Tag:Georgia
Posted on: October 11, 2010 5:16 pm
 

Julio Jones broke his hand against South Carolina

As if the loss to South Carolina Saturday wasn't painful enough for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Nick Saban told the press today that his star junior wideout Julio Jones fractured his hand in the first half of the game and that his status for this week's game against Ole Miss isn't known.

According to Kyle Veazey of The Clarion-Ledger , Saban said that Jones "had screws inserted over the weekend."

Playing in an offense that caters to the Tides' great running backs, the 6-4, 220 pound Jones doesn't have the flashy statistics of some of the other top wideouts in the country. Still, NFL scouts love his size and physicality. Many project him to be a potential top ten selection, though his recent inability to stay on the field has to be a concern. Jones only started eight games last year after struggling early in the season with a bruised knee. Though there is bound to some growing concern over his durability, Jones certainly proved his toughness Saturday. Despite the injury, Jones played the rest of the game, catching eight passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
 
Jones leads the Tide with 32 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns this season and has 133 for 1,960 yards and 11 touchdowns for his career.

I have him currently pegged as the No. 3 overall pick in my mock draft . Should Georgia's A.J. Green dominant play since returning from his suspension continue, however, there could be switch in the order of these talented SEC wideouts coming off the board in my next projection.


Posted on: September 25, 2010 9:11 pm
 

Mallett a talent, but not an elite one

Just like how it became en vogue to tee off on Washington's Jake Locker after his struggles against a talented Nebraska defense, don't be surprised when every talking head out there jumps on the back of Arkansas' Ryan Mallett after a tough second half against the Tide, Saturday.

Just like they would have jumped on his bandwagon had he been able to engineer the upset.

Last week was a perfect example. Mallett made some legitimate NFL throws in the comeback victory over Georgia, but the same concerns that I (and more importantly, NFL scouts) have voiced about him in the past were evident when one breaks down the film rather than just peek at the box score.

Those same issues were even more evident against the Tide.

Mallett, despite what some commentators might tell you, has the marginal footwork most passers of his height have. His first of three interceptions against the Tide showed him throwing flat-footed, rather than stepping into the throw. His second was arguably his worst throw of the game -- high and behind his intended target. His third, off of his back foot, was an inexcusably lazy toss that he tried to throw away. Some quarterbacks don't have the arm strength to throw it out of bounds 40 yards away. Mallett could do it from 70. And he'd tell you the same.

As Alabama turned up the pressure in the second half, Mallett was forced to move his feet to either step up in the pocket or avoid a pass rush. When he did so, his accuracy plummeted. And that was predictable.

Now, before you claim that I'm simply jumping on Mallett now after his struggles against what likely will be the toughest defense he faces this season, know that I've been grading Mallett the same way for a long time now.

Here is what I said during my preview of the SEC in July :
One final note on the SEC prospects... I typically reserve comments for senior prospects, but Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is an obvious NFL prospect regardless of when he leaves the Razorbacks. However, I wasn't as wowed by Mallett as some apparently are. His 6-6, 238 pound frame is considered a positive by most, though his long legs and only moderate foot speed/balance concern me. Mallett has a gun and can make some dazzling throws, but at least some of his success has to be attributed to Bobby Petrino's wide-open offense. Remember, this is the same offense that convinced many of us that former Louisville standout Brian Brohm was one day going to be an NFL star. With two years of remaining eligibility, Mallett has plenty of time to iron out some wrinkles to his game, but I, for one, feel he's being a bit overrated right now...

Mallett is a talented passer with a big arm. When he's protected, he's go the intermediate and long accuracy to shred defenses just like Drew Bledsoe did for the Washington State Cougars and early in his NFL career with the New England Patriots. That said, this is a different NFL than the one Bledsoe did his damage. Defenses force quarterbacks to move their feet and adjust quickly in today's game. I haven't yet seen that or the short range accuracy Mallett will need to be consistently successful.

Is he talented? Sure. Any quarterback with his arm strength and the ability to complete 75% of his passes in the first three quarters (for 313 yards and TD) against Alabama certainly is talented.

But, he's not the elite prospect some have characterized him as. And it didn't take 4-10 passing for 44 yards and two terrible interceptions in the 4th quarter to prove it.
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: August 31, 2010 10:49 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 11:50 pm
 

Five breakout NFL players

On draft day each year, amid the excitement and bustle, I always find one aspect of scouting to be, well, bittersweet.

Follow along with me a moment.

It is impossible in this business to not develop favorite prospects through the course of a year. Often, I've characterized some of these favorites in an article that we, NFLDraftScout.com, affectionately refer to as Rang's Gang .

The players featured in Rang's Gang aren't supposed to be the best. In fact, the only real rule is that they aren't supposed to be first round prospects. Considering I write each year's article a month or so before the draft, sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised that a club feels as highly about the player as I do and my "rule" is broken.

Typically, however, these are mid-round players who have legitimate NFL talent and have demonstrated some intangible (e.g., instincts, determination, physicality, technique, etc.) that caused them to stand out (at least to me) from their peers.

Now the bittersweet part.

Unfortunately, on draft day, I sometimes see these "favorites" placed into tough situations. There are prospects, for example, who I feel are best suited to one scheme but are drafted into another. Or, talented players drafted behind starters in their primes, potentially meaning limited playing time. Or, players, who after interviewing them, I've felt might do best working for a "player-friendly" coach -- and then are drafted into a team with a strict disciplinarian.

Some players are so talented all they need is an opportunity.

Others, toll in relative anonymity until a change in scenery, scheme, coaching staff or a veteran moving on give them a freer lane to NFL success.

Here are 5 players I think find that lane this year.

CB Josh Wilson, Ravens: A second round pick by the Seahawks in 2007, Wilson has started 23 games the past two seasons, demonstrating true playmaking ability on a struggling defense. His lack of height (5-09) made him an immediate tough fit in Pete Carroll's scheme that prefers taller corners, so his trade to the Ravens, however, wasn't shocking. Wilson has returned three of his six INTs the past two years for touchdowns and is the Seahawks' all-time leader in kickoff return average (25.76) with a TD scored his rookie year. His height is obviously an issue -- especially considering the big receivers of the AFC North. Wilson plays bigger than his height due to physicality and pure speed. He was "officially" clocked at 4.39 seconds at the 2007 Combine. Here's the thing. If Wilson was able to make this many plays for the Seahawks' anemic pass rush (more on this later), imagine how much more effective he could be with the Ravens' defense around him. 

RB Peyton Hillis, Browns: Characterized by some as little more than a throw-in for the Browns in the trade that made Brady Quinn a Denver Bronco, Hillis, I believe, will emerge as one of the league's best young fullbacks this year. Hillis' overall athleticism and versatility intrigued me back when he played at Arkansas. This guy played fullback, tailback, H-back, tight end and wide receiver in the SEC. Not only that, the 6-2, 250 pounder was the Razorbacks' punt returner at a time when Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were the supposed future NFL stars. In fact, Hillis already has seven touchdowns in only two NFL seasons. Seven not so impressive, you say? Jones has scored six touchdowns for the Dallas Cowboys, thus far. McFadden, for the Raiders, has only five.

DE Chris Clemons, Seahawks: Clemons, entering his seventh NFL season, is older than the others on this list. He is an example of a player whose new environment is going to help him tremendously. Clemons, originally an undrafted free agent out of Georgia who signed with the Redskins, has flashed as an outside pass rusher with the Raiders and Eagles. Those two defenses featured other talented pass rushers during Clemons' tenure, limiting his opportunities for production. He was fast off the edge; just not fast enough on teams featuring Derrick Burgess, Warren Sapp and Trent Cole. Clemons has had success before. He, opposite Burgess in 2007 with the Raiders, collected 8 sacks. He's never topped four any other year of his career. Unless injured, he should have no problem rejuvenating his career this season with Seattle. Clemons is quicker upfield than anyone else on Seattle's front four. With the noise generated at Qwest Field, Clemons could push his career numbers simply because someone, sometime has to register a pass rush for the Seahawks.

WR Jacoby Jones, Texans: Some of you will claim I'm jumping on the bandwagon with Jones, as it is no secret he's been a preseason star this year for the Texans. In reality, I've been driving the bandwagon (as well as changing the oil and fixing the brakes ) with Jones long before he ever teamed up with Matt Schaub. Jones has been making big plays as the Texans' third wideout, but his production this year could rival most team's No. 2.

QB Kevin Kolb, Eagles: This is what it comes down to for me in regards to Kolb. Sure, it was a risk by Andy Reid to trade Donovan McNabb, but consider this. Mike Holmgren, who was Bill Walsh's QB coach from 1986-1988, knew Matt Hasselbeck could run his offense when he left Brett Favre and Green Bay for Seattle. Andy Reid, Holmgren's QB coach in Green Bay in 1997-1998, obviously feels that it is Kolb's time. That's good enough for me -- (especially when I scouted Kolb in the preseason ). Kolb's poise, accuracy and quick release could make him a quick star in this offense.




Posted on: March 1, 2010 1:44 pm
 

Georgia DT Jeff Owens posts 44 reps

Former SEC standout Mitch Petrus, a guard from Arkansas, tied the Combine record with 45 repetitions of 225 pounds late last week.

An old foe, Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens, nearly matched him Monday, lifting the bar 44 times.

Owens' prowess in the weight room is no surprise. While not blessed with great quickness, his strength at the point of attack has made him one of the better run stuffers in the conference over his career.

East Carolina defensive tackle Linval Joseph (39) and Owens' former teammate, Geno Atkins (34) and UCLA's Brian Price (34) also were quite impressive in the weight room.
Posted on: February 2, 2010 11:13 am
 

SEC's Jones and Jones stand out on film

I've been focusing on writing player profiles for in advance of the Combine for NFLDraftScout.com and the upcoming issue of Lindy's NFL Draft Preview. This week I've been working on the safeties and two juniors from the SEC have stood out.

LSU's Chad Jones is an extremely athletic prospect who sources tell me could "shock the world" when he works out. Characterized by some close to the LSU program as the team's best athlete (remember, this team features Trindon Holliday...), scouts feel that he, while a bit unpolished, could ultimately rank as one of the top safeties from this exceptional class. He had became a full-time starter in 2009, but is being characterized by some as big enough to play linebacker and athletic to even see time at cornerback. He's also proven to be quite the pitcher, as this video proves .

His namesake, Georgia's Reshad Jones, is a similarly gifted athlete. An extremely highly touted prep prospect out of the state of Georgia, Jones quickly developed into a standout and unlike his LSU counterpart, leaves having started each of the past three years. Unfortunately, he is most known by some for his missed tackle that led Georgia Tech defeating the Bulldogs two years ago. Since, he's developed into a surer open field tackler and has always demonstrated very good ball skills.

With all of the attention being heaped upon All-Americans Eric Berry, Taylor Mays and Earl Thomas, these two haven't earned the attention from the media that they'll be soon be getting from NFL scouts.
Posted on: September 1, 2009 10:56 pm
 

Oklahoma State CB Perrish Cox arrested last week

With only a few days before Oklahoma State opens their season against Georgia in one of the biggest games of the weekend, the Cowboys' best defensive player was arrested.

Cornerback and return-extraordinaire Perrish Cox was stopped last week for speeding and then found to be driving with a suspended licence, which caused his arrest and carries a $240.00 fine.

Head coach Mike Gundy chose to ignore requests for comment other than to say, "We will handle all things internally." Cox is expected to remain as a starter for the Cowboys against Georgia and sensational sophomore A.J. Green Saturday.

Cox, 6-0 and 195 pounds, has the size, speed and overall athleticism to emerge as the nation's top senior cornerback prospect. While much of the Big XII has struggled with pass defense, Cox has steadily developed into a shut-down corner, posting 21 pass breakups over the past three seasons, including 6 interceptions. Of course, he's known more for his return skills to this point than his pass defense. With over 2,600 return yards and 5 combined touchdowns (4 on kickoffs, 1 on a punt), he, along with Alabama's Javier Arenas, ranks as the country's most formidable special teams weapon.

He'll need to make better decisions off the field, however, if he is to take advantage of his obvious athleticism.



 
Posted on: April 24, 2009 11:55 pm
 

Stafford Deal Done. Rams on the clock.

CBSSports.com is reporting that the Lions have signed Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford to a six-year deal and will formally make him the first pick of the 2009 NFL Draft tomorrow.

There will be time enough for analysis.

More importantly, whether officially or not the 2009 NFL Draft has begun.

The Rams are on the clock.



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