Category: NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Reports


Size: Lucas has very impressive size for an offensive tackle as he is listed at 6’8”, 328 pounds. He has very long arms and certainly looks the part from a length standpoint, but he needs to gain noticeable weight in his lower half to continue to improve his anchor and give him a chance to generate better movement in the run game when blocking 1 on 1.

Athleticism: For such a huge man Lucas is a pretty impressive athlete. He rarely has issues getting to the second level, he can take away a defensive end’s speed rush off the edge, and he looks like he has the lateral agility to stick at left tackle in the NFL to me. He’s not an elite level athlete, and he probably won’t run that well in the 40 yard dash, but he looks the part of a NFL tackle to me.

Technique: This is one part of Lucas’ game that needs work in my opinion. His hand placement needs noticeable work and I think he got away with a number of pretty egregious holds in the games that I watched of him. He lets his hands get too far outside both in the run and pass game, and I think he needs to improve that before he will be a quality starter at the NFL level. There are times he bends at the waist which is concerning, but what is more concerning is how high he plays consistently. He regularly stands straight up when attempting to run block and while he is going to struggle naturally with pad level due to his height he rarely seems to bend his knees and attempt to win the leverage battle. He is also very rarely in a true 3 point stance, and I think operating out of the two point stance aids him in pass protection. When he is in the 3 point stance he tends to more or less stand straight up out of the stance whether he is run or pass blocking.

Pass Protection: This is the strongest part of Lucas’ game in my estimation. As I mentioned previously he has the athleticism, even at his mammoth size, to take away edge rushes from defensive ends. His length certainly aids him here and he does a good job getting out of his stance into his kick slide and not over-committing to stopping the speed rush very often. He struggles at times with power moves and bull rushes because of his issues with leverage and pad level though. He needs to get stronger so he can anchor and recover better, but if he doesn’t improve his pad level and work on bending his knees as he absorbs contact it won’t matter how strong he gets; he will still struggle to absorb bull rushes, anchor and recover. He showed the ability to recover when defenders got him off balance though which I was encouraged by. He’s not a quick-twitch athlete, but he showed that he could mirror defenders pretty effectively. He doesn’t show much of an initial punch to shock the defender, and I want to see him work on replacing his hands when they are slapped away by a pass rusher trying to avoid being engaged. He has plenty of upside in this phase of the game, he just needs coaching.

Run Blocking: This is the aspect of Lucas’ game that drives me up the wall. Despite his massive size and length he is extremely passive in this area of the game. He struggles with pad level and leverage in the run game much like he does in the pass game, only here it is even more pronounced. He rarely generates movement off the snap, he regularly stands straight up as he’s attempting to run block, and doesn’t play with any nastiness or tenacity in this phase of the game. He doesn’t consistently block to the whistle, he doesn’t finish blocks the way I would like him to, and he seems content with temporarily getting in the way with a wall off block, a reach block, or a combo block where he gets to the second level. He does get to the second level and engage linebackers consistently well, but he leaves a lot to be desired in his 1 on 1 run blocking against defensive ends (even those significantly lighter than he is). I don’t think he’s ever going to be a good drive blocker, and therefore he is going to be best in an offense that utilizes zone blocking concepts consistently. He has the athleticism to perform them all, he just hasn’t quite gotten the hang of the cut block yet. One of the parts of his game he really needs to improve on is short yardage. Those are the situations in which his “gentle giant” tendencies are most obvious. He doesn’t fire off the ball, he doesn’t win the leverage battle, and he doesn’t generate any push, which leads to his defender ending up in the backfield more often than not. From what I could see it looked like Kansas State rarely ran behind him when they really needed the yardage, and I don’t blame them. He has the size and length to be an effective run blocker, but he’s very far away from that at this point in his development. He needs significant coaching and technique work in this area.

Overall: Lucas is a difficult prospect for me to pinpoint exactly. He has all the size, length and athleticism you could ask for in a tackle as large as he is (and his height is almost a detriment at 6’8” or so) but he doesn’t have the strength or tenacity that I value in offensive linemen. I think he’s going to be an effective pass blocker at the next level with continued coaching, but it does concern me that he spends so much time in the 2 point stance and doesn’t seem overly comfortable coming out of a 3 point stance. That can be coached, but it’s something that gave me pause when watching him. The problem area is really his run blocking which I don’t think will ever get significantly better than it is now. He can effectively wall off and seal his man now, he can get to the second level to get a hat on a linebacker, he can double team with his guard or his tight end, and he can block down on a defensive tackle and seal him. He’s never going to be a good drive blocker who can generate push off the ball and unless his line coach can really light a fire under him I don’t think he’s going to consistently block to the whistle and make it a point to take his man out of the play each snap. He has that potential, but it has been almost completely unrealized at this point. He’s definitely a guy who needs some development, and it seems like Kansas State has found ways to gloss over some of his shortcomings (putting him in a 2 point stance and rarely asking him to drive block) but they will be on full display at the next level. He needs to start working to correct them.

Projection: 3rd-4th round. As much as I think he has significant upside as a pass protector his run blocking tanks his grade for me. There’s plenty of talent to work with here, but he needs significant coaching up. He’s worth a look on Day 2 and definitely on Day 3, but without significant improvement as a senior I don’t think he’s going to be drafted in the first two rounds.

Size: Henderson has fantastic size for an offensive tackle. He’s listed at 6’8”, 345 and he is very strong in the upper and lower body. He could stand to lose a little weight honestly because I think he had some conditioning issues as a junior, but he’s not lacking for raw size and strength.

Athleticism: Henderson is a good athlete for his size but I don’t think he’s a rare athlete as far as movement skills. Occasionally he will look heavy footed when he’s trying to get to a spot or get out in space, but he has good lateral movement and impressive quickness for such a large man. I wouldn’t call him a quick-twitch athlete, but he has enough quickness that he can react quickly and recover in pass protection. There are times where he is overmatched by a defender’s quickness though.

Technique: Henderson’s technique is solid, but it definitely has room to improve. One thing that really bothers me is how often he bends at the waist as a run blocker. He regularly does this and it really inhibits his ability to maintain his balance and therefore struggles to sustain his blocks. He ends up on the ground more than I would like as a result of this, but occasionally it will allow him to generate a pancake block so I think it reinforces that bad habit. He also needs to work on his hand placement both as a run blocker and in pass protection. He lets his hands get outside onto the shoulder pads too much and even on the back of the man he is blocking at times in the run game. That’s going to draw flags in the NFL and while it helps him control the guy he is blocking I don’t think he’s going to be able to get away with that as much at the next level. In general he does a good job of replacing his hands when they are slapped away and recovers well if he gets off balance. He has a good anchor, he just needs to make sure he plays with good leverage and pad level without bending at the waist. Additionally, he doesn’t have much of an initial punch despite his obvious raw power. He’d be more effective if he used a punch to shock defenders upon engaging them. He also needs work on his cut blocking technique, but he has demonstrated that he can do it at times.

Pass Protection: I was pleasantly surprised with Henderson’s ability in pass protection. He has impressive length, good lateral agility and he usually demonstrates quick, choppy steps in pass protection despite his size. He doesn’t always get the depth that I would like to see in his initial drop from his stance, but he has enough quickness to recover even if he doesn’t get ideal depth initially. He consistently showed the ability to recover even if it looked like he was beaten initially and despite having some questions about his hand placement he uses his length effectively and doesn’t often bend at the waist and overextend as a pass protector. I’m not sure how great his football IQ is, but he regularly did a good job handling twists, stunts and blitzes coming off the edge and rarely made mistakes in his assignments from what I could tell. There are times where he is too upright in pass protection and I want to see him bend at the knees, play with better pad level, and “sit down” and use his anchor to his advantage. There are times where he seems to be daring defenders to try to beat him off the edge as he doesn’t get much depth in his drop and then shows a quick burst to recover if they take the bait and try to speed rush him. It was very strange that he performed very well in pass protection against the likes of Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech (all of whom have at least one noteworthy pass rusher) but struggled against Virginia, particularly against Ausar Walcott who I had never heard of before this game (as a senior Walcott had 2.5 TFL and 0.5 sacks all year). Walcott gave him issues by challenging him with a speed rush but then bursting inside after Henderson was over committing to try to take away the speed rush and he struggled to recover in these instances. I imagine that is why may be trying to protect against the inside move initially at times before taking away the speed rush as a secondary option, but it was something that really confused me. He didn’t have issues protecting against inside moves against Prince Shembo, Bjoern Werner, Kareem Martin or James Gayle for the most part, but Walcott was giving him some problems. It may simply be Henderson playing up and down to his competition, but I can’t find an explanation for it.

Run Blocking: This phase of Henderson’s game was a bit of a let-down for me. He’s not a poor run blocker by any means, but having watched him in high school I was expected a mauler that could dominate in this phase of the game. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, as he regularly bent at the waist and involved himself in what I started to refer to as “the matador and the bull” where the defender would back up and let Henderson, or the bull, run forward with his waist bent and at times his head down and just fall to the ground. Thereafter the defender would pursue the ballcarrier. I didn’t notice it as frequently against Notre Dame but it became a consistent pattern in all the other games I watched and it really concerns me. Without bending at the waist he wasn’t able to generate much push off the ball and almost exclusively generates pancake blocks when he bends at the waist. Without doing this he is essentially a wall-off blocker, just a really big one with good length. Like I said, he’s not a bad run blocker and even though he isn’t a dominant drive blocker with good technique he can still wall-off effectively, he’s a good combo blocker and he has the athleticism to get to the second level, he just isn’t the mauler you would expect for a 6’8”, 345 pound offensive tackle. He does need work on his cut-blocking technique, he has issues with his hand placement in the run game as well, and his short-area quickness isn’t great and it shows when he doesn’t quite get to a spot against quicker defenders at times. Overall he’s a pretty good run blocker, he’s just not dominant or elite and unless he cleans up his waist bending (he doesn’t appear to be a natural knee bender to me) I don’t think he will be in the future.

Overall: Henderson is a complicated prospect to evaluate because even though he has all the size, athleticism and ability you could want in a right tackle he hasn’t quite put it all together yet. He’s close to doing so as a pass blocker in my opinion, but he still has room to improve in the run game. Regardless, his conditioning was a problem for him last year and every 3rd series he was substituted out of the game in favor of a talented true freshman named Ereck Flowers. There are also times where he seems to be winded and instead of blocking to the whistle he simply shoves his man and often times his man then involves himself in the play. I stated earlier that I think he could stand to lose a little bit of weight and improve his conditioning and if he was able to do that I think he’d be able to play with better effort snap to snap and not need to get subbed out every 3rd series. One thing that concerns me is that Henderson is a very talented prospect and even if he does put it all together and become a likely 1st round pick I still look at this as essentially a contract year performance. Yes, he finally played up to his potential, but if you draft him will he continue to put in the same effort to stay in shape and continue to improve? Or will he start to rely on his talent again? I would hope that he would continue to improve, but that’s something I’d be concerned about if I was a NFL team. His upside is obvious and I don’t think there is going to be a better pass blocking right tackle prospect in this draft, especially not one with his size and length. I would love to see a dominant run blocking performance from him as a senior, but I mostly expect to see more bending at the waist and balance issues which is unfortunate. Overall I definitely think Henderson will end up in the top 50, perhaps even the 1st round if he continues to improve things like his hand placement and conditioning, and if he continues to give good effort as a NFL player I think he will make a team very happy with his pass blocking, but I don’t think he’s going to be the dominant run blocker some expect him to be as of now.

Projection: Top 50. He could easily go higher than this, and he obviously has 1st round upside, it’s just a question of if or when he lives up to it. I’m excited to see if his conditioning is improved as a senior.

Size: Lewan has great size for a tackle prospect. He is listed at 6’7”, 310 and has the frame to add more weight. For as much of a power player as he is he looks pretty light considering he is so tall. He has plenty of strength already, but I think he can get even stronger and he has the frame to add the weight. He also looks like he has pretty long arms which is important for remaining outside at tackle.

Athleticism: Lewan isn’t a special athlete, but he is a good one considering his size. He has shown that he can get to the 2nd level smoothly, I have seen him pull effectively, and he has enough mobility to make an impact on screens. He doesn’t have that “quick-twitch” ability to mirror that the great left tackles have though, and while he has enough lateral agility to hold up at left tackle in the NFL I think his upside is higher on the right side.

Technique: Overall Lewan’s technique is pretty good, but I definitely have some bones to pick with his game. First, I think his hand placement could be better in pass protection. He has a tendency to get grabby once he locks on and will stop his feet after he locks the defender up at times which leads to some embarrassing block sheds if the defender has enough strength to challenge Lewan. Second, he really seems to struggle when he can’t initiate contact quickly after the snap. Because of this I think he likes to reach and overextend to try to engage the defender and that negatively impacts his balance. That and when a defender gets into his pads and has the leverage edge are really the only times he can ever be bull rushed in pass protection. I think he needs to work on replacing his hands when defenders attempt to slap them away, because if he can recover from that and engage the pass rusher he can engulf them with his long arms and strength. However, his ability to recover and anchor is impressive and is one of his strongest assets. I just think some of the holds he gets away with at Michigan are going to be called more consistently in the NFL (there was one play against South Carolina where he had a handful of Clowney’s jersey in his left hand and a handful of Clowney’s dreads in the other).

Pass Protection: This is where you really have to scrutinize Lewan to see if he will be a left tackle or not. I think he can stick at either position, I just think he will be a superior player on the right side. But finding a stud left tackle is hard to do, and finding an adequate one is usually enough to satisfy a NFL team (see the extension the Falcons just gave Sam Baker this offseason) and I think Lewan has the skillset to be an adequate pass protector on the left side. He doesn’t have ideal short, choppy steps in pass protection and his footwork reminds me some of Jake Long when he came out of Michigan. He doesn’t change directions as well as you would like for a blind side pass blocker and that is why he is going to have so much trouble with smaller, quicker pass rushers in the NFL. He matches up fine with bigger, stronger pass rushers, but the explosive, quick guys have given him problems. Like I mentioned earlier, I think he needs to work on his hand placement and not let his hands get so far outside in pass protection. He definitely has a tendency to hold and that becomes a lot more obvious when he lets his hands get outside on the shoulder pads, but in general he keeps them between the numbers. His struggles really start when a pass rusher slaps his hands away or negates his ability to engage him. This was evident in every game I watched of him, whether it was Michael Buchanan (who weighs about 60 pounds less than Lewan), Prince Shembo or Jadeveon Clowney, if they knocked his hands away and prevented him from engaging he had a lot of issues. He was fine against bigger, stronger pass rushers like William Gholston or Clowney when he tried to bull rush him 1 on 1, but he didn’t fare as well against explosive moves, particularly to the inside. He needed help from his left guard or from a running back against Clowney when he went inside on him and I think that is one weakness that Lewan has. He regularly tries to take away the speed rush but that makes him vulnerable to the inside move because he doesn’t have the quickest feet and doesn’t change directions quick enough to recover sometimes. Overall, I think Lewan can be a reliable pass protector, but he’s going to need chips from TE’s and RB’s and occasionally help from his inside guard against more dynamic, explosive pass rushers.

Run Blocking: This is generally the strongest aspect of Lewan’s game. He generates quality push off the ball when asked to block man to man, he has the athleticism to get out of his stance and wall defenders off, and he can move well enough to pull and get to the second level. Much like in pass protection he struggles against quicker defenders though, particularly when he’s pulling or trying to reach a linebacker. Quicker players that can avoid engaging him can give him trouble, and because he isn’t agile or quick enough to react and still make the block there are times he barely gets his hands on the defender before they have essentially avoided his block completely. He’s at his best when he can lock on, drive his legs and generate push off the ball or when he can block down on defensive tackles. He can generate pancakes either way. I don’t think he’s going to be an ideal fit in a zone blocking scheme, but he can execute zone concepts (though I don’t have notes on him as a cut-blocker). There are times when he leans too much and has issues with balance and he gets tossed aside like a rag doll which really concerned me. It doesn’t happen often, but when Michael Buchanan throws Lewan to the ground despite giving up 60 pounds (at least) it makes you wonder. He’s definitely a good run blocker, but it bothers me to see him shed so easily at times.

Overall: Lewan is a quality offensive tackle prospect and I’ve got a 1st round grade on him, but I don’t think he is a franchise left tackle. Jake Long was a superior prospect in my opinion, and I thought he could be an all-pro at right tackle even though he has had a relatively successful career on the left side. Lewan won’t be quite as good as long on the left side and I don’t think he has the same dominant upside on the right either. Still, I think he could be an adequate left tackle and that warrants top 20 consideration even if he ends up being a superior player on the right. He’s going to need help against stud pass rushers, particularly quicker, more explosive guys that can keep him from locking onto them, but he will be a plus run blocker on the left side and shouldn’t need consistent help unless he’s facing a truly elite talent (such as Jadeveon Clowney). He’s going to have his struggles on the left side, but I love his motor and tenacity and that makes me think that even if he doesn’t have the ideal left tackle skill set he will still have a long, successful career either on the left or the right. Perhaps he will never be dominant on either side, but I think he will be effective.

Projection: Top 20. He’s got left tackle upside (even if I think he has more upside on the right) and that will warrant top 20 consideration.

Size: Matthews has prototypical size and length for the left tackle position. He’s listed at 6’5”, 305 pounds and has shown more strength to generate push off the line of scrimmage than his former teammate Luke Joeckel.

Athleticism: Matthews is an impressive athlete considering his size. He’s not the elite level athlete that Joeckel is, but he has more than enough athleticism to take away speed rushers at left tackle, get to the second level as a run blocker, and make blocks in open space on screens. He doesn’t do this as effortlessly as Joeckel does, but he still does a good job of getting out of his stance and sealing off defenders when asked to wall them off.

Technique: Overall I am impressed with Matthews’ technique. He demonstrates consistently good hand placement and he sustains his blocks well. Once he gets his hands on you in pass protection you are generally taken out of the play, and that has to do with his length, hand placement and ability to anchor. He consistently shows that he can cut block, he gets in position to wall-off block well, and he drives his feet when drive blocking. He does leave something to be desired with his initial punch in pass protection (which is relatively non-existent) and while he shows that he can anchor there are times where he looks like he needs to get stronger in the lower body to deal with bull rushes more effectively. When I watched him against Texas as a sophomore he had a lot of issues blocking Alex Okafor thanks to Okafor’s hand usage. He slapped his hands away consistently and used it to beat him more than five times. Unfortunately I couldn’t contrast that to how he handled Okafor as a junior due to A&M’s conference change, but I didn’t see him struggle with that as a junior. I do want to see him replace his hands better after they are slapped away, but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on when I watch him as a senior in 2013.

Pass Protection: I have very few concerns about Matthews playing left tackle, and I don’t think there will be much of a drop-off from Joeckel on the left side. He consistently shows that he can mirror pass rushers off the edge, and has the lateral agility to take away speed rushes. He needs to work on shocking defenders with his initial punch, but once he engages them he does a good job of sustaining the block and not allowing counter moves. He recovers quickly and while he could get stronger in his lower half he does a pretty good job of anchoring against bull rushes. He seems to be pretty intelligent when it comes to blitz pick-up and stunts, but in 2012 defenses spent a lot of time trying to contain Manziel so they weren’t very aggressive up front.

Run Blocking: This is one area where I think Matthews is superior to Joeckel. He generates more push off the ball as a run blocker but still does a good job when asked to beat a defender to a spot and wall them off. He gets to the second level easily, engages linebackers well, and shows that he can generate a lot of push when blocking down on defensive tackles. He may not be quite as agile as Joeckel, but he is stronger and more effective when drive blocking.

Overall: Matthews looks like a top 15 prospect based on 2012 film and I even got to watch a couple of his 2011 games. Obviously I will be keeping an eye on how he transitions to the left side. I have no reason to believe he will struggle there, but stranger things have happened. I don’t anticipate that teams will approach Manziel very differently than they did last year- they will try to keep him in the pocket and avoid letting him use his mobility to hurt them. That should help make life easier for Matthews over the course of the year. Still, he will likely be matching up with the likes of Adrian Hubbard from Alabama, Chris Smith from Arkansas and Dee Ford from Auburn. He should be tested adequately and I expect him to live up to our expectations for him and end up as one of the top left tackles in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Projection: Top 15. Too many things can happen between now and April, 2014 to say that he’s a top 5 lock, and I haven’t even gotten to see him at left tackle instead of on the right side. I fully expect him to do well on the left side, but I want to see it before I say he is definitely going to go top 5-10.

Size: Ellington is weighed in at 5’9”, 199 pounds at the combine and weighed 194 pounds at his pro day. He lacks the size and bulk to be an every down back at the next level in my opinion as he looks skinny on film. To be drafted on the second day he will have to compensate for his lack of size with speed and quickness.

Speed: I expected this to be elite, but I was actually relatively disappointed. He ran slow at the combine, but he ran a 4.52 despite perhaps not being 100% at his pro day. I think he has sub 4.5 speed, but I don’t think he is a 4.4 flat guy when I watch him. He has good speed, but it is not elite speed and that hurts given that I think he has to compensate for his lack of size with terrific playmaking ability.

Quickness: Ellington has quality quickness and it’s obvious pretty quickly after you start watching him. He can make defenders miss in the open field, he hits the hole quickly once he sees it, and he has impressive change of direction quickness and burst.

Inside Running: I don’t think this is where Ellington is going to make the majority of his money at the next level, but he is a solid between the tackles runner. Because of his lack of lower body strength and overall bulk he doesn’t gain a lot of yardage after contact and doesn’t run through a lot of arm tackles (though he does drive his legs, he just doesn’t have the strength to consistently gain a lot of tough yards). He doesn’t seem to run as patiently between the tackles as he does on outside runs, but he doesn’t try to bounce runs outside when they aren’t there.

Outside Running: This was Ellington’s strength at Clemson in my opinion. He’s a faster back even though I don’t see sub 4.45 speed when I watch him, and his quickness certainly benefits him running outside. He is much more patient on outside runs as he allows his blocks to set up and seems to have good vision on outside runs and utilizes his blockers well in open space. While he may not have great lower body strength he does demonstrate impressive balance.

Receiving: Ellington may not have ever caught more than 22 passes in a year (22 as a junior, 14 as a senior) but I think he will be a quality receiver at the next level. He adjusts to less than accurate passes well, can catch the ball with his hands away from his chest, and his quickness will be beneficial on check-downs and swing passes out of the backfield. He’s not elite in this area, and I haven’t seen him make tough catches in traffic, but I think he’s good enough to contribute early on in this area.

Blocking: Ellington gives solid effort as a blocker but his lack of bulk and overall technique hold him back. I’ve seen him drop his head when he is picking up blitzers or occasionally blocking on a run play and that is a big no-no as a blocker. Additionally, his lack of strength and size make it hard to match up well with bigger, stronger defenders which is why despite stepping up and engaging them he struggles to sustain his blocks. With coaching and strength training he could be average or perhaps even solid in this area, but I don’t think he will ever be a great blocker.

Vision: I think Ellington has good vision when running outside, but I was not as impressed with his inside vision and that coupled with his lack of lower body strength and bulk makes me question how good he will be when given carries between  the tackles. He doesn’t have poor vision inside, but there are times he seems to drop his eyes and he runs into the backs of his lineman sometimes.

Ball Security: I haven’t seen Ellington carry the ball with poor technique when I’ve watched him as he frequently keeps the ball high and tight, not allowing the ball to flail away from his body. However, he did fumble a couple times in the games I watched of him despite seemingly correct technique. They could just be perfect punches from the defender, or perhaps he just needs to get stronger. Either way, I don’t have serious concerns about Ellington’s ball security.

Overall: Ellington isn’t a feature back in my opinion but I think he has the speed and quickness to be an effective change of pace back. I don’t think he’s going to be the electrifying player that CJ Spiller has proven to be when given touches in Buffalo, but I think he can be effective. His timed 40 yard dashes gave me a little pause, but after I revisited his games I realized that while he may not have elite speed like many might have proclaimed prior to the combine or his pro day, I think he has good speed. If he had been 100% healthy at his pro day I think he would have ran a sub 4.5 time, perhaps in the 4.46-4.48 range. Regardless, he looks fast to me when I watch him, just not as fast as many might have claimed earlier this year. His quickness is evident as well, and while he doesn’t have much power to speak of if he can improve his lower body strength he would be able to generate more tough yardage. As it stands he pumps his legs like you would want when he is being tackled, he just doesn’t generate much push. He is a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield, and with coaching and strength training he could be a solid pass blocker. He’s not going to be an electric home-run threat in my opinion, but I think he can be a pretty good change of pace back. I have a 3rd round grade on him.

Projection: 3rd round. I think he will likely end up in this range, but I’d be kind of surprised if he made it to the 4th round.

Size: Taylor has the kind of size I really like in a running back. He’s short, but he’s compact and strong. He is 5’9”, 216 pounds and he has the lower body strength necessary for running through tackles and gaining tough yardage. He definitely has the size to be a feature back in the NFL.

Speed: This is definitely one of the weakest aspects of Taylor’s game. His lack of great straight line speed is more than evident when you watch him play, and his fastest time at his pro day was a 4.64 40 yard dash. That’s definitely not going to break any land-speed records, and it shows up when he gets into the open field and even when he is running in shorter distances. This definitely limits Taylor’s upside which is unfortunate because he is a well rounded back despite his lack of straight line speed.

Quickness: Taylor may not be a burner, but he definitely has quality quickness for his size. He is actually surprisingly shifty in the open field and made more defenders miss thanks to his shiftiness than I anticipated despite having seen him play for the last three years without taking notes on him. He definitely has enough burst to hit the hole though and to me that means he can be a productive back at the next level. You can get away with lacking elite speed, but lacking quickness is tough to overcome.

Inside Running: This is where Taylor is going to provide NFL teams value. He’s a between the tackles runner and that’s not going to change at the next level. He runs with good patience as well as good pad level which makes him tough to tackle initially. He has good acceleration and very impressive lower body strength so he generates tough yardage after contact and runs through arm tackles easily. Once he finds a seam he hits it consistently and typically doesn’t dance much behind the line of scrimmage (though on rare occasions I have seen him do this). I haven’t seen him try to bounce runs outside much, and he is reliable in short yardage situations.

Outside Running: Taylor leaves plenty to be desired as an outside runner. First and foremost he lacks the straight line speed to threaten the edge against faster defenders. That means he is largely forced to look for cut-back lanes and doesn’t often gain considerable yardage unless the defense vastly overpursues. He runs patiently outside as well, but running him outside just isn’t playing to his strengths as a running back. That won’t change at the next level either.

Receiving: Taylor is a very reliable receiver. In the last three years he has never caught less than 25 passes (last year as a junior) and this year he hauled in a career best 41 balls for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s not going to be a home-run threat out of the backfield, but he catches the ball well on check-downs and he has the quickness and power to gain some yardage after making the reception. He won’t be a game-changer in this phase of the game, but he will be an effective receiver in the NFL.

Blocking: Taylor isn’t great in this area, but he is definitely good. He usually picks up the right guy and thanks to his power and strength he can pick up bigger defenders and slow them down. He steps up to engage defenders “among the trees” and consistently  showed that he is an effective cut-blocker in pass protection.

Vision: Taylor’s vision actually isn’t quite as good as I expected it to be when I started watching him based on my preconceptions from watching him live or while scouting other Stanford players last year. His vision is good, but there are times when he seems a bit slow to see the hole or just doesn’t seem to see it at all (those instances are rare, however). His vision is good on both inside and outside runs and he uses his blockers effectively in the open field, but obviously he isn’t at his best when running outside.

Ball Security: I was surprised by this, but I actually have some questions about Taylor’s ball security. He fumbled a couple times in the games I watched but he generally runs with the ball high and tight and even covered it with two hands at times in the face of contact. I was surprised he fumbled especially since there were rarely instances where he let the ball get away from his body. I don’t have serious concerns about his ball security, but it was strange to see him fumble at all much less multiple times.

Overall: Taylor isn’t a flashy back but he is a guy that I definitely like. NFL teams aren’t going to be blown away by him because of his lack of great straight line speed and he doesn’t have an abundance of upside left. What you see at Stanford is what you’re going to get- a back who is quicker than fast with impressive power, reliable hands, good vision and trustworthy pass protection. He’s well rounded, but not explosive or dynamic. That means he is going to be a Day 3 pick, but I think he still offers plenty of value in round 4 and that’s where I have him graded. I like him plenty, but because he lacks upside I just can’t give him a round 3 grade. Taylor has gotten a lot of carries and touches at Stanford, but I don’t have concerns about him being a workhorse at the next level and he will likely be a rotational back initially anyway. On top of that he has proven to be durable, so as a well-rounded back I think he will be ready to contribute immediately even as a Day 3 selection.

Projection: Round 4-5. He could go even later than this due to the depth of this running back class, but I like him and think he warrants consideration in this range. He may not be a stud in the NFL, but I have no doubt that he can be an effective back from the get-go even if he doesn’t go day 2.

Size: Gillislee has solid running back size, but he looks slim despite weighing 208 pounds. I think he could pretty easily put on some weight, and at 5’11” he has the frame to do so.

Speed: In my opinion Gillislee has good enough speed to be a NFL running back. It may not have shown in his combine workout when he ran a 4.55 40 yard dash but when I watched him I thought he had about 4.5 speed. I didn’t think he looked like a blazer when I saw him, but he looked like he was adequate in this area. However, I’m not sure he has the speed to consistently get the corner at the next level, though I believe he will be able to gain chunks of yardage despite lacking elite speed.

Quickness: This is one of Gillislee’s strengths. He is quick and it is evident almost immediately when you watch him. He has more than enough burst to hit the hole, possesses enough shiftiness to make defenders miss in the open field, and changes directions well. He isn’t elite in this area, but he is certainly impressive.

Inside Running: Gillislee is solid in this area, but not spectacular. He is relatively tall and is not a thick runner, but he has good leg drive and can run through arm tackles. He consistently fights hard for extra yardage by running with good pad level and churning his legs upon contact, fighting until he is on the ground.

Outside Running: This was one of Gillislee’s strengths at Florida in my opinion, but I’m not sure he has the speed to replicate the same success at the next level. He showed good patience, found cut-back lanes well, and used his blockers well when he found himself in open space.

Receiving: I believe Gillislee is a good receiver out of the backfield even though he only has 23 career receptions (16 of which came as a senior). He seemed to catch the ball naturally out of the backfield when he was targeted and adjusted to poorly thrown passes well. Based off of the limited sample size we have, I think Gillislee will be a reliable pass catcher at the next level.

Blocking: Gillislee’s lack of bulk is evident as a pass blocker, but he puts forth quality effort and is surprisingly effective despite not having ideal size or bulk for pass protection.

Vision: I was not overly impressed with Gillislee’s vision, though I thought he showed better vision and patience on outside runs than he did when running between the tackles. I thought he was slow to see running lanes inside and occasionally would run into his offensive linemen while he was looking for a hole. He runs patiently when running outside and I thought he was effective when doing so, the only question is whether he will be able to get the edge as consistently in the NFL as he could in the SEC.

Ball Security: When I watched Gillislee I saw him carry the ball high and tight with appropriate points of pressure and he rarely, if ever, lets the ball get too far away from his body where it would be easier for defenders to knock it free. I don’t think I saw him fumble in any of the games I watched of him as a senior.

Overall: Gillislee looks like a solid but not spectacular back to me. I don’t see elite speed from him, but he does have quality quickness and good enough vision to be a contributing back at the next level. I am honestly not certain he’s going to be a front-line feature back because while he does a number of things adequately, I don’t think he does a lot of things exceedingly well. He has adequate speed, good quickness, projects to be a good receiver, and is a better than expected pass blocker despite his lack of bulk. There were just times I questioned his straight line speed when I watched him, and seeing him run a 4.55 didn’t exactly ease those concerns. To me he strikes me as a solid NFL Draft prospect, not a great one.

Projection: 4th round. Perhaps he will go on day 2, but I personally think that he’s more of a Day 3 complementary back based on what I’ve seen.

Size: DJ Fluker has all of the size you could ask for in an offensive lineman. He weighed in at just under 6’5” and 355 pounds at the Senior Bowl. On top of that he has 10 ¼ inch hands and 36 3/8 inch arms, and that arm length aids him very well both as a run blocker and a pass protector. When you draw up the ideal mauling offensive lineman it’s hard to think of a better prototype than Fluker.

Athleticism: This isn’t one of Fluker’s strong suits, but he’s not a lead footed player either. He has some lateral agility to attempt to take away the speed rush, he can get to the second level and occupy linebackers, and while he doesn’t look natural in space he isn’t a liability there either. No one will mistake Fluker for Luke Joeckel or Jonathan Cooper, but he’s not a bad athlete given his size and bulk.

Pass Protection: This is the question mark for Fluker: How good will he be in pass protection at right tackle at the next level? I haven’t seen any indication he could consider a switch to the left side, and while I believe he will get a shot at right tackle he could need to move inside to guard at some point. I say this because he struggles with speed off the edge (see game versus Western Kentucky and Quanterus Smith this year) and isn’t a quick twitch athlete that recovers quickly. He doesn’t mirror well either in my estimation, and quicker defensive ends who can slap his hands away to keep him from locking on can have a lot of success against him. He doesn’t replace his hands very well when they are slapped away either, so unless he locks onto you initially there’s a good chance he’s going to be out of position at some point in pass protection. However, when he does get out of his stance and get his hands on the defender the play is usually over for that pass rusher. His massive arms really help in this area and he makes it hard (if not impossible) for defenders to get their hands into his chest and bull rush him. Considering that and his impressive lower body strength he’s tough to get off balance and bull rush, and honestly I don’t think I saw that in any of the games I watched of him. If Fluker is going to get moved inside to guard it’s going to be because he struggles in this aspect of his game, and this was made more obvious by the help Alabama attempted to give him at times with Eddie Lacy chipping or doubling his man in pass protection. He’s going to be an average pass blocker at right tackle, but that’s not why you are drafting him.

Run Blocking: If Fluker is high on your draft board this part of his game is why. He’s an absolute mauler in the run game and is one of the best run blocking offensive linemen in the entire class. He uses his length well, he has great strength to generate push off the line of scrimmage and rarely, if ever, loses ground on a run play. He is dominant in this area and generates very impressive movement off the ball as a man blocker, can reach linebackers at the second level, is absolutely lethal when down-blocking on defensive tackles, and has enough quickness to get in position and wall off defenders when asked. He doesn’t move very well when asked to pull or block in space on screens, but when asked to block one on one he is dominant enough to pancake his man regularly. He is going to be a very good run blocker whether he is outside at right tackle or inside at guard.

Overall: Fluker is an interesting prospect. He’s not very difficult to figure out- he has fantastic size, strength, length and is a dominant run blocker that leaves something to be desired in pass protection. I think he will get a shot outside at tackle, but if that doesn’t work out he will slide inside to guard. Either way he is going to be a very powerful guard that is either average (at tackle) or potentially above average (at guard) in pass protection. He’s going to struggle against great athletes that can keep him from engaging them with his heavy, powerful hands. Once he gets his hands on you he can control and take you out of the play in both phases of the game, but he struggles against speed and quickness in pass protection. That will be his problem no matter where he plays on the offensive line, but his length should keep shorter, squatty defensive tackles from getting into his pads and getting him off balance at guard. I have a late-1st, early 2nd round grade on him because even if he can’t stick outside he can be a pro-bowl caliber guard at the next level.

Projection: Late 1st-Early 2nd. For once my grade and my projection are the same. I expect Fluker to have a chance of going late round 1 to a team that values dominant run blocking in a man blocking scheme. He isn’t a good fit for a zone blocking scheme which means that if he doesn’t go late round 1 he could slip into the beginning of round 2. I expect he will be gone in the first 40-45 selections though.

Size: Jamison measured in at 5’7” ¾ at his pro day which is obviously short, but he tipped the scales at 207 pounds. Jamison is a great example of a player that is “short not small” because while he is just under 5’8” he weighs more than 200 pounds and it shows in his game. He may not be a game-breaker at the next level, but he can carry the load if asked to despite his shorter stature.

Speed: This is Jamison’s Achilles heel. He ran a 4.72 40 at his pro day and that is very slow for a NFL running back. You can see that he isn’t a burner when you watch him, but it was still disappointing to see him time that slow. He’s not going to win a lot of foot-races at the next level, but I still think he can be effective.

Quickness: This is one of Jamison’s strengths, he’s much quicker than he is fast and he has surprising shiftiness for a guy who packs so much punch as a runner. He is quick in and out of his cuts, changes directions well, and can make defenders miss in the open field at times. The quickness that Jamison has makes me believe that while he doesn’t have great straight line speed he can still get to and through the hole in the NFL.

Inside Running: Jamison’s between the tackles running is what is going to make him appealing to NFL teams. As I mentioned above he compensates for his lack of speed with impressive quickness and that is obvious when he runs between the tackles. He’s effective in short yardage and seems to know when he just has to get what he can. His strength and leg drive are both obvious when he’s running between the tackles as he runs through arm tackles with ease and keeps pumping his legs which helps him gain additional, tough yardage. On top of that his balance impressed me. He’s not going to rip off huge gains at the next level, but he can wear you down if you give him the carries.

Outside Running: This is one area where Jamison’s lack of speed really hurts him. He was able to get the edge at times when I watched him, but it often involved great blocking by his linemen or his tight end. At the next level he just isn’t going to be able to outrun defenders to the edge, and despite doing a good job of finding cut-back lanes running to the outside just isn’t playing to his skill set.

Receiving: Jamison is a very good receiver out of the backfield. He can make catches with his hands, and occasionally has made some catches in traffic. He is even used on downfield routes at times and he seems to track the ball well. I have no doubt that Jamison can contribute as a receiver early on in his NFL career.

Blocking: Jamison is a solid pass blocker but he could use some work. There are plenty of instances where he waits for the defender to reach him instead of stepping up and engaging him. His lack of elite size hurts him here, but he is strong enough to at least challenge bigger defenders. I haven’t seen him utilize a cut-block in pass protection at all, but that is something he could be taught in the NFL if he hasn’t been taught that yet. I don’t think he will ever be a great blocker, but I don’t think he will be a liability either.

Vision: I was impressed with Jamison’s vision. He didn’t dance too much in the backfield nor did he hesitate when running inside which was good to see. He still ran patiently and let his blocks set up, but seemed to run decisively once he found the hole. I don’t think Jamison will get a lot of outside carries, but he seemed to have a good feel for how to use his blockers to set defenders up on outside runs or in open space.

Ball Security: I don’t have many concerns about ball security with Jamison. He seemed to carry the ball high and tight and despite consistently fighting for extra yardage he never fumbled in the games I watched of him. He seems to protect the ball well and I wouldn’t anticipate problems with fumbles in the NFL.

Overall: Jamison doesn’t have a boatload of upside because of his lack of explosiveness and because he doesn’t have a lot of growing or developing to do outside of improving as a pass blocker. He is what he is, and that is a back who runs in the 4.7s in the 40 yard dash and is just under 5’8”. Those aren’t great measureables, but I do think he still warrants day 3 consideration and I think he will surprise some teams thanks to his quickness, vision and ability as a receiver. If he lands in the right situation he could be a good back-up right from day 1, and I think that if running back isn’t a big need but your team could use some depth at that position Jamison makes a lot of sense in the 4th-5th round range. He could even slip to round 6 because of the depth of this class. But I think he will be an effective NFL back, he just may never be a featured starter because of his lack of straight line speed.

Projection: 5th round. I have a 4th-5th round grade on him because despite his lack of straight line speed I like his game. I think he will be an effective back-up as a rookie.

Size: Barner is 5’9”, 196 pounds and while that is a pretty respectable weight given his height I still think he could stand to get stronger in his lower body. He certainly looked like he had more lower body strength and better balance as a senior, so I’m wondering if he could continue to get stronger. I’m not sure he can be a feature back at this size given his playing style, but he projects as a quality complementary back right now.

Speed: This is one of Barner’s strengths. He is very fast and while he timed at 4.52 at the NFL combine he ran a 4.39 at his pro day and looks like a 4.45 guy (if not a little faster) when I watch him. He isn’t going to be the fastest man in the NFL, but he is certainly fast enough to rip off big chunks of yardage and get to the edge at the next level.

Quickness: Barner is very quick, and it’s obvious right away when you start watching him. He can make defenders miss in the open field due to his shiftiness, he hits the hole quickly and accelerates very fast. His quickness is very impressive and it’s one of my favorite parts about his game.

Inside Running: Barner isn’t going to be a great inside runner in the NFL in my opinion, but if he was drafted into a zone scheme he would be better than if he was in a man blocking scheme. He has a lot of experience on zone runs thanks to the scheme he played in at Oregon. As a junior I thought his legs went dead on contact too much and that he didn’t have very good balance, but both of those issues seemed to be less severe as a senior. His balance was better and he seemed to pump his legs a little better once contact was initiated. He also showed that he could run through arm tackles and bounce off defenders who went for shoulder stingers without going down and that was good to see. He’s never going to be a power back, but if he got stronger and continued to work on his leg drive I think he could get more yardage after initial contact.

Outside Running: This is where Barner shines. He has the speed to get the edge, the quickness to stop and start on a dime, and he is very comfortable running patiently and then planting his foot and exploding through the hole. He is very good running outside and that should continue at the next level.

Receiving: Barner may not have been a frequent target in Oregon’s passing game (50 receptions in the last 3 years, including 20 as a senior) but he showed soft hands and I think he will be an effective check down and screen player in the NFL. He should be ready to contribute as a receiver immediately.

Blocking: This is one of Barner’s biggest Achilles heels. His lack of great size and strength limits him as a blocker and on top of that he was very rarely asked to block at Oregon. He lacks the skill set and the experience to be a good pass blocker early in his career so he is going to need some time to get coached up in this area. Depending on the team that drafts him that could keep him off the field early.

Vision: Barner has good vision on outside runs and in open space, but I was less impressed by his vision on inside runs. When the hole was obvious he would hit it immediately, but when looking for cut-back lanes he often hesitated, stopped his feet and danced in the backfield before finding somewhere to run. I think that will be a problem in the NFL and while it didn’t happen on every inside run it definitely happened enough that it concerned me.

Ball Security: I have some questions about Barner’s ball security in the NFL as well. He didn’t fumble a lot when I watched him, but he didn’t seem to protect the ball when contact was coming and there were times that he let the ball get away from his frame when he was attempting to elude defenders or fight for more yardage. He has to be careful about that, but this is definitely coachable.

Overall: Barner is an intriguing player but he’s definitely not my favorite back in this class. He’s got the speed, quickness, hands and outside vision that you want, but he lacks power right now even though he was better in this regard as a senior. He just doesn’t strike me as a “tough” player and that cooled me on him a bit. He’s never going to have great power and he’s not going to be that type of back, but his relative lack of leg drive concerns me. Combine that with his inconsistent inside vision and I’m not sure he’s going to be much more than a change of pace back that gets carries to the outside, zone runs, screens and check downs in the NFL. If he was a tougher player I might be convinced that he could get stronger and become a more complete runner, but right now I don’t think that’s the case. He’s worth a pick in the 4th-5th round range, but he’s not going to be a feature back in the NFL in my opinon.

Projection: 4th-5th round. I think he will end up being a day 3 pick, likely before the middle of the 5th round. He’s got enough big play speed that a team looking for a complementary guy will grab him in this range.

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