Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Week 4-Offensinve Tackle

Martinas Rankin-Miss St, LT, 6-5, 315

Opponent: UGA

THE GOOD: Rankin moves well when asked to lead or pull.  He executes a beautiful cut block when he is on the move.  When he got his hands on the defender he rarely fell off his block.  What stood out most to me is his football IQ.  He was quick to recognize defensive stunts and blitz pressure.

THE BAD: While Rankin does a good job of engaging and staying with his man, he wont be confused with a "road grader" type offensive lineman.  He lacks the power and explosiveness at the point of attack to drive his man back.  In pass pro Rankin has a tendency to get too high and gets bent backward. 

THE UGLY:  Rankin moves well for a big man but his footwork needs to be improved to play LT in the NFL.  In his pass pro sets he is either back on his heels or flat-footed.  This made me assume he will be open to inside moves from speed rushers.  Late in the game UGA turned up the pressure and that is exactly what Davin Bellamy did to him.  If not for a tug on the jersey Rankin would have put his QB in some serious pain.  

IN THE END: Rankin played well in a tough game for the Bulldogs.  He possesses the building blocks for a solid LT in the NFL.  However, if his footwork cannot be improved he might find himself on the right side so he does not face as many quick DEs.  I have a hunch we might start hearing talks of Rankin being a natural OG.

Martez Ivey-Florida, LT, 6-5, 315

Opponent:  Kentucky

THE GOOD:  Ivey was at his best when he faced bull rushes from defenders.  He showed he has a strong core/base and can anchor in the face of power rushes.  In pass pro Ivey will try to throw the defender off by attacking with his hands early.  Ivey covers ground in his pass pro set with long strides and looks to be fluid while doing so.

THE BAD:  When asked to pull or down block Ivey is always a step or two slow.  On down blocks he can never get to his man quick enough to effectively block him.  When he was pulling his lack of speed made the runner have to wait for him to clear.  

THE UGLY:  Ivey is severely lacking in upper body strength, balance, ability to bend and effort.  Even though Ivey gets his hands on the defender quickly his lack of hand/arm strength makes him unable to keep his man under control.  Unless the defender stays directly in Ivey's center, which allows him to use his base/core strength, he does not have any other weapons to control his man or to neutralize DE counter moves.  His lack of upper body strength also creates balance issues for him when required to power block or block in space.  Ivey will try to compensate by trying to use his lower body to power through defenders but that will only lead to him falling off blocks and ending up on the ground.  Another glaring weakness in Ivey's game is his inability to bend at the knees.  In all aspects of blocking Ivey gets high in his sets and will whiff on blocks while on the move.  The most frustrating part of Ivey's game tape is his lack of effort.  There were too many instances where Ivey was content with just getting in the way of the defender instead of actually making a serious effort to block.  Also, if the defender fought through the initial contact Ivey didnt seem too interested in fighting to stay with his man.

IN THE END:  Ivey has been ranked by many as a top LT prospect and has some qualities of that.  However, after seeing so many flaws in his game I am leaning toward putting Ivey in the developmental tackle category.  In my projecting of players the "motor" category carries alot of weight.  After seeing the lack of basic interest from Ivey I have doubts that he can become a starting LT unless some coach can turn that around.

Friday, September 22, 2017

2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Week 3-Wide Receivers

Anthony Miller-Memphis, WR, Sr, 5-11, 190lbs

Opponent: UCLA

Miller's ability to get off the line of scrimmage is obvious.  He uses quick feet and has no wasted movement off the line and gets into his route immediately.  Miller caught the ball well with hands away from body and made a great diving catch in the middle of the field for a huge gain.  On the goal line he showed really high football IQ to stick the ball over the goal line after catching a slant.  While fully extended he realized there was a safety coming and was able to tuck the ball back into his body to avoid a fumble.  Surprisingly, Miller is a willing and able blocker as a wide receiver.  To start the game he was the lead blocker 80yds downfield on a huge run play.

 Miller will have to more consistent with his route running and run cleaner routes to have a chance at being an early round draft pick.  He showed the ability to stick his foot in the ground and run sharp routes but also showed he will round off his route.   

 Being that Miller is smaller in stature some will assume that he is going to have trouble with physical corners.  To that I say, you are correct.  To his credit, Miller will be physical and try to use his hands to get off jams but he needs to get stronger.  Even with minimal contact Miller will be knocked off stride and stumble.  

Miller is a versatile and skilled WR that will be a benefit to many NFL teams.  He lined up at X,Y, slot and in the backfield vs UCLA.  I know a team that loves WRs that are small and quick that can be lined up in multiple formations...."coughPATRIOTScough".    I can see Miller being one of the top slot WRs taken this year.

Darren Andrews-UCLA, WR, SR, 5-10, 195lbs

Opponent: Memphis

Andrews put up a stat line of 10rec, 175yds and a TD against Memphis.  He does a very good job of concentrating on the ball while in traffic and securing the catch.  Unfortunately, that is about all I can put in the good column.

 Andrews route running needs a good amount of work.  He runs the route extremely lackadaisical and does not run sharp routes.  This runs hand in hand with him almost never getting any separation from his defender.  When Memphis went to a man to man press defense Andrews struggled to get off the jam and get into his route.  When asked to block Andrews really did a poor job trying to block his assignment.   

There was not one snap where I thought Andrews exploded off the line of scrimmage.  He was always  a half second late to get into his route and by that time the defender closed the cushion.  As the game went on Andrews struggled to get off the line more and moreIt eventually devolved into Andrews having to take a hop step to get off the line of scrimmage.  

Andrews' inability to explode off the line of scrimmage and slow route running makes it hard to see him beating NFL caliber corner backs.  

 WEEK 4 Spotlight: Martez Ivey-OT (Florida), Martinas Rankin-OT (Miss St.)


2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Week 2-Running Backs

  The running back position has enjoyed a resurgence in the past few years.  After a couple years of not seeing a running back taken in the first round we have seen five taken in top 15 picks over the last three drafts.  This year's class definitely does not seem as deep as other drafts and with the top prospects being underclassmen the pool can get even shallower.  Here is a look at how a few prospects performed during week 2.

Royce Freeman-Oregon RB, Sr, 5-11, 231lbs
Opponent: Nebraska

Freeman runs with great patience and intelligence.  He showed that he can wait for his blocker to get into their blocks then make the right choice of how to attack the defense.  Seeing his listed weight I expected him to be a powerful runner and he didn't disappoint.  When Freemen gets north and south he is a load to handle and will run through arm tackles. 

Being able to sharply change direction is not one of Freeman's strengths.  Freeman will not be a "stick your foot in the ground and go" type runner.  His footwork approaching the line is a little sloppy and led to him stumbling a few times.  There were too many instances of Freeman having to take an extra step in order to change direction.  Also, he did not show the ability to jump cut.

 It will be hard for a NFL team to judge how Freeman will fit into their passing scheme, if at all.   His involvement in the game was extremely minimal with only 1 catch and very few targets.  I would question his ability to be on the field on third down due to his poor blocking technique.  Even more troubling was that Freeman looked almost disinterested in running pass routes.  

As it stands Freeman looks to be a situational "downhill thumper" type back.  I do not see him being a feature back at the next level but can still have some success.    Look for him to be drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL draft.

Nick Chubb-UGA RB, Sr, 5-10, 225lbs
Opponent: Notre Dame

Chubb ran with good vision and was able to find alternate holes when primary hole was plugged.  Unlike Freeman, Chubb did show that he has the agility and footwork to make jump cuts at the line and bounce outside.  

There was something missing from Chubb's carries vs ND.  Chubb didn't look to have blazing speed last year but he had an ability for using his quickness and strength to shed tacklers and create big runs.  While he broke a few tackles, defenders were not bouncing off of him like they did last year.  It almost looked as though he was running cautiously.

The timeshare in the UGA backfield is maddening for someone evaluating the game.  Both Sony Michel and Nick Chub had exactly 13 carries and a reception each.  What stood out in this timeshare is that Michel was hands down the choice for obvious passing downs and 3rd downs.  If this continues, Chubb will undoubtedly will have questions swirling around him regarding his pass catching and pass protection abilities.         

Chub showed enough of his cutting ability and vision to keep him in the upper tier of running back prospects.  However, if he does not take on more of a role in the passing game it will limit his stock come draft day.