Tag:Pat Devlin
Posted on: January 23, 2011 6:00 pm
 

QBs, OTs ones to watch in Mobile

NFL scouts, front office executives and coaches are heading to Mobile, Alabama today to scout every one of the prospects in the 2011 Senior Bowl.

Much of their attention, however, will be focused on two positions -- quarterback and offensive tackle.

As two of the premium positions in today's NFL, quarterback and offensive tackle are typically among the areas to focus on. The 2011 class is especially competitive at these positions, however, making the battles between the top-rated passers and blockers all the more intriguing.

Consider that while Washington quarterback Jake Locker remains a likely first round prospect, I've spoken to scouts whose teams currently rank other seniors just as highly. For some teams, a strong week by TCU's Andy Dalton or Iowa's Ricky Stanzi could vault them ahead of Locker.

The "second tier" quarterback talent available in this draft, in fact, is one of the year's hidden strengths. Considering the risk I see in Locker, Auburn's Cam Newton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, it might prove wiser for teams with quarterback needs to look elsewhere in the first round and grab a Dalton or Stanzi (or Devlin, Ponder, Enderle) a frame or two later.

The competition is perhaps even more intense at offensive tackle. Having spoken to representatives from four clubs in the past two weeks about the tackle class, I've yet to find any consensus as to the order they will (or should) be drafted.

If there is a "favorite" it is probably Colorado's Nate Solder. I, however, have serious reservations about his technique, especially against speed rushers. He's expected to work out very, very well and therefore build some momentum as the draft approaches, but he certainly has flaws.

Unfortunately, for teams needing tackles, so too do the other top rated tackles. Boston College's Anthony Castonzo lacks the bulk most teams prefer. He may be the best pass blocking left tackle in the draft, but he's struggled to generate movement in the running game. Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi is the opposite. He can dominate as a drive blocker, but gets too high in pass protection and doesn't have the footwork, in my opinion, to remain on the left side in the NFL. I've rated Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod as the top tackle throughout much of the year, but his wide shoulder, narrow hip makes him top-heavy and therefore inherently vulnerable to bull rushes and good double-moves. He, too, might be best served as a right tackle. USC junior Tyron Smith has the feet and wingspan teams want in a left tackle, but he's quite raw and remains a projection, having played right tackle throughout his abbreviated career with the Trojans.

The beauty of any all-star game is that strong performances there can impact player rankings. 

For this year's Senior Bowl, the rankings of senior prospects - especially at quarterback and offensive tackle -- could wind up completely re-shuffled.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Scout "alongside me" at East-West Shrine Game

The action is going to happening too fast and furious during today's East-West Shrine Game for me to post updates regularly on the blog.

However, I will be scouting it closely and offer you the opportunity to scout "alongside" me by following me on Twitter.

I'll be focusing most of my attention early on the quarterback play, especially that of Pat Devlin, Nathan Enderle and Scott Tolzien. But, as I've mentioned previously there is some intriguing talent in this year's game (see entire Shrine game roster here ) and plenty of prospects who need to perform well in the game , itself, after a disappointing week of practice.

Following the game, I'll be writing a post-game review for NFLDraftScout.com.

If you want a preview of that article, come along. Let's scout some football together.


Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:21 pm
 

5 needing a strong finish in E-W Shrine Game

Every prospect signs up for an all-star game with the dream of stepping up their level of play in front of hundreds of scouts and being pegged by draft analysts as a "riser" or "winner."

The reality is, for every riser there is a faller. For every winner there is a loser.

No doubt you've read my fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter's  detailed practice reports for Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday's scrimmages. You have probably checked out the opinions of other media members in Orlando, as well.

As expected, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin has proven himself to be the best player in Orlando. Strong performances by USC TE Jordan Cameron, UCLA DT David Carter, Hawaii RB Alex Green and Georgia ILB Akeem Dent have boosted their stock, as well.

Some highly touted prospects have struggled throughout the week of practice. Though the vast majority of scouts have already left Orlando in preparation for the upcoming Senior Bowl, don't be fooled. A strong game can always help a prospect who struggled throughout the week of practice.

Here are the five legitimately draftable prospects most in need of a strong finish at the East-West Shrine Game:

Delaware QB Pat Devlin:
Devlin entered the week of practice as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated quarterback, but could slip below TCU's Andy Dalton, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and others if his play doesn't improve. Scouts tell me Devlin has been tentative and hasn't shown the arm-strength they'd hoped.

Boise State S Jeron Johnson: Last year former Boise State Bronco Kyle Wilson proved one of the stars during the Senior Bowl week of practices. The sledding hasn't been quite as smooth this week for his former teammate, Johnson, who has struggled in coverage this week.

Idaho QB Nathan Enderle:
In the 6-5, 233 pound Enderle's case, his problems are exactly the opposite of Devlin's. Enderle has the strongest arm of any quarterback in Orlando this week, but his accuracy and footwork have been off, according to scouts. A couple of "wow" throws by Enderle today and he could greatly help himself.

Fresno State OLB Chris Carter: I've highlighted Carter on numerous occasions this year as one of the better rush linebacker prospects, but scouts getting a look at him this week operating in space (he played defensive end for the Bulldogs) tell me he's struggled with the transition. A sack or two today could help remind scouts of what Carter does well. Strong coverage wouldn't get the attention of the announcers as much, but would help his stock with scouts even more.

Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts III: All-star games are typically an environment in which "small school" wide receivers can really boost their stock. Few can boast Shorts' accomplishments. He's a three-time All-American with 62 receiving touchdowns over his career. Unfortunately, after being listed at 6-2, 210 pounds by Mount Union, Shorts proved just that (5-11, 197 pounds) and has struggled with footwork and drops this week.

This game begins at 4:00 pm today and will be televised on The NFL Network.

For the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:22 pm
 

E-W Shrine Game - Monday practice report

It has been reported elsewhere that Monday's practices for the East-West Shrine game were cancelled. Though the conditions were certainly less than ideal, practices did, in fact, go on. NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Chad Reuter is in Orlando and contributed this report.

East-West Shrine Game report
by Chad Reuter
Monday, January 17, 2011


Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the first day of East-West Shrine Game practices. With thunderstorms rolling through north central Florida all morning, Shrine Game officials decided to move the afternoon practices into the Rosen Plaza Grand Ballroom.

Yes, I said "ballroom"--players running around an empty room with sconces on the wall and mirrors and chandeliers on the ceiling. And no, we were not scouting player for future appearances on "Dancing with the Stars".

Interceptions were made off the wall. Plants got knocked over in the area outside the ballroom when one-on-one pass rush drills were going on.

It was climate-controlled and the green-and-salmon carpeting could be considered as an "artificial turf." The Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Alabama, has had to do similar things because of weather, it is still less-than-ideal conditions for evaluating talent.

Still, there were a few players that piqued scouts' interest with their physique, effort, and footwork .

UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin is the player with the most to gain (or lose) with his efforts here. He's not suited up all year due to his suspension for NCAA infractions and violation of team rules.  So far, he's looked quick off the snap and strong. Right guards Bryant Browning (Ohio State) and Randall Hunt (Illinois) stood up to him in pass protection fine, but it won't be surprising if Austin starts to dominate when the practices head outside.

Austin's East squad teammate, Lehigh tackle/guard prospect Will Rackley pancaked high-motor and low-bulk Richmond defensive tackle Martin Parker and handled ultra-productive UCF defensive end/linebacker Bruce Miller on the edge. Rackley did get coaching, however, keeping his head up during a drive-blocking drill. "If you're looking at the ground, you're doing it wrong!" his coach bellowed.

Parker exacted revenge for his earlier play against Missouri State tackle/guard David Arkin, getting under his pads to get the "B" gap on one play, then bull rushing Arkin into the quarterback on the next.

East team receivers had some issues with consistency catching passes today. Perry Baker (slight at six-foot, 167 pounds) from Fairmont State show real quickness and hands to extend on high throws from Tyrod Taylor. He dropped other very catchable passes, however. Another small school receiver, Cecil Shorts III from Division III runner-up Mount Union, did not make the same adjustment on a high throw that Baker did, but redeemed himself on the next practice rep by displaying his quick feet and snatching a heater thrown behind him.

Big six-foot-three, 211-pound receiver Terrance Tolliver also had a couple of drops, a problem plaguing him throughout his career at LSU.  Lesser-known Florida Atlantic Lester Jean, with nearly identical measurement, showed better feet on comeback route and more consistent hands than Tolliver.

In the West practice, head coach Wade Phillips did not even have his players wear helmets like Dan Reeves'  squad did in the earlier session.  They still ran nearly all of the same drills as the East team.

Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is in a similar position as Austin, as he needs to prove himself after his mid-season benching in favor of Ryan Tannehill -- who took the team to a BCS bowl. Johnson an impressive receiver build at 6-5, 250 pounds  with 35 inch arms--not unlike current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb. But long delivery is an issue and his 9.5-inch hands are only average for quarterbacks, and a couple of his wobbly throws today verified that this could also be a problem for him down the road.

LSU offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale is one of the most impressive looking athletes at this game. He measured six-foot-five, 336 pounds (about 20 pounds over his listed weight) with 35.5-inch arms.  At times he used his athleticism and length to seal the edge and get out in front of plays run to his side--whether at left or right tackle.

But the inconsistency that cost him an invite to the Senior Bowl also appeared today. Boise State Ryan Winterswyk looked stronger and quicker on a couple of snaps until Barksdale used his length to carry Winterswyk around the pocket and into a crowd of scouts lined up behind the play.

Another impressive athlete on the West squad is Southern Cal tight end Jordan Cameron. The former basketball Trojan player looked very smooth and displayed solid hands, as he had during the season in his limited opportunities. I thought Jimmy Graham really helped himself at the Senior Bowl last year, an the six-foot-five, 245 pound (and growing) receiving tight end might be heading that direction, as well.

Nevada defensive end Dontay Moch was extremely productive as a pass rusher in college (42 tackles for loss, 15 sacks), but projects as a linebacker at the next level (checked in at only six-foot-one, 229 pounds in the morning's weigh-in). The athleticism he displayed in limited opportunities at linebacker for the Wolf Packer was evident again today. He looked like a defensive back during flip-your-hip drills and was very quick dropping into coverage during team scrimmages. He also took coaching well during practice.

Weigh-in Notes:
-One of the biggest stories (literally) of the Monday morning weigh-in was Canadian college player Martin O'Donnell. He came just one-eighth inch short of six-foot-ten. Though raw playing both left and right tackle, he gave good enough effort to potentially get a training camp invite this summer. He also displayed some skills as a long snapper.

-Despite Tolliver's issues catching passes, his 10 inch hands were the biggest among the receivers; yet Fairmont's six-foot Perry Baker had the longest arms at 33.5 inches.

-UCF right tackle Jah Reid measured six-foot-seven, 325-pound body with 34-inch arms but looks like he could get to 350 pounds without losing a lot of mobility. He's a player to watch this week.

-Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle stood just five-foot-nine and five-eighths and 227 pounds to be the smallest second-level defender here this week. Iowa State safety David Sims also came in just north of five-foot-nine, while Boise State safety Jeron Johnson eclipsed five-foot-ten, which was no given in scouts' eyes.

-Former Penn State and recent Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin beat the six-foot-three mark scouts hoped he would, while Virginia Tech passer Tyrod Taylor measured nearly six-foot-one, better than most NFL folks here expected.

-Running back Alex Green from Hawaii was one of the few players who weighed significantly less than listed. He looked all of 230 pound during the season, but has dropped about ten pounds, presumably to get a bit quicker (which he appeared to be in practice).

Chad's daily practice reports from the Shrine Game will be available either here on the blog or as feature stories accessible from the main page. Either way, for the best in NFL Draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
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. 
Posted on: December 18, 2010 11:58 am
 

Who to watch in today's 4 games

There are four college football games today and each one of them offers NFL talent.

In the FCS Semi-final game to determine who will move on and play No. 1 Eastern Washington in the national championship, Georgia Southern travels to Delaware.

The Delaware Blue Hens feature NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated senior quarterback, Pat Devlin . Devlin impressed me last week with his poise, mobility and accuracy. His arm strength has been questioned by scouts I've spoken to and there is no denying that the Blue Hens' spread offense makes it difficult to gauge just how much zip he has. That said, Devlin had enough to thread passes through tight windows and loft deep balls down the seam and sidelines last weekend against New Hampshire.

Devlin, a Penn State transfer, would be a great addition to a senior all-star game, such as the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game.

Besides the FCS playoff game, however, the FBS bowl games, of course, begin today.

In the New Mexico Bowl between BYU and UTEP, I'm most looking forward to scouting Cougar LT Matt Reynolds . Reynolds is only a junior, but he's started three seasons with the Cougars and projects well to the pro game at 6-6 and 322 pounds.

In the Humanitarian Bowl pitting Fresno State against Northern Illinois, I'm most interested in how three FSU Bulldogs perform. Pass rushing phenom Chris Carter has been able to parlay his speed off the edge into the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but at 6-2, 240, he'll need to show the agility to handle coverage responsibilities as an outside linebacker.

Offensive guard Andrew Jackson has been a standout for the Bulldogs throughout much of his career. His drive-blocking was an underrated component of Chargers' first round pick Ryan Mathews' success last year. Jackson has struggled with foot injuries this year, however. He should be as healthy as he's been all year long for this game.

Finally, the Bulldogs' Ryan Colburn has his final chance to impress in a Bulldog uniform. Colburn, 6-3, 230 pounds, has all of the physical skills scouts look for in a developmental quarterback, but despite his solid numbers (61.8% completion rate for 2,529 yards and a 21-9 TD to INT ratio), he's been prone to critical mistakes in the past. A strong final game, however, could be enough to get him into a senior all-star game and provide just enough intrigue that scouts will want him as a potential UFA.

In a classic case of burying the lead story, Troy's spectacular receiver/returner Jerrel Jernigan is the highest rated prospect in this post and playing today. The 5-09, 190 pounder is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior WR and he's already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The playmaker with legitimate 4.3 speed will help Troy take on Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl tonight.

You can read more about the prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games by clicking this link.

As always, remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


Posted on: December 11, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Underrated prospects prove worth in FCS playoffs

On a day when most of the college football world was focused on four players dressed in suits in New York City, there was some exciting on-field action and legitimate pro prospects also on display.

Reviewing all of the quarterfinal FCS games this weekend, there were several standout performances.

The most impressive, not surprisingly, came from Villanova wide receiver and Wildcat quarterback Matt Szczur. Szczur, my reigning Diamond in the Rough as the best small school prospect of the week, scored five touchdowns -- rushing for three, passing for one and catching -- in the Wildcats' 42-24 victory over No. 1 ranked Appalachian State.

Szczur, who battled a high ankle sprain for much of this season, clearly has regained his explosiveness, impressing not only with his agility and speed, but with improved route-running from just last week (when he accounted for 196 yards as a runner and receiver and scored a touchdown against Stephen F. Austin.

Draft Slant fans know precisely how high I am on Nova's "other" draft prospect, left tackle Ben Ijalana. His quick feet and good balance again stood out against the Mountaineers.

Szczur and Ijalana have already been invited to the Senior Bowl, the most prestigious all-star game in college football and one usually reserved for FBS prospects.

Friday night, scouts got their first nationally televised opportunity to see Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin, who also led his team to a victory.

Devlin wasn't flashy, but the 6-3, 220 pound Penn State transfer shook off a slow start to complete 27 of 38 passes for 261 yards and the Blue Hens' two touchdowns in their 16-3 victory over New Hampshire. Scouts like Devlin's mobility, short to intermediate accuracy and poise in the pocket. Delaware's spread offense is quarterback-friendly and rarely asks Devlin to make deep throws, but he showed better zip than he's often been given credit for. He, too, could wind up with an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

The most impressive player on the field in Eastern Washington's thrilling overtime victory over North Dakota State was the Eagles' junior running back Taiwan Jones.

Generously listed by Eastern at 6-1, 200 pounds, Jones looks a bit smaller, but scouts won't quibble about his size after this contest. The junior star rushed for a career-high 230 yards demonstrating a degree of explosiveness that simply is rarely seen at the FCS level. Perhaps most impressive is that Jones enjoyed his strong game in snowy conditions, which limited his effectiveness late in this contest. His lean build is similar to that of NFL star Chris Johnson and Oregon's Heisman finalist LaMichael James.

There has been some talk in the scouting community that Jones will consider leaving the Eagles early for the NFL. Considering the weak senior class of running backs, he could surprise as a middle round pick based on his big play ability.

Without an all-star game, however, to test his game against the FBS' bigger, stronger athletes level of competition questions will dog him, likely resulting in low enough grade from the NFL Advisory Committee to send him back to Eastern for another season.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Rare opportunity to scout QB Pat Devlin tonight

Pat Devlin , NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated senior quarterback, gets a rare national television opportunity tonight when he and his Delaware teammates take on New Hampshire in the FCS quarterfinals.

Devlin originally signed with Penn State out of high school but transferred to Delaware after being beaten out for the Nittany Lions' starting job by Daryll Clark.

Devlin has starred for the Blue Hens since the transfer, immediately emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in Colonial Athletic Association in 2009 and earning the CAA Offensive Player of the Year award this season despite being hampered by a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) wrist. The injury limited Devlin in several contests and sidelined him against Duquesne.

Devlin's numbers aren't gaudy (2,414 passing yards and 18 TDs) despite the fact that he operates out of a QB-friendly spread attack for the Blue Hens. However, his 67.8% completion rate and only two interceptions this season certainly catch your attention. Scouts like his mobility, smarts and accuracy in the short to intermediate range but know that Delaware's scheme protects him.

Considering the inconsistencies of Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder this season, Devlin could make a push up the board with a strong performance in this game and in any all-star games he's invited to.

The all-star games, in fact, will likely make or break Devlin's chances at breaking into the first three rounds of the draft. There, scouts will ask Devlin to operate out of a pro-style offense that will force him to make the multiple reads and throw the deeper passes through tighter windows that he'll face at the NFL level.

Devlin is often compared to Joe Flacco, who preceded him at Delaware. The comparison is a pretty lazy one. Devlin is shorter, slighter and more athletic. He relies on timing and accuracy to complete his throws -- quite the opposite of the Ravens' 6-6, 238 pound strong-armed Flacco.

This game will be televised by ESPN2 and begins at 8:00 pm EST.


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