NFP Scouting Series: Syracuse

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 Syracuse Orange.

Offense

RB Delone Carter: No. 3 (5-10, 215)
A thick, well-built back who showcases some natural power and burst in between the tackles. Displays above average vision and feel inside and knows how to pick his way through traffic and lower his pad level into contact. Runs with leverage and although he lacks a great second gear he does have a slight burst out of his breaks. However, has some off-the-field issues and wasn’t listed as the starter on the Syracuse depth chart following the spring.

Impression: Exhibits some natural running skills and has a good frame, but his skill set and talent isn’t enough to simply overlook his off-the-field concerns.

OL Ryan Bartholomew: No. 70 (6-2, 298)
A versatile offensive lineman who has seen time at both center and guard during his college career. Isn’t real powerful off the snap and struggles generating much power from his lower half. Doesn’t look like a real natural bender in the run game and will double over at his waist instead of surging into blocks from the knees.

However, he does showcase some natural body control when asked to get out to the second level and breaks down well on contact. Looks comfortable sliding his feet laterally in pass protection and displays some natural change of direction skills when left on an island inside. Now, he isn’t real heavy handed and can get jarred/knocked backward vs. the bull rush, but has the athleticism in the pass game to at least intrigue.

Impression: Has some versatility, but I worry about his natural power and lack of flexibility off the ball in the run game. However, because of his ability to cleanly change directions vs. the pass, he could give himself a chance at the next level.

Defense

ILB Derrell Smith No. 25 (6-1, 232)

A thick, well-proportioned inside linebacker who lacks ideal height but possesses good overall thickness through his base and lower half. Showcases above-average instincts and feel vs. the run inside, quickly locating the football and filling lanes downhill. Demonstrates a good pop on contact when asked to take on lead blockers and although he isn’t real long armed and isn’t a guy who will shack and shed on contact, he does have the body control to take on the block and work his feet toward the ball carrier. Tackles with leverage and generates a good initial thrust through his hips. Also displays long arms for his size and uses his length well to trip up ball carriers on plays away from his frame.

However, he’s a tight, limited athlete who looks stiff through his hips and really struggled when asked to break down in space and come up with a tackle. Lacks range and consistently sees his angles outpaced on perimeter runs. Doesn’t exhibit much in the way of range in the pass game either. Looks stiff in his drop and although he is a balanced defender who does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield, lacks the kind of athleticism needed to make plays on the football at the next level.

Impression: He offers some toughness inside, but he isn’t overly physical to a point where it outweighs his lack of athleticism and makes him a legit MLB prospect.

SS Max Suter: No. 24 (5-11, 192)
An undersized strong safety prospect who has the frame built more so to play free safety or corner. But, does a nice job reading his run/pass keys quickly and finding the football. Looks natural filling lanes down the line vs. the run, but isn’t overly physical or coordinated on contact. Has a tendency to overrun ball carriers and will fail to consistently break down and/or tackle on contact.

Looks uncomfortable in pursuit vs. the pass game as well, as he doesn’t do a good job of taking consistent angles when closing on the football and is routinely outpaced toward daylight. Struggles to fend off blocks and will work himself out of plays too often trying to fight his way through contact. Now, he does display above-average balance and footwork in his drop and possesses solid instincts in the secondary. However, he plays at one speed, isn’t real physical into tackles and is just very limited in terms of what he can do for a defense in the NFL.

Impression: Plays with a passion, has some instincts and is clean in his drop, but is just very “blah” as an athlete which will end up really holding him back at the next level.

FS Mike Holmes: No. 35 (5-11, 182)
Possesses a really thin-looking frame and lacks much power in any areas of the game. Isn’t real instinctive when asked to decipher information and has a tendency to take himself out of plays and jump play fakes too quickly vs. the run game. However, he displays good straight-line speed when asked to work in pursuit and has the range to track the football sideline-to-sideline.

Now, he isn’t a real physical tackler in any area of the game, but does a nice job using the sideline as an additional defender and funneling ball carriers who break into the open field out of bounds. Isn’t real technically sound in his drop, as he allows himself to get too high and plays on his heels, and he almost seems to be backpedaling far too fast for his own good and looks out of control. However, showcases the ability to regain his balance when changing directions and gets back up to speed quickly after his initial false step. Is a gifted sideline-to-sideline athlete who showcases some natural range vs. the pass and can close on the throw quickly once he recognizes what he’s seeing. However, for the most part he’s very slow to react to the throw and just isn’t real instinctive reading his pass keys.

Impression: A rail-thin safety who lacks the size, physicality and overall instincts for the next level. But the guy can really run, which could end up getting him a chance to work his way into an NFL camp.

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