Here are my notes on the LSU-Florida game from earlier this season. I took notes on the guys who stuck out to me throughout the game so I may have to go back again later to get a look at some players that I missed. Hopefully you enjoy what I have here though! I hit on a number of pretty well known guys. Enjoy!
Notes on LSU-Florida 2010:
I didn’t see much of Peterson in coverage because of the camera angles and he was rarely tested if ever, so I don’t have a lot of notes on him from a coverage perspective. He’s definitely a freak athlete though and he does a great job as a return man. I look forward to getting to see him more in coverage at a later date.
Gilbert has great size and gets a pretty good push in the run game because of his size and strength and he does a solid job of getting his pads low enough to get a good shot at winning the leverage battle. However, he has pretty slow feet and it showed when he had to do anything besides drive block (like on a stretch play or if they ran a zone run play) and also when he had to pass block. That’s not to say he got beaten off the edge badly, but he definitely is not going to stick at LT in the NFL. He is going to have to try RT first obviously. His size and foot speed reminds me of Phil Loadholt a bit, but obviously Loadholt is bigger and gets a better push versus the run. Right now I would grade Gilbert as about a 4th round pick.
Pouncey is a nice guard prospect but he just does not have it at center. He is doing much better than he was earlier in the season, but in their first game of the year he had numerous bad snaps and he has improved his shotgun snapping to “average” or “decent” by this point, and that might be an overstatement at times. However, he looks like he will be a quality OG prospect despite all of this. I would grade him as a 2nd rounder at this point since he has had kind of a down year, but he definitely has 1st round talent and it showed last year. He was blocking Drake Nevis one on one often in this game and though Nevis got the better of him at times he also had his share of one on one victories against him. Nevis got pressure going against Pouncey a few times, but if Nevis made a big play or a tackle for loss he was abusing someone else on Florida’s line, not Pouncey. Pouncey looks like he should be a quality guard prospect but I just can’t put that 1st round grade on him right now. He could definitely make himself a lot of money with a good performance at the senior bowl though.
Johnson has impressive size and strength and he can get a good push in the run game, but he doesn’t seem very technically sound. He looks like he leans into blocks a lot and might be a bit of a waist bender (this might be an issue with Gilbert as well) but I didn’t pay specific enough attention to check that. He looks like a solid guard prospect at the next level, and I’d grade him as a 4th-5th rounder based off of how much I’ve seen of him so far. He’s solid, but I think he needs some technique work and he doesn’t have very good foot speed.
Drake Nevis #92
Drake Nevis was an absolute beast in this game. He has great quickness off the ball and has impressive hand usage and pass rush moves for a college defensive tackle. He gets off the ball well consistently (sometimes he will be slow off of it, but that happens) and sometimes his initial move will be so good that he will just burst right past the guy trying to block him. But there were times in this game when he just dominated double teams as a pass rusher and he really showed his potential as a big time defensive tackle on a regular basis in this game. He and Pouncey had some interesting battles but I’d say it was about even with Nevis getting penetration against him in the pass game at times but other times Pouncey would neutralize him pretty effectively one on one. Despite his great hand usage I think he still needs technique work because sometimes he will stop moving his feet and he won’t keep driving his legs to continue to get a push, and sometimes he played too high and that helped Pouncey and others neutralize him. He may not be a huge DT, but there were times when he played with effective leverage that he was very difficult to move in the run game. I’m not sure he will ever be able to stand up against a double team from offensive linemen as big as the Gators’ linemen are but he definitely looks like a nice UT prospect in the NFL. I give him a top 15 grade right now because he can just be so incredibly disruptive that I love his potential. The trick will be evaluating his work ethic because if he just coasts on his natural ability once he gets to the NFL his impact will be limited, but if he works at his craft and continues to develop he could be a very good UT in a 4-3.
Brantley had a solid game, he definitely looked better in this game than he did earlier in the season. The most impressive thing that I noticed was how tough this guy is. Not only was he allegedly playing with 4 cracked ribs and an injured thumb (some said it was broken but I don’t know if that is true) but even despite that there were a couple of plays where he knew the pressure was coming but he stood tall in the pocket and delivered a threw even though he knew he was going to get hit, and he did. But he got up and kept playing anyways. That’s just impressive to me. He showed more pocket poise than I thought he had, and he did a better job of going through his progressions than I thought he would, but he still stared down one receiver or one side of the field pretty often and it looked like he was getting his audibles from the sideline (but I thought that about Bradford too, which apparently was wrong). He definitely made some nice throws in this game though. He converted a few very key third down passes on third and medium or third and long and he made a couple nice pre-snap reads where he recognized the blitz and found his hot read right away for a quality completion. Those are encouraging plays for him as a NFL prospect. Not to mention he has a very strong arm and he is pretty accurate from what I can tell. He has a ways to go still, but he has definitely improved since the start of the season which is all you can really ask. I’d be shocked if he left early, so I look forward to seeing how he finishes off the season and how he looks in Florida’s bowl game. Right now, not knowing how his senior year will go, I’d project him as a 4th-5th round pick because he has pretty nice tools as far as size, arm strength, toughness and he has shown enough signs of intelligence that I like to think he’s pretty smart. So if a team interviews him and comes to the same conclusion I could see them drafting him as a #3 guy to develop into an eventual back-up. It’s hard for me to envision him being a starter in the NFL based off of what I have seen at this point however.
The first thing I noticed about Jenkins is how well he supports the run and the fact that he seems to be a good tackler. He couldn’t always take Ridley down one on one in the backfield but he was regularly the first to hit him and slow him down, and he made a number of nice tackles in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage in this game. He is pretty aggressive at the line of scrimmage and he has active enough hands to get off of receiver blocks at the line of scrimmage, or at least he managed to do that in this game. He isn’t a very big corner, but he is aggressive and he did what he could to re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage. He could use some work on jamming, but he did an ok job. When he did get beat off the line when he was trying to jam he showed good quickness and recovery speed to catch up to the receiver in his route. He seemed comfortable in man coverage but also looked pretty good in zone, though he was rarely challenged. I love how he supports the run as a corner though, and his quickness and burst make me think he would be very good in a zone-heavy scheme. I need to see him in man coverage more before I come to a conclusion about him being a quality man coverage corner in the NFL. He definitely has impressive ball skills though and he locates the ball well while in flight and makes good adjustments to make a play on it. Not to mention the fact that he is very dangerous as a return man on punts and after he makes an interception. I grade Jenkins as a 1st-2nd rounder right now because even if he is a great zone corner and a solid man coverage corner his play-making ability makes him worth a late first or early second round pick, but he could be the #3 corner in this class if he plays well enough in man coverage. I just haven’t seen enough of his film to figure that out yet.
I can’t say I was very impressed with Ahmad Black in this game. He packs a punch as a hitter, but he didn’t seem to take very good angles in run defense and he didn’t seem to break down well for wrap up tackles at times. I didn’t see much of him because he was regularly out of the camera shot, but even in run support I was not impressed and I did not like what I saw from him in man or zone coverage either. I would grade him as a 5th-6th round pick at this point because he probably offers some ability as a special teamer and could develop into a back-up safety at some point, but he doesn’t look like a NFL starter at all to me.
Barksdale was pretty underwhelming in this game. He has good size and strength, but outside of that he isn’t much of a prospect in my opinion. He doesn’t have good foot speed so against good speed rushers he will have trouble taking away the edge, he doesn’t have a good initial punch to shock the defender and he doesn’t sustain blocks well after he gets his hands on the defender. Usually with big, lumbering offensive tackles they won’t always get their hands on the quick speed rushers but if they do they take them out of the play, but that is not the case with Barksdale. Not only was he not very impressive to me in the passing game but he didn’t make a quality impact in the running game either. He struggled getting to the second level which speaks to his lack of quality foot speed and he again struggled to sustain blocks in this phase of the game. He needs technique work in my opinion because he does not always keep his feet churning to help him sustain and drive his man, he doesn’t have a good punch and he will sometimes lean and over-extend himself, making him susceptible to a pass rush move. He looked like a 5th-6th round prospect to me in this game. He has good size and strength but his technique needs improvement and his ceiling isn’t any higher than a potentially solid RT in the NFL because of his foot speed and because he has not generated much of a push in the run game either. He has career back-up written all over him in my opinion.
Toliver really impressed me in this game. I have to admit I expected to see a receiver with questionable hands because former LSU receivers have had problems with drops, but that is not what I saw. He did drop one pass that I thought he should have caught even though it was high, but other than that he did a great job of catching the ball with hands away from his body, securing the ball and then making a smooth move to pick up yards after the catch. He made a number of key catches in this game, including two or three big ones on LSU’s final drive to take the lead late in the game. He had two touchdowns in this game including the eventual game winner on a fade route to the corner of the end zone. I love players that show up on 3rd downs, in critical situations and especially late in close games. Toliver did all of that and more by not only making catches for 3rd downs but picking up yards after the catch and winning the game for LSU on that final drive by setting them up inside the 10 yard line with a key catch and then catching the clinching touchdown. I’m not saying he is a dominant talent, but he really showed up big in this game and I came away extremely impressed. I would probably give him a 3rd round grade right now but he looks like a nice #2 receiver in the NFL. I don’t think he is a #1, but he seems to have reliable enough hands, good enough quickness to create some separation and he can stretch the field a bit too with his size and 4.5 speed. But most importantly he shows up when his team needs him and when the pressure is on, and I love seeing that attribute in players and in the short time I have been scouting those players seem to pan out, so it was great to see that in Toliver.
I don’t have an abundance of good things to say about Jarrett Lee but I thought I’d take notes on him to make sure I didn’t miss out on another Matt Flynn, though I don’t think I would have. Lee looked alright in this game and showed some accuracy and solid decision making in the face of pressure, plus he seems to be pretty smart and made a couple nice hot reads, but unless he gets into a post-season game and demonstrates above-average arm strength, good accuracy and good pocket poise and decision making I don’t think he will be drafted. He’s not very tall, he has limited playing experience, he doesn’t look like he has much more than average arm strength and solid accuracy… I thought he made a couple nice decisions under pressure but the sample size is just too small to draw significant conclusions from his play. I need to see more of him and so do NFL talent evaluators, so I really hope he gets an invite to the East-West Shrine game or the Texas versus The Nation game so I can see him against comparable competition day in and day out.
I did not think much of Carl Moore before this game but I like him a lot as a prospect after it. I don’t think he will ever be a #1 or even a #2 WR, but I think he has NFL potential as a solid #3 or #4 receiver. He may not get drafted, but I think he should get drafted. He has great size at about 6’3”, 218 pounds and while he isn’t a burner with a reported 4.58 40 yard dash time he isn’t so slow that he can’t create separation. I haven’t seen enough of him to evaluate his route running, but I do know that every time Florida needs a 3rd down conversion or a big catch they go to him. Literally half of his catches (13 of his 27 on the season) have been on 3rd downs. Obviously he isn’t incredibly productive and he isn’t a starter for the Gators, but it speaks volumes that not only is he put in the games on 3rd down, but he consistently makes plays on critical 3rd down plays for the Gators. I don’t think he will ever get an invite to the Senior Bowl, but I hope he gets one to the East-West Shrine game because I think he could surprise some people. I don’t know how good his hands are or how well he catches away from his body, but his body of work on 3rd down for the Gators really intrigues me.
Hopefully you enjoyed my musings on how all of these guys played, and I’ll continue to churn out some notes like this until I finally have seen some people enough to churn out final scouting reports. That will be after bowl season I imagine. Thanks for reading!