|Player, Pos, Team||Height||Weight||Draft Grade|
|11||Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State||5'11"||188||6.8 A||Full 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||Louis Nix DT, Notre Dame||6'3"||326||6.8 A||Full 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.
|13||Cyrus Kouandjio LT, Alabama||6'5"||312||6.8 A||Full 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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|14||Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M||6'5"||225||6.8 A||Full 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.
|15||Marqise Lee WR, USC||6'0"||195||6.7 A||Full Scouting Report|
The college football season gets going in a little over three weeks, and one of the most explosive and exciting players we will get to see is USC's junior receiver Marqise Lee.
Last year as a true sophomore, he caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also returned 30 kickoffs for a 28.5 yard average and 1 score.
Lee grew up in Inglewood, CA, and attended Junipero Serra High School where he starred in both football and track. He was rated as a 4-star recruit and was offered mainly by Pac-12 schools but did receive offers from Michigan, LSU, Miami and Florida as well. He came in and started as a freshman and caught 73 passes for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns.
ICONMarqise Lee caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012.
On tape Lee looks bigger than his listed 6-foot, 195-pound frame. The reason being he has extremely long arms. He may be 6-foot but he plays 6-3 or 6-4 because of his arm length.
He has great play speed and looks to be a 4.40-type. Along with his excellent top-end speed he has very good body control and leaping ability. Besides playing football at USC, Lee also participates in track as a long jumper with a personal best of 25 feet. When Lee decides to go to the NFL (from what I hear, that will be next year) it will be interesting to watch him perform the long and vertical jumps at the Combine. I would think he would be in the 11 foot range with the long jump and 40" area with his vertical.
Lee is used in a variety of ways by USC. He is split out wide as an X or Z, lines up in the slot and also as a running back. He runs a lot of bubble screens and is also used on outs, comebacks, slants and go routes. While he is an exceptional athlete he is an average to good route runner. He doesn't run what I would call disciplined routes but he can still break down and get in and out of a cut very quickly.
He separates easily. He has very good hands and shows the ability to snatch the ball. Because of his athleticism and body control he makes some highlight film type catches. He tracks the ball very well, and with his flexibility can easily catch balls that are behind him or up high. With his burst he can get to passes that look as though they may be overthrown.
After the catch he is a highlight film waiting to happen. He is very quick and sudden with excellent change of direction. He has the ability to make defenders miss both in tight and in the open and can easily turn a short out or comeback route into a long gain. He has very good strength and shows the ability to break tackles and get yardage after first contact. His run instincts are equal to a top running back.
There are many wide receivers who have big play ability but they aren't physical players. That is not the case with Lee. He is one of the better blocking receivers you will see. There have been numerous times in the tape I watched where he makes the key block to open up a running lane. He isn't a "shadow" blocker either...he gets after it and tries to put his opponent on the ground. This is a very competitive football player in all phases of the game.
As a kickoff returner he is NFL-ready right now. He is patient to set up and follow blocks and then burst when there is a seam. Once in the open he is tough to catch and has the speed to outrun opponents with an angle.
Overall, Lee could be considered a bit "raw" because he is not a polished route runner but few have his natural traits. He has everything that is needed to be a top receiver at the NFL level. His speed, hands, run instincts and playmaking ability are all at an elite level. I expect that when we see him play this year he will show vast improvement over last year and that has to be scary for USC opponents. If he improves the way I feel he will, he easily has top 10 pick potential in next year's draft.
|16||Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix FS, Alabama||6'1"||208||6.7 A||Full Scouting Report|
HaHa Clinton-Dix – Safety
Clinton-Dix is a 3rd year junior and a two year starter at safety. He is a former 5-star recruit who was courted by the best programs in the country. He was suspended after the fourth game of this season for receiving improper benefits. Because of the suspension, the word on the street is, he will enter next spring’s draft.
Clinton-Dix has all the tools to be a top NFL safety. He has size (6’1 – 210), play speed (4.50), athleticism, and power to go along with quick reactions and instincts. He is alert on the field and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He can lock up in man coverage on a tight end or slot receiver and is a smart zone player. He has range from the hash to the sideline to go along with very good ball skills and hands.
With his size, he is a physical run support player who can be quick to come up, can get rid of blocks and is a very good tackler. He flashes blow-up tackle ability and isn’t shy about throwing his body around. Unless something comes back negative in the character report, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a premium pick. He is a play maker and a presence on the field. He should be able to play either safety position at the next level and start early in his career.
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|17||Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina||6'4"||245||6.7 A||Full 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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|18||Kony Ealy DE, Missouri||6'5"||275||6.7 A||Full Scouting Report|
A few years ago, when Missouri announced it was going to leave the Big 12 to play in the SEC, I felt the school was making a mistake. From a personnel and recruiting standpoint, I thought the Tigers just didn't have the talent to compete with the best in the SEC.
Oh, how I was wrong.
Not only is Missouri competing, the school is competing for SEC Championships. The reason being is that they have the athletes both on the defensive line and at the skill positions to play with the best teams in the SEC. Last year, Missouri had defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who ended up being a first-round selection with the Jets and is quickly becoming one of the better young defensive linemen in the NFL. This year, their top defensive lineman is junior DE Kony Ealy, who is entering the draft early and come May, should be a first-round draft pick.
Kony Ealy - Defensive End - Missouri
Ealy notched 9.5 sacks for the Tigers in 2013.
Ealy is a fourth-year junior and a two-year starter for the Tigers at left defensive end. Coming out of high school, Ealy was an undersized defensive end (approximately 230 pounds), but was still rated as a 4-star recruit and had offers from schools such as Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Mississippi. Ealy redshirted his first year and was a role player during his second season. As a starter in 2012, he had 37 total tackles including 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. This past season, Ealy had a breakout year with 43 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. When you take into account the fact that Missouri rotates their defensive linemen, those are outstanding stats. When Ealy is in the game, his athleticism and hustle jump out on tape.
Ealy has good defensive end size at about 6050 - 275 with good arm length. He is a very good athlete with speed, body control and change of direction. He plays fast and looks as if he will run in the 4.68 range. He has excellent snap reaction and a very good first step. As a run defender, Ealy is good. He has the strength and power to hold the point and uses his hands to shed blocks. He makes a lot of pursuit plays and does a fairly good job versus the inside run. While Ealy can be inconsistent versus the outside run, the reason is that he's a bit undisciplined and tends to get caught inside. He needs to play contain better and not allow himself to be hook blocked.
Where Ealy excels is as a pass rusher. He is explosive off the ball and has a variety of moves. He can make a quick step outside and then counter and come back across his opponent's face to get inside pressure. He also has the speed and bend to edge rush, dip his inside shoulder and burst to the quarterback. Ealy's burst off a block to the quarterback is excellent. While he is not a real big guy, he has explosive power through his hips and can bull rush with effectiveness.
Overall, Ealy possesses the integral trait that NFL teams covet: He can rush the passer. He is best suited to play as a 4-3 defensive end, but most of the 3-4 clubs will work him out as a linebacker and if he proves to be able to drop into coverage, he will have high value to those organizations as well. From an athletic viewpoint I see no reason why he can't play on his feet. He has the bend and hip flexibility needed to drop.
Don't be surprised to hear Ealy's name mentioned a lot in the weeks leading up to the draft. He is an impressive player.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggabe
|19||Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State||6'0"||195||6.7 A||Full 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.
|20||Jace Amaro TE, Texas Tech||6'5"||257||6.7 A||Full Scouting Report|
Jace Amaro – Tight End – Texas Tech
If Webster’s had a definition for “tight end”, Amaro would not fit the description. The way he is used at Texas Tech fits the definition of a slot receiver more than a tight end. In all the tape I looked at, I only saw Amaro lined up “tight” a few times. On most plays, he is the inside slot receiver.
Amaro is listed as being 6050 – 260. If he really is 260, he holds his weight very well. I would guess he is closer to 250. Still, he is very athletic for a big guy and has excellent speed and body control. I would estimate his speed at 4.58 – 4.60. He is quick off the line and is a very good route runner. He can break down and get in and out of cuts very quickly for a big guy. On the shorter one-cut routes, he consistently gains separation. He has the play speed to get open on post and flag routes versus defensive backs. He has very good hands and can adjust to the ball. He is a competitive and tough kid who consistently competes for the ball in traffic. After the catch, he has a quick burst to pull away and has the quick feet and moves to make a defender miss. He uses his size well and can easily break tackles. Jace was Texas Tech’s number one receiver in 2013. He caught 106 passes for 1352 yards and seven TDs. He is an instant mismatch because of his size and athleticism.
As a blocker, he looks like a big wide receiver blocking. He can use his hands and can stay with a block but he is not overly physical. Most of his blocks are in the open field. There were a few plays in short yardage where he lined up tight and showed he can come off the ball and explode into a defender but you don’t see enough of these plays to really be able to grade his in line blocking skills.
Amaro is the type of “tight end” that most NFL teams are now looking for. He has the speed and athleticism to play split out and can really be called a jumbo wide receiver. I see him easily getting drafted in the first round and I expect him to contribute very early in his rookie year.