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2016 NFL Draft: Small School, Big Potential: Kevin Byard, Safety, MTSU

Written by Derek Rizzuto, Analyst on July 2, 2015

Byard main

This week’s “Small School, Big Potential” spotlight is on Middle Tennessee safety Kevin Byard. Byard was a first team All-Conference-USA selection last season, and has also been on the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List two years running. He redshirted in 2011 – his first year on campus – but has started all 37 of his team’s games since then. Byard has played more than 900 snaps each season, and has accumulated 246 tackles, 15 interceptions, 11 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He has returned four INTs for touchdowns and also returned a punt for a score last season. 

Pros: Byard shows top-notch ball skills from the safety position. His history as a receiver shows: as soon as the ball is in the air, he believes that ball is his. Once the ball is in his hands he instantly turns into a running back, as evidenced by his 323 (read more…)


Braxton’s ‘immediate plans’ announced next wk – Braxton Miller | OSU

Written by News Team on July 2, 2015

Braxton Miller

Ohio State graduate QB Braxton Miller told the Dispatch he “expects to announce his immediate plans next week.” …read more


Pitt’s projected starting RT out for season – Jaryd Jones-Smith | PIT

Written by News Team on July 2, 2015

Sep 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers offensive linesman Jaryd Jones-Smith (75) blocks at the line of scrimmage against Akron Zips defensive lineman Nmesoma Okafor (99) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Akron won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh’s projected starting RT, redshirt sophomore Jaryd Jones-Smith, will miss the season due to a right knee injury. …read more


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Written by Justin Higdon, Senior Draft Analyst on July 2, 2015

william likely

Maryland is just 20-30 under Head Coach Randy Edsall, but their third place showing in the Big Ten East in 2014 (7-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play) was their best performance in his four seasons at the helm. The Terrapins enter their second season in the Big Ten minus star receiver Stefon Diggs, and disruptive defensive lineman Andre Monroe, but they return a number of intriguing talents. Unfortunately for the Terps, they’ll be hard-pressed to even duplicate last year’s efforts in an increasingly competitive division. Here’s a look at their top, draft-eligible talent heading into the fall. (Asterisks denote underclassmen)


Top Guards To Watch In 2015

Written by Matt LaPan, Analyst on July 1, 2015

Photo By: NFL.com

The guard position is generally not one that receives a ton of hype during the NFL Draft. Most years, the 1st round of the draft will conclude with only one or two guards selected.

From Mike Iupati to Kyle Long to Zach Martin, teams that are in need of a starter that brings toughness to their offensive line have had success taking a guard at the top of the draft. The 2016 NFL Draft has a wealth of interior linemen, including Vadal Alexander from LSU, Cody Whitehair from Kansas State and Landon Turner from North Carolina.

Tale of the Tape:

All three prospects have the size to transition to the NFL. Whitehair is the smallest of the group, but he is still 6-4 and 309 pounds. Alexander is the largest of the group – a towering 6-6 and 320 pounds. He has the size of most tackle (read more…)


2016 NFL Draft Trait Based Scouting: Christian Hackenberg (QB, Penn State)

Written by Ryan Dukarm on July 1, 2015

hackenberg

The third scouting report in my series of trait-based evaluations takes a look at Christian Hackenberg. After starting for Penn State as a true freshman in 2013 in head coach Bill O’Brien’s pro style scheme, many analysts had Hackenberg pegged as a future No. 1 overall pick. However, O’Brien left for the Houston Texans head coaching gig and former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin took over. After a down year statistically in Franklin’s spread offense, Hackenberg now looks to rebound in the 2015-16 season, his first as a draft eligible prospect.

Name: Christian Hackenberg

Number: 14

College: Penn State

Pro Position: QB

Height: 6’4’’

Weight: 236 pounds

Age: 20

DOB: 2/14/1995

 

Statistics:

Strengths: Mental Processing, Arm Strength, Decision Making, Extend Plays, Toughness

Weaknesses: Touch, Footwork, Deep Accuracy

Projection: NFL Starter in a pro style/bootleg based offense that maximizes his mental processing, arm strength and decision making. (read more…)


Weidl: Baylor DT Billings could be big time – Andrew Billings | BAY

Written by News Team on July 1, 2015

billings

Baylor junior DT Andrew Billings “has a chance to be big time,” according to Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl. …read more


2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

Written by Justin Higdon, Senior Draft Analyst on July 1, 2015

vangelo bentley

For the first time in three seasons under Head Coach Tim Beckman, the Fighting Illini of Illinois achieved bowl eligibility in 2014. The team managed six regular season wins despite enduring an injury to starting quarterback Wes Lunt, and a stretch in which they dropped five of six games. Late November wins over Penn State and Northwestern got the Illini into the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they lost 35-18 to Louisiana Tech. Things didn’t get easier for Beckman after the season, as a number of former players from both Illinois, and his previous post at Toledo, accused the coach of rushing athletes back from injury, harassment, and threats to take away scholarships. Beckman has weathered the storm for now, but his 12-25 record in Champaign warmed up his seat even before the unflattering picture of his character emerged. The Illini have some decent talent on the roster, but (read more…)


Could LB Foster be Bama’s breakout candidate? – Reuben Foster | AL

Written by News Team on June 30, 2015

foster

ESPN’s Alex Scarbrough pegged junior LB Reuben Foster as Alabama’s breakout candidate. …read more


2015 NFL Supplemental Draft: An Overview of Clemson’s Isaiah Battle

Written by Dan Matney, Analyst on June 30, 2015

Football - Isaiah Battle

This year’s NFL Supplemental Draft is projected to be held in the first half of July. In case you are unaware of the rules of the event, a team can select an eligible player with a pick in whatever round they choose. If a team drafts a player, they will lose that round’s pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The last time a player was selected in the supplemental draft was in 2012 when the Cleveland Brown selected wide receiver Josh Gordon in the second round.

For this year’s Supplemental Draft, one intriguing name is Isaiah Battle, a 22-year-old tackle from Clemson. Although there is speculation as to why he declared, Battle is an interesting prospect that will more than likely be chosen at some point in July. Let’s take a look at Battle’s skill set as he aims to be on a NFL roster for the 2015 NFL season.

Strengths

Possessing (read more…)


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