Tag:Zac Robinson
Posted on: February 28, 2010 2:27 pm
 

Impressions from second QB-WR session -QB Report

I just got back from the second (and final) throwing session of the Combine and I can tell you this... Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson will be rising up draft boards with his performance today.

With highly touted passers Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Dan LeFevour all sitting out the throwing session, Robinson was among several passers who took advantage of the spotlight.

Robinson showed good footwork and balance dropping back -- a question mark considering he's coming from a spread offense -- and was consistently accurate to all levels of the field. He zipped intermediate slants and dig routes and showed plenty of drive on the deep out. As a perfect example of why quarterbacks should throw at the Combine, Robinson scored points with scouts on the accuracy of his deep ball (good trajectory, outside shade) despite none of his deep passes actually being caught by his receivers.

Arguably the second most impressive quarterback on this day was surprisingly Ole Miss' Jevan Snead. Snead was as accurate on this day as I've ever seen him -- hitting receivers in stride consistently and showing off his good arm strength. The problem with Snead is that he knows he has a good arm and he relies on it.  He carries the ball a bit low and has a very quick release, but he rarely stepped into his throws today, relying almost exclusively on his arm. Snead has intriguing tools -- and he clearly helped his cause today by showing them -- but quarterback coaches I've spoken with in the past have pointed this out as an issue.

Cincinnati's Tony Pike was inconsistent today. The opposite of Snead, Pike has steps into his throws and has a nice over-the-top delivery, which is enhanced by his 6-5, 243 pounds. However, he sprayed the ball today, especially when throwing outside the numbers. He got better as the day went on and didn't do anything to lower his stock, but he certainly didn't seize the opportunity, either.

Under the radar quarterbacks Thaddeus Lewis (Duke), Riley Skinner (Wake Forest) and John Skelton (Fordham) showed why they are rated as they are. Lewis was inconsistent to most levels of the field, except on the deep ball - where his wounded ducks forced receivers to slow and, at times even stop their routes, to wait for the ball. Skelton was wildly erratic, especially early in the gauntlet drills. His high and wide throws consistently forced receivers to adjust, throwing off their balance and timing during drills.

Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:49 pm
 

Combine Surprise Team

Everyone knows that CJ Spiller is going to run well and that Ndamukong Suh is strong. For other standouts, my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter did a nice job of previewing the Combine here.

I wanted to pass along a few of my thoughts, as well.

My Combine Surprise Team list isn't designed to predict which players will post the fastest times in the 40-yard dash (Jacoby Ford) per position or lift the 225 pound bar (Mike Neal) the most times.

It is, instead, a peek ahead to prospects I feel will boost their stock due to all-around strong performances at the Combine.



QB - Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State: Better athleticism than most think and he'll impress with his accuracy
RB - Lonyae Miller, Fresno State: Don't be surprised if Ryan Mathews' backup runs better than most of the other backs tested.
TE - Andrew Quarless: Speed and vertical jump will surprise. Has to catch the ball cleanly.
WR - Taylor Price, Ohio: Watch this kid run his way into the second round.
OT - Selvish Capers, West Virginia: Capers may have struggled in Mobile, but the former TE's athleticism will be on display this week. 
OG -  Marshall Newhouse, TCU: Amongst a relatively unathletic group, Newhouse, a former LT, could stand out.
C -  Matt Tennant, Boston College: Like guards, the 2010 center class doesn't possess many standout athletes, but Tennant's light feet should impress.

DE -  Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida: At 6-6, 260 pounds, Pierre-Paul can backflip his way onto a gymnastics team . How that translates into sacking the quarterback I don't know, but it does speak to his unique athleticism.
(Okay, so Pierre-Paul isn't really much of a surprise. I just wanted an excuse to put up the youtube video. Here is another defensive end to keep an eye on)
DE - Kevin Basped, Nevada: For a kid with his lanky (6-6, 240) frame, Basped is going to surprise people with his strength.
DT - Mike Neal, Purdue: Remember the old Bill Parcells NFL video, "This is why you lift all them weights..." ? Neal does. 
ILB - Donald Butler, Washington: Among the more athletic linebackers no one is talking about.
OLB - Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota: The scouts know about undersized OLBs Rennie Curran, Dekoda Watson and Harry Coleman. They'll know Lawrence's name after this week too. 
CB - Joshua Moore, Kansas State: Nationally underrated corner jumps into primetime this week. 
S - Chad Jones, LSU: I've spoken to scouts who feel Jones is one of the ten best all-around athletes in the draft. Hefty praise considering Jones measures in around 6-3, 230... 



Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:37 pm
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Posted on: February 22, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Tebow not throwing, huge opportunity for others

Over the past several days, we've seen Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Dan LeFevour announce that they'll not be throwing at the Combine. Texas' Colt McCoy hopes to throw, but left himself wiggle room in case his recovering shoulder doesn't feel 100%.

Tebow, citing the fact that he's altered his throwing mechanics since the Senior Bowl, is not going to throw now.

Should these five -- arguably the top five quarterbacks in the draft -- all elect not to throw, it opens up a world of opportunity for Tony Pike, Zac Robinson, Sean Canfield and others to make a significant leap up the board. When "on" Robinson was as impressive as any during the Senior Bowl and the individual skills competition a few weeks ago. If you're looking for a darkhorse candidate to really leap up the board during the passing drills, he might be one to focus in on.

On another note, the decision to leave out worthy throwers like former Tennessee standout Jonathan Crompton could come back to bite scouts. Crompton, I'm sure, would accept a late invite to help make sure there were enough arms for the receiver, tight end and back receiving drills.

A few years ago, I watched former BYU star John Beck move himself into the top of the second round with a strong showing at the Combine. Last year, with Matt Stafford watching from the sidelines, I watched Mark Sanchez impress scouts with his competitive fire by participating, fizzle a bit during the workout and then leap up draft boards when he showed staggering improvement at the USC Pro Day roughly a month later.





Posted on: February 6, 2010 11:12 am
 

Skills Competition winners/losers

I (and certainly NFL scouts) do not necessarily put a great deal of stock into the results of the so-called Skills Competition held the Friday before the Super Bowl, but this year there were some scouting nuggets to be found.

The quarterbacks competing included:
Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson
Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour
Oregon State's Sean Canfield
Mississippi's Jevan Snead

The wide receivers competing included:
Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant
USC's Damian Williams
Texas' Jordan Shipley
Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard 

Many of the quarterback competitions only reinforced what scouts knew about the passers. Canfield beat the competition in the "accuracy" contest, edging out Robinson in a one on one showdown after they tied during the initial session. Canfield's accuracy wasn't surprising, as the majority of his passes for the Beavers were in the short to intermediate range in which he racked up points. His below average arm-strength showed up when he consistently hit the target low. LeFevour proved the most athletic, winning the "mobility" contest. Snead struggled. Though the ball zipped out of his hands on intermediate passes during all of the drills, he was surprisngly short on the arm-strength competition and sprayed the ball with the inaccuracy scouts had seen throughout his entire junior campaign.

The most consistently impressive quarterback was the Cowboys' Zac Robinson, who faired well in the accuracy and mobility competitions and surprisingly won the arm-strength contest with a toss of 64 yards. Robinson was the only quarterback to drop the football into the target 25 yards away to start the mobility competition and relied on his accuracy on the short and intermediate throws to get into the showdown with Canfield. Considering his strong showing in the Senior Bowl, Robinson has enjoyed a strong off-season so far. If he's able to continue it at the Combine, he could be moving into Top 75 consideration.

Each of the receivers had their moments. Bryant, despite missing almost all of 2009 with the NCAA-imposed suspension, showcased the skills likely to make him the first receiver selected in the 2010 draft. His impressive physique, good speed and agility and unique body control were reminscient of Denver's Brandon Marshall on this day. USC's Damian Williams had a strong performance, as well, and seemed to be the most competitive of the bunch -- something scouts will take note of. Gilyard showed better than expected hand strength during the gauntlet drill in which receivers have to turn and catch passes from four JUGS machines.

The star of the show amonst receivers, however, was Shipley. His strong hands, quick feet and underrated straight-line speed were all impressive. Shipley, already a favorite among scouts due to his intelligence and toughness, helped himself. As a second round pick, he'll out-perform some of the receivers drafted ahead of him as a rookie and over his long-term career, as well.

Michigan State's Brett Swenson won the kicker competition over USC's Jordan Congdon, Mississippi's Joshua Shene and Texas' Hunter Lawrence. Swenson started the competition poorly, missing his first three kicks, but recovered to hit his final 4, including the deep kick of 50-yards to win it.
Posted on: January 30, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Players to watch in Senior Bowl

You've read (or heard) us say how much more important the week of practice at the Senior Bowl is than the game, itself.

And while it is true that 90% of the scouts, coaches and front office excecutives that were in Mobile this week have now left, don't think that many of them will miss tuning in to the game (4 pm EST, NFL Network).

All players have an opportunity to help themselves with a strong performance today, but quarterbacks, running backs, and linebackers have historically gained the most.

Tim Tebow , of course, will get most of the attention, but be sure to check out the other South passers. West Virginia's Jarrett Brown could put a emphatic end to the week with a strong performance today and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson has certainly flashed.

Because I promised myself I wouldn't write two consecutive sentences about #15, here's my final one -- don't pay so much attention to his elongated release (which remains the same it has always been), but instead to his ability to take the snap from center and accuracy downfield, as these were the two elements in which Tebow made consistent strides over the week.

It will be interesting, as well, to see if any sort of consistency comes from the North passers. Due to his mobility, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour might be able to shake free some of the rust that hindered him this week. Cincinnati's Tony Pike has the arm to dazzle, but hasn't been able to string together more than a few completions in a row. Oregon State's Sean Canfield has struggled to get passes on a line outside the hashes due to a marginal arm strength, but throws a pretty ball down the seam and deep. If he can connect on a big one, he could leave Mobile with a positive.

The most dynamic running back this week of practice has clearly been Ole Miss' Mr. Everything Dexter McCluster . I haven't written about him, however, as the week of practice -- in which defenders were clearly instructed not to wrap up -- is perfectly suited to the elusive speedster's game. Now, don't get me wrong, McCluster showed remarkable strength and balance throughout his monster season in the SEC and may have a strong game today, but it will be tougher for him to break free for the 70 yarders that he was routinely zipping through in practice.

With defenders able to actually tackle backs, it will be interesting to see how the power backs Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State) and LaGarrette Blount (Oregon) fare. Be sure to watch for Wayne State's Joique Bell , who quietly helped himself this week and I wrote about as a one of the "honorable mention " risers from the week of practices.

Attempting to make the tackle on this blend of size, speed and power and shiftiness is a solid, but unspectacular class of linebackers. I'm particularly interested to see how effectively Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon , TCU's Daryl Washington , Florida State's Dekoda Watson and Washington's Donald Butler are able to fight through blocks and make open field stops close to the line of scrimmage, rather than downfield.

One final to note -- watch out for USC safety Taylor Mays to make an impact as a hitter in this game. As the opposite of McCluster, Mays' game is in the ferocity of his hitting, not the mobility he shows in coverage. Considering that he wasn't allowed to hit much over the week of practice, it isn't the least bit surprising that some feel he's struggled. The reality, is that Mays has been the same player this week as he's always been - the preeminent intimidator over the middle of at least the past ten years.
Posted on: January 29, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Honorable Mention Risers from Mobile

With over 100 players doing everything imaginable to impress scouts this week at the Senior Bowl, it was difficult to come up with just ten to list as Risers as part of our Senior Bowl Risers/Fallers article .

Conversations with a variety of front office executives, scouts and coaches on the flights back from Mobile helped me decide who to highlight in the final article. A few other names were tossed around, however, as players that moved up draft boards this week.

I'll call these players the Honorable Mention All-Riser Team from the Senior Bowl...

QB Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State: Had it not been for two interceptions to end Wednesday's practice, Robinson might have made the original article. He showed better zip than anticipated on intermediate routes and has the athleticism and intelligence to handle the conversion from the Cowboys' spread offense to a pro-style attack. Robinson doesn't have the big name of some of his peers, but some clubs feel he's a potential future starter that might still be on the board in the 3rd round.

RB Joique Bell, Wayne State (MI): Despite winning the Harlon Hill Trophy (the D-II equivalent of the Heisman), many scouts had not even heard of Bell, much less seen him in person. He'll need to prove as tough to tackle in the game, itself, but Bell showed scouts an intriguing combination of balance, burst and power in Mobile. His short-stride running style makes him appear to be runnig slower than he is, making DBs misjudge their angles on him.

WR Dorin Dickerson, Pittsburgh: Dickerson seemed to struggle from the conversion from tight end to wide receiver early this week, but scouts are less worried about initial impressions and more concerned with how a player improves throughout the practices. Dickerson blew by Cal cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson for an early score and showed good body control to make acrobatic catches out of poorly thrown passes.

OG Vladimir DuCasse, UMass: DuCasse was highlighted by several scouts as being a player to watch and an offensive line coach was eager to agree that the "Haitian Sensation" has a rare combination of size and athleticism that he'd love to work with. He proved quite raw in his technique in pass protection, however, and thus the higher-up executives wondered how long it might take for him to make an impact.

CB Chris Cook, Virginia: At nearly 6-2 and a solid 212 pounds, Cook doesn't fit every scheme. Scouts working for clubs operating out of a press cover foundation, however, found Cook to be very intriguing. He's physical at the point of attack and is smoother than his length would indicate. One scout compared him to Green Bay's Al Harris and pointed to Cook's experience in Al Groh's scheme as evidence that he'd be more ready to handle the complexity of an NFL defense than most rookie corners...

RB Lonyae Miller, Fresno State: Opportunities were few for Miller with the Bulldogs this season backing up Ryan Mathews, the nation's leading rusher, but he flashed the same explosive burst in Mobile that he had shown as a change of pace back in Fresno. Scouts are always looking for speed backs with the hands to help on 3rd down and while many of these jobs are going to smaller backs, that's because few have Miller's frame (5-11, 220) and acceleration.



Posted on: January 27, 2010 6:26 pm
 

Jarrett Brown, Zac Robinson step it up

Despite all of the attention heaped upon Tim Tebow, West Virginia's Jarrett Brown and Zac Robinson more than held their own Wednesday, each enjoying their strongest practices of the week.

Brown, the West Virginia passer with only one year of starting experience, has proven the most consistent South quarterback over the week's practices. For those that haven't yet seen him, Brown is far from another version of Wildcat-specialist Pat White. Brown has a quick release and a strong arm and was fearless Wednesday, attacking all levels of the field despite having already secured his status as one of the risers from this week's action. His strong performance and legitimate upside may have boosted his status into the late 2nd or early 3rd round.

Cowboys' quarterback Zac Robinson was very good throughout most of practice before throwing two interceptions to former teammate Perrish Cox to close the show. Robinson has shown above average touch all week and showed more willingness to fire passes with authority today. He was especially improved on quick outs and slant routes, threading the needle against tight coverage often. As improved as he looked Wednesday, however, scouts would like to see him hit his receivers in stride more consistently. Too often, they had to slow or adjust their bodies to make the catch, limiting their potential for yards-after-the-catch opportunities. 


 
 
 
 
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