Guest writer Paul
G. serves up his insights for Loyal DD readers.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE - EARLY BOWLS 2008
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I have been trying all year to get a good read on MOORE’s play. He was bothered most of the season with a couple of nagging injuries. He looked at his healthiest, at least for 2008, in the ALAMO BOWL against NORTHWESTERN. This was a good test of his DB skills because the WILDCATS like to spread the field. MOORE demonstrated once again (in my opinion) that he is more than an in-the-box defender. He seems to have ball location radar in the secondary. He also delivers some strong hits on ball carriers. He is the best all-around senior FS on the 2009 DRAFT list. I do think underclassmen will push him out of Round 1, especially if TAYLOR MAYS comes out. Round 2.
CHUNG is slightly hard to project to the NFL because of questions about his coverage skills. Everything else is first rate about his play. His start in the HOLIDAY BOWL was his 50th for the DUCKS. That means he was there every week for his team. His competitive level of play is off the charts. He loves to stick his nose into the action, and is a solid in-the-box DB right now. He is likely to be a Special Teams demon right from the start for an NFL team. His overall positives far outweigh his coverage concerns. Some team that needs S help will grab him early on Day Two. Round 3.
I’ve seen JOHNSON play three times this season, and my first thought every time is that he plays faster than his listed 40-time. Watching him in the Holiday Bowl reinforced that opinion against the COWBOYS Defense which is very fast and athletic. JOHNSON will never be a Franchise Workhorse RB, but he offers explosive quickness; can catch the ball; will block; and is well suited for a West Coast offensive scheme. If he puts up the kind of numbers I think he will at the Combine he will come off the DRAFT Board early on Day Two. Round 3 (late).
One of the few consistently bright spots for the BADGERS in 2008 was the play of SHAUGHNESSY. He is a naturally gifted pass-rusher. But unfortunately, that is his only transferable skill right now as he prepares for the NFL. He needs to add a few pounds (which may be tough with his frame) and strength to his game. On many occasions this year I have seen him collapse the pocket and push the QB out. But about half of the time he ends up dancing with an OL, because he can’t get free and complete the sack. That will be a major problem in the NFL. He does not possess enough overall athleticism to convert to a 3-4 OLB in my opinion. Right now he looks like a solid pass-rush specialist for some NFL team, but not an every down player. Round 3-4.
I had been waiting to get a second look at MITCHELL after catching him in action early in the season. I was anxious to get a peek at him against a solid D unit like MARYLAND. I liked what I saw of him in the HUMANITARIAN BOWL. He is long and lean with dependable hands and the ability to go high for the ball. He is also elusive after the catch with good cutting ability. He chews up lots of real estate with his long-legged strides. It would be nice if he could add 10-15 lbs. without losing his speed, but he is already looking like a TOP 100 Prospect as we head toward the COMBINE. Round 3-4.
HOOD is a very good college DT, but I am not convinced his game will translate to the NFL at a high level. He has decent size, but looks more like a skater, than an anchor. He will need to play next to a monster NT-type who requires double-team blocking. He is quick enough to shoot the gap and cause disruption in the pocket. HOOD is a team leader with a good attitude, but I think he will not be much more than a solid DT in a 4-3 scheme, in a rotation system. Round 4.
MATT FODGE/P/OKLAHOMA ST/6-1/195
FODGE actually led the nation in Punting for 2008, but didn’t get enough punts in to qualify for the title. Because of the COWBOYS potent Offense he only was called upon to punt 31 times in 12 games. He can boot the ball high and far, but also displays the touch needed to place the ball inside the 20 when required. He is very athletic, which plays well with more and more NFL teams calling for fake punts. He should be taken in the middle of Day Two. Pay attention PACKERS fans. Round 5-6.
I have been waiting all season for LONGSHORE to get his chance to start again and demonstrate that he has regained the skills he demonstrated two seasons ago. He had his moments in the EMERALD BOWL and CAL did win, but he looked like a mediocre college QB, and not a real NFL Prospect. He seems totally uncomfortable in the pocket, and has no consistent throwing mechanics at this time. His reads are confused and his throws are very erratic. He is not effectively mobile in the pocket, and runs out way too quickly. He is not a draftable player at this time. RFA.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 15 2008
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RUSSELL OKUNG/OT/OKLAHOMA ST/6-5/300/5.20/40/JR #76
There has been a bit of speculation over the past month or so about OKUNG declaring for the 2009 DRAFT. He is very athletic and I would bet his 10 and 20-yard time splits could be very good. He is a long, lean player who uses his arms too much right now and needs to spend some serious time in an NFL weight room. He is very agile, with quick feet, but when I watched him he showed a tendency to overrun some of his blocks at the second level. If he comes out he is a solid First Day Prospect, but will likely take a year or two to develop enough functional strength and technique to start. Round 2.
VICTOR "MACHO" HARRIS/CB/VA TECH/5-11/195/4.55/40 #1
More than once during his college career HARRIS has gotten in trouble with his mouth and his ego. But he is a very skilled all-around player whose toughness and confidence will give him a chance for NFL stardom. He is a physical cover-corner with more quickness than speed. He is a ball hawk he needs a bit more discipline for the pro game. He has excellent hands, and has seen considerable time as an extra WR in the clutch for the Hokies. He is also a potentially explosive return man. Needs the right team and coaching staff to work with him, but he has lots of talent if his emotions are under control. Round 3.
CARY HARRIS/CB/SOUTHERN CAL/5-11/185/4.50/40 #7
HARRIS is another example of a very good player who gets lost somewhat in the glitter of “star” players for the Trojans. Quietly, HARRIS has started on the Corner for 3 years for Pete Carroll’s defense. There aren’t many players who go through SoCal and can say that. He is a solid cover corner, and very adept at playing zone. While MAYS & ELLISON are chasing the ball and hitting everything in sight, someone has to actually cover some receivers; that man would be HARRIS. Watch his stock rise in the post-season. He will end up knocking on the door of Day One. Round 3.
ANDY LEVITRE/OG/OREGON ST/6-2/325/5.20/40 #66
LEVITRE has evolved into the shining star of the BEAVERS OL over the past couple of years. He spent this past season at OT, but his lack of height and foot speed indicate a move inside will be his best bet for the Pros. He could still slide outside in an emergency. His strength and power are very impressive. ANDY may blow some folks away at the Combine when they hit the weight room. He may be able to handle a zone blocking scheme, but I like him best playing for the RAVENS or STEELERS. Round 3-4.
CODY BROWN/OLB/UCONN/6-2/248/4.65/40 #50
He has been a pass-rush terror for the Huskies, leading the Big East Conference in sacks for the 2008 season. He has top end speed for his size and can really run to the ball and/or the QB. Locates the ball well and gets TFL to go along with his sacks. Will play the run but his frame will not hold up at DE in the pros. He will be a project for an NFL team that seeks to transition him to an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. That move will be his best chance at becoming an NFL impact player: think LAMARR WOODLEY. Round 3-4.
RON BRACE/DT/B.C./6-3/330/5.30/40 #60
RAJI gets most of the pub, and deservedly so, but what really makes the BC defensive middle so impenetrable is BRACE lining up right next to him. BRACE is also strong as an ox and another immovable object. He and RAJI are the college version of the WILLIAMS WALL for the VIKINGS. He is a little slower than RAJI and thus does not get into the backfield as often. But in a short area he is an absolute bull. He has to go early on Day Two next April. What a treat if both the BC DTs were in Mobile come January. Round 3-4
DREW WILLY/QB/BUFFALO/6-3/210/4.90/40 #16
WILLY looks like a nice developmental prospect for late on Day Two next April. He has an above average arm with decent accuracy. He is reported to be highly coachable, and has improved every year at the helm of the BUFFALO offense. As his 40-time indicates he is less than fleet-footed so he will need to have a solid OL in front of him. He is a major reason for the football team’s Bowl season and someone looking for that 3rd QB to possibly nurture should take a chance on him late. Round 6-7.
DEREK KINDER/WR/PITT/6-0/210/4.52/40 #81
This was a rehab season for KINDER, who blew out a knee in 2007 season. The jury is still out, but he seemed to pick up the pace as the year went on and saw more balls come his way as the PANTHERS put on a solid finish to the 2008 season. I’m still not sure where to slot KINDER in as a prospect. It would be nice to see him at the SHRINE GAME in Houston. I think we will also learn a lot from his COMBINE physical and work-outs. Keep an eye on his progress in this post-season if your favorite team needs a No.3-4 possession receiver. Round 6-7/PFA
B.J. HILL/CB/RS/BALL STATE/5-7/180/4.50/40 #3
A converted RB who has excelled at CB both in Pass D and run support. I have watched BALL STATE 4 times this season, and on every occasion HILL caught my eye with his play. He is cat quick and really explodes to the ball. He is also an exceptional returner using his speed, strength and quick-cut ability to leave coverage units clutching at empty air. If he was even 3” taller I would proclaim him a solid second day prospect, but I think his future is as a star in the Arena Football League. But some NFL team has got to add him to their Training Camp roster, and then find it very hard to find a way to cut him. PFA.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 14 2008
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Quickness and penetration are the two key adjectives in describing MARKS' game. He is solid and strong, but can be pushed around on runs up the gut. He needs to play in a Tampa-2 scheme, or at the least with a NT type beside him to eat up blockers. Given those scenarios he can be a high tackle count player, who spends a lot of his time disrupting opposing backfields. He will be highly sought after if he comes out. Round 1.
PHIL LOADHOLT/OT/OKLAHOMA/6-8/345/5.35/40 #79
LOADHOLT was highly touted coming to the SOONERS from the Juco ranks in 2007. He started and had an OK season, but was not the dominant player he was expected to be. From watching him in 5 Sooner games this year, I think he improved tremendously and is a solid First Day prospect. He is a load at 345 lbs, but is not fat, and moves very well for his size. He gets to the second level blocks with regularity. His pass-pro is solid, but I think he will have to switch to the right side in the NFL. Not an elite player, but certainly not a 'stiff' like former BADGER prospect AARON GIBSON. He would really fit nicely on a team like the EAGLES with aging OTs. Round 2.
JONATHAN LUIGS/OC/ARKANSAS/6-4/315/4.95/40 #63
Probably the most athletic OC in this year's class. He is very strong, mobile and quick. You don't find very many OC who weight 315 lbs. and can still turn in a sub-5.0/40. Do not underestimate how much of the success of the recently departed McFADDEN/JONES RB duo was due to MR. LUIGS being at the heart of the ARKANSAS OL for the past 3 years. Has to be a First Day selection by any standard. Round 2.
I am happy to say that JASPER is back in fine form after recovering from serious knee surgery late in the 2007 season. He has been his monster self patrolling the middle of the Gamecocks solid Defense during the second half of the 2008 season. He is fairly quick for his weight and makes some bone-jarring tackles. For his size he can actually cover TEs and RBs coming underneath over the middle. He reads offensive plays well and gets to the ball consistently. Overall, he is a smash-mouth player who needs to be with a power D team like the STEELERS or RAVENS. He is another guy I hope to see in Mobile, and his physical in Indy at the COMBINE will be huge for his final Prospect ranking. Keep your eye on BRINKLEY in Jan and Feb. Round 3-4.
PAT WHITE/ATH/W VIRGINIA/6-0/190/4.45/40 #5
Let's get one thing straight right from the get-go here: WHITE is not going to be an NFL QB. His throwing has improved over the course of his stay in Morgantown, but his arm is average at best, and he is still not accurate enough for today's NFL. But he might make an excellent "slash player" on a team that wants some Spread options on occasion in their game plan. He could also be a valuable, exciting Return Man and could play some snaps at WR in 4-5 receiver sets. He will be a value pick for a good team looking to add some specific dimensions to their overall team package. Round 3-4.
'BEAR' PASCOE/TE/FRESNO STATE/6-6/258/4.85/40 #85
An old fashioned big TE who can catch the ball, run over some smaller DBs and block for the run. Not as good as, but a MIKE DITKA throwback in style of play: smash-mouth. A nice short area receiving target when the WRs are covered deep. His only problem right now is that in fighting for another yard or two, he coughs up the ball every other game or so. That habit won't fly in the NFL. Round 3-4.
ZACH POTTER/DE/NEBRASKA/6-7/285/4.95/40 #98
One of the biggest benefactors of the PELINI Coaching regime coming to Lincoln. ZACH came on really strong in his senior season. He is tall and uses his is long arms to good advantage tipping balls and obscuring the vision of opposing QBs. He is quicker than you might guess at first glance, and is a hustle player. His upper body can get stronger. I feel his frame and skills will translate best to the Pros if used in a 3-4 front. Watching him this fall his play has brought to mind a more highly regarded predecessor, ADAM CARRIKER. Please invite POTTER to Mobile, Steve. Round 4-5.
CONREDGE COLLINS/PITT/5-11/232/4.65/40 #30
Best all around Senior FB prospect for the 2009 DRAFT. He is a hellacious lead blocker who can really rock defenders. He is also a short yardage running threat when needed. He has decent hands for screens and short flat passes, and shows instincts to turn up-field after the catch. Another player with excellent bloodlines. His father TONY was a decent NFL RB, primarily with the PATS. Round 4-5.
PAT KUNTZ/DT/NOTRE DAME/6-2/285/4.95/40 #96
Another guy who will be a functional DL rotation guy for some 4-3 NFL defense. He excels in the areas of effort and tackling technique. Even though he lacks that preferred 300lb+ size his sub5 second 40- time makes his a solid lateral pursuit prospect. He is also very coachable and consistent. A solid late round Pro part-timer. Round 6-7.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 13 2008
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JERMAINE GRESHAM/TE/6-6/260/4.70/40/JR #18
The time is right for this stellar performer and physical specimen to throw himself into the Pro game. He really does remind me of TONY GONZALEZ at this age. He is an effective and willing blocker. LBs do not have the speed or quickness to cover him. No DBs are going to take the ball away from him. The only weak spot in his overall game would seem to be a tendency to drop an occasional easy pass. They even use his size and speed combo to advantage on TE screens in the OKIE Offense. He becomes the top TE prospect for 2009 if he declares. Round 1.
ARTHUR JONES/DT/SYRACUSE/6-4/295/5.00/40/JR #97
JONES turned in perhaps the most impressive performance I have seen this fall by an interior DL against NOTRE DAME. He was everywhere, all at once; at the sideline, in the backfield, plugging the middle. In a word he was; DOMINANT. He totaled 15 tackles; 4 of them in the Irish backfield as TFL. He also had 1 ˝ sacks on the day. It was no fluke…this guys has been an excellent player on a bad team for 3 yeas. If he comes out I can’t see him being any worse than a Round 2 selection; maybe better with a strong COMBINE performance. Round 1-2.
SHONN GREENE/RB/IOWA/5-11/235/4.55/40/JR #23
GREENE has exploded as a prospect this season after moving back to RB and sitting out the 2007 season. He has developed into one of the most punishing, yet explosive big backs in College Football this season. For the 2008 season GREENE rushed for 1729 yds-6.2ypc-17 TD… gaining over 100 yards in all 13 IOWA games. He is explosive for a big back with great strength and balance. He seems to glide despite his size, comparing favorably to JEROME BETTIS. I would encourage him to come out since he will be 24 when the 2009 season begins. He is prototypical power back, without the normal amount of wear on his treads. Round 2-3.
DEMETRIUS BYRD/WR/LSU/6-2/200/4.45/40 #2
BYRD has been a key weapon in the LSU Offense over the last two years, but he has not been the premier player he was projected to be coming out of the JC ranks. He has been solid but not a game breaker. But he seems like an athlete with big time potential. Is a good leaper, with reliable hands. He runs solid patterns, but seems to let up as plays become extended. Not a go-to receiver. He is probably going to make a solid No.3 receiver in the NFL at best.
CHRIS CRANE/QB/B.C./6-4/235/4.90/40 #10
CRANE decided to stay at BC and bide his time behind MATTY ICE. He reasoned that one solid year as a starter would allow him to show Pro Scouts what he was capable of. It looks like he was right. He has established himself as a solid Pro Prospect with some solid play in his senior season. His arm is well above average and he moves around a bit for a guy his size. He seems to be a student of the game and is very coachable. He looks to be a solid developmental QB. MATT CASSEL’s emergence this season has really helped a talented but inexperienced player like CRANE in the eyes of NFL personnel people. Round 4-5.
While watching DEREK PEGUES in the ALABAMA game I began to notice that the defender making most of the plays for the BULLDOG Defense was DOUGLAS. He was all over the field making tackles and covering receivers in space. For his size he delivered some very hard hits. He was relentless in pursuit of the ball no matter how far he started from the ball. While he tries to establish his value as a weak side LB he should be a major contributor on Special Teams. Round 4-5.
BRADLEY FLETCHER/CB/IOWA/6-1/200/4.47/40 #29
Last year in Mobile an IOWA DB established himself as a very solid NFL Prospect: CHARLES GODFREY. Right now GODFREY starts at S for the PANTHERS. I think FLETCHER may follow in his footsteps during the post-season. He is a solid, well built Cover-2 type CB, who is very physical with WRs. His speed is OK for that style of coverage, but he could adjust to S in other secondary schemes. He can cover and he will tackle with gusto. He helped muscle up on, and shut down the GOPHERS’ WRs last weekend, and really looked solid. Watch for his name; he may really move up DRAFT lists in the ALL-STAR games and at the COMBINE. Round 4-5.
DERRICK GOODMAN/WR/CINCINNATI/6-0/215/4.65/40 #16
Looking at GOODMAN’s 40-time makes him an afterthought at first blush. After watching him twice this season, I have elevated his Pro potential significantly. He has strong, sure hands and will win almost any battle for the ball with DBs. He runs solid patterns and is master of the YAC. He is a poor man’s BOLDIN if he catches the ball on the run. And when it is time for him to block his strength and tenacity make him look like a TE in action. He will also be a good ST player; perhaps as a gunner. Round 4-5.
JEFF SCHWEIGER/DE/SAN JOSE ST/6-4/275/4.80/40 #17
A highly recruited high school athlete who began his college career at Southern Cal. He has found his starting spot with the Spartans and still shows a quick, strong pass-rush move. He appears to only have a mind set to seek the QB however. Against Fresno Sate I saw him totally ignore a RB with the ball as he hurried to the QB. He will have to show better overall play to be much of a Pro, but all the tools and numbers are there. The puzzle with SCHWEIGER may be getting inside his head to determine if he wants to play football badly enough to work harder on his all-around game. This is a mystery man who I sure hope gets to some post-season All-Star Game exposure. Round 5-7.
MORTTY IVY/LB/W VIRGINIA/6-1/235/4.75/40 #44
He appears to have just a slight bit of pro potential, because of his size and speed. I was unimpressed overall watching him play against LOUISVILLE, because he seems disinterested in anything going away from him, or not in his immediate area. His pursuit was lazy and measured. He appeared to have very little interest in making contact unless as a last resort. Too bad, because he is a decent tackler, has size and finds the ball when it comes near him. Because of his seeming lack of desire to initiate contact I can’t picture him as a Special Teams player. A real long shot based on what I saw. Round 6-7.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 12 2008
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VONTAE DAVIS/CB/ILLINOIS/6-0/205/4.40/40/JR #1
I think he will come out this year, and should be the second CB taken, after JENKINS. He is stronger than he was a year ago, and I was pleased to see him come up quite aggressively in run support against OHIO STATE. He has the speed and size to cover any WR on his side of the field. Has good ball sense, and should create some INTs at the next level. Should be a TOP 15 Pick. Round 1 (EARLY).
TIM TEBOW/QB/FLORIDA/6-3/238/FLORIDA/4.55/40/JR #15
It is hard to get your hands around the phenomenon that is TEBOW. He is an updated, thicker bodied version of VINCE YOUNG, who tantalized and baffled the Pro Scouts 3 years ago. TEBOW has improved in his accuracy as a passer over the past two seasons, and arm strength has never been an issue. But he is at his best in the run/throw Spread O, and NFL Coaches have still not designed a full-time NFL scheme that will optimize the TEBOW talent/skill set. They had best keep working at it, because more and more college QBs are going to come out with this skill set and style, which will leave the NFL scrambling to find enough quality players with the traditional NFL QB skill set. If FLORIDA wins the BCS title, I think you can count on him coming out early. Round 1.
BRANDON SPIKES/LB/FLORIDA/6-4/245/4.65/40/JR #51
SPIKES is the most athletic and consistent performer in the GATOR front seven, and has been so his entire 3 years in Gainesville. He likes to hit, finds the ball well and is fluid in his pass drops. He has good leaping ability and reliable hands. He gets more than a few INTs with his athleticism. My only concern is that with his lanky frame he may have to transition to an OLB position in the NFL. He has the tools and skills to do so, but there would be a learning curve. He is probably not an instant starter. Round 1-2.
JAMES LAURINAITIS/MLB/OHIO STATE/6-2/240/4.58/40 #33
He continues to be a leader of the D both on and off the field. He is all over the field, but tends to his responsibilities first. Has decent pass drop skills and can cover slower TE and RB for 10 yards or so. Has shown inside blitz skills which are coveted in the NFL. He reacts well to the ball, but has only average pro level pursuit skills. He has not been a big playmaker as a collegian. He does not blow up plays, and will have to work on his overall strength to excel at the next level. All-in-all a TOP 15 Prospect. Round 1.
DAN LEFEVOUR/QB/C. MICHIGAN/6-3/225/4.70 /40/JR #13
No I do not have a man-crush on LEFEVOUR. But I am telling you he is the real deal and has a chance to be a very good NFL starting QB in a couple of years. He plays in a Spread O, but if you watch carefully he displays good footwork on his drops, and has improved his throwing accuracy considerably over the past three seasons. His arm strength is well above average and he can make all the throws. He can run, but takes way too many hits right now. In fact, that is why I think (strongly) that he needs to declare and get his pro career underway. There is nothing more he can learn as a CHIPPEWAH that will help him in the Pros. Great developmental prospect late on DAY ONE. Round 2.
XAVIER FULTON/OT/ILLINOIS/6-4/300/4.95/40 #68
Another guy who doesn’t quite fit the stereotype for his position in the NFL by today’s standards. He does not have a wide base, and relies on his quickness and foot speed to block. He is not geared to the power running game, and most likely will need to put on another 10-15 lbs.; finesse player. He punches effectively with his hands against pass-rushers to keep them off balance and keeps his own balance well in a back-pedal. Will fit well in a blocking scheme like the PATRIOTS or COLTS. Not an elite player, but is solid in my TOP 100. Round 3.
TREVOR CANFIELD/OG/CINCINNATI/6-5/305/5.15/40 #76
A long legged, lean and muscular OL who looks like a throwback to the ‘70s with his body type. Yet he weighs in at over 300 lbs. He looks very stiff legged at times, but he gets where he needs to be and can pull. He is functionally strong and when tough yards are needed they run right over his position. He is not your prototypical NFL OG based on the eyeball test, but should make the grade in a West Coast/Spread type offense. Might be a solid G/T swingman in the NFL. Round 3-4.
RASHARD JOHNSON/FS/ALABAMA/6-0/195/4.50/40 #49
A walk-on, who started his 'BAMA career on Special Teams. He is still an elite ST player, but has become much more. He is a legit threat to at least be a part time starter in the Pros. His weight is an issue, but not his strength or conditioning. He is rock hard and can run all day long. He has shown a nose for the ball in the secondary, and has added the INT to his arsenal of skills. He is now knocking on the door to be a TOP 100 Prospect. I am very anxious to watch him practice in Mobile this January. Round 3-4.
DEREK PEGUES/FS/RS/MISS STATE/5-10/195/4.49/40 #3
I was watching PEGUES carefully in the ALABAMA game, looking for those BOB SANDERS traits I had heard about. I saw a good college S, who is a bit undersized, but with good speed. He has some shake and bake as a return-man. But I did not see anything resembling BOB SANDERS. For me he is an early mid-Round player. I will also want to watch him carefully in Mobile to see if he can display special qualities to set him apart from the crowd. Round 3-4.
KORY SHEETS/RB/PURDUE/5-11/210/4.50/40 #24
Talk about a guy who really elevated his level of play, and DRAFT stock in his senior season…say hello to Mr. SHEETS. He was not even listed as the starter for PURDUE in some pre-season depth charts. He has had a solid year showing the ability to run effectively, catch well out of the backfield and block in pass-pro. He now looks like an excellent prospect for a West Coast O. I also would bet that he can develop into a very valuable Special Teams performer, both on coverage and return units. Round 3-4.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 11 2008
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My first comment in scouting BEY in three games is that MD doesn’t look for him enough. This guy is an absolute potential game-breaker every time he touches the ball. He has wonderful size and incredible speed. I saw catch a pass down the seam early in the VA TECH game and the race to the end zone was no contest. That sub-4.4 number is for real. He can go high for the jump ball and has hand strength and vertical to out-battle almost every DB for the catch. He has to come out early for the 2009 DRAFT; his game and his body are NFL ready. Round 1 (TOP 15).
B. J. RAJI/DT/B.C./6-1/325/5.15/40 #90
I’ve now seen RAJI play three times this season, and my conclusion is that he is going to be a beast in the NFL. He is so strong he demands triple-team blocking at times. I have seen him push his blocker into the runner, in the backfield, a couple of times each game. He has excellent pad level and almost always wins the leverage battle. I think he can play NT if needed, but see him showing to best advantage in a WILLIAMS-Boys type 4-3 duo. He compares favorably to CASEY HAMPTON coming out of Texas. It is going to take a large number of top tier underclassmen coming out to push RAJI out of the 2009 First Round in my estimation. Round 1.
C. J. SPILLER/RB/RS/CLEMSON/5-11/195/4.40/40 #28
I have changed my mind and decided to profile SPILLER, because with the firing of TOMMY BOWDEN I think the odds are SPILLER will declare early and move on after this season. He is another REGGIE BUSH type player, and will require an open offensive system where he can get 20 touches per game, with most of them being on returns and/or out in space. He has very good hands and the explosiveness to break short throws into TDs, as he did early in the FSU game. He should also make a very explosive KR at the next level. He should be a First Rounder, but I wouldn’t look at him unless I had a pick in the second half of the Round, and played a West Coast type scheme. Round 1.
BRANDON PETTIGREW/TE/OKLA ST/6-6/260/4.80/40 #87
PETTIGREW is a major weapon in the vaunted COWBOY offense. He is incredibly long, with large hands that surround the ball. He drops very few balls within his reach. He is a better than average blocker given his tall, lanky frame. Like all tall players, pad level is key to his blocking success. He is functionally strong with or without the ball. He seems very unselfish, and a team player. Like most long legged players he is faster than his 40 time would indicate once he gets downfield. He is the most polished, all-around senior TE available for the DRAFT. He has a chance to go late in Round 1 next April depending on which underclassmen come out. Round 1-2.
CHASE COFFMAN/TE/MISSOURI/6-5/245/4.80/40 #45
CHASE did not play against K-State, but I have seen him in action in 4 other games this fall. He is very similar as a prospect to BROWNS Rookie TE MARTIN RUCKER, who he split time with until this season. He is a little more athletic than RUCKER and much more aggressive on the field of play. He is a West Coast receiving TE ala KELLEN WINSLOW. But if a team could add 10 lbs of muscle to his frame he might develop into a JASON WITTEN type pro. Round 2-3.
LARRY ENGLISH/DE/LB/N. ILLINOIS/6-3/250/4.75/40 #51
I finally got a chance to eyeball ENGLISH last week vs. BALL STATE. He was used exclusively as a 4-3 DE, and he showed exactly what I expected. He is too small to stop the run straight at him, but has a couple of very solid pass rush moves. If he is to be judged as a DE he is a late round selection. His best pro potential is at OLB in a 3-4 scheme. His situation is similar to CLIFF AVRIL/Purdue last year. I hope he gets an invite to Mobile in January, and the pro coaches stand him up at OLB. That scenario and the Combine are crucial to determining his pro potential and DRAFT status. Round 3-4 (OLB).
MYRON PRYOR/DT/KENTUCKY/6-0/305/5.05/40 #98
PRYOR is one of the main reasons that the Wildcats are having a better season than many expected after the graduation of ANDRE WOODSON. He is a solid, wide-based interior DL who roams from sideline to sideline with surprising quickness for his size. He is also strong at the point of attack and ties up OL two at a time. He takes good angles and gets penetration into the backfield more than you might expect. Will have his best pro chance as a rotation 4-3 DT; is not a NT! Round 4-5.
AARON KELLY/TE/CLEMSON/6-4/190/4.55/40 #80
He’s a long, lanky receiver who works well in space. He has better than average speed, and his playing speed is better than the number shown above. Will have trouble getting off the line against pro press coverage because of his lack of strength and bulk. He can be a deep threat because of his long stride in the open field. TOP 100 talent, but hasn’t yet been able to translate that talent into consistent on-field performances. Yet another guy who needs to bulk-up a bit, without losing speed. Round 4-5.
DARIUS HILL/TE/BALL ST/6-6/236/4.80/40 #88
Guess what...another guy who needs to add weight to have a chance in the NFL. He came to school as a skinny WR and is now a skinny TE. He is a solid downfield threat with very good hands. He also seems to react well to the ball in the air. I saw him try to block twice and he just got in the way of things. He has very little functional strength. His coaches say he is a student of the game, with a solid work ethic. Right now his pro potential is as a third TE who can function out of the slot on third down. Round 5-6.
MITCH KING/DL/IOWA/6-3/275/4.75/40 #47
KING is a better athlete than he is given credit for. He has good functional speed, and pursues well. But he is perceived as an undersized, over-achiever. He is a bit undersized for the NFL, but has enough talent to compete in my opinion. He has a non-stop motor, and a nasty disposition. He is very adept at locating the ball and pursuing. KING is functionally strong for his size. He should be able to find a place in the NFL as a rotation DL, in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Round 5-6./p>
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EUGENE MONROE/OT/VIRGINIA/6-6/315/5.20/40 #75
MONROE came into the 2008 season with a First Round grade. But he struggled, along with most of his teammates, in the first couple of games. Then the light went on for the entire offense and MONROE looks like his old self again. He can run and pass block effectively. He is strong, but also has quick, agile feet. He can play in any offensive blocking scheme, but I think he is ideally suited for a pass first style. I currently have him as my 26th best Prospect. Round 1
CLINT SINTRIM/OLB/VIRGINIA/6-3/255/4.70/40 #51
SINTRIM is just a notch behind MUNDY & CUSHING in this year’s senior OLB group. He can provide pass rush pressure and hits a ton. He is just a tick slow in pursuit, and is only average in pass coverage. Unless his coverage skills improve he may be only a 2 down player as a pro. He was all over the field last weekend in the CAVS loss to MIAMI. I think he can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme on the outside. He could sneak into the First Round late, but is a first day prospect for sure. My 41st highest rated player. Round 2.
CLAY MATTHEWS/OLB/USC/6-4/240/4.75/40 #47
The former walk-on has once again reinforced my conviction in the value of gene-pool when considering pro potential. His dad was the CLAY MATHEWS who played for almost two decades with the BROWNS, primarily. This CLAY looks like a solid prospect for an NFL job as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He is big, with decent speed and good quickness. He is especially effective at finding cracks in an OL and getting after the QB. I think he is a TOP 100 player who will be gone early on Day Two of next April’s DRAFT. Also a big hitter who causes fumbles. Round 3-4
ROY MILLER/DT/TEXAS/6-2/300/5.05/40 #99
MILLER actually sought NFL feedback on his DRAFT chances after last season. When told he was a late selection because of his less than inspired play he went back to TEXAS as a changed man. He accepted more coaching and got into better overall physical condition. He has been very consistent and has emerged as an inside force against the run, with some penetration skills to pressure the pocket. He is still not an elite player, but I have moved him up this fall. He could be a solid DL rotation player inside in a 4-3 scheme. Round 4-5
GRAHAM HARRELL/QB/TX TECH/6-3/205/4.85/40 #6
Despite TECH’s big season and his huge stats, I am still not sold on HARRELL’s chances of starting in the NFL some day. He is not very mobile when the pocket collapses and he needs to improvise. He is also not terribly accurate when he has to throw on the run. His arm is about average and he counts on his receivers to win a lot of jump balls, and inflate his passing yardage numbers with a lot of YAC. He is probably one of those players who are much better in college than he will ever be in the NFL. Round 5-6
C. J. DAVIS/OG/PITT/6-3/315/5.20/40 #55
Effective, wide body interior lineman who has really come on in his senior season. He is a bulldozer in the running game, and can hold his own in pass pro. He will be best suited for a power running scheme like the STEELERS or REDSKINS. He is not a TOP 100 player, but he should be off the board in the middle rounds. Round 5-6
ANTONIO DIXON/DT/MIAMI (F)/6-3/330/5.15/40 #96
By all rights this guy should have been an All-American candidate entering his senior season, not fighting for a starting job. But such is the fate of an underachieving, inconsistent player. His size, strength and decent speed for a big man make him a highly desirable player. If you watch his highlight reel he is a Round One pick. If you watch him all night long he is very ordinary. He has stepped it up in the last month, and has a chance to play in the NFL. He may get drafted very late and make a DL rotation, or be a highly sought after Rookie Free Agent. Round 7
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MATTHEW STAFFORD/QB/GEORGIA/JR/6-3/235/4.75/40 #7
This guy is special and should be the first QB taken in the 2009 or 2010 DRAFT. He can make all the throws and has learned a lot about being a leader on the field from COACH RICHT. His arm is exceptional, with short streaks of wildness. Whoever takes him must be patient, and nurture him. He will not thrive instantly like MATT RYAN has. He has that gunslinger attitude and does not belong in West Coast short passing game. He needs to be with a vertical team where he can gun it around a bit. He reminds me a lot of PHILLIP RIVERS with much better throwing mechanics. Round 1/TOP 10.
MICHAEL CRABTREE/WR/TEXAS TECH/SOPH/6-3/215/4.45/40 #5
Yes, he is DRAFT eligible for 2009. You explain to me how he was allowed to Redshirt… but yes, he is a Redshirt Soph. He is an amazing athlete who is not hindered at all by being in a “system” offense that does not translate to the NFL. He is an elite WR who belongs in the TOP 10 at the very least next April. His size, which includes long arms and glue-like hands, set him apart from most others. Very strong; he bounces off DBs in their tackle attempts, gaining lots of YAC and making him a Red Zone super-weapon. He excels at bringing in jump balls. How impressed am I? I do not hesitate to say he looks to me like an ANDRE JOHNSON/JAVON WALKER hybrid. TOP 10/Round 1.
If PETE CARROLL and his staff are so damn smart, then why isn’t this guy starting and getting 20 touches per game? For my money he is the best Gameday back this team has had since REGGIE BUSH left town. He is a tough between the tackles runner, with just enough spin to get to the second level consistently. He catches well out of the backfield. He is a savage blocker in pass pro and returns Punts in his spare time. Once again he is averaging 5.4 yds/carry this season with 4 TDs in limited playing time. He should take his game to the Pros next April. He can solve some teams need for a reliable for a solid all-around No.1 RB, ala CLINTON PORTIS. Round 2.
BRAD LESTER/RB/AUBURN/5-11/200/4.50/40 #1
He is NFL starting caliber and a first day pick…but he can’t stay on the field for 15-20 carries a game for more than a couple of weeks at a time. He looked like dynamite in the first quarter of the game in W VA last Thursday. He showed quickness, elusiveness and good hands out of the backfield. But by the second half he was a forgotten man. I see him as a 2nd-3rd RB prospect for a West Coast offensive scheme. Round 3-4.
DARRY BECKWITH/LB/LSU/6-1/235/4.55/40 #48
BECKWITH has been dinged up and missed time this season, which is never a good thing as a senior player. He was back in the line-up against GEROGIA and looked good considering how many points the LSU D gave up. He is good in pursuit and can deliver a blow. He is a pursuit sideline-to-sideline player. Dropping into pass coverage is not his strength, but in a short area he will give it a decent shot. Has the knack for taking good angles to the ball. Seldom ends up whiffing on his tackles. Has that in between size and I am not sure exactly how he fits the NFL game. Is still a solid prospect who will excel on ST while he establishes himself in the pros. Round 3-4.
ZACK FOLLETT/OLB/CAL/6-2/238/4.65/40 #56
Watching FOLLETT in action three times this season I am comfortable that I understand his game. He will serve someone well as an in-space cover LB, who has decent bl1tz skills if moved around and hidden a bit. Is reasonably physical in that role, but will never be a head-hunting run stopper. He could fill a major role with a TAMPA-2 defensive scheme team. Reminds me of BRANDON CHILLAR, who is currently serving that kind of role in Green Bay. Solid TOP 100 Prospect. Round 3-4.
TONY CARTER/CB/FLORIDA ST/5-9/175/4.48/40 #4
After watching the SEMINOLES for three weeks in a row it is obvious CARTER is a tough little CB, who has enough skill and athleticism to play in the NFL. His quickness is more impressive than his speed. He is not afraid at all to get in a receivers grill despite his size. He will also provide run support to his side of the field. He could push past 30 consecutive starts if he finishes out the 2008 season healthy. Has a nose for the ball and can jump late developing throws. At the least, he has pro potential in an NFL Nickel Package. A good value in the middle rounds. Round 4-5.
MICHAEL RIVERA/OLB/KANSAS/6-3/255/4.80/40 #40
I decided to eyeball RIVERA again last weekend against TX TECH, after hearing that he was injured when I watched him earlier in the year. Sure enough he looked like a very different player in a game that did not play to his strength. His skills translate best against a team that runs a lot, not a Spread Offense. But he was still the most consistent defender all day for the Jayhawks showing decent pass drop skills and very good instincts to the ball in space. He delivered some hellacious blows in the open field, and was always around the ball. He is a better than average all-around LB prospect who should be a solid contributor on ST and in certain situational schemes. Round 5-6.
JARRON GILBERT/DL/SAN JOSE STATE/6-5/280/5.20/40 #90
Looks and plays even bigger than his listed size. He caused the BOISE ST OL major problems last Friday night. He played DE as a junior and moved inside this year. He is another guy I am going to project as a 3-4 DE because of his size/skill combo. Has a knack for getting into the backfield with his initial quickness off the ball. I also like his pedigree; father, DAREN, played OT for 4 seasons with the NFL SAINTS. He looks draftable to me, and I would like to see him work out at the COMBINE. Round 6-7.
ROBERT AYERS/DE/TENNESSEE/6-3/270/4.75/40 #91
I haven’t seen AYERS on anyone's TOP 250 Prospects lists yet, but after watching him in three VOLS games this fall I am listing him as a Draftable player. He plays DE, but stands up most of the time. He is very quick off the ball and gets to the QB with regularity. When he smells the ball he seems to have a very high revving motor. He can drop off into to short coverage and has some PBU to his credit. I don’t know if he can be a 3-4 OLB or simply a pass-rush 4-3 DE, but I see enough energy and athleticism to think he has an outside shot to make an NFL roster. Round 7
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MICHAEL HAMLIN/SS/CLEMSON/6-3/205/4.55/40 #25
Very athletic and smart. Against the GA TECH spread/run-first offense he was put in the box and spied the RB. He did a nice job of adjusting to the direction of the ball. He shows some blitz ability from his S position. He does have trouble fighting and shedding blockers, perhaps indicating a need for more upper body strength and a little more gang tackling mentality. He makes the tackle in the open field, but does not rock the ball carrier. Will need to be more assertive in the pros. Round 3
PERIA JERRY/DT/OLE MISS/6-3/295/4.95/40 #98
An exceptional athlete who has fought nicks and cuts his entire career. Will play hurt, but obviously loses some effectiveness. Has the quickness to also play outside which he did in 2007. Is functionally strong, though not massive in his lower body. Is a playmaker who will bat down passes, cause fumbles, and rush the QB. Sometimes overruns the ball, but will hustle back to cover his mistake. Has piled up a high number of TFLs with his penetration quickness. Will be a difference maker if placed in a pursuit D like Tampa, especially if he is next to a NT big-body. Round 2
IAN JOHNSON/RB/BOISE ST/5-11/200/4.53/40 #41
JOHNSON has fallen into a platoon system as a senior, and his numbers are way down from previous years, when he was the star of the show. But he may be taking advantage of the situation in showing his overall versatility. He still runs hard, but is limited in his yards-after-contact because of his size. Shows good hands out in space, which will be important in the NFL. I see him as a change-of-pace back-up RB in the NFL who might show well on ST. Round 4-5
MICHAEL JOHNSON/DE/GA TECH/6-7/258/4.65/40 #93
For those who have waited for JONHSON to emerge as an impact DE the past two years the watch is still on. He is an athletic freak with his size, length and speed, but he will never make it as a starting DE in the NFL. He is flat-out skinny. I look at him in action and can’t believe he weighs more than 240 lbs. He is a liability against the run, simply being pushed around by good strong blockers. He is too thin, and plays too upright. I feel strongly he is going to be a major project in an NFL Training Camp. If he could develop a mean streak he might be like TED HENDRICKS, provided he is able stand up and play OLB in a 3-4. For all the bally-hoo I have read and heard on this guy, at this time I say; buyer beware. Round 3
FILI MOALA/DL/SOUTHERN CAL/6-5/295/5.15/40 #75
Let’s cut to the chase here…he is not a First Day prospect. He is very athletic which makes for a stand-out college player. But he is too lean, and light in the pants to play inside in the NFL. He plays way too tall and gets lost up in the inside garbage too often. He is not quick enough to the QB to play DE in a 4-3 either. His best pro potential in my opinion will to play DE in a 3-4 scheme, and attempt to add another 10 lbs. to his frame. Still more of an athlete than solid football player. Round 3-4
CEDRIC PEERMAN/RB/VIRGINIA/5-9/210/4.44/40 #37
Remember opening weekend of the college football season…when Southern Cal completely waxed VIRGINIA on national TV? Did you know that VIRGINIA team has now raised itself to a 4-3 mark? PEERMAN has been a big part of the resurgence. He is not a franchise back but he is both tough and explosive. He also had very good numbers back in 2005 & 2006 as a KR. He now looks like a solid NFL Prospect as a second or third RB option with Special Team ability and attitude. Round 4-5
DORELL SCOTT/DT/CLEMSON/6-4/310/5.05/40 #97
T-E-A-S-E is the best way to sum up SCOTT at this point of his career. If you had never watched him play in the past and tuned into the GA TECH/CLEMSON game you would draft this guy on Day One. He is big and strong with good feet. He can anchor the line and has penetration ability. He is a heavier version of TANK JOHNSON in my opinion. But next week you could watch him play and wonder if he is on the field or not. Can be an impact player in the NFL, but will drive his coaches crazy with his uneven effort. When he is playing at top effort he needs to be double-teamed. Round 4
TERRANCE TAYLOR/DT/MICHIGAN/6-0/320/5.15/40 #67
After watching MICHIGAN go 1-3 in the four games I watched I am ready to proclaim TAYLOR as one of the few bright spots on the team, and definitely a TOP 100 Prospect. He is strong and athletic at the point of attack. His motor revs pretty high. I have seen him in on tackles at the sidelines and downfield 10 yards. He does get some penetration into the backfield. His squat size serves him well for getting underneath his blocker in short yardage situations. I also like the fact that he takes few downs off to rest on the sidelines. He fits nicely in the legacy of BRANCH & WATSON. Round 2-3
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 7 2008
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CIRON BLACK/OT/LSU/6-5/330/5.25/40/JR #70
Is only a half-notch below ANDRE SMITH as the best OL in the SEC. He is massive and very strong, with a wide base. He has the athleticism to get to his second level blocks. Excels in run blocking, but is a good LT in pass pro. Can manhandle DL straight up, but slides his feet quite nicely. Is quick off the snap for his size, and I saw him lead a sweep play effectively several times against FLORIDA. He is an elite OT who should have a long, productive pro career. Round 1
QUAN CROSBY/WR/TEXAS/5-11/205/4.48/40 #6
CROSBY was expected to COLT’s top target in 2008, but he has exceeded expectations with his overall play. He seems to play quite a bit faster than his currently posted 40-time. His ability to stop/start and lose defenders after the catch is very impressive. He has also been more consistent than in the past this year in holding onto balls thrown his way. In TEXAS unbeaten campaign so far he has cemented a position in my TOP 100 prospects with his receiving and YAC skills. Round 3
CHASE DANIELS/QB/MISSOURI/5-11/220/4.75/40 #10
Timing is everything; so here I am critiquing DANIELS after the upset loss to OKLA ST. This kid is a good football player and an absolute leader of men. But he is not a strong NFL QB prospect. He has a good arm, with decent touch, but by no means elite arm strength by NFL standards. Playing from the gun helps him see the field for his height. Under Center that may be more of a challenge. He can gain yards with his legs and is sturdy enough to take some punishment. I think his best NFL chance would be as a change of pace, back-up. With a creative offensive team he might help create some interesting change of pace options; especially n the Red Zone. Round 4-5
CULLEN HARPER/QB/CLEMSON/6-3/220/4.85/40 #10
I have given HARPER the benefit of the doubt, because he plays for TOMMY B., but after a season and a half I have to say I do not see an NFL QB when I watch him play. He seems unsure and timid in his reads and throws. His arm is average at best, and at times he shows no throwing fundamentals at all. He is not very mobile and looks slow when he does take off. There might be enough here to work with for a real Q guru, but I doubt that he ever starts an NFL game. Round 5-6
JACQUIN IGLESIAS/WR/OKLAHOMA/6-0/205/4.48/40 #9
For an NFL team looking for a solid No. 3 WR who may not be a home run threat, but will get open and catch almost everything thrown his way let me present MR.IGLESIAS. He catches 6-10 balls every game; because he runs good routes and has excellent hands. He is fast enough to get separation and does nice work on the sideline throws. He will also come across the middle. He reminds me some of JORDY NELSON (though not as big and strong). If he gets the ball in the open chances are defenders will not catch up with him. Fights well for ball possession with defenders. TOP 100
BRIAN ORAKPO/DE/TEXAS/6-4/260/4.75/40 #98
ORAKPO continued his outstanding play with a big game in the win over OKLAHOMA. He won the match-up with LOADHOLT, although the SOONERS played right into his strength by going pass happy. He works hard on his run defense, but he is outmanned straight-up by the 300+lb. OTs, which he will see every week on Sundays. What appeals to me about him as a pass rusher is that he has an inside spin move to go with his outside speed rush. Lots of NFL DEs can’t say that. If he can bulk up with another 10-15 lbs. of muscle without losing his current quickness he could have exceptional pro potential as an every down player ala MIKE RUCKER. Round 2
BRIAN ROBISKIE/WR/OHIO STATE/6-2/200/4.52/40 #80
Let’s cut to the chase and say he does have the physical tools to be a star NFL receiver. His speed and quickness are not at an elite level. Now for the good news; he will make a fine No. 3 possession guy. He has good hands and is a solid route runner. He has a very high football IQ, and you cannot ignore the gene pool of having a NFL player and Coach for a father. He will have to find seams in the zone cover schemes because he won’t be able to get separation very often one-on-one. Round 3
SEAN WITHERSPOON/LN/MISSOURI/6-1/235/4.47/40/JR #12
The best player and athlete on the TIGERS D. He has exceptional speed, and mobility that allows his to roam sideline to sideline and make plays. He is good in pass D with the athleticism and instincts to improve in the Pros. He has good tackling technique and flies to the ball. He does not get fooled often and finds the ball very well. I think he has the skills and attitude to have a KIETH BULLUCK NFL impact, whenever he decides to come out. Round 1
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 6 2008
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The Seminoles are off to a great start this season with a ton of underclassman talent. I think the
most talented of them all is BROWN. I would expect him to be an OLB in a 3-4 defensive scheme in
the NFL. He is incredibly quick/fast with his pass rush. He is also very adept at dropping into
coverage. When he puts his hand on the ground he spends most of his time in the opposing backfield
piling up TFL, Sacks and QB hurries. He is already a top talent and ready to turn pro. Round 1
JOSH FREEMAN/QB/KANSAS ST/6-6/250/4.85/40/JR #1
FREEMAN could be everything we thought ANDRE WOODSON was going to be at this time last
year...and then some. He is bigger, more athletic than WOODSON, and has a cannon for an arm. He
actually reminds me some of a more refined version of JAMARCUS RUSSELL. Though only a Jr., he is
poised and has good leadership skills. He could use a little footwork help from an NFL QB coach.
He also needs work on his accuracy. If K-STATE goes to a bowl this season it will all be on
FREEMAN. His receivers are small and they drop too many balls, and there is no running game. I
think he will be better off he comes out after this season and gets his pro training underway.
ANTHONY HEYGOOD/LB/PURDUE/6-1/230/4.65/40 #42
HEYGOOD continues to impress me with both his fundamentals and athleticism. The former FB is developing better instincts for the LB position with every game he plays. His tackling fundamentals are very good, and he delivers a blow. He is also looking better at dropping into pass coverage. He may have to move outside for the pro game, or at the least add 10 lbs. and play inside in a 3-4 scheme. He jus does not have the bulk to play Middle-Backer in a standard 4-3 scheme. TOP 100
MIKE MICKENS/CN/CINCINNATI/6-0/180/4.45/40 #21
I have been waiting to get a good look at MICKENS this season. The wait was worth it; he is a solid all-around player and a definite Pro Prospect. His slight build will work against him in some schemes, but he has good cover ability and will stick his nose in the action to support the run D when necessary. He is another young Corner who seems to understand how to use the sideline as a second defender against receivers. He is not an elite athlete, but his ball skills and hands make him prospect with NFL starting potential. Round 2
CURTIS PAINTER/QB/PURDUE/6-3/230/4.90/40 #12
I have never been a fan of PAINTER's play, and nothing he has done so far this year has changed my mind. He has a strong, but not terrible accurate arm. His mobility is very limited and he seems to have trouble feeling where the pressure is coming from in the pocket. Once he gets hurried his throwing is a disaster. His decision making is poor to put it mildly. In my book he is not a pro prospect. He may get drafted on Day Two, but I do not see him having a pro career. His success is a testament to JOE TILLER's being able to fit him into his semi-spread offense and disguise his limited ability. RFA
DARIUS PASSMORE/WR/MARSHALL/6-3/185/4.50/40 #1
I watched PASSMORE against the tough CINCINATI secondary last weekend, and would say he toyed with them at times. He is a smooth long striding receiver with very good hands. His arms are long and his hands appear large. He plays faster than his 40-time as is often the case with lanky players. Despite his weight, or lack thereof, he does not shy away from contact. He is a solid weapon on reverses. He also does some work in the return game. He could climb up the receivers list and catch some eyes at All-Star games and the COMBINE. Round 5 (but rising)
DUKE ROBINSON/OG/OKLAHOMA/6-5/335/5.25/40 #72
My first impression while watching ROBINSON bury defenders in the BAYLOR game was that he was quite an impressive combination of size, strength, mobility and toughness. He just jolts defender when he delivers a blow. He is very aggressive punishes people. Massive and powerful are the two words that come to my mind in trying to describe SIR DUKE; the best interior OL prospect for the 2009 DRAFT. Any NFL team looking for a brutish warrior good for a 10+ year career help themselves out by taking him in Round One next April. Round 1
ANDRE SMITH/OT/ALABAMA/6-4/335/5.25/40/JR #71
Last week I sang the praises of the 'BAMA OL and OC/ANTOINE CALDWELL. Now let's discuss man-mountain SMITH. I think he is a cross between OGDEN and PACE. He has the size, strength and agility to dominate and most of the time he does. He is definitely comparable to RYAN CLADY from the 2008 DRAFT, who is starting for the BRONCOS. But because of battling in the SEC he is even more battle-tested at the highest level of competition. If he comes out (which he should) he's a TOP 10 Pick, and ahead of OHER of Mississippi. He will need some tough love to stay motivated and keep his weight under control, but he's worth the effort. Round 1
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 5 2008
Exclusive to DRAFT DADDY From PAUL'S PIGSKIN PRODUCTIONS
ANTOINE CALDWELL/OC/ALABAMA/6-3/300/5.10/40 #59
If you watched the Tide dominate the line-of-scrimmage against GEORGIA Saturday night then you understand that the strength of the BAMA Offense is the OL. And the anchor of that line is four year starter CALDWELL. A solid technician with strength and athleticism he handles line calls and blasts holes in defensive lines with regularity. He has TOP 100 talent and could sneak into the late Second Round if a team has a strong need at the Center position. Round 3.
BRIAN CUSHING/OLB/SOUTHERN CAL/6-4/255 / 4.70/40 #10
One of the few TROJAN defenders who were able to tackle the RODGERS boys from OSU, CUSHING has really come on strong as an absolute elite NFL prospect. He is a weight room warrior with very good functional strength. He made several tackles with his forearm on cutback runs. He is very agile and drops into pass coverage well. Also has good pass rush speed and strength. I think he is a better football player than KEITH RIVERS. Round 1.
WILL DAVIS/DE/ILLINOIS/6-2/265/4.74/40 #81
DAVIS spends an awful lot of time in opponents backfields whether on pass rush or run-stop penetration. He has good strength in his upper body and has churning legs. He is much quicker than most of the guys trying to block him. He is a willing run stopper, but is of course limited by his size. He is not quite as explosive out of his stance, but he has some FREENEY like characteristics. He will be a very good selection for a 4-3 defense with a COLTS type fly-around scheme. Round 4.
GEORGE HYPOLITE/DT/COLORADO/6-1/285/4.95/40 #86
I have watched HYPOLITE three times this season, and I keep coming up with the image of a very active ball player, who will penetrate and disrupt some plays every week in the backfield. But at the point of attack he just gets buried and run over most of the time. His speed is decent, but not what he needs to compensate for his lack of bulk. His game just doesn't translate to the NFL. He will be a functional rotation player in the right scheme, but nothing more. Round 5-6.
OTIS WILEY/SS/MICHIGAN STATE/6-2/210/4.55/40 #21
It is amazing how much better WILEY has been this season compared to previous years. He is very aggressive coming up to support run D and intimidates receivers with some big hits. He has a knack for locating the ball and reacting to it. He is looking like an INT machine right now. He is a play-maker from his S position. He is very close to moving into my TOP 100. Round 4.
If you read my DRAFT STUFF regularly it will come as no surprise to you that I just love the all-around talent package that is DERRICK WILLIAMS. And if you saw him destroy ILLINOIS last Saturday then you understand why I rank him so highly. You do not find his size/speed/productivity numbers very often. If you missed his performance, go to a highlight video. He totaled 241 yards and 3 TDs against the Illini. He is the first player ever under JOE PA to score TDs via receiving, running and kick-return in one game. He is a solid WR with game-breaking potential. Round 1.
JOHN PARKER WILSON/QB/ALABAMA/ 6-2/215/4.80/40 #14
I have been waiting for three weeks to see how WILSON would perform in the big game with GEORGIA. In my opinion he came; he threw; he conquered; with a solid all-around leadership performance. He was 13-16-81%-205 yds-1 td- 0 int. He looked like a true field general. He has quietly matured under SABAN's regime and at his current pace will leave 'BAMA with virtually every passing record in school history. He has matured and shown his physical talent at the same time. He is as good as, or better than, BRODIE CROYLE in my eyes. Round 5.
ERIC WOOD/OC/LOUISVILLE/6-4/305/5.15/40 #77
WOOD has been hobbling around doing the best he can to hold his own this fall with a bad knee. His results have been fair-to-good, but he is scoring big points for his leadership and toughness. He is a smart, tough guy who will surprise you at times with some nice athleticism. He has played a major roll in taking some of the pressure off of new starting QB CANTWELL. When healthy he has exhibited decent NFL potential, and while playing hurt he is demonstrating some of the intangibles needed for an NFL career. Round 4-5.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 4 2008
Exclusive to DRAFT DADDY From PAUL'S PIGSKIN PRODUCTIONS
KEVIN BARNES/CB/MARYLAND 6-1/190 4.47/40 #2
BARNES is the kind of Corner teams like the PACKERS, who play press-cover, just drool over. He supports the run with monster hits. Because of his size he can battle with the biggest of receivers. Has solid cover skills and breaks very well on throws. He should garner his share INT at the next level. He seems to play a lot faster than his speed as currently listed. A Day One prospect without a doubt.
DARIUS BUTLER/CB/RS/UCONN 5-11/185 4.40/40 #1
Chalk up the scorecard with another superior athlete playing CB, and serving as an offensive and ST weapon on the side. BUTLER is truly fast and understands the game of football no matter where he is on the field. He packs a pop as a tackler, and does not hesitate to come up and support the run. He sees the field very well and seems able to read the QB. Has very good hands and should produce quite a few INT at the next level. UCONN uses him 4-5 plays a game at WR. He is a more natural DB than TYVON BRANCH who went to the RAIDERS in the 2008 DRAFT. If MICHAEL JENKINS was a First Rounder this past DRAFT, then BUTLER should be one in 2009.
HUNTER CANTWELL/QB/LOUISVILLE 6-4/235 4.80/40 #14
I am sold once again on a LOUISVILLE QB. But this time he runs a more conventional pro-style offensive set than the PETRINO days. He is fairly mobile, with a very strong arm. Accuracy is a slight question, but I think that has more to do with inexperience than his ability to throw a strike. His most impressive attribute to me is his ball handling. He looks like a slight-of-hand artist quite often. His ball fakes are excellent, and he hides the ball well when needed. He is also quick and accurate with his pitches and hand-offs. He has real NFL potential if a team can nurture him for a couple of years, ala AARON RODGERS. First Day guy on my list after watching him against KSU.
GREG CARR/WR/FLORIDA ST 6-6/210 4.65 #18
CARR has been an intriguing, but frustrating prospect for his entire career. With his size, leaping ability and speed (once those long legs get going) he should be a dominant receiver at the collegiate level. But he has never emerged. Some of it is the FSU QB situation, and some of it is his inconsistent effort. He is still raw with his route running. He is late round project pick, who will probably test the patience of his position coach.
ARIAN FOSTER/RB/TENNESSEE 6-1/218 4.55/40 #27
FOSTER has shown himself once again to be a dependable, but not workhorse type RB. In other words he will not be a successful feature-back in the NFL. He will make a nice change of pace back. Displays good hands and seems to catch the ball well out in space; catches several balls each game for the VOLS. Has a fairly quick first burst, but can't really get that third gear going. He's a hesitant blocker in pass-pro. His style is to try to outrun guys, rather than run through them. He looks like a nice Round 3-4 selection if he stays healthy.
TYSON JACKSON/DE/LSU 6-5/294 4.90/40 #94
Scouts have been hot, then cold when talking about JACKSON who seems to take plays off on a regular basis, and has never shown any real pass-rush prowess. He looks a little more consistent this year, and has shown to be very stout holding his position against the run. His lack of speed and his bulk work against him as a pass-rusher. He does get some penetration but shows no burst out of his stance. My opinion right now is that he is very similar to MARCUS SPEARS of the COWBOYS. If you envision TYSON as a 3-4 DE his game looks a little more attractive. I see him as a late Round 2 prospect in a 3-4 scheme.
HERMAN JOHNSON/OG/LSU 6-7/350 5.40/40 #67
The word big is not enough; this guy has to be described in terms like huge and massive. And like many players these days he surprises me with decent foot movement and short area effectiveness. He is a mauler and will fit best in a power running attack. He holds up throughout the game well for his size. He can and will pass block the man in front of him effectively. He's not a Day One Prospect, but I like him enough to keep him solidly in my TOP 100.
SCOTT McKILLOP/MLB/PITT 6-1/240 4.70/40 #40
I saw nothing special in watching SCOTT perform against IOWA. He makes a lot of tackles because he is tenacious in pursuit and finds the ball well. But many of those tackles are 5-10 yards downfield. He is not strong enough to take on blockers and runners head-on. He needs protection from the DL and a tackling angle to be successful. His lack of speed also limits him. Despite his high number of tackles I see a back-up LB and a Special Teams player at the NFL level here. He's not in my Top 100.
JAVON RINGER/RB/MICHIGAN ST 5-9/205 4.53/40 #23
RINGER will be a very solid pro as long as he is drafted for, and used, as his skills dictate: a solid between the tackles, ball-control offense RB. He is not a game-breaking scat-back, nor is he a bulldozer. He can be 20-25 carry per game, 3.5 ypc NFL player. He hides behind his OL and looks for that seam to run through. He then runs through/over the first one or two tacklers to get in front of him. Against a poor tackling team he gets 10 yard gains. Always seems to have that forward lean. His style might come closest to RUDI JOHNSON during his healthy BENGALS days. He is an all-day sucker, and wears defensive fronts down.
ALPHONSO SMITH/CB/WAKE FOREST 5-9/192 4.44/40 #2
I have made a fatal scouting error with this guy; I have seen him a half dozen times and have fallen in love with his style of play. He is the tough kind of guy who makes up for lack of size with athleticism and desire. He hits a ton despite his size. He is a playmaker who can turn a game around with his tackling, ball skills or return ability. If he were two inches taller he would be a TOP TEN Prospect. He reminds me of my favorite NFL CB; ANTOINE WINFIELD. A first round talent and performer despite his height.
Exclusive to DRAFT DADDY from PAUL'S PIGSKIN PRODUCTIONS
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 3
Here's a wrap-up on some Prospects for 2009 that I put the eyeball test to this past weekend. Remember, someone can catch my eye in a negative manner and I have a couple of them for you this week.
TOM BRANDSTATER/QB/FRESNO STATE 6'5"/220/4.80 #4
Tom is off to a mediocre start to the 2008 season. He has not looked like the leader and pro prospect most of us expected him to be. He has a strong arm, but shows wild streaks with his throws. For a guy 6'5" he gets a significant number of balls batted down at the line-of-scrimmage. He has a fairly long delivery, but the ball gets to his target quickly. He has some escapability, but his feet get tangled up under heavy pass-rush pressure. He needs to pick up the pace for the remainder of the season. Right now I do not see him on the First Day (2 Rounds), but he is hanging onto a spot in my TOP 100.
DAVID BRUTON/S/NOTRE DAME 6'2"/207/4.55 #27
BRUTON warrants close scrutiny the remainder of his senior season. He has progressed from a Special Teams warrior (which he still is) to an impact S. His speed is adequate and he plays with abandon, but under control. His ball skills are improving and he is making plays on receivers with regularity. He has also shown some blitz ability, which is a highly sought after trait. He is decent in pass-coverage, but excels in run support. His knack for creating turnovers makes him attractive to the pro scouts. He is on the cusp of cracking my TOP 100.
KEVIN ELLISON/SS/SOUTHERN CAL 6'1"/228/4.60 #4
ELLISON is a solid athlete with decent size/speed numbers, and a nose for the ball. He is very aggressive in run support and decent in pass coverage for a big S. He fits the category of the enforcer S who will get burned occasionally in coverage, but makes up for it with big fumble-inducing hits. He is another guy who finds the ball and makes plays. He is best suited for a team that uses press-coverage from the Corners, and counts on the S to play in-the-box the majority of the time. TOP 100.
COURTNEY GREENE/SS/RUTGERS 6'1"/214/4.55 #36
I am mot sure what has happened to GREENE, but I have seen him do next to nothing in both of RUTGERS losses this season. He appears to be running at half-speed with no desire to put his head down and take on a runner. He has been burned deep on several occasions. He has been playing so deep that he is a non-factor in the underneath passing game. Quite frankly, he seems disinterested and merely going through the motions; in slow motion at that. I wouldn't even term him "draftable" from what I have seen this season so far.
ALEX MACK/OC/CALFORNIA 6'4"/315/5.15 #51
Ranks as the best senior OC prospect in 2008. He is stout with good small-area quickness. He is a savvy, veteran leader who does a nice job making line calls. MACK is strong enough to hold his own in one-on-one blocking assignments, other than 325 lb. NT types. Decent foot movement, but he has to stay at OC to be effective in the pros. A solid TOP 100 prospect who should go in Round 3.
REY MAUALUGA/MLB/SOUTHERN CAL 6'2"/260/4.70 #58
Very active player, who has learned to control his aggressive pursuit habits and follow defensive assignments. He is strong as a bull, and very aggressive. He lives to punish ball carriers. Has improved greatly in his pass drop assignments. He plays much faster then his current estimated 40-time. If you saw him break on the ball, make the INT and return it up the sideline for a TD against Ohio State you probably noticed no one caught him from behind. REY is a football player with a passion for the game and athletic competition. He brings it on every play. Is best suited for the middle in a 4-3, but I have no doubt he would still be good in a 3-4 inside slot. TOP TEN prospect, without a doubt.
TYRONE is a player who has improved every year during his career, and looks to be a solid NFL prospect. He also seems to play faster then his 40-time would indicate. He has a good feel for the ball, and pursues all over the field. He has a fluid pass-drop and can cover for the first 10 yards or so. With nice size he looks like a TOP 100; 3rd Round pick to me. Against KANSAS I seemed to see #27 around the ball almost every play.
DAVID PHILISTIN/ILB/MARYLAND 6'2"/232/4.70 #34
Another guy who seems to play faster then his 40-time. Either my eyes are slowing down, or quite a few guys in this year's prospect class are going to better their 40-times at the COMBINE. He also has an aggressive, but controlled, ball-hawking style. He put some big hits on CAL skill players. He showed good penetration at the line of scrimmage, and solid tackling form. He appears to have very good functional strength. His overall skill set would indicate to me that he too is a solid Third Round prospect.
BRANDON TATE/WR/RS/N CAROLINA 6'1"/195/4.50 #87
Talk about a guy emerging under the new coaching staff at UNC; TATE is your man. He has turned into a one man offensive wrecking crew. He can catch, get YAC, run reverses, block and return kicks. He appears to have some shake-and-bake, with the ability to leave people in his wake. Although I am usually wary of one-year wonders, I am tempted to give TATE the benefit of the doubt because of the DAVIS coaching regime. He bears watching, as he climbs into a mid-Round pick position. Right now he looks like a very solid prospect as a 3-4 WR, and an impact ST stand-out.
KRAIG URBIK/OG/WISCONSIN 6'6"/330/5.25 #63
URBIK fits the stereotype of the Midwest, corn-fed OL who specializes in pile-drive blocking for the run game. But his feet are nimble enough for him to set up fairly quickly to pass block. His size and functional strength are impressive, as well as his tenacity. He can bury people at the point of attack, but sometimes does not sustain contact with his opponent long enough. Quite a few of the best and biggest running lanes come through his hole, as he locks down the DT and/or ILB in the middle of the line of scrimmage. He looks to me like a 3-4th rounder, with a power running scheme. He is not best suited for a West Coast scheme.
WEEK 3 KEY COLLEGE MATCH-UPS & Prospects To Watch
EXCLUSIVE: FROM PPP TO DRAFT DADDY
**** = Possible First Rounder
*** = TOP 100
** = 101-200
This could be one of the most exciting and competitive games of
the weekend. GROTHE & REESING may not be strong NFL prospects but
they are great college QBs and team leaders. They can pass and tuck
the ball and run. They are also warriors to the nth-degree. Watch
this game if you can.
This is a big one in the sense of gauging how strong the DUCKS really are this season. PURDUE is a Bowl team in JOE TILLERS final season in West Lafayette and they have an open attack/offense by Big Ten standards. Mix in a 2000 mile road trip, and if OREGON does the deed by 10+ then we will know they are the real deal, and a threat to Southern Cal (see below). The other reason to watch this game is the high number of decent DRAFT prospects.
I think home field means everything in this game. It also stands to reason that with a week off UCLA has lost some of the momentum of its opening win over TENNESSEE. But most importantly BYU is a better team this year.
Unless the BUCKEYES have been playing possum for their first two games (which I doubt), this game could be a major mismatch. And don't try to tell me BEANIE WELLS absence, or less than 100% presence, won’t have a major effect on the game. His pounding running sets up the OSU passing attack. Without him the Trojans D will harass the Buckeye QBs all night long. Looks like a long night for BUCKEYE BACKERS.
If you are a college football fan you are no doubt familiar with the term "trap game". Well, this is one of those for the BADGERS. They travel almost 2000 miles and after a couple of cup-cake warm-up games face a Top 25 team which has had a bye week to prepare. By the time BUCKY gets over his slow start it will be too late to overtake the BULLDOGS. The Big Ten schedule will look good after this trip. Sorry Badger fans, and congrats to Josh.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE
Exclusive to Draft Daddy - Week Two 2008
This is the second in a series of a season long reports on 2009 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS whom I have scouted while watching the weekly line-up of TV games.
ALEX BOONE/OT/OHIO STATE/#75 6-7/310 5.25/40
A tall, but well proportioned player BOONE showed very quick feet. His first step back on pass-pro was solid and quick. He bends at the knees in pass protection. He is fairly fluid in run blocking and got to the second level most of the time. He does not seem to be able to hold his blocks in run blocking. He extends his arms too much and therefore doesn't lock up his man. He needs more strength and perhaps a mean streak; another 20-25 lbs. on his seemingly lean frame. He is a much better pro prospect than KIRK BARTON last year, but not a First Day (2 rounds) guy.
AARON CURRY/OLB/WAKE FOREST/#59 6'2/245 4.60/40
I have actually watched most of WAKE's first two games and I am prepared to say that CURRY is the best true LB prospect in the past two years. His size/speed combo is at an elite level; and he plays up to his numbers. He is all over the field, but under control within his defensive scheme. His pass rush is exceptional combining speed and strength. He drops fluidly into pass coverage and seems to locate the ball well. He hits a ton upon impact. He can probably handle both 3-4 & 4-3 scheme outside responsibilities. He is also a ST demon for WAKE. He is a TOP 10 Draft Pick on my Board right now!
MALCOLM JENKINS/CB/OHIO STATE/#2 6-0/200 4.45/40
I did not intend to highlight JENKINS this week, but in watching the BCUKEYES struggle with their in-state rival, JENKINS caught my eye time after time. OHIO kept away from him most of the day, but he still stood out when they foolishly chose to throw in his direction. His back-pedal off the line is exceptionally smooth and quick. He works receivers well on the sideline (similar to AL HARRIS/PACKERS) giving them no room to make a catch and stay in bounds. He breaks well on the ball and can go high to deflect balls even if he has been beaten slightly. Needs a little work on his tackling, but he is a man-cover Corner which is highly sought after in the NFL. A sure First Rounder next April.
JOE MORTENSEN/ILB/KANSAS/#8 6-1/250 4.90/40
This is another college player who is never going to show up on someone's TOP 100 list, but should have a nice NFL career in the right scheme, with the right team. He is faster than he appears at first, and should fit nicely into a 3-4 scheme as in Inside guy. He finds his way to the ball and delivers a blow. Has the attitude and style to be a ST captain at the Pro level. As I watched the game unfold I was amazed at how many times I saw No.8 around the ball when the whistle blew. He is now on my watch list as a late Round/draftable prospect.
CLAYTON MULLINS/OLB/MIAMI (O)/#9 6-2/241 4.70/40
As I peeked at the MICHIGAN/MIAMI game a guy with the No. 9 on his jersey caught my eye in the War Hawk D. I ran a quick check and found out it was MULLINS. What had caught my eye was his drop into pass coverage based on some offensive motion. As I watched he flew around the field and got in on play after play. He was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and it is easy to see why. He is athletic, with good strength and decent speed. He has a nose for the ball, but also seems to understand his duties in pass coverage. He is not a TOP 100 prospect but is draftable and can play at the next level. Watch his numbers at the COMBINE next Feb. I think he will impress.
LOUIS MURPHY/WR/FLORIDA/#9 6-2/205 4.38/40
I had outlined MURPHY as one of my scouting watches Saturday morning. With
TEBOW under pressure from the CANES defense most of the first half
MURPHY was a non-factor (actually dropping a ball) and I was prepared
to move on. In the second half he took over the game offensively.
He caught 4 balls, including a TD grab, and had another long TD
catch called back on a penalty. Once TEBOW got time to throw MURPHY's
size/speed combo made him virtually uncoverable. His strong hands
win battles for the catch with DBs. He also plays on ST units. A
little more consistency and he is a solid First Rounder.
MICHAEL OHER/OT/OLE MISS/#74 6-5/325 5.20/40
OHER qualifies as a very talented dancing bear. He has incredibly quick feet for a man his size. He was the quickest lineman into his pass-pro stance for the REBELS. He uses his arms well and appears to have dominant strength. He also bends nicely in the knees while maintaining good balance. On several occasions when they ran to his side he just buried his defender. He has the whole package and absolutely plays like a Top Half-First Round prospect. He reminds me some of CAL/COLTS great TARIK GLENN. From a talent and a size standpoint this guy is MASSIVE!
SAM SWANK/P-K/WAKE/#38 6-0/200 4.95/40
I seem to be stuck on multi-purpose Kickers early this season, but this guy is another ace. SWANK is an exceptional athlete who can both Punt and Place-Kick. He drives his punts high and can place them inside the 20. He is not a booming FG kicker and yet inside the 45 yard line he has no trepidation. It seemed clear in Saturday's win over Ole Miss, that when he can in for the game winning kick there was no doubt in his mind, nor those of his teammates that he would make the kick and win the game. He might e a TOP 100 prospect when all is said and done.
That's a wrap for Week Two. I'll scout out another group of prospects next weekend. By the way, all this weeks guys are seniors, but I will begin looking at highly rated underclassmen once we hit October.
WHO CAUGHT MY EYE
Week One 2008
This is the first in a season long series of exclusive reports to DRAFT DADDY featuring observations about 2009 NFL DRAFT Prospects. I will base the reports on what I see in specific game action from televised games. Some reports will be of major players; others of Second Day Prospects. I will comment on emerging prospects or players returning from injuries. My observations will be from what I actually saw in live game action, not previous perceptions of players. You get the drift...here we go.
JASON SMITH/OT/BAYLOR/#72 6-5/300 5.15/40 R 2-3
Another converted TE making major progress as an OT. He played the left side, except in goal line situations where he switched to the right. Very athletic and quick; light on his feet with good balance. Moves so fast he misses his block at times on the second level, but he stands out compared to the average college OL. We could be looking at this year's DUANE BROWN in SMITH.
ANDRE BROWN/RB/N C STATE/#24 6-0/228 4.6/40 R 5-6
A strong, slashing runner. Occasionally he put a move on a tackler, but most of the time took on the defender. Has a nice quick burst at the line of scrimmage, but looked like his listed speed in the open field. He carried 21 times for 101 in this game. Could make a solid back-up third RB if he can play Special Teams in the NFL.
JASPER BRINKLEY/ILB/SOUTH CAROLINA/#52 6-2/260
I only comment on JASPER at this point because it was clear he is not 100% football ready after last year's serious knee injury. The coaching staff wisely played him sparingly and he looked a little hesitant and tentative. For now we can't get a real read on him. I will watch him closely in a game during the second half of the season and report again.
KENNY McKINLEY/WR/SOUTH CAROLINA/#11 6-0/187 4.49/40 R 3-4
McKINLEY has been a star waiting to happen for several seasons, but never the go-to guy. He looks faster than his listed 40-time, and very quick. He has good hands and can go high for the jump ball. He will go over the middle, despite his relatively small frame; is a good YAC receiver. KENNY caught 6 balls for 37 yards against N C State. He reminds me of a slightly slower ROBERT BROOKS. I can't wait to see his 40-time at the Combine. I'll bet it's more like 4.4!
TIM JAMISON/DE/MICHIGAN/#60 6-3/265 4.85/40 R 4-5
I did not intend to highlight JAMISON from this game, but every time I looked up he was on or around the ball. He ranged sideline-to-sideline, and helped collapse the pocket all day long. He seemed to always be on the field despite the 80+ degree weather, and never slowed down. He was very mobile and quick, but showed more strength at the point of attack than I expected. I bet he runs a faster 40 at the Combine than shown above, and he looks like he can carry another 10-15 lbs.
DAVON DREW/TE/EAST CAROLINA/#3 6-4/260 4.45/40 R 5
It was difficult at first to find an ECU prospect to watch, but DREW made himself conspicuous by his play. He is a willing, if average blocker. He seems to start his pass patterns with his head/eyes down, but once he accelerates he uses his size and surprising speed to good advantage. Displayed good hands, and a tendency to get separation and catch the ball on third down. He caught 5 balls for 65 yards on the day, and three were for first downs. DREW bears watching as a viable NFL TE prospect who can block and catch.
SAMMIE STROUGHTER/WR/OREGON ST/#19 5-10/185 4.45 R 4-5
For all that I have written about SAMMIE previously you had to know I would be watching him. He looked just fine and ready to rock and roll. He caught 12 balls, for 157 yds and 2 TDs. And he looked even better than that. He was fast and quick, and almost got his hands on a 60-plus yard TD bomb which was slightly overthrown. No matter what baggage he comes with from past physical and mental issues he will be hard to ignore if he plays at this level all year. He could become this year's DEXTER JACKSON.
RULON DAVIS/DE/CALIFORNIA/#94 6-5/282 4.95/40 R 4-5
With more NFL teams moving back to 3-4 Defenses a natural 3-man front End like DAVIS becomes more valuable at DRAFT time. DAVIS actually looked dominant most of the game against the Spartans on Saturday. He was stout against the run (better than I expected) and absolutely burst into the backfield on several passing downs. He has that highly coveted bull-rush move that many DEs can't pull off. Stayed on his feet very well; cut-block attempts on him were ineffective overall. Made good use of his hands (and long arms?) to avoid being locked up by blockers. Based on this game he bears watching the remainder of the season. Over-aged and must prove he can avoid injury to improve his DRAFT stock.
LOUIS SAKODA/K-P/UTAH/#35 5-8/180 4.85/40 R 5-6
I don't spend a whole lot of time watching Kicking Specialists, but I had seen SAKODA's name at the top of a lot of Kicker lists this past off-season. Sure enough, he was very special. I can't even tell you which he does better: punt or place kick. He was 4-4 on FGs with a long of 53 yards. He averaged 47.9 yards on his punts, including great hang time and placement. The punt block was caused by blocking issues. It's unlikely he'd be allowed to handle both P/K duties at the NFL level, but... I can think of a lot of teams that would be glad to save a roster spot. Want to know the biggest reason UTAH beat Michigan; look no further than SAKODA.
That's a wrap for Week One/2008.
Once the college football season is under way I'll start to dissect the prospect lists in a little more focused manner, but as prelude to that I wanted to add my 'two-cents-worth' on the . . .
TOP SMALL SCHOOL PROSPECTS for 2009
NATHAN BROWN/QB/CENTRAL ARKANSAS/6-1/215/4.80 As you try to chart the progress of this guy think of TARVARIS JACKSON.
RAMSES BARDEN/WR/CAL POLY/6-2/225/4.55 A big sure-handed receiver, who despite a lack of top-end speed averaged 25.7 ypc in 2007.
DOMINIQUE JOHNSON/CB/JACKSON STATE/6-2/190/4.40 Could be this year's RODGERS-CROMARTIE. . . we'll see.
LEE ROBINSON/ALCORN STATE/6-2/245/4.60 A very athletic, instinctive player with NFL size. Looks like a 3-4 OLB with pass rush ability.
RASHAD JENNINGS/RB/LIBERTY/6-1/230/4.50 Good combination of size and decent speed. His 5.8 yds per carry in '07 gets your attention.
RHETT BOMAR/SAM HOUSTON STATE/6-2/215/4.75 It's always a wise move to keep an eye on these former D1A skill players that move down.
BRANDEN ORE/RB/5-11/205/VA TECH/4.48 If he learned anything from his dismissal from VA Tech, his talent is NFL caliber.
LADARIUS WEBB/CB/NICHOLLS STATE/6-0/185/4.55 The only question regarding his NFL potential may center around his speed for the CB position.
BRIAN MANDEVILLE/TE/NORTHEASTERN/6-6/250/4.75 Is still learning the TE position after a switch from DE. Has decent hands and a tough streak.
JOEL BELL/OT/FURMAN/6-7/315/5.25 Looks like an athlete who could use a little more lower-body strength and intensity to play at the next level.
It's almost a given when analyzing small school prospects that a list like this may change quite a bit as we head for the All-Star Game/Combine season early in 2009. As of right now these players are at the top of my list to monitor this fall.
Paul J Guillemette www.paulspigskinplace.com
2009 DRAFT PROPSECTS with lots to prove in 2008.
There are an unusually large number of highly rated Prospects for the 2009 DRAFT who have a great deal to prove during their senior seasons of college ball. For various reasons, which I will detail below, 2007 was not a good year for them, and they need to rebound in 2008. Every one of these players has Top 100 talent, but some important variables are getting into the mix and making scouts wonder about the wisdom of taking them that high.
This huge man came to OU from the Juco ranks as an instant star. But he had a good, not great first year in Norman. Then he got into trouble with the law this July with alcohol related charges. He needs to stay out of trouble and have a dominant year for the Sooners. His pro appeal is limited to teams that favor a running game, and not zone blocking schemes. He needs to play very well or sink like a rock as a prospect.
RHETT BOMAR/QB/SAM HOUSTON STATE/6-2/215
If you will remember it was only a few years ago that BOMAR was the Five Star QB recruit at OKLAHOMA. Then he got a summer job from a booster, that required little or no work, and the NCAA found out. He surfaced @ SAM HOUSTON and had a strong 2007 season. Now the spotlight is on for 2008. He needs some big stats and a winning season this year to compete for the top senior QB ranking heading into the DRAFT.
JASPER BRINKLEY/ILB/SOUTH CAROLINA/6-2/258
Based on measurables and pre-injury performance this guy is a prototype ILB for a 3-4 defensive scheme. But he blew out his knee early last year forcing him to red-shirt and undergo long and tedious rehab. He was held out of contact in Spring Practice, but has been cleared to practice in earnest for the 2008 season. He has been labeled a leader on and off the field, and an absolute terror for opponents.
A self-made Pro Prospect, this former walk-on has the size, arm strength and overall athleticism to be big time college and pro performer. But the rub is that because he backed up BRIAN BROHM he has a whopping 4 career college starts. His 2008 performance will determine whether he is a top prospect or a late round gamble.
MICHAEL JOHNSON/DE/GA TECH/6-7/258
A super athlete, who has that highly sought after attribute of being a natural pass rusher. He started no games in 2007. He was used almost exclusively in passing yardage situations. He is starting to add weight (258 lbs) to his lean frame and his development as a complete player in ’08 will dictate whether he is a First Rounder or not.
MURPHY did nothing wrong during the 2007 season. He just needs to build on his 2007 numbers. He didn’t get much action as a receiver until last year, and 37 catches isn’t star level. However 14.8 ypc and a 4.38/40- time will get the attention of pro scouts every time. Add to that his size and you have the kind of athlete the NFL craves. If he and TEBOW become a hot tandem this year, they should both be First Rounders in 2009.
JEREMY PERRY/OG/OREGON STATE/6-2/330
The Guard position has risen in importance in the NFL over the past few years. And for a run-oriented team an athlete like PERRY can be a hot item in the Second or Third Round. But PERRY has spent more time in rehab than he has on the field the past two years. He suffered a broken leg in 2006, and a knee injury in 2007. If he plays in every game and mauls his opponents on a weekly basis, he should get back on the DRAFT radar screen.
BRANDON PETTITGREW/TE/OKLAHOMA STATE/6-6/260
BRANDON has started all but two games in his college career. He is an all-around TE who will block as well as catch. But he was charged with assaulting a police officer back in February, and NFL Scouts look at that kind of action pretty closely these days. He needs to get that incident behind him, and ratchet his performance up another notch to be ranked as the No.1 senior TE prospect at the end of the 2008 season.
B. J. RAJI/DT/BOSTON COLLEGE/6-1/325
RAJI is a certified “load” with good athleticism. Those two factors make him a hot commodity for a potential NFL career. His problem? He didn’t play in 2007 because of academic ineligibility. He has been declared eligible for 2008. Now he just has to go out and blow-up the line of scrimmage in the ACC.
SAMMIE STROUGHTER/WR/RS/OREGON STATE/5-10/186
Talk about a tough year; let me tell you about 2007 for SAMMIE. His year started with a lacerated spleen. In the course of dealing with his recovery he fell into a state of clinical depression. He was granted a red-shirt season. He participated in Spring Practice and appears ready to go. He is an elusive receiver and return man. With sub-4.5 speed he has NFL potential if he can pull it all together as a senior in 2008.
BRIAN TOAL/LB/BOSTON COLLEGE/6-1/235
TOAL was ready for a big senior season when he suffered a torn labrum in the spring of ’07. He sat the entire year as a medical red-shirt. Though he does not have ideal measurables (somewhat like DAN CONNOR), he is a top level competitor who produces on the field of play. If he returns to form he has a strong chance to be a Third Round pick in 2009.
He reminds me of former Southern Cal standout, and NFL bust MIKE WILLIAMS in a lot of ways. He has the ability to be a strong possession receiver in the NFL, but he has to show big time improvement in catching the ball. His nickname on blog sites in, and around, Oregon is 50/50. That’s a reference to his chances of actually catching balls thrown to him. Hopefully, WILLIAMS has been in ‘hand therapy’ since the end of last season. He has Round 2 potential.