NFP Scouting Series: Connecticut
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 Connecticut Huskies.
OG Zach Hurd: No. 78 (6-7, 323)
A tall, massive interior lineman who possesses good overall strength on contact with the length to quickly get into blocks and engulf on contact. Does a nice job extending his long arms into defenders in the pass game and is a real Velcro player. However, he plays way too upright on contact, doesn’t look comfortable sitting into his stance and consistently just extends his arms and leans forward into blocks. A real waist bender. Exhibits above-average athleticism and short-area change of direction skills for his size, which allows him to stick to blocks through contact, but he isn’t a guy who will be able to hold up consistently at the next level until he learns to play with a lower base.
Surprisingly, showcases some natural coordination when asked to pull and get out into space. Lacks great range, but has the body control to break down on contact, reach his target and eliminate defenders from run lanes. Has a decent first step off the snap as an in-line guy and can play with his hand on the ground and create a push off the ball. Is a better athlete in tight areas where he can use his first step and power to seal interior defenders from the run game and finish blocks inside. Works hard through contact and loves to finish blocks. However, doesn’t look real comfortable on slide down blocks and tends to fall off opposing linemen far too quickly down the line.
Impression: Showcases some natural power and coordination as a run blocker and can win at the point of attack. However, he’s going to need to learn to play with better leverage in order to have a chance of holding up inside in the pass game at the next level. If he can do that, I think he has a chance to mature into a starter. If not, he’s going to have a tough time ever seeing the field in the NFL.
QB Zach Frazer: No. 10 (6-4, 236)
A tall, good looking quarterback prospect with a well-put-together frame. Showcases a live arm and really gets the ball out of his hands quickly. However, he’s really inconsistent with his footwork at this stage. Has a tendency to fall off throws, get narrow with his base and doesn’t consistently do a good job transferring his weight from his back foot to his front foot and striding toward his target, which causes his accuracy to suffer. But, he can really spin the football from a variety of throwing angles and does exhibit nice touch on all areas of the field. Has the ability to make all the throws at the next level and looks comfortable dropping the football into his receiver’s outstretched arms on bucket throws in the vertical passing game.
Mentally, the game seemed to slow down a bit for him toward the end of the year, but he still had a tendency to make his mind up before the snap. Too often he got caught staring down his initial read and forcing the football into coverage, which led to the majority of his interceptions.
Impression: His lower body mechanics and footwork looked better in the spring game, which could lead to a massive rise up draft boards with a strong year. A really intriguing senior quarterback prospect who I will definitely be keeping an eye on in 2010.
OLB Lawrence Wilson: No. 8 (6-1, 217)
An undersized outside linebacker with a slight frame and thin lower half. However, exhibits impressive sideline-to-sideline range and showcases natural fluidity in his hips when asked to side step blocks and close on the football. Displays good awareness inside the box and knows how to keep himself clean and work his way through traffic. Is a surprisingly strong, wrap-up tackler in pursuit who generates a good jolt from his lower half, really exploding through the hips and will finish with his legs. But, he will overrun plays at times and doesn’t consistently break down as well in space. Lacks ideal power when asked to take on blocks inside and looks content to simply throw his shoulder into blocks, rarely extending his arms and disengaging initially on contact.
Demonstrates loose hips and natural change-of-direction skills in coverage. Does a nice job keeping his feet under and base down and can really generate a burst when asked to click and close underneath. Looks comfortable in man and demonstrates the fluidity to turn and run down the field with tight ends. However, too often he gets caught trying to sit on routes and will lose track of his responsibility down the field. Is a lot more instinctive in zone, keeping his head on a swivel and can quickly diagnose plays and close on the football.
Impression: A gifted athlete for the position with natural range and body control in both the pass and run game. But he is scheme-limited at the next level and will be considered a nickel backer by most NFL teams. However, he could start for a team like the Colts that value athleticism over size.
LB Scott Lutrus: No. 32 (6-3, 240)
A tightly wound linebacker who displays a good feel in coverage and does a nice job feeling routes around him and reading the quarterback’s eyes. However, he’s stiff through his lower half and struggles when asked to quickly redirect and work his way back toward the football. Gets too high in his drop when asked to attain depth down the field, which really hinders his first step and ability to close on throws just off his frame.
Played mostly on the strong side last season and displayed the instincts to quickly find the football, but lacked range when asked to close from the backside. Isn’t overly powerful at the point of attack when lined up over the tight end, but does a nice job using his hands to work himself free from blocks and shed down the field. Exhibits a real savvy as a blitzer and is patient waiting for blocks to set before quickly closing on the football once his rush lane opens up. However, he isn’t sudden or athletic enough to be considered a pass rusher at the next level; he’s a blitzer only.
Impression: Has battled through injuries over the course of his career and doesn’t really stand out in any area of the game. Is a tough, instinctive guy, but at best is a reserve at the next level.
LB Greg Lloyd: No. 95 (6-2, 235)
Possesses good thickness and power through his lower half and does a nice job sitting into his stance, extending his arms and anchoring vs. blocks inside. Displays good overall strength on contact and has the ability to not only stack inside, but at times can even overwhelm blockers on contact. Is a pretty instinctive guy who is very patient inside reading and diagnosing blocks, quickly shooting gaps and making his way toward the ball carrier. Possesses good striking power with the length to consistently bring his man down on contact. However, he is tight in the hips and will struggle to take proper angles toward the football at times in pursuit.
Doesn’t stay on the field consistently in nickel situations because he is stiff in his lower half and lacks range in zone coverage. Takes him too long to redirect and get his feet back under him when changing directions. Also, is coming off an ACL tear he suffered in November and although he is expected to be back in time for practice in August, it will be interesting to see how the knee affects his game in 2010.
Impression: Can take on blocks and win in a phone booth, but wasn’t a three-down guy even before the knee injury. Best bet could be inside in a 3-4.
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