Tag:SEC
Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:10 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Report: Ole Miss loses RT Massie to NFL

A few weeks ago I noted that NFL teams in need of help at offensive tackle were hoping for a significant influx of talent from underclassmen to save a weak 2012 crop of seniors.

As expected, Southern Cal's Matt Kalil, Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathan Martin all accepted the challenge. On Friday, another junior offensive tackle decided that he too would be making the jump and attempting to take advantage of the talent vacuum at the position this year.

According to a report from the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi right tackle Bobby Massie is heading to the NFL.

The Clarion-Ledger report does not quote Massie nor any members of the Ole Miss program. Instead, they cite Massie's Facebook account, which reads, "2012 season I will be playing on Sundays. It was fun Ole Miss."

If Massie is indeed leaving school early for the draft, it isn't a surprise. It was well known that Massie was considering making the jump. He and fellow Rebel offensive lineman A.J. Hawkins each petitioned the NFL Advisory Committee for a grade.

The actual grades given by the committee are rarely leaked (which is why this story is interesting)

NFLDraftScout.com had projected the 6-6, 325 pound Massie as a possible 2nd round pick to begin the 2011 season. A disappointing year for the Rebels caused his stock to slip a bit as the year went on but a top 75 remains a possibility due to Massie's rare blend of size, strength and durability.

An extremely highly touted prep prospect who originally signed with Virginia Tech and was heavily recruited by Alabama and others, Massie played an extra year at the prep level for Hargrave Military Academy before seeing action with the Rebels. Once on the field for Ole Miss, however, Massie quickly established himself as a standout. The long-armed, surprisingly nimble Massie started the final 29 games of his career at right tackle for the Rebels.

Though he never earned post-season honors while at Ole Miss, the Rebels' struggles at quarterback played a role. Mississippi rotated three quarterbacks in 2011 and their differing styles contributed to a talented offensive line that had been counted on as a team strength struggling. The Rebels, in fact, gave up 34 sacks last year which was just one behind Kentucky for the worst in all of the SEC.

When scouts break down Massie on tape they will see a fundamentally flawed prospect but one with a great deal of natural talent. Considering the concerns scouts have about the senior class of tackles available in the 2012 draft, Massie could prove one of the more intriguing raw speciments at the position.

Massie currently ranks fifth among NFLDraftScout.com's 2013 tackle prospects.

Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Arkansas WR Childs again out with "tweaked knee"

Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs did not make the trip with the team to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday due to a "tweaked knee," according to multiple reports.

Unfortunately for Childs, it is the same knee -- his right one -- that he injured last season against Vanderbilt, further complicating the senior wideout's stock for the NFL draft in April.

Heading towards an All-SEC campaign last year, Childs was lost for the remainder of the season with a patella tendon injury. The tendon was reportedly not torn, but did require surgery. There was quiet optimism among the team that Childs would return to his playmaking self this season when he practiced in the fall without his knee brace, but after leading the team (at the time of his injury) in catches (46), receiving yardage (659) and receiving touchdowns (six) last season, he has been limited this season to only nine grabs for 109 yards. He has not scored a touchdown this season. 

Childs is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 18 rated wideout. Obviously, his stock will largely depend on how long he'll be sidelined by this newest injury and his prognosis for a full recovery. 

Childs has not used a redshirt while with the Razorbacks and could attempt a petition of the NCAA in an effort to recoup this season.

At 6-3 and 217 pounds, Childs -- when healthy -- has good build-up speed (estimated in the mid 4.5s) and is a very effective receiver after the catch due to his vision, strength and surprising agility. He has very good hand-eye coordination, which he used effectively to become Ryan Mallett's go-to receiver throughout much of their respective careers together. 

 
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:41 am
 

WR Kearse, RB Bolden escape major injuries

The University of Washington and University of Mississippi football programs are breathing collective big sighs of relief after what appeared to be potentially serious leg injuries suffered by two of their stars was ruled to be relatively minor.

Huskies wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a 2010 Second Team All Pac-10 selection and currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated wideout for the 2012 NFL Draft, was diagnosed with just a sprained ankle, Monday. Kearse's injury was feared to be much serious when he left the field Saturday in the Huskies' season-opening win against Eastern Washington. Kearse caught only one pass for eight yards in the opener before injuring his ankle.

Kearse apparently wanted to return to the field Saturday, but head coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn't let him. Kearse has already returned to the practice field in anticipation of the Huskies' next game, this Saturday against Hawaii.

The news wasn't quite as good for Ole Miss and their star running back Brandon Bolden, but still quite a relief considering how bad the injury first appeared.

According to Rebels' head coach Houston Nutt, Bolden suffered a "slight" fracture to his left ankle and is expected to miss a few weeks. He is in a walking boot, but could return to the field in September.

The 5-11, 221 pound Bolden is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 rated running back for 2012. He currently ranks second in the Ole Miss record books for most touchdowns scored (28), as well as most rushing touchdowns (23).

The Rebels clearly missed Bolden in their opener, losing at home to BYU 14-13. Bolden, voted the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the conclusion of spring drills, only rushed four times for four times for 21 yards before going down with the injury.
Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Some surprises in Coaches Preseason All-SEC team

For the purposes of scouting for the NFL, whether a player makes an all-conference team or not is less important than how I personally grade a player off tape, how a player performs in an all-star game, and many other factors.

It is, however, a tool that scouts can and often do use to ascertain which players rival coaches feel are legitimate difference-makers.

This is especially true in the SEC. The reasons are simple. There is a great deal of individual talent in the conference and a high number of the elite talent leaves early for the NFL as underclassmen, often creating quite a turnover on the all-conference list.

The SEC announced their official Coaches Preseason First, Second and Third all-conference lists this week. There were some surprises.

Here were the five that raised my eyebrow...
  1. Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick, a Second Team All-SEC pick last year, only made the Third Team preseason polling this summer. Kirkpatrick, entering his junior season, is considered a potential elite prospect for the NFL and is currently NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated CB for the class of 2013.
  2. True sophomore Aaron Murray from Georgia was named the First-Team quarterback. This is a reflection of two things. For one, Murray flashed some serious talent last year and looks like he could be the next big thing at the position from this conference. Secondly, he has little proven competition. 
  3. Some will find it interesting that defending national champion Auburn and perennial talent hotbed Florida had zero 1st team selections. LSU, another annual contributor to the NFL, had only one player (junior CB Morris Claiborne) make the team. Quite frankly, after reviewing tape this summer of these three teams, I'm not surprised. While the schemes that have made each of these teams successful in recent years remain intact, the plethora of elite talent that had resulted in recent national championships simply isn't there... or at least hasn't proven itself yet.
  4. Don't look now but Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks are loaded. They boast four first-team All-SEC picks in running back Marcus Lattimore, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, defensive end Devin Taylor and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. None of whom are seniors. Each looks like a potential high round NFL prospect.
  5. The talent at running back in this conference is staggering. Typically, all-conference teams feature two running backs per team. There must have been a tie among voters, however, as the SEC lists three running backs for the Second-Team (only two for the First and Third teams, respectively). Hard to blame the coaches when you take into consideration the three backs that made the Second Team are Arkansas' Knile Davis, Florida's Jeff Demps and Auburn's Michael Dyer. Each of those who be a shoo-in for First-Team honors in most other conferences, though I agree with the coaches that South Carolina's Lattimore and Alabama's Trent Richardson deserve top-billing. 


Posted on: June 22, 2011 3:16 pm
 

ECU CB Davis loses big opportunity w/ suspension

East Carolina cornerback Emanuel Davis, thought by some to be a top 100 prospect in the 2012 draft, was suspended by head coach Ruffin McNeill for the Pirates' opening game.

Davis, along with senior wide receiver Michael Bowman, were arrested early Saturday morning outside of a Greenville night club. Each had multiple charges, including resisting a public officer. Besides the suspension, Davis and Bowman have each been assigned 25 hours of community service and formal written apologies to all officers involved. This is in addition to whatever punishment the courts hand down.

Clearly, NFL teams interested in Davis and/or Bowman will be keeping a close eye on the situation. The reason for this blog post, however, isn't to merely mention that draftworthy prospects had run afoul of the law.

From a scouting sense, Davis' suspension is particularly disappointing as his toughest assignment of the year was going to come in the opener - as East Carolina will be playing Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks and their young superstar wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Davis has steadily improved over his career. He enters his senior season with 27 career starts and is a two-time All-Conference USA pick. He recorded 54 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions last season -- including an interception against Maryland in the Military Bowl. He isn't an elite prospect, but appears to have the tools to establish himself as one of the better all-around corners in the country this season. Davis is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 12 rated cornerback prospect for the 2012 draft.

Though East Carolina faces other talented opponents (including Virginia Tech and North Carolina), the Jeffery vs. Davis matchup in the opener could have been one of the best one on one battles of Labor Day Weekend. Jeffery, a redshirt sophomore and thus potentially eligible for the 2012 draft, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated receiver among underclassmen.

With a strong performance against the 6-4, 233 pound Jeffery, the 5-10, 188 pound Davis could have really boosted his stock with scouts at the game and exposure for the awards and senior all-star game bids that would attract other NFL personnel.

For Davis, it is quite literally a "big" opportunity lost.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Scouts heading to KSU, 'Bama for late Pro Days

Over the next few hours we can expect to hear the results from late pro days for Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy .

Regardless of how each performs in shorts, their NFL grade should have largely been already determined by scouts, as Thomas and McElroy's production on the field speaks for itself.

The 6-0, 230 pound Thomas proved a star running back for the Wildcats after a junior college career in which he played quarterback. Thomas was recognized as the Big 12's Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2009 and led the conference in rushing yards each of his two seasons with the Wildcats. He leaves KSU with 2,850 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground in only two seasons.

McElroy led Alabama to a national championship in his junior season and saw his production rise dramatically in 2010. In his two starting seasons in the Tide's pro-style offense, McElroy threw 37 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. McElroy, 6-2 and 220 pounds, threw just 10 interceptions in 658 career attempts or for one every 65.8 attempts, which is the best mark in school and SEC history.

Despite their gaudy production against high caliber competition, each has significant questions to answer -- not the least of which is their health.

Thomas, NFLDraftScout.com's fifth-rated running back of the 2011 draft, was unable to play in the Senior Bowl or perform in either the Combine or KSU's initial Pro Day due to a nagging hamstring injury.

McElroy did play in the Senior Bowl, but cracked a bone in his right (throwing) hand that sidelined him for the Combine throwing session and Alabama's initial Pro Day.

The biggest question scouts have about Thomas is his speed. He has been estimated at anywhere between 4.55 and 4.70 in the 40-yard dash. Obviously, the better he does Tuesday, the higher his stock could raise. Scouts would also like to see Thomas catch passes out of the backfield. Thomas caught 27 passes as a senior, but rarely anything more complicated than screens or simple swing passes.

For McElroy, NFLDraftScout.com's 10th rated quarterback , the question is about his arm strength, or, as the case may be, his lack of it. McElroy has enough zip to fit through windows down the middle, but struggled, at times, putting enough drive on the ball on passes outside of the hashes. Too often his deep passes fluttered, as well.

NFLDraftScout.com will keep you posted on how each all-conference star does in their workouts today.

Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Sources: Fairley, not Cam, "one to worry about"

Much of the attention following the Combine has been centered on the team interviews with quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and others, but according to three sources from different clubs, it is another high profile player who set off the most alarms at the Combine.

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was described as a "JUCO kid to the core" by one longtime personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

By "JUCO" the source is, of course, referring to the fact that Fairley played junior college football (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) prior to starring at Auburn. Asked to elaborate why being a "JUCO kid" is a bad thing, the source explained.

"Just because a player went to a junior college doesn't mean, he's a bad guy or won't be successful at this level, obviously. There are lots of junior college players who have gone on to great NFL careers."

The stereotype is that JUCO players aren't as smart, hard-working, and well coached. They are also viewed by many clubs as players most likely to have had off-field troubles in the past and potentially more in the future. The source refused to go into specifics, but said, "Everyone is coming down hard on the quarterback, but [Fairley] is the one to worry about."

Despite measuring in at a shade under 6-4 (6037) and lighter than expected (291 pounds), Fairley "looked soft," according to the source. This first impression of Fairley's conditioning was only reinforced by his "limited" understanding of defensive schemes during team interviews. The source also referred to the fact that Fairley doesn't use his hands well and has been able to be successful largely due to his natural talent.

"Oh, I'm not saying he's not talented. Hell, he might be the most talented player in the whole damn thing. But, he's no slam dunk at this level. Not the slam dunk people who watched him tear up the SEC or in the big game [BCS National Championship] might think."

The other sources weren't as forthcoming with details, but didn't sound surprised when I told them I heard that Fairley was slipping down boards and that, as such, I had pushed him from No. 2 in the mock draft I'd written prior to the Combine to No. 8 in my current one.
Posted on: February 26, 2011 10:15 am
 

Confirmed -- Mallett to answer questions today

According to an NFL spokesperson, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will take questions from the media at the Combine today. 

It might seem obvious that Mallett would be made available. Nearly every one of the 330 players invited to the Combine take questions from the media throughout the week and considering the Second Team All-SEC quarterback's production, talent and potential high draft ranking, he certainly is one of the more high-profile players in this year's draft class.

With a few flurries of character questions growing into a full-on blizzard of red flags, including allegations of drug use, there were some in the media room openly questioning whether the NFL might "protect" Mallett and not make him available to reporters.

As it stands, Mallett will get his opportunity to answer questions, perhaps shedding some light on the controversy that could push an obvious first round talent considerably further down the board.

Mallett, projected at one time as high as No. 8 in my first round projection to the Tennessee Titans is no longer in my first round.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com