“Should we draft this player?”
Here are three scouting reports on three players who have been talked about as elite prospects. Here is the fun part. I am not going to give you the names yet. Make your guesses, tell me who you think they are, if you agree or disagree with the assessment of the scouting report
I’ll post the names of the players in 24 hours.
Let's just start with this: “X” is one of the best pure left tackles in this draft. He has the most athletic talent at this position and plays the position effortlessly. He has excellent size, strength and quickness to play left tackle and his ability to learn and bring what he learns into the game as quickly as he has, is very unique. He has strong hands and is very smart. He can play more than one position on the offensive line for the team that drafts him. “X” has excellent lateral agility to mirror his man (if he has to) and the quick feet to recover if he gets beat. “X” does a very good job blocking for the run as well as the pass. He stays with his block through the whistle and shows excellent leadership skills through his play on the field. “X” is very proud and has that little bit of nasty streak that makes him mentally tough. He has excellent physical stamina and can play in any style of offensive line blocking scheme. “X” 's athleticism makes it easy for him to go to the second level and make his blocks. He can be used in a pulling system and has no problems getting out in front of sweeps and screens to make blocks down the field. This kid is hiding in plain sight and I'm not sure why no one seems to notice him, but you can bet after the Senior Bowl they will be talking about him big time.
“X” is learning the left tackle position very fast, but still has some room for growth which I believe he will do with more repetitions. He struggles in his timing on combo blocks. He doesn't come off them quickly enough and sometimes is not sure of who he is supposed to block. He struggles on blitz and stunts to his side, picking up and leaving his opponent quickly enough but once again, repetitions and working at one position will address this. All of these issues are timing and repetition issues; I have no doubt about “X” 's ability to correct them and get better. “X” has legitimate Pro Bowl left tackle talent -- all you have to do is let him play.
BOTTOM LINE / TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1 The only reason I can figure out why no one is talking about “X” is that scouts are trying to stash him for their teams. Some are trying to downgrade him because he has played other positions and has not played left tackle that long. Some are suggesting his techniques are raw and he still needs a lot of work. I'm going to tell you hogwash to all of that. You don't pass on an athlete this size, with this much natural athleticism, work ethic and football intelligence because he hasn't played one position long enough. Not when those same people tell me they are ready to select players who have played a position for a long time and are not as talented and don't play their position as well as “X” does right now. “X” is one of the best left tackles in this draft; that is what I see on film, which cannot be disputed.
“Y” is one of the hardest working players on the field for every down in every game he plays. He shows on film to have a quick burst off the line, good foot speed and excellent change of direction skills along with the right size to play more than one position on the defense for the team that drafts him. He has solid overall instincts, football intelligence and looks to be an excellent teammate. “Y” has the size and length the NFL teams are looking for in a pass rusher to go along with his natural athletic skills, which will make teams very interested in drafting him early in this draft. Right now, he plays with his hand down most of the time in different fronts, but he has the overall talent to drop off the line in pass coverage. “Y” has excellent mental stamina and football intelligence. On the field, “Y” plays with the effort and enthusiasm of a Teddy Bruschi, and has the size and athletic talents of a Jason Taylor. The problem is that he doesn't have their strength.
“Y” is skinny and lacks the strength to finish plays and make tackles. Mentally, he seems to be very happy as a disrupter. I have seen him up against double teams, and even triple teams, and he handles himself well; however, once he beats the player or players blocking him, it's like he's playing flag football and doesn't finish the play. It's almost as if he looks at a spot on the field and says to himself that he wants to get to that spot as quickly as possible and when he does, that's good enough. He runs players down from behind, but only after they have gone past the line of scrimmage. Some of that has to do with his responsibility assignment and some of it is waiting for someone else to make the play. He doesn't wrap up very well and most of the time, running backs break his tackles at the college level. I don't understand why “Y” hasn't gotten any stronger from the first time I saw him play.
BOTTOM LINE TALENT BOARD ROUND: 2
“Y” is relentless. He is like that dog chewing on your favorite slipper and when you go to take it away from him, he teases you with it thinking you're playing a game. Unfortunately, at the strength level “Y” is at right now, he will never hold up for a 16 game schedule as a starter. He may in the future, but for his first year, teams will have to build this kid up to handle the pounding at the next level. After you build him up, you have to hope it doesn't affect his speed and quickness. Then, after that, you are going to have to use a cattle prod to change this kid's mentality so that he will wrap up and finish plays. If you choose to use him as a OLB in a 3-4 defense, he must become a better open field tackler and, once again, will have to be able to make sacks. Let me tell you, I doubt that he will be able to sack a big, strong QB in the NFL at his current size and strength. Those QB's will flick him off like a fly on a piece of fruit. The key for me in drafting a player like this is the fact that his effort on every play is outstanding and I can see how a lot of teams will want to select him very early in this draft for that reason alone. But like that dog with the slipper, unless he can get stronger, become a better tackler and finish plays, “Y” will just be a tease -- always around the play, but missing the tackle on the most important play of the game.
“Z” has good size for his position. He does a solid job blocking for the run and shows enough quickness in his feet to be used on pulling plays. He also does a good job getting to the next level to block a linebacker. “Z” shows strong mental toughness and some leadership skills. He has potential at the next level to be a good, solid starter for the team that drafts him.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Where should I start? First of all, he is not a LT for the next level. He lacks the lateral agility and he’s overweight. Not to mention that for a kid who has played LT for three years or more, his pass blocking techniques are very poor. He lunges, gets off balance and just does an overall poor job pass blocking.
BOTTOM LINE / TALENT BOARD ROUND: 4
I don’t know why this kid is rated so high. I guess it’s because he’s played LT at a big program for three years, which, to me, means nothing. I know that he is fighting a slight knee injury, but I’ve watched him for three years and I believe that for the next level he can play guard, but not OT. If he loses some weight, he might be able to play RT, but even that is a stretch. My question is this: Is he quick enough to play LG? I think he can if he loses some weight and is willing to work really hard; however, I just don’t see it right now on film and I have a lot of questions about “Z” being rated so high. If you take him in the 4th or 5th rounds with the anticipation that he will play guard for you, then I have no problems at all. But if you draft him in one of the first three rounds thinking he is going to be a tackle and, in time, your left tackle, then I think you are setting the kid up to fail. He could be a solid guard and maybe a Pro Bowl LG, but it will take time and he has to lose weight. My feeling is that if a kid is gaining weight in college, more than likely, he’ll gain weight also once he receives a big paycheck. “Z” can be a solid to very good guard in the NFL.