Friday, April 24, 2015

BDS - 2015 B1G NFL Draft Part 5


This is intended to be a look at the B1G players participating in the NFL combine (and a couple others that I think may get drafted). I include combine results, though that is only a small part of the equation for me. I put much more value into what I've seen on film rather than by how well someone has been taught to run the 40 yard dash. I try to give a basic overview of strengths, weaknesses, fit, and where I'd expect them to be drafted based on "norms". What that means is that I'm not really looking at mock drafts, I don't have my ear to the ground for what Mel Kiper is saying about a guy. It's just based on what I've seen on film. This will be five parts long, with teams coming in alphabetical order.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV


Ohio St
Baldwin, Darryl - OT - 6'6" - 307*
*Not at combine

Strength - Long player that gets his hands into a defender quickly and doesn't allow defenders into his body. If a pass rusher doesn't gain ground with his rush move, than he won't gain ground on Baldwin. Decent hands to fight defenders.

Weakness - Stiff player that doesn't allow him to move inside at the next level. Doesn't maintain good pad level and plays too high to be a strong run blocker. Doesn't drive block well and doesn't keep feet moving when latched onto a defender, allowing defenders to get back into the play in the run game. Doesn't have strong punch begin drive process.

Projection - 7-UDF

Overview - I don't think he has the feet to stay on the outside in the NFL, but I know he doesn't get low enough to move inside as an OG. This lack of position flexibility on the OL will really hurt him. His length will tempt some teams and will surely see a few teams want to bring him in to see if they can correct some of the mechanical issues, but he doesn't project well on any part of the OL right now. Limited run blocker that isn't athletic enough right now to spend a draft pick on. The upside though: if the concept of the mechanics click (Baldwin has had plenty of time with good OL coaches, but maybe, for whatever reason, it hasn't clicked yet), then he could be a steal in the UDF market.

Bennett, Michael - DT - 6'2" - 293 - 33 5/8" Arm - 10 1/4" Hand**
** Didn't do tests at combine

Strength - Phenomenal first step. Disruptive 3T that turns his shoulder in the gap and gets into the backfield. Stays low and can split doubles. Violent hands that are constantly working. Gains leverage by staying low, and has long, strong arms to control interior OL and disengage. More technically sound than most DTs in the draft, has a wide variety of moves to work with, from a rip to a great swim move as well.

Weakness - Needs to get better at diagnosing the play quickly. Sometimes gets sucked into trap blocks or doesn't recognize when the offense goes to change-ups (such as zone teams going to power). Sometimes drops his eyes and doesn't find the ball. If he doesn't immediately win he can be blocked, pressure comes from first step and hands, but doesn't do well once OL can get engaged with him. Inconsistent power.

Projection - 1-3

Overview - Bennett has all the talent in the world. But he didn't improve enough in his SR season from his JR season on some of the things he had to improve. Great with his hands, very violent, great initial burst. He's a guy that has a very high upside. But he also benefited from playing next to future 1st round pick Joey Bosa, and didn't dominate enough. He did flash domination though, which shows you his high ceiling, but in the NFL, the interior OL are stronger and can shake off that initial move, and that's where Bennett needs to show he can improve.

Grant, Curtis - ILB - 6'3" - 238*
*Not at combine

Strength - Physical, straight line player that loves to take on blocks at the point of attack and hit people. Classic ILB that doesn't shy away from physical play.

Weakness - He's a very straight line player. Often gets trapped inside when the ball bounces outside. Doesn't change direction well, and his instincts aren't good enough to take him to the play consistently. Struggles a lot in pass coverage.

Projection - UDF

Overview - He'd make a decent, classic, two-down ILB twenty years ago, but he doesn't bring enough to the table as far as instincts to be able to play that role today, and his limitations are severe enough to not be seen as areas of potential improvement. His physical makeup will have some teams bring him into camp, but I don't see him sticking. Would have to play strongside ILB in a 3-4 team next to a more instinctual player if he were to make an impact, but his limited lateral ability and change of direction even limit his special teams ability.

Grant, Doran - CB - 5'10" - 200 - 30 1/4" Arm - 9 3/8" Hand


FRED SQUILLANTE | DISPATCH
*40 - 4.44 sec
*Bench - 21 Reps
Vert - 33.0"
Broad Jump - 116.0"
3-Cone - N/A sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.33 sec
60 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

Strength - Improved a lot in his last season. Improved his hand usage as he played closer to the LOS in more of a press technique. Smart. Diagnosed route concepts and screens quickly. Rarely allowed WRs over the top. Was solid in run support.

Weakness - Still has inconsistent feet. He doesn't open up and turn as well as you'd like to see and this causes him to fall behind receivers on the outside. Much smoother as a jam defender. Struggles when forced to backpedal and react. Plays high, and allows receivers to get initial separation, particularly on inside moves. Doesn't always break forward well when asked to play off.

Projection - 3-5

Overview - Grant improved a lot in his final year, but he's still fairly raw for a CB in terms of his fit in other coverage schemes (OSU was mostly Cover 4). The scheme made the best use of his skills, and it covered up for some of his weaknesses. But he doesn't have great size for the CB spot and isn't smooth transitioning, either out of the backpedal or turning his hips and running. This will force him likely into more zone schemes, which would make use of his understanding of concepts. This need to find a defense that suites his skills may cause him to slip more than he otherwise would.

Heuerman, Jeff - TE - 6'5" - 254 - 33 1/4 Arm - 10 1/8" Hand
40 - N/A sec
*Bench - 26 Reps
Vert - N/A
Broad Jump - N/A
3-Cone - N/A sec
20 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

60 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

Strength - Smart, consistent blocker: split zone, wham zone, power O, arc blocking, Heuerman can do it all and do it all consistently and well.  Has enough athleticism to play the H-back position and solid enough to be an in-line TE, particularly if he improves technique. Lack of production isn't because of lack of ability. Above average straight line speed, enough to stretch the field vertically in the seam or across the field on drag routes. Catches the ball well with his hands. Every down TE that has a lot of good traits for an NFL offense.

Weakness - Doesn't always get movement at the point of attack. Would like to see him get a stronger base and utilize leverage better. When working off the LOS, sometimes looks more for the hit than to latch on and drive. Blocks high (again, looks to hit, not latch and drive), and that can cause him to not seal the edge when a DE gets leverage when blocking towards a play, and allow a defender back into the play if they don't get knocked back by the initial pop. Doesn't run crisp routes yet and struggles a bit to change direction.

Projection - 3-5

Overview - Heuerman has the potential to be an every down NFL TE. He is "plus" in a lot of categories, and in that way he looks like a true TE prospect. Because of that, he really fits into almost any offense. His lack of production isn't mostly as him, as OSU focused more on throwing away from the middle of the field with younger QBs. His ability to identify targets in the run game and execute a variety of blocks shows his dedication to blocking, something that many college TEs are lacking. Still needs to improve technique in that area, but he seems to have the abilities to improve if he gets the coaching.

Smith, Devin - WR - 6'0" - 196 - 31" Arm - 9" Hand


Al Golde - AP Photos
40 - 4.42 sec
Bench - 10 Reps
Vert - 39.0"
Broad Jump - 122.0"
3-Cone - N/A sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.15 sec

60 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

Strength - His speed is really good, but it's his second gear that catches DBs off guard. Can flip the switch almost instantly and blow by DBs. Great foot speed and shows really nice ability running a limited number of routes. Can work outside off the line or in the slot.  Fights for the ball in the air deep (also fights the ball when tracking, more in a bit). Dangerous working over the top or across the field which gives him the potential to be a #1 WR.

Weakness - Lots of double catching of the ball, which becomes more of an issue as coverage gets tighter in the NFL. Explosive with the ball in his hands, but often looks to run before securing the catch. Needs to be more consistent tracking the ball and adjusting before the ball gets on top of him. Needs to further develop his route tree and run all routes consistently and crisp. Lack of strength and size forces him to play off the LOS. Can get swallowed up by bigger DBs and jammed at the LOS.

Projection - 1-3

Overall - The speed, burst, and finishing gear will be something all GMs are looking at. His ability to stretch the field deep on every snap and be incredibly dangerous with the ball in his hands make him a potentially lethal receiving option. But he isn't polished. He doesn't catch the ball consistently enough, and he doesn't run all his routes crisply. His foot quickness gives him the opportunity to develop into a top WR, but his lack of strength will force him to play off the LOS.

Spencer, Evan - WR - 6'2" - 208*
*Not at combine

Strength - Willing run blocker that is consistent in most things he does. Runs a small number of routes quite well and understands how to sink hips and break back to the football. Reliable receiver that catches the ball with his hands.

Weakness - Limited route runner. Doesn't have great change of direction ability or burst in and out of cuts. Doesn't flash run-after-catch ability and has a long ways to go to understanding an NFL route tree. Above average in many categories as a college player that doesn't translate to a standout strength at the NFL level.

Projection - 7-UDF

Overview - His lack of production will likely hurt him at first, so it's going to come down to NFL scouts looking at other NFL players and finding him. Unfortunately, he doesn't standout in many ways either. This is an issue for him, because he probably has better possession receiver potential than he will be given credit for. His willingness to block and his willingness to learn I think will lead him to stick around in the NFL longer than his draft potential will indicate. If he finds a team that suits his possession receiver attributes (like a WCO), I think he can develop over time, but his route running limitations right now will prevent him from stepping up immediately.

Rutgers




Burton, Michael - FB - 5'11" - 242 -29 1/4" - 9 1/2"
40 - 4.74 sec
*Bench - 25 Reps
Vert - 33.0"
Broad Jump - 115.0"
3-Cone - 7.20 sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.34 sec

60 Yd Shuffle - 11.62 sec

Strengths - Better than expected catcher. Can slip blocks well and catch the ball in space. Better working in space than in the box.

Weakness - Not a big time hitter that you look for as a lead blocker. Doesn't explode on contact and punish defenders.

Projection - UDF

Overview - FB is a dying breed in the NFL, and Burton is a bit of a tweener. I'm a bit surprised he was invited to the combine, because he's more of H-back type with the size of a smaller FB. Not athletic enough on the edge to be a great West Coast Offense FB, and while someone will give him a camp tryout, it'll be very difficult for him to get drafted.

Kroft, Tyler - TE - 6'5" - 246 - 33" Arm - 9 5/8" Hand
40 - N/A sec
Bench - 17 Reps
Vert - N/A
Broad Jump - N/A
3-Cone - N/A sec
20 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec
60 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

Strength - Above average athlete for the position with a quick first step. That helps him get into routes and also helps him in a zone blocking scheme to win the edge . Can play in-line or off the LOS. Enough of an athlete to threaten the seam and work across the middle of the field. Strong blocker and keeps feet driving after contact.

Weakness - Not a great catcher. Doesn't adjust well to the ball in the air to catch the ball with his hands. Struggles catching the ball in tight areas and with defenders bothering him. Still doesn't have a great feel for route running and how to find opening underneath.

Projection - 4-7

Overview - Underrated TE prospect that shows some ability to do a variety of things in the run and pass game. But he isn't a natural catcher, and that'll probably scare some teams because that's something that is a bit more difficult to learn. But his ability to block at the point of attack and his athletic ability show some potential to improve in the pass game and be an asset in the run game.

Wisconsin



Gordon, Melvin - RB - 6'1" - 215 - 32 3/8" Arm - 9 3/4" Hand
*40 - 4.52 sec
Bench - 19 Reps
Vert - 35.0"
*Broad Jump - 126.0"
3-Cone - 7.04 sec
*20 Yd Shuffle - 4.07 sec

*60 Yd Shuffle - 11.00 sec

Strength - Has phenomenal burst through the LOS. Hits second gear quickly and can make a move then get back up to speed almost instantly. Long stride in the open field with really good balance, making him difficult to catch from behind or to get into his legs near the sideline on long runs. Has a variety of moves to get him into space, where he is most dangerous, from a jump-cut to a spin move. Feet continue moving at all times and get up and down very quickly near the LOS. Turns shoulders and finds ways through very tight holes in the LOS. Doesn't stop churning feet on contact. Good vision to spot cut backs and to find a way to get into space outside.

Weakness - Loves to bounce, and sometimes trusts his speed to get to the edge. Will probe too long at the LOS and stop momentum, sometimes allowing defenses to bottle him up. Too many no-yard gains that gets offense behind the chains, which is harder to make up for in the NFL. Keeps feet moving on contact but doesn't drive or carry tacklers. Needs to be more secure with the football. Not great at catching the ball out of the backfield limits some of the ways you can get him into space, and not a great pass protector either.

Projection - 1-2

Overview - Gordon can turn any play into a TD, and has the kind of speed and athleticism in space that make your jaw drop. His balance, his vision, his feet, all give him the ability to get outside, even at the NFL level. And his burst through the LOS make him a very dangerous threat even as a between the tackles runner. While he doesn't drive tacklers, he is a physical runner, underrated to most. The big thing that will hold him back is his ability to play on third downs. He isn't a good pass catcher, not a very good pass protector, and sometimes takes too long to probe and doesn't carry tacklers to be a great short yardage back. That takes away some of the ways you can better use him in space, and limits some of his upside. RB not being an extremely valuable position in the NFL anymore could cause him to slip to the 2nd round.

Havenstein, Rob - OT/OG - 6'7" - 321 - 33 3/4" Arm - 9 7/8" Hand
40 - 5.46 sec
Bench - 16 Reps
Vert - 38.5"
Broad Jump - 96.0"
3-Cone - 8.28 sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.87 sec

60 Yd Shuffle - N/A sec

Strength - A mountain of a man that plays stronger than his combine results show. Has good enough feet to get proper angles on defenders, and once he latches on he is very difficult to get off. Above average feet in run blocking situations and long arms to get into defender's bodies. Can play zone run, and a great drive blocker as well. Long arms pack a strong punch that can throw defenders off balance. Finishes plays.

Weakness - He plays high, and with his height, when defenders do get inside his body he struggles to finish plays or control defenders. He often times is forced to use his length and initial punch to win blocks, and if he doesn't he's forced to almost hug defenders because they can be quicker and get underneath his pads. Not good enough hips to move inside. Has probably maximized himself as an athlete. Will struggle with better pass rushers that can utilize their quickness on him, either to evaporate the gap with a first step, or to force him to open up his hips.

Projection - 3-5

Overview - He doesn't seem to have a lot of position flexibility: he's a RT. When he latches onto a defender he can devastate opponents. Powerful punch and long arms let him shock defenders early and then he has the feet to get proper angles and drive them away from the hole. But he's also probably maximized a lot of his abilities. He doesn't have great hips and he plays high. That lack of flexibility, at his height, will limit some of the things he can do. Great as a right-hand dominant run OT, but he's a guy that will have to fit a scheme.

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