NFP Scouting Series: Texas A&M

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 Texas A&M Aggies.

Offense

QB Jerrod Johnson: No. 1 (6-5, 243)
A big, strong athlete who has a good arm and really throws a catchable football on all levels of the field. Exhibits impressive touch down the field and has the ability to consistently drop the football into the hands of his receiver’s outstretched arms. Does a good job anticipating throws in the pass game and has a real feel of when to let go of the football outside the numbers. Demonstrates a slight wind up in his release and tends to hold the ball a bit low at times, further elongating his throwing motion. But he exhibits impressive body control when asked to throw on the move, displaying the ability to generate good torque from his waist and showcases above-average accuracy when his feet aren’t set. Is a gifted athlete who exhibits a good feel in the pocket, and he does a nice job buying time for his teammates and can create on his own. However, has a tendency to drop his eye level once he feels pressure, and although he will move to set up the pass, he needs to do a better job keeping his eyes down the field more efficiently.

He’s come a long way since his freshman year and has done a nice job taking better care of the football, but he’s still limited in his ability to quickly decipher information and work his progressions from one side of the field to the other. Consistently cuts the field in half and will stare down his initial reads. But, did a much better job this year making quicker decisions in the pocket, identifying coverages and getting the ball out of his hands. However, he isn’t real polished from the waist down and gets really sloppy with his footwork at times. Consistently gets happy feet waiting for his receivers to uncover and doesn’t consistently maintain a proper throwing base to stride into his passes, which causes his accuracy to get spotty at times. Nevertheless, he’s a really gifted athlete who can still make some big-time throws down the field even when he’s off balance.

Impression: I can’t say it enough how far this guy has come over the past two seasons. Still, he needs to clean up his footwork and continue to mature mentally in the pass game. But the skill set is there for him to be as good as he wants to be, if he’s willing to put in the time.

OL Matt Allen: No. 70 (6-2, 294)
An undersized interior lineman who displays good flexibility in his lower half and gets off the football quickly. However, isn’t real powerful at the point, consistently sees his hands knocked away on contact and is easily disengaged from in the run game. Possesses above-average lateral ability when asked to slide in space and can sink his hips and gain leverage inside. But, too often he lunges into opposing linemen and easily loses his balance into contact. Exhibits good straight-line speed when asked to reach targets off his frame and get into the second level. However, he lacks ideal body control and struggles to consistently break down and hit a moving target.

Impression: Is undersized and really struggles to stick to blocks in both the run and pass game.

Defense

DT Lucas Patterson: No. 77 (6-4, 303)
A tough interior defensive lineman who exhibits impressive instincts inside vs. the run game, consistently getting off the snap count on time and making his way toward the football. Gets his hands up well out of his stance and does a nice job dictating on contact, controlling opposing linemen down the line and cleanly working his way toward the play on slide down blocks. Now, he isn’t overly powerful or sudden, and can’t instantly disengage and make a play on the ball carrier down the line. But he plays with good leverage and has the ability to clog run lanes, anchor on contact and two-gap inside.

Coils up well into his stance and is a really natural bender. Possesses an above-average first step off the snap and can threaten gaps inside, keep his base down through contact and fight his way up the field. Showcases violent hands and good lower body strength as a bull rusher and can initially overwhelm his target into the backfield one-on-one. Now, he isn’t real laterally gifted, more of a linear push/pull guy who will struggle to slip blocks once an opposing lineman gets his hands on him. But he’s a real hard-working kid who has a motor that runs nonstop and plays until the whistle.

Impression: A guy who I really like and would go to bat for on draft day. Plays with leverage, can anchor on contact and is a pretty good athlete in his own right. Has the versatility to play both the nose and three-technique in a 4-3 at the next level with a lot of potential as a 3-4 DE as well.

OLB/DE Von Miller: No. 40 (6-3, 240)
An undersized pass rusher who does the majority of his work from a two-point stance. Possesses a great first step and has the initial burst to consistently threaten the edge with his outside speed rush. Is routinely one of the first defensive linemen moving off the ball and really maximizes his initial burst with his good awareness off the snap. Plays with a great motor and always seems to be working hard toward the football. Does a nice job dropping his shoulder initially off the edge, but lacks the type of body control to consistently maintain his balance and keep his pad level down while flatting out around the corner. Allows himself to pop upright and can be pushed wide of the pocket.

However, he’s very sudden and quick when attacking up the field and does a great job working the inside shimmy initially, planting his foot in the ground and exploding up the field. Closes quickly on the quarterback once he gains a step and has the lower body strength to fight his way through contact. Possesses good body control when asked to change directions and definitely has some lateral quickness to his game as a pass rusher. However, he isn’t nearly as effective once an opposing lineman is able to get his hands on him, as he tends to lose balance at times and can be easily kept at bay. Lacks ideal power on his bull rush, allows his pad level to get too high and struggles to disengage through the contact. But, he does display above-average strength in his hands and does a nice job extending his arms into blocks, keeping himself clean and suddenly disengaging from opposing linemen when trying to work his way inside initially off the snap.

Struggles to stack and shed in the run game. Lacks ideal power on contact and doesn’t exhibit the base to sit into his stance, hold the point of attack and shed blocks vs. opposing linemen. Is easily sealed from the ball and can at times be handled by the tight end.

Impression: An explosive pass rusher who has the awareness and first step to consistently win off the snap. Definitely has the ability to be a productive pass rushing 3-4 OLB at the next level. He just needs to continue to polish his game and learn to use his hands a bit better when engaged.

MLB Michael Hodges: No. 37 (6-0, 226)
A tight, undersized inside linebacker prospect who possesses good read and react ability and knows how to quickly find the football. However, lacks range and fluidity in pursuit and really struggles when asked to break down and tackle in space. Isn’t a real balanced athlete, has a tend ency to overrun plays and doesn’t have much range in any area of the game.

Isn’t overly physical inside vs. the run game. Lacks length and really has a tough time keeping himself clean and fighting his way off blocks down the line. Showcases good patience inside sniffing his way through traffic and wraps up well in a phone booth, but doesn’t generate much pop through his hips and isn’t a real physical striker.

Impression: He’s undersized, stiff and simply doesn’t offer much in the run or pass game.

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