Tag Archive: Terrence Toliver


Oklahoma finally managed to win a big game, even though it was against a significantly less talented UCONN team. Will they be able to win a National Title?

1. Oklahoma- It’s hard to put anyone but Oklahoma at the top. Obviously the quarterback position is integral in college football, and while they lost talent at running back in Demarco Murray they are returning Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and 15 other starters. The way Jones and Broyles were playing last year, you have to think they are going to be pretty lethal again this year. Jones has tons of starting experience and while his decision making is questionable at times, he knows how to win and should give Oklahoma a good shot to get to the National Championship in what may be his final college season.

2. LSU- I really like LSU’s chances this year. They might not be returning a ton of talent (I think a lot of people underrate Terrance Tolliver, plus they lost star corner/return man Patrick Peterson) but Jordan Jefferson may be ready to take the next step in his progression, and their defense should be fierce as usual. If Jefferson can improve as a passer he has already proven he can win without consistently passing accurately, which could make LSU very dangerous. He has a lot of starting experience too, which I don’t think he gets enough credit for. I also have to give both LSU and Oregon a ton of credit for opening the season playing each other, even though a loss will dash the respective teams’ hopes at a National Title (most likely). A lot of teams will be playing schools like Apple Valley State Technical College of the Arts and other pathetic teams for a free win and tune-up, so it is absolutely imperative that we give LSU and Oregon the credit they deserve for “manning up” so to speak and playing a legitimate out of conference opponent, especially one ranked so high.

Darron Thomas led Oregon to the National Championship last year, but it will be harder to get out of the Pac-12 with Stanford and USC both returning a lot of talent.

3. Oregon- Oregon gets props for scheduling LSU as well, though it is funny that both Oregon and LSU are being investigated by the NCAA currently. Regardless, Oregon is returning a lot of talent including Quarterback Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, and a talented secondary (especially if Cliff Harris stays out of any more trouble) and should make a run at a Pac-12 title. Their main opposition, Stanford, will be right on their heels however.

4. Stanford- Stanford fans everywhere were finally able to exhale when Andrew Luck announced he would return for his redshirt junior season at Stanford and if they are REALLY lucky he may even stay for his senior year, but that is obviously getting ahead of ourselves. After his fantastic season last year when he helped resurrect Stanford from a downtrodden program to a Pac-10 title contender the expectations will be high for him individually and for the team. I expect him to meet expectations with another very impressive season, but it won’t be as easy with the bulls-eye on their back this time around.

5. Arkansas- I am very high on Arkansas and I think they are going to be a dynamic team this year, especially on offense. Tyler Wilson showed flashes of greatness leading a comeback against the future National Champion Auburn Tigers, and will have a bevy of talent to work with as a first year starter. Knile Davis, one of the best running backs in the country, should continue to be very effective, and the Razorbacks return their four best wide receivers from last season (Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton is the youngest and he is a junior this year) who should form a very dynamic passing game. Arkansas can usually sling the ball around the field, but what made their offense truly dominant last season was their ability to run the ball effectively to set up play-action, and that was largely thanks to Knile Davis. With him back, and Wilson ready to step in and sling the ball around like he did against Auburn after Mallett left the game, Arkansas’ offense shouldn’t miss a beat. They also have some talent on defense, especially at defensive end. They should have a pretty good pass rush, but it remains to be seen how good their secondary will be. It could very well be a weakness for their team, but their offense will be loaded enough to win them games even if they get in the occasional shootout.

Thanks for reading the last of my preseason ranking installments! Hopefully you enjoyed them. In the coming days I will be getting back to scouting and writing up preseason scouting reports, etc. So look out for those!

–Tom

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Scouting Report:

Terrence Toliver is a clutch receiver and he makes big plays when his team needs them.

Positives: Great size, good deep speed and impressive leaping ability. One word to describe Toliver is “clutch.” He consistently makes big catches on 3rd downs or other critical situations late in games. He makes big catches when his team needs them the most and that is something that I really admire in any position; the ability to make plays when it really counts. He has reliable hands overall and shows some ability to create separation when running routes. He has deceptive deep speed because he is a long strider and can get behind the secondary to make plays downfield. He was clearly the most talented receiver in Orlando and it showed. He shows some effort as a blocker also. Demonstrates pretty good body control as a receiver also. He is surprisingly good after the catch despite not having great quickness, has a good feel for catching the ball and making a move to get into the open field.

Negatives: Might struggle to create separation in the NFL because he doesn’t have great burst or change of direction speed to get in and out of his breaks. Doesn’t have elite speed, and will at times struggle with the occasional drop. Sometimes he will try to turn and run before securing the ball because he loves to catch the ball and turn to run but at times it will result in a drop. He is a pretty finesse player and he isn’t comfortable going over the middle and doesn’t deal with contact well when trying to make catches. I think he will struggle to make catches when getting hit at times once he makes it to the NFL. He isn’t a very good blocker either.

Overall: I really like Toliver as a prospect because he has pretty reliable hands, good speed to threaten deep and he gets good yards after the catch thanks to a good feel for running with the ball. He is also clutch and shows up when his team needs him most, and that is something I respect in receivers and any other position that I scout. I think Toliver will be able to be a solid receiver in the NFL. I think his ceiling is a solid #2 wide receiver but I don’t think he will ever be elite.

Projection: 3rd/4th round. Because Toliver doesn’t have a very high ceiling it hurts his value a bit and unless he improves as a blocker he won’t be a complete receiver. But I definitely think he can contribute as a NFL receiver, potentially as a rookie because he is pretty fundamentally sound.

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

Speed: 3.0
Hands: 3.5
After Catch: 3.5
Body Control: 3.5
Range: 3.0

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Here is my first of two or three posts reviewing a number of players that I noticed at the East-West Shrine Game practices and in the game this past Saturday. This first post will focus on players that I thought improved their stock during the week, and the following posts will discuss guys that I thought hurt themselves during the week and guys who had up and down weeks and overall did not improve or hurt their stock. Enjoy!

Winners:

Delone Carter has the potential to be a steal if he gets drafted in the 3rd or 4th round. I think he has feature back potential.

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse: Carter had a strong finish to his college football career with a MVP performance against Kansas State and that momentum carried through to the week of practices for him. The week culminated in him winning the Offensive MVP award in the East-West Shrine Game by producing 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for the East. He is a shorter RB at about 5’9”, but he has a lot of bulk for his size. He has huge legs which explains his impressive leg drive and his ability to shed tacklers. He runs well between the tackles, looks quick and has a good burst as a runner, and he seems to have good vision to find cut-back lanes. He also showed good hands all week as I am not sure I saw him drop a pass out of the backfield all week, and that was something I did not know he was capable of since he rarely caught the ball out of the backfield at Syracuse. Carter could go as high as the 3rd or 4th round and I think he has the potential to be a quality 1,000 yard back in the NFL. He can be a feature back in my opinion, and I think he could be one of those guys who goes in the mid-rounds and outperforms guys who were thought to have higher potential after all is said and done. I was actually pretty disappointed that he didn’t garner an invite to the Senior Bowl when Daniel Thomas elected not to participate. I definitely have him graded higher than Da’Rel Scott (who ultimately took Thomas’ roster spot).

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina: Austin consistently demonstrated the ability that made him one of the most highly touted recruits coming out of high school four years ago all week. He flashed violent hands and power, he showed more effort in pursuit than I remember seeing from him, and he was tough to move in one on one match-ups versus the run and he fought through double teams consistently all week. He wasn’t quite as lethal against the pass as I thought he might be, but he clearly has a lot of ability that is worth developing despite not playing this year and that was what he had to demonstrate. He definitely did that, so he was definitely a winner this week.

Terrence Toliver was clearly the best wide receiver in Orlando and he consistently showed that all week.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU: Toliver had a good week but didn’t do much in the game. Some of that had to do with his route running and some of it had to do with the inconsistent quarterback play in the game. However, Toliver showed that he was the best receiver in Orlando from the first practice in the ballroom until the end of the week. He has very reliable hands, he is tall and can make catches away from his body, he has pretty good vertical speed and he flashed good route running. He still needs to work on his route running though because he did not create consistent separation in the game from what I could see. He also is a relatively finesse receiver, and I’m not sure he is going to be very comfortable going over the middle in the NFL. He can make catches in traffic, it’s just not his forte. I think he is a solid 3rd or maybe 4th round pick after this week.

Jordan Cameron, TE, Southern Cal: Cameron was one of the biggest winners this week in my opinion. He went from relative obscurity at the beginning of the week to one of the guys who impressed everyone who watched him by the end of the week. He is raw because he has only played one year of football, but as a former basketball player turned football player he is naturally going to draw comparisons to Jimmy Graham, the TE out of Miami who had a great rookie season for New Orleans this year. He is very athletic, he can make tough catches because of this ability and he has reliable hands (especially for someone so new to the sport and the position). I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to watch him as a route runner, but his combination of size, athletic ability and soft hands makes him a very attractive option as a mid-round TE prospect. He will probably have to develop as a run and pass blocker as well as a route runner, but that is definitely coachable and considering his progression this week I don’t think that will be a problem for him. He is one of the hottest prospects in the draft right now in my opinion.

David Carter looked like an improved player during the week of practices and had a solid showing in the game as well.

David Carter, DT, UCLA: Carter had a solid season this year but it was not spectacular and he seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder all week. He told me he has worked very hard to improve his hand usage since UCLA’s season ended because he felt that it was something he really needed to develop. He consistently got off the ball well, fought through double teams and definitely flashed good hand usage this week. I think he would be a great 3-4 DE but he could also play DT in a 4-3. I don’t know if he will ever be a great pass rusher, but I think he has the ability to eventually develop into a starter a couple years down the road. He has the size, quickness off the ball and the work ethic to do it. Given his mediocre statistics this year he needed to show improvement this week and he definitely did that.

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond: Martin Parker was another lesser known player but he had as good a week as anyone in my opinion. Before the week started I am not sure I ever read that he was projected to be drafted, but after this week I think he has moved up to a 5th or 6th round grade. That might not sound like much, but moving up from an undrafted priority free agent to being drafted as high as the 5th round is a significant jump in your stock. He has solid size, he is pretty quick off the ball, he held up well versus the run in one on one matchups and was consistently disruptive in the backfield this week. He finished his week with a bang by winning the Defensive MVP award in the East-West Shrine Game last Saturday when he had two sacks, a forced fumble and a couple of QB pressures. He was very disruptive and it was great to see him do so well. I think he has the potential to be a solid back-up DT in the NFL that can contribute to a rotation after some development.

Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State: Perry Baker was another relatively unknown guy before the week started, at least in most circles, but he made a bit of a name for himself this week. He still figures to be a late round pick at best barring an incredible combine showing, but being a 6th/7th round pick is still an improvement in his stock from being projected as a near-lock to be undrafted. He told me he has been timed at 4.4 flat in front of scouts not once but twice, so he is looking to break into the 4.3 range at the combine. If he does that I imagine his stock will jump because when scouts see 4.3 anything it pops off the page. He seems to be a good kid and he was a fun guy to interview, and when I talked to him he mentioned that his two biggest areas for improvement were in getting bigger and stronger and in improving his route running. That was cool because those were the two areas that I thought he needed to work on the most also, even though he flashed good route running during the week. I think he will definitely stick on a NFL team because of his speed, work ethic and long term potential as a receiver. Until then he should be an effective special teamer, and he had a nice wrap-up tackle on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game which surprised me. He also flashed some pop as a blocker despite his rail-thin frame. I really like him as a sleeper, so I hope he gets drafted and sticks on a team either on the 53 man roster or on the practice squad as a rookie.

Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond: Rogers was another lesser-known guy from a small school but he had a pretty good showing this week. He showed good closing speed, solid footwork and ball skills to make a play on the ball and to prevent completions. I’m not sure how well he projects to a man-coverage scheme, though he does seem like he could be a solid zone coverage corner. I mentioned that he has solid ball skills, and while he does break on the ball pretty well and get his hands on the ball to knock it down he does not catch the ball well with his hands. His hands are small and he is just not a natural pass catcher, which isn’t a huge issue but it is worth mentioning. Overall, he had a good week and may be picked as high as the 5th round.

Patrick DiMarco consistently impressed me as a blocker, runner and pass catcher all week.

Patrick DiMarco, FB, South Carolina: DiMarco had a very good week and showed a lot of ability as a fullback. He is a good blocker both in the running game and in the passing game, he runs with good pad level and power when he has the ball in his hands, and he has soft hands out of the backfield. Fullbacks don’t normally get drafted very early, but DiMarco will be a nice value pick for some team in the mid-late rounds because I expect him to be an effective NFL fullback for a long time.

Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut: Sherman also had a good week, but I am not as confident in him as a blocker as I am in DiMarco. He does have pretty solid athletic ability, not to mention he showed soft hands out of the backfield all week. If I watch him more and he shows me ability as a blocker I think he could be a mid-late round guy, but right now I’d say he’s a 5th/6th round pick.

Greg Lloyd II, ILB, Connecticut: Greg had a good week and displayed his ability versus the run consistently all week and in the game on Saturday. He flows well to the ball, he is a good tackler, and he is an instinctual defender that reads the play quickly. He has pretty good size but he doesn’t run that well. However, I think he would be a great fit as an ILB in a 3-4 defense. He also seemed to be the leader of the defensive unit he was on the whole week and was always pumping guys up and talking to his teammates which I really liked to see. Will he get picked high? No. But I do think he warrants a 6th/7th round pick to be a special teamer and develop into a solid back-up at ILB in a 3-4. Beyond that is up to him and how hard he works. I do think he could eventually be a starter in the NFL, but at worst he will be a good special teams player and potentially a solid backup in the NFL.

Akeem Dent projects well to the ILB position in a 3-4 defense, and I think he warrants at least late round consideration.

Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia: Akeem Dent had a similar week to Lloyd in that he didn’t look great in coverage and doesn’t run that well but he supported the run well, showed good gap responsibility and seemed to read run pretty well and get himself in position to help stuff it for a short gain. Dent is a great tackler and he was a fun guy to interview. He comes off as a very hard worker and he was aware that he needs to work to improve in coverage but was quick to give credit to everyone else on his defensive unit at Georgia when I asked him how he learned to defend the run so well. He seems like a good guy and he plays well when he can defend the run and play downhill, so I think he would fit very well in a 3-4 defense at ILB much like Lloyd. He probably won’t go before the 6th round, but I think he can stick on a roster and eventually develop into a starter despite his limitations in coverage.

Dontay Moch, OLB, Boise State: Moch was impressive overall this week, though I was not as impressed with him as some were. However, when he weighed in at only 229 pounds to start the week he needed to show some fluidity in coverage as he transitions to an OLB in a 3-4 defense or maybe even a 4-3 OLB if he develops well enough in that regard. I think it would make more sense for him to bulk up to 240 and give 3-4 OLB a shot because he is so good off the edge and such a threat rushing the passer, but I suppose he could be a hybrid version of what Brian Orakpo was in a 4-3 where he plays SLB on run downs and then puts his hand down on obvious passing downs to give the defense a good match-up against a RT or something. That would be fun to watch. He has a lot of potential and showing what he could do with limited practice dropping into coverage only helps his value as a draft prospect, so he definitely helped himself this week even though he still has work to do.

Sorry for the delay on this information. Getting back to school and diving in head-first into all of my classes has taken up a lot of time so I haven’t been able to do as much draft work as I would like. Hopefully this will tide everyone over for a couple days while I work through the next couple of posts. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

East Practice Notes: Day 3

Quarterbacks:

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware:

Devlin looked a bit better today, he had a couple nice throws that showed good ball placement and accuracy, more like you might be used to if you’ve seen him play in college. His arm strength isn’t as good as I have heard some say, it’s solid but his zip is only adequate on his throws. Because he is at Delaware people are naturally hoping for him to be the next Flacco with a rocket arm, but he is a more accurate passer with only above-average arm strength in my opinion. His progression to a QB who plays from under center will take time, but he bobbled the first two snaps he took from under center when warming up this week, so even though I think he bobbled one today he has certainly showed improvement, and that’s all you want to see with a QB moving from a spread/shotgun offense.

Halfbacks:

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami:

I was a big Cooper fan before his injury so it’s good to see him playing again and getting his quickness back. There were a few times today that you could notice his quickness and burst coming back when his offensive line allowed penetration and he was able to quickly change direction and find room to run. He seems to have good vision, he definitely has some of his burst and quickness back which is great to see. His injury was a pretty bad one. He looked good catching passes out of the backfield as well. So with his speed coming back (his 40 time will be important for him as well as other times at the combine), him running well, catching the ball out of the backfield and potentially adding value on kick returns (if he is truly coming back healthy he can be a very valuable returner) he definitely warrants a mid-round pick if he checks out medically. Good to see him back! Hopefully I’ll be able to talk to him tomorrow.

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse:

Carter has been the most impressive back this week in my opinion. I think he is probably the best feature back prospect here. He’s short but well built and he has huge legs, especially for only being about 5’9”. He generates  a lot of power, has shown good speed, quickness and soft hands out of the backfield. He has definitely helped himself this week and continued his strong play after his huge game against Kansas State in Syracuse’s bowl game. I’d love to interview him as well.

Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut:

I love Sherman as a FB prospect. He runs hard, keeps his pads low and has good hands out of the backfield. He has impressed me this week, and I think he definitely deserves mid-round consideration as a fullback in the NFL.

Wide Receivers:

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU:

Toliver has had a good week of practice and continues to show his good hands, flash good route running and showed a little ability to catch the ball in traffic today. Largely I think he is a finesse receiver, which isn’t a bad thing, but it limits his potential when going over the middle. However, he has officially been invited to the Senior Bowl next week to replace Jerrel Jernigan, who was injured while training apparently. It’s too bad for Jernigan, but it’s a great opportunity to show what he can do against even better competition in the Senior Bowl.

Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State:

I really like what I have seen from Baker this week. He’s extremely skinny and while he doesn’t have a huge frame he definitely needs to add weight and get stronger overall, especially in the arms and legs. However, he does have strong hands and he showed that on the field and when he gave me a firm handshake when I introduced myself. He looks like a totally different player than he did at the beginning of the first practice and I am glad that he progressed so much this week. He even had a nice block on a safety today with a lot of pop! I never would have expected him to hit like that. He is definitely a draftable player and I think he has a NFL future in the slot. His route running has definitely progressed this week, he has been creating consistent separation on the corners on the East this week.

Offensive Linemen:

Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson:

Hairston is a huge guy and has long arms (34.75 inches when measured) and I think he has some potential at RT. He has a solid punch and shows the ability to use his long arms to keep the defender at bay, and did a good job of forcing Trattou wide during one on one drills. He struggles with speed and I don’t think he has very good feet, but he has potential value at RT.

David Arkin, OG, Missouri State:

Arkin started off well but has struggled a bit the last couple days. I think he could stand to get stronger in the lower body which would help him anchor as a pass blocker and get more drive as a run blocker. He’s a small school guy and he has shown some ability against better competition, but Martin Parker has beaten him a number of times this week. I think he has some ability, but is probably a mid-late round pick after what I’ve seen this week. Maybe 5th round?

Defensive Linemen:

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond:

Parker continued to impress today and he did a good job getting off the ball and showed a nice swim move in one on one drills. It is clearly his go-to move, but it is apparent that he needs to develop other moves to use because he went to the swim move well a couple times too many and became a bit predictable with that move right off the snap. It works, but he needs to develop other moves to help keep the blockers off balance. But he has good size, arm length, quickness off the ball and he has a good swim move already. He has definitely helped himself this week, and I think he’d be a good fit in a scheme that asks their defensive linemen to penetrate and get into the backfield.

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina:

Austin continues to impress, but I think it is fair to say he is not quite in football shape yet. I don’t know if he will garner a late invitation to the Senior Bowl, but I would love to see him there if he did get an invitation. He has looked good this week, shown some violent hands, has drawn a number of double teams, but seems to have worn down as practice goes on. He isn’t carrying too much weight, I just don’t think he is used to playing football like this yet because of his time off from the game. He has definitely helped himself this week, but we all know he had ability. I just want to see consistency from him which we haven’t exactly seen yet. I have seen him get blocked one on one in pass protection a number of times this week which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but he has the ability to dominate some of these guys and I was left wanting a little more in that regard.

Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida:

I haven’t had a lot of notes on McClain up until this point because he never really stuck out to me. He’d get into the backfield here or there, but I don’t think he is good enough off the snap to consistently penetrate into the backfield in the NFL. I think he might have some value as a space eater as he has a wide build, long arms and stocky size at 6’1.5” and 305 pounds. That should net him mid-late round consideration, but I haven’t seen a ton from him as a pass rusher. He had a nice spin move on Ryan Bartholomew today in one on one’s, but like I said I have only seen a flash every once in a while of him penetrating or collapsing the pocket this week.

Justin Trattou, DE, Florida:

I haven’t had a lot of notes on Trattou this week either, but he has solid size, arm length and good hand usage. He doesn’t have much speed off the edge, so weighing in at only 254 pounds will really hurt him. He has struggled to get the edge in one on one drills this week with speed, so I don’t think he will be much of a speed rusher in the NFL. I think he will have to dedicate to filling out his frame to be a rotational DE in a 4-3 or maybe really bulk up his 6’3” frame and try to get to 275+ to try playing 3-4 DE. That’s a lot of weight to put on and while I definitely think he has room to add weight I don’t know if he has room to put on 30 pounds or more. He seems to be a hard worker though, and like I said I like his hand usage and strength, but right now he is not fast enough off the ball to consistently rush the passer at 4-3 DE and he is way too small to hold up at 3-4 DE.

Linebackers:

Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia:

Dent continues to fill well, get in position to make tackles and generally be around the ball (especially against the run). I don’t think he is a perfect fit for a 4-3 because he has some struggles in coverage, doesn’t have very good hips and I’m not sure how well he runs, but I think he is a perfect fit for a 3-4 ILB. He plays so well downhill, has such a great knowledge and understanding of gap responsibility, and even though he hasn’t been able to show it this week I think he has good value as a blitzer. I will hopefully have an interview with him as well as a number of other guys, but I am really high on Dent (especially as a 3-4 ILB).

Greg Lloyd II, ILB, Connecticut:

Greg has had a good week, continues to flow to the ball well, show good instincts and get in position to make tackles. I don’t know where his stock is at right now, but I really like him as a 3-4 ILB prospect. I’d say Dent is a better inside linebacker prospect at this point but I have seen more of him than I have of Greg. I will definitely have an interview of Greg this week and just in talking to him a bit after practice he seems to be a great guy, very smart and easy going. I have a feeling he will impress in interviews, and he seemed to take control of the defensive unit he has played with this week each day which I love to see.

Bruce Miller, LB, UCF:

Miller has a great motor, he is a heads up player and he has solid speed, but he just doesn’t have the get-off or the edge speed to stick at DE in a 4-3. His arm length has hurt him this week as he has struggled to get off blocks from guys with longer arms like Jah Reid and Chris Hairston, both of whom have struggled with speed this week. I have heard he will have to move to linebacker, but I think his only hope there is to move to inside linebacker, probably in a 3-4. I don’t know how he is in coverage at all, but even if he doesn’t have an ideal position as a starter on a defense I think he definitely warrants late round consideration or priority free agent value because of what he could bring as a special teamer. His motor, effort, heads up play and tackling will be valuable there even if he doesn’t fit in perfectly in any scheme at the next level.

Defensive Backs:

Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond:

Rogers continues to have a good week. I like him the best out of the four corners on the East, and I like him about as well as I like Lindsey on the West. He has pretty good footwork, closes well, has long arms for his size and has generally just been good in coverage this week. He has definitely helped himself. However, he doesn’t have very good hands for the interception despite his ability to make plays on the ball to deflect it away, and he has small hands. I don’t think he will ever get a lot of interceptions at the NFL, but a guy with his closing speed and vertical could definitely get his hands on some passes.

Thanks for reading! There is still more to come.

–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

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

Cotton Bowl Notes:

Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU- Jefferson had a pretty good game overall. I’m still not very impressed with him as a passer, but he had some nice throws in this game. He has good arm strength and he has good zip on his throws, but his accuracy tends to be very inconsistent. That showed at times in this game, but overall I would say he played pretty well as a passer. He still made some bad decisions throwing, but they only passed about 20 times (or called 20 pass plays, I haven’t seen the stat sheet yet) so every bad decision he makes is more significant because of the limited chances he had to make a bad throw. He did have a few nice, NFL throws though. Usually they were to Terrance Toliver, one of my favorite underrated prospects in the draft this year. Jefferson also showcased his mobility and though I knew he could pick up yards with his legs very effectively he looked really fast tonight, like in the 4.5-4.6 range. His play is usually the deciding factor in whether LSU wins or loses and his good play against Texas A&M was the main catalyst in their victory in my opinion. He did have a few bad throws though, one of which became a highlight reel interception for #5 in Texas A&M’s secondary, but there is still hope for him to develop into at least a solid passer as a senior. Will that happen? I wouldn’t bet $20 on it, but there is definitely room for progression and he looked better in this game than in the previous games I had seen of him this season.

Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU- Ridley really impressed me in this game. He looked very fast relative to his 4.55 listed 40 time, he looked explosive in and out of his cuts, he was decisive as a runner and ran hard and finished his runs which I like.  He seems to have solid vision, though I don’t think he necessarily has the speed to get the edge. He looks much better running between the tackles than he does on toss plays. A couple times on stretch plays I thought he had a cut-back lane to get North and South faster for a solid gain but instead he ran patiently behind his blockers or tried to bounce it further and got tackled for no gain or a loss. If he had cut it back then I might have thought more of his vision, but he had some nice lanes to run through in this game. I’d like to see him more involved in the passing game next year, and in blitz pick-up, but those are both things that can be developed more at the next level. Especially the pass blocking aspect. I think Ridley can be a productive NFL runner, but at this point he is probably a 4th round pick or so because he doesn’t have elite speed, he isn’t very involved in their passing game as a receiver or as a blocker, and I think he only has solid vision. There are plenty of examples of rookies or young running backs getting drafted in the middle of the draft, late in the draft or not even at all coming in and having quality careers or at least a couple big seasons. I think Ridley is a guy that people could sleep on as a draft prospect but then have that kind of a season or career because he strikes me as a quality runner.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU- Toliver is a guy that every time I watch I just come away impressed. Every single time. He is a skinny receiver but he is tall and is a long strider so he has deceptive deep speed but he has reliable hands and catches the ball well away from his frame which makes him Jefferson’s favorite target. In this game he definitely impressed me because when I stopped watching with about 4 minutes left in the game after Texas A&M threw the game clinching interception Toliver had 5 catches for over 100 yards and three touchdowns even though LSU only threw the ball 15 or so times. And like he always seems to whenever I watch him he showed up regularly on 3rd down with those catches. I swear the majority of his catches are either touchdowns or 3rd down conversions. You can just sense they are going to throw him the ball in those situations when they really need a play and he comes through many more times than not. I think Toliver is a really underrated receiver and I’m really high on him. I’d love to see him on the Falcons, but he probably isn’t a significant upgrade over Jenkins and he isn’t a speed demon who can help stretch the field to take some pressure off of Roddy. But I hope he has a good offseason and that he doesn’t go to a Falcons division rival because I really like him as a prospect. He is going to be at the East/West Shrine game so hopefully he has a good week there. If I had to guess I would say he will.

Spencer Ware, RB, LSU- I had never seen Ware play before but he really impressed me as a runner and as a receiver. I don’t know what his measurements are yet but he ran effectively and also caught the ball pretty effectively for a running back. He has a lot of speed and even though he appears to be relatively undersized he runs really hard. On the first play that I saw him touch the ball he broke a run out, shrugged off one tackle, stiff armed another would-be tackler away from him and ran through another tackle before finally being taken down along the sideline after a huge run. I watched that play and just said “Wow…” it was that impressive of a run. He kept showing up as the game continued too, so I will definitely be doing my due diligence on him. But watch out for him because he had a really good game.

Tyrann Mathieu, FS, LSU- Mathieu was absolutely everywhere in this game. I could not believe my eyes and ears when I heard he was a TRUE freshman and saw the graphic pop up listing that he was a true freshman who was listed at only 5’9”. It blew my mind. First of all, he does look small but he runs really well and clearly has a lot of speed, both in long and short distances. He has great burst and acceleration and he looked like a seasoned veteran out there at times. He made some truly incredible plays. My two favorites occurred in each half. The one in the first half involved him blitzing off the edge against the RT. He shot off the line and the RT was in position to slow him down a bit even though he obviously had enough speed to get the edge, but Mathieu dipped his shoulder and got the edge like he was a seasoned defensive end executing a speed rush. That shoulder dip in addition to his size led him to fly right around/under the tackle’s shoulder after which he absolutely lit up Tannehill for a sack and a forced fumble. It was an absolutely terrific play. He showed up a number of other times with tackles, etc. but he saved his best play for last when he was in coverage and Texas A&M was attempting a late comeback down two touchdowns. Tannehill dropped back to pass and threw to his receiver underneath but Mathieu saw it coming. He closed on it, dove and fully extended to make a fantastic catch with his hands right in front of the intended receiver for the game clinching interception. I could barely believe my eyes, it was one of the best interceptions I have seen all year without a doubt. All I have to say is if you don’t know who this kid is you will soon. He may not be big, but he plays big and makes huge plays and he’s only a TRUE freshman. I can’t wait to see how he develops over the next two years. Watch out for him, he’s going to be a really good one.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU- I was not particularly impressed with Peterson in this game. I didn’t see him a lot, but when I did it was because Jeff Fuller was catching a pass against him on a curl route on the sideline. Again, I didn’t pay specific attention to him in this game but almost every time I saw him Fuller was catching a pass in front of him, a number of them for first downs. So as a result I did not get a very good impression of him in this game.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M- I have to start this paragraph off by saying that I like Tannehill infinitely more as a prospect than I liked Jerrod Johnson. Did he have his struggles in this game? Sure. But you have to remember that this is his 6th game as a starter. Johnson was making dumber decisions than he was and he was a senior with much more starting experience, hence the change. It speaks volumes about Tannehill that he was able to take over and finish the season with five wins and only one loss in his six games as a starter, including victories against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. I may have to watch those games just to see him play after seeing this. Texas A&M does run a pro style offense though so that will help him as a prospect and he throws a nice ball. He has good zip on his throws and I think he has a NFL arm from that aspect. He had pretty good ball placement overall, but this is just based off of watching him live so obviously I will have to go back over the game and check that out. He also has vastly better footwork on his drops and when he passes the ball than Johnson which was as refreshing as anything to see. He looked like a pro-style QB when he dropped back, it was great to see. He had some bad decisions in this game but both of his interceptions were pretty rare plays. The first one occurred on a pretty big miscommunication with #7 who ran a curl when Tannehill threw a fade or something and the corner just kept running and got a free interception. The second interception came when Texas A&M had become completely one dimensional and Tannehill threw the ball a bit behind his receiver and Mathieu capitalized on it by making a fantastic interception. As far as two interception games go those are pretty good ways to end up with turnovers from a decision making aspect. Overall I was impressed with Tannehill though. He still has developing to do and I really look forward to watching him play next year, but he has solid size, good arm strength, pretty good accuracy based off of what I saw in this game, good footwork, pretty impressive mobility and a little pocket poise. I couldn’t believe that a guy who hadn’t started all season or ever at Texas A&M could step in and lead that five game winning streak to finish the season the way they did, but I do now. He has NFL talent in my opinion, and clearly he has some pretty impressive intangibles if he was able to step in and immediately make his team better like he did. Clearly I liked what I saw, even though he may have struggled a bit statistically and his team lost, but I am very much looking forward to seeing him play and develop as a QB next year. Keep an eye on him obviously.

Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M- I thought he looked good against a very good LSU defense. I am not very familiar with him or his offensive line, but he had a 100 yard rushing game even though they trailed for most of the game after the 1st quarter. He looked pretty quick, like he had solid size and pretty good leg drive as well. I didn’t pay close attention to him because I was trying to learn everything I could about Tannehill since I had never seen him play before, but overall Gray impressed me. I look forward to watching him play with Tannehill again next year, and with Fuller leaving he should be one of the key cogs in their offense.

Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M- Fuller had a pretty good game, though it wasn’t one of his best. I didn’t see how well he blocked in the running game which is something I will have to evaluate, but he caught a number of passes against Patrick Peterson which kind of surprised me. I think Peterson might have been saying he was pushing off a bit, which also wouldn’t surprise me, but I was definitely taken aback by the amount of separation Fuller was creating against someone so athletically gifted as Peterson. He had a solid game though and caught a number of first downs on curls, etc. I didn’t pay too close attention to see how well he caught the ball with his hands though, so that will be something I look into more closely when I re-watch this game and others that he played in. He has good size, probably slower than 4.5 speed if I had to estimate, and I’m not sure how much quickness/burst he has to get in and out of his breaks as a route runner, but he had a very productive year and is really effective in the red zone.

Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M- Nwachukwu has an awesome name and he had a pretty solid game too. He caught a touchdown on a half-back pass and had a few other nice catches. Again, I don’t recall how well he caught the ball with his hands or whether he let it get into his pads, which is one of the easiest way to guarantee dropping passes in the NFL. He looked like he had 4.48-4.5 speed though and since he is only a junior I imagine he will be back next year looking to replace Fuller as the go-to guy on offense. I look forward to seeing how well he adjusts to that role because he had a pretty good year as the complementary guy. It is a whole different mindset being the #1 target though, so it will be interesting to see how he handles that. Tannehill should make it easier on him than Johnson did on Fuller at times.

Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M- Von Miller is a polarizing guy in my opinion. Some people love him because of his speed and quickness off the edge and because of his great production as a pass rusher. Others can’t stand him as a prospect because they think he is too small to hold up against the run, among other things. I haven’t watched enough of him to come to a conclusion on him yet but my initial impression is that I like him as a prospect. I don’t think he will be a 10-15 sack guy like he has been in college, but I think he has the potential to be a quality pass rusher in the NFL. He has impressive speed off the edge and a couple times he showed really nice quickness and burst to beat his man inside when he opened his hips too early. That was something I had never seen him do before, but that may just have been because I haven’t seen him play very much. I think he will end up going in the first round, but I thought he had a solid game based off of how much I saw him.

Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M- I didn’t see him much in this game, but he warrants mention for his sick one handed interception that he made in the first half off of Jordan Jefferson. It will be on Sportscenter, it was a great catch. Other than that I didn’t see much of him.

 

Sorry about the lateness of this post. I thought they might be worth looking through, especially since Ridley has decided to leave early for the draft. He could be a steal for someone in the mid-rounds…

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Here are my notes on the LSU-Florida game from earlier this season. I took notes on the guys who stuck out to me throughout the game so I may have to go back again later to get a look at some players that I missed. Hopefully you enjoy what I have here though! I hit on a number of pretty well known guys. Enjoy!

Notes on LSU-Florida 2010:

Patrick Peterson

I didn’t see much of Peterson in coverage because of the camera angles and he was rarely tested if ever, so I don’t have a lot of notes on him from a coverage perspective. He’s definitely a freak athlete though and he does a great job as a return man. I look forward to getting to see him more in coverage at a later date.

Marcus Gilbert

Gilbert has great size and gets a pretty good push in the run game because of his size and strength and he does a solid job of getting his pads low enough to get a good shot at winning the leverage battle. However, he has pretty slow feet and it showed when he had to do anything besides drive block (like on a stretch play or if they ran a zone run play) and also when he had to pass block. That’s not to say he got beaten off the edge badly, but he definitely is not going to stick at LT in the NFL. He is going to have to try RT first obviously. His size and foot speed reminds me of Phil Loadholt a bit, but obviously Loadholt is bigger and gets a better push versus the run. Right now I would grade Gilbert as about a 4th round pick.

Mike Pouncey

Pouncey is a nice guard prospect but he just does not have it at center. He is doing much better than he was earlier in the season, but in their first game of the year he had numerous bad snaps and he has improved his shotgun snapping to “average” or “decent” by this point, and that might be an overstatement at times. However, he looks like he will be a quality OG prospect despite all of this. I would grade him as a 2nd rounder at this point since he has had kind of a down year, but he definitely has 1st round talent and it showed last year. He was blocking Drake Nevis one on one often in this game and though Nevis got the better of him at times he also had his share of one on one victories against him. Nevis got pressure going against Pouncey a few times, but if Nevis made a big play or a tackle for loss he was abusing someone else on Florida’s line, not Pouncey. Pouncey looks like he should be a quality guard prospect but I just can’t put that 1st round grade on him right now. He could definitely make himself a lot of money with a good performance at the senior bowl though.

Carl Johnson

Johnson has impressive size and strength and he can get a good push in the run game, but he doesn’t seem very technically sound. He looks like he leans into blocks a lot and might be a bit of a waist bender (this might be an issue with Gilbert as well) but I didn’t pay specific enough attention to check that. He looks like a solid guard prospect at the next level, and I’d grade him as a 4th-5th rounder based off of how much I’ve seen of him so far. He’s solid, but I think he needs some technique work and he doesn’t have very good foot speed.

Drake Nevis #92

Drake Nevis was an absolute beast in this game. He has great quickness off the ball and has impressive hand usage and pass rush moves for a college defensive tackle. He gets off the ball well consistently (sometimes he will be slow off of it, but that happens) and sometimes his initial move will be so good that he will just burst right past the guy trying to block him. But there were times in this game when he just dominated double teams as a pass rusher and he really showed his potential as a big time defensive tackle on a regular basis in this game. He and Pouncey had some interesting battles but I’d say it was about even with Nevis getting penetration against him in the pass game at times but other times Pouncey would neutralize him pretty effectively one on one. Despite his great hand usage I think he still needs technique work because sometimes he will stop moving his feet and he won’t keep driving his legs to continue to get a push, and sometimes he played too high and that helped Pouncey and others neutralize him. He may not be a huge DT, but there were times when he played with effective leverage that he was very difficult to move in the run game. I’m not sure he will ever be able to stand up against a double team from offensive linemen as big as the Gators’ linemen are but he definitely looks like a nice UT prospect in the NFL. I give him a top 15 grade right now because he can just be so incredibly disruptive that I love his potential. The trick will be evaluating his work ethic because if he just coasts on his natural ability once he gets to the NFL his impact will be limited, but if he works at his craft and continues to develop he could be a very good UT in a 4-3.

John Brantley

Brantley had a solid game, he definitely looked better in this game than he did earlier in the season. The most impressive thing that I noticed was how tough this guy is. Not only was he allegedly playing with 4 cracked ribs and an injured thumb (some said it was broken but I don’t know if that is true) but even despite that there were a couple of plays where he knew the pressure was coming but he stood tall in the pocket and delivered a threw even though he knew he was going to get hit, and he did. But he got up and kept playing anyways. That’s just impressive to me. He showed more pocket poise than I thought he had, and he did a better job of going through his progressions than I thought he would, but he still stared down one receiver or one side of the field pretty often and it looked like he was getting his audibles from the sideline (but I thought that about Bradford too, which apparently was wrong). He definitely made some nice throws in this game though. He converted a few very key third down passes on third and medium or third and long and he made a couple nice pre-snap reads where he recognized the blitz and found his hot read right away for a quality completion. Those are encouraging plays for him as a NFL prospect. Not to mention he has a very strong arm and he is pretty accurate from what I can tell. He has a ways to go still, but he has definitely improved since the start of the season which is all you can really ask. I’d be shocked if he left early, so I look forward to seeing how he finishes off the season and how he looks in Florida’s bowl game. Right now, not knowing how his senior year will go, I’d project him as a 4th-5th round pick because he has pretty nice tools as far as size, arm strength, toughness and he has shown enough signs of intelligence that I like to think he’s pretty smart. So if a team interviews him and comes to the same conclusion I could see them drafting him as a #3 guy to develop into an eventual back-up. It’s hard for me to envision him being a starter in the NFL based off of what I have seen at this point however.

Janoris Jenkins

The first thing I noticed about Jenkins is how well he supports the run and the fact that he seems to be a good tackler. He couldn’t always take Ridley down one on one in the backfield but he was regularly the first to hit him and slow him down, and he made a number of nice tackles in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage in this game. He is pretty aggressive at the line of scrimmage and he has active enough hands to get off of receiver blocks at the line of scrimmage, or at least he managed to do that in this game. He isn’t a very big corner, but he is aggressive and he did what he could to re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage. He could use some work on jamming, but he did an ok job. When he did get beat off the line when he was trying to jam he showed good quickness and recovery speed to catch up to the receiver in his route. He seemed comfortable in man coverage but also looked pretty good in zone, though he was rarely challenged. I love how he supports the run as a corner though, and his quickness and burst make me think he would be very good in a zone-heavy scheme. I need to see him in man coverage more before I come to a conclusion about him being a quality man coverage corner in the NFL. He definitely has impressive ball skills though and he locates the ball well while in flight and makes good adjustments to make a play on it. Not to mention the fact that he is very dangerous as a return man on punts and after he makes an interception. I grade Jenkins as a 1st-2nd rounder right now because even if he is a great zone corner and a solid man coverage corner his play-making ability makes him worth a late first or early second round pick, but he could be the #3 corner in this class if he plays well enough in man coverage. I just haven’t seen enough of his film to figure that out yet.

Ahmad Black

I can’t say I was very impressed with Ahmad Black in this game. He packs a punch as a hitter, but he didn’t seem to take very good angles in run defense and he didn’t seem to break down well for wrap up tackles at times. I didn’t see much of him because he was regularly out of the camera shot, but even in run support I was not impressed and I did not like what I saw from him in man or zone coverage either. I would grade him as a 5th-6th round pick at this point because he probably offers some ability as a special teamer and could develop into a back-up safety at some point, but he doesn’t look like a NFL starter at all to me.

Joseph Barksdale

Barksdale was pretty underwhelming in this game. He has good size and strength, but outside of that he isn’t much of a prospect in my opinion. He doesn’t have good foot speed so against good speed rushers he will have trouble taking away the edge, he doesn’t have a good initial punch to shock the defender and he doesn’t sustain blocks well after he gets his hands on the defender. Usually with big, lumbering offensive tackles they won’t always get their hands on the quick speed rushers but if they do they take them out of the play, but that is not the case with Barksdale. Not only was he not very impressive to me in the passing game but he didn’t make a quality impact in the running game either. He struggled getting to the second level which speaks to his lack of quality foot speed and he again struggled to sustain blocks in this phase of the game. He needs technique work in my opinion because he does not always keep his feet churning to help him sustain and drive his man, he doesn’t have a good punch and he will sometimes lean and over-extend himself, making him susceptible to a pass rush move. He looked like a 5th-6th round prospect to me in this game. He has good size and strength but his technique needs improvement and his ceiling isn’t any higher than a potentially solid RT in the NFL because of his foot speed and because he has not generated much of a push in the run game either. He has career back-up written all over him in my opinion.

Terrence Toliver

Toliver really impressed me in this game. I have to admit I expected to see a receiver with questionable hands because former LSU receivers have had problems with drops, but that is not what I saw. He did drop one pass that I thought he should have caught even though it was high, but other than that he did a great job of catching the ball with hands away from his body, securing the ball and then making a smooth move to pick up yards after the catch. He made a number of key catches in this game, including two or three big ones on LSU’s final drive to take the lead late in the game. He had two touchdowns in this game including the eventual game winner on a fade route to the corner of the end zone. I love players that show up on 3rd downs, in critical situations and especially late in close games. Toliver did all of that and more by not only making catches for 3rd downs but picking up yards after the catch and winning the game for LSU on that final drive by setting them up inside the 10 yard line with a key catch and then catching the clinching touchdown. I’m not saying he is a dominant talent, but he really showed up big in this game and I came away extremely impressed. I would probably give him a 3rd round grade right now but he looks like a nice #2 receiver in the NFL. I don’t think he is a #1, but he seems to have reliable enough hands, good enough quickness to create some separation and he can stretch the field a bit too with his size and 4.5 speed. But most importantly he shows up when his team needs him and when the pressure is on, and I love seeing that attribute in players and in the short time I have been scouting those players seem to pan out, so it was great to see that in Toliver.

Jarrett Lee

I don’t have an abundance of good things to say about Jarrett Lee but I thought I’d take notes on him to make sure I didn’t miss out on another Matt Flynn, though I don’t think I would have. Lee looked alright in this game and showed some accuracy and solid decision making in the face of pressure, plus he seems to be pretty smart and made a couple nice hot reads, but unless he gets into a post-season game and demonstrates above-average arm strength, good accuracy and good pocket poise and decision making I don’t think he will be drafted. He’s not very tall, he has limited playing experience, he doesn’t look like he has much more than average arm strength and solid accuracy… I thought he made a couple nice decisions under pressure but the sample size is just too small to draw significant conclusions from his play. I need to see more of him and so do NFL talent evaluators, so I really hope he gets an invite to the East-West Shrine game or the Texas versus The Nation game so I can see him against comparable competition day in and day out.

Carl Moore

I did not think much of Carl Moore before this game but I like him a lot as a prospect after it. I don’t think he will ever be a #1 or even a #2 WR, but I think he has NFL potential as a solid #3 or #4 receiver. He may not get drafted, but I think he should get drafted. He has great size at about 6’3”, 218 pounds and while he isn’t a burner with a reported 4.58 40 yard dash time he isn’t so slow that he can’t create separation. I haven’t seen enough of him to evaluate his route running, but I do know that every time Florida needs a 3rd down conversion or a big catch they go to him. Literally half of his catches (13 of his 27 on the season) have been on 3rd downs. Obviously he isn’t incredibly productive and he isn’t a starter for the Gators, but it speaks volumes that not only is he put in the games on 3rd down, but he consistently makes plays on critical 3rd down plays for the Gators. I don’t think he will ever get an invite to the Senior Bowl, but I hope he gets one to the East-West Shrine game because I think he could surprise some people. I don’t know how good his hands are or how well he catches away from his body, but his body of work on 3rd down for the Gators really intrigues me.

Hopefully you enjoyed my musings on how all of these guys played, and I’ll continue to churn out some notes like this until I finally have seen some people enough to churn out final scouting reports. That will be after bowl season I imagine. Thanks for reading!

–Tom