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 Post subject: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:51 pm 
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As anybody knows that has been a regular visitor to this subforum the last few years, I always start a thread at the beginning of each college season, giving my notes, observations, and thoughts on many of hte prospects I'm scouting for the upcoming year's draft. This is where it will reside this year. My next post I'll come back with some thoughts from some of the games I've reviewed during the first weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:45 pm 
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Two notes from week 1...
VT WR DJ Coles reinjured his knee and will take a redshirt year he never took. I'm starting to question his nfl potential, not on talent or metrics, but health of that knee.

Oregon's new true fresh QB, a Hawaiian. Funky last name, but boy is that kid smooooooooth. Thoroughly impressed, but they played a very weak team.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Ok, ready to make a post about some of the things I've seen in recent games. I'm behind on my tape, but here goes...


In watching Week 1, NC State vs. Tennessee, I thought on QB Mike Glennon's first dozen or so passes, he looked like a Mid-1st round pick. He was accurate, anticipatory, decisive, and showed the strong arm he is known for. But then he made a couple of mistakes (INT, fumble), and he seemed to be out of the game and rhythm the rest of the way. I still think he has good potential but he may not be ideally suited in terms of mental toughness to be a 1st rounder.

Tyler Bray (Tennessee) was the opposite. He really struggled with his accuracy early in the game, but as the game wore on he got better. I like his arm strength and ability to fire lasers all over the field, and he showed nice touch on his deep passes. His windup is a bit odd, a bit like a baseball pitcher, and I think that will need to be tweaked before he goes to the next level. His footwork needs to improve, but NFL teams will fall in love with his arm, similar to Brock Osweiler this past year.

Logan Thomas disappointed me in the 2 games I saw of his (Pitt & GT). He has all the physical tools, and you still see flashes of the anticipation and ability to make more than 1 read, but his decision making has been too erratic. He's missed too many easy throws. He really struggled vs. Pitt with interior pressure as throws were sailing and off whenever he couldn't step into a throw. The comparisons to Cam Newton aren't there yet, regardless of his level of play. Thomas just doesn't appear to be the dynamic athlete that Newton was. He's more like Josh Freeman, an excellent athlete but not a sick amount of size and speed. Thomas still looks like a top pick due to his upside, but he's still at least a year away. Whether he gets a 4th year at Tech, or spends that year as a backup in the pros, he is at least 1 more year away from being a reliable NFL starter. I also think he needs to work on quickening up his mechanics, which is one of the reasons why he's struggled with interior pressure and accuracy. He doesn't really throw the ball with velocity despite a great arm, floating too many passes downfield. He seems too deliberate with his release/mechanics (often the problem with big QBs), and if he can speed that up many of these problems could disappear.

RB Ray Graham (Pitt) looks to be getting back to form. He is making some of the cuts he used to make, able to make that sharp jump cut and bounce plays outside. But his running style is not conducive to long-term knee health because of how he shifts his weight from one leg to the next, so I wonder how that holds up in the future. But he looks like a good No. 2 change of pace back that brings similar traits to a poor man's LeSean McCoy. The beef with Graham is that he doesn't hit the hole hard when he does run between the tackles, and too much wants to bounce things outside.

WR Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech) has impressive size, but I worry about his speed/quickness to separate from NFL corners. He rarely seems to generate space between himself and mid-level college corners, so when he gets against starting NFL corners, I could see him struggling a bit. But his size and ball skills make up for it somewhat, and thus I think he can play in the NFL. But may just be a career backup.

Tennessee WRs Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson impressed vs. NC State. Hunter has that long, skinny build with good speed and explosive ability. He's got definite upside to be a No. 1 with his tools, but his hands are questionable. He had 3 drops vs. State because he lets everything into his body. But I liked how Tennessee used him outside/inside and thus there is upfield worth developing. Patterson really shined in this game as a JUCO transfer and I have him rated ahead of Hunter, who entered this year as a Top 5 WR/1st rounder on some boards. He reminded me a bit of a lesser Julio Jones, in terms of his size, speed, and a slight physical edge to his game. It'll be interesting to see him later in the year.

Marquess Wilson (Wash. St) and Jordan Matthews (Vandy) are two other junior WRs that are interesting. Both have good size. Wilson has a bit more speed to his game. Because he's not surrounded by the most talent, it's somewhat hard to gauge exactly where his ceiling is, but I think he has the ability to be a good No. 2 WR. Matthews is more of a possession wideout with good hands, and can work the middle of the field.

OT Nick Becton (VA Tech) looks like he has the size/athleticism to play in the pros, but I don't think he has great feet and he has poor technique/hands. He doesn't punch on the edge, and against quality rushers that gets him in trouble. He's not explosive off the snap as a run blocker, winning by his superior size/strength rather than really knowing how to get position. When Tech puts him in a 3-point stance he looks like J.A.G. I think he might be a developmental swing tackle.

I didn't like Dallas Thomas (Tennessee) that much as a LT, but he looks at home this year at LG. He is not powerful run blocker, but a good position blocker that did a good job pulling vs. State.

I don't know what to think about DE Devin Taylor (South Carolina) at this point. I've seen flashes of dominance as a edge rusher, but he doesn't play as fast or explosive as you want to be a top pass rusher. But his long frame (6-6/260) is ideal for the 4-3 DE spot. He could also be a 3-4 OLB because of his long stride and ability to cover ground. He looks like a guy with a high ceiling but might be more a complemetnary No. 2 LDE.

James Gayle looks more like a 3-4 OLB than a DE. He doesn't use his hands very well, but he has a nice first step and can challenge the edge. But he doesn't have the size you want in a 4-3 DE (6-2/255) and I think plays small because of his poor hand use/technique. He'll get pushed around by NFL linemen. But if you move him to OLB, I think he has upside to be a complementary starter. Put him across from an impact guy, and he can contribute. I think GT's Jeremiah Attaochu also has upside as a 3-4 guy. He has good speed, but he is a one-note speed rusher that doesn't wow you there. He is functional in coverage and I think he plays with a bit of an edge. He too I think is more of a complementary starter than a guy that can impact as an edge rusher.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow is a hybrid safety/linebacker at the next level similar to Cody Grimm. JGW plays more like a LB that is best working near the LOS (similar to Grimm), but possesses the sort of tools that he could move to safety. He'll need to bulk up (6-2/205) and I think might make one of those Bryan Scott-esque nickel linebacker types if he does.

Bruce Taylor has some upside as a stopgap/complementary starter at LB. He plays more like a WILL but has the sort of size you look for in a MIKE. I think he is more in line with a good NFL backup than a top starter. Coverage is his biggest flaw at this point. He has decent speed, range, and solid against the run, but he's not great in those areas which is why I think he's more a good backup than a starter because he is not standing out in any single area.

Pitt S Jarred Holley is a solid but undersized (5-10/190) run-stopping safety. He has decent instincts and awareness and thus I think he can play effectively in a Cover-2 system. But he's more of a backup, similar style player as Thomas DeCoud, but what probably keeps Holley on the bench is that he doesn't have DeCoud's speed and range.

FS DJ Swearinger (South Carolina) is an effective run stopper that is competent in coverage. He looks like a capable starter, but he's not a guy that is going to be a top playmaker at the next level, but you're looking for an average starter perhaps.

CB David Amerson struggled vs. Tennesse. He gave up 145 yards & 2 TDs to Hunter/Patterson. He doesn't have great speed, and thus will need to be covered up by playing in a Cover-2 scheme. He's an off zone corner that somebody might be able to develop into a Charles Tillman-type of starter.

CB Kyle Fuller has yet to be tested in coverage vs. GT due to their option and the fact that he injured his shoulder early vs. Pitt. But I do like how he is very good in run support, a major change from Jayron Hosley last year. He was targeted 4 times vs. GT, without giving up a completion but it's not like Georgia Tech is the world's best passing team. But at the very least without really having a good gauge on his coverage abilities, his ability to play vs. the run means he can stick as a nickel corner at the least.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:56 am 
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I watched some more games over the weekend, including Arizona-OK State, Utah-Utah State, and Georgia-Missouri.

My big focus in these games were getting to see Star Lotulelei (Utah) and Jarvis Jones (Georgia). They are 1-2 on Rob Rang's Big Board, and both are in the Top 10 on Kiper's. Both players I saw last year in 1 game and didn't come away overly impressed. But I see why people are so high on them now. Lotulelei was limited vs. Utah State because of their efforts to minimize his impact. They ran the ball outside and a lot of designed QB runs and tempo to keep him gassed. It worked for the most part, although he still was a force the few times they ran at him. He flashes the same sort of power and potential that I liked in Ndamukong Suh (another player that I didn't like as a junior, but really shined for me as a senior). He finished the game with 3 stuffs, 1 sack, and a forced fumble, and he does look like a top DT prospect. I think he can play any role in a 3-4 or 4-3, similar to Suh in that you can be confident he can contribute in a variety of roles/schemes. I don't think he's quite on par with Suh after this single viewing, but a poor man's Suh is a rich man's everyone else.

Jones had a very good game vs. Mizzou, recording an INT, 2 stuffs, 3 pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 1 batted pass, and a sack. None of Missouri's OTs could handle his speed off the edge, so much so that in the 2nd half they started rolling QB James Franklin away from his side of the field on nearly every play. He had an INT that almost turned into a pick-six, but I do think his coverage abilities are limited at this point. The few times they dropped him into coverage, he was just sitting there covering grass. Some it might have been he was supposed to spy the mobile Franklin, but it seemed more likely that he had not gotten a ton of reps in coverage (why would you drop him when he can rush as well as he does?) and looked a bit lost there. His INT was more of an athletic play where he was in the right place at the right time. I do think he has high pass rush potential at the next level due to his burst, and I also think he flashed solid ability as a run defender. There are going to be inevitable comparisons to Von Miller. I think at this point, Miller was a more natural space player and more comfortable dropping into coverage than Jones appears at this point. And for that reason, unlike Miller, I'm not convinced Jones is as good a fit in a 4-3 scheme. But I do think his pass rush potential could easily make him a Top 5 pick next year for a 3-4 team.

I thought Georgia QB Aaron Murray showed some nice things in his game. He is not very big, not particularly mobile, but has a pretty good arm. He reminds me of Matt Cassel-type of QB. That if he can have a solid ground game, run a play-action based passing offense he could wind up being an effective starter. But his lack of stature and the fact that he was basically only doing one read in Georgia's offense makes me think he's not a potential franchise QB, more of a stopgap starter/very good No. 2.

Arizona QB Matt Scott looks to have Rich Rod's offense down. He's a mobile threat with the ball in his hands, has a pretty good arm. But his small size, lack of accuracy, and poor field vision IMO means that his NFL potential as a QB is limited. Like Pat White, I think he might be better suited to moving to a new position (wideout?).

OK State RB Joseph Randle looked solid vs. Arizona's defense. He's got good speed, size, and flashes some power. I'm not convinced he's a feature back, but I do think he could make a very effective co-pilot in an offense that uses 2 backs and be a guy that can get 10-15 touches per game. Right now, I'd grade him as a 2nd round pick potentially, but we'll see if he can play well the rest of the way to possibly sneak into the 1st round. I think he has comparable tools as players like David Wilson and Doug Martin to move up into that range, especially since many think there is a dropoff after Marcus Lattimore similar to last year with Trent Richardson.

I saw a number of WR prospects in these games. OK State's Tracy Moore emerged with the best grade based off these single games. I like his speed and quickness and hands. He had 4 TDs vs. Arizona. I'll need to see more in order to determine if he has true starting potential, or is he just a complementary guy that could be a factor as a No. 3 guy, which is about where I grade him now. Right now, I'd consider him closer to James Jones than Greg Jennings. Tavarres King didn't do a ton vs. Mizzou, but he was able to show his speed and while he may not be the world's most reliable WR, he does offer some big play ability because of his speed. His UGA teammate Marlon Brown impressed me a bit more. Brown has excellent size, but looks like a question mark on the speed. But he has good hands (although he did drop 2 vs. Mizzou), and was able to consistently get a few YAC despite not really having ideal quickness. He sort of reminds me of Michael Jenkins. I think King is the superior pro prospect, but I think Brown might be the more consistent, reliable NFL receiver although his lack of playmaking potential probably means he'll only be a No. 4 WR. T.J. Moe is the same type of WR as Wes Welker/Danny Amendola, that is a good slot option that can get open on the shorter routes. But I'm not sure he has the speed/quicks to separate down the field, so unless he plays in an offense that wants to dink and dunk all day to him like Welker/Amendola have I'm not sure he can really be more than a ST guy at the next level. I also liked Devonte Christopher for Utah. The Utah State corners couldn't cover him at all, but due to inconsistent play from Utah's QBs in that game, I don't think he saw the ball enough. He doesn't look dynamic, but he looks like he has the potential to be one of those really solid No. 3 WRs at the next level.

UGA has 3 defensive tackles that are pro prospects. John Jenkins is the best. He and Kwame Geathers are both listed at 350+ and that definitely is the case. Jenkins showed better quickness, burst, and range than Geathers, who is purely a Terrence Cody-esque space eater. Jenkins is probably a little bit closer to Vince Wilfork due to his ability to be a bit more disruptive. Abry Jones did not impress me in this game. While he has good size (6-3/310), he too is just a space eater, but unliek the other two, he was actually getting pushed off the ball and unable to get off blocks. He looks like a career backup as a NT in a 3-4 rather than someone that can really impact in the NFL.

Utah also has 2 other pro DL prospects in the Kruger brothers: Dave and Joe. Joe is a junior and the better of the two because of his longer frame/build (6-6/270). He's got a better first step that can help push/collapse the pocket. He needs to improve his hand use as he doesn't really use them well to disengage and beat blockers with moves, just relying on his motor and strength to bull his way into the pocket. He got ejected from the Utah State game for throwing a punch after a play. Dave is a senior, and has good size (6-5/285) and looks like he could be a solid 3-4 end. Dave could make a nice rotational guy in that scheme, and I think Joe could definitely be a starter, but might need to stay until his senior year to develop that. With Paul playing for Baltimore, the Krugers are about to be the defensive equivalent of the Gronkowskis.

Missouri also has 2 prospects. DE Brad Madison and DT Sheldon Richardson. Madison had a productive game, as his spin move was too much for the freshman RT playing for Georgia. He wound up having 2 sacks, 2 pressures, and a hit. I've never been in love with Madison, dating back to last year. I think he could be a solid No. 3 DE in a rotation, but I don't think he has the ideal burst to be more than a backup. Richardson is a junior that is sorta light (6-3/290) but has a very good first step to penetrate and be disruptive. But he's undersized, and if he doesn't win with his initial first step, he'll struggle to win. But he definitely has upside because he can be one of those true penetrating 1-gap DTs.

Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden is a nice prospect. Undersized (6-2/230), but he's got speed and plays hard-nosed. He needs work at the point of attack, which I blame on the lack of size. But he was willing to attack the hole, take on fullbacks, and I think has the makings of a solid WILL linebacker in the pros. He's not Sean Weatherspoon, but they have a similar skillset.

OK State P Quinn Sharp is one of the best in the country. He has a huge leg and showed it on his kickoffs. By my count, he averaged 76.5 yards on his 6 kickoffs. Note, that a 75 yard kickoff is one that hits the back of the endzone. His shortest kick was a 72-yarder, meaning it was 7 yards deep in the endzone. His punting wasn't spectacular, due to some line drives. But his kickoff ability alone will probably get him drafted, and with his big leg someone is going to hope they can turn him into the next Shane Lechler/Andy Lee. He is also their FG kicker, and he did make a 25-yarder. But I'd need to see a lot more this year to gauge whether he could make the permanent switch over.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:27 pm 
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LT - Ugh where do I begin. First, he has been majorly hurt by the skill talent around him. DJ Coles getting hurt was huge, and Marcus Davis is still inconsistent. Boom play, bust drop. The other WR aren't really to me helping in any other way, and thats def part of it. No legit bellcow rb to take heat off the pass game either, we've got a good true freshman in JC Coleman, but he's still a true with no RS. The best two rb we have are redshirting and prepping. Against, Pitt regarding the oline, I could have put my foot through the tv.

Buuuut, LT shares plenty of blame. I'll bullet pt what I see, b/c he has certainly regressed from his white hot play over last seasons 2nd half.

Sailing throws - This is what I told you preseason was his #1 weakness I saw last yr. In the face of pressure, whether its still being fairly green, or whatever, he sails throws still. So now to me, the D blueprint is what you do to Brady, pressure him straight up the middle and get in his face.

Speed - Dude used to be sneaky fast, now he's sneaky slow. Honestly, I think he's got to huge and heavy. While a beast at 262, he used to be 250. I think that extra 10+ has legit slowed him down. He used to get to the corner sneaky fast, but now its like he'd rather be a bulldozer. Thats fine b/c he can handle it and is physical enough, but every d now knows thats coming and gang tackles. He still drags two to three people, but for not as many yards. I hope they notice this, b/c I haven't seen it written anywhere.

Mechanics - This may be his biggest bugaboo this year, and I haven't seen this written anywhere either. When you're as big as he is and that bull strong, he can get the throws way down field w/o really having proper mechanics. A forty fifty yard throw isn't hard at all for him, and thats the problem. Every pick he's thrown, his feet were screwed up. But b/c he can get it there, and in the vacinity, its not been corrected. EVERY qb has to readj and set there feet, and his arm strength is doing a detriment at this pt. You mentioned lack of superior zip, I wouldn't agree with that, he's got a canon. But I'm not sure he trusts his wr's or line, which is making him hesitate. When we don't run the ball well either, D's are pushing the middle of the pocket which is also not helping. Its funny, he could rip it to a Boykin/Coale. Now he can't and it shows. The throws this year where he trusted what was there, like a skinny post I've seen a few times, I'm not sure I've seen a QB on almost any level throw the ball that hard, accurately. But they're been few and far between.

Potential - Its all still there, but ALL the above needs to be corrected. Plus playcalling. He almost has to improve from the his start to this season, too much talent not to. But he needs help from the skill positions and O to do it. Only thing that could help from his playing this inconsistently is that maybe tech gets him for another year, which he looks to need at this pt like you eluded too.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:42 pm 
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When Marcus Davis flashes, he really does. When he drops and easy pass, you just shake your head. With an nfl payck dangling over his head, monster metrics, good speed and something like a 44 inch vert, he should be dominating. I still think in hindsight they should have made him a wicked linebacker, so he didn't have to think as much. But thats history, he still has oodles of potential, but I'm not sure he ever has good enough hands to start in the nfl.

Bruce Taylor, that lisfranc killed him, as now he is playing out of position. To me a definite mlb, playing out of position now b/c we have another nice mlb thumper in Jack Tyler. Tariq Edwards has been hurt all season and is just now about to be back. Highly curious what domino effect that has. At the mlb spot, he was a playmaker and great run defender. Playing the other some of his pass defense deficiencies show up bigger. I know he still deals with foot pain from that injury, even though they've taken the screws out. Still wondering if that has hurt some of his explosiveness. Prob all the above I mentioned.

Gayle, man you're right about the hands deal. Great pt. Best asset I see from him still is that first step, dip move. He's still plenty nasty. You may be right on the 34 deal, but I'm undecided on that part still.

Fuller - Still LOVE him, him hurting that shoulder vs Pitt killed us with the domino affect of a super thin 2ndary. Awesome run support, good blanket coverage. Can't see him not being an nfl starter at some pt, although I don't know if he'd try to go pro early. Thats a wait and see. Good point on Hosely on run support, and look how well he's adjusted for the gmen.

Becton / Painter - TBD. Swing tackles may be right. Metrically they should be dominate. You may also be rt on the foot speed issue w/ Becton. Painter is more a mental thing imo.

JGWinslow - I honstly don't see much Cody Grimm in him. Grimm was the sneakiest big time player ever. JGW plays our playmaking lb spot, but he's really not a playmaker. Its taken him till this year as a senior to get fully competant. He had a nice game vs GT, but haven't noticed him since. We've got a scud missle name Ronnie Van Dyke behind him, who should be playing more. I don't care if RVD makes mental errors, he would destroy enough peps to make up for it. They should just pulll that bandaid and reap the lterm rewards.

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Have you seen the Oregon QB yet, I haven't seen him since week 1, but I was highly impressed, esp for a true fresh.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:19 pm 
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widetrak21 wrote:
You mentioned lack of superior zip, I wouldn't agree with that, he's got a canon.

That was sort of my point. I know Thomas has a rocket arm, but you look at many of his throws and they don't come with the velocity that they should given his arm strength. I think it has to do with how deliberate he is with his mechanics. He knows he has the superior tools as you mentioned but he needs to speed up his game. At the next level when everything gets 50% faster, if he plays at this current speed, he's going to get in trouble. Watch other big QBs like Newton and Flacco and you see the ball coming out a lot quicker. Flacco I think did a good job speeding up his mechanics as he got to the NFL, and I think that will be a big key for Thomas.

I've mentioned before that I don't Va Tech has done great jobs coaching their QBs over the years. I think they tend to overly rely on their guys ability to run, which makes it hard for guys like Thomas (Tyrod & others) to really develop into the sort of pocket passers they could be by the end of their college careers. We both know that Thomas has intangibles because there are times when we see him process information quickly, anticipate throws, etc. that makes you believe he has the "grey matter" to be a top-notch NFL passer. But I think because VT doesn't coach their guys up as well as other programs/schools, it explains why there hasn't been much growth (arguably regression) this year.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:22 pm 
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Finally got around to breaking down the USC-Stanford game.

Matt Barkley had his struggles in this game. His arm strength isn't poor, but he deosn't have that ability to really drive the ball downfield, and struglged throwing outside the numbers in this game. His OL was poor this game and he saw a lot of pressure. It revealed that he is not great when things get muddy as his pocket mobility isn't great. He can move a bit, but certainly needs a cleaner pocket than most top QBs in recent years. It all means that Barkley can be a QB that you can win with, but in the Matt Ryan sense he'll need to have some things working for him. He'll need better protection, and he'll have to work in an offense that prefers short/intermediate passing that wants him to win before the snap and with anticipation. My opinion on Barkley is similar to pass draftniks were on Ryan, which though of him more as a mid 1st rounder because of his lacking arm strength preventing him from being a "true" franchise guy. I think Barkley's arm is less than Ryan's and he is a bit more slow-footed. I think he has the ability and upside to be a TOp 10 QB at the next level, but a team is going to have to work harder around his weakness than most top franchise QBs.

RB Stepfan Taylor (Stanford) had a big game. I like his combo of speed and power. He really killed USC on the screen game with 5 catches for 60 yards and a TD, with 81 coming after the catch. I think Taylor doesn't have the ideal speed, burst, power to be a lead back, but as a quality No. 2. He can be a Jason Snelling type of everydown player, but I think he's a much more explosive and balanced runner than Snelling so unlike Snelling he won't be an afterthough on gameday.

Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd are a pair of quick backs for USC. Redd is the better runner becuase he runs with more power and burst. He had a fumble in this game however. McNeal looked better in pass protection despite his lack of size (5-7/185). McNeal looks like a pure 3rd down change of pace runner, while Redd flashed enough upside to think he could be a regular contributor and complementary back at the next level. But he too might not be an ideal No. 1 guy.

USC WR Robert Woods was underwhelming in this game. Despite having superior speed and dynamic playmakign ability, he only caught 5 passes for 44 yards on 12 targets. He didn't win much on the outside for Barkley, and it might have been due to the physical press that Stanford was playing. That's a red flag for the next level, suggesting Woods may instead be a very good No. 2, and not a true No. 1. He has upside, but I was disappointed that most of his production came when he was uncovered on shallow crossing routes.

Stanford has a pair of solid TEs in Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, both juniors. Ertz had a quiet game until the end, but caught the game-winning TD on a 37-yard catch and run. He works as an H-back, but he's an underwhelming blocker and doesn't quite have that seam-splitting ability that Fleener did. I think he's more like a good No. 2 like Tony Scheffler than a guy that will impact as a true No. 1. Toilolo has much more upside and I think could be an elite TE if he develops. But he didn't have a big game, only having 3 catches for 47 yards on 7 targets. But he is a very good blocker and with his size/speed combo at 6-7/265 and looks to be able to run around 4.6 (or perhaps lower) range he could be a matchup nightmare. But because he didn't really dominate this game, he might be closer to Jermaine Gresham than the next Jimmy Graham. But he does have the latter's upside and unlike Graham he has hte potential to be a very good blocker in the Jason Witten mold.

Junior DE Ben Gardner impressed me in this game as well. Playing DE in Stanford's 3-man front, despite only be listed around 6-4/255, he was able to get leverage vs. USC's weak blockers and make several plays. He finished the game with 1 sack, 1 pressure, 3 TFLs, and 1 stuff. He's got potential to be a solid LDe in a 4-3, although I'm not sure how he is as an edge rusher since he played inside the entire game.

Stanford has a nice pair of 3-4 OLBs in Chase Thomas and junior Trent Murphy. Thomas was a player I liked last year that probably could have been a Top 50 pick last year. He reminds a bit of Clay Matthews in that he doesn't really wow you with his skills, but is a productive and instinctual player. He can play everydown although he's not great or natural in coverage, but has enough tools and ability to play in space that you think he can get better and become competent there. Murphy made some nice plays, but despite the superior frame (6-5/245), he's not particularly good at the point of attack and getting off blocks and less natural playing in space. He seemed a bit better with his hand on the ground. He could use another year of development before he turns pro, but I think he could make a good complementary starter in a 3-4 that doesn't like to drop their OLBs that much in coverage. At this point he's a better pass rusher than anything else.

Stanford LB Shayne Skov was average in this game. He made some nice plays, but he missed too many tackles at the point of attack. And did not look as physical or explosive a tackler as I've seen in past years. He's coming off a bad knee injury which might explain it, but after being an impact defender, he looks more like an average complementary LB at the next level.

Dion Bailey looked very impressive in this game. He's an underszied USC linebacker (6-0/215) and is only a sophomore. But his speed and range are superb. He's probably better suited to playing SS at the next level than being a linebacker. But he's one of those potential new-breed hybrid players that could work in today's NFL better than past because of the emphasis on the pass. He's not great in man coverage, but was never beaten too badly by Stanford's TEs, always in position to make plays in coverage even if he did not. He had a pick and 2 PDs in this game. He's undersized as a tackler and is more of a guy that will cut the legs of the back like Taylor, which makes me think you can't truly trust him in the box at LB. But he's the type of player that could be really versatile in the right scheme because of his ability to be a SS/nickel linebacker.

USC's corners had their moments. Torin Harris, a junior, did not give up a pass in 6 targets until the last one, on the game-winner to Ertz. He did a poor job breaking on the throw on the slant which allowed Ertz the cushion he needed to get the yards after the catch for a TD. And 5 of the 7 targets his way were uncatchable, so I'm not sure if he is really a good corner or just effective due to his athleticism. Nickell Robey looked more natural in coverage, but is undersized (5-8/170). He too is a junior, but a captain and reminds me a bit of Brent Grimes. His lack of size might limit him as a starter, but he definitely looks like he has the skills to match up in man coverage and at least be a very good nickel corner.

USC safety T.J. McDonald was a player that I didn't get all the hype last year when he was a junoir, but I'm starting to see why people thought he was arguably the top safety in the country last year. He was very active and comfortable working in the box vs. Stanford, also impacting as a blitzer off the edge (had a pressure and a hit). He also blocked a FG. He has good speed and range, shows the sort of hips that he can match up in man coverage vs. TEs. He's got upside to develop into a very good safety, just need to see a bit more consistency from him.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Watched wo Boise State games (vs. Michigan State & vs. BYU)

Let me get the Boise State prospects out of the way. RB D.J. Harper is probably the only truly draftable guy that I scouted. He looks like he has the quickness and burst to be a potential 3rd down back, but lacks the upside to think he's more than just a quality No. 2. BYU doesn't have a wealth of prospects either, only ILB Uona Kaveinga stood out to me. He has good speed and range and potential to be an everydown linebacker, but he's not super big and might be more of a quality backup than an ideal starter.

For Michigan State, RB Le'Veon Bell did not overly impress me in this game. While he rushed for 210 yards on 43 carries, with 94 yards after contact, I thought he was slow to hit the hole and too patient. He didn't seem to be the type of guy that created beyond what was given to him by his blocking up front. He also caught 6 passes for 55 yards, which I think is probably where he makes up a bit for it. Bell looked a bit more explosive last year, and I think might be a bit too heavy at this point (listed around 6-2/245). He might need to slim down a la Matt Forte, who played at Tulane around 230 and is now under 220 and a lot more explosive as a runner. I think if Bell played around 230, he might be at his best. Bell looks more to me like Brandon Jacobs/Michael Turner, except he can contribute in the passing game. A guy that should be a No. 2 guy that plays as a situational short-yardage and finisher than a guy that can be a No. 1. Maybe on a team that is a ground and pound team like we were a few years back with Turner, but he runs more like the 2011 Turner than the 2008 one vs. Boise.

His backup is Larry Caper, who is a senior and he might wind up being a better NFL prospect. Caper only got 3 carries in this game, but showed better burst. He flashed ability to be a good one-cut runner in a zone-blocking scheme. It might be premature but Caper might wind up being a poor man's Arian Foster that winds up being a much better pro player than college one because he's underused at Michigan State.

Spartan TE Dion Sims has very good size (6-5/285) and showed some really nice things as a blocker. But he's fairly slow and if he wants to impact as a receiver he'll need to slim down a bit. He looks like a guy that can work in a 2-TE offense that wants one guy to block mainly. But for most teams he looks at this point like a No. 2 blocker than a true starter because of his inability to separate downfield.

DT Anthony Rashad White is a big nose tackle prospect for Michigan State. Junior DE/DT Tyler Hoover showed some potential as a bull rusher as a situational pass rusher. He too looks like he can fit in a 3-4 scheme more as an end due to his strength and motor. William Gholston looked a bit too much like Jamaal Anderson, with the size (6-6/280) you like but not super explosive and needs to do a better job using his hands. He's got upside, but he didn't play too heady in this game at times. I've liked what I've seen from him in the past, so I think he has upside still, but from this BSU game, he looks like a boom/bust guy at this point.

Junior LB Max Bullough is another good Michigan State defensive prospect. Looks like he can work well as a 3-4 ILB. He had a lot of help from teammates Denicos Allen and Chris Norman, who took on a lot of blocks up the middle to free him up to come downhill and make stops as Bullough had 2 stuffs and 1.5 tackles for loss. I didn't really see him doing much when asked to take on blocks, so that is a concern that he may benefit more from the scheme/talent around him.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Watched a couple of games, a pair of Auburn ones (vs. Clemson & MS State), and Ohio State vs. Miami OH.

First let me start with the Auburn prospects. I like their pair of junior ends Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford. They are good edge rushers that have the speed to bring the heat off the corner. Lemonier has a bit more upside I think but I do think Ford was able to keep pace in these two games. Lemonier had a combined 6 pressures, 3 sacks, and 3 hits in these two games. Ford had a combined 6 pressures, 1 sack, and 2 hits. Clemson's right tackle was absolutely destroyed in that game. I think both can play in a 3-4 or 4-3, although I think Lemonier has a bit more upside as a rush end in a 4-3. Both will need to bulk up a bit. Ford seems a bit better vs. the run, and thus why he might be better suited moving to a 3-4 scheme.

Auburn OG John Sullen is a pretty massive guy, but he's sort of slow. He has upside to develop as a run blocker. Auburn runs a lot of zone blocking, but he's miscast in that scheme because he's not particularly good when you ask him to move. The player he sort of reminds me of is John Jerry, but he's not as dominant/consistent a run blocker as Jerry was at Ole Miss.

RB Ontario McCalebb is a speedster that has upside as a third down back. He reminds me a bit of Dexter McCluster, and I think if he can improve his blocking he could be that sort of situational role player that can play both RB and WR. But as a pure runner, he needs a lot of work. He's good when you can get him in space and on the edge. But he really struggled vs. Mississippi State because they were able to set the edge. And when he couldn't get outside, he would cut back and was stopped for some huge losses. He did get a big KO return vs. State (100-yd TD), so that might be his best shot at making an NFL roster.

Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier really struggled passing in both games, as he's highly inaccurate. It made TE Philip Lutzenkirchen not nearly as effective as he could be. But I did see a lot to like about Lutzenkirchen's game. He has decent speed, excellent hands, was a very good blocker vs. Clemson but not as great vs. Mississippi State. BUt he can play fullback, H-back, and work as an inline blocker. He'll be best as a No. 2 TE, but I do think that as a stopgap starter he could be effective.

Because of Frazier's poor passing, Johnthan Banks was able to make some plays. He showed really good ball skills in the game, picking off two of Frazier's poorly thrown passes. In zone coverage, he looks excellent, but also flashes the speed, hips, and burst to be a very good man corner. Has the tools to be a No. 1 corner like a bigger version of Asante Samuel.

Also like Mississippi State junior OG Gabe Jackson. Very good hands and position blocker with good mean streak. He's not that powerful, but I think he also has the tools to play center. Reminds me of a bigger version of Rodney Hudson due to his excellent hands, technique and ability to get leverage.

For Clemson, QB Tajh Boyd showed good arm and athleticism. But the problem is that he is a one-read QB. He waits for his first read to come open, and if not then he'll tuck it and run. He lacks anticipation and his accuracy is erratic as well. I did like that he did show some ability to move within the pocket, stepping up and avoiding pressure. But he's a developmental prospect that is more likely to be a long-term No. 2 than a future starter. If he was to come out now, I would project him as a bigger armed Dennis Dixon.

I was really impressed with RB Andre Ellington. Last year, he was explosive, but didn't show much balance, toughness, or vision. But vs. Auburn, he showed all those things. It reminds me of C.J. Spiller, who before his last year at Clemson, I thought he was explosive, but soft. Then in his last year there he was able to put it together to become more of a complete back. It looks like Ellington has made that same growth, judging from this game. 25 carries, 228 yards vs. Auburn, including 135 after contact, although 108 of that came on just 2 runs.

WR DeAndre Hopkins was great in this game, picking up the slack for Sammy Watkins. He had 14 targets, catching 13 of them for 119 yards, with 49 after the catch. He was consistently able to get YAC after every play. Big, smooth, and explosive. I think he has the tools and potential to be a No. 1 receiver at the next level, as he reminds me of a smoother version of Roddy White.

For Ohio State, DT Johnathan Hankins is one of the top prospects in the game. He showed it somewhat vs. Miami of Ohio. His power was on display and he has the big physical tools to play in a 3-4 as a nose tackle, but also has enough burst and quickness to think he might also be effective in a 4-3. But I think he's a guy that has similar traits as Haloti Ngata, although I'm not sure he's quite there. Maybe more of a B.J. Raji at this point.

I liked LB Etienne Sabino in this game. I need to see him do a bit more in coverage, at least man coverage. But he's fast, physical run defender that looks he could be a very good WILL linebacker.

Junior OG Andrew Norwell is a big physical run blocker that isn't the best athlete, but he was very effective vs. Miami OH's undersized tackles. I want to see him in pass protection against better competition before I really buy into his ability. He gave up 2 pressures vs. MIami OH which is not good given the level of competition.

I really like DE John Simon. He had 3.5 pressures and 1 hit in this game. He's a bit undersized vs. the run, but he looks like a rich man's Kroy Biermann. Could be best as a No. 3 guy early on, but then grow into a capable and productive starter.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:13 am 
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Watched a pair WVU games (vs. Maryland & Texas).

I'm not quite on the Geno Smith bandwagon. As a potential quality starter, I'm on board. I see a lot of the tools I want. He has a good arm, can move in and out of the pocket to find throwing windows, shows accuracy and anticipation on many throws, and makes heady decisions from time to time. But the RG3 comparisons? That's going a bit too far. Now granted, early last year with RG3 I wasn't fully on board. But the more I saw of him, the more I saw that special talent/upside that he had. I don't see the same with Smith. He's not anywhere close to the arm talent that Griffin was, and I think RG3 was much better when things got muddy. The problem I have with Smith, is despite all the tools I see, I don't see them consistently snap to snap like I did with RG3. He's very much a one-read QB that almost never goes to his 2nd progression, holds onto the ball too long, and waits for his WRs to come open too often. I think at this point, I would consider Smith a 2nd round talent that due to the position he plays will get drafted in the 1st. But as a potential Top 10 pick? I don't see it. I think at this point, he's a little closer to Jason Campbell than he is to Griffin. Griffin was a legit franchise QB, IMHO one of the 5 best QB prospects to come out in the past 5-7 years. Smith isn't there.

WVU has a pair of really good, explosive receivers. Tavon Austin is a senior and Stedman Bailey is a junior. Austin reminds me a lot of Percy Harvin, as he's extremely explosive and dangerous with the ball in his hands. He's not your traditional receiver, but in an offense like Harvin has in MINN that uses him in a lot of different ways, he can be a very dangerous playmaker. Bailey is probably a bit more polished as a pure receiver, but not quite as dynamic. Both I think are guys that can be good slot corners, but Austin definitely can give you that X-factor in the offense. Not sure Bailey is quite there in that regards, although he does have some of it.

They have 3 interior OL that can all play in the NFL. They work well in their zone-blocking scheme. RG Jeff Braun is the best of the group because he's the more physical and power run blocker. C Joe Madsen is a good 2nd level blocker, but underwhelming inline, and is probably a backup even for a team like Houston that runs a zone blocking scheme. LG Josh Jenkins might be a better fit at center for most NFL schemes, but might be a Matt Lehr-type backup down the road.

I like LB Terence Garvin mainly because he is a polish coverage linebacker. He's not that big (6-2/225), but he shows good instincts, awareness, and is a sound but undersized tackler. If he can bulk up a bit, I think he can impact as a nickel linebacker. Their other OLB Josh Francis is also smaller guy, but he's got a lot of speed and can make an impact as an edge rusher. He has 3 sacks in these two games. His lack of size means he'll likely have to bulk up and play WILL in a 4-3 in a blitz-heavy scheme, or probably better fit as a blitzing ILB in a 3-4.

For Maryland, I like TE Matt Furstenburg. He's probably just a backup, but he showed nice skills as a pass catcher vs. WVU. As a blocker, he's competent as an H-back. LB Demetrius Hartsfield looks the part of a big, physical NFL linebacker. But he needs work in coverage, but as a 2-down run stuffer, I like his ability. Kenny Tate is a converted S that 2 years ago as a SS was considered a potential Top 50 pick. He moved to LB, then got hurt last year. He did a decent job covering Austin in the slot considering he's a 6-4/230 linebacker.

For Texas, Alex Okafor looked very good as a rusher. He and Jackson Jeffcoat were a good pair of edge rushers. Jeffcoat is now out for the year (pectoral), and it'll be interesting to see if he decides to go pro or comes back for his senior year. Okafor was able to create plays going up against WVU's right tackle, with 2 sacks and 4 pressures. He put his bull rush on display in this game, which makes me think he's a better fit as a LDE rather than a true blue rush RDE. Jeffcoat might be a step quicker as an edge rusher, but he's not as physical as Okafor, as he relied on his speed. I think Jeffcoat might be a better fit as a 3-4 OLB, although the two of them project fairly well to both.

S Kenny Vaccaro underwhelmed me in this game. I liked Vaccaro a year ago, as he was their slot corner. But Austin ate him alive in this game and his poor hips, balance, and footwork were apparent. He hasn't improved there, as he was weak there last year. But he gets by because of his speed. He showed that speed chasing down Austin on a reverse. But I was disappointed with Vaccaro in run support. Andrew Buie, WVU's sophomore RB is only 5-9/190, and was running over and through Vaccaro's tackles. He's a sound tackler, but the fact that he's listed 6-1/215 and can't bring down Buie on his own, I'm worried that he may not be a reliable guy when it comes to the 220, 230 pounders in the NFL.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:03 am 
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Had to travel a lot for my job over the past 6 or so weeks, thus haven't been able to watch any tape. Frankly, I wasn't able to record any games after Nov. 3 because I had filled up my DVR and was on the road so I had no access to it for much of the month.

But I'm starting to get back into the flow, hoping to clear a ton of space between now and the bowl games. Started off watching some UNC. Funny that I live in Chapel HIll, and watching these two games were really the first time I had seen them play this year. But watched two games from earlier this year (vs. VA Tech & N.C. State)

They have a number of top prospects, which is no surprise because Butch Davis' cheating ways has brought a ton of talent that program over the years.

RB Gio Bernard stands out the most. His older brother Yvenson was a solid scat back at Oregon State a couple of years back, and might have been the predecessor to Jacquizz Rodgers there. Gio reminds me a bit of Quizz, but also with better size (5-10/205) and more of a Trent Richardson. I make that comparison because of Bernard's small compact and powerful build, and that he consistently makes the first defender miss, which was something I was amazed with Richardson by. Bernard is a complete back with good speed, excellent quickness and lateral agility. He's very hard to tackle with a good stiff arm. He's not going to run over guys, but can get YAC especially when going up against poor tackling LBs or DBs. His speed is great. He also works as the punt returner, and took the game-winning punt to the house with less than a minute to go in the 4th qtr. vs. State (He DeSean Jackson-ed them). He had injured his ankle earlier in the game but still managed to come through and make a big play. His skills as a receiver also stand out and he can pass protect fairly well.

He's NFL ready as just a redshirt sophomore, and might be the Top RB off the board if he comes out. I think he's worth a Top 15 pick definitely, with potential to be one of the premier RBs in the NFL.

Also on offense LG Jonathan Cooper is a 1st round prospect. Cooper isn't huge (6-3/310), but has similar tools as Ben Grubbs, Mike Pouncey, and Rodney Hudson. He reminds me of all three due to his athleticism, quick hands, and consistent technique. I think like Pouncey and Hudson he might make a pretty good center in the NFL. He's not a road grader, but as a late 1st round pick he would make a good fit in a team that likes to pull their guards and/or runs a lot of zone-blocking because he's very good when blocking on the move.

At DT, Sylvester WIlliams is a good prospect that I think has 1st round ability. He's a guy that can be an impact defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3. Right now he's probably better suited for a 4-3 as he's very disruptive and quick off the snap for a guy with his size (6-3/320). But his long-term upside might be playing in a 3-4 as a nose tackle because he has that ability to be very disruptive there. Wouldn't surprise me if 5 years from now, he's also considered one of the top DTs in the league.

LB Kevin Reddick plays MLB for UNC, but I think is a better fit as a 3-4 ILB. He also could play WILL in a 4-3 as well. He's very explosive and closes quickly on the ball. He's good attacking upfield, but I don't think he has ideal instincts to play in the middle in a 4-3 scheme. He might work there, but may be a guy that will take some time to grow into that spot. But he's a very good blitzer and downhill run defender due to his burst. Could be a Navorro Bowman type in a 3-4 though due to his burst, as Bowman was a similar player coming out of Penn State (and one I didn't like that much).

Junior DE Kareem Martin has some upside. Not sure if he will stay for his senior year, but he has skills to develop into a solid NFL DE. He's 6-5/260, and plays a lot of DT in 4-man fronts and DE in their 3-man fronts, but is at home as a speed rusher on the outside. I don't think he'll be a top pass rusher, but put him on the left side and you could have a guy that consistently gets 6-7 sacks a year with a good speed rush if he develops.

For N.C. State, got another look at Mike Glennon. He is really a mirror image of Matt Ryan in terms of how he moves and throws. He's a bit taller (6-6) and has a stronger arm than Ryan, but you can tell Dana Bible has influenced both. Bible is NC State's offensive coordinator, and was that at Boston College prior to Ryan's final year there. Glennon was really good in this game throwing downfield, despite much of their gameplan centering around checkdowns and short passing. But he was 13 of 24 (54%) for 354 yards (94 after catch) and 5 TDs on throws of 10+ more yards. All 4 of completions of 20+ yards were TDs. He also suffered from multiple drops, with 8 dropped passes in this game I counted. I think Glennon can be a poor man's Matt Ryan in the NFL. I just don't think he has the "clutch" gene like Ryan does. When things get tough, I don't know if you can count on Glennon to step up. So in that way, while I think he can be a good/effective starter, I think you might be looking more at John Skelton than the next Ryan. Right now, I'd grade him as a early-to-mid 2nd round pick. But would be a reach in Round 1.

I thought LG R.J. Mattes did a much better job vs. UNC's front than I expected. Mattes is a solid run defender that is powerful in a short-area, but his footwork is poor. He gave up a hit and a pressure, but did a nice job against guys like Martin and Williams. He's probably too athletically limited to be a good starting candidate, but could work as a solid backup in the pros.

CB David Amerson was not challenged much in this game, but did show nice ball skills on 2 of the 3 passes targeted at him (he broke 1 up). He's not a good run defender. On a team that likes to play a lot of off/zone coverage he could be a solid starter. But not sure he's a plus man coverage guy. I think he can be a solid starter, but may not be an elite corner. But as a No. 2 or No. 3 guy, definitely think he can contribute in the pros.

SS Earl Wolff impressed me in this game, as he was one of the few N.C. State that was effective tackling Bernard. He has very good closing burst on the ball and looks instinctual and strong in run support. But in coverage, he's very limited with poor hips and struggles to match up with good TEs and WRs 1 on 1. On a team looking for a good run defending safety, he might make a decent starter. But unless he's playing opposite an Ed Reed, then he'll be limited as a starter. But I think he's a good enough run defender that some team will start him at some point, but his limitations in coverage will prevent him from sticking long-term there.

UNC K Casey Barth will be following his older brother (Connor's) path into the NFL. He has a good leg and accurate FG kicker. His only miss was a 46-yarder where he had a bad snap. But he made 4 FGs from 44, 40, 45, and 34 in these two games. He has a good enoguh leg to work on kickoffs, but he wasn't consistently driving it deep into the endzone. Had a couple of kicks out the back of the endzone, but mostly was only kicking it to the goalline. But I think his FG accuracy is good enough that he's draftable.

I'll comment on the VA Tech prospects in my next post when I watch their game vs. Cincinnati (yes that game from September 29) :doh:

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 Post subject: Re: The Illustrious 2013 Scouting Thread
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:00 pm 
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It took a couple of days, but finally got around to finishing the Cincy-Virginia Tech game.

Logan Thomas just has had about as underwhelming season as I thought possible. At this point, I think he's at best Josh Freeman which is not really a guy that you want to build around. His decision making, accuracy, and mechanics are too inconsistent.

Bruce Taylor reminds me of Stephen Nicholas in that he can be an effective 2-down LB if he plays SAM in a 4-3 or ILB in a 3-4, but I don't think he has the ability to be much more than that. And I don't think he's a good enough tackler to really be like Nicholas and get early opportunities. He'll have to prove himself on special teams.

Kyle Fuller got beat a couple of times. I like him in run support, as he's one of the better corners I've seen this year there. But I'm not sure he has the hips/burst that you want in a starting NFL corner. But I do think he can play nickel and has enough upside to be a starter. But he might be one of those guys that needs to go to a good system (zone heavy) to be truly effective.

WR Corey Fuller had some struggles in this game making plays in traffic. But he looks like he has some upside to be a decent slot receiver. I could see him being a guy that can catch 30 or so passes a year if he gets into the right situation with a good QB. Marcus Davis never really looks good unless he's going downfield. He made a very good 50-yard catch in this game. He has the size/tools to be a good vertical threat, but doesn't have great speed/burst to separate.

For Cincy, I thought DE Walter Stewart looks like a solid developmental 3-4 OLB. But he's undersized (6-3/245) to play DE.

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