Posted on: December 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Randy Edsall and Frank Spaziani, the head coaches for the Maryland Terrapins and Boston College Eagles, respectively, are breathing a little easier after news that each would be getting back star players next year.
On Friday, the ACC announced its list of players granted medical redshirts. Four Maryland players were on the list, including outside linebacker Kenny Tate, a 2010 First Team all-conference pick. Five Boston College players were granted another season of eligibility, including the preseason ACC Offensive Player of the Year, running back Montel Harris and key defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey.
All three players were graded by NFLDraftScout.com heading into the season as possible top 100 selections in the 2012 draft.
The 6-4, 220 pound Tate earned his all-conference selection in 2010 while playing at free safety. When Edsall became head coach he asked the senior to make the move to the "Star" linebacker position. Tate took to the position quickly, registering 35 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss in just four games before a leg injury ended his season prematurely. Tate also intercepted two passes and forced a fumble in his brief 2011 season.
Harris, an instinctive 5-09, 216 pound back, was held out of the first three games of the season as he attempted to recover from a knee injury suffered in November of the previous season. He played in the next two, but wasn't able to finish against Wake Forest. Though he "only" rushed for 135 yards on the season, it was enough to put him at the top of school's all-time rusher list with 3,725 career yards.
The 6-3, 305 pound Ramsey suffered through a variety of injuries in 2011, missing time due to his back and shoulder, as well as the foot injury which ultimately cost him the season. Projected by some to enjoy the type of breakout senior season that helped BJ Raji and Ron Brace emerge as highly regarded prospects, Ramsey instead logged just two tackles on the season.
The injuries dropped all three players from NFLDraftScout.com's player rankings for the 2012 draft. A return to health, however, could make all three prospects factors for the class of 2013.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:45 am
Mano-a-Mano, Week Eleven
In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.
Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.
All times Eastern.
1. Alabama LG *Chance Warmack (#65/6-3/320/5.32) at Mississippi State DT *Fletcher Cox (#94/6-4/295/4.96)
Cox is this year's junior defensive tackle from the SEC climbing up draft boards with a break-out season (nine tackles for loss, four sacks). Though not as big or dominant as Nick Fairley or other elite tackles coming out of the conference, Cox has the length, athleticism, and power to be a top 40 pick -- especially if he performs well against Warmack, a thick, strong but mobile guard who will be an early-round pick whether he leaves school after this season or sticks around Tuscaloosa one more year.
2. Miami LT *Brandon Washington (#72/6-4/320/5.36) at Florida State DE *Brandon Jenkins (#49/6-3/265/4.69)
Jenkins had a big sophomore season in 2010 (21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks) but hasn't matched those numbers in 2011 (6.5, 3.5). He still has the quickness off the snap and long arms to beat tackles in obvious pass rush situations, however, so the lateral movement and stamina of Washington will be tested. Jenkins will also need to hold his ground vs. Miami's widebody tackle (who may move back to guard in the NFL) in the run game to prevent redshirt sophomore Lamar Miller and junior Mike James from giving the Hurricanes balance.
3. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Penn State WR Derek Moye (#6/6-4/210/4.54)
Once the pre-game discussion about Penn State's Sandusky Scandal dies down with the opening kickoff, two teams will try to win what seems like an unimportant game. When healthy, Moye is a big help to a Penn State offense needing both playmakers and balance (55th-ranked run game in FBS, 88th-ranked passing attack). Moye missed two games in October with a left foot injury, but came back vs. Illinois (2 catches, 29 yards) and had a bye week to heal heading into this highly-anticipated matchup for scouts. His 6-4 frame puts him a head above Dennard downfield, but the Huskers' corner has proven again and again his ability to negate receivers at the line of scrimmage with strong press coverage and climb the ladder to knock away sideline passes headed for a taller target.
4. Texas DE *Alex Okafor (#80/6-4/260/4.62) at Missouri RT Dan Hoch (#77/6-6/320/5.43)
Hoch is a sturdy three-year starter at right tackle who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2010 and is a big part of why the Tigers rank tenth in the FBS in total offense. The big-bodied lineman faces a strong foe in Okafor, who has really come on during conference play using his strength and length on the edge to rack up seven tackles for loss and five sacks in the past five games. Showing he can turn the corner and take advantage of the inside lanes against the wide splits of the Missouri offensive line would be a nice feather in his cap.
5. Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)/Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44) at Iowa CB Shaun Prater (#28/5-10/185/4.49)/*Micah Hyde (#18/6-1/185/4.53)
Despite Iowa's inconsistencies, they put themselves in great spot to win the Legends division of the Big Ten with a win over an equally maddening Spartans team. Cunningham's play is a microcosm of Sparty's offense, following up a zero-catch performance against Nebraska with a three-reception, 104-yard game against Minnesota last Saturday. His thick build and downfield playmaking ability complements the underneath routes and quick screens that senior quarterback Kirk Cousins (who also fights his own battle against up-and-down play) throws to Martin. Neither of Iowa's corners are physically intimidating, but both can make plays using their length and tenacity if Cousins is late on his throws or Cunningham/Martin can't separate during the route.
6. Alabama-Birmingham LT Matt McCants (#71/6-6/295/5.26) at Memphis DT *Dontari Poe (#74/6-5/350/5.36)
Though McCants plays left tackle and Poe is listed at nose tackle on the Tigers' depth chart, scouts won't be surprised if these two of Conference USA's three potential top 100 picks (with Marshall DE Vinny Curry) meet up a few times Saturday afternoon. Memphis Co-DC Mike DuBose likes to move Poe around in three and four-man fronts, using him even outside either tackle at 6-5, 350 pounds because of his surprising agility and capability turning the corner at that size. The lean McCants would help his draft stock if he could anchor against the mammoth defender whether helping his guard inside or preventing Poe from reaching sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry.
7. Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw (#41/6-2/265/4.76) at Mississippi State LT James Carmon (#77/6-7/330/5.43)
Mississippi State has a mammoth left tackle in Carmon, who is still learning the position after playing defensive line in 2010 and for two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (under DL coach and former MSU DT Dorsett Davis). He'll need to study up quick when Upshaw is lined up across from him, as Bama's top pass rusher threatens Carmon's somewhat stilted kick-slide with explosiveness and strong hands. NFL scouts love big linemen with good feet, and Carmon has similar athleticism to his past defensive linemen who switched to the other side of the ball. But he'll need to show more bend and be on top of his technique to keep Upshaw from chasing quarterback tandem senior Chris Relf and redshirt sophomore Tyler Russell.
8. Oregon LT Darrion Weems (#74/6-5/302/5.40) at Stanford DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76
Weems leads an offensive line overshadowed by the Ducks' great talent at running back (juniors LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, freshman De'Anthony Thomas, as if you didn't know). This group of athletic positional blockers must be physical against a Stanford front line that plays with attitude and intelligence. Thomas' bull rush and relentless hustle towards the quarterback gives scouts a chance to see if Weems is strong and fluid enough an athlete to handle NFL defensive ends.
9. Wake Forest LG Joe Looney (#78/6-3/320/5.02)/RG Michael Hoag (#75/6-6/305) at Clemson DTs Brandon Thompson (#98/6-2/310/5.04)/Rennie Moore (#94/6-3/268/4.83)
Looney is an under-the-radar guard prospect with enough size and athleticism to earn starter grades from NFL teams, but for the second time in three weeks he and Hoag faces a very strong interior defensive line (North Carolina's *Sylvester Williams, Tydreke Powell on October 29th). Thompson has a strong, wide build to push Looney into quarterback Tanner Price and the strong hands and active feet to rip off blocks to chase down plays outside the box. Moore's lack of size isn't troubling to the Tigers' defensive staff because he can handle his gap responsibilities as well as penetrate into the backfield to disrupt plays.
10. Maryland CB Cameron Chism (#22/5-10/190/4.52) at Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54)
Chism and his Terrapins teammates started with a bang when they took down Miami; his six tackles, forced fumble, and pick-six were a major factor in the team's 32-24 win. Since then, however, Maryland is 1-7, with the win coming over FCS in-state foe Towson. Chism has two other interceptions since the opener, including another score vs. Clemson, and hopes he can once again come up big in a quasi-home game at Washington D.C.'s FedEx Field when the nation tunes in on NBC Saturday night. He possesses the determined attitude on the outside to handle a big-bodied, strong-handed short, intermediate, and deep ball threat like Floyd. Notre Dame's leading receiver hasn't always been great, either, this season; USC limited him to 28 yards three weeks ago and he only managed 44 yards on five receptions against Wake Forest last weekend. But he's shown scouts over the past four years he can step up his game when Irish quarterbacks consistently deliver the ball his way.
Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardrick (#50/6-7/320/5.32)/RT Marcel Jones (#78/6-6/320/5.29) at Penn State DEs Jack Crawford (#81/6-5/273/4.79)/ Eric Latimore (#56/6-5/277/4.86)
Rice DE Scott Solomon (#35/6-3/270/4.79) at Northwestern LT Al Netter (#75/6-4/310/5.26)
Texas DT Kheeston Randall (#91/6-5/305/5.07) at Missouri C Jayson Palmgren (#71/6-2/305/5.30)
Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17) at Purdue DT *Kawann Short (#93/6-3/310/5.22)
West Virginia CB Keith Tandy (#8/5-10/199/4.54) at Cincinnati WR D.J. Woods (#3/6-0/182/4.49)
Michigan State LG Joel Foreman (#67/6-4/315/5.43) at Iowa DT Mike Daniels (#93/6-0/280/4.84)
North Carolina State WR T.J. Graham (#6/5-11/180/4.36) at Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (#4/6-1/195/4.53)
Duke LT Kyle Hill (#79/6-6/292/5.21) at Virginia DE/OLB Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76)
Michigan DE *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84) at Illinois OT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26)
Auburn LT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)/RT Brandon Mosley (#75/6-5/305/5.22) at Georgia DT DeAngelo Tyson (#94/6-2/306/5.02)
Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu (#74/6-3/337/5.22) at Southern Cal C *Khaled Holmes (#78/6-3/310/5.17)
Miami DE Marcus Robinson (#56/6-1/255/4.63) at Florida State OT Zebrie Sanders (#77/6-5/307/5.25)
Texas A&M WRs Jeff Fuller (#8/6-3/220/4.52)/*Uzoma Nwachukwu (#7/6-0/195/4.42)/*Ryan Swope (#25/6-0/206/4.53) at Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58)
Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
UCLA CB *Aaron Hester (#21/6-1/206/4.49) at Utah WR *DeVonte Christopher (#10/6-1/200/4.62)
Alabama WR Marquis Maze (#4/5-8/184/4.49) at Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks (#13/6-1/185/4.52)
Louisiana Tech DE Matt Broha (#91/6-4/255/4.87) at Ole Miss RT *Bobby Massie (#79/6-6/325/5.17)
Oregon CBs Anthony Gildon (#18/6-0/182/4.57)/*Cliff Harris (#13/5-11/168/4.49/if not suspended) at Stanford WR Griff Whalen (#17/6-0/187)
Hawaii WR Royce Pollard (#81/6-0/175/4.62) at Nevada CB Isaiah Frey (#28/5-11/190/4.52)
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:45 am
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Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:11 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 9:11 pm
In addition to the five players NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang mentioned in his weekly preview, you may want take a look at these ten one-on-one 2012 NFL Draft prospect match-ups (plus a few more worth an honorable mention) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.
Because players move around based on different formations, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.
All times Eastern.
1. Ohio State LT Mike Adams at Nebraska DE Cameron Meredith
Typically scouts get their first look at a highly-regarded prospect like Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams in September, but his five-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits delayed the beginning of his senior season. The 6-foot-8, 320-pound Adams possesses the length NFL offensive line coaches desire in a left tackle, but his motor and technique lacked consistency through his first three years in Columbus. Meredith is a good test for Adams coming out of the blocks; he is not elite in any way but the junior has three sacks this year (two against Tennessee-Chattanooga) and can get past the long-legged Adams by pushing him upfield to free the inside lane.
2. Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson at Baylor WR Kendall Wright
Wright has gained national prominence for combining with Heisman hopeful Robert Griffin III to put up big numbers for Baylor; he ranks in the top four nationally with 10 receptions and over 155 receiving yards per game. Johnson's played in relative anonymity in Ames, but the thick 5-foot-10, 200-pound corner will be up to the task of tracking Wright when they match up. The 2010 second-team All-Big 12 pick has enough speed and toughness to stay with the prolific receiver on the deep routes and end zone fades Griffin loves to throw.
3. Iowa LT Riley Reiff at Penn State DE Jack Crawford
Reiff combines athleticism and toughness as a run blocker to be one of the top tackle prospects in the class, if he decides to leave after his junior season. Crawford, who is tied for the PSU team lead with 1.5 sacks with DT Jordan Hill, has the length scouts like on the edge but hasn't really exploded onto the scene as was anticipated before the 2010 season. These two should battle on pass and run plays throughout the game, as will fellow solid prospects Iowa RT Markus Zusevics and PSU DE Eric Latimore on the other side of the line.
4. Iowa CB Shaun Prater vs. Penn State WR Derek Moye
The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions also have great match-ups outside for scouts and fans to watch Saturday afternoon. Prater measures under 5-foot-10 and around 185 pounds, but has the wiry strength and competitiveness to fight PSU's big-play receiver Moye, who averages 17.0 yards a catch in 2011 and has three touchdowns in the past two weeks despite the team's less-than-dynamic duo at QB. Iowa's six-foot-one junior corner Micah Hyde also provides a solid match-up against Moye and 6-foot-3 junior Justin Brown, as his height and hands can result in turnovers if the Rob Bolden/Matt McGloin combo makes mistakes. Scouts will also watch to see if Iowa's senior receiver prospect, Marvin McNutt, can beat the press coverage and fight for the ball against another tall corner in Chaz Powell. PSU's other NFL-sized corner, D'Anton Lynn, is doubtful for this game with a head/neck injury.
5. Oklahoma LT Donald Stephenson vs. Texas DE Alex Okafor
Okafor had his best game of the year against Iowa State last weekend in the team's big road win. The junior gets another challenge in the Red River Rivalry, one that will be watched by a vast majority of NFL general managers Saturday morning whether they are at the Cotton Bowl or around the country at another game. In a class with few pass rushers coming on strong, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Okafor can make a name for himself against a solid athlete in Stephenson -- who looks to make his own impression with a strong anchor and fluid lateral movement to shut down Longhorn blitzes and stunts.
6. Maryland CB Cameron Chism at Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill
Georgia Tech leads major college football with 378 rushing yards a game, but Hill takes advantage of teams filling the box against Paul Johnson's option attack, making plays deep. The junior averages a ridiculous 33.5 yards per reception, well ahead of anyone of the 25 other receivers eclipsing 100 receiving yards a game this season. Chism gives up about seven inches in height to the 6-foot-5 Hill, so there's little doubt Tech will test him downfield. He'll need a big game similar to the one he had in the opener against Miami (six tackles, TFL, forced fumble, pick-six) to prevent Tech and Hill from getting the win.
7. Florida State RT Zebrie Sanders at Wake Forest DE/OLB Kyle Wilber
Wilber has played defensive end and linebacker in Wake's versatile defensive scheme, but either way the lanky 6-foot-5, 250-pound pass rusher is coming for the quarterback. He's had one sack in each of the past two weeks, but hasn't faced an athlete like Sanders. The senior looks like a left tackle but plays on the right, which isn't unusual in the NFL anymore because of the necessity of solid pass protection at that level. If Wilber can't make hay against Sanders, moving over to take on top 50-value left tackle Andrew Datko is no bargain. Using his hands to shed blocks instead of simply relying on his length and speed to turn the corner will force scouts to consider him a draftable prospect.
8. Pittsburgh CBs Antwaun Reed/Buddy Jackson at Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu
Sanu's back to the production scouts and Rutgers fans expected of him last season, as sticking to his receiver spot instead of running the Wildcat has kept him healthier and more focused. He ranks second in the FBS with 10.75 catches a game and 20th with 107 yards a contest. The Panthers, on the other hand, have the 107th-ranked pass defense in the FBS. Reed and Jackson have been victimized at times, so both need to show up big against a junior receiver trying to get into the first round of the 2012 draft. Jackson, the nickel back, may actually see more reps vs. Sanu than the starter, Reed, as Rutgers often lines up Sanu in the slot to create mismatches and make it easier for QB Chris Dodd to find him over the middle.
9. Mississippi State C Quentin Saulsberry at UAB DT Elliott Henigan
The stout yet agile Saulsberry has proven capable of starting every spot on the offensive line other than left tackle over the past three years. Though scouts project him as a center because of his short stature, he may start at right guard this week if coaches think redshirt freshman Dillon Day can handle the pivot. Henigan is just starting to get healthy now after missing practices and the opening game with a sports hernia. He had 14.5 tackles for loss in 2010, using length (he's 6-4, 290) and initial quickness to beat interior lineman to the ball off the snap, as well as hustle to chase down ballcarriers from behind.
10. Miami QB Jacory Harris at Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley
Typically a corner's true match-up is the receiver he's facing. But with Hosley, it doesn't much matter if he's lined up across from Miami's speedy Travis Benjamin, one of the young speedsters the Hurricanes put on the field on a down-by-down basis, or simply backing into a zone. Hosley's ball skills and ability to read the quarterback means the wildly inconsistent Harris can't stare down a receiver over the top of Hosley or throw a lollipop downfield under which the 175-pound corner can run. Hosley makes passers pay for those mistakes, intercepting 13 passes over the past two years. In that same time-frame, Harris has thrown 18 picks against 20 touchdowns; avoiding the big mistake on the road against a hostile Blacksburg crowd would be a good way to show scouts he's matured as a passer.
1. Pittsburgh DTs Myles Caragein/Chas Alecxih at Rutgers LG Desmond Wynn
2. Iowa DT Mike Daniels vs. Penn State LG Johnnie Troutman
3. Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander vs. Texas LT Tray Allen
4. Miami (Fla.) DT Micanor Regis at Virginia Tech RG Jaymes Brooks
5. Florida DT Jaye Howard at LSU LG T-Bob Hebert (if healthy)
6, Auburn RT Brandon Mosley at Arkansas DE Jake Bequette (if healthy)
7. UNLV WR Phillip Payne at Nevada CB Isaiah Frey
8. Michigan DEs Craig Roh/Ryan Van Bergen at Northwestern LT Al Netter
9. East Carolina CB Emanuel Davis at Houston WRs Tyron Carrier/Patrick Edwards
10. Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward at Alabama WR Marquis Maze
Posted on: August 30, 2011 9:01 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 2:06 pm
Those of us who root for the underdog seem to latch on to an undrafted free agent or two each summer in the hopes that our favorite NFL team has unearthed the next Tony Romo, Arian Foster or John Randle.
With limited opportunity to make a strong impression on coaches this year due to prolonged holdout and lack of mini camps, it has been a steeper climb than ever for undrafted rookies, and yet there are several throughout the league who appear well on their way to making active rosters.
These ten undrafted free agents have stood out for Brad Noel (a regular contributor to this blog, NFLDraftScout.com) and myself during film review of the first three weeks of the preseason.
If you feel there are other UDFAs we've missed, please don't hesitate to identify and provide your own scouting report in the comment section below. Brad and I are watching as much tape as possible, but we haven't seen every game. At least not yet...
Players are listed alphabetically.
1. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks (Stanford): Had impressed brass with his reliable hands, route-running out of the slot and that was before he returned a kickoff 105 yards for a TD against Denver.
2. Nick Bellore, ILB, Jets (Central Michigan): Instinctive and a terrific open field tackler, Bellore made several standout plays Monday against the Giants.
3. Ryan Donahue, P, Lions (Iowa): Seems to have a legitimate chance of unseating veteran Nick Harris for the starting punting (and holder) positions for the Lions.
4. Kevin Kowalski, C, Cowboys (Toledo): I'm told Kowalski's solid play was one of the factors that led to the team's surprising release of former Pro Bowler Andre Gurode.
5. Josh Portis, QB, Seahawks (California of PA): Has easily won the Seahawks No. 3 position and some argue he holds more upside than current No. 2 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
6. Weslye Saunders, TE, Steelers (South Carolina): Big bodied blocker with the hands to be a threat in short yardage situations.
7. Ricardo Silva, S, Lions (Hampton): Appeared to be a loooong-shot heading into the preseason, but has proven to be a playmaker (two interceptions, fumble recovery) and is practicing ahead of veterans Aaron Francisco and Michael Johnson, among others.
8. Willie Smith, OT, Redskins (East Carolina): The same athleticism that Brad and I found so intriguing before continues to be obvious. While there are concerns about Smith's technique and ability to handle the playbook, he played well as a second string left tackle against a physical Baltimore front last week. In fact, according to Brad, Smith outplayed veteran Sean Locklear (78 career starts for Seattle) who served as the team's second string right tackle in the same contest.
9. Cedric Thornton, DT, Eagles (Southern Arkansas): Andy Reid's willingness to shuffle the deck at defensive tackle makes listing Thornton a gamble, but he's shown good athleticism at 6-3, 310 pounds.
10. Will Yeatman, TE, Patriots (Maryland): Won't push Gronkowski or Hernandez for fantasy consideration, but is a big body (6-6, 270) who has stood out as a blocker.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Andre Gurode, Brad Noel, California of PA, Cedric Thornton, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit, Doug Baldwin, East Carolina, Hampton, Iowa, Josh Portis, Kevin Kowalski, Lions, Maryland, New England Patriots, NFLDraftScout.com, Philadelphia Eagles, Redskins, Ricardo Silva, Ryan Donahue, Seahawks, Southern Arkansas, Stanford, Toledo, UDFA, undrafted free agents, Will Yeatman, Willie Smith
Posted on: February 28, 2011 6:29 pm
The Combine always produces some eye-popping test results. Some times, these results match the tape. Other times, however, they are the result of great training and so-called "workout warriors" whose speed, strength or explosiveness in workouts does not translate well onto the field.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:02 pm
The 2010 season has been overrun with stories of scandal, sanctions and distractions from the competition and passion that makes college football great.
So, with so much of the year focused on negative stories that occurred off the field, I thought it appropriate to highlight some of the positive off-field stories, as well.
The following are links to my 10 favorite draft stories of 2010.
Did I miss some? I hope so. Feel free to chime in with some of yours too.
These last four stories are obviously not as heart-wrenching or important as the first six. They do, however, serve as reminders as to what is right about college football in a year when so many devoted so much time to what is wrong with it.
On behalf of everyone at NFLDraftScout.com, have a happy and safe New Year!
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: December 29, 2010 8:12 pm
In the first of many Twitter-based announcements, Maryland junior wide receiver Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) wrote that he is "forgoing my last year of eligibility to enter the nfl draft #terpnation and all supporters I appreciate your support."
Most expected this declaration, as Smith's head coach, Ralph Friedgen, was not retained for 2011 and Smith's production this season (67 receptions for 1,056 yards and 12 touchdowns) earned him first-team All-ACC honors and solid top 50 grades from scouts.
His two catch, 11-yard effort in the team's 51-20 win over East Carolina today should have little effect on Smith's draft status - especially after he shows he has the track speed (expected to run sub-4.4 forties at the Combine) to go along with a six-foot, 200-plus pound frame. Not only can he separate from defenders downfield using that speed, but his quick feet on various routes made it seem like pitch-and-catch with redshirt freshman QB Danny O'Brien this year.
Many will point to the lackluster early career of former Terp/fellow speedster WR Darrius Heyward-Bey when evaluating Smith's pro potential. But Smith's game could be closer to that of Indianapolis Colts star Reggie Wayne, a lean, slashing receiver whose routes and speed eat up zones and make it tough to handle him one-on-one. Wayne's hands can also be suspect, however, and Smith tends to body-catch or lose concentration as well.
If all of the junior receivers expected to enter this year's draft actually declare, Smith may slip through the cracks a bit and end up a second-round bargain.
--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter