Scouting Reports

Jason Vander Laan: An Underdog Scouting Evaluation

Written by Jeff Risdon on September 21, 2015

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Americans love the underdog. Nothing stokes the passion like rooting for the little guy, the unheralded cog, the Cinderella story. It’s why Rocky endures as a movie almost forty years later.

In the scouting world, many are predisposed to rooting for the small school guys. There are websites devoted to those playing outside the FBS, draftniks who only focus on the lower reaches of college football. And those lower levels provide the NFL with more than enough quality players to sustain the hope that the next great hope is playing in the likes of the Southern Conference, the ODAC or the GLIAC, acronymic leagues unfamiliar to those outside the limited geographic ranges of member schools.


Two-Minute Drill With Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson

Written by Joe Marino on September 1, 2015

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Each week, Senior NFL Draft Analyst Joe Marino will highlight a 2016 NFL Draft prospect’s strengths and/or weaknesses in less than two minutes of video clips. Up first, Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson.

A’Shawn Robinson is a 6’4″, 312 lb junior defensive lineman from the University of Alabama.  His resume includes Consensus Freshman All-American honors in 2013 and 15 starts over the last two years.  He led the Crimson Tide in sacks in 2013 (5.5), but finished with no production in that category last season (0 sacks).  Despite his lacking sack numbers he finished 2014 with 49 tackles, 6.5 of them going for losses.

Robinson’s two-minute drill starts now…


Jaylon Smith: Room to Improve

Written by Jeff Risdon on August 13, 2015

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One of the purposes of summer scouting is to develop a baseline for a player’s current skills. This helps frame the upcoming season performance. Did the player improve? Are his prior weak points dulled? Has he shown more NFL skills?

Under that backdrop I evaluated Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. The rising true junior from Fort Wayne has created many waves in South Bend with his strong athletic ability and speed. No. 9 on the defense has proven his versatility, lining up at Mike backer, rush OLB, weakside nickel backer and even as a pseudo slot corner.

Both Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network and Matt Miller from Bleacher Report have gone on record this summer to call Smith their top defensive prospects entering the season. Many in the online draft community have followed suit, praising Smith’s playing speed, range and power. Listed at 6’2” and 235 pounds, (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Trait Based Scouting: Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)

Written by Ryan Dukarm on August 5, 2015

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The last two NFL Draft’s have seen an influx of young receiver talent into the NFL, as the new age of early contributors at wide receiver have seen players like Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Amari Cooper, Kevin White and Davante Parker all drafted in the first round with the expectations of contributing early and often. The next in this highly talented group of young receivers is Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell. The only thing standing in the way of Treadwell being an early first round pick in 2016 is his health, as he suffered a gruesome leg injury in Ole Miss’ game against Auburn in 2014. Assuming he can return to full health in the 2015 season, Treadwell has a chance to be the top receiver selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Background: Two year starter at Ole Miss as a true freshman and sophomore. Suffered (read more…)


Laremy Tunsil: Room to Improve

Written by Jeff Risdon on July 30, 2015

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This is the second installment in the preseason evaluation series. The first was Tunsil’s Ole Miss teammate Robert Nkemdiche.

Tunsil mans the left tackle spot for the Rebels, with an emphasis on “man”. He’s a very high-end prospect, but even a Ferrari needs tuning up. There are a couple of areas where I would like to see Tunsil improve in his final season in the physical, demanding SEC West.

Rules of Engagement It’s not often an offensive lineman’s exceptional athleticism is a negative, but for the rising junior it creates an awkward critique. Tunsil is great at getting out into space as a run blocker, but he has some struggles engaging defenders once he’s out there.

Here’s an example from the LSU game.

Tunsil does a very good job in holding at the line on the initial action. Many tackles like to cheat a bit and (read more…)


Robert Nkemdiche: Room to Improve

Written by Jeff Risdon on July 26, 2015

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One of the key attributes I look for when scouting a player is year-to-year development. Players should improve at one thing or another as they gain experience and mature as athletes.

Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is one to watch closely in 2015. The former top recruit out of Georgia has two seasons under his belt for the Rebels, one at defensive end and one at tackle. Nkemdiche has flashed impressive skills at both positions, though his meager production (four career sacks) raises an eyebrow.

If Nkemdiche is going to live up to the hype as a potential Top-10 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft–presuming he declares early–he has a lot of work to do on his game. Specifically, I found three areas of focus where I want to see the 6’4”, 296-pound preseason All-American develop as an NFL prospect.

Perpendicularity

One of the issues he faces (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Trait Based Scouting: Carson Wentz (QB, NDSU)

Written by Ryan Dukarm on July 21, 2015

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A prospect who is has been creating a lot of buzz  on “Draft Twitter” recently  is North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz, and the appeal is obvious.  He’s a big kid with a live arm and sound decision making.  He’s coming off his first year as a starter in which he led the Bison to their fourth consecutive FCS championship (the first quarterback from the state of North Dakota to do so.) Wentz possesses prototypical height for an NFL QB, although he could stand to add some bulk throughout the next year if he wants to hold up at the next level. 

Name: Carson Wentz

College: North Dakota State University

Number: 11

Pro Position: QB

Height: 6’6’’

Weight: 231 pounds

Age: 22

Date of Birth: 12/30/1992

Background: Wentz enters his RS (read more…)


Early 2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Christian Hackenberg

Written by Chris Ross on July 20, 2015

Christian Hackenberg

Coming off of a historically poor 2015 quarterback draft class, it would be hard for the 2016 draft to be any worse at the position. Indeed, next year’s draft appears to be much stronger than this year’s class when it comes to quarterbacks with guys like Connor Cook, Jared Goff, and Christian Hackenberg all looking like potentially special prospects, and several others behind those top three guys looking like solid professional players in the making. If you really want to know which guys you should follow going into the 2015 college football season, I highly recommend checking out Luke Easterling‘s 2016 NFL Draft watch list. With that said, Hackenberg, in particular, has caught my eye, and actually ranks as my top-rated quarterback going into the season. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes Hackenberg such an intriguing prospect.

There’s almost no (read more…)


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