Tag Archive: Tyrod Taylor


Logan Thomas will be filling Tyrod Taylor's shoes at quarterback, and I have high expectations for him. He has a ton of upside.

11. Virginia Tech- A lot of people might be surprised to see VT this high, but even though they don’t often come away victorious against the best teams they are incredibly consistent and they are definitely a program that finds a way to reload versus rebuild, and that is exactly what they will be doing in lieu of losing Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and Rashad Carmichael to the NFL draft. David Wilson is ready to be the man at RB now that Williams and Evans have departed, and the word explosive might be an understatement for him. He compiled 619 rushing yards (5 TD’s), 234 receiving yards (4 TD’s) and 584 kickoff return yards (2 TD’s) on only 150 touches! That’s over 1,300 total yards on exactly 150 touches, which is pretty impressive especially in a rotational role. He will be the man now though, and Logan Thomas looked very impressive in spring ball from what I heard, and I am excited to watch him play. He looked good to me when I saw him sling the ball a couple times last year, but this will be his first season as a starter. At a listed height and weight of 6’6”, 242 pounds plus mobility he is going to be one to watch I’m sure. VT always has a fast defense and they have a few guys ready to emerge as quality pass rushers this year. J.R. Collins (a sophomore in 2011) had 5 sacks last year and apparently looked very good this spring, and I expect him to emerge as the best pass rusher on the team. Additionally, Chris Drager has shown some ability but I’m not sure whether or not he will start as a senior. And finally, James Gayle (a sophomore in 2011) had 4 sacks in limited playing time last year and should get more snaps as a part of VT’s rotation. VT also has a talented secondary, led by Jayron Hosley, a cornerback with 1st round NFL draft potential. VT is a team to watch this year, as they should contend with Florida State, Miami and hopefully North Carolina to be the top dog in the ACC.

12. Miami- I have been saying for months that I think Miami is going to be very tough this year and now it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is. They just have so much talent! It all comes down to quarterback though. I realize this might feel high, especially considering my very low opinion of Jacory Harris, but I can’t imagine that Al Golden will leave him in there too long unless he plays well. So either he plays bad for a few games, gets yanked, and Morris steps in or Harris recovers his sophomore year form and Miami immediately becomes a contender for the ACC title. But outside of QB they have a load of talent. Headlining that group are guys like Lamar Miller, Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, Blake Ayles (a transfer from USC), Olivier Vernon, Marcus Forston, Adewale Ojomo, Sam Spence, Vaughn Telemaque and Ray Ray Armstrong, among others. Their defensive line is going to be incredibly scary if they can all mesh together, because I had three or four of their defensive linemen on my list of potential breakout players this year. Vernon, Forston and Ojomo alone should guarantee a good run defense and a FIERCE pass rush, so I am very excited to see how this team does this year. They have a ton of potential, I just hope they live up to it.

I have been a Kirk Cousins fan since he was splitting time with Keith Nichol as a sophomore. Now it seems everyone is realizing what kind of a QB he is. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

13. Michigan State- Michigan State is coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Crimson Tide in their bowl game and I think they will be hungry after barely missing out on the Big-10 Championship (even though they beat the eventual winner, Wisconsin, handing them their only loss before they lost to TCU in the Rose Bowl). They return a ton of talent such as Kirk Cousins at quarterback, and three quality running backs led by Edwin Baker with Le’Veon Bell and Larry Caper providing quality touches when Baker is rotated out. They also have a game breaker in Keshawn Martin, a dangerous slot receiver and kick return man, plus B.J. Cunningham is returning. That means they will have two experienced receivers for Cousins to throw to. If their offensive line holds up they should have another very balanced attack that runs the ball effectively which opens up the play action pass, which makes them very tough to stop. On defense they will have a lot of talent up front as they started three sophomores and a freshman last year (headlined by Jerel Worthy and Tyler Hoover), and they have a huge sophomore William Gholston who is ready to step up for some playing time as well. They all have a lot of experience up front and they are young, and I think they will have no problem stuffing the run like they did last year and they should get after the passer as well. Their DL is the strength of their defensive unit, and it should make things easier for their LB’s (I believe they lost all three of their starting LB’s) and their defensive backs. Michigan State is definitely one of my favorites to win the Big-10, right up there with Wisconsin and Nebraska.

14. Nebraska- Nebraska has officially joined the Big-10 (which now has 12 teams) after leaving the Big-12 (which now has 11 teams… I think. Sometimes I can’t keep up). However, their playing style meshes perfectly with the Big-10 as they play great defense, they are physical and they love to run the ball. They are immediately contenders for the Big-10 title, but they aren’t as familiar with the conference as other teams are, so it’s hard for me to anoint them the front-runners for the conference title over teams like Wisconsin and Michigan State, who are both returning a lot of significant talent. Nebraska will be dangerous though, even without Roy Helu and Niles Paul on offense. They also have a good deal of talent on defense, headlined by Jared Crick, Lavonte David and Alfonso Dennard. They will be a fun team to watch this year, especially if Taylor Martinez can figure out how to throw the ball accurately.

Kellen Moore has one last chance to lead Boise State to a National Title or elite bowl game, but it won't be as easy as in past years.

15. Boise State- I have Boise State lower then some people do, but I have my reasons. First, they start out their season with a tough game against Georgia. Georgia may not be a powerhouse, but they are consistently competitive and even without a lot of RB help they still have a good quarterback in Aaron Murray, the best TE in the country in Orson Charles, and like all good SEC teams do they recruit well and have some nice incoming talent. With Boise State losing some of their best weapons on offense (Titus Young and Austin Pettis in particular) along with their offensive coordinator (who went to Texas) it isn’t unrealistic to expect them to be in a dog fight (pun intended) with Georgia in week one. But major props to Boise State for scheduling a legitimate out of conference opponent, because most teams don’t have the cojones to do that, especially teams from non-AQ conferences that are out of the title and elite bowl game race with just one loss. If they can get past Georgia, though, they have a shot to make it to the title game if they win out. But every year there is a scare or two, even for teams with as much experience as Boise, but Boise has the talent and they have done this enough times with Kellen Moore at the helm that I think they have a good shot at ending the season with one or no losses. I can’t wait to see the game against Georgia, I really have no idea what way that will go.

Thanks for reading my third installment of the top 25! The top 10 will be unveiled over the next two days, so check in soon!

–Tom

Advertisements

Scouting Report:

Taylor has a lot of athletic ability but I don't think he will have a lot of success as a NFL starter.

Positives: Taylor is tall enough to play quarterback in the NFL even if he doesn’t have good size for the position. He has very impressive mobility and he is incredibly elusive for a quarterback. He buys time very well with his legs whether it is inside or outside of the pocket and he has extended a lot of drives with his ability to scramble and pick up yardage. He really is a fluid athlete, especially for the QB position. He has a very strong arm, he can flick his wrist and ball just flies off of his hand. He has shown considerable improvement in each of his seasons as a starter at Virginia Tech and his accuracy has really developed a lot over his four years as a Hokie. He throws a great deep ball even if it has some air under it at times, but he places the passes very well in game situations. His accuracy has come a long way on other throws as well, plus he has shown more willingness to scan the field, step up in the pocket to buy more time to find a throwing lane, and his decision making has really matured thanks to his vast amount of starting experience. His pocket poise has developed a lot and overall he is a much more fundamentally sound player now that he has been starting for so long. I do think he has become a leader on the Hokies but I don’t know if he is a team leader that can rally the whole team to victory.

Negatives: While Taylor’s accuracy and pocket poise have really developed over his time at Virginia Tech they are still not on the level of a quality NFL starter in my opinion. Taylor’s size also hinders him as a QB because he will struggle to see over his offensive line in the NFL if he ever becomes a starter, and he doesn’t have a great feel for the pocket to move within it to find throwing lanes. His accuracy was much better this season but he will still miss throws that he should make pretty routinely. His accuracy is just not very consistent on short/intermediate levels. His anticipation isn’t very good either and I have rarely seen him “throw a receiver open” and he doesn’t go through his progressions very well. Instead he will regularly drop his eyes and look at the rush to try to escape the pocket and improvise. That really hurts him because in the NFL he won’t be able to scramble after looking at his first or maybe second read and have a lot of success. Defenses are too fast and he will be bottled up very quickly if he tries to do that. His pocket poise isn’t very good either because while he has definitely learned to stay in the pocket more and wait for routes to develop, etc. his first instinct is still to run when he is in trouble, not to step up to find a throwing lane and deliver the ball downfield. His instincts tell him to scramble, hold onto the ball longer than he should and to try to either get outside the pocket to improvise or to run and pick up yardage with his feet.

Overall: Taylor has really come a long way and has given people a lot of pause when watching tape because at first glance you think “wow, he isn’t a running quarterback anymore, he’s a passer first.” While that may be true, he still has some tendencies of a running quarterback and they hinder him as a prototypical drop-back passing prospect. He doesn’t have great anticipation on his throws, his accuracy is inconsistent and his pocket poise leaves something to be desired because he regularly leaves the pocket prematurely when he senses pressure. However, I definitely think Taylor has talent that is worth developing at QB in the NFL and I think he will at least get a shot to stick as a #3 developmental guy on a NFL roster. He has great arm strength, his accuracy has improved steadily every year at Virginia Tech and his athletic ability makes him an intriguing talent at the position. I think he can eventually be a solid back-up and potentially he could end up being a starter for a couple seasons. I don’t think he will ever be a pro-bowler, but I think he could be a solid game-manager that could extend drives with his legs and maybe make a playoff run if he has a good enough supporting cast and defense.

Projection: 5th or 6th round. This is a very weak quarterback class so Taylor might go a little higher than this, but his ceiling isn’t very high as a NFL QB and he will probably be a career back-up. I think his career could mimic that of Troy Smith from Ohio State. He will flash some ability as a starter but overall he will be viewed as a back-up in the NFL. That limits his draft stock obviously, so I think he will be a later pick.

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

Arm Strength: 4.0
Accuracy: 2.5
Mobility: 4.0
Decision Making: 3.0
Mechanics: 3.0
Pocket Awareness: 2.0
Intangibles: 3.0

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Tom

Quarterbacks:

Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware:

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

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech:

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

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy:

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

Halfbacks:

Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse:

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

Graig Cooper, RB, Miami:

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

Evan Royster, RB, Penn State:

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

Wide Receivers:

Perry Baker, WR, Fairmont State:

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

Lester Jean, WR, FAU:

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

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU:

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

Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union:

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

Terrence Turner, WR, Indiana:

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

Tight Ends:

Charles Gantt, TE, Michigan State:

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

Offensive Linemen:

David Arkin, OG, Missouri State:

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

Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson:

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

Defensive Linemen:

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond:

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

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina:

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

Linebackers:

Greg Lloyd, ILB, Connecticut:

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

Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia:

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

Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State:

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

Defensive Backs:

Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond:

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

Mario Butler, CB, Georgia Tech:

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

Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo:

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

Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami:

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

Jonathan Nelson, S, Oklahoma:

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

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

–Tom

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

Here are my current QB rankings as of early November. This list does not indicate the order that I think they will come off the board in April, but rather which I like the most at this juncture. Enjoy!

1-      Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford- Luck has a great combination of size, good arm strength, accuracy and he is a very intelligent QB. I don’t think he will come out this year but if he did I think he has the football IQ to transition effectively to the NFL, much like Mark Sanchez.

2-      Jake Locker, QB, Washington- Yes, I have Jake Locker #2 even though I have Mallett going #1 overall in my mock draft. I personally think Locker will be the better NFL player, though he will need more coaching than most probably thought after his incredible progression from his sophomore to junior year. His intangibles are just so special that a good QB coach could really make him a quality NFL starter.

3-      Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- Mallett has as much potential as any QB I have ever scouted because of his amazing arm strength and great size, but how good of a leader is he? How dependable is he late in games to make the right decisions and not turn the ball over? I don’t like his intangibles and his leadership ability and that combined with the offense he plays in, which is not preparing him for the NFL, make me doubt him as a prospect. However, that is just my opinion, and I still believe he is the odds on favorite to go #1 if Luck stays in school.

4-      Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State- I really like Cousins’ game so he stays high on my rankings. He has been effective this year, but I am a little concerned about how he played against Iowa. That was a huge game for Michigan State and he made some mistakes that led to three interceptions. However, I think he has the tools to be a good starting QB in the NFL.

5-      Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- Ponder has disappointed me in the little that I have seen him this year, but it’s not enough to drop him out of the top 5 of my rankings. I still think he will be a solid starter in the NFL, but he doesn’t look like a franchise QB to me. He is a fringe first rounder in my opinion at this point, so we will see how he does the rest of the year.

6-      Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama- McElroy has been very efficient this year but I am not sure he is much more than a solid NFL starter. I think he will be a solid mid-round pick and he seems to be very intelligent and if he had a good running game and some quality targets to throw to I think he could be an effective QB. Like Ponder I think he may be a product of the players around him rather than a Franchise QB/leader that makes the rest of his teammates better.

7-      Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho- Enderle was one of my favorite QB’s coming into the season but he has had a very down year so far involving a lot of turnovers. I’m not willing to drop him down in my rankings yet since I haven’t scouted him in any of them specifically yet. However, I have definitely been disappointed with how he has played statistically thus far this year.

8-      Cam Newton, QB, Auburn- It is hard not to rank Newton in the top 10 even though he hasn’t shown me as much as I would like to see as a passer. In my opinion Newton is performing at a level that everyone expected Terrelle Pryor to perform at. He has shown the ability to throw the ball well, but his athletic ability and smoothness as a runner is what sets him apart from other QB’s. He has a lot of improvement to make as a passer, but to produce like he has as a first year starter in the SEC is absolutely amazing to me. I really hope there isn’t anything to these allegations of taking money for signing a LOI (Letter of Intent) because he is a fun player to watch.

9-      Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- I haven’t ever seen much of Devlin, but from what I have seen he doesn’t seem to have a very strong arm but he does have pretty good accuracy. I don’t think he would be getting the same attention he has gotten from draftniks if it wasn’t for Flacco’s early success in the NFL out of Delaware, but he looks like a solid draft prospect to me.

10-   Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa- Stanzi has been statistically impressive this year and currently has the second best QB rating in the entire nation. I have not scouted him much this year, but he has had a strong statistical showing this year to be sure. In his last three important conference games against Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State he has thrown a combined nine touchdowns with no interceptions which is incredibly impressive.

11-   Stephen Garcia, QB, South Carolina- Garcia has shown some really incredible flashes, such as his 17/20 performance when the Gamecocks upset Alabama, but he has not been as consistent as I would like. In his three games since the Alabama upset he has thrown a combined five touchdowns with four interceptions and for the first time all season he completed less than 65% of his passes in a game in two of those contests. It will be interesting to see if he bounces back to finish the season strong, because right now he is a mid-round pick in my opinion.

12-   Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri- Gabbert is definitely on my radar but I would be surprised if he declared this year. He has impressive arm strength and accuracy along with good size, but he doesn’t have much in the way of mobility and I don’t like how often he is in shotgun and how much Missouri runs sets with four or five wide receivers. He definitely has NFL potential, but I think he needs to stay for his senior year to have a shot at the first round.

13-   Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma- Jones has had an incredibly productive season in his first full season as a starter and he is only a sophomore. He is playing much more efficiently, but he hasn’t been tested by many great defenses. I really wish I could see him play against Nebraska’s defense this year because they have made some really good QB prospects look like mid-round draft picks this season. He definitely has a lot of potential, but I have the same concerns about the offense he is playing in that I had with Sam Bradford.

14-   Andy Dalton, QB, TCU- Dalton has had a good statistical season but he really hasn’t played anyone outside of Oregon State in the first week, and he struggled in that game statistically. I was not impressed with Dalton at all after seeing him play against Boise State last year, so in my opinion he is a mid-late round pick in the NFL Draft. He has some redeemable talent and ability, but his ceiling is an average NFL starter. I think he may be better suited for a back-up role in the NFL, but I still need to scout him based off of his senior year tape.

15-   Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- I have a really good feel for Johnson’s game and I think he is a 4th round pick at this point, perhaps a 5th rounder, but he has good size, athletic ability and a strong enough arm to warrant development. He just puts too much touch and air under his passes, he has a hitch in his throwing motion where he dips the ball below his chest near his hip, and he has poor footwork and pocket poise. With a couple or three years of development he could potentially be a solid starter, but I think he will have a longer road to starting in the NFL than a number of QB’s that I have ranked ahead of him.

16-   Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech- Taylor has had an impressive statistical season but he has not been tested much other than the first week against Boise State and potentially against NC State. It will be interesting to see how he performs against potentially tougher ACC teams like Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, but if he continues to play well he will have a chance at the middle rounds, especially if he demonstrates some patience and pocket poise.

17-   Mike Hartline, QB, Kentucky- Hartline has been making me regret not naming him my pre-season sleeper at QB for the majority of the season. He played very well against Auburn, South Carolina and Georgia combining for over 900 passing yards and nine touchdowns with only one interception. He is having an impressive season overall, and I look forward to watching tape of him to see if he has improved on some of the things I saw him struggle with when I watched him against Alabama last year. Hopefully he keeps this up.

18-   Ben Chappell, QB, Indiana- Chappell has had a pretty solid statistical season, however those numbers are padded by games against teams like Arkansas State, Towson, Western Kentucky and Akron. He produced about 1,250 passing yards, a completion percentage of around 68% and 13 touchdowns with no interceptions in those four games. He torched Michigan for an astounding 480 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception, but he had disappointing games against Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern where he threw only two touchdowns with a combined six interceptions. He is a late round pick right now, and from what I noticed in the little I have seen him he seems to have a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion.

19-   Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada- Kaepernick is a true dual-threat QB. He is just as likely to beat you with his legs as he is with his arm. He has a strong arm, but I have never been very impressed with him as a passer. I haven’t scouted him yet this year, but I imagine his athletic ability and arm strength will warrant at least late round consideration when the Draft finally rolls around. However, I am not sold on him ever amounting into a solid starter in the NFL, therefore he will be down towards the bottom of all of my rankings.

20-   Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- Foles should be back from his injury this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how he finishes his junior season out. When I have seen him play I have noticed him staring down his receivers quite frequently which worries me as far as his transition to the NFL is concerned. He has good size and a nice arm, but I worry about the offense he plays in and how often he stares down his primary receiver.

21-   Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State- Pryor is an incredibly gifted player, but he still seems like an athlete playing quarterback to me. He has definitely shown signs of improvement this year, but at the end of the day they are just signs. I think if he comes out after his junior season he will get drafted higher than he deserves, but that doesn’t mean he will pan out obviously. He might have a higher ceiling at wide receiver in the NFL than he does at QB, but that is an entirely different can of worms.

22-   Mitch Mustain, QB, Southern Cal- Mustain has been residing low on my rankings all year, and it’s hard to say that he should be much higher considering how limited his playing time has been at Southern Cal, but I think he has the tools to be a successful back-up QB and if he is developed for three or four years I think he would have a shot at being a solid starter in the NFL. He has a lot of experience in a pro-style offense and that will help his transition to the next level.

23-   Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin- Tolzien is nothing more than a game manager at Wisconsin, but he does a good job of avoiding mistakes and he has shown some added ability to make throws on 3rd down this year when they need a conversion. He isn’t going to be much more than a back-up on the next level in my opinion, but I think he could be a solid back-up who could step in and manage the game should the starter go down.

24-   T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina- Yates is barely on this list and it is only because he has shown flashes of ability this year. I don’t think he deserves to be drafted at this point, and his ceiling is probably a #3 or at best a #2 in the NFL.

25-   Justin Roper, QB, Montana- Roper is a guy who has impressive size but I have not been able to see him play. He has pretty impressive stats even though he is playing at the Division II level, but I look forward to being able to see his arm strength, throwing motion and overall mechanics if Montana is ever televised nationally. A guy with his size and production warrants some consideration.

I took some notes on the game and I also just had some overall reactions to some players that I paid attention to in the game. Obviously I can’t project them accurately after watching them live one time, but I have a feeling for some of the players that participated in this game as prospects so I thought I would post some notes on them. Hopefully you all find them interesting!

Taylor started off strong but struggled when he was forced to pick apart zone coverage.

Tyrod Taylor showing nice zip on his throws and making good, quick decisions on the first drive. He threw an absolutely beautiful pass to the sideline and Jarrett Boykin high pointed it and made a great catch on the sideline. He showed great hands and ability to make a catch in traffic here. I really like Boykin as a NFL receiver.

Taylor in shotgun, they brought pressure and Tyrod got out of trouble and extended the play. He’s not really one to stay in the pocket in the face of pressure which makes him hard to project to the NFL.

Tyrod has good arm strength and zip on his throws, even when on the run.Tyrod has spent a lot of time scrambling in this game. I like seeing him extending plays and drives with his feet but I wanted to see him stay in the pocket and go through his progressions more.

Tyrod really cooled off when GT started dropping 7 or 8 into coverage with a spy on him. He was forced to make quick reads and deliver the ball fast but he would hold the ball too long and turn it into a broken play by scrambling. There were a few plays where he literally had ALL day to throw but he did not look effective trying to beat GT’s zone coverage at all. It’s good that he can extend plays, but he has shown a strong tendency to hold onto the ball too long instead of delivering it in rhythm.

Williams looked like his pre-injury self at times in this game, but I wonder if he will declare because of his "down" year as a result of injury.

Ryan Williams showed flashes of his former self tonight. He looked a little big to me on TV, I’d be interested to see if he is at his normal playing weight. Maybe that is just me. He looked quick through and showed some nice vision and good quickness/burst. I want to see him run inside more but obviously I haven’t seen much of him this year because of his hamstring. From what I remember he looked like a very effective inside runner to me.

Darren Evans looked solid, but didn’t look like anything special. He is a hard runner but I’d be surprised if he clocked in at anything under a 4.5 in the 40. He didn’t have a great rushing average but he got what yards he could and he didn’t go down on the first hit. He struggled on the goal line but that was because of the penetration GT’s defensive line was getting, that is on the offensive line. That hurt his average as well. He looks like a mid-round pick to me right now, but that was definitely based off of limited viewing of him.

David Wilson definitely looked good to me. He looks like he has a lot of potential as a 3rd down back in the NFL. I’d like to see him catch more passes out of the backfield, but obviously this was a limited viewing of him. But as he gains more experience I really think he could be a valuable commodity when he comes out. He is so dangerous as a return-man, plus he runs the ball effectively… if he develops into a dangerous receiver out of the backfield then he would be potentially as dangerous as C.J. Spiller. He had a huge impact on the game with his rushing touchdown and his ultimately game winning kick off return for a score.

Boykin is the best of the trio of Virginia Tech receivers in my estimation. He has good hands and can make tough catches in traffic.

Jarrett Boykin looked good to me. He can make tough catches in traffic, he has huge strong, reliable hands and he is Taylor’s most reliable target in my opinion. I really like him as a NFL prospect, but he doesn’t look like much more than a #2 WR in my opinion. He has a lot of talent though and as he improves his route running I think he will develop into a reliable NFL target. Guys with his combination of size, hands and ability to make catches in traffic when high-pointing the ball are valuable.

Antoine Hopkins, #56 at DT for Virginia Tech, impressed me last night. He made a few stops right at the line of scrimmage, and coming into the game he had 20 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 pass break-up and 1 QB hurry. He was definitely having a strong game in the middle, and he looks like a nice NT prospect to me and he is only a sophomore. I need to see more of him obviously, but he is definitely on my radar. He is a squatty player at 6’1”, 302 pounds but he had a good game last night to be sure.

Rashad Carmichael had a solid game. I didn’t see how well he supported the run against the triple option, but when he was challenged in coverage he gave up a 43 yard completion and then made the game clinching interception later on that same drive. Every corner is going to give up some catches, even some big ones, but I like to see corners that can make a mistake and move on from it and not let one mistake lead to another and another. He was out of position on the play when he made his interception but he closed on the ball quickly and showed an impressive burst to close and he turned his head around just in time to make the interception. He is having a strong statistical season, but I really think he could be a great corner in a primarily zone scheme. I haven’t seen him enough in man coverage to evaluate him well, but he strikes me as a very dangerous corner in zone because of his ball skills and because of how well he closes on the ball.

Hosley has a lot of talent and he is a dangerous punt returner.

Jayron Hosley looked good to me as well. He is only a sophomore but he has a lot of talent. He is having a good season statistically but really he has had one incredible game against NC State in which he had 3 INT’s and 4 passes deflected. He is a talented player though, and I liked what I saw from him as a returner. He is really quick and he can make a lot of guys miss once he gets a block or two. He has to be more consistent in coverage because he likes to gamble from what I can tell, so that means he will give up big plays but also make them. I am excited to continue to watch him mature because he has 1st round talent without a doubt.

I liked what I saw from senior safety Davon Morgan, #2 on Virginia Tech. He looks much bigger on TV than he is listed as he is listed at 6’0”, 196 pounds. I would have guessed that he was 6’3” the way he looked on TV. He is having a productive season from a tackling standpoint, but he made a nice play on the ball in the game last night to make a game-changing interception. I think at worst he will be a solid special teams player in the NFL, but I haven’t seen enough of him to know how reliable of a tackler he is and to see how he is in coverage. Georgia Tech is not a good team to evaluate DB’s against.

Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech’s best receiver, did not really impress me much last night. He seems to be more of a finesse player than Demaryius Thomas was, but he did not make a catch in traffic last night that hit him in the hands and that was disappointing. He was also hurt on the play, and I’m not sure he returned for more than a few snaps the rest of the game. I would have liked to see more toughness than that, but I definitely want to see more from him before I will be sold on him.

I don't know how well Anthony Allen will transition to the NFL because I question his vision as a runner.

Anthony Allen had a productive game, but Georgia Tech’s triple option offense makes it hard for me (and a lot of other people) to evaluate their running backs. Allen is filling in for Jonathan Dwyer this year, and he is doing a good job of it, but the position does not seem to require the vision that a typical running back would need since the quarterback is the player who has to read his keys and decide whether to hand the ball off or keep it. If Allen gets the ball he just runs to the hole and gets what yardage he can, he doesn’t have to have great or even good vision to be effective. He has ability, but I’m not sure he can effectively translate to a pro-style offense at running back. Dwyer has not made an impact on the Steelers at all this season, and after falling to the 6th round I don’t think Allen will be facing a very favorable panel of suitors when the draft finally rolls around. Dwyer has not transitioned well to the NFL, so there isn’t a lot of evidence to suggest that Allen will.

Nesbitt will have a tough transition to the NFL, but I think he has the size, athleticism and vision to transition to RB in the NFL at some point.

Josh Nesbitt is an interesting prospect. He absolutely will not be playing QB on the next level, but today one of my good friends asked me if I thought he might be able to play running back. And honestly, I think he has the potential to do so. It would require a good deal of patience on someone’s part, and he might have to take part in a couple of mini-camps and training camps before he finally got a roster spot, but he has good size at 6’1”, 217 pounds and he packs some punch as a runner. He has good vision and he reads keys well or else Georgia Tech’s offense would not be nearly as effective as it is with him at Quarterback. The transition will be a big one, but as a late round pick I definitely think he will get some consideration. He has the size, the athleticism and the vision to contribute at running back in the NFL, so the only question will be how well or quickly he can transition to the pro-style offenses in the NFL.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed the notes, thanks for reading!

–Tom

Hey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since my last post. When I got my computer fixed it seems that all of the games I had downloaded from last year that I planned on re-watching to get a better feel for a lot of seniors and juniors before the season started have either been lost or they are in a very different folder or location on my hard drive than they were before. I tend to believe they are deleted, which is too bad. But I have also been very busy because I just got back to college a week ago so I have been adjusting to that, settling in to my new room, and obviously working for my football team here. I attend Beloit College and the football team here is Division III, but I love working for the team filming their games. They’ve come a long way since I got to campus, so I am excited for their season to start as well as Division I ball and the NFL regular season obviously.

Anyways, those are my excuses for not posting lately. Hopefully they are good enough for you so you keep coming back and reading my blog! I am quite unhappy that I lost all of those games that I downloaded, but I’ll get over it.

I figured that I would tide you all over to my next scouting report or game-breakdown with some rankings. Here are my updated QB rankings as of today, August 25th, for Seniors and Juniors that are probable to be in the NFL Draft. That obviously does not include Andrew Luck, a redshirt sophomore QB at Stanford, but I think it would be a mistake if he left even after a great sophomore season, so I won’t involve him in these rankings even though he has 1st round potential. Here you go! Enjoy!

QB Rankings- 8.18.2010

Mallett has as much potential as any NFL QB I have ever seen, and ultimately I think his combination of size and arm strength will result in him being the first QB drafted.

1- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- I know I am ranking Mallett #1 on my rankings, but I am not on the Mallett bandwagon yet. Mallett has an absolutely amazing arm and he can make just about any throw you ask of him and it will have zip on it. I have seen him throw lasers off balance without his feet set, which speaks to his outrageous arm strength. He can put the ball where-ever he wants it, but sometimes his accuracy will falter and he will sail passes high or miss a receiver. Some think that has to do with his accuracy, but I think his accuracy is quite impressive. I think the issue is with his footwork. He throws off his back foot, without his feet set, his drops don’t look very good to me and he generally gets away with not having polished footwork and fundamentals because of his absurd arm strength and his naturally talented arm for putting passes where he wants to. But if he wants to improve his accuracy and become an elite QB prospect like so many seem to think he already is then he needs to improve his footwork considerably in my opinion. I personally think Mallett will end up being the first QB selected for a few reasons. First, everyone loves a big arm and Mallett has one of the best arm’s I have ever seen. He can make any throw and he can put a lot of zip on anything he wants to. Second, he has great size to go along with his arm strength. Being able to see over the offensive linemen in front of him so he can read a defense at his height and size makes him even more intriguing. The third thing is a combination of the previous two: Potential. He has absolutely sky-high potential, even if I don’t think he’s a very safe prospect at this point. If he can polish up his fundamentals and develop before he declares after his junior year (in all likelihood) then he could very well be the #1 overall pick in the draft. He just has so much potential. But I am always wary of those types of players because it seems that so often players with Mallett’s ceiling get drafted assuming they will get there and then they never do. But he is my #1 QB right now because I think this could very well be where he ends up. Plus I don’t think it will be possible for Locker to live up to the hype he has gotten as the potential #1 overall pick. He is slightly more safe than Mallett in my opinion, but he doesn’t have the same potential. I just doubt that he will progress as much this year as he did between his sophomore and junior season, which makes me think he will inevitably fall.

Ponder is a safe pick in my opinion, but I think he has the potential to be a quality QB in the NFL.

2- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- I am a big Christian Ponder supporter despite being a huge UNC Tar Heels fan. He led a pretty amazing comeback against my Heels last year as a Junior, and I think he is going to have a great senior season leading a potentially explosive offense at FSU, and if he improves again between his junior and senior seasons and plays like he did against UNC last year more often this year then I think he will be a top 15 pick. He has the ability to be a very good NFL QB in my opinion. Some will be surprised that I have him over Locker, but I think Ponder is more NFL ready even if he doesn’t have the same potential that Mallett and Locker have. I am very close to sold on Ponder, so I am very excited to see how he plays this year.

3- Jake Locker, QB, Washington-  If Locker takes strides similar to what he did last year again this year then I think it will be hard to argue against picking him in the top 5. I just don’t think that is realistic since he looked like a totally different QB last year than he did in his first two seasons. He definitely has things to improve on, like stepping into all of his throws, not taking unnecessary chances and just throwing the ball away, going through his progressions and using his eyes to deceive the defense. I can’t wait to see how he does this year, but it seems to be a trend that the #1 rated QB or prospect in general tends to have an underwhelming senior year. Hopefully that isn’t the case with Locker. Though I could definitely see him “sliding” if he doesn’t improve as much as some expect, but unfortunately that is what I expect will happen. Some prospects get over-analyzed when they come back for another year like Locker did, and while I think it will give scouts more time to nit-pick at his game, he has also been compared to John Elway, he has been deemed the mostly likely #1 overall selection in the draft, and everyone seems to be expecting him to progress as much this year as he did the year before. That isn’t fair, but I don’t think he will be able to live up to those lofty expectations this year. On the plus side for a team in the mid 1st-round that needs a QB, Locker may just be available and he could end up being the best one out of Mallett, Ponder and himself. We will have to see what happens, but I expect Locker’s stock to drop.

Enderle has a lot of potential in my opinion, and I think he uses his eyes as well as any QB in this draft class. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

4- Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho- I watched a couple of Enderle’s games last season and I was incredibly impressed. He has good arm strength, good accuracy, he is pretty fundamentally sound and runs a pro-style offense at Idaho. He not only showed great ability to use his eyes, go through his progressions and make good decisions in the games I watched, but he led the crucial 4th quarter drive to win the game against Bowling Green with a touchdown with well under a minute left in the game and then a two point conversion to win it. It was truly a spectacle to watch and it made me a believer in him. I can’t wait to see what he does as a Senior. Hopefully he manages to overcome losing four of his five starting offensive linemen from last season and show everyone what I saw when I watched his games from last season. If he was more under the radar he would absolutely be my sleeper, but I’d feel like a cheater since I think he has already demonstrated how good he can be.

5- Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State- I really like Cousins but I don’t think he would get drafted before the 3rd round if he came out this season. I am probably much higher on him than anyone else at this point, but that isn’t what matters to me. I’m not afraid to go out on a limb and that is why I have Cousins this high. He runs a pro-style offense and Michigan State, he had 19 touchdowns and only nine interceptions as a sophomore and he wasn’t even the full time starter since Keith Nichol (who has since changed positions to wide receiver) was worked in fairly regularly, even after Cousins got the starting nod. He nearly won the game for Michigan State against Notre Dame with a late touchdown drive, and has shown poise and good decision making when I’ve seen him. He had his ups and downs as a first year starter, but I think he has the potential to be a very good NFL QB. He has mobility to run and extend plays, he has pretty good arm strength and accuracy, he is the leader of the offense and will be a three time captain by the time he is a Senior (assuming he stays) and he has produced. If he can step it up against the big time Big 10 teams this year (like Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and in addition Notre Dame) and play better in those games then he will really legitimize himself as a NFL prospect in my opinion. He is definitely my sleeper in the junior QB class, and I have been high on him since last fall when I saw him play against Notre Dame. We will have to see how he does this year, but I expect him to improve quite a bit. That is why I have him so high on my rankings.

Johnson has potential because of his arm strength and athleticism, but he needs to refine his mechanics and streamline his throwing motion.

6- Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- I am not the biggest fan of Jerrod Johnson, but I think as a developmental QB he could be well worth a 3rd-4th round pick. I have Devlin rated below him for the time being because I have only seen limited footage of him whereas I have a pretty good feel for what Johnson is capable of since I have seen him play a number of times, both live and when I am specifically scouting him. He has impressive arm strength, good athleticism and good size, but his throwing motion is a little off and he tends to dip the ball below his chest before he releases the ball. He needs to polish his footwork a lot and overall his mechanics aren’t very impressive to me. I have him over Devlin right now because he has more athletic ability and arm strength than Devlin does accuracy and experience as far as scanning the field and going through progressions.

7- Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- I haven’t seen Devlin play a whole game, but I have watched all the footage of him that I could and he looks like a solid QB prospect to me. He has a clean release, solid arm strength and impressive accuracy. He does a nice job on touch throws, but also shows some zip on passes to the sideline. He throws some nice ropes to the sideline. They aren’t going 100 mph, but they aren’t hanging in the air too long as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen him go through many progressions though, which is concerning. He usually stares a receiver down and either throws it to him, scrambles or checks down from what I have seen of him. Hopefully I will be able to see him play in a couple of full length games during his senior season, but from what I can tell he is going to be a developmental guy because he runs a lot of spread formations, not to mention he doesn’t look like he goes through his progressions well, he doesn’t use his eyes well and I think his footwork needs to be improved. If he had a stronger arm, better footwork or if he scanned the field better I think I might have rated him higher than Jerrod Johnson, but Johnson’s athletic ability and arm strength make him a more valuable prospect based off of what I have seen.

Dalton didn't impress me against Boise State, but he has an opportunity to redeem himself as a senior. Especially now that TCU is ranked high enough that an undefeated season could mean a BCS Championship birth.

8- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU- I’m not very high on Dalton, but from what I understand he is a pretty good leader and he has had a great career at TCU. I was not impressed with him against Boise State at all, but I understand that was one of his less impressive games so I don’t want to judge him just off of that game. I think he has the potential to get drafted in the 4th-5th round right now but I haven’t seen enough of him to evaluate him the way I would normally like. It will be interesting to see how he does this year because TCU will have a chance to get into the National Championship game if they go undefeated. I look forward to seeing how he does against Oregon State in week one.

9- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech- I wrote up a post on Tyrod Taylor earlier in the summer and I have to say I think he has progressed a lot since he had his redshirt taken off and he started to electrify Virginia Tech again. He looks like a QB who can run well rather than a runner who can pass well, which I can’t say I ever thought I would say about Tyrod. He still has progress he can make obviously, but he has come so far in the last few years that it’s hard for me to say that he won’t be drafted in the 5th-6th round range at this point. I think he will have a good senior season, and if he does I would be shocked if he didn’t get drafted. I am very interested to see how he does in arguably the most important season of his career.

Pryor has a lot of potential, but he needs to play like he did in the Rose Bowl more consistently if I am going to buy him as a quality NFL QB Prospect. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

10- Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State- I would have been hard pressed to put Pryor in my top 15 QB’s before I watched him against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, but he made me pause and actually consider him as a potential QB after I saw that game. If he plays more consistently like that then he will definitely move up on my rankings. However, before that I thought he was an absolute joke of a Quarterback, so I am definitely not ready to say that he has arrived and will take the Nation by storm. He has great size and sky-high potential because of his incredible athletic ability, but he is still a great athlete that can play QB to me, not a great QB with incredible athletic ability for the position. It will be interesting to see how he does this year, but I can’t say I expect him to play consistently well like he did in the Rose Bowl last year, so that is why I have him at 10 as of now.

11- John Brantley, QB, Florida- I know that John Brantley doesn’t have much experience, and I know he hasn’t led his team to a lot of wins like Stanzi, McElroy or Tolzien have, but I think Brantley has the ability to be a quality QB prospect. I have watched all of the footage of him that I can find, from the Spring Game this past summer to any throw I could find of him on YouTube. What I see is a pretty good athlete, a guy with good size, a strong arm with good zip on his throws, good accuracy (in the clips I have seen, which I admit have been limited), and even the ability to go through a couple of his progressions. That impressed me because he did as good of a job, if not better, of doing that than Tebow did. I think Brantley has one of the toughest jobs in the entire Nation this year replacing a local and national legend in Tim Tebow at QB of the Gators, so it will be really interesting to see how he handles replacing him on and off the field, because that is a lot to live up to. I think he can do it though, so it will be interesting to see how he plays this season. I think he will have a good first season as a starter, personally.

Stanzi is a solid QB, but he has never impressed me whether I saw him live or on game tape. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

12- Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa- Some are higher on Stanzi than I, but I am not a big fan of him. He runs a pro-style offense, or something similar to a pro-style, but he throws a lot of shorter throws and I am not very impressed with his arm strength, the zip he puts on throws and he makes some bad reads and forces throws into coverage at times. It will be interesting to see how he does without his security blanket Tony Moeaki lining up with him this year. He has some weapons he can take advantage of, so I expect him to have a good year, but I don’t know how much of a leader he is, how good of an arm he has or how well he reads a defense. To me he is a 6th round pick right now, because he has proved he can win and produce when he has to, especially late in games, which is something that has always impressed me. Delivering when the game is on the line is the ultimate test of a quarterback’s competence in my opinion, or of any other position. We will have to see how Stanzi does this year, but I’m not a big fan.

13- Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama- McElroy has some poise, but to me he isn’t much more than a game manager. He’s a pretty good one though, because without some of the throws he made over the course of the season I don’t think Alabama would have won the National Championship. But in my estimation he was just a cog that had to do it’s job for the team to win, not a key piece. He doesn’t look like he has a very strong arm, he isn’t overly accurate, he isn’t a fiery leader, he doesn’t have great size, and I’ve never seen him take over a game when his team needs him to. He has put some nice drives together, but they aren’t drives that make me say “Wow, now that is a good quarterback.” They are drives that make me say “Wow, that is a good team.” It will be interesting to see how McElroy does this year, but I don’t have very high expectations for him to be honest.

14- Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin- Tolzien is a solid QB, but he is nothing special in my opinion. That certainly endears him to Wisconsin fans though, because he is leaps and bounds better than recent QB’s they have had, like Sherer or Evridge for example. He has solid arm strength and accuracy, he has decent size and athleticism, but he isn’t overly poised and doesn’t read defenses particularly well in my opinion. But that was his first season as a starter, so it will be interesting to see how he looks with a year under his belt as he auditions for a potential job in the NFL. He could make a career out of being a back-up, so it will be interesting to see how he does.

Mustain may not be a starter at USC, but that doesn't mean he isn't talented. I think he is worth a 7th round pick at this point, and if he performs well in mop-up duty and posteason games... he could move up even higher.

15- Mitch Mustain, QB, Southern Cal- Mustain is definitely under the radar, but before he transferred from Arkansas he was a starter as a freshman and he wasn’t half bad from what I understand. He could have been a four year starter had he seen eye to eye with Houston Nutt, but he went to USC and has been a back-up ever since. However, he definitely flashed ability when he threw five touchdowns in USC’s Spring Game, so hopefully he will get to play in garbage time so I can see his mechanics, his arm strength, accuracy, and everything else. Hopefully Matt Barkley doesn’t get hurt, but USC has said that they would be comfortable handing Mustain the reigns to the offense, which is high praise considering how bad Aaron Corp looked in a reserve role last season. Mustain said that he received 10 offers to leave USC after the two year postseason ban was announced, but he elected to stay at USC because he wants to master the pro-style offense they run so he can adjust to the NFL quickly. That kind of maturity is impressive, and that makes me like him. I think he is definitely worth a 7th round pick at this point, and if he looks good in postseason games… he could be worth even more.

16- Ben Chappell, QB, Indiana- Chappell is definitely flying under the radar right now, but I spent a good deal of time figuring out whatever I could about him and seeing all the footage of him I can without having a game on my hard drive to evaluate him. He has a bit of a hitch in his throwing motion which is a little concerning, but I am seriously considering him as my sleeper QB for the Senior class. I think he has the potential to move up boards and get drafted, but I can’t rank him above other QB’s that I have seen and gotten a feel for before I have seen him play an entire full length game. As it stands now I have only seen selective clips of him. But he seems to be a good leader and he has a pretty strong arm along with solid size and production. It will be interesting to see how he does this year, I am excited to see him play an entire game.

Harris needs to learn to put zip on his throws, because he will struggle mightily in the NFL if he puts as much air under his passes as he did last year.

17- Jacory Harris, QB, Miami- Harris is a good QB, but at this point I don’t think he is good enough that I would draft him over any of the Seniors I have ranked ahead of him. He needs to continue to progress and work on some of his issues, like his throwing motion, his release point, and the amount of touch he puts on all of his throws. I don’t know if he will ever stop putting that much touch on his passes, and that really hurts his potential in the NFL in my opinion. There are times that you need to put some zip on a throw to get it completed, but Harris either doesn’t understand that or he can’t do it, and neither is a good thing. It will be interesting to see how well he does this season, but I think that he has a lot to work on and that is why I ranked him so low.

18- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri- Gabbert has good size and solid arm strength and accuracy, but he just doesn’t “wow” me in any aspect to be honest. He plays in a spread, had good production and in general performed decently last year. I don’t think he’s a very special prospect, so as a junior if he came out I don’t think he’d get drafted before any of the guys I listed who, for the most part, have more experience and potential. I look forward to watching him to see if he develops into a better passer as a junior though.

19- Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU- Jefferson has a lot of athletic ability along with good size and arm strength but his accuracy is inconsistent and something about his throwing motion looks off. It looks slow to me and I wonder how much it can be tweaked to speed it up. He has never impressed me that much, but he still has potential and that is why he made my list. I wonder how he will look this year, but I hope he will continue to develop and learn to make better decisions and place the ball better.

20- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- I had Foles much higher on this list but then I saw his throws against USC and I lost a lot of confidence in him. He checked down a lot, he stared his receivers down on almost every snap, and he generally looked unimpressive. Perhaps he will prove me wrong for ranking him this low this season if he holds onto the starting spot and learns to read defenses better, but I am not really holding my breath on that. I will still watch him, but I don’t expect to see anything special. He was productive last year, but if he can’t read a defense then it doesn’t really matter how productive he is: he won’t make it on the next level.

Again, I am sorry about the long time between these posts. I’ve been working a lot for the football team here and it has just been a busy couple of weeks for me. Hopefully this will tide you over until my next post. Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Hey everybody, sorry I haven’t put up a new post in so long. I have been busy at my internship lately and I haven’t had time to break down any new games or do much work on my watch list. I am very nearly done with the offense though, so more rankings are sure to come.

Today though, I decided to break down the Senior class of QB’s. I got a number of comments about my QB rankings, and I decided that I may have involved too many underclassmen in my rankings. I only did so because I think that those QB’s will very likely be better than most of the QB’s that are currently Seniors, but since a number of those QB’s won’t be in this draft class I thought I would start out with a more basic ranking system- Just Seniors. So here it is!

QB Senior Class Rankings:

1- Jake Locker, QB, Washington- This is closer than you might think, but I think that if Locker can take more significant strides forward this year, similar to what he did last year, then he will end up being a very high first round pick. He probably has the best odds, at least right now, of going #1 overall. He has an extremely high ceiling and I have no reason to think he won’t continue to improve, so he gets the nod over Ponder here.

2- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State- There isn’t much doubt in my mind about this one. I was very impressed by what I saw from Ponder last year, and I think he will continue to improve this season as well. I personally think FSU’s offense could be extremely explosive, and that certainly has a lot to do with Ponder’s development. If he continues to play very well and very efficiently at QB then I think his stock will shoot up, and he could very well be a top 15 or maybe even top 10 pick.

3-Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware- I have only seen some clips of Devlin on youtube, but they are pretty impressive. From what I have seen, he seems to have very impressive touch on his passes, he does a good job of moving in the pocket to find throwing lanes and does a good job of checking down and not forcing passes downfield. What he needs to show me is how well he can go through his progressions (because he was mostly going to his first read or checking down to his back) and how much zip he can put on more difficult, NFL throws. He shows impressive accuracy and touch, but you can’t get by on that alone in the NFL. He threw a couple passes that were good, NFL throws, but it was a little hard to tell how much zip he had on each pass. If he can show me that good, NFL zip on his throws then he could very well be an early 2nd round pick. Without it, he will probably be a 4th round selection.

4- Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho- I have yet to see him play for a full game, but I saw him play a bit when I was looking at Mike Iupati last year (Iupati played OG on Idaho). He has good size, seems to have good arm strength but I was most impressed with what I saw of him against Bowling Green, where he led a very late comeback and ultimately won the game 43-42 after Idaho converted a two point conversion with four seconds left. He threw the touchdown pass to set up the tie and showed good poise and patience in the pocket on the two point conversion as he found his WR in the back of the end zone for the win. I am excited to watch him play and take more copious notes, and I want to see what he does this year. But I really think he has NFL potential based off of the little I have seen.

5- Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M- I have seen Johnson at his best when he was going blow for blow with Texas and Colt McCoy in a 49-39 shootout. He went 26/33, had 342 yards passing, 97 yards rushing and threw four touchdowns on the day with one interception against a very good Texas defense and secondary. That was really impressive to me, but he still has some things he needs to improve on. Personally I think he is more of a mid-round selection, but he has good size, mobility and arm strength, so there is plenty of talent worth developing. He doesn’t go through progressions well and his footwork and mechanics are still a work in progress, but that can be coached up. As a mid-round selection he presents good value, but I would be a little surprised to see him creep into the 3rd round unless he shows significant progression in going through his reads and in his footwork as a senior.

6- Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama- I honestly didn’t anticipate McElroy being this high on my list, but I have seen more of him than I have of Dalton, Mustain or a couple other players, so I am rather comfortable with what he can do. He may not ever be a great NFL starter, but I do think he can start in the NFL and that makes him stick out among many of the remaining senior QB’s on this list. He has proved to be a competent game manager at Alabama, and even though he has it pretty easy on offense with Mark Ingram, a good offensive line and Julio Jones he has needed to step up at times too, and step up he has. If McElroy was as bad as some say he is Alabama wouldn’t have gone undefeated and won the National Championship last year. Yes, there are definitely better QB’s than McElroy, a number of them are on this list, but he has been effective enough at Alabama that he will get a chance to make a team as their #3 much like his predecessor John Parker Wilson did with the Atlanta Falcons. If he can grow into a more critical role this year it will only help his NFL prospects, but I’m not sure he will ever be more than a game manager and a late round pick.

7- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech- Tyrod is a player I would not have placed this high on this list a few months ago, but he belongs this high now. I saw him take great strides as a junior, and that culminated in his impressive performance against Tennessee in Virginia Tech’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl win. You can see my analysis of that game below this post. In any event, Tyrod still needs development but he has come a long way in his time at Virginia Tech and at this point he definitely warrants a 6th-7th round pick, and I think a strong senior season could improve those prospects.

8- Andy Dalton, QB, TCU- Dalton is a relative unknown to me, but I do have a game of him to watch so I will make sure I take a look at that. I know he had a very ugly game against Boise State that involved three interceptions (that is the game I have to re-watch, so that probably won’t be pretty) but I need to see Dalton excel when he is tested with similar competition to his own TCU team. He was tested against Boise State and the results were not promising. I think he will have a good year as a senior, but until he proves he makes his team better and that he doesn’t wilt in the face of great opposition he will not be worth much more than a  late round pick or a UDFA pick-up.

9- Mitch Mustain, QB, Southern Cal- Mustain is an interesting case because he looked like he was going to get off to a roaring start when he was a freshman at Arkansas but apparently there was some kind of a falling out between him and Coach Houston Nutt, and ultimately he transferred to USC. There he was unable to win the starting job when Barkley, Corp and he were competing for it, and now he is the primary back-up to Barkley. He clearly has ability as he was 8-0 as a freshman starter at Arkansas and he threw five touchdowns in the USC Spring game this year, so it will be interesting to see if he gets any snaps this year in garbage time or if he is forced to step in for Barkley because of injury, though hopefully Barkley stays healthy. In any event, Mustain clearly has the ability to play at this level, the only question is whether that ability projects to the NFL. It will be hard to say if we don’t see him play at all, but I think it’s safe to say that Mustain warrants a 7th round pick and if not that he should be a priority free agent signing, because I think he can make a NFL team as a #3 or as a practice squad player.

10- Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa- Stanzi is a guy that I am not a big fan of. He wins a lot and he was clutch last year, but I was never impressed with him when I watched him play. I saw him play live against Wisconsin and though they won that game I feel that it was more because of inept defense than because Stanzi played extremely well. All Iowa ran was quick slants and quick outs and the Badgers never got up on the line to press them and disrupt their routes, and seemed content to let Stanzi just pick them apart the whole way downfield before he would take a deep shot to keep the defense honest. It was very frustrating to watch since I was rooting for the Badgers, but it wasn’t particularly impressive on Stanzi’s behalf either. He will need to show me a lot as a senior to make me think he warrants a late draft selection at all.

11- Case Keenum, QB, Houston- Keenum is relatively well known because he puts up video-game like numbers at Houston, but the fact is he operates out of a spread offense and isn’t ready for the NFL at all at this point. Perhaps he will take some strides in this direction as a senior, but the offense he runs is not preparing him to make the jump to the NFL at all. So even if he is accurate and does have decent arm strength, it won’t matter. He will very likely fall out of the draft just like Graham Harrell did because he was a system QB and didn’t have the size or arm strength to make the transition out of the spread and into a pro-style NFL offense.

12- Mike Hartline, QB, Kentucky- I wanted to rate Hartline higher than this, but it was hard to do since he has been so inconsistent and he also has had some trouble with injuries. There is something about him that makes me think he could be a potential sleeper though, so I will say that I think Hartline could move up boards and end up getting drafted with a good performance as a senior. He has good size and the Kentucky passing offense just isn’t as effective without him. I will be looking to see how he does this year and will probably watch a couple of his games to see if his potential sleeper status is justified. At this point though, his best shot is being a UDFA. That could change, though.

13- Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin- Tolzein looks like Peyton Manning compared to what Wisconsin dealt with in 2008 when Adam Evridge was playing QB, but he has still not proved enough to me as far as the NFL goes to warrant being drafted. I do think he would get signed as a UDFA at this point, but I need to see more progression as a senior if he is going to sneak into the later portion of the NFL Draft.

14- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada- I will say outright that I am not a fan of Kaepernick at all. He and Nevada have a great rushing offense and that is all well and good, but I am not impressed with Kaepernick’s passing at all. He has good numbers, but I don’t think he projects to be a draftable QB in the NFL at all. If he shows me something as a senior that could change, but as of now he is just a great runner with great size who can throw too.

15- Kevin Riley, QB, California- Kevin Riley was a guy who I thought could be much higher on this list before I watched him play last season. However, he really disappointed me when I watched him play against USC. Even with Jahvid Best he didn’t play up to my expectations. It will be interesting to see how he does as a senior, but I can’t imagine he will play any better now that Best has gone on to the NFL. Riley was very disappointing to me, and if he has a year like last season he will likely only get UDFA offers.

Taylor Potts, the QB from Texas Tech, warrants an honorable mention here because I like his toughness, his intelligence and he played well as a first year starter the year after Graham Harrell graduated, but like Harrell he will likely be unable to shed the “system QB” tag and will go undrafted. Whether he sticks with a NFL team or moves on to the CFL or another league is up to him, though.

So there you are, my top 15 senior QB’s for 2010. Hopefully that was a good read, and again I am sorry that I have not been posting as regularly as I have been previously.

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

Upon request I watched this game again, but I am glad I watched it because I got to see Tyrod Taylor play in his final game of his junior year, plus I wanted to have some notes on the various Virginia Tech players who are young and up and coming. There were also a few of these guys on Tennessee. There aren’t a lot of guys who are going to graduate and enter the draft next year on either team (aside from Tyrod Taylor on the Hokies and Luke Stocker, Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore on the Volunteers), but it was still interesting to see a lot of the young players on either side. Here is my write-up on Virginia Tech and Tennessee:

I liked a lot of what I saw in this game and I was glad I rewatched it and didn’t just pay attention to one player like I had in previous viewings. First and foremost I was concerned with watching Tyrod Taylor to get a feel for how far he had come as a QB since he got the redshirt taken off of him a couple years ago. Overall I was impressed, because he has really come a long way as a passer in his time at Virginia Tech. The comparisons to Mike Vick are inevitable because they are both scramblers, they both play at Virginia Tech, and both are arguably as good at running as they are at passing (if not better at times in their careers).

Tyrod Taylor showed better accuracy, timing and patience from the pocket in this game.

However, I think Tyrod is much more advanced from a passing standpoint than Mike Vick was during his time at Virginia Tech. I took particular note of every throw he made in this game, and he flashed the ability to use his eyes to keep safeties and DB’s honest before delivering the throw to an open target two or maybe three times out of his 18 pass attempts. That might not seem like an impressive number, but I know for a fact that there are QB’s who get hyped up as 1st round picks who can’t and haven’t ever done that. Especially those that operate out of a spread offense. But this was exciting to see because I had never really noticed Tyrod doing this before. I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying attention to it or if he wasn’t doing it, but regardless I was excited to see him doing this. That is a NFL skill.

I also looked over my notes (I took eight pages of them in a word document while I watched this game) and counted up his good, great and bad throws. He totaled seven good throws, one great throw and three bad throws. There were a few passes that were neither here nor there, so I didn’t include them in this evaluation. He threw one interception in this game and it was a bad decision, but I was impressed with his ability to move past it and come out in the 2nd half and play well. All three of his bad throws came in the first half, and he looked very good in the 2nd half. He threw some absolute frozen ropes down the seam in this game, and showed the ability to go through more than just one or two progressions a time or two. He will still stare down his primary receiver or one side of the field but he does a better job of using his eyes to his advantage than he used to. He showed great zip and arm strength which we all knew he had, but he also showed improved accuracy in this game. He missed high with a throw or two during the course of the game, plus he threw the interception which was just a bad throw into coverage, but other than that he was accurate with the majority of his passes. That was good to see. But perhaps just as importantly as his passes being delivered accurately the vast majority of his throws were delivered in rhythm and on time as his receivers were coming out of their breaks. That impressed me as much as anything else. Seeing him make good reads, delivering accurate throws on time (and from the pocket no less) shows that he is really growing as a passer.

However he had a few bad throws and he still doesn’t do a great job of going through his progressions. I counted twice he dropped back and scrambled unnecessarily before he went through all of his progressions. He has great mobility and does a great job of picking up yardage with his legs to extend drives, but he still gets himself in trouble every once in a while when he doesn’t buy time in the pocket and stay patient to go through his progressions. He has come a very long way in this department from what I can tell however, so I am excited to see how he does in this regard as a Senior.

Overall I was quite impressed with Tyrod. The majority of his throws were good, accurate passes and he looked much better throwing from the pocket than I gave him credit for. His release looks clean and just like Vick he can flick his wrist and the ball will go 60 yards. But his accuracy has improved a lot and his passes are being delivered with much better timing and rhythm than I had ever seen from him before. If he keeps progressing like this I think he will be drafted as a QB and will make a roster as a developmental #3 without a doubt.

Williams got stronger as the game went on before leaving with an ankle injury with the game well in hand.

Naturally I was very impressed with Ryan Williams in this game. He started slow in the second half, but for all the ridicule Bryan Stinespring gets for his predictable and sometimes pitiful playcalling from Virginia Tech fans he did a good job of mixing up the way he was getting Ryan Williams the ball in the 2nd half and it got him more running room and he made the most of it. Williams has good vision, great patience for such a young running back, good quickness and burst to hit the hole, he runs hard and runs through arm tackles easily and has the strength to push the pile and get consistent yards after contact. But he can also make guys miss, turn on the jets and outrun a lot of defenders. He’s a very, very good running back. He seems to have ok hands out of the backfield, but that is something he will need to work on as far as I can tell. And like all young RB’s he needs to continue to work at his pass protection. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Williams had another great year and declared for the draft as he is a redshirt sophomore. If he did I would expect that he would be a 1st round pick without a doubt. He is as good as advertised, that’s for sure.

I took notes on all three of Tyrod’s primary targets in the passing game: Dyrell Roberts, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. I liked what I saw from all three of them to be perfectly honest. Roberts has the most potential of the trio because he has good size at 6’1”, 196 pounds but he has speed to burn with 4.42 timed speed. He can really get deep, and VT does what they can to get the ball in his hands. He didn’t have what I would call a “good catch” in this game, meaning he didn’t make a nice catch away from his body with his hands. He had two catches in this game and he let both of them get into his pads, which is not something I like to see from WR’s. This is a very bad habit and it can lead to a lot of drops, especially in the NFL. Hopefully he will work on catching the ball with his hands this summer, because if he can shake that bad habit I think he could be a much more consistent threat. With his size, speed and playmaking ability he just needs to work on his hands and his route running ability before he can take off. He has a lot of potential, but he still needs some work in my opinion.

Roberts has a lot of potential, but needs to catch the ball with his hands more consistently and refine his route running.

I really liked what I saw from Jarrett Boykin though. He was a consistent threat for VT this year and he showed the ability to catch the ball away from his body a couple times in this game, which was nice to see. He can also get deep even if he only has deceptive speed (he was timed at 4.54). He showed this speed when he got behind Tennessee’s secondary right before the half and pulled in a 63 yard pass from Tyrod Taylor that set up a field goal as the first half came to a close. He had four catches in this game, and at least two of them where fundamentally sound catches with his hands. The deep ball at the end of the half looked like it got into his pads a bit, but there was one other play that he let the ball get into his pads too. But what is important is that he has shown he can catch well with his hands, he just needs to work to shake the bad habit of letting the ball get into his body. This is absolutely do-able, even if you have to work on it once you get to the NFL. Personally of the three receivers on VT and the two receivers I liked on Tennessee I was most impressed with Boykin, so I am really excited to see how he plays as a Junior.

I also took notes on Danny Coale when I could, but he only had one catch in this game (though it was a big one for 42 yards) so he didn’t get targeted often. Tyrod was throwing the ball to him when he threw his interception, and Coale had run an effective crossing route. If Tyrod had put more air under the ball and led Coale downfield behind the safety (who made the interception when he broke on the bullet he threw) Coale may have made another big catch. I have been told many times that Coale has great hands, and even though he only had one play to make in this game he made a terrific over the shoulder grab to haul this in and set up a 1st and goal. It was a great throw from Taylor but it was an even better catch by Coale. Hopefully he gets some more passes thrown his way as a junior, but between their fantastic running game and Roberts and Boykin competing for passes, I understand why Coale is flying under the radar. I think he has what it takes to make a NFL roster though. But I need to see him more obviously.

Boykin is the best of the trio of Virginia Tech receivers in my estimation.

I made an effort to watch Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech’s RT, but he was fairly unimpressive to me. Whenever I would watch him he would look decent, but nothing special. He would get bull rushed but reset himself and stop the DE’s progress, he would do an ok job of making a cut block, he would do an alright job of walling off a defender in the run game, but it was never anything that really impressed me. I’ll be interested to see if he plays any better as a junior, but I am not sold on him at all right now.

There were a few players I paid attention to on VT’s defense. I liked what I saw from Jayron Hosley (who is a redshirt sophomore cornerback this year), Lyndell Gibson (who is a sophomore middle linebacker this year), Barquell Rivers (who is a junior who plays weakside linebacker), John Graves (who is a junior DT) and Rashad Carmichael (a redshirt senior CB this year). I also looked at Chris Drager when he was in. He is a redshirt Junior DE this season.

Hosley impressed me though he wasn’t in a whole lot. That isn’t extremely surprising considering he was only a redshirt freshman this past season, but when he was on the field he was active. He showed good burst, he looked good in zone coverage (I didn’t see him in man much if at all), and showed impressive ability to read the QB’s eyes and make a break on the ball. He was half a step away from coming away with two great interceptions in this game, and I think one or maybe even both of them could have gone back for a touchdown. As he gets more comfortable and gains more experience I really think Hosley is going to be a playmaker. He also returns punts for them, and he fielded one near the 5 yard line and I thought “Oh no, here’s a mistake by a young guy” and he made one guy miss and all of a sudden he was at the 25 yard line. He tried to make a really sharp cut and lost his footing after a 22 yard return, but if he had made that cut he probably would have been gone for a 95 yard touchdown on that punt return. He has a lot of speed, quickness and burst, plus he looks good in coverage. He also did a good job disguising a blitz off of the edge and leveled Crompton for a sack. Overall I really liked what I saw from Hosley and can’t wait to see him in the starting lineup as a sophomore.

Hosley has a ton of potential, and nearly came away with 2 INT's in this game. In addition he was one cut away from a 95 yard punt return TD.

Lyndell Gibson also looked good to me. He is the starting MLB for Virginia Tech, but it wasn’t that way for the entire season. He got the starting nod pretty late in the season, but he started the last five games (including the bowl game) and the Hokies won every game. He really seemed to stabilize the defense according to what Bud Foster had to say about it. Gibson showed pretty good instincts and even though he is a little undersized (5’10”, 230 pounds I believe) he played well in this game. He seems to read plays well and did a good job of fighting off blocks from an experienced Tennessee offensive line all game. I liked that he shed blocks pretty well but also had the fluidity to avoid them and make plays at the line of scrimmage. I am also not sure I saw him miss a tackle in this game. He also looked solid in coverage, though he tried to jump an underneath route to Luke Stocker (Tennessee’s TE) but Crompton held onto the ball and got it to Stocker after he came open again. Overall I liked what I saw, and it will be interesting to see if he keeps the starting job as a sophomore. Hopefully he does and he continues to progress.

Barquell Rivers had a decent game, but he had some ups and downs. He missed a couple of tackles, but he also made some nice stops up at the line of scrimmage, and had one or two tackles for loss. I didn’t see him in coverage often, but I never saw him get beat. Overall I didn’t have my eye on him that much, but every once in a while he would show up for better or for worse. It will be interesting to see how he does next year, but I can’t say I am sold on him at this point.

Gibson helped solidify the defense once he was inserted into the starting lineup for the last 5 games of the season.

I learned earlier today that the VT-Tennessee Bowl Game was John Graves’ first significant playing time of the season (Shout out to Andrew Thompson for that) so that might explain why I was relatively unimpressed with him. For one you can tell that VT experimented with him at DE because he only weighs about 270-275 pounds, but he just did not have a great game. He definitely had some highlights as he did a great job of splitting a double team, swatting away Hardesty as he tried to block him and sacking Crompton while forcing a fumble. He later recovered a fumble after Worilds sacked Crompton late in the 4th quarter. But for the majority of this game he was getting double-teamed and washed out in the run game or stonewalled in the passing game. He didn’t seem to quit despite all of this, which is a good sign for his motor. However, the fact still remains that he needs to get up to 285 at least before he is going to hold up well against the run at all. He was simply overpowered in the run game by Tennessee’s veteran offensive line, so he needs to put on some weight before next year to help him get stronger at the point of attack. He could also stand to improve his hand usage and his moves to get off of blocks (such as the rip, swim and spin moves most players work on). He has some potential because he gets off the line pretty quickly, seems to have a solid motor and definitely has some athletic ability. But to make the jump from a DT/DE ‘Tweener to a quality starting DT he is going to need to get stronger (especially in the lower body) and improve his hand usage. I will be looking forward to seeing how he does with that in this coming season.

Carmichael has a lot of potential and seems to have a great work ethic, which could mean a great senior season for him.

Rashad Carmichael had an alright game against Tennessee. He had an interception that ended Tennessee’s first drive of the game when he was in zone coverage (it looked like VT was running a Cover-3, so Carmichael had a deep 1/3). He was just reading Crompton’s eyes and when he threw it he broke on the ball over the top, but it was overthrown so it went right to him for an easy interception. He didn’t look especially good supporting the run, but he seemed to play well in coverage. I never saw him get beat deep, but VT seemed to be running a lot of zone in this game. He is considered a very good corner by most, as he is coming into his Redshirt-Senior season, but he didn’t look like a great corner in this game. Obviously next year will be critical for him, but I am not sold on him yet. I did read a great article (which can be seen here: http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/04/20/virginia-techs-rashad-carmichael-is-hooked-on-video/) about his dedication and film study which really made me like him. He seems to be a great kid, a good mentor (judging by his volunteer and internship work) and you always love to hear about a college player being so dedicated to film study. If his film study is any indication, he should have a great season next year.

I also took brief notes on Chris Drager when he got in the game. He usually only got in on passing downs, but he showed what he could do when he got playing time. He made a nice play on a run on 3rd and long when he beat a TE’s block (after getting combo-blocked initially by Chris Scott, Tennessee’s mammoth LT) and stopped Hardesty for no gain on the play. He showed some burst off the line of scrimmage, and if VT is going to have a good defense this year they are going to need Drager to step up to help replace some of the great pass rush that they lost when Worilds left for the draft.

Hopefully you enjoyed that. I apologize for the ridiculous length. As I said I took eight pages of notes on this, so there was a lot to cover. Part 2 will focus on the Tennessee players that I took notes on.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully it wasn’t too much to read.

–Tom Melton