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Jarvis Jones has been an impact player at Georgia, but I don't think he will be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL.

Jarvis Jones has been an impact player at Georgia, but I don’t think he will be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL.

Size/Measurables:

Jones doesn’t have ideal measurables for a 4-3 defensive end and is a little light for the 3-4 OLB position. He is listed at 6’3”, 241 pounds but it wouldn’t surprise me if he measured in at 6’2” and 235 pounds or so. He’s not a huge player and he doesn’t look like he has a ton of room on his frame to “bulk up” and get up to 255-260 pounds or so.

Instincts/Recognition:

Jones isn’t elite in this area, but I think he is good enough to play 3-4 OLB or 4-3 OLB at the next level. He seems to diagnose plays pretty well, flows to the ball well and does a good job of setting the edge in the run game. He understands his responsibilities and doesn’t abandon his responsibilities in the run game to roll the dice on rushing the passer. He has been used to spy scrambling quarterbacks during his time at Georgia, and seems to have a good feel for when he needs to keep contain. There are times when he takes too wide of an arc when he attempts an edge rush and the QB escapes through the lane he created, but typically he adjusts and doesn’t make the same mistake over and over again.

Pursuit/Range:

Jones excels in pursuit and has impressive range despite what I perceive as a lack of elite straight line speed for a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has a great motor and consistently gives good effort from the backside whether the play is near him or whether the ball is far away from him. He knows how to flow through trash and has a lot of experience taking on blocks because of playing at the line of scrimmage.

Tackling:

Jones isn’t a great tackler but he is a pretty good tackler. He attempts too many arm tackles for my liking, but seemingly every player I scout these days does. He shows that he can wrap up and he can generate pop on contact. He also has a great knack for forcing fumbles as evidenced by his 9 forced fumbles the past two years (including an incredible seven just this year) and that speaks to the power he can generate when he tackles a ball carrier.

Coverage:

This is one area that I’m not very comfortable with Jones on. He has been such a productive pass rusher the past two years that it’s almost criminal to drop him into coverage, but Georgia did mix that in at times and while I think he is raw in this department I think he can develop if asked to do more of it at the next level. I haven’t gotten to see him make straight drops in coverage, but I think he has the potential to fit at outside linebacker in a 4-3.

Point of Attack:

Jones isn’t elite at the point of attack by any means, but he’s not as much of a liability as I expected him to be. He doesn’t have ideal arm length for a pass rusher and it will hinder him if he’s asked to play 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB in my opinion. He is stronger than I expected him to be and he has shown that he can anchor against bigger, stronger players at the point of attack, but at the same time I’ve seen him blocked effectively by tight ends like Michael Williams and Justice Cunningham. He has shown that he can use the length he has to keep blockers from getting into his chest and he has a pretty good feel for controlling the blocker before he sheds the block to wrap up the ball carrier. He has shown that he can set the edge and consistently shows that he has the strength to walk a defender into the backfield and help disrupt outside running plays even when he doesn’t come free and necessarily make the play. He’s not a dominant run defender by any means, but I don’t think he’s nearly as much of a liability as he is portrayed to be sometimes.

Blitzing/Pass Rush:

This is traditionally considered Jones’ greatest asset, but I’m not as convinced of his pass rushing prowess as some others seem to be. First, his get-off is not as explosive as you would think it was after hearing about how dominant he has been. He rarely fires off the ball using all of his athleticism, though I imagine some of that has to do with him being assignment steady. Still, it prevents him from gaining an instant advantage against blockers he theoretically should be able to beat off the edge if he is as explosive as we were led to believe. Second, I watched 14 games of him before writing this scouting report (it was a mix of games from his redshirt sophomore season and from his junior season this year) and I never once saw him explode off the ball, go with a straight speed rush, execute a shoulder dip and beat the tackle for a clean sack. That concerns me for a number of reasons: First, and most obviously, this signals to me that he can’t win with a simple speed rush in college which means there is no reason to believe he’s going to be able to win with a speed rush at the next level. Second, he seems to be a little stiff and it shows when he tries to bend the edge. Third, it means he has to use his quickness, power and non-stop motor to generate pressure (which he has obviously done quite successfully in college to the tune of 26 sacks the past two seasons). That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since quickness, and that kind of effort level generally translate pretty well to the NFL. However, at 240 pounds or less, I have questions about how well his power moves will translate to the NFL even though I’ve seen him convert speed to power pretty nicely when bull rushing. He is obviously a good pass rusher, and he has shown that he can slap away the hands of a blocker to gain an advantage when rushing. He has also flashed a spin move (though I’ve never seen him use it en route to getting a sack), but he could still stand to improve his hand usage and develop his swim move. He could also really use a good rip move since he likes to go inside so much. That is where Jones creates almost all of his pressure- beating tackles inside, stunting, and by chasing quarterbacks down after the pocket collapses even when he hasn’t necessarily beaten his man 1 on 1. By adding a powerful rip move he could improve his ability to win by going inside even more. The problem with that is at the next level he’s not going to be able to beat tackles inside nearly as easily if he can’t threaten their outside shoulder with a dynamic speed rush, and that is extremely concerning. Without at least the threat of beating them off the edge any smart tackle will avoid opening their hips up too early and be looking for him to attempt to dart inside or attempt a rip move on their inside shoulder. With those pass rush options taken away (remember, that’s how he generates a lot of his pressure) he won’t be nearly as effective and a lot of people that didn’t study him and realize that he just isn’t an explosive edge rusher will be completely dumbfounded. That’s why I don’t think he’s going to be a stud pass rusher in the NFL, and it’s why I’m not convinced his best position at the next level is outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

Intangibles:

I have never spoken to Jones so it’s hard to evaluate his character, but from everything I have read he seems like a great kid. First, there is this CBS special focusing on how he overcame his 19 year old brother being murdered outside of a bar on his birthday. Second, there was this article in Sports Illustrated discussing his brother’s tragic death and being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord. USC was concerned that this could lead to a serious neck injury and wouldn’t clear him to play. He requested and was granted a release from his scholarship and that led him back home to Georgia in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense. It’s hard not to root for a kid like Jones who has been through so much on and off the field and come out a better person for it. I was particularly moved by the last part of the Sports Illustrated article where he discussed opening a rec center in Stewart County in honor of his older brother. He really seems to have his head on straight and that combined with his great motor and effort level on the field makes me think that he won’t be any kind of character risk even after he signs a multi-million dollar contract. The spinal stenosis is going to be heavily scrutinized though. I imagine a number of teams will take him off their board completely because of that medical red flag despite the impressive production he has had in college. That will hurt his draft stock, but it only takes one team and even if that red flag pushes him down draft boards I think that will just be another hurdle that Jones finds a way to overcome on the way to a successful NFL career. I’m no doctor so I can’t make any educated guess about how long of a career he will be able to have, but that will be something that every NFL team inquires about at the combine.

Overall:

I think Jones is a quality NFL prospect, but I don’t think he is going to be a dominant pass rusher at the next level and I have questions about how well he projects to the 3-4 OLB position in the NFL despite his obvious success in that role at Georgia the past two years. This probably won’t be typical of many evaluators, but I think he would be a great 4-3 OLB candidate at the next level, particularly at strong side linebacker (which is ironically where USC was playing him). He has a lot of experience blitzing off the edge, stunting inside and has even been used to spy scrambling quarterbacks so he won’t have issues rushing the passer or spying the passer at the next level. He may not be a dominant run defender for a defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker, but for a 4-3 outside linebacker he has more than enough size, strength and block shedding experience to fill versus the run, set the edge on the outside and make impact plays in the backfield. I am not that comfortable with him in coverage yet, but he has shown flashes of being able to turn and run with receivers and has some experience dropping into short zones. There’s just not a ton of tape available showcasing his ability to drop into coverage, but I believe that he has the athletic ability and the intelligence to do it well if he is coached up. I think the 4-3 OLB position plays to his strengths best- he won’t be hindered by his struggles to win off the edge with a pure speed rush because he will be blitzing instead of being relied upon to generate pressure as a defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker every snap, his perceived struggles versus the run as a DE/OLB may even be turned into a strength since he has so much experience attacking blocks and shedding them at the line of scrimmage, and he has enough athletic ability to at least give dropping into coverage more a try. Even if he doesn’t excel in coverage the strongside linebacker is often taken off the field in nickel and dime packages where he could put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer if the defensive coordinator wanted to keep him on the field. He’s a good linebacker and a quality kid, so even though I don’t think he’s going to be a dynamic pass rusher I still like him as a prospect. He just has such a knack for making plays through his effort (look at all those forced fumbles, plenty of them are because his motor never stopped running and he caught a player from behind and punched the ball out) and I think NFL teams are going to be impressed with him when they interview him if they can look past his potential medical concerns.

Projection: Top 40-50.

This might seem outlandish, but I don’t think he’s even close to a lock for the top 15 right now and after people start overreacting to his medical condition there will be plenty of people exclaiming that he will fall to the 3rd round or maybe even further if enough NFL teams take him off their draft board. I won’t try to downplay how serious his condition can be because based on what I understand he could be at risk for a serious injury, but I think that a team in the late 1st round will see a kid with a great motor, work ethic and a history of impressive production and either slide down to select him or move up and get him in the 2nd round. I personally think he could be a very good 4-3 strong side linebacker, but I’m sure plenty of NFL teams will assume he will be a quality 3-4 OLB as well. I’m not quite so sure, but it’s hard to ignore all he has produced at the college level.

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Florence has a near impossible task he will try to accomplish- replacing Robert Griffin III. He’s not a great prospect, but I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with a surprising number of weapons at his disposal this season.

Nick Florence, QB- Nick Florence has the unenviable job of attempting to replace a living Baylor legend in Robert Griffin III who won Baylor’s first Heisman trophy in the program’s history during his remarkable junior campaign last year. But because RGIII left for the NFL Draft Florence will have a year to show NFL scouts what he can do at the helm of Baylor’s still potent offensive attack. It will look different with Florence at the helm, the 6’1”, 205 pound quarterback isn’t the athletic marvel that Griffin is, but Florence got some playing time as a freshman when RGIII went down with a knee injury so he isn’t completely new to the starting role. The results weren’t exactly pretty; he threw for 1,841 yards, 6 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 7 starts that year. He was efficient in his mop-up duty last year, but the team will have a LOT of offense to replace now that the lethal combination of RGIII and Kendall Wright has left for the NFL. Luckily for Florence they return some talent along the offensive line, Lache Seastrunk will get a chance to show what he can do after sitting out a year due to transfer rules, and he has four or five wide receivers capable of picking up big chunks of yardage to throw to in addition to a 6’6″, 260 pound tight end. I’m not that familiar with Florence’s game yet, but when I saw him as a freshman I wasn’t particularly impressed with his arm strength. A lot can and does change in a player’s growth from his freshman to senior season though, so I’ll withhold judgment until I see him the whole year this year barring injury. However, as of right now I would say Florence is a fringe draftable prospect.

Jarred Salubi, RB- Salubi is entering the season as the projected starter with the talented Seastrunk as his back-up, though I imagine they will both get quite a few touches. Salubi has been productive when given the opportunity to be, but he was stuck behind Terrance Ganaway last year. That is no longer the case as Ganaway has moved on to the NFL, and Salubi has a chance to show was he can do as the feature back. Salubi is a much different back than Ganaway as he is listed at 5’9”, 210 pounds versus Ganaway’s listed 6’0”, 240 pounds. Salubi doesn’t look like he has elite straight line speed to me, he’s probably a 4.5 guy when it comes to that, but according to my notes from the Alamo bowl (where he had 101 yards, 2 touchdowns and nearly a 3rd on only 5 carries) he has plenty of burst, quickness and shiftiness as a runner. Packing 210 pounds onto a 5’9” frame is impressive, and I am certainly intrigued by his skill set. I expect him to get a lot of touches this season, and it will be interesting to see if he can be productive in an offense in which he is not the least of the defense’s concerns. With RGIII and Kendall Wright gone the headliners of the program will be absent, but the offense should still be productive. Salubi will play a big role in replacing all of Ganaway’s rushing production.

Lache Seastrunk, RB**- Seastrunk is a redshirt sophomore thanks to the season he was forced to sit out due to transfer rules. I wish he hadn’t been required to sit out, because seeing Seastrunk’s speed in the backfield with RGIII while Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese were split out wide would have been a sight to behold. Regardless, it is my understanding that Seastrunk is eligible for the draft after this season and even if he was only a true sophomore I would probably have him on this list anyways. He’s a truly dynamic athlete even if he is only 5’9”, 190 pounds. Obviously we haven’t seen him play an actual game in college yet, but his speed is undeniable even if you watch his highlights from high school. He may have true 4.4 flat speed, has very impressive acceleration, burst and change of direction speed as well as the ability to run through sloppy arm tackles and shows impressive balance to keep himself upright despite being a small, speedy running back. He should be lethal if the Bears continue to run a lot of zone read plays like they did with RGIII and Ganaway because Seastrunk has the speed to get the edge even against defenders taking solid angles. What I will want to see from Seastrunk is vision and patience. He has the gamebreaking speed to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball and to rip off a big run every time he gets a carry, but that won’t happen as often in college as it did in high school and keep in mind, that was the last time he played in a game that counted (aka, Spring Games don’t technically count). He’s going to be so amped up for his first game and probably for his entire first season in college that he will probably try to make plays right off the bat. That’s good, but he can’t try to bounce everything outside and turn everything into a sprint down the sideline. He needs to take what the defense gives him sometimes and let his blocks set up in front of him. I think he can do it, it’s just going to be interesting to see how quickly he adapts to the college game this year. My guess? It won’t take very long.

Terrance Williams has 1st round upside, but NFL teams will be looking to see how he handles being the “go-to guy” for Nick Florence this season. Is he up to being a #1 in the NFL? Or is he better as a complementary guy? We will have to see, but I’m hoping that he will clean up his route running and improve his concentration on some routine receptions.

Terrance Williams, WR- Williams is Baylor’s top NFL prospect and for good reason, he is listed at 6’3”, 205 pounds and has legitimate sub 4.5 speed. Last season he did what many assumed Josh Gordon, now a Cleveland Brown, would do for Baylor’s football program: provide vertical speed on the outside as well as the height and leaping ability to win jump balls, not to mention a lot of production. Williams had a career year last year with 59 receptions, 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. I’m not sure he will be able to best those numbers without Kendall Wright opposite him and without RGIII throwing him the ball deep, but he should still be productive despite increased attention from defenses. My problem with Williams previously was his hands. After watching him as a sophomore I had questions about his hands as I saw him drop catchable balls, but when I recently watched him his hands seemed to have improved a bit. I saw him make catches in traffic, catch the ball with his hands a bit, adjust to the ball well on deep balls, and catch the ball well along the sideline with full awareness of where he was on the field. He still drops some catchable balls and has concentration lapses at times, and I will be watching for that during his senior season. He seems to catch the more difficult passes, but let a few of the easy ones get away from him. He also has shown that he is willing to block and block downfield which is good to see, and his long arms are certainly an asset when doing so.

My biggest concern aside from his hands is his route running, which needs considerable work. Frequently when I’ve watched him I have seen him round off breaks and at times just slow down and turn around when running curl routes instead of sinking his hips, chopping his feet and exploding back out of his cut to create separation. Because Baylor spreads defenses out so much with all of their speed and talent on offense this wasn’t often an issue, particularly with RGIII holding zone coverages thanks to his ability to scramble and pick up big chunks of yardage. He doesn’t run crisp routes, and he doesn’t have a well developed route tree at this point and that will add to his learning curve when he heads to the NFL Draft after this season. He’s definitely got 1st round upside and I will certainly be writing a scouting report on him before the season starts, but his route running has to improve if he wants to contribute to a NFL team. He’s got NFL size, athleticism and he has the tools to be a good route runner thanks to his speed and burst, but he just hasn’t needed to run great routes to get open yet. That will change at the NFL level, but if his hands and route running continue to improve it will be hard not to like Williams as a NFL prospect. It will be very telling how he does when faced against quality cover men in the Big-12 (Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma should provide good tests for that) and it will be interesting to see if anyone ever jams him. They likely won’t thanks to the threat of getting beaten deep, but that’s something that I’ve never really seen anyone try against Williams. He isn’t the most physical guy even though he catches the ball well in traffic, and his long arms and quickness should help him beat the jam, but it’s a part of his game that is certainly unproven at this point.

Lanear Sampson, WR- Sampson isn’t the same dynamic prospect that Williams is, but he has a shot to get drafted in his own right. Sampson is listed at 5’11”, 200 pounds (just a few pounds less than Williams despite being 3 inches shorter) and looks like he has legitimate sub 4.5 speed as well. I haven’t seen as much of Sampson since I was always more focused on Kendall Wright and RGIII when I was watching the Bears, but Sampson has quietly been a 4 year starter in Waco and that won’t slip past the scouts who are evaluating him. He may not be an elite athlete, he may not be the biggest or the fastest, but he is consistent and reliable. Baylor’s wide receiver depth chart will be crowded again this year thanks to Williams, Sampson, Reese, Levi Norwood and the addition of senior Daryl Stonum from Michigan, but Sampson still has the inside track to being the #2 receiver on Baylor’s offense this year.

Tevin Reese, WR*- Reese is a bit of an enigma for me. He’s got all the speed you could ever want despite only being 5’10”, 160 pounds and I think he could be a sub 4.4 guy in the 40 yard dash. He’s got very impressive acceleration, burst and obviously is tough to catch once you let him get going. He’s one of the best vertical threats in the Big-12, yet his hands are SO inconsistent and it’s very frustrating. I’ve seen him drop some potential BIG plays, especially down the field, and it’s infuriating. They run a lot of bubble screens to get him the ball on easy receptions to let him use his speed, and run him on reverses to try to get him in space, but the reason they have to do as much of that as they do is because he just can’t be expected to come down with fairly routine deep passes even when he is open. He certainly does make the play sometimes, you don’t produce 51 catches, 877 yards and 7 touchdowns if you can’t catch at all, but if he wants to be taken seriously as a NFL prospect he is going to need to work his ass off to improve his hands. His speed will get him noticed, but teams will roll their eyes if they see him drop some of the passes I’ve seen him drop during his first two seasons in Waco.

Daryl Stonum, WR- I’ll admit, I’m not overly familiar with Stonum despite him spending his career with Michigan until recently. He was never a huge stat guy at Michigan, but not many of their receivers are due to Denard Robinson’s relatively erratic passing. Stonum is listed at 6’1”, 195 pounds and is also listed as having 4.5 speed. Baylor’s depth at receiver is pretty surprising given that they lost their top target in Kendall Wright, but with the addition of Stonum they have five legitimate targets now, assuming Levi Norwood gets more playing time as a sophomore. Stonum has made some mistakes in his past that led to his dismissal at Michigan. In 2008 he was put in jail for violating probation for charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license. In June, 2011 he was sentenced to two years of probation for operating a vehicle while visibly impaired, and violated that probation in January, 2012 when he was found to be driving with a revoked license. That led to 10 days of jail time and his ultimate dismissal from Michigan. It’s tough to argue that his decision making has improved despite this string of incidents, and given the sheer volume of drunk driving incidents the NFL had this summer NFL teams are going to be slow to pull the trigger on a guy like Stonum in the draft, but if he can stay out of trouble for the rest of the year until the draft he will greatly improve his chances of being drafted.

Not many people are familiar with Najvar, but his combination of size, athleticism and soft hands are going to make him very popular in scouting circles once he starts to get more targets. I think he has 1st round upside.

Jordan Najvar, TE*- Najvar is an intriguing prospect that I think could become very popular over the next two years in scouting circles. He’s a huge tight end that is listed at 6’6”, 260 pounds and has a listed sub 4.8 40 yard dash time. He’s an athletic kid and even though he only had 15 receptions, 146 yards and 2 touchdowns last season as a sophomore I think he is ready to break out. To give you some perspective, he is a Stanford transfer, and we all know how unbelievable their tight end depth chart was. He has shown that he is a willing blocker, though I haven’t seen him much as an in-line blocker, but his size and athleticism is going to make him a hot commodity, particularly if Florence figures out that it’s a lot easier to throw to a 6’6”, 260 pound tight end in the middle of the field than it is to try to hit a 5’10” WR. He’s flashed the ability to make nice seal blocks even on defensive ends, and seems to block down effectively. The true test will be seeing how he can do 1 on 1 when he isn’t blocking down. He’s got the size, athleticism, and effort level to be a stud. Keep an eye on him, I LOVE Najvar’s upside.

Cyril Richardson, OG*- Richardson is a large man, listed at 6’5”, 335 pounds. He played 12 games and started 4 of them at left guard as a freshman before moving outside to left tackle as a sophomore to protect RGIII’s blind side. Now he is shifting back inside to guard where he is probably a better fit due to his natural size and power, but lack of ideal lateral agility to stay at tackle. He could be a solid tackle in my opinion, perhaps more if he was played at right tackle, but I think his highest upside is inside at guard due to his size and arm length. He isn’t overly explosive out of his stance, but he has shown the ability to pancake defenders in the run game and generate some push. I’ve seen him make a few mistakes mentally in pass protection, particularly on stunts or strange blitz packages, so that will be something to keep an eye on this season at guard.

Cameron Kaufhold, OG- Kaufhold is Baylor’s “worst” starting interior offensive lineman, but that’s only because Cyril Richardson is a potential 1st or 2nd round pick depending on his development and Ivory Wade was a quality starting right tackle last season and now moves inside to center. The surprising thing is that Kaufhold is the second most experience offensive lineman with 26 career starts, second only to Wade. He is listed at 6’4”, 300 pounds and has shown the ability to generate some push off the ball, to anchor in pass protection and overall appears to be a solid guard. Will he be a top pick? Probably not, but now that he is moving from left guard to right guard his versatility could make him an attractive commodity to talent evaluators. It will be interesting to see how he does at that new spot.

Ivory Wade, C- It will be interesting to see Wade inside at center this season. He was very effective blocking down on defensive tackles last season and showed the ability to consistently shock his defender with his initial punch and drive him off his spot. He’s listed at 6’4”, 310 pounds and he has shown that he can generate push in the run game and also shows the ability to get to the second level and get his hat on a linebacker. He didn’t look that comfortable outside at tackle, but an interior of Wade, Richardson and Kaufhold returns a whopping 73 career starts, and all are listed at 6’4”, 300+ pounds. That interior offensive line should be impressive, and if the two new, young tackles can hold their own this could be an even better offensive line than they had last season. Keep in mind, Baylor has a knack for churning out quality centers. The coaching staff has shown no hesitation to move quality offensive linemen inside to Center and Wade is just the latest to do so. Don’t overlook that.

Terrance Lloyd, DE*- I am not that familiar with Lloyd since I didn’t focus on him much during his sophomore season with Baylor, but at 6’3”, 235 pounds he managed 36 tackles, 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks while starting 13 games. He enters the season with 17 career starts, and is a kid I am going to keep an eye on. He needs to add weight and get stronger at the POA, but I’m intrigued to see how he continues to develop from a pass rushing standpoint.

Gary Mason, DE- Mason is a guy I’ve had my eye on for over 2 years now, and it’s a little unbelievable to me that he is now a senior. He’s listed at 6’4”, 275 pounds and has 19 career starts at defensive end. He managed 26 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and 2 pass break-ups in his 8 starts last season, and while I have had my eye on him for a while he’s never really lived up to the expectations I had for him. He has the size and athleticism, but until he takes that next step and really starts to produce consistently I don’t think he’s much more than a fringe draftable prospect. He has his chance to step up this year though, as his main competition, junior Tevin Elliott, was charged with sexual assault on April 15th and is still suspended indefinitely from what I have been able to find. That means if there was ever a time to step up and make plays, it’s now for Mason.

Tevin Elliott, DE*- Until the charges are cleared up, Elliott likely doesn’t have a football future, but if he ever does play a down of football for Baylor again he certainly has a NFL skill set. He’s listed at 6’3”, 250 pounds and has a lot of speed and burst off the ball to beat offensive tackles off the edge. He’s never really put it all together, much like Mason, and even though he had 27 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 pass deflection and an interception last year, none of it matters if he is guilty of sexual assault. I can’t speculate at all as to whether he is guilty or innocent obviously, but if he does play for Baylor again he has the potential to be an impact player. Now we have to let the legal system play out.

Ahmad Dixon, LB/S*- Dixon is a difficult player to project because he is safety sized but loves to play in the box like a linebacker. He’s listed at 6’0”, 205 pounds, so he is undersized for the linebacker position, but Baylor likes to keep him on the field as a nickel corner to keep him closer to the action and allow him to make plays near or behind the line of scrimmage. He’s a playmaker and is one of the best players on Baylor’s defense, and managed 89 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3 pass break-ups and an interception last year. His 5.5 TFL were tied for the most on the team with Gary Mason, and while I haven’t watched Dixon much I am very interested to see if he is a good tackler. Baylor had a TON of problems tackling against Washington in the bowl game, and their secondary in particular had a lot of issues. I’m interested to see more of Dixon to see if he is part of the tackling problem or not.

Joe Williams, CB*- Williams is an undersized corner, listed at 5’9”, 185 pounds, but he was very productive as a sophomore. Because he was a younger kid I didn’t pay much attention to him last season, but he had 43 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 12 pass deflections and an interception in 9 starts. I haven’t been able to see much of him, but if he continues to demonstrate quality ball skills he will give himself a shot to get drafted in spite of his size. Keep an eye on him this year.

KJ Morton, CB*- Morton is another junior corner opposite Williams, and like Williams he had a productive sophomore year as well. He had 75 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 6 pass deflections and 4 interceptions on the season. It would be HUGE for Baylor if Morton and Williams were able to step their game up to help stop some of the big plays that they gave up last season, because RGIII isn’t on the other side of the ball anymore to mask some of the defense’s issues. Morton and Williams will be under plenty of pressure in the pass-happy Big-12, but it will be interesting to see how they stack up. If Baylor’s defense is going to be any better, the secondary will have to step up, though the safety play was arguably more of a problem than the play of the corners.

Les Miles confirmed today that dynamic LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has been dismissed from the football team “permanently” according to his press conference. According to Ben Allbright (@NFLDraftMonster) Mathieu has failed 3 drug tests at LSU, including one this past week. That is apparently what prompted this stern action from Les Miles and LSU as a whole. If it is true that he has failed 3 drug tests it is my understanding that he will not be eligible to simply transfer down to a FCS level team, play for a season, and then enter the NFL Draft. The handling of this situation from the school will be very important to keep an eye on, because if they do not level disciplinary action on him (in the form of a suspension, etc) then according to John Infante (@John_Infante) he would be eligible to use a one time transfer exception to transfer to a FCS school. So we have to wait to see what the school does, and then we will have a better idea of how this will play out.

This is certainly a stunning development, I myself am a big fan of Mathieu and have been touting him as a dynamic player since I watched him during his true freshman season two years ago. He became a well known star as a sophomore, but he tested positive for synthetic marijuana which resulted in a suspension from LSU during the season last year. That didn’t dissuade Mathieu from continuing to use marijuana and now he has been dismissed from the team. Regardless of your stance on marijuana use, there is no doubt that it is sad to see a young man with a bright future in front of him see it go off the rails because of positive drug tests. He’s still a talented player that should be drafted in the 4th round range because of his on-field ability, but if he doesn’t turn it around and stay clean at whatever school he goes to (or if he doesn’t stay out of trouble if he isn’t allowed to play anywhere at all) then NFL teams are going to be even more wary of taking a chance on him even if he is supremely talented.

I’m wishing him the best in his future endeavors, and I hope he has a chance to play at a FCS school this year, but more than that I hope he can find a way to stay clean to avoid further jeopardizing his chance at a successful NFL career.

I will update this article as more information comes out and more details of this story are confirmed. At this time, we know that Mathieu will not be back at LSU and will have to hope for a FCS transfer.

–Tom

**Update**

Reports are coming out that Tyrann Mathieu is transferring to McNeese State. I haven’t seen it confirmed by a major network like ESPN yet, but a photo came out of Mathieu allegedly from the McNeese State football facilities. I can’t say 100% that Mathieu will be at McNeese State, but that is what it looks like is going to happen. It makes sense because it is only 2 hours from LSU and only 3 hours from New Orleans where Mathieu is from. I’m glad Mathieu will be able to play this season (at least as far as we know right now) and attempt to rehabilitate his draft stock. Hopefully that goes better for Mathieu than it did for Janzen Jackson, who left after a year at McNeese State and went undrafted before signing with the Giants this offseason.

I will update this further as more information becomes available.

From now until the season starts I will be previewing the prospects from Big-12, ACC and Big East teams for the upcoming season. My colleague at NFL Draft Monsters Justin Higdon (follow him on Twitter @afc2nfc) will be covering the SEC, Pac-12 and Big-10 and you will be able to read those posts on NFL Draft Monsters. Check them all out to get ready for the 2013 NFL Draft by identifying the prospects you need to learn about!

Next up I am covering the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns had an underwhelming season by their standards in 2011, finishing 8-5 with a bowl victory over Cal for their 8th win of the season. The Longhorns season was defined by their quarterback controversy, originally starting Garrett Gilbert before they started a merry-go-round between Sophomore QB Case McCoy and True Freshman David Ash. McCoy was regarded as the better passer, and put up better passing numbers, but neither was convincing enough to get Mack Brown to name them the starting quarterback outright. However, David Ash appears to be in the lead after the spring, partially due to a better performance (based on what I saw) in the Spring Game. As the saying goes “when you have two quarterbacks, you really have none” and if Texas cycles between Ash and McCoy again this season their offense will never get off the ground. They have plenty of talent at running back with Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, Johnathan Gray and Jeremy Hillis all figuring to get some touches throughout the season. They return some talent at receiver as well with Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis, Marquise Goodwin and speedster DJ Monroe. I also think their offensive line will be much better this season thanks to the addition of JUCO offensive tackle Donald Hawkins, who looks like a legitimate NFL prospect at left tackle. That caused a shuffle of returning starters on the line, leaving Trey Hopkins, a 2011 starter at right tackle, moving inside to left guard, and Josh Cochran, a 2011 starter at left tackle, moving to the right side. Dominic Espinosa and Mason Walters remain at center and right guard respectively, and outside of Hawkins Texas has four returning starters along the offensive line. That should really help their running game and their pass protection of either Ash or McCoy at quarterback.

The strength of the team figures to be the defense though, led by stars such as Alex Okafor, Jackson Jeffcoat, Jordan Hicks, Carrington Byndom, Quandre Diggs and Kenny Vaccaro. The defensive line looks to be ferocious as usual with Okafor and Jeffcoat manning the defensive end spots and another talented JUCO transfer Brandon Moore replacing Kheeston Randall at nose tackle with Ashton Dorsey emerging as the starter at the three technique. The linebacking core has the most to replace as they lost stalwarts Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, but Jordan Hicks looks to have fantastic upside there to help hold the unit together. Their secondary is as talented as ever with the star corner tandem of Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs at corner along with talented freshman Duke Thomas pushing for playing time. Kenny Vaccaro is the top safety on the team, and one of my favorite draft prospects at the position. Adrian Phillips will start opposite him, but sophomore Mykkele Thompson has been pushing him in the spring and had a kick return for a touchdown in the Spring Game. I’m not sure what to expect from their special teams, but they have plenty of potential return men in Jaxon Shipley, DJ Monroe and Mykkele Thompson, among others. This Longhorn squad will go as far as the offense can take them, as the defense figures to be extremely difficult to pass on thanks to their talented pass rushers and elite secondary. Here is the prospect summary for this 2012 Longhorn squad:

Ash may not be a good passer yet, but he has adequate arm strength and athleticism for the position. Not only that, he has clearly progressed since last season while Case McCoy continues to make similar mistakes.

David Ash, QB**- I didn’t want to include true sophomores in this post, but Ash, Shipley and Quandre Diggs made it impossible not to. Ash is the least talented of the three right now in my opinion, but the 6’3”, 222 pound quarterback looks like the odds on favorite to be the starter in 2012, particularly because Case McCoy did not impress me much in the Spring Game. Ash has the stronger arm and more athletic ability, but as he continues to become more comfortable in the offense I think his accuracy will start to improve. He showed much better decision making in the Spring Game and started to just take what the defense was giving him instead of forcing the issue, which is important for his development. I’m not sure he will ever be a great NFL prospect, but his success this season will be a critical factor in whether Texas is competing for the Big-12 title or whether they are a borderline bowl eligible team again.

Jaxon Shipley, WR**- I wanted to leave Shipley off this list very badly, but I just couldn’t do it. He’s too talented. He is Texas’ best returning receiver in my opinion, finishing just one catch short of the team lead with Mike Davis (Davis had 45, Shipley had 44 as a true freshman), he was 2 yards short of the team lead for receiving yardage (Davis had 609, Shipley had 607) and was tied for the team lead with 3 touchdowns. He made a lot of plays last year despite the musical chairs at the quarterback position, and with David Ash looking like the 2012 starter at quarterback Shipley should have plenty of opportunities to get on the same page with him and make even more plays. He offers a lot of versatility as a dangerous receiver, return man, and is a threat to throw the deep ball on gadget plays as he showed in the bowl game against Cal and in the 2012 Spring Game where he threw a perfect touchdown pass to Mike Davis. Shipley may only be a true sophomore, but he has NFL written all over him.

D.J. Monroe, WR- Monroe is a 5’9”, 175 pound senior and while he won’t be a starter at wide receiver I think he warrants NFL consideration because of his impressive speed and his versatility. He is learning to play receiver exclusively so that Texas can run their sweep play with him without it being a give-away every time he is on the field. If he gets opportunities in the return game I think he can prove to be an impact player there as he was in 2009 when he returned only 16 kickoffs for 537 yards (33.56 avg) and 2 touchdowns. He hasn’t been as effective since, but he has game-breaking speed and any time he gets the ball in his hands he can take it the distance. That’s exactly why I think he will catch some eyes as both a receiver, a runner and as a kick returner if he gets enough touches.

Donald Hawkins looks like he has definite left tackle potential and should help anchor a talented Longhorns offensive line this season.

Donald Hawkins, LT*- Hawkins is a JUCO transfer who stands at 6’5”, 310 pounds and based on what I have seen he has legitimate NFL potential as a left tackle prospect. He moves VERY well for a man his size, showing some burst off the snap and impressive change of direction ability for a 310 pound man. He has very impressive burst into his pass set out of the two point stance, and flashes some ability to anchor. He moves very well for such a big man, gets to the second level easily and locates defenders and blocks them effectively. Needs some work technique wise, and he’s clearly raw, but he has immense upside. At times he opens up his hips a bit too early, making him vulnerable to the inside move. Seems to mirror defenders pretty well, but has more than enough foot speed and athleticism to take away speed rush without having to open hips so early. I’d like to see him finish blocks better, but he clearly flashes left tackle athleticism and impressive mobility in the run game. I’m very excited to see how he does in his first season as a starter right out of JUCO. Keep an eye on him.

Mason Walters, RG*- Walters is a 6’6”, 315 pound guard with room for additional mass on his large frame. He comes into his junior season with an amazing 25 career starts all at right guard. Not only does he have a ton of starting experience for a junior, he also snaps at center during the spring. That versatility certainly appeals to NFL evaluators, as does his experience. He could stand to get bigger and fill out his frame, as he looks pretty skinny at only 315 pounds (it feels weird to type that). He is the most experienced starter on Texas’ offensive line, so it will be interesting to see how he does as a junior.

Trey Hopkins, LG*- Hopkins is listed at 6’4”, 298 pounds and has moved inside to left guard after starting 13 games at right tackle last season. Haven’t been able to get a great feel for his game, but he has 17 career starts coming into his junior season and should get a lot of attention as scouts flock to games to see Texas’ defense, but also their impressive left tackle Donald Hawkins.

Alex Okafor definitely has NFL potential, but I don’t think I see an elite NFL pass rusher when I watch him.

Alex Okafor, DE- Okafor has 4-3 defensive end size at 6’5”, 260 pounds. He has the athleticism to drop into coverage when asked, so I think he can play OLB in a 3-4 or DE in a 4-3. I don’t think he has as much burst/explosion out of a two point stance as he does with his hand in the dirt. Unfortunately, he doesn’t look like he has a lot of edge speed to me. He looks like more of a 4-3 LE to me than a guy you want to rely on for 8-10 sacks and consistent pressure. He doesn’t have elite explosion off the ball and he seems to be more of a fundamentally sound, hard working player rather than a physical freak in my opinion. I’d like to see him dominate more blocks, particularly when he is only being blocked by tight ends in the running game. He has good awareness and a good motor, and plenty of athleticism as well as long arms, but I don’t see the bend and elite explosion to make him a top draft pick. I think his future is at left end in a 4-3 or at strong side linebacker in a 3-4 defense. I think as he gets a bit stronger he will be better versus the run, and if he improves on his flashes of hand usage I think he will be more effective. Okafor has plenty of NFL upside, I’m just not convinced it will be at the right end position in a 4-3 defense.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE*- Jeffcoat is the more explosive, high upside half of Texas’ elite defensive end duo. Jeffcoat has more edge speed and burst than Okafor does, but outside of his speed rush I don’t see much to like about Jeffcoat’s pass rushing. The 6’5”, 250 pounder has the speed to get the edge versus most college tackles but struggled to do so versus Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M’s impressive left tackle. And when he can’t win with his speed rush he is largely rendered ineffective. He doesn’t have much else in his repertoire and gets taken out of the play once he is engaged. He was very productive last season, especially in the 2nd half of the year, where he totaled all 8 of his sacks in the last 7 games and had a sack in 6 of the last 7 games Texas played, only coming up empty versus Texas A&M on Thanksgiving (against a NFL caliber left tackle). He had 3.5 TFL and 0 sacks in Texas’ first 6 games, and that leads me to believe his best football is awaiting him in his junior season at Texas. He needs to add pass rush moves to his repertoire, get stronger and improve his hand usage for that to happen though.

Brandon Moore, DT*- Moore looks to play a little upright which negates his listed size of 6’5”, 335 pounds, though he doesn’t look like he weighs that much on film. If he does weigh that much, he looks to carry it pretty well. He shows some burst off the ball and has flashed the ability to split double teams as a pass rusher, and has reportedly shown the anchor and lower body strength to make himself very difficult to move versus the run. He flashes some awareness and change of direction ability, though I’m not sure how good his motor is. If Moore can anchor the nose tackle position vacated by Kheeston Randall and provide not only a plugger in the middle to help clog up running lanes but also demand double teams as a pass rusher life will be a lot easier for the smaller, quicker Ashton Dorsey inside.

Ashton Dorsey, DT*- Dorsey is only listed at 6’2”, 295 pounds but he makes up for his lack of ideal size with impressive athleticism. He is quick off the ball and shows that he can be disruptive, and managed 6 tackles for loss and 1 sack as a sophomore in 2011 despite only starting 4 games. He is the man at the 3 tech position now though, and could be one of the key cogs on a very talented defensive line. I don’t think he will be ready to make the jump even if he has a big season this year, but he certainly has a chance to be put on the NFL radar thanks to Texas’ duo of talented defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat.

Jordan Hicks has superstar potential at linebacker, and figures to pick up where Keenan Robinson left off at linebacker for Texas.

Jordan Hicks, OLB*- Hicks is listed at 6’2”, 235 pounds and from all I have read he has superstar potential at outside linebacker. He has shown ability in coverage, as a blitzer, and returns with 65 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and four pass deflections in 8 starts last season as a sophomore. He had the best game of his young career in the bowl game against Cal as he totaled 7 total tackles (5 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (including 1.5 sacks) and a pass break-up against the Golden Bears. He has reportedly had a great spring, and seems to be ready to pick up where Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho left off.

Carrington Byndom, CB*- Byndom certainly looks like he’s going to be the next quality NFL corner in a long line of quality NFL corners to come out of Texas. He stands at 6’0”, 180 pounds, has impressive speed, closing burst, instincts and ball skills. He had 58 tackles, 8 TFL (amazing for a corner), 15 pass break-ups and 2 interceptions as a sophomore. He only has 13 career starts, all coming as a sophomore, but if he has another impressive season this year he could very well be a top 40 draft pick.

Quandre Diggs, CB**- Diggs is only a sophomore, and a true sophomore at that, but I just couldn’t leave him off this list. That’s how good he is. As a true freshman the 5’10”, 200 pound corner was 2nd Team All Big-12, had 51 tackles, 4 TFL, 15 pass break-ups and 4 interceptions. Clearly quarterbacks figured out that there was no sense in challenging him to avoid passing at Byndom, as Diggs and Byndom combined to break up 30 passes and intercept 6, forming one of the top cornerback tandems in the nation. That tandem figures to only get better this season, especially since Texas has ANOTHER talented true freshman corner who has been impressive in the spring by the name of Duke Thomas. Keep an eye on all three of these corners, because they are going to make it very difficult for opposing offenses to pass on them, especially with all the talent they have on the defensive line.

Kenny Vaccaro, FS- Vaccaro is the most experienced member of the Texas secondary with 19 starts coming into his senior season. He’s a ball-hawk and a playmaker, and has demonstrated the ability to be a playmaker in coverage, versus he run and as a blitzer. He returns as Texas’ leading tackler with 82 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 8 pass deflections and 2 interceptions. He stands at 6’1”, 215 pounds and as if it wasn’t hard enough to pass on Texas’ talented cornerbacks, Vaccaro makes it even more difficult roaming in the defensive backfield. I think Vaccaro has top 50 pick written all over him if he continues to play like he did last season.

There aren’t many football players in the entire country that are easier to root for than UCF’s Storm Johnson. His story has been well documented, so I tried to stick to football in this interview.

Tom: First of all Storm, thank you for your time, I really appreciate the chance to talk with you more in depth and I know you’re busy.

Tom: What was it like sitting out at UCF last season?

Storm: I felt like it was probably one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I could still practice and everything, but sitting out in a sport that I really love and not being able to go out and compete against other schools with my teammates was extremely hard.

Tom: What made you choose UCF?

Storm: Coach O’Leary recruited me out of high school and I kept good ties with him. I loved the program and it was somewhere I felt comfortable at and somewhere I felt I could play at.

Tom: Your coaches really seemed to be excited to get you on the field even when you weren’t eligible last season. How do you think spring ball went for you?

Storm: I felt I accomplished a lot in spring ball, we got a lot of chemistry and I feel that spring ball gave us an edge on this upcoming camp and it gave us the goals that we needed to set for ourselves and gave us a clear shot at accomplishing our goals.

Tom: What is your accurate height, weight, and 40 yard dash time?

Storm: 5’11”, 215, and the last time I got clocked as a freshman weighing at about 218 I ran a 4.37.

Tom: I’ve read a number of articles about your upbringing and how hard you worked. Do you think your experiences growing up have made you a better football player?

Storm: I feel like I have. My parents did a lot for me and showed me how to work hard for the things you want to get and that you gotta work hard for everything you really wanna get.

Tom: What was your #1 goal of the spring practices with Central Florida?

Storm: Just trying to get playing time. My #1 goal is to have a great practice every practice, never take a down for granted, and always do 110% and get in my playbook. I know the playbook inside and out and I studied it like a subject in school.

Tom: Do you expect to start this season?

Storm: That’s a really good question I have no answer for. I just go hard in practice every day and push the running backs. We all push each other every practice so we can get better as a unit, but that’s all I can really say about that question.

Tom: Are you looking forward to that first game? Who do you guys play?

Storm: Akron, and yes. I’ve been looking forward to that day for a very long time.

Tom: Do you have any statistical goals for yourself or the team?

Storm: For the team it’s to win every game. For myself, not really. This is my first college season where I can be a regular contributor so I’m just trying to help my team however I can.

Tom: If you had a great season personally, would you consider declaring for the NFL Draft?

Storm: Honestly I just want to have a great season and we will worry about that when the time comes.

Tom: Did your offensive coaches mention anything to you about things you were doing well during spring ball?

Storm: Yeah they did. Just having great instincts, figuring the play out as it develops, bursting through the hole, little things like that. They were more concerned with things I was doing wrong than what I was doing right. They praised me when I got things right though, but as a team we want to focus on things we need to work on obviously.

Tom: What do you think your greatest strength is as a football player?

Storm: My vision, definitely.

Tom: What about some of the things you think you need to work on?

Storm: I feel like my game is never going to be perfect, there’s always something to work on to get better. For me, I want to work on blocking, catching.

Tom: Do you feel comfortable in pass protection right now?

Storm: I mean yeah. I think the first thing is just not being scared to make contact with the person, that’s half the thing right there. The other part is just technique, and I’d say I’m about 85% to where I want to be with that.

Tom: Do you have any mentors for the running back position? People you’ve patterned your game after?

Storm: I’ve watched a lot of running backs, but I’ve watched a lot of Reggie Bush’s film from college.

Tom: Are there any players on defense that stuck out to you during the spring? Anyone I might not have heard about?

Storm: There’s a lot of talent on our defense, there’s a lot of talent on the whole unit. I mean, they all make plays. It’s hard to say.

Tom: Anyone on offense that has especially impressed you?

Storm: Yeah of course. The running backs push eachother so when one of us makes a play the others try to step it up and make plays. We’ve got a lot of depth at the running back position.

Tom: You’re getting some hype coming into the season, do you feel any added pressure because of the transfer and some of the rising expectations?

Storm: Nah, I just believe in my coaches, believe in my teammates and I just want to go out and play football like I’ve been playing. I’m not thinking about any hype or any of that, just focusing on executing and helping my team win.

Tom: Is there one game this year you are particularly looking forward to?

Storm: I feel like every game I’m looking forward to, me personally I’m looking forward to my first game in my first actual season. Any time I can put that helmet on I’m looking forward to it.

Tom: What is one thing you would like the world to know about you that it may not already know?

Storm: *Laughs* Wow… one thing… I wanna say I feel like I study a lot in school, at the library, and I always get my homework done before it’s due. I feel like I enjoy doing schoolwork a lot more than people think.

Tom: That is definitely the first time I’ve ever gotten that answer to that question, I love that. Well thank you for taking the time to talk with me and I am looking forward to watching you this season! I’m sure we’ll talk before the season, good luck with the rest of your training. When does summer camp start for you?

Storm: August 1st.

Tom: Less than a month away! I’m ready for some football and I know you are too, thank you for your time Storm, and good luck with the rest of your training.

Storm: Definitely. Thank you.

Russell Wilson is a very well-rounded quarterback with plenty of upside. The only thing holding him back? His lack of height.

Size: This is Wilson’s most serious issue as a prospect, and it is what will likely hurt his stock more than anything once the season ends and the grueling NFL Draft postseason begins. I would estimate his height to be about 5’10” which is about three or four inches shorter than most teams would prefer at minimum at the quarterback position. Some people will write him off because of his lack of height, but while I acknowledge it will make life significantly harder for him in the NFL I will absolutely not write him off because of it. It will certainly negatively affect his stock though, and anyone would be foolish to argue otherwise.

Arm Strength: Wilson has very good arm strength. He has great zip on passes to all levels and throws a very nice deep ball. He can make every NFL throw thanks to his very good arm strength and this is definitely one of his strongest attributes. He can absolutely rifle throws from the pocket or when he is moving outside of the pocket which makes him very dangerous.

Accuracy: Wilson’s accuracy is also very impressive. He has quality accuracy to all levels of the field whether they are short, medium or deep throws. Wilson knows when to rifle a throw down the seam and when he needs to put some touch on a pass to drop a throw into a hole between the corner and safety on the sideline. He is also very accurate on the run which makes him dangerous on the outside because if the coverage breaks down at all Wilson can find a hole to throw the ball.

Mechanics: Wilson has quality mechanics. His throwing motion is compact and quick, he has good footwork in the pocket as well as plenty of experience dropping back from center. He has good footwork on play action as well. He usually keeps his shoulders square when scrambling outside of the pocket which is critical to throwing accurate passes on the run quickly. Wilson could stand to get out from under center quicker in my opinion, particularly when handing the ball off at times. But that is a pretty ticky-tacky mechanical flaw, and can easily be coached up.

Mobility: Wilson’s mobility is pretty rare for the position because not only can he threaten defenses with his legs because of his great athleticism he has managed to develop into a great passing quarterback with great mobility rather than a great runner that can throw as well. The distinction may not be very obvious, but the ability to scramble and gain yardage with your legs is usually a crutch that prevents athletic quarterbacks from developing into good or great passers. That is certainly not the case for Wilson but that doesn’t mean he can’t rip off big runs when he gets outside of the pocket. Teams have to account for his ability to run and that is so hard to do against Wisconsin thanks to their fantastic running game as well as Wilson’s ability to stretch the field as a passer. His mobility helps him extend plays and makes him a very dangerous passer outside of the pocket.

Pre/Post Snap Reads: Wilson seems to make very good pre and post snap reads based off of what I’ve seen of him. At times at NC State he would force passes into coverage and make poor decisions when he was simply trying to throw his team into the game and keep them competitive. But at Wisconsin he has been terrifyingly efficient now that he has one of the best running games in the country helping him balance out the passing attack. He does a good job of identifying coverages pre-snap and reads defenses well once he drops back to pass. He also does a good job of reading defenses quickly after play action fakes and does a good job of making decisive decisions.

Pocket Poise: I think pocket poise is a very important quality to identify in quarterbacks and I think Wilson has pretty good poise in the pocket, especially for someone with so much athletic ability who can scramble for positive yardage. One of the few weaknesses in his game seems to be when there is pressure around him in the pocket and trash at his feet. I’m not sure why this is, but it certainly limits his ability to find throwing lanes because of his height and he can’t often scramble out of it, so it makes sense that in these situations he would be less effective than others. I think that causes him some discomfort at times, and will result in throws off of his back foot or less accurate passes than when he has a cleaner pocket, when he can side-step the rush to find a throwing lane, or when he can move outside of the pocket where he has clear vision of the field.

Intangibles: Russell Wilson’s intangibles are off the charts as far as I’m concerned because of how significant of a leader he was at NC State and because he has been able to seamlessly transition into a completely different locker room and organization and not only become a quality starter, but become a fantastic player worthy of at least some Heisman consideration as well as the leader of his new team, all in a matter of weeks and months. As I like to say “you can’t coach that” and that is as true about Wilson’s intangibles as it is with anything else. He’s a very hard worker, he’s very poised, he’s intelligent and he is just a natural leader. Yes, I think the Badgers would have been good this year even with a question mark at quarterback, but Wilson has been the guy that has not only made them great, but has made them borderline unstoppable. There is definitely something to be said for that.

Character: Wilson’s character is top notch from what I know of him and he is considered to be a very hard worker, very studious, watches a lot of film and clearly has his head on straight. Drafting him won’t be a risk as far as character is concerned.

Overall: I’m a huge fan of Wilson and even though I expected him to be a terrific quarterback for the University of Wisconsin even I couldn’t have anticipated him being this good this soon. He has absolutely shut up everyone who doubted that he could transition into the Badgers smoothly and he has not only transformed the Badgers into contenders, he has transformed them into a virtual lock for the Rose Bowl as the eventual Big 10 champions. His height is his most significant issue as a prospect, and beyond that he is a very well-rounded prospect that if he was three or four inches taller would warrant serious first or second round consideration in my opinion. He’s got plenty of upside, he just has to prove that he can overcome his lack of ideal (or even average) height. Playing behind Wisconsin’s mammoth offensive line and having this kind of success can’t hurt, and it will be interesting to see how he ultimately translates to the NFL once he gets drafted.

Projection: 3rd-4th round. Wilson has the ability of a 1st or 2nd round selection, but his height will hurt his stock and make people question how well he will transition to the NFL. I think he can make it as a NFL starter, but his height certainly poses a significant barrier between himself and success at the next level. Personally, I’ll be rooting for him. I am really looking forward to seeing him play at the Senior Bowl this year if he elects to go.

Size: Coleman definitely seems to have NFL size, and I haven’t changed my opinion on that since I last watched him this summer. He’s got good size as he has listed at 6’5” but he looks a bit skinny on film and is listed at only 220 pounds. He could stand to get bigger, and if he added weight he would be able to sustain more hits as a quarterback.

Arm Strength: I have backed off my claim that Coleman has very rare arm strength for now. In this game his arm strength looked good, but it didn’t look great. He has a strong arm and can make all of the NFL throws, but it didn’t look elite. I’d grade it a 4.0 out of 5.0, so it’s not like he has a weak arm, but right now I can’t say that it’s elite. He has good zip on his throws though and can make quality deep ball throws.

Accuracy: Coleman has pretty good accuracy, and it was tough to judge against a very good Nebraska defense. He didn’t make a lot of NFL throws in this game just because a number of times they weren’t there, which made it difficult to truly evaluate his accuracy. But he showed the potential to be accurate to all levels, though he does still miss high at times. Right now I would give him a 3.5 grade on accuracy.

Mechanics: Coleman has solid mechanics. He very rarely lines up under center, but his offense is similar to what Ryan Mallett ran at Arkansas in that they run from under center almost every time he lines up there, but they will mix in play-action looks to try to catch the defense sneaking up to stack the box against the run. He has a smooth, quick release and has solid footwork in shotgun. He will need to develop his footwork when dropping back straight from center which I have rarely seen him do, but overall his mechanics are solid.

Mobility: Coleman has some mobility but won’t be a big scrambling threat in the NFL. However, he has more than enough mobility to make people miss in the pocket and to extend plays outside of the pocket by scrambling. He won’t outrun many people, but he can buy himself time which is all he has to do as a pocket passer.

Pre/Post Snap Reads: Coleman could use some development in this area. He stared down too many receivers in this game against Nebraska and checked down a lot. This probably has more to do with his receivers being overmatched as they struggled to create consistent separation, but regardless Coleman still struggled to threaten downfield. Additionally, he also did not recognize Nebraska’s blitz packages effectively prior to the snap which led to him being surprised by the immediacy of the pressure applied by them which led to a number of sacks for the Huskers. He needs to continue to learn how to use his eyes to deceive the defenders trying to read his eyes because right now he stares down too many receivers partially because he is still learning to read defenses and partially because of the offense that he operates. Particularly in this game, the only yardage they were able to accumulate was coming on short throws to try to get the ball out quickly due to Nebraska’s overpowering defensive line. He hasn’t really developed in this area since last season which is a little disappointing to me, but it adds credence to the idea that he would need a year or two before he could step in as a solid NFL starter.

Intangibles: Coleman still seems to have quality intangibles. His team was very overmatched in this game but he kept coming and making efforts even though literally every time his defense walked back onto the field they seemed to give up points. He is always up to the challenge of converting on 3rd downs, but doesn’t force a lot of throws into coverage which indicates pretty good decision making. He won’t just force throws into double or triple coverage which limited his options against a talented Nebraska defense. Their only touchdown drive was helped along by a big roughing the passer penalty that helped them convert on a 2nd and 10 after an incomplete pass instead of having yet another 3rd and long situation. I definitely need to see more of him from this aspect, but I’ve seen him exemplify mental toughness and perseverance before, so I know it’s there.

Character: I don’t know much about Coleman’s character, just like I don’t know an awful lot about his intangibles, but he didn’t seem frustrated or angry with his supporting cast even though they were vastly overmatched and struggled to consistently pick up yardage on early downs resulting in a lot of 2nd and 3rd and longs for him to try to convert. He seemed a bit frustrated later in the game as he continued to get hit, but by then they were so far behind that it was only natural to get a bit frustrated. He did transfer from Tennessee so I’m sure people will question how good he could really be if he couldn’t beat out Crompton back when he was a Volunteer, but that is only a minor concern in my opinion.

Overall: I was not as blown away by Coleman’s performance in this game, though he did play well overall considering the vast gap between Nebraska’s talent and the talent he had on his offense. He made good decisions, didn’t force throws into coverage, and continued to demonstrate good arm strength and accuracy. He still needs work on his pre and post snap reads and could stand to develop his mechanics further, but overall he is a solid prospect. Right now I’d grade him in the 4th round range based off of what I have seen so far, and hopefully he will merit an invite to the East-West Shrine Game so I can scout him further and potentially interview him later this year.