Tag Archive: Marshall


Defensive Ends:

1- Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Coples was dominant at times this week and looked unblockable in 1 on 1 drills versus almost everyone on the South offensive line. He can be as good as he wants to be thanks to his great combination of size, length and athleticism. He projects to be a great LE in the NFL if he continues to work and provide the effort level that he had this week.

2- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: Upshaw has convinced me that he can play 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. I think he might be a better 3-4 outside linebacker, but he’s got plenty of upside. He might not have ideal measurable and 40 yard dash times, but he is a very strong, powerful player that is fundamentally sound. I wouldn’t bet against Upshaw in the NFL, and I don’t think you should either.

3- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina: Ingram definitely impressed me this week. I think he can play in both a 4-3 and a 3-4 as well, and should be fine at outside linebacker where I think he might have the most upside. He has an impressive variety of pass rush moves and was all effort this week, taking reps standing up, with his hand in the dirt at DE and even inside at defensive tackle at times in 1 on 1’s.

4- Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State: McClellin feels like he should be higher on this list, but the three guys ahead of him are potential 1st rounders much like McClellin might end up being. He’s an impressive kid with better speed and pass rushing ability than a lot of people give him credit for. He’s a top 60 pick for sure, may be a top 40 guy when all is said and done.

5- Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall: Curry definitely has upside, and should get a 2nd or 3rd round grade from me after I finish my tape study of him, but he didn’t beat Mike Adams all week and didn’t look overly impressive rushing the passer this week. Once he was engaged he struggled to rush the passer, and while he has size and athletic ability he needs some development.

Defensive Tackles:

1- Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: Martin really impressed me this week. He’s not tall, but he’s very well built and is extremely strong, plus he has natural leverage because of his lack of ideal height. He’s got a terrific motor and very active hands, and just doesn’t stay blocked. He’s going to go higher than a lot of people expect him to.

2- Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson: Thompson definitely showed his athleticism this week when he beat people off the ball initially with his burst and hand usage. He’s a 2nd round pick in my opinion but he’s got plenty of upside as a 3-tech, and he reminds me a bit of Jonathan Babineaux from the Atlanta Falcons.

3- Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut: Reyes weighed in lighter than I was hoping him to, but he’s got plenty of burst and athleticism off the snap. He’s got upside as a pass rusher, and might be able to contribute in a rotation early on in his career in pass rushing situations, but I worry about him versus the run. He can penetrate and get into the backfield, but I think he might get washed out in the run game if he doesn’t get stronger and put on a little weight.

4- Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati: Wolfe came into the week very underrated but he had a strong week all week, showing his versatility to play defensive end or defensive tackle. He projects very well to a 5 technique or to a 3 technique at the next level in my opinion. His versatility will definitely help him on draft day, and he really opened some eyes this week if they hadn’t watched him play much. He may end up with a 3rd or 4th round grade from me once all is said and done. I think he has a future as a NFL starter without a doubt.

5- Jaye Howard, DT, Florida: Howard is someone I’ve been a fan of since early on in his junior season when I was watching tape of Florida. He’s got NFL size and athleticism, and I think he may end up in the fourth round when all is said and done. He’s not rated high but he’s got the ability to contribute to a NFL rotation early on in his career.

Linebackers:

1- Keenan Robinson, OLB, Texas: Robinson is my favorite linebacker here and it was really fun to be able to interview him yesterday. He’s a complete linebacker than can play all three positions if needed, but projects best to the weak-side. He’s strong, can attack blocks, is a very good tackler who has pop as a hitter, shows ability in coverage and can blitz when asked to. He’s got it all, and he’s very underrated despite that. I may end up putting a 2nd round grade on him when my film study on him is done.

2- Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina: Brown had a great week, partially because the practices were non-contact and he wasn’t able to display his relatively poor tackling skills. This week was the perfect venue for Brown to show off his terrific athleticism and his ability to run around and find the ball. However, when he’s got the pads on and is asked to tackle he will come back down to Earth because he’s not a fundamentally sound tackler and often tries to go for the big hit. He also likes to arm tackle, and doesn’t consistently wrap up at all. I expect two or more missed tackles from him today.

3- Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska: David is an undersized linebacker who will probably have to play weak-side linebacker in the NFL, but he’s a very good tackler who is a pretty complete linebacker himself. If he was a little bit bigger he would be a very highly thought of prospect, and I have always been one who doesn’t like to overlook smaller players with lots of talent.

4- Sean Spence, OLB, Miami: Spence is another undersized playmaker at linebacker. He’s even smaller than David is unfortunately, and at the beginning of the week there was talk of moving him to safety, but I think he has to stay at linebacker personally. He’s got good instincts, is a reliable tackler and shows some ability in coverage. Play him at weak-side linebacker and he should be fine.

5- James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada: JMJ is one of the more athletic middle linebacker prospects in the draft this year. Like Brown, the practices this week were a chance for him to put on a show thanks to his athletic ability. I’m much more interested to see how he tackles today.

Cornerbacks:

1- Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: Jenkins looked like a 1st round pick the entire week. He’s an impressive athlete  with the ability to play press-man, off-man or zone coverage in my opinion. Some were not high on him coming into the week, but I knew I was watching a special corner when I saw him at Florida. He’s got off-field concerns that will hurt his stock, but I still see him ending up in round 1. I feel more comfortable with him on the field than I do with Dre Kirkpatrick.

2- Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia: Boykin is an undersized corner but he presents plenty of upside as a starter at corner as well as a return man. He won a college football award for versatility this year, and I think he may end up in the 2nd or 3rd round range once all is said and done.

3- Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt: Hayward has been underrated for the last two years but he’s finally starting to catch some people’s eyes. He told me he thought part of that was that not a lot of people watch Vanderbilt, which I definitely think has some merit. But he put his skills on display this week and I think he’s a top 100 player without a doubt.

4- Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma: Fleming is a guy that not a lot of people have been high on, but I like his upside as a man or zone coverage corner. He’s a quality cover man, and I think he has starter potential in the NFL.

5- Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State: Leonard Johnson came into the week with a little hype and I think he lived up to it. He’s not a very good off-man corner, though he does have the ability to mirror receivers which impressed me, but his value comes as a press-man corner or perhaps in zone. I think he’s a top 100 player as well.

6- Ryan Steed, CB, Furman: Steed isn’t a big corner but he has pretty good change of direction ability which he showed this week. He looked better in press-man than off-man, but struggled a bit when asked to locate the ball and make a play on it at times. I haven’t seen much tape on him, but I think he has upside and would like to see more of him if I get the chance.

Safeties:

1- George Iloka, S, Boise State: Iloka is one of the more physically impressive players here thanks to his impressive size, length and athletic ability. He didn’t impress me in man coverage this week, but he’s got pretty good range and his size will help him deep against big, physically imposing receivers at the next level.

2- Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State: Martin didn’t stick out to me a lot this week, but he’s always looked reliable on film and in a weak safety class he may go earlier than he should. I’m interested to see how he does when he’s asked to play deep in pretty vanilla coverages today.

3- Brandon Taylor, S, LSU: Taylor was a playmaker at safety this year for LSU but I didn’t quite see the playmaking ability here this week. He’s definitely a draftable prospect in the 4th round range, but I’m not sure how much upside he has.

4- Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina: Allen is a player that has a good feel for finding the ball and seems to be a pretty reliable tackler. I’m not sure how he is in coverage though, so I’m looking forward to seeing him more today.

5- Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: Smith has had a solid week but he hasn’t been great. He’s not a flashy player and seems like a pretty reliable guy, but I’m not sure he has starter upside at the next level.

Kickers/Punters:

1- Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M: Bullock was the Lou Groza award winner this year and he was a great kid to talk to when I had the chance. He’s got a strong leg and he’s obviously very accurate, so I’ll be rooting for him in the NFL. He may even have a chance to get drafted, which isn’t a given for kickers.

2- Drew Butler, P, Georgia: Butler has a very strong leg, I noticed it last year when I was scouting Justin Houston. He can really punt that ball a long way, and has a shot at getting drafted even though he had a pretty inconsistent year kicking for Georgia when I watched him.

3- Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin: Nortman is a very good punter with a strong leg as well. He, Butler and Anger from the Shrine Game all showed draftable ability to me which is pretty rare for punters.

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Offensive Line:

Mike Adams (Ohio State) continued to show his ability. He plays well when he can use his length and his lateral agility to stay in front of pass rushers but when he has to anchor he can run into trouble because of his lack of lower body strength. He needs to get stronger, and he got beat by guys once he engaged them which worried me a little bit, but he has the ability to stick at left tackle if he can get stronger and continue to finish blocks. Mike Brewster (Ohio State) showed some ability today. When he doesn’t get too wide in his anchor he has more ability to recover and sustain blocks even when pushed back initially, but sometimes he will let his base get too wide which makes him easier to bull-rush. He did a pretty good job on Ta’amu a couple times though in 1 on 1’s.

Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) is still the best guard here in my opinion, but he had some struggles today. He had issues with more athletic players like Kendall Reyes or Billy Winn as they were able to get off the ball and beat him with an initial move off of his outside shoulder. Vinny Curry was able to do the same thing, but a defensive end should be able to beat a guard with his athleticism. It wasn’t Zeitler’s best day, but he has proven he’s a 2nd round guard to me all week. Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State) also had an up and down day. I was impressed with him versus the run on a couple plays, and he did alright in a couple 1 on 1’s. The most surprising was when he neutralized Vinny Curry’s speed rush. I didn’t think he had the athleticism for that, but Curry didn’t do anything on the rep. I still think Osemele’s future is inside at guard, but he showed the ability to use his length to win match-ups against more athletic players today. Senio Kelemete (Washington) didn’t have a great day either. I think he can play tackle if necessary on game day, but his best position is inside at guard. He needs to get stronger as he only weighed in at 300 pounds, and it shows at times. He’s got athleticism but if he doesn’t beat you with his first step and positioning at the point of attack he struggles.

Mitchell Schwartz (California) showed a bit of ability at tackle today and still looks like a 5th or 6th round right tackle prospect. Draftable, but not a lot of upside. He has the ability to anchor when pushed back initially and while he may struggle with speed he looked solid today. Tony Bergstrom (Utah) had an up and down day, but looked better inside at guard than he did outside at tackle. Wolfe got the better of him when he was rushing at defensive end, but he was more reliable when he slid inside and won a couple match-ups. I still need to see more of him, but he has ability and probably a mid-round grade right now.

Defensive Line:

Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati) continues to impress me. He’s an underrated guy and I think he’s a 3rd or 4th round lock at this point. He doesn’t have amazing upside, but he’s shown the versatility to play inside and outside this week and I think he’s got the ability to be a starter at the 3-tech or the 5-tech, and I was surprised by his ability to bend and get under the offensive lineman’s pads today even when rushing from the defensive end position. He’s being overlooked right now, but scouts are onto him. Kendall Reyes (Connecticut) had his second strong day in a row looking good in 1 on 1’s and showing his burst and athleticism off of the line of scrimmage. He still worries me versus the run, but he’s got a 3rd or 4th round grade from me right now. I like him as a 3-tech because of his ability to beat you off the ball and penetrate into the backfield. But he will need to get stronger and add weight to get better versus the run. Billy Winn (Boise State) had his best day of practice today in my opinion. He had a better day yesterday after a slow start on Monday, but he showed good burst for his size and active hands to beat you off of the ball. I have seen him get blocked and stay blocked a bit too much this week though, so when I do more tape study on him I’ll be watching for that.

Vinny Curry (Marshall) continues to disappoint me. He was being hyped up as a 1st rounder for quite some time, but I haven’t seen any tape or practices that make him look like a 1st round guy. He’s got NFL size and he’s got some athleticism, but he didn’t beat Kelechi Osemele off the edge today and that is a red flag. It’s only one rep, but Osemele is probably going to have to be a guard at the next level and while he has length Curry should be able to beat him off the ball. Alameda Ta’amu (Washington) has been a frustrating player to watch because he’s got all the size and athleticism you could want in a nose tackle but it just doesn’t translate to dominating performances. He’s a 3rd round guy and a 2-down player with some burst, but not much more than that in my opinion.

Check out our full coverage of the North Roster at NFL Draft Monsters here. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

North Roster Notes:

Tight Ends:

Michael Egnew (Missouri) continued to be the class of the tight ends in Mobile. He’s such an impressive athlete and he is flashing ability as a blocker this week. He’s got reliable hands, he knows how to use his body to shield defenders, and if he continues to improve as a blocker he could be a top 40 selection. Regardless, I think he’s a 2nd round lock. He’s underrated in the scouting community right now, but that won’t last long. He’s the top senior tight end. Brian Linthicum (Michigan State) didn’t practice today, I’m not sure why. Hopefully he will be back on the field in the next day or two.

Offensive Line:

As I said in my preview of the Senior Bowl I think that Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin) is the top senior offensive guard and I still believe that. He looks like a 2nd round lock to me, and all the scouts around me were impressed with him today. He’s an impressive player and while he was beat by speed a couple times overall he had a good day. I talked with him briefly when I set up an interview after the practice and he thought he did poorly, but seemed to be his own toughest critic and assured me he would be better on Wednesday. He might be the 2nd or 3rd best offensive lineman in mobile this week. Mike Adams (Ohio State) continued to impress today. He wasn’t quite as impressive as he was yesterday, but he still played well and got some time at right tackle and guard as well as left tackle. I don’t see a great push from him in the run game so I don’t like his potential as much at right tackle, so I think left tackle is his best position. He will struggle with speed at one point, but barring an unforeseen injury the match-up between Adams at left tackle and Coples at defensive end may be the most intriguing of any that could occur in that game. I can’t wait to see that.

Mike Brewster (Ohio State) is a solid center but I don’t like his ability to anchor and he struggles against bigger, stronger players at times. He did show the ability to handle Ta’amu at times, but Ta’amu struggles with leverage and hasn’t played as strong as he looks sometimes. He’s the best center in Mobile, but that isn’t saying as much as one might think. Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State) continued to struggle a bit in my eyes. He’s powerful and has a nice punch, but it seems to be limited to the phone booth. He lumbers when he moves, struggles to redirect and doesn’t have the athleticism to stick at right tackle. He will have to move inside to guard and he might limit teams from a scheme standpoint there. He can excel in a man scheme that doesn’t require a lot of pulling from him, but if he’s in a scheme that requires more movement from him he will struggle in my opinion. Mitchell Schwartz (California) also had an up and down day. He’s a solid, 5th/6th round right tackle prospect but he might have to move inside to guard. I don’t think he has much starting upside in the NFL, and he struggled with speed outside today.

One player that really stuck out to me today was Senio Kelemete (Washington). He has the versatility to play guard or tackle but spent most of his time at tackle today. I don’t know if he can play left tackle, and I think his upside is highest at guard, but he is an impressive athlete with a good first step and some pop on contact. I would like to see him sustain and finish a little bit better, but he’s an impressive player that may end up in the top 100 selections come draft day. His versatility to play tackle and guard will only boost his stock. Tony Bergstrom (Utah) also flashed a little bit today. He didn’t have a great day, but he has a pretty impressive initial punch and may have the makings of a right tackle in the NFL. I haven’t seen him much, but on one play his initial punch sent a defender to the ground in 1 on 1’s.

Defensive Line:

Mike Martin (Michigan) has arguably been the most impressive defensive lineman for the North since practices started. He is a compact guy but he is very strong, has active hands and impressive burst off the line of scrimmage. He and Brewster had a couple impressive battles but overall Martin definitely won the match-up. Scouts have higher grades on him than most media pundits do, so don’t be surprised if Martin goes much higher than people expect. I haven’t studied him yet, but he has the makings of a potential 2nd round grade from me. He’s an animal. Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati) continued to impress. They gave him a few reps at defensive end today which surprised me, but he has been disruptive at defensive tackle so far this week. He’s a great 3-tech or 5-tech prospect in my opinion, and I definitely like what I have seen from him so far. Kendall Reyes (Connecticut) surprised me with his speed and burst off the ball today. I knew he was athletic, but I was surprised to see him come off the ball so quickly. He’s a quality 3-tech prospect, though I’m not sure I have much higher than a 3rd or 4th round grade on him right now.

Jack Crawford (Penn State) probably shouldn’t be here in my opinion. I’m not a fan and neither are the scouts I’ve talked to. He sounds like one of those guys who can show you something in practice and flash in 1 on 1’s, but doesn’t show up on game day and struggles to locate the ball. Vinny Curry (Marshall) hasn’t shown me much when I have seen him either. He has ability, I just don’t think he has 1st round ability. He didn’t show me round one ability on tape and he hasn’t shown it to me here yet. I’m hoping to see him perform like I’ve heard he can, but it’s not there yet. Billy Winn (Boise State) also disappointed me a bit today. He was going up against some quality talent on the North offensive line, but he only won one or two match-ups if I remember correctly. He stayed blocked more than I saw on tape, and didn’t have much variety in his pass rush moves. I’ll be watching him the rest of the week, but he looked like a 3rd round guy to me today. Alameda Ta’amu (Washington) was also unimpressive to me today. He’s got everything you could want in a 4-3 or 3-4 nose tackle prospect but it just doesn’t equate to a quality performance. The size and athleticism is there, he just can’t produce. He’s a two-down player in a 4-3 and might be able to play three downs in a 3-4 if he can prove he can collapse the pocket, but the pass rush just isn’t there from him. He needs to play with better pad level to avoid negating his natural power, as he was even blocked by Brewster in 1 on 1’s today. He’s got upside, but he’s a 3rd rounder in my opinion.

One player that really impressed me today was Shea McClellin (Boise State). He’s very athletic, has impressive burst and really gave the offensive tackles trouble in 1 on 1’s today. I love his potential as a 3-4 outside linebacker. I haven’t seen him in coverage this week, but I really think he has the potential to be 1st rounder and an impact player at that position. Hopefully I’ll have an interview later this week, I talked to him briefly after practice today.

Linebackers:

Honestly, I didn’t see much of the linebackers today but one thing I will say is that I like Audie Cole (North Carolina State). He impressed me on film and he has impressed me so far when I have seen him, though that time has been limited thus far. He’s going to be a riser after this week, I can tell you that.

I was focusing on the offensive line and the defensive line today, but my colleague at NFL Draft Monsters Brandon Howard was keeping an eye on the skill position players today. Give him a follow on Twitter @DashDiallo1 and follow this link to get to our complete coverage of the North and South practices! Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Defensive Line:

Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall: Curry is a very talented player but when I watched him I just didn’t see 1st round ability from him. He’s been very productive at Marshall and deserves to be at the Senior Bowl, I just don’t know that I buy him as a 1st round pick based on the film I’ve seen of him. I will be very interested to see how he does against this significant jump in competition.

Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: Martin is an all effort/all hustle defensive tackle that I like despite his lack of size. He’s going to be a rotational guy from day one in the NFL in my opinion and while he won’t wow people at the weigh-in I think he is going to make an impact at the next level.

Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State: I’m glad McClellin got an invite here because I like him as a defensive end. I don’t think he’s a 1st rounder but he’s definitely in the 2nd/3rd round range on my board right now and I haven’t done much film study on him yet. He’s got some edge speed and if he filled out his frame a little bit I think he could be a 4-3 left end and apply a pass rush from the position which is much harder to find that many realize. He can definitely help himself this week, so I’m looking forward to watching him.

Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington: Ta’amu had a TON of hype going into the bowl game against Baylor and then Baylor ran right up the middle all game and people started to hop off the bandwagon. Ta’amu didn’t impress me in that game at all obviously, but he didn’t get to be a legitimate NFL prospect because he played like that all season. He will make himself a lot of money this week if he shows he can stand up to double teams and that he has some burst off the line of scrimmage. But he will continue to drop if he gets washed out versus the run and shows no push as a pass rusher.

Billy Winn, DT, Boise State: Winn is a guy I have been high on since last year, he’s got impressive size and length based on the film I’ve seen of him and I really like his upside as a 4-3 DT or as a 3-4 defensive end. He’s got versatility and I think he’s going to end up going in the first two rounds, especially since this defensive tackle class isn’t exactly stacked.

Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati: Wolfe is an underrated player that doesn’t have huge upside but I think he has starting potential in the NFL. Brandon Holstein (@NFLDraftRoundUp on Twitter, follow him) pointed him out to me the first time months ago this season and when I got a chance to watch him I liked what I saw. Again, he’s not a stud defensive tackle but he is definitely draftable in the 3rd/4th round range in my opinion and I look forward to seeing what he can do this week.

Andre Branch, DE, Clemson: Andre Branch was a player that I did not like at ALL when I watched him as a junior last season with Bowers opposite him, so I did not have high expectations for him as a senior at all. Most of his pressure on the quarterback came as a result of one on one’s and he didn’t show that he could use his hands at all and accomplished all his production thanks to his athleticism. But this year he flashed hand usage and the ability to use pass rush moves when I watched him. He has a TON to prove this week because if he has a good week he could be one of the biggest winners of the Senior Bowl thanks to his prototypical defensive end size and athleticism. Keep an eye out for Branch because he could make himself a ton of money this week.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: Coples came into the season projected to be a top 5 pick and his stock has slowly slid ever since then. He didn’t live up to expectations as a defensive end this year and plenty of people are projecting him inside to defensive tackle. I have no doubt that he could bulk up to play defensive tackle, but I haven’t given up hope on him as a left end. I think people really underestimate how difficult it is to find a left defensive end that can play the run and rush the passer at a high level. Coples has that potential and I think that is what will keep him from sliding out of the top 20 or 25 ultimately. He has a lot to prove this week as well, and as a Tar Heel fan I will certainly be rooting for him.

Jaye Howard, DT, Florida: I am really happy that Howard is here. I remember watching him as a junior and thinking that he definitely had draftable ability and I believe he was on my list of potential break-out players this year. He definitely deserves to be here and he could open some eyes this week. He’s not the flashiest guy but he is reliable and should make some plays in the backfield this week.

Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina: Ingram has a chance to make himself a lot of money this week as well. He’s got quality size for a defensive end and has really improved his stock over the course of the season when everyone (including me) thought Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney would be the talk of the defensive end position. I’m excited to see him live this week.

Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina: Powell is a player that I personally think is very overrated. He’s got a late round grade from me at this point and having seen a significant amount of film on him I’m not sure there’s a lot he can do this week to change my mind. His upside in the NFL is a 4-3 NT but he doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher and he doesn’t defend the run well either. His best bet is to land in a scheme that asks all of their defensive linemen to penetrate and make plays in the backfield, but he isn’t the athlete to consistently do that (it’s just what he likes to do, based on film). Powell could get exposed this week if he doesn’t play with better gap responsibility, and I have no reason to think he will based on the film I’ve watched.

Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama: I’m very glad Upshaw is here and I’m sure a lot of other people are as well. He will likely be playing out of position at 4-3 DE all week, but he has enough ability to play with his hand down and succeed even if his best position is 3-4 OLB in my eyes. I’m excited to see him in person because he really impressed me when I watched him this year, especially in the National Championship.

Linebackers:

Honestly, I’m not wowed with the linebackers here. Zach Brown (North Carolina) is the odds on favorite to be the first one drafted, but I’m not high on him and he looks like a better athlete than a linebacker when I watch him. He won’t be able to show his tackling ability this week so he could really impress people thanks to his athleticism and potential but he struggles with wrapping up and making quality tackles. One guy I do like is Nigel Bradham (Florida State). He’s not an elite prospect but I think he will be a NFL starter in a 4-3 defense. Another guy I am very high on is Keenean Robinson from Texas. He’s got great instincts and may be my odds on favorite to boost his stock as much as any other linebacker in Mobile this week. Look out for him, he is an absolute player.

Defensive Backs:

This defensive back group took a hit when Mark Barron (Alabama) announced that he would not be here this week, but it makes sense that he elected to skip it because his stock can really only go down at this point. I’m very excited to see Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt) who I have been talking up for well over a year at corner, Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama, formerly of Florida), Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska), Jamell Fleming (Oklahoma) and Leonard Johnson (Iowa State). Jenkins was a corner I was very high on when he was at Florida, so it will be fun to see him in person despite the troubles he has this past year. Jamell Fleming and Hayward were both on my potential break-out players list that I posted before the season this year, so I am very excited to see both of them live. I really like both of them in coverage even though they may not have prototypical size (Hayward may be 5’9” or 5’10”) and speed. They’re good cover corners and that should show this week.

NCAA Top 25 Picks Post

Here is a post where I make some picks for the games the top 25 teams are playing for the week. I’ll try to do this every week, but I might not always have time. I’ll track them to see how well (or poorly) I do over the course of the season. Enjoy!

Week Four NCAA Picks Post:

Oklahoma over Missouri

Analysis: Oklahoma’s offense and defense are both very good, and Missouri didn’t prove they could win against Arizona State, losing 37-30 in OT. James Franklin will probably struggle to carve up the Oklahoma defense like he did the ASU secondary, and I wonder just how much pressure their defense will be able to apply to Landry Jones. Jones will make poor throws when he has pressure in his face, so that will be the key to hanging in on this game. The problem is, I don’t think Missouri’s secondary can hold up consistently if the Tigers are forced to blitz to create pressure.

Oklahoma by 17

LSU over West Virginia

Analysis: LSU’s defense is the best in the country as far as I’m concerned. They were tested right off the bat against Oregon and stood very tall. I’ve never seen a defensive tackle rotation like theirs in all my years of watching football. I believe that they have four starting caliber defensive tackles, and they arguably have three starting caliber cornerbacks in Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon. Claiborne is a junior and Mathieu and Simon are both sophomores, but they might be the best trio of cornerbacks in the country. LSU’s run defense and pass defense are both very good and their defense is very fast, and I think they are going to cause a lot of problems for Geno Smith and his offensive counterparts. On defense, West Virginia will have to pressure Jarrett Lee, but also stop LSU from establishing the running game because they love to run play action after establishing the run (and they’re quite good at it). Without the play action fake LSU struggles to threaten downfield due to Lee’s lack of arm strength. However, I think WVU will struggle to take away the run game, end up loading the box, and therefore allowing Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham and Deagnelo Peterson to get behind the secondary.

LSU by 16

Alabama over Arkansas

This one was tough for me to call. Alabama probably has the #2 defense in the country behind LSU (at least as far as I’m concerned, but it’s definitely close) and they have a quarterback with limited experience as well in AJ McCarron. Luckily, they have two talented running backs to take the pressure off of him in Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. Marquis Maze has stepped up as I thought he would and has 15 receptions, 186 yards and 1 TD in the first three contests. I think Alabama will be able to move the ball on offense against Arkansas’ defense, but I think that Alabama will be able to slow down the Razorbacks offensive attack. I love their WR’s, led by Cobi Hamilton as of now (13 receptions, a team leading 252 yards, 19.4 average per catch and 1 TD) and Tyler Wilson has stepped in to fill the void left by Ryan Mallett like I thought he would. However, Alabama’s defense is vastly better than Missouri State, New Mexico, Troy (the three teams he has faced this year) and much better than Auburn’s defense that struggled mightily to stop big, physically gifted receivers every time they matched up against them. Arkansas won’t get shut out by any means, but Alabama is going to be Tyler Wilson’s first real taste of what it’s like to play against a SEC caliber defense, and I don’t think he’s going to enjoy it.

Alabama by 13

Boise State over Tulsa

This really isn’t a hard pick in my opinion. Boise State’s defensive line is fierce and I expect Billy Winn and company to be in GJ Kinne’s face for the majority of this game. Boise State’s offense is still clicking thanks to Kellen Moore, so I expect this to be a relatively easy win. Kinne has a chance to show talent evaluators what he can do though, as his team is clearly overmatched.

Boise State by 21

Wisconsin over South Dakota

This shouldn’t be much of a contest either, as Wisconsin’s offense has the potential to be one of the best in the Big 10 if it isn’t already the best. Their running game and play action game will be way too much for South Dakota to handle, and hopefully they have continued to work on their run defense. If they don’t have it tuned up soon they will have a lot of trouble stopping Nebraska.

Wisconsin by 21

Texas A&M over Oklahoma State

This one was very tough for me to call as well. This could very easily go either way considering it is a rare battle between the #7 and #8 teams in the country. Oklahoma State’s offense is a juggernaut still led by Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, but Weeden has thrown 6 interceptions already this season, so that is a concerning stat for OSU fans. However, Joseph Randle has stepped up to replace Kendall Hunter very nicely, running for 378 yards and 7 TD’s on only 62 carries (6.1 average). Ryan Tannehill is a dangerous quarterback though, and he’s got a number of weapons to work with. I’m not sure which defense is better than the other, but I do think that Texas A&M will miss Von Miller rushing the passer in this game. However, Oklahoma State’s defense is traditionally their weakness, so that is why I had to go with Texas A&M. I will be at an away game during this contest and I am very angry that I will miss it. It should be a great game. But I had to give A&M the slight edge.

Texas A&M by 6

Nebraska over Wyoming

Not a very tough call on this one. Nebraska should win this game easily even if Taylor Martinez doesn’t dazzle as a passer.

Nebraska by 28

Oregon over Arizona

This one wasn’t as easy for me to pick as I thought it might be. Oregon has a pretty good defense, but Arizona can move the football pretty well. I’m still confident in Oregon, but Nick Foles has a habit of surprising people when they sleep on him. I don’t think Oregon will take him for granted though especially after losing a tough one to LSU in Cowboys Stadium, and that’s why I think they will end up with a big Pac-12 win here.

Oregon by 14

Clemson over Florida State (Upset)

Clemson is absolutely on fire right now, and this is the worst time for Florida State to be playing them. This isn’t a guarantee by any means, but Clemson’s offense is firing on all cylinders and Florida State didn’t get consistent pressure on Landry Jones last week. Clemson’s offensive line isn’t nearly the equivalent of Oklahoma’s, but they have enough weapons on offense to at least make this a plausible upset. I don’t think Clemson has the defense to keep them in the game if they can’t score, so unless their defense steps up and slows FSU down they are going to make me look foolish for this pick.

Clemson by 7

South Carolina over Vanderbilt

This isn’t as easy of a pick as I thought it would be, especially since South Carolina is in a state of flux and Vanderbilt is undefeated for the first time in recent memory after three weeks. I don’t think Vanderbilt will be able to hold off South Carolina, but stranger things have happened. If it was ever going to happen, I think it would happen now. Steve Spurrier doesn’t seem to have much faith in Stephen Garcia and even though they have one of the best backs in the country in Marcus Lattimore you just never know what will happen in the SEC. I don’t expect Vanderbilt to pull it off, but this is one I would watch as a POSSIBLE upset.

South Carolina by 10

Virginia Tech over Marshall

Analysis: This shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Virginia Tech, but it should be a good tune-up game for Logan Thomas. I think he has tons of upside, and it’ll be interesting to see how he develops throughout the season.

Virginia Tech by 17

Florida over Kentucky

Analysis: Kentucky isn’t a terrible team, but Florida’s defense is vastly better than I expected it to be even without Janoris Jenkins. Chris Rainey really impressed me last week and if he can stay healthy I think he could really improve his draft stock. I’m pretty high on Jonathan Bostic, Jaye Howard and Dominique Easley on their defense, so I’m excited to see them play against Kentucky again. I don’t anticipate the Gators having a lot of trouble in this game.

Florida by 14

Baylor over Rice

Analysis: Robert Griffin has been absolutely LETHAL this year. He’s 41/49 for 624 yards (83.7% completion), 12.74 yards per attempts and he has 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. On top of that, he has 116 yards rushing. Kendall Wright has been huge for Baylor with 20 receptions (14 more than the next receiver), 312 yards (184 yards more than the next receiver) and 3 TD’s. I don’t think Rice has much of a chance to slow Griffin down. The first time he might slow down in my estimation would be October 15th against A&M once they get into the real meat of their schedule. I haven’t been able to watch much of him, but it will be interesting to go back and watch him play to see if he has corrected any of the things I said he needed to work on in my preseason scouting report.

Baylor by 21

South Florida over UTEP

Analysis: South Florida is having one of their best seasons in recent memory, at least to start the season, and BJ Daniels seems to be maturing rather nicely. As long as he continues to develop the sky is the limit for USF, and I don’t think UTEP will have much of a chance to slow them down this week.

South Florida by 17

TCU over Portland State

Analysis: TCU lost a tough one against Baylor in week one, but they seemed to have bounced back in recent weeks. Portland State shouldn’t pose much of a threat, even with an inexperienced quarterback still getting a feel for the starting role.

TCU by 17

Michigan over San Diego State

Analysis: Brady Hoke welcomes his former team into the Big House as the Head Coach of the Wolverines this week as pretty heavy favorites. Denard Robinson isn’t my favorite quarterback but he is incredibly fast and I’m not sure SDSU has the speed to keep up with him in this game. Junior Hemingway has really stepped up this year (even though he looks like a TE rumbling downfield sometimes on go routes). It’ll be interesting to see how Michigan does in this game, but I would be pretty surprised if they botched this game after clawing their way into the top 25.

Michigan by 17

USC over Arizona State

Analysis: Before the game against Illinois last week I might have picked Arizona State in this one, but Brock Osweiler is still developing and even though the Sun Devils had a huge win against Missouri a couple weeks ago I don’t think they are ready to knock off USC. USC has a big chip on its shoulder because of the bowl ban that was placed on them, and I think they will approach this game with something to prove even though they are favored.

USC by 10

Illinois over Western Michigan

Analysis: This shouldn’t be a challenging game for Illinois. Western Michigan isn’t a bad program, but I don’t think they have the firepower to stick with Illinois on either side of the ball. They just fought their way into the top 25, so I don’t think they’ll get upset after just earning their #24 ranking.

North Carolina over Georgia Tech (Upset)

Analysis: I have to admit that I am a UNC fan, so that may have had something to do with this pick (which really isn’t much of an upset, though technically it is). I think UNC’s offense can score on Georgia Tech’s defense, and I think UNC’s defense is fast enough and disciplined enough to slow down Georgia Tech’s option offense that absolutely dominated Kansas last week. Georgia Tech is flying high, but UNC usually plays them pretty well and they are talented enough to pull this off. I really wish I could see this game, but I will be traveling and working while it goes on.

Those are my picks for this week. Hopefully you enjoy them and I look forward to seeing some good football this week. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Weigh-In Results:

Nation

Pos First Last Team Ht Wt Hand Arm Wing
DB Isa Abdul-Quddus Fordham 6000 200 10 1/8 32 76 1/4
LS Corey Adams Kansas State 6043 246 9 32 7/8 77 5/8
OLB Mario Addison Troy 6025 245 9 3/8 33 5/8 80
DT Ladi Ajiboye South Carolina 6016 293 9 7/8 34 1/8 79 1/8
DE Christian Anthony Grambling State 6034 281 10 1/4 32 7/8 79 3/8
RB Damien Berry Miami 5104 212 9 3/8 31 5/8 75 5/8
P/K Matt Bosher Miami (FL) 6005 207 9 5/8 30 7/8 74 1/4
CB Niles Brinkley Wisconsin 5096 190 9 1/4 30 1/8 72 7/8
CB Vance Cuff Georgia 5102 171 9 5/8 31 1/4 74 7/8
OL Josh Davis Georgia 6073 305 10 3/4 35 5/8 85 3/4
S Dominic DeCicco Pittsburgh 6026 232 8 5/8 32 7/8 79
RB Shaun Draughn North Carolina 5112 210 9 5/8 31 75 1/8
WR Kris Durham Georgia 6052 214 9 1/8 31 5/8 77 1/8
DT Kenrick Ellis Hampton 6050 336 10 3/8 34 3/4 82 5/8
QB Nathan Enderle Idaho 6042 240 9 5/8 31 75 1/4
CB Anthony Gaitor FIU 5097 175 10 30 1/4 73 1/2
OLB Michael Gee Indiana (PA) 6004 239 8 7/8 32 7/8 77 1/2
DT John Graves Virginia Tech 6033 278 9 3/4 31 1/2 77 1/2
TE Daniel Hardy Idaho 6035 248 9 3/4 30 5/8 76 5/8
ILB Mario Harvey Marshall 5112 250 9 3/4 32 7/8 76 3/4
OL Peter Hendrickson Tulane 6076 310 10 1/4 33 3/4 82 3/8
WR Andre Holmes Hillsdale 6045 209 8 1/2 34 74
OLB Jeremiha Hunter Iowa 6006 239 9 3/8 31 5/8 75 3/4
OL Carl Johnson Florida 6052 353 9 7/8 35 3/8 85 1/8
WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos Iowa 5116 204 9 1/2 32 75 1/4
DT Frank Kearse Alabama A&M 6041 311 10 3/4 34 3/4 84 3/4
OL Daniel Kilgore Appalachian State 6033 304 9 7/8 35 3/8 85 1/8
OL Jarriel King South Carolina 6052 310 10 35 1/2 86
S Mark Legree Appalachian State 6000 211 8 3/4 30 1/2 72 5/8
DE Lazarius Levingston LSU 6035 288 10 3/8 32 3/4 79 1/2
DE Craig Marshall South Florida 6045 276 9 1/4 32 1/4 81
CB Byron Maxwell Clemson 6006 207 9 1/8 32 5/8 76 7/8
WR Joe Morgan Walsh 6005 185 8 1/2 30 7/8 74 5/8
OLB Adrian Moten Maryland 6015 225 9 3/8 31 1/2 77 1/4
RB Richard Murphy LSU 6007 204 8 7/8 31 76 3/8
WR Jamar Newsome Central Flordia 6005 198 8 7/8 33 77 1/4
DE Clay Nurse Illinois 6026 259 9 5/8 34 1/8 81 1/4
TE Schuylar Oordt Northern Iowa 6056 258 9 5/8 33 1/4 80 3/8
RB Keith Payne Virginia 6022 257 10 3/4 32 1/2 78 1/4
OL Curt Porter Jacksonville State 6070 308 9 3/4 34 82 1/4
K Jacob Rogers Cincinnati 6022 215 9 1/2 31 1/8 76 1/2
WR Jock Sanders West Virginia 5063 174 8 7/8 28 3/8 68 1/2
TE Andre Smith Virginia Tech 6044 269 10 1/8 34 3/4 82 3/8
ILB D.J. Smith Appalachian State 5106 237 9 3/4 31 1/4 75 3/4
OT Willie Smith East Carolina 6047 305 11 33 3/4 81
WR Owen Spencer North Carolina State 6024 191 9 5/8 33 1/8 77 5/8
FB Ryan Taylor North Carolina 6033 250 10 1/8 33 1/8 77 5/8
OL Zane Taylor Utah 6024 313 10 32 77 3/4
OLB J.T. Thomas West Virginia 6012 236 9 1/4 30 3/4 74 1/4
OL Brad Thorson Kansas 6040 301 10 32 1/4 79 1/4
CB Devon Torrence Ohio State 5115 190 8 3/4 29 3/4 70 5/8
QB Jeff Van Camp Florida Atlantic 6052 209 10 32 1/2 78 3/4
S Anthony Walters Delaware 6000 201 9 1/2 32 77 1/4
QB T.J. Yates North Carolina 6035 221 10 1/8 32 1/4 75 3/4
OT D.J. Young Michigan State 6047 307 9 3/4 35 1/8 83 7/8

Texas

WR Kris Adams UTEP 6034 194 10 L 34 80
OL Matt Allen Texas A&M 6025 279 10 L 33 1/4 79 1/2
ILB Tressor Baptiste Texas A&M Kingsville 6001 235 8 3/4 31 1/8 75 3/8
OL Tim Barnes Missouri 6036 297 10 32 7/8 78 1/4
FB Bubba Bartlett Carroll – MT 6007 238 10 31 74
OL Byron Bell New Mexico 6052 348 10 1/2 32 3/4 81
DT Corbin Bryant Northwestern 6041 302 9 1/4 32 1/4 76 1/4
WR Stephen Burton West Texas A&M 6016 219 8 7/8 31 1/2 74 7/8
DE Ugo Chinasa Oklahoma State 6051 254 9 7/8 35 1/2 85 1/4
QB Ryan Colburn Fresno State 6030 218 9 1/4 29 1/2 73 1/2
DE Wayne Daniels TCU 6006 257 10 32 1/2 78 3/8
OLB Quentin Davie Northwestern 6043 238 9 3/4 33 3/4 80
DE Roberto Davis NW Missouri State 6022 247 10 32 3/4 78 3/8
OL Ray Dominguez Arkansas 6042 340 9 1/2 33 80 7/8
OLB Brian Duncan Texas Tech 6003 237 9 1/4 30 3/4 74 1/4
P Derek Epperson Baylor 6032 237 9 1/8 32 1/4 77 7/8
RB Mario Fannin Auburn 5105 225 9 3/8 30 7/8 74 1/4
RB Jay Finley Baylor 5107 198 9 1/4 32 5/8 76 1/2
LS Harry Flaherty Princeton 6026 242 10 1/4 32 7/8 78 1/2
DB Josh Gatlin North Dakota State 6003 195 8 3/4 30 7/8 74 1/8
TE Cameron Graham Louisville 6031 240 9 3/8 L 30 7/8 75 1/2
CB Darian Hagan Cal 5113 178 8 7/8 31 7/8 75 5/8
WR Marcus Harris Murray State 6007 187 9 1/4 31 1/4 75
TE Robert Housler Florida Atlantic 6054 249 9 1/2 34 3/8 80 7/8
OL Kevin Hughes SE Louisiana 6037 297 9 3/8 33 1/2 80 1/2
FB Robert Hughes Notre Dame 5110 233 10 1/4 L 32 75 3/8
DE Eddie Jones Texas 6022 258 10 1/4 32 7/8 79
CB Ryan Jones NW Missouri State 5111 197 8 5/8 30 3/4 72 3/8
OLB Jamari Lattimore Middle Tennessee State 6020 218 10 3/4 33 1/8 79 7/8
WR Ricardo Lockette Fort Valley State 6021 207 9 7/8 33 1/2 79
DT Ricky Lumpkin Kentucky 6034 308 8 7/8 31 7/8 77 5/8
WR Chris Matthews Kentucky 6050 224 9 3/4 33 5/8 80 5/8
WR Denarius Moore Tennessee 6000 191 9 1/4 32 1/2 77 1/4
OL Derek Newton Arkansas State 6050 311 9 1/8 31 7/8 77 5/8
DT Lucas Patterson Texas A&M 6041 290 9 5/8 30 3/4 77 1/8
OLB Spencer Paysinger Oregon 6026 230 9 32 1/4 76
OL Mike Person Montana State 6047 296 9 3/8 31 7/8 77 7/8
QB Josh Portis California (PA) 6031 209 9 3/4 33 1/2 79 7/8
QB Taylor Potts Texas Tech 6040 220 9 3/4 32 7/8 80 1/4
DT Jerrell Powe Mississippi 6020 331 9 5/8 33 1/8 78
S Chris Prosinski Wyoming 6012 205 9 5/8 29 7/8 72 1/4
CB Reggie Rembert Air Force 5073 180 9 3/8 29 3/4 70 3/8
S Maurice Rolle Lousiana-Lafayette 6002 189 8 5/8 32 5/8 76 5/8
WR Jeremy Ross California 5117 212 9 1/8 30 3/4 74 1/4
CB Kevin Rutland MIssouri 5117 191 8 1/2 30 7/8 72 5/8
TE Stephen Skelton Fordham 6046 247 10 32 1/4 77 3/4
CB Buster Skrine Tennessee-Chattanooga 5095 186 8 5/8 30 1/8 72 1/4
RB Chad Spann Northern Illinois 5080 199 9 30 71 7/8
OL Chris Stewart Notre Dame 6043 346 9 1/8 34 83 1/8
OL Isaiah Thompson Houston 6035 300 9 1/8 32 3/4 77 1/4
OL Trevis Turner Abilene Christian 6067 342 10 3/8 33 5/8 81 3/8
S Jay Valai Wisconsin 5083 203 10 1/4 31 7/8 73 3/4
K Thomas Weber Arizona State University 6004 200 9 7/8 31 3/8 75 3/8
DT Colby Whitlock Texas Tech 6023 299 9 31 1/4 75 3/8
OLB Jabara Williams Stephen F. Austin 6022 223 9 3/8 31 1/8 75 1/8

This information was brought to you by Wes Bunting at National Football post. http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFLPA-Game-weighin-results-and-notes.html

Some of the guys I will be paying particular attention to this week are Ugo Chinasa, Kris Durham, Chad Spann, Mario Fannin (Fannin was one of my potential sleepers for this year but with Dyer’s emergence he didn’t get a lot of carries), Stephen Skelton, Jerrell Powe (a player I thought should have been at the Senior Bowl), Chris Matthews, Denarius Moore, Damien Berry, Dominic DeCicco, Kenrick Ellis, Nathan Enderle, John Graves, Mario Harvey, Carl Johnson, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (a player with significant off-field issues to answer for), Jarriel King, T.J. Yates and Tim Barnes. It will be interesting to see how they all play.

Chinasa, a defensive end, showed up when I was watching Oklahoma State this year on defense, he has solid edge speed and managed 38 tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and one interception on the season. He measured in at 6’5″, 254 pounds with very long 35.5 inch arms and a wingspan of over 85 inches. His long arms will really help him keep blockers off of him, so it will be interesting to see what kind of burst and edge speed he shows this week. I think he has draftable talent.

Kris Durham, a wide receiver, showed up a lot when I was watching Georgia games to get a look at A.J. Green this year. He reminds me a LOT of Brian Finneran, the long tenured Atlanta Falcons receiver. He is very tall and skinny but he has over 31.5 inch arms, good leaping ability and very reliable hands. He can be a long-term possession receiver for whatever team gives him a shot much like Finneran has for the Falcons in my opinion.

Fannin, a running back from Auburn, was a guy I thought might have a break-out year. Perhaps not on the level that Ben Tate did, but I thought he might surprise some people. Unfortunately for him that didn’t really happen, but I think he has a chance to show that he can be an effective #3 RB this week. He is very powerfully built and should have a solid week when he gets touches. I am very interested to see how he does this week.

Jerrell Powe, a defensive tackle from Mississippi, should honestly dominate this week. He is an extremely talented player and could very well sneak into the first round if he plays well here, tests well at the combine and perhaps most importantly if he has a good showing during interviews with whatever teams talk to him. He should be extremely disruptive this week because he had the talent level to play at the Senior Bowl or at least the East-West Shrine Game. He is a potentially great fit for teams looking for a 3-4 NT, so he will have a lot of eyes on him this week.

Chris Matthews, a wide receiver from Kentucky, has great size at 6’5″, 224 pounds and has long arms at over 33.5 inches, but I have never been that impressed with him. He is a weapon in jump-ball situations but it will be interesting to see how he progresses as a route runner this week and how he does catching the ball. If he can start to run routes with a little more burst and catch the ball well away from his body he could really help himself this week because with his size he will intrigue a lot of scouts.

Denarius Moore is a reliable receiver from Tennessee that I think is absolutely worth a late round pick. He’s smaller at 6’0″, 191 pounds but he has good speed (about 4.46-4.48 is my guess) and reliable hands. He had a down year statistically because of the problems at QB before Tyler Bray took over down the stretch, but I think he is at least worth a late round pick. He should surprise some people this week because he is a better player than a lot of people give him credit for in my opinion.

Dominic DeCicco, a safety from Pittsburgh, will likely be a 7th round pick or a UDFA, but I think he will end up sticking on a NFL roster. He has the potential to be a special teams ace in the NFL. He is a great tackler, supports the run well and while he is a ‘tweener in the sense that he is too slow to play safety and probably not a great fit at linebacker either (despite being close to 6’3″, and 232 pounds) he should provide value as a special teamer. Look for him to support the run well all week as a filling safety and to give a lot of effort on special teams.

Kenrick Ellis, a defensive tackle from Hampton, is a mammoth DT. He measured in at 6’5″, 336 pounds with huge hands at almost 10.5″, 34.75 inch arms and a wingspan of over 82.5 inches. He is a huge guy, so it will be very interesting to see how he does this week. I have never seen him play, so unfortunately I can’t give too much insight onto his playing style. That is one reason that I will be paying close attention to him during the practices this week.

John Graves, a defensive tackle from Virginia Tech, is a bit of a DE/DT ‘tweener in that he doesn’t have the burst and edge speed you want in a 4-3 DE but he is undersized for a 4-3 DT. It might seem that his best position would be a 3-4 DE if he could add some weight, but I am not sure how comfortable he would be taking up blockers instead of trying to penetrate upfield and be disruptive like he has always done at Virginia Tech. I have a feeling he will warrant late round consideration to play LE in a rotation on run downs and then slide inside to DT on pass downs. It will be interesting to see how he does this week because I think he could present some value in that role.

Mario Harvey, an ILB from Marshall, burst onto the scene with a huge game against West Virginia early in this college football season and I have had my eye on him ever since. He weighed in at 5’11”, 250 pounds (which is very thick for a guy his size) with almost 33 inch arms, which helps him as a linebacker. It will be interesting to see how he runs and moves in space this week and obviously how he does against the run. I like him as a mid-late round guy and I think he might surprise some people who have never seen him play.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (or DJK) is a former Hawkeye wide receiver who was kicked off of the team before the bowl game for possession of illegal substances in his room, one of which was cocaine. There are a lot of rumors about that that I won’t get into, but one thing is for sure: He needs a good week of practice on the field and off the field. Whenever he gets interviewed he is going to be on the hot seat with scouts because character concerns like that raise serious red flags. He is talented enough to be drafted in the first three rounds potentially, but he might not even get drafted because of his off-field issues at this point. That sets him up for a good comeback story (and whatever team that drafts him or signs him as a free agent could be in line for a potential steal) if and only if he can start to make positive changes to stay out of trouble. That, as much as anything he does on the field, will be critical for any evaluation of him.

Jarriel King, an offensive lineman from South Carolina, is a confusing guy for me to evaluate. He has a lot of athletic ability as a former TE, but he is just so raw as a blocker that he couldn’t stay in the starting line-up consistently for the Gamecocks. I think that will probably show this week because I have seen him effectively mirror pass rushers when they try a speed rush against him, but his technique is not very good and I think his footwork needs improvement. However, as a mid-late round pick he has potential steal written all over him because of his great size (6’5″, 310 pounds) and his very long arms (35.5″ arms, 86″ wingspan). So even if he doesn’t block very effectively this week keep an eye on his athleticism… it’s pretty impressive. As I said, he is incredibly raw and undeveloped at this point, but he has the athletic ability to develop into a LT in the NFL and that is rare enough that he will warrant a 4th or 5th round consideration if he can have an alright showing this week. He has had problems with his heart before also, so that is something to keep in mind.

Hopefully that is a suitable introduction to some of the players that will be on display this week. I look forward to reading all of the notes with all of you and of course I look forward to seeing how these players do this week and in the game! Thanks for reading!

–Tom