Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Mississippi
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:08 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely

Each week as part of my and fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter's preparation for our weekly Draft Slant feature I list five prospects that I'll be focusing on during Saturday's games.*

I list the players here, but those of you who would like to scout "alongside" me, you can follow me on Twitter @RobRang .

OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College:
There is a great deal of debate among scouts as to who is the top senior offensive tackle in the country. Castonzo has his share of supporters and it isn't difficult to understand why. Castonzo, 6-7 and 308 pounds, is light on his feet and has the strong BC reputation of producing quality NFL offensive linemen helping him. Castonzo is high cut, however, and struggles with the bull rush. He'll be facing an athletic and physical Virginia Tech defense Saturday. I'm very curious to see how he fares. Game begins at 12:00 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

DL Marcell Dareus, Alabama: Like most college football fans, this is the game I'm most looking forward to watching. Dareus didn't do much in his first game back from his two game suspension (one TFL against Duke) to start the season, but he and the rest of the Tide's ability to get Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett moving will be key in this game. Scouts want to see if Dareus is as dominant without Terrance Cody, Lorenzo Washington and Brandon Deaderick taking the pressure off of him. Dareus stars as a defensive end in Nick Saban's 3-4 scheme, but is being heavily scouted by 4-3 teams who like him as a defensive tackle, as well. Though Dareus is only a junior, scouts tell me he's a virtual guarantee to come out after this season. Game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by CBS.

RB Evan Royster, Penn State:
For all of his success, Royster has always struck me as a better college player than NFL prospect. He's shown enough courage, leg drive and burst to be successful in a one-cut offense (ala Arian Foster, Ryan Grant), but like these two NFL standouts, I don't see the straight-line speed or wiggle that typically earns anything higher than a mid round selection -- despite terrific production over his career. That production came in the past, however, as Royster has really struggled this season. In fact, he only eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the season last week in the Nittany Lions' third game of the year. Penn State hosts an underrated Temple squad Saturday. This will either be the game Royster gets back into the groove or truly begins to slip out of the minds of NFL scouts. Game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by Big Ten Network.

OG Andrew Jackson, Fresno State: "The President" has helped Fresno State be one of the best power rushing offenses over the past few seasons, earning All-WAC honors each of the past two seasons. (Of course, some guy named Ryan Matthews helped too). Jackson, however, has never had to face a defensive line with the strength and athleticism that Ole Miss boasts. Jackson is big (6-5, 295) and strong, but so too is NG Jerrell Powe. This game certainly isn't getting the hype of this weekend's monster games, but with the Rebels already getting upset at home once this year and Pat Hill's reputation for his team playing the big boys tough, I think this game could be a better scouting opportunity than most think. Game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State: Boise State has defeated their share of top opponents over the years. Many across the country won't be impressed by a home victory over the Beavers. They should, however, as the Beavers feature two of the most dynamic all-purpose weapons in college football in the Rodgers Bros. and a legitimate first round caliber defensive tackle in Paea. It is Paea that might actually play the bigger role in the Beavers' upset bid Saturday night. In nearly all of Heisman contender Kellen Moore's toughest games, he's enjoyed stellar pass protection. Paea's ability to collapse the pocket from the inside could be especially troublesome for Moore, who at 6-0, 187 pounds simply doesn't have the height to throw over constant interior pressure. Paea's game has always been his ability to hold up to double-teams in the running game. There won't be a better time for him to prove to scouts that he can rush the passer than this game. Game begins at 8 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

* While I'm generally focus on the senior prospects, I have to admit that I'm also keeping a close eye on underclassmen quarterbacks Andrew Luck , Nick Foles and Mallett -- especially considering how poorly the top senior QBs have faired thus far this season.

Luck should continue his strong start to the season (10 TDs/O INTs) against Notre Dame. Luck could miss his underrated senior WR Ryan Whalen, but the reality is the Irish simply aren't gifted enough defensively to slow down this offense.

Foles will be facing a physical and talented Cal defense that was embarrassed last week by Nevada. This is a home game for the Wildcats, but don't be surprised if the Golden Bears give him a tougher test than he's had all year long.

I'm not as high on Mallett as others seem to be, but acknowledge that two of the primary concerns I've had for him in the past -- poise in the pocket and overall mobility -- he's shown significant improvement in thus far this season. Of course, he hasn't faced a defense like Alabama's yet. Mallett's performance against the Tide -- good or bad -- could prove every bit the story that Jake Locker's struggles against Nebraska were.

Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:58 pm
 

Diamond in the Rough -- Jax St. OL Curt Porter

As I mentioned in my last post, we thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement than they received in the past as part of our Draft Slant coverage. Thus, each Monday/ (in this case Tuesday), I'll post the name and rationale for those players here on the blog.

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.

Jacksonville State offensive lineman Curt Ponder jumped off the screen with his play Saturday in the Gamecocks upset over Ole Miss. As you can read below, he is very deserving to be my first Diamond in the Rough for the 2010-11 season.

Diamond in the Rough -- September 4, 2010
OL Curt Porter - Jacksonville State 6-7 / 315 / 5.20
-- opponent Mississippi
 
Jacksonville State's win at Ole Miss Saturday brought back memories of Appalachian State's win at Michigan three years ago...and with it, an exciting scouting opportunity.  Appalachian State's win helped spark NFL interest into quarterback Armanti Edwards (Carolina, No. 89 overall, 2010), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay, No. 58 overall, 2008) and safety Corey Lynch (Cincinnati, No. 177, 2008), among others. Similarly, NFL scouts will carefully pore over the Ole Miss-Jacksonville State game film to see which of the JSU Gamecocks were most responsible for their stunning 49-48 double-overtime victory. What scouts will find is that Porter, who earned Second-Team All-OVC honors last year at left tackle, was as valuable as anyone. Struggling with injuries along their offensive line, Porter, with all 22 of his career starts coming at left tackle, was asked to slide over and slow down Ole Miss' Jerrell Powe, the Rebels' 6-2, 330 pound All-American candidate. Powe was limited to only two tackles, including a one-yard tackle for loss. Porter, 6-7 and 315 pounds, alternated between left and right guard, played with surprising leverage and power considering his long frame. Porter also demonstrated the balance and foot quickness you'd expect from an all-conference left tackle, mirroring the pass rush of Ole Miss defenders. Perhaps most surprising was the comfort with which he and his teammates reacted to stunts and twists by the Rebel defensive linemen in the second half. Whether Porter moves back outside to left tackle or stays inside at guard the rest of the season, NFL scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on him.
Posted on: August 21, 2010 11:05 pm
 

UNC's Bruce Carter: Quinn "is a freak of nature"

I learned a long time ago that players are often the best scouts. Who knows better than they how good another player really is?

I'll give you an example. Two years ago I spoke to former Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher about some of the unheralded prospects on the Rebels' squad. He told me safety Jamarca Sanford would surprise in the NFL and that a smallish running back named Dexter McCluster was going to "shock the world" in 2009.

Sanford, the 231st pick in the 2009 draft, played in 14 games for the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie and even started Week Four against Dallas. He finished with 29 tackles and a forced fumble on the year.

McCluster rushed for 1,169 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 44 passes for another 520 yards and three scores in earning All-SEC honors. He is the first player in the long and storied history of the SEC to have rushed for over 1,000 yards and caught passes for over 500 yards in one season.

Clearly, Oher knew what he was talking about with these two players.

With this in mind, I asked North Carolina outside linebacker Bruce Carter to break down some of his highly regarded teammates during a phone interview yesterday. Carter, our top-rated outside linebacker prospect for the 2011 draft, will be featured in an article I wrote as part of NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's preview of the ACC.

The following is Bruce's thoughts, along with NFLDraftScout.com's current grade for each player.

Marvin Austin is our top-rated North Carolina prospect. The defensive tackle is our No. 2 rated player at the position and the 4th best senior prospect overall. Says Carter: "Marvin is a guy who likes to talk trash. He's very explosive. He's a great competitor."

Greg Little is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior wide receiver and the No. 31 overall senior prospect for the 2011 draft.
Says Carter: "He [Little] is a great athlete and so big for a receiver. He's explosive coming off the line and going up to get the ball. He's got great hands."

Quan Sturdivant , who has seen action at inside and outside linebacker, is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 2 ILB and No. 41 overall. Says Carter: "Quan is an instinctive linebacker. He's got a great head for sniffing out screens and draws."

Deunta Williams is our top-rated free safety and currently ranks as the No. 38 senior prospect overall.
Says Carter: "Deunta Williams is a great communicator who makes sure we're all lined up correctly. He's a great athlete too."

Kendric Burney has started all 38 games of his career at cornerback for UNC and earned First Team All-ACC honors last year with five interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. Still, despite his consistency and production, I believe he's being one of the more underrated cornerback prospects for the NFL simply because he's only 5-09. He's currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated senior cornerback and viewed as a 2nd-3rd round prospect. I characterized him as "underrated" to Bruce, who didn't agree.
Says Bruce: "I don't know that he's underrated. He's a lockdown corner in my mind and gets the credit [First-Team All-ACC] he deserves for doing such a great job. He's got great versatility and can really jump high to make the big play."

Charles Brown doesn't get the attention that Burney has earned, but as our No. 15 rated senior cornerback, is certainly on our radar. Carter thinks we should have him rated higher.
Says Bruce: "He's a lockdown corner too, but he doesn't get the attention he deserves just yet. He's good, though, and will be getting more attention soon."

Perhaps Carter's most interesting comments were reserved for junior defensive end Robert Quinn . NFLDraftScout.com typically does not comment on the NFL potential of underclassmen, but in the case of Quinn -- who is already drawing comparisons from NFL scouts to former Tar Heel great Julius Peppers, acknowledging his talent is easy. Quinn, who finished second last year in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting as a true sophomore with 19 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, looks like a potential top ten prospect.
Says Carter: "Man, Rob[ert] is just a monster. Everybody knows he's a freak of nature. He does such a great job of rushing the passer that people don't always recognize that he plays the run well too. He does a great job. "



Posted on: August 9, 2010 8:24 pm
 

DT Powe "very excited" Masoli coming to Ole Miss

NFLDraftScout.com will soon be continuing our series of articles previewing the top ten prospects for each of the major conferences. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter began the process by listing the top ten prospects of non-BCS conferences in an article here.

I drew the SEC among my four conference previews. As part of the previews, we decided to do a feature article on one senior prospect from each conference that we felt were not only potentially top prospects for the 2011 NFL draft, but interesting stories, as well. Chad featured Troy wideout Jernell Jernigan , a quality slot receiver prospect with verified 4.3 speed, for the non-BCS story.

The supremely talented SEC is always fertile grounds for quality prospects. I considered LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, as well as offensive tackles Demarcus Love (Arkansas) and Derrek Sherrod (Mississippi State), but instead elected to go with the player I felt was the most physically dominant prospect in the conference -- Mississippi defensive tackle Jerrell Powe.

The 6-2, 313 pound (weighed yesterday) Powe was an entertaining interview. His enthusiasm for improving his own game and that of the Ole Miss football team, as a whole, was obvious and clearly heart-felt.

I can't give away all of the details of the story here. His past academic and weight struggles, relationships with former Ole Miss stars Michael Oher, Peria Jerry and Jamarca Sanford and why he elected to come back for his senior season are all covered in the story.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the interview, however, came when I asked him about former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signing with Ole Miss. Some have questioned Houston Nutt's decision to add Masoli. Some believe Masoli's checkered past will be just another distraction for a team that struggled last year amid big expectations.

Powe, however, could hardly contain his excitement.

"I'm excited. Very excited," he told me in a phone interview this morning prior to practice. "We just got done with a team run and some of the other guys on the team had been on Twitter and Facebook and all that mess and they were saying that Jeremiah Masoli was going to be coming here. I got a chance last year a couple of times to watch him play and I've never seen anyone run the zone-read the way he runs it. So me and some of the other seniors, went to the coaches like, 'Hey, we've got to go get this guy.'"

The articles -- my SEC preview and the feature on Powe -- are currently scheduled to run on NFLDraftScout.com Thursday.
Posted on: July 12, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Luck, Kaepernick, others wow at Manning QB Camp

Each year the Mannings (Archie and sons Petyon, Eli and Cooper) hold their Manning Passing Academy for high school and collegiate "skill position" football players. Though running backs, wide receivers and tight ends are also invited to the camp, the quarterbacks always receive the most attention.

For the fifth consecutive year this year's camp was held on the Nicholls State University campus; the former home of the New Orleans Saints' training camp. This is the 14th year the Mannings have been holding their camp.

This year the collegiate quarterbacks invited read like a Who's Who of the game. Washington's Jake Locker was invited, but couldn't attend. Miami's Jacory Harris, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor were other high profile passers also unable to participate.

Among the more high profile players who did participate, however, included:

Jordan Jefferson - LSU
Jerrod Johnson - Texas A&M
Colin Kaepernick - Nevada
Case Keenum - Houston
Andrew Luck - Stanford
Greg McElroy - Alabama
Kellen Moore - Boise State
Christian Ponder - Florida State
Taylor Potts - Texas Tech
Matt Simms - Tennessee
Nathan Stanley - Mississippi
Brandon Weeden - Oklahoma State
Tyler Wolfe - Northwestern State (La.)
T.J. Yates - North Carolina

Much of the clinic is open to the public. According to sources in attendance, Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck is clearly the most gifted of the group. He showed a strong NFL-caliber arm and the accuracy to attack all levels of the field. Luck recently went on the record stating that he planned to graduate from Stanford before pursuing professional football.

Another young talent, Tennessee's Matt Simms (son of Phil, brother of Chris) also impressed, I'm told.

Kaepernick surprised some with his velocity. The 6-6, 220 pound Wolfpack quarterback is well known for his production (20 TDs/6 INTs, as well as 1,183 rushing yards, 16 TDs last year), but is viewed by many scouts as a product of coach Chris Ault's "pistol" offense.

FSU's Christian Ponder, who tied with Locker for the highest QB grade given by National scouts, was characterized as being good, but not spectacular. In Ponder's defense, he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and may have been still working out some of the kinks.


Posted on: March 5, 2010 12:48 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2010 12:29 pm
 

CB Perrish Cox barred from Oklahoma State Pro Day

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy will not allow star cornerback Perrish Cox to work out at the team facilities for NFL scouts during the Cowboys' Pro Day March 10.

Gundy announced as much publicly during a radio interview yesterday with Al Jerken on the Sports Animal Tulsa network.

Gundy's decision continues a stunning fall from grace for the former All-Big 12 star.

Cox was suspended due to two separate curfew violations while the team prepared in Dallas for the Alamo Bowl against Mississippi. He was not allowed to participate in the bowl game.

Making matters worse, during his session with the media, Cox characterized the questions he received from NFL teams about his suspension from the Cowboys as being "harassed." Cox's term wasn't a slip of the tongue; he repeated the word several times to describe his Q and A sessions with teams.

Cox furthermore hurt his chances with clubs by coming in much slower than expected during drills. Considered one of the top corners in the nation and a big play returner (six career touchdown returns), Cox was timed in the high 4.5s to low 4.6s in the 40-yard dash.

Apparently, he'll need to find another location if he is to work out for scouts prior to the draft. Considering his characterization of their questions, it is difficult to believe scouts will be willing to go out of their way to see him again.

It's too bad. Cox is a talented player worthy of first round consideration. At this point, however, it is questionable if he'll make the second or even third round.

I've spoken to teams who have discussed removing him off their draft board entirely.



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 28, 2010 11:47 am
 

Impressions from first QB-WR session -- WR Report

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