Tag:Arizona State
Posted on: October 5, 2011 3:40 pm
 

ASU CB Omar Bolden recovered from torn ACL?

Arizona State may get a huge lift soon if senior cornerback Omar Bolden is able to return to the field months ahead of schedule after tearing an ACL during spring workouts.

Bolden, one of only four unanimous all-conference selections last season in the Pac-10, suffered the injury during a scrimmage on Saturday, April 3. He underwent surgery the next week. The normal time-table for recovery of a torn ACL is between 6-12 months. For positions that typically require a great deal of twisting and explosiveness (like cornerback), the recovery can take even longer.

Bolden, however, has been progressing quickly and ASU head coach Dennis Erickson informed the media this week that it now appeared possible that the All Pac-10 cornerback would return soon -- perhaps as soon as the Sun Devils' October 29 game against Colorado.

As exciting as Bolden's return to the field could be, he'd be wise to consider the case of Miami running back Graig Cooper, who played in 2011 despite tearing his ACL in the bowl game the year previous. Cooper clearly wasn't the same player early in 2011 and though he did show improvement as the year went on, he was not drafted. This, after flashing the talent earlier in his career that usually results in a top 100 selection. Cooper ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after the draft. He did not make the team, however and is not currently on an NFL roster.

Scouts will certainly keep an eye on Bolden's recovery. When healthy, he's proven himself to be one of the country's better cornerbacks and returners. A three-year starter for the Sun Devils, Bolden took his game to another level last season, recording 52 tackles, seven pass breakups and three interceptions. He was earned Second Team all-conference honors as a returner, averaging 29.2 per kickoff return.

Obviously Bolden's medical grade will determine his final draft status. Even with his medical grade unknown, NFLDraftScout.com currently rates him as a middle round prospect and the 9th best senior cornerback prospect in the country.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- DT Lawrence Guy

As we count down the days to the Scouting Combine, I've previewed one prospect at several positions that I believe have a great deal riding on their Combine performances.

Due to the fact that the defensive line is so talented this year, the competition at this position figures to be one of the more compelling story lines of the event. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently proclaimed this year's defensive end class to be the best he's ever seen. I believe the defensive tackle is very good, as well, making the entire defensive line group a spectacular collection of talent.

One of the more underrated defensive linemen, in my opinion, is Arizona State's Lawrence Guy . The 6-5, 300 pound Guy has a combination of size, strength and athleticism that few other defensive tackles in this class can rival.

He wasn't helped a great deal with the Sun Devils, who, under Dennis Erickson, are only beginning to get the type of elite athletes he'd used to win a national championship while at Miami. This is one of the reasons why Guy finished with "only" 41 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last season. Opponents knew the key to controlling the line of scrimmage against ASU was to stop Guy and thus, he was often double teamed.

What makes Guy so intriguing at the next level is that he projects nicely as either a three-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 or as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4. That type of scheme and position versatility could make him a Top 100 selection even though the most attention he ever earned from Pac-10 coaches was this year when he was voted an Honorable Mention member of the all-conference team.

As with most underclassmen, the interviews will be important for Guy. He struggled with grades and maturity early on at Arizona State before emerging as one of the team's leaders in 2010.

Guy's athleticism is obvious on tape, but with so many other talented defensive linemen this year, this Sun Devil could easily be characterized as just another "guy," making it all the more imperative that he stand out in workouts to create some buzz for himself.

Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- DT Lawrence Guy

As we count down the days to the Scouting Combine, I've previewed one prospect at several positions that I believe have a great deal riding on their Combine performances.

Due to the fact that the defensive line is so talented this year, the competition at this position figures to be one of the more compelling story lines of the event. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently proclaimed this year's defensive end class to be the best he's ever seen. I believe the defensive tackle is very good, as well, making the entire defensive line group a spectacular collection of talent.

One of the more underrated defensive linemen, in my opinion, is Arizona State's Lawrence Guy . The 6-5, 300 pound Guy has a combination of size, strength and athleticism that few other defensive tackles in this class can rival.

He wasn't helped a great deal with the Sun Devils, who, under Dennis Erickson, are only beginning to get the type of elite athletes he'd used to win a national championship while at Miami. This is one of the reasons why Guy finished with "only" 41 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last season. Opponents knew the key to controlling the line of scrimmage against ASU was to stop Guy and thus, he was often double teamed.

What makes Guy so intriguing at the next level is that he projects nicely as either a three-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 or as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4. That type of scheme and position versatility could make him a Top 100 selection even though the most attention he ever earned from Pac-10 coaches was this year when he was voted an Honorable Mention member of the all-conference team.

As with most underclassmen, the interviews will be important for Guy. He struggled with grades and maturity early on at Arizona State before emerging as one of the team's leaders in 2010.

Guy's athleticism is obvious on tape, but with so many other talented defensive linemen this year, this Sun Devil could easily be characterized as just another "guy," making it all the more imperative that he stand out in workouts to create some buzz for himself.

Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Disagree with my Top 32? Here's my next 5

As you can imagine, I spent a great deal of time poring over tape and conversing with scouts before releasing my Top 32 Pro Prospects regardless of their draft class.

Some of who may be wondering why there is no Jake Locker (Washington QB) or Michael Floyd (Notre Dame WR) or Janoris Jenkins (Florida CB) on the list. Did I forget them or simply rank others ahead of them?

The quick answer is that I considered everyone but there were some tough cuts to the list. Here are the next 5 players that just missed out. Some were even among my original Top 32 but were late cuts due to questions about their size or readiness for the pros. 

33. ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State: Burfict, only a true sophomore, just missed out on my original Top 32 article. Fans across the country may not know him or only know him due to his penchant for picking up personal fouls at the worst possible times, but in my opinion Dennis Erickson has the most explosive inside linebacker in the country and a future 1st round pick.

34. OT Tyron Smith, Southern Cal: Considering that all 24 of his career starts have come at right tackle and that his lanky frame (6-5, 285) and quick feet make him better suited on the left side, I am not among those who feel Smith should leave after this, his junior season. There is no denying Smith's upside, however, which is why I was included him in my latest projection of the 2011 first round.

35. OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The Seminoles' senior left guard - and my choice for the 2010 Outland Trophy - is among the better guard prospects I've scouted due to extraordinary balance and footwork. The problem is, at only 6-2, 284 pounds, he's so much smaller than most he's going to struggle against the behemoth DTs in the NFL. If correctly placed in a zone-blocking scheme, however, I have no doubt his agility will make up for it.

36. RB Michael Dyer, Auburn: South Carolina true freshman Marcus Lattimore made my Top 32, but Dyer, also in the class of 2014, isn't far behind. While I love Lattimore's physicality, Dyer could ultimately emerge as the better pro prospect because his agility and compact frame make him less likely to absorb the same punishment as the Gamecocks' star. His stats (950 rushing yards, 5 TDs) don't do him justice. This kid is a future superstar.

37. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State : Paea was on my original list, but the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year slipped amid concerns about his size (6-1, 312) and ability to pressure the passer. I love his strength inside and feel he can make an immediate impact in the pros. Considering he only played one season of football in high school, there is still a lot of upside here.


Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:55 pm
 

Elmore stars for Arizona in tough loss

With many sports fans tuning into LeBron's return to Cleveland or the Eagles-Texans game, an impressive showing by Arizona Wildcats' senior defensive end Ricky Elmore won't get the national attention it deserves.

While the Wildcats suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss to their state rival ASU Sun Devils, Elmore, playing in his final home, posted eight tackles (including six solos) and three sacks.

The Wildcats' duo of Elmore and fellow senior Brooks Reed put constant pressure on Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, who was forced to vacate the pocket and demonstrated much better running skills than one might anticipate given his 6-8, 242 pound frame.

Elmore hasn't generated a great deal of national attention throughout his career despite the fact that he's led the Pac-10 in sacks each of the past two seasons. Last season, Elmore racked up 9.5 sacks. With his three sacks against the Sun Devils, Elmore now has 11 this year with a bowl game still to go.

Elmore, 6-5 and 260 pounds, reminds me in some ways of former Washington Husky defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. Like Te'o-Nesheim, Elmore has been productive throughout his career and achieves many of his sacks based on a relentless motor and good technique rather than an elite first step.

He is quick enough off the snap, however, to generate consistent pressure. If he's able to impress in post-season all-star games and/or workouts as Te'o-Nesheim did last year, Elmore could see a similar late rise up draft boards.

Te'o-Nesheim was drafted in the third round (No. 86th overall) last April by the Eagles.


Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Five seniors to focus on this weekend

Each weekend I list the five senior prospects I'll be focusing on. These are players who appear to have challenging matchups that will help determine how well they'll be able to make the transition to the pro game.

A noteworthy performance (either positive or negative) can result in the player being profiled in our upcoming edition of Draft Slant, NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF file for premium subscribers.

One of the players prominently featured in last week's "Who to Watch..." was Nebraska wideout Niles Paul . Last week in the loss to Texas, Paul demonstrated the athleticism and size combination that has led scouts to get excited about his game, but also the terribly inconsistent hands that has plagued him throughout his career. Twice, in fact, Paul dropped potential touchdowns against the Longhorns.

Scouting isn't just about touting players who play well on the big stage. It is about acknowledging those players who struggled under the bright lights. Perhaps Paul (and others) will improve once they get another opportunity. Perhaps not. Either way, how they perform in this critical situations goes a long way in determining their final grade.

Here are this week's Five to Watch:

QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: I mentioned in a previous blog post that NFL teams looking for help at quarterback might be forced to turn towards underclassmen as many of the senior passers have struggled so far this season. Stanzi is one of the few exceptions. The 6-4, 230 pound Stanzi has struggled with consistency in years past, but has thrown 13 touchdowns against only two interceptions while operating out of a pro style offense. He's always shown the tools to intrigue NFL scouts and could be on the verge of a monster jump up boards if he's able to continue what so far has been a magical senior campaign. That said, in unbeaten Wisconsin, Stanzi has one of the tougher, more technically sound defenses he'll see all year long. This game could prove critical in how Stanzi is viewed by scouts the rest of the year. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

DE Cameron Jordan, Cal: A nationally underrated prospect, Jordan has been as impressive this year as any senior defensive lineman I've scouted. His numbers aren't necessarily eye-popping. Through six games this season, he's posted 24 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, but remember that Cal operates out of a 3-4 alignment, which doesn't put the defensive ends in position very often to make plays. Many were surprised last year when former Cal defensive end Tyson Alualu was the 10th overall pick of the draft. Jordan doesn't have that kind of upside, but he is sneaking up on scouts a bit. If he were playing in the SEC or Big 12, most college football fans would know his name by now. It will be interesting to see how Jordan performs in this game, considering the versatility and young talent on this ASU offense. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by Fox regional coverage. 

RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State:
The fifth leading rusher in the FBS, Hunter has rushed for an eye-popping 830 yards and scored 10 touchdowns on the ground over the first six weeks of the season. He'll be facing a much stouter run defense Saturday against the Cornhuskers, however. Like many smallish backs the 5-8, 197 pound Hunter is often characterized as a speedy, change of pace prospect only. If he is to have a chance at shedding that label, he could use a strong performance at home against Nebraska. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

ILB Kelvin Sheppard, LSU: I've characterized LSU junior cornerback Patrick Peterson as the best defensive player in the country on multiple occasions and acknowledged defensive tackle Drake Nevis as a former Prospect of the Week. Somehow, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard rarely seems to get the credit he deserves. He leads the top-rated SEC defense against Auburn's dynamic offense Saturday in what is the biggest game of the weekend. Sheppard has the speed to beat the Auburn backs (and quarterback Cam Newton) to the sideline. How he handles coverage and pass rush responsibilities could prove critical in this one. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

DL Allen Bailey, Miami: Bailey entered the season as highly touted as any defensive lineman in the country. One look at him and it is easy to see why, as the 6-4, 285 pounder owns more of the more imposing physiques you'll ever seen on a defensive lineman. That said, through the first six games of the year Bailey has only accumulated 21 tackles and five tackles for loss. Last week, against Duke, Bailey only registered two tackles, including just his second sack of the year. Voted a team captain, Bailey may have to turn it up a notch Saturday against North Carolina to get his teammates on track. The 'Canes, after all, have lost three straight to the Tar Heels. This game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised on ESPN2.


Posted on: April 19, 2010 7:41 pm
 

ASU WR McGaha helps cause in late workout

Arizona State wide receiver Chris McGaha may have improved his stock with a late workout Monday. The former all-Pac-10 receiver had been unable to workout for scouts at the Combine and Arizona State's Pro Day March 26 due to a strained hamstring.

With teams focusing on their draft board, a scout from the Buffalo Bills was on hand to record McGaha's times and circulate the results to the rest of the NFL clubs through the APT system.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, McGaha measured in at 6-1, 199 pounds and was timed at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- an impressive time considering McGaha is known more for his sticky hands and savvy route-running and the fact that the workout was done on grass. Most impressive about McGaha's speed was his time over the first 20 yards (2.54). Only one receiver tested at the Combine was clocked faster over the first 20 yards and that was Clemson's Jacoby Ford, whose hand-held time in the 40-yard dash, according to records provided to me by a league source, was 4.24 seconds.

McGaha's slowing over the final 20 yards could have been a result of his only recent recovery from the hamstring injury. He's only recently been able to prepare fully for this workout.

McGaha was also impressive in the short shuttle (4.10) and 3-cone drills (6.75).

Though he was not able to perform in the timed drills at the Combine, McGaha did impress scouts with his explosiveness in the vertical jump (40"), broad jump (10'2) and bench press (19 reps).

McGaha, who recently underwent Lasik surgery to improve his vision, caught 56 passes for 673 yards and 4 TDs in 2009.

He was not asked to catch passes during today's session.


Posted on: March 27, 2010 12:20 pm
 

LB rising, OT falling from Pro Days

In scouting hundreds of players each year it is impossible not to develop a few favorites. These aren't necessarily the best athletes or the most productive players. For me, they are guys who play with supreme intensity, technique or durability.

Two of my favorites this year -- Miami offensive tackle Jason Fox and Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel -- had nearly polar opposite results in highly anticipated Pro Day workouts Friday.

Fox, a 47 game starter for the Hurricanes, had a lot riding on his workout as he was unable to perform in any of the senior all-star games or the Combine due to undergoing a minor procedure on his left knee. He pulled his hamstring 3/4 of the way through his first attempt at the 40-yard dash. Though he tried to gut it out through positional drills, the injury was obviously bothering him, according to scouts in attendance. All 32 teams were represented at Miami's Pro Day.

While the inability to finish the workout is no doubt troubling for Fox (according to reports, he did not want to speak with reporters following the workout), teams that stay true to the mantra of focusing on film will know what this kid can do. He may not have the athleticism to warrant a first or perhaps even second round selection, but he's a reliable technician that can play the game -- whether at left tackle, or perhaps inside at left guard.

While Fox struggled, Goethel took advantage of the attention. Goethel, 6-3, 240 pounds, started 41 of 50 games over his career, but rarely got the attention he deserved with the Sun Devils, only gaining all-conference accolades as a senior (and it was honorable mention honors, at that).

I love the way this kid plays the game, however. Posssessing a combination of physicality and instincts, he is a classic special teams demon at worst and a potential surprise starter. I had reservations about his pure speed, but, according to a scout in attendance, Goethel impressed Friday with a pair of 4.60s in the 40-yard dash, a 4.54 time in the short shuttle and a 6.91 in the 3-cone -- all of which shaved about 3/10s of a second from his times recorded at the Combine. The scout was also sure to note that the performance was on grass, which is all the more impressive, as this surface generally is not as conducive to fast times as a track or turf.


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