Tag:Jacoby Ford
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:44 pm
 

Colt McCoy, Eric Berry Rookies of the Week

With all due respect to Oakland Raiders' receiver and kick returner Jacoby Ford (who was spectacular in the Raiders' 23-20 overtime win over the Chiefs) and San Diego rookie Seyi Ajirotutu (two touchdown receptions against the Texans), it is time to recognize the play of Colt McCoy with Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.

I've acknowledged the gutty play of Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the past two weeks, but his performance against the New England Patriots demands attention.

In a surprisingly close loss to the Steelers and the Browns' stunning road win against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, McCoy's Browns played well -- but almost in spite of their rookie signal-caller, not because of him.

The stellar running of Peyton Hillis and the inspired play of the Cleveland defense certainly played critical roles in beating the Patriots, but McCoy was deadly efficient as a passer (completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards) and his mobility kept the Patriots' pass rushers frustrated. McCoy's biggest play was his 16-yard scramble for a touchdown on the Browns' first drive of the third quarter. That score gave the Browns a 24-7 lead that proved too much for the Patriots to recover from.

While there were several standout rookie performances on the offensive side of the ball, the pickings were slim among defensive prospects.

New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes had his moments in the loss to McCoy and the Browns, collecting eight tackles in the loss.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry , however, continues to prove he's a young star in the making for the Chiefs. After recording a career-high 10 tackles and his second interception of the season two weeks ago in the home win over Buffalo, Berry showed off his versatility, collecting two sacks on the afternoon.

Berry, the No. 5 overall pick, now has 45 tackles, four passes broken up, two sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery on the season.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 2:12 pm
 

Rookie WRs Ajirotutu, Roberts, Ford no surprise

One of the more entertaining parts of my typical Sunday viewing of NFL games is to see announcers stumble when an unheralded rookie makes a surprising play.

This was the case in several games yesterday, most notably among wide receivers for the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders.

Loyal readers of NFLDraftScout.com and our weekly PDF Draft Slant certainly knew that the big plays from Seyi Ajirotutu, Andre Roberrts and Jacoby Ford , respectively, were no surprise.

I've been accused of tooting my/our own horn on occasion, and perhaps I do it too often. When I do it, though, I provide the evidence that what I say is true.

For example...

Ajirotutu, an undrafted free agent from Fresno State, impressed early last year in a Bulldog loss to Wisconsin (six catches for 83 yards, two TDs) and again at the East-West Shrine Game. Here is what I wrote in Slant about him:
Ajirotutu intrigues scouts in much the same way as former WAC standout Legedu Naanee (San Diego) did for Boise State - with great size, raw speed and physical play. His underrated straight-line speed (reportedly has been timed in the 4.3s) forces corners to respect him deep and his size and crisp footwork gives him easy separation on slants and dig routes. Ajirotutu has shown the ability to high-point passes, using his size advantage to "box out" smaller cornerbacks (see Wisconsin, 9/12). Ajirotutu's physicality also lends itself well as a downfield blocker. In fact, as his blocking Saturday night against the Warriors can attest, Ajirotutu is a significant contributor to the success of junior Ryan Matthews, the nation's leading rusher. Fresno's focus on the running game will keep Ajirotutu's number modest (4-48 yards against UH), but with patience, he has the raw talent to blossom in the pros.

Ajirotutu caught four passes from Philip Rivers for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Chargers 29-23 win over Houston.

Andre Roberts and Jacoby Ford, two undersized receivers mischaracterized by some as strictly big play threats, impressed me during Senior Bowl practices. In fact, in this Senior Bowl practice (Tuesday) review I lavished praise on both.

A receiver on the rise is [Andre] Roberts . Scouts expected him to be closer to 5-10, 180 pounds, but he measured in at 5-11, 192. His quickness has not been hurt by the added weight, and his routes were outstanding. Roberts has the feet to run effective comeback routes, the suddenness to free himself on slants, and the vertical to leap up and grab a high pass on the sideline. Typically one FCS receiver is selected in the top 100, and it looks like Roberts fits that ball in the 2010 draft.
 
Roberts played very well during the Senior Bowl practices. He only caught two passes for the Cardinals in their 24-27 loss to the Vikings, but his 30-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter gave the Cardinals a 14-10 halftime lead.

Ford flashed a week earlier in the Raiders' blowout victory over the Seahawks. Against the Chiefs and one of the better young cornerbacks in the league (Brandon Flowers), Ford was dynamic. Ford returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter for a 94-yard touchdown and caught six passes for 147 yards. If you can believe it, he was even better on tape than he was on the stat sheet, as several of his catches were highlight reel-worthy.

Again, this wasn't a surprise. Here is what I wrote about Ford following the same Tuesday Senior Bowl practice:

Clemson's Jacoby Ford is proving among the more secure handed receivers at the Senior Bowl this week -- a bit of a surprise to some who had labeled as only a big-play threat. Though short, the 5-9, 181-pound Ford has good strength to gain his release off press and has the speed to eat up the cushion. He has impressed scouts so far this week with his ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes and haul in tough catches.

Rather than focus any more attention on these rookies, let's look ahead to this year's senior crop of wideouts. A few underrated receivers that I see slipping a bit on draft day, surprising with a big day (or five) as rookies causing NFL announcers to stumble a year from now include:

Denarius Moore, Tennessee
Vincent Brown, San Diego State
Greg Salas, Hawaii





Posted on: July 23, 2010 8:09 pm
 

Some notes after reviewing the ACC

Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I have been busy the past month reviewing film of the 2010 senior prospects. Chad, as always, is ahead of me and has been steadily producing finished player profiles already in preparation for our 2010 NFL Draft Preview.

I've completed scouting reports for approximately 50 prospects; most of them coming from the SEC, ACC and Pac-10 Conferences.

I've been working on these reports while tracking the NCAA's sudden focus on agent-related benefits potentially being given to NCAA players. I recognize that the story is a huge one, but quite frankly, I wanted to finally present a blog post about actual football, and not just more off-field concerns.

Thus, here are some of my general thoughts based after film review of some of the ACC's biggest names amongst senior prospects.

  • North Carolina, as I've mentioned in previous articles and blog posts, is ridiculously athletic. It is easy to get caught up with DT Marvin Austin or OLB Bruce Carter's athleticism, but the steady play of CB Kendric Burney and OLB Quan Sturdivant jumps off film, as well. I was a little disappointed, honestly, in free safety Deunta Williams... He may be a ballhawk, but the impressive UNC defense hides the fact that he plays a pretty finesse-brand of football...
  • How does Clemson lose C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford and look just as athletic on film? This year though the eye-popping talent is on the defensive side of the ball. DT Jarvis Jenkins really flashes on tape, as does cornerback Marcus Gilchrist. All-American DeAndre McDaniel may have enjoyed as good a first half of football as I've seen a safety have in some time against Kentucky in the Music Bowl...
  • Forget the theory that because Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling is 6-2 he can't play cornerback in the NFL. Dowling is impressive on film; reminiscient of former Utah Ute and current Miami Dolphin Sean Smith...
  • Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey is one of the more fascinating stories in all of college football. The Canes' next first round defender was born and raised in a tiny village (approx. 80 people) called Hogs Hammock on Sapelo Island, approximately 15 miles off the coast of Georgia. He'll be wined and dined by agents and, later, NFL teams as they decide where he fits best in their scheme, but that may not be the best way to get to know this player. The residents of Hogs Hammock fish, hunt and gather shellfish for their meals and are appropriately proud to do so. So much so that once he and his family served a college recruitor a tasty dish... of raccoon .
  • Much has been made of BC linebacker Mark Herzlich's amazing recovery from Ewing's Sarcoma -- as it should. The fact that he's recovery is glorious in itself... but, boy, can this kid play the game too. Here's hoping that Herzlich, North Carolina State linebacker Nate Irving (who missed the 2009 season after a nearly-fatal car accident) and Miami running back Graig Cooper (who tore up his knee in the Champs Sports Bowl) are able to come back and thrill us again this season.

I'll post my thoughts on the SEC and Pac-10 in the coming days.

Posted on: April 19, 2010 7:41 pm
 

ASU WR McGaha helps cause in late workout

Arizona State wide receiver Chris McGaha may have improved his stock with a late workout Monday. The former all-Pac-10 receiver had been unable to workout for scouts at the Combine and Arizona State's Pro Day March 26 due to a strained hamstring.

With teams focusing on their draft board, a scout from the Buffalo Bills was on hand to record McGaha's times and circulate the results to the rest of the NFL clubs through the APT system.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, McGaha measured in at 6-1, 199 pounds and was timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- an impressive time considering McGaha is known more for his sticky hands and savvy route-running and the fact that the workout was done on grass. Most impressive about McGaha's speed was his time over the first 20 yards (2.54). Only one receiver tested at the Combine was clocked faster over the first 20 yards and that was Clemson's Jacoby Ford, whose hand-held time in the 40-yard dash, according to records provided to me by a league source, was 4.24 seconds.

McGaha's slowing over the final 20 yards could have been a result of his only recent recovery from the hamstring injury. He's only recently been able to prepare fully for this workout.

McGaha was also impressive in the short shuttle (4.10) and 3-cone drills (6.75).

Though he was not able to perform in the timed drills at the Combine, McGaha did impress scouts with his explosiveness in the vertical jump (40"), broad jump (10'2) and bench press (19 reps).

McGaha, who recently underwent Lasik surgery to improve his vision, caught 56 passes for 673 yards and 4 TDs in 2009.

He was not asked to catch passes during today's session.


Posted on: March 6, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Combine Risers-Fallers

Typically, my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter writes the weely Risers-Fallers articles, but with his traveling on the deadline date I was asked to weigh in with my opinions.

There were well over a dozen players I strongly considered mentioning in the article. I elected to not list highly touted athletes like CJ Spiller and Eric Berry because there stock had already been established as clearly top grade. Similarly, I decided against writing up the elite athletes that scouts knew would be impressive -- like Taylor Mays and Jacoby Ford.

Perhaps the one player I struggled with most -- and ultimately didn't add -- was Cal running back Jahvid Best. He fit both of the earlier categories I mentioned as a highly touted player and a known speed demon, but the reason I elected not to list him among the Risers despite an eye-popping performance is that the grade most important to whether his stock will rise or fall -- his medical -- isn't yet known.

The five players I listed as Risers and five I listed as Fallers can be seen here.

As always, I'm curious to read your thoughts.
Posted on: March 2, 2010 7:29 pm
 

Fresno CB AJ Jefferson Combine's biggest star?

For all of the talk about Ndamukong Suh, Taylor Mays, Golden Tate, Jacoby Ford, CJ Spiller, and the rest of the superstars who fared well in Combine drills, the players who typically help themselves the most are the relative unknowns who explode onto the Indianapolis scene.

This year the epitome of that relative unknown who blew up the Combine might just be Fresno State cornerback and kick returner AJ Jefferson.

Jefferson, who entered the day rated by scouts as a mid round prospect at best (and likelier a 5th-7th round pick), was the unquestionable star among the defensive backs today.

Consider that he:
  • Led all 2010 Combine athletes with a 44" vertical jump (second highest recorded at CB since 2000)
  • Led all 2010 Combine athletes with a 4.0 second showing in the short (20 yard) shuttle
  • Led all 2010 Combine athletes with a 11.02 second showing in the long (60 yard) shuttle
  • Finished 3rd among cornerbacks with a 6.72 second showing in the 3-cone drill
  • Tied for 3rd among cornerbacks tested with a 10'6" broad jump
Jefferson was not listed among NFL.com's seven best runners in the 40-yard dash, but according to veteran scouts on hand, he was clocked anywhere from 4.43-4.49 in this event. 

Considering his size (6-0, 190 pounds), big play ability (3 kick returns for TDs), Jefferson's athleticism is sure to spark interest in clubs looking for a middle round diamond in the rough.
Posted on: February 28, 2010 3:37 pm
 

Clemson's Ford, Spiller star -- as expected

Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford ran so fast this morning I missed it.*

Ford is being credited with a 4.28 40-yard dash, the fastest time ever recorded by a wide receiver at the NFL Combine. The 4.28 second time is certainly impressive, but even more so is that some of the scouts on hand had Ford breaking the 4.20 mark...

His former football and track teammate, CJ Spiller, was similarly impressive only hours later. Spiller was credited with The NFL Network as having run an indentical 4.28 second 40-yard dash.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, however, there is no "official" time in the 40-yard dash. All that matters, of course, is that Ford and Spiller, as expected are very, very fast.


* I was one of the members of the media allowed to attend both the morning and afternoon throwing sessions inside the Combine. While we were there to witness the second group of wide receivers run the 40-yard dash, we were not inside during Ford's and the rest of group one's running of this drill.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 28, 2010 11:47 am
 

Impressions from first QB-WR session -- WR Report

I was among the fortunate handful of media members allowed to venture inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch this morning's quarterback and wide receivers workouts. Because I have to head back out to cover the second session in just a few moments, I don't have enough to time to really break down the 20+ players I watched.

However, here were my impressions of a few noteworthy receivers.

The highest rated receiver of this bunch is Illinois' Arrelious Benn, but today was not an impressive one for him. Benn struggled with his footwork today, slipping on multiple occasions on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. He also struggled catching the ball, dropping a few passes during the gauntlet drill and while running routes. He looked particularly bad by having a hot, but accurate pass go right through his hands on during the gauntlet and subsequently dropping another one by turning his hands the wrong way when attempting to catch a poorly thrown post-corner route. Benn did not look overly explosive, though his strong frame is sure to intrigue scouts.

The most consistently impressive catcher on this day was another junior, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe's long arms and good body control was often on display, as he was able to adjust to several poorly thrown passes and make sparking receptions. He doesn't appear to be the quickest receiver out of his breaks, but his long strides help him generate good speed down the sidelines.

Cal's Ryan Boateng was a surprise early star during the session, looking fluid during drills and catching everything in sight. He caught the ball with his hands and adjusted smoothly to poorly thrown balls -- an impressive feat considering his 6-1, 204 pound frame. Boateng struggled a bit later, failing to adjust adequately to deep balls, which will be a concern. Otherwise, he was one of the session's more impressive performers.

Florida's Riley Cooper was a bit inconsistent with his routes and hands on this day. He is more explosive than some give him credit for, but certainly doesn't have elite burst out of his breaks. He caught most passes with his hands, but didn't show great flexibility or determination to adjust to poorly thrown balls, too often just putting one hand up to attempt to make the sparkling reception. On one occasion he made a nice grab by doing so; on another he dropped it.

LSU return specialist Trindon Holliday was a surprise addition to the receiver workouts. His speed is certainly intriguing, but he dropped a few passes, including a bad on a deep ball that floated right into -- and through -- his hands.

Wide receivers who worked out this morning were: Fresno State's Seyi Ajirotutu, West Virginia's Alec Arnett, Kansas State's Brandon Banks, Norfolk State's Chris Bell, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, Cal's Ryan Boateng, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe, Central Michigan Antonio Brown, Cal-Davis' Chris Carter, Florida's Riley Cooper, Connecticut's Marcus Easley, Clemson's Jacoby Ford, Wake Forest's David Gettis, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi's Shay Hodge, Florida's Brandon James, Youngstown State's Donald Jones, San Jose State's Kevin Jurovich.

Due to injury, Missouri's Danario Alexander, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Minnesota's Eric Decker did not work out this morning.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com