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Tag:Draft Slant
Posted on: September 16, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Because I'm scouting them in real time these players make an early impression, often leading to consideration as my Prospect of the Week or Diamond in the Rough. I also try to tweet comments on prospects throughout Saturday's action. You can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

RB Tauren Poole, Tennessee: There are some huge games this weekend, but few have the longstanding rivalry that Tennessee-Florida boasts. Poole is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated running back, but he boasts a combination of size, speed, elusiveness and power that could translate into a starter at the next level. When you take into account all of the talented underclassmen, Poole is our 16th rated RB and that seems waaay too low based on the tape I've seen. With a strong game against an athletic Gator defense playing in front of their home crowd, he could get my vote to move up significantly in our rankings. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

DT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington: For all of the attention that Jake Locker and running back Chris Polk gained for their roles in Washington's surprising Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska in January, the emergence of this 6-3, 337 run-stuffer was a critical piece tot he puzzle. Ta'Amu and the Huskies will be facing a more motivated Huskers offense this time around, so it will be fascinating to see how these two teams perform in the rubber match. A strong performance in this game could lead to the underdog Huskies giving Nebraska a tough game and also push Ta'Amu into legitimate first round consideration. He could follow Phil Taylor and BJ Raji as recent run-stuffers whose strong senior seasons catapulted them into the top 32. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State: One could argue that for Michigan State to beat Notre Dame, the pressure is most on senior quarterback Kirk Cousins.However, considering the way the Irish defense has played, Cousins could have a field day. The greater pressure (and thus, why I, scouts will be paying close attention) will be on the Spartans' defense to bottle up the Irish offense. Worthy shows flashes of the penetrating quickness and power that can result in a first round pick, but needs to be more consistent. This game could go a long way in determing whether Worthy (a junior) should consider making the early leap to the NFL. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by NBC.

OLB Sean Spence, Miami: It wasn't that long ago when Miami-Ohio State would have ranked as the top game of the weekend. Now, for many it has become an after-thought. Not to me, however, and certainly not to scouts. Spence is one of the better chase linebackers in the country, but is undersized. He struggled handling Terrelle Pryor last year in this contest. While Pryor is obviously now an Oakland Raider, it will be interesting to see if Spence remembers his atypical performance a year ago and improves his open field tackling this time around. I expect that he will. This game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma: In case you haven't seen my Top 32 "Bigger Board," let me just say right now that I'm lower on Jones than most. While he undeniably has an NFL combination of size and arm strength, I question whether he has the accuracy and poise to be an elite pro quarterback. The fact that he's coming out of a spread offense that significantly inflates his production and typically protects him from pressure doesn't help his cause at all. However, to beat a fast, aggressive Seminoles' defense in Tallahassee, Jones will have to show improved accuracy and calm in the pocket -- which could lead me to re-evaluate him quickly. There is legitimate NFL talent on both sides of the ball for both of these programs. No one has more riding on their performance, however, than Jones, a junior passer who some compare to Sam Bradford and view as a potential top five pick in the 2012 draft. This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 7:55 pm
 

Hawaii WR Greg Salas earns Diamond in the Rough

Anyone fortunate enough to have enjoyed the sandy beaches of Hawaii knows that characterizing any part of these beautiful islands as the "rough" is just silly.

It is also just silly to ignore a talented prospect simply because their time zone doesn't jive with most of American's football viewing public.

Therefore, while I always look to true "small" schools for my weekly Diamond in the Rough piece, I wasn't going to ignore the dominant performance put forth by Hawaii wideout Greg Salas against WAC rival Fresno State Saturday night. Salas, who is the current active NCAA leader with 216 receptions , was expected to be challenged by a Bulldog defense that entered the game ranked second in the country in pass defense.

Not anymore. Salas caught nine passes for 148 yards and three scores against Fresno State, earning this week's Diamond in the Rough award.

The following profile is similar to the ones our premium readers get of six more prospects each week as part of Draft Slant.  

WR Greg Salas  -  Hawaii  6-2 / 210 / 4.57

NFL scouts had been telling me to keep an eye on Hawaii receiver Greg Salas and against Fresno State - which entered the WAC showdown ranked No. 2 in the country in pass defense - it was easy to see why. Salas' combination of ideal size and underrated maneuverability destroyed the Bulldog secondary to the tune of nine catches for 148 yards and three scores. Lined up inside and out to present matchup problems, Salas was consistently able to get free over the middle, catching two touchdowns in the first half. His third TD was actually a fumble recovery in the EZ. On his first, a easy drag route over the middle, Salas showed good flexibility to catch a low pass from quarterback Bryant Moniz, then slithered through the Fresno defense for the final few yards. The play began similarly for Salas' second touchdown - another quick pass over the middle - but this time he was blanketed by Bulldog defenders. A quick, strong throw by Montiz was high, but a Salas adjusted well, leaping into the air to snatch the pass, while turning his body to shield against the oncoming hit. This type of reception is exactly what NFL scouts are looking for, as today's pro safeties are simply getting bigger, stronger and more aggressive in hitting "defenseless" receivers over the middle. Salas' body control and good size make him a quietly intriguing third day prospect for teams in need of a possession WR.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 7:44 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 7:49 pm
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Posted on: September 20, 2010 1:26 pm
 

Player of the Week -- Clemson S DeAndre McDaniel

One might just assume I'm a rabid Auburn Tigers fan, as for the second week in a row I'm picking a senior prospect whose team the Tigers beat as my Player of the Week.

Last week I highlighted the play of Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod. This week the honor goes to Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel .

Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (McDaniel, in this case) was unquestionably the best. It isn't that McDaniel was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas (who rushed for another 181 yards in the undefeated Wildcats thrilling win over Iowa State) or Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who finished with 329 all-purpose yards and five TDs in an impressive win over Cal). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 senior prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.

In a game with plenty deserving acknowledgement, McDaniel was the most consistently impressive. McDaniel, who lined up deep in coverage as well as coming up in a hybrid linebacker role, finished with six tackles, and two passes defensed, including a textbook high-point interception in the second quarter that led to Clemson's second touchdown of the game and a seemingly unsurmountable 17-0 lead. Though the Tigers eventually came back to win this contest, McDaniel's play stood out. It wasn't just McDaniels' numbers that caught my eye, but the versatility and timing with which he recorded them.

Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .

We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, every Monday, I'll post my picks for each award.

Player of the Week - September 18, 2010
S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson 6-0 / 215 / 4.54 -- opponent: Auburn

Versatile defender capable of impacting the game in various ways. Good range and vision to play in the deep middle. Reads the quarterback's eyes and gets a jump on the ball. Showed terrific ball skills, timing and leaping ability to high-point his interception in the second quarter. The interception was McDaniel's first of 2010 - but he led the ACC with eight pick-offs last year. McDaniel's aggression does mean that he'll occasionally take a false step towards the line of scrimmage and can be victimized by good play-action. He was not beaten in this game, however. A bit shorter than scouts would prefer for the position, McDaniel has a well-built frame and looked comfortable near the line of scrimmage. He scrapes well, showing the lateral agility, balance and vision to avoid blockers. His instincts and comfort inside were on display in the 4th quarter when he sniffed out a receiver end-around and dropped wideout Terrell Zachary for a 7-yard loss. The play came at a perfect time for Clemson, as the team, after surrendering 24 consecutive points, had just scored to tie the game. McDaniel demonstrated reliable open field tackling skills throughout the game. He breaks down well in space to handle smaller, quicker athletes and can provide a much more explosive pop than he's generally given credit for. His lack of top power was exposed a bit with a strong effort from Auburn 5-10, 240 pound back to get a 4th quarter first down. McDaniel took on Smith too high and was surprised by Smith's power. Though he certainly wasn't bowled over, McDaniel did struggle to make the stop. In the NFL McDaniel will have to learn to tackle with greater balance and leverage for this mistake not to be repeated. Considering the consistency with which he played Saturday night, however, the one play (Auburn punted moments later) certainly wasn't a drawback. McDaniel's versatility and consistency, in fact, secured his place as the top all-around senior safety in the country -- at least in my eyes.

Posted on: September 8, 2010 1:06 pm
 

New issue of Draft Slant ready

Subscribers of NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF file on the latest happenings in the world of college football and the NFL draft will be receiving their first premium issue of Draft Slant today.

Because the material is premium content, I'm not at liberty to give you all of the details. I can point out that we continue to offer last week's initial issue for free.

If you liked the content in the free issue, you'll love the greater detail in this week's (and future) articles.

Draft Slant was originally my idea. The basic premise behind it is that many of you are watching the same games as my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I. We thought, why not write up reviews of some of the top players in the games we're all watching as a way for you to compare notes with us? We offer much, much more in Draft Slant than these reviews, but they were the centerpiece of my original idea. If these reviews aren't the most timely and accurate weekly updates you've seen, I want to know about it.  

In this week's premium issue, we detailed the following six senior prospects and how they faired in their first game of the year: 

Florida OC Mike Pouncey
Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward
Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas
East Carolina OT Willie Smith
Virginia Tech CB Rashad Carmichael
Pittsburgh OT Jason Pinkston


Interested in buying this issue? You can purchase this one for 4.99 by clicking here. Back issues are also available for the same price.

Interested in buying the entire year's worth (16 issues). That is available for 39.99 and can be purchased here.

Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:58 pm
 

Diamond in the Rough -- Jax St. OL Curt Porter

As I mentioned in my last post, we thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement than they received in the past as part of our Draft Slant coverage. Thus, each Monday/ (in this case Tuesday), I'll post the name and rationale for those players here on the blog.

Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant. This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here.

Jacksonville State offensive lineman Curt Ponder jumped off the screen with his play Saturday in the Gamecocks upset over Ole Miss. As you can read below, he is very deserving to be my first Diamond in the Rough for the 2010-11 season.

Diamond in the Rough -- September 4, 2010
OL Curt Porter - Jacksonville State 6-7 / 315 / 5.20
-- opponent Mississippi
 
Jacksonville State's win at Ole Miss Saturday brought back memories of Appalachian State's win at Michigan three years ago...and with it, an exciting scouting opportunity.  Appalachian State's win helped spark NFL interest into quarterback Armanti Edwards (Carolina, No. 89 overall, 2010), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay, No. 58 overall, 2008) and safety Corey Lynch (Cincinnati, No. 177, 2008), among others. Similarly, NFL scouts will carefully pore over the Ole Miss-Jacksonville State game film to see which of the JSU Gamecocks were most responsible for their stunning 49-48 double-overtime victory. What scouts will find is that Porter, who earned Second-Team All-OVC honors last year at left tackle, was as valuable as anyone. Struggling with injuries along their offensive line, Porter, with all 22 of his career starts coming at left tackle, was asked to slide over and slow down Ole Miss' Jerrell Powe, the Rebels' 6-2, 330 pound All-American candidate. Powe was limited to only two tackles, including a one-yard tackle for loss. Porter, 6-7 and 315 pounds, alternated between left and right guard, played with surprising leverage and power considering his long frame. Porter also demonstrated the balance and foot quickness you'd expect from an all-conference left tackle, mirroring the pass rush of Ole Miss defenders. Perhaps most surprising was the comfort with which he and his teammates reacted to stunts and twists by the Rebel defensive linemen in the second half. Whether Porter moves back outside to left tackle or stays inside at guard the rest of the season, NFL scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on him.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Player of the Week -- Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

Earlier in the week I listed five senior prospects I was going to be focusing on for the opening weekend of college football action. Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan was among them, but quite honestly, I did not expect to list him here as the Prospect of the Week.

Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (Kerrigan, in this case) was the best. It isn't that Kerrigan was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, Christian Ponder (who threw four touchdowns in only a half of action) or Boise State wideout Austin Pettis (who blocked a kick and caught two touchdowns, including the game-winner, over Virginia Tech). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.

Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant. This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here.

We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, each Monday/ (in this case Tuesday), I'll post the name and rationale for those players here on the blog.

Player of the Week - September 4, 2010
DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 6-4 / 263 / 4.82 -- opponent: Notre Dame

With Brian Kelly bringing an even higher tempo offense to Notre Dame than Charlie Weis' there was reason to think Kerrigan, who finished 3rd in the country last year with 13 sacks, might be contained. Instead, he led the Boilermakers with 7 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Kerrigan lined up most of the game at his typical left defensive end position in the 4-3 alignment, but he was also moved to the right side. From either spot, he was consistently pushing the pocket. Kerrigan has good burst off the snap and accelerates throughout his rush. He doesn't have elite flexibility, but can dip his shoulder, rip through the tackle's out-stretched arms, and turn the corner. Good hand technique, overall. Quick hands and good hand-eye coordination to knock the ball away. Forced 7 fumbles in 2010 and, despite still being blocked by RT, knocked the ball out of Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist's hand for a fumble in the first quarter. Good size and leg drive for the bull rush. At least effective upper body strength, but can get locked up. With greater explosiveness, he could improve his club, hip toss techniques. Works hard to keep contain and generally has enough size and strength to set the edge. Lacks the bulk and power to consistently hold up to double-teams, however.  Instinctive. Locates the ball quickly and pursues with passion.
Posted on: September 2, 2010 5:20 pm
 

Want a free issue of Draft Slant, our weekly PDF?

I'm very proud of the work Chad Reuter and I do in producing NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF, Draft Slant.

This product, entering its third year of production, is typically on sale for 4.99 per issue or 39.99 for the yearly package (16 issues), but we're offering Week One for free.

Draft Slant offers an in-depth look at the top senior prospects around the country and features, specifically:

  • "The Hot Read" - scouting and college football insights by me.

  • The Stock Report - Players Moving Up and Down NFL Draft Boards

  • Diamond in the Rough - reviewing lesser-known prospects that scouts are not ignoring

  • Film Room Notes - scouting reports on various prospects by NFLDraftScout staff (per reader request, we've made this longer and more detailed this year) 

  • Previews for the Game of the Week and other top match-ups

  • Top 32 Prospects

  • Top Ten Prospects by Position (per reader request, we've included Heights/Weight/Speed #s per player this year)

  • Future Stars to Know Today



    I'm so sure that you'll appreciate the depth of Draft Slant that we're giving the first issue away for free this year.

    Click here if you'd like to purchase an issue, the entire series or just to check out the freebie!s

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com