Tag:Michigan State
Posted on: October 8, 2010 7:45 pm
 

5 Senior Prospects I'll be Focusing On Saturday

Each weekend I list the five senior prospects I'll be focusing on. These are players who appear to have challenging matchups that will help determine how well they'll be able to make the transition to the pro game.

A noteworthy performance (either positive or negative) can result in the player being profiled in our upcoming edition of Draft Slant, NFLDraftScout.com's weekly PDF file for premium subscribers.

Last week I profiled Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell, Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, USC cornerback Shareece Wright, Alabama OT James Carpenter and Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.

Ponder had a solid, but unspectacular game last weekend against Virginia. Though he has a much tougher opponent this weekend at Miami, I elected to write about him considering that there are very few teams across the country who boast a better pair of cornerbacks than the Cavaliers' duo of senior Ras-I Dowling and junior Chase Minnifield (son of former Cleveland Browns' standout Frank).

That doesn't mean, of course, that I won't be watching him again this weekend. In fact, in terms of his pro grade, Ponder's performance Saturday against the 'Canes is as important as any game he'll play all year long.

Which is why he's among my Five Seniors to Watch -- and, as it turns out, the only player on the offenside side of the line of scrimmage: 

ILB Greg Jones, Michigan State: For all of the talk of the talented defensive linemen and cornerbacks of this senior class, for my money there isn't a safer defensive prospect in the country than Jones. A four year starter who has never missed a game in his career, Jones nonetheless will be questioned by scouts as to how a 6-1, 235 pound linebacker is going to be able to handle the physicality of the NFL. Over the first few weeks of the season, Wolverines' star quarterback Denard Robinson has emerged as the Heisman favorite. He hasn't faced an instinctive and speedy linebacker like Jones yet, though. If Jones has the 15+ tackle game I think he will in this game, he could emerge as an early favorite for Player of the Week honors. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

DT David Carter, UCLA: A rising name due to the fact that at 6-5, 300 pounds he has the bulk and strength to play inside at defensive tackle or move outside to play the five-technique as a 3-4 defensive end, Carter flashed on tape last weekend against the Washington State Cougars, posting three sacks. If he is to emerge as a legitimate draftable prospect, he'll need to continue his breakout senior campaign this week in an interesting Pac-10 showdown with Cal. An interesting side note - Carter is the brother of Fresno State pass rusher Chris Carter. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by regional FOX coverage.

OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M:
Having recorded 17 sacks last season, Miller entered this year as one of the more heavily hyped pass rushers in all of college football. In fact, he was the Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. After four games, however, Miller has yet to record his first sack and is in danger of seeing his draft stock plummet. In all fairness to Miller, he's struggled with a knee sprain all year long and has shown impressive toughness playing through it. It is obvious that he has lacked the explosive first step this year he showed in 2010. Injured or not, scouts want to see some production. He'll have his hands full against a talented Arkansas offensive line, but the relative immobility of 6-6 quarterback Ryan Mallett may help him boost his numbers. This game begins at 3:30 pm EST and will be televised by ABC/ESPN.

DT Drake Nevis, LSU:
Few players across the country have boosted their stock as significantly as Nevis thus far this season. The 6-1, 292 pounder doesn't possess the elite size that scouts would prefer, but his explosiveness as a pass rusher can't be ignored. Nevis has already twice been recognized as the SEC's Defensive Lineman of the Week and is second in the conference with 3.5 sacks. The Gators are experienced and talented up front so if Nevis is able to make plays in this contest he certainly deserves the early attention he's been receiving. This game begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN.

QB Christian Ponder, Florida State:
Ponder showed the mobility, high football IQ and accuracy in the short/intermediate levels against Virginia last weekend that NFL teams like about him, but he has not been as productive thus far as hoped.  Ponder will have to play the best game of his season so far if he is to enjoy success against a supremely talented Miami defense.  Ponder enjoyed a bit of a breakout performance last year against the 'Canes with a then-career high 294 passing yards and two touchdowns (against one interception). This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC.
Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: March 18, 2010 1:09 pm
 

Big Ten WRs steal from Tebow's thunder

Lost in all the attention heaped upon Tim Tebow's Pro Day were two eye-popping results by Big Ten wide receivers certain to improve their draft stock.

I'd listed Illinois' Arrelious Benn as a faller following the Combine after the 6-1, 219 pound wideout was slower (4.57) and sloppier as a route-runner and pass-catcher than expected.

Yesterday during his Pro Day, however, Benn was "pretty spectacular" according to sources on the scene. Scouts from two separate teams, each thought likely to invest a pick in the 2010 draft on a wideout, clocked the big receiver at 4.36 and 4.39, respectively. They also acknowledged that Benn's footwork in route-running drills was much more fluid and that he caught the ball very well.

Benn is viewed by most clubs as a second round pick.

Benn, however, wasn't the only Big Ten receiver to enjoy a eye-popping workout Wednesday.

Michigan State's Blair White, 6-2, 209 pounds, had already impressed scouts at the Combine with better athletic ability than most gave him credit. He spoke about this issue at the Combine.  "I think one of the main things I've heard is that a lot of people think I'm just a possession receiver at the next level," White said. "It's tough trying to overcome that stereotype, because I think I'm better than that and I disagree. But I just have to go out there and let my performing do the talking for me."

His performance did the talking Wednesday, as he was timed at 4.40 by one scout I spoke to. The scout mentioned "no surprises" among White's route-running and catching -- which is to say he was great. Route-running and sticky hands are two of White's best characteristics.
Posted on: September 12, 2009 2:48 pm
 

WAC, MAC giving Big Ten all it can handle

Fresno State and Central Michigan are giving Wisconsin and Michigan State all they can handle thus far this morning.

The most impressive NFL prospect for the Fresno State Bulldogs thus far has been junior running back Ryan Matthews, a 5-11, 220 pound back with good straight-line speed, vision for the cutback, some wiggle in the hole and impress forward lean in short yardage situations.

For the Badgers, tight end/H-back/fullback Garrett Graham has been his typically sure-handed self and showed better than expected strength and hand placement as a blocker on one of Wisconsin's early scores.

Quarterback Dan LeFevour has been the story for Central Michigan. He has the accuracy and arm-strength scouts are looking for in a developmental quarterback, but for those that haven't seen him, his ability as a runner has led to comparisons to that Tebow guy down in Florida.


 
 
 
 
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