Posted on: September 10, 2011 11:59 am

Week Two Preview

Whether young men are breaking out into the national consciousness, or redeeming themselves for past on-field disappointments or off-field transgressions, it seems as though college football presents great stories seemingly every week.

The second week of the 2011 season is no different, with the oft-suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia and oft-arrested Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd looking to move forward with their personal and professional lives. They both came through for their teams last week, even though Floyd's Irish couldn't avoid the upset loss that Garcia saved his team from suffering.

Players hoping to be among the best new faces on the college football scene, South Carolina freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Nevada quarterback Tyler Lantrip, will also be on display this weekend. Clowney's match-up against Georgia's All-SEC performer Cordy Glenn in Athens will be highly scrutinized by NFL scouts, while Lantrip's debut as in the starting spot Colin Kaepernick handled adeptly for Nevada in recent year against a hungry Oregon Ducks' team in Eugene.

Certainly NFL scouts do not get too caught up in the drama college football provides, but do they have great interest in the success of these prospects -- along with the others listed below -- because adversity and expectations are something players must face throughout their NFL careers.

If Garcia, Floyd and others overcome off-field incidents to succeed and Clowney and Lantrip rise up to make the grade in 2011, NFL teams will have confidence in their ability to transition to the next level.

This week's Five on the Spot

1. South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

The mercurial senior helped rescue South Carolina, coming off the bench with the team down 17-0 to East Carolina to lead the Gamecocks to a 56-37 victory. He did more damage on the ground (52 yards, two scores) than he did through the air (7-15, 110 yards, one touchdown). He'll have to do more through the air to pull out a win against an ornery Georgia team between the hedges in Athens -- and to impress scouts.

Garcia has flashed playmaking ability with both his arm and feet to NFL general managers, but his on-field inconsistency matches his off-field improprieties (he's been suspended five times by coaches). He's perfectly capable of finding 6-foot-5 junior receiver Alshon Jeffery with well-placed fades down the sideline, as well as accurate bullets laced between linebackers and safeties over the middle. Displaying that arm strength and accuracy, without turning the ball over trying to make something out of nothing, gives him a shot to be drafted next April.

2. Penn State DE Jack Crawford

A breakout season was expected for native of London, England in 2010, but a foot injury prevented it from materializing (seven starts, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks). Now healthy, the tall, long rush end is looking to make good on his promise -- starting with a huge game against the visiting Alabama Crimson Tide.

Crawford needs to show scouts he can hold the edge with leverage and disengage from All-SEC guard-turned-left tackle Barrett Jones to contain run plays coming to his side of the line. And when A.J. McCarron is allowed to drop back to pass in Nick Saban's offense, Crawford looks to prove he is quick and flexible enough to turn the corner as a pass rusher to close on the quarterback.

3. Iowa State LT Kelechi Osemele

The massive Osemele (pronounced oh-sem-AH-lee) is listed at 6-foot-6, 347 pounds, yet handles his left tackle responsibilities the past two seasons with aplomb. They're playing rival Iowa for the Cy-Hawk Trophy this weekend; although Broderick Binns is not quite as talented as 2011 first round pick Adrian Clayborn, Hawkeyes' defensive ends are always ready for battle.

Osemele's sheer girth and arm length make it very difficult for rush ends to get around him to the quarterback. But to stay at tackle (on the left or right side) at the next level, he must show to scouts he has the footwork and recovery speed to adjust when quicker defenders make moves inside or prevent a secondary rush when the play is extended. Iowa's athletic junior left tackle, Riley Reiff, could prove to be a interesting comparison for scouts in this game.

4. Nevada QB Tyler Lantrip

Nevada starts the post-Colin Kaepernick Era with a difficult road game at Oregon on Saturday afternoon. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lantrip has waited five years for this moment, playing mostly in mop-up duty in blowouts as the back-up to the team's three-time All-WAC signal caller, who is now in San Francisco after the 49ers picked him in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Lantrip has the physical tools to succeed in head coach Chris Ault's pistol offense. NFL scouts like his size, and he also showed good mobility and enough arm strength to make most NFL throws. If he shows poise in the pocket and the willingness to keep his eyes downfield to find future NFL receiver Rishard Matthews breaking open, instead of simply running if his initial read is not available, scouts may begin to consider him a draftable prospect.

5. Mississippi State RB Vick Ballard

The Bulldogs put a beat down on Memphis last week with Ballard (166 yards, three touchdowns) and QB Chris Relf (13-for-21, 202 yards, two TD) playing well. Auburn's defense won't be happy their performance against Utah State in the near-upset at home (they gave up 38 points and 448 yards of offense), so this weekend's match-up will be difficult for MSU head coach Dan Mullen's squad.

Last season, 5-10, 220-pound Ballard had five carries for 13 yards and a score against Auburn. He'll need a bigger performance on Saturday for his team to win, and for scouts to think he's capable of putting up numbers against better defenses than Memphis. The Tigers offered Ballard a lot of room at the second level, of which he took full advantage with a good burst once feeling his way through zone blocks at the line. This week's group of Tigers are more likely to put up a fight inside.

Five Matchups to Watch:

1. Georgia LT Cordy Glenn vs. South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

Glenn, who moved from left guard to left tackle this off-season due to a third ACL injury suffered by Trinton Sturdivant in the past four years, faces the country's top freshman on defense in Clowney. So not only does Glenn need to play well to help his team earn the early advantage in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, but NFL scouts will be quite interested in the way he handles such a talented player.

Glenn must show the initial quickness and lateral agility to stay with Clowney off the snap, as well as stay in front of him if Georgia's sophomore QB Aaron Murray needs to extend the play. Many bigger linemen can push rushers around the corner with their length, but staying with the block with foot quickness and agility can be difficult for them. Glenn struggled at times with wide speed rushes last week against Boise, but Clowney relies more on length and strength as a pass rusher -- which should play into the 6-5, 350-pound Glenn's hands. If he overextends and bends at the waist throughout tonight's game, allowing Clowney and other defenders access to Murray, then scouts may consider Glenn as a power guard prospect only.

2. Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd vs. Michigan CB Troy Woolfolk

Whether junior Dayne Crist or sophomore Tommy Rees (who nearly brought the team back against South Florida after Crist floundered last week) plays the majority of snaps for the Irish, they'll need to find Floyd to stay in step with Michigan QB Denard Robinson and the Wolverines' offense under the lights at The Big House.

The Irish's best offensive weapon had the size advantage against South Florida's smaller corners last week, but Woolfolk's more physical game could be a tougher test. Floyd may not have great top-end speed, but running through tackle attempts by the son of former NFL running back Butch Woolfolk, separating with strong hands and arm extensions on out routes, and going over the top of the six-foot cornerback downfield will show scouts he can handle himself against pro defenders.

3. BYU LT Matt Reynolds vs. Texas DE *Alex Okafor

In order for BYU to pull off road wins at The Grove and in Longhorns Country in consecutive weeks, Reynolds and his fellow offensive linemen must hold back a defensive front looking to attack sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps. Reynolds' 6-foot-4, 322-pound frame makes him look more like a guard to NFL scouts than an elite left tackle prospect, yet he flashes the flexibility, footwork, and recovery speed to stay outside at the next level.

His main foil in this contest is Okafor, an up-and-coming junior with length and speed off the edge but also surprising strength that he used playing inside last year for Mack Brown's defense. Staying in front of Okafor, as well as sophomore Jackson Jeffcoat if he switches to the weak side during the game, may help Reynolds show NFL teams he deserves chance at left or right tackle next fall.

4. Alabama Interior Offensive Line vs. Penn State Defensive Tackles

Scouts heading to Happy Valley for this backend of a home-and-home between college football powers won't have to look too far away from the snap to see a strong set of match-ups of NFL prospects. Penn State defensive tackles Devon Still and junior Jordan Hill face off against strong Alabama interior linemen in center William Vlachos and left guard Chance Warmack.

Still looks like an elite prospect on the hoof, but fought injuries and inconsistency throughout his career before showed life against Florida in the Outback Bowl (seven tackles, 3.5 for loss). To impress scouts, Still must handle the upper body strength and anchor of Warmack one-on-one and beat the block of smaller pivot man Vlachos to chase ballcarriers with quick hands and feet, instead of waiting for plays to come to him. He also needs to learn how to beat cut blocks, as RB Trent Richardson nearly flipped him on his back in pass protection once last year. Hill, on the other hand, could be the next undersized-but-active tackle transitioning from PSU to the NFL in the mold of Ollie Ogbu, Anthony Adams, and Jay Alford. Scouts will see him pressing double-teams and spinning off single blocks to rush the passer and fill running lanes, but he must show elite quickness and strength to overcome his 6-foot-1, 297-pound measurements.

5. Colorado RG Ryan Miller vs. California DE Trevor Guyton

The Buffs and Bears faced off as non-conference foes last year, but Colorado's defection to the newly-enhanced Pac-12 means they could meet regularly in the future. With potential battles in the trenches like Miller v. Guyton, scouts are certainly in favor of this change in the college football landscape.

Miller has the body of a right tackle (listed at 6-8, 295) but has played inside the past couple of seasons. He faced Cal's star end, Cameron Jordan, in 2010, allowing him to win too many one-on-one battles with quick hands, as well as sneak off his block after initial contact to reach ballcarriers. If Guyton can use his quickness advantage to beat Miller on passing plays and disengage with a strong punch and violent hands as Jordan did, NFL teams looking for a starting five-technique will push him up their boards. If Miller latches onto Guyton and other defenders, using his size to control them, he'll gain ground on other interior line prospects in the draft class.

Honorable mention

South Carolina
DTs Travian Robinson/Melvin Ingram vs. Georgia C Ben Jones

Georgia WRs Tavarres King/Marlon Moore/Malcolm Mitchell vs. South Carolina CBs Stephon Gilmore/C.C. Whitlock/Akeem Auguste

Nevada ILB James-Michael Johnson vs. Oregon RB LaMichael James

UAB DT Elliott Henigan vs. Florida Interior Offensive Line

Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson vs. Iowa WR Marvin McNutt

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter 

Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 10:50 am

Under the Radar Week One Match-ups

You can check out the top players and match-ups to watch this weekend here on the front page of NFLDraftScout.com

But if you want five more intriguing scouting match-ups to watch this weekend? Check these out:

1. Appalachian State WR Brian Quick vs. Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley

Hosley led the Football Bowl Subdivision last year with nine interceptions, but the 5-10, 172-pound zone corner faces a 6-foot-5, 220-pound strider in Quick (who averaged 18 yards a reception and scored nine times in 2010) this weekend. Scouts will be quite interested to see if Hosley can handle Quick's size on slants or on jump balls in the red zone; it could portend his value as an outside corner or limit him to the slot at the next level.

2. Memphis DT Dontari Poe vs. Mississippi State C Quinton Saulsberry

Memphis' 6-foot-5, 350-pound junior tackle is a star on the rise, but he'll need to prove he can hold his ground and shed the strong blocks of Saulsberry, who moves inside to center (his likely NFL position) for his senior year to take advantage of his stout build and low center of gravity. If Poe uses his quick feet to get around Saulsberry or push him (and the double teams likely to come) into the backfield, and decides to leave school early after a successful season, he could be among the top five draft-eligible tackles in the 2012 class.

3. Montana CB Trumaine Johnson vs. Tennessee WRs

Johnson is this year's six-foot-plus corner from outside major college football who will challenge for a top 100 draft slot (Derek Cox-2009, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah-2010, Cortez Allen-2011). Not only does he have the size scouts like at the position, but also the ball skills (13 career interceptions, 23 pass break-ups. His physicality as a tackler, footwork, and straight-line speed will be challenged this week, however, going up against Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and his tall and fast fellow sophomores, receivers Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers.

4. Tennessee-Chattanooga QB B.J. Coleman vs. Nebraska Defense

A former Volunteer quarterback is also trying to earn scouts' respect this fall. Coleman, who transferred from Tennessee before his redshirt sophomore year due to his perceived lack of opportunity to become the starter, and his Moccasins will likely be overmatched by the Cornhuskers' defense. But even if the 6-foot-5, 220-pound pocket passer's statistics aren't great, he can scouts he possesses the poise to handle Nebraska's pressure and arm strength to make throws against any small opening the Blackshirts give him.

5. Louisiana-Lafayette TE Ladarius Green vs. Oklahoma State Defense 

One of the top tight ends in the country plays in the Sun Belt Conference, typically in the shadows because of a lack of national television coverage. But the 6-foot-6, Green is starting to get his due. He had big games against Georgia (4 catches, 87 yards, touchdown) and Arizona State (7-97-1) last season and finished 2010 with 100-yard performances in four of the last five games. He also made six receptions for 64 yards vs. LSU in 2009. Despite his height and long strides downfield, Green's foot quickness in routes and explosion off the snap are NFL-worthy. OSU must keep an eye (or two or three) on this future top 150 pick if they want to keep the Ragin' Cajuns in their place.

--Contributed by Chad Reuter, Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ChadReuter.

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: April 19, 2011 8:12 pm

San Diego Chargers Draft Preview


   2010 record: 9-7, second place AFC West 

2011 draft rundown

   Seven total picks (round): 18 (1), 50 (2), 61 (2), 82 (3), 89 (3), 183 (6), 201 (6), 234 (7)

Top needs:

   Defensive End: Jacques Cesaire and Travis Johnson are only adequate, plus could be free agents.

   Linebacker: Stephen Cooper and/or Kevin Burnett won't be back, Donald Butler can only play one spot, and there hasn't been much production across from Shaun Phillips.

   Safety: The team can't depend on signee Bob Sanders to stay healthy, and Eric Weddle may be the next free agent unwilling to work with GM A.J. Smith.

   Running Back: If Darren Sproles doesn't return, a complementary running back to Ryan Matthews is needed.

   Wide Receiver: The team put the franchise tag on Vincent Jackson, and Malcom Floyd flashed in 2010, and Patrick Crayton did not light the world on fire before his wrist injury.

 First round focus

  18th overall

  --In the middle of the first round the Chargers won't have their pick of the elite prospects in the draft, but have a chance to pick a rising star. Free agency may take a toll on the team's front seven, which didn't perform to expectations in 2010; finding a young, athletic five-technique end or linebacker seems a reasonable place for General Manager A.J. Smith to start. Though receiver and safety are also team needs, the value at those positions may not match the value of their selection.

 Five names on Chargers' board
  --DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
  --OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
  --DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
  --OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
  --OLB Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: April 15, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 10:01 am

Indianapolis Colts draft preview


   2010 record: 10-6, first place AFC South

2011 draft rundown

   Seven total picks (round): 22 (1), 53 (2), 87 (3), 119 (4), 152 (5), 188 (6) 

Top needs:

   Offensive Tackle: Finding a true left tackle is a must and improvements through the rest of the line aren't out of the question.

   Safety: Releasing the oft-injured Bob Sanders could be good for Melvin Bullitt, but depth really needed at both safety spots.

   Defensive Tackle: With Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir potential free agents, the Colts may look to get stronger in the middle.

   Cornerback: Trading for Washington Redskins cast-off Justin Tryon last season was a clue the team needs healthy--and effective--bodies on the outside.

   Wide Receiver: If former first round pick Anthony Gonzalez can't stay on the field, the team may look for another difference-maker sometime during the draft to keep QB Peyton Manning happy.

   Running Back: Joseph Addai can't stay healthy and 2009 first round pick Donald Brown has disappointed, so it wouldn't hurt to take advantage of a deep class in the middle rounds.

First round focus

   22nd overall

   --The Colts are looking to sign franchise quarterback Peyton Manning to an extension, so improving their lackluster offensive line has to be part of the equation with their first selection. Two or three offensive tackles of value may be available to them, including Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi (the Colts tend to favor Big Ten prospects). would help protect Manning's blind side. If there's value at defensive tackle (Illinois' Corey Liuget), the team could take advantage, and they could see a lot of Reggie Wayne in Maryland's speedy Torrey Smith.

Five names on the Colts' board

   OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
   OT Nate Solder, Colorado
   OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
   DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
   WR Torrey Smith, Maryland

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
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