Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:32 am
Alabama junior Trent Richardson is universally considered the top running back in the 2012 draft.
Ask five scouts which runner will follow him on draft day and you are liable to get five different answers. Some are enamored with the pure speed of Miami's Lamar Miller or Virginia Tech's David Wilson. Others like the all-around game of Boise State senior Doug Martin. With an MVP-performance in the Senior Bowl that showcased his potential as a returner, Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead is making a late run up the board.
A so-so performance in Mobile has taken some of the luster off of Washington's Chris Polk, but if he runs as fast in workouts as he and those close to him expect him to, the former Husky will certainly be in the mix.
Preparing interviews for Lindy's NFL Draft Preview scheduled to hit newstands March 1, I asked Chris at the Senior Bowl what he expects to run in the all-important 40-yard dash.
He smiled and replied simply, "Faster than any of you all think."
Pressed to be more specific, Polk elaborated.
"From what everyone has been saying and I've been reading, I guess speed is one of the big questions everyone has about me. I'm not that worried about it, to be honest with you. I know how fast I am. I expect to run something in the 4.4s."
Though Polk ran for 4,049 yards for the Huskies over his career, finishing second behind only former first round pick Napoleon Kaufman (4,106) in school history. Though he's shown the ability to break free for several long scores over his career (four TDs of 50+ yards), his straight-line speed is considered one of the question marks on an otherwise sparkling résumé.
Polk is currently preparing for the Combine at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles. If his effort there result in a 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds or less, teams won't be able to ignore the fact that his game-tape, frankly, is more impressive than any of the other backs vying to follow Richardson.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:07 pm
Virginia Tech's David Wilson became the fifth running back to announce he's forgoing his remaining eligibility and entering the 2012 NFL Draft.
Wilson said he made the decision this week after receiving a second-round grade from the NFL advisory committee. Wilson is the No. 3 running back and No. 41 prospect overall eligible for the 2012 draft, according to ratings by NFLDraftScout.com. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Wilson set a single-season school record with 1,709 rushing yards in 2011.
The decision didn't come as a surprise, especially with Virginia Tech set to lose four senior starters off the offensive line.
"It was very tough," Wilson said at a press conference Friday attended by coach Frank Beamer. "Even yesterday writing the statement, I almost teared up just thinking about the Sugar Bowl is my last game at Virginia Tech."
Wilson is known for his excellent athleticism, as he also finished sixth in the nation in the triple jump at the NCAA championships last spring, and has earned All-American honors in football and track and field.
Wilson joins Miami's Lamar Miller, Washington's Chris Polk, Temple's Bernard Pierce and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman in announcing they will forgo their remaining eligibility - Miller and Hillman are redshirt sophomore. Still yet to make their announcements are Alabama's Trent Richardson and Oregon's LaMichael James.
Wilson is the second Hokie in as many days to declare for the draft, following cornerback Jayron Hosley. Tony Gregory, who is recovering from his second ACL surgery, freshman Michael Holmes and incoming recruit J.C. Coleman figure to vie for snaps in the Hokies' backfield next season.
"I can come back and accomplish some great things, some very great things that haven't been done at Virginia Tech before," Wilson said. "At the same time, you're risking a lot of negatives that could happen. The positive is I had a great season this year and I feel like I built a legacy here."
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:58 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:36 pm
A year after leading the NCAA with nine interceptions, Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley is taking his ball-hawking skills to the NFL.
Hosley made the announcement following Virginia Tech's overtime loss to Michigan Tuesday night in the Sugar Bowl.
According to Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post, Hosley had hinted that Tuesday's game might be his last as a Hokie. When Hosley was given a second round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee it made his decision to leave early.
"It's gonna be tough walking away but I got to do what I got to do, Hosley said. "I think I handled my business pretty well."
After his nation-leading nine interceptions in 2010, the 5-10, 172 pound Hosley struggled with injuries a bit this year. He was limited by a hamstring injury and suffered a concussion in the ACC Championship game. Despite the injuries and opponents often ignoring his side of the field, Hosley still led the Hokies with three interceptions this season and nearly had two more against Michigan's Denard Robinson last night.
On the first play it was initially ruled that Hosley intercepted the pass. After looking at the replay, however, the play was overturned and Michigan was rewarded the ball. Later, Hosley did snatch a high pass from Robinson for an interception. He was flagged for pass interference on the play, however, negating the pick.
Hosley has terrific quickness, speed and ball skills. His lack of size, however, is certainly a detriment. Recognizing this, Hosley was more aggressive this season in run support, registering a career-high 59 tackles.
Hosley was given a late first round, early second round grade by NFLDraftScout.com prior to news of his early departure from Virginia Tech. He was rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 underclassmen cornerback, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:54 am
Each weekend 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.
QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor*: The fact that RGIII has shot up to No. 15 in my latest Big Board tells you that I am on board with his projection to the NFL. That said, Griffin will be facing a tough test against the Longhorns, who boast the top pass defense in the Big 12. Texas put a damper on Texas A&M Ryan Tannehill's stock last week. Can they do the same to Griffin this time? The matchup is especially interesting considering that Griffin may still be feeling some of the lingering effects of a concussion suffered last week against Texas Tech. A big game here could vault Griffin even higher up scouts' draft boards and make him an obvious finalist for the Heisman Trophy. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be broadcast by ABC.
TE Orson Charles, Georgia*: At 6-3, 242 pounds Charles doesn't possess the traditional size scouts are looking for at tight end. However, his agility, speed and reliable hands make him one of the country's most dangerous receivers at the position and he's a much stouter blocker than you might expect. I've ranked him as the top tight end in the country for much of the season, though strong play by Stanford senior Coby Fleener and a couple of other underclassmen make the position one of the year's most competitive. LSU is in the position they are largely due to their extraordinary collection of talent in their defensive backfield. They haven't faced many combinations of quarterback (Aaron Murray) and receiver talent as what Georgia brings. If Georgia is to pull off the upset, Charles will have to have a strong game. This game begins at 4:00 pm ET and will be televised by CBS.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:35 am
This weekend's slate of college football games brings more quality than quantity, as conference championship games limit the number of potential match-ups for the final edition of "Mano-a-Mano."
There are still plenty of individual battles for scouts to watch -- they're just all occurring in a few contests. That's why the ACC, SEC, Big 10 championship games, as well as the de facto Big 12 CG in Stillwater Saturday night, dominate this week's list.
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. Oklahoma CB *Demontre Hurst (#6/5-9/182/4.46)/Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54) at Oklahoma State WR *Justin Blackmon (#81/6-1/215/4.54)
The Sooners' pass defense needs to live up to its potential against the Cowboys' wide-open attack led by Blackmon and senior QB Brandon Weeden (#3/6-4/218/4.92). Hurst and Fleming are willing to challenge receivers like Blackmon at the line of scrimmage, but they will probably play off more often than not to try and stay with him on deep routes. They'll also need to close on crosses when in man, though, which is easier said than done. Look for Weeden to make a quick throw if his All-American receiver gets a lot of cushion, and for the 28 year-old signal caller to test the Sooners' corners ability to play the jump ball against the taller Blackmon in the end zone. Weeden need only ask Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill, who threw three interceptions and had five passes broken up by the Sooners' secondary four weeks ago, about Hurst and Fleming's ability to take away receivers on the outside.
2. Georgia CB Brandon Boykin (#2/5-10/183/4.44)/*Branden Smith (#1/5-11/176/4.39) vs. LSU WR *Rueben Randle (#2/6-3/208/4.57)
The top-ranked Tigers are far down the list among FBS schools in passing offense (#100), but that doesn't mean they are bereft of receiver talent. Randle has had four 100-yard games this season, including his nine catch, 134-yard effort against Arkansas last weekend. He wouldn't beat Boykin or Smith in a foot race, but his crisp routes and superior size could allow him to separate downfield if the corners get too aggressive jumping short patterns. Georgia's small but tough defenders could make plays, however, if LSU QB Jordan Jefferson stares down Randle or fellow junior Russell Shepard as his first read. The time they've been given on offense (Boykin at WR, Smith RB) and Boykin's return ability also shows they can break off big runs (or score) after the interception.
3. Wisconsin RG Kevin Zeitler (#70/6-4/318/5.26)/C *Peter Konz (#66/6-5/315/5.16) vs. Michigan DT *Jerel Worthy (#99/6-3/310/5.04)
Worthy started off the teams' October matchup hot, penetrating through graps to blow up plays, but wasn't much of a factor as the game wore on as the strong top 75 value Zeitler, potential first round pick Konz and stout future pro redshirt sophomore LG Travis Frederick kept him under control. If Konz can't go because of his high ankle sprain, then Frederick slides to center again and another redshirt sophomore, Ryan Groy, steps in to take on Worthy. The junior defensive tackle flashes great talent, but if he is unable to make plays in the backfield due to average flexibility and lacks the stamina to chase ball-carriers in the fourth quarter, teams will not grade him as a first-round prospect.
4. Clemson CB Coty Sensabaugh (#15/6-0/185/4.56) vs. Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin (#81/6-2/218/4.64)/Danny Coale (#19/6-0/200/4.43)
Tech mostly relies on ACC Player of the Year RB David Wilson (a probable top 50 pick if he declares as a junior) but 6-foot-6 athletic redshirt sophomore Logan Thomas has the arm to move the ball through the air to Boykin, Coale, and other young receivers. Sensabaugh is another lean, tough Clemson corner in the mold of Crezdon Butler; he'll challenge the bigger Boykin while they run down the sideline and is a secure enough tackler to bring down Coale in the intermediate zone.
5. Georgia OLB *Jarvis Jones (#29/6-2/247/4.74) vs. LSU *Chris Faulk (#76/6-6/325)/*Alex Hurst (#72/6-6/340/5.22)
The SEC title game doesn't necessarily have a ton of senior prospects like the other conference battles on Saturday night, but a few underclassmen will enter this year's draft or their performance in this game will influence teams' thoughts about them going into next season. Jones is a USC transfer who is displaying the playmaking chops (ranks in the top ten nationally with 19.5 TFL, 13.5 sacks) to earn top 40 grades as a redshirt sophomore. Both LSU tackles also have pro aspirations, however, with Faulk and Hurst both mountain-men on the edges but sometimes lacking the lateral agility and recovery speed to handle elite rushers like Jones -- who will likely line up on both sides of the line in this game to use his closing speed and hustle to chase QB Jordan Jefferson. If Jones proves himself able to get off blocks to stop runs outside, scouts will like his skill set even more.
6. Wisconsin WR Nick Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52) vs. Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams (#5/5-11/175/4.42)/FS Trenton Robinson (#39/5-10/195/4.46)
Adams and Robinson, along with sophomore Isaiah Lewis, shut down Toon fairly well in the teams' first game. The son of 1985 first round pick Al Toon only connected with Russell Wilson twice for 58 yards in East Lansing, and Robinson intercepted a pass that went over the senior receiver's head down the middle because he hadn't turned his head to see Wilson's throw. Adams' aggressive nature makes him susceptible to the big play, however, and Toon capable of getting inside his man to take the skinny or post for a touchdown -- so Robinson will need to use his corner-like speed and ball skills again to ensure Wilson-to-Toon isn't a deadly combination.
7. Clemson DEs Andre Branch (#40/6-4/260/4.77)/*Malliciah Goodman (#97/6-4/278/4.67) vs. Virginia Tech LT Andrew Lanier (#72/6-5/306/4.87)/RT Blake DeChristopher (#62/6-4/312/5.10)
DeChristopher earned the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy for his work on the right side this season. The four-year starter joins Lanier in facing NFL-caliber defensive ends including Branch and Goodman. Branch does not turn the corner as fluidly as scouts would like, but he anchors against the run to keep David Wilson from getting the sideline -- something Goodman will also have to do consistently to funnel plays to the Hokies' linebackers and prevent DeChristopher from sealing the edge for his junior running back. Branch may also work in space a bit, as well as rush QB Logan Thomas from a stand-up position; he's shown enough of these things in recent weeks to intrigue scouts looking at him as 3-4 linebacker.
8. Georgia LT Cordy Glenn (#71/6-5/348/5.28) vs. LSU DE Kendrick Adams (#94/6-5/255/4.87)
Glenn moved from left guard to left tackle for this season and after a slow start has settled into the position. His bend and lateral movement have been questioned by scouts, however, and those aspects of his game will be challenged by Adams and the Tigers' sophomore studs Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery -- both of whom have eight sacks this season. Adams does not have the elite speed of Mingo and is not as athletic as Montgomery, but could earn respect from NFL teams by beating Glenn and senior RT Justin Anderson (#79/6-5/342/5.36) off the edge with his workmanlike effort.
9. Clemson DT Brandon Thompson (#98/6-2/310/5.04)/Rennie Moore (#94/6-3/268/4.83) vs. Virginia Tech RG Jaymes Brooks (#68/6-2/308/5.05)/LG Greg Nosal (#75/6-5/298/5.27)
Clemson not only presents problems for offensive lines on the edge with Branch and Goodman, but also inside with Thompson and Moore. Thompson is a wide-body nose guard with active hands and quick feet for his size. He doesn't make plays in the backfield as regularly as the kniving Moore, whose relatively slight frame belies his toughness inside. But the stout Brooks and athletic Nosal match up well vs. Thompson and Moore. Brooks also has nice mobility to go along with his squat build, giving him the versatility to earn high grades from NFL teams using different types of blocking schemes.
10. Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49)/*Marcus Cromartie (#14/6-0/182/4.52) vs. Michigan State WR Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44)/B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)
Fenelus and Cromartie limited the elusive Martin to just 41 yards on five receptions in their first match-up, as both have the speed and tackling ability to wrestle him down or take him out of bounds before he gets a head of steam. Cunningham caught six balls for 107 yards and a score in October, with a 35-yard score that he actually caught among linebackers inside before turning on the jets to run the last 25 yards into the end zone. And Martin's biggest play was actually a 34-yard touchdown run on a double-reverse. So not only will Fenelus and Cromartie need to play well to contain these two receivers, but all 11 Wisconsin defenders.
Iowa State WR Darius Reynolds (#7/6-1/208/4.54) at Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58)
Wyoming DE Gabe Knapton (#52/6-3/252/4.79) at Colorado State OT Paul Madsen (#76/6-4/310/5.26)
UNLV WR Phillip Payne (#4/6-3/205/4.62) at TCU CB Greg McCoy (#7/5-10/182/4.43)
Texas LG David Snow (#78/6-4/295/5.28) at Baylor DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (#90/6-2/335/5.06)
Wisconsin DT Patrick Butrym (#95/6-3/285/5.14) vs. Michigan State LG Joel Foreman (#67/6-4/315/5.43)
Fresno State WR Devon Wylie (#7/5-10/185/4.38) at San Diego State CB Larry Parker (#29/5-11/170)
Posted on: November 26, 2011 12:15 pm
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. Penn State DTs Devon Still (#71/6-4/310/5.06)/*Jordan Hill (#47/6-1/298/5.06) at Wisconsin RG Kevin Zeitler (#70/6-4/318/5.26)/C *Travis Frederick (#72/6-3/330/5.27)
Both Penn State and Wisconsin rank in the top ten nationally in scoring and total defense, but the Badgers' more potent offense (they rank 5th in scoring, Nittany Lions 106th) should put some pressure on PSU's talented defensive line. Still ranks 11th in the country with 16.5 tackles for loss, mostly when able jump the snap and penetrate into the B-gap. That means Zeitler, a solid top 125 talent likely to be an NFL starter due to his strength, technique, and fair mobility must be quick enough to ride Still out of the play. Once Still is stopped on his initial move, he won't necessarily bull his way in; but Zeitler and Frederick, the thick starting left guard who moved to center for the injured Peter Konz, will have to sustain blocks against the athletic Still, as he is agile enough to drag down junior RB Montee Ball from behind for short gains if given a clear path.
Crawford is also on scouts' radars as a mid-round pick because he has the size and agility to be a very capable swing end able to stand up on either side of the line. Although the London, England native is not elite with his speed off the edge, he will test Wagner's sprained MCL and the lateral movement of any of the inexperienced tackles the Badgers throw at him if their junior starter isn't healthy enough to stay on the field. Scouts will also take a look at two potential late-round picks in the hustling Latimore and the athletic but inconsistent Oglesby.
2. Alabama DE/OLBs Courtney Upshaw (#41/6-2/265/4.76)/*Dont'a Hightower (#30/6-4/260/4.74) at Auburn LT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)/RT Brandon Mosley (#75/6-5/305/5.22)
Two potential first round picks will challenge Auburn senior tackles Greene and Mosley during the Iron Bowl. Upshaw will likely rush the passer and try to contain sophomore running back Michael Dyer from the strong and weak sides of the line, though he'll more regularly likely go against the adequate Greene both standing up and his with hand on the ground. Hightower and junior DE/DT Jesse Williams (#54/6-4/320/5.28) tests the lateral agility of Mosley--the junior college transfer who has some athleticism and strength, but not elite amounts of either.
3. Clemson RT Landon Walker (#72/6-5/305/5.18) at South Carolina DE* Devin Taylor (#98/6-6/260/4.76)
Two of the top defensive lines in the country reside in this fight for the pride in the Palmetto State. Walker's one of the most underrated tackles in the country, but Taylor plays stronger than his long, lean frame would indicate. If Walker can anchor in pass pro against Taylor, or even if top freshman Jadeveon Clowney moves to that side of the line, scouts will be impressed. Branch is a potential 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker prospect who also plays with leverage against the run despite a somewhat lean build. But scouts want to see him beat Watkins off the edge--the Gamecocks' top lineman is playing out of position at left tackle, but his toughness helps him win more battles than he loses. Still, if Branch wants to earn a second-round grade, he'll need to show the quickness and flexibility to get the corner.
4. Ohio State LT Mike Adams (#75/6-6/320/5.28)/RT J.B. Shugarts (#76/6-6/305/5.23) at Michigan DEs Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84)/*Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)
When the Buckeyes have the ball in the Midwest's version of "The Game", their talented offensive line must control some solid Wolverines defenders up front. Adams looked like a top ten pick at left tackle with his fluid movement and prototypical length, though he'll need to play hard every snap against the active Roh and workmanlike Van Bergen. Shugarts may not be drafted due to his average athleticism but he'll give great effort to keep those ends away from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. Brewster's also fighting the non-athlete label from scouts, as his reaching and slow footwork could be exposed by the high-motor Martin, who is not easy to stop from penetrating into the backfield to track down Miller or Ohio State's top running back, "Boom" Herron.
5. Virginia Tech LT Andrew Lanier (#72/6-5/306/4.87) at Virginia DE Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76)
Like many other games today, scouts will have bouncing between multiple OL-DL match-ups in this battle for Virginia bragging rights. Cam Johnson is looking like a top 50 pick at times because of the pressure he puts on the outside shoulders of left tackles like Lanier. He'll need to prove to scouts he has a counter to his up-and-under move, however, or Lanier will negate it after the first couple of series. Conrath's long, lean frame is not typical of most college DTs; watching him against the short, stout Brooks will be interesting, though he'll be lined up across from the slimmer Nosal on most plays. Jenkins (like Clemson's Rennie Moore) has below-average size but will find his way into the backfield to chase redshirt sophomore QB Logan Thomas if Brooks/Nosal don't keep their feet moving and hands active.
6. Penn State CB D'Anton Lynn (#8/6-0/208/4.53)/Chaz Powell (#2/6-1/206/4.48) at Wisconsin WR Nick Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52)
If the Badgers are to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game, they'll need senior Russell Wilson to find his favorite receiver on their preferred out routes as well as down the sideline. One reason Toon is considered a top prospect in the 2012 draft class is that he can use his size advantage over smaller college corners. But Lynn and Powell will give no quarter at the line of scrimmage or downfield, so the son of former first round pick Al Toon must use foot quickness to separate during his routes and prove he can win 50/50 balls against Penn State's two well-built outside defenders.
7. Iowa State LT Kelechi Osemele (#72/6-5/347/5.40) at Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander (#84/6-3/255/4.82)
Iowa State would love to make it two wins over Oklahoma schools by beating the Sooners one week after upsetting Oklahoma State in Ames last weekend. The Cyclones' massive left tackle will be a big factor if they're to pull off another unexpected win. He plays with the nasty attitude NFL offensive line coaches love. Some scouts suspect he will have to move inside at the next level due to a lack of agility, and though Alexander brings more strength and hustle as a pass rusher than pure speed -- he will attempt to help them make their case.
8. Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin (#81/6-2/218/4.64)/Danny Coale (#19/6-0/200/4.43) at Virginia CB Chase Minnifield (#13/6-0/185/4.49)
The son of former NFL cornerback Frank Minnifield obviously has the length, quickness, height, and ball skills (13 INT, 18 PBU) to be an NFL corner, but will be closely watched by scouts to see if he has strength to handle larger receivers like Boykin downfield as well as the foot work and instincts to stay with the savvy Coale. Virginia Tech's receivers also have something to prove against their in-state rivals, as Boykin's large hands don't always make the big catches when needed and Coale looks to show scouts he is more of a play-maker than pure possession receiver.
9. Rutgers LG Desmond Wynn (#70/6-5/295/5.14) at Connecticut DT Kendall Reyes (#99/6-4/296/4.99)
Reyes is the sort of athletic big man coveted by NFL defensive coordinators preferring three or four man fronts -- and especially those using a mix of both because of his versatility. After putting up big numbers against non-conference foes (9 TFLs, 4 sacks), he has a grand total of two tackles for loss and a half-sack in the past five games. But that doesn't mean he isn't active, as he has managed to rack up 14 tackles in the two weeks. Wynn will therefore have to not only prevent Reyes from knifing into the backfield, but also sustain his block to ensure the probable All-Big East tackle won't shed to grab freshman running back Lyle McCombs.
10. Louisiana-Lafayette CB Dwight Bentley (#5/5-10/180/4.49) at Arizona WRs Juron Criner (#82/6-4/215/4.62)
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles suffered bruised ribs against Arizona State, but he is expected to play in this game. Bentley has gotten close looks from scouts this year due to his toughness and ball skills, especially when he intercepted two passes against Oklahoma State in the season opener. He'll face strong competition from the 6-4 Criner on the outside, as the senior has had three 100-yard games in the last five games even after tweaking his knee a couple of weeks ago. And Criner isn't the only one able to stretch defenses vertically, or go over the top of Bentley with his six-inch height advantage, as will Foles' other targets: *Dan Buckner, David Douglas and Gino Crump.
Georgia CBs CB Brandon Boykin (#2/5-10/183/4.44)/*Branden Smith (#1/5-11/176/4.39) at Georgia Tech WR *Stephen Hill (#5/6-4/206/4.57)
Rutgers DE Manny Abreu (#51/6-2/260/4.76) at Connecticut LT Mike Ryan (#71/6-5/335/5.38)
Michigan State WRs B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)/Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44) at Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin (#26/5-10/180/4.57)
Iowa State WR Darius Reynolds (#7/6-1/208/4.54) at Oklahoma CB Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54)/*Demontre Hurst (#6/5-09/182/4.46)
Cincinnati LT Alex Hoffman (#59/6-6/298/5.28) at Syracuse DE *Chandler Jones (#99/6-5/265/4.86)
Rice DE Scott Solomon (#35/6-3/270/4.79) at SMU LT Kelvin Beachum (#70/6-3/306/5.52)
Tennessee DE/DT Malik Jackson (#97/6-5/270/4.82) at Kentucky RG *Larry Warford (#67/6-3/336/5.34)
Nevada DT Brett Roy (#47/6-3/280/4.88) at Utah State OG Phillip Gapelu (#68/6-2/300)
Wyoming CB Tashuan Gipson (#4/6-0/203/4.57) at Boise State WR Tyler Shoemaker (#89/6-1/212/4.50)
Kansas RT *Tanner Hawkinson (#72/6-5/295/5.04) vs. Missouri DE Jacquies Smith (#3/6-3/255/4.62)Kansas C Jeremiah Hatch (#77/6-2/308/5.48) vs. Missouri DTs Dominique Hamilton (#90/6-5/305/5.24)/*Sheldon Richardson (#34/6-3/290/4.86)/Terrell Resonno (#93/6-3/295/5.08)
Maryland CB Cameron Chism (#22/5-10/190/4.52) at North Carolina State WR T.J. Graham (#6/5-11/180/4.36)
Illinois CB Tavon Wilson (#3/6-0/205/4.54) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
Alabama CBs Dre Kirkpatrick (#21/6-2/192/4.49)/*DeQuan Menzie (#24/5-11/198/4.65) at Auburn WR *Emory Blake (#80/6-1/197/4.58)
Duke WRs Conner Vernon (#2/6-1/195/4.53)/*Donovan Varner (#26/5-08/175/4.53) at North Carolina CB Charles Brown (#12/5-09/205/4.49)
Virginia Tech CB *Jayron Hosley (#20/5-10/172/4.52) at Virginia WR Kris Burd (#18/6-0/200/4.53)
Penn State WR Derek Moye (#6/6-4/210/4.54) at Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-08/190/4.49)
Oregon State WRs James Rodgers (#1/5-07/188/4.48)/*Markus Wheaton (#2/6-0/178/4.47) at Oregon CB Anthony Gildon (#18/6-0/182/4.57)
Florida WR Deonte Thompson (#6/5-11/200/4.44) at Florida State CB Mike Harris (#1/5-10/195/4.52)
Washington State WR Jared Karstetter (#84/6-3/210/4.64) at Washington CB *Desmond Trufant (#6/6-0/185/4.49)
Clemson RG Antoine McClain (#74/6-5/335/5.34) at South Carolina DT Travian Robertson (#42/6-4/303/5.08)
Notre Dame CBs Gary Gray (#4/5-10/195/4.49)/Robert Blanton (#12/6-0/200/4.53) at Stanford WR Griff Whalen (#17/6-0/187)
UCLA OT Mike Harris (#65/6-5/326/5.32) at Southern Cal DE *Devon Kennard (#42/6-3/250/4.72)
San Diego State CB Larry Parker (#29/5-11/170) at UNLV WR Phillip Payne (#4/6-3/205/4.62)
Tulsa LT Tyler Holmes (#78/6-4/302/5.29) at Houston OLB Sammy Brown (#8/6-2/240/4.67)
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:35 pm
Virginia Tech junior running back David Wilson is among the nation's more explosive runners. At 5-10, 205 pounds Wilson has reportedly been timed in the 4.3s. The speed, elusiveness and determination that made Wilson NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 rated running back for the 2012 draft was on display Thursday night against Georgia Tech as he rushed for a career high 177 yards. Thursday's effort was Wilson's seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
With such an impressive track record, Georgia Tech knew heading into the key ACC showdown knowing precisely who they had to focus on to stop the Virginia Tech offense. Early in the game, the Yellow Jackets looked up to the task, repeatedly beating the Hokies' offensive line with quick penetration to corral Wilson at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Wilson was often able to make the first defender miss Thursday evening due to his impressive lateral agility and explosiveness. When given a lane, Wilson burst through the line of scrimmage quickly, gaining yardage in chunks. Like most speedsters, Wilson prefers to cut towards the sidelines, but he demonstrated the toughness and vision to cut back into the middle, as well.
Unfortunately, Wilson also proved that he has plenty to work on in perfecting his craft, not the least of which was poor ball handling technique that led to a fumble in the mid-third quarter.
Wilson had the ball punched out with the Hokies driving into the redzone. The play was the eighth in a series that began on their own 12-yard line and ended with nothing to show for it at the Georgia Tech 16. The Yellow Jackets recovered and scored, taking their last lead before the Hokies pulled away in the final stanza.
Wilson nearly had the ball ripped away earlier in the quarter, but a quick snap by Virginia Tech on the next play didn't give head coach Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech much time to view the replay.
In each case, Wilson simply allowed the ball to get too far away from his body.
The ball security issue would appear to be one that is correctable through coaching. What makes Wilson unique is that he possesses the natural explosiveness that no amount of coaching can provide.
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