Tag:Utah
Posted on: April 7, 2010 7:00 pm
 

5 players moving up as draft approaches

Building momentum up to draft day is one of the key ingredients savvy agents and talented players often use to earn high selections. Though NFL teams have been tirelessly working on their draft boards over the past month, several players each year often get "bumped" at the last minute due to impressive workouts, interviews or just creating a general "buzz."

As we tightened our rankings in preparation for the profiles and rankings update available in our new PDF Draft Guide (available for download here ), I noticed that five players kept being mentioned by league sources as players moving up the board.

These five players I've listed below:

Quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida: You've heard or read the talk everywhere about his rising up draft boards and my sources are confirming the same thing. Tebow is dazzling coaches in interviews, leading some scouts -- who try to show coaches Tebow's flawed film -- frustrated with how quickly and high the former Heisman winner is being moved up the board. According to sources, Tebow is a virtual lock to be off the board by the mid second round and is gaining momentum as a late first round pick.

Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph, East Carolina: Overshadowed a bit at ECU by DE CJ Wilson and DT Jay Ross, Joseph is the one that has the most interesting blend of NFL size (6-5, 328) and athleticism. Scouts would like to see him put it all together and be a more consistent player, but his tools have some clubs talking about him as a potential 2nd round prospect.

Cornerback Alterran Verner, UCLA: Verner can thank gutty, undersized corners like Christopher Owens (3rd round pick by Atlanta in 2009) for his rise up the board. Like Owens, Verner isn't a blazer, but he's highly competitive and has been a consistent standout throughout his career. Scouts are characterizing him as one of the safer cornerbacks in the class and feel that he could earn a similar selection as Owens, who started six games for the Falcons as a rookie.

Cornerback Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt: Following his solid Pro Day performance March 20, I touted Lewis as one of the more underrated defensive backs in the 2010 draft and scouts are telling me that we're still ranking him too low. Lewis starred at cornerback for the Commodores and some teams believe he has the agility to remain at this position in the NFL despite measuring in at 6-2, 203 pounds. We currently have Lewis rated as a free safety and a 4th-5th round pick, but I've spoken to clubs that feel he'll be off the board in the 3rd.

FS Robert Johnson, Utah: Despite not getting invited to the Combine, Johnson is one of the fastest rising names in the draft. He measured in heavier than scouts expected at his Pro Day (6-2, 203 pounds) and turned in blazing times in the short shuttle and 3-cone drills. In fact, his 4.06 second short shuttle and 6.56 second 3-cone times were faster than those recorded by any safety in Indianapolis. A natural ballhawk with 13 interceptions over the past three seasons, Johnson has visited or been privately worked out by a half-dozen teams.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 1:01 pm
 

Misi, snubbed FS Johnson impress at Utah Pro Day

Half of the teams in the NFL were represented yesterday at Utah's Pro Day. With several offensive line coaches in attendance, the the focus may have been on versatile offensive lineman Zane Beadles, but those in attendance tell me the two most impressive players were outside linebacker prospect Koa Misi and free safety Robert Johnson .

Misi, who I listed months ago as a Diamond in the Rough, has emerged as a legitimate top 75 candidate after impressing during the Senior Bowl and Combine in drills. A defensive end for the Utes, Misi is considered more athletic than his former teammate Paul Kruger, a second round pick by Baltimore last year that successfully made the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker for their 3-4 scheme. Misi, who did the entire workout at the Combine, didn't run the 40-yard dash or do all of the timed drills Monday. He did, however, cut his short shuttle time from 4.30 to 4.21 and looked very good in positional drills.

My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter pointed out Robert Johnson as one of the year's bigger Combine snubs in a previous article. Johnson showed that he would have impressed in Indianapolis had he been invited. Johnson measured in at 6-2 1/8 and 203 pounds and lifted the bar 13 times, proving both bigger and stronger than scouts had anticipated. He clocked in at 4.55 to 4.62 in the 40-yard dash.

Johnson was most impressive, however, in the shuttle drills and positional workouts, proving a fluidity which helped him secure 13 interceptions over the past three seasons with the Utes. Johnson's time in the short shuttle was 4.06; his time in the 3-cone was 6.56, each of which would have led all safeties tested at the Combine. 



Posted on: March 30, 2009 2:35 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2009 2:36 pm
 

OT Joel Bell, CB Brian McCain Flying up boards

Each year there are relative unknown players whose eye-popping workouts in February and March force scouts back into the film room. Many times scouts are quick to acknowledge the impressive athleticism of prospects to local media covering the event, but once they review the players on film, realize that the speed, agility and strength shown on the track or weight room doesn't translate onto the field. 

And then, sometimes, there are players whose workouts go well and scouts return to the film room to discover that perhaps they had simply overlooked or undervalued the prospects. Two such players moving up the charts this year are Furman offensive tackle Joel Bell and Utah cornerback Brian McCain.

Bell, a three-time all-conference selection at left tackle, was invited to the Combine and put forth one of the more impressive all-around workouts, earning top-ten marks in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical, broad, 3-cone, and 20-yard shuttle at a shade under 6-7, 315 pounds. His workout was good enough that he didn't need to workout at Furman's Pro Day, though an eye-popping 25 teams still showed up to see him go through positional drills. 

Indianapolis Colts' scout Bob Guarini put Bell through a 20 minute workout while the other team scouts' watched. Besides the Colts, the teams represented were the Eagles, Titans, Saints, Jaguars, Browns, Steelers, Seahawks, Dolphins, Texans, Patriots, Lions, Chiefs, Falcons, Cowboys, Bears, 49ers, Rams, Raiders, Vikings, Bills, Giants, Panthers, Chargers, and the Packers.

Like Bell, Utah's McCain is hardly just a workout wonder, though the workout he put forth at the Ute's Pro Day could technically classify him as one. McCain was clocked in the low 4.3s and the buzz around scouting circles is that he's been timed even faster before. McCain's 20-yard shuttle (3.99) and 3-cone (6.74) drill times would have ranked among the best among the cornerbacks tested in Indianapolis. McCain, however, was not invited to the Combine, despite earning All-Mountain West accolades each of the past three seasons. While fellow defensive Sean Smith has the size scouts covet, McCain is the more athletic of the duo and has the rare speed and agility for man to man coverage. Among the estimated two dozen teams represented at McCain's workout were the Panthers, Lions, Dolphins and Seahawks. Considering the lack of speed shown by this year's cornerback class, some believe McCain could continue to rise as the draft approaches -- perhaps all the way to the 5th round.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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