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 Penn State Nittany Lions.
RB Evan Royster: No. 22 (6-1, 213)
Possesses a strong lower half and has the kind of power to consistently break tackles inside and create yards after contact. Does a nice job of dropping his pad level and protecting his frame while maintaining his balance through the play. Showcases an impressive overall feel when asked to pick his way through traffic and does a nice job being patient and setting up blocks. Overall, he’s a pretty natural runner between the tackles and has the size and power to consistently keep his legs churning through contact.
However, as much as I love his size, balance and patience inside, he just strikes me as a very “blah” athlete who doesn’t have the type of skill set needed to be an every-down type of guy at the next level. He isn’t real explosive initially when pressing the hole and seems to only have one gear to his game. Isn’t real sudden or shifty either in tight areas and simply doesn’t possess the kind of wiggle needed to make a would-be tackler miss and then accelerate into the open field. He’s also not real explosive once he recognizes a cutback lane. Does a nice job keeping his feet under him and maintaining his balance. He just lacks the burst to quickly get from point A to point B laterally. Now, he is a natural receiver in the pass game. Looks comfortable not only working out of the flat, but can turn his way up the field and generate some separation for himself underneath. Is also a willing and coordinated blocker who can help out in blitz pickup at the next level as well.
Impression: A productive college back who has the skill set and natural running ability to make an NFL roster, but is nothing more than a number two back. Isn’t dynamic enough in any area of the game to warrant starting consideration.
WR Graham Zug: No. 5 (6-2, 183)
A tall, lean wideout who exhibits impressive body control and ball skills when asked to adjust and make a play on a throw. Displays the ability to extend his arms for passes away from his frame and come down with some really impressive grabs. However, for such a coordinated receiver, too often lets throws get into his body and will occasionally put the ball on the ground. I would like to see him become a more consistent plucker.
Displays sneaky athleticism for his size with the ability to set up blocks and accelerate after the catch. Is a savvy receiver who finds soft spots well vs. zone, knows how to look off his routes and loves to work his way back toward the quarterback. However, isn’t real explosive off the line and isn’t a real powerful/sudden route runner. Is consistently in motion off the snap or lined up off the line in the slot and doesn’t seem capable of beating press in the NFL.
Impression: Does all the little things to move the chains and I could see him really endearing himself to an NFL coaching staff in training camp because of his ball skills and savvy. But from a physical/athletic standpoint, he’s going to have a real tough time making an NFL roster.
OL Stefen Wisniewski: No. 61 (6-3, 297)
A natural bender who showcases good flexibility and can really fire off the ball and get into opposing linemen quickly. Has a strong lower half and does a nice job quickly scoop blocking around defensive linemen, driving his legs through contact and washing defenders away from the play. Plays with natural leverage and consistently gets under his man and locks him out at the point of attack. Possesses the body control to chip and get out to the second level, where he exhibits a jarring punch on contact. Displays good technique and bend in all areas of his game and can really sit into his base and anchor inside. Continues to rework his hands and fight for inside leverage and is really tough to disengage from in the run game. Now, gets a bit ahead of himself on slide down blocks at times and will lose his balance trying to stay on defenders down the line. However, he’s a better in-line run blocker than given credit for, quickly firing off the football, pumping his legs through contact and creating a bit of surge inside while maintaining his balance through the play.
Snaps and steps quickly and showcases natural lateral ability, smoothly changing directions and keeping his base down when asked to mirror in space. Is surprisingly heavy handed, consistently is able to get under the pad level of defenders and does a nice job moving his feet and sliding with opponents through contact. Occasionally gets caught overextending into blocks from his upper body and can be slipped at times, but for the most part is very patient and technically sound into contact.
Impression: You can tell he comes from a family of former NFL linemen. He’s technically sound, moves well through contact, sticks to blocks and looks like a guy capable of starting from day one at the next level at either guard or center. However, to me he looked more impressive on tape as a guard.
OL Lou Eliades: No. 77 (6-4, 310)
Isn’t the most coordinated lineman in pass protection, but does a nice job extending his arms into blocks and initially trying to keep his base down at the point. However, struggles to maintain balance when asked to slide his feet laterally and quickly redirect. Isn’t a real natural bender, consistently allows his pad level to rise and can really be jacked at the point of attack vs. the bull rush and even driven into the backfield.
Lacks a great first step firing off the football in the run game. Possesses good size, but isn’t a real powerful striker and struggles to generate leverage at the point of attack. Lacks body control into blocks and typically ends up on the ground. However, he is a fighter and a real blue-collar type blocker who exhibits long arms and consistently scraps till the whistle. Has some experience at right tackle as well. However, just isn’t real rangy/coordinated on his kick-slide and will struggle with speed off the edge.
Impression: He’s just a guy. Possesses a big frame and works hard to stay engaged. But is really going to struggle vs. the caliber of athlete in the NFL.
DT Ollie Ogbu: No. 85 (6-1, 285)
An undersized interior defensive lineman who showcases above-average athleticism off the snap. Exhibits a good first step and the lateral ability to slip blocks and work his way toward the football. However, fails to play with a consistent pad level and struggles to fight his way off blocks once an opposing lineman can get into his frame. Has a tendency to lose his balance when engaged and too often gets turned/sealed from the football.
Possesses the kind of initial get off burst to threaten gaps inside as a nose, but simply lacks the kind of strength and pad level to cleanly disengage and make his way toward the football. Consistently is able to make his way into the backfield, but too often gets pushed past the ball and washed out inside. Has a motor that runs nonstop with the kind of range to make plays away from his frame, but struggles to consistently free himself and keep his frame clean. Is a bit stouter at the point of attack than his frame would indicate, but again too often gets upright. Isn’t a real violent striker/puncher at the point and can be sealed from the football vs. any kind of additional attention.
Impression: He’s scheme limited at the next level, but has the athleticism to make the occasional play behind the line. Is the prototypical late-round Colts-type pick.
OLB Bani Gbadyu: No. 15 (6-1, 231)
A short, thick linebacker who is built like a fire hydrant. Showcases some natural range in his drop with above-average closing speed when asked to run sideline-to-sideline. However, is slow to decipher information in the pass game at this stage and just doesn’t trust 100% exactly what he’s seeing. Isn’t real instinctive when asked to read his run/pass keys, either, which can be expected of a guy who hasn’t started much over the course of his career. Lacks ideal strength at the point of attack when asked to take on blocks and is easily sealed on the edge. Displays the ability to make plays in pursuit vs. the run game, but again seems a bit tentative into contact and will at times fail to break down on ball carriers and wrap on contact.
Impression: An above-average athlete, but it just hasn’t clicked for him yet mentally at this stage.
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