Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:59 am
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson:  Considering the success of Clemson’s passing attack, Ellington hasn’t received a great deal of national attention. That could change, however, with a strong game against an exceedingly talented and fast North Carolina defense. Ellington has already rushed for 740 yards and seven touchdowns and is thought to be among the underclassmen running backs strongly considering making the early leap to the NFL. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN.

CB Morris Claiborne, LSU:  The suspension of Tyrann Mathieu (as well as fellow cornerback Tharold Simon and running back Spencer Ware) is going to put that much more pressure on an LSU defense in the battle of Tigers. Claiborne has been even more impressive this season than he was last year starting opposite Patrick Peterson, recording three interceptions already. He’ll be asked to slow down Auburn’s top wideout, junior Emory Blake. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by CBS.

RB Lamar Miller, Miami: Like Ellington, Miller, a redshirt sophomore, is thought to already be considering making the leap to the pro level. Miller has rushed for 706 yards already this season, more than he did all of last year. He’s toting the rock more than 18 times a game, proving that he has the toughness to handle a full-time role at the pro level. Blessed with speed and  legitimate NFL size (5-11, 212), Miller could join the long list of former backs from The U to earn a top 64 grade. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.

QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin: With all due respect to a Nebraska defense limited by injuries to stars Alfonzo Dennard and Jared Crick, Saturday’s tilt on the road against Michigan State could be the toughest test for Wisconsin all season long. Wilson has the benefit of playing behind one of the nation’s elite offensive lines, but Jerel Worthy and the top-rated MSU defense could pose problems. Lucky for Wilson, one of the Spartans’ top pass rushers, defensive end  William Gholston, was suspended for this game due to throwing a punch a week earlier at a Michigan player. Scouts wish Wilson was taller, of course, but can’t help but acknowledge how quickly he’s adjusted to the Wisconsin offense, as well as his strong arm and mobility.   This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.

OG David DeCastro, Stanford: I’ve spoken to scouts who characterize DeCastro as the best guard prospect in the past 20 years. That’s pretty damn lofty praise. DeCastro will get his stiffest test of the season against Washington’s defensive tackle, Alameda Ta’amu, a potential first round pick, himself. If Ta’amu can get pressure on Andrew Luck, the 5-1 Huskies could surprise The Cardinal. This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by ABC.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:16 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Seven

Mano-a-Mano, Week Seven

Although this week may not have a true blockbuster match-up, there are plenty of good scouting opportunities that NFL teams can use to evaluate potential draft picks.

If you want to see what scouts see, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one 2012 NFL Draft prospect match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.
"*" Denotes an underclassman.

South Carolina WR *Alshon Jeffery at Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

NFL teams looking for a difference-making receiver in the top five of this year's draft are spending a lot of time evaluating Jeffery, who seems likely to enter the draft a season early. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Jeffery faces possibly his toughest task of the year when he lines up against Banks outside in Starkville. Banks has the height (listed at 6-1) and ball skills (11 interceptions in three years) to be competitive in jump-ball situations if aware enough to turn with Jeffery downfield. Jeffery does line up in the slot on occasion, so it will be interesting to see if MSU coaches shadow him with Banks or trust their other corners to make plays against the All-American candidate.

Miami LT *Brandon Washington at North Carolina Defensive Ends
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

Miami's stud lineman has moved from guard to right tackle to left tackle this season, and so far has graded out well in each spot. He'll be facing three excellent UNC ends today, however, in top senior Quinton Coples, junior Donte Paige-Moss, and sophomore Kareem Martin. All three ends have NFL size and will get to quarterbacks and ballcarriers with strong hands or by running through unprepared linemen. Coples and Paige-Moss have only combined for 3.5 sacks this year, however, as they've not been able to consistently turn the corner to get to passers' blind sides. They will all have a tough task to beat the 6-foot-4, 320-pound (at least) Washington off the edge, as his size belies the agility that scouts love in their linemen.

Michigan C David Molk at Michigan State DT *Jerel Worthy
12:00 pm, ESPN

At 6-foot-2, 288 pounds, some NFL offensive coordinators will consider him too small to play in their system. But anchoring proficiently against Worthy in one-on-one situations, and showing scouts he has enough arm length to redirect the Spartans' three-technique outside the pocket or running lane can help his cause. Worthy, on the other hand, needs to prove to NFL general managers that he can win a hand battle at the line of scrimmage with a technically-sound pivot man like Molk.

Baylor WR Kendall Wright at Texas A&M CBs Coryell Judie/Terrence Frederick
12:00 pm, FX

The Bears do a nice job moving Wright, who ranks in the top four in the FBS in both receptions and receiving yards, around to get him the best match-up possible. A&M has two solid corners, however, in Judie and Frederick. Judie has similar size to Wright on the outside, and has the speed and hands to knock away passes thrown in their direction. Frederick typically plays inside, and he also is willing to mix it up with Wright down the field -- but he needs to prove he has the agility to stay with Baylor's star receiver.

Iowa State LT Kelechi Osemele at Missouri DEs *Brad Madison
2:00 pm, TBA

Osemele is a 6-foot-5, 350-pound behemoth at left tackle, but faces a strong challenge in hustling and strong junior Brad Madison. Madison caught the eyes of scouts last year while aiding Aldon Smith pass the rusher, but most of his production (six tackles for loss and three sacks) came against lesser competition. He'll need to step it up against Osemele, whose strong hands and long arms simply do not let go of his man once engaged. Missouri's other starting defensive end, Jacquies Smith, is not related to Aldon but his build is quite similar. Though not as explosive to the Niners' first round selection, Smith would also test Osemele's ability to hold the edge if moved to the weak side during the game.

Alabama Defensive Ends at Ole Miss OTs *Bobby Massie/Bradley Sowell
6:00 pm, ESPN2

The Crimson Tide have one of the deepest front lines in college football, and scouts are interested to see how two intriguing offensive tackle prospects in Sowell and Massie can handle the oncoming pressure. Sowell's svelte 6-foot-7 build gives him the length to handle rushers like 'Bama's versatile end/linebacker Courtney Upshaw, but he needs to prove he has the anchor and overall athleticism to stand up to bull rushes and take blitzers around the edge. Massie also has NFL size (6-6, 325) and length on the right side, but his agility will be tested with 'Bama bringing junior hybrid Dont'a Hightower after junior quarterback Randall Mackey.

Ohio State LT Mike Adams/RT J.B. Shugarts at Illinois DE *Whitney Mercilus
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Mercilus leads the country with 8.5 sacks, including three against Indiana last weekend. His job gets a bit tougher lining up across from Ohio State's pair of tackles, as long 6-foot-8 LT Mike Adams had a successful return from suspension against Nebraska and Shugarts is a battle-tested veteran on the right side. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mercilus isn't as fluid as many edge rushers, and Illini coaches will want him to contain Buckeyes' freshman quarterback Braxton Miller instead of opening running lanes. But even if he doesn't rack up sacks, disengaging from either OSU tackle to make plays against the run (or a scrambling Miller) will move Mercilus up draft boards across the NFL.

Utah OTs Joe Cullen/Tony Bergstrom at Pittsburgh DE/OLB Brandon Lindsey
12:00 pm, ESPNU 

New Pittsburgh head coach uses Lindsey as a defensive end in the 3-3-5 defense, which does not exactly show scouts what the 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior would do as an edge rusher at the next level. Rutgers prevented Lindsey from making a single tackle last week because he simply lacks the bulk to take on bigger linemen on an every-down basis from the five-technique spot. But he could redeem himself with a strong performance against two Utah tackles on NFL teams' radars by using his violent hands and closing speed outside. He'll most often line up against Bergstrom on the strong side, who has an athletic build for a right tackle but is both tough to run through and run around. Cullen is not the biggest left tackle but always seems to prevent rushers like Lindsey from turning the corner with strong footwork. Good reps vs. Lindsey in that role would help Cullen earn draftable grades from more teams.

Miami CB *Brandon McGee at North Carolina WR Dwight Jones
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com 

The Hurricanes will probably throw three or four different corners against Jones Saturday afternoon, but McGee has the potential to be a top prospect because of his fair size (6-0, 190) and sub 4.4-speed. Jones presents a tough ask for any of the 'Canes defensive backs, however, because while not possessing great speed, his NFL-sized body (6-4, 225), strong hands, and long strides on vertical routes make him difficult to stay with downfield. Louisville's smaller defenders discovered last week that he's also difficult to bring down once he makes the catch. UNC's highly-touted redshirt sophomore QB Bryn Renner can also find juniors Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd if Jones isn't available, however, so McGee and seniors Mike Williams and Lee Chambers won't be able to take a play off.

Oklahoma DE *Ronnell Lewis at Kansas RT *Tanner Hawkinson
9:15 pm, ESPN2

Two of the more underappreciated players in the country will butt heads throughout this afternoon's Big 12 contest in Lawrence. Lewis is a bit shorter than most NFL teams prefer when looking for a 4-3 defensive end, but some teams don't mind having 6-foot-2 ends if they play with leverage and can get under the pads of taller lineman as a rusher. The Sooners also stand him up at times, and scouts like the way he moves in coverage and rushes the quarterback as a 3-4 linebacker. Hawkinson flies under the radar playing for a poor Jayhawks' squad, but could prove to scouts he is a legitimate top 100 prospect if displaying the toughness and agility to hold off Lewis and any other Sooner end that Bob Stoops brings off the strong side.

 

Honorable Mention 

Michigan DEs Craig Roh/Ryan Van Bergen vs. Michigan State LG Joel Foreman
Michigan WR Junior Hemingway at Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams
Michigan CBs Troy Woolfolk/*J.T. Floyd vs. Michigan State WRs B.J. Cunningham/Keshawn Martin
12:00 pm, ESPN

Virginia Tech OTs Andrew Lanier/Blake DeChristopher at Wake Forest DE/OLB Kyle Wilber 
6:30 pm, ESPN3.com

Toledo CB Desmond Marrow at Bowling Green WR Kamar Jorden
12:00 pm, ESPN3.com

Utah DT *Dave Kruger at Pittsburgh RG Lucas Nix
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Baylor C Phillip Blake at Texas A&M DT Eddie Brown
12:00 pm, FX

Purdue DT *Kawann Short at Penn State LG Johnnie Troutman
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

South Carolina DT Travian Robertson at Mississippi State C Quinton Saulsberry
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson at Missouri WRs Jerrell Jackson/Wes Kemp
2:00 pm, TBA

UNLV WR Phillip Payne at Wyoming CB Tashuan Gipson
2:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

Florida State CBs *Xavier Rhodes at Duke WR *Conner Vernon
3:00 pm, FSN

USF LG Jeremiah Warren at Connecticut DT Kendall Reyes
3:30 pm, SNY/MASN/ESPN3.com

Oklahoma State RT Levy Adcock at Texas DE *Alex Okafor
Oklahoma State C Grant Garner at Texas DT Kheeston Randall
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Colorado OG Ryan Miller at Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu
3:30 pm, RSNW

LSU RT *Alex Hurst at Tennessee DE/DT Malik Jackson
3:30 pm, CBS

Boise State DEs Shea McClellin/Tyrone Crawford at Colorado State OT Paul Madsen
6:00 pm, MTN

Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin at Iowa WR Marvin McNutt
Northwestern DE Vincent Browne at Iowa LT *Riley Reiff/Markus Zusevics
7:00 pm, Big 10 Network


--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter   (Follow Chad on Twitter  @ChadReuter)  
   

Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: October 1, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Five

In addition to the five players NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang mentioned in his weekly preview, you may want take a look at these ten one-on-one 2012 NFL Draft prospect match-ups (plus a few more worth an honorable mention) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.

1. Michigan State DT *Jerel Worthy at Ohio State C Mike Brewster
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Scouts hoped that the flashes of talent Worthy showed in his first two seasons portended a break-out 2011 junior year. However, he failed to make an impact in his only game against a BCS-quality team (Notre Dame). Worthy's first step can challenge Brewster, who also needs a big performance for scouts to consider him worthy of a pick in the top half of the draft. But the key for both players comes after initial contact; Worthy will be looking to shed to close on ballcarriers, while Brewster tries to mirror and extend  in order to protect freshman quarterback Braxton Miller when he's in the pocket, as well as when he takes off to utilize his fleet feet.

2. Auburn LT A.J. Greene/RT Brandon Mosley at South Carolina Defensive Ends
3:30 pm, CBS

Mosley started off the year as the Tigers' left tackle, but was replaced by Greene and moved back to the right tackle spot at which he excelled in 2010. Both players will have significant challenges taking on an extremely talented defensive end group for the Gamecocks. They could match up pretty well against 6-foot-7 ends junior Devin Taylor and freshman Jadeveon Clowney, who rely on strength and length to make plays rather than elite speed to turn the corner. Greene will also face end/tackle/linebacker prospect Melvin Ingram, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Ingram will attempt an outside rush vs. Greene, but can also take the inside lane -- he'll also move to tackle in passing situations to use his patented spin move.

3. Nebraska DT Jared Crick at Wisconsin C *Peter Konz
8:00 pm, ABC

There are several one-on-one match-ups worth watching when the Cornhuskers take on the Badgers in a prime-time battle of top-ten teams. Scouts will most closely be watching any time Crick, a two-time All-Big 12 pick, and Konz meet in the middle. The Badgers' junior could be the top center selected if he decides to declare due to his mobility (despite having to snap the ball, he pulls outside in front of runs quite often). But Crick's relentless pressure will force Konz and redshirt sophomore left guard Travis Frederick to play through the whistle whether he bull rushes or loops inside or outside into the backfield. Showing a strong anchor vs. Crick in addition to that athleticism at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds could expedite his entrance into the NFL. Other battles in the trenches scouts will be watching: Wisconsin junior LT Ricky Wagner vs Nebraska DE Cameron Meredith, Wisconsin RG Kevin Zeitler vs. Nebraska junior DT Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardwick vs. Wisconsin DEs Louis Nzegwu.

4. Arkansas Wide Receivers va. Texas A&M Coryell Judie/Terrence Frederick (in Arlington)
12:00 pm, ESPN

The Aggies missed Judie in their loss to Oklahoma State last week, as their top corner was out due to a hamstring injury. But even if he's healthy, the Razorbacks face even a bigger challenge with Razorbacks junior quarterback Tyler Wilson throwing to four NFL prospects. Two have great size with Cobi Hamilton and Greg Childs measuring at around 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and the others sub-4.4 speed in Joe Adams and Jarius Wright. Neither Judie or Frederick hit the six-foot mark, so any time they can outfight Hamilton or Childs (who is still not fully back from a 2010 knee injury) for the ball would be a plus for scouts. NFL defensive coordinators looking at either Aggies corner as a nickel or dime player inside would also like to see them effectively trail Adams or Wright. Consistent hands and yards after the catch are what the Hogs' receivers need to separate themselves not only from A&M defenders, but the overload of mid-round receiving prospects available in this draft. 

5. Alabama LG *Chance Warmack at Florida DT Jaye Howard
8:00 pm, CBS

Reigning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week Howard is easy to spot - he wears jersey number six despite lining up in the trenches. He has a chance to creep up draft boards with a strong performance against Warmack, who anchors quite well against bull rushes with natural bend and great length for the position. (Also watch how well he blocks on the move.) Howard moves like a linebacker even though he tipped the scales at over 300 pounds over the summer, but needs to improve his hand usage and show multiple pass rush moves to beat Warmack (and senior center William Vlachos, sophomore right guard Anthony Steen) and chase A.J. McCarron and junior Heisman candidate running back Trent Richardson.

6. North Carolina WR Dwight Jones at East Carolina CB Emanuel Davis
8:00 pm, CBS College Sports Network

NFL scouts thought Davis could be one of the tough but wiry non-BCS cornerbacks typically landing in the third round of each draft. He had two interceptions and nine pass break-ups last year for the Pirates, but missed the opener for disciplinary reasons and hasn't made many big plays yet this fall. He'll give up about six inches in height to Jones, who will try to use his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame on slants and go over the top of Davis if matched up downfield. Davis is not a contact-shy cover corner, but must do more than throw his shoulder into Jones if lined up well off the line to prevent big plays, or else the Tar Heels' big receiver will shed the tackle and eat off a chunk of yards.

7. Clemson NT Brandon Thompson at Virginia Tech RG Jaymes Brooks
6:00 pm, ESPN2

Two 4-0 teams meet in Blacksburg in a potential preview of the ACC Championship Game. Thompson and Brooks are two of their more unheralded players, but NFL scouts will match their battles very closely. Both are stout players, each listed at about 6-foot-2, 310 pounds. Thompson has the athleticism advantage over Brooks, showing the quickness off the snap and hustle to pressure redshirt quarterback sophomore Logan Thomas. The 2010 second-team right guard must not only prove himself agile enough to mirror Thompson in pass protection, but also seal him off to create running lanes for junior RB David Wilson. Brooks will disappoint scouts if he leans on sophomore center Andrew Miller to stop Thompson from disrupting plays.

8. Mississippi State DT *Fletcher Cox at Georgia C Ben Jones
12:00 pm, Fox Sports South/ESPN3.com

Jones is a sturdy four-year starter who is expected to take the same role at the next level but he should not overlook Cox, who flashed athleticism, length and some pop against Auburn and LSU. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Cox isn't making a ton of plays yet (1.5 tackles for loss, no sacks), but scouts noticed his ability to penetrate in those early games -- especially when he planted LSU left guard T-Bob Hebert in the backfield early in the second half of that contest. Jones will, therefore, need to maximize his athleticism when facing Cox, as well as coordinate the young guards playing on either side.

9. Northwestern DE Vincent Browne at Illinois LT Jeff Allen
12:00 pm, ESPN2

Allen is a four-year starter and 2010 honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick, and his Fighting Illini have gotten off to a 4-0 start this season. Northwestern is the fifth straight team to visit Champaign this fall, but Browne won't be bringing a dish to pass. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has just one sack this year, after bringing down the quarterback seven times in 2010. Scouts have concerns about both players' agility on the edge, so if Allen keep Browne from making his typical hustle plays or if Browne can beat Allen off the snap, they may force NFL teams to re-evaluate them.

10. Nevada ILB James-Michael Johnson at Boise State RB Doug Martin
2:30 pm, Versus

I don't include a lot of running back vs. linebacker match-ups in these articles because the battle in the trenches should not be ignored. But Martin really hasn't had a big game yet this season; scouts know he can use his low center of gravity and quick feet to run through tackles if holes are made available to him, but it would be helpful to his draft stock if he proved the elusiveness and vision to make something out of nothing. Johnson is a very intriguing 4-3 Mike linebacker that deserves more pub. His length and athleticism allow him to cover some ground, even outside the tackles. NFL scouts will take notice if he manages to defeat Boise linemen blocks with strong hands, instincts, and speed to keep Martin from reaching the 100-yard mark that has eluded him so far this year.

 

Honorable Mention:
Washington CB *Desmond Trufant at Utah WR *DeVonte Christopher, 7:00 pm FSN
Bowling Green WR Kamar Jorden at West Virginia CB Keith Tandy, 3:30 pm MASN/ESPN3.com
Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin at Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins, 12:00 pm, ESPN2
North Carolina CB Charles Brown at East Carolina WR Lance Lewis, 8:00 pm, CBS College Sports Network
Kent State CB Josh Pleasant at Ohio University WR LaVon Brazill, 2:00 pm, None


--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter -- find him on Twitter @ChadReuter   

Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:15 am
 

Reuter previews Saturday -- Five On the Spot

The college football world is looking forward to Saturday night's tilt in Tallahassee where top-ranked Oklahoma faces number five Seminoles in the second game of a home-and-home series.

The Sooners got the better of FSU last season, 47-17, separating early and never looking back.

NFL scouts are eagerly awaiting this match-up, as well. Seven players from last year's game (three from Florida State, four from Oklahoma) were drafted last April. That number could double in 2012, depending on how many underclassmen declare for early entry.

The various players and match-ups scouts will be watching, whether in person or on the road, could fill this weekly preview article.

Seminoles junior quarterback E.J. Manuel made the list of players "on the spot" this week, but covering the other line-battles (FSU LT Andrew Datko vs. Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander, Seminoles' RT Zebrie Sanders vs. Oklahoma DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma LT Donald Stephenson vs. Florida State DE Brandon Jenkins) or the importance of occasional skirmishes between Oklahoma star receiver Ryan Broyles and sophomore star cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, in this article would neglect all of the other interesting stories on Saturday.

So as you wait for the Sooner and Seminoles to kick off Saturday night, or if your thirst for football is not quenched after the prime-time match-up is decided, make sure to check out these other players and match-ups that NFL scouts will be watching.

This week's Five on the Spot

1. Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

If the Seminoles are to make a national title run, Manuel must do something Christian Ponder could not often enough in Norman last September -- make plays. The 12th pick in the 2011 NFL draft completed 11 of 28 throws for just 113 yards and two interceptions. Whether FSU wins or not, the grade Manuel receives from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee after the season, should he attempt to test the waters as a junior, could also hinge on this nationally-televised game.

Manuel came in for mop-up duty last year, going four-for-eight for 109 yards and a score. Now the starter, he must fit the ball into the tight windows Oklahoma defensive backs allow him and lead his receivers so they can make plays after the catch. Scouts will also expect him to be decisive with the ball after making correct pre-snap reads, as well as keep his eyes downfield to make plays instead of scrambling for a few yards here and there to avoid pressure.

2. Arizona QB Nick Foles

When Stanford's All-Everything junior quarterback Andrew Luck comes to town, it seems as though there is less exterior pressure on the defense he faces than the quarterback taking the field after the Preseason All-American has gone back to the sideline. Foles is just coming off a battle against Oklahoma State passer Brandon Weeden, but being compared with Luck on a series-by-series basis will be even more difficult.

Foles is perfectly capable of making the quick decisions and delivering accurately to stationery targets in the short and intermediate game. He also has enough mobility to escape the pocket to make a play, though scouts comparing at Luck's athleticism and accuracy on the run to Foles' will see a chasm of difference. If he's going to be a pocket passer at the next level, however, he must show scouts he can hit receivers Juron Criner and David Douglas accurately down the seam or the sideline in order to stretch defenses vertically.

3. Miami, FL QB Jacory Harris

When Miami's depth chart for the Ohio State contest was released, many were surprised to see Harris' name on top. Head coach Al Golden stated that Harris won the job over the summer, and only the team's holding him out while the NCAA investigated his receiving booster benefits kept him from starting the opener.

Harris has been all potential, and not enough production, through his three years as the main starter for the Hurricanes. He's always flashed the ability to make plays down the field from the pocket, as well as on the run, but inconsistent accuracy and his proclivity to make the big mistake (he had an unacceptable 14-15 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year) have held him back from fulfilling his promise. A strong performance against the Buckeyes Saturday night in front of a national audience could finally get him on track to a draftable grade from scouts.

4. Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy

NFL teams are looking for a defensive tackle to show himself as the playmaker they seek in the top half of the draft's first round. Over the past two seasons, Worthy has flashed this ability, making 17 tackles for loss, 8.5 of which were credited quarterback sacks. A prime Saturday afternoon match-up against Notre Dame gives him a stage on which to state his case as the top tackle in the 2012 class.

The junior does have to battle right guard Trevor Robinson in order to pressure sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees. Worthy should have a quickness advantage over Robinson and the other Notre Dame linemen (he will move around a bit), but has not always been as fast off the snap as scouts prefer. His strength at the point of attack is usually not an issue, but Worthy must shed blocks with violent hands quickly and show the closing speed to chase running backs and bring down Reeds to earn elite prospect status.

5. Virginia CB Chase Minnifield

A Virginia cornerback has been selected in the second round of the NFL draft in each of the past two springs. Chris Cook went to the Vikings in the 2010 event while New England snatched up the talented but oft-injured Ras-I Dowling last April. As the son of former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield, scouts expect Chase (not necessarily a great name for a cornerback) to have similar value if he continues his strong play.

Minnifield has difficult challenge in front of him this weekend, however, as North Carolina comes to town with a bevy of big, strong receivers. Dwight Jones (6-4, 225), Erik Highsmith (6-3, 190), and Jheranie Boye (6-2, 190) will all line up across from Minnifield as the game goes on. The spindly, six-foot, 180-pound corner will show scouts something if able to hand-play at the line or down the field against those receiver, as well as fight for position on jump and 50/50 balls. Proving hands to make the interception (has 10 career picks), as well as knock away passes or dislodging them with a big hit, will also quiet any concerns about his physicality or play-making ability.

This content was provided by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter. You can follow Chad on Twitter @ChadReuter.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:42 am
 

What to expect in today's supplemental draft

Pushed back over a month from its regularly scheduled date due to the lockout and a bizarre controversy over player eligibility (Terrelle Pryor), the NFL's supplemental draft will begin today at 1 pm Eastern.

This draft, unlike the one in April, will be carried out via email. Teams won't even known the order until approximately 30 minutes prior to the draft. There will be no television cameras in the war rooms. The event won't spark much more than passing interest from your local sports media outlets -- unless, of course, your team elects to draft one of the six players deemed eligible. Alphabetically, they are: Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, Georgia running back Caleb King, Lindenwood University/Allen Wranglers (IFL) defensive end Keenan Mace, North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson.

The vast majority of the focus on these six players has been on Terrelle Pryor -- and for good reason. At this point, he is the only player seemingly assured of being selected. Though his workout was not nearly as impressive in its totality as his 4.38-4.41 second 40-yard dash was to begin the Pro Day, the speed shown by the 6043 (six foot, four and 3/8"), 232 pound has definitely created a buzz. I have consistently heard the Steelers, Raiders and Bengals are the three teams most interested in adding Pryor. There has been a lot of talk of a third round pick. The fact that Pryor is suspended for nearly a third of the regular season might push him down a round or two.

King has also generated a great deal of interest. There were at least seven teams at his Pro Day workout last week, including Washington, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Buffalo. Media reports following the workout had King (listed at 5-11, 225) as having run in the 4.4s. According to one high level league source, however, King's "officially" was measured at 5106 (five foot, ten and 3/4") and 211 pounds. He was timed at 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash on an ideal outdoor field turf surface. King has some power as an interior runner, flashes an impressive spin move and shows some lateral agility to avoid defenders. As his slow time suggests, however, he does not have the speed to gain yardage in big chunks against NFL competition. One element of his game that will help his cause is that King is a physical and responsible pass blocker. Still, measuring in slower and lighter than expected, King is looking at a late round (6th-7th) selection, at best. He will almost surely be signed as a free agent if not drafted.

McAdoo is thought by some to be the most intriguing of the remaining prospects. Listed at 6-7, 245 pounds, however, scouts were surprised when he instead showed up to some private workouts in the 230s. McAdoo's length and surprising strength still make him quite a developmental prospect as a pass rusher. He flashed throughout his career and appeared poised to enjoy a real breakout season as Robert Quinn's primary backup for UNC. McAdoo could get a late round sniff, but the feeling among most teams is that he'll slip to free agency.

Mace was signed by the Dallas Cowboys out of the IFL following a collegiate career at Lindenwood University. After a few days practicing with the Cowboys, however, Mace was informed that because he signed with Dallas having not used up all of collegiate eligibility (and not petitioning the NFL for early entry), he was not allowed to be on an NFL roster yet until having gone through the supplemental draft. At roughly 6-4, 313 pounds, Mace played defensive tackle at Lindenwood before switching to defensive end for the Allen Wranglers. He is at his best inside, showing a quick burst off the snap and good strength. He does not possess the lateral agility and closing speed to make many stops outside of the tackle box, but plays with effort and has an intriguing big body capable of contributing to a team using either front. Most teams view his best position as a three-technique defensive tackle for the 4-3. Opinions vary signficantly with Mace. Many clubs view him as a free agent, though there have been some rumblings that he could sneak ahead of King and McAdoo and be a 6th or 7th round pick.

Unfortunately for Jones and Wilson, there does not seem to be a great deal of interest from NFL clubs. Wilson's Pro Day workout was taken in by a few teams, though the NIU safety was unable to demonstrate the caliber of athleticism scouts were looking for.

 
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:24 pm
 

NFL's Supplemental Draft postponed indefinitely

The NFL informed its 32 teams in an email this evening that the supplemental draft has been postponed, according to a source within the league.

The draft, which had been set to take place Wednesday, has not yet been been rescheduled. The email circulated simply didn't provide a date, according to the source.

The postponement was presumably made to give the league more time to determine whether or not Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor should be found eligible and to allow he and other players time to conduct a Pro Day workout of sorts for scouts. 

Some players have already held workouts, including Georgia running back Caleb King. King worked out Monday in front of representatives from seven teams, including scouts from the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, according to a story today from Roger Clarkson of OnlineAthens.com.

At this point there are five players confirmed as eligible: Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones, King, Lindenwood University/Allen Wranglers (IFL) defensive end Keenan Mace, North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo and Northern Illinois safety Tracy Wilson. Pryor may be added to the list. Should he be, he'll almost certainly be the first of the prospects selected. Sources throughout the league have placed the over/under on where he'd be drafted (if allowed in) at anywhere between the 3rd and 5th round. King and McAdoo are also receiving draftable grades from some clubs.

While no new date has yet been made for the supplemental draft, the NFL isn't likely to wait long. Teams are busy evaluating the players already on their roster and won't be thrilled to have to wait even longer to determine if they'll add any one else via this special-case draft.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:18 pm
 

Supplemental Draft to be held August 17

The NFL has informed its 32 teams that this summer's supplemental draft will be held August 17, according to a source within the league.  

No names of eligible players were included as part of the notice. Furthermore, teams were not notified as to when the draft order will be determined. The only information sent at this time, according to the source, was the date of the draft. 

The supplemental draft typically occurs on or around July 15, approximately 10 days prior to the start of training camps. This year, however, the date was pushed back due to the lockout.

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Georgia running back Caleb King are thought likely to be among those included. North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo, who was suspended for the 2011 season due to academics, is also thought to be considering a request to be included in the draft.

The supplemental draft was originally created for players who had lost their eligibility to play collegiate football between the regular April draft and the beginning of the next season. Many "special case" players had lost their eligibility due to academics or legal troubles.

Unlike the televised April draft, the supplemental is carried out via e-mail among teams. The teams, slotted into three groups based on their won/loss percentage the year previous, contact the league with a list of the players they'd draft and the round in which they'd take them. As such, while the Carolina Panthers owned the first pick of the 2011 draft, they are not guaranteed to have the first pick in this draft.

For more information as it happens, keep your browser locked in at NFLDraftScout.com.


Posted on: August 5, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:48 am
 

Source: Expect announcement on supplemental soon

According to a league source, the NFL is likely to make a decision about this summer's supplemental draft in the next 24-36 hours.

The supplemental draft became a "back burner issue" for much of the summer as the NFL and the NFLPA worked out their differences. Now that the CBA has been agreed to and officially ratified, however, the special eligibility draft is likely to become much more of an area of focus.

Despite what others have theorized, the supplemental draft does not appear to be (and perhaps never was) in danger of being cancelled. The only time the supplemental draft has been cancelled in the past has been when there have been no players to be eligible. This last occurred in 2008. Former Ohio State Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor had his eligibility scrutinized when it appeared that he left school with the hopes of entering the draft on his own. As NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello told Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com, the supplemental draft "is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular (college) draft. It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular (draft).”

However, Ohio State notified Pryor on July 26 that he would have been suspended for the entire 2011 season. That announcement was met with little media attention, but it certainly caught the notice of the NFL. Pryor's eligibility now indeed had been changed in an unforeseen way, essentially securing him a spot whenever the league was able to organize a supplemental draft.

Regardless of Pryor's eligibility, however, the NFL had known for weeks that former Georgia running back Caleb King would qualify for eligibility. Expected to take over the starting spot in 2011, King was instead found to be academically ineligible.  Sources close to him had already made his plans to petition the league for eligibility in the supplemental draft public.

A third candidate for the supplemental draft is former North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo, who is continuing a legal battle with his former team and the NCAA to return to the Tar Heels. McAdoo has not yet made an official announcement about his intentions, but there are rumblings throughout the league that the 6-6, 248 pound pass rusher is weighing his options.

With free agency, the signing of draft choices and the opening of training camp being compressed into just a few days, the NFL, frankly, hasn't had the time to worry about the supplemental draft. They don't really have the time now, either. However, with at least two players almost surely to be found eligible for the draft, it will happen. Teams are going to need time to attend workouts for each player prior to any draft. A reasonable expectation, according to the source, would be that the league notified teams soon of a date for the draft to be held -- even if the draft won't occur for another few weeks.

Typically the supplemental takes place on or around July 15 - approximately 10 days before the start of most training camps in a normal year.

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