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Draft Prospect Review (Offense) - long post

pjcas18 : 1/17/2014 3:26 pm
No offense to Sy, who does a great job, it's always good to get more opinions, and because I don't watch enough college games I rely on others.

This is from a buddy of mine, who I feel like is soon to be an NFL scout. He writes for the Orlando Sun? occasionally and Bleacher Report (even if you don't like it) and has been on NFL Network.

Anyway, here are his thoughts on the offensive prospects for the upcoming draft.

Quote:
Quarterback

Strong top, led by Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles. People need to stop with Andrew Luck comparisons because he was a unique prospect. Not as convinced about Derek Carr as some people. You know my feelings on Johnny Manziel. A scout recently told a friend of mine, ďIíll hand the ball to a jerk, and Iíll throw the ball to a jerk, but Iíll never snap the ball to a jerk.Ē



The middle has a good prospect in Jimmy Garoppolo. On the one hand thereís sort of a John Beck vibe about him. On the other hand maybe thatís not an awful thing. Just because Beck failed doesnít mean guys who show positive traits like Beck will fail. Garoppolo just doesnít have a rocket on his shoulders. Heís not a bad weather quarterback. His ball isnít going to cut the wind like two other QBs at Shrine practice this week, Jeff Matthews and Keith Wenning. I could have told you that before the week but a friend of mine who is attending (I could not, too busy) confirmed it. But he reminds me a bit of Trent Green. I donít think I would call him a Russell Wilson but he might be more than a T.J. Yates.



The lower end has another good prospect in Brock Jensen of North Dakota State. This guy should be at Shrine practice. Tommy Reesí presence is a joke and Keith Priceís presence only slightly less so



Thereís a QB I have to check out more, Brett Smith of Wyoming. Thereís buzz there. A junior I didnít see coming out early but he did. I have to give him a fair shake.



Quote:
Runningback

The top guy went back to school and thatís Melvin Gordon. Heís the Cordarrelle Patterson of the position. Heís a game breaker.



That said Iíve liked Tre Mason since about halfway through the college season and immediately had him in my top group along with Lache Seastrunk. I would have Mason out front of Seastrunk because heís proven more, but Seastrunk does remind me strongly of LeSean McCoy.



Then there are guys like Marion Grice and Jeremy Hill that Iíd just love to get my hands on. Hill has off field issues. But heíll remind you of Brandon Jacobs, easily. Grice is a touchdown machine and has passing game versatility.



The same is true of Charles Sims. He and Grice are so similar. Kapri Bibbs I think belongs in this group with Sims and to be fair so does Carlos Hyde.



Iíve never really been a strong believer in KaDeem Carey or Bishop Sankey. Youíll probably see me avoid them entirely as theyíre rated too high IMO.



I think of Andre Williams, Antonio Andrews, James White, Rajion Neal, Storm Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Glasco Martin and Zurlon Tipton constituting a class of fliers that you could take a look at.



Quote:
Tight End

The top of the class is rare with Jace Amaro, Eric Ebron and Troy Niklas all having 1st round ability. They wonít all go in that round but they have that kind of ability. Iíd take any of the three and be happy.



With Austin Seferian-Jenkins youíre not sure if youíre getting a jerk or not but at least you know heíll catch the ball and heís big so heíll be compelling over the middle. He moves OK for his size. Just OK. I like C.J. Fiedorowicz as essentially the same player. Theyíre a significant step below Troy Niklas despite being similar guys, IMO.



The guy everyone will be paying attention to is Colt Lyerla. The off field stuff is insanely bad. Busted for coke possession if Iím not mistaken. Left the Oregon program suddenly and without much cause. Declared for the draft even though the wiser choice would have been to go to a small school and try and rehab his image (and his potential drug habit). If you take him youíre asking for trouble. But heís legitimately in class with the above five players if not in class with the top three I named.



Other than that I donít have much to get me excited about the rest of the tight ends. I love Gator Hoskins but people will be unhappy with his size and think about him at fullback. I say heís the next Charles Clay. Heís legit. I kind of like Xavier Grimble but Iíve always liked the look of his teammate Randall Telfer better. Crockett Gilmore has had me intrigued once or twice this year.



Quote:
Wide Receiver

The WR class could be a smidge better than Iíve seen in a while. Seems like the last four classes prior to this one I always ended up with two guys that were locked up 1st rounders (to me, not necessarily to everyone else) and then the second tier. But that second tier was usually deserving of 2nd round consideration. The same is true again this year as Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans (in no particular order) are incredible prospects I would love to get my hands on all day long.



Then below them you have Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Kelvin Benjamin. Depending on my teamís situation I might have reservations with using my 1st round pick on them. Iím not sure if Lee is the work ethic to develop, and Iím not sure Kelvin Benjamin has the athleticism to make good on Plaxico comparisons. Allen Robinson I like but Iím still trying to decide on. Yet if any of these guys go in the 1st round itís not like Iíll argue you just did something dumb or irresponsible. Far from it.



I really like Jordan Matthews. Heís just so damn savvy. And Brandin Cooks is an amazing playmaker. Donte Moncrief is excellent as well, as is Odell Beckham. These guys are all legit right in that same second tier area where last year you had some guys like Justin Hunter, Terrance Williams and Markus Wheaton. Yet thereís a tier of guys in Lee, Robinson and Benjamin that probably legitimately stand above these guys. Thatís I think what makes this class stand out.



Below that and I feel like Iím treading more dangerous waters. I love Cody Hoffman and sometimes I wonder why heís not in the tier I just described above. Devin Street is the same way. Iíd be more bullish on him if he didnít end up so thoroughly outshined by his freshman teammate Tyler Boyd (who will be special, special, special). But maybe I shouldnít punish him for that especially since I donít think much of his quarterback Tom Savage despite his NFL skill set. Street is a tall and big receiver that moves really well and is route-savvy enough to consistently operate from the slot. Thatís unique. If youíre a team like Miami that likes tall slot receivers, youíre engorged. Probably same all goes for Hoffman. Route savvy, tall, great hands.



A really nice x-factor is LíDamian Washington. The big argument against him is he has the look of a one trick pony as heís mostly a deep ball guy. But boy is he ever a deep ball guy. Heís legit 6í4Ē with legit 4.3 speed and he knows how to go up for the football at the point of the catch (big issue I have with Mike Wallace lately). Best of all? TREMENDOUS character. You will always feel safe and snug in your bed at night knowing you just took a guy with top-level tangibles that produced in the SEC and also has top-level intangibles. You know the guy will keep getting better. I wish he were more physical on the field, though.



Three more guys Iíd look at on the bottom are Jalen Saunders, Tevin Reese and Willie Snead. Saunders is TINY. But damn is it hard as hell to cover him in man coverage. Quick as a hiccup. Tevin Reese has always given me more Mardy Gilyard vibes than Santana Moss vibes even when he was rumored and rated by certain respectable services as a 1st rounder in the making. But you know, letís not swing the pendulum too far here. The guy has incredible speed and is a playmaker. The thing that separates him from a Gilyard is that Gilyard didnít ACTUALLY have speed. I think Reese does.



Then thereís Willie Snead who reminds me a bit of Stedman Bailey in that heís not big (5í11Ē, 193), heís not fast (mid 4.5ís), but boy is he savvy and just catches the ball and makes plays. I mean weíre talking 106 catches for 1516 yards and 15 touchdowns. DAYUM. Had a pretty good QB in Keith Wenning throwing him the football. Get down the road and this guy is a Lance Moore, count me unsurprised.



Guy I need to work on more? Dri Archer. I know some people that love this dude. A lot.




Quote:
Offensive Tackle

I think Jake Matthews is legitimately deserving of top billing and while I understand why people get all excited about Greg Robinson I think people should be exhibiting way more caution than they are about him. Yes, heís a huge mauler that moves well and tremendous in the run game. But you have to sift through a full seasonís worth of tape to find a good enough sample of him dropping back into a kick slide for NFL style pass protection, and when you do that you might not entirely like what you see. I know I didnít.



I think Taylor Lewan is a very fine prospect. Heís huge and has legit athletic ability. Heís very disciplined with his feet and yet at the same time he is as NASTY as they come on the field. Heís an ďall of the aboveĒ player on the field. I donít think thatís a common phrase or anything and Iím not trying to coin my own pieces of jargon but thatís how I would describe his mentality when it comes to blocking and interfering with defendersí ability to do what they want to do on the field. Heíll do anything to frustrate them. The problem? His nastiness may extend off the field. There was a big article recently about how Lewan essentially started punching an Ohio State fan for no apparent reason and Michigan cops just snuffed the whole thing out. They said the victim didnít identify a perpetrator even though the victim was pointing right at him and the cops were talking to him and referring to him by name. Probably a worse affair for the cops than for Lewan, but what REALLY worries me is that as a freshman his roommate was accused of rape by a female and that female complained to the police that Taylor tried to strong-arm her into being silent and even went so far as saying heíll rape her himself if she doesnít shut up. If thereís any truth to that itís hard to see how I could accept him on my team but then I guess when guys make plays on Sundays you forget about stuff like thatÖas long as it doesnít keep happening. The name Richie Incognito is being applied to him and thatís the image he has to fight off right now.



Thereís a lot of people down on Cyrus Kouandjio. He did not have a strong junior season. Not nearly as strong as his sophomore season. I donít think a few bad games and some trouble with speed rushers outweighs his career at Alabama though as heís been tremendous the whole time. Heís huge, is disciplined with his feet even though heís not a natural athletic move your feet kind of guy. I think there are issues with technique he can work on against speed rushers, and the problem seems to be consistency in my eyesÖwhich is workable. I still think of him as a 1st rounder.



On the other hand Iíve seen nothing in Antonio Richardsonís game that would make me put him in the 1st round or even the 2nd round. The guy seems like compulsive underachiever. He screws up all the time. Heís got a huge frame and he can move but if you want that there are other guys that have that. Jadaveon Clowney made him look like a fool. Hell so did Kony Ealy, I believe. And before you say well thatís Jadaveon Clowney, read down.



The guy that people arenít talking about nearly enough that may legitimately end up the best of any of these guys is Billy Turner of North Dakota State. Best feet in the class. Highly athletic. Big frame but not necessarily massive. He not only pumps his feet and takes more steps per second than the rest of the guys, the steps he takes arenít tight little turtle hops. He picks up his feet and he moves. He dominated the competition at the FCS level in a way youíd expect a good NFL player to dominate. But he played Kansas State the first game of the season and dominated THEM the same way. Good character. He has a similar ďall of the aboveĒ mentality in his blocking. Loved during the K-State game at one point the scheme gave him a hard choice whether to block one guy or another and he wasnít getting any help, so he just stuck out both arms and blocked both of them long enough for Brock Jensen to get out the ball.



Another guy I like a lot is Morgan Moses of Virginia. He has a huge, massive frame. Watching him reminds me of Bryant ďMountĒ McKinnie. This frame is just an incredible impediment for defensive pass rushers to try and get around. Itís really incredible watching them try to figure it out. He moves well. Heís not very awkward. Iíd like to see him pick up his feet more. He can get out into space as he has the pure athleticism for it, but he does virtually nothing when he gets there because heís just too awkward at this stage. Heís really not a good run blocker right now at all. Watching him reminds me of watching Chandler Jones and Jason Pierre-Paul in college. You can see all this potential in a guyís ability and frame you immediately have a vision for what itís going to look like when he gets use to his own massiveness and starts moving with purpose and savvy. Bill Walsh would love him. He has the kind of heavy natural frame Walsh adored in linemen.



Though JaWuan James isnít a left tackle, heís about as good a right tackle prospect as there is in this draft excepting perhaps Jake Matthews who was a tremendous right tackle. I donít know what it is that screams Orlando Franklin to me about him but I think it fits, except really digging in and watching James it seems like heís got more mobility and ability to get out into space and make effective blocks. The guy shut down GOOD players like Michael Sam and Dee Ford. He legit made them look like terrible football players. Theyíre All American level players. He really only faced Clowney in a one on one deal twice in their game, but won both. Iíve been talking about him for years. Heís the best player on a genuinely good Tennessee offensive line. Great solid but athletic build, and just an extremely fundamentally sound player. I just feel like heíll definitely play somewhere. If itís not right tackle it could be at guard.



Two more guys you donít hear about much.



One is Wesley Johnson the left tackle from Vanderbilt. He SHUT DOWN Jadaveon Clowney. It was embarrassing. And unlike the game Clowney had against James Hurst where everyone started licking Hurstís nipples even though he really has pretty crappy potential, Clowney didnít defeat himself when he played Vandy. He wasnít defeated by play calling or scheme. He was defeated by a man, and that man was named Wesley Johnson. When I tried to watch South Carolina against Tennessee, I really wanted to see Clowney up against JaWuan James. But Clowney just doesnít move over to that side very often at all. They donít have him do that. Well they did against Vandy. They came out of halftime and moved Clowney over to rushing over the right tackle exclusively all through the 3rd quarter and part of the 4th quarter. It was a capitulation move because they knew Clowney was getting nowhere against Johnson. The downside is Johnson seems a little light in the pants. He doesnít seem like heís got that naturally heavy/massive look to him like a Morgan Moses. But heís very athletic and picks up and moves his feet extremely well. Heíll find work at the next level. Iíve watched him in other games and he stands out in both phases.



Last guy you donít hear about much is Cameron Fleming who was a surprise to come out early. I donít have much on him other than to say he had my attention in 2012, and his frame and skill set continues to get my attention in 2013 even though I think he didnít complete his assignments as well as he could have. Heís got ďthe lookĒ. The frame, build, the way he moves, itís all there.



Thereís some movement toward guys like Joel Bitonio and Jack Mewhort but I really donít see NFL potential in them. Maybe they could become solid guys. They could move around to different line positions. I mentioned Hurst. Heís another ďall of the aboveĒ guy and I appreciate that, but heís got terrible athletic potential. I like Seantrel Henderson but there are damn significant things to clear through off the field with him.



I keep getting asked about Matt Patchan on twitter. I canít figure out if thatís because I should be watching him and taking a closer look or if itís just because he used to be a Florida Gator.



Quote:
Center and Guard

I really donít have much on this position. Year after year I think we find that there arenít many guard prospects worth a damn. There are maybe two or three per year that are worth a damn at the next level and the rest of the time itís really a tackle-to-guard guy that becomes good. Zack Martin could be that this time around. I think Cyril Richardson and Gabe Jackson show legit talent. Not sure at all about the UCLA kid everyone loves Xavier Suía-Filo. I think David Yankey is legit. My only real underrated guys at guard are Zach Fulton and Brandon Thomas.



At center the only one Iíve watched that I like a lot is Weston Richburg. The rest I could take or leave really. This is a position where youíll find that the guy that ends up starting a long time was probably taken in the 7th round

Thank you for posting  
Vegas Steve : 1/17/2014 4:05 pm : link
It was a very good read
Good read thanks.  
section125 : 1/17/2014 4:21 pm : link
I notice he did not have much on guard and did not say anything about Zack Martin - or did I miss that.
If you read the guard part  
YAJ2112 : 1/17/2014 4:26 pm : link
how did you miss Zack Martin?

Quote:
Center and Guard

I really donít have much on this position. Year after year I think we find that there arenít many guard prospects worth a damn. There are maybe two or three per year that are worth a damn at the next level and the rest of the time itís really a tackle-to-guard guy that becomes good. Zack Martin could be that this time around. I think Cyril Richardson and Gabe Jackson show legit talent. Not sure at all about the UCLA kid everyone loves Xavier Suía-Filo. I think David Yankey is legit. My only real underrated guys at guard are Zach Fulton and Brandon Thomas.

If he wants to be a scout,  
barens : 1/17/2014 4:30 pm : link
I hope these aren't reports he's sending out to get a job. I don't think anyone wants to hear about licking James Hurst's nipples.
Good  
AcidTest : 1/17/2014 4:31 pm : link
stuff. Thanks.
Long post - figures I jumped  
section125 : 1/17/2014 4:31 pm : link
right over it. Guess I'm blind in one eye and cannot see out of the other.
Of course not, this was an  
pjcas18 : 1/17/2014 4:32 pm : link
email to me, he said I could share.

I'm not even sure he aspires to be a scout, but if he does I'm pretty sure he would submit something being reviewed more formally.
Thanks for the read  
sjnyfan : 1/17/2014 5:01 pm : link
and I'm glad he mentioned Wesley Johnson. He's grossly underrated because of his weight (6'5" under 300 lbs) and because he went to Vandy, but this guy can play. He has starts at 4 different position on the O-line including center. For his entire college career he has just 2 (TWO!) holding penaties and allows a sack about once every 171 plays. In my opinion he has the best feet of any tackle in this class and when you consider all of the SEC talent at tackle, Johnson made the 1st team for the coaches this year. That's saying something. Team captain and leader that doesn't take weak play from teammates. I could keep going but you get the point. Keep an eye on him during Senior Bowl week. He's projected as a Day 3 pick but I promise you he's going to move up after next week, combine and his pro day.
Bridgewater  
KWALL : 1/17/2014 5:22 pm : link
isn't even the best NFL prospect from UL this year. That safety Pryor is going to be an instant impact player. He's a can't miss player.

Bridgewater has some concerns. I don't think he's close to Franchise QB-type. I believe Sy said he's backup material. I don't know about that but he sure isn't top of the NFL draft material.

I'll take Bortles over Bridgewater. Better athlete. Much stronger. Better arm.
Good read, pj!  
yatqb : 1/17/2014 5:37 pm : link
I just don't see what others see in Bridgewater; to me his arm is ordinary and his size scares me.

I like what he said about Richardson; I see him the same way. You can have all the size in the world but if your feet aren't great and you're not that athletic, blech.
Yat, I just hope some team  
pjcas18 : 1/17/2014 5:53 pm : link
sees franchise QB in Bridgewater. Giants fans could really benefit from him going top 12. At least 3 QB's top 12, 4 would be great.

Then the Giants get a top 10 player (non-QB).

I'm very unqualified to evaluate him, and really don't care if he fails, I just want some team to believe.

Few thoughts  
Sy'56 : 1/17/2014 6:02 pm : link
Good read. I have my disagreements but thats inevitable when you get in to depth at very position. No right or wrong at this pointÖ

QB - I think Manziel offers the most upside but I wouldn't draft him to my team. There is too much risk with who he is as a person. The QB can't be that way. I'm not a Bridgewater guy and I never have been. Carr and Bortles have some outstanding tapeÖbut also some of the worst tape you'll find. Both are woefully inconsistent. I agree that some of these mid-round/late-round guys might be the best route to take and beef up other areas of your team in the earlier rounds.

RB - I like Carey a lot. He does all the little things well and he is a hard worker. Has the size to handle a full load of carries each week. Makes plays a variety of ways.

I disagree with him on Seastrunk. That scheme and personnel he played with gave him the gaudy stats. I love the explosion, speed, change of directionÖbut he is limited and I think he is more of a mid round guy that can be a part of a rotation. Sort of David Wilson-esque.

WR - Agreed on the depth of the WR class here. It is LOADED. I think there are guys that will grade out in the 15-20 area (WRs only) that would have been top 8 guys in the past 2-3 drafts. My favorite outside of round one is Odell Beckham. I think he some special in him. I think he might be better than Sammy Watkins a few years from now.

TE - I am all about Niklas and Amaro. Both might be top 20 overall guys. I think Niklas is getting overlooked hereÖ.he has movement skills that even Ebron doesn't. He showed some plays this yea r where he looked to be better than Eifert last year.

OT - Completely on same page when it comes to Matthews vs. Robinson. Matthews is a sure thing to be a very good player. Robinson is a huge gamble. He has a lot to learn mentally and physically. Drafting him and you will be hoping it works out. The floor is just as low for him as the ceiling is high. Lewan, Richardson, Kouandijo are good but not great players.

I've only seen Turner twice, both times against low level of competition. Not sure I would say he has better feet than everyone, but I see his point there.

G/C - Surprised he has no mention of Travis Swanson from Arkansas. He's been the top C in the SEC for 2-3 years now. Far better than Barrett Jones from last year.
Sy, I thought that Swanson looked a bit slow when I saw him.  
yatqb : 1/17/2014 6:17 pm : link
Not that he has to be a great pulling C, but I wasn't convinced about his pass blocking either. I just don't see him as a 1st rounder; convince me otherwise if you would.

I agree about Matthews vs. Robinson. Matthews imo has the best feet of any LT this year, and as good as you could ever ask for. He does everything well. Robinson is a beast but has some development ahead of him. My sense is that on the Giants he'd make a great RT right of the bat, but I'd be concerned with him as a LT early.

It's interesting that folks are souring on Kounadjio as the draft approaches. We've all seen that he had some trouble with some speed rushers this year; he's not as athletic or quick in his slide step as Matthews, Martin or several others. But I think that he could do very well inside or at RT early on and perhaps blossom into an effective LT down the line. And what do you see in Richardson? I really am unimpressed.

Thoughts?
some poor team will be royally pissed  
SHO'NUFF : 1/17/2014 6:47 pm : link
that they picked Carr early.
This guy has a knack for hyperbole that would make Boylhart blush!  
TC : 1/17/2014 6:56 pm : link
I read his section on RB's first where he compares Seastrunk to LeSean McCoy.

Then I stopped.

PULL-EEZE!

This group of RB's ranges from pretty good to mediocre and below. There ARE no LeSean McCoys, or a Cordarrelle Patterson of RB's in this year's crop!

Any group has to have a best, and the best of this group are pretty good. And I don't necessarily think that this pretty good group even includes Seastrunk.
Nobody uses more hyperbole than Boylhart.  
Klaatu : 1/17/2014 7:25 pm : link
And at least pjcas18's friend avoids the nickname-game that Boylhart plays, like, "I call him Bryan (Stealth) Kehl because he plays under the radar until you need him..."

Anyway...I'm glad he liked some of my favorite prospects, like Amaro, Richburg, and Juwuan James.
Good feedback  
pjcas18 : 1/17/2014 7:29 pm : link
and so it's clear I cannot defend this post even if I wanted to. I just don't know enough.

The Lewan off the field allegations have not been established  
jeff57 : 1/17/2014 8:02 pm : link
I would have no problem taking him. And the Giants very well might.
Good stuff -  
PeterS : 1/18/2014 11:25 am : link
Thanks.
so he has evans ranked on par with watkins  
chris r : 1/18/2014 11:45 am : link
But questions Benjamin's athleticism? Weird.
Bridgewater in my opinion will be a starting NFL QB  
idinkido : 1/19/2014 8:46 am : link
Quick thinker, gets the ball out quickly, very accurate, good arm, and has mobility. It's amazing that many of us see things differently, but I think Bridgewater is an outstanding prospect and should be the first QB chosen in the draft.
Bridgewater will be a solid NFL QB  
SGMen : 1/19/2014 9:08 am : link
I saw him in a few games and he is poised and athletic.

The biggest knock on him is his lack of size. NFL players hit harder and faster than anything he's seen to date. His frame will be looked at by all the top scouts to determine how much he may be able to add on (muscle).
Very Informative  
Percy : 1/19/2014 11:21 am : link
Good to see Niklas at TE mentioned with the very best. Would he be there for the Giants in Round 2? Also liked the discussion of the OTs after the top four and the fact that they may be later round picks: two or three look like excellent prospects for the Giants. Can James also play G effectively (which he seems never to have done, unlike Moses)? This seems to say that the Giants will have more flexibility in Round 1 than many think and still be able to snatch needed help at TE, OT and G in later rounds whoever they pick in Round 1.
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