Archive for the ‘NFL Draft Prospects’ Category

Height 6-2

Weight 260

DE/OLB

Michael-Sam

40 Yard Dash 4.91

Vert 25.5 Inches

Tape Watched   South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Georgia

Pros

What Sam brings to the table is an amazing first step; his burst off the line is could be one of the best I have seen on tape.  His burst is excellent for beating offensive tackles to the edge. Michael Sam has a driving motor that allows him to chase after the passer in almost all scenarios. Couple that with very high production at the collegiate level and you have a player that is very intriguing for GM’s by all accounts. Sam also has decent arm length which as a DE, is one of the more pivotal physical traits you could have.  When you watch Sam on tape, he sparkles in his pursuit of the QB and shows borderline elite closing speed.

 

Cons

However there are a lot of Red flags for Michael Sam. First off his very poor combine showing; what we see on tape looks totally different than what we saw at the combine. 4.91 yard 40 and a 10 yard of split of  1.72 is not impressive. Ideally you would want a 1.65 10 yard split from most DE’s/OLBs. Sam also displayed a paltry vertical jump of 25.5 inches, which is lacking to say the least. Those numbers make Sam seem like a marginal athlete. However, when I watched tape of him, I came a way with a bad taste in my mouth.  Sam could use his hands a bit more when engaging blockers, he very much relies on his first step to get by and does not use his hand to fight off OL men blocks nor use them to create space with pass rush moves. Michael Sam did not show me a lot of pass rush moves not a lot of rips or swims or spins and seems stiff even when getting to the QB.  In the Vanderbilt tape, I saw him literally turn his back to the OL /QB and kinda of flounder with his back turned. That will not be acceptable in the NFL, it won’t cut it.   Due the lack of pass rush moves and hand usage  he gets jammed at the point of attack a lot, not allowing him to penetrate downfield and thus he can be washed down out of running plays relatively easily.   I also have to wonder if Michael Sam’s elite production was due to him or also due to having potential 1st round pick Kony Ealy and budding star Shane Ray ( you will all know his name soon)  on the DL with him.

 

Overview

 Sam seems to be the ultra-productive college player who may have trouble translating to the speed of the NFL. Due to his lack of size and strength to move OL off the LOS, I have trouble believing that he would be effective as a 43 DE but due to his marginal athletic ability, I know he will not be effective as a 34 LB. Before I watched tape of Sam, I had a general idea of his skills I had seen a few games here or there and had valued him as a mid 2nd round pick. However, after his combine performance and watching the tape more closely, I have trouble grading him any higher than a 5th round prospect. I like Sam’s burst off the line, motor and his production in college but I see too many red flags, ESPECIALLY his combine performance to value him highly.  A very good pro day outing could help alleviate some of those fears

 Projected Round – 5th – 6th

NFL Comp –   Larry English

 

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Derek Carr

Height – 6 ‘3

Weight – 218

Tape Watched: USC (2013), Nevada (2013), Utah State (2013) and Oregon (2012)

My QB Big Board Rank – 5

Positives – Derek Carr has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. Carr has arguably the best zip o his ball in the entire 2014 draft class, this zip helps him fit balls into tight windows on all levels of the field.  Carr possesses the ability to make all the NFL throws whether it is short, intermediate or deep.  Carr impresses with his anticipation of his WR breaking off their routes and often has the ball out before the WR has begun to look for the ball, this is a testament to his knowledge of the game of football and his general feel for . Carr has more than functional mobility, he moves outside of the pocket very well and keeps his eyes down field and can throw on the run rolling out to the right with relative ease.

Negatives – Fresno State does not exactly play the best competition in the MWC and Carr beat up on the inferior competition. However, when he faced USC in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Carr look flustered in all facets of his game as the speed of USC confused him.  Carr needs to work on his progression, very often Carr makes one read before releasing the ball, some of that is due to their playing style but even outside of the quick passes, Carr will stare down a WR as he waits for the route to develop. Coming with Fresno State Carr played out of the shotgun and does not have experience in a traditional pro style offense.  Along with working on his progression, Carr needs to work on his footwork, too often Carr is releasing the ball from his back foot or without opening up his hips or stepping into his throws. This prevents him to getting as much torque as possible on his throws.  Derek Carr also seems to struggle heavily against the blitz, all of his footwork issues become compounded during the blitz often leaving him vulnerable in the pocket and often rushing his throws.  Carr tends to miss on his deep ball (30 yards down field or more) often leaving balls over WR fingertips or 5 yards in front of them.

Summary – Derek Carr has a lot of the tools needed to be an NFL QB, a lot of his negatives can be fixed by simply working on his mechanics. Improved footwork will lead to Carr hitting the deep ball. Working on Carr with looking off defenders and not locking in on WR’s will improve Carr as well.  Carr has all the physical tools and also has very good intangibles has he is a very strong leader and smart player.  Carr would be better set to be drafted to a team with an established QB and allowed to develop for a few seasons.  When I look at Carr’s whole package I see him as early 3rd round talent and if I was a GM I would not touch him until then.  Carr did have a strong showing at the Senior Bowl raising his stock with scouts and due to the inflation of QB’s Carr will likely end up going in the 1st round and possibly top 10.

Draft Projection –  Top 15 pick ( QB Inflation)

NFL Comparison –  Jay Cutler

Spring practices are over. The grass is cut. Summer sessions are in full swing. College Football is right around the corner. Johnny Football, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Braxton Miller and Sammy Watkins. These players are the stars of college football; they are names that the casual fan knows. 

Below is a list of 5 players that will have huge impacts on their teams. 5 players who with a single big game could alter the college football season. I give you the 5 unheralded super stars.

Blake Bortles QB UCF – If every QB that is eligible comes out in the 2014 draft, it will be a stacked class. Bortles is one hell of a QB; and the junior is mobile as well as very efficient completing 63% of his passes for 25 TD’s and only 7 int’s.  Bortles also adds a vaunted running dimension, while Bortles can scamper away from defenders he is much more likely to run through the defender into the endzone as in 2012 he added 9 TD’s on the ground. Bortles is playing  in a wide open American Athletic Conference and UCF comes in as one of the favs in the conference. Bortles has all the tools scouts look for and could work his way into the First round this coming year or in the 2015 draft

Dri Archer RB Kent State – Speed, agility, acceleration and did I mention speed? Archer is lightning in a bottle. Dri Archer just might be the fastest player in the NCAA. Coming in 5 ft. 8 and 175, he is diminutive but his timed 4.26 40 speed is lethal. He could play WR or RB in the NFL but regardless of position the goal is going to be to get the ball into #1’s  hands, Dri Archer makes Kent State a threat every time they are on offense and he will power the Golden Flashes to a successful 2013 season.

Lache Seastrunk RB Baylor– the Baylor RB might be the most complete RB in the class. Seastrunk started out at Oregon but after recruiting violations and other issues, he transferred to Baylor.  Seastrunk impressed in his first season at Baylor rushing for 1000 yards and 7 Td’s, after not starting the first 7 games of the season.  Lache has great speed, vision and has the power to go up the middle.  Baylor has a shot to impress in what could be a wide open Big 12, Lache Seastrunk is pivotal to their success and could be a sleeper for the Heisman.

Allen Robinson WR Penn State –   Coach Bill O’Brien opened up the offense and let the Nittany Lions air it out a bit more. A huge benefactor of this was WR Allen Robinson.  Robinson was QB Matt McGloins favorite target and even though there is some fogginess on who will be the new QB in Happy Valley whoever it is will look to target Allen Robinson.  Robinson comes in at 6-3 211, possessing 4.5 speed and great route running.  Robinson’s presence on the outside opens up underneath for Penn State’s stud TE’s.   Sammy Watkins, Marquis Lee and Amari Cooper are all bigger names but Allen Robinson could very well end up having a comparable season to them. 

LeMarcus Joyner CB/S Florida State –  LeMarcus Joyner is a heat seeking missile, slicing through blockers to make a gigantic hit on a RB or slamming a WR coming through the middle.  In 2012 Florida State had 7 or legitimate NFL draft prospects and none may have been more feared than Joyner. Joyner is more than just a hard hitter, he is playmaker getting interceptions, forcing fumbles and even returning a kick or two. Joyner is a bit undersized but that should not hinder him too much. Joyner may be a more NFL ready version of LSU’s Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu.  I think Joyner might be the best S out of the state of Florida since Sean Taylor.

These players may not be known to the casual fan but trust me after the 2013-2014 season they will be, and they will all be playing on Sundays.

Players who will be undervalued come draft day

Black

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri- Sheldon Richardson hasn’t gotten as much pre-draft hype as the other defensive lineman in his class. He is generally looked at as a top 25 pick but I could see Richardson going into the top 10 this year. Many people, including myself, thought that Richardson is better than Star Lotulelei and is on par with the best defensive tackle in this draft class in Sharrif Floyd.
Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia- Sticking with defensive tackles, Johnathan Jenkins was one of many players who saw his draft stock decline greatly after playing Alabama in the SEC championship game. Before the game he was considered as the top or second best defensive lineman in the draft. Because of his versiltlity to lineup as a 1-3 in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme he should remain in the first round possibly in the top 25.
Cornelius Washington, ILB/DE, Georgia- Cornelius Washington is one of my favorite sleepers coming out of this year’s draft. His size and athleticism is something that has some scouts talking and after watching some games of his, he really stood at more than one would thought, especially on a defense that already consisted of other great defensive players like the two Jenkins and Ogletreee. He is projected to be a mid-round pick this year but I feel like whichever team can get him in the 3rd round will be getting a steal.

Blacker

DaMontre Moore DE/OLB Texas A&M – He had a poor combine showing and he also had a poor showing at his pro day ,the 4.95 40 is not impressive. However, I believe this is a case of scouts looking to far into his numbers and forgetting about the havoc Moore caused in the SEC last year.  When you watch the tape Moore makes plays, he has a high motor, is versatile as a 43 DE and a 34 OLB, as well as anchors well in the run game.  Moore should be a first round draft pick but his poor showing could cost him the first round pick.  Regardless, whatever team grabs him in the 2nd round will be gaining a steal and a talented threat coming off the edge.

Players who will be overvalued come draft day

Black
Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU- I have never been a big fan of Mingo and Montgomery. He is small and was constantly bullied by some of the SEC’s offensive lineman. Luke Joeckel bullied both of these guys in the LSU/Texas A&M match up this past season, and at times their presence was just not felt at all.
T.J. McDonald, S, USC- I know McDonald is being projected as a 3rd to 4th round pick but in my opinion he should not even be looked at until the later rounds on the third day or shouldn’t even be selected in the at all. McDonald is the next Taylor Mays, a USC player who gets overvalued and falls flat once he reaches the Pros. He was the mastermind behind most of the USC defensive woes and his game against Oregon was probably the worst safety performance I’ve ever seen from a college safety.

Blacker

The trend in the recent years for the NFL is to reach for a QB that think can turn around the team’s fortunes. I don’t think that we see any deviation from the trend here. I expect Geno Smith, EJ Manuel and/or Ryan Nassib, to be highly overvalued come draft day. Especially if a team like Jacksonville decides to take Geno at 2. That would set off a domino effect and teams like Buffalo, Arizona, New York and Philadelphia could become desperate and reach for Manuel or Nassib.  I am a firm believer that none of the aforementioned QB’s warrant a first round selection but the need for an elite signal caller could lead to those 3 QBs to be overvalued.

 

Player who sneaks into the 1st round

Black
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State- Manuel is my favorite quarterback prospect coming out of this year’s draft, his had a good week at the senior bowl in the eyes of many scouts despite many reports by “Draft Experts” (I’m looking at you Mayock), and he has gained some draft stock momentum in recent weeks. I could see him going in the bottom of the first to a team that trades back up into the first round to nab one a QB.

Blacker

Dj Hayden CB Houston – The kid has an amazing story, almost died in practice due to a tear in his heart. Comes back from the near death experience and runs a 4.3 40.  Hayden also faced off against talented WR Quinton Patton and shut him down. Hayden posses prototypical CB size at 5’11 191. Personally I don’t see anything that makes Hayden any more special than other CB’s like Trufant, Millner or Rhodes but scouts and NFL GM’s like him and love the story and that should be enough to push him to the late first.

 

Player who slip in the draft

Black
Keenan Allen, WR, California- As much as I love Keenan Allen as a prospect, his stock has dramatically decreased since early January. His knee injury kept him out of the scouting combine in February and when he was finally able to run at his Pro Day, he only ran a 4.7. Scouts had already questioned his speed as there times where faster defensive backs easily caught Allen from behind.

Blacker

Bjorn Werner DE Florida  State, – Jarvis Jones will fall due to health concerns but also they should be picked right about where they belong.  Werner is a top 15 talent and the best pure 43 DE in the draft but with Tampa trading the pick for Revis and the possibility of the Titans taking OL help. Every other pick after that has other needs than a 43 DE. IF teams decide to draft by need and not BPA, Werner could take a spill to the 20’s.

Manti Te’o  Scouting Report.

Measurables

Height: 6 -1

Weight: 248

40 Time: 4.75

Manti Te’o vs Miami 

Manti Te’o vs. Stanford

Strengths:

  • + Plays the Game with Passion
  • + Smart
  • + Can read an offense pre-play
  • + Can follow the flow and attack downhill
  • + Great Leadership
  • +  Solid Tackler
  • + Good Blitzer

Weaknesses:

  • – Takes bad angles to the ball
  • –  Not elite in coverage against backs and TE
  • -Can get engulfed by lineman
  • –   Worry about his speed
  • –  Mental health?

Summary – Te’o is one of the more polarizing players in the country. What he lacks in raw athletic ability he makes up for in amazing instincts and leadership.  When you watch game film of Te’o you realize he is always around the ball, Te’o had 7 Interceptions this past season and when you see those interceptions a lot of them are Te’o being in the right place at the right time and make an amazing play on the ball. Manti can be exploited in coverage; he got lost in the NC game vs. Alabama and allowed a TD to Michael Williams. He also got totally destroyed by Alabama’s line (as did the rest of the of Notre Dame) which could be a worry because that is the caliber of OL he will be playing the NFL.

Overall – Te’o is a solid LB, he won’t be a stud in the league but he has the ability to play SAM and MIKE in the 43 and play ILB in the 34. I don’t see him being as effective as a 43 WILL.  Te’o obviously has some other issues to workout, the whole cat fishing and fake girlfriend cover up is a red flag. How he explains that in interviews will be interesting to say the least.  I think Te’o is a good LB but is not the elite LB he was built up to be in the collegiate ranks. That being said he should still be  at least a 2nd round pick

Draft Value –   Late 1st to Mid 2nd.

NFL Comparison – Perry Riley LB Washington Redskins

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Kennan Allen

College: California

Position: Wide Receiver

Height: 6-3

Weight: 210 lbs

Position Rank: 1

Projected Round: Top 15

Kennan Allen is my favorite offensive player this year and may be tied for my favorite player of this year’s draft next to BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. I have followed closely Kennan Allen’s career ever since he was a freshman and he quickly become one of my favorite players in the country. He is an absolutely great route runner and if you combined his quickness, strength, and size he is an extremely lethal receiver at getting yards after the catch. He has the vertical ability, hands, and concentration to catch the ball at its lowest to its highest points. I’m assuming that you must be thinking that if this guy could do it all then why isn’t he getting as much hype as a AJ Green or Julio Jones coming out (by no means am I comparing him to those 2 coming out). Well there are many answers for this, one was that he missed the final 3 games of the season due to knee injury. Another one was that he had to deal with a pretty dire quarterback situation at Cal, where his brother, Zac Maynard, was less than stellar for most of the season for a pretty bad and banged up Cal team.

If Allen’s knee is fine from the injury he suffered in the latter part of the year is fine and if he has a great combine like I am predicting him to be, I could see this Allen securing his spot as the top wideout coming out of this year’s draft and possibly a top 10 selection.

Speed and quickness

From the numerous games I have seen of Kennan Allen, there was always something that separated him from other 6-3 wideouts, and that was his speed and quickness. He has a decent release of the line of scrimmage and knows how to use his feet to get open. And once he catches the ball he is always a threat to gain 10-20 yards more. He was often used in screens in a lot while at Cal for this reason.

Hands

Allen has dependable but not perfect Aj Green type hands. He may drop a few here and there due to a lack of concentration, a problem that many thought Julio Jones had coming out. Look out how its turned out for him.

Deep ball ability

Because of Maynard not having the arm that most college quarterbacks have, Kennan Allen rarely ran deep patterns and when he was involved in one, the ball was usually under thrown. He certainly has the speed and vertical ability to have this part of the game be one of his strengths but this will virtually remain an unknown part of Allen’s game until he’s in the NFL because of the lack of film of him actually running a deep pattern.

Conclusion

Brandon Marshall is probably the best comparison for Kennan Allen as both are big bodied receivers with the ability to make defenders miss with their feet and get yards after the catch with speed and quickness. I might be overrating Allen in the eyes of some, but if feel like if Kennan Allen falls to the right team, I could see him being one of the best receivers

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Nigel Malone

College: Kansas State

Position: Cornerback

Height: 5-10

Weight: 185 lbs

Projected Round (As of now): late 4th to 5th round

Nigel Malone was one of the players that I had highlighted on before the start of last year’s college football season during our Top 5 Under the Radar College Players video a while back. He lead the conference in interceptions with 7 two years ago while getting another 5 this year. He is California native spent two seasons at the junior college level and, although he isn’t a big fan of the Midwest (which he has made public several times), he decided to transfer to Kansas State over New Mexico. He was one of 4 Kent State players to go to earn invitations to postseason all-star games this year as linebacker Arthur Brown and wide receiver Chris Harper will play in the Senior Bowl and he and quarterback/tight end/h-back Collin Klein went to the 88th annual east west shrine game where he really rose his stock during that week.

Many scouts reported that he was great in man to man coverage batting down passes all week and shutting receivers down. And during the game he jumped right in front of a pass for pick 6 making the score 21-3 earning him, the game’s most outstanding player on defense. He is a bit undersized but that doesn’t stop him from getting in the faces of bigger and stronger receivers. He’s a very scrappy and tough player that many players would love to add to their team. But because of his size I feel he’s best suited as a slot corner at the next level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmFi9bZ23yY

Malone vs TCU

Man on Man coverage  

Malone, like pretty much the whole K-state team, had a tough time during the Fiesta Bowl as he was beat more times than not during the game when he was in zone and at times man. After re-watching the shrine game I would say that Malone was truly one of the best defensive backs there and showed why he is a great man to man defensive back, which teams like the Steelers, Ravens, Packers, and the Jets can use because of their zone blitz schemes.

 

Ball Awareness

Malone possess above average instincts on the ball. He always seems to be around it at all times even during running plays as there for sweeps on his side. He is more a of a ball hawk then playing it safe type of player which for some schemes and coaches could be troublesome.

Slot coverage

From what little I have seen of Malone in the slot, I have to say he’s looks fine in there. He usually played outside the numbers where he was at time exposed by bigger and faster receivers.

Overall conclusion

Malone was also coached by one of college football’s best coaches Bill Snyder who has a knack of getting his players pro ready. I could see Malone stock rise even more if he has a good pro day and combine to the early mid rounds.