Carrying the rock for the Utah Utes for the second season is an intriguing running back by the name of Devontae Booker. Standing 5’11” and 212 lbs, Booker is a Redshirt Senior, heading into his second year of being a starting back for the Utes. Booker is coming off an impressive season last year; here
Carrying the rock for the Utah Utes for the second season is an intriguing running back by the name of Devontae Booker. Standing 5’11” and 212 lbs, Booker is a Redshirt Senior, heading into his second year of being a starting back for the Utes. Booker is coming off an impressive season last year; here are his stats from 2014:
- 1,512 rushing yards off of 292 rushing attempts
- 2 yards per carry average
- 10 rushing touchdowns
- 43 receptions for 306 receiving yards
- 2 receiving touchdowns
Here are the games I scouted for Devontae Booker:
Washington State (2014), vs. Oregon State (2014), and vs. UCLA (2014)
Note: The GIFs are of plays that caught my eye
He was a three star recruit out of American River College (JC). Booker has the perfect body type for an NFL running back. He has great size and the perfect build to play professionally. He doesn’t have a great deal of mileage on him since he only has played one full season. Booker can make quick cuts to make defenders tackling air. He has unbelievable balance and is extremely hard take down by trying to take his legs away. Has crazy strength and explosion, will blow through a simple arm tackle. He can easily gain extra yardage by simply lowering his shoulder and taking defenders with him. He is an excellent inside the tackle runner; can move piles to gain a few yards on a third and short situation or find a small hole to burst off a big gain. When running outside, he is hard to stop when allowed to cut the corner. Booker is a very instinctive runner; he seems to naturally find the holes in the defense and knows where to run. He has great vision and finds seemingly small holes and is able to make something out of them. When in the open field, he has nice long strides to separate from defenders and makes him hard to catch. He does not have fumble issues at all and is a very reliable runner. He usually tries to help his QB out when running pass routes, sees his man in trouble, and tries to get open.
He needs a better spin move; it is rather slow and could be sped up some. On occasion, he can go to upright when running up the middle. That is not a big problem. He just needs to work on consistency. He takes some time to get up to speed, so his initial quickness is a little lacking. Due to not being able to get up to speed, his outside run game struggles some. Often, he gets slowed up in the backfield and is unable to get positive yardage. He doesn’t run very many pass routes and mainly catches passes in the flat or on screen plays. His pass blocking is absolutely hideous. Half of the time, he gives a half effort it seems. Often, he gets destroyed and pass rushers can make him look stupid.
The Bottom Line:
Devontae Booker is one of the top running backs heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. His power and explosiveness will make him a great asset to any team. One thing does concern me about his gameplay; he didn’t face the toughest of defenses last season. He faced Stanford last season and struggled against their top ten rushing defense. The majority of the defenses he ran against were ranked 40th or worse defending the run. Plus, he was not the starting back through the first three games of the season. This year, he will be the main workhorse and will get to face teams like Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, and Arizona. All of those teams have a chance to have some outstanding defensive play this year. If Booker can prove himself with another 1,000+ yard rushing season, and can continue to prove he is a reliable pass catcher, there is no doubt in my mind that he should be the “filet mignon” of the 2016 running back class.
Coming out of Michigan State University is an interesting prospect by the name of Shilique Calhoun. Calhoun is a Redshirt Senior standing at 6’5” and 250 lbs. In 2013 Calhoun put up some rather average numbers on the defensive end. The 2014 season showed improvement from Calhoun, although it was not by a great deal.
Coming out of Michigan State University is an interesting prospect by the name of Shilique Calhoun. Calhoun is a Redshirt Senior standing at 6’5” and 250 lbs. In 2013 Calhoun put up some rather average numbers on the defensive end. The 2014 season showed improvement from Calhoun, although it was not by a great deal. Here are his stats from last season:
- 39 total tackles (28 solo, 11 assisted)
- 12.5 tackles for loss
- 8.0 sacks
- 1 Forced Fumble
Here is my preseason scouting report on Shilique Calhoun:
Games Scouted: vs. Stanford (2013), vs. Iowa (2013), vs. Ohio St. (2013), vs. Michigan (2013), vs. Nebraska (2014), and vs. Baylor (2015–Cotton Bowl)
Note: The GIFs are of plays that caught my eye
Calhoun was a 3 Star Recruit out of Middletown High School in Middletown, New Jersey. His size was meant for the NFL, and he has had no trouble growing into his frame. I was extremely impressed with his ability to pick up on read plays, whether it is the option or pass plays. He has the athleticism to not bite on the read option play until the QB makes his decision, and he does not get caught with his pants around his ankles so to speak. He does an excellent job of pursuing the ball carrier and is a very instinctive tackler. He does not take bad angles on his tackles, is an excellent run defender, and seems to easily be able to know where the runner is going and meets him there. He has great strength in both his upper and lower body. He has great mental awareness and rarely makes stupid mistakes. He does have great speed and explosion to get a quick jump on the opposing lineman but needs to be more consistent. Although he doesn’t have a high sack total, he does pressure the QB and hurry throws. He has faced off against some of the best linemen in college football (Andrus Peat, Taylor Lewan, and Brandon Scherff).
He is very raw at the End position, playing as both a D-Lineman and a Tight End throughout college. If he wants to be a pass rusher at the pro level, he will need more consistency in getting through to the pocket. He needs a better arsenal of moves to get past pass rushers with. He is extremely raw but he has a very high upside. He has some trouble in changing direction on a dime, like effective pass rushers can do. He needs to learn how to more effectively hand fight. He stands too upright on his pass rush, which causes him to lose many battles.
Calhoun was expected to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, but decided not to. Clearly he would like to increase his production and prove he is a better defender. From a technique standpoint he improved greatly from the 2013 season to the 2014 season. The stats may not show it, but the film does. I feel he should be used as a run defender instead of an every down pass rusher. As of now, I see Calhoun being picked somewhere in the late second round. With a solid season, I can easily see him moving up to the early part of the second round.
Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming out of Baylor University is a defensive end by the name of Shawn Oakman. Oakman is an absolute freak of nature, standing at 6’9” and 280 lbs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen you read that right, 6 feet and 9 inches. Oakman is heading into his senior season and his hoping to cement himself as
Coming out of Baylor University is a defensive end by the name of Shawn Oakman. Oakman is an absolute freak of nature, standing at 6’9” and 280 lbs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen you read that right, 6 feet and 9 inches. Oakman is heading into his senior season and his hoping to cement himself as a top draft pick. Here are his stats from the 2013 season:
- 51 total tackles (38 solo, 13 assisted)
- 5 tackles for loss
- 11 total sacks
- 3 Forced Fumbles
Here is my preseason scouting report of Oakman:
Games scouted: Oklahoma (’13), SMU (’14), Buffalo (’14), Oklahoma St. (’14), and Michigan St. (‘15—Cotton Bowl)
Defensive scheme: 4-2-5
Note: The GIFs below are specific plays that caught my eye
Oakman is a 4-star recruit out of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and Penn Wood High School. He has superior size and strength compared to the other college players and is a man playing against kids almost. He is already built for the NFL. He also has great upper body strength, which he can use to knock defenders back. When he is pass rushing, he has great speed to gain the advantage on other linemen. he has the ability to drop back into pass coverage when he is asked. Oakman played on the Punt Block team for Baylor. When he realizes he is not going to get to the QB, he jumps in the air to try and block the pass. He has a “mean” factor to his game and fights on every play. He does pursue the ball carrier if the runner is within reasonable distance. He has instinctive play on where the ball is and takes good angles when pursuing.
Originally, he was at Penn State, but transferred after off the field issues in 2012. He has poor balance, which could be related to being so tall. Defenders dive to take his legs out, and he is stopped in his tracks. He has trouble changing direction, cannot stop and cross a defender’s face. Often, he goes too fast when pass rushing. He has trouble rounding the corner to get to the QB. He seems to lack some lower body mass; his calves look a little skinny. He doesn’t seem to use leverage to help win battles and, often, comes in too high on linemen, which allows them to take control of the situation. Oakman is often taken out of run plays and needs to anchor himself better. He has rather average hand usage. He often has trouble separating from linemen on run plays. He needs a better barrage of moves other than a slap-swim move. He has some tackling issues, has had many clean shots on QBs, and has missed the easy sack. He dominates the poorer competition, but struggles a little bit more with top tier teams.
The bottom line here is that Oakman is a freak of nature who has great potential in my book. He reminds me very much of Arik Armstead from Oregon who was drafted this year to San Francisco. Unlike Armstead, Oakman is much nastier and has a lot more production to show for himself. Oakman does have some things to work on, such as his run defense. He occasionally makes a good play on the run, but it is not often. Pass rushing is definitely his game and should remain his main focus, as he has no trouble getting to the QB; he just simply needs to complete the play. I saw, in multiple games, instances where he had several clean blindside hits on the quarterback, and he found a way to miss. If not for the missed tackles, he would have crazy sack numbers each year if he just simply wrapped up.
I don’t personally feel Oakman belongs in a 4-3 defense. I feel his size and athleticism would better suit him as a D-Lineman in a 3-4 defense. Typical pro 4-3 linemen are quicker and can change direction a lot faster than Oakman can, which is why I feel if he is put in a 3-4 defense he will succeed. As of now, I feel it is a safe bet for Oakman to go somewhere in the mid to late first round in next year’s draft.
Coming out of Mississippi State University is a QB who was in the Heisman race last season, but fell off at the end of the year; Redshirt Senior Dak Prescott is a very well built prospect standing at 6’2” and 230 lbs. Athletically, Prescott is the whole package, but as a QB, he leaves much to
Coming out of Mississippi State University is a QB who was in the Heisman race last season, but fell off at the end of the year; Redshirt Senior Dak Prescott is a very well built prospect standing at 6’2” and 230 lbs. Athletically, Prescott is the whole package, but as a QB, he leaves much to be desired. Here are his stats from last season:
- 3,449 passing yards
- 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions
- 986 rushing yards with a 4.7 rushing average
- 14 rushing touchdowns
Here are my preseason notes on Prescott:
Prescott placed eighth in Heisman voting last season. He throws with an over the top delivery. He keeps his feet moving in the pocket. He doesn’t really have a favorite receiver and spreads the ball around pretty evenly. Usually, he tries to go through his reads before scrambling out of the pocket. He can suck defenses in when he fakes the run, has decent arm mechanics, is usually a smart runner, and makes good decisions on where to run with the ball. He is a serious goal line threat can either run or pass. He can make the goal line fade throw or a quick slant in the end zone.
His production decreased the deeper he got into the season. He does not throw a consistently tight spiral and does not have a great deal of ball speed and power on his passes, which causes him trouble on deeper throws. He can, at times, get too much air under his passes and overthrow his receivers. Prescott needs to have a better point of release. He has average ball placement and makes a good effort to throw to where only his guys can get to it. Prescott does not do well in the face of pressure. He needs to learn how to throw the ball away and tries to do too much with his feet, which leads to sacks. He has some ball security issues. He does not have much quickness or agility when running and is more of a “run you over” guy. In several games, he threw the ball while getting hit, which led to interceptions and many close calls.
Info charted from games in 2014 (Texas A&M, UT Martin, Kentucky, Auburn)
Realistic Completion Percentage:
- Behind Line of Scrimmage to Line of Scrimmage-96% completion on 26 attempts
- Line of Scrimmage to 10 yds-59% completion on 41 attempts
- 11 yds to 25 yards-42% on 43 attempts
- 25 yds or greater-19% on 13 attempts
Completion Percentages on Man vs. Zone Coverages
- 46% Completion Percentage vs. Man Coverage
- 64% Completion Percentage vs. Zone Coverage
The bottom line is, I don’t see Prescott fitting in the NFL. Prescott reminds me way too much of Tim Tebow due to the type of offense he came out of, his better running ability than throwing ability, and his body size. I feel that Prescott is a much better runner than he is a passer, and he should consider choosing one or the other to work on. As of now, I see Prescott going in the 6th Round. I don’t see enough instinctive talent as a QB to see him lasting in the league because athletic talent will only last you so long.
Austin Morris is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached at email@example.com
Coming out of THE Ohio State University is a QB whose name has been heard by many who follow the college football scene, Braxton Miller. Miller, a 6’2”, 215 pound, Redshirt Senior is coming off of a torn labrum he suffered prior to the start of last season. Miller has made a name for himself
Coming out of THE Ohio State University is a QB whose name has been heard by many who follow the college football scene, Braxton Miller. Miller, a 6’2”, 215 pound, Redshirt Senior is coming off of a torn labrum he suffered prior to the start of last season. Miller has made a name for himself at OSU having quite a lot of production in his time at the school; here are his career stats so far:
- 5,292 passing yards
- 52 passing touchdowns and 17 interceptions
- 3,054 rushing yards and 5.5 rushing average
- 32 rushing touchdowns
Miller’s mechanics were absolutely hideous in 2011 and 2012, so he took the time prior to the 2013 season to focus on improving. The change was quite noticeable as his TD/INT ratio greatly dropped and he played more consistent football. There is no rock solid guarantee that Miller will be starting this season. Coach Urban Meyer has quite a decision to make on who he will start at the QB position. Will he start Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, or Miller? Any one of these guys could start and help OSU win another National Championship. Regardless of what the final depth chart will look like, here are some pre-season notes on Braxton Miller:
He throws a tight spiral, which is surprising considering he wears gloves on both hands during most games. The gloves are present usually during rain, snow, or colder weather. He does a good job of spreading the ball evenly to his receivers. On deeper throws, he does a nice job of stepping up in the pocket to avoid the edge rush. He does an adequate job of throwing against zone coverage. He seems to be aware of the down and distance set in front of him. He does a nice job reading the defensive end on read option plays. He usually tries to go through at least two reads before he scrambles. He is an extremely fast QB who can change directions on a dime. He has experience playing in unfavorable weather conditions. Throughout his college career, he has faced some of the best defenses in the nation.
Miller suffered a torn labrum prior to the 2014 season. He rarely throws the ball down the middle of the field and mostly throws to the right and the left sides. Miller struggles greatly when throwing against man coverage. His ball placement is absolutely atrocious; he does not allow his receivers to do much after the catch. He has a little bit of a windup on his throws that should be shortened some. He has spent most of his career in the Shotgun formation, with not much experience under center. Miller has some serious ball control issues (10 fumbles in 2013). He would rather run than throw the ball away. Miller rarely completes his deep throws.
Info from charted games (2013 vs Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, and Illinois)
Realistic Completion Percentage
- Behind Line of Scrimmage to Line of Scrimmage-82% completion rate on 31 attempts
- Line of Scrimmage to 10 yds-62% completion rate on 32 attempts
- 11 yards to 25 yards-53% completion rate on 20 attempts
- 25 yards or greater-24% completion rate on 18 attempts
Completion Percentage on Man and Zone coverages
- 48% Completion Percentage vs. 38 Man Defense Plays
- 68% Completion Percentage vs. 62 Zone Defense Plays
Overall, I feel Braxton Miller has a chance at having a Heisman like season and could possibly have one of National Championship caliber. Even with a great year, I don’t see Miller becoming a successful pro QB due to his poor ball placement and inability to throw successfully beyond the Line of Scrimmage. Also, I feel his type of play will not translate to the NFL. Prior QBs before him at Ohio State are perfect examples. Troy Smith and Terelle Pryor both were excellent quarterbacks for the Buckeyes, but their athletic talent only got them so far. NFL history also dictates that unless they are put in the right offense, run n’ gun QBs do not do well. I currently believe Miller will be drafted in the 5th Round, and it will take a great deal of improvement in the 2015 season to change my mind.
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