Tag:Paul Johnson
Posted on: January 5, 2012 7:50 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:33 pm
 

Yellow Jackets stung by Hill's surprise NFL leap

Despite catching just 28 passes in 2011 and receiving an unfavorable grade from the NFL's Advisory Committee, wide receiver Stephen Hill has decided to leave Georgia Tech for a shot at the pros.

According to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Hill came to the decision after conferring with his parents, head coach Paul Johnson and receivers coach Buzz Preston. Hill's grade was not specifically given, but reading between the lines of Sugiura's report it sounds like the scouts graded Hill as a possible day three (rounds four through seven) pick.

Johnson's triple option offense rarely puts the ball in receivers' hands. Georgia Tech's scheme calls for big, athletic and strong receivers who can sneak downfield for the occasional deep pass but whose primary role is to provide blocking on the perimeter. Like former first round picks Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, the 6-5, 206 pound Hill has the bulk to certainly catch scouts' attention. At that size, if he were to run anything lower than a 4.60, he'd have a shot at getting drafted. And if he were to run considerably faster, Hill's stock could improve in a hurry as he's certainly shown flashes of playmaking skills.

While Hill only caught 28 passes in 2011 they resulted in a gaudy 820 yards. That means Hill averaged 29.3 yards per reception. That led the nation and is the best YPC average in Georgia Tech history.

The concern is that Hill remains a very raw receiver. Not only do his routes need a lot of work, so does his hands. Hill made some notable drops over his career. To be fair, he's also demonstrated spectacular leaping ability and rare hand strength to make some dazzling catches. Prior to his "breakout" 2011 performance, Hill caught just 15 passes in 2010 and four as a redshirt freshman.  For his career, Hill caught 49 passes for 1,248 yards (25.47) and nine scores.

Knowing that he lacks the experience catching the ball to impress scouts, Hill acknowledged that his ultimate draft grade may hinge on how he works out.

“With my size and my ability, I know I could raise my stock,” he said.

NFLDraftScout.com has some faith in his ability to do so. He was ranked as our No. 6 wide receiver prospect in the class of 2013.






Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:32 pm
 

Could option make Denver the Georgia Tech of NFL?

For the first time in his two seasons as a Denver Bronco, Tim Tebow was allowed to function in the spread option offense that he helped make famous while at the University of Florida.

The result was a surprisingly dominant running game (299 rushing yards, two touchdowns) against the Oakland Raiders Sunday. The victory made Tebow 2-1 in his three starts this season and shockingly enough put the Broncos only a game behind first place in the AFC West.

Coaches have long argued that the option offense would not work in the NFL as defensive players at the professional level are simply too fast. The same, however, was said about the spread offense and while I'm not about to suggest that June Jones or Steve Spurrier's current schemes would work against the Baltimore Ravens' defense, the proliferation of a shotgun-based offense has helped make the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots (to name a few) some of the league's most lethal passing attacks.

Quite frankly, I am among those who do not believe the option (or spread option, in this case) is going to be consistently effective against NFL teams. However, I do believe that whatever time and effort a team can force an opponent to specifically game-plan against them is energy well spent.

After all, this is the primary reason why many have suggested that Paul Johnson's triple-option offense has been successful at Georgia Tech (and previously at Navy, Georgia Southern). It isn't that his Yellow Jackets boast elite talent. Since he took over at Georgia Tech, only wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (ironically enough, also a Bronco) has been taken higher than the fourth round after playing on the offensive side of the ball for Johnson. Simply put, few NCAA teams are capable of mastering defense of the option with only one week in which to prepare for it.

The same could wind up being true for the Denver Broncos.

One thing is certain. The Kansas City Chiefs will have prepared for Tebow and the spread option much more than the Oakland Raiders had. Whether Denver is successful running this offense or not, the fact that they've forced the Chiefs to devote time to game-planning for their unique attack gives Denver an advantage (albeit maybe only a slight one) heading into a key divisional game.
Posted on: February 17, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2010 1:30 pm
 

Thomas' broken foot robs Combine of great athlete

Few prospects had been earning more buzz in the scouting community in the weeks leading up to the Combine than Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. The 6-3, 230 pound Thomas had reportedly been timed in the 4.3s during workouts at Athletes Performance Institute, adding further fuel to the litany of comparisons he's enjoyed over his career to former teammate Calvin Johnson.

Unfortunately, the broken foot he suffered Wednesday will keep him working out for scouts at the Combine, and may keep him from working out for scouts before the draft at all. With some teams operating team drills as soon as a week after the draft, itself, Thomas may not be able to participate until training camp.

Thomas' role in Paul Johnson's triple-option offense was primarily as a deep threat. He was rarely asked to run anything more complicated than a go route or quick slant to take advantage of his size advantage over opposing cornerbacks. Considering his relative inexperience as a route-runner, pre-draft workouts were likely as important to securing Thomas' rightful place in the 2010 receiver class as they were for any other pass-catcher.

Thomas, due to his size and pure athleticism, appeared to be one of the most intriguing stories of the Combine.

He'll still be among the Combine's most intriguing storylines -- due instead with what teams see in the x-rays taken of his left foot.

Posted on: January 5, 2010 1:58 pm
 

Bulaga vs. Morgan, best of the bowl matchups

When the bowl matchups were released in December the Orange Bowl immediately struck me as the season's most intriguing game.

Just from a entertainment perspective, this game intrigues. Paul Johnson's innovative triple option offense is a great test for an Iowa defense that I believe to be as disciplined and consistent as any in the country. The Yellow Jackets are so talented at the skill positions that even if Iowa plays their typically sound defense, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Adams or huge receiver Demaryius Thomas could break free for a dazzling play.

The matchup I and many NFL scouts will be focusing in on, however, will be on the other side of the ball and at the line of scrimmage where Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan will be matching up with Iowa offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway.

Morgan, only a junior, was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 18 tackles for loss, including 12.5 sacks. He's got an explosive first, good upper body strength to shed blocks and the agility that have some teams envisioning the 6-4, 265 pounder making the conversion to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

The rare combination of traits certainly has caught the attention of Bulaga, the Hawkeyes' junior left tackle. As Bulaga told the Omaha World-Herald:

“He's probably the best I'll have seen this year, probably the best a lot of us will see any year,” Bulaga said. “He's relentless,” Bulaga said. “He's a bigger guy so he can play the run very well. I think there's a lot to his game that you can like. “He brings a lot of different pass-rushing moves. His in move is very quick. He's got a great first step. There's a lot of things to his game that are just so good right now that it's hard not to give a guy like that praise.”
For all of the attention being heaped upon Morgan, however, don't sleep on Bulaga. Like senior right tackle Kyle Calloway, Bulaga plays with excellent technique and good strength. He wasn't himself early in the year due to a thyroid condition that forced him to miss three games. He's improved as the season has gone, however, and has cemented himself as a legitimate top 20 prospect. For all of the talk about Rutgers' Anthony Davis and Maryland's Bruce Campbell, Bulaga is more technically refined and, at only 20 years old, has greater upside. At 6-6, 312 pounds, he has rare foot quickness and balance in the passing and could surprise Morgan with his ability to protect the edge.

Look for Tech to move Morgan all over the field in an effort to take advantage of his unique skill-set. On the occassions when he lines up against Bulaga, however, lean in closer to the television. Their one on one matchup looks like the best one we've had throughout the entire bowl season. It also serves as the closest most college fans will ever get to seeing the one on one "battles in the pit" that have made senior all-star games like the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl such a unique scouting experience. Considering that these two future first round picks are juniors, and thus, ineligible, this will be their opportunity to show off.

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