In today's scouting barrage, I spent some time looking into Kyle Wilber, Josh Kaddu, Jonathan Massaquoi and Demario Davis, and I hope you will, too. As always, let me know who you like, who you don't, and who you want to see in Cardinal red. I have one last group to do for tomorrow and when the whole series is complete I'll lump 'em all together on one big chart and we can talk about who we like best.
Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy
Projected Round: 4
I don't think that Massaquoi should have come out as a Junior but he did, so here we are. A rough-around-the-edges, unpolished producer, Massaquoi enjoyed some success as a 4-3 defensive end at Troy but saw his production dip dramatically, falling from 20.5 TFL's and 12.5 sacks in his Sophomore outing to 10.5 TFL's and 6.0 sacks his Junior year.
Senior DE Jonathan Massaquoi
Immediately notice a Dan Williams-esque trunk on the guy, doesn't look like a linebacker at all. As a player who's weight has fluctuated at times, impacting his quickness and agility, this is not a good start to winning me over. Man-handles the RT to the ground -- strong, aggressive. He gets off the snap very, very well at times -- I wonder about his conditioning. He drops into coverage a couple times and looks awkward doing so, to me, but it could be a comfort/familiarity thing as he spends most of his time with his hand in the dirt rushing the passer.
Massaquoi as a Sophomore
Looks a little slimmer here. Massaquoi looks fast and plays with explosiveness regularly in this tape -- needs to play at this weight. You can see it when he's chasing after the ballcarrier, and he plays like he's trying to put the fear of God into that right tackle when he's rushing the passer. Makes plays running the arc. Straight-up bull-rushes the RG into dirt. He has an incredible get-off at the snap and it's going all day here.
I went into this with some bias but I do see what the hype is about. If you can get Massaquoi on his best day, every day, you're going to get a dominant player. I'm afraid that he's going to have to go into a situation where "It takes a village..." to get him going and keep him going, though, as Massaquoi struggled with weight, academics, and coachability in college. If you can keep him trim and in shape, he could be a good OLB in a 3-4. Since he's not that player right now, I think you'll see him as a strictly-depth guy at the start of his career. The potential to grow into one of the best pass-rushers to come out this year makes him worth the pick and the patience.
With arms longer than half the tackles in the NFL and one of the best 10-yard dashes in the class (paired with excellent get-off at the snap), Massaquoi could be fearsome. His shuttle and 3 cone are poor but I wonder if that has anything to do with weight and overall fitness. I don't have a problem with a player being in the 260+ range if it's good weight and he can move with it, but I don't think that's what we're looking at with Massaquoi.
Josh Kaddu, Oregon
Projected Round: 3-5
The thing I like most about Kaddu is that he is a player on the rise. While I don't think he does anything well enough at this point to really stand out in this crowd, Kaddu is an athlete developing into a linebacker who stumbled into some pass rush ability along the way. He became the starting SSOLB in the Ducks' 3-4 defense for 2010 and showed a lot of improvement his Senior year, getting First Team All-Pac 12 honors with 50 tackles, 9.5 TFL's, and 6.5 sacks.
You're looking for #56, SSOLB Josh Kaddu (moves around... a lot)
Note: this film is of every defensive snap for the Ducks so it can be tough figuring out where Kaddu actually lines up at times, and he isn't on the field for every play.
I notice right away that he gets after it, recognizing the run and fearlessly taking on the point of attack. I like seeing the physicality from a guy touted more as an athlete than a football player even though Kaddu doesn't do a great job of getting off blocks once engaged or holding the play up. Motor, effort, energy -- whatever you want to call it, Kaddu has it, going full-speed on every play. He plays the slot several times, typically blitzing but not always. Not a lot of penetration; doesn't seem to generate much pressure on his own -- I should note that LSU gets the football out quickly, leaving a very narrow window open for a pass-rusher to make a play.
Based on what we saw there and knowing that he was relatively quiet in the East-West Shrine Game, I think Kaddu is a great prospect with his best football still ahead of him. Expectations for his rookie campaign should be tempered as Kaddu needs to continue to develop both physically (strength) and mentally (unpolished technique, reckless). As a fluid, aggressive athlete, Kaddu should be able to make an impact on special teams right away but will need time and grooming before he becomes a reliable defensive presence.
Good height and length but skinny, Kaddu should have the room to add some mass without slowing down, and he needs to in order to hold up better at the point-of-attack (and to help deal with an NFL-style battering). You can see he moves well on the field even though he was unable to put up short shuttle or 3 cone times (pulled a hamstring at his Pro Day) and he has good straight-line speed.
Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest
Projected Round: 3-5
Wilber moved to 3-4 OLB from 4-3 defensive end his Senior year, which got him a couple more tackles but fewer TFL's and sacks. The real opportunity lies with the 3-4 teams who get a chance to see what Wilber can do on the field for them in real situations, rather than guessing about how he projects to the position. Another plus, Wilber blocked three kicks in the last two years.
Wilber vs. NC State
You will notice Wilber is the guy WF moves away from the LoS to cover the slot which probably explains the decrease in sacks Senior year. He does a great job in the short area zones they ask him to play with good feel for the coverage and the burst to move up and take out running backs running in the flat. He keeps up with the RB on a wheel route, sticking tight in man coverage. I see NFL-caliber effort: chases plays down from behind, and rarely quits.
He is a lean player you will probably want to see bulk up in the pro's. You can see his wheels on film - disregard inconsistent timed speed, this guy can move. Wilber won at the E-W Shrine game with speed but struggled to seal the edge or contain - technique & lower body strength deficiencies, not an every-down player at this point. Having started a few games as early as his red-shirt freshman year in 2008, I wonder why he's not a more effective all-around player.
Wilber has a healthy draft stock, projecting as a pass-rush specialist and special teams stud early in his career. If he can add strength and show consistency, learning to play the run as well as he plays the pass, Wilber could be a productive future-starter in any scheme.
Wilber probably hurt his stock when he put up these numbers but I have no concerns at all about his movement skills after watching him in a couple different games. You hear about guys that play faster than they time -- Wilber is one of those players. He displayed game-breaking speed in the East-West Shrine game which could indicate an elite first step.
Demario Davis, Arkansas State
Projected Round: 3-5
Another guy whose draft stock is all over the place, I found Davis rated as high as a third-rounder and as low as an undrafted free agent (and not a priority one, either). He definitely has the ability to come in and contribute on an NFL squad although perhaps not in a prominent manner right away.
Not many 4-3 OLB's get looks in a 3-4 but Davis could
Davis is a banger! Not afraid to take on a block. At his best when he is on attack, be it on special teams (as a blocker or coverage man) or on defense (blows up the fullback behind the line of scrimmage). Does a nice job sneaking between blockers on screens and stretches but misses a tackle in the red-zone that results in a touchdown. You can see the weight-room strength when he blitzes, driving linemen straight at the QB, but his poor length results in him getting engulfed by blockers when he hesitates and tries to read the play. Love the speed. He's like a lightning bolt -- when he sees it, he's already there. Doesn't always seem to see it, though; does he lack ideal instincts or would it be something that goes away with better preparation (coaching and film study)?
Looks like he spends most of his time playing OLB in the Red Wolves' 4-3 but it's important to note that he does blitz often. Sometimes he stands up at the line of scrimmage in what looks like some kind of Amoeba front and rushes that way, but often as a fifth blitzer. Looks comfortable enough in the shallow zones I saw him play and he is an ideal athlete to chase down plays in the flat (stretches, dump-offs, etc.). With strong special teams play in college, Davis has a clear path into the NFL where a team will have to decide if he can play up to his speed every down or if he has already hit a plateau (Reggie Walker-type). He would make an ideal depth player in a 4-3 that favors a rush-oriented weak-side OLB (Oakland, Denver, NYG) but he could also be given a chance to develop as a pass-rusher in a 3-4.
A bit undersized, Davis possesses pretty good movement skills and his straight-line speed shows up on tape. Despite excellent explosiveness, he would have to add mass to hold up as an every-down player while adapting to life on the line of scrimmage. With a slightly undersized frame there is a concern that adding bulk would slow him down.
All figures median values as per ProFootballWeekly.com and NFLDraftScout.com
The "Elite Average" stat-line was established in the Intro post. If you're confused, I encourage you to check it out first.
All four of these players have a lot of work to do, in my opinion. Massaquoi may present the best pure pass-rusher, but he will probably take more time than the others to reach that ceiling, if he ever does. I am enticed by what Kaddu could be, but I think that even if he never really develops he should contribute somewhat. He and Davis would probably both make a better fit in a 4-3 right out of the gate but I have an easier time seeing Kaddu turned into a full-time 3-4 OLB than Davis. Wilber's poor timed speeds conflict with what you see watching him play which makes him difficult to grade.