Tag Archive: Marcus Smith


Hey all,

I’m back, I bet y’all thought I forgot I had a NFL Draft Blog.

First of all, thanks for putting up with me not posting any of my scouting reports on here this year. I meant to get some additional ones up that I didn’t cover in my NFL Draft guide, but I’ve been so busy with work it just didn’t happen. If you haven’t picked up a draft guide yet they only cost $5 and I’d say they’re worth well more than that given all the work that went into them. There’s plenty of great stuff left on non 1st round draft prospects, so pick one up now here.

Now onto the NFL Draft pick recaps:

#1 Overall- Houston Texans- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina- This is a fantastic pick, I’d give it an A. This is the perfect place for Clowney to go because if you have any questions about his work ethic or motor those should be eased knowing that JJ Watt will be working closely with him to help him maximize his potential in the offseason and during the season. I seriously don’t know how offenses are going to account for both of them once Clowney starts to really fill out his game from a technical standpoint. Those two are going to terrorize offensive backfields for years to come, and it’s going to be fun to watch.

#2 Overall- St. Louis Rams- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn- I’m giving this pick an A as well, Robinson is one of the most talented offensive linemen that has come around in a long time, and he has franchise tackle upside. He is the rare offensive tackle that can be a dominant force as a pass blocker and as a run blocker, and that makes him worth the pick here even if he is still a bit raw. He’s an immediate upgrade in both phases of the offense regardless of where the Rams play him.

#3 Overall- Jacksonville Jaguars- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF- This is harsh, but I’m giving this pick a D. I don’t hate Bortles, in fact I had a late 1st-Early 2nd round grade on him, but #3 is way too high for him in my opinion. I don’t think he’s a franchise caliber player, and I don’t think he’s going to live up to the pressure that this high of a selection puts on him. He’s not as NFL ready as other QB’s in this class in my estimation, and still needs time to develop and season, but I’m not sure he’ll get a lot of that in Jacksonville particularly now that he was picked this high. I’ll own up to this if I’m wrong, but I think the Jaguars made a mistake selecting him this high.

#4 Overall- Buffalo Bills- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson- I’m giving this pick a B- even though I’m a big Sammy Watkins fan, and here’s why: Watkins is a top talent, and I had him as my #1 WR in this class for a reason, but I’m still not sold on him as a top 5 pick and I don’t think he’s going to be an elite WR in the NFL. He’s a playmaker without a doubt, and he’s going to be fun to watch in the NFL, but giving up a 2015 1st and a 4th round pick to move up for Watkins in a draft that is overflowing with talent at the receiver position is baffling to me. I like that they want to surround EJ Manuel with talent, but this isn’t the right way to go about it in my opinion.

#5 Overall- Oakland Raiders- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo- The Raiders got it right this year picking a very talented player in Khalil Mack who is going to be a very good defender for them for a long time. It was a predictable pick, but it was the right pick, and I give it an A. The Raiders needed a hit on this pick, and I think they got a very good player here even if it wasn’t as flashy as a player like Sammy Watkins or a quarterback.

#6 Overall- Atlanta Falcons- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M- This isn’t what I was hoping for at #6 for Atlanta, but it’s a smart pick even if it isn’t the pass rusher that I really wanted. Sam Baker is not the long term answer for the Falcons at left tackle in Atlanta, and they needed a dependable player that would be able to start there for the next decade and they got that in Jake Matthews. He doesn’t have the insane ceiling that Greg Robinson has, but he’s going to be a good tackle for a long time and solidifying that position is the correct move in this situation. It’s not sexy, but it’s absolutely what had to happen given the way the draft board broke. I give this an A-. It could have been better, but with Mack off the board this was the right pick.

#7 Overall- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M- This pick gives the Bucs a very intriguing combination of receivers in Vincent Jackson and Evans, and that’s going to be hard for any team outside of the Seahawks to neutralize. I didn’t think Evans was a top 10 pick, but he’s got a lot of upside and with a guy like Jackson to learn from it should speed up his learning curve significantly. He’s a match-up nightmare because of his size, athleticism, and leaping ability, and if he can polish his game he and Jackson will be able to terrorize defensive backfields with their size and ability to win jump balls downfield.

#8 Overall- Cleveland Browns- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State- I’m not a big Gilbert fan, but I’m giving this pick a B for one reason: Joe Haden. I think Haden is the kind of player that will mentor Gilbert, help speed up the learning curve that all rookie CB’s have to endure (namely, getting burned once they get on the field) and a guy with Gilbert’s athleticism and ball skills has to be intriguing. I’m still not a huge fan of him in coverage and he’s not physical, but if Haden can help Gilbert reach his ceiling as a corner then they will have a very dangerous duo in Cleveland for a long time, plus Gilbert is an impact return man.

#9 Overall- Minnesota Vikings- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA- I am not a big Barr fan, but his athleticism is undeniable. One of the reasons I didn’t want him in Atlanta is because he is so raw and I’m not confident in their ability to develop him and turn him into a dominant force off the edge. With Mike Zimmer in Minnesota I don’t have that same concern, and I really think this is a good fit for him from that standpoint. If you want him to make an immediate impact you are going to be disappointed outside of situational pass rushing, but he’s got a very high ceiling if he can improve his technique and round out his game, and I think Zimmer and that staff have a good chance to do that. I’m giving this pick a B+, but if they can coach Barr up he could end up being one of the top 5 players in this class.

#10 Overall- Detroit Lions- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina- This pick is a B for me. It’s not a bad pick by any means, but I don’t like the value for Ebron here. I know he probably wouldn’t be available later, but despite his combination of size and athleticism his drops still give me pause and I consider him Jermichael Finley but with better blocking, and I say that as a UNC fan who has watched Ebron since he was a freshman. He gives the Lions a legit weapon other than Calvin Johnson and they will be able to pick up a receiver any time on Day 2 or 3 and get production because of how deep this class is, but if I’m picking a TE top 10 I want him to be an impact player with great hands, and while Ebron can be an impact player who makes great catches he still has issues with concentration drops.

#11 Overall- Tennessee Titans- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan- Lewan isn’t squeaky clean off the field, but you can’t question his toughness and ability on it. If you need to infuse attitude and toughness up front then Lewan is your guy, and that’s why I give this pick a B. He’s going to be a good tackle for a long time whether he’s on the left or right side, and he’s going to give you a toughness and an edge up front that every offensive line needs.

#12 Overall- New York Giants- Odell Beckham Jr, WR, LSU- I have been an OBJ fan since he was a freshman, and watching everyone catch on to how talented he was over the past couple years has been a real treat. He’s going to be really fun to watch playing opposite Victor Cruz, and he’s going to be able to make an immediate impact as a receiver and as a return man. I give this pick an A-.

#13 Overall- St. Louis Rams- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh- A+. Slam Dunk. I am a huge Aaron Donald fan, and oh my god is the Rams front horrifying now. They already had a terrific front, but plugging Donald into the middle of that is going to make it even more fierce. How do you block all that talent up front? I seriously have no idea, and I don’t think there’s an offensive line that matches up with their pass rush talent across the board. Donald is going to have it easy going against one on ones on this unit, and that’s why it’s the top grade I’ve given so far. It doesn’t get any better than this.

#14 Overall- Chicago Bears- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech- I’m giving this a B+ because it’s earlier than I expected him to go, but he’s a good football player. He’s got injury concerns and I’m worried that he will have trouble shaking those nagging injuries which is why I didn’t think he’d go this high, but he’s as well rounded of a corner as there is in this draft, and he’s going to be ready to play DAY ONE whether it’s outside or in the nickel, and you don’t have to worry about this guy filling or tackling. He’s a complete corner, and those are tough to find, but the injury concerns scare me as big a fan of his game as I am.

#15 Overall- Pittsburgh Steelers- Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State- Shazier is such a fantastic athlete and he plays with such great instincts I think he is a great fit for the Steelers as an inside linebacker. Keep him clean and let him make plays by flying to the football. I give this pick an A-.

#16 Overall- Dallas Cowboys- Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame- Many thought Martin could stick at LT, and he made me believe that he had a chance to do so after the Senior Bowl, but playing inside at guard will likely be best for him, and the Cowboys made a wise investment filling a need up front again this year. With Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin up front they have turned a weakness into a potential strength. I give this an A- since it’s earlier than I thought he’d go, but it’s still a very good pick even if it isn’t flashy.

#17 Overall- Baltimore Ravens- CJ Mosley, ILB, Alabama- This is such a Baltimore Ravens pick. I give this an A because Mosley is the kind of leader they needed inside after losing Ray Lewis, and he gives them two very talented inside linebackers between him and Arthur Brown who they got at the end of the 2nd round last year. They’ll be young in the middle of that linebacking corp, but Mosley is a talented player even if he can’t catch to save his life.

#18 Overall- New York Jets- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville- I’m giving this a C+ because I have never been a huge Pryor fan. I love watching him deliver big hits and he’s a good tackler, but I’m still not sold on him holding up on the back end despite solid range. I may be proven wrong here, but I don’t think he’s going to be a really good coverage safety in the NFL, and as fun as big hits are they just aren’t as valuable as coverage is in the modern day NFL.

#19 Overall- Miami Dolphins- Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee- James is a solid player who I seriously think could have played left tackle for a lot of college football teams, but if they slot him at right tackle he will be good there as well. He wasn’t widely regarded during the season because of his teammate Antonio Richardson, but he’s a good player in his own right. I’ll give this a B because it’s earlier than I expected for him, but he’s a nice player.

#20 Overall- New Orleans Saints- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State- I’m giving this a A because this a perfect fit for the kind of player Cooks is. They’ll get him the ball in creative ways and let him make plays in space, and he’s going to get a lot of opportunities to do so in addition to returning. They needed a guy that could get a lot of YAC now that Sproles moved on and Cooks fills that need perfectly.

#21 Overall- Green Bay Packers- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama- This grade should be an A just because HaSean has had my favorite college football name for a long time now, but the Packers badly needed an upgrade at safety and they got a rangy, talented, ball-hawk in Clinton-Dix. He’s exactly what they needed, and while they haven’t had much luck at safety since Nick Collins got hurt (Morgan Burnett hasn’t lived up to expectations in my opinion) I think Clinton-Dix will be a quality starter for them particularly in coverage.

#22 Overall- Cleveland Browns (via PHI)- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M- Mr. Football himself! I give this pick an A because there was a chance, however remote, that Manziel could have gone top 5 and they got him much later at #22 overall and they got to get another talented player earlier in the round as well. Manziel is going to be electrifying if nothing else, and he won’t be forced into the starting role immediately either which is perfect for him in my opinion. It remains to be seen if Manziel will quench the thirst of Cleveland Browns fans for a good quarterback, but I think he’s the best chance they’ve had at having an impact player at that position in a very long time. If Shanahan will mold his offense to Manziel instead of trying to force a square peg into a round hole then I think the Browns can definitely be successful with him long term. I’ve long maintained that he elevates the play of those around him, and I still feel that way. I think he can be a good NFL starting quarterback as long as he’s willing to work at it, and I think he is, so I say this is a good pick. Only time will tell if Manziel’s magic will translate.

#23 Overall- Kansas City Chiefs- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn- I didn’t like this pick much initially, but it gives them a good player to develop so that Tamba Hali becomes expendable next offseason if he pans out (which would save them $9 million if I remember correctly). Ford has a great motor and should be able to contribute immediately as a situational pass rusher, and while his lack of size hurts him in a 4-3 I think he will be a good fit in the 3-4 defense the Chiefs employ. I give it a B.

#24 Overall- Cincinnati Bengals- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State- I give this pick a B+. The Bengals have invested a LOT of resources in corners lately, but Dennard is a very talented player who fits their style of defense well, or at least he would have fit in well under Zimmer. He’s big, long and physical, and if they don’t have a lot of faith in Dre Kirkpatrick this pick makes a lot of sense.

#25 Overall- San Diego Chargers- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU- This pick is an A for me. All that Verrett is lacking is height, the rest of his game is terrific, and he has a fantastic vertical to make up for what he lacks in height. He won’t match up with Calvin Johnson well, but he’s going to be a very good corner for a long time. The Chargers got a good one here.

#26 Overall- Philadelphia Eagles- Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville- I didn’t have a 1st round grade on Smith, but he is a good fit for the Eagles defense that clearly places a premium on athleticism. He’s got significant pass rushing upside, but he still has room for improvement. I wouldn’t have picked him this high, but I’ll give it a B- because it’s a good scheme fit.

#27 Overall- Arizona Cardinals- Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State- I’m giving this grade a C- because I think this is way too early for Bucannon, and it feels like a reach in a fairly thin safety class. I don’t think he’s as good in coverage as his interception numbers might lead you to believe, and even though he is a fierce hitter I don’t place a premium on that from my safeties. This is one I could end up wrong on because I’m being harsh, but I never thought Bucannon would go this high.

#28 Overall- Carolina Panthers- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State- Wow did this pick surprise me, I thought this would definitely be Marqise Lee, but instead they drafted a match-up nightmare with drop issues. He’s a raw player that still has a lot of room to grow, but rolling the dice on a receiver with one year of production in the 1st round is never a good idea, and I think this pick could very likely end up being a bust in a couple years. I’m giving it a C- because I get what they were trying to do, but this is early for Benjamin in my opinion and there were better options at receiver available.

#29 Overall- New England Patriots- Dominique Easley, DT, Florida- This pick gets an A+ from me because Easley is a top 10-15 talent that slipped because of his two ACL injuries, and while it’s a risk because of those injuries I love the dice roll here. He has impact player potential and I think this is a great fit for him as well.

#30 Overall- San Francisco 49ers- Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois- This pick is an A in my opinion because Ward is a very talented and versatile player. He’s got good range, ball skills, and he can play free safety or drop down and play in the slot. The 49ers have three capable safeties now in Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea and Jimmy Ward, and that gives them a lot of flexibility on defense, and it gives them a long term secondary of Reid and Ward which could very well develop into one of the better tandems in the NFL.

#31 Overall- Denver Broncos- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State- I’ll give this pick a B because I think Roby is a very talented player, but I’m not sure this is the best locker room (or State… think about it) for him to be going to. Von Miller hasn’t managed to stay out of trouble, and I have to say I’m a little worried Roby will get into a little trouble on this team. From a talent standpoint it makes sense particularly because he’s such a good athlete, but I have my reservations.

#32 Overall- Minnesota Vikings- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville- A+++. Bridgewater is my #1 QB and I never wavered on that despite all the ridiculous things people decided to knock him for, and he’s still a very good quarterback prospect. I never claimed he was an elite or “franchise QB” but I think he can be a good or very good NFL starter, and the Vikings desperately need a player who can be a quality starter at that position. The fact that he went 29 picks after Blake Bortles is an absolute joke in my opinion, but the Vikings did a great job not only to end up with Bridgewater, but to get him at the very end of the 1st round so they have the option to control his rights for five years versus only four years had they picked him in the 2nd round.

 

And that concludes my 1st round recap… It’s good to be back, and hopefully next year I won’t get swamped with work during 70 hour work weeks during the time that I’m trying to finish all of my scouting reports.

Don’t forget to check out the draft guide and follow me on Twitter for more NFL Draft insight!

Thanks for reading,

–Tom

Bridgewater has plenty of athletic ability and upside so it will be interesting to see how he develops over the next 2-3 years.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Bridgewater has a live arm, has flashed solid accuracy and pretty good mobility. He has a long way to go as far as the craft of playing quarterback, but has plenty of upside and potential thanks to his physical ability. All depends on how hard he works and how much film he watches. He has the size and athletic ability to be a very effective college quarterback and like many athletic quarterbacks he has a great ability to improvise and make special plays outside the pocket as Bridgewater displayed in this game. However, he also turned the ball over too much in this game because of an opportunistic NC State defense. He has a bright future in college and this experience will really help him next year in my opinion, but it’s up to him whether or not he develops into a great passer with great athletic ability or whether he continues to be a great athlete than can also throw the ball. Right now he is the latter.

Victor Anderson, RB, Louisville: Anderson is an athletic player but because of his lack of size and his problems with injuries I would be surprised if he was drafted. I think he will get signed as an undrafted free agent, but I think teams will want him to prove that he can stay healthy and will want him to earn his spot on their roster. He’s fast but I don’t think he has feature back potential, rather he will be more of a 3rd down back that also offers some value as a return man. He’s fast and versatile, but ultimately his potential in the NFL is tied to whether or not he can stay healthy.

Michaelee Harris, WR, Louisville: Harris is a freshman receiver that will likely be developing along with Bridgewater. Considering his production of 35 receptions, 438 yards and 2 TD’s as a 6’2”, 198 pound freshman it seems that Charlie Strong and Louisville have a pretty bright future ahead of them. I didn’t see much of him in this game, but Louisville has a lot of young talent that has gotten playing time this year so watch out for these guys as they continue to develop. Charlie Strong sure is a good recruiter.

Eli Rogers, WR, Louisville: Rogers is another talented freshman receiver for Louisville. He is shorter as he stands at 5’10”, 185 pounds but he still produced 34 receptions, 400 yards and 1 touchdown on the season. Harris, Rogers and DeVante Parker figure to give Bridgewater an impressive trio of receiving options for the entire duration of his career, so watch out for these four guys as they all grow up with one another through the years. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of so many freshman playing year one like these guys have for Louisville and producing!

DeVante Parker produced the most touchdowns of anyone on Louisville this year as a freshman. I really like his upside.

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:  Parker had the lowest production total in terms of receptions and yards of the three freshman but at 6’3”, 196 pounds he may be the best red zone target. He managed 17 receptions, 276 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season. His 6 touchdowns led the team this season, which is quite impressive for a freshman receiver. He flashed both his upside and some things he has to work on in this game as he dropped a pass that hit his hands over the middle of the field but also demonstrated his red zone viability by climbing the ladder, high pointing a pass and hauling it in just out of bounds. Had he gotten a foot down it would have been a score. He’s got a lot of upside, so I’m excited to watch him for the next few years.

Josh Chichester, TE, Louisville: Chichester is the 6’8”, 240 pound monster tight end for Louisville. You’d think he’d be more dominant than he actually is at that size, as he struggles as a blocker because of his issues with pad level and leverage. He’s a viable receiver, but doesn’t have much speed to threaten teams down the seam. He’s very much a possession tight end and some team will be intrigued by his size and his pretty reliable hands and draft him in the 6th or 7th round in my opinion.

Mario Benavides, C, Louisville: Benavides had a good game for Louisville and figures to be one of the top centers in the 2013 draft class. He will be a senior next year and at 6’4”, 300 pounds he absolutely has NFL size as a center. I am excited to scout him next year because I was very high on a former Louisville center that ended up going in the 1st round in Eric Wood. I won’t say Benavides will do the same, but I liked what I saw in this game and I think he has the potential to go in the first three rounds next year.

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: Marcus Smith will be a junior next year but during his sophomore season he was a 6’3”, 251 pound pass rush specialist. Five of his 10 tackles on the season were for loss, but all of them were sacks! He also had a forced fumble and a pass break-up and he demonstrated ability to get pressure with his burst and edge speed. He worried me by not showing much bend or hip flexibility though, so I will need to see more of him next year.

Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville: Scruggs was a guy that I identified last year as a possible mid-late round 2012 draft pick but he was a possible late round prospect all year before this bowl game. The 6’4”, 285 pound senior didn’t end up playing in this bowl game as a result of a suspension stemming from a DUI. That really is too bad, but it was his own decision to drink and drive between the end of season and his bowl game. It’s never a good time to drink and drive, but this DUI will likely mean he will go the entire draft process without hearing his name called barring unforeseen changes. That’s too bad, but it was his decision to drink and drive.

William Savoy, OLB, Louisville: Savoy is an undersized defensive end that is going to have to attempt a transition to outside linebacker. I’m not sure he has the athleticism to make the move, but he has pretty good burst and edge speed as a pass rusher and more importantly displayed the ability to bend to beat blockers with an outside rush. He had 7.5 TFL and 5.0 sacks this year, but I think a postseason all star game could be very important for him as he attempts to transition to outside linebacker.

Dexter Heyman, OLB, Louisville: Heyman was probably Louisville’s best defensive player this year as he totaled 83 total tackles (52 solo), 15.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 3 INT’s, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass break-up on the season. He has solid NFL size for a linebacker at 6’3”, 238 pounds and has a listed 40 yard dash time of 4.57. I need to watch him more, but he certainly flies around for Louisville’s defense.

Mike Glennon flashed some significant potential in this game. It's not easy to follow a quarterback as successful as Russell Wilson, so I look forward to evaluating him as a senior next year.

Mike Glennon, QB, NC State: Glennon had a tough job this year replacing Russell Wilson at quarterback for NC State. Wilson isn’t an easy guy to replace as Wisconsin will find out next year, but I think most Wolfpack fans expected to have him back for a final run at an ACC title. That didn’t pan out, but Glennon stepped up and really finished this season strong. He’s listed at 6’4”, 225 pounds and was very effective this year in his first season as a starter. He’s got a live arm and showed that he can make all the throws in this game and his ball placement was pretty good, especially on short and intermediate passes. His long passes weren’t quite as accurate, but obviously those are some of the most difficult throws to make. There were a number of wide receivers that were pretty open thanks to Louisville’s less than spectacular zone but he made some stick throws that were impressive. He didn’t have as much success in the 2nd half as he did in the 1st half by any means, but he still has some upside to build off of for next season. I didn’t watch him much this year, but I was a little troubled by his issues to move the ball through the air in the 2nd half, especially since NC State’s running game was fairly insignificant as usual. He will be a senior next year so I am interested to see how he will develop and improve on his first season as a starter.

T.J. Graham, WR, NC State: Graham definitely surprised me with his ability in this game, I didn’t expect him to have the finish to his career that he did. He demonstrated all of his upside in this game by showing burst, speed and vision as a kick returner as well as great speed to threaten defenses vertically and pretty reliable hands. He is only listed at 6’0”, 180 pounds but his fantastic speed both on the field and in the 40 yard dash (he has a listed 40 time of 4.36) should push him up some teams’ boards, especially after he participates in an All-Star game and the combine. He also showed the ability to make guys miss with his elusiveness and even broke a couple of arm tackles in this game. He’s definitely a sleeper, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up going.

George Bryan, TE, NC State: Bryan is a late round TE prospect with NFL size (6’5”, 265 pounds) but he’s quite slow and has a listed 40 yard dash time of 5.14. He uses his body well to shield defenders and offers some value as a blocker but his hands aren’t as reliable as you would want them to be given some of his struggles to create separation. He’s got the frame to shield defenders away from the ball to make catches in traffic and I think his hands are above average but I wouldn’t call them good or great. That makes me wonder how effective he will be if he struggles to create separation and has to make a lot of contested catches in traffic, and that hurts his stock in my opinion.

R.J. Mattes, OT, NC State: Mattes is a quality left tackle prospect for the 2013 draft. I don’t think he should declare this year but he’s got mid-round or higher potential for next year’s draft. He’s 6’6”, 306 pounds and seemed to have pretty long arms and solid athleticism. He looked like he may have been NC State’s top offensive lineman so he is one guy I will be keeping an eye on.

Camden Wentz, C, NC State: I was looking forward to evaluating Wentz but he got injured early in the game and never got back in from what I could tell. He will be a senior next year and seems like he has draftable ability as a center in addition to his 6’3”, 301 pound frame. The injury wasn’t serious if I remember correctly, so he should be 100% well before spring practice.

Daryl Cato-Bishop, DE, NC State: Cato-Bishop is a 6’4”, 281 pound defensive end who was a sophomore this season. He didn’t have a lot of tackles but he did have 7.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT and a pass break-up. He’s got impressive size for a defensive end, so it will be interesting to see how he develops next season. He was around the ball consistently in this game, so I think he has some upside.

Art Norman, DE, NC State: Norman was a freshman defensive end this year and is undersized at 6’1”, 242 pounds but as a situational pass rusher he produced 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF and a pass break-up this year. I didn’t have much opportunity to evaluate his edge speed or his burst off the line of scrimmage, but he got some playing time as a freshman so I will be keeping an eye on him the next couple of seasons. He’s another talented freshman on Charlie Strong’s roster.

J.R. Sweezy, DT, NC State: Sweezy didn’t have a great statistical season but he does have one of the best names in this entire draft class. I kind of hope he gets picked by a team in California so he can become close friends with Snoop Dogg. Random thoughts aside, he has NFL size at 6’5”, 293 pounds but I honestly haven’t seen him play much at all. He had 19 total tackles (10 solo), 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks and 1 FF this season but remains a mid-late round pick right now. It will be interesting to see if he distinguishes himself in an all-star game, but right now I don’t know much about his game.

Audie Cole, LB, NC State: Cole is a senior linebacker on NC State and I really love watching him play. He had a great season with 98 total tackles (52 solo), 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR and 4 pass break-ups. He’s got a fantastic motor, gives 100% on every play and he is a good tackler which I love to see. So many players I’ve watched this year don’t tackle with good fundamentals, so it is always refreshing to see a player who wraps up. Cole is a 6’5”, 239 pound linebacker who moved inside this year but I think he could play outside as well. His versatility will help his stock though, and while he doesn’t have elite timed athleticism he does seem to have good range and instincts. His effort will be the big difference for him though, and that will help him get the most out of his ability.

Terrell Manning is a quality linebacker prospect that caught me off guard by declaring early for the NFL Draft.

Terrell Manning, OLB, NC State: Manning is another talented linebacker on NC State but to my surprise he has declared for the NFL Draft. He’s only a junior and I hadn’t heard much about him leaving, so it definitely caught me off guard a bit. He was productive at outside linebacker this year as he produced 70 total tackles (42 solo), 13.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 5 PBU’s and 2 interceptions. He looked like a beast to me and seemed to have impressive instincts, athleticism and looked like a very good tackler. I didn’t evaluate him much when he was dropping into coverage, but for a 6’3”, 233 pound linebacker he seemed to defend the run awfully well. I don’t know how well he will be able to stack and shed blocks to make plays at the line of scrimmage. I like his upside, but I was anticipating having another year to evaluate him. I’ll have to go back and watch more NC State film to get a better look at him.

David Amerson, CB, NC State: Amerson was probably the best NFL prospect in this game even if he isn’t eligible for the draft as far as I am aware. He is a 6’3”, 194 pound sophomore cornerback who had an astounding 13 interceptions this season. That’s more than some football teams got all year, but he managed to do it individually. He wasn’t often challenged, and one of his two interceptions in this game came on a hail mary late in the game, but he did have a second touchdown off of an interception on the season which helped change the game in favor of NC State. I always look for players who make critical plays that change the game in their teams favor and Amerson definitely did that against Louisville. If he has a season even remotely as impressive as this one was I would expect him to declare next year, but even if he doesn’t produce the same statistics next year I think he may declare. I wouldn’t be surprised if more teams threw away from him more often next year now that he has proven himself. Keep an eye on this kid, he has top 15 written all over him.

Thanks for reading! I’ve had this done for a couple days but my trip to the Rose Bowl interfered with posting it until now. Look out for my Florida State-Notre Dame post and a Rose Bowl recap, all coming soon!

–Tom

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville:
6’3”, 205 lb Fr. 167/253 (66% comp), 1,855 yards (7.3 YPA), 12:9 TD:INT, 95 rush yards, 3 TD’s.

Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville:
6’2”, 221 lb Soph. 131 attempts, 482 yards (3.68 average), 4 TD’s. 14 rec, 95 yards, 1 TD.

Victor Anderson, RB, Louisville:
5’9”, 188 lb Sr. 99 att, 478 yards (4.83 avg) 3 TD’s. 25 rec, 184 yards, 1 TD. 152 KR yards (25.33 avg)

Michaelee Harris, WR, Louisville:
6’2”, 198 lb Fr. 35 receptions, 438 yards (12.51 average), 2 TD’s.

Eli Rogers, WR, Louisville:
5’10”, 185 lb Fr. 34 receptions, 400 yards (11.76 average), 1 TD. 54 PR yards.

DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:
6’3”, 196 lb Fr. 17 receptions, 276 yards (16.24 average), 6 TD’s.

Josh Chichester, TE, Louisville:
6’8”, 240 lb Sr. 27 receptions, 365 yards (13.52 average), 2 TD’s.

Mario Benavides, C, Louisville:
6’4”, 300 lb Jr.

Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville:
6’3”, 251 lb Soph. 10 total tackles (8 solo), 5.0 TFL, 5.0 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 Pass break-up.

Greg Scruggs, DT, Louisville:
6’4”, 285 lb Sr. 19 total tackles (12 solo), 6.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 1 FF.

William Savoy, OLB, Louisville:
6’1”, 246 lb Sr. 24 total tackles (12 solo), 7.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 1 kick blocked.

Dexter Heyman, OLB, Louisville:
6’3”, 238 lb Sr. 83 total tackles (52 solo), 15.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 3 INT, 1 FF, 1 PBU.

Mike Glennon, QB, NC State:
6’4”, 225 lb Jr. 262/420 (62.4% comp), 2,790 yards (6.6 YPA), 28:11 TD:INT ratio, -125 rush yards, 1 TD.

James Washington, RB, NC State:
6’0”, 180 lb Jr. 212 att, 852 yards (4.02 avg), 7 TD’s. 39 rec, 300 yards.
-Good receiver out of backfield

T.J. Graham, WR, NC State:
6’0”, 180 lb Sr. 39 rec, 641 yards (16.44 avg), 5 TD’s. 193 PR yards (12.06), 1 TD. 923 KR yards (22.51 avg)

Tobias Palmer, WR, NC State:
5’11”, 175 lb Jr. 35 receptions, 448 yards (12.80 avg), 4 TD’s.

George Bryan, TE, NC State:
6’5”, 265 lb Sr. 30 receptions, 302 yards (10.07 avg), 4 TD’s.
-Good receiver, solid blocker, but slow

Zach Allen, OG, NC State:
6’3”, 322 lb Jr.

Camden Wentz, C, NC State:
6’3”, 301 lb Jr.

Daryl Cato-Bishop, DE, NC State:
6’4”, 281 lb Soph. 21 total tackles (11 solo), 7.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 pass break-up.

Art Norman, DE, NC State:
6’1”, 242 lb Fr. 26 total tackles (18 solo), 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 PBU

Markus Kuhn, DT, NC State:
6’4”, 303 lb Sr. 42 total tackles (22 solo), 8.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 3 PBU’s, 1 Kick Blocked.

J.R. Sweezy, DT, NC State:
6’5”, 293 lb Sr. 19 total tackles (10 solo), 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF.

Audie Cole, OLB, NC State:
6’5”, 239 lb Sr. 98 total tackles (52 solo), 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 4 PBU’s.

Terrell Manning, ILB, NC State:
6’3”, 233 lb Jr. 70 total tackles (42 solo), 13.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 5 PBU’s, 2 INT’s.

David Amerson, CB, NC State:
6’3”, 194 lb Soph. 54 total tackles (37 solo), 1.0 TFL, 5 PBU’s, 11 INT’s (1 TD).

Brandon Bishop, S, NC State:
6’2”, 210 lb Jr. 77 total tackles (37 solo), 2.5 TFL, 5 INT’s, 1 FF, 1 PBU.