NCAA Scouting Senior Prospect Tracker - Week 1 by Paul Emery September 7th 2010 click link here After a long wait, the 2010 season is underway. Each week, I’ll be looking at various senior prospects who are regarded as draftable and giving my opinions. Southern Miss at South Carolina Southern Miss Anthony Gray – DT – Gray is a big kid – he’s listed at 314 lbs, but he looks heavier. For a big man he flashed quickness and was able to penetrate. The main problem was that he seemed out of control with his penetration – on numerous occasions he just went too far upfield and took himself out of the play. His pass rush wasn’t any more than a bull rush, which was ineffective. C.J. Bailey – CB – Bailey was playing way off the line and a couple of times, South Carolina took advantage with swing passes. Bailey’s back pedal wasn’t great – he didn’t get himself into a position from where he could explode out of it. He had some trouble getting off blocks – one of which was by the South Carolina backup QB on a wildcat play. He had nice coverage on a corner route – but his good moments were too few to think he’s going to be drafted. South Carolina Patrick DiMarco – FB – DiMarco lined up at FB, HB and, in the absence of Weslye Saunders, TE. He looked more comfortable at FB – he likes contact and really attacks his man, hitting hard. In pass protection he tends to use the cut block more often than not and I’d really like to see him get out of that habit. Cliff Matthews – DE – the commentators touched on the fact that Matthews faces an interesting year without Eric Norwood drawing all the attention. Ladi Ajiboye – DT – Ajiboye didn’t see a great deal of time as he was sporting a rather bulky cast on his left hand (injured knuckle). I’m sure this was tough to play with, so I’m not going to put much stock in his performance during limited action. USC at Hawaii USC Ronald Johnson – WR – Johnson had a fine game, with the highlight being his punt return for a TD complete with a nice side step move to make one miss, a stiff arm to keep another off him and then the speed to out run everyone else. As a receiver he generally caught the ball with his hands away from his body – looking very natural in doing so. David Ausberry – WR – Ausberry has HB size at 6’4” 235 lbs – the main problem when projecting to the next level is going to be his lack of ability to get separation in his routes. Allen Bradford – RB – Bradford didn’t start, but saw some time. He looks quicker than fast and indeed tends to take a while to get up to full speed. However, he runs with good body lean and has some power. It will be interesting to see just how much work he gets this season. Stanley Havili - FB – Havili looks like a Le’Ron McClain type who could get a few carries as a TB. He only carried the ball once in this game, but he made a nice cut at the line and also showed he can move well on the wheel route he caught. He looks comfortable as a receiver, having nice soft hands. As a blocker he is fun to watch – he’s like a homing missile – he finds his target and hits with good power – he has good knee bend and does a good job of getting under his man. One thing I really like is he stays on his feet – I love this as it really wears down a defense. FBs tend not to be taken too high, but I think Havili could sneak into the top 100. Butch Lewis – OG – Lewis has some power – a number of times he got under his man nicely and with his initial punch he controlled his man immediately. He’s best in close quarters – he has drive blocking ability and can also turn his man up nicely. When getting to the second level, he doesn’t always lock up his man – when he does it looks great, but he’s not super quick and let his man slide off a couple of times. In pass protection he has good knee bend, but wasn’t really tested in this one. Kristofer O'Dowd – OC – in the first drive of this game O’Dowd stood out in the run game – he squared up to his man and sealed very nicely – his quickness in doing so was impressive. He does need to add some strength – but he’s a battler who works very hard to stay with his man in the run game. In pass protection, I thought his knee bend was OK, but he’s not the most flexible guy in the world. Listed at 6’5” he may be a little too tall for center – although he’s probably an inch or two shorter than his listed height. Michael Morgan – OLB – Morgan had the hit on the night, which should have been flagged – if he doesn’t make it in football, it certainly seems he has a WWE future after that clothesline! Morgan shared time with Malcolm Smith as USC only used 2 LB’s in nickel defense the whole night. Morgan looks very slight – he’s listed as 5 lbs lighter than Smith (at 220), but he looked a lot thinner. He had a nice pass break up and his future would appear to be as a nickel LB – or even Safety if he has enough speed. Malcolm Smith – OLB – Smith was quite active – he was often covering the slot WR and was in on a number of tackles as Hawaii used the swing pass frequently. He didn’t have much success getting off blocks or blitzing – but his coverage experience will give him a shot. Shareece Wright – CB – I thought Wright looked much better when he was up in press coverage. When he played off he really bailed out of his back pedal very quickly – turning sideways on – it was then a problem getting out of his break, turning his body back around to square up to his man in front of him and resulted in some catches in front of him. When he was up in press it was a different story – he had tight coverage on a number of occasions, including on a deep up route that he broke up, a fade route he batted down and a medium post route. He also used the sidelines nicely on an out route – forcing the WR out of bounds as he went in the air to make the catch. I don’t think he’s a zone type prospect – so this system may not be the best for him. Jake Harfman – PK – Harfman is worth a mention as a kick-off specialist – he had four kick-offs that were at least 5 yards deep in the end zone. He didn’t kick PAT’s, so he would need to be kept as a 3rd specialist – but if the NFL expands to 18 games, that could mean bigger rosters and a shot for him in this role. Hawaii Greg Salas – WR – Salas was very quiet to start the game, but all of a sudden he got going and I was very impressed. Salas caught everything with his hands away from his body – he looked very natural snatching the ball – including on the deep post where he adjusted to the ball effortlessly and comfortably made the catch. He ran a lot of routes which were short, but he can plant and cut nicely to gain separation. After the catch he’s not super elusive, but is tough and finishes his runs nicely. He may lack the top end speed to be a high pick, but he’s certainly someone who could make a team as a slot WR and is the type that could make someone’s Draft look very good as he could well be good value. Laupepa Letuli – OG – Letuli played RT – but looking at him he clearly is a Guard. He’s a heavy legged waist bender type who struggled with edge speed a couple of times. His hand placement was good and when he was able to get his initial punch in, he did a good job of turning the man up away from the QB in pass protection. He needs to work on leverage – he got jacked back into the QB one time. I see him as a late rounder/free agent type. Oregon State at TCU Oregon State James Rodgers – WR – Rodgers is an interesting type to project to the next level as at 5’7” he’s way shorter than ideal for a pro WR. However, his play on the field is very impressive – so despite his size I think he’s a legitimate pro prospect. I would imagine some teams might try him at RB much as the Chiefs are doing with Dexter McCluster. He clearly has the speed to get deep as he did on his touchdown – but also early in the game he had a step on the CB deep, but the ball was over thrown. He did OK as a kick returner, but didn’t break one. He gives good effort as a blocker and works hard after the catch. He generally catches the ball away from his frame and I am greatly encouraged by the number of WRs in week one who are going this – it wasn’t the case last year. Alex Linnenkohl – OC – I was hugely impressed with Linnenkohl and it was unfortunate that his shotgun snap when the QB wasn’t ready was the final nail in the Beavers’ coffin. Other than that moment, I thought he looked dominant – he was up against a draftable senior prospect and dominated Cory Grant. Linnenkohl’s pass protection technique was excellent – he had good knee bend and arm extension – but didn’t lunge – he sank his butt and waited for his man to come to him and then locked him up using excellent hand placement. In the run game he got to the second level very nicely and also showed some drive blocking ability. I know the early snap is the thing that he’ll be remembered for in this one, but that was the one blip of a fine evening. Stephen Paea – DT – Paea is going to be a high first round pick as an under Tackle in a 4-3 – he’s so quick off the ball and he has power to go with it. A number of times, the TCU O-Line (a veteran one) struggled to handle him. Paea showed up both against the run and as a pass rusher – with a sack and a couple of other hits on the QB. He shows ability to get off blocks and is fun to watch. Dwight Roberson – OLB – I thought Roberson showed nicely in the one. This highlight was his interception, where he showed good range and a burst to catch the ball – but he also impressed on a number of plays. He is patient in long developing plays and was able to wait and then move forward to make plays a number of times. He’s done himself some good with a good showing. James Dockery - CB – Dockery has good height, but is a little wiry at only 176 lbs. He’s physical though – he comes up and presses nicely. I have a question on his deep speed as a WR had a step on him deep – he was able to stay with his man on another deep pass – but he didn’t turn for the ball and played the man. He was active against the run and was in on a number of tackles – he’s able to use his long arms to get off blocks. Not a top prospect, but I’d be willing to have a look at him in the later rounds. TCU Andy Dalton – QB – Dalton has a live arm and indeed he needs to learn to take something off his passes as most of them are hot. An example was early on the game where he fired a short swing pass too hard for the receiver to catch. His two interceptions blotted his work in this one – the first appeared to be a wrong route – but the second was a poor throw as he failed to see the LB trailing underneath the receiver. Dalton’s ability to run gives him another dimension – but his accuracy isn’t good enough for me to be a top 100 player. Has tools, but needs work. Jeremy Kerley – WR – Kerley is a slightly taller version of Rodgers. TCU use him on quite a few screens and swing passes to get him the ball in space. He is able to catch the ball with his hands away from his frame, but isn’t consistent with this. His 34 yard punt return was the highlight of his night – he did well to come up on a short punt and was at full speed when he caught the punt and got 34 yards. Looks to be a nice little prospect who can play in the slot and return kicks. Marcus Cannon – OT – Cannon was at left tackle, but projects to a pro guard for me as he struggled against the edge speed of Taylor Henry – he tended to lose technique and bend at the waist and rather lunge at his man. Outside of that he showed he can square up in the run game and seal – plus he looked decent getting to the second level – although he left his feet a couple of times to go for cut blocks. One thing he also does nicely is get a good initial punch – under his man and thus is able to turn them up and away from the play. I think he could be a mid-round pick. Jake Kirkpatrick – C – Kirkpatrick had a bad snap moment of his own, but fortunately for him Dalton managed to catch the wayward snap. I didn’t think Kirkpatrick looked as good as Linnenkohl – his feet were static at times in pass protection and he released his blocks too early in the run game – although he did show a nice initial punch. I’d like to see him get stronger and he could be a guy who needs a year on a practice squad to build himself up. Wayne Daniels – DE – Daniels is much like Cliff Matthews of South Carolina (see above) in that he is under pressure to replace a fine player – Jerry Hughes in his case. Daniels sometimes lines up as an OLB – but generally is attacking, he didn’t play in space that much. As a pass rusher he has a burst off the edge and is also tenacious – he never gives up on the play and one of his sacks, he was actually double teamed, but kept working and caught the rolling QB. He flashed a top burst off the ball on a couple of occasions – one where he got a sack (it was against the TE – he should be expected to win that battle) and a TFL where he slanted into the backfield. He’s not quite Jerry Hughes, but he could move up charts if he keeps playing like this. Cory Grant – DT – as mentioned Linnenkohl dominated the matchup between the two – Grant managed to eat some space inside – but too many times he was moved out of the hole. North Carolina vs LSU This game should have given North Carolina’s plethora of prospects a great shot to matchup with the speed and power of an SEC team – but unfortunately nine draftable prospects were either ineligible or withdrawn from the game pending the NCAA’s investigation. Despite this, it was a great game and perhaps Coach Miles should have kept his starters in for longer – but anyway on with the prospects who did play. North Carolina T.J. Yates – QB – Yates didn’t carry a draftable grade coming into the season, but I thought he showed enough to suggest he might get a late round look. His arm is good enough – no problem on the out routes or deep balls. He’s able to buy time in the pocket – either rolling or stepping up in the pocket. His main issue is accuracy – which is the most important thing to look at with a QB – too many times he was just off with his passes – including one thrown behind his TE with 6 seconds left – the pass was there and should have seen the winning TD. He did keep fighting though, which I commend him for. Zach Pianalto – TE – Pianalto proved to be a reliable short range receiver. Early in the game he body caught two passes – but after that he caught everything in his hands. As a blocker Pianalto can seal the edge and also from HB can lead the play – his best moment of the night was a fine lead block on a LB – he showed good explosion on the play. He doesn’t appear to have the speed to be a top prospect, but would be ideal as a second TE. Alan Pelc – OG – Pelc has picture perfect pass protection technique most of the time – he is able to bend nicely at the knees and extend his arms. He had problems with power a couple of times, so needs to get stronger – but he has a nice technique base to work from. He moved well in the open getting to the second level and looks to be a solid late rounder. Bruce Carter – OLB – I thought Carter had a disappointing game – whether all the off the field issues caught up with him I don’t know – but he was only able to make a couple of nice plays in this one. His biggest problem was getting off blocks – he really didn’t look interested in trying to do so – even being held up a couple of times by an LSU WR. At 230 lbs this is my big concern and he would need to play in a system that keeps him clean. He has good athletic ability and can hit (as evidenced on his pass break up and good hit on the LSU QB), but his inability to get off blocks in this one is a major concern. Quan Sturdivant – OLB – on the other side, I was very much impressed with Sturdivant and it’s neck and neck with LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard who had the better game. Sturdivant has excellent speed and is also football smart – he reads plays and uses his speed to disrupt. An example is a screen pass – he saw it develop and then flashed up quickly to make the play right after the RB caught the ball. He had some trouble getting off blocks also, but was able to do so on a few occasions and be in on tackles. I think he’s a pro WLB in a 4-3 and in the right system I can see him becoming a star. LSU Joseph Barksdale – OT – Barksdale played RT last year, but moves over to replace Ciron Black this year at LT. He’s a pro Guard for me as he’s very heavy footed setting up in pass protection and struggles against edge speed. His base in pass protection is also far too wide – I was actually thinking he would struggle against double moves, when he was beaten inside on one! He shows some drive blocking ability, but must work on his knee bend. Like Black I don’t know if he’ll be drafted or a free agent type. Drake Nevis – DT – Nevis came into the season with a mid round grade – if he keeps playing like this he’s going to be a first round pick. Nevis displayed superb explosion off the ball and also the power to really give North Carolina’s O-Line problems. He’s got a nice swim move – he got a sack using a club move and he also was able to blow up a run play by getting under the Guard and driving him back into the FB to cause a log jam in the backfield. He plays with good knee bend – getting under his man and is able to get off blocks. Watch this kid rise up Draft boards! Kelvin Sheppard – ILB – Sheppard played some MLB and also some WLB and had a very good game. He’s very physical and is also athletic enough to flash up into plays and cause chaos. Sheppard is able to get off blocks pretty well and his high ranking is justified – the only negative was a couple of missed tackles. UCLA at Kansas State Every cloud has a silver lining – I hadn’t planned to watch this one, but due to ESPN Player not working – I called an audible and watched this one on ESPN America – Daniel Thomas’ performance made it worthwhile for sure! UCLA Christian Yount – LS – Yount is rated as one of the top long snappers this year and look pretty good. No problems on field goals as all snaps were perfect. However to the punter he had three snaps that were too low. Kansas State Daniel Thomas – RB – Thomas is a big back, but you wouldn’t believe it with his super quick feet. I lost count of the number of times he stopped/started and made people miss. He’s also got the power you would expect from a big back – he gets nice and low to take advantage of this. He doesn’t have top speed – but it’s enough to get some big gains. His ability to wait and then cut is exciting and he would fit a system such as the Titans or Redkins. He has a knack of getting something when it looks like nothing is on and is also a reliable short range receiver. His one blot on the day was his fumble – although this wasn’t a problem last year and hopefully is a one off. It will be interesting to have a look at DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma next week to see who has the early lead in the race to be the first RB taken in the 2011 Draft.