Posted on: August 31, 2009 12:55 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2009 12:55 pm
Mark Sanchez's rapid and surprising ascension to the fifth pick overall of the 2009 draft was due in large part to his ability to impress when the lights were brightest. He enjoyed a spectacular game (28 of 35 for 413 yards, 4 TDs and zero INTs) against Penn State to dominate the Rose Bowl. I wasn't overly impressed with Sanchez's Combine workout, but was also on hand for his second workout for scouts at USC's Pro Day and his performance there was as good as any quarterback's I've ever seen -- prospect or veteran. Sanchez's charisma and surprising understanding of the x and o's, considering his relative lack of starting experience, only excited scouts that much more down the stretch. The Jets were intrigued enough to essentially place the franchise's immediate future in his hands, unloading three veterans and two draft picks to move from 17th to 5th to get him. Solid performances throughout camp and in the first two preseason games led head coach Rex Ryan to name Sanchez as the Jets' starter over veterans Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge. As has been Sanchez's forte', with all of the eyes of Gotham and many others throughout the country, he was steady and even brilliant, at times, against an aggressive New York Giants' defense. Sanchez finished 13 of 20 for 149 yards and an impressive 31 yard touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey amid great pressure. He led the Jets to four scoring drives against the largely first-team Giants defense.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets QB, #6 - - Good footwork to gain depth, while keeping his eyes downfield. Fooled, at times, by surprise blitzes, but effectively checked down to secondary options and threw the ball away when necessary. Natural poise in the pocket. Will step up and take a hit to complete the pass. Good zip for short and intermediate targets. Leads the receiver well on deeper passes, consistently placing the ball where his receiver can catch it cleanly and get upfield for extra yardage. Underrated mobility. Escaped the pocket several times, including on his signature play of the night. Escaped the rush from three oncoming Giants, located Stuckey at approximately the twelve yard-line and fired a pass to him just as Osi Umenyiora knocked him back. The throw required a good deal of arm strength, since Sanchez's was unable to step into the throw due to the pressure and didn't have the benefit of a great deal of follow-through with Umenyiora bearing down on him.
Posted on: March 28, 2009 9:12 pm
Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson, unable to work out at the Combine due to a right hamstring pull, worked out for scouts from at least 10 NFL teams in Seattle Saturday.
Gibson, who measured in at 6-0, 206 pounds (down four pounds from the Combine), was timed by scouts Saturday in the 4.55-4.63 seconds. He also posted a 34" vertical jump and a 9'5" broad jump. Gibson impressed me at the Senior Bowl with his precise footwork in route-running, but struggled with drops as the week went on. On Saturday, however, Gibson caught every pass thrown, despite windy conditions.
Gibson lacks the elite speed to warrant a first day selection, but his route-running, soft hands and experience make him an intriguing second day prospect -- especially for teams operating out of the West Coast Offense.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recorded portions of Gibson's workout. It can be seen by copying and pasting the URL below.
Posted on: March 25, 2009 11:32 pm
Many outside of the Pac-10 conference have heard of Oregon State cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes or offensive lineman Andy Levitre, an underrated component of the Beavers' winning the Pac-10 crown was the play of safety Al Afalava.
Afalava, a four year starter, was not invited to the Combine despite his steady play, but recently worked out for scouts, putting forth a workout that would have ranked as the best all-around from any safety invited to Indianapolis. The workout was good enough, in fact, that the Colts, Bears and Seahawks have all already scheduled private workouts with Afalava.
Afalava measured in at 5-11, 207 pounds and was clocked in the mid 4.4s (4.42-4.48) in the 40-yard dash. He also posted a 40" vertical jump, a 10'5" broad, a 4.06 short shuttle, 6.50 3-cone, and put up a staggering 29 repetitions of 225 pounds.
Another former Beaver making his way back up the charts is guard Jeremy Perry. Perry, voted Co-Freshman of the Year back in 2005 (along with Arizona wideout Mike Thomas) has worked his way back from multiple leg injuries that caused him to miss the entire 2008 season and had led to speculation that his football career was over. Instead, Perry will be working out for scouts at the Hawaii Pro Day April 2nd, brandishing x-rays, DVDs and written medical clearance from doctors that he is ready to again play.
The 6-2, 337 pounder was a dominant force for the Beavers throughout his career and if he can prove his health, could earn a late round selection next month.
Posted on: March 25, 2009 10:01 pm
Speaking to scouts who attended the recent Pro Days at Iowa (yesterday) and Connecticut (today), it is obvious that running backs Shonn Greene and Donald Brown are moving up the board at precisely the right time.
Brown, who, of course led the country in rushing yards last season, had been impressive at the Combine, putting forth one of the best all-around performances of any running back in Indianapolis.He chose to stick with his Combine numbers today, but was especially effective catching passes out of the backfield, scouts tell me, and may have secured his position as either the 2nd or 3rd running back off the board.
Greene, on the other hand, struggled a bit at the Combine and needed a strong performance at the Iowa Pro Day to rescue his stock. While in Indianapolis, the 5-10, 227 pounder was timed at 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He dropped a tenth of a second from that time Tuesday, clocking in at 4.50-4.55 seconds according to scouts in attendance. Greene, who measured in again at 227 pounds, also increased his vertical jump from 37 to 39" inches, showing more explosiveness than many have given him credit for.
I am not as high on either back as some seem to be. I believe that both backs are significantly lesser prospects than Georgia's Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells. However, with more and more teams looking for a rotational system at running back, it would not be a surprise to see either back slip into the late portion of the first round.
Posted on: March 3, 2009 8:30 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2009 11:03 am
On a day when Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith, a potential top 2 pick in the upcoming draft, worked out for scouts at the Baylor Pro Day, the buzz in scouting circles was not the athletic Smith nor any of the other Bears. The buzz was about Western Illinois outside linebacker Jason Williams, whose all-around workout was better than any outside linebacker tested at the NFL Combine -- including Wake Forest's Aaron Curry.
My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter touted Western Illinois outside linebacker Jason Williams two months ago as among the best players at the East-West Shrine Game. Williams' play that week and the big play potential he showed as a senior (17 tackles for loss and 6 forced fumbles), however, weren't enough to land him an invitation to the NFL Combine.
Williams, who measured at the East-West Shrine Game at 6-1, 241 pounds, clocked in at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a 39" vertical jump and lifted the bar 26 times. The forty time was recorded on a gymnasium floor, rather than a track, so scouts will likely add a tenth of a second to Williams' time, but the results were nonetheless impressive.
Williams could be the first player selected in the 2009 draft that was not invited to the Combine.
Williams wasn't the only legitimate NFL prospect working out. Leatherneck running back Herb Donaldson, who rushed for 1,784 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior, ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, and posted a 32" vertical, 10'2" broad jump and an eye-popping 28 reps. The 28 reps were more than lifted by any running back at the Combine.
Posted on: February 24, 2009 2:13 pm
Scouts would be wise to go back to the film after disappointing workouts from Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno and Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. Neither was impressive on the Indianapolis track, but each has proven himself to be a verifiable star against quality competition.
Often it was Moreno who made the biggest plays in critical situations -- not quarterback Matt Stafford -- for the Bulldogs over the past two seasons. Similarly, Jenkins in early season showdown against USC, was arguably the best player on the field.
Each could slip to the point where they're steals...
Posted on: February 22, 2009 4:56 pm
NFLDraftScout.com's top ranked defensive end may have to change to linebacker considering that he measured in at 6-17/8 and 256 pounds. Listed at 6-4, 251 pounds at Florida State, Brown's lack of preferred height is certain to raise questions among scouts who are looking for pass rushing help. Brown told the media today that he plans on doing both defensive line and linebacker drills this week at the Combine.
Posted on: February 22, 2009 12:43 pm
The NFL generally does not allow media in to view the workouts. For the third year in a row, however, they have allowed a select few media members in to view the quarterbacks and wide receivers workout. I was among those allowed in to view this mornings workout.
Among the impressions with the QBs:
Fresno State's Tom Brandstater was the most impressive thrower of the bunch. His passes were thrown accurately and with impressive velocity. Central Arkansas's Nathan Brown also helped himself. Enough zip for the out and and good touch over the top on the deep ball and post-corner.
Brandstater and Brown helped themselves, but the scouts most wanted to see juniors Josh Freeman (Kansas State) and Nate Davis (Ball State) this morning. Freeman has good arm strength, but his accuracy was inconsistent. On many of his shorter and intermediate routes, he often was a bit high or wide with his throws. All in all, it was a solid performance, but not the jaw-dropping one some had projected. Davis was a little erratic early, but improved as the practice went on. He has the best deep ball (in terms of accuracy, velocity, trajectory, etc.) of any of the QBs here. He did not wear gloves.
Texas Tech's Graham Harrell struggled, at times.
USC's Mark Sanchez will throw later today. Georgia's Matt Stafford will run, but not throw.