Tag:Shea McClellin
Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:20 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 4:21 pm
 

Scouts identify 5 underrated Combine performers

Now that we've had a few days to fully digest the information overload that is the annual Scouting Combine, there are a few players who haven't received enough attention for strong efforts, according to my conversations with league personnel. 

Every Combine conversation I've had with scouts has started with the obvious workout warriors -- Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill, Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson and other, similarly well-publicized athletes. Considering their spectacular performances, it isn't surprising to see their stocks get a bump.

According to scouts. there are plenty of others flying under the national radar whose workouts helped solidify their grades. These are five who were mentioned multiple times. 

ILB Tank Carder, TCU: Much like Boston College's Luke Kuechly, Carder has been type-cast as an instinctive, high-motor defender throughout his career but the two-time defending Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year proved to be a much better all-around athlete at the Combine than anyone expected. The 6-2, 236 pound Carder clocked in a sub 4.70 time in the 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds officially) and demonstrated his agility in the three-cone (6.89) and short-shuttle drills (4.18) that some teams place a great deal of value in when scouting linebackers. 

QB Austin Davis, Southern Miss: With NFLDraftScout.com's top four-rated quarterbacks either unable to unwilling to throw passes at the Combine, I thought one of the more fascinating elements of this year's workout would be to see which of the so-called second or third-tier passers would be able to take advantage of the extra attention. Having been one of a limited number of media members allowed inside the Lucas Oil Stadium workout for the QB workouts this year, I saw Davis pass the ball well to all levels of the field, showing surprising zip on intermediate routes and as impressive accuracy on the deep ball (a knock on his game entering the Combine) as any passer on the field.

OLB Shea McClellin, Boise State: Generally speaking, I agree with how the NFL identifies players when assigning them positions at the Combine. Several so-called 'tweeners like McClellin were asked to work out as defensive linemen. After being stunned with McClellin's progress in playing linebacker at the Senior Bowl, I was disappointed he wasn't identified as such at the Combine. His workout certainly showed off the straight-line speed (4.63) and change-of-direction skills (7.07 seconds in the three-cone drills) to handle this conversion. McClellin's speed, in fact, would have ranked him fourth among the 29 linebackers tested at the Combine -- and this is after measuring in at 6-3, 260 pounds.

RB Bernard Pierce, Temple: Pierce is one of the more interesting backs in the 2012 draft class because he's more of a finesse, zone-read back than the power option that his 6-0, 220 pound frame and school record 53 rushing touchdowns would indicate. The junior helped prove his unique athleticism with an underrated all-around performance at the Combine in which he measured in faster (4.49), quicker (7.07 seconds in the three-cone) and more explosive (123" broad jump) than some of the more highly regarded backs of this class.

CB Trevin Wade, Arizona: While officially credited with just a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash, Wade was surprisingly cited by several league sources as having a strong Combine workout. Scouts mentioned Wade's fluidity in timed drills (4.0 seconds in the short shuttle) and position drills as more important indicators of his underrated cover-corner skills than his time in 40-yard dash. Wade was inconsistent at Arizona but finished his career on a high note with a strong senior campaign and is rated by some scouts among the top 100 prospects in the draft. 
  

Posted on: January 24, 2012 8:21 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 1:58 pm
 

QB, WRs emerge at Monday's North Sr Bowl practice

MOBILE, Ala. -- Making a strong first impression at the Senior Bowl can send a player's stock skyrocketing and boost his rookie contract by millions of dollars.

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and California wide receiver Marvin Jones can't start writing checks just yet but if they continue the sparkling efforts turned in Monday during the North Team practices they could prove to be two of the big winners from this year's Senior Bowl.

Cousins out-shined Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Boise State's Kellen Moore by attacking all levels of a talented North defense. His experience in a pro-style offense was obvious as he made quick decisions, showed accuracy short, middle and deep and thread the needle through tight spaces. Whereas his teammates struggled to find a rhythm with their new receiving corps, Cousins was hitting on all cylinders, spreading the ball all over the field and hitting his backs, tight ends and receivers on a variety of routes.

Like Cousins, Jones entered the Senior Bowl with significantly less hype that others at his position. Jones, who measured in at a shade under 6-2 and 200 pounds during the morning weigh-ins, was quick off the snap, showed burst out of his breaks to gain separation and the speed to slip past cornerbacks for big plays. He caught everything thrown his way, showing the hand strength to gather in passes thrown slightly off-target as well as the vision to track deep balls over his shoulder.

Jones wasn't the only wideout to make eye-popping plays on the day, though he was the most consistent.

A few uncharacteristic drops from Appalachian State's Brian Quick late in Monday's practice dampened an otherwise strong initial showing from the FCS All-American. Quick, who measured in at a chiseled 6-3 (and a 1/2) and 222 pounds Monday morning was the early star among receivers. Though not sudden off the line of scrimmage, his long-strides help him to quickly eat up the cushion and he showed terrific hand-eye coordination making several impressive catches out of some poor throws. Quick, in fact, arguably made the catch of the day when he snatched a quick out thrown high and wide by Moore. Quick used every bit of his height and long arms to pull the ball down while dragging both feet in bounds to secure the catch.

It took some strong catches from Jones, Quick and a few other North receivers to get Moore on track. The Boise State All-American appeared every bit as un-athletic as scouts feared when he measured in at a touch under 6-0 (5'11 and 3/4) and 191 pounds during the weigh-in. Worse, concerns about his arm strength appeared to be legitimate when he struggled connecting with his receivers on simple quick outs to open practice. As practice went on, however, Moore seemed to settle in and the accuracy and touch he demonstrated in throwing a staggering 142 touchdowns against just 28 interceptions during his record-breaking career with the Broncos were again on display. Moore is especially effective throwing down the seam, showing excellent touch to settle passes in over the linebacker and in front of the safety to slot receivers and tight ends.

Russell Wilson clearly has the arm strength to make NFL throws but was surprisingly tentative in his first Senior Bowl practice. Too often he stood flat-footed in the pocket and surveyed the field looking for easy completions. He attacked holes when he saw them, rifling in passes through tight coverage but also stared down his receivers on occasion and was nearly picked off a few times.

Of the North's receivers, Ohio State's Devier Posey provided the biggest challenge to a talented defensive backfield that included Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard, graded by some scouts entering the year among the nation's elite senior prospects at any position. Posey's speed allowed him to slip past Dennard as well as Iowa State's Leonard Johnson and Boston College's Donnie Fletcher but too often Posey simply dropped the ball when his quarterbacks didn't place it perfectly. Posey struggled adjusting to passes slightly behind and had a couple of big play opportunities simply bounce to the ground because he allowed passes to get into his pads rather than catching the ball with his hands.

The concern was the exact opposite for his Big Ten rival Marvin McNutt from the Iowa Hawkeyes. McNutt has excellent size (6'2 1/2, 212 pounds), strength, hands and route-running to be a possession receiver in the NFL  but didn't show much in terms of elusiveness or the speed to turn short and intermediate passes into big plays. He is a savvy route-runner, however, who was consistently open despite aggressive coverage from defensive backs.

It wasn't a standout practice for any of the North's defensive backs. Dennard showed his characteristic physicality in challenging big and small receivers, alike, but also proved vulnerable to double-moves, getting beaten over the top by Jones and McNutt, alike.

Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming and Cal Poly's Asa Jackson had their moments, each demonstrating a quick, low backpedal and good burst back to the ball.

Scouts will want to see improvement from Fletcher and Penn State's D'Anton Lynn. Each struggled to keep up with the North's receivers, showing average change of direction and speed. Fletcher was turned around on several occasions early in practice before the North's quarterbacks and receivers turned their attention to Lynn. The former Nittany Lion was victimized by Cousins and Wilson often as practice wore, perhaps an indication of their comfort with his limited playing speed and awareness after having played against him in the Big Ten.

Extra Notes: The Monday morning weigh-in put the spotlight on a couple of under-the-radar prospects scouts will no doubt be keeping an eye on this week. Quick looked every bit the part of a standout NFL receiver with his impressive measurables, as did Utah State inside linebacker Bobby Wagner (6'0, 241), Boise State running back Doug Martin (5'09, 219) and Michigan defensive lineman Mike Martin (6'1, 307). Though the Martins are not related, one wouldn't know it by their compact, heavily muscled builds... Clemson defensive end Andre Branch was among those who may have been caught in the bad weather that kept several from getting into Mobile as planned. NFL officials informed scouts that Branch would be participating this week but that he was not in Mobile for Monday morning's weigh-in... Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead got an opportunity to field punts late in Monday's practice, showing the concentration to catch the ball in traffic as well as the burst, elusiveness and vision you'd expect from the all-conference running back. Pead was rarely used in this capacity while with the Bearcats but turned some heads with his few opportunities Monday... Boise State's Shea McClellin (6-3, 248) lined up at defensive end for the Broncos but practiced at outside linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings' staff Monday. He showed good footwork in the bag drills early...

 

Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:13 am
 

QB Moore among 4 from Boise St invited to Sr Bowl

Quarterback Kellen Moore finished his career at Boise State with a 50-3 record. He'll get an opportunity to play in one more game with the familiar blue and orange Broncos helmet, as he and three other Boise State standouts have been invited to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl.

Running back Doug Martin, defensive lineman Billy Winn and safety George Iloka will join Moore in Mobile, Alabama for the nation's premier college football all-star game, according to a report from Chad Cripe of the Idaho Statesman.

While everyday college football fans might be surprised to see so many Broncos represented in this game, those paying attention are not. This senior class of Broncos enjoyed a spectacular run of 50 wins over the past four years, including a sparkling 6-0 record against automatic qualifying BCS teams like Oregon (twice), Oregon State, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Arizona State. Boise State finished ranked in the top 11 after each of these players' four seasons.

Kellen Moore gets all of the fanfare and rightfully so considering his gaudy statistics. He leaves Boise ranked first in wins (50) and interception percentage in college football history. Just 1.69% of Moore's 1,628 career passes were intercepted, compared to 142 passing touchdowns -- the second most in NCAA history.

At 6-0, 195 pounds, however, and possessing an adequate arm (at best), Moore is generally regarded as a late round or free agent NFL prospect. NFLDraftScout.com rates him as the 15th best quarterback likely to be available in the 2012 draft, in fact. My personal evaluation of Moore can be read here.

While Moore gets the hype, it will be Martin and Winn competing to be the first Bronco selected in the 2012 draft.

NFLDraftScout.com has ranked the 5-09, 210 pound Martin among the elite senior running back prospects in the country the entire season. I've given him a second round grade, but with the lower value most teams are now placing on running backs, NFLDraftScout.com is projecting him to go in the third. Martin, a hard-running back with arguably the most lethal spin move in college football, racked up an eye-popping 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns over his Boise State career. Seeking a spark against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last Thursday the coaches put him back to receive kickoffs, something he'd done only 26 times previously in his career. Martin promptly returned the opening kickoff 100 for a score against the Sun Devils.

Winn lined up at defensive end and defensive tackle for the Broncos and scouts are projecting the 6-3, 300 pounder to provide similar versatility in the NFL. Winn only posted one sack this season among his 30 tackles (including six tackles for loss) so it isn't fair to expect him to attack the edge, but his size and power make him a natural run defender capable of lining up outside in the 3-4 and inside in the 4-3. Scouts would have liked to see more consistency out of Winn throughout his career, but he did have a tendency to enjoy some of his best games against top competition. Considering the relative lack of top-flight defensive linemen in the 2012 senior class, some believe he has a chance to parlay his Senior Bowl opportunity into a top 40 grade. Winn is currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as the 53rd overall prospect and sixth among defensive ends.

Of the four prospects Iloka has received the least amount of fanfare, but Boise State has consistently churned out NFL-caliber defensive backs over the past several seasons, highlighted by the New York Jets making Kyle Wilson (another Senior Bowl standout) a first round pick two years ago. Bigger and potentially faster than some of the so-called "elite" safety prospects in the country, the 6-3, 213 pound Iloka has long been a standout at free safety for the Broncos and even slid to cornerback for a few games this season as Boise State was hit hard by injuries at the position. He was held without an interception in 2011 but finished second on the team with 57 tackles and has the fluidity and size combination to project as either a strong or free safety in the NFL. Iloka is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 overall free safety prospect and third among seniors.

These four prospects could be joined by several other Boise State players to hear their name called out on draft weekend four months now. Pass rusher Shea McClellin and offensive tackle Nate Potter, in particular, are considered likely candidates to get drafted and could wind up with all-star invitations of their own shortly.

Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:57 pm
 

La Tech OT Rob McGill earns Diamond in the Rough

With two prospects drafted last year (DT D'Anthony Smith and TE Dennis Morris), Louisiana Tech sent as many players to the NFL in 2010 as they had in the previous five years combined.

Smith, the Jacksonville Jaguars 3rd round pick, who went 74th overall, was the highest a Bulldog lineman had been drafted since the New Orleans Saints found 11-time Pro Bowler Willie Roaf with the 8th overall pick in 1993.

In two-time all-WAC left tackle Rob McGill the Bulldogs boast one of the better offensive line prospects they've had since Roaf dominated in the early 90s.

McGill and the Bulldogs had their hands full last week in a nationally televised game at Boise State. The outcome was as expected, with the No. 3 rated Broncos winning easily 49-20.

Early on, however, the game was more competitive than many expected. The Bulldogs may have exposed a chink in the Boise State armor, in fact, by rushing for 172 yards and winning the time of possession battle.

McGill, a four year starter, was a large part of the Bulldogs' success.

The 6-6, 304 pounder generates good depth on his kick slide and has the long arms and good upper body strength to catch defenders as they attempt to cross his face when in pass protection. McGill has the legitimate foot quickness scouts are looking for. Even when beat initially, McGill, at times, was able to recover due to his agility. During running plays, McGill's quickness off the snap and good positioning, allowed him to seal off his opponent from the action and set the edge when needed.

McGill's reliance on his quick feet, however, got him in trouble on a few occasions. He was beaten for a sack in the mid 3rd quarter when he dropped back too far and allowed DE Shea McClellin to jab-step outside and rush back inside to get the sack.

As impressive as McGill's foot quickness is, he has some technical flaws that will worry scouts. A classic waist-bender, McGill too often allowed Boise's undersized pass rushers to get their hands into his chest and bull rush him deep in the pocket. By bending at the waist, rather than at the knees, McGill is naturally off-balance and thus was driven back by smaller, weaker defenders. This lack of preferred balance was also on display when McGill was asked to cut block. He simply doesn't have the flexibility or balance to handle this assignment, resulting in some ugly missed blocks when attempting cuts.

McGill is far from a Roaf clone (as some have suggested), but does have enough of the physical tools to warrant a late round selection. He could see time as a developmental left tackle or be moved back inside to left guard, as he played for the Bulldogs as a freshman.


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