Hey everyone, this is kc_radrh8r here. This is my first ever fan post and there's no better topic to discuss than scouting. Hopefully this turns out alright. I have a list of my top prospects (approximately 15) at each position. My notes are too long for one post so they'll be divided into three. This is part one- offensive skill positions. Enjoy, give feedback, and hopefully more of you value my input than resent it.
1. Sam Bradford- Oklahoma
Top 10 pick
Notes: I had him as my favorite QB in the 2009 class had he declared last year. The shoulder injury and surgery doesn’t scare me. It clearly didn’t bothered Drew Brees too much so I expect Bradford to be just fine. If he proves healthy at the combine (and I think he will), he’ll easily be a top 10 pick in 2010.
2. Jimmy Clausen- Notre Dame
Top 10 pick
Notes: Finished the 2009 season ranked 2nd in the NCAA in QB rating while completing 68% of his passes. History has shown that 65% is the magic number for a successful transition to the NFL. His toe surgery is insignificant. He leaves the Rams with a difficult decision between himself, Bradford and Suh.
3. Tim Tebow- Florida
Notes: (Nov. 09) Most people question his ability to translate into an NFL QB. He draws criticism similar to what Steve Young faced. It may not always be pretty, but he finds ways to win. I think of him more as an athlete playing quarterback. (Jan. 10) He played exceptional in the Sugar Bowl to destroy Cincinnati. However, he struggled greatly in practices at the Senior Bowl. He fumbled several exchanges from the center. His intangibles could make him a 1st round pick but it’s his mechanics that could drop him into round three. The fact that he is third on my list tells you how weak this QB class is after Bradford and Clausen. I know that labeling him as a 1st-3rd round pick isn’t very specific, but I doubt anyone in American can confidently say they know how Tebow will translate to the NFL.
4. Colt McCoy- Texas
Notes: Some days plays like a top prospect, then on others he looks like a middle round guy who needs a few years of grooming. A few years on the bench could do him wonders at the next level. I know I put a lot of stock into a completion percentage of 65 or more, but I think Colt’s numbers are skewed. In four years starting at Texas, he competed 68.2, 65.1, 76.7 and 70.6. However, his offense was designed to dump the ball of short , much like Rich Gannon in Oakland under Bill Callahan. The three most difficult games McCoy played in 2009 came against Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Nebraska (Alabama is excluded since he was injured early). Against Texas Tech, McCoy threw 24-34 (good), 1 TD and 2 INT’s (bad), and his longest completion went for just 25 yards (not so good). Against Oklahoma, McCoy threw 21-39 (not so good), 1 TD and 1 INT (ok), and a long of 14 yards (terrible). Against Nebraska, he threw 20-36 (decent), 0 TD and 3 INT’s (grotesque), and a long of 25 once again. Even in a blowout win against Baylor his longest completion was just 22 yards. Sure, he threw for over 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, but I’ll bet close to half of those yards came from the receivers running after the catch.
5. Tony Pike- Cincinnati
Notes: (Nov. 09) I would love to see what he can do in a full season with no injuries. Highly intelligent, great arm but brittle bones. Biggest concern is whether he is just a system QB. (Jan. 10) He has struggled at throwing the ball into the wind during practices at the Senior Bowl. Scouts questions his arm strength because of it but I’m not concerned yet.
6. Dan LeFevour- Central Michigan
Notes: (Jan. 10) I keep looking for reasons to not buy into the recent hype he has created, but I cant find any. He finished his senior season with a 69.7% completion percentage, his compl. % increased all four years in college and he did a good job of protecting the football. He also adds some value with his mobility. It’s far too early to realistically compare him to Tony Romo, but that is who I think of when I see LeFevour play.
7. Zac Robinson- Oklahoma State
Notes: I think his ceiling on draft day is the 3rd round. I think his reality on draft day is the 4th round. 59% with 15 TD’s to 12 INT’s as a senior scares me. In his final three games in 2009 (Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Mississippi), he completed just 31 of 73 passes for a 42.4% completion percentage, 1 TD and 5 INT‘s. That’s atrocious.
8. Jevan Snead- Ole Miss
Notes: I apparently don’t see the same things that Steve Spurrier saw in him. I question his decision to leave school early. Low completion percentage doesnt help his cause. Only has two years of starting experience, completion percentages of just 56.3 and 54.4, and 46 TD’s to 33 INT’s. That’s certainly not being accurate enough with the football.
9. Jarrett Brown- West Virginia
Notes: (Jan. 10) Has been the most pleasant surprise for scouts at the Senior Bowl practices. He fits the term “game manager” in that he rarely was given the opportunity to throw deep. Take away a 4 INT game versus Auburn and he finishes 2009 with a 10:5 TD to INT ratio. Doesn’t have enough experience yet to be counted on, but he would be a great development QB for any team.
10. Pat Devlin- Delaware
Notes: Looks to follow Joe Flacco’s steps to the NFL after transferring from Penn State to Delaware. Like Flacco, has great size and a rocket arm. Could easily climb a few spots in the QB rankings before the off-season is done. Completed 65% of his passes, which happens to be the magic number proven throughout history to determine success rate of QB’s in the NFL.
11. Sean Canfield- Oregon State
Notes: Now this is a guy I like as a project QB. He has a good frame at 6’4’’ and close to 220. He finished 2009 with a completion percentage of 67.9, 21 TD’s and 9 INT’s. Excluding the Beavers bowl game loss to BYU, Canfield even completed 64% or higher in their losses. Also, he only had one game with multiple interceptions in 2009.
12. Darryl Clark- Penn State
Notes: He only makes my list because I’m being generous. I like him, I really do. I just don’t see him making it in the NFL. He has potential, but he is very raw and inconsistent. His TD’s came in bunches, but his INT’s did as well. In Penn State’s two losses in 2009, he crippled the offense with a 12-32 and 3 INT performance vs. Iowa and a 12-28 outing vs. Ohio State.
13. Noah Shepard- South Dakota
Notes: Stands 6’2’’ and 230 (listed at 215 but that’s a lie). Only suffered two home losses in college career. I can confirm that scouts for at least 15 teams have visited USD to see him live and to watch film of him. I can also confirm that he can throw the ball 65-70 yards in the air with excellent touch. He was basically a one-man show because of how poor the team’s defense was and he didn’t have much of a supporting cast to work with on offense. His biggest criticism is that he played inferior talent at the I-AA level.
RUNNING BACKS (16)
1. C.J. Spiller- Clemson
Top 20 pick
Notes: I truly felt he was the best back in college football. Should run a 4.3 for scouts and elevate his draft status into the middle of the 1st round. He’s built exactly like Chris Johnson at 5’11’’ and 195 and is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Can also double as a return man.
2. Jahvid Best- California
Notes: Scored 3 touchdowns on runs longer than 60 yards while averaging 6.1 YPC this year. Was even better in 2008 with a YPC average of 8.1. Prior to his concussion, I thought of him as a Reggie Bush clone. Now I worry how scouts will be scared off by the time he missed this year. I’m pulling for him to pass all medical examinations at the combine. There’s just something about him I really like…maybe it’s the ass-whooping (20 carries for 186 and 2 TD’s) he delivered to Miami in the 2008 Emerald Bowl? Look at his game stats from his sophomore year: http://espn.go.com/ncf/player/gamelog?playerId=238184&year=2008
3. Jonathan Dwyer- Georgia Tech
Notes: His biggest downfall will be the crazy offense G-Tech runs. If he tests out well at the combine, he should be the third back taken. It's his spot to lose.
4. Ryan Matthews- Fresno State
Notes: Stands up too vertically when he runs, much like Adrian Peterson. He doesn’t have a fumbling problem yet, but I worry about one at the next level due to his running style. He does display good balance and leg strength though, as well as good, quick cuts to find a hole.
5. Toby Gerhart- Stanford
Notes: Athletic player who could’ve played pro baseball. Has the hands to be an asset catching the ball out of the backfield. Led NCAA in 2009 in carries (311), yards (1736), and touchdowns (26).
6. Joe McKnight- USC
Notes: I’m expecting him to ‘wow’ a few people when USC has their pro day. I see a future Leon Washington in him.
7. Dexter McCluster- Ole Miss
Notes: He’s tiny at just 170 lbs so he will likely bring up durability questions and he will drop much lower in the draft because of it, but his speed and athleticism is elite. His performance against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl was phenomenal. (Jan. 10) He has been practicing at receiver for the Senior Bowl.
8. Anthony Dixon- Mississippi State
Notes: Big powerful back at 240 lbs. Total workhorse who grinded out a 5.4 YPC average at his size.
9. Montario Hardesty- Tennessee
Notes: 4.9 yards per carry against the SEC is serviceable for a back of his size. He is one of my sleeper picks.
10. LaGarrette Blount- Oregon
Notes: I have a feeling that his punching incident versus Boise State was a one time deal. He jumped from the Juco ranks in 2007 to finding the end zone 17 times for the Ducks in 2008. He looks much faster than a guy who weighs in at 240 lbs. He’s much more talented than a 4th round back, but his character questions will scare off some teams. He reminds me of Jerome Bettis in the later stages of his career as a goal-line and short-yardage specialist.
11. Charles Scott- LSU
Notes: He’s not even fast for a college running back. (Jan. 10) He failed a physical to perform in the Senior Bowl. He has shoulder surgery late in the season, so I’m guessing it isn’t fully healed yet. At 235 he would make for a great compliment to a speed back. He opted to return to LSU for his senior year and I’m betting it costs him in the wallet. Had 1174 yards and 18 TD’s as a junior but never seemed to find his groove in 2009.
12. Ben Tate- Auburn
Notes: It would be interesting to see what he could do on a good team. I’ve read a lot of reports about his attitude though. I’d be cautious of drafting a diva running back.
13. Stafon Johnson- USC
Notes: I would sure love to see him drafted. I cant remember any prospect in recent memory who has faced such grueling obstacles. It’s simply a miracle that he survived the accident in the weight room. As a freshman at USC, Johnson had an average yards per carry of 5.7 yards, followed by 6.9 as a sophomore, 5.1 as a junior, and 4.9 as a senior prior to his accident. The yards per carry average went down as he received more carries each year at USC, but they’re still above average.
14. Joique Bell- Wayne State (Michigan)
Notes: One of the fastest climbing guys at this position. Danny Woodhead was even better against D-II talent and even he went undrafted. Luckily for Bell, he is 6’1’’ and 215 instead of the 5’9’’ 190 Woodhead measured in at.
15. Javarris James- Miami
Notes: He has the same build of former ‘Canes RB Frank Gore but also shares the same durability issues Gore faced as a prospect. He’s another “hit or miss” guy and it’s hard to gauge his future at this point because of his inability to stay healthy.
16. Andre Dixon- Connecticut
Notes: He’s not a speed guy nor does he play with consistency, but he’s a guy who could serve as a good short-yardage back. He’s also not a guy defenses need to worry about catching the ball out of the backfield. Was held to 50 yards or less on five occasions in 2009 and 9 of his 14 total touchdowns came against the awful defenses of Baylor, Louisville and Syracuse.
1. Rashawn Jackson- Virginia
Notes: The first fullback of each draft is generally selected in the 4th round. He is head and shoulders above any other fullback prospects this year. (Jan. 10) He is apparently so impressive with carrying the football that some scouts consider him a “big back” rather than a fullback. That sounds very similar to the Ravens’ Laron McClain.
2. John Connor- Kentucky
Notes: He’s the old-school, prototypical fullback seen in the 90s. Players like him are rare…as are names from the Terminator.
WIDE RECEIVERS (18)
1. Dez Bryant- Oklahoma State
Notes: Would like to have seen more of him other than deep routes. Didn’t get that chance after he was suspended by NCAA for lying, and for that he falls on my board. Some projections list him as a top 5 pick but I’d be shocked to see him in the top 12. He needs to have some amazing workouts to make up for a missed season. However, he could be an even better pro prospect than Michael Crabtree thanks to his size at 6-2 and 220. We should know more about him in less than a month.
2. Damian Williams- USC
Notes: Unspectacular speed but amazing hands similar to Reggie Wayne. Also runs great routes. Should be a solid late 1st round pick. Returns punts as well.
3. Golden Tate- Notre Dame
Notes: I’ve looked for every reason to pick apart his game, but I cant find anything. The more I watch, the more I like him. Has the speed to be a deep threat, makes every catch and he can help in the return game. He does a great job at going up and fighting for the ball in traffic. You would never guess that he used to be a running back. His only knock at this point is his route running.
4. Arrelious Benn- Illinois
Notes: Has the strength of most collegiate tight ends. His poor stats are more a result of Illinois’ offense than his ability. Reminds me of Roy Williams when he came out of Texas. I think he has the highest upside among this year’s receivers.
5. Marshawn Gilyard- Cincinnati
Notes: Runs great routes, making him look faster than he is (sounds much like Jerry Rice). Also a highly dangerous kick returner. I’m sure many teams will question his size, as did many with Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes. He’s my favorite receiver in this year’s class. In his last 18 games, he has scored 26 touchdowns (1 rushing, 21 receiving, and 4 returning). (Jan. 10) During practices for the Senior Bowl, I’ve read mixed reviews on him. Most scouts have praised his athleticism and competitiveness, but most have also mentioned his inability to get off of jams at the line of scrimmage. They claim he struggles to get separation from the bigger and more physical corners. Well I think his performance in the Senior Bowl game should silence his critics.
6. Brandon LaFell- LSU
Notes: Size (6-3 210) and speed to be a great NFL receiver. Vaguely reminds me of former LSU receiver Dwayne Bowe. However, while many project him as the top receiver in the class, I am yet to see him take over any game. He only cracked 100 yards once this season. Hopefully that is more of a result to inconsistent QB play from LSU last year. (Jan. 10) His decision to skip the Senior Bowl drops him on my list for now.
7. Eric Decker- Minnesota
Notes: Not the fastest WR out there, but seems to catch everything thrown his way. Big target at 6-2 215. Reminds me of Kevin Walter. Unfortunately, he missed half of the season after blowing out his knee. He is expected to be fully recovered sometime in June, so he would miss rookie mini camps in May but be available in time for when training camps begin.
8. Demaryius Thomas- Georgia Tech
Notes: His size alone will get him drafted (6’3’’ 230). I wish I knew more about him, but I don’t yet.
9. Jordan Shipley- Texas
Notes: Another slot guy in the mold of Wes Welker. Kick return ability also raises his stock. My knock on him is that I think he’s strictly a slot receiver and wont get much better than what he already is right now. He could be a great slot guy, but I don’t see him ever being a #2 receiver…maybe more like Brandon Stokley than Welker.
10. Dezmon Briscoe- Kansas
Notes: (Nov. 09) With all of the changes at Kansas, expect him to declare early. Should be a borderline 2-3 round guy. (Jan. 10) Well, he declared, except now I rank him as a 4th round talent. You see, I’m sometimes indecisive too!
11. Terrance Toliver- LSU
Note: Tall, lanky target at 6-4. Reminds me of the late Bengals WR Chris Henry. Like LaFell, he doesn’t have big numbers.
12. Danario Alexander- Missouri
Notes: His route running is similar to an 8th grader’s, but he always seems to make huge plays with the ball in his hands. I think he’d be an excellent slot receiver but nothing more. Led NCAA in receptions and receiving yards and offers a big target at 6’5’’. (Jan. 10) Scouts at the Senior Bowl praised his chiseled physique. However, they also noticed his inability to run routes well.
13. Riley Cooper- Florida
Notes: Tall target at 6’3’’. Recently chose to give up baseball (former draft pick of the Texas Rangers) to focus on an NFL career. (Jan. 10) He apparently has been having trouble catching during practices at the Senior Bowl.
14. Blair White- Michigan State
Notes: I didn’t see much of him during the year prior to the bowl game, but he put up a great performance. He’s a former Spartan walk-on.
15. Mike Williams- Syracuse (sort of)
Notes: He hurt his reputation immensely by quitting midway through the season. Has the talent to be picked much higher, but certainly not the maturity. Personally, I’d stay away from him. The risk outweighs the potential rewards in this instance.
16. Freddie Barnes- Bowling Green
Notes: 155 catches as a senior is simply astounding. He is said to run a 4.7, which I’m betting, if true, is the only reason he wasn’t invited to the combine. The only negative thing I can say about him at this point is that Boise State completely shut him down. Maybe that’s an indication of the talents of Kyle Wilson?
17. Emmanuel Sanders- SMU
Notes: (Jan. 10) This is a guy who many have fallen in love with lately. He’s like the poor man’s version of Percy Harvin in that he catches, he runs the ball, and he returns it well. He’s a guy who can line up anywhere on the field and produce.
18. Jeremy Williams- Tulane
Notes: I was glad to see him receive invites to post-season events. He’s a good player who flew under the radar on a three-win team. Finished 2009 with 84 catches, 1113 yards and 7 TD’s.
19. Oluseyi Ajirotutu- Fresno State
20. Kerry Meier- Kansas
Notes: No way in hell is he near being a top 20 receiver in most years, but I like him so he makes my list. He’s a former QB who plays tough and finds the end zone. I like him as a guy to target in the 5th round. He reminds me of a Marc Boerigter or Brian Finneran type.
21. Brandon Banks- Kansas State
Notes: Positives- fast as lightning and great kick return skills. Negatives- 5’5’’ 150 lbs and was arrested for assault in December.
22. Nyan Boateng- California
Notes: As a Husker fan, I think it’s funny that he isn’t the superstar receiver he thought he was when he decommitted from UNL. He has a lot of that dreaded word; “potential”. Unfortunately, he has never shown anything on the field yet. At 6’2’’ and 210, he could become a late round steal with a lot of coaching.
TIGHT ENDS (11)
1. Jermaine Gresham- Oklahoma
Notes: One of the best tight end prospects to come out this decade. Unfortunately, he’s coming off of an ACL injury which caused him to miss the entire 2009 season. Would be a steal for anyone if he fell to round two.
2. Rob Gronkowski- Arizona
Notes: Clearly a 2nd round talent but may fall due to missing all of 2009 with a back injury. Huge target at 6-6 and 260lbs.
3. Aaron Hernandez- Florida
Notes: This guy seems to catch virtually anything. His blocking may not be at an NFL level, but truthfully, most tight ends drafted recently aren’t either.
4. Garrett Graham- Wisconsin
Notes: Doubles as a tight end and fullback. Would make a good H-Back in the NFL, much like Chris Cooley in Washington. I don’t think he quite has the speed of Cooley, but he is a better blocker.
5. Dennis Pitta- Brigham Young
6. Ed Dickson- Oregon
Notes: Just your typical tight end. Nothing special but he does everything he's asked to do.
7. Anthony McCoy- USC
3rd -5th round
Notes: He is strictly a receiving tight end, but a great one at that. Recent USC tight end draftees Dominique Byrd and Fred Davis were the same way and haven’t lived up to their hype, so I’m willing to bet that McCoy falls as a result. However, I’ve seen his name in some second rounds in online mock drafts so who knows how some GM‘s may view him. I’d be cautious though.
8. Jimmy Graham- Miami
Notes: (Jan. 10) He’s a guy who really elevated his stock in practices at the Senior Bowl. He didn’t even play college football until his senior year so I really knew close to nothing of him until this week. He’s highly athletic, has the speed to stretch the field and has done a good job of catching the ball in Senior Bowl practices.
9. Colin Peek- Alabama
Notes: This is probably higher than any other draft board has him, but I’ve been impressed with everything I have seen from him. I doubt he’ll ever be a star, but could be a very be a reliable option similar to Kevin Boss.
10. Jeron Mastrud- Kansas State
Notes: In my opinion, he quietly put up good numbers. I don’t see anything special in him, but I’ve only seen him play a handful of times. While attending the Nebraska/Kansas State game in November, I completely forgot that K-State had a good tight end. I guess that doesn’t say much for his performance on that night.
11. Wesley Saunders- South Carolina
Notes: I don’t see him having enough experience to rise any higher than the 4th round. He didn’t start until his senior year because he was behind Jared Cook.