An NFL Draft Blog

An NFL Draft Blog
Formerly known as the player rater.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A.J. Green- 2011 Draft Scouting Report

Right now, Georgia receiver A.J. Green is the front runner to be my number one overall NFL draft prospect. Scouts all over the country are debating between Julio Jones and Green for the best underclassman receiver prospect, and I heavily favor Green. He is much more complete player. But onto the scouting report:

Green is a physically gifted player. At 6'4, he has great size to go up and get the football, and he also provides excellent speed. He always comes across as faster on film than he is in shorts, which is a big plus for me. With the ball in his hands, he simply showcases natural change of direction skills, making him very shifty and tough to tackle. Many people say that he isn't spectacular in the weight room, but I have seen good strength from him in football pads, as he seems to be an effective blocker, and he can rip the ball out of a defenders hands (see: catch on Chris Hawkins at the 5 min 10 sec mark of the video below). He also possesses solid bulk and unbelievable body control when going up for the football.

Green also has really good hands. He tends to avoid trapping balls against his frame, which is valued highly in the NFL, and he almost never drops passes. He also probably is the best in all of college at catching the ball at its highest point. His ability to get high in the air and catch the ball in his fingertips with his incredibly long arms is shocking and he does it with unbelievable consistency. It will be a major asset to his game in the NFL.

Green has been pretty successful statistically. He missed 4 games last season due to a shoulder injury, but he still was able to get 808 receiving yards last season. Had he not missed those games, he was on pace to get 1167 yards last season, an excellent total, especially considering Georgia attempted 346 passes, 85th in the FBS (out of 120 teams). Considering the fact he was a true Sophomore, he had an excellent season last year.

Green possesses outstanding intensity when run blocking, which is a major asset to his team. He uses his size very well to drive defenders off the ball, he shows excellent toughness going over the middle for the football, and he shows that he has power to run over defenders with the football in his hands. His toughness suggests a good work ethic on and off the field.

Green is a natural big play threat with the football in his hands. He has simply outstanding speed and shiftiness that allows to score a touchdown on any play that he touches the ball. He does a good job of using head fakes and natural change of direction skills to get past defenders with the ball in his hands. He uses his size well to make catches in the end zone and he possesses excellent awareness of the sideline. He also uses his size well to power through smaller defenders and create even more yards after the catch.

Green showcases any ability to read coverage schemes well and get in good position on option routes. That skill is impressive considering his age. That skill helps him get open when running slant routes and get yards after the catch. He also has a quick first step off the line of scrimmage.

I must emphasize that Green will be a top five pick in next year's draft. Top five picks don't exactly have many weaknesses. His main weakness is a lack of quickness in and out of breaks and poor footwork when route running. I think this concern is a little overrated. As I mentioned before, Green spending time to learn opponents coverage schemes and his on field toughness suggests that he has a strong work ethic. As I also mentioned before, Green does a good job of using head fakes and his change of direction skills to create yards after the catch. I know it is a bizarre comparison, but a receiver trying to lose his man when running a route is similar to a receiver trying to evade a man trying to tackle that receiver in the open field. In each situation, the receiver uses deceptive head fakes and natural change of direction skills to try to evade an opposing defender. Green simply hasn't used these skills when route running; it just hasn't been incorporated into his game. I think it is likely that Green will improve his route running because of his work ethic, but what's undeniably is that Green has unlimited route running potential. And that's the only thing that is stopping him from being a complete player. And in 2010, I did end up seeing a major progression in his route running, making him one of the most complete players in the NCAA.

Here is a good look of Green in action:

A.J. Green's Sophomore Highlights

Overall, Green possesses a whole lot of physical upside, but I think that he also has the talent and work ethic to fix the small flaws in his game. Green's more well rounded game and better stats make him a much better player then Julio Jones, and I think we'll see more of Green in the NFL. He is a great prospect. Maybe even the best in all of next year's class.

NFL Comparison: There aren't a lot players that are similar to Green, but I will say he's Larry Fitzgerald with a little bit more speed.
Grade: 99
Projection: 97

Updated Scouting Report(s): Jerel Worthy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gabe Carimi- 2011 Draft Scouting Report

The 2011 tackle class is pretty bad. I'd be surprised if more than 2 tackles got drafted next year in the first round. Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi is going to be one of them, but I don't think that he really deserves it. He isn't really much of an all-around player.

Physically, Carimi is a pretty talented player. Carimi has outstanding height, solid bulk, and above average athleticism. He also brings solid to above average strength to his game, helping him drive defenders off the ball when run blocking. He also creates a wide base in pass protection. But, for a 6'7 tackle, Carimi has some really short arms, which hinders his ability to ride defenders along the edge in pass protection.

Carimi plays with nice toughness and intensity, which helps him use his strength well to drive defenders off the ball when run blocking. His mean streak and work ethic makes him a pretty coachable player at the NFL level. It's among the greatest assets to his game.

Carimi has some awful instincts and awareness as a blocker. He takes poor angles to defenders while run blocking, he struggles to get into good position and have good pad level in zone blocking plays, and he struggles to stay low in pass protection. He also makes pretty poor blocking decisions. He needs to learn to keep his head on a swivel and get in good position on the move if he wants any NFL success.

Carimi has terrible balance. He will fall down after hardly being touched because of poor footwork and mediocre lower body strength. This greatly hinders his production as a run blocker.

One major issue that I have with Carimi is his lack of ability too handle different types of penetration moves. Carimi has been a pretty productive player against athletes like Allen Bailey, but I have seen polished defenders penetrate Carimi with ease by using the swim move and the spin move against him. The perfect example of the 2009 Purdue game; in which he was matched up against Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is probably the most unathletic pure overachiever of any player in this year's draft class; but he has good polish. Kerrigan got 9 tackles and a sack in the game (which is somewhat good for his standards), but it's worth noting that it ended up being a 37 to 0 game. Kerrigan got subbed out the the 3rd quarter. If Kerrigan had played the entire game, he would have dominated Carimi even more than he did by using the spin and swim moves to great effectiveness. Carimi needs to learn how to use his hands better and handle pass rush moves more easily.

Overall, I think that Carimi is the benefiter of a weak tackle class. Personally, I believe in drafting for value rather than need as early in the first round Carimi is expected to be picked. Most people give Carimi a top ten grade, but Carimi isn't really a top ten talent. I would criticize any team for drafting Carimi that high. Say he gets drafted in the top ten. I just don't get why a team that is bad enough to have a top ten pick wouldn't draft a better player and fill a different need instead of drafting Carimi. I say that mostly because a team with a top ten pick isn't just a tackle away from the playoffs. So why not wait till next year and draft a better tackle than Carimi near the same pick of the following year's draft

NFL Comparison: Jeremy Trueblood
Grade: 89
Projection: 93

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Christian Ballard- 2011 Draft Scouting Report

I really like Iowa defensive tackle Christian Ballard. This year, I'd think it would be fair to say that Iowa has the best defensive line in the country. Adrian Clayborn gets all the credit, but I know that Ballard is an extremely good player in his own right.

Ballard doesn't really have a reputation as a 3-4 defensive end prospect, but I think he could do very well at that position. Ballard possesses ideal height and good bulk bulk for the position: at 6'5, 298lbs and excellent pass rushing ability for a defensive tackle, he is a great match for the position. Ballard also possesses the necessary speed and athleticism for the position, well documented by his outstanding 4.86 40 yard dash.

Ballard is among the best statistical achievers of all the defensive ends in this years draft class: 50 tackles and 5 sacks last season make him among the most productive linemen in this year's draft class.  This season, he did a step back though. He is an unbelievable run stopper due to his tackling ability and instincts; he has a wide variety of pass rush moves that make him great at getting to the quarterback.

Ballard possesses above average instincts for the position; showcasing excellent discipline on play-actions and misdirections and reacting quickly to the play. He also takes solid angles to opposing ball carriers, making him a very effective run stopper.

Ballard is a solid tackler who uses great fundamentals to wrap up any man coming at him. He also can be a volatile hitter causing many fumbles. But he isn't very good at making tackles in heavy traffic.

One thing that really jumps out at me is Ballard's quickness off the football. He frequently overwhelms linemen by getting into position extremely quickly and doing an excellent job of using his hands. Ballard's quickness are among the greatest assets to his game.

Ballard possesses solid polish in the different pass rush moves; he has shown pretty good development and polish in the swim move and spin move as well as doing an excellent job of using his hands in the bull rush. I have not seen him incorporate the rip move in his game, though.

Ballard seems to have excellent intangibles; he plays the game with a mean streak and I can tell that he was worked hard to keep himself in shape and make sure that he has an extremely large arsenal of skills to make him a productive player.

Ballard's only big weakness for me is his lack of strength in both the upper body and lower body. Ballard doesn't have the strength to get to the quarterback using the bull rush nor does he have the strength to make improbable arm tackles in deep traffic. If Ballard can improve his strength, he will go in the late second round, and he'll be a great player.

Overall, I think Ballard is an extremely underrated prospect who's name is lost in this year's bevy of 3-4 defensive ends. Considering how many 3-4 ends are in this year's draft class, Ballard might be drafted in the late second round, but he has the talent of a player in the late first round. And I prefer to give grades on talent, and not consider the depth at the position the player plays.

NFL Comparison: A more athletic version of Tyson Alualu
Grade: 88
Projection: 85

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Player Rankings

I really want to start out by saying that I am only making the rankings so early just so all readers have access to all of my scouting reports. It's just kind of easy, but for now, these rankings have no reflection of what the rankings will look like in the future. Of course, I am not done writing scouting reports, so a majority of players aren't on the player rankings yet.

1. A.J. Green
Grade: 99
Projection: 97

2. Cameron Newton
Redshirt Junior
Grade: 97
Projection: 94

3. Aldon Smith
Redshirt Sophomore
4-3 DE
Grade: 97
Projection: 94

4. Nate Solder
Grade: 96
Projection: 93

5. Adrian Clayborn
Redshirt Senior
3-4 DE
Grade: 95
Projection: 95

6. Prince Amukamara
Grade: 94
Projection: 97
Grade: 93
Projection: 94

8. Robert Quinn
4-3 DE
North Carolina
Grade: 93
Projection: 99
Grade: 92
Projection: 98

10. Gabe Carimi
Redshirt Senior
Grade: 89
Projection: 93

11. Christian Ballard
Grade: 88
Projection: 85

Grade: 88
Projection: 93

13. Matt Szczur
Grade: 85
Projection: 76

Grade: 84
Projection: 87

15. Rashad Carmichael
Redshirt Senior
Grade: 84
Projection: 66

16. Charlie Gantt
Redshirt Senior
Michigan State
Grade: 75
Projection: 66

Grade: 65
Projection: 45

Grade: 50
Projection: 37

Grade: 42
Projection: 51

Redshirt Senior
Grade: 35
Projection: 49

21. Raymond Williams
Redshirt Senior
Grade: 20
Projection: 10

Allen Bailey- 2011 Draft Scouting Report

Because of the rise of the 3-4 at the NFL level in recent years, 2011 has become the draft of the 3-4 end. Right now, if Juniors Marcell Dareus and DaQuan Bowers leave for the draft, were looking at about 4 to 5 3-4 defensive end prospects being drafted in the first round of next year's draft (Adrian Clayborn, Bowers, Cameron Heyward, Dareus, and Bailey, in order of personal preference. Also, though it is considered unlikely right now, I am also pretty high on Iowa defensive tackle Christian Ballard, I think that he is well suited for the 3-4, and I think his stock may rise into first round consideration by the end of the year). It could result in a major change in the way the draft works for years to come. But onto the scouting report:

Miami defensive end Allen Bailey has been and always will be blessed with physical tools. His body bears lots of resemblance to Bears defensive end Julius Peppers; good height, ideal bulk for the 3-4 end position, outstanding athleticism and strength.  That Peppers comparison is exciting. Among all of the ends mentioned in the previous paragraph, Bailey probably is second only to Bowers in terms of pure physical ability.

Bailey's weaknesses outnumber his strengths. Bailey has never been able to put up 5th round quality stats in his career at Miami; though he is a solid pass rusher statistically, I didn't think that I had ever scouted a single defensive lineman who couldn't accumulate over 32 tackles during last season without having some kind of injury. I decided to check that out, so I looked at all the linemen I scouted last year; 1 player had fewer tackles (Terrence Cody, with 28) and two others each accumulated 32 tackles (Geno Atkins and Gerald McCoy. That's why I always said McCoy was overrated). To have all of those physical gifts and be that horrible statistically is inexcusable. And  I'd say it strongly suggests a lot about Bailey. However, in 2010, he actually had a moderately impressive season, getting 46 tackles and seven sacks, and I stopped worrying about his numbers.

Bailey has a bit of a hot and cold motor. At times, he will use his strength to drive linemen back like a bear. And at other times he'll get manhandled badly. His on field intensity is mediocre, and he puts up a greater effort in bigger games than he does in smaller games. But I have definitely seen worse.

Bailey definitely isn't a very instinctive lineman. He regularly overcommits on play actions, misdirections, and screen passes, which is part of the reason his tackle production is so awful. But he does takes solid angles to the ball carrier, and he is pretty patient for ball carriers to come his way.

Bailey is pretty good at deflecting passes, but he has very poor quickness of the ball, and he struggles to keep his pads low on all plays. Bailey's lack of anticipation of the snap puts him in poor positions to start every play, which really hinders his production.

Bailey does not provide a wide array of pass rush moves. He only uses the bull rush; he doesn't really use the speed rush effectively, and he has very little development in the swim move, rip move, and spin move. His strength is so staggering that he can get by with just the bull rush at the college level, but I don't see him being successful as a pass rusher at the NFL level without some use of the swim and rip moves.

Here are some highlights of Bailey

Allen Bailey vs. Wake Forest

Allen Bailey vs. Florida State

Allen Bailey vs. Georgia Tech

Overall, I think that Bailey is an overrated prospect because of his average of production and mediocre effort. It seems like a lot of players who have character concerns always slide down farther in the draft than expected. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened to Bailey.

NFL Comparison: Jamaal Anderson (the defensive end, not the running back) of the Falcons. I know he definitely isn't a big named guy, but there is a whole lot of physical and statistical resemblance.

Grade: 84
Projection: 87

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DeAndre Brown- 2011 Draft Scouting Report

When I scouted Southern Mississippi receiver Deandre Brown this season, it was for precautionary reasons; I didn't see him leaving for the draft without an excellent, +1,200 yard Junior season, but in case he did leave, I thought I'd better scout him while I actually have footage of a Southern Mississippi game. I don't regret the decision. Because he was immature enough to leave for the draft despite a 4th or 5th round projection.

DeAndre Brown is the biggest wide receiver I have ever scouted; 6'6, 231lbs (even though 231lbs might make him the heaviest receiver in the NFL, considering how tall he is, it isn't actually too much bulk). Brown combines that size with excellent speed (4.43 40 yard dash). That speed and athleticism is seen pretty easily on the field; he also possesses great quickness and shiftiness that allows him to make defenders miss open field tackles. Brown's elusiveness and game breaking speed is pretty well documented by his 16.7 yards per catch, among the highest in the FBS.

I have seen DeAndre Brown in one game so far; the 2009 game against Kansas. He made 4 catches. By only making 4 catches (likely because he got injured during the game), I can't really get a definitive read on how good his hands are. His hands were brilliant in that game, though; he didn't drop a pass, he avoided trapping any balls against his frame (it's easy for him since his hands are like baseball gloves), and he possesses long arms that he used well to catch the ball at its highest point. But he was mediocre at adjusting to the football.

Brown is an average route runner; he shows solid quickness in and out of breaks, he uses his feet well, and he is a natural at using deceptive head fakes to fool even the best defenders in the nation (see: 49 yard catch against Kansas he made right front of Chris Harris). However, he struggles to read opponent's coverage schemes and fund holes in the defense

I know my readers are thinking "how can he be so hard on Terrance Toliver for his stats when Brown only got 50 more yards than Toliver (785 to 735) last season against such a low level of competition". Though he put up an outstanding 1117 yard season during his Freshman year at Southern Mississippi, he was poor during his Sophomore year. Honestly, the bad stats aren't really his fault; this is why his stats are bad: (This is a gross injury. If you are the type to get squeamish, do yourself a favor: don't watch)

DeAndre Brown's Gruesome Injury

I know he ended up only missing one game last year due to the injury. I decided to check how long it takes for a broken tibia to heal. Most said they can walk after six to eleven weeks and the pain is completely gone and the ankle isn't too stiff after about 11 months, depending on the severity of the break. The game in which he broke the tibia was on December 21st, 2008. 11 months later, on November 21st, 2009, he was healthy again. So how did he do when he was finally completely healthy? 3 games, 14 catches, 345 yards, 115 yards per game. After only getting 49 yards per game in his first 9 games, he reverted back to his 08 form and was simply a monster on the field. Clearly his lack of production Junior year was because of all of his injury issues.

In 2010, he put up horrible numbers, due to a leg strain, hamstring pull, and another lower leg injury. He only played in 5 games, and was pretty disappointing.

DeAndre Brown has a lot of character issues. He puts up a poor effort onto the field he is a lazy and apathetic run blocker, he showed immaturity by leaving for the NFL draft despite the fact he could really improve, he ended up at Southern Mississippi only because he didn't have the grades to get into LSU, and he lacks toughness (he's had way too many injuries for all of them to be so painful that he can't play through them).

Brown does have one major flaw that is horribly warranted: durability. Brown has had multiple injuries in his career. When I watched the video I was both disgusted by the injury but also amazed that he could injure himself that badly on a no contact play.  Of course there is the broken tibia, but he also had a shoulder injury against Kansas that caused him to miss the game against UAB last year. After seeing a hamstring injury, and then a leg strain, and another lower leg injury hamper his production in 2010, I had to admit that he is the Greg Oden of college football. He already has accumulated more injuries in two years than many players accumulate in an entire NFL career.  I must admit, he can't really stay healthy.

Here are some highlights of Brown

Deandre Brown vs. Middle Tennessee State

Overall, I think Brown is a bit of a sleeper solely because of his physical tools and solid potential. I know he has his character issues and durability issues, but it seems like some of the best late round sleepers have character issues (see: Mike Williams, Legarrette Blount). I think the same could happen to Brown.

Grade: 65
Projection: 45
NFL Comparison: Vincent Jackson

My Preseason College Football Rankings

I want to start out by saying that these rankings correspond to where I think the teams deserved to be ranked. These rankings aren't a prediction, but an opinion.

1. Ohio State- I originally had Boise State at No. 1, because I am a Buckeye fan and I didn't want too feel biased, but I decided I needed to get over that. Looks pretty solid, didn't lose a lot of players in last year's draft.
2. Alabama- Looks really overrated; lost 14 starters, 9 on defense.
3. Boise State- One starter left the team last year.
4. Iowa- If Stanzi stops throwing interceptions, Iowa might make the National Championship. Really underrated team.
5. Florida- A bit underrated; Tebow's replacement, John Brantley, was beyond brilliant in limited playing time last year; 36 for 48, 410 yards, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
6. Oregon- I'm losing faith in the Ducks without Masoli.
7. North Carolina- Really underrated. Best defense in the country.
8. Virginia Tech- Ryan Williams is a monster.
9. Texas- Overrated. Can't run the ball.
10. Miami- JaCory Harris has good, natural poise.
11. TCU- Can Andy Dalton repeat 09's great numbers?
12. Nebraska- Lots of depth in their defense; a strong running game.
13. Oklahoma- Can't underachieve as badly as last year; fate rests upon Landry Jones.
14. Oregon State- Underrated team. Jacquizz Rodgers will be better than ever.
15. LSU- Balanced defense; can Richard Murphy do anything as a starter?
16. Wisconsin- A little overrated; poor defense.
17. Florida State- Looks really underrated. Christian Ponder is quite impressive.
18. West Virginia- Should dominate in a bad year for the Big East; Noel Devine is a monster.
19. Georgia Tech- Seems to underwhelm fans every year; 4 Juniors left for the draft.
20. Pittsburgh- Real good offense. Can Dion Lewis be successful again?
21. Penn State- Lost a bunch of guys to the NFL.
22. USC- A little overrated; not much to play for this year.
23. Stanford- Andrew Luck is a great quarterback. Pretty underrated team.
24. Georgia- The Bulldogs will improve after a horrible year in 2009.
25. UConn- Underrated. If Jordan Todman can carry a big workload, he will be a star.