Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 NFL Combine Day 4

Day 4: DBs To Watch

With the combine coming to a close we know that the RBs are slower than we thought, the WRs are faster than we thought and there will be a bunch of QBs running for their lives with this crop of pass rushers.  The final day brings us to a DB group that looks to be pretty thin in the talent pool.  However, there are always surprises.  Here are the slightly off the radar guys I am going to be looking for.

1.  Derron Smith FS-Fresno St : Smith is a little small for the position but on tape he comes up big.  When you put on the USC bowl game tape from last year Smith tried to carry a poor defense to a win.  He is one of those guys that his motor is always running and he is always trying to make a play.  I think the combine is going to be his coming out party in a big way.  He will excel in the "W" drill and the drills where he has to locate the ball in the air.                                     

2. Senquez Golson CB- Ole Miss: I like Golson because he has good footwork and drives on the ball hard.  He needs to work on staying on the WRs hip and being stronger on his jam.   Despite his size Golson is a physical CB and will come up on run support and make plays.  He might not run a blazing 40 time but I expect him to excel in the "W" drill and the speed turn drills.  He has a tendency to get high in his backpedal so the backpedal weave and turn & catch drills will show me if he has worked on it.

3.  Eric Rowe CB-Utah:  Rowe is a big physical CB that has good footwork and drive.  I want to see where his raw speed is because he did get beat over the top a few times in coverage.  He is a converted S but looks like he has good flexibility in his hips and solid footwork.  He should do well in the the backpedal and drive drills but will struggle finding the ball in the air.

4. Kevin White CB-TCU:  White could end up being one of the better corners coming out of this draft if he tightens up a few things in his game.  If he can perform well in the speed turn drills he will have fixed his biggest flaw.  He got burned a few times vs. Baylor because instead of flipping his hips and making a good speed turn he would bail out the opposite way and try to make up ground.  Of all the things he did that was the one that frustrated me the most.  Aside from that he is one of the better CBs at coming up in run support and staying on his man's hip.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 NFL Combine Day 3

Day 3: DL/LB Players to Watch

Now that the glitz and glamour day of the combine is done we can get to my favorite part of the combine, the D line and linebackers.  The old saying is "defense wins championships."  Growing up watching the Chicago Bears running the 46 defense, I can't disagree.  Teams will have a chance find that speed guy or the intimidating tone setter that they are lacking today.  Here are my players that I expect to move up based on what they do on day 3 of drills.


1. Danielle Hunter-DE LSU:  I am very high on Hunter.  I really think he is the most pro ready DE in the draft today.  He may not be as explosive as Fowler or have the rush moves of Gregory but he is the only one that can do everything.  It sounds weird but my favorite aspect of Hunter's game is when the play goes away from him he stays disciplined and holds his edge for a split second to make sure the QB won't sneak out the back door then he pursues the runner hard.  I think Hunter is stronger than people think for his weight and he will show his quickness and agility in drills.  My only question on him is if he can show the prototypical natural bend for pass rushers.  I already expect him to be a better pro than Gregory but if he tests well he may get drafted earlier too

2. Grady Jarrett-DT Clemson:  When I was watching tape in Vic Beasley I kept seeing Jarrett flash on plays.  He does not have the stats that make you think he is going to be successful in the NFL but I think he may just be a mid round steal for some team.  He had a battle with top OG prospect AJ Cann from South Carolina this year and it was fun to watch.  He looked to have real good athletic skills on tape so I will be looking at how he handles the drills.


1. Tony Washington DT-Oregon:  I don't know if I saw any LB used, and was effective, in so many different ways like Washington was.  You can put on the Washington St tape and he is covering the slot WR then you put the Arizona tape on and he is rushing the passer.  He seems to be a guy that is able to do it all and do it well.  I hope these drills show he has just as much athleticism as he does versatility in his game.

2. Damien Wilson ILB-Minnesota:  If Wilson is going to have a chance at being drafted he needs to put on a show today.  On tape you can see the athleticism and the motor.  However, you also see the below average instincts and trouble with getting off blocks.  Overall I like Wilson because he is a tackling machine and his motor is always running.  He plays fast so lets hope that translates to the 40 yard time and he gets some more looks from NFL scouts.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 NFL Combine Day 2

Day 2: QB/RB/WR Players to Watch

Whenever you have QBs that are going to be taken at the front of the draft and WRs running sub 4.4-40 yard dashes there is always a buzz around this day of the combine.  But this year is different, there is an added buzz.  This year we may have the best RB group since 2008 and there maybe more than 1 RB land in the 1st round, maybe.  What is for sure is the depth at the RB and WR positions this year and some team will get a steal.  So here are a few players I will be watching.


Blake Sims-Alabama:  I am not sure why Sims has not been getting more recognition in this draft.  Sims showed he can make the NFL throws in tight windows, on the back shoulder and deep over the shoulder.  He was successful in the top conference in the NCAA.  He showed the ability to read defenses pre snap.  He showed the mobility to escape out of the pocket.  However, you read scouting reports and he is rated as a late round project because he is too small and inaccurate sometimes.  I will be looking forward to seeing Sims show off his athleticism and arm strength and moving up in the draft.


Jay Ajayi-Boise State: Ajayi just might be the biggest home run threat in the draft.  I saw Melvin Gordon get caught from behind more than a few times but that can't be said for Ajayi.  When Ajayi got out front he was taking it to the house.  I'm expecting to see an elite number put up in the 40 yard dash today by Ajayi.  Combine that speed with the balance, athleticism, vision and cut back ability he has and Ajayi can be a Jamal Charles type player.  He will need to get better at pass blocking and ball security before he can be considered a complete back but he is definitely dangerous.

JohnCrockett-North Dakota State:  Crockett is the most complete RB that nobody is talking about. Crockett made big play after big play last year and did in all types of ways.  He is always looking for the cutback lane and has the ability to make that 1 cut and go.  He can run in between the tackles and he has the quickness to get outside.  His pass protection skills are good and does not shy away from contact.  My big question on him is his long speed.  To me he looked quicker than fast on tape.  If he can run 4.5 or under he should be a very productive player in he NFL.


Kaelin Clay-Utah: Clay did not have the production on paper to think he can make an impact in the NFL.  Clay played behind Anderson and another 6"2' WR on the other side.  He also was a victim of really poor QB play.  When Anderson got hurt Clay stepped it up and caught 30 of his 43 receptions and all 4 of his TDs in the second half of the season.  I think he will show off his hands and route running and end up moving up draft boards.

Kenny Bell-Nebraska:  To me it seems like Bell was a victim of his environment.  He played on a run first offense and couldn't get much going.  When he was used he did show some promise.  I am expecting Bell to run under 4.5 in the 40 yard dash and have a very nice showing in the gauntlet drill.  If he does look for Bell to be a hot commodity come draft time.                                                                

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 NFL Combine Day 1

Day 1: TE/OL Players to Watch

  The time that all draft geeks have been waiting for is finally here!  The 2015 NFL combine kicks off with the fat guys, tight ends and kickers showing off their skills in front of the scouts and TV cameras.  Hopefully NFL Network's coverage of the combine is actually coverage of the combine and not a four day discussion of Winston vs Mariota.  I am going to give you a few players to look for on day one that may not be getting talked about......yet!


1.  Jean Sifrin-UMass:  If you have not seen Sifrin he will be hard to miss on the field.  Measuring in at 6"7' and 250lbs he will cause some wide eyes in the stands.  When I went to watch tape on Sifrin I thought I would see a lumbering uncoordinated giant plodding around the field.  I was completely wrong.  He is very athletic for his size and does a good job of avoiding defenders who are trying to interrupt his route by side stepping or using his hands to slap jams off.  Sifrin also does a good job of getting in and out of his breaks quickly.  His hands look good despite dropping a few passes and he will catch the ball away from his body and snatch it in.  The thing that will make Sifrin a fan favorite is his no fear attitude.  He is well aware that he is a big target out there but will fully extend for passes and take on the hit.  He will need a good amount of work in the pass/run blocking arena but he has shown a willingness to get after his assignment.  Now the major stat that might keep Sifrin off draft boards is his age, 27 years old.  If he puts on the show I think he is capable of, he should make some team draft him higher than expected.

2. Blake Bell-Oklahoma:  Bell is a player that wont jump off the tape at you but he does everything good.  He reminds me of Chalres Clay from the Miami Dolphins.  Much like Clay, Bell will make teams wonder if he is a TE, a H-back or a FB.  Bell can do all of that and do it well.  On the field he shows a high football IQ by knowing his assignment and executing.  You can liken him to a utility infielder in baseball and every coach loves to have one of those guys in his back pocket.  Bell also showed that he has good hands, athleticism and good route running.  He is well versed in the blocking game but he will need to get stronger to be effective at the next level.  With this kind of package to offer he will definitely be a valuable player in the NFL.


1. Rob Havenstein-Wisconsin: He may be my favorite player in this draft.  With a name like Havenstein and being 6"7'-332lbs he can be confused with a monster.  However, he does not move like one.  For being as big as he is and being a RT he moves pretty good.  He went up against Gregory a few times and was up to the challenge every time.  I think he will open some eyes today when he shows off his movement skills.  Havenstein is a day 1 RT starter for some team but if he can get some teams to think he can make the move to LT he will move up draft boards quickly.  Overall, Havenstein is the most pro ready OT because his technique is so polished and clean.  His hands are almost always inside of the pads and he sits in the chair well in pass protection.  He can anchor well against bull rushes and has a good kick slide when dealing with the outside rush.  Playing in the Wisconsin zone scheme showed that he can get out and move up to the second level effectively.  The question mark of him playing LT may keep him out of the 1st round but I would not be surprised if Havenstein ends up being an early 2nd round pick after the combine and his pro day.

2. Max Garcia-Florida:  He has played both LG and OC for the Gators but I think he played better at OC.  Garcia has one of the better get offs of all the interior linemen.  Once that ball is hiked he explodes into the DT with a solid punch.  He can stand to get stronger but it is decent enough to hold point.  He moves well in space and usually finds someone to hit while out there.  On tape he looks like he moves better than other higher rated guys like Galik and Finney.  Garcia needs to improve in his awareness and on finishing his blocks.  I saw him make a good block but then ease up some and allow the defender to get off the block.  If he can be more aggressive with his blocking he can be an intimidating player in the middle.  

Others to watch: Poutasi-Utah: a big man with power and movement; Glowinski-WVU: strong, works well in tight quarters