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Tag:Mississippi State
Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Eagles could need an OT w/ RT Justice hurting

Philadelphia Eagles' right tackle Winston Justice is scheduled to undergo surgery on his right knee tomorrow. The procedure, which will be performed by renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, could be a relatively minor procedure to fix a bone chip.

Unfortunately, according to Geoff Mosher of the Courier Post , there is also a possibility that Justice will need microfracture surgery, a much more serious procedure that could sideline the Eagles' starting right tackle for the 2011 season.

The Eagles have proven depth along the interior of their offensive line, but may need reinforcements at tackle should Justice be sidelined for a long period of time. Former Auburn standout King Dunlap took over for Justice in the Eagles' loss to the Packers in the opening round of the playoffs. Dunlap, the 230th selection of the 2008 draft, has great size, but may lack the mobility Philadelphia wants protecting Michael Vick -- especially considering that the right tackle protects Vick's blindside. Vick is left handed.

The 2011 crop of right tackles is a particularly strong one. The Eagles could have their choice of several candidates with the No. 23 in the first round. Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod would appear to be especially strong candidates.

Posted on: January 23, 2011 6:00 pm
 

QBs, OTs ones to watch in Mobile

NFL scouts, front office executives and coaches are heading to Mobile, Alabama today to scout every one of the prospects in the 2011 Senior Bowl.

Much of their attention, however, will be focused on two positions -- quarterback and offensive tackle.

As two of the premium positions in today's NFL, quarterback and offensive tackle are typically among the areas to focus on. The 2011 class is especially competitive at these positions, however, making the battles between the top-rated passers and blockers all the more intriguing.

Consider that while Washington quarterback Jake Locker remains a likely first round prospect, I've spoken to scouts whose teams currently rank other seniors just as highly. For some teams, a strong week by TCU's Andy Dalton or Iowa's Ricky Stanzi could vault them ahead of Locker.

The "second tier" quarterback talent available in this draft, in fact, is one of the year's hidden strengths. Considering the risk I see in Locker, Auburn's Cam Newton and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, it might prove wiser for teams with quarterback needs to look elsewhere in the first round and grab a Dalton or Stanzi (or Devlin, Ponder, Enderle) a frame or two later.

The competition is perhaps even more intense at offensive tackle. Having spoken to representatives from four clubs in the past two weeks about the tackle class, I've yet to find any consensus as to the order they will (or should) be drafted.

If there is a "favorite" it is probably Colorado's Nate Solder. I, however, have serious reservations about his technique, especially against speed rushers. He's expected to work out very, very well and therefore build some momentum as the draft approaches, but he certainly has flaws.

Unfortunately, for teams needing tackles, so too do the other top rated tackles. Boston College's Anthony Castonzo lacks the bulk most teams prefer. He may be the best pass blocking left tackle in the draft, but he's struggled to generate movement in the running game. Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi is the opposite. He can dominate as a drive blocker, but gets too high in pass protection and doesn't have the footwork, in my opinion, to remain on the left side in the NFL. I've rated Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod as the top tackle throughout much of the year, but his wide shoulder, narrow hip makes him top-heavy and therefore inherently vulnerable to bull rushes and good double-moves. He, too, might be best served as a right tackle. USC junior Tyron Smith has the feet and wingspan teams want in a left tackle, but he's quite raw and remains a projection, having played right tackle throughout his abbreviated career with the Trojans.

The beauty of any all-star game is that strong performances there can impact player rankings. 

For this year's Senior Bowl, the rankings of senior prospects - especially at quarterback and offensive tackle -- could wind up completely re-shuffled.
Posted on: January 2, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Five most impressive prospects from New Years Day

Taking the extra 24 hours to review all six of the New Years' Day bowl games, I've come up with a list of the five draft-eligible players who I felt enjoyed the strongest performances.

In New Years' fashion, I'm putting them in reverse order, starting with the No. 5 performance and finishing with the player I thought was No. 1 on the day of ones (1-1-11).

5. OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State : Those that followed me on Twitter yesterday (I had 55 posts) they know that I'm quite high on the Bulldogs' left tackle. Sherrod doesn't have elite quickness off the edge, but rarely allowed pressure from Michigan pass rushers during the Gator Bowl. Sherrod's ability to pop the defensive end and switch off to blitzing linebackers (essentially blocking two men) gave quarterback Chris Relf plenty of time to attack the Wolverines' vulnerable secondary. For Relf, who completed only 55.5% of his passes and threw only 10 touchdowns during his 12 regular season starts, it was his most impressive performance of the year (completed 78.3% of his passes for 281 yards, 3 TDs and an INT). In fact, Relf's 18 of 23 passing was the most efficient of any New Years' Day quarterback, helping him earn MVP honors. The credit should go just as much to Sherrod as Relf.
 
4. RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut: The Oklahoma Sooners knew heading into the Fiesta Bowl that if they could contain Todman, the No. 2 rusher in the FBS (behind Oregon's LaMichael James), they'd almost surely be victorious. The Sooners won easily, but like nearly every other opponent this season, they couldn't stop Todman from rushing for over 100 yards. It was Todman's agility, burst and determined running, in fact, that served as the Huskies' only offensive spark in the 48-20 loss. I remain concerned about the 5-09, 195 pound Todman's ability to hold up long term in the NFL, but the Huskies apparenty aren't. Todman rushed 32 times for his 121 times against the Sooners -- the fifth time in final six games of his Connecticut career in which he had at least 30 attempts.

3. C Mike Pouncey, Florida: It hasn't always been easy this year for Pouncey, who, of course, took over at center for his twin brother, Maurkice - Pittsburgh's first round pick last April. Mike more than held his own yesterday against Penn State, however, clearing the way for interior running lanes, providing stellar pass protection up the middle and -- perhaps most impressively -- showcasing the nimble feet to pull and hit moving defenders downfield. Pouncey's size and agility make him a better fit at guard in the pros, but in a showdown of two of the best senior interior lineman in college football yesterday, Pouncey was more consistently impressive than Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski.

2. QB Andy Dalton, TCU: It wasn't that Dalton put up staggering numbers against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl (15/23 for 219 yards and a TD), but the poise he demonstrated in helping the Horned Frogs to their biggest win ever will not only help secure his place in TCU history, it will unquestionably boost his stock with NFL scouts. With their defense and special teams, TCU knew they could win the game as long as Dalton didn't attempt to win the game on his own. He didn't, playing within himself by making key reads, using his legs to buy time and pick up yardage and taking the occasional shot downfield. In doing so he atoned for the mistakes (three INTs) he made in TCU's loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last year and reassured scouts that he has the mettle to handle the big stage.

1. DL Marcell Dareus, Alabama:
There were any number of Crimson Tide players that deserved acknowledgement for their 49-7 thrashing of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl - not the least of which was RB Mark Ingram or WR Julio Jones - but the most dominant 'Bama player on New Years' Day was Dareus. He dominated the Spartans offensive line, easily handling one on one blocks and splitting double-teams, as well on his way to the backfield. Those that didn't watch the game may point out that Dareus had only three tackles (two TFL including a sack) and thus couldn't possibly warrant the top spot. As is often the case with dominant defensive linemen, however, Dareus' penetration and three QB hurries often gave his teammates easy opportunities to pad their own statistics. 
Posted on: November 1, 2010 11:42 pm
 

Miss. St OT Derek Sherrod Prospect of the Week

Week Nine of the college football season saw some spectacular individual performances. Many of them came from skill position players in high profile contests.

Nebraska running back Roy Helu, Jr. ran for an FBS season-high and Cornhusker school record 307 rushing yards and three touchdowns against then No. 7 Missouri.

Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore, who I listed as one of five senior prospects I'd be focusing on , certainly came through with six receptions for 228 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi was sparkling in his efficiency by completing 11 of 15 passes for 190 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the showdown with undefeated Michigan State.

I reviewed the game film of all three, writing about each of them in either my Weekend Review soon to be published on NFLDraftScout.com or Draft Slant , our weekly PDF file for premium subscribers. During the film review for these articles, I couldn't help but notice the stellar play of Mississippi State left tackle Derek Sherrod.

Sherrod, 6-5 and 305 pounds, earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his dominating effort against Kentucky. It is the third time he's earned the award in the last five weeks.

Possessing rare foot quickness and balance for a man his size, Sherrod easily protected the edge when in pass protection. At times, he'd extend his left arm out to slow the pass rush of his primary assignment, while leaning inside to help the Bulldogs' young left guards.

His nimble footwork and good upper body strength made him equally effective as a run blocker. I've spoken to scouts who would like to see Sherrod finish his blocks with a nastier demeanor. Some of this issue might simply be due to the fact that the game appears to come easy to him.

Sherrod will certainly get the opportunity to prove his physicality in the Bulldogs' next game. With the upcoming week off for a bye, the Bulldogs travel to Alabama on November 13.  
Posted on: October 20, 2010 9:06 am
 

Strong individual performances highlight weekend

Some of you may have noticed that my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter took over the blog for the past few days. He did an admirable job with a detailed breakdown of Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn as the Prospect of the Week and Slippery Rock center Brandon Fusco as our Diamond in the Rough .

Chad took over because I was on a short deer-hunting trip in Washington state with my father, brother and a few close friends. The annual trip is one of the reasons I have not accepted an NFL scouting position. I love football, but my family and our annual trips together come first.

Getting back yesterday, I spent much of the evening reviewing film and talking to contacts within the league. While I absolutely agree with selection of Clayborn as our senior prospect of the week, here are several other players that caught my (and scouts') attention with strong performances on Saturday.

OLB/DE Chris Carter, Fresno State : Carter registered nine tackles, including four tackles for loss and three sacks and forced two fumbles in the Bulldogs' 33-10 win over New Mexico State.

DT Guy Miller, Colorado State: The 6-3, 302 pounder broke the CSU record with 4.5 sacks against UNLV Saturday. He'd been rated as a likely free agent prior to the contest and had only two sacks to this point, but the dominating effort left a strong impression on two league insiders I spoke to who attended/viewed this game.

WR/RS Jerrel Jernigan, Troy : Jernigan, previously highlighted as Diamond in the Rough , deserved consideration again this week after a 188 all-purpose yard, two touchdown performance in the 31-24 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Jernigan caught six passes for 77 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. He also returned a punt for a 75-yard touchdown. Jernigan has been invited to the Senior Bowl .

WR/RS Dwayne Harris, East Carolina: Against quality ACC competition, Harris exploded for a career-high 260 all-purpose yards Saturday versus North Carolina State. Harris caught nine passes for 91 yards in ECU's thrilling 33-27 victory and contributed another 95 on kick returns and 75 on punt returns.

WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati: Binns caught a career-high eight passes for 175 yards and three scores in the Bearcats exciting come-from-behind win over Louisville Friday night. For his efforts Binns also was recognized as the Big East's Offensive Player of the Week.

S Mark Barron, Alabama: Scouts love Barron's instincts and versatility and both were on display Saturday against Ole Miss. Barron registered seven tackles, including five solos, an interception, tackle for loss and a quarterback pressure.

ILB Chris White, Mississippi State: White was all over the field for the Bulldogs in their impressive 10-7 win over Florida, Saturday. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors with 11 tackles (including nine solos), as well as 4.5 tackles for loss against the Gators. White is among the conference leaders with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks so far this season.

OLB Blake Sorensen, Wisconsin: Sorenson's game-clinching interception with only a few minutes remaining sealed the Badgers upset bid over Ohio State Saturday, but was only part of his impressive game. Sorensen also registered a career-high 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss.





Posted on: September 18, 2010 12:05 pm
 

Five seniors I'll be scouting closely today

Each Saturday I list here five seniors I'll be scouting closely. Prospects in the past I've listed include Washington quarterback Jake Locker, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, San Jose State safety Duke Ihenacho, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and NFLDraftScout.com's current lead story , Florida center Mike Pouncey, among others.

Players I'm focusing on aren't necessarily the elite prospects, but those who have legitimate NFL hopes, are playing in an intriguing matchup and, of course, are being televised.

For those that would like to scout alongside me today, you can follow me on Twitter @RobRang.

These are the five seniors I'll be keying in on tday (and a brief explanation as to why)...

CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska : In the game I certainly believe to be the biggest matchup of the weekend, Amukamara has the task of controlling Washington quarterback Jake Locker's favorite target, junior wideout Jermaine Kearse. Kearse, the reigning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week after catching nine passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns last week in a win over Syracuse. If Amukamara, who entered the year rated by NFL scouts as the elite senior prospect in the entire country , can force Locker to look elsewhere, the Huskers will have a great shot at defeating the Huskies in Seattle.

OT DeMarcus Love, Arkansas: Razorback quarterback Ryan Mallett has already generated plenty of Heisman and early NFL draft talk. If he is to continue to earn rave reviews, he'll need a strong effort from his blindside protector, Love, in Arkansas' SEC opener against Georgia, today. The contest is a particularly intriguing one as Georgia enters this game needing a win following last week's loss to South Carolina and presents Arkansas with matchup dilemmas, considering they now use a 3-4 alignment. How Love handles Georgia's speed off the edge will go a long way in scouts eyes of determining whether the second-year starting LT has the athleticism and recognition to remain here in the NFL.

ILB Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina: For all of the negativity going on around the North Carolina program right now, some might be surprised to learn that they're actually still playing football. The Tar Heels host Georgia Tech in one of the key conference matchups of the weekend. While his athletically superior Bruce Carter gets most of the headlines, Sturdivant is among the more instinctive linebackers in the country. How he reacts to Georgia Tech's triple option offense will go a long way in determining who wins this ACC showdown.

OT Jonathan Barksdale, LSU: Though the Bulldogs enter this game 1-1, I've been more impressed with them so far in the early season than I have the 2-0 and hosting Tigers. Barksdale will be in charge of protecting LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson against Pernell McPhee, an immediate impact (and all-conference) performer last year for Mississippi State. Barksdale, 6-6 and 320 pounds, played well at right tackle in the past, but with four-year starter Ciron Black attempting to find a niche in the NFL, it will be up to Barksdale to control the left tackle position this year.  

CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville: Patrick doesn't get a lot of recognition outside of Conference USA, but he boasts an underrated combination of size (5-11, 190), quick feet and speed (4.47). Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers gets most of the attention, but his older brother, wideout James, broke the school record last year with 2,328 all-purpose yards. Patrick is the Cardinals' most talented and experienced defensive back. He got nicked up last week against Eastern Kentucky, but is expected to play. This should make for an intriguing and nationally underrated showdown between two very good athletes. 
Posted on: September 13, 2010 8:33 pm
 

Player of the Week -- Miss. St. OT Derek Sherrod

Earlier in the week I listed five senior prospects I was going to be focusing on for the opening weekend of college football action. Sherrod was not among those players, as they each played on Saturday. Sherrod and his Mississippi State teammates lost a 17-14 nail-biter to the Auburn Tigers in a rare Thursday night SEC showdown.

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 (Sherrod, in this case) was unquestionably the best. It isn't that Sherrod was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis (who posted 5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks against Vanderbilt) or Troy wideout Jerrel Jernigan (who finished with 277 all-purpose yards and TDs via kick return and receiving in a close loss to Oklahoma State). 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.

Sherrod was very impressive against a talented Auburn defense. So impressive that after reviewing dozens of candidates the rest of the weekend, I couldn't find a player that I thought was more deserving of attention.

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 9, 2010
OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State 6-5 / 305 / 5.22 -- opponent: Auburn

The Bulldogs lost their conference opener to the Tigers, giving up a great deal of pressure up front (three sacks and numerous pressures), but Sherrod wasn't to blame. Manning the left tackle position, Sherrod consistently stoned his opponent in pass protection and was just as effective in the running game, often providing an initial pop to the defensive end before releasing to the second level. Sherrod was a step slow off the snap, at times, against the Tigers, but is a fluid athlete who generates good depth out of his stance. He has long arms and good upper body strength to jolt the defender. Sherrod plays on the balls of his feet and has good lateral agility and balance to mirror pass-rushers, including linebackers coming on the blitz. He plays with leverage and has the impressive core strength to handle the bull-rush. As a run-blocker, Sherrod relies more on positioning and athleticism than pure strength. While he can knock the defender back with his initial surge, Sherrod doesn't currently possess the elite power to drive his opponent downfield. I'd like to see him play with a little more nastiness, as well. Too often Sherrod seemed content with pushing his opponent initially, but not dominating as consistently as his size, power and technique advantage would make seem possible. Sherrod's athleticism, however, does make him a quality zone-blocking candidate. He is often asked to pull in this scheme, showing good agility and straight-line speed in getting to the second level. The Bulldogs haven't had a player drafted in the first round since 1994. In Sherrod, they have an excellent chance at breaking that streak.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 7:45 pm
 

Auburn RB Fannin struggling

As I noted in yesterday's preview of the SEC showdown between Auburn and Mississippi State, Tigers' senior running back Mario Fannin entered the year among my favorite breakout candidates .

It isn't difficult to follow my logic. Fannin, who already holds the Auburn record for most receptions by a running back, and at 5-11, 227 pounds has shown intriguing lateral agility and straight-line speed, was expected to take over this year as the Tigers' primary ball-carrier. Considering that he took over for Ben Tate, who himself, rode a breakout senior campaign to the second round of the 2010 draft, the writing on the wall seemed to have been done with a Sharpie.

Or maybe it was a pencil, as Fannin, through two games at least, is struggling.

Despite Auburn rushing for 367 yards in their opener two weeks ago against Arkansas State, Fannin only rushed three times for 14 yards. Even more troubling, Fannin fumbled. Fumbling had previously been a significant issue for Fannin, especially during his sophomore year.

Fannin has also struggled, at times, with injury over his career. Last night, with Auburn in a very physical game against Mississipi State, Fannin again caught the injury bug, going down in the early fourth quarter with an apparent left shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game.

Even prior to the injury, however, Fannin had struggled against Mississippi State's talented defense. Having rushed five times, Fannin gained only six yards against the Bulldogs. Thus, in two games, Fannin has eight attempts for 20 yards.

Meanwhile, his teammates, Onterrio McCaleb (21 rushes for 144 yards over first two games) and Mike Dyer (24-143-1 TD) have enjoyed much greater success. They're play last night against the Bulldogs strongly contributed to the Tigers' hard-fought 17-14 victory.

Fannin's build, speed and receiving skills make him an intriguing prospect. Needless to say, however, if he is to enjoy the breakout campaign that will earn him anything higher than a late round selection, he'll need to start doing it soon.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com