Scouting Reports

Budda Baker: When talent trumps size

Written by Justin Melo on March 13, 2017

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It’s no secret that NFL teams and scouts alike covet big, physical players. Turn on just about any general manager introductory press conference of the last several years, and you’ll hear similar claims from them all: they’re looking for big, tough, smart, physical, coachable, team-first players. But the numbers show that teams have been willing to ignore size when it comes to drafting defensive backs, and with good reason.

Just under a year ago, SB Nation published this article on how NFL teams are shying away from small wide receivers, but not necessarily small defensive backs. It stated for every sub-6’0 WR picked in the first five rounds, six sub-6’0 defensive backs are being selected. That sentiment rang especially true during the 2016 NFL Draft, when 17 sub-6’0 defensive backs were selected in the first five rounds, versus just three sub-6’0 wide receivers in the same rounds.

(read more…)


Jonathan Allen vs Solomon Thomas: Do you want a Ferrari or a Bugatti?

Written by Lorin Cox on February 3, 2017

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) reacts during the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a good year to be picking at the top of the NFL draft if you’re in need of help along the defensive line. The 2017 class is headlined by a pair of blue-chip prospects that have sparked plenty of debate in the mystical world of Draft Twitter and beyond. Alabama’s Jonathan Allen was long the consensus top lineman coming out, but as more and more analysts got around to watching Stanford tape, Solomon Thomas quickly entered the conversation and took the crown from the SEC standout.

One thing is overwhelmingly clear with these two — you can’t go wrong. Much like DeForest Buckner and Joey Bosa last year, both of them are elite defensive line prospects that deserve to be drafted in the Top 10, and both are more than capable of widely successful NFL careers in a variety of schemes. Preference between the two will likely vary by (read more…)


Dare Ogunbowale might be the best Wisconsin running back in the 2017 NFL Draft

Written by Lorin Cox on January 31, 2017

Oct 1, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale (23) rushes on Michigan Wolverines linebacker Ben Gedeon (42) in the first quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A member of the Wisconsin Badgers’ backfield has been drafted every year since 2011, and that streak will continue in 2017 as the factory in Madison continues to pump out prospects. All eyes this offseason have been on Corey Clement, the next in the line of recent starting running backs following Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon. He looks the part, measuring in at 5-foot-10 and 221 pounds with a chiseled body at the Senior Bowl, where he had a solid if unspectacular week.

As much as Clement has to offer, he might not even be the best Wisconsin running back who declared for the 2017 draft. His teammate Dare Ogunbowale (pronounced DAR-ay oh-goon-bo-WALL-ay) is a much more well-rounded prospect that brings a skillset that can lead to a long NFL career. No one is going to draft Ogunbowale to step in and be a number one running back, but he is (read more…)


Browns reportedly have an “astronomical grade” on Garrett – And they should.

Written by Justin Melo on December 13, 2016

Sep 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) in action against the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the Cleveland Browns’ loss this weekend to the Cincinnati Bengals, they’re currently sitting at 0-13 and inching closer to clinching the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. For any organization as starved for a franchise QB as the Browns have been for what seems like an eternity now, it’s naturally tempting to consider using that pick on a QB. The Browns will likely eye a number of QB prospects over the next several months, including Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer and Deshaun Watson.

But ultimately, their decision should be an easy one — it starts and ends with Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett.

Garrett is the best defensive prospect I’ve seen in years — as a matter of fact, it’s hard to remember the last time we saw an edge rusher of Garrett’s caliber, and as the scouting process continues, Garrett will likely earn the “generational talent” tag. (read more…)


Ten Prospects to Watch in MAC and PAC-12 Championship Games

Written by Jeff Risdon on December 2, 2016

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The MAC Championship kicks off at 7 PM on Friday Dec. 2nd, the PAC-12 at 9 PM. You can catch the #MACtion between Western Michigan and Ohio on ESPN2, the #PAC12AfterDark between Washington and Colorado on FOX.

I’ll be at Ford Field as a proud Ohio Bobcat alum…one who happens to live in West MI and has seen P.J. Fleck’s Broncos twice in person this year. My eyes will be on a handful of players, including an individual matchup preview for the Senior Bowl next month.

That would be Western Michigan right tackle Taylor Moton against Ohio defensive end Tarell Basham. While Basham primarily lines up against the left tackle (WMU’s junior Chukwuma Okorafor is a better prospect there than Moton), he does move around the formation.

Basham isn’t a top-shelf athlete but is a good enough of one to win with either speed or power. He’s got a (read more…)


CFB Week 13 Draft Scouting Watch Guide – Friday

Written by Jeff Risdon on November 24, 2016

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Rivalry Week. So many great games spread out over the long weekend. Try not to eat too much while you indulge in the cornucopia of draft prospects on display.

This week is divided into Friday and Saturday in the interest of space and time.

All times Eastern…

Washington at Washington State, 3:30 PM on FOX

The Apple Cup being at a palatable hour for those of us in the Eastern Time Zone and the only real action going on makes this a great showcase for draft evaluation.

My focus here is Washington State QB Luke Falk against a loaded Huskies secondary that features top 125 prospects Sidney Jones and Kevin King at corner and Budda Baker at safety. Falk had some issues last week against a talented Colorado secondary, notably when under pressure.

I love Falk’s touch and easily natural arm strength; he can deliver a catchable ball (read more…)


CFB Week 11 Draft Scouting Watch Guide

Written by Jeff Risdon on November 11, 2016

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Back after a week hiatus which included me attending the Maryland/Michigan game and talking with an NFL scout before the game, I’m locked and loaded for the college football weekend.

Alas, this week features few marquee matchups. One of the most interesting came Thursday night with North Carolina and Mitch Trubisky–still my QB1–battling a spunky Duke team.

 

Baylor at Oklahoma, 12 PM on ABC/ESPN2

Sometimes I write too much and some readers lose interest. So I’ll keep this one brief:

Watch Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook, a rising prospect who plays bigger than his size and is gaining respect for his all-around game. Picture Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton at QB throwing to Westbrook with this sort of ability to separate over the top:

That’s it. You’re welcome.

 

Mississippi State at Alabama, 12 PM on ESPN

I’ve written about Alabama just about every week, so the focus (read more…)


CFB Week 9 Scouting Watching Guide

Written by Jeff Risdon on October 28, 2016

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Changing things up a bit this week. Instead of a broader view of more prospects in each game, I’ve opted to focus on one or two specific players in each of 10 games. Enjoy your college football and NFL Draft prep weekend!

All times Eastern

Air Force at Fresno State, 10:30 PM Friday on ESPN2

This game features one of the very first prospects to accept a postseason All-Star invite…

#AirForce WR Jalen Robinette has been invited to the @Shrine_Game. Told he received one of the 1st invites to the game. 6’4, 215, avg 27 YPC

— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) October 26, 2016

Robinette has the coveted size with a big, muscular frame. He also has impressive open-field speed and gets to top gear quickly. Check out this TD from the New Mexico game:

Another weekend, another 50+ yd touchdown for (read more…)


CFB Week 8 Scouting Watch Guide

Written by Jeff Risdon on October 21, 2016

2017

The college football schedule seldom disappoints. NFL scouts will scatter all over the country for several marquee games, but also some more unheralded outposts with underexposed talents. The draft action kicks off Friday night with a Mountain West tilt featuring two teams I’ve yet to cover, and shifts into full gear at the late afternoon slate on Saturday.

San Jose State at San Diego State, Friday 10:30 PM on ESPN2

If you’re in the mood for some football on Friday night, one of the more exciting RB prospects is on display. Aztec RB Donnell Pumphrey leads the nation in rushing, thus far the only RB with over 1000 yards on the season. His 185 yards per game on the ground leads all of college football by nearly 40 yards (Donta Foreman of Texas is next in line at 146).

Pumphrey is short at just 5’8” but he understands how (read more…)


CFB Week 7 Draft Scouting Watch Guide

Written by Jeff Risdon on October 14, 2016

North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky needs a big rebound game against Miami

 

NC State at Clemson, 12 PM on ABC

By now you know the Clemson draft names, from potential No. 1 overall pick Deshaun Watson to his favorite receivers in Mike Williams and Artavis Scott, solid RB Wayne Gallman and lockdown CB Cordrea Tankersley. They’re darn near a weekly feature, and for good reason; the Tigers are loaded with future NFL talent.

Watson has shown chinks in his armor, forcing passes and misreading both his receivers and the defense at times. He’s still got a whole lot to like, but it’s okay to be critical at this point. Last week NC State locked down his primary competitor to the top of the QB rankings, Notre Dame’s Deshone Kizer, though it says here Kizer will be back for the Irish in 2017.

That contest, in a literal hurricane, was my first in-depth 2016 look at Wolfpack RB Matthew Dayes. He impressed (read more…)


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