Tag:Ricky Sapp
Posted on: December 14, 2010 7:13 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 7:22 pm
 

UNC OLB Bruce Carter undergoes ACL surgery

North Carolina outside linebacker Bruce Carter underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Carter, a Second Team All-ACC selection and finalist for the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker, injured his knee November 20 against North Carolina State. He was kept out of the Tar Heels' finale against Duke due to the knee injury, though news of the severity of his injury was kept quiet until now. Dr. Jeff Spang performed the operation at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

The injury casts a considerable shadow over Carter's pro stock. Rated among the elite senior prospects in the country heading into the season, Carter's best attribute is his jaw-dropping athleticism. The 6-3, 235 pound Carter has unofficially been credited with a 4.4 second running of the 40-yard dash, a 40.5" vertical jump and a 440 pound bench press. In fact, he was recognized by ESPN's Bruce Feldman as the No. 1 "Freak" in his annual Top 10 breakdown of college football's elite athletes.

The torn ACL, however, could rob Carter of that athleticism. It certainly will keep him from being able to work out for teams prior to the draft.

Carter, quite frankly, needed to wow in workouts because his play this season has been disappointing. Carter exploded onto the scene as a sophomore in 2008, recording 68 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, five sacks and five blocked kicks. He wasn't able to match that production as a junior (65-7.5-2-0) and slipped even further in 2010 (57-3.5-2.5-1).

Without his breathtaking athleticism, Carter simply isn't nearly as highly thought of as a prospect. Despite his experience, Carter does not locate the football particularly well and is viewed by some scouts as simply a better athlete than football player, despite his hype. His less than ideal instincts were masked by his straight-line speed and explosiveness.

Unable to wow scouts in workouts, Carter could see his stock slide into the third round, or even lower. This, despite the fact that he's been rated at or near the top of the senior outside linebacker rankings all year long.

Consider that two other highly touted OLB prospects of recent years -- Clemson's Ricky Sapp and Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield -- dropped into the fifth and fourth rounds, respectively, due to knee concerns. Sapp, drafted last year by Philadelphia, was placed on IR before the season began. Schofield, drafted by Arizona, has registered seven tackles this season.

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




Posted on: March 3, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Hybrid pass rushers ease concerns at Combine

With only three D-I teams (Alabama, Virginia, Cal) using the 3-4 as their last year base defense last year, NFL teams looking for rush linebackers to fit this scheme are being forced to consider how pass rushing defensive ends from the 4-3 will convert.

Taking some of the guess work out of the process, 34 (out of 39) defensive ends tested at the Combine also did linebacker drills.

Scouts leaving Indianapolis yesterday told me that former defensive ends Sergio Kindle (Texas), Jerry Hughes (TCU), Everson Griffen (USC), Ricky Sapp (Clemson), and Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State) were the most impressive of the conversion bunch. The fact that there were so many who did so has scouts excited that some of these young pass rushers will be able to make an immediate impact as rookies.

Kindle, who has experience at linebacker and is widely viewed as one of the draft's better all-around athletes, was not a surprise. Griffen, also viewed as an elite athlete, also was expected to perform well. Scouts felt that each were so athletic, in fact, that some question why they weren't more productive during their collegiate careers.

Sapp needed a strong workout to ease teams' concerns about his surgically repaired knee.

The more impactful workouts may have been had by Hughes and Gibson.

Hughes (6-2, 255) gambled by not attending the Senior Bowl, but may have proven he made a wiser decision in prepping for workouts. Scouts clocked him in the low 4.6s in the 40-yard dash and he also impressed in linebacker drills, as well as the 3-cone and 20 yard shuttle, each of which are designed to test how well an athlete changes directions -- typically areas of concern for DEs making the conversion to OLB.

Gibson (6-2, 243) is less known to scouts due to the fact that he left by Ohio State after his junior season. Gibson proved his agility by leading all defensive linemen (and finishing 3rd among linebackers) in the 3-cone drill (6.84 seconds), while also posting solid numbers in the short shuttle, 40-yard dash and bench press.





Posted on: February 27, 2010 5:58 pm
 

OLB Ricky Sapp: knee was 60% during season

Clemson pass rush specialist Ricky Sapp told the media today that he played the entire 2009 season on a right knee that was "at 60% strength."

Sapp tore his ACL against Virginia November 22, 2008 and had surgery to repair the ligament damage on December 11. He made it back on the field to start all 14 games this season, posting a career high 60 tackles and 15 tackles for loss.

Sapp was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl, but turned down the opportunity in an effort to strengthen his knee.

Not surprisingly, Sapp has been thoroughly checked over by team doctors since arriving in Indianapolis. He estimated the number of times he's had his knee checked so far this week at "20-30."

Said Sapp, "I'll be honest with you, I was laying down and I was like 'He just pulled my knee several times, and you are going to do it again too?'"

Sapp says his knee is now 100% and that he will be working out this week.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Top 100 players with questionable medical grades

The Scouting Combine -- at least the workout portion of it -- has become the most overrated aspect of the NFL Draft process.

The Combine was originally designed to provide scouts with an efficient way to do medical testing of the 300+ best prospects in the draft. During the 90s, teams began to focus more and more attention on the results of the athletic drills, resulting in some of the biggest busts in league history, including the infamous Mike Mamula. With pre-combine facilities training prospects to excel in these drills -- and not football -- teams are now learning to revert their attention back to where it belongs -- on the film.

I posted a blog earlier about five players who I believe will struggle in certain aspects of the drills and/or measurement portion of the Combine. This wasn't meant to say these players will be busts in the NFL, but that they could see their stock slip a bit this week.

In reality, the players who are likeliest to fall significantly on draft day will be the ones who come up with medical or off-field concerns that are discovered there.

There are several potential Top 100 prospects whose final grades will hinge on their medical grades.

QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (shoulder)
OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa (thyroid condition)
OLB/DE Ricky Sapp, Clemson (knee)
QB Colt McCoy, Texas (shoulder)
TE Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma (knee)
RB Jahvid Best, Cal (concussions)
DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern (knee)
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona (back)
QB Tony Pike, Cincinnati (forearm)
ILB Sean Lee, Penn State (knee)
DE Greg Hardy, Mississippi (knees, foot)
OT Jason Fox, Miami (knee)



Posted on: January 9, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Senior Bowl Coaching Staffs -- Mia vs. Det.

In prepping for what will be my tenth Senior Bowl, I was pleased to read that the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will be the coaching staffs in place for the Mobile all-star game classic.

For one, Jim Schwartz and Tony Sparano are innovative, high-energy coaches that will push the players throughout the week of practice. If everything I've heard about these teams' practice habits are correct, the drills and scrimmages will be run efficiently. Teaching and coaching will be a focus, but the players won't be over-worked on scheme or re-working their technique. They'll be allowed to play and, more importantly, audition for the hundreds of scouts in attendance.

Secondly, with their varied offensive and defensive schemes, we'll get an opportunity to see these prospects preparing to play in or prepare for the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, as well as pro-style and Wildcat offenses. The variety of scheme is particularly important for judging whether 'tweener players could effectively transition to an NFL system -- as in the case of undersized pass rushers potentially making the jump to the rush OLB position in the 3-4 or "Slash" quarterback types.

Considering the coaching choices, I'll not be at at all surprised when some of the more hotly debated senior prospects that fit in these two categories -- Tim Tebow, Dan LeFevour, Sergio Kindle, Ricky Sapp, Wille Young, etc. are ultimately invited to this game.



Posted on: January 7, 2010 7:54 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2010 10:27 am
 

Which Kindle shows up tonight?

One of the more hotly contested prospects in the entire country, Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle, will have an opportunity tonight to establish himself as a legitimate first round pick -- or potentially slip in the mid to late portion of the second round.

The 6-4, 255 pound Kindle is as quick off the snap as any defensive end in the country and generates even greater momentum around the corner due to his straight-line speed. He's effective against the run, especially when chasing down ball-carriers from the backside. He's fluid enough that teams operating out of the 3-4 alignment are intrigued not only by speed as a pass rusher, but his agility in coverage, as well.

However, for as athletic as he is, Kindle is a frustrating player to scout, as he doesn't locate the ball well enough or use his hands to fight through blocks. This is one of the primary reasons why Texas credits him with 31 QB hurries entering this contest, but only 3 sacks.  He's like several other potential DE-OLB converts in this class (Clemson's Ricky Sapp and NC State's Wille Young are others) who can dominate for a play or two, only to disappear for long stretches.

With their focus on the run game, Alabama likely won't give Kindle as many opportunities to show off his speed rushing the passer as many of the pass-heavy Big 12 teams have this season. How Kindle is able to handle Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and the Tide's power running game -- especially when they elect to run directly at him -- could be the hidden factor that determines the National Championship, as well as how NFL scouts project Kindle at the next level.

 
 
 
 
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