Friday, August 24, 2012

Senior Bowl Releases Watch List

The Senior Bowl released a watch list today, for the first time ever.  The list contains 309 seniors from 114 different schools.  To no surprise, the SEC has the most players on the list with 71 with the Big 10 in second with 46.  Alabama, Georgia, and Nebraska all have 9 players on the list.  Anyways, you can see all of the stats and the list itself by clicking here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

2013 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings

(Courtesy: South Carolina Athletics)
1.  Marcus Lattimore* - South Carolina
After a fantastic freshman year in which he rushed for about 1200 yards and 17 TDs, Lattimore's sophomore campaign didn't go as planned.  His year ended when he suffered a knee injury against Mississippi State.  He was having another great year, averaging 4.8 per carry (only .2 off from his freshman year) and had already rushed for 10 TDs.  If Lattimore bounces back with another nice year, he seems to be a lock for a first-round selection.

2.  Knile Davis* - Arkansas
After missing all of last year, some may have forgotten about Davis.  Davis had a better year statistically than Lattimore did in 2010.  However, he doesn't quite have the tools that makes him as good as Lattimore.  If he stays healthy, he should end up as the second-best prospect eligible.

3.  Joseph Randle* - Oklahoma State
Joseph Randle is so underrated.  I'm very high on him and believe that he'll be jumping up the boards after this year.  Randle, who played in Oklahoma State's air raid offense, still managed to gain over 1200 yards and 24 TDs.  Expect even more from Randle this year as they lose Weeden, Blackmon, Cooper, and start a freshman QB.

4.  Montee Ball - Wisconsin
We all know the year Ball had last year as he ended up being a Heisman finalist.  I'm concerned that much of his success was because of his dynamite offensive line blocking for him last year and maybe not because of his talent.  John Clay, who also had a great career running the ball at Wisconsin (granted, not as good as Ball's), has done nothing in the NFL so far.

5.  Eddie Lacy* - Alabama
Expect a breakout year from Eddie Lacy this year.  Lacy should continue the string of great running backs at Alabama with Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and now him.  While he may not be on the other two's levels, he still is an NFL caliber back.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2013 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings
1.  David Amerson* - North Carolina State
Amerson is the unanimous top eligible corner in this year's draft.  I have yet to seen a source that doesn't have him at the top.  Amerson has elite height for a corner at 6'3 and also possesses lengthy arms.  He is excellent in the air as he came down with an ACC record, 13 interceptions in one year.  Amerson has been starting for NCSU since his freshman year and was an All-American last year as a sophomore.

2.  Xavier Rhodes* - Florida State
Rhodes has great size and athleticism for a corner at 6'2/217.  He is effective at jamming receivers and plays very physical game.  Rhodes had a breakout year in 2010 which resulted in him being named the ACC Rookie Defensive Player of the Year.  With high expectations in 2011, Rhoades had a disappointing year but still has the talent and ability of a first-round pick.

3.  Johnthan Banks - Mississippi State
Banks is a solid corner who has started for Mississippi State for three years.  He has a lot of natural instincts but needs to add some weight to his 6'2/185 frame.  He has been named to several preseason All-American teams for the 2013 season.

4.  Dee Milliner - Alabama
Milliner was overshadowed by Dre Kirkpatrick last year, but he'll have his chance this year to showcase his skills against the opponent's best receivers.  I'm expecting a breakout year for Milliner who has great speed and plays with an attacking mentality.

5.  Carrington Byndom* - Texas
Byndom proved to be one of the best, if not the best, cornerbacks in the Big 12 last year as only a sophomore.  With Texas having a great defense this year, expect Byndom to get a lot more attention.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2013 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings

1.  Tyler Wilson - Arkansas
Many people have Matt Barkley as the top QB in this year's class, but I'm not buying that at the moment.  Wilson is more athletic and has a better arm than Barkley.  Barkley's statistics are a little better but remember that Wilson competes in the SEC West and has only a year of experience.  Scouts will get to see what Wilson is made of this year as he has a new coach and a new group of receivers.

2.  Matt Barkley - USC
The best quarterback and the best overall player according to many experts is Barkley.  Although I have him below Wilson, Barkley is a more polished NFL prospect.  He has been the starting QB at USC since his freshman year and could have pushed Robert Griffin for the #2 pick if he would have left for the Draft.  Barkley's greatest strengths are his intangibles, leadership, and overall character.

3.  Logan Thomas* - Virginia Tech
The junior quarterback has been compared to the likes of Cam Newton, Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, and Robert Griffin.  Thomas isn't on that level right now, but with an elite physique (6'6 and over m260 pounds) he could end up being the top pick in the Draft.  Thomas is a freak athlete and is "raw", but has tremendous upside.

4.  Tyler Bray* - Tennessee
Bray and Thomas are alike in that they both aren't finished products.  Bray has ideal height at 6'6 and an absolute cannon for an arm.  Bray isn't close to the being the overall athlete that Thomas is (Bray needs to add a lot of bulk), but is the better passer.  Like Thomas, Bray could end up being the top selection if he has a great season and improves his maturity (been compared to Matt Leinart).

5.  Landry Jones - Oklahoma
Landry Jones, I believe, will be a solid quarterback in the NFL.  He is a low ceiling, high floor type of guy.  Jones has been a winner at Oklahoma, but he has struggled at times especially after losing Ryan Broyles last year.  If he can improve his decision making, Jones can make himself a top 15 pick.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Game Notes: Tyler Eifert

vs Michigan (2011)
  • Couldn't square up on block.
  • Nice catch, went down to the ground to haul in the pass.
  • Beat on another block.
  • Nice chip on lineman, then did a nice job of advancing and blocking the LB.
  • Effective cut block.
  • Had a great block on DE, driving him back several yards.
  • Nice catch, having to turn his body around and then extend for catch.  However, he was out of bounds because of the poor pass.
  • Another decent block on LB, allowing first-down run.
  • Mediocre blocking on back-to-back plays.
  • Overwhelmed on 3rd-down, tackled for loss.  Really wouldn't have mattered as basically the entire offensive line was beaten.
  • Caught on another poor bass, turning shoulders to bring in the pass that was behind him.
  • Great down block, pancaked defender.  However, the play was nullified on an holding penalty.
  • Couldn't hold block on a quick screen pass, defender got around him to tackle WR.
  • First down catch, went up to get it over the middle.
Summary:  For the most part, Eifert had a solid performance.  Notre Dame was really trying to get Michael Floyd the ball, so Eifert wasn't used that much in the passing game.  However, he did make a couple of really nice catches and off the top of my head, I didn't see him not get to a pass that was intended for him.  Eifert wasn't all that consistent blocking.  He showed glimpses of being a great blocking TE by using his strength and not allowing the ends to get good angles on their rushes.

Game Notes: Manti Te'o

vs Michigan (2011)

  • Great start to the game with back-to-back tackles.  On the first he fought off a block and then pursued QB Denard Robinson down the LOS.
  • Fights off another block.
  • Excellent job at covering TE over the middle of the field.  Defended TE like a basketball player, wouldn't let TE get good position.  Te'o's coverage on the play helped force an INT.
  • Flows to ball well, goes low on RB for tackle.
  • Shadowed QB well, prevented him from running.
  • Got sucked in on read option, allowing a big run.
  • Juked out by Robinson by goal-line, barely got a hand on him.
  • Again, couldn't get arms fully around Robinson, allowing for extra yardage.
  • Did a great job of meeting Robinson at first-down line, but Michigan barely got the first down.
  • Followed Robinson who was running to his right, got sucked in and RB slipped out of the backfield for a TD.
Summary:  The first thing that stood out to me of Te'o's game was how athletic he is.  He really has a great burst and the strength to fight off blocks to get the tackle.  Not once did I see Te'o get handled by a block or turned around, he did a great job of getting off the blocks.  I've seen some people criticize his pass coverage of tight ends, but I thought he did a good job dropping into coverage.  He is known as a "tackling machine", but he was juked out by Robinson on a couple plays.  Overall, it was a nice game by Te'o.