Player, Pos, Team Height Weight Draft Grade
11 Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State 5'11" 188 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Darqueze Dennard – Cornerback

In today’s college game, you seldom see defenses play an aggressive press man coverage like Michigan State does. More often than not, teams play zone and off. State has the corners to play press, and they do an excellent job with it. Their best corner is, of course, Dennard. He usually lines up on the short side of the field and can shut his opponent down.

He has ideal size at 5’11 – 196 with long arms and good speed. I would estimate he will run in the 4.45 – 4.50 range. He has quick feet, stays low in his pedal, and a smooth turn. He plays a physical game and is very effective with his jam. He can redirect a receiver with his jam, but he also has the suddenness to mirror his man through moves. In zone and off, he doesn’t give his opponent much room and is very quickly in transition. His ball skills are very good. 

While many corners have cover skills, few will support the run as well as Dennard. He reacts quickly to the run and is aggressive taking on blocks and tackling. He doesn’t wait for the run to come to him. He attacks the play. Dennard is one of the better press cover corners in college football. Because corner is a stop watch driven position (speed), where Dennard gets drafted will depend on his he runs at the combine. If he runs a sub 4.5, he will be a first round pick and play very early in his career.

12 Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina 6'4" 245 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Ebron is the first of what will probably be 35–50 underclassmen who declare for next May’s Draft. The third- year junior and former three-star recruit has been a vital part of the Tar Heels offense the last two seasons. In 2012, he caught 40 passes for 625 yards and four touchdowns. To date, this season, he is Carolina’s leading receiver with 50 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns.

Ebron usually plays in the slot but will also line up in tight. He has adequate size for the position at 6’4" – 245. He looks taller because he is so long. With his long arms, he plays like a 6’6" guy. Ebron has good-to-really-good overall athleticism. He has very good speed (4.6 play speed) and shows body control, flexibility, and change of direction. When flexed out, he shows very good initial quickness. He can get into his routes quickly and has the cutting ability and burst to get out of a cut and gain separation. He needs improvement with his route running. He can find open areas in zones, but he can be sloppy with his routes versus man-to-man.

Eric has very good hands. He can snatch the ball and shows the ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes. He has the upper body flex to catch passes thrown to the back shoulder or behind him. He shows courage and toughness competing for the ball in traffic. After the catch, he is a very good runner. While he doesn’t have the quick-footedness of a running back, he can make people miss in the open field and has the burst and speed to turn a short catch into a long gain. He has the power to break tackles, and when the ball is in his hands, he plays bigger than his listed size. Ebron is willing as a blocker. When playing in tight as a “Y”, he can be a little tall in his stance, but he shows good initial quickness and has some snap on initial contact. He can have a tendency to get a little tall, and he doesn’t consistently run his feet, but these should be easily correctable with good coaching.

Overall, Ebron has the traits clubs are looking for a “tight end” in today’s NFL. He is best suited to play as a flexed out or move tight end. He lacks the bulk and overall size to be consistently effective in tight as a “Y” at the next level. He has the frame and length to add some bulk without losing any of his speed or athleticism. Come May, unless he really falters at the Combine, Ebron should be a certain first round pick. Used in the right way, he is a mismatch waiting to happen and could be a nightmare for opposing defenses.

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13 Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M 6'5" 225 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Mike Evans – Wide Receiver

Evans is a third year sophomore who can enter the draft if he chooses. The former basketball player has great size at 6’5" – 225 to go along with very good play speed. He had an outstanding game versus Alabama with 7 catches for 279 yards and a touchdown. That included a 95-yard TD reception.

With his size, Evans is a very strong and physical receiver. He uses his size effectively and in this game, was a mismatch. For a tall receiver, he runs well and can get in and out of cuts quickly. When making a cut, he can sink his hips and burst out of the cut. His body control is excellent. He showed good route running skills and is effective finding the open areas in zone. Evans has great hands and often snatches the ball. He also has very good leaping ability. Put all these traits together and it can be very difficult to cover this receiver.

After the catch, Evans looks like a big running back. He has good run instincts to go along with speed and power. In this game, he used a straight arm effectively to keep tacklers off him.

The player Evans reminds me of, from a physical viewpoint, is Chicago’s Brandon Marshall. They are similar in size and play a similar, physical game. If Evans decides to enter the draft, he will be a high pick. Athletic, big guys like this are hard to find.

14 Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State 6'0" 195 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State

Gilbert is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter at corner for Oklahoma State. He is also the primary kickoff returner. Gilbert has ideal size for the position. He is listed at 6’0 – 200 lbs, and I would estimate his speed at 4.45. Not only is Gilbert fast, but he has very good flexibility and body control. He shows a quick pedal and a smooth turn. He has no wasted steps when turning and has an instant burst out of his turn. He is very quick footed and moves quickly in transition to close. In the Cowboys' defensive scheme, he plays some press man, man off, and zone and is very good at all three. In press, he shows a strong jam and can mirror receivers through multiple moves. He has the speed to stay with speed receivers on the deeper routes. In zone and off cover, he can play a little loose but still has the anticipation and closing quickness to make plays on the ball. Gilbert’s ball skills are excellent. He can track the ball and has very good hands. In two of the interceptions I saw, he high-pointed the ball very well. This year he finished the regular season with six picks.

I'd like to see Gilbert become more consistent in run support. He seldom “attacks” in support, but he can do it when he wants. He is not the most physical run support guy, but he is good enough. As a tackler, he can wrap but seldom does. He is more of a block tackler. His ability to shed blocks is adequate.

As a kick returner, Gilbert has the skills to be a number one returner in the NFL. He has five career kick returns for touchdowns and a career average of over 26 yards per return.

Gilbert has all the tools necessary to be a starting corner early in his career. He has size, cover skills, and ball skills. He will need to upgrade his run support, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I really like his attitude on the field. He is competitive and wants to make plays. He has a short memory and doesn’t let a poor play bother him. He should go high.

15 Derek Carr QB, Fresno State 6'3" 212 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

While Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Marcus Mariota are getting the bulk of the publicity, the guy slowly moving up the charts as the top quarterback in the draft is Fresno State’s Derek Carr. Carr is the younger brother of former first overall pick David Carr, who also went to Fresno State

I’ve heard some scouts bang Carr because his brother did not have great success in the NFL. That is ridiculous thinking. The only things they have in common are blood and the same school. They are two different players who played in different style offenses more than 10 years apart. Let’s take a look at Derek.

Carr is a fifth-year senior and a three-year starter at Fresno State. He graduated early from high school and enrolled at Fresno State in January of 2009. He played as a backup in 2009 then red-shirted in 2010. He has been the starter since 2011 and has shown improvement every year. To date, his numbers in the 2013 season are second to none. He has completed 350 of 502 passes for 3942 yards, 39 touchdowns, and only four nterceptions. His completion percentage is 69.7%. Granted, he throws a lot of short passes, but 69% is exceptional accuracy.

Carr has excellent size for the position. He is listed as being 6’3 – 218 lbs. He has a good frame with good arm length. He is a very good athlete for the position with speed and quick feet. He reportedly has run a 4.58 40-yard dash. His play speed is easily in the 4.6 range. Carr plays from a spread formation and I have not seen him take a snap form under center. He sets up quickly and is very good at going through a progression and finding an open receiver. He holds the ball high and has a very quick delivery. When he makes his decision on who to target, the ball is out of his hand instantly. He has good vision and rarely makes a poor decision. He does not force throws and, consequently, throws few interceptions.

Carr has very good arm strength. He can easily throw the ball 55 yards and his deep ball accuracy is excellent. I like his his ball placement. He consistently puts the ball where receivers can get yards after the catch and where the ball can’t get intercepted. He shows touch and accuracy on all different throws.
Carr is poised in the pocket, and has a good feel for pass rushers. He has the quickness to avoid pass rushers and the feet and speed to extend plays. While he doesn’t run a lot, he is very effective when he decides to run, showing a burst and the ability to make a defender miss.

While he throws a lot of short passes, Carr can make all the throws needed to be an NFL QB. He can throw deep outs and corner routes as well as seams and flies. Like I said earlier, on his deeper throws, his accuracy and ball placement is excellent.

I see no reason why Carr will not be a successful NFL quarterback. He has matured both physically and mentally since he arrived at Fresno. To give you an idea of his mental toughness, in August, his son was born with complications. The child needed three surgeries in his first five weeks of life. This all happened while Carr was in preseason practice and the early games of the season. To be able to endure that and still play the way he has this year is a testament to his football and personal character. Many would have folded under the pressure.

Don’t be surprised, come next May, that Carr is among the top 10 players drafted, and the way he is climbing, maybe even the top five. This player has come a long way in the last year.

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16 Odell Beckham Jr WR, LSU 6'0" 207 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Odell Beckham – Receiver

Beckham is a third-year junior and has been a starter since his freshman year at LSU. He is a top receiver as well as their top return man, and shows NFL-tier skills both. This year, he has caught 57 passes for 1117 yards and eight TDs.

Beckham has adequate size at about 6’0 – 188 pounds, but he also has very long arms, which allows him to play taller than his actual height. He is an excellent athlete with good speed, excellent change of direction, body control, and leaping ability. I would not call Beckham a “burner”, but he is fast enough. His play speed is in the 4.48 – 4.50 range. He has a quick burst that allows him to get out of cuts quickly.

As a receiver, Beckham runs very good routes. He shows the skills necessary to uncover versus man and zone, and he makes big plays. He does a great job finishing his routes and comes back to the ball very well. He has excellent hands and always catches the ball away from his body. He is effective as both a short and deep receiver, and his run after skills are excellent. He can be a club's number one return man as soon as he comes into the league.

Overall, Beckham is very talented, and if he comes out, he should be a premium pick. Because the receiver position is tied so much to speed, how he runs at the combine and his pro day will determine where he actually goes. Regardless of where he gets drafted, he will play very early in his career. He has the talent to play either outside or in the slot and be productive at ether position.

17 Kyle Fuller CB, Virginia Tech 6'0" 193 A 6.9 Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

Fuller is a fourth-year senior and a three-and-a-half-year starter for the Hokies. He has also been a valuable special teams' player for them throughout his career. This year, Fuller played well the first half of the season before an injury forced him to miss four games and part of a fifth. It is unclear whether he will play in their Bowl game.

As a player, Fuller has all the tools necessary to play at the next level. He has good size (6’0 – 194), has speed (4.47 est), and is very quick, sudden, and athletic. In their defense, he lines up on the short side of the field and is used in press, off, and zone coverages. He is an extremely aware player and knows exactly what is going on around him. There are many corners who sit back and don’t aggressively play the run. That is not the case with Fuller. He reacts very quickly and comes up strong. He can be a good tackler but needs to wrap better.

In coverage, he shows a good jam and has good mirror skills. He has the speed to cover deep routes and the quickness to stay with receivers through moves. In off and zone he is very aware and will help out when free. He has excellent ball reactions and is very quick in transition.

I like the way Fuller plays the game. He is tough, instinctive, and productive. He has the physical tools to play the game at a high level in the NFL and, assuming he checks out medically, should be drafted high.

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18 Louis Nix DT, Notre Dame 6'3" 326 A 6.8x Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Louis Nix – Nose Tackle

Nix is a fourth-year junior and a three-year starter on the defensive line. He graduated in December, and with that, decided he was done with college football.

Nix red-shirted as a freshman. He was overweight and not in good enough shape to be a factor. That year did him well, as he matured and learned what it takes to be a top college football player. As a red shirt freshman in 2011, he started at nose tackle and has held that position since. In the 2012 National Championship game, he injured his knee, but rather than go through surgery, he just rehabbed and prepared for the 2013 season. This year, he played with pain in the knee, and finally, after the Pitt game, he underwent surgery to have a torn meniscus repaired and missed the last three games of the season.

Nix has a prototypical nose tackle body. He has good height at about 6020 and played this year at close to 350 pounds. He is a wide body with good arm length. Nix is a very good athlete for a man his size. He is light on his feet and shows a good short area burst. He won’t set any records in the 40 but his 10 time will match many guys 30 and 40 pounds less in weight. I would estimate he will run the 40 in about 5.35. Nix has very good initial quickness, often being the first man off the ball. While he had a tendency to play tall in 2012, that wasn’t the case in 2013. He comes off the ball low and is very explosive. He has quick hands and does a good job not letting offensive blockers control him. He plays with bend and anchors. As a nose, he consistently has to take on two blockers, yet he never gets knocked off the line of scrimmage. When going against a single blocker, he can shed quickly, get penetration, and be quite disruptive. Nose tackles are asked to occupy blockers and don’t usually make a lot of plays. That is not the case with Nix. With his quickness, strength, and power, he gets a lot of tackles. While he doesn’t have great speed, he still plays with a high level of competitiveness and does an excellent job in pursuit.

Most nose tackles aren’t very good pass rushers. Nix, again, is the exception. He can collapse the pocket as a bull rusher and has some counter moves to redirect. While he might not get many sacks, he does get pressures and also does a good job getting his hands up to knock down passes.

Overall, Nix's best fit is as a 3-4 NT. He should be able to come in and start as a rookie for most clubs. Because of his athleticism, it’s not out of the question for some 4-3 teams to be interested. He can easily play a one-tech in those schemes.

Since declaring for the draft, Nix has been working out, preparing for the Combine and is reportedly down to around 330. I can easily see him being the first nose tackle drafted this year and will probably go somewhere in the middle of the first round.

19 Cyrus Kouandjio LT, Alabama 6'5" 312 A 6.8x Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Cyrus Kouandjio – Tackle

Cyrus is a third-year junior and a two-year starter at left tackle for Alabama. Coming out of high school, he was a five-star recruit and regarded by many as the top offensive linemen in his class.

Kouandjio has excellent size, being listed at 6’6 – 312. He has long arms and a massive frame and can easily play at 330 if he wanted to. Cyrus has excellent athletic ability and body control. He can run (5.05 est), bend and change direction to go along with very quick feet. In the run game, he is very explosive coming off the ball. On contact, he easily gets movement with his “pop” and foot movement. He consistently looks to finish and he gets a lot of “pancakes”. He is an effective combination blocker, being able to come off one block and get to another. He easily gets to the second level and can adjust on the move. He isn’t asked to pull that often, but when he does, it’s usually to the left, and he is effective. He has the speed to stay in front of a back and can adjust on the move to hit a moving target.

In pass protection, he sets quickly and has excellent lateral agility. He is light on his feet and plays with excellent bend. He has a strong punch and flashes the ability to jolt his opponent with it. He generally keeps good position, but he can over set wide at times. When this happens, he gives his opponent an open window for a counter move. With his athleticism, he can recover quickly to stop the charge at the college level, but in the NFL, he has to be more conscience of where he is with his sets. Cyrus’ anchor ability is second to none. You never see him get bull rushed.

Kouanjio has better physical traits then Mathews (Texas A&M) and Lewan (Michigan), but at this time, he is not as good with his technique. The question teams will have to answer on draft day is, do they go with upside or what the player is now?

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20 Stephon Tuitt DE, Notre Dame 6'5" 303 A 6.8x Full Scouting Report

Scouting Report:

Stephon Tuitt – Defensive Tackle

Tuitt is a third-year junior and a two-year starter. He played as a backup his true freshman year. He usually plays as the five-technique in Notre Dame’s 3-4 scheme. When they go to a four-man front on passing downs he lines up both inside and outside.

Tuitt has excellent five-technique size at about 6060, 323 pounds with very long arms. In 2012, he played at closer to 312 and looked quicker and more athletic than he did this year. Following the 2012 season, Tuitt had surgery to repair a sports hernia, and because of that, he entered the 2013 season a bit overweight and out of shape. That showed in his play during the early part of the season. There are some close to the Notre Dame program that will tell you that Tuitt was not the best when it came to attacking rehab.

Despite his size, Tuitt has very good straight line quickness and speed. It would not shock me to see him run in the 4.78 – 4.80 range at the Combine. I'm concerned that despite having speed and quickness, he is also tight in his knees and hips. His body control and change of direction are average compared to his speed. Tuitt plays tall and can have some trouble clearing piles when moving laterally in traffic. It’s surprising how many times you see him lose his balance and end up on the ground during the course of a game. Still, he flashes big play ability. In 2012, he had an 80+ yard interception return for a TD, and this year, had a diving interception for a TD vs Michigan. He can come up with some "wow" plays every game. The problem is, for every top play, there are too many where he does nothing. Tuitt is not what I would call an "every down" competitor.

Against the run, Tuitt can be stout. Though he can play tall, he is very strong and can hold the point. He flashes quick shed ability and shows he can make plays for loss or at the line of scrimmage. If he has the angle, he can make some pursuit plays. You just don’t see enough of them. As a pass rusher he, again, flashes. Tuitt almost always takes an outside charge or bull rush. If he can beat his opponent with his first step, he has a good outside charge. Because he lacks top bend, you don’t see him show the ability to lower his shoulder and get under his opponent. The other thing you don’t see is counter moves. I have rarely seen him redirect and try to come back across his opponents face. He is very good as a bull rusher because of his power and shows he can walk a tackle back to the QB.

Tuitt has some athletic limitations, but he is still very talented. He would be best as a five-technique at the next level but, he may also be a capable 4-3 tackle. He may even be able to play left end in some 4-3 schemes. What Tuitt has to do is develop down-after-down consistency and learn to play with bend. After the 2012 season, I would have bet that he was going to be a top pick when he came out, but the 2013 season was a disappointment to me. He did not play up to his ability. Still, at the defensive tackle position, many teams look at the talent and not the consistency. For that reason, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him taken as high as 20 or as low as 40. He will be an interesting guy to track as a pro.

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