Tag Archive: Scouting Reports


Northwestern Prospects:

Quentin Williams, DE, Northwestern-Williams stuck out to me in what appeared to be a rotational defensive end role in 2010 during his sophomore season. He will be a junior in 2011 and I have to say I think he has some upside. He has good size at 6’4”, 250 pounds and has a listed 4.70 40 yard dash time, which speaks to his athleticism which I noted on the field as well. He seems to fire off the line pretty well, and showed some edge speed from the LE and RE spots which I thought was intriguing. I don’t think he has an elite get off or elite edge speed by any means, but he is at least above-average in each department. He flashed some hand usage, though I have to emphasize the word flash because they were not even consistent flashes. He needs significant technique work on his hand usage and his pass rush moves, as he is just a speed rusher right now. There are plenty of players with some above-average raw athleticism, flashes of production and potential and sometimes they have the size to play at the next level, which Williams does. However, what sets Williams apart is his motor. He has a motor that is on par with or just below Ryan Kerrigan, the former Purdue Boilermaker defensive end who rode his athletic ability and fantastic motor to the #16 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Putting anyone in Kerrigan’s zip code when it comes to his motor and effort level is very high praise, but Williams has a similar motor in my opinion. I didn’t see him quit on a single play, he gives great pursuit from the back-side and absolutely doesn’t stop until the play is over. He is going to be a player that will get a number of effort sacks if he can improve his technique, regardless of his athletic ability. But with his size, arm length, athletic ability as an edge rusher and his motor… he is only some added strength and consistent technique work away from causing some notable havoc in opposing backfields in my opinion. It will be interesting to see if he has put on any weight when September rolls around, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the 255-260 area. Keep an eye out for Williams though… guys with motors like his don’t tend to fade away very easily.

Jordan Mabin, CB, Northwestern- Mabin is a solid corner but I’m not sure he has great upside. He doesn’t seem to have great footwork (doesn’t click and close well) but he seems to have a pretty good burst to close despite some wasted steps in his transitions. He also has a good, low backpedal, shows ability in zone coverage and seems to have good ball skills. He also looked good in man coverage, seems to mirror defenders routes pretty well and seems to have a pretty good feel for pass defense. He doesn’t support the run well, however, and struggles to get off blocks. I just worry about him wasting steps in his transitions, but if he were able to improve his footwork during his transitions to avoid wasting steps I think I would like him more. He just doesn’t have anything great going for him: solid size, pretty good speed, pretty good in man and zone coverage, good back-pedal, good ball skills, but nothing great. So I wonder if he has starter upside in the NFL. I will be interested to see how he does this year, but at this point I would say he is more of a nickel/dime back than a NFL starter.

Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern- Some might write Persa off because of his size, or because of the offense he plays in, but while I think that his size and the spread offense he operates are hindrances to him as a prospect, I have to say I love watching this kid play. This is going to sound like overkill, but as far as I’m concerned he is the white Mike Vick. Hopefully that doesn’t sound racist or insensitive in any way, but as far as athletic ability and playing style that is the best comparison I can make. He isn’t as fast and as quick as Mike Vick is, few people are, but it is safe to say that he is probably the most athletic quarterback in the Big-10 now that Pryor has left, and yes, I think he is as athletic as Taylor Martinez of Nebraska. Plus, he is a much better passer than Martinez. But that isn’t the point. He has a very similar playing style to Mike Vick, though he might be a bit more mature as a passer than Vick was when he left Virginia Tech 10 years ago. He has a tendency to scramble obviously, something he and Vick obviously share, and he will hold onto the ball too long at times which results in sacks, another trait he shares with Vick. He is also extremely dangerous in the open field, and once he tucks and runs he is a threat to break a big run all the time, just like Vick. He may not be a threat to break off an 80 yard run because he probably has 4.6ish straight line speed whereas Vick was in the 4.38 range, but he has great quickness and shiftiness as a runner and he has fantastic vision for a quarterback whether he is running a designed QB draw or whether he takes off up the middle and is improvising. He also doesn’t have the rocket arm strength that Vick does, but I think he is more accurate that Vick was out of Virginia Tech also.

He does have good arm strength though, and he puts good zip on passes 20+ yards downfield and shows very impressive accuracy at times. I would grade his arm strength at a 3.5 and his accuracy at either a 3.0 or a 3.5, above average/good, because he will miss high sometimes but he consistently puts the ball in a very catchable spot and rarely blatantly overthrows or misses his receiver altogether. He also shows flashes of anticipation, the ability to throw his receiver open, and he also shows the ability to come off of his primary read and throw to another guy downfield or check down. It isn’t extremely consistent because of the offense he plays in, sometimes he just doesn’t need to go through all his reads, but the fact that he shows the ability to do it is encouraging. His throwing motion is solid, but he doesn’t always keep the ball up high enough when scanning the field, sometimes holding it near his mid-section, and that leads to a bit of a dip in his throwing motion, elongating it ever so slightly. Even when he does this his throwing motion is quick, but that is definitely a kink that could be worked out. I also am impressed with Persa’s intangibles as he seems to be a good leader and makes checks at the line, plus the drop-off in his team’s performance was extremely evident once he got hurt. It’s clear he means a boat-load to Northwestern, and I think they are going to surprise some people this year with Persa back healthy, though getting bitten by the injury bug is just another thing he has in common with Vick if you think about it.

Some may not like the white Mike Vick comparison for Persa, but if you watch him play he does play a similar style to Mike Vick and while he doesn’t have an identical skill set, they are definitely comparable. However, Persa is probably about 5’11”, which is even shorter than Vick, and while I like some of his upside as a quarterback it is going to be tough to sell NFL decision makers on his game at that height. Add in that he operates almost exclusively out of the shotgun, has a tendency to tuck and run instead of stepping up in the pocket and continuing to scan the field, and he isn’t incredibly accurate (above-average/good, but not great)… it’s going to be a tough sell. I think he could definitely be a wild-cat QB in the NFL because of his great vision and feel for whether he should keep it or hand it off, plus he would be dangerous enough as a passer that he could throw if teams loaded the box against him, similar to what Brad Smith does for the New York Jets.

However, I think a move to receiver is probably in his future regardless of how well he plays this year, which is unfortunate but he should be able to make the transition. He is athletic enough even if he doesn’t have elite straight line speed, and he is so elusive and shifty with the ball in his hands he should have no problem getting YAC, and he should be able to learn to run routes well because of his quickness and burst as long as he works at it. Plus, quarterbacks who change positions and become receivers often have an improved understanding of how to get open against different coverages, which gives them a leg-up on defenses once they get the hang of their new position. I love Persa though, I think he is going to lead Northwestern to another bowl game this season, and I think they could have 8 wins in them depending on their schedule and what their defense can muster to help out the offense.

Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern- Ebert is a big play receiver and I love his potential in the slot. He was regularly targeted by Persa and when Persa was healthy he produced 54 of his 62 receptions, 849 or his 953 yards and all 8 of his touchdowns. Without a good passer to get him the ball his numbers dropped to season lows. With Persa healthy I would be surprised if Ebert didn’t continue to gash defenses down teh seam for big chunks of yardage. He seems to have some speed (4.63 listed 40 time), good quickness/burst and good hands. He is a serious sleeper considering his production last year. He is flying way under the radar right now, so it will be interesting to see if he surprises some people during his senior season. I have high expectations for him.

Vince Browne, DE, Northwestern- Browne is probably considered by most as the best Northwestern defensive lineman, and at this point that may be true, but if I am right about Quentin Williams’ upside then that may not be the case for long. Browne was productive last year with a notable 7 sacks for Northwestern, so I was understandably curious to see how he got those sacks to see if it was due to great athletic ability, great technique work, or other circumstances that don’t necessarily reflect next level talent. At this point I would make the argument that it is the latter of the three possibilities, unfortunately. Browne has pretty good size but he doesn’t have great athletic ability. He seems to have a solid get-off and some edge speed, but I do not think it is as impressive as Williams’ and even his isn’t elite. However, get-off and edge speed aren’t everything, though they are very helpful tools for defensive linemen to have. But being a technician and getting the most out of your athletic ability by being extremely solid in the fundamental aspects of the game produces results also. That does not seem to be the case with Browne, however, as he did not show much hand usage to me and struggled to shed blocks because of it. He also struggled to get off blocks and make plays because of his inconsistent motor in my estimation. Unlike Williams, he doesn’t give great backside pursuit, he doesn’t keep coming to try to get to the QB even when he is blocked as often (though he did this a couple times) and if he does end up getting engaged by one or God forbid two offensive players he seems to throttle down, or at least he did in the two games I was able to watch of him. Perhaps I am being overly critical and I just raised my expectations too much based on his stat line, but I did not think that his on-field performance was as impressive as his statistics would have indicated. Just another reason you need to watch the tape and not rely solely on stats.

Drake Dunsmore, TE, Northwestern- Dunsmore has good size (6’3”, 235 pounds listed) and seems to be a good athlete for the position. He has more of an H-Back role on Northwestern, as he isn’t usually the primary blocking TE (similar to Kendricks’ role on the Badgers) but he gives good, consistent effort as a blocker, he just isn’t great at it. He is a solid wall-off blocker but he isn’t going to drive any DE’s or LB’s downfield. He won’t ever be a dominant blocker but his willingness to block means that he will be able to get coached up in this area and at least be solid in this area which means even if it is a slight issue at this point it shouldn’t remain that way once he gets to the NFL. However, he is quite the receiving TE and is athletic enough that he can line up on the line or he can line up in the slot as if he is just an oversized receiver. He shows potential as a route runner and can create separation with his athleticism but he also has notable shiftiness to him which I really like. You can’t coach that kind of feel for the game, so it is nice to see that. He seems to give pretty consistent effort as a blocker and route runner, and on top of that he catches the ball away from his body with his hands well and runs hard after the catch. I think Dunsmore is flying under the radar right now to be sure, but I would be surprised if he didn’t improve on his 40 receptions, 381 yards and 5 TD’s as a senior, especially considering the comfort level Persa has with him at this point. It’s not really surprising that a significant portion of his production came while Persa was on the field, and seemed to drop off a bit after he was injured. So while he isn’t going to be a 1st rounder, I think he is a sleeper that could end up in the mid-rounds if he plays well and demonstrates the skill set that I feel I have identified all season long. So watch out for him!

Ben Burkett, C, Northwestern- Burkett seems to have good size, strength and athletic ability for the position in addition to good hand placement as a run and pass blocker. He also looks like he has strong hands, a solid initial punch and is great at combo blocks. He looks smooth when moving from the initial block to the second level and does a good job of getting his hands on a linebacker when he gets there. He is good on screens and clearly has the mobility to block downfield. Overall he seems to have a good skill set for a center. The problem I have with him is that he almost seems lazy or out of shape. His effort is consistently poor and he throttles down a lot. If offensive linemen can have bad motors, he has one. This is evident in pass protection as well as when he is run blocking. This leads to him not sustaining at ALL regardless of what phase of the game he is in and he almost never finishes a block as a result of this. That is very concerning to me and I don’t know how correctable his effort level play to play will be. He has upside, but with that effort level he won’t ever reach his potential, which in my estimation is a pretty good NFL starting center. But his intangibles have not jumped out at me at all, and considering his effort level on the field it’s hard to assume that he is constantly in the film room studying, but that is obviously a conclusion I have jumped to without much substantiation for it. Regardless, he has upside but his motor scares me off, and it will scare off talent evaluators also if it doesn’t improve dramatically this year.

Al Netter, OT, Northwestern- Netter looks like a RT to me. I don’t think he handles speed and agility very well, and he doesn’t have good enough agility to mirror speed rushers adequately. He does do some things well, however. He has good size, seems to have long arms and he sustains blocks effectively. When he gets his hands on the defender and engages him as a pass blocker he usually takes him out of the play completely, which is something you always like to see from offensive linemen. He does a pretty good job getting out of his stance even though he doesn’t have great lateral agility. He also seems to have a pretty good first step when he is down blocking or pulling, etc. However, he struggles a lot with his hand placement as a blocker, so much so that I thought he got away with holding an alarming number of times just in the two games I watched of him from last season. He also likes to reach at times which negatively impacts his balance and this helps lead to him ending up on the ground more often than I would like to see. He is also not agile and does not block well at ALL on the move, and in my notes I literally wrote “He is worthless when pulling/blocking on the move” and I do not say things like that lightly. He struggles to even get his hands on a defender when blocking on the move, much less place his hands on them correctly and sustain a worthwhile block.

He also plays high at times which negates his natural strength. So while he has good size, seemingly pretty long arms and a pretty solid base, his lack of quality technique as far as hand placement, his kick slide, etc. limits his potential in my eyes. His kick slide is awkward and it looks like he is putting too much weight on his front foot when he executes it, which might also contribute to his balance issues. So while his size, starting experience and solid track record might indicate upside in the NFL, I think he is a mid-late round pick as a back-up RT that may or may not have upside as a developmental guy that just needs to be coached up. I don’t think he will ever be a quality starter in the NFL at this point, because even if he cleans up his technique (which would be a two or three year project at least) he doesn’t have the athletic ability and lateral agility to consistently mirror quality NFL pass rushers at either defensive end spot. Additionally, getting him to play with better pad level, fixing his kick slide, dramatically improving his hand placement and improving his balance by helping him stop his bad habit of reaching is a pretty dramatic undertaking, and while it is doable with hard work I would not bet on him correcting those issues and turning them all into strengths, which further diminishes his potential as a NFL player in my eyes.

David Nwabuisi, LB, Northwestern- Nwabuisi was only a rotational player last season but with two starting linebackers gone I expect him to step in as a starter. He isn’t a huge player and he didn’t show me tons of ability, but even as a sophomore last year he was intentionally substituted in for traditional passing situations which intrigues me. That makes me think he has upside in coverage at least, which warrants further investigation if/when he gets more consistent playing time. I’m not sure what kind of upside he has yet, but he is at least intriguing enough for me to keep tabs on him.

Brian Peters, S, Northwestern- Peters didn’t blow me away in any certain aspect of the game, though he seems to be a fundamentally sound safety. He looks like he has solid closing speed, he seems to be a good tackler, he plays smart in coverage and doesn’t bite on play-action, knows his assignments and seems to be pretty reliable despite elite athleticism. I don’t think he has starter upside in the NFL, but I think he could potentially stick as a back-up/special teamer in the NFL.

Sorry about the length of this post, but I watched a LOT of film on Northwestern this weekend. I like to be thorough. I have a Wisconsin post in the works along with some notes on San Jose State and Arizona State prospects. I’m still going through all the film though, so that will take a couple more days to get through. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

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Lindley has a lot of upside because of his arm strength, his quick release and his intangibles, but I'd like to see improved decision making and better footwork during his senior year.

Pre-season scouting report:

Arm strength: Lindley’s arm strength is apparent as soon as you see him throw one pass. He has impressive zip on throws to all levels and has the arm strength to throw quality deep balls. He can put touch on passes too though and throws a great fade route thanks to his natural arm strength. When he steps into throws he can put great zip onto his throws, and even when he throws off of his back foot or doesn’t step into his throws he can get the ball where he wants it usually. He can fit the ball into tight windows and make all the NFL throws including deep outs and deep curls that require good zip on the pass because of his arm strength.

Accuracy: Lindley shows impressive accuracy but his accuracy could be better. If I had to grade it right now I would give it a 3.0 or a 3.5 because it is just not where it needs to be yet. He has a talented arm but his ball placement isn’t as consistent as it should be considering his natural ability in his arm. He throws a lot of catchable balls, but he tends to miss high when he does miss and that leads to turnovers in the NFL more often than not.

Mechanics: His throwing motion looks clean to me though it might be a tad elongated, but it is pretty fluid and quick. His footwork needs improvement though. He doesn’t always step into his throws which limits his accuracy on those throws as well as the zip he can put on them, and he will need some coaching up on his drops from center because he does not make drops from center very often, he is usually in shotgun. He will throw without his feet set more than he should, but he does seem to reset his feet pretty quickly after moving to buy more time in the pocket.

Decision Making: His decision making leaves something to be desired at this point. He will regularly take shots on 1st and 2nd down before clamping down on 3rd down to make sure he extends the drive. He will take these shots against double coverage pretty regularly though and that has led to interceptions in the games I have watched him play in. I think he is alright at reading defenses but occasionally he will miss an open man and I think he tends to stare down a receiver on some of his plays. That prevents him from using his eyes to deceive the defense and it allows them to key on the guy he is looking to throw to, which is a serious problem and it resulted in a few nice breaks on his throws by defenders when I watched Lindley play. His decision making is one area where I am looking for significant improvement from him in his senior year.

Pocket Poise: I was happy to see that he is poised in the pocket. He was sacked only once despite regularly being under pressure in this game and that speaks to his quick release, intelligence and his ability to buy time in the pocket without leaving the pocket. He has a good feel for where the rush is coming from pre-snap and he can feel the rush without looking at it which is critical, and he is comfortable stepping up or sliding either direction to buy more time, find a throwing lane and deliver a pass. He isn’t afraid to take a hit to deliver a pass either, so he seems to be quite poised in the pocket. As I said earlier he also resets his feet pretty well after moving to buy more time in the pocket.

Athletic Ability: Lindley isn’t an all-world athlete but he can extend plays with his legs. He isn’t a burner by any means but he can get outside the pocket and pick up yards with his legs if necessary, though he always looks to throw when he extends plays. His athletic ability will not be a hindrance to him in the NFL like it could be for a quarterback that has heavy feet or is very immobile.

Intangibles: I like his intangibles quite a bit which is one of the reasons I like him so much as a prospect despite some of his current shortcomings. Having arm strength is well and good, but too many players have arm strength but not much else these days. Lindley strikes me as a smart player, a leader and a guy with mental and physical toughness. As a QB you have to have a short memory and you have to be able to bounce back from interceptions and mistakes and Lindley demonstrates the ability to do this frequently. He almost seems to have a bit of a gunslinger mentality which combined with his arm strength and “small school” experience might draw some comparisons to Brett Favre. Not only does he have toughness, but he is also very reliable in pressure situations. He made a mistake at the end of a game when his team was down four points by forcing a throw into the end zone, but he was just trying to will his team to victory at that point in my opinion. He was unbelievably good on 3rd down in the tape that I watched of him and only threw two or three incomplete passes of at least 10 or 15 attempts on 3rd down, many of which were 3rd and 8 or longer. He converted all of them except for the incomplete passes he threw and that is incredibly impressive. I have not watched nearly enough of him to determine if he plays like this in every game obviously, but that was quite a first impression for him to make. I look forward to seeing if he lives up to the lofty expectations I have for him after watching some of his tape as a junior.

Overall: Lindley has a lot of ability even though he is not at a Division I powerhouse and with his arm strength and intangible qualities he is going to get a lot of long looks from NFL teams this season. I am really looking forward to watching him this year to see if he develops from what I just saw of him when I watched the junior tape I have of him. I am particularly looking for an improvement in his decision making and in his footwork. Namely, I don’t want to see so many deep shots against double coverage or forced passes without his feet set, and I don’t want to see him throw off of his back foot as often as he does. If he steps into many more of his throws as a senior than he did as a junior then I will be very happy with his progression. One element of maturity that I have yet to see from him is the willingness to throw the ball out of bounds. It will be interesting to see if he starts to do this as a senior or if he continues to try to make/force plays downfield.

SKILLS:
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Arm Strength: 4.0
Accuracy: 3.5
Athletic Ability: 3.0
Decision Making: 3.0
Mechanics: 3.0
Pocket Poise: 4.0
Intangibles: 4.0

Thanks for reading, there will be more scouting reports to come as I have more opportunities to watch film from last season. Hope you enjoyed my first one!

–Tom

Scouting Report:

Stocker has good hands to make tough catches and offers quality blocking, but needs to improve his concentration.

Positives: Has impressive size and uses his size to his advantage as a receiver. Has good hands to make catches away from his body and has made a number of tough catches where he had to fully extend in the games that I have seen of him. He is physical as a blocker and as a runner after the catch and is tough to bring down after he makes the catch which gives him value as a YAC man at TE. He sustains his blocks well as an in-line blocker and has the size and strength to get some push and wall off defenders.

Negatives: He has good hands and can make tough catches but he drops catchable passes which speaks to a concentration issue. He likes to get YAC by turning upfield after he catches the ball and sometimes he will start to make a move before he has completed the catch, so he needs to concentrate better on completing the catch. He doesn’t have great speed and quickness to he won’t be able to challenge that effectively down the seam and might struggle to create separation in the NFL.

Overall: Stocker is a pretty well rounded prospect because he can catch the ball effectively (even if his concentration is a slight issue) and block pretty effectively. He won’t be a pro-bowler at the position but I think he can be an effective weapon as a pass catcher and blocker as long as he is a secondary option, not a primary target for his team.

Projection: 3rd/4th round. It depends on how some teams grade out all of the TE’s but teams will be intrigued by his size, hands and ability to block pretty effectively. He could very well go in the 3rd round because of his well-roundedness as a prospect.

SKILLS:
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.0
Hands: 3.0
Blocking: 3.5
Body Control: 3.5
Range: 3.0

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Scouting Report:

Rodgers will get slept on because of his small stature but he will end up being one of the best running backs in this draft class.

Positives: While ‘Quizz is very undersized he is well built for a running back and has very strong legs which give him impressive leg drive for such a small back. He has great footwork, vision and runs patiently. He also demonstrates great balance and lateral burst which helps him make great cuts once he finds cut-back lanes which makes him hard to stop. Despite his size he runs effectively between the tackles and his leg drive helps him finish runs well. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and has demonstrated solid ability as a pass blocker and will block downfield when he gets the opportunity to. He runs hard and tough and fights hard for extra yardage and runs through arm tackles well because he runs with good pad level in addition to his small size.

Negatives: His size is obviously a question mark for him and durability has to be a concern for a back his size but he is well built so I don’t think that will be a serious issue. You have to wonder if he will be able to carry the load in the NFL as the feature back, but if he was in a two-back backfield that concern would be alleviated. He doesn’t have good straight line speed so he will have issues outrunning defenders to get the edge or to rip off big chunks of yardage once he hits the second level despite his great quickness and shiftiness in the open field.

Overall: I am a huge fan of ‘Quizz and I think that in the right system he could be a very effective starter. He would probably have to be in a zone blocking scheme or a pass heavy offense and I think it would be ideal if he split carries because he wouldn’t wear down and he wouldn’t have as many durability questions. The Packers would be a great team for him to go to, but I also think he could be a very nice complementary runner for a team like the Falcons that need a guy with burst and pass catching ability out of the backfield. I just don’t think he could be our primary guy in our man blocking scheme. A lot of people will doubt ‘Quizz because of his size but he has so much ability as a runner that I don’t think there is any way that he doesn’t become a productive running back in the NFL. If he was two or three inches taller I think he could very well be a first round pick.

Projection: 3rd round. I would pick him in the 2nd round in all honesty but I think he will get serious consideration in the 3rd round range. He might last until the late 3rd or maybe even into the 4th depending on how the RB’s that might be graded higher than him come off the board, but if you get him in the mid-3rd or later I think you are getting fantastic value for a great running back.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.5
Power: 3.0
Agility: 5.0
Vision: 4.5
Hands: 4.0
Blocking: 3.0

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Top 32 Big Board

Here is my top 32 Big Board for the 2011 NFL Draft. These, in my opinion, are the top 32 prospects in the NFL Draft. Many of them are hot-linked so that you can read my scouting reports on them. Enjoy!

1-      A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

2-      Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama

3-    Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

4-    Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

5-     Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

6-     Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

7-      Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

8-      Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

9-      J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

10-   Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

11-   Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

12-   Cameron Jordan, DE, California

13-   Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

14-   Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

15-   Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal

16-   Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

17-  Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA

18-  Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

19-   Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

20-  Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

21-   Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

22-   Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

23- Justin Houston, DE, Georgia

24-   Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

25-   Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

26-   Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

27-  Jake Locker, QB, Washington

28-  Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

29-   Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

30-   Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida

31- Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

32- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Scouting Report:

Dalton's accuracy on downfield throws really underwhelmed me.

Positives: Dalton has solid size for a QB, he has average arm strength, good accuracy inside of fifteen yards and solid zip on throws within that same range. He has some experience dropping back from center and executing play action fakes which I like to see, and he is good at quickly making reads after executing the fake. He also has a very good play fake, plus he has pretty good mobility. His footwork is solid, and he has a smooth throwing motion and pretty consistent mechanics. He was extremely productive at TCU, he won a lot of games there and really helped put their program back on the map.

Negatives: Dalton looks a little skinny to me on film, he rarely has great zip on his throws unless they are under ten yards, and he is very inconsistent with his accuracy outside of fifteen yards. The offense that he operated in was largely shotgun based, though he did drop from center occasionally and run play action, but the reads were not usually very complicated and frequently he would seem to know where he was going with the ball when he snapped it. His arm strength really does leave a lot to be desired in my opinion, especially on deep passes where not only does his lack of arm strength become apparent but his problems with ball placement when challenging defenses downfield become apparent also. He also makes very questionable decisions when he forces the ball downfield, and really is only accurate when he can throw the ball over the top of man coverage where he can float it and let his receiver run under it. Really outside of fifteen yards his ball placement just isn’t nearly as consistent and that is really alarming for a QB who is going to have to make throws like that in the NFL. I have also not seen him show a lot of anticipation on his throws, nor have I seen him throw guys open as much as I would like.

Overall: Dalton is a decent quarterback, but he isn’t someone I would pick in the first three rounds personally. His arm strength is average and while his accuracy on short passes and some intermediate passes is very good and he hits his receivers in stride when he challenges defenses downfield he has to put touch on his passes or he doesn’t place the ball well and that will lead to turnovers in the NFL. He seems to be pretty smart, hard working and doesn’t appear to have any character concerns so I think he will stick in the NFL, but primarily I think he will be a back-up and at best a solid game-manager type of quarterback. His arm strength and downfield accuracy is just too much to overcome to ever be a truly effective starter in my opinion.

Projection: 4th round. He may go a little bit earlier than this thanks to his reputation as a winner and as a very successful college quarterback, but I think most teams will be wary of his arm strength, his inconsistent decision making and his questionable downfield accuracy. He definitely has potential thanks to his solid size, average arm strength and quite reliable short passing accuracy, but improving on the longer, more difficult throws will be challenging once he makes it to the NFL.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Arm Strength: 2.5
Accuracy: 3.0
Mobility: 3.0
Decision Making: 3.0
Mechanics: 3.5
Pocket Awareness: 3.0
Intangibles: 3.5

Thanks for reading my scouting report on Andy Dalton. As promised my reports on Julio Jones, Greg McElroy and Marcell Dareus are on the way.

–Tom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Tom

Quarterbacks:

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware:

Devlin had a pretty off practice today. In one on one’s he threw high on probably five or six throws, and this is without pressure since it’s just a one on one match-up for the corner. He struggled with ball placement and though his throws had pretty good zip he was letting them get away from him a bit. He flashed impressive ball placement a couple times, including a nice throw on a slant to Toliver. He showed some good anticipation, zip and accuracy on the throw by hitting Toliver in the hole in the zone on the slant. However, he seemed to be checking down faster than I’d like and on a couple plays he missed an open receiver (Perry Baker twice) so I am wondering about his ability to read defenses a little bit. He has pretty good size and arm strength, but his accuracy was not there today.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech:

Taylor had a pretty off practice as well. He overthrew a couple receivers and didn’t have very good ball placement either. He has the arm strength, I am just waiting for him to start placing his throws better. I know he can do it, but he hasn’t shown it yet this week. I talked to him today about an interview and he seemed open to it, hopefully I will be able to get that done in the next couple days.

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy:

Didn’t see him throw much today, but when I did his passes were usually off target. He struggled making reads today as well, more obviously than Devlin and Taylor did in my opinion. I’m pretty convinced that he is going to be a wildcat QB only at the next level. He will have to convert to RB.

Halfbacks:

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse:

Carter looks fast, he has good feet from what I can tell and though I didn’t pay much attention to him today specifically he looks good. He continues to show pretty soft hands.

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami:

He got stuffed a couple times in the run game, once by Marvin Austin, but I’m not sure they are good reflections of his vision or his quickness. He has pretty good hands, I believe he caught a pass out of the flat today.

Evan Royster, RB, Penn State:

Royster didn’t impress me much again today, there was a throw to him in the flat that he only got his left hand on from Devlin, wasn’t placed very well. Still doesn’t look very quick or fast to me.

Wide Receivers:

Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State:

This kid blew me away at the beginning of practice today. Yesterday he was dropping easy passes without a defender guarding him and today he was making snags away from his body after creating some separation in one on one drills. He didn’t look quite as fast with pads on, but he still moves well. He needs work on his route running, but he definitely has the suddenness, the speed and the burst to be an effective route runner, just has to work at it. His hands look totally different than they did yesterday, he had to be nervous at the beginning of practice. He showed some route running ability by getting separation on Van Dyke and running a nice curl on Justin Rogers (who has looked great) and running it so well that Rogers lost his footing and fell down as Baker made his break. He made a body catch later in the practice, so his hands aren’t amazing, nor is his route running, but he looks much better today than he did at the start of yesterday’s practice. He looked like a different player almost. I’ll be looking for more consistency later in the week, hopefully I will be able to talk to him and get an interview.

Lester Jean, WR, FAU:

Jean had a much better practice today as well. He doesn’t run very good routes, but he has some suddenness and he absolutely shook Van Dyke on one route and got a lot of separation. He showed much better hands and caught the ball well away from his body and even dug out a low throw for a nice catch. He struggles with his footwork when running routes though, and it limits his ability to create separation. I’m not sure how much quickness he will ever have coming in and out of breaks, but he does have good speed and looked fast in pads today. He also showed some ability to adjust to the ball when it is in the air, which is good. With his size, speed and potentially good hands he presents some value to be sure. He looked much better today than he did yesterday. He and Baker had great practices.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU:

Toliver is my favorite WR here and he had an up and down practice, but is definitely still the best WR here in my opinion. He has very reliable hands though he dropped two passes that I saw today and both of them involved contact. On one play he ran a good slant route and caught the ball but as he caught it Josh Thomas, a corner from Buffalo, laid a big hit on him and jarred the ball loose. Later he ran another slant and shied away from contact that he knew was coming a bit and didn’t make a play on the ball, though it was not very well thrown. It’s pretty apparent that he doesn’t like contact and is more of a finesse receiver, so I don’t think he will want to go over the middle a lot in the NFL. However, his hands are the best of the receivers here in my opinion and he showed some good route running today. He absolutely burned Mario Butler on one long play but it was over thrown. He looks like a solid 3rd or 4th rounder to me for sure.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union:

Shorts started out slow today and actually lost his footing a few times at the beginning and one more time later in the practice. He was tentative in his breaks after the initial footing problems and you could tell he was taking his breaks a bit slower to make sure he didn’t fall down so he didn’t waste the rep. He adjusts pretty well to the ball, but his hands are inconsistent in my opinion. He drops some catchable balls and also brings some in. He looks like a 5th/6th round guy to me right now.

Terrence Turner, WR, Indiana:

Turner seems to be the worst wide receiver on the East squad. He has struggled to create separation, he doesn’t have very good speed and his hands are inconsistent. He’s had a tough couple of days.

Tight Ends:

Charles Gantt, TE, Michigan State:

I didn’t see much of Gantt today but he seems to have solid hands. I want to see him blocking more because I have heard a lot of good things about him as a blocker.

Offensive Linemen:

David Arkin, OG, Missouri State:

Arkin had an up and down day. A couple times he had effective blocks on Marvin Austin but Austin also beat him on a couple run plays, though he looked good in pass protection against him. Arkin struggled against Martin Parker, the DT from Richmond. This is going to be a really interesting match-up to watch because they have had some good battles already in the first two days. Arkin got beat by a nice swim move by Parker and then Parker bull rushed Arkin into the pocket again. Arkin definitely has some ability though, he just needs to play with more consistent leverage.

Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson:

I haven’t been very impressed with Hairston. He is huge but he doesn’t look like he has good feet and he got away with a hold, a pretty blatant one where he was just tugging with one arm on the DE’s jersey as he ran around him to try to pursue from the backside on a running play up the middle. He looks like a late round pick to me so far.

Defensive Linemen:

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond:

Parker had a pretty good day when I saw him today. He beat Arkin twice with swim moves and bull-rushed him into the pocket effectively on another play. He has a pretty wide body and he has natural leverage because of his size, he seems to be strong as well. In a system that likes defensive tackles to penetrate and get upfield he definitely has some value.

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina:

Austin had a solid practice, but it wasn’t dominating. He shows signs of his great ability but he drew a lot of doubles today. He fought hard against them but when you are doubled there’s not a lot you can do. He also struggled a bit to get off blocks from Arkin in pass protection, but did a bit better versus the run. He holds his ground well versus one on one blocks for the most part, and shows some violent hands to shed at times. His hand usage could be more consistent in my opinion.

Linebackers:

Greg Lloyd, ILB, Connecticut:

Greg looked good today, he played well. He fills well versus the run and a couple times he read the play in literally half a second and then moved well in pursuit. He plays well downhill and I think he could be a perfect fit as an ILB in a 3-4 defense. I am not sure how comfortable he is in coverage, as he looks a bit tentative at times. I’ll be watching him in that aspect this week. But I think he’s a perfect fit in a 3-4.

Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia:

I really like Dent and he continues to fill well versus the run and put himself in position to make tackles in the running game. Like Greg I think he is a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense at ILB, and I am not sure how good he is in coverage. I try to watch him but there is a lot going on, so it’s hard to do at times. However, I am very high on Dent. He is a tackling machine.

Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State:

Rolle is an agile player and he looked very comfortable in coverage to me today, especially in zone. He is still very undersized though, and that hurts him against the run.

Defensive Backs:

Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond:

Rogers looks like the best corner on the East to me. He has a great motor, pretty good closing speed and he makes plays on the ball and has had a bunch of pass deflections in the first two days of practice. He’s a smaller guy but I love his effort and his ball skills. I don’t know how he is at tackling yet since they haven’t been tackling practices. He has had good coverage for the most part, but Baker did break his ankles on one curl route. However, he stuck with Baker on a streak route stride for stride. He has had a great couple days of practice.

Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech:

Butler has not impressed me thus far. He got worked a couple times today in coverage though on a couple bad throws he managed to make a play on the ball for a deflection. He has just underwhelmed me thus far, he doesn’t seem like a mid-round pick to me right now.

Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo:

Thomas had a solid practice today. He laid a couple big hits on people, both of them jarring passes incomplete when they would have normally been catches. He definitely packs some punch as a hitter. I’m not sure how well he locates the ball in the air, but I’ll be watching him more later this week.

Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami:

Van Dyke has struggled a lot the past couple days. He got worked on a few routes today and gave up pretty easy separation to the receivers he was defending and didn’t seem to have much ability to make up ground or close to make a play on the ball. He has definitely been the worst corner for the East.

Jonathan Nelson, S, Oklahoma:

I didn’t see much of Nelson today but he did intercept a pass off of Pat Devlin during practice. Devlin threw the ball late and was staring his receiver down and Nelson read his eyes well, got in front of it and made a nice interception look pretty easy.

Hopefully you enjoyed these notes, thanks for reading! Look out for more posts the rest of the week!

–Tom

Hey guys. Here are my notes from the West practice today. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the entire thing, but I left while they were just breaking a huddle after a lot of 7 on 7 work. There was some team stuff to start off the practice, so I have notes on some defensive players, but I am lacking on defensive players and on offensive linemen. I will do better tomorrow! Anyways, enjoy mostly offensive notes.

West Practice Notes Day 1:

Quarterbacks:

Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho:

Enderle had an up and down day. His footwork looked solid, he has a fluid throwing motion, he has the best arm of any of the three QB’s, especially as far as zip is concerned. He struggled with ball placement on a long ball and some other throws as well. Not necessarily putting the ball on the money. Other times he hit simpler, shorter routes in stride. Throws to the sideline and deep weren’t as well placed. He was double clutching some during 7 on 7 drills also. That’s not a very good sign as he may not be trusting what he sees when making his reads.

Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin:

Tolzien had a solid day, but he didn’t do anything that I haven’t seen him do before. He has a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion which negatively affects his timing and it showed on throws to the sideline, especially since he doesn’t have the arm strength to compensate for his slightly slower release. This hurts him as a prospect obviously, but he has solid accuracy and a bit above average arm strength. He could stick as a back-up somewhere, but I don’t expect to see anything this week that will make me think he has a lot of potential as a starter.

Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M:

It was the same old Johnson today. His throwing motion has been cleaned up, but it still has a hitch in it when he brings his arm back. It isn’t obvious on easy throws to the flat, but on throws downfield and to the sideline it is pretty hard to miss. Additionally his passes don’t have much zip on them despite his size and ability to throw the ball far downfield. His ball placement was not good today and not all of his spirals were tight spirals. He also seemed to struggle with reading defenses a bit, he took too long to scan the field and come back to his check down in my opinion. I wasn’t impressed with him before and I’m not sure I will be any more impressed with him after this week.

Halfbacks:

Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland:

Scott had an ok day but didn’t look like anything special to me. He looked tentative when he was running and didn’t seem to find lanes to run as fast as other backs I had seen today. Not sure how good his vision is for that reason.

Vai Taua, RB, Nevada:

Taua had an ok day as a runner but he dropped a pass or two that I saw which you don’t want to see.

Alex Green, RB, Hawaii:

Green looked pretty good, had some burst. He dropped a pass but it was thrown with some mustard on it, still should have caught it since it hit him in the hands. I wasn’t too impressed with Scott or Taua, so he was the most impressive back today on the West squad to me.

Wide Receivers:

Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford:

Whalen didn’t drop a ball all day that I saw. He caught a couple balls away from his body and also caught some up against his body, but he never dropped one. He also got vertical more than any receiver did today on either squad, catching three balls for nice chunks of yardage in the West practice. He looks like a solid possession receiver in the pros to me. He runs pretty well too.

Anthony Parker, WR, Calgary:

Parker was one guy I wanted to watch because I had never seen him play before, and I definitely came away impressed. He has pretty good size and has definitely been in the weight room because he was one of the bigger receivers in that aspect. He adjusted to the ball well, caught the ball well with his hands, and also had some nice route running and burned #7 on a double move I believe. I don’t think he got the ball, but later in the practice he got held by a corner to make sure he didn’t create too much separation. He had a really good practice.

Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati:

I have been skeptical of Binns for a while but he had a good practice. He’s tall and kind of skinny like Toliver, but he also showed good hands today. He made a couple of nice catches away from his body, one with his long arms fully extended to make the catch on a throw towards the sideline. He has long arms and good hands, plus he is tall. He strikes me as a potentially good receiver, but I haven’t paid enough attention to his route running yet. He definitely had a good practice catching the ball though.

Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU:

I was impressed with Robinson today. I hadn’t seen him play much so I was definitely looking out for him and he impressed me. He caught the ball well with his hands multiple times, I don’t think I saw him drop one today. He has good speed and even though he is undersized I was very impressed with him. I like his potential as a slot receiver and because of his size he is flying a bit under the radar.

Tight Ends:

Jordan Cameron, TE, USC:

Cameron had a solid practice. I didn’t see him much as a blocker, but he had a nice catch from a receiving standpoint. I haven’t seen him at all so I need to pay attention to him this week.

Virgil Green, TE, Nevada:

I haven’t seen Green play much and I didn’t see him targeted much today, but he laid out for a ball that was overthrown to the sideline. The cool thing about that is they weren’t wearing pads (or helmets for that matter, which was frankly kind of concerning since they were going full speed without hitting at times) and they were playing on carpet in the hotel ballroom… so he was diving knowing he was almost certainly going to get carpet burn. I wrote in my notes “Virgil Green just laid out for a ball without a helmet on and on carpet… Bad ass.”

Defensive Linemen:

Karl Klug, DT, Iowa:

Klug looked great in practice today. He was very disruptive and showed good hand usage and a very nice swim move which he used three or four times to get into the backfield quickly. He even beat Barksdale off the edge, which says something about Barksdale to be honest.

Linebackers:

Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada:

Moch weighed in at only 229 which was kind of a disappointment, but I am not sold on him in coverage yet. He has great speed but I am not sure how well he changes direction yet, though he didn’t look as uncomfortable as Chris Carter in coverage today. His best attribute is definitely his ability as a pass rusher, and a couple times he was effectively blocked by TE’s which isn’t surprising at his weight.

Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State:

Carter has some ability as a pass rusher but he looked very uncomfortable in coverage today. He didn’t get very deep in his drops and looked uncomfortable in space. I think he is going to have to be a rotational DE in a 4-3 because I’m not sure he’s good enough in coverage to play in a 3-4.

Defensive Backs:

Shiloh Keo, SS, Idaho:

I dont have many notes on Keo, but he did make a nice interception on a Jerrod Johnson pass that was not very well thrown (it was in the air a while) but he made a nice play on the ball and came away with the pick.

Again, I apologize for the lack of offensive and defensive line notes. I’ll definitely have more for you guys on the defensive side of the ball tomorrow. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it and keep coming back for more updates throughout the week!

–Tom

Hello to everyone from Orlando! I am here all week for the East-West Shrine game practices and the game on Saturday. I look forward to taking a lot of notes and of course posting my thoughts at night on my blog for all to read! So enjoy the notes from the East practice that I just finished up. The West notes will be done later tonight as well.

Quarterbacks:

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware:

Devlin had a solid day. It didn’t start well when he bobbled the first two warm-up snaps he took under center, which kind of worried me at first. However, he didn’t bobble any snaps the rest of the practice that I saw. He was throwing a little high early and got intercepted on his first throw thanks to a tip by a corner once the ball got there. He seems to have pretty solid size, solid zip on his throws. He has long arms too as far as I could tell without measurements.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech:

Taylor had a solid day too, and it was big for him to measure in at 6 feet. He looks small on the field, especially next to Devlin. He was a little erratic today, missing high and low, and struggled with ball placement some. His passes definitely had the most zip on them of the East QB’s.

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy:

Dobbs is not much of a passer, and his only value at QB at the next level will be running wildcat or something. His spirals weren’t very tight early, struggled with ball placement and didn’t seem to have very good zip on his throws.

Halfbacks:

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami:

Cooper was handling kick returns early in practice, though they were just walk-through kickoff drills. He was extremely fast before the injury, and it looks like he is returning to form a bit. It’s hard to say for sure, but he looked fast today. Showed soft hands today in drills too. I don’t think I saw him drop a pass.

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse:

Carter looked great today. He looked very fast, got upfield quickly, made some really nice moves in open space and to get into the open field. He had an incredible game against Kansas State and he played like he still had momentum from that game today. He looked the best out of the RB’s on the East to me.

Evan Royster, RB, Penn State:

Royster lacked burst like he seemed to on tape in my opinion. Doesn’t explode in or out of his cuts at all, doesn’t seem to have very good footwork as a runner. I wonder about his vision too because he shuffles his feet and takes extra steps when the play is developing instead of finding a hole and making a cut to hit the hole. He looked really slow compared to Cooper and Carter too.

Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut:

Sherman really stuck out to me. He showed great hands out of the backfield, especially for a fullback, and seemed to have good vision as a runner as well. He looked great today.

Wide Receivers:

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU:

Toliver looked like the best receiver on the East today without a doubt in my mind. I was high on him coming into practice, but only one pass thrown to him hit the ground that I saw. He dropped it but every other pass he caught easily. He seems to have pretty big hands, really long arms and he catches the ball well away from his body. Seemed to try to catch and turn too quickly on the one he dropped. His legs are really skinny though and he himself is skinny, and he doesn’t have much explosion out of his breaks to create separation. If he gets stronger in the lower body and works with a good receiver coach on that I think he could improve in that area, but it’s a concern for me at this point even though I love his hands.

Lestar Jean, WR, FAU:

Jean looked skinny overall but not as skinny as a couple other guys. Coaches were working with him on his stance a couple times early in practice to help him get off the ball better. He was body catching for the majority of practice when I saw him. Plus he was wasting steps in and out of his breaks, most notably on curl routes.

Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State:

Baker started off horribly in this practice. He looks extremely skinny, especially in the legs, and he was dropping everything early. I saw him make one catch and drop every other ball in the first round of receiver drills. He seemed to be really nervous and was not running good routes during that time. However, he has great speed and definitely looked like the fastest receiver on the East squad to me. Not only that, but he calmed down as the practice continued and made a couple of good catches with his hands and away from his body late. He definitely started slow but he made very obvious progression throughout the practice.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union:

Shorts had a solid day. He made a couple catches but also dropped a couple catchable balls. He looked like he had a solid frame, definitely not skinny like a couple of the other receivers. I’m not sold on his hands yet, but he has some speed.

Tight Ends:

Greg Smith, TE, Texas:

Smith had one good catch in the beginning drills but he dropped a few passes that he definitely should have caught. He also had a couple false starts and struggled with ball placement initially as a long snapper, but he seemed to get better with that as he went along. Overall though, not a great day.

Charles Gantt, TE, Michigan State:

Gantt had a false start and also had a pretty funny moment during blocking drills when he planted his foot and his foot went right through the side of his shoe, tearing a huge hole in the side of his shoe. He had to come out of drills and get a new pair of shoes before he could continue.

Offensive Tackle:

Chris Hairston

Hairston is a huge dude, but he looked like he was carrying some extra weight. I don’t think he has the foot speed to stick at LT, but he is working out at OT. He has solid technique based on what I saw today, but his feet look heavy and he lumbers a bit at times. It’s something I will look out for this week. He did a good job of bending at the knees and not at the waist in drills from what I saw.

Jah Reid

Reid is a big guy and was spending time at RT today. He has pretty solid fundamental footwork but in drills he was bending at his waist a lot which is definitely a concern. It’s hard for him to get leverage because of his size, but bending at the waist is a definite red flag and I saw him do that a number of times.

Offensive Guard/Center:

Randall Hutt, OG, Illinois:

Hutt had a pretty bad day today. He had three false starts I believe and he struggled in the run game, and especially had trouble with Marvin Austin.

David Arkin, OG, Missouri State:

Arkin is a small school guy that I had not heard of before I saw him on the roster, so I was anxious to get a look at him. He had a couple of false starts, but other than that he looked great today. One of them was on the first play when Marvin Austin was lined up right in front of him, so I’m sure he wanted to get off the ball a little quicker than normal. He looked very good at the point of attack today, had a nice pancake block on Martin Parker, a DT from Richmond. He held up pretty well in pass protection too, though Parker got leverage on him and drove him slowly into the personal space of the QB today. When the ball was thrown they went at it for a second or two afterwards. But Arkin had a great day.

Bryant Browning, OG, Ohio State:

Browning had a bad day. He got pulled quickly for Hunt and had two false starts that I saw.

William Rackley, C/OG, Lehigh:

He is listed on the West Roster but he was moved to the East team for practice today. He has really big legs and moves well which is important for an interior lineman. He’s listed as a center but I am pretty sure he saw time at guard. He had a solid day today, I look forward to seeing more of him this week.

Ryan Bartholomew, C/OG, Syracuse:

Bartholomew had a solid day of practice. I don’t have a lot of notes on him, but he did a good job of sealing on a couple blocks and spent time at guard and at center. Versatility is huge and if he can play center and either or both guard spots it will help his stock.

Defensive Line:

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina:

I was really looking forward to seeing Austin play, especially because I am a big UNC fan. He had a very good day today, though that is to be expected because of his talent level. I have never been convinced he has a very good motor, but he has pretty violent hands and he shed blocks pretty nicely today. He was pretty disruptive and had a couple nice swim moves to get into the backfield. He looked pretty good at the point of attack and when he didn’t shed blocks he didn’t get pushed off the line. He also had a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage today. He had a strong practice, and I am trying to lock down an interview with him at some point this week.

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond:

Parker didn’t have a great day as he struggled a bit at the point of attack against Arkin, but he plays with good natural leverage because he doesn’t have great size. He had a pretty good bull rush but the QB held onto the ball a long time which gave him more time to slowly drive Arkin into the pocket.

Linebackers:

Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State:

I like Rolle but he looks SO small out there. He measured in under 5’10” today and that will hurt him a lot as a prospect. He was getting washed out in the running game today which is not going to endear him to scouts. He needs to add weight to his frame and get stronger if he is going to have any chance of holding up in the box. I didn’t pay much attention to him in coverage, but I will do that later this week. But his size sticks out to you right away, but I am not someone who will be scared away from a guy because of his size. For that reason I will look forward to seeing him show me his ability that got him this far the rest of the week.

Greg Lloyd II, ILB, Connecticut:

Greg looked good today. He is a pretty big guy and has a great frame to add weight to. He seemed to be the emotional leader of the East’s first unit today and he was the one calling guys into the huddle and telling them the play they were going to run. That’s always great to see from a player, to see him take command, etc. He was filling well versus the run too, but it was only a walk through. He seems to have pretty good instincts and recognition skills. I liked what I saw from him.

Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia:

Dent is another guy that I am high on. Hopefully I will get an interview with a few of these guys, and Dent is definitely high on my list. He is an absolute tackling machine and he is always in position to make tackles. He fills very well against the run and seems to have a very good grasp of gap assignments and responsibilities. I’m not sure how well he will run, but he plays very well when he can play downhill and though he couldn’t show it today he is a great tackler.

Scott Lutrus, OLB, Connecticut:

I don’t have many notes on him, but he had an interception off of a tipped ball by Justin Rogers today.

Cornerbacks:

Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond:

Rogers looked pretty good in coverage and seemed to close on the ball pretty well the few times I saw him. He had a pass deflection against Devlin that led to an interception by Lutrus as mentioned above. I am going to keep an eye on him this week to be sure.

Sorry about the lack of notes on the DB’s from today. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow. It was a lot to take in at first but I got better at taking notes as practice went along. I am really excited to see everybody in pads the rest of the week instead of just helmets today. Hope you enjoyed the notes and look out for the West notes later tonight and notes on both teams the rest of the week! Also check out NFLDraftMonsters.com for updates from me and Ben Allbright all week. Thanks for reading!

–Tom