Tag:Donald Butler
Posted on: March 10, 2010 7:06 pm
 

Husky defenders surprise at UW Pro Day

Washington inside linebacker Donald Butler made a strong impression at the Senior Bowl, earning himself a late invitation to the Combine after being passed over initially.

Then he surprised scouts in Indianapolis with his strength; leading all linebackers with 35 repetitions of 225 pounds. A sprained ankle suffered in Mobile kept him out of the rest of the drills, however.

Healthy, Butler helped himself Wednesday in Seattle, running in the high 4.6s to low 4.7s, according to those in attendance, and leading all participants with a 35.5" vertical jump.

While Butler may have solidified his reputation as one of more unheralded inside linebackers of this class, the player who helped himself the most was clearly pass rusher Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

Scouts (and I, as well) had often characterized Te'o-Nesheim as a try-hard, limited athlete with little to offer NFL teams in terms of upside. He leaves UW as a four-year starter and the team's career leader with 30 sacks. However, he helped his cause with a solid performance at the Combine, ranking among the best defensive linemen in the vertical jump (37), 3-cone drill (6.91) and short shuttle (4.18).

At the Washington Pro Day Wednesday, Te'o-Nesheim proved both bigger (6-3 1/2, 267 pounds) and faster (4.63) that scouts expected.

Considering his straight-line speed and the surprising agility he's shown during drills, a number of teams are beginning to look at Te'o-Nesheim as a rising prospect for the 3-4 rush linebacker position. I felt that he could be successful in this role due to his pass rush ability and instincts. There are few players in the country who play with greater and more consistent hustle and intensity that he did throughout his career.

The Combine and Pro Day drills often identify workout warriors whose film doesn't back up the athleticism they show in shorts.

For Te'o-Nesheim, who I once characterized as a likely priority free agent,  the surprising athleticism he's showing during these drills could really boost his stock -- perhaps to the middle rounds.

Seattle, San Diego, Cleveland and Indianapolis were among the teams represented at Washington's Pro Day.
Posted on: March 4, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Weatherspoon raises the bar at Mizzou Pro Day

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon didn't have to work out at his Missouri Pro Day after putting together one of the better all-around performances from the position just last week at the Combine.

However, he'll earn points with NFL scouts for allowing his competitive spirit get the better of him and pushing him to work out.

He'll earn extra points for that competitive spirit resulting in significantly better results, as well.

Weatherspoon had "officially" been clocked at a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. According to published reports, he was clocked in the high 4.4s to low 4.5s Thursday.

Weatherspoon also surprised scouts by electing to do the bench press. The 34 repetitions he'd put up in Indianapolis was second to Washington's Donald Butler (35). Weatherspoon tied Butler's 35 repetitions Thursday, setting a new personal best.

At a time when some athletes have had their competitiveness questioned by their decisions not to work out for scouts, Weatherspoon's willingness to perform stands out.

It could result in his hearing his name called on another Thursday -- the one seven weeks from now -- during the first round. 
Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:49 pm
 

Combine Surprise Team

Everyone knows that CJ Spiller is going to run well and that Ndamukong Suh is strong. For other standouts, my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter did a nice job of previewing the Combine here.

I wanted to pass along a few of my thoughts, as well.

My Combine Surprise Team list isn't designed to predict which players will post the fastest times in the 40-yard dash (Jacoby Ford) per position or lift the 225 pound bar (Mike Neal) the most times.

It is, instead, a peek ahead to prospects I feel will boost their stock due to all-around strong performances at the Combine.



QB - Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State: Better athleticism than most think and he'll impress with his accuracy
RB - Lonyae Miller, Fresno State: Don't be surprised if Ryan Mathews' backup runs better than most of the other backs tested.
TE - Andrew Quarless: Speed and vertical jump will surprise. Has to catch the ball cleanly.
WR - Taylor Price, Ohio: Watch this kid run his way into the second round.
OT - Selvish Capers, West Virginia: Capers may have struggled in Mobile, but the former TE's athleticism will be on display this week. 
OG -  Marshall Newhouse, TCU: Amongst a relatively unathletic group, Newhouse, a former LT, could stand out.
C -  Matt Tennant, Boston College: Like guards, the 2010 center class doesn't possess many standout athletes, but Tennant's light feet should impress.

DE -  Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida: At 6-6, 260 pounds, Pierre-Paul can backflip his way onto a gymnastics team . How that translates into sacking the quarterback I don't know, but it does speak to his unique athleticism.
(Okay, so Pierre-Paul isn't really much of a surprise. I just wanted an excuse to put up the youtube video. Here is another defensive end to keep an eye on)
DE - Kevin Basped, Nevada: For a kid with his lanky (6-6, 240) frame, Basped is going to surprise people with his strength.
DT - Mike Neal, Purdue: Remember the old Bill Parcells NFL video, "This is why you lift all them weights..." ? Neal does. 
ILB - Donald Butler, Washington: Among the more athletic linebackers no one is talking about.
OLB - Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota: The scouts know about undersized OLBs Rennie Curran, Dekoda Watson and Harry Coleman. They'll know Lawrence's name after this week too. 
CB - Joshua Moore, Kansas State: Nationally underrated corner jumps into primetime this week. 
S - Chad Jones, LSU: I've spoken to scouts who feel Jones is one of the ten best all-around athletes in the draft. Hefty praise considering Jones measures in around 6-3, 230... 



Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:37 pm
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Posted on: January 30, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Players to watch in Senior Bowl

You've read (or heard) us say how much more important the week of practice at the Senior Bowl is than the game, itself.

And while it is true that 90% of the scouts, coaches and front office excecutives that were in Mobile this week have now left, don't think that many of them will miss tuning in to the game (4 pm EST, NFL Network).

All players have an opportunity to help themselves with a strong performance today, but quarterbacks, running backs, and linebackers have historically gained the most.

Tim Tebow , of course, will get most of the attention, but be sure to check out the other South passers. West Virginia's Jarrett Brown could put a emphatic end to the week with a strong performance today and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson has certainly flashed.

Because I promised myself I wouldn't write two consecutive sentences about #15, here's my final one -- don't pay so much attention to his elongated release (which remains the same it has always been), but instead to his ability to take the snap from center and accuracy downfield, as these were the two elements in which Tebow made consistent strides over the week.

It will be interesting, as well, to see if any sort of consistency comes from the North passers. Due to his mobility, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour might be able to shake free some of the rust that hindered him this week. Cincinnati's Tony Pike has the arm to dazzle, but hasn't been able to string together more than a few completions in a row. Oregon State's Sean Canfield has struggled to get passes on a line outside the hashes due to a marginal arm strength, but throws a pretty ball down the seam and deep. If he can connect on a big one, he could leave Mobile with a positive.

The most dynamic running back this week of practice has clearly been Ole Miss' Mr. Everything Dexter McCluster . I haven't written about him, however, as the week of practice -- in which defenders were clearly instructed not to wrap up -- is perfectly suited to the elusive speedster's game. Now, don't get me wrong, McCluster showed remarkable strength and balance throughout his monster season in the SEC and may have a strong game today, but it will be tougher for him to break free for the 70 yarders that he was routinely zipping through in practice.

With defenders able to actually tackle backs, it will be interesting to see how the power backs Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State) and LaGarrette Blount (Oregon) fare. Be sure to watch for Wayne State's Joique Bell , who quietly helped himself this week and I wrote about as a one of the "honorable mention " risers from the week of practices.

Attempting to make the tackle on this blend of size, speed and power and shiftiness is a solid, but unspectacular class of linebackers. I'm particularly interested to see how effectively Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon , TCU's Daryl Washington , Florida State's Dekoda Watson and Washington's Donald Butler are able to fight through blocks and make open field stops close to the line of scrimmage, rather than downfield.

One final to note -- watch out for USC safety Taylor Mays to make an impact as a hitter in this game. As the opposite of McCluster, Mays' game is in the ferocity of his hitting, not the mobility he shows in coverage. Considering that he wasn't allowed to hit much over the week of practice, it isn't the least bit surprising that some feel he's struggled. The reality, is that Mays has been the same player this week as he's always been - the preeminent intimidator over the middle of at least the past ten years.
 
 
 
 
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