After Joel Thorman's post this morning about draft prospect Eric Olsen (C), I began to wonder if Kansas City Chiefs OC Charlie Weiss might try to sweet talk Pioli into drafting anyone else on the '09 Notre Dame roster. Perhaps one or more of them may be brought in as College Free Agents.
Golden Tate (WR) has been on our radar as a potential slot receiver and KR/PR. Many of you have mentioned him as a 2a #36 pick on your mock draft boards. Besides Tate, what other players from ND are there who could end up wearing red and gold this fall?
Including Olsen and Tate, a couple names popped up that may be interesting to discuss here on AP. The first name is not unfamiliar to us. However, few of us have indicated interest in drafting him...
1. Jimmy Clausen (QB) Scout.com ranks Clausen as the 2nd best QB prospect.
- Height: 6'3"
- Weight: 222 lbs.
- Arm Length: 30 3/4 in.
- Hand Size: 9 in.
Strengths: Clausen’s a highly-competitive signal-caller who was has been very productive in a pro-style system during his career. Possesses a live arm and flashes the ability to make all the NFL throws. Displays impressive accuracy in the short passing game. Is athletic and mobile for the position and can avoid the rush and make plays outside the pocket. Has a very quick delivery.
Weaknesses: Clausen has a somewhat low release point. Release point combined with less-than-ideal height leaves Clausen susceptible to having passes batted down at the line. Has a strong arm but lacks premier arm strength and may struggle at times fitting the ball into windows deep down the field. He was unable to participate in combine drills due to toe surgery.
The only advantage to drafting Clausen would be that he already knows Weiss' offensive scheme. I don't think he has what it takes to start in the NFL at this point, not that we would need him to. The Vibe I get from Pioli and Haley is that Matt Cassel is our guy. Clausen will go in the first round and I don't see us using that high pick taking someone who isn't going to be an impact player this year. A team desperate at the QB position will take Clausen and may even start him right away, but it will take him a couple years to become an effective field general in the NFL. Depending on how long it takes to modify his throwing style, elevate his release point, and become more accurate on the deep passes, will determine his ability to successfully lead his future NFL team.
2. Sam Young (OT) Scout.com ranks Young as 19th best OT prospect
- Height: 6'8"
- Weight: 316 lbs.
- Arm Length: 34 1/2 in.
- Hand Size: 10 1/8 in.
Overview: Young was a blue chip prospect, out of Florida, that became an instant starter his freshman year and has been a mainstay on the offensive line for the Irish. He is a massive blocker with long arms that can simply engulf opponents once he gets his hands on them. He lacks top initial quickness and can be beaten off the edge by explosive edge rushers. While he has started at both left tackle and on the right side he is best suited to be a right tackle in the NFL.
Strengths: Ideal height and bulk. Massive size makes him stout against the bull rush. Long arms allow him to ride edge rushers past the pocket. Sets quickly, has good feet and plays with a wide base. Has experience in a pro-style offense.
Weaknesses: Struggles to get a consistent push. Marginal speed and instincts limit effectiveness run blocking. Not a natural knee bender that sometimes gets driven back. Plays hard but does not always finish blocks. Does not make the right decisions on downfield blocks.
Young has 4 years starting experience between LT and RT, but probably will never have the ability to play effectively in the NFL as a LT. However, with a couple years of work on his technique he may end up as a solid RT as a pro. He definitely has the size for RT and yet is still relatively light...something that I think Haley may enjoy about him. He could potentially start sooner rather than later depending on how quickly he adapts to the speed and strength of NFL DE's and OLB's and how quickly he improves his knee bend, drive block and down-field blocking technique. Will probably end up on a practice squad this year.
3. Kyle McCarthy (SS) Scout.com ranks McCarthy as 14th best Safety prospect
- Height: 6'0"
- Weight: 205 lbs.
- Arm Length: 29 1/2 in.
- Hand Size: 8 7/8 in.
Overview: McCarthy was a productive two-year starter for the Irish defense. He has a good combination of size, strength and athleticism. He doesn't have ideal height but is instinctive and maintains leverage as a deep defender when going after the ball. He is a vocal leader who wins with toughness, instincts, intelligence and technique. He doesn't have great speed but is a good athlete for the position. His foot agility, balance and quickness enable him to be an effective zone-coverage defender. Kyle isn't an explosive hitter and wouldn't be a great in-the-box defender. He is a solid run defender, taking proper angles to the ball and is a reliable tackler. He has good ball skills and is natural to make plays in the passing game. McCarthy has limitations which likely will relegate him to a back-up role at the next level.
Strengths: McCarthy is a tough defender with good instincts. Has a solid base and the lateral agility to be effective in zone coverage. Puts time in the film room, takes good angles in the running game and is a bit of a ball hawk.
Weaknesses: McCarthy only has average height and does not possess the speed to make plays all over the field. Hips are a little high at times and he is not effective in man coverage. Not an explosive tackler and will struggle to play in the box at the next level.
As he is described here, it seems to me that McCarthy is almost exactly like a Jon McGraw. My bet is that he will make a team as a special teamer (and will be great at it), but the jury is out as to whether or not he will develop well enough to play defense except as a backup on a team that plays Zone D most of the time, or at very least will end up being a Zone D specialist being set free in the short middle on passing downs. He has all the makings (He is a vocal leader who wins with toughness, instincts, intelligence and technique) of a "right 53" player.
4. Eric Olsen (C/OG) Scout.com ranks Olsen as the 7th best Center prospect
- Height: 6'4"
- Weight: 306 lbs.
- Arm Length: 32 1/2 in.
- Hand Size: 9 1/4 in.
Overview: Olsen is a good college center with excellent size, strength and technique. He works his blocks hard and will fight from snap to whistle to get the job done. He does a good job of getting a fit with his hands to control and steer opponents but does not always bring his feet with him when reacting to movement. He is not real nimble or quick getting to the second level when on the back side and is not real effective when blocking in space. He is not a natural knee-bender and struggles to keep his pad level down to leverage his blocks. He has a chance on size, competitiveness and intelligence but lacks the physical tools to be a front-line player.
Strengths: Tall interior lineman with great bulk. Gets his hands inside defenders' pads and has the strength to generate a good push. Has a bit of a mean streak and fights to the end of the whistle every snap. Heady player who knows his blocking assignments and takes good angles.
Weaknesses: Keeps his pads too high and loses leverage, because he is not a natural knee-bender. Lacks initial quickness to shock defenders and does not have the agility to be effective in space. Has inconsistent balance and forgets to move his feet underneath him at times.
Olsen is a bit less of a project than Young is, and I think his pro coaches will have fun training him up. Scout.com indicates that he is an OG who is more likely to be a C in the NFL. And what that means is that he has the potential to be versatile. If he doesn't learn to move his feet and become explosive off the ball, Olsen will struggle his entire career against 3-4 NT's. Look for Olsen to be either a practice squad guy, or a backup on a team who is weak at the C position this year.
Even though it's not the point of this post to ask your opinion on Golden Tate, I have included his scouting report below for those who may be new to AP or just haven't seen his SR.
5. Golden Tate (WR) Scout.com ranks Olsen as the 2nd best Wide Receiver prospect
- Height: 5'10"
- Weight: 199 lbs.
- Arm Length: 30 1/2 in.
- Hand Size: 9 1/4 in.
Overview: Tate has been a very productive receiver for the Irish over the past two years and will be coming out as a true junior. He does a lot of things right and finishes games with a lot of stats but there is nothing physically about him that really jumps out at you. He lacks premier size, speed and acceleration yet he manages to get open and make a lot of plays. He is an excellent route runner that knows how to set defenders up and does not show much wasted movement when running patterns. He does a great job of going to the ball when slightly off target and will compete for virtually every pass. He is almost built more like a running back than a wide receiver but will fit some systems as a second or third receiver.
Strengths: Tate’s a strong receiver. Is a very sound route runner who is smooth in and out of his breaks and has experience in a pro-style system. Is dangerous after catch with a nice combination of quickness and power to break tackles. Has been highly- productive. High-character player who will always compete. Has reliable hands.
Weaknesses: His overall explosiveness is questionable. Is more of a speed-builder than a sudden guy, odd for a shorter receiver. Takes a while to eat up cushions. Top end speed is good but not elite. Can get deep on occasion but doesn’t appear to be a consistent downfield threat.
I do not know how to say this, except to say it this way: Tate is a gamer. On paper he would never impress the Raiders. But when you strap him up on game day, he finds a way to end the game on top of the stats page. His ability to play slot in the passing game and returner on special teams has attracted many of us on AP to him as a potential solution to our receiving corps woes and compete for the return job in place of J Charles as he gives more concentration toward becoming an all-pro RB this season.
(Scouting Reports via NFL.com and Scout.com)
There you go AP'ers, the five most notable players from ND that have a shot at the next level. Let's hear your thoughts.