As I mentioned in my last post, we thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement than they received in the past as part of our Draft Slant coverage. Thus, each Monday I'll highlight the award recipients here on the blog.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant . This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here .
I considered several prospects for Diamond in the Rough this week. One strong candidate was cornerback Cortez Allen from The Citadel, who enjoyed a strong game against Arizona. Considering James Madison's stunning upset of Virginia Tech, I'm looking forward to breaking down that film, as well.
However, as I scouted New Mexico cornerback Galen House Saturday (he'll be featured in this week's issue of Draft Slant), I couldn't help but be impressed by the all-around game of San Diego State Aztec wideout Vincent Brown. With the opportunity to scout both legitimate NFL prospects head to head, it was just too much to pass up, even if the Aztecs of the Mountain West Conference won't qualify for some as a true "small school." Regardless of your feeling on that particular debate, Brown, currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a 4th-5th round pick, deserves recognition.
Diamond in the Rough -- September 11, 2010
WR Vincent Brown, San Diego State 6-0 / 195 / 4.52 -- opponent New Mexico State
One of ten semifinalists for the coveted Biletnikof Award last year, Brown caught 45 passes for 778 yards and six touchdowns. Those might not sound like the type of numbers that would typically earn recognition as the nation's most prolific wide receiver -- until you realize that Brown's production came in just over six games. Brown began the 2009 season with touchdown receptions in his first five games and at least 100 receiving yards in his first four contests. He was sidelined with a season-ending thumb injury early in the Aztecs' seventh game of the year (Colorado State). Brown started slowly in 2010, catching "only" five passes for 39 yards in a 47-0 thumping of Nicholls State. Despite First-Team All-WAC cornerback Galen House shadowing him for much of their matchup Saturday night, Brown proved back to his playmaking self, snatching another five passes for 99 yards. Brown has good size and isn't afraid to use it or his strength to help escape the jam. He shows good foot quickness and lateral agility to generate separation in the short to intermediate routes and has the straight-line speed to attack deep. I was also impressed with Brown's hands and toughness. Brown showed the ability to extend and snatch the ball out of the air; showing these skills when making his most impressive catch of the game while going over the middle in the second quarter. Earlier in the game he'd made his most productive grab (55 yards) by beating three Aggie defenders (including House) deep on a trick play. Aztec junior quarterback Ryan Lindley, himself a talent to keep an eye on, handed the ball off and ran left -- to have the ball thrown back to him -- where he unloaded the long strike to Brown. Despite Brown's success as a receiver, the Aztecs rode a strong ground game to their victory over the Aggies. Running back Ronnie Hillman's 150 rushing yards and four touchdowns certainly stole the show, but Brown was a factor as a downfield blocker, proving to be a more well-rounded wideout than most "small school" receivers.