For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will be breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who could warrant the most interest from NFL teams in the 2011 draft.
Therefore, today we take a look at the Florida State Seminoles.
QB Christian Ponder: No. 7 (6-3, 227)
A thick, well-built quarterback with above-average girth through his upper body. Showcases good mechanics and clean overall footwork, quickly getting out from under center and maintaining his balance in his drop. Is a bright kid who does a great job keeping the football cocked and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Displays a good mental alarm clock and a quick, compact release, which allows him to consistently beat the pressure. Is a solid athlete for the position who does a nice job stepping up in the pocket, buying time for himself with his feet and has the ability to create with his legs once he breaks containment. Exhibits impressive ball skills, handles the football well on play fakes and looks really comfortable anytime he’s asked to get outside the pocket and make throws on the move.
Showcases good anticipation, accuracy and touch on all levels of the field. Spins a really clean football and consistently is able to throw to open receivers both down the seam and outside the numbers. Exhibits a real rhythm in the short passing game as well, quickly setting his feet both from under center and from the gun, striding toward his target and accurately picking defenses apart. Now, lacks great arm strength when asked to zip the football outside the numbers and can’t be late with a throw. However, because of his rhythm and anticipation skills, he still has the ability to make all the throws required of him at the next level, as long as he’s on time. Displays a good understanding of the pass game and does a nice job quickly recognizing coverages and working his way one side of the field to another. However, needs to do a better job looking off safeties when attempting bucket throws down the field. His football has a tendency to hang on him a bit down the field, giving rangy defensive backs a chance to make a play on the throw. Also, when working his way back across the field on his progressions, he will occasionally throw blind into coverage. Nevertheless, the guy has come a long way since 2008 and he knows how to handle adversity, work through it and come out on the other side better because of it.
Impression: The kind of quarterback I love. Isn’t the most physically blessed prospect, but is a bright, hard-working kid who has a great feel for the pass game and relies more so on his accuracy, anticipation and rhythm. Looks like a guy who can end up as a very solid NFL-caliber signal-caller at the next level.
OG Rodney Hudson: No. 62 (6-2, 288)
An undersized interior lineman who lacks ideal height but exhibits noticeably long arms in comparison with the rest of his frame and exhibits impressive athleticism in all areas of his game. Quickly gets out of his stance in the run game, firing off the football, reaching targets off his body and consistently eliminating them from the play. Is very comfortable in space and has the kind of body control/range to absolutely dominate at the second level.
Exhibits an impressive first step off the snap in the pass game as well, quickly getting his hands up and extending his arms into blocks. Plays with natural leverage and routinely is able to beat opposing linemen to their spot — even vs. explosive one-gappers — and get under their pad level at the point. However, isn’t as polished as a technician as many are making him out to be. Has a tendency to get a bit overextended with his footwork and will lunge into blocks bending at the waist, which causes him to lose his base initially and can get jolted on contact. But, does a nice job quickly regaining his balance, sinking his hips and achieving the leverage needed to anchor.
Exhibits impressive change of direction skills and lateral agility for the position. Displays the ability to cleanly slide his feet and mirror through contact, and possesses impressive range when asked to redirect and pick up a blitzing backer. Demonstrates heavier hands than given credit for as well and can really stick to blocks inside.
Impression: Can be bullied at times initially off the snap, but regains his balance well and looks like a potential starter in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level.
C Ryan McMahon: No. 60 (6-1, 285)
An undersized center prospect who exhibits good flexibility and knows how to snap and step quickly out of his stance. Doesn’t waste much motion extending his arms and getting his hands up into contact, and consistently is able to gain leverage at the point. Does a nice job sliding his feet laterally when asked to mirror defenders and showcases clean change of direction skills and range in pass protection. However, isn’t real physical at the point of attack when asked to anchor vs. the bull rush and simply lacks the base strength to hold up consistently one-on-one vs. stronger defensive linemen.
Does a nice job quickly firing off the football in the run game and getting around opposing defensive linemen when asked to scoop block and seal inside. Has a good first step, manages to keep his pad level down and can consistently get around his target. Demonstrates a bit of grit to his game as well, works hard to keep his hands on defenders, works his legs till the whistle and loves to finish blocks. Displays good range when asked to get out to the second level, with the body control to break down in space and hit a moving target. However, he isn’t a real violent cut blocker and consistently struggles to get into the legs of opposing linemen.
Impression: An undersized center who lacks power at the point of attack in all areas of the game. But, is a good athlete who looks like an ideal fit for a zone-blocking scheme as a solid reserve-type lineman.
DE Markus White: No. 98 (6-4, 262)
A gifted, strong-looking athlete who coils up well into his stance and can really fire off the football. Displays an explosive first step with the ability to threaten the edge. Looks comfortable dropping his pad level once he reaches the corner and accelerating toward the quarterback. However, he isn’t the most instinctive defensive lineman and has a tough time getting off the snap count consistently on time. Exhibits natural power for his size and has some lateral quickness, as he displays the ability to work the inside jab step and explode outside toward the edge. Nevertheless, he just isn’t a real savvy pass rusher at this stage. Fails to consistently get his hands up into blocks, seems to get upright and overextended anytime he tries to change directions on a counter and just needs a lot of polish to his game, as he too often plays out of control.
Isn’t real instinctive vs. the run game either. Routinely takes a false step when asked to find the football, taking himself out of plays and sealing himself from the ball. Isn’t real stout at the point of attack, can be handled by the tight end when run at and doesn’t use his hands well enough to stack and shed when run at.
Impression: The physical and athletic skill set is definitely there, as the guy showcases the ability to consistently create pressure, despite some real shortcomings at this stage from a technique standpoint. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how much development has taken place this offseason, because if the light ever goes on for this kid, he possesses the natural talent to become a real gamer either as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE.
LB Kendall Smith: No. 29 (6-0, 235)
An undersized, sideline-to-sideline backer who is at his best when asked to chase the football in pursuit. Showcases impressive range, gets up to speed quickly and has the type of closing burst to consistently reach the ball carrier from the backside. Possesses good overall length for his size, with the ability to use his long arms to wrap up well and break down in space. However, he lacks size and isn’t real physical at the point of attack. Struggles to consistently keep himself clean inside and can easily be knocked off balance/ washed out from the play when picking his way through traffic. Displays natural range and fluidity vs. the pass but is still developing his overall feel in both man and zone coverage.
Impression: He’s undersized and lacks ideal instincts at this stage, but boy can he run which will at least give him a shot at the next level.
CB Ochuko Jenije: No. 15 (5-10, 195)
A field corner who possesses a solid overall build for the position. Showcases good patience in his drop and tries to keep his feet under him when asked to play in off-coverage. Possesses good straight-line speed and isn’t afraid to turn and run down the field with speedy receivers. However, he has a hitch out of his transition that keeps him from getting up to speed quickly. Isn’t real coordinated or smooth in his drop and allows his pad level to slowly rise the further he’s asked to stay back-pedal. Isn’t real fluid when asked to change directions and click and close on the football laterally. Loses his balance easily and seems to get really leggy when asked to get out of his breaks, wasting a lot of motion trying to get his feet back under him and close on the throw. Isn’t a real physical presence when asked to tackle in the run game and looks content to be sealed from the action at times.
Impression: A gifted straight-line athlete who looks the part. But he isn’t real clean with his footwork or transition out of his drop at this stage and doesn’t play nearly as fast as he times because of his lack of consistent balance in coverage.
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