Tag Archive: Armon Binns


UDFA Tracker

Here is my tracker for the UDFA frenzy going on right now. This is my preliminary list, I will update it when and however I can throughout the day as rumors become official, etc.

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond- New York Giants- Confirmed with him via text
Terrence Tolliver, WR, LSU- Houston Texas- Confirmed with him via text
DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson- New Orleans Saints
Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky- Minnesota Vikings
Graig Cooper, RB, Miami- Philadelphia Eagles
Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina- Carolina Panthers
Deunta Williams, S, North Carolina- Tweeted that he needs to rehab before signing. Tough break for a great kid.
Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College- New York Giants
Jeron Johnson, SS, Boise State- Seattle Seahawks
Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- Miami Dolphins
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia- Philadelphia Eagles
Darren Evans, RB, Virginia Tech- Indianapolis Colts
Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, Ohio State- Chicago Bears confirmed! Big get for them, he could stick.
Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State- Philadelphia Eagles!! *Confirmed with him via text*
Andre Smith, TE, Virginia Tech- Chicago Bears
John Graves, DT, Virgina Tech- Houston Texans
Stevan Friday, DE, Virginia Tech- Houston Texans
Pierre Allen, DE, Nebraska- Seattle Seahawks
Chris Matthews, WR, Kentucky- Cleveland Browns
Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame- San Francisco 49ers
Ted Laurent, DT, Mississippi- Was with CFL team, haven’t heard anything yet.
Kenny Rowe, OLB, Oregon- San Francisco 49ers
Ugo Chinasa, DE, Oklahoma State- Hearing Carolina Panthers
Justin Trattou, DE, Florida- Haven’t heard anything
Mario Harvey, ILB, Marshall- Pittsburgh Steelers
Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech- Dallas Cowboys
Dom Decicco, SS, Pittsburgh- Chicago Bears
Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- Philadelphia Eagles
Adam Weber, QB, Minnesota- Denver Broncos
Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati- Jacksonville Jaguars
Allen Reisner, TE, Iowa- Minnesota Vikings
Zach Hurd, OG, Connecticut- Seattle Seahawks
Craig Marshall, DE, South Florida- New York Giants
Isaac Odim, RB, Minnesota-Duluth- San Diego Chargers confirmed
Ryan Bartholomew, C, Syracuse- Baltimore Ravens
Vai Taua, RB, Nevada- Buffalo Bills
Adam Froman, QB, Louisville- Atlanta Falcons
Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State- Atlanta Falcons
Darren Johnson-Koulianos, WR, Iowa- Philadelphia Eagles I hear. Very intriguing.
Jimmy Young, WR, TCU- Chicago Bears
John Clay, RB, Wisconsin- Pittsburgh Steelers
Isaac Anderson, WR, Wisconsin- Interest from multiple teams, has not signed yet.
Daryll Gamble, LB, Georgia- San Diego Chargers
Dominique Johnson, WR, Cal Poly- Minnesota Vikings
Randall Hunt, OG, Illinois- St. Louis Rams- Martin Parker said he was the toughest OL at East-West Shrine Game
Armando Allen, RB, Notre Dame- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eddie McGee, QB/WR, Illinois- Oakland Raiders- Looks like Al woke up from his nap.
Clay Nurse, DE, Illinois- New England Patriots
Adrian Cannon, WR, Maryland- San Diego Chargers
Joe Horn, WR, Ashland (OH)- Indianapolis Colts
Robert McGill, OT, Louisiana Tech- Atlanta Falcons
Anthony Leonard, LB, West Virginia- New England Patriots
Brandon Bair, DE, Oregon- Kansas City Chiefs- Great fit he screams 3-4 DE, great size.
David Gilreath, WR/KR, Wisconsin- Indianapolis- They love the undersized, slot guys. Has KR/special teams value.
Thomas Weber, K, Arizona State- Cincinnati Bengals
Josue Paul, WR, Central Connecticut- Kansas City
Julian Posey, CB, Ohio- New York Jets
Ray Dominguez, OG, Arkansas- Green Bay Packers
M.D. Jennings, S, Arkansas State- Green Bay Packers
Diondre Borel, QB, Utah State- Green Bay Packers
Theo Sherman, OL, James Madison- Green Bay Packers
Zac Etheridge, S, Auburn- Oakland Raiders!
Mario Fannin, RB, Auburn- Denver Broncos
Ryan Jones- Chicago Bears
Detron Lewis, WR, Texas Tech- Tampa Bay
Corey Brandon, OL, Oklahoma- Tampa Bay
Kiante Tripp, DT, Georgia- Atlanta Falcons
Jabari Fletcher, DE, Appalachian State- Cleveland Browns
Josh Jasper, K, LSU- Tampa Bay
Ollie Ogbu, DT, Penn State- Indianapolis Colts
James McCluskey, FB, Boston College- Oakland Raiders
Jock Sanders, WR, West Virginia- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Charlie Gantt, TE, Michigan State- Kansas City Chiefs- Confirmed
Maurice Rolle, DB- Houston Texans
Robert Hughes, RB/FB, Notre Dame- Chicago Bears
Blake Sorensen, LB, Wisconsin- Seattle Seahawks (via Wisconsin football players)

I’ll try to update this list more later, just trying to keep up!

–Tom

Here are some players who had up and down weeks at the East-West Shrine Game and thus did not improve or hurt their stock. I got pretty long winded in some of these so these are just the offensive guys that I thought warranted mentioning. The defensive guys that didn’t improve their stocks and the players I thought hurt themselves in Orlando will round out the third post I do on this subject. Sorry for the delay on this, school takes up a lot of my time as I’m sure you can all imagine. Enjoy!

Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho: I am a fan of Nathan Enderle but he had an inconsistent week at the East-West Shrine Game. His ball placement was inconsistent during the practices but overall I think he improved over the course of the week. More than anything I think Enderle struggles to be consistent. He showed this during the game when he struggled with accuracy a bit when he first came in, but then he helped lead the West to their only scoring drive of the entire game when he threw a TD pass with good touch and then converted a 2pt conversion. After that he struggled a bit again. He has a strong arm and he has the ability to put the ball wherever he wants it, he just doesn’t do it consistently. That limits his draft stock as a quarterback. However, he has good size, arm strength and he flashes good ball placement. He has delivered late in games before, and I think with a year or two of development he could eventually be a solid NFL starting QB. I think he could use some coaching on his footwork because that might have something to do with his inconsistent accuracy. He also tends to miss high more than anything else, so despite his fluid throwing motion maybe they could tinker with his release point? That’s just one possible thing they could try. Regardless, he has tools worth developing and I think he will stick in the nfl as a back-up at least. I do think he could be a solid starter in the future though.

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware: Devlin had an up and down week and was not impressive during the game on Saturday either. Clearly he is adjusting to making his throws after taking the ball from under center and going through his drops instead of setting up to throw after taking a shotgun snap. We have all seen his accuracy so we know he can throw an accurate ball, but he would have really helped his stock if he had shown better ball placement this week. I think he is worth a 3rd or 4th round pick at this point because he has solid arm strength, good accuracy and solid size. I think he can be an above-average starter in the NFL but I am not as high on him as others seem to be.

Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin: Tolzien probably had the best week of practice of any of the QB’s because he was consistent with his ball placement and further demonstrated that he has above average arm strength. It occurred to me that he has a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion that a coach will have to try to tinker with, but other than that his mechanics aren’t bad. He has experience in a pro style offense and is very familiar with play action fakes from playing at Wisconsin. I think he will be a 7th round pick but if he doesn’t get drafted I’m sure he will be signed as an undrafted free agent. I think he will be a career backup in the NFL but that isn’t a bad living by any means.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech: Taylor didn’t have a great week either. He measured in at over 6 feet tall which, as stupid as it sounds, is important for his stock if he wants to play QB in the NFL. He had the best zip on his passes of anyone here in my opinion but his ball placement consistently left some to be desired. I don’t know how comfortable he is at reading defenses and he still tends to drop his eyes and look at the rush. He does this more than I would like instead of moving in the pocket to find throwing lanes. I don’t know if he will ever have the instinct to run and extend the play outside of the pocket “coached out of him” which makes me question his ceiling. He might be able to be an average NFL starter, but I think he will have to spend a few years as a back-up before he even gets a chance to try that.

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami: Cooper seemed to be regaining his previous form that he had before his injury which was good to see. He looked faster and quicker than he did over the course of the season which is what I was hoping to see. He seemed to be regaining his previous burst though I am not sure how good his footwork and vision is. He seems to dance around in the backfield a bit much for my liking and sometimes tries to bounce things outside when he should take what he can get. I think he will be a solid third down back and special team threat in the NFL especially if he can get healthy and stay that way. He showed soft hands all week and when he gets in the open field he has the shiftiness to make guys miss. I think he is probably a 5th round pick at this point because of the injury and his lack of production during the season this year. However, good interviews and a good showing at the combine could help him even in a deep running back class.

Vai Taua, RB, Nevada: Taua had an up and down week in my opinion, but he runs hard and he has pretty soft hands out of the backfield. The first couple days he dropped a couple passes which made me question his hands, but he bounced back as the week progressed. I don’t think he will be a feature back in the NFL, but I think he has the potential to stick as a late round guy who can pound the ball between the tackles and also catch the ball out of the backfield effectively. I think his ceiling is a more compact Jason Snelling who has made a lot of quality contributions to the Falcons since he was drafted there.

Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland: I am not a big Da’Rel Scott fan to be honest, and I was disappointed that he had what I thought was a mediocre week at the East-West Shrine Game and garnered an invitation to the Senior Bowl over Delone Carter who I consider the better player even if he isn’t as well known. Regardless, Scott showed inconsistent hands all week at the East-West Shrine Game but flashed better hands on the last day of practice I saw as well as in the game. He has great straight line speed but I am not sold on him as a feature back in the NFL.

Alex Green, RB, Hawaii: Green had an up and down week because he showed much better burst and speed than I expected him to have and he showed good route running and hands as a receiver which was great to see. However he fumbled on the first snap of the game and I’m not sure that he has anything better than 4.55 speed and I don’t think he has very good vision. I am not sure he will be drafted before the 6th or 7th round if he is drafted at all. He has tools though so he could stick even as a UDFA, but he has things to work on to be sure.

Terrence Turner, WR, Indiana: Turner is a very confusing guy to me. He has impressive size and probably 4.5-4.55 speed… but he could not catch the ball all week in practice. He would body catch, he would drop passes with his hands, he just looked completely unimpressive all week. It was not an up and down affair at all, he just looked terrible. But then the game comes around and he was making catches away from his body with his hands and I didn’t see him drop a single pass all game. I was completely dumbfounded. The practices are important, but I think the game holds weight also so I elected to not grade him as a loser for this week given his surprising performance in the game. He had to do something like that to give him any chance to be drafted, so I’d say his stock is unchanged. I’d say he is at most a 6th or 7th rounder at this point but there were some flashes in that game that intrigued me as a late round developmental receiver.

Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati: Binns was inconsistent this week. He didn’t get off jams at the line of scrimmage well, he doesn’t seem to like contact much, and because of his size and long strides I have noticed he doesn’t have much burst in and out of his breaks as a receiver which hurts his ability to create separation. He has good hands and long arms which helps his cause, but I am not sure he will be anything more than a solid #2 unless he finds a way to get a lot more explosion and suddenness out of his route running. He seems more like a straight-line speed guy to me.

Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary: Parker started out well because I had never seen him and he was catching everything thrown his way and he was creating solid separation but he seemed to progressively lose momentum as the week went on. He was on Ryan Whalen’s level of not letting any passes thrown near him fall to the ground the first couple days, but he seemed to be rounding off his breaks more as the week continued, he let a couple passes get into his chest and he dropped a couple passes. You would prefer to see a player start off poorly and then improve throughout the week if they are going to start out badly at all, but Parker did the opposite and that hurts him a bit. However, he definitely showed ability that I was not sure he would have, so he should garner some attention in the 7th round or as a UDFA should he not get drafted.

Lester Jean, WR, Florida Atlantic: Some are much higher on Jean than I am, I thought he had an ok week but he started out pretty slow much like Perry Baker did, but his route running did not improve like Baker’s did over the week. He seems to waste steps when making his breaks on curls for instance, and did not create consistent separation that I saw all week. He body catches a lot and I didn’t see him make clean catches away from his hands much during the week. He has pretty good size and speed for the position and inconsistent hands, so there is potential for him to develop into a solid possession receiver in the NFL if he can clean up his footwork and route running. You can work on catching the ball once you get to the NFL too, so if he is committed he can improve. However I wouldn’t draft him before the 5th round right now.

Virgil Green, TE, Nevada: I liked what I saw from Green this week. He was selling out for every pass that he could get to, even diving for a pass that was well overthrown on a ballroom carpet on the first day of practice. He showed good hands by making nice catches away from his body and while I am not sure he will ever be a dynamic TE I think he can be a reliable target. He isn’t a burner at the position so while that is a bit disappointing I was very encouraged by some of the blocking I saw from him this week. He had a few nice drive blocks, one or two even on players as big as him (if not a bit bigger). He has some work to do as a run blocker, but he showed some nice flashes of drive blocking that I did not expect to see from him at all.

Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson: Hairston has really long arms so while he does not have good lateral mobility I think he has a NFL future as a back-up RT that could potentially develop into a solid starter. He struggled with speed rushers, but he used his long arms effectively to keep smaller players from getting off of his blocks and he had at least solid lateral agility to force some speed rush attempts wide of the QB and didn’t seem particularly susceptible to inside moves either. He’s a late round pick, but he has the potential to develop into a starter.

Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida: Jah Reid is a guy that I was not particularly impressed with. He bends at the waist a lot, and when I saw this regularly the first two days of practice I didn’t pay much attention to him the rest of the week. I think he’s a 6th/7th round pick that has the ceiling of an ok back-up. Others thought he had a good week but I am just not impressed with him.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading my thoughts, let me know what you think of them and look forward for my final notes as well as some scouting reports as I find free time to scout over the next couple weeks. I am also working on a mock, but I’m going to wait until after the Superbowl to really put a lot of effort into completing it. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Jordan Cameron has made some impressive catches this week while displaying impressive athleticism.

West Practice Notes: Day Three

Quarterbacks:

Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho:

Enderle showed some of the ball placement that I knew he had today, but it was still very inconsistent. He had a few nice throws that I saw, including a nice throw right on the money to Aldrick Robinson deep. He still missed high a couple times to Armon Binns and struggled going through reads at times. I was really high on Enderle before this season, but he regressed this year for whatever reason. He is definitely still draftable, and with his size, arm strength and inconsistent accuracy he should be a 5th or 6th round draft pick. He will need some development and probably some work on his mechanics (footwork probably, he has a nice fluid throwing motion) but I think he will stick in the NFL.

Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin:

Tolzien showed pretty consistent ball placement on day three and pretty solid arm strength. He won’t be able to stretch the field that well, but on short and some intermediate throws he has solid zip on his passes. I think he warrants a 7th round pick or a priority free agent pick-up, and he has done a pretty good job of making decisions this week. I think he can be a developmental #3 in the NFL.

Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M:

Johnson is probably staring down a position change when he gets to the NFL. He has some mobility and impressive size, but he doesn’t have good zip on his passes, he doesn’t read defenses well, doesn’t make good decisions consistently and struggles with ball placement. I wasn’t sold on him at the beginning of the year after watching him, and it seems that everyone else seems to be of that same opinion now.

Halfbacks:

Patrick DiMarco, FB, South Carolina:

DiMarco stuck out to me all week as a pass catcher and as a runner, and when I talked to Justin Griffith (former Falcons fullback and current halfbacks coach for the West team this week) he said that DiMarco was the guy who stuck out to him the most and that he “did well in pass protection” and “caught the ball well out of the backfield.” I agree with both assertions and I thought it was pretty cool that he was impressed with DiMarco when he had stuck out to me as well. To be fair, Griffith did say that he liked all of his guys, not just DiMarco.

Alex Green, RB, Hawaii:

I’m not sure what Green will run, but he showed more burst and speed than I expected him to show today and he also caught the ball well out of the backfield. I think he warrants late round consideration at this point, but he had a solid week of practice to be sure.

Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland:

I’m not sold on Scott. He has dropped some passes out of the backfield this week, though he has caught others, and he doesn’t seem to have very good vision in my opinion. He and Royster had the least impressive weeks as far as running backs go in my opinion. It will be interesting to see how he does in the game, because when he gets into a seam he can really turn it into a long play.

Vai Taua, RB, Nevada:

Previously Taua struggled a bit catching the ball out of the backfield which was a bit surprising, but he looked much better in that aspect today and that was a pleasant thing to see. I personally grade him as the 4th best RB here behind Carter, Cooper and Green right now, but he had a solid day today.

Wide Receivers:

Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati:

Binns has good hands and probably 4.5 speed but I am not sure he will ever create a lot of separation as a route runner. He is a long strider because of his long legs and I haven’t seen him create a lot of separation when running routes this week. I think he has the ceiling of a reliable #2, perhaps not unlike Michael Jenkins of the Falcons, but with better hands in my opinion. He has deceptive deep speed because of his long strides, but he doesn’t have a lot of quickness/burst into his cuts to create separation as a route runner as a result. He does seem to have good body control, he definitely has good hands and he adjusts well to the ball after it is thrown, but I don’t think he’s much more than a 3rd rounder this year. He’s the second best receiver here only to Toliver in my opinion.

Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary:

Parker was a guy who impressed me the first day and some the second day, but his momentum slowed on the third day. He dropped three passes, the first three drops I had seen from him this week, and did not run his routes with a lot of conviction either. I have seen some of his ability, but right now he seems like a fringe 7th round guy. He doesn’t run great routes, he has solid hands and size but I am not sold on his speed and he hasn’t been overly consistent this week.

Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU:

I like Robinson. He’s a smaller guy but I think he has potential as a slot receiver. I don’t think he is much more than a 4.5 guy, but he has quickness and some shiftiness, and his route running has progressed some this week and he seems open to coaching. He has good hands too and looks the ball in well. I don’t think he’s much more than a 5th rounder at this point, but I think he can stick on a NFL roster.

Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford:

I literally didn’t see Whalen drop a pass this week. Maybe I just missed one, but he has very reliable hands. He may not ever be a starter since I’m not sure how fast he will run or how well he can create separation, but as a possession guy, perhaps as a #4 WR, he should have a long NFL career because he just doesn’t drop passes. He’s got very reliable hands.

Tight Ends:

Jordan Cameron, TE, USC:

I have to say that I think it’s really funny that there is a DE from Cal named Cameron Jordan and a TE from USC named Jordan Cameron in the same draft. I don’t know if anyone else on the internet has pointed that out, but it needed to happen at some point. Regardless, Cameron has really impressed this week. He has made some really nice catches, he has stretched the field down the seam and shown good athleticism and leaping ability. I had no idea who he was before this week but I have to say I am really impressed and he has certainly been one of the big winners this week. His stock should be soaring right now from relative anonymity to a potential 3rd-4th round prospect.

Virgil Green, TE, Nevada:

I think Green quietly had a good week. He has made some very nice catches as well, catches on low throws, diving catches, one handed catches and overall just good catches with his hands and not letting them get into his pads. He has shown some ability as a route runner, though I don’t think he has very good speed, but he has impressed me at times as a run blocker which I was happy to see. He isn’t in my top 5 TE’s as far as positional rankings go, but I definitely think he warrants 4th-5th round consideration and could be a solid sleeper with some development and coaching. I definitely like Green.

Offensive Linemen:

Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU:

I have not been impressed with Barksdale this week. He has good size and arm length for the RT position but he has gotten beaten outside, inside and obviously struggles with speed. He has been able to stop guys like Bruce Miller who can’t get by him because of his long arms, but he is nothing more than a 5th round pick because of his size and arm length in my opinion. He has not been impressive to me this week.

Defensive Linemen:

David Carter, DT, UCLA:

I really like what I have seen from Carter this week. He has good size, arm length, is solid off the ball and has shown good hand usage. He’s gotten into the backfield and has shown signs of dominance in one on one drills. Carter has definitely helped himself this week.

Chris Carter, DE, Fresno State:

Carter had a lot of trouble in coverage this week, not unexpectedly in my opinion, and really could only take away the flats and struggled to react well in space and to close on passes this week. He was moved back to the defensive line for one on one drills and showed some speed off the ball to get the edge. He has some potential as a rotational guy but he is kind of a one trick pony at this point. He has some value but I’m not very impressed with him at this point.

Sorry about the delay on these notes. It’s been a bit of an exhausting week. Hope you enjoy them!

–Tom

Quarterbacks:

Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho:

Enderle had a solid day but again struggled with ball placement. He double clutched a bit like he did yesterday, and didn’t come off as overly accurate. He missed Armon Binns twice when he sailed it over his head, and looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times. Struggled to find places to go with the ball, at times because of good coverage and at times he was probably struggling to find the open guy. He has talent worth developing but his ability to place the ball where he wants to has not been there this week.

Halfbacks:

Patrick DiMarco, FB, South Carolina:

DiMarco has shown soft hands this week out of the backfield. I need to see him block this week though I have had a positive impression of him in that aspect. Just need to take some notes on him. I like what I have seen though.

Wide Receivers:

Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati:

Binns has good size and long arms, seems to have reliable hands as well. He caught a touchdown at the end of a two minute drill. He is a long strider from what I can see and at times he struggles to create separation a bit. He ran a pretty good curl route as far as footwork is concerned but couldn’t create separation against Lindsey. I’m not sure how much burst and quickness he has going in and out of his breaks, which will hurt him as a route runner. I haven’t gotten to see how he does when going over the middle, so hopefully he handles that better this week than Toliver did.

Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford:

Whalen has not dropped a pass all week that I have seen. If he gets his hand on it he catches it, and he has made some nice grabs. He will catch passes against his body at times, but he also makes nice catches away from his body with his hands. He will sell out for a catch and isn’t afraid of contact. I’m not sure he is any faster than 4.5 in the 40, but he is fundamentally sound and I guarantee he will make a roster.

Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary:

Parker continues to show reliable hands, he hasn’t dropped a ball either that I have seen. He has good size, solid speed and he seems fundamentally sound. He was rounding off some of his breaks a bit today, but he is a draftable player in my opinion. I will be keeping an eye on him all week.

Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon:

Maehl just looks so skinny to me, but he showed good effort as a run blocker today and has deceptive speed for a guy his size. He has pretty good hands, but dropped a pass over the middle when it seemed like he might have been worried about contact coming. I can’t say it was alligator arms for sure, but it seemed like a possibility.

Aldrick Robinson, WR, Southern Methodist:

Robinson has good hands in my opinion, but he looked like he didn’t have very good top end speed today. I pegged him as about a 4.5 guy, but obviously we will have to wait for the combine to see what he runs (without pads obviously).

Tight Ends:

Jordan Cameron, TE, USC:

Cameron had another good catch today, but I just didn’t have the opportunity to see him blocking much today from the sideline I was on. Cameron seems to have reliable hands however.

Virgil Green, TE, Nevada:

I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw from Green as a blocker today. He has shown pretty soft hands when I have seen him, and he has flashed the ability to drive block in the running game which is something I had not seen him do because I hadn’t watched him play often. I look forward to seeing how he does in this department the rest of the week as well as how well he catches the ball.

Offensive Linemen:

Matthew O’Donnell, OT, Queens (Ontario):

O’Donnell is a huge guy which makes him stick out immediately, but I am not sold on him as a NFL RT. He has pretty slow feet and will have a ton of problems playing with good leverage because of his huge stature. He doesn’t seem to have very good hand usage and ability to sustain blocks either, and has struggled in pass protection thus far in practices in my opinion.

Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU:

Barksdale has an impressive frame, long arms and he just kind of looks like an offensive tackle. However, he doesn’t have good feet in my opinion and was beaten inside multiple times today. I couldn’t see if it was because he opened his hips up too early, but I think it’s a fair assumption that he was looking for the speed rush and wasn’t ready for the inside rush. I’ve never been a big fan, and though I hear he is a nice guy, I just don’t think he is worth a pick before the 4th or 5th round.

Defensive Linemen:

David Carter, DT, UCLA:

Carter was very disruptive today. He has good size, long arms and showed a nice swim move today. He was disruptive in team drills and looked good in one on one drills when I saw him. He has the perfect size for a 3-4 defense, but has shown the versatility to beat guards inside at tackle. I liked what I saw from him today, and I should have a chance to get an interview with him this week since I talked to him today after practice.

Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State:

Winterswyk is really strong, and uses power moves to get penetration. He has good size, strong arms, hands and has a solid bull rush. He’s tall so he has to work to get leverage, but he doesn’t seem to bend at the waist. He beat Barskdale inside thanks to his strong arms and hand usage in one on ones.

Cheta Ozougwu, DE, Rice:

Ozougwu looks like he has a DE frame. He’s not very tall, but he is pretty filled out. He doesn’t have a lot of edge speed and isn’t very quick off the ball, but he showed some hip flexibility to dip his shoulder to get the edge. He has natural leverage because of his size, and he flashed a spin move to spin off of a block and some solid hand usage to swat away the blocker’s hands when rushing the passer. I don’t think he has a high ceiling as a pass rusher because he isn’t very fast off the ball, but he is a solid player that I think has draftable ability.

Karl Klug, DT, Iowa:

Klug is undersized and doesn’t have very long arms but I still think he is worth a draft pick. He has good hand usage, he uses the swim move well and he gets off blocks despite his shorter arms. He has been disruptive this week and even though he may not be a perfect projection to the next level I think he warrants consideration in the mid-late rounds.

Ted Laurent, DT, Mississippi:

Laurent is a short but squatty player. He showed a solid bull rush and some power. I am going to watch him the rest of the week to see how he holds up against the run, how he is off the ball and what kind of hand usage he has.

Cornerbacks:

Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois:

I was really impressed with Lindsey today. I don’t think he has much better than 4.5 speed, but he has fluid hips, turns and runs well, looked good in man coverage against Whalen, Parker and Binns. Also looked comfortable in zone coverage and showed good footwork to turn and run, but didn’t do as well when he had to close on plays in front of him. I don’t know how good he will be in man coverage in the NFL, but he looked good against bigger receivers that weren’t as quick, probably because they had comparable speed. I was impressed with him today though and I thought he had a great practice.

Thanks for reading! There will be more to come obviously.

–Tom

I didn’t get to watch the entirety of this game, but I watched almost all of the second half and I have to say I was not very impressed with Cincinnati. That doesn’t sound like a very legitimate statement considering the fact that they were down 30-7 before they scored a couple of “gimme” touchdowns in the 4th quarter, but believe me there is a deeper point to this. I have some issues with Cincinnati’s coaching staff right now. Last year they were very much a passing team and the running game was opened up by the passing attack stretching the field and keeping the defense honest. That worked well in the Big East, but when they faced a talented (and fast) Florida defense that could play man coverage, get pressure with four or five pass rushers, and stop the run… they got beaten pretty easily. Enter Butch Jones, formerly of Central Michigan. He has said that he wants to turn his team into a “hard-nosed” football squad, one that could pick up a critical 4th and 1 for instance.

Well, he has a long way to go before he will accomplish that goal, I can say that much.

Right now all I see is a coaching staff that is calling plays as if they have the desired personnel for all of the schemes they want to run. The reality, unfortunately, is that they don’t. I imagine they will still run a spread, but if they want to be tougher, if they want to run the ball better, and if they want to have a chance to compete against a SEC team that has a fast, strong and tough defense… they need to get bigger along the offensive line (or at least stronger) and they need to build their program more along the lines of Oklahoma. Oklahoma runs a spread, and they have a lot of fast playmakers at running back and wide receiver, but they have a powerful offensive line that can grind out tough yards on the ground when they need it. They are a long way from that now though, and every day I believe more and more that the key to a coaching staff’s effectiveness is their ability to adjust to what the opposing team is trying to do. What I mean by this is simply this: Say you are a run-first team and every team in your division knows that. When teams prepare for you during the week they coach their linebackers to play downhill, attack the line of scrimmage, and play run first and then pass. They creep a safety down into the box so they can consistently have seven or eight men in the box, and they generally dare you to beat them with the pass. I think a good coaching staff, hypothetically, would start the game out doing what they normally do: Run the ball to set up the pass. But while an average coaching staff would continue to run the ball regardless of the success rate, I think a good or a great coaching staff would recognize that they are trying to take away the run and draw up some plays to take advantage of the looks the defense is giving them. For instance, attack the sidelines if there is only one safety over the top, because it will be very hard for him to cover the entire width of the field. Or you could run play-action, keep someone in to pick up the blitz, and attack down the seam or over the top of the linebackers since they would more than likely bite on the play-action and not get deep enough in their drops.

That is just a hypothetical situation obviously, but Cincinnati found themselves in a similar position to the team I just invented out of thin air in the paragraph above. They are a pass first team and they started the game trying to stay true to who they are and mix in some runs to keep the defense honest. There is nothing wrong with that. My problem is that throughout the game NC State was sending five defenders after Zach Collaros consistently and they just let them continue to create pressure. That extra defender was enough to overload Cincinnati’s offensive line, yet no adjustments were made until there was less than 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Cincinnati trot out four or five wide receivers in the second half, no doubt to try to throw themselves back into the game. However, NC State continued to bring the “pressure” and Cincinnati seemingly refused to adjust. NC State’s defensive line simply overmatched Cincinnati’s offensive line, and they did a good job of stifling Cincinnati’s running game. I mostly watched the second half of this game only and I noticed that Cincinnati was losing the battle in the trenches after mere minutes of tuning in. Yet, Cincinnati continued to try to run the ball up the middle, to try to prove that they were a “tough, hard-nosed” team and to try to stay true to their game plan. My problem with that is that they really should have adjusted. They should have tried running more two and three wide receiver sets so that they could keep a tight end or a running back in to help pick up a blitzer so they could give Collaros more time to throw. Without any time to throw he was never going to get into a rhythm, and that is why NC State continued to come after him. Notice that once they started dropping back into coverage and playing more of a “prevent” defense Collaros caught fire and led two touchdown drives.

The part of this game that bothered me the most occurred in the 4th quarter. Cincinnati had the ball and it was 3rd and 1. They ran a QB draw with Zach Collaros, you guessed it, right up the middle. NC State was expecting it, their linebackers shot downhill at the snap, the defensive line got upfield and stopped Collaros right at the line of scrimmage for no gain. Now, if I am the coach of Cincinnati I am obviously going to go for it, but by now it should have been entirely obvious to Coach Jones that running up the middle was not working. They averaged 2.4 yards per carry for the game, so it is pretty obvious in hindsight that the running game wasn’t working. But after you get stuffed like that on 3rd and 1 you have to try something different. I thought they should move the pocket and roll Collaros out, or do a play action boot-leg (though that is more risky considering how spotty the protection had been). My point is, they should have gone away from the middle of NC State’s defense since that seemed to be the strength of their unit, and they have a very young secondary that they should have been attacking. I thought they should roll Collaros out, run a deep out with a taller receiver, for instance Armon Binns, run a hitch with a receiver like Marcus Burnett (#85), and then drag D.J. Woods from the opposite side of the field as a safety valve for an easy conversion if neither receiver is open. And if those were all taken away, then Collaros could always take off and try to pick up the first down.

Well, that isn’t what they did. Not at all. Instead, they thought that the answer to their problem was to run a zone-option play where the QB reads the defensive end before deciding whether to hand the ball off to the running back or to keep it. If the defensive end stays at home (meaning they don’t collapse on the run play and they are making sure the quarterback doesn’t keep the ball and break contain) then the quarterback hands the ball off. If the defensive end collapses to go after the running back the quarterback should keep the ball and get as much yardage as he can. I didn’t see what the defensive end did on this play, but Collaros elected to hand the ball off up the middle and shockingly it didn’t work. They got stuffed for no gain AGAIN. I didn’t even care who won this game and I was beside myself with frustration. How could you watch this game, much less coach one of the teams, and run the ball up the middle when you KNOW the opposing defensive line is better than your offensive line. How can you run the ball when you KNOW you haven’t been having success running the ball, especially up the middle. And how can you run the ball when on the PREVIOUS PLAY you ran a draw up the middle and got stuffed. It seems to me at that point some kind of an adjustment is necessary. I don’t care if you run a four wide set, if you put out the jumbo package with three tight ends or if you opt for the pro package with two wide receivers, one running back, fullback and tight end. Just do something different and don’t run the ball up the middle.

That play, to me, symbolizes all that is wrong with coaching today. Too many coaches will hopelessly stick to their guns and their game plan that they had coming in to the week regardless of what the other team does. Obviously you don’t want to abandon what you’re good at, you have to stay true to who you are as a team. However, just like you can’t abandon your game plan entirely, you can’t be so staunch in your beliefs that you don’t adjust to what the other team is doing throughout the course of the game. In my opinion, Cincinnati didn’t do that. Or if they did, then they did an awful job of it. They continued to run the ball up the middle. They continued to let Collaros run for his life without beefing up his pass protection. They continued to throw short and intermediate passes instead of attacking NC State’s very inexperienced secondary (which certainly had something to do with the awful protection Collaros was getting), and somehow they lost the game. What a surprise.

Hopefully Coach Jones and the rest of his staff make better adjustments the rest of the season or I have a feeling it is going to be a very long year for Cincinnati Bearcat fans.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.

–Tom