Posted on: March 14, 2011 9:11 pm
Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas continues to be plagued by a hamstring pull and has informed teams that he will not be running at his university's Pro Day workout, according to multiple NFL sources.
The 6-0, 230 pound Thomas is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 rated running backs for the 2011 draft. His size, strength, lateral agility and vision are impressive -- especially considering the fact that he's only played the position for two seasons.
Thomas, who played quarterback at Northwest Mississippi Community College, signed with Kansas State largely because they promised to let him play running back, rather than switch him to defense as most teams wanted to do.
He was an immediate star for the Wildcats, earning the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year with a conference-leading 1,265 rushing yards, including 11 scores. Thomas was even better as a senior, rushing for 1,585 and 19 touchdowns.
Scouts are concerned about Thomas' pure speed, however, making it very important for him to run for teams prior to the draft. Thomas cited left hamstring tightness as the reason why he wasn't able to work out at the Combine or participate in the Senior Bowl.
One league source, flying to Manhattan, Kansas for the workout despite getting the news, was not happy.
"[Kansas State] has some other talent there, but he's the reason I'm going. No one is expecting [Thomas] to run in the 4.4s, but you'd like to get a time on the guy. It is pretty tought to make the argument he's a second or third round guy when you can see on tape that speed is a question."
Neither source had yet been notified of a new Pro Day for Thomas.
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.
Posted on: March 4, 2010 1:08 pm
NFL scouts weary from the Combine had little time to spend with loved ones before the unofficial kickoff to the Pro Day season began yesterday at Kansas State.
Defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald , one of the players Chad Reuter and I agreed was one of the biggest Combine snubs this year, was the headlining act.
Fitzgerald measured in at 6-3 5/8, 270 pounds -- one pound less than he had at the East-West Shrine Game. According to scouts representing an estimated ten teams on hand, Fitzgerald was clocked in the low 4.8s in the 40-yard dash and was clocked at 4.30 in the short shuttle, which would have placed him among the top ten defensive linemen tested in Indianapolis. Fitzgerald also had 21 repetitions of 225 pounds for the bench press.
Fitzgerald earned Defensive MVP honors for the Wildcats in 2009, posting 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. He also forced three fumbles and returned an interception 17 yards for a score against Texas Tech.
Originally signing with Virginia, Fitzgerald impressed early on, earning Freshman All-American honors by posting 64 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and leading the Cavs with 6 sacks. He posted 73 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks a year later, but elected to transfer to Kansas State to play under former Virginia assistant coach Ron Prince after academic problems.
The other notable performance in Manhattan came from junior cornerback Joshua Moore . Moore was invited to the Combine, but struggled in the 40-yard dash, testing out at only in the 4.6s on both attempts, according to scouts.
However, at his Pro Day, Moore helped his cause a bit, churning out a pair of low 4.5s in the drill.
Moore doesn't have a huge name outside of the Big 12, but he's been a solid player for the Wildcats. His willingness to come up and tackle (averaged 70 tackles over past two seasons), quick closing speed and active hands (28 career PBUs) is enough to get him a late round look.
Posted on: February 28, 2010 11:47 am
I was among the fortunate handful of media members allowed to venture inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch this morning's quarterback and wide receivers workouts. Because I have to head back out to cover the second session in just a few moments, I don't have enough to time to really break down the 20+ players I watched.
However, here were my impressions of a few noteworthy receivers.
The highest rated receiver of this bunch is Illinois' Arrelious Benn, but today was not an impressive one for him. Benn struggled with his footwork today, slipping on multiple occasions on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf. He also struggled catching the ball, dropping a few passes during the gauntlet drill and while running routes. He looked particularly bad by having a hot, but accurate pass go right through his hands on during the gauntlet and subsequently dropping another one by turning his hands the wrong way when attempting to catch a poorly thrown post-corner route. Benn did not look overly explosive, though his strong frame is sure to intrigue scouts.
The most consistently impressive catcher on this day was another junior, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe. Briscoe's long arms and good body control was often on display, as he was able to adjust to several poorly thrown passes and make sparking receptions. He doesn't appear to be the quickest receiver out of his breaks, but his long strides help him generate good speed down the sidelines.
Cal's Ryan Boateng was a surprise early star during the session, looking fluid during drills and catching everything in sight. He caught the ball with his hands and adjusted smoothly to poorly thrown balls -- an impressive feat considering his 6-1, 204 pound frame. Boateng struggled a bit later, failing to adjust adequately to deep balls, which will be a concern. Otherwise, he was one of the session's more impressive performers.
Florida's Riley Cooper was a bit inconsistent with his routes and hands on this day. He is more explosive than some give him credit for, but certainly doesn't have elite burst out of his breaks. He caught most passes with his hands, but didn't show great flexibility or determination to adjust to poorly thrown balls, too often just putting one hand up to attempt to make the sparkling reception. On one occasion he made a nice grab by doing so; on another he dropped it.
LSU return specialist Trindon Holliday was a surprise addition to the receiver workouts. His speed is certainly intriguing, but he dropped a few passes, including a bad on a deep ball that floated right into -- and through -- his hands.
Wide receivers who worked out this morning were: Fresno State's Seyi Ajirotutu, West Virginia's Alec Arnett, Kansas State's Brandon Banks, Norfolk State's Chris Bell, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, Cal's Ryan Boateng, Kansas' Dezmon Briscoe, Central Michigan Antonio Brown, Cal-Davis' Chris Carter, Florida's Riley Cooper, Connecticut's Marcus Easley, Clemson's Jacoby Ford, Wake Forest's David Gettis, Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi's Shay Hodge, Florida's Brandon James, Youngstown State's Donald Jones, San Jose State's Kevin Jurovich.
Due to injury, Missouri's Danario Alexander, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Minnesota's Eric Decker did not work out this morning.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Antonio Brown, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Banks, Brandon James, Cal-Davis, Central Michigan, Chris Bell, Chris Carter, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, Danario Alexander, David Gettis, Dez Bryant, Dezmon Briscoe, Donald Jones, Eric Decker, Florida, Florida, Fresno State Seyi Ajirotutu, Jacoby Ford, Kansas, Kansas State, Kevin Jurovich., Marcus Easley, Mardy Gilyard, Mississippi, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, Norfolk State, Riley Cooper, Ryan Boateng, San Jose State, Shay Hodge, Wake Forest, West Virginia Alec Arnett, Youngstown State
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:54 pm
Let's be real clear about this from the start -- NFLDraftScout.com rated Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh as the number one senior prospect in August. He's been atop every one of the many mock drafts I've penned already this year. I see no reason why he won't be atop every other 2010 mock draft I write. I don't know of anyone who touted him as a Heisman candidate before I did.
In fact, Bo Pelini and Suh's family might be the only ones higher on this young man's ability than I am.
And yet, I think he's going to struggle to make his typically dominant impact against Arizona today in the Holiday Bowl.
The Wildcats feature a true spread offense. Rarely does quarterback Nick Foles hang on to the ball for long, one of the reasons why Arizona has allowed only 11 sacks on the year (tied for 10th fewest in the FCS).
One could make the point that many of the offenses Suh faced in the Big 12 also feature the spread offense, including Texas, who Suh so infamously ravaged in the Big 12 Championship. Those teams, however, didn't have a month to prepare.
Against top teams with more typical pro-style offenses (Virginia Tech, Colorado, Kansas State, Iowa State), Suh averaged an eye-popping 7.5 tackles, a sack, 2 PBUs and .75 blocked kicks per game.
The two Big 12 teams using a true spread offense as wide as the one the Wildcats will use today were Kansas and Texas Tech. In those two contests Suh was held relatively in check, averaging only 3.5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
The spread offense was designed to get the ball out of the hands of the quarterback quickly to combat dominant penetrating defensive linemen just like Suh.
If he isn't as dominant today as he has been in the past, don't chalk it up to a lack of effort or his being overrated. NFL scouts certainly be.