Tag:NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:52 pm
 

All eyes on Cam today (just like Dad planned it)

For the first time since the BCS Championship game, Cam Newton will be throwing passes in front of a live audience.

Unfortunately, the audience will be a group of selected media, rather than NFL decision-makers at today's private workout outside of San Diego, California.

Only select media were allowed at the event. Among them is a representative of The Sports XChange, who will be contributing a report for NFLDraftScout.com.

Newton's workout will show off his live arm and rare athletic ability. What the media should be focusing on, however, is not Newton's rare physical tools, but instead on his footwork dropping back from center and if he consistently hits his receivers in stride.

I've been critical of Newton's workout in the past and remain so. The reality is, Newton can be dazzling today and it may do very little good for him. In fact, some scouts feel that Newton and his father (who reportedly pushed for this media-only event) are actually doing more harm than good to the Heisman winner's stock.


Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Most charges dropped, DJK gets one year probation

Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos appeared to have destroyed any chance of playing professional football with the news two months ago that he and roommate Brady Cooper Johnson  were arrested on multiple drug-related charges. DJK, as he was affectionately referred to by those close to the Hawkeye program, was officially charged with four counts of possession of controlled substances, two counts of unlawful possession of prescription drugs and one count of keeping a drug house.

Now, according to documents obtained by NFLDraftScout.com, Johnson-Koulianos has had all but one of these charges dropped - a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. He received a deferred judgment on this charge. As such Johnson Koulianoas will require unsupervised probation for one year.  In the event he remains drug free, completes counseling and remains free of any difficulty with the law, the court indicated it would consider discharge from unsupervised probation within six months.

Essentially, if Johnson-Koulianos doesn't screw up, he can have his record wiped clean in six months. He had no criminal record prior to these charges and has taken and passed drug tests as part of the initial ruling.

The news could be enough to get DJK a shot at the NFL. Iowa's all-time leading receiver enjoyed a strong performance in last Saturday's NFLPA game, helping his cause after a rather ho-hum weak of practice. The interviews with scouts there were the most important component of his week, however, as Johnson-Koulianos was not invited to the Combine.

Johnson-Koulianos holds the school career records for receptions (173) and receiving yards (2,616). He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior after catching 46 passes for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns.

As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: February 2, 2011 1:33 pm
 

NFL releases official Combine list

National Football Scouting, the agency that works with the NFL in the colossal undertaking of organizing the annual Combine, has released the list of the players invited to this year's event.

The full list can be seen here. The list includes underclassmen, as well as several seniors who were given late invitiations based on strong performances during senior all-star games.

Some of the late-invite seniors include cornerback Cortez Allen from The Citadel, Ohio State guard Justin Boren, Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree and North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates, among others.

Senior Analyst Chad Reuter highlighted some of the biggest Combine snubs in this article.
Posted on: January 30, 2011 5:04 pm
 

'Bama QB McElroy breaks hand during Senior Bowl

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy cracked a bone in his throwing (right) hand during Saturday's Senior Bowl.

According to a report from the Press-Register , McElroy banged his hand on a helmet after completing a pass to South Alabama wideout Courtney Smith on the first play of the 4th quarter.

The report quotes McElroy after the game and cites McElroy's father as the source who confirmed that the Alabama quarterback was x-rayed following the game, identifying the injury.

"I had no feeling the rest of the series," McElroy said following the game. "The ball was kind of sporadic. I couldn't get a grip on the ball. I still can't get a grip on the ball. I think it will be OK."

The injury is expected to keep McElroy from throwing for approximately two weeks. If this timetable holds true, McElroy could be able to participate in the upcoming Combine.

McElroy completed 5 of 8 passes for 36 yards in the Senior Bowl. He was seen shaking his hand in obvious discomfort later in the drive. Though he completed the series, he did not return.

McElroy completed 70.9% of his passes this season for 2,987 yards and 20 touchdowns. He threw only five interceptions.

He is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 10 quarterback available in 2011 and a potential 5th round pick.

Posted on: January 27, 2011 4:12 pm
 

My All-Senior Bowl (practice) team

Today and tomorrow's practices at the Senior Bowl are essentially walk-throughs, making Monday-Wednesday's practices far and away the most important ones for evaluating prospects.

Prospects at every position stood out. Fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and I put together an expanded Risers-Fallers article soon to be released on NFLDraftScout.com based on these practices. In the mean time, here is my All-Practice team.

QB: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
RB: Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
FB: Owen Marecic, Stanford
WR: Vincent Brown, San Diego State
WR: Jeremy Kerley, TCU
TE: Luke Stocker, Tennessee
OT: Nate Solder, Colorado
OG: Danny Watkins, Baylor
C: Kris O'Dowd, USC
OG: John Moffitt, Wisconsin
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College

DE: Cameron Jordan, California
DT: Phil Taylor, Baylor
DT: Ian Williams, Notre Dame
DE: Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
OLB: Von Miller, Texas A&M
ILB: Casey Matthews, Oregon
OLB: Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut
CB: Johnny Patrick, Louisville
CB: Shareece Wright, USC
S: Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina
S: Ahmad Black, Florida


Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:05 am
 

Senior Bowl adds DT McClain, WR Sanders

Due to injuries to Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea and Abilene Christian wide receiver Edmond Gates, Terrell McClain and Jock Sanders were given a late invitation from the Senior Bowl, respectively.

The Senior Bowl organizers must be having a hard time locating prospects as late additions. McClain and Sanders are exciting enough athletes to perform well in Mobile, but their colleges make them geographically odd choices, as McClain -- from South Florida -- is expected to play for the North team and Sanders - from West Virginia - for the South. Sanders will join his former Mountaineer teammate Noel Devine on the South squad.

An MRI performed Tuesday showed that Paea had a partially torn lateral meniscus. Gates' injury was fortunately less serious. He pulled a hamstring. Both, however, will not be able to participate in the Senior, necessitating the moves.

What the 6-2, 305 pound McClain lacks in statistics (24 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks) he made up for in recognition from his Big East foes, earning all-conference honors as an active, penetrating defensive tackle.

Like his teammate Devine, Sanders is smaller than scouts would like (5-07, 180), but he's dynamic and has proven both consistent and durable. He caught 69 passes for 728 yards and four touchdowns in 2010 and leaves WVU as the program's all-time leading receiver with 206 catches. He tied the WVU record in playing in 51 career games.


Posted on: January 25, 2011 10:32 pm
 

South Team Tuesday afternoon practice report II

This is Chad Reuter's report from the South Team's Tuesday afternoon practice:



Typically college football fans look to a team's wide receivers to move the ball down the field for their team to be successful, and therefore spend most of their time watching players on the outside during Senior Bowl practices.

The success of New England's two tight-end offense in 2010, however, means teams will be looking to this year's South squad in Mobile, however, for tight ends to cause similar mismatches next season in the copy-cat world of the NFL.

Tennessee's strapping young tight end, Luke Stocker, today looked exactly like the clone of former Volunteer and current Dallas Cowboys starter Jason Witten. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Stocker stood out as a blocker and a receiver, standing up Mississippi State K.J. Wright when setting the edge on the run then catching everything thrown his way when out on routes.

Stocker does not have exceptional straight-line speed, but finds openings between linebackers in which he can sit down, and also between the second and third levels of the defense. His one-handed grab down the left seam was impressive, even more so considering he held on after taking a shot from Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel in supposed light-contact seven-on-seven drills.

Arkansas' D.J. Williams had his best year for the Razorbacks in 2010, leading the team with 54 receptions for 627 yards and four touchdowns--a lot of which came after junior receiver Greg Childs was lost to injury mid-way through the year. He measured in at slightly less than 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, which is not much different than successful H-backs like Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller, and Bo Scaife.

Williams is not going to be a best of an in-line blocker, but consistently ran solid routes to free himself of linebacker coverage over the middle or to the outside. Like Stocker, Williams have allowed no catchable balls to hit the ground this week, extending outside their frame to snatch passes and tuck them in. He's also given good effort as a blocker, but it's difficult for him to sustain against better linebackers outside. He'll be best as a mobile tight end/H-back prospect walling off defenders on the move.

Stocker and Williams are likely second or very early third round picks, and although Alabama's Preston Dial is the "other" tight end in the group and a late-round prospect, the 6-foot-2, 238-pound H-back also showed strong run blocking skills in addition to solid hands. His ability to tap both feet in-bounds while grabbing a pass on the right sideline displayed awareness , hands, and agility scouts weren't sure he had coming into the week.

When watching tight ends, it is nearly impossible not to also watch a team's linebackers, both in their ability to hold up against run blocking, as well as in coverage.  The top linebacker on the field today was Texas A&M star Von Miller--and that's not even considering his work as a pass rusher in one-on-one drills.

Miller surprised scouts at Monday's weigh-in with his thick lower body, which he used to hold up Williams and Stocker when man-up on run plays. His coverage skills are what really stood out, though, as the quick Williams could not separate from Miller on out routes because of the former Aggie's own lateral agility and speed.

A linebacker with Miller's closing speed to the quarterback, who also can be effective in coverage, is destined for a slot in the top 20 overall selections.

Another linebacker who looked quite adept in coverage and stopping the run was Miami's Colin McCarthy. Though a bit smaller than hope at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, scouts liked his physicality on the line of scrimmage against the tight ends here and ability to stay low and balanced while running with them on crossing and wheel routes (McCarthy ran with West Virginia Noel Devine down the sideline in Monday's practice). His ability to play all three linebacker positions, probably starting on the strong side, make him a potential top 100 pick.

McCarthy was apparently making strong enough contact in this practice that he needed to get his helmet pumped up by training staff while kneeling on the field.

 The South team has two linebackers in this game, OLB K.J. Wright and ILB Chris White. Neither looked as fluid as Miller and McCarthy in coverage, and Stocker consistently stoned them at the line of scrimmage in pass protection and run blocking. Wright was also victimized by Stocker in coverage, with the Tennessee receiver using an overarm move to get inside position down the seam.

Frankly, judging linebackers during all-star game practices is extremely difficult. Tackling is what they do best, and they're not allowed to do that before game time.

But showing the fluidity, strength and agility to cover talented tight ends like Stocker and Williams (who may be seen as similar to the Patriots' rookie tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez) here in Mobile can be a major feather in a linebacker's cap come draft day.

Posted on: January 25, 2011 7:57 pm
 

South Team Tuesday afternoon practice report

With Washington quarterback Jake Locker enjoying a strong bounce-back performance in this morning's North practice, the pressure was on the South's trio of passers to hold serve at the Senior Bowl.

Though TCU's Andy Dalton, Alabama's Greg McElroy and Florida State's Christian Ponder lack Locker's arm strength and athletic upside, their accuracy and ability to locate secondary target was nonetheless impressive.

Dalton was smooth dropping back from center - a question considering the fact that he took most of his snaps with the Horned Frogs out of the shotgun - and was able to survey the field and make generally accurate passes. He zipped the ball between defenders and showed good touch down the seam. Scouts say Dalton is helping himself this week with solid play, though inconsistent accuracy on the deep ball is a concern. Dalton wasn't asked to throw downfield often in for a TCU offense that relied often on screens and other timing-based short and intermediate routes.

It isn't often that a championship-winning quarterback can be characterized as an underrated NFL prospect, but that is precisely how I feel about McElroy. While much of the Crimson Tide's offense was based on their dual running threat of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, McElroy demonstrated the ability to drive the ball downfield while at Auburn and showed the same ability to surprise defenders with just enough zip to fit passes through closing spaces. Another aspect that is sure to impress scouts about McElroy is his ability to do the little things correctly. McElroy was able to move the South's safeties with his eyes and an effective pump-fake, creating wider throwing avenues to exploit.

McElroy's vision stood in contrast to Florida State's Christian Ponder. Ponder has a tendency to stare down his primary read and doesn't have the howitzer typically necessary to get away with against NFL coverage, especially after having undergone two arm surgeries in the past year.  He did, however, show a stronger and more accurate arm on his deep passes than either Dalton or McElroy, surprising more than a few talent evaluators today.

The South's quarterback enjoyed a solid, albeit unspectacular Tuesday afternoon practice despite less than ideal performances from many of their top receivers.

Abilene Christian's Edmond Gates, who left NFL scouts drooling with his deep speed Monday, was sidelined for Tuesday's practice with a pulled hamstring. Hawaii's Greg Salas, normally one of the more sure-handed receivers in the country, struggled with drops Tuesday. Scouts have questions about the 6-1, 206 pound Salas' speed and ability to make plays after the reception. Rather than suddenly forget how to catch, Salas appeared to be trying to make the defender miss before securing the pass.

Miami's Leonard Hankerson and South Alabama's Courtney Smith also struggled with a few drops Tuesday. Unfortunately, their drops were of the uglier variety. Each simply allowed too many passes into his chest, resulting in some bouncing off audibly. A bounce-back performance tomorrow would help the stock of both, though there certainly is a lot to like about the physicality, size (6-1, 205 and 6-4, 220, respectively) and upside of each.
The most impressive receiver for the South team Tuesday afternoon was TCU's Jeremy Kirley. At 5-09, 188 pounds, Kirley lacks the height scouts would prefer, but his quick feet and balance made him a tough draw for any cornerback. Kirley was a featured target of every South quarterback, not just his Horned Frog teammate, Dalton.

With a talented South offensive line doing a nice job in pass protection, it was up to the defensive backs to make plays on the ball.

Texas cornerback Curtis Brown impressed scouts with his athleticism and aggression. At times, he got a little grabby with receivers, but his size (5-11, 180), straight-line speed and fluidity typically kept him in the hip pocket of receivers. He was, however, beaten for two long touchdowns when he gambled on underneath routes and was beaten by double-moves over the top. Perfect throws deep (one by McElroy, the other by Ponder) beat him, but more often than not Brown closed just as the ball arrived, knocking some passes out of the receiver's hands just as they arrived.

USC cornerback Shareece Wright also showed a willingness to gamble on underneath routes. At 5-11, 182 pounds, he possesses almost identical size as Brown, though he isn't quite as agile or explosive to close on the ball. After making a nice break on the ball early in practice, Wright guessed wrong on the next throw, coming up quickly on a double-move and getting beat down the right sideline. Fortunately for Wright, the ball sailed out of bounds.

Perhaps the most consistently impressive player in the secondary was the smallest one. Florida's Ahmad Black may lack the bulk scouts want in a safety, but he has such quick feet that a move to cornerback may be in the future. At 5-09, 183, it may be his best bet at getting selected in the first half of the draft.


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