Posted on: September 19, 2009 1:10 pm
One of the key matchups I'm watching this week is between 6-3, 215 pound wideout Eric Decker of Minnesota against 5-09, 191 pound Cal cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson.
I've been admittedly lower on Decker than some, but may need to adjust my thinking after watching the first few moments of this game. While I still question his speed and elusiveness in the open field, with his size, Decker's game translates well to the next level as a possession receiver.
Over the past few years the term possession receiver has, for whatever reason, taken on a negative connotation. While they may lack the gamebreaking ability of speedier threats, a good possession receiver is invaluable to his offense.
This is exactly what Decker showed in snaring a touchdown in the first quarter to close the gap against Cal to 14-7. The Gophers desperately needed a score after surrendering two early touchdown runs to the spectacular Jahvid Best. Though Syd'Quan Thompson has lined up against Decker for some of this game, Decker's score came against the other starting Golden Bear corner, Darian Hagan (6-0, 186).
Decker gained a free release from Hagan and slipped past him down the sideline. He contorted his body in space to make an impressive catch while absorbing a monster hit (but clean) the safety. The hit came high into the chest plate and drew blood from Decker's chin, but he hung on for the score.
Decker was knocked out of the game for a few moments, but was back on the field (running a reverse and WR pass) on the next Golden Gopher possession.
Posted on: September 17, 2009 10:25 pm
Like the rest of his Yellow Jacket teammates, Derrick Morgan is struggling with the 3rd game in only 12 days tonight at Miami.
Morgan was being asked to make an even tougher move than the rest of the Georgia Tech squad, as he was moved to outside linebacker for much of the first half and the move clearly backfired.
As I noted earlier today, Morgan had been among the most dominant defenders in the country over the first two games -- racking up 5 sacks during that time. He was dominant last week against Clemson, posting 3 sacks among his 10 tackles.
At linebacker tonight, however, his burst off the snap and good strength at the point of attack was robbed from him by playing in space. There, without elite lateral quickness and lacking the instincts and experience in protecting his knees against oncoming blockers, he was essentially silenced.
In the second half, with the game long out of reach, Morgan was moved back to defensive end. Not surprisingly, he's been more effective since.
Posted on: September 17, 2009 7:31 pm
In some circles the comments from Jacksonville Jaguar owner Wayne Weaver about the possibility of drafting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is being taken as an indication that the club has already established the former Heisman winner and current National Champion as a first round pick.
In reality, there remains considerable debate as to Tebow's upside as a pro-style quarterback. I've spoken to scouts who feel he'll never make it as a quarterback and have Tebow rated as a middle round prospect at tight end or fullback. Others, of course, feel he'll acclimate to a pro offense once given time to practice it on a daily basis.
Weaver's most telling quote in the AP story was:
"The game is such an important part of this community, and Tebow is such an iconic figure that people would legitimately think, 'Wouldn't it be great if he was a Jaguar..." I'd be silly to sit here and think that's not going to be a huge thing. Clearly there's going to be a groundswell for Tebow, and we'll have to make that evaluation if we have a draft pick that's going to be anywhere near him." Weaver is no dummy. He owns a franchise that is struggling to sell out games. They have lost a reported 17,000 season ticket holders from last season and may struggle to sell out any game this year. Pumping up local hero Tebow is a way to indicate to his fans that he's disappointed, as well, and eagerly looking forward to bringing in new, exciting talent.
However, in the words of one Jacksonville scout about pegging Tebow as the future of the franchise "Man, we're a long, long way from that..."
Posted on: September 17, 2009 2:17 pm
It used to be that any time the Miami Hurricanes took the field, NFL scouts flocked to their sideline. Rebuilding over the past few seasons, however, has made it so that most scouts have been paying more attention to their opponents rather than those hailing from The U.
Tonight's game between Georgia Tech and Miami is no different as the three elite talents to watch are Yellow Jacket juniors Derrick Morgan (DE), Jonathan Dwyer (RB) and Morgan Burnett (FS).
Though the running back Dwyer gets much of the attention, Georgia Tech's consistently in churning out highly rated defensive linemen and Morgan's early season success has him flying up draft boards. Morgan, who has 5 sacks over his first two games, was especially dominant last week in a nationally televised game against Clemson. Morgan had a game-high 10 tackles, a personal-best four tackles for loss (13 yards), and three sacks (nine yards). I've spoken to NFL scouts who believe that when it is all said and done, Morgan could leap ahead of SEC stars Greg Hardy (Ole Miss) and fellow junior Carlos Dunlap (Florida) to be the highest rated DE potentially available for the 2010 NFL Draft.
While the Yellow Jackets have the better draft-eligible talent, Miami has some intriguing seniors to keep an eye on. Left tackle Jason Fox has been rising up the board recently for his play. He won't be matched up often against Morgan due to the fact that Morgan typically lines up at left defensive end (against the right tackle), but his athleticism is worth watching -- especially on the few occasions they are pitted against each other.
Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton, a potential riser in a relatively weak class at inside linebacker (at least after Florida's Brandon Spikes) will have to be especially cognizant on his reads against the Yellow Jackets' unique triple option offense.
Posted on: September 15, 2009 6:43 pm
One of the features I'm proudest that we have carried over from the original NFLDraftScout.com to our work here at CBS is The Draft Slant, a weekly PDF written by fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I.
What makes Draft Slant different from all of the other information I've seen available from a draft perspective is that it is updated weekly. I offer a Prospect of the Week based on the film review done of last weekend's games, as well as a Diamond in the Rough and Eight Others that jumped out at me during film work. Chad previews the coming week's action with detailed analysis as to who exactly to watch (and why).
The ten prospects that will be featured in this week's Draft Slant are:
Player of the Week: FS Taylor Mays, USC (awesome athlete, but some troubling mistakes against Ohio State)
Diamond in the Rough: OT Tony Washington, Abilene Christian (among the 5 best athletes among senior OTs)
Eight Others from the Film Room:
Posted on: September 12, 2009 2:48 pm
Fresno State and Central Michigan are giving Wisconsin and Michigan State all they can handle thus far this morning.
The most impressive NFL prospect for the Fresno State Bulldogs thus far has been junior running back Ryan Matthews, a 5-11, 220 pound back with good straight-line speed, vision for the cutback, some wiggle in the hole and impress forward lean in short yardage situations.
For the Badgers, tight end/H-back/fullback Garrett Graham has been his typically sure-handed self and showed better than expected strength and hand placement as a blocker on one of Wisconsin's early scores.
Quarterback Dan LeFevour has been the story for Central Michigan. He has the accuracy and arm-strength scouts are looking for in a developmental quarterback, but for those that haven't seen him, his ability as a runner has led to comparisons to that Tebow guy down in Florida.
Posted on: September 10, 2009 2:07 pm
While the beginning of the NFL season is generating all of the buzz, scouts will be looking towards another game this evening, as well.
A key ACC clash between Clemson and Georgia Tech will begin at 7:30 EST on ESPN.
The game features two of the country's most dynamic runners in the Yellow Jackets' Jonathan Dwyer , a 5-11, 235 pound junior who earned ACC Player of the Year honors after leading the conference with 1,395 rushing yards and senior CJ Spiller (5-11, 195), who led the conference with 1,770 all-purpose yards and enters the game as NFLDraftScout.com's only senior running back to have a first round grade.
Dwyer's eye-popping success is generated from a combination of his own talents and Georgia Tech's triple option offense, which often puts the ball in his hands in space.
Spiller has an opportunity to emerge from the shadow of James Davis, with whom he shared the bulk of the carries over the last two years. Spiller began the season last week against Jacksonville State in spectacular fashion, returning the initial kickoff for a 96 yard touchdown -- an ACC-leading 4th of his career. A tight hamstring limited him the rest of the way, however.
The backs are hardly the only talents to watch in this game, however. Clemson boasts an athletic defense, including senior pass rusher Ricky Sapp . With defenses likely to focus on Spiller, wideout Jacoby Ford could have another big game. The track champion started the season against the Blue Raiders with 3 catches for 70 yards, including a 43 yard touchdown.
Georgia Tech features other highly ranked underclassmen in defensive end Derrick Morgan and free safety Morgan Burnett .
Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:14 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2009 9:31 pm
During Bob Stoops' weekly press conference, he notified the media that All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham underwent a scope to determine the severity of the knee injury he sustained during practice last week.
While the results of the scope hadn't been determined at the time of the press conference (leading Stoops to speculate as to when Gresham might be able to return), doctors made the determination that Gresham required extended surgery to stitch together the cartilage in his knee.
The loss of Gresham for the season is a potentially catastrophic blow to the Sooners' offense. The All-American, who, when healthy rated as NFLDraftScout.com's 4th overall senior prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Because Gresham played as a true freshman in 2006, he could elect to take a medical redshirt this season. Assuming he returns to health, he could re-emerge as a potential top ten prospect.
Should Gresham elect to leave school after this season anyway, it is quite possible that he'd still be a Top 100 selection. Certainly Gresham would have to clear the extensive medical testing that would happen at the Combine, but considering his talent and the relative success rate of today's knee surgeries, he remains a prospect scouts will be keeping an eye on.