2010 NFP Scouting Series: Alabama

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, we start today with the defending National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Offense

QB Greg McElroy: No. 12 (6-3, 225)

Lacks ideal overall height for the position, but has decent thickness through his frame and is a good enough athlete to move around the pocket and find throwing lanes for himself while avoiding the rush. Looks balanced and comfortable when asked to boot outside the pocket. However, he has a tendency to lock onto his initial read when the field is cut in half and the football simply takes too long to reach its destination, giving defensive backs plenty of time to break on the throw.

Does a nice job manipulating defenses in the pocket, knows how to work his eyes from one side of the field to another and find his second/third reads. Possesses a good mental clock and, for the most part, gets rid of the football on time. Exhibits slightly above-average accuracy in the short and intermediate pass game, but he will simply lose his overall rhythm and timing at times throughout the course of the game. Needs to do a better job striding toward his target and not falling off as many throws. Simply lacks the kind of arm strength to be technically sound from the waist. Struggles to zip the football down the field into tight areas and doesn’t have the kind of arm needed to make all the throws at the next level. Possesses above-average touch in the short/intermediate pass game, but the ball seems to really hang up on him any time he’s asked to try to make a play vertically.

Impression: Made some strides as a passer as the year went on and seemed to get much more comfortable in the offense. However, he lacks the kind of physical skill set needed to project as anything more than a third quarterback on an NFL roster.

OT James Carpenter: No. 77 (6-5, 300)
Possesses good overall thickness in his lower half with decent initial body control off the snap. Showcases average range when asked to reach defenders off his frame in the run game, but has the body control to drop his pad level and get a chip on them off the line on runs away from his frame. Looks natural in sealing opposing linemen on runs away from his frame. However, he lacks the type of coordination to cleanly chop down linemen on contact. But, he seems a lot more comfortable when asked to chip on his man at the line and get down the field in the screen game. Has a tendency to lumber a bit, but possesses good balance into contact and consistently gets his hands on defenders in space.

Seems too overextended with his footwork initially off the snap, although he does do a nice job quickly getting off the snap and reaching the edge vs. the speed rush. However, he allows his base to get too narrow on his initial kick step, which causes him to get too upright on contact and struggles when asked to re-direct back inside. Also, has a tendency to stop moving his feet on the edge after his initial kick-side. And although he does do a nice job extending his long arms and using his length to push defenders past the pocket, he simply isn’t much of a real Velcro player and fails to consistently stay on blocks.

Impression: There is some untapped potential to his game because of his initial range off the edge. However, he’s really a finesse guy who plays too high and lacks any kind of pop in the run game as an in-line guy. Therefore, you won’t be able to run behind him in the NFL, and although he is a decent athlete, he’s not good enough to be anything more than a late round/reserve type lineman.

TE Preston Dial: No. 85 (6-3, 237)
A lean athlete for the position who lacks ideal girth through his lower half and doesn’t look like a real natural bender out of his stance. Possesses a good initial first step off the line and is coordinated enough to get his feet around on the target in the run game. However, his pad level consistently pops upright on contact, he isn’t real heavy handed and consistently loses his balance and falls off blocks.

Lacks shiftiness off the snap in the pass game and really struggles to get into routes quickly vs. any time of press. However, he does do a nice job working his way back to the football and exhibits impressive hands in traffic.

Impression: Won’t be able to win at the point of attack in the run game and lacks the athleticism to win off the line as a pass-catching option in the NFL.

Defense

DE Luther Davis: No. 96 (6-3, 279)
A thick, well-built lineman who possesses good overall girth through both his upper and lower body. Isn’t the most natural of benders and tends to be a bit narrow in his base off the snap. However, possesses a good first step off the ball, keeping his butt under him and really delivers a nasty pop on contact. Generates a lot of power from his lower half and does a nice job maintaining balance and extending his arms into opposing offensive tackles when run at. Uses his hands well when asked to play the piano down the line and has the type of power and body control to keep himself clean and close run lanes both inside and out when lined up at defensive end.

Kicks inside typically on passing downs as a three-technique, but doesn’t play with nearly the pad level as a pass rusher as he does vs. the run game. Allows himself to get too high off the snap, which really limits not only his power as a bull rusher but also his lateral agility when trying to use his length to slip blocks.

Impression: I thought he did a nice job anchoring and fending off blocks one-on-one vs. the left tackle in the run game and has the power to potentially mature into a solid rotational two-down lineman at the next level.

Top underclassmen

WR Julio Jones: No. 8 (6-4, 211)

A massive physical specimen who really seems to intimidate opposing cornerbacks off the line. Does a nice job using his power and length to fight his way through any kind of press, quickly shrugging off opposing defenders, dropping his shoulder and accelerating into his routes. However, what stands out most about his game is the balance he displays as a route runner and his ability to accelerate so quickly once he gets the ball into his hands. Possesses a real polish to his game as an underneath route runner and does a nice job setting up corners, cleanly getting out of his breaks and working after the catch.

Exhibits a good feel for reading zone coverages and knows where to sit down underneath. Plus, he gets up to speed quickly when asked to get down the field and does a nice job fighting his way through coverage and tracking the football vertically. Does a nice job extending his long arms and making a play on the football in jump ball situations, and I love the grit and power he displays as a blocker in the run game.

However, he doesn’t generate a lot of burst/separation for himself as an intermediate route runner and he simply has too many lapses in concentration and puts the ball on the ground too often — especially over the middle of the field. Lacks elite top-end speed down the field and won’t be able to simply outpace defenders at the next level. However, because of his size, power and acceleration, he’s still a threat to make plays vertically.

Impression: He really does accelerate extremely well for a guy his size with the feel to consistently set up defenders and find soft spots in coverage. Projects a s a potential legit number one wideout at the next level, but needs to do a better job holding onto the football.

RB Mark Ingram: No. 22 (5-10, 215)
He possesses a thick, compact build for the position with great lower body strength and overall balance, which allows him to consistently break tackles in all areas of the game. Runs with a low pad level and is really tough to wrap up on and bring down initially on contact. However, what makes him so effective running between the tackles is his combination of body control and instincts inside. He’s so sudden and powerful in tight areas that he consistently has the wiggle to make a defender miss in a phone booth and accelerate into the open field. But at the same time, he’s also very patient and showcases a real feel setting up blocks and exploding into daylight.

He’s a two-stepper in every sense of the word, getting up to top-end speed instantly out of his breaks. Now, he is more quick than fast, in my opinion, and lacks an elite second gear to his game. But, he still possesses good enough game speed and will be able to create his fair share of long runs at the next level because of his ability to side step/break tackles in the open field.

Now, he’s still maturing as a pass blocker inside and isn’t the most natural of receivers in the pass game. But, he has a game that is NFL ready.

Impression: He’s one of the most natural runners I have ever scouted and looks like an impact-caliber guy ready to carry the load at the next level from day one. A real blue-chip prospect.

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