Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:06 pm
Though the top Hurricane prospects invited to the Combine -- cornerback Brandon Harris, defensive lineman Allen Bailey, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, linebacker Colin McCarthy, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, running back Graig Cooper and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, among them -- aren't expected to perform the measurables at today's Pro Day, a virtual Who's Who of NFL personnel is expected to be hand to see them perform their positional drills.
Head coaches Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano, Mike Tomlin and Raheem Morris and high ranking front office personnel Gene Smith (Jaguars), Jeff Ireland (Dolphins), Kevin Colbert (Steelers) and Mark Dominik (Bucs), among many others are expected to attend this morning's workouts, according to Miami's official athletic website . According to Hurricanes' staff, 29 of the 32 NFL teams will be represented, with only the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans not on the list. The Patriots have the largest contingent in Miami, with no less than seven representatives having checked in.
Interestingly enough, the Ravens and Jets have their wide receiver coaches on hand (Jim Hostler, Henry Ellard, respectively). Each club is thought to be high on Hankerson and may be considering the Miami receiver with their first round pick.
There are also a host of former Miami stars on hand to watch the workout, including Warren Sapp, Bernie Kosar, Willis McGahee, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and DJ Williams.
Keep NFLDraftScout.com refreshed for updates as we get them.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 10:32 pm
This is Chad Reuter's report from the South Team's Tuesday afternoon practice:
Typically college football fans look to a team's wide receivers to move the ball down the field for their team to be successful, and therefore spend most of their time watching players on the outside during Senior Bowl practices.
The success of New England's two tight-end offense in 2010, however, means teams will be looking to this year's South squad in Mobile, however, for tight ends to cause similar mismatches next season in the copy-cat world of the NFL.
Tennessee's strapping young tight end, Luke Stocker, today looked exactly like the clone of former Volunteer and current Dallas Cowboys starter Jason Witten. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Stocker stood out as a blocker and a receiver, standing up Mississippi State K.J. Wright when setting the edge on the run then catching everything thrown his way when out on routes.
Stocker does not have exceptional straight-line speed, but finds openings between linebackers in which he can sit down, and also between the second and third levels of the defense. His one-handed grab down the left seam was impressive, even more so considering he held on after taking a shot from Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel in supposed light-contact seven-on-seven drills.
Arkansas' D.J. Williams had his best year for the Razorbacks in 2010, leading the team with 54 receptions for 627 yards and four touchdowns--a lot of which came after junior receiver Greg Childs was lost to injury mid-way through the year. He measured in at slightly less than 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, which is not much different than successful H-backs like Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller, and Bo Scaife.
Williams is not going to be a best of an in-line blocker, but consistently ran solid routes to free himself of linebacker coverage over the middle or to the outside. Like Stocker, Williams have allowed no catchable balls to hit the ground this week, extending outside their frame to snatch passes and tuck them in. He's also given good effort as a blocker, but it's difficult for him to sustain against better linebackers outside. He'll be best as a mobile tight end/H-back prospect walling off defenders on the move.
Stocker and Williams are likely second or very early third round picks, and although Alabama's Preston Dial is the "other" tight end in the group and a late-round prospect, the 6-foot-2, 238-pound H-back also showed strong run blocking skills in addition to solid hands. His ability to tap both feet in-bounds while grabbing a pass on the right sideline displayed awareness , hands, and agility scouts weren't sure he had coming into the week.
When watching tight ends, it is nearly impossible not to also watch a team's linebackers, both in their ability to hold up against run blocking, as well as in coverage. The top linebacker on the field today was Texas A&M star Von Miller--and that's not even considering his work as a pass rusher in one-on-one drills.
Miller surprised scouts at Monday's weigh-in with his thick lower body, which he used to hold up Williams and Stocker when man-up on run plays. His coverage skills are what really stood out, though, as the quick Williams could not separate from Miller on out routes because of the former Aggie's own lateral agility and speed.
A linebacker with Miller's closing speed to the quarterback, who also can be effective in coverage, is destined for a slot in the top 20 overall selections.
Another linebacker who looked quite adept in coverage and stopping the run was Miami's Colin McCarthy. Though a bit smaller than hope at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, scouts liked his physicality on the line of scrimmage against the tight ends here and ability to stay low and balanced while running with them on crossing and wheel routes (McCarthy ran with West Virginia Noel Devine down the sideline in Monday's practice). His ability to play all three linebacker positions, probably starting on the strong side, make him a potential top 100 pick.
McCarthy was apparently making strong enough contact in this practice that he needed to get his helmet pumped up by training staff while kneeling on the field.
The South team has two linebackers in this game, OLB K.J. Wright and ILB Chris White. Neither looked as fluid as Miller and McCarthy in coverage, and Stocker consistently stoned them at the line of scrimmage in pass protection and run blocking. Wright was also victimized by Stocker in coverage, with the Tennessee receiver using an overarm move to get inside position down the seam.
Frankly, judging linebackers during all-star game practices is extremely difficult. Tackling is what they do best, and they're not allowed to do that before game time.
But showing the fluidity, strength and agility to cover talented tight ends like Stocker and Williams (who may be seen as similar to the Patriots' rookie tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez) here in Mobile can be a major feather in a linebacker's cap come draft day.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 9:17 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 9:18 am
Super-agent Drew Rosenhaus has a style which makes many people inside and outside of the NFL dislike him. But after the Senior Bowl's South practice yesterday, where watched clients OT Marcus Gilbert (Florida) and ILB Colin McCarthy (Miami, FL), he showed class that his critics would find hard to believe unless they saw it for themselves.
Walking off the Fairhope Stadium field while on his phone (like most agents, Rosenhaus spends most of his life with a phone to his ear), a burly man yelled towards him for an autograph. He pointed to his phone, and continued to walk away to get away from the crowd so he could hear the conversation. The man once again yelled quite loudly at Rosenhaus, saying "my son is a big fan, why won't you take a picture with him?"
Many agents, players or coaches may have continued walking given the rude nature of the father. However, Rosenhaus asked the person on the other side of the line to hold and walked back to the young man waiting for the picture. He smiled, took the picture, and the father thanked him with a enthusiastic handshake.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:37 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 12:39 pm
In today's era of corporate sponsored bowl games often pitting "small school" teams, there is something refreshing about the Miami/Notre Dame matchup in this afternoon's Sun Bowl.
The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish have obviously had their on and off-field struggles this year. Randy Shannon's firing and the tragic death of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student killed while attempting to film Irish practices, have dominated the headlines.
For NFL scouts, however, the story remains the same. Miami and Notre Dame, as always, feature plenty of NFL talent.
In fact, one of the most intriguing one on one matchups of the bowl season will be on display when Hurricane cornerback Brandon Harris and Irish wideout Malcolm Floyd, a pair of first round caliber juniors, face off.
They may be the most entertaining matchup, but there is plenty of other prospects to keep an eye on. The following is the list of top prospects in today's game to focus on, courtesy of my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter.
--Notre Dame DT Ian Williams (6-2, 305, 5.17): The wide-body nose tackle has missed the last four contests but expects to suit up in his last college game.
--Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (6-3, 228, 4.52): If his leg is healthy and he's on the same page as freshman QB Tommy Rees, Floyd will use his big body against fellow junior prospect CB Brandon Harris.
--Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph (6-5, 265, 4.64): A hamstring tear ended Rudolph's season early and he won't be on the field today, but the junior could wind up as the first tight end drafted, whether he elects to leave school early this year or return for his senior campaign.
--Miami (Fla.) DE Allen Bailey (6-4, 285, 4.79): Excellent athlete who flashes pass rush (seven sacks) across from junior DE Adewale Ojomo, but needs to have a consistently strong effort against an average Irish line to impress scouts.
--Miami ILB Colin McCarthy (6-2, 240, 4.67): Heady, versatile, productive (106 tackles, 10 for loss) player scouts believe can play inside or on the strong side at the next level.
--Miami WR Leonard Hankerson (6-3, 208, 4.52): Tall strider who can stretch the field, but faces a strong corner in Notre Dame's Darrin Walls.
--Miami LT Orlando Franklin (6-7, 315, 5.30): Impressive just stepping off the bus, if Franklin's footwork begins to match his strength, he could become a starting NFL left tackle.
--Miami CB Brandon Harris (5-11, 195, 4.45): A highly touted prep prospect, Harris has emerged as the latest in a long line of Miami defensive backs worthy of first round consideration. Only a junior.
This game begins at 2pm EST and will be televised by CBS.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:09 pm
As I mentioned in my last post, my typical Saturday is spent scouting prospects via numerous television feeds. Last weekend, however, I scouted the Stanford-UW game and am just now catching up with the rest of the games and their prospects.
Two senior prospects who didn't make the cut in this week's issue of Draft Slant deserve recognition for their strong performances in close conference losses.
I just wrote up Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore, who torched a talented South Carolina secondary for 228 yards and a touchdown.
Miami inside linebacker Colin McCarthy wasn't quite as statistically dominant, but has flashed whenever I've watched the Canes this season. With quarterback Jacory Harris going down to injury early, the Miami defense was put in the unenviable position of having to make big plays to remain in this contest. That fact made it a great opportunity to scout McCarthy and rest of this talented Miami defensive unit.
The University of Miami may not have the reputation of Ohio State or Penn State for producing NFL linebackers, but with seven of them drafted within the Top 100 since 2000, scouts certainly recognize the program's assembly line of talent at the position.
That fact assures that despite Miami's humbling 24-19 loss at the hands of Virginia, scouts were certain to note the stellar play of senior inside linebacker Colin McCarthy.
Wearing the same No. 44 that the legendary Dan Morgan played with while earning the Butkus, Nagurski and Bednarik awards (the first player to ever do so) in 2000, McCarthy did his best impression of the former Carolina Panther linebacker by racking up an eye-popping 18 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception against the Cavaliers.
On a day when little went right for the 'Canes, McCarthy was almost capable of willing a victory for the team. He was seemingly in on every tackle, scraping down the line of scrimmage to make tackles on the edge, hustling downfield to make tackles on receivers and showing good athleticism and instincts on his interception - his first of the season.
The 18 tackles are the most by a Miami defender this season.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 6:30 pm
As two of the more talented teams in the country, there are plenty of reasons for NFL scouts to take special interest in tonight's showdown between ACC and Big East powers Miami and Pittsburgh, respectively.
The game lost a bit of its luster with the injury and subsequent back surgery for All-Big East Defensive Player of the Year Greg Romeus. It would have made for highly entertaining scouting had the defensive end matched up tonight against Miami left tackle, Orlando Franklin -- especially considering that Romeus would have had the benefit of the home crowd noise behind him.
Still, there is plenty of talent to focus on in this game.
DE Allen Bailey: Bailey is among the more versatile defensive linemen in the country. He's played every one of the four down positions for the Hurricanes over his career, though most view him as a left defensive end or traditional 4-3 defensive tackle. Bailey has not demonstrated the burst off the snap for scouts to consider moving him to the right side. He has enough power to play the five technique (3-4 DE), as well. With injuries along their front, Bailey may be asked to play inside a bit tonight. So far this year he has seven tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He is still looking for his first sack of the season.
OT Orlando Franklin: Though I do not believe he has the quickness or balance to remain on at left tackle in the NFL, Franklin has played well in his first year at the position this season. Franklin plays with the nastiness and physicality that you'd expect from a former guard. At 6-7, 318 pounds I feel he's one of the better right tackle prospects in the country.
ILB Colin McCarthy: Wearing the No. 44 that Dan Morgan made famous, this is the type of game in which McCarthy should excel. Athletic enough to contribute against the pass, McCarthy's instincts and physicality should help him rack up tackles against a Pitt offense still trying to get 2010 Big East Conference Rookie of the Year Dion Lewis on track. McCarthy currently leads the 'Canes with 16 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.
WR Leonard Hankerson: A highly touted prep prospect who struggled with drops early in career, Hankerson has finally developed into the playmaker his raw skills always made seem possible. The 6-3, 215 pound Hankerson with legitimate downfield speed has emerged as Jacory Harris' obvious favorite this season. In fact, not only does Hankerson have twice as many catches (13) as the next Miami receiver (LaRon Howard with six), he has nearly four times as many receiving yards (205) to any one else on the 'Canes roster (Travis Benjamin's 62 yards).
The 'Canes feature several underclassmen to keep an eye on, as well. Chief among them is junior cornerback Brandon Harris.
These are the Pittsburgh Panthers I'll be focusing on:
OT Jason Pinkston: Like Miami's Franklin, I don't believe that Pinkston has the agility and balance to remain at left tackle in the NFL, but he is nonetheless a talented prospect. How he performs against Miami's athletic front seven will go a long way in determining his ranking with the scouts I spoke to prior to this game.
DE Jabaal Sheard: Though Romeus gets most of the attention, Sheard has been Pittsburgh's most consistent pass rusher throughout their respective careers. Sheard, 6-3 and 265 pounds, doesn't possess elite size or speed, but has enough of a burst to gain the initial advantage and closes quickly. Lining up at left defensive end, Sheard has eight tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack, thus far. He leads the team with five QB hurries. Sheard could use a strong performance in this game to distance himself from his last newsworthy event -- an ugly incident in August in which Sheard was arrested after a fight in which he threw a man through a glass door.
SS/OLB Dom DeCicco: DeCicco is the Panthers' starting strong safety, but at 6-3, 225 pounds I question if he has the straight-line speed and agility necessary to remain at this position in the NFL. He's a physical and instinctive defender, however, who enjoyed great production last year (88 tackles, three interceptions, forced fumble). He's struggled with injuries this season and may not be 100% for this game.
Pitt, like Miami, features several underclassmen worth watching. The obvious top player to watch is junior wideout Jonathan Baldwin, considered by some to be the top wide receiver prospect in the country. The 6-5, 225 pound Baldwin will give Miami's talented, but young secondary quite a matchup problem. It will be interesting to see how well Baldwin does when matched up against Harris one on one.
The game begins at 7:30 EST and will be televised on ESPN.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:49 pm
With three DVD burners running around the clock, I'll be recording nearly every televised college football game throughout the year. There is only so much time in the day, so I have to put some careful thought into picking the games (and more specifically, the prospects) each Saturday in which to scout live.
For most of the football-watching world, this weekend will be all about the NFL. I understand that. I'm as excited as anyone for the rest of the beginning of the opening weekend -- especially after the Saints and Vikings looked a bit rusty on Thursday night.
The NCAA season really amps up this weekend, however, with some of the more exciting matchups of the season scheduled. I'm particularly intrigued by the Ohio State-Miami, Florida State-Oklahoma, Penn State-Alabama matchups. A couple of others that haven't received the national hype they normally would due to the "Big Three" but that I'm verrrry interested to scout include Georgia at South Carolina, Colorado at California, Oregon at Tennessee and Stanford at UCLA.
Each Friday night/Saturday morning throughout the rest of the season I'll put up a similar post as this one. Should you like to scout "alongside" me, follow me on Twitter @ RobRang
These are five senior prospects I'll be watching closely:
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State: Ponder looked every bit the part of a high first round pick last Saturday, completing 14 of 16 passes for 169 yards and four touchdowns in the season opener. That, however, was against Samford. Needless to say, he might find the going a bit tougher in Norman, Saturday. Considering that the Sooners struggled defensively against a weaker opponent (Utah State), themselves, Ponder will certainly have Oklahoma's undivided attention. With a win and a strong performance, Ponder could move into the upper echelon of Heisman contenders. How he handles the noise and pressure of Oklahoma's aggressive defense will go a long way in proving to scouts that he's progressed from the poor decisions that ended his last road game. In that contest, at Clemson last year, Ponder threw four interceptions (he'd thrown only three in his previous eight games) and hurt his shoulder making a tackle of safety DeAndre McDaniel (on an interception return), ending Ponder's 2009 season.
QB Nathan Enderle, Idaho: Enderle entered the year as one of the more intriguing senior quarterbacks in the country. Long prior to scouts buzzing about former Vandal Mike Iupati, there were whispers that the Vandals had a legitimate NFL passing prospect. I'm certainly not expecting to see Enderle lead Idaho to an upset of Nebraska in Lincoln, but if the 6-4, 234 pound Enderle is to prove to NFL scouts that he has the moxie and arm strength to handle the pro game, he'll need to show something Saturday. The Cornhuskers are a bit of a step up in competition from last week's opponent, North Dakota. In that game, Enderle completed 24 of 37 passes for 311 yards, two TDs and an INT.
ILB Colin McCarthy, Miami: The great Miami teams of the past all seemingly boasted instinctive, athletic linebackers. In McCarthy, the 'Canes have one of the more intriguing and versatile linebackers in the ACC -- and that is saying something considering the talent in this conference. Wearing the same No. 44 that the legendary Dan Morgan starred with, McCarthy will have to enjoy a strong game against Ohio State if his defense is going to handle this multi-faceted offense. McCarthy doesn't necessarily have to post Morgan-like eye-popping statistics to help his grade in my eyes. He will, however, have to show great instincts and athleticism to contain Terrelle Pryor's running. That, in reality, might be the tougher assignment.
OC/OG Stefen Wisniewksi, Penn State: The play of Heisman-winner Mark Ingram and wideout Julio Jones might have earned many of the headlines, but anyone who watched the Tide throughout last year knows that Nick Saban's bunch won the National Championship based largely on the physicality and depth of their defense. Wisniewksi, the nephew of former Raider great, Steve, will have his hands full with this defensive line. He'll start at right guard, but we currently view his best pro position at center.
OT Nate Solder, Colorado: The Buffs have struggled through some lean years recently, but with Solder, the team boasts its highest rated offensive prospect since tight end Daniel Graham was the 21st overall pick of the 2002 draft (Patriots). Solder, who despite the presence of No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks Trent Williams and Russell Okung, earned First Team All-Big 12 honors from conference coaches last year, is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 senior offensive tackle. The veteran of 29 starts, Solder possesses rare size (6-8, 302) and yet is still quite nimble. He'd be better be Saturday, considering the variety of pass rushers he'll face against California's unique (at least for college) 3-4 scheme. Among those pass rushers is Cal's Cameron Jordan. Their individual battle could be one of the country's best, if most unheralded, of the day.