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Category:NFL Draft
Posted on: November 9, 2009 2:39 pm
 

LSU: RB Charles Scott done for the year

LSU has announced via their website that senior running back Charles Scott, ranked as high as second this season at the position by NFLDraftScout.com, will miss the rest of the year due to the broken clavicle (collarbone) he suffered in the second half of Saturday's showdown with Alabama.

Ironically enough, the injury occurred on Scott's most impressive play of the game, a 34-yard run in the third quarter.

The loss of Scott is a significant blow to the LSU offense and further weakens an already shaky senior running back class. Buffalo's James Starks, viewed as a potential mid round pick prior to the season, underwent surgery to correct a labrum tear back in August.

A broken clavicle rarely requires surgery. Typically, the rehabilitation begins with a simple sling and pain medication, so that the broken bone has the time to heal itself. Typical recovery time is 6-12 weeks, though if muscles around the bone were torn, the rehabiliation can take much longer. Scott's injury will be an obvious focal point for the team doctors and x-ray technicians at the Combine.

Scott led the Tigers with 83 yards against the Tide and was leading the team in rushing for the season (542 yards and 4 TDs). He finishes his LSU career sixth on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,372 rushing yards. Scott rushed for 1,174 and a conference-leading 18 rushing touchdowns in 2008, earning first all-SEC accolades by the coaches.
Posted on: November 2, 2009 2:13 pm
 

Syracuse WR Mike Williams quits the team

As talented as any 4th year receiver in the country, Syracuse's Mike Williams may struggle to be drafted as such after quitting the team this morning.

Williams, who missed the entire 2008 season due to suspicion of academic fraud, had been leading the Big East conference in catches per game (7) and receiving yards per game (106.57) despite having less than ideal talent around him. The 6-2, 212 pound Williams has surprising straight-line speed and lateral agility to elude defenders, making him one of the better after-the-catch receivers in the country. His 20 career touchdowns tie him with Marvin Harrison with second in Syracuse history.

Details are still coming, but Williams' disappointing decision is certain to drop him down draft boards. Williams was part of the first round mock I wrote for NFLDraftScout.com last week. Based on the initial conversations I've had with scouts regarding this announcement, however, Williams won't be on this week's update...
Posted on: October 25, 2009 6:23 pm
 

Oklahoma: Bradford entering 2010 draft

The official website of the Oklahoma Sooners announced the news that NFL scouts had been expecting: Sam Bradford will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and, assuming his rehabilitation goes as expected, will be entering the 2010 NFL Draft.

The injury -- a sprained AC joint of his right (throwing) shoulder -- initially occurred in Oklahoma's opening season loss to BYU, Bradford came back for a tune-up against Baylor, but only made it to the second offensive series for the Sooners before going down against the Texas pass rush.

The noted surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, will be performing the surgery on Wednesday. The expected rehabilitation is 4-6 months. With the draft approximately 7 months away, Bradford is hopeful to have enough time to work out for scouts prior to draft, whether at the Combine or in a personal Pro Day workout later.

Bradford had flirted with leaving after his record-breaking, Heisman Trophy winning redshirt sophomore season. With 4/5s of his offensive line moving on, as well as his top three receiving targets gone, Bradford had his work cut out for him, but showed the same impressive arm strength and lazer accuracy that had many scouts privately ranking Bradford as the elite passing prospect last year, over Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

Though questions about his recovery and long-term durability are sure to be concerns for scouts, Bradford's size, arm strength and accuracy make him a better NFL prospect than seniors Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Tony Pike and the rest of the 2010 class.

Bradford's final numbers at Oklahoma are impressive. He led the country in passing efficiency in his two starting seasons and leaves OU with 15 passing records, including career marks for yards (8,403) and touchdowns (88).

The link to the original story is here.




Posted on: October 25, 2009 2:24 pm
 

Locker struggles in loss to Ducks

Some of my draft analyst cohorts are jumping the gun a bit, I believe, in lauding Washington junior quarterback Jake Locker as the elite passing prospect in the country.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do agree with the assessment that Locker has an unmatched set of tools. He has a strong, accurate arm, has made night-and-day improvement in his reading of defenses under the tutelage of Steve Sarkisian, and is arguably the country's most dangerous mobile quarterback -- because unlike some other highly touted running passers, Locker has learned to keep his eyes downfield when preparing to run (and has the accuracy to take advantage of his vision). I argued as much in series of posts following the Washington-Notre Dame contest two weeks ago. Jimmy Clausen's Irish won the game and his poise down the stretch was impressive, but in terms of arm strength and mobility, Locker was the more impressive talent.

However, in now his third starting season for the Huskies, Locker has yet to finish a season healthy. Much of this is because Locker is surrounded by relatively little talent, especially along the offensive line. Still, if there are questions about Sam Bradford's durability with scouts, there must be similar concerns for Locker. 

And while there is no denying his potential, Locker remains unpolished, which was evident throughout the Oregon contest Saturday afternoon.

Locker's two interceptions on this day were especially telling.

On the first, with UW down 8-3 but threatening on the Oregon 2-yard line, Locker, after play-action, rolled to his right and attempted to throw the ball to one of his two tight ends (#80 Kavario Middleton and #88 Dorson Boyce). The throw, however, was in between the two of them, making it an impossible catch for either of the Huskies, but an easy interception for Oregon DB Javes Lewis.

In the third quarter, with Oregon leading 22-6, but with UW once again challenging, Locker dropped back from the Oregon 32-yard line and threw a post-corner to Devin Aguilar (#9) that was intercepted by true freshman Cliff Harris (#3). The pass was thrown into double coverage with senior safety TJ Ward supplying coverage over the top and Harris dropping back from his primary assignment (RB Chris Polk in the flat) after reading Locker's eyes.

Locker's throw was accurate, but he failed to look off the defenders, allowing Harris to get into position to make the play.

It isn't necessarily fair to judge a quarterback's day on two throws. However, with the game still in the balance, Locker made two poor decisions -- precisely why scouts are apprehensive about his readiness for the NFL.

Being based out of the greater Seattle area, I've scouted Locker as much as any one. Hell, I "scouted" his final high school game -- the 3A state championship in which he, then a senior and his Ferndale teammates beat current Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, then a junior, and Prosser.  I know Locker's game well and have seen him make huge improvements while at UW. 

If he were to leave after this season, he'll be a high draft choice. His physical tools are just too special to ignore, especially considering the questions regarding this senior class of quarterbacks. Perhaps a top ten choice, as I projected in my first 2010 mock draft .

However, if he were to return for his senior season and in doing so tighten up his mechanics, Locker could enter the year as the unquestioned #1 overall prospect.

Posted on: October 25, 2009 1:07 pm
 

Spiller a Chris Johnson clone

Despite sitting out some of the game's most important plays (including Clemson's final attempt at a touchdown to win the game in regulation), CJ Spiller showcased his amazing speed and versatility in the upset at #8 Miami. He scored twice -- on a 90 yard kickoff return in the second quarter the game and on a 56 yard reception in the third. His 310 all-purpose yards broke the Tiger's single-game record.

Spiller, 5-11 and 195 pounds, reminds me a great deal of the Titan's Do-Everything Chris Johnson, who weighed in at the Combine at 5-11, 197 pounds. While Spiller may not prove quite as fast as Johnson at the Combine (4.24), I do expect him to be among the fastest players tested. Also like Johnson, however, Spiller will be at his best if used as part of a rotation, as he lacks the bulk teams want in an everydown back.

Because of his versatility, Spiller is on the field so much (as a returner, receiver and running back), however, that I have little doubt he'll prove well worth the first round selection some team will almost surely invest in him come April.


Posted on: October 16, 2009 3:02 pm
 

3 NFL-caliber throws by Pike intrigue scouts

In my preview to last night's South Florida-Cincinnati game I questioned Pike's downfield accuracy and whether he'd be successful against an athletic and experienced Bulls' secondary.

For the most part, South Florida held Pike in check. They even knocked him out of the game with a sprained left wrist in the 3rd quarter -- an injury that is expected to keep Pike out next week against Louisville and perhaps considerably longer.

Before the injury, however, Pike completed three legitimate NFL passes that were certain to impress NFL scouts.

The first one came on Pike's first touchdown. On the first play after a momentum-swinging interception, Pike fired a quick out to wideout Armon Binns for a three yard touchdown. The pass, thrown with good velocity, was perfectly placed, forcing Binns to make a finger-tip reception as he ran out of the side of the endzone, away from the defender.

Later in the second quarter Pike fired another impressive touchdown pass to Binns -- this time on a short drag route over the middle for an 8-yard score. Again, the pass was thrown with good velocity and perfect accuracy. Binns had to make a finger-tip catch to score on the play and he did so.

The most impressive play of the night for Pike, however, came in between these two plays and at the opposite end of the field. Pike, in fact, released the ball only a few yards out of his own endzone. One play after being sacked by George Selvie, Pike, showing surprising mobility for a 6-6 quarterback, stepped out of another Selvie tackle, rolled left, squared his shoulders and fired a 25-yard strike to DJ Woods on the far (left) sideline. The pass required legitimate NFL arm-strong and very good accuracy. It was a great catch for Woods, as well, as he secured the ball and dragged both feet to beat double-coverage by the Bulls.

According to the announcers of this contest there were upwards of 25 NFL scouts, including at least 5 personnel directors at this game. While much of Pike's production throughout this game came on the dink and dunk receiver screens and outlet tosses to backs and tight ends, these three throws left scouts in attendance impressed.


Posted on: October 15, 2009 6:31 pm
 

National title, draft stock on the line tonight

There is a lot more riding on tonight's Big East showdown between Cincinnati and South Florida than the lead in the conference standings.

National title implications, as well as the draft stock of several prospects are on the line.

Both teams enter the game with sparkling 5-0 records, thought they've accomplished their undefeated seasons in different ways. Cincinnati has been led by the high-flying offense led by senior quarterback Tony Pike and Mr. Versatility (and a former Player of the Week honoree in Draft Slant), wideout Mardy Gilyard. USF, on the other hand, has been led by their traditionally stingy defense, with seniors end George Selvie and safety Nate Allen earning most of the attention from scouts.

The 6-6, 225 pound Pike has been flying up boards this season. Quite honestly, I'm lower on him than most seem to be. He certainly has the size scouts are looking for, but his accuracy has been less consistent that his impressive production (1,493 yards, 66.7% completion rate, 13 TDs-3 INTs) would lead one to believe. He was often late across the middle last week, for example, against Miami (Ohio) and will be making the same adjustment to a traditional pro-style offense that all spread quarterbacks have to make -- learning to take the snap from center, read defenses more quickly, etc. He also has been helped greatly by Gilyard, who might be the country's best run-after-the-catch threat at the receiver position. In this spread offense, built on timing-based slants and post-corners, Gilyard (7 of Pike's 15 TD receptions) has been virtually unstoppable. I certainly recognize Pike's talent as NFL caliber, but so far I've seen a prospect worthy of mid-round consideration and not a true challenger to the Colt McCoy's and Tim Tebow's (and a host of underclassmen) at the top of the draft board.

Pike could shut me up quickly, however, with a strong game tonight against what is clearly the most talented defense he's seen thus far this season.

The Bearcats would be wise to focus their blocking assignments on pass rusher George Selvie. The 6-4, 245 pounder has exceptional burst off the snap and will easily chase down Pike, though his mobility is an underrated component to his game. Selvie broke out as a sophomore to post 14.5 sacks in 2007, but an ankle sprain last year and cease-less double and even triple-teams have shadowed him since. He enters this game with only 2.5 sacks, but is capable of matching that total in just this game if single-blocked by the Bearcats. Selvie has tried to add weight throughout his career, but hasn't been able to do so, prompting plenty of concerns from NFL scouts who question where he'll fit in an NFL defense. He has the burst off the edge to earn a first round grade from some teams, but others question if he'll be able to contribute on running downs at all.

Perhaps the defender who may have the most impact on this game is USF safety Nate Allen, an instictive, ball-hawking sort who already posted a two-interception game in the Bulls' only other Big East game of the year (a win over Syracuse). If Pike is late passing over the middle in this contest, Allen could make him pay. Some scouts feel he is a more reliable pass defender in the middle than USC superstar Taylor Mays.

There are certainly other prospects to keep an eye on tonight and plenty of other story-lines (not the least of which is the inspiring play of backup turned star freshman QB B.J. Daniels for USF), but these four are the ones NFL scouts will be keeping the closest eye on...

As such, you should be too...



 
Posted on: October 13, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Draft Slant Preview

I try to preview each week's issue of Draft Slant, NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF on this forum. I realize that for some of you, this is unnecessary, as you've ordered the entire series. For others, you may simply not care. I list the players we focused on per week for those readers who might be looking for certain prospects or who happened to watch similar games and want to compare notes with my fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter and I...

This week's Draft Slant features:

Oklahoma State OT Russell Okung as the Player of the Week (moments of brilliance, struggle against Big 12's leading pass rusher)
Eastern Washington TE Nathan Overbay as the Diamond in the Rough (soft hands, questions about speed, blocking ability)

The eight others earning writeups include:

Florida State OLB Dekoda Watson (Michael Boulware, Tommy Polley clone?)
Connecticut DE Lindsey Witten (7 sacks in first two games a mirage?)
West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown (Pro-style QB only needs more time?)
Alabama OG Mike Johnson (Powerful blocker emerging with Andre Smith now in the NFL)
Arizona CB Devin Ross (Athletic cover corner capable of moving into Top 64?)
LSU DE Rahim Alem (Lack of big plays called out in loss to Florida)
TCU ILB Daryl Washington (Surprising physicality, instincts at ILB, but does he have the size to remain there?)
Fresno State WR Seyi Ajirotutu (Second coming of Legedu Naanee?)

Those interested in ordering a single issue or the entire series of Draft Slant can click here .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com