Tag:Eastern Washington
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:41 am
 

WR Kearse, RB Bolden escape major injuries

The University of Washington and University of Mississippi football programs are breathing collective big sighs of relief after what appeared to be potentially serious leg injuries suffered by two of their stars was ruled to be relatively minor.

Huskies wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a 2010 Second Team All Pac-10 selection and currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated wideout for the 2012 NFL Draft, was diagnosed with just a sprained ankle, Monday. Kearse's injury was feared to be much serious when he left the field Saturday in the Huskies' season-opening win against Eastern Washington. Kearse caught only one pass for eight yards in the opener before injuring his ankle.

Kearse apparently wanted to return to the field Saturday, but head coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn't let him. Kearse has already returned to the practice field in anticipation of the Huskies' next game, this Saturday against Hawaii.

The news wasn't quite as good for Ole Miss and their star running back Brandon Bolden, but still quite a relief considering how bad the injury first appeared.

According to Rebels' head coach Houston Nutt, Bolden suffered a "slight" fracture to his left ankle and is expected to miss a few weeks. He is in a walking boot, but could return to the field in September.

The 5-11, 221 pound Bolden is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 14 rated running back for 2012. He currently ranks second in the Ole Miss record books for most touchdowns scored (28), as well as most rushing touchdowns (23).

The Rebels clearly missed Bolden in their opener, losing at home to BYU 14-13. Bolden, voted the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the conclusion of spring drills, only rushed four times for four times for 21 yards before going down with the injury.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Five who could crash 2nd round

My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter just listed a detailed breakdown of NFLDraftScout.com's top prospects still on the board.

I've been speaking to representatives from teams this morning to try and identify a few under-the-radar players who could "crash" the second round and wind up surprise top 64 picks.

Here are a few to keep in mind:

Hawaii WR Greg Salas -- Physical receiver who is a reliable route-runner and hands-catcher. Surprisingly dropped some balls at the Senior Bowl, as he was clearly pressing. Excellent tape, however. Versatile. Can line up outside and in the slot.

Miami CB Demarcus Van Dyke -- He's 6-1 and was timed (hand-held) at 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. He isn't the most physical corner in the world, but the talent is there.

Wisconsin OG John Moffitt -- USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith was the only OL to get drafted among first 14 picks. The next 18 picks saw seven offensive linemen get picked. Tough, physical, reliable linemen don't slip on draft day; they rise. 

Eastern Washington RB Taiwan Jones -- There are plenty of questions about Jones' durability, ball security and level of competition, but the junior is the most electric open-field runner in the draft. Someone will reach to get lightning in a bottle.

California FS Chris Conte -- Overshadowed in the Pac-10 by UCLA's Rahim Moore, but some teams view Conte as the better prospect. Former cornerback who proved to be a reliable open field tackler. Viewed as an ascending talent.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Jonesin' for Speed

Multiple reports are confirmed what everyone already knew: Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones is fast and athletic.

Stopwatches recorded times in the high 4.2's to low 4.3's on Jones' only forty-yard dash attempt. He also put up other athletic testing numbers that would have put him at the top of the running back (or even wide receiver) heap at the Combine. Jones' workout was pushed into mid-April because of a foot injury suffered in the Football Championship Subdivision play-offs. He appeared to be fully healthy in today's workout.

Jones' production and speed already had scouts pegging him in the third round of this year's draft, with the assumption he would run as well as he did today. He ran for 1,742 yards and 14 TD in just 12 games this fall, catching 24 passes for 342 yards and three scores. He showed great promise as a kick returner in 2008, averaging 36.3 yards a try with one touchdown but averaged just 20.4 a return in 2009, 20.9 this season.

Scouts won't like the fact he missed games with an "abdominal contusion" and foot injury this year--in addition to being nicked up with hip, hand, shoulder injuries in 2009 and sitting out with a broken leg in 2008.

He also fumbled 18 times the past three seasons (17 in 2009-2010), losing eight (seven).

That sort of injury track record and lack of ball security won't sit well with teams, who know the hits will come much harder and faster at the next level.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: March 27, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Video - Taiwan Jones fastest man in 2011 draft?

The key to running a fast time in the 40-yard dash, trainers say, is to start fast. 

If that theory proves true, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones may prove to be the fastest player in the 2011 draft.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo.com recorded a video of Jones practicing the 40-yard dash at the esteemed Athletes Performance. In the video, Jones' coach, Performance Manager Brent Callaway, claims that Jones' 10-yard splits are in the "1.4s." If so, the 6-0, 194 pound running back will have finished the most important quarter of the 40-yard dash faster than anyone tested at the Scouting Combine.

The video shows Callaway coaching Jones on the first 15 yards of the dash. It is Callaway's comments about Jones' starts a little later in the video, however, that will create the biggest stir in the scouting community. At one point he tells Jones he had him at "1.45."

Followng the workout, Farrar asks Callaway the question we'd all like to know -- What's [Jones] been running here?

"Running fast. Running fast," Callaway replies. "We haven't caught him on a full 40 yet, but his first 10 he's been running low 1.4s and that sets him up to run really fast whenever he goes out."

I'll say.

According to sources within the league, the fastest electronically timed 10-yard split run at the 2011 Scouting Combine was by Ohio State's Chimdi Chekwa -- who ran it in 1.52 seconds. Chekwa was electronically timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, only .01 seconds slower than Miami's DeMarcus Van Dyke -- the fastest player at the 2011 Combine. Van Dyke's fastest 10-yard split was 1.58 seconds.*

Jones is training for his Pro Day April 14. A broken bone in his left foot suffered in the playoffs on EWU's run to the national championship kept Jones from working out at the Scouting Combine or Eastern Washington's scheduled Pro Day. Jones, the 2010 Big Sky Co-Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last season.

He is a player I'm very high on. I believe he's the most electrifying open field runner in this class. He comes with legitimate durability concerns, but his versatility and athleticism could make him an immediate difference-maker in the right offense. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates Jones as a 3rd-4th round pick .

*These electronically-timed results are the ones used by NFL teams and in some cases different than the times reported during The NFL Network and NFL.com's coverage of the Combine. NFL.com credits Van Dyke with a 4.28 second time in the 40-yard dash and has LSU's Patrick Peterson and Maryland's Da'Rel Scott tied for second place in the 40-yard dash at 4.34 seconds. The fastest electronic times, on the other hand, for Peterson and Scott were 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash (1.57 in the 10-yard split) and 4.38 and 1.55 seconds, respectively for Scott.

Here is Farrar's video: 








Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Taiwan Jones out of boot but won't run at Combine

Eastern Washington junior running back Taiwan Jones is out of the boot he'd be wearing to protect a broken left foot and is preparing to run for scouts at Hawaii's Pro Day March 31, according to a source close to him.

Jones would be allowed to work out at Hawaii's Pro Day because that workout will take place in California -- Jones' home state.

Jones had been wearing the boot since undergoing surgery. He has been working out at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles to prepare for the Combine and subsequent Pro Days.

It is unfortunate that Jones, the only FCS player to be granted early eligibility into the 2011 draft, will be unable to run and jump for scouts at the Combine later this month. The 6-0, 200 pounder is an electric open field runner who rushed for 1,742 yards this season, scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground. The former cornerback averaged a stunning 7.9 yards per carry over his 24 game collegiate career. Jones has been compared to Tennessee's Chris Johnson and Kansas City's Jamaal Charles for his almost video game-like combination of speed and elusiveness.

His production was a vital component of Eastern's rise to the FCS Championship. Despite the success of the program, as an FCS player, Jones is a relative unknown. Had he been able to work out in Indianapolis, he could have generated a great deal of interest with in less than four and a half seconds with an impressive workout. One regional scout who visited Eastern's campus in tiny Cheney, Washington characterized Jones as a "legiitmate 4.3 guy with explosive hops."

Jones, according to the source, can do just about anything on the foot -- walk, lift, jump -- except run.


Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:57 pm
 

EWU RB Jones 57th underclassman in draft

According to an NFL spokesperson, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones was indeed granted special eligibility for the 2011 draft.

There had been some confusion as Jones was not among the record 56 underclassmen listed on a league press release provided yesterday.

The NFL's initial release "included only Division I-A players" and that Jones, as well as any other FCS players, would be mentioned in a later release by the league.

Until the league releases its non-FBS list to teams, the NFL was unwilling to list any other FCS underclassmen who may or may not be included in the 2011 draft. The spokesperson did confirm, however, that Jones turned in his paperwork and is eligible for the 2011 draft, making him the 57th (and counting?) underclassman available. 

The 6-0, 200 pound Jones rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns for the FCS champion Eastern Eagles. Jones was unable to play in the national championship game, however, as he broke a bone in his left foot earlier in the playoffs. He'd rushed for 230 yards against North Dakota State before sustaining the injury.

Jones, a former cornerback, possesses a combination of speed and elusiveness that quite frankly is rare at the the FCS level. He is currently rated as a 5th round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, but if he can prove his health to scouts at the Combine, he could skyrocket up draft boards.

Teams are always going to be hesitant to draft a running back with Jones' marginal build and history of injuries (broken foot, broken fibula in 2008, hand, shoulder and hip flexor issues in 2009), but in terms of explosiveness, Jones ranks with any back in this draft. 
Posted on: January 15, 2011 11:41 am
 

Poor decisions mar underclassmen deadline day

For NFL teams looking at a less than impressive senior class, January 15 has developed into a holiday of sorts. As the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, teams are hopeful that a few more presents will pop up to enhance the crop they've already seen.

It has been a bountiful catch already. Each player selected in the top five will be underclassmen, with Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara and Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller rating as the only seniors likely to have a chance at the top ten.

But for every Da'Quan Bowers or A.J. Green physically ready to make the leap to the NFL, there are other underclassmen who should have remained in school.

As of this morning I've been told of 55 players making the leap. Some of them, quite frankly, are leaping off the cliff of undrafted free agency.

Some of the most troubling decisions were made by running backs and safeties. 

Consider that so far this year there have been 12 underclassmen running backs who have declared for the 2011 NFL Draft.

There were only 12 running backs drafted last year.

For players like Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones, Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, and Wisconsin's John Clay, the decision could turn out disastrous.

You can't get three backs more different than the 5-11, 190 pound speedster Jones, the 6-0, 220 pound Evans and the 6-1, 248 pound bruiser Clay. Yet all three have struggled with durability and will be entering the NFL without the offenses taylored around their game that helped each standout at the collegiate level.

Jones, who has struggled the most with injuries but is the most physically gifted of the three may be one taking the biggest gamble, especially considering that scouts are going to naturally question his FCS competition. Even if he'd returned for his senior season and helped Eastern and again struggled with durability, he'd have potentially had the opportunity to play in a senior all-star game.

The weak senior running back class (scouts aren't sure there will be a single senior drafted in the top two rounds) convinced many of these underclassmen to come out. The same is true at safety. At of this morning, "only" five safeties had declared early for the draft -- UCLA's Rahim Moore, West Virginia's Robert Sands, Iowa's Tyler Sash, Georgia Tech's Jerrard Terrant and Florida's Will Hill -- but two of them could be making significant mistakes.

Moore and Hill have made some eye-popping plays over their respective careers, but each is coming off a disappointing junior season and surprised scouts with their decisions to leave early. Perhaps surprised isn't the correct word. Scouts had known that each was strongly considering the jump for the last month or so, but it doesn't change the fact that each was more highly thought of at the end of last season -- had much to gain with a strong senior year -- than they did by coming out now.

Moore, in particular, has been labeled by many as a first round caliber prospect, but after doing my film review of him this past week, I see an unreliable open field tackler who is inconsistent in coverage. His FBS-leading 10 interceptions in 2009 may have been a by-product of the play of his former teammates, now NFL players (Bucs' DT Brian Price and Titans' CB Alterraun Verner). Without them, Moore intercepted one pass in 2010.  I gave him a 3rd-4th round grade.
Posted on: December 23, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Bowl standouts so far

We've only just begun the bowl season and yet already there have been several noteworthy performances from NFL hopefuls. Here is a quick run down of five prospects who have caught my eye with their impressive play.

OT Matt Reynolds, BYU --
The junior left tackle may lack the elite athleticism to remain at the blindside position in the NFL, but his balance, lateral agility and strong upper body impressed me Saturday in the Cougars' win over UTEP. At 6-6 and 322 pounds I love his size and toughness as a right tackle and feel he projects just as well inside at guard. That versatility and Reynolds' durability (started all 39 games of his career) should make him a top 50 pick should he elect to leave early, as expected. Reynolds is expected to leave BYU early as he, like many BYU players, is an older prospect having served two years on a LDS mission.

RB Chad Spann, Northern Illinois --
Fresno State entered the Humanitarian Bowl with all the hype, but it was Spann and the Huskies who dominated this contest. Spann, 5-08 and a 198 pounds, showcased better power than you'd expect for a back of his size. His vision, elusiveness and acceleration are, of course, the characteristics that scouts expect from him. The combination resulted in 95 yards (a 6.3 yard average) and two touchdowns against an athletic Bulldog defense.

CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville --
I've been impressed enough with Patrick this season that I've highlighted him on the blog on numerous occasions , including earlier this week . After reviewing Patrick's performance against Southern Miss in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl again, I can't help but mention him again as he's been as good as any corner I've scouted in this early bowl season. Patrick boasts quick feet, loose hips, physicality against the run and a swagger about him that I feel will help him translate his game quickly to the NFL. He did surrender an early touchdown against Southern Miss (good coverage, but got turned around on a jump ball and was late in locating the very accurate pass), but showed off his competitiveness with a blocked kick, forced fumble, tackle for loss and pass broken up.

WR Austin Pettis, Boise State -- Matched up for much of the night against Utah's talented corner Brandon Burton, Pettis showed off his combination of size, route-running and reliable hands to catch 12 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Pettis should have had another score, but had the ball stripped away from him at the one yard line by Utah safety Brian Blechen. Burton provided tough, physical coverage on several of Pettis' receptions but the Boise star's 6-3, 201 pound frame and strong hands helped him snatch the ball out of the air and protect it from Burton's attempts to knock it free.

QB Pat Devlin, Delaware
-- Ok, so Devlin's Blue Hens aren't part of the FBS and the bowl system, but I've been impressed enough with the former Penn State quarterback's mobility inside the pocket, poise under pressure and accuracy to all levels that he deserves mentioning here. I've spoken to several teams regarding Devlin and there are a number of clubs who feel he could jump ahead of Florida State's Christian Ponder as the No. 2 senior quarterback (behind Washington's Jake Locker) if he is as impressive in a senior all-star game capacity.

I mention Devlin for another reason. Unlike the others on this list, you have one more opportunity to see Devlin play for Delaware. He and his teammates take on No. 1 rated Eastern Washington tomorrow for the FCS Championship.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com