Normally, I wouldn't consider a Redshirt Sophomore like Michigan State's Jerel Worthy a legitimate threat to leave for the the draft. But there is one major reason that he may leave for the draft after only 2 years of football at Michigan State; he is a pretty polished prospect despite his lack of experience.
Worthy came onto Big Ten scene last year by posting 37 tackles, 4 sacks, and deflecting a solid 2 passes in the 2009 season. He was named first team All-Freshman by the Sporting News and he is probably the best Redshirt Sophomore defensive tackle prospect in this year's draft. 37 tackles was third in the FBS for freshman defensive tackles (behind Kawann Short's 47 and Scott Vallone's 40), and his 4 sacks were number one the FBS among defensive tackles.
Worthy has outstanding quickness off the ball, which helps him be an extremely disruptive penetrator. Worthy delivers a strong first punch and excellent quickness that can get offensive lineman off-balance with alarming speed. Worthy does an excellent job of of picking up in game snap counts and he possesses pretty good on field awareness. But, he is extremely prone to offsides penalties on the hard counts.
Worthy possesses excellent strength and on field toughness. Worthy's strength help's him make some of the most improbable arm tackles, grabbing players awkwardly by the shoulder but then reeling them into his torso. Worthy's strength also gives him the ability to make excellent tackles in traffic and penetrating interior lineman. Worthy possesses solid athleticism and the straight line speed to catch some running backs toward the outside. Worthy also has pretty good height for a defensive tackle (6'3), and he possesses adequate bulk.
Worthy definitely isn't a very instinctive lineman; but his instincts will improve over time. Currently, he takes mediocre angles to the ball carrier, he occasionally over commits on some play-actions and misdirections, and he is a little slow to react. With more experience, his instincts will improve, and his overall play will improve.
The main reason that I say Worthy possesses excellent polish is his solid array of moves. Worthy is advanced in his use of the swim move, helping him get to the interior of many lineman and tackling running backs and quarterbacks alike in their backfield. Worthy also has some development in his rip move, mostly due to his excellent strength. Though Worthy doesn't have much development in the spin move, he still is fundamentally sound in 3 of the 4 important penetration techniques necessary for defensive tackles; the bull rush, the swim move, and the rip move. Worthy is also pretty near his ceiling because he has excellent on field intensity; with this intensity and solid fundamentals, Worthy is a pretty solid defensive tackle who could leave for the NFL draft this season.
Overall, Worthy's polish makes him an excellent, NFL ready defensive tackle despite his lack of experience. Mark Dantonio has clearly done an excellent job with Worthy; and I am sure Worthy will have solid instincts by the end of the season. He already has enough of everything else to be an extremely productive football player.
I noticed during last year's draft that lots of receivers were coming out for the draft (9 Juniors left school last year). Now I know why.
Next year's Senior class is awful. Enough said about that. But we are looking at one of the better Junior class of wide receivers of all time; five receivers from the 2012 draft class grade out as at least as late first round or early second pick. Depending on the number of junior wide receivers entering the draft, senior prospects will be pushed back due to the depth of the receiver class. I simply now know why all these receivers left school, and I think Toliver should have done the same. But onto the scouting report;
Toliver is a huge receiver; 6'4 with solid bulk. He also runs an solid 4.49 40 yard dash, so he has pretty good physical tools for the position. Physically, he seems to bear a lot of resemblance to Sidney Rice to me; great size, solid speed, good bulk, and extremely long arms. But Toliver comes across as really stiff in space, he doesn't provide Rice's athleticism to go up and get the ball without outstretched arms, and he seems to be completely incapable of making defenders miss in the open field.
Toliver possesses very good hands. He also possesses the polish in his game to not frequently trap balls against his frame, which is considered important in the NFL. Toliver also seems like an extremely smart player on the field; he always seems to know where the first down marker is and he can naturally keep his feet in an ideal position to make a tough catch on a ball going out of bounds. But, after watching the Penn State game, I realized he couldn't catch a wet football to save his life.
But, there are a fair amount of issues.
I have always been real high on players that produce statistically. Toliver simply doesn't. Every analyst will say that Toliver's lack of statistical production was due to poor LSU quarterback play. But the fact is, Jordan Jefferson had a solid season in 09'; his 137.2 quarterback rating was good for 38th in the FBS (out of 120 teams). Some people will say Jefferson didn't stretch the field; he only got 2166 yards passing, and he got hardly any yards per completion. But I find that misleading; the thing is, Toliver had a 13.9 yards per catch. That is 119th of all receivers in the FBS (out of the 412 with enough receptions to qualify). Toliver could get yards from Jefferson; he just didn't catch passes. That's one thing Jefferson did really well (61.5% completion percentage, 33rd in the FBS). Toliver can't blame his lack of receptions on Jefferson; that's Toliver's fault, for Jefferson could complete almost all of his passes. Now, in 2010, LSU did have horrific quarterback play. But, Toliver was very poor, getting only 579 yards.
Toliver is a very poor route runner. He lacks quickness in and out of breaks and is pretty slow off the football. His routes are at times pretty lazy, sloppy, and simply not very deceptive. He doesn't seem to use many head fakes in his routes and his footwork is mediocre at best. Toliver will really need to work on his route running to have any success in the NFL.
Toliver has some character issues. Watching him play, his on field intensity is outstanding; he possesses excellent toughness, he puts up a solid effort as a run blocker, and he seems to fight for every yard he can get. But, he seems lazy off the field; he doesn't seem to know all of LSU's plays, frequently running a route he isn't supposed to run, and he was arrested last season outside of a bar, and he ended up being tasered by a police officer while he was resisting arrest. Toliver needs to learn that he needs to work hard off the field as well as on it.
Overall, Toliver is an overrated prospect due to his lack of production and poor athleticism. I have always found being quick in and out of breaks when route running to be an extremely underrated aspect of being a receiver. Toliver desperately needs to reform his route running; with average speed suggested by his 4.49 40 and lack of athleticism, Toliver doesn't possess the speed to be much of a big play threat and he doesn't possess the route running ability to separate from coverage. I can't see him having much success at the NFL level.
NFL Comparison: Limas Sweed with character issues
New Scouting Report(s): I put some more thought into it, changed Jerrod Johnson's grade. None of the scouting report is new, though.
Just because I make a scouting report, doesn't mean I will not scout that player again. For example, I have only seen Nate Solder one time so far. But on June 30th at 5:00pm, Fox Sports Pacific will show a Colorado Colorado State rerun. I will probably make a few edits to Solder's scouting report, and I will make a link to his new, updated scouting report on the bottom of the screen of a future scouting report, no matter what player it is on. It will look like this:
I really like Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson. Johnson has a pretty good combination of size, speed, and arm strength, that gives him a pretty high ceiling at the NFL. Johnson has a nice combination excellent arm strength, good power as a runner, pretty impressive size and speed ratio, and good numbers that could make him a starter at the NFL level. Any player with a combination of a strong work ethic and good physical tools always entices me, and Johnson is no exception. Johnson is built a lot like a tight end, and he seems to know his team's plays very well, helping him make smart yet deceptive decisions with the football. Johnson also has the ability to put excellent zip on his passes, he is very productive as a rusher, and he rarely throws interceptions.
There are some downsides to his game, though. Johnson's footwork is extremely inconsistent. Unlike Jake Locker, Johnson is human; his throws are less accurate when his footwork is poor. When his feet are set, his accuracy is pretty solid, especially throwing outside of the hash marks.
When under pressure, Johnson is somewhat reckless with the football. He rushes his throws before he sets his feet in many blitz packages, and before he can make a good read with the football he gets the ball out of his hands and into the hands of the first receiver he sees. Also, when I say he is poor under pressure, I don't just mean heavy blitz packages; I mean late in the game he has a tendency to falter and throw an interception. He doesn't real seem to have natural ability to perform in the clutch, but he is still an adequate leader at the quarterback position due to his strong work ethic.
Johnson has a tendency to lock onto receivers when making reads, so defensive backs can tell what he is doing pretty easily. Johnson puts enough zip on his passes that the defensive backs at the college level can't read-and-react quickly enough to get too many interceptions, but he will have to improve upon that tendency to fool the quicker defensive backs at the next level.
Johnson has below average throwing mechanics. His delivery isn't all to long, but he keeps the ball pretty far away from his head while he releases it, almost like a baseball pitcher in his delivery. By keeping the ball far from his head-area, defensive ends don't have much issue knocking the ball down before he releases it, resulting in a bunch of fumbles. This is a pretty little kink in his delivery; it isn't really a major issue.
Johnson inexplicably faltered horribly this season. He was an insane decision maker, he wasn't accurate, and he ended up getting benched mid season for Ryan Tannehill. Though he was very productive in 09' throwing 30 touchdowns and interceptions, it shockingly took him about half the season to worsen that mark (9 interceptions in 2010) this year. He was horribly disappointing.
Overall, not only does Johnson possess pretty solid upside, but pretty fixable downside. No matter how much he struggled this season, I can't help but keep on thinking of Jason Campbell when I think of Johnson from last year. No matter what anybody says, I always believed that Campbell was, at the minimum, an average NFL starting quarterback, consistently putting a quarterback rating in the 80-87 range, which is respectable, while adding above average mobility, good durability, and the fact that he had this solid success on teams with pretty limited supporting casts. And, no matter how bad Johnson played this season, I don't see any reason why he can't revert to that 09' Campbell form.
Nate Solder is a fascinating offensive tackle from Colorado. Solder posses unusual height (6'9), which is real valuable, because players with that kind of height have long arms, which is great for controlling ends in pass protection. A former tight end, Solder is about as skinny looking as someone can be at 300lbs, because of all that height, and he will need to bulk up to maybe 315 if he wants a long NFL career. Solder possesses a lot of physical upside not only because of his length, but because his outstanding athleticism. Solder runs an excellent 4.81 40 yard dash, which gives him outstanding upside as a pass blocker.
Solder possesses excellent strength and intensity as a run blocker. Considering how lean he really is, Solder's strength in driving defenders off the ball is unusual, but outstanding. Solder not only possesses great toughness, but a strong work ethic to do whatever possible to help his team win. Solder also has outstanding awareness, taking outstanding angles to defenders on the run and consistently keeping his head on a swivel in pass protection. Overall, Solder is among the most productive run blockers in all of college football.
Solder's main drawback is his production in pass protection. Though Solder has upside as a pass protector, he doesn't seem to show the same mental toughness in pass protection as he does when run blocking, and he is much less productive. I have only scouted him heavily in one game (I have scouted him in others, but this flaw really jumped out against me in this game); it was last year's game against Texas A&M. In that game, he allowed 2 sacks by Von Miller, and he let Von Miller pressure Cody Hawkins many times in the game. His lack of production as a pass blocker is consistently because of one thing; he just can keep his butt down. As I mentioned before, Solder is tall. Really, really, tall. When blocking a shorter end or linebacker, like Von Miller (6'2), Solder stands up almost completely straight. Blocking someone seven inches shorter than you is very awkward, unless you get low. By not squatting in pass protection, Solder grabs the top of Miller's shoulder pads; his thumbs might touch Miller's neck; which is a very awkward, unconventional, and inefficient method in pass protection. Miller does a good job of staying low, so it's easy for him to get under Solder's hands and all the way to the quarterback. So his excellent length actually causes him issues in pass protection simply because he can't stay low. If he can stay low in pass protection, not only will he be able to use his hands in a much more conventional manner, but, being as tall as he is, he will have to squat even lower in pass protection in comparison to other lineman to get all the way down the the rusher. Squatting extra low will make his knees bend farther out, which will help him create an extremely wide base in pass protection, which will add even more benefits to his excellent height.
Overall Solder is an unbelievable physical specimen, but one that will take much time to develop. Personally, I am pretty high on Solder because I believe he has the work ethic to improve the flaws in his game. And he already has the natural tools to be an extremely productive tackle at the NFL level. Whoever drafts Solder will know it's a risky pick, but I think he has the work ethic to make it a rewarding one.
Comparison: A taller, but more raw Eric Winston
Washington quarterback Jake Locker is among the most fascinating prospects of the draft. His physical upside is just tantalizing; outstanding throw power, excellent throw accuracy, and a 4.43 40 yard dash from a quarterback who feels pretty comfortable in a pocket environment. He has a nice delivery, he is a great leader, his accuracy is shocking on the run and he has outstanding toughness and strength. He has God-like physical tools that could make him the best player EVER to touch a football uniform. His ceiling is incredible due to his versatility as a quarterback.
Yet, he is overrated...
Locker has been incapable of putting up above average numbers in his career at Washington (he is ranked (gulp) 81st in college football quarterback rating. There are 120 teams). That always concerns me. Most analysts shrug that off as a result of poor receiving play. Honestly, I have studied Locker heavily. Maybe as heavily as any prospect in the draft. And I gotta say; his receivers lack amazing physical tools, but they can catch as well as any group of receivers in the nation. I am also pretty high on Jermaine Kearse, Locker's favorite target, who possesses underrated size and solid athleticism. I will acknowledge that the offensive line is pretty poor, but the whole receivers excuse means very little.
Locker makes poor decisions with the football in his hands. When he is under pressure, he will rely too heavily on his arm to make an improbable throw that isn't there; leading to his high interception total and mediocre completion percentage. Locker is simply reckless with the football in his hands; he simply cannot afford to play like that in the NFL.
Locker possesses above average throw power but below average accuracy. He puts a lot of zip on his passes, but he isn't accurate under pressure and doesn't usually maintain good footwork in his passes.
Something I have noticed time and time again that is a major issue with me is the fact that Locker has an extremely low release point on his throws when putting zip on short passes. On any, typical, 5-12 yard throw, Locker puts nice speed on his passes, but the football comes out of his almost parallel to his neck. Locker is already slightly short for a quarterback (6'3). The low release point on his passes make him EXTREMELY susceptible to seeing interior lineman batting his passes down. This causes for a low completion percentage, plus a lot of these batted balls tend to get hit up in the air, and intercepted.
Overall, Locker is an extremely raw prospect that will take years to develop. Locker possesses a strong enough work ethic to make his talent not be completely wasted. But still, it takes a long time for a quarterback to entirely change his throwing motion. And, even with more experience, some quarterbacks never learn how to make great reads with the football in their hands. Locker is the ultimate high risk, high reward, prospect, but he could be a disappointment for years. Personally, I'd take the much safer route and take Andrew Luck over Locker. Right now, I'd say there is a 50% chance that Locker will live up to 80% of his potential (80% of his potential is a borderline pro bowler). We will see a lot of Locker in the NFL, and I have a feeling he will be one interesting player.
Starting today, my readers should start to see me post scouting reports. When I made I list of top prospects last year, I invented what I call a "grade-projection" system. The way this system works is I would give a player a "grade" based on where I think he deserves to be drafted. I would give that same player a "projection" based on where I expect him to be drafted. Here's my grading scale
90-100: First Round
80-89: Second Round
70-79: Third Round
60-69: Fourth Round
50-59: Fifth Round
40-49: Sixth Round
30-39: Seventh Round
20: Draftable, but undrafted
10: Not considered a legitimate prospect
For example, I though Jimmy Graham was an extremely underrated prospect last year. I thought he deserved to be an a mid second round pick in this year's draft due to his physical upside. I gave him a "grade" of an 85. But, I figured since he was such a raw prospect, and he didn't show amazing toughness on the field, that he'd be a mid third round pick in the draft. So I gave him a "projection" of a 74. Please comment if you have any questions or you don't understand the system.
I decided from the beginning of the draft review process that I wanted to have these rankings out before my 14th birthday. My birthday is tomorrow, and I have reached my goal. Here are my draft rankings
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Carolina Panthers
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Tennessee Titans
7. Arizona Cardinals
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Denver Broncos
11. Dallas Cowboys
12. Houston Texans
13. New York Giants
14. Baltimore Ravens
15. Minnesota Vikings
16. Detroit Lions
17. Cleveland Browns
18. St. Louis Rams
19. Green Bay Packers
20. Cincinnati Bengals
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. New York Jets
23. San Diego Chargers
24. New England Patriots
25. Oakland Raiders
26. Atlanta Falcons
27. Buffalo Bills
28. Miami Dolphins
29. Chicago Bears
30. San Francisco 49ers
31. Washington Redskins
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
The draft review process end with the Washington Redskins, who had one of the worst drafts in the NFL. They hardly had any picks, and they sure didn't use them wisely. The Redskins are switching to a 3-4 defense this year, but when a team switches from 4-3 defense to a 3-4 they will have to revamp the front seven. For example, take a look at the Packers of last year switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Their 4-3 looked like this:
DT: Ryan Pickett
DT: Justin Harrell
DE: Aaron Kampmann
DE: Cullen Jenkins
OLB: A.J. Hawk
OLB: Brady Poppinga
ILB: Nick Barnett
After primarily drafting 3-4 prospects the next year this is what their defense looked like:
NT: Ryan Pickett
DE: B.J. Raji
DE: Cullen Jenkins
OLB: Clay Mathews
OLB: Aaron Kampmann
ILB: Nick Barnett
ILB: A.J. Hawk
I always watch the Packers. They are my favorite team, after all. And every guy who was in the starting lineup in the 3-4 defense and the 4-3 had a poor season after moving to the 3-4 (except for Cullen Jenkins. But as a 305lb defensive end, he was best suited in a 3-4 from the start of his career). The Packers revamped their defense, drafting many 3-4 front seven prospects, because only those guys can succeed in a 3-4 defense. The Redskins this year will end up shuffling players into different positions that they have never played before, and I think it will result in a disaster. A bad draft for the Redskins. I only saw one player, Trent Williams
Williams is horribly overrated by many experts, but even the experts agree this was a bad pick by the Redskins. Williams has excellent physical tools, but he doesn't play with much on field intensity, he isn't as athletic in football pads, he doesn't seem to try to improve his production, he commits penalties, and he has poor on field awareness. But, he does have nice upside, good strength, and excellent toughness. But I guess my main issue with the pick is the Russell Okung was available. He is just so much better. No question about it. A bad player by the Redskins, and poor value at pick 4.
A great draft. They made a fair amount of nice picks. I never saw Robert Johnson play. He was a real reach in the 5th round. But the Titans didn't have any other bad picks, and they got good values through the first four rounds. A very good draft.
I really like this pick. Morgan doesn't possess much physical upside, but he is probably the most NFL ready end of this year's draft class. Morgan has below average top end speed, but he possesses excellent strength, the versatility and instincts to be an extremely effective run stopper, and a wide array of pass rush moves. Morgan's great pass rush moves and polish give him pretty solid upside. With the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch, defensive end is a major need. Good player for the Titans, and good value at pick 16.
Damian Williams doesn't possess much natural physical tools or upside, but his outstanding polish as a route runner make him one of the more NFL ready receivers of this year's draft class. Williams' quickness in and out of breaks give him great separation skills, and his good hands and excellent toughness have made him very productive over the years. Great player for the Titans, and outstanding value at pick 77.
Curran does not possess any physical upside whatsoever, but I consider him to be underrated because height is overrated for a linebacker, and his top end speed seems more functional on film than in shorts. Curran is very short, and he runs a slow 40, but he has outstanding stats, instincts toughness, and tackling ability. A good player, and solid value for the Titans at pick 97.
I have always found Verner to be an extremely underrated prospect. There are so many stupid concerns about his speed. Although he runs an awful 40, he has outstanding football speed. He also possesses great fluidity as an athlete, he has solid size, good tackling ability, great cover skills, great production, and excellent instincts. He also has good discipline in coverage, and he has solid strength. Overall, I really like Verner, and he was great value for the Titans at pick 104.
The Buccaneers had an okay draft. I really like everyone of their picks, except for one, and that pick just kills the Buccaneers; Gerald McCoy. I have always found McCoy to be, by far, the most overrated prospect of the draft. Every other pick the Buccaneers made were of pretty good value for the team.
I'm sure that many readers have read my my article on Gerald McCoy. It pretty much includes the entire scouting report; good pass rusher, bad run stopper, awful statistically, below average strength, average athleticism, great quickness off the ball, and good anticipation of the snap. I will always think McCoy is overrated, and he is poor value for the Buccaneers at pick 3.
I have always like Price due to his exceptional quickness off the ball, good strength, solid athleticism, and solid production. Though he seems to wear down as games go on, he has solid physical tools, and he is an excellent pass rusher. But Price sometimes doesn't show consistent, on field intensity, he has poor instincts, and he isn't a great tackler. Good player for the Buccaneers, and solid value at pick 35.
Benn is a high intensity player who possesses nice size, good strength, solid athleticism, and solid route running ability. That being said, he has inconsistent hands, his straight line speed is mediocre, and he has not one quality that jumps out to any scout; his size is slightly above average, his athleticism, is slightly above average, and he is an average route runner, so there isn't a whole lot of physical upside here. A solid player, and okay value at pick 39.
Myron Lewis has excellent height, solid bulk, excellent physicality, good production and enough athleticism to stay at corner. But his athleticism is still slightly below average, he doesn't have a lot of natural cover skills, his instincts are mediocre, and he lacks change of direction skills. Overall, Lewis is a fine player, and solid value for the Rams at pick 67.
Williams has a lot of natural talent, but a long list of off the field issues has really hurt his draft stock. He quit the Syracuse football team in November because he was about to be suspended for getting in a car accident, which shows a lot of immaturity. He also has a fair amount of academic issues. But he has nice size, excellent route running ability, good speed, great hands, and solid stats. Williams could end up being one of the real steals of this year's draft class, and he was great value for the Buccaneers at pick 101.
The Rams had an okay draft. I never got to scout Sam Bradford, because he was injured all year, but I remember from watching him last year that he has nice accuracy and, a few years down the road, he could be the next Peyton Manning. Mike Hoomanawanui was a bit of a reach at pick 132 (I never saw him play), because he lacks athleticism, but it could have been a worse pick. Overall, it was an okay pick.
Saffold has nice athleticism for his size, good footwork, and solid awareness, that could make him a solid right tackle at the NFL level. His nice size, strength, and solid toughness make him an excellent run blocker, and his footwork and awareness make him a solid pass blocker. Overall, he is a good player by the Rams, and solid value at pick 33.
I think it would be fair to say Murphy is a poor man's Patrick Robinson. Murphy has an impressive set of physical tools, but he is among the most penalty prone corners in this year's draft class. He is extremely physical, to the point that he will be called for a fair amount of pass interference penalties, and he also does a fair amount of late hits on the ball carrier. He also lacks some natural cover skills, and he is extremely undisciplined and overaggressive on play actions and misdirections. Murphy has the tools to be an effective starting NFL corner, but he has a lot to work on before he can make that happen. A very good player, and excellent value for the Rams at pick 65.
Gilyard really lacks physical tools. He seems somewhat fast in game film, but in game film he is a 180lb player. He will need to have more bulk than that to have any success at the NFL level. He added some bulk during the off-season, weighing in at I believe 189lbs at the Cincinnati pro day, but he ran a 4.57 40 at that pro day, so the bulk clearly killed any of his top end speed. He also traps lots of balls against his frame, and he has some character issues. But he is an excellent route runner with okay size, solid hands, and great vision with the ball in his hands. A solid player for the Rams, and good value at pick 99.
The best draft. Period. It's not even close. I never saw Walter Thurmond due to an early season knee injury, but from what I know about him he was solid value at pick 111, I loved every pick the Seahawks made, except for E.J. Wilson (never saw him play). Definitely some nice values for the Seahawks that will help this team for years to come.
Quietly, oh so quietly, one of the most complete left tackle prospects ever in the draft. Okung has it all; elite height, solid bulk, extremely long arms, good athleticism, an excellent motor, and outstanding strength. Okung amazingly allowed two quarterback PRESSURES all of last season, just amazing in itself. King Kung also possesses excellent run blocking ability and the strength to drive defenders off the ball. I couldn't believe that the Redskins were stupid enough to pass on him, but their loss is Pete Carrol's gain. Great value at pick 6.
I have always loved Earl Thomas. Thomas provides excellent athleticism, great awareness in coverage, a consistent and natural nose for the football, good strength, and great instincts as a run stopper. Thomas may be undersized, maybe to the point that he will be a corner in the NFL, but his excellent physicality and strength make up for that pretty effectively. Great pick for the Seahawks.
Tate is Steve Smith 2.0. Tate provides excellent speed, a good work ethic, high character (don't be fooled by the maple bar incident. I'd bet a lot of money it was a publicity stunt for the doughnut shop. The shop is sponsored by the Seahawks, and after Pete Carroll had a "talk" with Tate, they both agreed that the store's maple bars are irresistible. Sounds a little fishy to me.), great hands, good athleticism, and excellent suddenness in his routes. Though he still could afford to refine his game a little in route running, I am sure Tate possesses the work ethic to improve that area of his game in a short period of time. A good player for the Seahawks, and solid value at pick 60.
I always was a big fan of Kam Chancellor. Chancellor possesses excellent size, solid speed, good toughness, and natural instincts at the safety position. He is very productive, he has good strength, he is an extremely hard worker, and he also has nice hands. But there are some concerns about his athleticism, and he can be overaggressive at times. Great pick by the Seahawks, and good value at pick 133.
McCoy was good value this late in the draft. McCoy is a good route runner, and he has good strength, functional speed, and soft hands at the tight end position. But there are warranted concerns about his work ethic, and quickness in his routes. Still, Seattle got a great value this late in the draft due to McCoy's solid upside. Good pick for the Seahawks, and good value at pick 185.
The San Francisco 49ers had an overrated draft, grabbing players I wasn't too fond of with all of their picks. Overall, the value they got for their picks was overrated and they had a pretty bad draft.
Davis has a lot of physical tools, but he just hasn't been able to put all together over the years. He has lots of weight issues, he has been suspended from the team multiple times before, he doesn't play hard, and he isn't very productive. But, when he wants to play, he has awesome upside and the potential to be a great tackle at the NFL level. A bad player, and poor value at pick 17.
It's not like I don't like Iupati. I just don't think that any guard is too valuable before pick, no matter how productive he is. It is simply so easy to find a really good guard in the draft; just find an extremely high intensity guy with good strength and size. Since guards don't need much athleticism (Iupati has above average athleticism for a guard), then getting Iupati when a team can get a guy like Zane Beadles in the second round seems just silly to me. Some people have generously said that Iupati might have a future at right tackle, but I am a bit skeptical that Iupati's lateral mobility is good enough to play the position effectively on pass plays. He has solid straight line speed, which suggests good athleticism, but I have always found that he has a stiff upper body, pretty short arms (long arms are also valuable in pass protection), and somewhat slow feet. Poor player for the 49ers, and overrated value at pick 17.
Underachievers like Mays drive me crazy. Mays runs a 4.31 40 yard dash at 230lbs, which is just absurd, but he really has poor instincts, he has terrible awareness in coverage, and he takes poor angles to the football. That being said, his physical upside is tantalizing, and he has the potential to be an All-Pro safety for years to come. An overrated player, but he fell pretty far and ended up being solid value at pick 49.
I have always found Bowman to be overrated due to all of his character concerns, injury issues, and overaggressiveness in coverage. When healthy and motivated, he is Keith Bulluck, but I am quite skeptical that he will ever live up to that solid potential. Bulluck has nice toughness, athleticism, and range, but he doesn't play with all that much strength and he is inconsistent in shedding off blocks. I have always found him to be an overrated player, but he fell pretty far, and I must concede he was solid value at pick 91.
I have always found Dixon to be overrated because, unlike all of the power backs in this year's draft class, Dixon can't run a sub 4.57 or so 40 yard dash. Dixon struggles to get below 4.70. Dixon's inept speed, even for all of his bulk, will stop him from ever being a starter at the NFL level, and his character issues suggests he doesn't have the work ethic to be an effective backup in the NFL. An overrated player, and below average value at pick 173.
The Chargers had a mediocre draft. Ryan Mathews was a little bit of a reach at pick 12. I never saw Donal Butler play, for he was a late riser who saw his stock rise after doing a shocking 35 bench reps, 3rd most of any defender at the combine, but he was a little bit of a reach at pick 79. Cam Thomas and Jonathan Crompton were also late risers after having good all star bowls. Crompton was an okay pick and Thomas was outstanding value at pick 146. He also filled a great position of need at nose tackle. But onto the players I saw.
Mathews is a good power back with very good strength and solid speed. I have always found that the 40 yard dash of Mathews is misleading, though (4.41). Mathews is significantly slower when he wears football pads, and speed isn't really a factor of his game at the college level. Mathews has strong vision as an inside runner, but he is pretty inept in the passing game. He is a poor pass blocker and he is a very poor receiver. Definitely a reach by the Chargers, and poor value at pick 12.
I really like Darrell Stuckey. Stuckey has all of the physical tools to develop into a starter in a few years, but he needs to work on his instincts and awareness in coverage. Stuckey's quickness and strength allow him to post up high tackle numbers at the college level, but he will need more instincts and natural abilities to take smart angles in pursuit to be productive at the NFL level. Stuckey has the physical upside to be an outstanding safety in the long run, but he will need a fair amount of refining in polish before that will happen. A very good playe, and outstanding value at pick 110.
The Steelers had a pretty good draft. I loved the Antonio Brown pick. I considered making him my favorite sleeper in the entire draft class, but instead I chose Demaryius Thomas. I never Jason Worilds play because I didn't expect him to come out for the draft as a Junior. Chris Scott was a bit of a reach due to a complete lack of athleticism, but it could have been a worse pick. I never saw Stevenson Sylvester play, but he wasn't awful value as a compensatory pick in the 5th round. Overall, the Steelers had a good draft, getting great value with most of their pick.
Pouncey has excellent athleticism, solid strength, and excellent smarts and awareness at the center position. Pouncey possesses the football knowledge to read defenses and signal schemes that opponents are using to the quarterback from the center position, which is an excellent skill for such a young player, similar to Kevin Mawae. Pouncey also possesses adequate strength, the versatility to play guard, and excellent on field toughness. But, this pick was a little but of a reach because of the lack of common use of the center position. But, offensive line is a major need for the Steelers, and overall, this was an okay pick.
I didn't see much of Emmanuel Sanders (I got about a quarter of scouting information of him during the East-West Shrine Game), but I can tell that he is quite simply the prototypical NFL slot receiver; an undersized receiver, but one with good speed and solid route running ability. Many people originally thought he was the product of a great June Jones offense, but he showed at the East-West Shrine Game that he has solid physical tools that could make him an adequate player at the NFL level. A solid player, but maybe a little bit of a reach at pick 82.
I have always liked Thaddeus Gibson because, unlike most college 3-4 outside linebackers, he played primarily linebacker in college, and he already has lots of experience dropping back into coverage at the college level. Most of the college ends transitioning to 3-4 outside linebacker struggle to learn how to be consistent. Gibson has an underrated, nice head start. Gibson is excellent in coverage, he provides good athleticism, and solid sack production. Overall, he was a nice player, and very good value at pick 116.
I stopped scouting Butler mid-season after deciding that he probably wouldn't be a fifth round pick due to his horrible lack of physicality. He has no strength, he is one of the worst tacklers I have ever seen, he isn't physical in coverage, he has horrible instincts, and, quite simply, he is the most inept run stopper I have ever seen at corner. But, when I thought about this pick, it made a lot of sense. Butler has solid athleticism, cover skills, outstanding hands, and great awareness in coverage. Corners that come in only in nickel packages only come in when there are 3, 4, maybe even 5 wide receivers lined up opposite them. In these formations, the opposing team rarely runs the football, so corners that come in in nickel packages don't need to be very effective as run stopper to still be productive in their role on the team. That's Butler for you. He is the prototypical nickel back in the NFL level, and he could be a weird "shutdown corner," on third wide receivers for years to come. It sound bizarre, but when I thought about it, it seems plausible. Overall, it was solid value at pick 164.
Dwyer was solid value at pick 188. Character concerns have sprouted upon to Dwyer after showing up extremely out of shape at the combine, and he has shown inconsistency at Georgia Tech. When in shape, he is a great power back who has an impressive size and speed ratio with solid athleticism and great strength. He also is a solid home run threat. But he is out of shape right now, and when out of shape is a an adequate running fullback at best. Good value at pick 188.
Antonio Brown is the most underrated prospect of the draft. It was real close between him and Demaryius Thomas. Brown has good speed (40 yard dash between 4.42-4.47), great hands, and good route running ability. Brown's numbers are outstanding for a true Junior (averages 1059 yards per season, and 100 catches per season), but most people think Brown's stats a product of Dan LeFevour. But, in my opinion, Dan LeFevour production are a result of Antonio Brown's unbelievable abilities. He is a great route runner with unbelievable hands and outstanding speed. Though he is a little short, Brown's productiveness and good physical tools make him another potential Steve Smith. I just love his hands, production, quickness in his routes, and speed. He also brings added value as a return man. Overall, he was outstanding value at pick 195.
The Eagles got a lot of picks in this year's draft, and they made a fair amount out of all of their picks. I never saw Daniel Teo'-Neshiem play, for he was a late riser after a nice pro day, but he wasn't great value at pick 86. I don't know anything about Keenan Clayton, so I really can't judge that pick, but it sure doesn't sound too good. I never saw Kafka play, cause he was a late riser and by the time he looked like an NFL prospect it was too late for me to see him. And I never saw Clay Harbor play cause I couldn't find any game film of Missouri State. Overall, it was a solid draft.
I always found Graham to be pretty overrated because he has mediocre athleticism and he is really short for a defensive end. I don't think Graham has a high ceiling, similar to Tyson Alualu. Graham's average athleticism and lack of height give him a somewhat low ceiling at the NFL level. That being said, he does have excellent instincts, good stats, and outstanding toughness that should make him a solid run stopper at the NFL level. An overrated player, and below average value at pick 13.
Allen was among my favorite sleepers of all the players in this year's draft class. Allen has good athleticism, pretty good height, nice straight line speed, and outstanding awareness in coverage. Allen's soft hands and great ball-hawking awareness in coverage leads to countless interceptions that will make him an extremely productive player at the NFL level. I have always found Allen to be a clone of Packers safety Nick Collins, who usually is around the league leader in interceptions every year, and I think Allen has a similar future at the NFL level. That being said, Allen isn't an extremely physical run stopper and he lacks the instincts to make too many tackles at the next level. But Allen is still a great player, and good value at pick 37.
I thought Lindley was a bit of a reach due to his lack of top-end speed, athleticism, instinctiveness, tackling ability, run stopping ability, physicality, and trouble staying healthy. But Lindley has natural instincts in coverage, so he may get a few interceptions as a nickel back in the Eagles defense for years to come. A below average player, and poor value at pick 105.
I can't believe Sapp fell this far, but this was great value for the Eagles. Sapp has outstanding athleticism, but he lacks toughness, strength, and statistical production from the end position. Sapp's upside is first-round worthy, but he will need to improve his instincts and toughness if he wants to succeed at the NFL level. A nice steal for the Eagles at pick 134.
I really like Riley Cooper. Cooper has nice size, and average athleticism for someone of his size that will make him a solid possession receiver at the NFL level. Cooper lacks natural change of direction skills and deceptiveness in his routes, but he has solid hands a great size for a wide receiver. He also is a very physical receiver and a solid run blocker. A very nice pick by the Eagles and good value at pick 159.
Scott was good value at pick 200 because of his excellent toughness, high motor, and the ability to get yards in short-yardage situations. Scott will be a solid goal line back who is the ideal complement to the bouncy, speedy LeSean McCoy and Scott will help the Eagles move the chains in third/fourth and short situations, which they have struggled to do in recent years. But Scott lacks the speed and physical tools to be a solid every down running back at the NFL level. A good pick by the Eagles.
I am a huge Jamar Chaney fan. This will surprise the even the most hardcore SEC fans, but, believe it or not, Chaney is tied for second play among all SEC players in career tackles (behind Rico McCoy). Just as many or more career tackles than Rolando McClain, Rennie Curran, Brandon Spikes, Micah Johnson, and every other SEC linebacker with a much bigger name. After reading that, most people will think Chaney was a 7th round pick because he lacks physical tools, which is also why he is at Mississippi State. That simply couldn't be further from the truth. Chaney ran a 4.51 40 yard dash at the combine, which was by far the best among inside linebackers (second place was Phillip Dillard with a 4.64). So Chaney has excellent stats, and he has good physical tools. He also has a high motor. Chaney may lack instincts, but with a little seasoning in Philadelphia, he could improve upon his instincts and become a starting inside linebacker in Philly for years to come. Great pick by the Eagles, and outstanding value at pick 220.
I am sure most of my readers read my scouting report on Owens in the Gerald McCoy article. Owens lacks height and pass rushing ability, but he has surprising strength and solid stats for a 7th round pick. Owens also has solid speed and good tackling ability, but he has had durability issues in the past which has hurt his production at Georgia. A good pick here, and good value at pick 243.
I was surprised that Coleman fell this far, for he has solid athleticism and great tackling ability, but this was a good pick by the Eagles. Coleman is a hard hitter who has shown decent awareness in coverage and production in Columbus over the years, but he is very short and he can be a little overaggressive and undisciplined at times. A nice player for the Eagles, and good value at pick 244.
For once, the Raiders didn't have the worst draft in the NFL. It was actually a pretty solid draft. I liked most of their draft picks, and it will help the Raiders for years to come. I never got to see Campbell play, since no Maryland games were televised this year, but he was great value in the fourth round due to his excellent athleticism. A solid draft.
McClain is an instinctive linebacker who is a great tackler and will be an extremely productive player in the NFL for years to come. McClain's instinctiveness and aggressiveness make him an absolute playmaker and an excellent run stopper. McClain also possesses great athleticism, strength, and awareness in coverage, which makes him the complete inside linebacker at the college level. A good player, and solid value at pick 8.
Houston was a late riser who's stock rose after an excellent National Championship game against Alabama. He has solid athleticism and he puts up outstanding stats. He is a great run stopper, he has very good strength, he is extremely quick, and he is relentless in pursuit. The Raiders definitely need a defensive tackle, and Lamarr Houston was great value at pick 44.
Veldheer has outstanding athleticism in shorts, but I don't see it in shoulder pads, making him an overrated prospect in my opinion. Veldheer has outstanding size, nice height, and average athleticism in shoulder pads. He is a solid pass blocker, and he is a pretty good run blocker. But he lacks toughness, intensity, and his arms are very short for someone of his height. I didn't like this pick, and I thought he was somewhat poor value at pick 69.
Ford is just a track star. Ford is the fastest player of anyone in this year's draft class, but he lacks change of direction skills, and he is much shorter than ideal. He also is a poor route runner, and he has poor hands. But because of all of his speed he has good upside and the potential to be Santana Moss years down the road. An okay player, and solid value at pick 108.
McFadden has outstanding speed, but he really lacks size and he isn't very physical as a run stopper and in coverage. He is a very poor tackler, he really has poor instincts, and he is a very poor run stopper. But he has solid cover skills and outstanding speed. He probably will be a solid nickel back at the NFL level. A very good player, and great value at pick 138.
The Jets didn't have a lot of picks, and they got average value for their picks, but I kind of like the overall draft more than I like the individual picks because the Jets stole Santonio Holmes from the Steelers. Conner was a late riser who I never got to see play, but he was solid value in the fifth round.
I always considered Wilson a little bit overrated, but I must concede he was solid value at pick 29. Wilson provides excellent speed and toughness, but I have always found that he will make a few questionable decisions in coverage. He comes across as a little too aggressive on the field to me, sort of like Patrick Robinson. But, like Robinson, Wilson provides excellent physical tools, combining a good combination of size and speed and excellent fluidity as an athlete. Definitely a good pick by the Jets.
I don't have enough scouting information to make a great evaluation of Haiti native Vladimir Ducasse (I only saw him for a quarter or so during the Senior Bowl), but Ducasse provides solid athleticism (maybe enough to play right tackle in a few years), good strength, and a nice wide base. But, because he played at Massachusetts, he is an extremely raw prospect he will take a lot of grooming overtime to develop into a serious NFL player. A good player and solid value for the Jets at pick 61.
I was never too high on McKnight. McKnight has solid athleticism but he really lacks on field toughness and strength, which really makes him a one-dimensional, outside run only running back, sort of like Jahvid Best. McKnight is incapable of carrying a solid workload, so he probably doesn't project well as an NFL starter, though he was productive in college. At this point McKnight can and will be a solid 3rd down scat back, catching lots of passes and returning a few kicks, but he can't contribute too much more than that. An okay pick by the Jets.
The Giants had a mediocre draft. I loved the Chad Jones pick and the Linval Joseph pick, but I thought that Pierre-Paul was overrated and Dillard was a reach in the fourth round. The Mitch Petrus pick was solid too. Overall, the Giants had a below average draft, but it wasn't too bad.
I always found Pierre-Paul to be an overrated prospect because he lacks strength and he hasn't been to productive at South Florida. Pierre-Paul has Jevon Kearse like athleticism and Pierre-Paul has the potential to be a great pass rusher at the NFL level. He has great athleticism, but he lacks strength and he is such a raw prospect that he might never be an adequate player at the NFL level. It will take a while for Pierre-Paul to develop, and my fear is that he never may.
Joseph was probably my greatest success in the draft. I always found Joseph to be an extremely underrated prospect, and I gave him an early second round or late first round grade. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay each gave him a fourth or a fifth round grade, but then they each said that they had heard the day before the draft from scouts the Joseph was an early second round prospect. One of them even put him in their first round mock. I was so proud of that. It was easily my greatest success if the draft. Joseph possesses excellent athleticism and strength, evidenced by the fact that he ran the fastest 40 yard dash of any defender 308lbs or more (he is 328lbs, so that's really impressive), and he did the most bench reps of any player at the combine 308lbs or more. He also is the only nose tackle in the draft who put up solid stats (59 tackles, 3 sacks, in his JUNIOR year) compared to guys like Dan Williams (62 tackles, 2 sacks) and Terrence Cody (28 tackles, 0 sacks). Clearly, Joseph has excellent physical tools, he puts up good numbers. What more could you ask for?
I like Jones. Jones has outstanding athleticism, great physicality, good strength, and excellent instincts. He is a pretty complete player doing a great job of combining athleticism and production. I really like Jones because of his production and talent. It makes him a great prospect. I always found him to be underrated, and I think he'll be a solid safety for years to come.
Mitch Petrus isn't very smart, but he has solid physical tools. Petrus possesses outstanding strength, but he has mediocre athleticism, and he makes very poor decisions when he on who to block. Petrus is pretty productive, he has good strength, but he just lacks instincts. A pretty solid pick here, and good value at pick 147.
The Saints had a solid draft. I just loved the Jimmy Graham pick, for I thought he was extremely underrated (I forgot to make him an honorable mention in the Demaryius Thomas article), but even people who didn't think he was too underrated can't deny he was great value at pick 95. Al Woods was a bit of a reach at pick 123 (I didn't bother to scout him), because he has marginal numbers, but that was the only pick I had a major issue with. Overall, the Saints had a solid draft.
Robinson has excellent physical tools, but he is the kind of player that will just drive coaches insane. He provides outstanding athleticism and solid size at the corner position, but he makes so many on-field mistakes. He seems to commit countless penalties, and he is frequently way to aggressive and completely undisciplined in coverage. He simply tries so hard to make an incredible play that he will miss some of the easy plays. And it's got to drive his coaches up the wall. Robinson frequently seems to leave his man a little too early on play action passes and he gets called for a fair amount of pass interference penalties. Robinson needs to play a lot and he needs a lot of seasoning from coaches, but if he works hard on refining his discipline in coverage, he will be a great player for years to come.
I always thought that Charles Brown was really overrated. Most people considered him a late-first to early second round prospect, but his athleticism is average, he lacks strength, and he just wasn't all too productive at USC. I never really understood the appeal, and I probably would have had made him an honorable mention in the Gerald McCoy article had he not fell this far. I should acknowledge that he was okay value at pick 64, and that's why I don't have any issues with this pick. In the minds of most people, Brown was one of the bigger steals of the draft and the Saints were lucky to find him this late. And I will concede, this was a solid pick. Brown is a very smart blocker with natural instincts. Solid value at pick at pick 64.
I have seen probably a thousand college football games over the year (200 this year alone), and of all the tight ends I have ever seen, I think it would be fair to say only one tight end I have ever seen can probably match Graham physically (Greg Olsen), and one tight end can beat Graham physically (Vernon Davis). Davis might be the best athlete ever to put on a football uniform (253 pounds, 4.39 40 yard dash? You have got to be kidding me), but Graham is up there among the best athlete's in the game right now (6'6, 260, 4.53 40 yard dash is spectacular in it's own right). Former Miami power forward Jimmy Graham has blocked a lot of shots over the years, but he hasn't caught a lot of football's. Why? This was his first and only year of NCAA football, after playing basketball for years with Miami. At this point in his young career, Graham is the most raw prospect I have ever seen. Some scouts say Graham doesn't play with much intensity. I don't think that is a fair thing to say. Right now, Graham doesn't know how to play football. He hasn't been a great success in his one year at Miami, missing lots of blocks and dropping a fair amount of passes. I remember from the ACC tournament about 1 and a half years ago (I always liked to watch Jack McClinton) that Graham is one intense, tough, person, growing up on the streets, being abandoned by his mother and father numerous times, and getting adopted (hearing that story is how I remember him from two years ago). Graham seems like a different person on the football field; less intense and less tough. But from what I have seen, Graham just doesn't know how to play football, and he can't do anything on the football field with any confidence or swagger, because he comes across as really scared of making some mistake on the field. He really uses just awful technique when he is run blocking and he is a pretty at catching passes. If he can have some successful blocks, even if it's in a practice, after being coached up a little, I think he'll show lots of confidence and intensity on the field. Right now, it compares to a kid loving baseball but being scared of the ball. If he can get over it, he will be a great player. Graham is a natural athlete with great fluidity and solid strength. But he is a terrible route runner, he uses awful blocking technique, and he has poor hands. Excellent player and outstanding value at pick 95.
Tennant fits the ideal mold of an overachiever on the offensive line in every way shape or form; he has no athleticism, so he plays center or some other interior line position, he lacks strength, but he is just he takes natural angles to opposing defenders, he makes brilliant blocking decisions, and he plays with high intensity. Because of the lack of a need of athleticism and strength at the center position, Tennant might be an average starter at the NFL level, but that's still a low ceiling for the 3rd, maybe 4th, center drafted in any draft class. A solid player, and decent value at pick 158.
Canfield was solid value this late in the draft. Canfield has very little arm strength, size, and mobility, but he is a smart quarterback with solid accuracy that will bode well in the Saints offense. Canfield's accuracy and solid production was enough to get him drafted, but it probably isn't enough for him to do much in the NFL. Solid value at pick 239.