Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:46 pm
Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas measured in shorter than expected and will not be able to participate in workouts at the Combine this week due to a "tweaked" left hamstring.
Thomas was listed by Kansas State at 6-2 and 228 pounds, but came in at 6-0 (six foot and one quarter inch, actually) and 230 pounds.
Generally speaking, athletes measuring in smaller than expected can have a negative effect on their grade. In Thomas' case, however, it could help his cause. Taller backs, especially ones with an upright running style like Thomas, expose their bodies (and the football) to too many collisions.
Thomas will work out at Kansas State's Pro Day on March 15. Thomas' workout could prove critical to his final draft grade as teams questions his straight-line speed. He's been estimated in the high 4.5 to low 4.6 range by scouts.
Thomas, who led the Big 12 in rushing each of his two seasons with the Wildcats, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7 rated running back. He rushed for 2,850 yards, which makes him the second-leading rusher (behind Darren Sproles) in Kansas State history.
Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:28 pm
Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter did a great job of highlighting the prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games , but scouts tipped me off just last night of another talent that is quietly shooting up draft boards.
It just so happens that he plays tonight.
Hawaii running back Alex Green (6-1 and 230 pounds) is coming off as dominant a two-game stretch as you'll see in college football. Over the past two games (New Mexico State, UNLV), he's averaged 231.5 yards and two touchdowns.
Now, before you dismiss his numbers as a product of the Warriors' dynamic offense, recall that Hawaii's spread attack is pass-heavy, inflating the numbers of their quarterbacks and wideouts, but deflating the production of their running backs. In fact, since June Jones implemented Hawaii's spread offense in 1999, Green is the first back to ever surpass the 1,000 yard mark. Hawaii's historical struggles running the football go back even further. They haven't seen a 1,000 yard runner in nearly 20 years (1992).
Scouts are encouraged by the fact that Green, who is surprisingly agile and explosive for a back his size, is playing better as the season ends. When others were struggling down the stretch, he's getting stronger.
Some of the reason for that is he's fresh. Green has rushed for 1,168 yards this season despite getting only 10 carries a game (133 carries in 13 games). That equates to an average of 8.78 yards per rush, far and away the highest production of any qualified runner in the FBS.
The JUCO transfer only saw 86 rushes (for 453 yards, two touchdowns) in his first season at Hawaii. With "only" 219 carries during that time, he has more tread on his tires than many of the other big backs available in 2011. Consider the rushes just this season from some of the other top rated big backs like Kansas State's Daniel Thomas (276), Anthony Allen (217) and Evan Royster (188).
Tonight's showdown in the Hawaii Bowl should be the highest scoring bowl game of the year. Both offenses rank in the top ten in the country. Hawaii ranks 9th, averaging 39.9 points per game. Tulsa is just a tick behind, averaging 39.7. On an evening when many of us will be enjoying the bright lights around the tree, the offensive fireworks in Hawaii could be even more spectacular display.
Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin surely recognizes this fact. As such Green could be a focus of the Warriors' attack tonight, as McMackin reverts back to his defensive roots, (he's the former defensive coordinator of Hawaii, the Seattle Seahawks, etc.). Don't be surprised if McMackin puts the ball in Green's hands to make time of possession more of a factor than it might normally be for his team.
In doing so, Green's production and draft stock should continue its late season rise.
Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 3:20 pm
The 2010 season has featured several big conference matchups thus far on Thursday nights, but none bigger than tonight's showdown between two Big 12 unbeatens in Nebraska and Kansas State.
By virtue of their 27-20 victory over conference rival Iowa State a few weeks ago, Kansas State hosts this game in first place over Nebraska in the Big 12 North division. This, despite the fact that the Cornhuskers are currently ranked No. 7 in the country (AP) and boast a sparkling 4-0 record, including an impressive dismantling of Washington in Seattle.
While the Cornhuskers and Wildcats have matching records, there is a significant disparity in talent on the two rosters, which is likely to give Nebraska the win in this contest.
Nebraska's stellar defense features as many NFL prospects as any unit in all of college football. Senior cornerback Prince Amukamara was rated the No. 1 senior prospect in the country regardless of position by NFL scouts heading into the season. The corner playing opposite him, junior Alfonzo Dennard, is playing like a future first round pick, himself. Senior safety Eric Hagg, who at 6-2, 210 pounds has seen snaps at cornerback, both safety positions and even linebacker, is among the more versatile defenders in the Big 12.
On the defensive line, junior defensive tackle Jared Crick is a proven playmaker and senior defensive end Pierre Allen is a rising name in scouting circles this year.
Nebraska's spread option offense helps them put up points quickly. The play of redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinzez is a huge reason why. Michigan's Mr. Versatility Denard Robinson gets so much attention (and deservedly so), but Martinez (with 1,028 all-purpose yards and 10 scores) has been spectacular through the first four games. If wideout/returner Niles Paul played for an offense that featured him, he might be viewed as the top senior receiving prospect in the country. At 6-1, 220 pounds, he boasts an ideal frame and athleticism for the pro game. The Cornhuskers feature some intriguing second-tier NFL prospects on the offensive side of the ball, as well, including running back Roy Helu, tight end/receiver Mike McNeill.
As I mentioned earlier, Kansas State does not boast the talent that Nebraska does. That said, in senior running back Daniel Thomas, they have arguably the top senior running back in the country.
Thomas, 6-2 and 228 pounds, is a former JUCO All-American quarterback, made a splash last year in his first season in the Big 12, earning Offensive Newcomer of the Year with 1,265 rushing yards. Though his height concerns some scouts, there is no denying that Thomas is a natural runner with good vision and balance -- true rarities for backs of his size.
Nebraska's defense is so stout I don't expect Thomas to be particularly effective in this contest. If he is, however, it will unquestionably move his stock that much higher in the eyes of NFL scouts.
Be sure to tune in tonight (ESPN, 7:30 pm EST). I assure you, NFL scouts will be.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 1:26 pm
One might just assume I'm a rabid Auburn Tigers fan, as for the second week in a row I'm picking a senior prospect whose team the Tigers beat as my Player of the Week.
Last week I highlighted the play of Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod. This week the honor goes to Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel .
Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (McDaniel, in this case) was unquestionably the best. It isn't that McDaniel was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas (who rushed for another 181 yards in the undefeated Wildcats thrilling win over Iowa State) or Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick (who finished with 329 all-purpose yards and five TDs in an impressive win over Cal). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 senior prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.
In a game with plenty deserving acknowledgement, McDaniel was the most consistently impressive. McDaniel, who lined up deep in coverage as well as coming up in a hybrid linebacker role, finished with six tackles, and two passes defensed, including a textbook high-point interception in the second quarter that led to Clemson's second touchdown of the game and a seemingly unsurmountable 17-0 lead. Though the Tigers eventually came back to win this contest, McDaniel's play stood out. It wasn't just McDaniels' numbers that caught my eye, but the versatility and timing with which he recorded them.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .
We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, every Monday, I'll post my picks for each award.
Player of the Week - September 18, 2010
S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson 6-0 / 215 / 4.54 -- opponent: Auburn
Versatile defender capable of impacting the game in various ways. Good range and vision to play in the deep middle. Reads the quarterback's eyes and gets a jump on the ball. Showed terrific ball skills, timing and leaping ability to high-point his interception in the second quarter. The interception was McDaniel's first of 2010 - but he led the ACC with eight pick-offs last year. McDaniel's aggression does mean that he'll occasionally take a false step towards the line of scrimmage and can be victimized by good play-action. He was not beaten in this game, however. A bit shorter than scouts would prefer for the position, McDaniel has a well-built frame and looked comfortable near the line of scrimmage. He scrapes well, showing the lateral agility, balance and vision to avoid blockers. His instincts and comfort inside were on display in the 4th quarter when he sniffed out a receiver end-around and dropped wideout Terrell Zachary for a 7-yard loss. The play came at a perfect time for Clemson, as the team, after surrendering 24 consecutive points, had just scored to tie the game. McDaniel demonstrated reliable open field tackling skills throughout the game. He breaks down well in space to handle smaller, quicker athletes and can provide a much more explosive pop than he's generally given credit for. His lack of top power was exposed a bit with a strong effort from Auburn 5-10, 240 pound back to get a 4th quarter first down. McDaniel took on Smith too high and was surprised by Smith's power. Though he certainly wasn't bowled over, McDaniel did struggle to make the stop. In the NFL McDaniel will have to learn to tackle with greater balance and leverage for this mistake not to be repeated. Considering the consistency with which he played Saturday night, however, the one play (Auburn punted moments later) certainly wasn't a drawback. McDaniel's versatility and consistency, in fact, secured his place as the top all-around senior safety in the country -- at least in my eyes.
Posted on: September 8, 2010 1:06 pm
Subscribers of NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF file on the latest happenings in the world of college football and the NFL draft will be receiving their first premium issue of Draft Slant today.