GMAC Bowl primer
Central Michigan vs. Troy
Tonight, 7 p.m. EST, ESPN
Prospects worth watching:
Next level troubles?
Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour will be playing his last collegiate game tonight, ending his career as one of the NCAA’s most productive quarterbacks. LeFevour is a coordinated athlete who showcases the ability to buy time in the pocket, create with his feet and get the football out on time in the pass game. However, the biggest knock on him in terms of NFL potential is his inability to be accurate when he’s asked to stick throws down the field. He isn’t a real strong-armed kid and simply doesn’t exhibit much zip throwing outside the numbers. He does display good accuracy and timing in the underneath pass game and does a nice job allowing his receivers to run after the catch. But he doesn’t possess many NFL-caliber throws in his arsenal and looks more like a developmental guy in a west coast scheme.
The MAC’s best talent?
If there’s one prospect on the Central Michigan roster who is definitely worth a watch tonight, it’s wideout Antonio Brown. Brown is a 5-10, 182-pound target who’s electric in the open field and knows how to create with the ball in his hands. He’s the type of straight-line athlete who can consistently threaten defenses vertically and also doubles as a very talented return man. He isn’t real physical, and I don’t think he has the size/strength needed to beat press on the outside at the next level. But as an intriguing slot/special teams guy, he definitely has the athletic ability to make a roster and contribute to an NFL team.
The edge game
Troy defensive end Brandon Lang is the guy who consistently grabs most of the headlines on the Trojans’ defense, but I’m not so sure he’s even the best pass-rushing prospect on his own team. That distinction might go DE Cameron Sheffield. When evaluating both Lang and Sheffield this season, it was Sheffield who exhibited the more explosive first step and displayed better overall balance when turning the corner. Lang, on the other hand, did generate a better initial pop as a bull-rusher but lacked the type of footwork and overall burst needed to threaten the edge. To make matters worse, Lang lacked awareness off the snap and struggled to change directions and side-step opposing tackles off his pass rush. Neither of them showcased an ability to use their hands well enough to disengage once an opposing lineman got into their frames, but at least Sheffield demonstrated the type of burst needed to be a factor off the edge as a possible 3-4 rush linebacker. Lang looks nothing more than a backup-type defensive end at the next level.
His time is coming
One prospect to remember as we move closer to draft season is Troy cornerback Jorrick Calvin. Calvin is a 5-10, 184-pound defender who possesses an impressive athletic skill set and displays the ability to develop into one of the nation’s better senior cornerback prospects. However, Calvin was ruled academically ineligible for the 2009 season and was forced to miss the entire year. Still, there’s enough good junior tape of him out there to draw interest from NFL scouts, and with a couple of strong postseason performances, I can see him moving up draft boards in April.
Others worth watching:
ILB Bear Woods, Troy (6-0, 245)
Displays with a real passion for the game and knows how to sniff out the football and tackle in a phone booth. Is a limited size/speed athlete, but you hate to count out kids like this.
WR Bryan Anderson, Central Michigan (6-5, 215)
A big, coordinated wideout who knows how to go up and get the football. However, he displays simply no second gear and struggles to generate any kind of a burst out of his breaks.
LB Boris Lee, Troy (6-0, 245)
A natural leader who showcases good redirection skills in coverage. However, he gets washed out of plays too easily inside and struggles to stack and shed on contact.
DE Frank Zombo, Central Michigan (6-3, 269)
A blue-collar defensive end who isn’t real physical or explosive off the edge but works hard to fight his way through blocks and has found a way to be productive because of his motor.
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