much today but overall I liked what I saw from him. Wolfe plays with great pad level and gets a good push to collapse the pocket consistently. He struggles to get much arm extension to create space between he and his man, but did a wonderful job disengaging and finding the football. His versatility to play 3 technique in a 4-3 or 5 technique in a 3-4 is something that makes him very marketable to many teams and I expect his value to rise following his performance this week.

Linebackers

Lavonte David (Nebraska) has always been one of my favorite players in this draft and is being under-valued in my opinion. He absolutely bull-dozed Chris Polk during one on ones and is a much more stronger/powerful player than he is given credit for. It was also noted by the broadcast crew that he excelled on special teams. David is lacking in size some but I currently have him rated higher than more highly touted weakside linebacker prospect Zach Brown because of his ability to defend against the run.

Cam Johnson (Virginia) is another player who has flashed plenty all week. His quickness and athleticism has been extremely impressive as he was able to beat Mike Adams soundly with an up and under move. He also sealed the edge well and attacked with the proper shoulder by keeping his outside shoulder and arm free on the edge. He has been one of the more impressive players so far this week for me and I am excited to watch more film on him based on his performance.

Bobby Wagner (Utah State) had an impressive day overall. He was very good in coverage and displayed above average pass rushing ability in 1 on 1’s. Wagner is a bit on the shorter side but he is quietly putting together a strong showing.

Defensive Backs

Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska) was exposed for his lack of foot speed and inability to turn and run with receivers yesterday. I thought he responded well today after being allowed to play up at the line in press coverage where he is most comfortable. One of my favorite things about Dennard is his ability to recognize routes and reads his wide receivers movements and body language. This allows Dennard to stay in his man’s hip pocket very well and I thought he played very disciplined overall. He also excelled on special teams today which was good to hear given the criticism he has received to this point.

Jamell Flemming (Oklahoma) was one of the more impressive corners today in my opinion. He displayed loose hips and quick feet to turn and run with his man. His ball skills and ability to locate the football was also a very good thing to see. I am excited to see him play the rest of the week to get a better understanding of his overall skill level.

Donnie Fletcher (Boston College) had a very rough first day but bounced back nicely today. He looked much more comfortable pressing at the line as he was able to get a hand on his receiver and re-route/control him from the get go. I liked the way he responded, as he seemed much more patient and didn’t seem to be guessing and sitting on routes as much today.

Georg Iloka (Boise State) is creating all sorts of buzz this week, as many are very intrigued with his combination of size and athleticism. At 6-3 225 lbs, Iloka looks more like a linebacker than defensive back but his length and physical ability is hard not to notice. He has great range and length and made a fine interception on QB Kirk Cousins today. He does a nice job staying in his man’s hip pocket and was rewarded by his effort on the football field today. Iloka is generating some buzz this week and scouts are excited to see what he has to offer.

Biggest Winners:

1. RB Doug Martin Boise State

2. DL Kendall Reyes Connecticut

3. LB Lavonte David (Nebraska)

Biggest Losers:

1. RB Chris Polk Washington

2. TE Michael Egnew Missouri

3. C Mike Brewster Ohio State

South Squad

Quarterbacks

Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) has to be one of the biggest risers from today. He looked very balanced when asked to drop back and did a great job with ball placement, putting the ball over the correct shoulder on a deep touch throw to Joe Adams. His maturity is noticeable as well as he looks poised and confident as well as cool, calm, and collected. His accuracy and ball speed on the run was also a very promising thing to see as he also displayed solid footwork to get his body around into his throw. Weeden is easily the best quarterback on the South roster and is putting on a fantastic performance at this point. The game will be a better indicator but for now I have to say I am eating crow for having doubted his skill…just mentally biased because of his age, but if a team can look past that they could be getting a very fine quarterback capable of starting early.

Nick Foles (Arizona) has not been as impressive unfortunately. He looked like a wide-eyed rookie at moments today as he was less than commanding in the huddle or under center. He also looked slow going through his motions to execute the play and overall just looked out of his element and uncomfortable. Foles isn’t showing me the type of intangibles needed to become a starting franchise quarterback at this point.

I didn’t get much information on Ryan Lindley today but will try again tomorrow.

 Running Backs

Chris Rainey (Florida) was really the only player I got to take many detailed notes on today. He was used as a receiver today and although his routes were extremely raw, he flashed potential and unbelievable quickness and speed. A true track star Rainey absolutely blew by his former team-mate Janoris Jenkins at one point and seemed to be almost gliding down the field. Rainey may be one of the most versatile players in this game and I am excited to see how Mike Shanahan and the Redskins use his speed and skill in the game Saturday.

Wide Receivers

Joe Adams (Arkansas) had another impressive day. His suddenness and quickness allowed him to beat the press and he has proved to be a very hard player to keep covered for very long. He gained inside positioning with his footwork and will have extra value because of his return ability..Adams has helped himself so far this week.

Juron Criner (Arizona) was the star from practice today after making an excellent one handed stab on a comeback route near the sidelines. The catch showcased Criner’s superb athleticism, concentration, and hand-eye coordination skills. He also looked fast and fluid showcasing a solid double move to create separation. Criner is creating some buzz this week and is looking to move up the draft rankings.

Jeff Fuller (Texas A&M) has been less than stellar and the analyst brought up a point/concern about Fuller that I have also noted in the past. For being so big, Fuller is just way too soft and needs to be much more physical to get the most out of his impressive frame/size. He showed little burst and his ability to accelerate was modest at best. His routes seemed to be leggy and slow developing for me and I am concerned with his ability to separate at the next level.

Tight Ends

Ladarius Green (Louisianna-Lafayette) didn’t look as sudden or explosive as I would have liked, however he used his length very well and showed effortless hands to snag passes away from his long frame. I need to see much more from Green in the coming days and will be paying closer attention.

Another player who is starting to generate some buzz and caught my eye today was LSU TE Deangelo Peterson who has NFL size and athletic ability. Keep an eye on Peterson, as he could be one of those rare players who has a better pro than college career.

Offensive Lineman

James Brown (Troy) is a player Mike Mayock has mentioned as a potential sleeper and player he is intrigued by and I saw a little bit why today. He gets good inside hand placement and shows nice ability to re-set and close door back inside on counter moves. His patience is also nice and the only thing I noticed was that he played a little upright at times but this flaw is correctable. Brown is a player to watch in the coming days as he is faced up with some very talented defensive lineman on the South squad.

Cordy Glenn (Georgia) gets good pop and is quick off the snap. He also keeps his elbows in for the most part and did a nice job re-anchoring and recovering with solid footwork. He got beat with a spin move when he failed to keep his feet moving but overall I like his ability to reset his feet if beaten initially. Glenn has a better chance of staying outside at tackle than Keleche Osemele in my opinion.

Ben Jones (Georgia) is never going to look to great in 1 on 1’s and he struggled a bit today. He exposes his chest and lets players into his body far too easily, but Jones just seems to get the job done consistently. This is why I currently have Jones ranked higher than Ohio State’s Mike Brewster.

Matt McCants (UAB) is a player I see some potential in. He got matched up with some great players today in Upshaw and Ingram but did well for the most part. I loved his discipline to not flinch or jump when Upshaw twice tried to time the snap and twitched to try to draw a false start from McCants. However, Matt stood in there strong and didn’t get flustered or uncomposed. This shows me some mental alertness and concentration, all while standing across from the most feared pass rusher in the entire Senior Bowl. He bent at the waist a little and got a little straight legged, leaving him unbalanced and susceptible which Upshaw took good advantage of by knocking him to the ground. McCants is raw but there is definitely potential here, keep an eye on him.

Zebrie Sanders (Florida State) was a bit inconsistent today as he showed both some good and some bad things. I love his ability to anchor and neutralize the bull-rush as he also re-set his hands and feet well. However, he dropped his head and bent at the waist when lined up with Ingram, which is more a testament to Ingram’s athletic ability than anything in my opinion. Sander’s was one of my potential break-out players heading into the week but that has yet to culminate as he has struggled against Coples and Ingram to this point.

Defensive Lineman

Quinton Coples (North Carolina) has very stong and powerful hands that allow him to disengage with relative ease. I don’t believe he has a very good get-off, as his quickness is lacking but I never thought of him as a dominant pass rusher coming in. His burst and athleticism is good relative to his size and he is a player that can help vs. the pass and run…he has been solid so far, but is probably not worth a Top 10 pick at this point.

Jaye Howard (Florida) flashed a bit today during 1 on 1’s. His spin move had Cordy Glenn rendered off balanced and he looked pretty disruptive inside during team, shooting gaps and showing his quickness/explosion off the ball. Howard caught some people’s attention today and will be getting a much closer look in the coming days of practice.

Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) played like a man possessed today. His athleticism was on full display and his versatility to play with his hand in the dirt or standing up has defensive coordinators chomping at the bit. Ingram flashed very good explosion and quickness as he was able to beat his man with both and inside swim and deceptive swim move. Ingram is definitely catching people’s attention today and is one of the high risers of the week so far…he is creating plenty of buzz.

Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) was the big winner of the day, flashing very agile and fluid movements. Upshaw can change directions suddenly and uses very little wasted movements to do so. His quick twitch athleticism and burst allows him to mix up his speed and power moves with the best of them, as he completely knocked OT Matt McCants to the ground with a fantastic push-pull technique. His arm extension and handwork is very good and allows him to disengage suddenly, making him an absolute nightmare to defend one on one. Upshaw is the best player in Mobile in my opinion and is slowly staking claim to a Top 10 pick…he could have a Von Miller type impact if put into the right situation.

Linebackers

I really didn’t get too great look at the linebackers from the South squad today. However, both Zach Brown and Keenan Robinson impressed me in coverage. Robinson used his length very well and Brown looks very natural/comfortable in man to man, making him a good weakside linebacker candidate. I still think Brown is a liability in run defense however and question his overall instincts, but I am excited to see him compete in the game and see how he fares in this area.

 Defensive Backs

Antonio Allen (South Carolina) was/is a player I am extremely excited to see and watch in the coming days of practice. I didn’t get to see much today but did see him get physical and use his long arms and length well in coverage. Allen is a player I am higher on than most.

Dwight Bentley (Louisianna-Lafayette) definitely caught my eye today. He is light at 173 lbs. but I like his ability to read and recognize routes. He made a great break on the ball and did a great job at closing to a point rather than his man, almost coming up with the interception. He doesn’t seem to be backing down or shying away from the big stage and has come here to compete this week, which is something I really like and appreciate from a small school player.

Brandon Boykin (Georgia) was another cornerback on the South squad who impressed me today. Boykin displayed a certain physicality and scrapiness to his play today and is really competing and fighting to finish drills on a consistent basis. The effort and passion is definitley evident and his athletic ability is starting to turn some heads. He does a great job mirroring or shadowing his man and does a great job sticking in their hip pocket down the field. Boykin is a player who can contribute on special teams instantly and line up over the slot in a nickel back type role. He is starting to win me over and has impressed me so far this week.

Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt) was another impressive corner. On film, Heyward always seems to be around the football. I really appreciate his mirroring skills as well, as he reads his receivers movements and has a great feel for when his man is about to break into his route. Hayward did get a little over-aggressive however as he got a little grabby downfield after 5 yards, which will not fly in the NFL. I will be watching this closely over the next couple days.

Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) was burned by former team-mate Chris Rainey early but responded well on his very next rep by squatting on the route and taking away inside positioning. This showed me that Jenkins is a competitor who is also very savvy in figuring out how to best defend his man by not allowing to get beat twice by the same move. Jenkins has had a good week and I am excited to hear more on how he has interviewed with teams.

Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State) is a very fluid athlete with nice footwork. His quickness and acceleration allowed him to undercut a route and nearly make an interception during team. One of the questions on Martin coming in was his ability in coverage so this was a very positive thing to see from him. If Martin can continue to look good in coverage he could secure his spot in the 2nd round.

Ryan Steed (Furman) has been unimpressive and overmatched in my opinion. He’s not physical enough and is struggling to break down and change directions. I am not too big of a fan of his from what I have seen. However, when the lights go on Saturday you never know what can happen…he will need to do a lot however to change my stance on him.

Biggest Winners:

1. LB Courtney Upshaw Alabama

2. QB Brandon Weeden Oklahoma State

3. WR Juron Criner Arizona

Biggest Losers:

1. QB Nick Foles Arizona

2. WR Jeff Fuller Texas A&M

3. CB Ryan Steed Furman

Sorry this posting was so late…had to work and didn’t get around to starting this until later, hope you enjoyed nonetheless!

-Brandon

North Carolina WR Dwight Jones-

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

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

North Carolina G Jonathon Cooper-

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

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

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples-

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

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

North Carolina LB Zach Brown-

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

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

North Carolina LB Kevin Reddick-

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

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

Missouri TE Michael Egnew-

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

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

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

– Brandon

Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill-

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

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

Texas A&M RB Cyrus Gray-

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

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

Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller-

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

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

Texas A&M LB Sean Porter-

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

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

Missouri TE Michael Egnew-

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

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

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

Thanks again for reading my post, hope you enjoy!

-Brandon

Virginia Tech RB David Wilson-

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

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

Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin-

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

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

Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley-

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

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

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples-

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

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

North Carolina LB Zach Brown-

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

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

North Carolina WR Dwight Jones-

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

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

North Carolina G Jonathon Cooper-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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