Tag:Connecticut Huskies
Posted on: October 27, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Pitt loses 3 for season, including RB Graham

The Pittsburgh Panthers got back into the Big East race with an impressive win over Connecticut Wednesday night, but in doing so they lost three players for the season, including junior running back Ray Graham, the conference's leading rusher.

Graham went down to an injury to his right leg on Pittsburgh's opening drive. On Thursday, head coach Todd Graham (no relation) informed the media that Graham's injury was indeed season-ending.

Graham, a 5-09, 195 pound junior had been enjoying yet another spectacular season. Overshadowed the past two seasons by Dion Lewis (now with the Philadelphia Eagles), Graham had nonetheless rushed for a combined 1,273 yards, scoring 12 touchdowns. 

This season Graham was leading the Big East with an average of 134 rushing yards per game. Through eight games this season (including Connecticut) Graham had rushed for a career high 958 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He also caught a career high 30 passes for 200 yards. 

Prior to the injury Graham was considered a potential early entry into the 2012 draft. NFLDraftScout.com had Graham rated as the No. 8 running back and 95th rated player, overall.   

Graham could still elect to leave school early and pursue his NFL dream, though the seriousness of his injury may keep him from working out for pro scouts until after the April draft. As such, it would appear likely at this time that Graham would elect to have the corrective surgery, rehabilitate and return to Pittsburgh to play next season.

While Graham is certainly the most well-known of the trio of Pittsburgh players injured Wednesday night, the Panthers also will be hurt with the loss of junior wide receiver Cameron Sadler (broken sternum) and freshman offensive lineman Matt Rotheram (fractured ankle), each of whose injuries will end their seasons prematurely.   

Posted on: November 11, 2010 3:55 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2010 3:58 pm
 

Don't have NFL Network? Scout Pitt-UConn w/ me

As most football fans know, the slate of Thursday games on NFL Network begins later today with a potential Super Bowl preview between the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons. Each club is riding high at 6-2 and in first place in their respective divisions.

Those fans that don't have NFL Network, however, needn't be wanting for good football on this Veteran's Day holiday. ESPN is offering an key Big East conference matchup between first place Pittsburgh and Connecticut.

Pitt's underclassmen talent at wide receiver (Jon Baldwin ) and running back (Ray Graham, Dion Lewis ) will get much of the media attention, but for scouts the real focus in this game will lie along the Panthers' defensive line.

There is a possibility that reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Year Greg Romeus will make his way back onto the field for the first time since the season opener. The 6-5, 268 pound Romeus entered the season among the nation's top-rated defensive ends and a likely first round prospect, but a back injury and resulting surgery to correct a lower disk problem has kept him sidelined.

In his absence, Pitt has received stellar play from their "other" defensive ends. Scouts knew all about senior Jabaal Sheard , who had played well opposite Romeus in the past and has elevated his play since Romeus went down. Sheard, in fact, has emerged as one of the nation's best pass rushers. He leads the Big East with nine sacks and as Pitt head coach Dave Wannestadt noted recently, his tenacity is one of the characteristics that is boosting Sheard's stock with scouts.

"Jabaal Sheard is having a phenomenal year. You have to really appreciate what he is going through to get to the passer. He just keeps coming and coming. He's rushing the passer as good as any defensive end in the country. "

As I mentioned in a previous post detailing the news of Romeus' impending return , the Panthers don't have to force their star back onto the field early. Junior Brandon Lindsey has done a great job of replacing Romeus (eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss so far).

Pitt's talented defensive line is arguably the biggest reason why the Panthers sit atop the Big East.

Baldwin and, most notably, Lewis, haven't been as dominant this season as perhaps some had expected, but with turnover along the offensive line and at quarterback from last year, it simply has taken them a little while to get rolling. Lewis, who entered the year as the favorite to be the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, has actually been overtaken by the sophomore Graham, himself a future NFL prospect. The Pitt offense has been playing well recently, however.

One bright spot along the Pitt offensive line is left tackle Jason Pinkston , a potential top 75 prospect for the 2011 draft, whose pro future may lie inside at guard.

Connecticut entered the season as a trendy pick to win the Big East and offers some interesting Day Three talent at linebacker and running back. Outside linebacker Lawrence Wilson is the headlining prospect on a senior-laden group in the middle. Junior running back Jordan Todman has emerged as the next big play runner from Randy Edsall's offense. Todman is helped with the blocking by fullback Anthony Sherman , who quietly rates as one of the better all-around senior prospects at the position in the entire country.

As always, those who would like to scout "alongside" me can follow my thoughts on this game (as well as the Ravens-Falcons contest) on Twitter. Follow me there @RobRang.
Posted on: August 17, 2009 10:35 pm
 

Rookie Impressions -- Everette Brown

The Carolina Panthers traded their first round pick in next April's draft to the San Francisco 49ers for the right to select Florida State pass rusher Everette Brown 43rd overall. The All-American registered 21.5 tackles for loss, including an ACC-leading 13.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles for the Seminoles as a junior. Officially listed by the Seminoles at 6-4, 252 pounds, Brown turned up a stunning 2.5 inches shorter at only 6-1 (1/2), which led to his drop out of the first round.

Brown was flip-flopped between left and right defensive end for the Panthers on Monday Night Football against the New Yotk Giants. Some of his more spirited battles came against fellow rookie William Beatty (Connecticut), also drafted in the second round. Brown's sack of Andre Woodson, arguably his best play of the night, was against Beatty.

Everette Brown, Carolina Panthers DE #91 -- Looks even smaller than his Combine measurements. Discouraging inconsistency in his get-off at the snap. Flashed the good burst he'd shown in college, but relied on guessing the snap count too often tonight. Was even occasionally the last on the line reacting to the snap. Had to beat tackle with his initial burst, as he lacked the strength to push the pocket consistently with his bull rush. Lack of upper body explosiveness limits his effectivess in all areas. Good lateral agility to re-direct, but has to get by cleanly, as bigger tackles can simply push him off his route due to his lack of size, strength. Quick hands to get into the tackle's chest. Flashes the strength to pull the tackle down and swim over the top of him. Flashed suddenness to accelerate with the ball-carrier in view. Only marginal strength to pull down the quarterback. Spinning, drag-down tackle for his sack of Woodson in the 3rd quarter.

With offenses having to account for Julius Peppers, Brown has an opportunity to enjoy immediate success. Though his overall play Monday night was a bit disappointing and Brown's lack of prototypical size and strength limits his ability to be an every-down defender, his burst, long arms and closing speed should still make him one of the more successful rookie pass rushers this season.
Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2009 12:28 pm
 

Did I leave off 3 safe guys from article?

 

 A personnel director kind enough to occasionally read my articles and provide some constructive criticism recently told me that I'm missing three relatively safe players from my most recent article posted on NFLDraftScout.com.

The article, which you can read, by copying and pasting the URL address below, identified Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry, LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, Cal center Alex Mack, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie as the safest picks of the draft.

The personnel director pointed out three other players that he thought I should have listed, Connecticut running back Donald Brown, Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and Missouri defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood. Each, he feels, willl be taken in the first round.

Brown, as he explained, "is the last of the top backs. He's pro-ready, a hard worker and has some juice to him." The longtime scout felt that there was a "significant" dropoff from the top three backs -- Moreno, Ohio State's Beanie Wells, and Brown -- to the next tier of backs.

I was the most surprised by his claim that Sooner tackle Loadholt is among the safer prospects of the draft, as I, personally, don't feel he's athletic enough for the left tackle position and may even struggle on the right side. I also question if he's too tall to be moved inside to guard. The personnel director, however, feels Loadholt is an easy fit at right tackle and could surprise at the blind side. "Rare size. Physical. A competitor. The top tackles everyone is in love with are better overall athletes, but I'm looking for football players."

Missouri's Ziggy Hood is a player I've been high on for quite awhile, and was the least surprised by his inclusion in the scout's list. "He's not a world-beater, but he plays his ass off and worked out a lot better than we thought he would. If you need a [defensive] tackle, you'd better go get him in this draft."

 

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/
story/11642682

 

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