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Tag:Blair White
Posted on: October 10, 2010 10:39 pm
 

Dazzling/dreary weekend for young pass-catchers

Many of the most interesting NFL and NCAA games over the weekend featured spectacular individual efforts from some of today's best and most athletic pass-catchers.

Unfortunately, there were also some tough injuries to good young pass-catchers that ultimately could take some of the polish from their position-mates' great performances.

In the NFL, standout games from the Giants' Hakeem Nicks (12 receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans), the Chargers' Malcolm Floyd (eight catches for 213 yards and a score against the Raiders), the Cowboys' Miles Austin (nine receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown against the Titans) and the Broncos' Brandon Lloyd (five catches for 135 yards and two scores against Baltimore) put an exclamation point to a Saturday full of big plays by some of the nation's best young receiver prospects.

Among the highligths, was South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery catching seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gamecocks upset Alabama. LSU's Terrance Toliver -- who needed a strong game to save his falling stock -- responded with a six-catch, 111 yard, two touchdown (including the game-winner with six seconds left) to beat the Gators. Eighteen year-old true freshman Robert Woods was even more productive in USC's loss to Stanford, hauling in 12 passes for 224 yards and three scores.

That was the good news. The bad -- and we won't know just how bad we're talking until Monday's MRIs -- could prove just as newsworthy.

For all of the spectacular plays made by pass-catchers over the weekend, there were troubling injuries to some of the NFL's most intriguing breakout stars and college football's best senior prospects.

St. Louis' Mark Bradley, who had developed a quick rapport with rookie Sam Bradley, was carted off the field in Detroit after sustaining a knee injury that is expected to knock him out for the season. Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, an emerging superstar, went down with what the Packers' official site is characterizing as a "hamstring ligament" injury, but certainly looked bad.  Denver first round pick Demaryius Thomas was sidelined with head and neck injuries after a big hit against Baltimore. Peyton Mannings' newest toy, undrafted free agent Blair White, also suffered neck injuries in the Colts' win over the Chiefs. In each case, the young breakout players never returned to the game after sustaining their injury.

The injury front could prove equally bad if the early reports across the college landscape are correct. Oregon State's James Rodgers and Cecil Shorts III of Mount Union each went down Saturday with injuries. Rodgers, rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a potential 3rd round pick prior to injury, suffered an ugly injury to his left knee as he scored a touchdown against Arizona. Even worse for Beaver fans, Rodgers' score was called back due to a penalty.

Few fans have heard of Shorts III, but scouts certainly know of him. He was viewed by some as the elite "small school" prospect entering the year and caught 100 passes for 1,736 yards and 19 touchdowns last year. Shorts III was held out of the second half of undefeated OAC power Mount Union's 28-14 victory over Marietta after sustaining an injury on  punt return in the second quarter.



 
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bills' Spiller, Hawks' Thomas Rookies of the Week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week Three. On offense, it was tough to look past Sam Bradford's first career win (over the Redskins), the continued stellar play of Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki (who I've listed as a finalist each of the first three weeks!) and Indianapolis receiver Blair White an undrafted free agent who was signed from the practice squad due to injuries and responded with three catches for 27 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

In the end, however, the versatility and explosiveness of Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller won out.

Spiller, playing behind veterans Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, didn't get many carries. In fact, he only rushed four times (for 29 yards) against the Patriots. The versatility he showed while starring at Clemson, however, was very much on display against New England, however, as he caught three passes for 10 yards and a touchdown and returned a kick 95 yards for another score. Spiller's ability to make impact plays were one of the reasons that the Bills were able to remain surprisingly competitive against New England, which won 38-30.

It wasn't a particularly strong week for rookies on the defensive side of the ball. Two defensive backs I had high hopes for entering the week -- Bucs' safety Cody Grimm and Broncos' cornerback Perrish Cox -- were torched for touchdowns. Sean Weatherspoon led the Falcons with seven tackles, but other highly touted 2010 linebackers Brandon Spikes (one tackle) and Rolando McClain (four tackles) weren't as statistically relevant nor able to make any big plays in close games.

Big plays, however, was exactly what Seattle free safety Earl Thomas made for the Seahawks, Sunday afternoon in a 27-20 win over the favored San Diego Chargers.

Thomas recorded six tackles, but it was his two interceptions over Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers that helped prove the difference in this game. Thomas' second interception came with only seconds left on the clock and the Chargers in position to tie the score. Thomas read the eyes of Rivers, cut in front of receiver Legedu Naanee and swiped the ball, putting a disappointing end (for San Diego, at least) to Rivers' career-high 455 yard passing day.

Posted on: April 24, 2010 11:51 am
 

Significant talent still at QB, WR, DT

Every position still has a few players to keep an eye on, but a quick look at the best players available shows that the talent at quarterback, wide receiver and defensive tackle is especially intriguing.

The quarterback group lacks a clear-cut front runner. Some teams have Dan LeFevour as the best available. Others have Tony Pike, Levi Brown or Jonathan Crompton. Expect a mini-run on the position in the late 4th and 5th round.

I'm a big Carlton Mitchell fan amomg the receiver group. He's very raw, but has considerable tools worthy of development. Former UAB quarterback Joe Webb is a similarly gifted, long-limbed athlete. Michigan State's Blair White surprised scouts with his straight-line speed and agility in workouts, though this athleticism didn't always show itself on film. What does impress about White on tape, however, is his reliable route-running and sticky hands. He could prove quite the steal as the draft goes on.

The talent at defensive tackle is thinned out with the selection of Al Woods by New Orleans, but North Carolina's Cam Thomas, Virginia's Cam Thomas, Alabama's Brandon Deaderick and especially Syracuse's Arthur Jones are players who could come off the board soon.
Posted on: March 18, 2010 1:09 pm
 

Big Ten WRs steal from Tebow's thunder

Lost in all the attention heaped upon Tim Tebow's Pro Day were two eye-popping results by Big Ten wide receivers certain to improve their draft stock.

I'd listed Illinois' Arrelious Benn as a faller following the Combine after the 6-1, 219 pound wideout was slower (4.57) and sloppier as a route-runner and pass-catcher than expected.

Yesterday during his Pro Day, however, Benn was "pretty spectacular" according to sources on the scene. Scouts from two separate teams, each thought likely to invest a pick in the 2010 draft on a wideout, clocked the big receiver at 4.36 and 4.39, respectively. They also acknowledged that Benn's footwork in route-running drills was much more fluid and that he caught the ball very well.

Benn is viewed by most clubs as a second round pick.

Benn, however, wasn't the only Big Ten receiver to enjoy a eye-popping workout Wednesday.

Michigan State's Blair White, 6-2, 209 pounds, had already impressed scouts at the Combine with better athletic ability than most gave him credit. He spoke about this issue at the Combine.  "I think one of the main things I've heard is that a lot of people think I'm just a possession receiver at the next level," White said. "It's tough trying to overcome that stereotype, because I think I'm better than that and I disagree. But I just have to go out there and let my performing do the talking for me."

His performance did the talking Wednesday, as he was timed at 4.40 by one scout I spoke to. The scout mentioned "no surprises" among White's route-running and catching -- which is to say he was great. Route-running and sticky hands are two of White's best characteristics.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com