Tag:Colorado
Posted on: October 7, 2011 4:09 pm
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Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.
DT Kheeston Randall, Texas: There are certainly plenty of talented players to focus on in this game, not the least of which is Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. While I will definitely be keeping a close eye on Jones' performance, I'm also very intrigued to see if the Longhorns' 6-5, 305 pound senior defensive tackle Randall is able to supply any pressure on the Sooner passing game. Randall has the frame and experience scouts are looking for, but hasn't yet played with any semblance of the consistency needed to earn a high round selection. In fact, through the first four games of the season, Randall has accumulated only five tackles (only two of which were solos). Like Texas, as a whole, to earn real respect, this is a game that Randall must play well. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ABC.

OT Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham: It isn't often that Conference USA teams match up with SEC opponents, but that is precisely the case Saturday when UAB hosts Mississippi State. I certainly do not expect an 0-4 UAB team to perform particularly well against a physical Bulldogs' defense, but the Blazers possess a very real pro prospect in 6-6, 295 pound senior left tackle Matt McCants. I'm anxious to see how McCants holds up physically and athletically against Mississippi State's defenders. By playing for UAB, McCants is a logical local candidate to be invited to the Senior Bowl. I'm hopeful that he'll show in this contest that he deserves the consideration based on his talent, not just his local connections. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by Root Sports/Fox Sports.

RB/WR Chris Rainey, Florida:
Though he's rarely given the credit outside of SEC country, Rainey is one of the more versatile playmakers in the country. The Gators' leading rusher (415 yards) and receiver (14 catches for 246 yards) this season Rainey's exploits on the offensive side of the ball have been well documented, but he's also a special teams threat as a returner and is even tied for the Gator lead in career kicks blocked (five). We all know that LSU's defense is fast. Rainey, along with fellow mighty mite Jeff Demps, possesses the extraordinary speed that could serve as the Tigers' biggest test yet this season. Where Rainey fits into the NFL depends on which scout you ask. Some, however, believe that he could serve as a poor man's Percy Harvin at the next level. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by CBS.

OG Ryan Miller, Colorado: Standing at 6-8 and 298 pounds Miller has the build of a prototypical NFL right tackle, but has played well enough inside at right guard throughout his career that some view his best chance at NFL success remaining there. I'm not sure I among those who feel this way, however, as his height makes him susceptible to the powerful bull rushes he'll see at the pro level. Miller and his Colorado teammates will get one of their stiffest tests Saturday when they travel to play Andrew Luck and Stanford. Stanford's use of the 3-4 defense will be a different look than Colorado is used to and will put additional pressure on the Buffs' interior linemen to get out in space. I'm very curious to see how Miller, a rare five year letterman, handles the challenge. This game begins at 7:30 pm ET and will be televised by Versus.

DL Jared Crick, Nebraska: Among the better defensive linemen in the country over the past two seasons, Crick's senior campaign hasn't gone as expected. While his statistics aren't bad (19 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, one blocked kick), he hasn't been the dynamic presence inside that Huskers' fans had grown used to seeing. Crick will be challenged inside in this game by Ohio State's dependable Mike Brewster, one of the better center prospects in the country. However, with Ohio State struggling to score points, this appears to be the type of defensive battle that in which Crick could make an impact. He's slipped down draft boards this season. A big performance in this key Big Ten game could stop the slide quickly. This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by ABC.
 
Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
   2010 record: 7-9, first place NFC West
 
2011 draft rundown
   Eight total picks -- 25th overall (1st round), 57 (2nd), 99 (4th), 156 (5th), 157 (5th), 173 (6th), 209 (7th), 242 (7th)
 
Top needs
   Offensive Line -- With 10 different starting offensive line combinations last year, coach Pete Carroll said improving the talent up front remains a priority this offseason. The only player guaranteed to return to his starting role of a year ago is left tackle Russell Okung, who flashed the ability to be a standout player during his ten games last season. Former starting guard Max Unger could slide over to center , if the Seahawks elect to allow free agent Chris Spencer leave. Right tackle Sean Locklear is also a free agent who may play elsewhere in 2011.
   Quarterback -- Former Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck is 35 and expected to test the free agent waters. Both he and the team have expressed interest in his finishing his career in Seattle, though it is unknown if the team is willing to spend big dollars on an aging quarterback when the club is clearly rebuilding. The Seahawks paid dearly for backup Charlie Whitehurst in an off-season trade last year, but the veteran showed little during his limited opportunities. Regardless of how the Seahawks feel about Whitehurst, adding a young quarterback to groom for the future is a priority. 
   Defensive Line -- The Seahawks' defensive line played surprisingly well early last season, but the unit's lack of ideal depth was exposed when injuries to starting defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackles Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane occurred. Mebane is a free agent and was surprisingly only given a third round tender by the club.
   Cornerback -- The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last season, tied for third-worst in the league, and allowed an average of 250 passing yards during last year's regular season, 25th overall. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant turns 31 this year, he struggled with injuries for a second straight season in 2010 and is due to make $5.8 million in base salary this season. Seattle's other starting corner from last season, Kelly Jennings, is a free agent this year.
 
First-round focus
   25th overall
   -- With holes throughout their roster and a stated goal from head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider to improve along both lines, the Seahawks have plenty of options at No. 25, which could lead them to trade down. The team is likely to strongly consider any of the top offensive or defensive linemen available, with defensive tackles Corey Liuget and Phil Taylor especially attractive considering the precarious status of Brandon Mebane. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is also an intriguing option considering that the 6-2, 210 pound Colorado star is a perfect schematic fit for Carroll's press coverage scheme. Depth along the offensive line is good enough in the 2011 draft that the Seahawks may be able to get away with waiting until the middle rounds before addressing this concern -- though the OL might just be the team's biggest need. Quarterback is also a critical need and the team may feel free pressured to nab one of the top West Coast Offense quarterbacks like TCU's Andy Dalton or Florida State's Christian Ponder with their first round pick. Neither is likely to be available when the Seahawks draft in the second round.
 
Five names on the Falcons' board
   CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
   OT Nate Solder, Colorado
   DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
   DT Phil Taylor, Baylor
  QB Andy Dalton, TCU

Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Seattle Seahawks Draft Preview

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
   2010 record: 7-9, first place NFC West
 
2011 draft rundown
   Eight total picks -- 25th overall (1st round), 57 (2nd), 99 (4th), 156 (5th), 157 (5th), 173 (6th), 209 (7th), 242 (7th)
 
Top needs
   Offensive Line -- With 10 different starting offensive line combinations last year, coach Pete Carroll said improving the talent up front remains a priority this offseason. The only player guaranteed to return to his starting role of a year ago is left tackle Russell Okung, who flashed the ability to be a standout player during his ten games last season. Former starting guard Max Unger could slide over to center , if the Seahawks elect to allow free agent Chris Spencer leave. Right tackle Sean Locklear is also a free agent who may play elsewhere in 2011.
   Quarterback -- Former Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck is 35 and expected to test the free agent waters. Both he and the team have expressed interest in his finishing his career in Seattle, though it is unknown if the team is willing to spend big dollars on an aging quarterback when the club is clearly rebuilding. The Seahawks paid dearly for backup Charlie Whitehurst in an off-season trade last year, but the veteran showed little during his limited opportunities. Regardless of how the Seahawks feel about Whitehurst, adding a young quarterback to groom for the future is a priority. 
   Defensive Line -- The Seahawks' defensive line played surprisingly well early last season, but the unit's lack of ideal depth was exposed when injuries to starting defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackles Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane occurred. Mebane is a free agent and was surprisingly only given a third round tender by the club.
   Cornerback -- The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last season, tied for third-worst in the league, and allowed an average of 250 passing yards during last year's regular season, 25th overall. Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant turns 31 this year, he struggled with injuries for a second straight season in 2010 and is due to make $5.8 million in base salary this season. Seattle's other starting corner from last season, Kelly Jennings, is a free agent this year.
 
First-round focus
   25th overall
   -- With holes throughout their roster and a stated goal from head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider to improve along both lines, the Seahawks have plenty of options at No. 25, which could lead them to trade down. The team is likely to strongly consider any of the top offensive or defensive linemen available, with defensive tackles Corey Liuget and Phil Taylor especially attractive considering the precarious status of Brandon Mebane. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is also an intriguing option considering that the 6-2, 210 pound Colorado star is a perfect schematic fit for Carroll's press coverage scheme. Depth along the offensive line is good enough in the 2011 draft that the Seahawks may be able to get away with waiting until the middle rounds before addressing this concern -- though the OL might just be the team's biggest need. Quarterback is also a critical need and the team may feel free pressured to nab one of the top West Coast Offense quarterbacks like TCU's Andy Dalton or Florida State's Christian Ponder with their first round pick. Neither is likely to be available when the Seahawks draft in the second round.
 
Five names on the Falcons' board
   CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
   OT Nate Solder, Colorado
   DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
   DT Phil Taylor, Baylor
  QB Andy Dalton, TCU

Posted on: March 9, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Ingram/Dareus run-jump-weigh well @ 'Bama Pro Day

Considering his excellent game tape, consensus top running back Mark Ingram didn't have to run again at Alabama's Pro Day Wednesday, but his competitive nature pushed him into it.

Ingram was significantly faster today at Alabama than he had been at the Combine two weeks ago, posting times between 4.49-4.56 according to a source at the workout. This after measuring only one pound less (214) than he did in Indianapolis (215), where he was timed at 4.62-4.70 in the event.

Dareus, like Ingram, weighed in one pound lighter today (318) than he did at the Combine and posted an 8'10" broad jump -- a drill he did not participate in at the Combine.

Ingram and Dareus measuring in at similar weights as they did at the Combine may seem insignificant to some, but prospects are notorious for dropping or adding signficant weight following the measurements and workout in Indianapolis. Consider that Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was six pounds heavier at his Pro Day yesterday than he was at the Combine. Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, on the other hand, was a full 12 pounds lighter today than at the Combine, according to Chad Reuter's Pro Day report.

Alabama's "other" superstar -- wide receiver Julio Jones -- was present for the workout to root on his teammates and meet with NFL representatives, but was unable to participate in any events due to his recent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. As expected, quarterback Greg McElroy was also unable to participate in the workout due to his rehabilitation after breaking his hand at the Senior Bowl. McElroy is no longer wearing his cast and has scheduled a Pro Day at Alabama for April 5.

All 32 NFL teams were represented at the workout.


Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:19 pm
 

McKnight's time comes at CU Pro Day

Scouts from more than a dozen teams (including New England, Seattle, Buffalo, Cleveland, NY Jets, and Philladephia) came to Boulder, Colorado to see Buffs' hopefuls work out at the school's pro day.

Though OT Nate Solder and CB Jimmy Smith are the Buffslikely to go in the first round, WR Scotty McKnight had the most to prove today because he was not afforded a chance to attend the Scouting Combine two weeks ago.

The fact he had New York Jets quarterback -- and high school friend -- Mark Sanchez throwing him passes in front of scouts at CU's practice bubble also didn't hurt.

McKnight measured at 5-10 1/2, 184 pounds with short arms (29 3/8) and average-sized hands (9 inches). His 13 reps, 34" vertical, and 10'0" broad jump would have put him in the bottom-third of receivers at the Combine, as well, making the likelihood of his being drafted fairly slim.

He displayed nice short-area quickness with his 6.68 three-cone time, however, and well as his routes when receiving passes from the accurate Sanchez. McKnight's ability to flash over the middle and make a move after the catch were on display for scouts to see. He caught everything thrown his way using his hands, extending away from his frame when "The Sanchise" threw the occasional high or low ball (some purposefully, some not).

Solder looked good in positional drills, as you would expect, because of his supreme athleticism. He showed good knee bend and an explosive punch, even sending Denver Broncos Director of College Scouting (and former CU linebacker) Matt Russell to the carpet on a drill simulating hitting an incoming linebacker at the second level. Scouts razzed, then cheered, Russell for his work in drills before Colorado DE Marques Herrod took his place for safety reasons.

Smith corner Jalil Brown looked relatively smooth in the typical defensive back "W" and other drills. The 6-0 5/8, 206-pound Brown helped his stock by running low 4.4 40s and turned his hips a bit more fluidly than Smith during drills, though teams know Smith's forte will be locking down outside receivers in man coverage. Both had multiple drops when adjusting to the ball when simulating corner routes, however.

Smith increased his vertical jump from 36" at the Combine to 37"and ran a 11.19 long shuttle (which is good for his 6-2 3/8, 210-pound fram) in the only measurable times he recorded.

Solder had the worst news of the draftable prospects here, however, when he weighed in at 307 pounds -- 12 pounds lighter than he weighed in Indianapolis. Teams were already wondering if he could add or maintain weight during the season, and that quick loss won't give him a good feeling.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Who'll Run Fastest? My position by position take

As I've noted previously, the most important element of the Scouting Combine to NFL teams lies with the medical testing and interviews.

The most entertaining part of the Combine, however, is of course, the athletic drills. The 40-yard dash, in particularly, has taken on a life of its own as the Combine's preeminent drill.

Ask five NFL scouts to predict who will be the fastest player in Indianapolis this year and you might get five different names. Rather than just identify one or five prospects who could turn in blazing times, I thought I'd give you my pick for each position.

Disagree? Perhaps in the greatest example of how big the NFL Combine has become, you can literally put your money where your mouth is and make prop bets through Bodog.com.

I didn't make any bets. If I had, these would have been my picks.

QB: Jake Locker, Washington -- I'm picking a bit of an upset from the start. Cam Newton is considered the favorite by most to the fastest and perhaps he'll prove he is. I expect each of them to run in the 4.5 range.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech -- It is too bad that Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones is still recovering from a broken bone, as I would have loved to have picked the D-II star to shock the world here. The world will have to wait for his Pro Day. If Williams runs the 4.4 or better time I expect, he could make a push for the late first round, just like former Cal star Jahvid Best did last year.

WR: Ricardo Lockett, Fort Valley State -- Despite the fact that he's a D-II prospect, Lockett's explosive speed at 6-3, 212 pounds makes him a well known commodity to many scouts. Lockette has publicly said he hopes to challenge Chris Johnson's 4.24 second time from 2008. Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates, Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Boise State's Titus Young and Maryland's Torrey Smith can also fly, making wide receiver the year's most competitive group.

TE: Virgil Green, Nevada -- If anyone might have wondered why the Wolfpack lost only one game last year, you can point to the spectacular athleticism of Green, OLB Moch and, of course, QB Colin Kaepernick. Green could wind up in the 4.5s at 6-4 and 250 pounds.

OL: Nate Solder, Colorado -- USC's Tyron Smith is a spectacular athlete, but so too is Solder. There are some who believe he'll produce results similar to the ones that pushed former Central Michigan star Joe Staley into the first round. Staley was credited with a 4.78 second time in the 40 at 6-6, 306 pounds.

DL: Robert Quinn, North Carolina -- With nearly a full year to prepare for these workouts, as well as jaw-dropping athleticism to begin with, Quinn is going to be impressive. Perhaps that's why I listed him as my No. 5 overall prospect in the 2011 draft and have argued for months that he's a more explosive pass rusher than Da'Quan Bowers.

LB: Dontay Moch, Nevada -- Moch stunned scouts last spring when he was clocked in at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. I'm not so sure he can match that time on Indianapolis' notoriously slow track, but he should lap the field in a relatively weak year for linebackers.

CB: Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami -- LSU's Patrick Peterson told the media that his goal in the 40-yard dash was in the 4.2s. Van Dyke might actually accomplish this rare feat.

S: Rahim Moore, UCLA -- I'm not as high on Moore as many are, but there is no denying his pure athleticism. He could be one of the few safeties in this class that can break the 4.50 mark.

Posted on: February 17, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Pre-Indy buzz- Baldin, Smith, House running well

Agents and athletic trainers preparing their athletes for the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis are generally hesitant to put expectations on prospects prior to their official workout.

That said, each year in the week leading up to the Combine there is a buzz in the scouting community of prospects who are already turning heads in the pre-Combine preparation.

This year three players generating quite a lot of buzz are Pittsburgh wide receiver Jon Baldin , Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and New Mexico State cornerback Davon House .

The 6-5, 230 pound Baldwin is reportedly running in the 4.4s and could push the 40" mark in the vertical jump. Results such as this could push Baldin into the first round.

Smith, a 6-2, 205 pound cornerback, has received a lot of national attention in recent weeks as some analysts have finally got around to reviewing his game tape. Graded as a top 40 prospect by NFLDraftScout.com since September, Smith could move into the top 20 if the early reports of his speed are true. Smith, according to sources, has been running in the high 4.3s to low 4.4s. If he runs that well in Indianapolis, Smith will only have to ease scouts' concerns about his off-field behavior to guarantee himself a spot in the draft's opening frame.

Just as many were slow in recognizing Smith's talents, don't be surprised if Davon House is suddenly cast as a draft "riser" if he runs in the high 4.3s to low 4.4s at the Combine, as he's been doing in preparation for the event, according to sources.

House didn't get much national attention playing for the Aggies, but like Smith, he has been highly rated by NFLDraftScout.com all year long. The First-Team All-WAC defender had signed on to play in the Senior Bowl before a recurring ankle injury forced him out of it.

The Combine always reveals some surprises. If these three players work out well, they'll be labeled as surprises by some. NFL scouts and those of us with an ear to the action won't be... 


Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Interviews most underrated component of Combine

The workouts get all of the attention and savvy NFL draft followers know that the medical grades are actually the most important part of the Combine.

One critical piece of the Combine pie that gets very little exposure is the player interview process.

In the past, the interviews teams get with players have only earned attention when something bizarre occurs -- like last year when the Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant about his mother's ... uhhh... profession.

In reality, however, this is an integral part of the Combine.

Teams are attempting to learn through a 15 minute interview if the young man sitting opposite them is one of the rare individuals who will actually work harder after signing a multi-million dollar contract.

When I visited Athletes Performance for an article two years ago on the process high-ranking athletes go through in Combine preparation, everyone there was willing to talk about the revolutionary techniques in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation. Few, however, talk about the significant coaching that players go through to prepare for interviews.

Based on polling various scouts throughout the league, here are 15 high profile players who have as much riding on their interviews with teams as they do the other more hyped components of the Combine.

Players are listed alphabetically.
  • Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
  • Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
  • Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  • Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  • Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  • Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
  • Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  • Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  • Titus Young, WR, Boise State


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com