NFP Scouting Series: Washington

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 Washington Huskies.

Offense

QB Jake Locker: No. 10 (6-3, 226)
A thick, well put together quarterback that has the physical makeup to handle the rigors of the NFL game. Displays impressive balance in his drop from under center, quickly getting away from the line of scrimmage before collecting himself and delivering the football. Possesses a clean, compact release, holds the football high and the ball comes out of his hands quickly. Showcases a strong arm and has the ability to make all the throws required of him at the next level. Exhibits good zip and timing when asked to go outside the numbers and does a nice job letting go of the football on time. Is also very impressive when asked to throw on the move. Generates a lot of torque from his lower half and has the ability to fit the football into tight spots even when he’s off balance. Did a much better job this past season identifying coverages before the snap and working his progressions more efficiently. However, needs to do a better job moving his feet once he comes off a read and striding into throws. Has a tendency to get sloppy with his footwork and not align himself up with the target, which causes his accuracy — especially over the middle of the field — to suffer. Will struggle at times anticipating throws in the pass game, holding onto the football too long waiting for receivers to uncover.

Is a gifted athlete who looks comfortable on the move, can buy time for himself and create outside the pocket, but at times needs to learn to just throw the football away. Has a tendency to try to do too much and will get himself into some trouble with some negative plays. His accuracy seems to run hot and cold. When he sets his feet and keeps a solid base under him, the guy can consistently make all the throws. But too often, he gets caught throwing across his body, overextending in the pocket and/or falling off of throws. Nevertheless, he’s a tough, gritty quarterback who his teammates really seem to rally around and has proven he can bounce back after facing a ton of adversity during his first two years on campus.

Impression: The athletic ability, the arm strength and the intangibles are all there, and the upside his game possesses is tremendous. However, I still would like to see him become a more polished product before feeling comfortable taking him with a top-ten pick.

OT Cody Habben: No. 71 (6-6, 295)
A tall, flexible offensive tackle who exhibits impressive bend out of his stance and does a nice job keeping his base down in pass protection. Showcases good range and fluidity when asked to kick-slide toward the corner and consistently gets a good jump off the snap. However, has a tendency to get overextended with his footwork and will struggle to redirect/anchor on the edge. Does a nice job keeping his hands set in front of his body initially, but will waste some motion bringing his elbows back behind his frame in order to regain his balance. Now, he does exhibit impressive athleticism and range when asked to make up for a false-step and does a nice job extending his long arms and working his legs through blocks. But just needs to continue to clean up his footwork and be a bit more compact on his kick-slide.

Isn’t a real physical in-line run blocker, rolls his hips into blocks and doesn’t exhibit a real snap from his lower half at the point of attack. However, does a nice job getting his hands under opposing linemen on contact and sealing them initially from the play. Looks natural on the move, effectively getting his feet around on reach blocks and can quickly hit/seal targets off his frame. But, he isn’t real heavy-handed and can be rather easily disengaged from in the run game.

Impression: He isn’t there yet, but there is a lot to like about his game. He’s long, athletic and showcases good range off the edge. Needs to tighten up his footwork and mature a bit physically. But I think he has the ability to really jump up draft boards as a legit draftable prospect with a strong year.

OL Ryan Tolar: No. 65 (6-5, 295)
A tall, long center prospect who struggles to generate much power out of his stance in the run game. Has a tendency to get upright into blocks and can be overwhelmed on contact. Doesn’t have the ability to win as an in-line guy and consistently fails to even earn a stalemate. However, plays with a mean streak and does a nice job extending his long arms and using his hands to get into blocks. Can be a bit of a velcro player, works hard to stay on opposing linemen and keep his man from making a play on the ball even when driven into the backfield. Will fight till the whistle.

Isn’t real stout at the point of attack in pass protection and struggles to sit into his stance and lock out inside. However, displays quick hands and above average footwork, allowing him to regain leverage and shuffle his feet through contact when asked to block one on one.

Impression: He’s long and works hard to stick to blocks, but I can’t see him being able to hold up physically in either the run or pass game at the next level.

Defense

DT Cameron Elisara: No. 99 (6-3, 275)
Exhibits a good feel inside vs. the run game and quickly is able to locate the football and take a positive first step toward the action. Plays with a motor that runs nonstop and can gain an initial step on slide down blocks and make some plays in pursuit. However, struggles to keep himself clean and extend his arms into contact when run at and is consistently overwhelmed and driven off the football at the point of attack. Simply lacks the kind of girth/power in his base to sit in and anchor vs. the inside run game. Works hard to hold up at the point of attack, but is consistently turned from the play and makes most of his tackles vs. the run down the field.

Displays good awareness inside and does a nice job getting off the snap count on time. But lacks a great first step and doesn’t have the type of power to win as a bull rusher and fight his way into the backfield. Displays violent hands and works hard to eventually free himself and close on the quarterback inside. But just isn’t laterally sudden or powerful enough to quickly disengage and make routine plays vs. the pass.

Impression: Works hard, but isn’t stout vs. the run game and lacks the athleticism to create consistent pressure as an interior pass rusher.

OLB Mason Foster: No. 40 (6-2, 244)
Possesses good overall girth for the position and exhibits some natural pop as a tackler on contact. Does a nice job wrapping up and bringing his legs through the ball carrier, but his motor seems to run both hot and cold and he will get lazy at times into contact. Nevertheless, he’s a limited athlete who struggles to get up to speed quickly in pursuit and lacks range when asked to close on the football. Isn’t real instinctive inside, doesn’t quickly find the football and can be slow to identify his run/pass keys. Isn’t overly physical at the point of attack when run at and fails to anchor with much consistency. Looks a lot more comfortable using his violent hands to play off blocks on perimeter runs, shedding the tight end and making his way toward the ball carrier.

Is limited athletically in coverage, struggles to sit into his back-pedal and get much depth in his drop. Lacks ideal fluidity and change of directions skills and isn’t a guy who can quickly redirect and close on the football. However, he does exhibit decent ball skills and has a good feel in zone, reading the quarterback’s eyes and getting his hands on footballs thrown in his vicinity. But more often than not it’s because of the quarterback making poor reads and throwing the football into coverage rather than him making athletic plays on the throw. I can’t see him holding up consistently in space at the next level.

Impression: Displays a strong, compact frame, but lacks range when asked to close and isn’t real fluid in coverage. A limited two-down athlete who doesn’t have the upside to warrant a draft pick at this stage.

SS Nate Williams: No. 8 (6-0, 221)
A well-built safety prospect with limited range when asked to close on the football. Lacks great straight-line speed and consistently sees his angles outrun both when attacking the line of scrimmage and in the secondary. Isn’t a real coordinated tackler, fails to properly break down even in tight areas and wrap up on contact. However, he displays good instincts and reads the action well in front of him, consistently getting good jumps on the throw when asked to drive on plays in front of him. But, lacks the kind of burst needed to make a play on the football and consistently has to play the man after the catch.

Isn’t real compact in his drop and routinely allows his pad level to get too high. However, does a nice job recognizing routes and getting early jumps on the throw. Possesses above-average instincts and knows how to put himself around the football. But, isn’t a guy who is going to redirect well in space and get back up to speed quickly sideline to sideline.

Impression: I like his nose for the football. However, he lacks range, isn’t a real physical tackler and is going to have a tough time earning a safety spot in the NFL.

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