Tag:Alex Green
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

OT, RB depth underrated strengths of 2011 class

For most fans of the NFL draft, it is simply human nature to focus on the best players. These, of course, are the headliners that typically are drafted highest and thus, are expected to make the most immediate and lasting impact in the NFL.

Scouts, however, are very well aware of the fact that the big names will only constitute the first 32 or 64 picks of the 254 players selected this year.

As such, they're dedicating much of their attention to the lower rated prospects... and what they've been discovering is the unusual depth at offensive tackle and running back in this year's class.

By now, everyone knows the elite offensive tackles. Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder are all expected to be first round picks . The depth behind the "fabulous five" is worth mentioning too.

Teams are quite high on the toughness and consistency of Alabama's James Carpenter and Miami's Orlando Franklin. With a little fine-tuning, TCU's Marcus Cannon, Indiana's James Brewer and Florida's Marcus Gilbert could surprise. Though level of competition questions abound, no one dominated their opponents as consistently as Villanova's Ben Ijalana throughout his respective career. There are a lot of teams very high on the long-term upside of lower level FBS prospects Derek Newton (Arkansas State), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Willie Smith (East Carolina), Byron Stingily (Louisville) and Byron Bell (New Mexico).

Running backs offer similar depth.

I highlighted three of the "sleeper" running backs that I really like in this video with CBS' Lauren Shehadi. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones and Hawaii's Alex Green are only a few of the backs not getting a lot of media attention that I feel will ultimately surprise. I'm also particularly high on Clemson's Jamie Harper, Louisville's Bilal Powell and Miami's Graig Cooper, though NFLDraftScout.com currently rates all three as Day three picks or, in the case of Cooper, even a potentially undrafted player.

Last year we saw two undrafted free agents lead all rookie running backs in rushing yards. Tampa found their star in former Oregon Duck LaGarrette Blount and New Orleans found a true diamond in the rough in former Tiffin Dragon (and Washington State Cougar) Chris Ivory. The three running backs drafted in the first round -- CJ Spiller (Buffalo), Ryan Matthews (San Diego) and Jahvid Best (Detroit) were all relative disappointments as rookies.

Considering the underrated talent of this year's RB class, don't be surprised if a Day Three find winds up competing for the league's rookie rushing title again in 2011...
Posted on: April 11, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Hawaii RB Alex Green rising as draft approaches

One of the more interesting things about the final few weeks before the draft is watching players move up (or down) draft boards. Often this is the result of surprising workout results or off-field concerns.

Every now and then players start to move up the board simply because teams are dedicating more time to watching the film.

Hawaii running back Alex Green could be the latest prospect to get this late, preferential treatment.

Much of Hawaii's offensive success in recent years has, of course, been through the passing game. The 6-0, 225 pound Green, however, gave the Warriors' their first 1,000 yard rusher since 1992 and surprised scouts with his natural running skills at the East-West Shrine Game and speed (4.45) at the Combine.

Teams are starting to look at Green as a legitimate middle round possibility, ahead of some very big names at the running back position.

The St. Louis Rams have recently been tied to Green as they are looking for a big back to get meaningful snaps behind star Steven Jackson. I've been able to confirm that the Rams are bringing in Green for a visit, but St. Louis is far from the only stop on his schedule.

In fact, the Eagles, Titans, Lions and Falcons have all either already flown Green in or will be doing so over the next few days.

Green is currently rated as a 5th round prospect and the No. 14 rated running back by NFLDraftScout.com -- though it appears that perhaps we are rating him far too low...


Posted on: February 20, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- Hawaii RB Alex Green

Between today and the beginning of the NFL Combine Thursday, I'm going to list one player per position who I see as having the most riding on their performance. That means multiple updates each day, so keep tuning in.

You'll see a couple of overriding themes with the players I select. Many are underclassmen - as many of them have more to prove to scouts - and many are players with either off-field or medical concerns.

Unlike at quarterback, where Ryan Mallett fit all of these characteristics, I see a potential diamond in the rough at running back with the most to gain (or lose) at the Combine. Hawaii's Alex Green is a senior with no known off-field or medical issues and certainly lacks the name recognition of some of this year's top backs, but I like his combination of size (6-0, 220), burst and hands out of the backfield.

The 2011 class of running backs is a very solid group. There is only one surefire first round pick in my opinion -- Alabama's Mark Ingram -- and two others I see as possibly sneaking into the top 32 (Illinois' Mikel LeShoure and Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams). Because either LeShoure and Williams could leap into the first round conversation with a dynamic showing in Indianapolis, I strongly considered listing them here. I believe entirely too much draft analysis is spent on the top 40-50 players, however. Real scouting begins in the middle rounds and extends into free agency, which is one of the reasons why I'll be watching Green closely.

Consider these three facts.

1. There were 12 running backs selected in the 2010 draft.
2. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates 27 running backs as potential draft picks in 2011.
3. Green is rated 20th and a 6th-7th round pick.

As a junior college transfer playing for the most geographically remote team in the country, scouts haven't seen a lot of Green despite the fact that he led the country with a gaudy 8.2 yards per carry this season. Now, before you dismiss his numbers as a product of the Warriors' dynamic offense, recall that Hawaii's spread attack is pass-heavy, inflating the numbers of their quarterbacks and wideouts, but deflating the production of their running backs. In fact, since former head coach June Jones implemented Hawaii's spread offense in 1999, Green is the first back to ever surpass the 1,000 yard mark. Hawaii's historical struggles running the football go back even further. They haven't seen a 1,000 yard runner in nearly 20 years (1992). Green rushed for 1,199 yards this season.

Scouts were impressed with Green's build and burst at the East-West Shrine Game. Ultimately, however, to remain at running back and not be thrown upon that heap of "oversized running" fullbacks, Green will need to perform well this week in athletic drills. He's been estimated to run in the mid 4.6s. If he runs that slow in Indianapolis, he'd better get used to the idea of blocking -- and that is if a team gives him a shot as a utility fullback.

If, however, he can run in the low 4.5s and show some explosiveness in the jumps and shuttle drills, he'll reinforce the positive impressions he made in Orlando.

I argued that the Combine could prove very important for Ryan Mallett. How he performs in drills and interviews could dictate whether he's a first or third round pick.

The week could be even more important for Green. If he performs well, I could see him being drafted as high as the middle rounds. A poor performance, however, could see him slip right on out of the draft entirely. 





Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:22 pm
 

E-W Shrine Game - Monday practice report

It has been reported elsewhere that Monday's practices for the East-West Shrine game were cancelled. Though the conditions were certainly less than ideal, practices did, in fact, go on. NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Chad Reuter is in Orlando and contributed this report.

East-West Shrine Game report
by Chad Reuter
Monday, January 17, 2011


Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the first day of East-West Shrine Game practices. With thunderstorms rolling through north central Florida all morning, Shrine Game officials decided to move the afternoon practices into the Rosen Plaza Grand Ballroom.

Yes, I said "ballroom"--players running around an empty room with sconces on the wall and mirrors and chandeliers on the ceiling. And no, we were not scouting player for future appearances on "Dancing with the Stars".

Interceptions were made off the wall. Plants got knocked over in the area outside the ballroom when one-on-one pass rush drills were going on.

It was climate-controlled and the green-and-salmon carpeting could be considered as an "artificial turf." The Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Alabama, has had to do similar things because of weather, it is still less-than-ideal conditions for evaluating talent.

Still, there were a few players that piqued scouts' interest with their physique, effort, and footwork .

UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin is the player with the most to gain (or lose) with his efforts here. He's not suited up all year due to his suspension for NCAA infractions and violation of team rules.  So far, he's looked quick off the snap and strong. Right guards Bryant Browning (Ohio State) and Randall Hunt (Illinois) stood up to him in pass protection fine, but it won't be surprising if Austin starts to dominate when the practices head outside.

Austin's East squad teammate, Lehigh tackle/guard prospect Will Rackley pancaked high-motor and low-bulk Richmond defensive tackle Martin Parker and handled ultra-productive UCF defensive end/linebacker Bruce Miller on the edge. Rackley did get coaching, however, keeping his head up during a drive-blocking drill. "If you're looking at the ground, you're doing it wrong!" his coach bellowed.

Parker exacted revenge for his earlier play against Missouri State tackle/guard David Arkin, getting under his pads to get the "B" gap on one play, then bull rushing Arkin into the quarterback on the next.

East team receivers had some issues with consistency catching passes today. Perry Baker (slight at six-foot, 167 pounds) from Fairmont State show real quickness and hands to extend on high throws from Tyrod Taylor. He dropped other very catchable passes, however. Another small school receiver, Cecil Shorts III from Division III runner-up Mount Union, did not make the same adjustment on a high throw that Baker did, but redeemed himself on the next practice rep by displaying his quick feet and snatching a heater thrown behind him.

Big six-foot-three, 211-pound receiver Terrance Tolliver also had a couple of drops, a problem plaguing him throughout his career at LSU.  Lesser-known Florida Atlantic Lester Jean, with nearly identical measurement, showed better feet on comeback route and more consistent hands than Tolliver.

In the West practice, head coach Wade Phillips did not even have his players wear helmets like Dan Reeves'  squad did in the earlier session.  They still ran nearly all of the same drills as the East team.

Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is in a similar position as Austin, as he needs to prove himself after his mid-season benching in favor of Ryan Tannehill -- who took the team to a BCS bowl. Johnson an impressive receiver build at 6-5, 250 pounds  with 35 inch arms--not unlike current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb. But long delivery is an issue and his 9.5-inch hands are only average for quarterbacks, and a couple of his wobbly throws today verified that this could also be a problem for him down the road.

LSU offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale is one of the most impressive looking athletes at this game. He measured six-foot-five, 336 pounds (about 20 pounds over his listed weight) with 35.5-inch arms.  At times he used his athleticism and length to seal the edge and get out in front of plays run to his side--whether at left or right tackle.

But the inconsistency that cost him an invite to the Senior Bowl also appeared today. Boise State Ryan Winterswyk looked stronger and quicker on a couple of snaps until Barksdale used his length to carry Winterswyk around the pocket and into a crowd of scouts lined up behind the play.

Another impressive athlete on the West squad is Southern Cal tight end Jordan Cameron. The former basketball Trojan player looked very smooth and displayed solid hands, as he had during the season in his limited opportunities. I thought Jimmy Graham really helped himself at the Senior Bowl last year, an the six-foot-five, 245 pound (and growing) receiving tight end might be heading that direction, as well.

Nevada defensive end Dontay Moch was extremely productive as a pass rusher in college (42 tackles for loss, 15 sacks), but projects as a linebacker at the next level (checked in at only six-foot-one, 229 pounds in the morning's weigh-in). The athleticism he displayed in limited opportunities at linebacker for the Wolf Packer was evident again today. He looked like a defensive back during flip-your-hip drills and was very quick dropping into coverage during team scrimmages. He also took coaching well during practice.

Weigh-in Notes:
-One of the biggest stories (literally) of the Monday morning weigh-in was Canadian college player Martin O'Donnell. He came just one-eighth inch short of six-foot-ten. Though raw playing both left and right tackle, he gave good enough effort to potentially get a training camp invite this summer. He also displayed some skills as a long snapper.

-Despite Tolliver's issues catching passes, his 10 inch hands were the biggest among the receivers; yet Fairmont's six-foot Perry Baker had the longest arms at 33.5 inches.

-UCF right tackle Jah Reid measured six-foot-seven, 325-pound body with 34-inch arms but looks like he could get to 350 pounds without losing a lot of mobility. He's a player to watch this week.

-Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle stood just five-foot-nine and five-eighths and 227 pounds to be the smallest second-level defender here this week. Iowa State safety David Sims also came in just north of five-foot-nine, while Boise State safety Jeron Johnson eclipsed five-foot-ten, which was no given in scouts' eyes.

-Former Penn State and recent Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin beat the six-foot-three mark scouts hoped he would, while Virginia Tech passer Tyrod Taylor measured nearly six-foot-one, better than most NFL folks here expected.

-Running back Alex Green from Hawaii was one of the few players who weighed significantly less than listed. He looked all of 230 pound during the season, but has dropped about ten pounds, presumably to get a bit quicker (which he appeared to be in practice).

Chad's daily practice reports from the Shrine Game will be available either here on the blog or as feature stories accessible from the main page. Either way, for the best in NFL Draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Hawaii RB Green moving up boards

Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter did a great job of highlighting the prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games , but scouts tipped me off just last night of another talent that is quietly shooting up draft boards.

It just so happens that he plays tonight.

Hawaii running back Alex Green (6-1 and 230 pounds) is coming off as dominant a two-game stretch as you'll see in college football. Over the past two games (New Mexico State, UNLV), he's averaged 231.5 yards and two touchdowns.

Now, before you dismiss his numbers as a product of the Warriors' dynamic offense, recall that Hawaii's spread attack is pass-heavy, inflating the numbers of their quarterbacks and wideouts, but deflating the production of their running backs. In fact, since June Jones implemented Hawaii's spread offense in 1999, Green is the first back to ever surpass the 1,000 yard mark. Hawaii's historical struggles running the football go back even further. They haven't seen a 1,000 yard runner in nearly 20 years (1992).

Scouts are encouraged by the fact that Green, who is surprisingly agile and explosive for a back his size, is playing better as the season ends. When others were struggling down the stretch, he's getting stronger.

Some of the reason for that is he's fresh. Green has rushed for 1,168 yards this season despite getting only 10 carries a game (133 carries in 13 games). That equates to an average of 8.78 yards per rush, far and away the highest production of any qualified runner in the FBS.

The JUCO transfer only saw 86 rushes (for 453 yards, two touchdowns) in his first season at Hawaii. With "only" 219 carries during that time, he has more tread on his tires than many of the other big backs available in 2011. Consider the rushes just this season from some of the other top rated big backs like Kansas State's Daniel Thomas (276), Anthony Allen (217) and Evan Royster (188). 

Tonight's showdown in the Hawaii Bowl should be the highest scoring bowl game of the year. Both offenses rank in the top ten in the country. Hawaii ranks 9th, averaging 39.9 points per game. Tulsa is just a tick behind, averaging 39.7. On an evening when many of us will be enjoying the bright lights around the tree, the offensive fireworks in Hawaii could be even more spectacular display. 

Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin surely recognizes this fact. As such Green could be a focus of the Warriors' attack tonight, as McMackin reverts back to his defensive roots, (he's the former defensive coordinator of Hawaii, the Seattle Seahawks, etc.). Don't be surprised if McMackin puts the ball in Green's hands to make time of possession more of a factor than it might normally be for his team. 

In doing so, Green's production and draft stock should continue its late season rise.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply 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