Archive for the ‘Other Prospects’ Category

Titus Young Scouting Report

Posted: January 21, 2011 by Larry McDaniel Jr. in Other Prospects, Wide Receivers
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Separation Skills: One of the only receivers in the nation to put fear in the eyes of defenders. Excellent acceleration and top speed. Eats up cushion quickly with his explosion and suddenness. Is a legitimate vertical threat. Can also push defenders up field, stick his foot in the ground, and break off routes extremely well. Puts cornerbacks in a conundrum. Has the lateral quickness to beat press coverage, and the route running to execute come backs and outs against off coverage. Runs his routes at full speed, and comes out of his breaks without gearing down too much.

Ball Skills: Has natural and soft hands. On occasion, can rise and pluck the ball from the sky. Does let some balls get into his chest, and will need to improve that at the next level. Tracks the deep ball exceptionally well and catches it over his shoulder in full stride. Even with his slight frame, he does a good job at securing catches with defenders contesting. Needs to improve his focus on easy catches. Will try to run before totally securing the ball.

Big play ability: At any point in time, can get behind the secondary and make a big play. Is not only a threat down the field. Can take a drag or bubble screen the distance. Is very shifty and elusive with the ball in his hands. Does not possess the strength or bulk to break tackles. Also is a threat on special teams. He is one of the best return men in the nation. Has the vision to find a crease, and the speed to hit the home run.

Competitiveness/ Toughness: Passionate athlete who is highly competitive. Toughness is inconsistent. Will go over the middle to make a play, but will frequently go out-of-bounds to avoid a hit.

Intangibles: Suspended 10 games during the 2008 season for off-the-field problems. Suspended for the first quarter of the 2007 Hawaii Bowl. Has been flagged for excessive celebration a few times. 2010 All-WAC Football 1st Team. 2010 AP All-American 3rd Team.

Overall Stock: There aren’t many receivers in the draft that can do what Titus Young can. No one else possesses the threat that he does deep down the field. NFL teams are always looking for players who can stretch the field and create a play. Titus Young is that guy. Despite his character concerns, teams will not pass on him. After seeing what Desean Jackson, Mike Wallace, and Johnny Knox have done to the league, teams are yearning for their own version. Since most of the top-tier receivers decided to stay in school, Young has an opportunity to be a second round pick. Last year at the Boise States pro-day, Young ran a 4.4 forty. If he can get himself into the 4.3 range at the NFL Combine, he has a shot at being a first day selection. I’m sure many teams regret passing on Desean Jackson, and they won’t make that same mistake twice. 

NFL Comparisons: Johnny Knox and Desean Jackson


RB, Noel Devine (5’7⅝” 177 lbs.) – West Virginia Mountaineers

Competitiveness: For a smaller back, shows superb toughness running the ball. Played most of the 2010 season with an injury, but showed his true competitive spirit by playing through the pain. Willing to run inside as well as take on defenders head on. Does tend to shy away from contact when near the sideline.

Vision/Patience: Shows the ability to wait for blocks to develop before hitting the open hole, but is inconsistent at it. Needs to develop more patience and hold his water more often. On broken plays, uses his vision to bounce plays outside. Also has a great ability to exploit seams in the defense and pick up huge yardage.

Agility/Acceleration: Might have the best combination of agility and acceleration amongst all the running backs in the draft. He has above average top end speed, can cut on a dime, and break defenders down in open space. Accelerates and gets up to top speed quickly. Can hit the home run if run fits aren’t played properly and edges aren’t set. Due to his injury in 2010, he didn’t break off as many explosive plays, but has shown when healthy, he is a threat from anywhere on the field.

Power/Balance: Small in stature. Does not possess much power in his small frame. Shows the and ability to drop a mean stiff arm from time to time, but will not be running over any defenders at the next level. On the other hand, his balance is excellent when planting and cutting. Can be pushed and/or pulled down with relative ease.

Passing Game: Has receiver-like ability coming out the backfield. Catches the ball well with his hands, but doesn’t contort his body to make difficult catches consistently. Very good at picking up blitzes, even from larger linebackers.

Intangibles: Some question marks about Devine’s maturity and character have been raised. Has been in some trouble with the law, and has fathered three children. Was named a 2010 Team Captain. Received multiple awards while at West Virginia and coaches say he has matured during his time there.

Overall Stock: Noel Devine had better numbers during his 2009 campaign and probably would have been drafted higher if he had come out last year. He suffered a toe injury in 2010, and that really hampered his production. Devine has big play ability written all over him. He can make difference as a change of pace back, third down back and kick returner at the next level. Right now as it stands, Devine looks like a fourth round pick. 

NFL comparisons: Steve Slaton, LaRod Stevens-Howling, and Darren Sproels

WR, Austin Pettis (6’2½” 204 lbs.) – Boise State Broncos

Separation Skills: Not the fastest or strongest receiver, but did show a propensity to get off the line. Has the frame to fight off press coverage. Lacks lateral quickness, so there is some concern about separation at the next level. Route running is inconsistent. At times, it’s spot on, and other times it’s sloppy. He has a tendancy to drift into his breaks. Against man coverage, is never really open, but uses his body well in traffic and boxes out corners to secure the catch. Is more of a possession receiver than a down field threat. Works the middle of the field well, especially against zone coverage.

Ball Skills: Excellent hands that rival any receiver in the nation. Does a nice job at extending his arms and snatching the ball away from his frame. Knows how to use his body in a jump ball situation. Tracks the ball well and has above average timing on his jumps. Hauls in a significant amount of catches with cornerbacks draped over him. Has the ability to make the difficult catch, and the body control to adjust to throws that are high, low, and behind.

Big play ability: Made a plethora of big plays at Boise State, but will be hard pressed to do so at the next level. Does not possess the speed to out run cornerbacks, but does possess the ball skills to consistently make big plays in traffic. Knows how to sit in zones and work the seam. Even with his lack of elusiveness, he does a nice job at gaining yards after the catch. Is a tremendous threat in the redzone. With his size, he causes a mismatch on fade and corner routes. Has a great feel for the endzone. Caught 39 touchdowns in his four years at Boise State.

Competitive/Toughness: Competitiveness is one of Pettis’s strong suits. Is a passionate leader and has no problem catching the ball in traffic. Absorbs big hits well and does not let the ball jar free. Had one injury during his collegiate career, a fractured leg during the 2009 season. Rehabbed hard and made a quick recovery.

Intangibles: 2008 Wac-All Academic Team. 2010 All-Wac Football First Team. Team Captain.

Overall: Pettis will be a steal in the later rounds. He is somewhat flying under the radar at the moment, and there are a few reasons why. His teammate, Titus Young is over shadowing him because of his blazing speed and big play ability. He plays in the WAC, and most consider that conference to be weak in competition (no pun intended). And last but not least, Pettis does not show suddenness, so he will be pigeonholed as a possession receiver. It may take a couple years for Pettis to develop into a starter, but the tools are there. If given the chance, and placed in the right offensive scheme, Pettis can excel. The most important attribute a receiver can have is hands and awareness. Pettis possesses both. Those two characteristics alone should allow him to see the field. If Pettis wants to move up in the draft, he must out perform the expectations of team scouts and coaches. He’ll have to run the forty-yard dash in the range of a 4.4-4.5 area, and  show lateral quickness in the cone drills at the NFL Combine. If he performs like most expect him to, he will most likely find himself being selected in the 4th-5th round. 

NFL Comparisons: Steve Smith, Kevin Walter, Jordy Nelson


Sione Fua Scouting Report

Posted: January 20, 2011 by Larry McDaniel Jr. in 3-4 Nose Tackles, Other Prospects
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DT, Sione Fua (6’1½” 306 lbs.) – Stanford Cardinals

Versus the Run: Prototypical 2-gap defensive tackle. Very stout against the run. Possesses extraordinary strength in his upper and lower body. Has a good initial punch. Can knock linemen off of balance. Extends his arms to keep linemen out of his frame. Knows how to bend his knees, sit in his stance and play with leverage. Holds up well against double teams. Lacks the quickness and athleticism to effectively shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Also, is limited to making plays inside the tackle box. Sometimes has a hard time locating the ball. Can get fooled on misdirection and delay runs. Needs to improve his overall awareness.

Pass Rush Skills: Lacking in the pass rushing department. Will not overwhelm linemen with speed or quickness. Is a power rusher. Uses a powerful bull rush to collapse the pocket, but that’s the gist of his pass rushing ability. Does do a good job of getting his hands up in passing lanes.

Quickness (hands/feet): Has a quick and strong initial punch off the snap. Stuns linemen at the line of scrimmage, and knocks them off balance. Below average foot speed. Will struggle with changing directions and performing stunts at the next level.

Toughness/Motor: Blue collar, hard nose defensive tackle. One of the strongest players in the nation. Top-notch motor. Always hustling and always pursuing the ball carrier.

Intangibles: 2010 Team Captain. 2010 All Football Pac-10 2nd Team. Very humble kid. Plays the game with vigor and passion.

Overall Stock: Sione Fua was the center piece of the Cardinals top 20 ranked rush defense. With his thick upper and lower body, Fua can man the middle of a 3-4 defense in the NFL. It will be difficult for him to come in and make an immediate impact, but he can be apart of a rotation early. Fua will need to add some weight to his frame. Nose tackles usually range from 325-350 pounds. His expertise is occupying blockers, and allowing linebackers to make plays. Teams looking for a pass rushing, penetrating defensive tackle, will stray away from Fua. He does not fit in a 1-gap system. He lacks explosion and athleticism, and that will limit him at the next level. I don’t foresee Fua being anything more than a 2-down player, and that’s not a bad thing. Nose tackles usually come off the field on passing downs. The 3-4 is the new cup of tea in the NFL. There are now 15 teams now running the scheme. Nose tackles are in demand, so that means Fua has a chance to go relatively high. The nose tackle position is very weak this year. Fua’s competition is nothing to brag about, so don’t be surprised to see Fua be one of the top three nose tackles taken in the draft. I look for him to come off the board somewhere in round three. 

NFL Comparison: Kelly Gregg

WR, Leonard Hankerson (6’3 215 lbs.) – Miami Hurricanes

Separation Skills: Isn’t overly quick or sudden during intermediate routes. Needs to further develop his route running. Sometimes takes too long coming in and out of breaks. Does do a nice job of separating on deep routes. Is a long strider that builds up good speed the further down field he is. Excels at pulling away from defenders once he reaches the third level. Uses his body to position himself and shield defenders from passes. Is more effective running drags, in cuts, and seam routes, as oppose to comebacks and jerk routes.

Ball Skills: Started his college career with poor-average ball skills. Has continued to work on his focus and hands, and is one of the most improved players in the nation. Uses every inch of his frame and his large wing span to high point the ball. Attacks the ball and uses his strong hands to pluck it from the sky. Is a pure hands catcher. Does a nice job at having his hands spread and in the ready position before the ball arrives. Focus has improved over the years. Catches the easy balls as well as the hard ones. Has a knack for making one handed catches. Knows how to use his body to his advantage. Boxes out defenders like how a basketball player would box out for a rebound. Has good balance and body control. Knows how to adjust to poorly thrown balls.

Big play ability: Starts off slow, but has good top end speed because of his long stride. Is a huge threat deep down the field. Is a smooth runner that can lull defenders to sleep. Does well with the ball in his hands. Isn’t very elusive or quick, but can pick up yards after the catch by using his size and strength. Requires a lot of attention in the redzone.

Competitiveness/ Toughness: Competes for every ball. Never concedes a pass to a defender. Not afraid to go over the middle and make a play. Doesn’t shy away from contact after the catch.

Intangibles: 2010 All-ACC 1st Team. Has been mentored by some of the best. All-Pro receiver, Cris Carter was his high school receivers coach. Works out with NFL great Mark Duper during the offseason. Mature young man. Teammates call him “Old Man”. Juggles the responsibilities of being a student athlete and father of two.

Overall Stock: Leonard Hankerson has shown great discipline and work ethic during his tenure at Miami. He was highly touted out of high school, and things didn’t start off so well in college. He had a difficult time focusing, often dropping easy balls. It took him some time to adjust to the college game. He eventually buckled down and worked his butt off to become one of the top receivers in the nation in 2010. Hankerson has the size, hands, and big play ability to be a solid receiver in the NFL. At his size, he is very versatile. He has experience playing outside the hashes and in the slot. With his huge frame, he has proven to be quite dangerous in the slot. He knows how to sit in empty zones and work the seams, similar to Saints receiver, Marques Colston. The team that drafts him can line him up all over the field to create mismatches. Hankerson isn’t in the same class as AJ Green and Julio Jones, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a quality receiver. With further development, he can become a bonafide number one receiver. Right now, he is a solid number two. Look for Hankerson to come off the board in round two.

NFL Comparisons: Braylon Edwards and Marques Colston