Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:35 pm
My fellow analysts Chad Reuter and Chris Steuber have already posted articles previewing the top ten players for some of the BCS conferences, as well as feature stories on individual players among those conferences he felt deserved more attention.
For example, Chad's story on Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi is currently the headlining story on NFLDraftScout.com. Chris' story on Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson was previously the top story.
Chad ranks the top ten senior prospects of the Big East right here.
I wrote the SEC preview and a feature on Mississippi defensive tackle Jerrell Powe a few weeks ago. With our scheduling our Top 10 and feature stories to coincide with CBS' College Football schedule, I've been off for a few days and have the chance to amp up my work here on the blog, do some radio work and start up a Twitter account .
Today, however, my preview of the Top 10 Senior Prospects of the Pac-10 went up. So, too, did my feature article on Washington quarterback Jake Locker.
I only mention each of them here as the articles are not currently being featured on NFLDraftScout.com (where you'd normally find my/our work), but as part of CBS' College Football pages.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 7:25 pm
The two scouting organizations that most NFL teams rely on for off-season scouting of college prospects -- National Scouting and BLESTO -- held their annual spring meetings just a few weeks ago. From these meetings come the rankings of senior prospects which NFL teams then use as a "starting point" from which to narrow the field of tens of thousands of collegiate players who would love an opportunity to play professional football to the relatively low number of 1,000 (or so) senior players who actually have enough athleticism and size to warrant taking a closer look.
Though much will be made of the player(s) who earn the highest preseason grades, take the cautionary tales of former top-rated prospects Michael Johnson (3rd round), Greg Hardy (6th round), Quentin Moses (3rd round) -- athletic pass rushers who slipped to mid rounds or later after disappointing senior campaigns.
The 2010-11 reports haven't yet made the rounds. However, after a beginning my scouting of senior prospects for the 2011 draft, there are only four players that I feel deserve consideration for the right to be called the "best senior prospect" entering next season.
Considering that the first eight players selected in the 2010 draft came from the Big 12 or SEC, these traditional powerhouse conferences could take a step back this year.... at least in terms of producing extremely highly rated preseason senior prospects.
Washington quarterback Jake Locker is my highest rated prospect. As I mentioned in this introductory 2011 article , however, Locker is far from the sure thing he's been labeled by some. We all know that quarterbacks often end up being selected No. 1 overall due to the value of the position, but for the National and BLESTO rankings, position value isn't necessarily taken into account. I'd be surprised, quite honestly, if Locker is the top-rated senior prospect for either organization.
The most NFL-ready of the top prospects and the player I believe to be the likeliest to have earned the top billing is Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward . Explosive enough to play defensive end and large enough to project inside at defensive tackle, the late Ironhead Heyward's son really came on down the stretch last season and due to his size and athleticism will be viewed by some as possessing unparalled upside.
It would be a bit ironic if Heyward earned the top mark in either list as another Big Ten defensive lineman, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn was unquestionably the better, more consistent player in 2010. At 6-3, 285, however, Clayborn may lack the size and upside NFL scouts require for a supremely high grade at this time. History has proven that the National and BLESTO scouts have often been more interested in elite athletes with a high upside rather than consistent football players.
Due to the upside conversation, yet another Big Ten standout has a chance to be the surprise top senior prospect. Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi has been compared to Joe Thomas since he arrived on campus. Though he's prone to mental lapses, there is no denying the 6-8, 315 pound Carimi has the athleticism to handle the blindside in the NFL. His fluidity and aggression could result in a high grade -- though he'll need to play with more consistency to ultimately earn this high of a draft selection.
Posted on: April 24, 2010 12:03 pm
The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals obviously felt strongly enough about the recovery from major knee surgeries to pick Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond and Wisconsin pass rusher O'Brien Schofield, respectively.
Thurmond had been viewed as a second round pick by most scouts until he tore three ligaments in his knee returning the opening kickoff against Cal in the fourth game of the year. His recovery has been going smoothly enough that he worked out for scouts prior to the draft; though he was unable to perform at the Combine.
Thurmond told the Seattle media he expected to be 100% by the start of training camp, though that might be optimistic considering the severity of his injury.
Schofield was one of the better pass rushers in the Big Ten in 2009 and starred at outside linebacker at the East-West Shrine Game. He was so impressive there, in fact, he was given a late invite to the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in his opening practice with the North team. Schofield will essentially be taking a redshirt year this season for the Cardinals.
While it is always difficult to take players coming off major injuries, in both cases, the athleticism and upside is worth the risk. Thurmond fits in well with the Seahawks expected conversion to more of a press scheme. Similarly, Schofield is a natural pass rusher that could be a star in the 3-4 alignment.
Posted on: January 26, 2010 12:41 pm
San Jose State pass rusher Justin Cole was added to the North team as an apparent replacement for former Wisconsin star O'Brien Schofield, who suffered a knee injury Monday.
Cole, given jersey #94, primarily played outside linebacker Tuesday. Cole played mostly defensive end over his career with the Spartans, but was moved to outside linebacker as a junior and flashed, earning second-team WAC honors. He struggled in 2009 to take advantage of the positive gains he made as a junior and was even benched, at one point.
Tuesday, he looked like a guy making the move from defensive end, reacting aggressively to the play-action fake and getting burned in the flat by backs releasing.
Scouts like Cole's frame (6-3, 240) and relative athleticism. He hasn't proven yet to have the instincts necessary in making the switch to linebacker, but certainly has a great opportunity this week to do so.
Posted on: September 12, 2009 2:48 pm
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.
Posted on: March 17, 2009 1:36 am
Junior running back P.J. Hill was released from jail Monday after being arrested over the weekend for a slew of alcohol and driving related charges, including drunk driving, reckless driving, driving without headlights, reckless endangerment and fleeing police.
Hill surprised many with his decision to leave school after his junior season, but had been wildly successful with the Badgers, rushing for nearly 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns to rank behind only Ron Dayne and Anthony Davis as Wisconsin's most productive running backs.
Prior to the arrest, Hill had been quietly moving up draft boards after an impressive showing at his Pro Day. Hill's lack of agility and straight-line speed would have kept him in the middle to later rounds, but teams had interest.
Like fellow Big Ten standout Alex Boone of Ohio State, however, Hill's alcohol-related arrest is coming at the worst possible time and could lead to a tumble right out of the draft.
Posted on: March 4, 2009 9:04 pm
Unable to workout at the NFL Combine after still recovering from the broken leg that sidelined him throughout much of his senior season, tight end Travis Beckum helped his stock Wednesday with an impressive performance at the Wisconsin Pro Day.
Beckum, who measured in at 6-2 3/4 and 239 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash twice, clocking in between 4.58-4.63 seconds. He also posted a 41" vertical jump and caught the ball well during drills, only dropping one pass. Beckum elected not to lift Wednesday, but he didn't have to after leading all tight ends with 28 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine -- the only drill the Badger standout performed for scouts in Indianapolis.
The surprise of the day did not come from Beckum, however, but from junior running back P.J. Hill, who has dropped about 20 pounds since the end of the season and impressed scouts with his new build. At 5-10 1/8 and 218 pounds, Hill was clocked in the mid 4.6s. Unlike Beckum, however, Hill struggled a bit in pass-catching drills.
Linebackers Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy did not workout. Each is coming off of a knee injury and is expected to workout for scouts April 2nd.Reports had between 25-28 teams attending the Pro Day, with the Bengals, Broncos, Bucs, Chargers, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Lions, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Texans and Vikings among them.