Jan 262016
 
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Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Philadelphia Eagles 35 – New York Giants 30

Overview

My apologies for this game review being three weeks late. But better late than never and now that we unofficially know that the Giants’ offensive, defensive, and special teams systems will remain in place in 2016, what transpired against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 3, 2016 does have more meaning.

The regular-season finale was a crappy end to one of the team’s crappiest seasons in its history. Let’s painfully – but briefly – rehash what transpired:

Will Beatty tears his pectoral muscle in May and never returns, causing a domino effect on the offensive line at tackle. Jason Pierre-Paul permanently disfigures himself on July 4th, misses half the season, and returns to play one-handed football. Giants safeties start dropping like flies before the season even starts. Victor Cruz’s “the return” never happens. Jon Beason breaks himself again. The Giants also lose Johnathan Hankins, Owa Odighizuwa, Devon Kennard, Prince Amukamara, Geoff Schwartz, Larry Donnell, and Daniel Fells for much of the season.

For the most part, the Giants play competitive football in 2015, but keep painfully losing in the final seconds due to questionable decisions, red zone ineptitude, bad defense, and untimely special teams mistakes. The Giants lost the opener in Dallas with a red zone meltdown combined with allowing Tony Romo to drive the length of the field in the final seconds. A red zone turnover against the Falcons and another defensive collapse left the Giants at 0-2. The Giants rebound with a three-game winning streak before being blown out by the Eagles. Dwayne Harris haunts his former team as the Giants defeat the Cowboys at home. Eli Manning throws six touchdown passes against the Saints but the Giants still lose.

Nevertheless, the Giants beat the Buccaneers to improve their record to 5-4. They are in first place in the terrible NFC East with seven games left to play. The 2-6 Cowboys and 4-4 Eagles are wounded and fading. The Redskins are 3-5. Even with the Patriots looming next, with Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and Odell Beckham, the Giants are the favorites to win the NFC East.

But in a far-too-common occurrence during the Tom Coughlin era, the Giants collapse in the second half of the season. They only win one of their last seven games. The Giants have the Patriots on the ropes but Beckham and Landon Collins can’t hold onto the football. With the division on the line, the Giants fail to show up in Washington. Coughlin’s eschews a late field goal against the Jets who win in overtime as Josh Brown misses a game-tying field goal. A heroic comeback against the Panthers falls short as the defense collapses late again. New York gets destroyed in the Minnesota cold.

Which brings us to Week 17. Both the Giants and Eagles are 6-9. In their last seven games, the Eagles have lost five contests and been badly beaten by the Buccaneers (45-17), Lions (45-14), and Cardinals (40-17). The Eagles are 15th in offense and 30th in defense. Chip Kelly is fired before the finale. On the other hand, it is widely speculated both inside and outside of the locker room that this will be Tom Coughlin’s last game as head coach of the Giants. There is talk about sending him out on a high note with an inspired effort against a team that has owned the Giants the last eight years.

Instead an Eagles team with nothing to play for soundly beat the Giants 35-30. Coughlin is left with one last sour memory as the Eagles have now beaten the Giants 13 times in the last 16 match-ups. Once again, bad defense and red zone inefficiency lead to defeat.

As the third Giants’ head coach to win two NFL Championships, Tom Coughlin is undeniably one of the top three coaches in franchise history. But in the end, he was done in by his inability to defeat his divisional rivals in recent years. In addition to the Eagles dominance over the Giants, the Cowboys have defeated the Giants six out of the last eight games. And although the Giants had fared much better against the Redskins, the Giants came up woefully short in both 2012 and 2015 against Washington with the division on the line.

Giants on Offense

The Giants accrued 30 points, 30 first downs, and 502 total net yards (208 rushing and 294 passing) against the Eagles. New York had 81 offensive snaps to Philadelphia’s 65. The Giants won the time of possession battle 31:54 to 28:06 and were 7-of-15 (47 percent on third down). With numbers like that, you would expect a victory. But the team’s defense was again poor. And offensively, the Giants were only 2-of-5 (40 percent) in the red zone. The biggest error of the game came late in the 3rd quarter. With the Giants up 27-21 and driving at the Eagles’ 14-yard line, Eli Manning was sacked. The ball was knocked out of his hands and returned 83 yards for a touchdown. It was at least a 10-point swing in the game, and possibly a 14- or 15-point swing.

After punting on their opening possession, the Giants scored on each of their four remaining drives of the first half with two field goals and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, the first field goal drive stalled after the Giants faced a 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. The second stalled after facing a 2nd-and-5 from the Eagles’ 7-yard line. The second half was not as kind as the Giants scored twice (touchdown and field goal), punted twice, had the fumble returned for a touchdown, and ended the game with a turnover on downs. There was one head-scratching call (or audible) on 3rd-and-10 in the 3rd quarter when a draw play was called.

Quarterback

Eli Manning had a solid day, completing 24-of-43 passes (56 percent) for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His fumble that was returned for a touchdown was probably the difference in the game but that play was more on Ereck Flowers than him. Manning did miss a wide open Myles White in the end zone on the second drive that ended with a field goal. He also missed a wide open Odell Beckham in the 4th quarter on an errant throw and threw into double coverage a few plays later on a deep pass intended for Randle.

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and Shane Vereen had the type of day that the Giants dreamed they would have on a regular basis in 2015. Jennings carried the ball 27 times for an inspiring 170 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Williams chipped in with 26 yards on five carries (5.2 yards per carry) and Vereen 12 yards on four carries (3.0 yards per carry). Vereen also caught 6-of-8 passes thrown in his direction for 72 yards (12.0 yard average). He was a big factor on the team’s second TD drive when he ran for four yards on 3rd-and-2 and then caught three passes for 41 yards on three consecutive plays. But obviously the story was Jennings who ran with toughness and purpose. Remarkably, half his 863 yards on the season came in the last four games.

Wide Receivers

Aside from one big touchdown play to Rueben Randle, the wide receivers were surprisingly quiet against a secondary that they should have destroyed. One game after his NFL suspension, Odell Beckham was held to 5-of-7 passes thrown in his direction for just 54 yards. He was also flagged with a false start. Randle caught a 45-yard touchdown pass but was held to three receptions on his other six targets for just 34 yards. He lazily couldn’t come down with a 3rd-and-7 pass on the opening drive. Hakeem Nicks caught just 2-of-4 targets for 24 yards and Myles White did not have a catch despite three passes thrown in his direction. Nicks had a chance to be a hero late in the game but dropped a deep pass from Manning on the last desperate drive.

Tight Ends

Will Tye finished his surprising year on a strong note with five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Tye’s run blocking is noticeably improving as well, though he did miss one block that led to a 2-yard loss.

Offensive Line

From left to right, the offensive line was Ereck Flowers, Dallas Reynolds, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, and Justin Pugh. Adam Gettis also saw some time at left guard. The good news was the 208 yards rushing. And the line looked sharp on a number of pulling efforts, especially by Pugh and Reynolds. Richburg also stood out with his effort to make an initial block, then come off his man and engage a second defender. The bad news was that pass protection was shaky at times. Eli Manning was only officially hit four times, but two of those were sacks. The line had pass protection issues on the first drive as Flowers and Reynolds gave up back-to-back pass pressures. Then Jerry was flagged for holding on a play where Manning was pressured. Early in the 2nd quarter, on 3rd-and-7, Flowers gave up the first sack when he was beat by an outside rush and Reynolds blocked his man into Flowers. Of course, the decisive play of the game was the gimpy Flowers being beat for a sack-forced fumble that resulted in at least a 10-point swing. The line did a poor job of protecting Manning on the last desperate drive as both tackles and Reynolds gave up pressure.

Giants on Defense

The NFL’s 32nd-ranked defense played terribly. The Eagles scored three offensive touchdowns on their five first-half possessions as they easily drove 80 yards in five plays, 85 yards in six plays, and 80 yards in 16 plays. While the Giants did force two punts and caused a fumble in the second half, the defense also allowed a 13-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that for all intents and purposes put the game away. The Giants made the inconsistent Sam Bradford look like an all-star as he completed 30-of-38 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz caught all nine passes thrown in his direction for an astounding 152 yards receiving (16.9 yards per catch). Wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught two touchdown passes. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles carried the ball 15 times for 93 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

Most damning of all? The Giants’ “defense” (and I use that term loosely) allowed the Eagles to convert 10-of-13 third down opportunities, a 77 percent success rate that was the highest by a Giants’ opponent since 1970.

What’s worrisome moving forward is how uninspired and confused Steve Spagnuolo’s defenders looked. Are there talent issues? You bet. But the players on the field didn’t appear to play with much effort and there were too many easy plays for the Eagles simply because defenders were out of position. For example, there was one 3rd-and-1 play where the Eagles had two wideouts split to the left with only one defensive back in the picture. It was an easy uncontested pitch-and-catch for a first down. The defense also came up small again at the end of a game, allowing the Eagles to pick up two first downs, 37 yards, and run almost three minutes off of the clock after the Giants had cut the score to 35-30 with 4:30 left to play.

Defensive Line

The starters up front were Jason Pierre-Paul at left end, Cullen Jenkins at left tackle, Jay Bromley at right tackle, and Robert Ayers at right end. Ayers played a strong game with 7 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for a loss, and 2 quarterback hits. Sadly, no other Giant officially hit Sam Bradford. Pierre-Paul had six tackles and two pass defenses, Bromley five tackles, and Jenkins three tackles. As reserves, George Selvie chipped in with two tackles and a fumble recovery. He was flagged with a neutral zone infraction. Montori Hughes had two tackles and one tackle for a loss, but was easily blocked on Murray’s 54-yard TD run. Hughes did flash on a few occasions with his hustle in run defense. Pierre-Paul was successfully blocked on Darren Sproles’ 6-yard touchdown run as Sproles ran around him. JPP did bat a pass up into the air that was intercepted by Jonathan Casillas, setting up the Giants’ first touchdown drive on a short field. Jenkins was easily blocked on a 3rd-and-5 draw play that picked up a first down on the Eagles’ third touchdown drive of the first half.

Linebackers

The Giants started in the nickel with Jasper Brinkley and Jonathan Casillas starting at linebacker. Brinkley finished the game with 9 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. Casillas had 7 tackles and 1 interception. Others spotted in the game included Mark Herzlich (1 tackle) and Nico Johnson (0 tackles). The Giants linebackers looked slow, unathletic, and lethargic in coverage. The Eagles’ game plan was obvious and successful. Alternate throws to the middle of the field with short passes to the outside perimeter. Force the linebackers and safeties to run to the ball and make plays. Let this one astounding fact sink in: Bradford was 21-of-23 for 243 yards throwing to the tight ends and running backs!!!

Casillas was slow to react to receivers out of the backfield and to fill the gap on Murray’s 54-yard touchdown run. Johnson got faked on a misdirection boot to his side. Later, Zack Ertz (who caught all nine passes in his direction for 152 yards) was left all alone on a 60-yard gain. Casillas did not run with Ertz and there seemed to be confusion between defensive backs Landon Collins and Prince Amukamara on the play when the tight ends crossed. Brinkley couldn’t stay with Ertz on a 19-yard completion on 2nd-and-11 down to the Giants’ 3-yard line. Brinkley did make a number of nice plays in the 3rd quarter, including the forced fumble, an aggressive tackle in the hole against the RB, and then a sure tackle after a short pass. Casillas was beat by TE Brent Celek for 24 yards on 3rd-and-5 on the Eagles’ last touchdown drive. Both Casillas and Brinkley looked awful in coverage on this drive, including Brinkley embarrassingly whiffing on an open-field tackle attempt that set up the Eagles at the Giants’ 3-yard line.

Defensive Backs

The Giants started the game with Landon Collins and the recently re-signed and gimpy Brandon Meriweather at safety, Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie outside at cornerback, and Trevin Wade playing nickel corner. Trumaine McBride was forced to play safety after Meriweather injured his knee. The only defensive back with a pass breakup was Wade with just one.

The safeties were just dreadful in coverage as indicated by the receiving productivity of the tight ends. In addition, Meriweather was caught flat-footed on Murray’s 54-yard TD run. He also made a pathetic, flailing effort to tackle Ertz on his 60-yard catch-and-run. Collins looked lost out there at times. He got blocked and couldn’t make a play on Sproles’ 6-yard TD run. He later badly missed a tackle on Ertz too. On the Eagles’ third touchdown drive, on 3rd-and-10, Collins was cleanly picked off of Ertz, resulting in an easy first down. Collins was beat again by Ertz for 21 yards in the 3rd quarter. He gave up two more catches to Ertz late in the 4th quarter when the Eagles were running out the clock.

Wade got beat deep on 3rd-and-3 by Jordan Matthews who thankfully dropped a perfect pass, leading to the Eagles only punt of the first half. Only two Eagles’ wide receivers caught passes and only one caught more than two passes. The wideouts were limited to a combined 11 catches for 77 yards. But Matthews caught two touchdowns. One of those was also against Wade, who struggled at times with Matthews out of the slot. He did knock away one pass intended for Matthews on one of the Giants only three third down stops. Jayron Hosley was beaten easily by Matthews for his second touchdown on 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara were never really tested.

Giants on Special Teams

Josh Brown finished a strong season 3-of-3 on his field goal kicks, including a 48 yarder. Five of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. The other two kickoff returns went for only 24 yards combined. Brad Wing punted three times with all three punts downed inside the 20-yard line, including at the 2-, 3- and 9-yard lines. None were returned. All six Eagles kickoffs resulted in touchbacks with no returns. The only punt returned was by Odell Beckham for five yards.

(Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, January 3, 2016)
Jan 112016
 
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A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (December 31, 2015)

A’Shawn Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 11, 2016 National Championship

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

ALABAMA

*#2 RB Derrick Henry – 6’3/242

Third year junior. Heisman winner. Old school bruiser that would have been a top 10 pick a decade ago. Henry isn’t the most exciting guy to watch but he’s effective. He wears a defense down. Always pushing the pile, always delivering blows to defenders. He needs space though. If he can’t get to the open field, he isn’t as effective. He doesn’t elude defenders, he won’t miss contact in short spaces. I don’t like how upright he is and long limbed he is, it just screams injury because defenders will be diving at his knees from day one.

*#88 TE OJ Howard – 6’6/242

Hasn’t declared yet, many expect him to. Some think he is the top TE prospect in then nation. I don’t see it. He is very tools rich and could develop in to a matchup problem at the next level. He is a sub par blocker though and I don’t see anything special about his speed or quickness. Maybe he just doesn’t get the looks because of the scheme. I don’t know. Some say he is a 2nd rounder, I think more like 4th/5th.

#70 C Ryan Kelly – 6’5/297

Fifth year senior. Team leader. Three year starter. Very good interior blocker that has the size and strength to stone defensive tackles. Active feet and good flexibility. He can be a day one starter in the NFL. High upside center that I have a 2nd round grade on.

#17 RB Kenyan Drake – 6’1/210

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team. The injury woes may bump him down to round 5 or 6.

#76 RT Dominick Jackson – 6’6/315

Transferred from JUCO in 2014. Didn’t start until this year. Big physical guy that has interesting tools. Long and stout. Good feet in space as a run blocker. He can drive guys back consistently. Struggles against speed to the outside. Has the ability to play inside in the NFL I think. Day three guy.

*#86 DT A’Shawn Robinson – 6’4/312

Third year junior that has been dominating from day one. All American DT. Plays DE and NT in their multi front scheme. He is a major matchup problem for any lone blocker. He can beat you in several ways. He doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but that isn’t his game. You have to watch him to appreciate it. He demands a lot of attention. He doesn’t get pushed back. He shows a lot of range in pursuit, just a crazy good athlete. 1st rounder, maybe a top 10 guy.

#90 DT Jarran Reed – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior, JUCO transfer. Early in the year I said Reed was a better player than Robinson. I’m not sure I still believe that but Reed makes up for less natural talent with a relentless, overly aggressive style. This guy can help change a culture of a defense. All out kind of guy all the time. He makes a ton of tackles from the DT position. Shows tremendous hand power, always delivering a violent blow to blockers. I like Reed a lot, maybe as a top 20 guy.

*#4 FS Eddie Jackson – 6’0/194

Third year junior. Haven’t heard much about his decision to stay or go but I think 2015 proved he is one of the top safeties in the nation, if not the best. All American. Made the move to FS from CB and he has 6 INTs with an amazing 230 return yards and 2 TDs. He is a game changer. Very rangy. Very fast. Won’t shy from contact and makes a lot of difficult tackles. Everything I want in a safety, Jackson has and I think the best has yet to come. I may have a 1st round grade on him if he comes out.

#19 LB Reggie Ragland – 6’2/252

Fourth year senior. This school just continues to pump out NFL caliber inside linebackers. Ragland is the next one. He’s not the athlete that CJ Mosley was a couple years back but he is just as good of a run defender. He can own the inside running game. Great tackler. Takes on blocks. I think he has a lack of range to the outside though and he may be a two down guy only or a 3-4 only guy. Still valuable but not to every scheme. Day 2 pick.

*#93 DL Jonathan Allen – 6’3/283

Third year junior. Pass rush specialist that may have played his way in to a 2nd round selection this year. Led the team with 10.5 sacks. He’s not on the field for a large percentage of plays and in college, that bothers me a little. I need to see more of him defending the run, playing more assignment based football. Some are saying he has 1st round potential but I’ll probably have him as a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#5 CB Cyrus Jones – 5’10/196

Fourth year senior. Jones could be drafted in the top 100 overall based on his return ability alone. He is the best in the country. Very shifty and fast. Great vision. Could potentially see a move to WR down the road a la Devin Hester. As a CB, Jones has struggled with consistency. He doesn’t stick to WRs in man coverage the way you would think he can based on his workouts. I don’t see the natural feel for coverage, which is essential for the position. Not sure where to peg him. Probably a 3rd or 4th rounder.

Other Notables:

#14 QB Jake Coker – 6’5/234
#16 WR Richard Mullaney – 6’3/208
#30 LB Denzel Devall – 6’2/252
#25 LB Dillon Lee – 6’4/242
#24 S Geno Matias-Smith – 6’0/194

CLEMSON

*#10 MLB Ben Boulware – 6’0/235

Third year junior. Hasn’t declared yet and I am split on whether or not he will. If he comes out, he will likely be my top LB in this class. I may even have a top 15 overall grade on him. Boulware is always around the ball, run or pass. Very instinctive and quick to the action. Low center of gravity and appears slippery to blockers. He is fast and powerful. Very good tackler that delivers a violent pop to ball carriers. Emotional leader of this team and is always on fire. Boulware is a 10 year starter in the NFL.

*#2 CB Mackenzie Alexander – 5’11/190

Third year sophomore. Broke on to the scene in 2014 with a Freshman All American season. I’ve been watching him all year and he has the goods from a physical perspective. Length, strength, speed, quickness, agility….it’s all there. Alexander is a fighter, constantly mixing it up with the opponent. If I had to nitpick, I’d say he struggles to maintain his physical ability when the ball is in there air. He loses balance and traction and has a tendency to get very grabby downfield. All in all he has the talent to be a star but there are several mechanical components to his game that need to be worked on. If he comes out he can be a top 15 guy.

*#90 DE Shaq Lawson – 6’3/275

Third year junior. Hasn’t announced a decision yet. Lawson wasn’t much of a factor until this year, playing behind Vic Beasley for his first two years. He really broke out this year and put himself in to 1st round territory. Lawson leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. He is a complete defensive end that excels against both the run and pass. I can’t quite make up my mind on him. He’s good, but is he top 10 good? He lacks a couple of ideal physical traits but he has a technique-savvy player with a relentless motor. That is usually a nice combination when scouting a guy with such good production. I’ll spend more time on him in the coming months but he has a legit shot at being my #1 DE. I don’t see a major difference between him and Bosa.

*#98 DE Kevin Dodd – 6’5/278

Fourth year junior. Missed 2013 with injury. Dodd doesn’t get the attention that Lawson does but some people will have a higher grade on him. He has an NFL-ready body. A true 4-3 DE here that could start early in his career. He hasn’t seen the attention from opposing OLs that Lawson has, but I don’t want to use that against him too much. Power defender that shows proper mechanics across the board. Could be another 1st rounder.

#44 LB BJ Goodson – 6’1/250

Fifth year senior. Probably won’t get the attention that Boulware does but this guy is a player. Very physical, mean linebacker. A perfect fit for what we used to see in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Might not be the elite athlete that some are looking for but some LBs have a way of using sneaky speed and that’s Goodson for you. He can change a run defense from day one.

*#1 FS Jayron Kearse – 6’4/210

This year junior with some nice bloodlines. Nephew of former DE Jevon Kearse, cousin to former CB Philip Buchanon. Very experienced. Solid triangle numbers. Some love this kid but I think he is too long for his own good. Takes a long time to react and change direction. Misses too many tackles for a safety. He just isn’t comfortable or fluid as a mover. I think he is a late rounder if he comes out, others will say top 100.

Other Notables:

#19 WR Charone Peake – 6’3/215
#78 LG Eric Mac Lain – 6’4/305
#74 RT Joe Gore – 6’5/290

Jan 042016
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In January 2004, the New York Giants appeared to be a broken franchise. The team that had come tantalizing close to an NFL title in 2000 had once again begun to slip into mediocrity. It had been 13 years and three head coaches since the team’s sixth NFL title in 1990. And after a horrific 4-12 season in 2003, the Giants appeared far from ending their championship drought. The Giants had only made the playoffs four times since Bill Parcells quit and yet another coach had just been let go.

On January 6, 2004, Tom Coughlin became the 16th head coach of the New York Football Giants. After he was introduced by then-General Manager Ernie Accorsi at his introductory press conference on January 7, Coughlin addressed the media.

“What we must be all about right now, immediately, is the restoration of pride; self pride, team pride, the restoration of our professionalism and the dignity of which we conduct our business,” said Coughin. “We must restore our belief in the process by which we will win. We must replace despair with hope and return the energy and the passion to New York Giant football.”

“My job is to convince these young men that with the parity that exists in this league today, the difference is in the preparation and that our formula will earn us the right to win,” said Coughlin, prophetically using the very words that would become the title of his book nine years later.

The rebuilding process began in 2004 with the draft-day mega-trade for quarterback Eli Manning and the selection of Coughlin’s eventual son-in-law, guard Chris Snee, in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. In free agency, the Giants added quarterback Kurt Warner, center Shaun O’Hara, and defensive tackle Fred Robbins. New York started the season 5-2, but after falling to 5-4, Coughlin decided to bench Warner and begin the Eli Manning era. Manning only won one game that season, the finale against the Cowboys, as the Giants finished the year 6-10.

More pieces arrived in 2005. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress, right tackle Kareem McKenzie, and linebacker Antonio Pierce were signed in free agency. Cornerback Corey Webster, defensive end Justin Tuck, and running back Brandon Jacobs were drafted. Both co-owners, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, passed away from cancer within three weeks of each other during the season. The Giants surprised everyone by finishing 11-5 and winning the NFC East before being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs 23-0 by the Carolina Panthers.

In 2006, the Giants added cornerbacks Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters in free agency and drafted defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka and defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Despite a second straight playoff appearance, the 2006 season was a disappointment. After starting 6-2, the Giants lost six of their last eight games and finished 8-8. They were one-and-done again in the playoffs, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-20. In just his third season, Coughlin was already on the hot seat and many wanted him gone. He was forced fire both his offensive (John Hufnagel) and defensive (Tim Lewis) coordinators. Mike Sweatman, the special teams coordinator, also retired.

The 2007 New York Giants ended up being one of the most remarkable teams in all of sports history. Coughlin softened his approach and listened more to his players. New additions included kicker Lawrence Tynes, linebacker Kawika Mitchell, cornerback Aaron Ross, wide receiver Steve Smith, tight end Kevin Boss, and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. With a completely new set of coordinators on offense (Kevin Gilbride), defense (Steve Spagnuolo), and special teams (Tom Quinn), the team lost its first two games, won six straight, and looked very shaky down the stretch, playing .500 football in the last eight games, and barely making the playoffs for the third year in a row. Nobody – and I do mean nobody – gave the 10-6, #5 seed Wild Card Giants a shot at winning three straight road playoff games. Up until that point, in their entire history since 1925, the New York Giants had only cumulatively won three post-season away games. The “road warrior” Giants went on to double that total by defeating the #4 seed Buccaneers, #1 seed Cowboys, and #2 seed Packers before shocking the sports world by beating the AFC’s #1 seed, the “best team of all time” 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. In a matter of a few games, Eli Manning developed into a true franchise quarterback. Coughlin became the fifth head coach in team history to win an NFL Championship, New York’s seventh overall.

Coughlin’s best regular season with the Giants came in 2008 as the team went an NFC best 12-4 and won the NFC East. However, the Plaxico Burress shooting incident and mounting injuries derailed a team that had beaten both eventual Super Bowl participants, and the Giants were one-and-done in the playoffs against the Eagles again. The Giants missed the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 with 8-8 and 10-6 records and Tom Coughlin was once again on the proverbial hot seat. Spagnuolo departed and was replaced first by Bill Sheridan and then Perry Fewell. New additions during these three years included wide receivers Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham; tight end Jake Ballard; defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, and Linval Joseph; linebacker Michael Boley; and safeties Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle, and Deon Grant.

In 2011 came miracle season #2, so eerily reminiscent of the storybook 2007 campaign. Center David Baas and punter Steve Weatherford arrived in free agency. Foreshadowing future personnel problems, that year’s draft didn’t provide much help. Like 2007, the Giants started off 6-2, but struggled in the second half of the season. The Giants lost four games in a row and looked dead until saving their season by defeating the Jets and sweeping the Cowboys to win the NFC East. The Giants were terrible running the football (32nd in the NFL) and on defense (27th in the NFL), but the passing game led by Manning, Cruz, and Nicks carried the team to a 9-7 record, with six 4th-quarter comebacks. The #4 seed Giants then proceeded to beat the #5 seed Falcons, #1 seed Packers, and #2 seed 49ers, before dispatching the #1 seed Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick for the second time in four years in Super Bowl XLVI. Coughlin became the third Giants coach to win multiple championships and the 13th NFL coach in history to win multiple Super Bowls.

The 2012-2015 seasons were not kind to Coughlin as his team missed the playoffs each of his final four years in New York with 9-7, 7-9, 6-10, and 6-10 records. Poor drafting and numerous career-impacting injuries hollowed out the roster. Blowouts and heart-breaking 4th-quarter defeats mounted. Offensive and defensive coordinators were let go and many position coaches were fired with no improvement to the overall record. Approaching the ripe old age of 70, ownership decided to make a change.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants,” said Coughlin on the day he stepped down. “Obviously, the past three years have not been what any of us expect, and as head coach, I accept the responsibility for those seasons. I think it has been evident these last 12 years here how much pride I take in representing this franchise. I am gratified and proud that we were able to deliver two more Lombardi trophies to the display case in our lobby during that time.”

Alongside Steve Owen and Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin is indisputably one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the New York Giants. Coughlin coached the Giants to a 102-90 regular season record and 8-3 post-season record. He had more wins in franchise history than any coach except for Owen, and tied Parcells for the most post-season wins in team history. In 12 seasons, Coughlin guided his team to five playoff berths, three division championships, two NFC Championships, and two NFL Championships. One-quarter of the team’s eight titles came under his helm.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (February 2008)

Mission Accomplished

There was never a hidden agenda with Tom. His only goal was to make the New York Giants a winner. And with two of the most stunning playoff runs in sports history, Coughlin accomplished that objective. He was tough on his players, but in the end, they loved him for it.

“Thank you Tom Coughlin for demanding the very best from myself (and my) teammates every single day,” said offensive lineman David Diehl, who played for Coughlin from 2004-13. “Respect is not given, it’s earned.”

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life and career to be led by Tom Coughlin; my life will forever be changed,” said current place kicker Josh Brown.

If someone would have predicted in January 2004 that Tom Coughlin would win two Super Bowls in the next 12 years with the Giants, any fan of the team would have signed up for that deal in a heartbeat. Mission accomplished Coach Coughlin. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Jan 022016
 
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Tyler Johnstone, Oregon Ducks (October 3, 2015)

Tyler Johnstone – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 2, 2016 Bowl Games (Late Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

OREGON

#64 LT Tyler Johnstone – 6’6/295

38 career starts. One of the best athletes you’ll find along the OL this year. Undersized and will need bulk if he wants to stick. Great footwork. Aggressive and loves to get physical despite not being a heavy guy. Some say a Joe Staley kind of guy. Could be a 1st rounder.

*#11 WR Bralon Addison – 5’10/190

Hasn’t declared yet. Missed 2014 after suffering an injury in spring. He looked like a big time player in 2013. Been playing OK in 2015 but inconsistent QB play has hurt him. Very good out of the slot. Gets open with ease and dynamic after the catch. Could be a 3rd/4th rounder.

#44 DE DeForest Bruckner – 6’7/300

One of the top DL in this class. Has a shot at being top 10. He bounces inside and out, big time matchup problem. Really big, really physical. 39 TFL and 13.5 sacks over past two years. Elite run defender that blockers can’t attach to in pass protection. He is the real deal and complete package. 1st rounder for sure.

#35 LB Joe Walker – 6’2/240

Need to see more of him. Has three down ability. Will tackle well in space and run with tight ends up the seam, also a very good inside run defender that can get off blocks. Middle rounder.

#33 LB Tyson Coleman – 6’1/233

Speed linebacker that loves to play the pursuit game. Has range but also plays with some power to him. Limited in traffic and isn’t good in coverage. 5th/6th rounder.

#56 DT Alex Balducci – 6’4/310

Haven’t watched him much. He carries the weight comfortably and he gets out of his stance fast. Not great after engaged but he plays hard and through he whistle. He’ll make plays 30 yards downfield. I want to see him a few more times.

#48 LB Rodney Hardrick – 6’1/250

Thick bodied, powerful bull type. Very good instincts and reactions. Limited athlete in space that won’t wow anyone. May need to be in a 3-4 scheme if he’s gonna stick.

Other Notables:

#62 LG Matt Pierson – 6’6/290
#72 C Matt Hegarty – 6’4/295
#3 QB Vernon Adams – 5’11/202

TCU

#7 WR Kolby Listenbee – 6’1/183

Big play guy. Averaging over 20 yards per catch over past two seasons. Might get more looks with Doctson out. He looks like a track athlete stillt trying to figure the game out. Project WR but with elite speed.

#74 LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai – 6’6/315

Three year starter. Not a fluid mover but he’s a tough guy to get around. Big time wingspan and hand power. He got away with a lot of holding in games I saw. He’s a little sloppy but I think he can stick somewhere as a backup caliber OT. Maybe eventual starter. Day three guy.

#22 RB Aaron Green – 5’11/206

Has been very solid over past two years. Over 6 yards per carry 2014/2015 combined. Part of a committee approach. Benefits from their spaced out offense. Solid all around but doesn’t stand out. Wasn’t used as a blocker or receiver as much as I want. Late rounder if he runs well in workouts.

#26 S Derek Kindred – 5’10/210

Undersized but good tackler, very physical. Fills the lanes hard. Good in zone coverage, anticipates well but is tight hipped. Late rounder best case.

Other Notables:

#55 C Joey Hunt – 6’3/295
#90 LB Terrell Lathan – 6’5/280

********************************************

WEST VIRGINIA

*#4 RB Wendell Smallwood – 5’11/201

Hasn’t declared yet but he submitted paperwork and he had a big year. I haven’t scouted him yet. I’m excited to because he has some really good movement ability. Very quick and fast, waterbug type. Little undersized but he has the frame for more weight.

#35 LB Nick Kwiatkoski – 6’2/235

Three year starter, has been the team’s leading tackler all three years. Need more looks at him but from what I’ve seen he can be a mid round prospect that starts early in his career. Smart and aware, reads the action, right place right time type.

#9 S KJ Dillon – 6’1/203

In the box safety that can be a force in the right role and scheme. Very good tackle and enforcer. Struggles to stick with WRs in space but he can make plays in coverage. Just can’t handle too much responsibility.

#36 LB Shaq Petteway – 6’0/230

Athletic in short space. Has a lot going against him but I like him from the little I have seen. He is a great tackler. Good blitzer that can feel the action. Late rounder.

Other Notables:

#78 LT Marquis Lucas – 6’4/318
#42 Jared Barber – 6’0/232

ARIZONA STATE

#55 LG Christian Westermann – 6’4/300

Fifth year senior, started off at Auburn. Widely know for his freakish weight room strength. He moves like a weightlifter. Stiff and slow to react to players. He is a good bender and wins off the snap initially often, but needs work on what happens after. I see a mid rounder, others think top 45.

#15 WR Devin Lucien – 6’2/195

Finally got his opportunity in 2015 and he shined. He made a ton of plays downfield. Really competes for the ball and showed some nice ball skills. He could be a big time value grab if he falls to day 3.

#8 WR DJ Foster – 6’0/195

Jack of all trades guy. He’s been a hybrid WR/RB his entire career. Fought some nagging injuries in 2015. I think he projects best to the slot in the NFL but he will need to refine his route running. Some people really like this guy. I think he is a mid rounder.

#2 QB Mike Bercovici – 6’2/210

He’s in that third or fourth tier of QBs but I think he is draftable. Nice arm and he had a lot of responsibilities in this offense. Throws a tight ball, puts the ball on the money downfield. Late rounder.

#81 WR Gary Chambers – 6’4/215

A deep sleeper of mine. Only saw him once and it was against Oregon, probably his best game in his 2 years at ASU. I see tools in this kid. Ball skills, long strides, physical. May lack some speed but this is the kind of kid I want to see at East/West Shrine or in private workouts. I think there is something here that ASU never got out of him.

#8 CB Lloyd Carrington – 6’0/195

Nice body for a a CB. Strong and long presence. Can run downfield with speed. QBs don’t look his way often, he can lock guys up. 2nd or 3rd rounder.

#32 OLB Antonio Longino – 6’2./230

Huge senior season. Plays a position that let shim roam and blitz all day. 19 TFL and 10 sacks is still noteworthy. Hustler that will pursue hard. Bends will and can punch the blocker hard. Fun player to watch. Still a day 3 guy.

Other Notables:

#73 RG VI Teofilo – 6’3/315
#50 C Nick Kelly – 6’2/296
#94 DT Demetrius Cherry – 6’6/300
#10 S Kwelshi Brown – 6’0/210

Jan 022016
 
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Cody Whitehair, Kansas State Wildcats (September 18, 2014)

Cody Whitehair – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 2, 2016 Bowl Games (Early Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

PENN STATE

*#14 QB Christian Hackenburg – 6’2/228

Fourth year junior. Has always been a high ceiling kid but he’s been as inconsistent as it gets. Has had a rough situation with the poor OL. Would love to see him go back to school, he needs more time. If he comes out maybe a day 2 pick but I don’t see it. Too many negatives.

*99 DT Austin Johnson – 6’3/323

Hasn’t declared yet. Solid space eater inside with the quicks and strong punch. Has the upside of a starter. He seems stiff to me after engagement. Might be a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#98 DT Anthony Zettel – 6’3/288

Active and and quick off the snap. Plays low and strong. Annoying guy to block but I think his upside is limited. Wasn’t much of a factor in 2015. 3rd or 4th rounder.

#95 DE Carl Nassib – 6’7/272

Broke out in 2015. Had 15.5 sacks after just 2 in his career prior to. Lacks quick twitch. Won’t beat guys off the snap but does well after engagement. Another limited upside guy. 3rd or 4th round best case.

Other Notables:

#10 CB Trevor Williams – 6’1/200

GEORGIA

#26 WR Malcolm Mitchell – 6’1/195

Team leader type. Has seen time at WR and CB. He has the tools for both in the NFL. Tough kid with good ball skills but isn’t a great athlete. Day three pick.

#71 RT Jon Theus – 6’6/303

Started off as a Freshman All American in 2012. Hasn’t lived up to the hype since. Struggles with speed and quickness. Has a long frame though but needs time to develop physically. He’s sloppy. Late rounder.

#59 OLB Jordan Jenkins – 6’2/246

Not a big time athlete but he is a guy that controls the point of attack and adds a physical element to the defense. Tough as nails. Strong and powerful. Very reliable player assignment wise. He can start day one in the NFL. 2nd rounder.

*#84 OLB Leonard Floyd – 6’4/231

Hasn’t declared yet. Some will love this kid and put a 1st round grade on him. Typical explosive edge athlete that needs bulk. Can run with WRs. Has length. Easy bender, very agile. Athletic upside is as good as it gets but he gets moved by blockers too easily. Could be a top 45 guy on my board but right now he is a 3rd rounder.

Other Notables:

#4 RB Keith Marshall – 5’11/212
#51 LB Jake Ganus – 6’2/227
#93 DT Chris Mayes – 6’4/323
#58 DT Sterling Bailey – 6’3/282

*************************************************

KANSAS STATE

#55 LT Cody Whitehair – 6’4/309

Has played all over the OL. He projects to OG in the NFL and he may finish as my top guy at that spot. I like him a lot. Incredibly strong and powerful from head to toe. He can bend guys backward. Very good athlete off the edge. Has an easy time with speed and quickness. Won’t lose the strength game. 1st round possibly.

#33 CB Morgan Burns – 5’11/202

Could be drafted on his return ability alone. Fastest guy on team, some say 4.35 guy. Returned 4 kickoffs for TDs in 2015 alone which is amazing. As a CB alone he could be a 4th or 5th rounder. Combine the two and he could sneak in to day 2. High upside pick.

Other Notables:

#77 LG Boston Stiverson – 6’4/316
#68 RG Luke Hayes – 6’6/295
#65 RT Matt Kleinsorge – 6’5/310
#48 DT Travis Britz – 6’4/293
#45 DE Marquel Bryant – 6’3/254

ARKANSAS

*#84 TE Hunter Henry – 6’5/253

Hasn’t declared yet. My favorite prospect of the day. He’ll be my top tight end if he comes out. He is the prototype. Has the athletic ability to move outside and create mismatches. Has the size and strength to start with his hand in the dirt and block. He can be a starter right away, a good one at that. Does it all and could be a premier TE in this league.

*#3 RB Alex Collins – 5’11/215

Hasn’t declared yet. May finish as my top overall RB in this class. Love his running style. Very good vision, very decisive. He breaks tackles almost every time he has the ball. NFL caliber footwork and hip agility. Changes direction, fast in the open field. Team player. Great blocker.

*#55 LT Denver Kirkland – 6’5/340

Hasn’t declared. Moved to LT this year but I think he makes a move back inside in the NFL. Maybe a RT. Huge frame but not a good bender and he has heavy feet. Size helps but doesn’t solve his movement issues. I think he needs another year, right now I see a 4th rounder.

#73 LG Sebastian Tretola – 6’5/334

Has bounced around over past 5 years. Good run blocker. Little sloppy and lacks great lateral movement but he gets the job done often. May need time to develop physically and get in better shape, clean up some stuff but has solid backup potential. Day three guy.

#10 QB Brandon Allen – 6’2/210

Played his way in to serious draft consideration this year. I saw him plenty and while he lacks ideal triangle numbers and arm strength, he put out some of the mosrt gutsy performances I saw all year. Tough as nails. Accurate and decisive. He impressed me on a lot of occasions. Still a late round, backup type player.

Other Notables:

#93 DT DeMarcus Hodge – 6’1/340
#26 SS Rohan Gaines – 5’11/195

Dec 312015
 
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Jalen Ramsey, Florida State Seminoles (November 28, 2015)

Jalen Ramsey – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 31, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

HOUSTON

#3 CB William Jackson – 6’2/195

Fourth year senior, started off at a Community College for a year. He started showing signs of being a lockdown corner towards the end of 2014. Kind of a late bloomer, took him awhile to improve his body awareness and coordination. Still has a lot of room for growth. He can turn and run with anyone. Long strider with long arms, that’s nice to have against deep passing games. He isn’t very physical though and his ability as a press corner isn’t good. Upside prospect here that will need time to develop. 4th or 5th rounder.

#44 LB Elandon Roberts – 6’0/230

Fourth year senior that played a year at Morgan State. Pretty much a non factor until 2015. I’ve seen the Houston defense three times and Roberts is one of my top sleepers in the draft. This kid is a tackling machine. He can fill different roles. Fast and powerful with good body control. Violent intentions. He is a great mover in coverage, has the wiggle in his hips and tremendous balance. Roberts is undersized and may not be the fastest straight line athlete but what I look for in linebackers, Roberts has it all. Might be an ideal fit for the 4-3 WLB role.

#23 S Trevon Stewart – 5’9/195

One of the most productive careers you’ll find. Career started off with a bang as a freshman where he led all newcomers in the nation with 126 tackles. Showed the same ability in 2013 but also picked off four passes. Some started discussing him as a next Earl Thomas type. Not so fast there. Stewart is aggressive and feisty, yes. But he doesn’t have that kind of speed of reaction in coverage. Stewart’s lack of size is a major liability. He isn’t a guy to trust in deep coverage. Very grabby. He didn’t really take off to another level at any point. Late rounder at best that could be a great special teamer.

FLORIDA STATE

*#8 CB Jalen Ramsey – 6’1/201

Many expect him to come out. He’s likely a top 5 pick if he does. Widely considered the top defensive back in this class. He is also a track athlete. Ramsey can do several things on the field that make you say wow. I think he is better suited for safety however. He is a great tackler that wraps up and can deliver a blow. He has a nice feel for the game. With that said, as strictly a corner he is sloppy. Poor technique and lazy efforts at times. He knows he is talented and he cuts corners because of it. He can be beat by a good route runner with ease. If I draft him, I am letting him roam the field as a FS. He can be a star there.

*#44 DT DeMarcus Walker – 6’3/281

Junior that hasn’t come out. Had a huge 2015 season and many think he’ll enter the draft. Walker is a DT/DE hybrid. They move him around a lot to exploit matchups. He is too quick and elusive for interior guys, but too strong and powerful for the tackles. He would fit in nice with the hybrid NFL schemes. Very versatile kid that has a knack for finding the action. It can be hard to find DL that get in on the action so often. Walker is that kind of guy. If he comes out he is likely a top 45 guy.

#5 LB Reggie Northrup – 6’4/254

Fourth year senior. Core special teamer for a couple years and took over at MLB in 2014, leading the team in tackles with 122. Northrup was starting to look like a 1st round prospect, but tore his ACL and MCL in the Rose Bowl last January. He missed the 2015 spring but came back to start every game in 2015, again leading the team in tackles. Knowing he still has more recovering to do, I think this kid has the upside of a Pro Bowler. He owns the inside gaps as a run defender. He has the range to reach the sidelines. Effective blitzer and quick reaction guy. I don’t have much on him as a cover man. He may need to come off the field on 3rd downs but I think with another offseason of full recovery and training, he can be a starter in year one. Top 60 kind of guy.

*#27 CB Marquez White – 6’0/184

Third year junior. Also plays basketball for the Seminoles. Not sure what his plans are for this winter/spring. I haven’t spent a ton of time scouting White but I do think he is a more natural cover corner than Ramsey. More refined from a technique perspective. Has the length and quick feet to be a solid press corner. Shows a physical side. It seems to me that QBs avoid throwing his way more than Ramsey. We’ll see if he declares. Could be a 2nd round talent.

#99 DT Nile Lawrence-Stample – 6’1/323

Fifth year senior. Blue collar run defender that has some solid 3-4 NT potential. Plays low and strong. Tough as nails. Does the dirty work and probably goes overlooked by the common fan. Scouts know there is value with this kid. 4th or 5th rounder that is limited but some defenses really need this guy.

#24 LB Terrance Smith – 6’4/231

Fifth year senior that missed 2011 with a knee. Height/weight/speed guy that will do great in workouts. Interesting case here. He has some outstanding tape from early in his career. He was expected to be one of the top defenders on this team in 2015, but for whatever reason it didn’t pan out. He looked lost at times. When he isn’t in space chasing guys down, he looks very average. I wanna do more digging on him to see if there was an undisclosed injury or off field problem. 2015 is a mystery to me. He didn’t reach half the level I was expecting to see. I still think he has 4th or 5th round potential.

Other Notables:

#1 S Tyler Hunter – 5’11/205
#42 FS LaMarcus Brutus – 6’0/208

***********************************

OKLAHOMA

#3 WR Sterling Shepard – 5’10./193

If I had to choose one receiver in this class for my slot position, it’s this guy. I think Shepard has 100+ catch per season potential. He has elite stop and go ability. He’ll always be able to run himself open. Very competitive guy, loves to get after it in traffic. Doesn’t shy from contact. Strong hands and very good ability after the catch. Off the field Shepard is a tireless worker that is constantly trying to find the smallest of advantages to make himself better. If he can be put in to the right role, we are talking about a guy that will be among league leaders in receptions every year. I’ll have a 1st round grade on him.

#74 RG Nila Kasitati – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior. Doesn’t really look the part, might be a bit too soft and unathletic. Will bend poorly at times. But this guy can run block with the best of them. Very smart and savvy. Very powerful hands. When his feet are under him he can block anyone. If he can get in to better shape he has starting potential. Late rounder but one I would easily gamble on for development if he checks well off the field.

*#1 LB Dominique Alexander – 6’0/220

Third year junior that is 50/50 on declaring. Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Freshman All American in 2013. Leading tackler. Very rangy, fast, and quick. Might be an ideal 4-3 WLB prospect. He can make plays all over the field. Can be a 3 down guy for a team right away. Has some star potential in him. He’ll make plays that a lot of guys simply are unable to. If he comes out he could be a top 45 guy. 3rd rounder at worst.

#19 OLB Eric Striker – 6’0/222

Popular name here. Fourth year senior that almost came out after last season. Has big time production. Led the Sooners on TFL and sacks each of the past three seasons respectively. Striker doesn’t pass the initial eye test. He is short. Doesn’t carry a lot of weight. Doesn’t have a long reach. He can produce in the NFL though. He can cover better than you would think. He defends the run with awareness and intelligence. Very savvy and quick reaction type. Striker has made some very good OL look foolish over the years. He isn’t a fit for everyone but knowing how solid of a kid he is off the field, Striker will make it happen in the NFL one way or another. Day 2 prospect.

#91 DE Charles Tapper – 6’4/283

Fourth year senior. He won’t jump off the screen and he hasn’t had enormous production. But talk to any Big 12 coach or player and they will tell you Tapper is one of the best DEs in the country. He is blue collar. Owns the line of scrimmage, rarely gets beat by a lone blocker. Very disciplined and smart. Has the physical tools that coaches love. He is NFL ready from day one. He’ll be a very solid DE in the NFL. Safe pick. Day 2 guy.

*#15 CB Zack Sanchez – 5’11/179

Fourth year junior. I’ve been told he is coming out but haven’t seen anything for sure. Some guys really like him. 12 INTs over the past 2 years. I think those numbers are a little inflated, I don’t think he is NFL ready. He has poor technique and gets away with murder downfield. Very grabby. I do like the attitude though and he tracks the deep ball well. I just think he needs another year. 4th or 5th rounder if he comes out.

CLEMSON

*#10 MLB Ben Boulware – 6’0/235

Third year junior. Hasn’t declared yet and I am split on whether or not he will. If he comes out, he will likely be my top LB in this class. I may even have a top 15 overall grade on him. Boulware is always around the ball, run or pass. Very instinctive and quick to the action. Low center of gravity and appears slippery to blockers. He is fast and powerful. Very good tackler that delivers a violent pop to ball carriers. Emotional leader of this team and is always on fire. Boulware is a 10 year starter in the NFL.

*#2 CB Mackenzie Alexander – 5’11/190

Third year sophomore. Broke on to the scene in 2014 with a Freshman All American season. I’ve been watching him all year and he has the goods from a physical perspective. Length, strength, speed, quickness, agility….it’s all there. Alexander is a fighter, constantly mixing it up with the opponent. If I had to nitpick, I’d say he struggles to maintain his physical ability when the ball is in there air. He loses balance and traction and has a tendency to get very grabby downfield. All in all he has the talent to be a star but there are several mechanical components to his game that need to be worked on. If he comes out he can be a top 15 guy.

*#90 DE Shaq Lawson – 6’3/275

Third year junior. Hasn’t announced a decision yet. Lawson wasn’t much of a factor until this year, playing behind Vic Beasley for his first two years. He really broke out this year and put himself in to 1st round territory. Lawson leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. He is a complete defensive end that excels against both the run and pass. I can’t quite make up my mind on him. He’s good, but is he top 10 good? He lacks a couple of ideal physical traits but he has a technique-savvy player with a relentless motor. That is usually a nice combination when scouting a guy with such good production. I’ll spend more time on him in the coming months but he has a legit shot at being my #1 DE. I don’t see a major difference between him and Bosa.

*#98 DE Kevin Dodd – 6’5/278

Fourth year junior. Missed 2013 with injury. Dodd doesn’t get the attention that Lawson does but some people will have a higher grade on him. He has an NFL-ready body. A true 4-3 DE here that could start early in his career. He hasn’t seen the attention from opposing OLs that Lawson has, but I don’t want to use that against him too much. Power defender that shows proper mechanics across the board. Could be another 1st rounder.

#44 LB BJ Goodson – 6’1/250

Fifth year senior. Probably won’t get the attention that Boulware does but this guy is a player. Very physical, mean linebacker. A perfect fit for what we used to see in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Might not be the elite athlete that some are looking for but some LBs have a way of using sneaky speed and that’s Goodson for you. He can change a run defense from day one.

*#1 FS Jayron Kearse – 6’4/210

This year junior with some nice bloodlines. Nephew of former DE Jevon Kearse, cousin to former CB Philip Buchanon. Very experienced. Solid triangle numbers. Some love this kid but I think he is too long for his own good. Takes a long time to react and change direction. Misses too many tackles for a safety. He just isn’t comfortable or fluid as a mover. I think he is a late rounder if he comes out, others will say top 100.

Other Notables:

#19 WR Charone Peake – 6’3/215
#78 LG Eric Mac Lain – 6’4/305
#74 RT Joe Gore – 6’5/290

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MICHIGAN STATE

#18 QB Connor Cook – 6’4/220

Fifth year senior. A career record of 34-4 over his 3 seasons as the starter. He is in the running for the first QB overall. A good game against Alabama could go a long way. Has the size and arm strength. I have seen a ton of Cook over the past two years and I won’t have a 1st round grade on him. I may not have a 2nd round grade on him. He gets flustered in the pocket under pressure. He looks afraid at times. Doesn’t seem to be confident from the pocket unless he is completely clean. Another thing I want to look in to…he isn’t a team captain. A fifth year senior that plays QB and has been the starter for 3 years isn’t a captain? There may be something there.

*#74 OT Jack Conklin – 6’6/325

Fourth year junior. Began his career as a walk on. Became the starting LT right away in 2013 and was a Freshman All American. Conklin has been one of the top LTs in the country for years now, he is one of my favorites. He’s been a little nicked up with a knee in 2015 and it has definitely slowed him down. Tonight will be the freshest he’s been in awhile, looking forward to the matchup. He is a blue collar bruiser. Very big and tough. Shows refined mechanics from head to toe. Very hard worker. He doesn’t have the elite movement and it may prevent his grade from being top 10 overall, but he’ll likely finish as a 1st rounder.

#76 RG Donovan Clark – 6’4/325

Fifth year senior. Major test for him tonight. I think he can match up well against these big time Alabama DTs. Clark is as strong and powerful as it gets. If he gets inside position with his hands, game over. He drives guys backward more than any guard in the class. Big time run blocker. He can be out-moved by faster defenders though. Little limited at the second level and as a pass blocker. Day 2 guy I think.

#66 C Jack Allen – 6’2/296

Fifth year senior. Four year starter. Two time All American. Allen is the top center in the class according to some. Missed some time this year with an ankle. Leader of the OL, responsible for a lot pre-snap. Kind of like a second quarterback. Allen gets his hands on quick and will work his tail off through the whistle. Nice test for him tonight, as the one question I have is the ability to hold his ground against elite power. He’ll see plenty of that tonight.

#16 WR Aaron Burbridge – 6’1/208

Fourth year senior. Has been a steady contributor all for years. Became a go to guy in 2015, showing more big play ability than he had in previous years. He is thick for a WR. Capable of pushing DBs around and getting to where he wants. Lacks top end speed but he is an explosive route runner underneath. He can get open. Limited upside but a guy that can be a solid #4 or #5 WR in the NFL. Day three prospect.

#89 DE Shilique Calhoun – 6’5/250

Fourth year senior. Almost came out last year, wisely chose to return for senior season. I wasn’t big on Calhoun last year but he looks a lot better right now. More quick twitch and reaction. Has the explosive first step when they let him loose to put a tackle on his heels. Calhoun has very good body control when he is moving at full speed and that is a big part of what makes him so effective. He can change his path at any second. First round grade here.

#8 DE Lawrence Thomas – 6’4/305

Fifth year senior. Incredibly versatile. I think he could fit in to any scheme and he could play inside or outside. That is rare to truly find. He’s been at LB, FB, DT, and DE for the Spartans. Thomas can get off the ball well with a lot of power and leverage. Good adjustments and post-engagement moves. Not a household name but he’ll be a productive player.

#92 DT Joel Heath – 6’6/296

Fifth year senior. Won’t jump off the stat sheet or the game tape but if you watch a lot of Michigan State, you’ll have a deep appreciation for Heath. He has a high upside. Very big and physical. Has good reach and nice frame. NFL coaches will look at him and think major potential. I don’t think he will be a star but he can be a solid rotational guy that can fill multiple roles. He has versatility. He sets the tempo inside for this tough defense. Day three guy.

#26 SS RJ Williamson – 6’0/216

Fifth year senior. Has been a steady contributor all four years. A lot of tackles and has shown a knack for the big play. He made some nice plays early in the year and I circled his name a few times. He tore his biceps in October and needed surgery. Looks like he is coming back for this game. Good for him and it will be a good test. I need to see more of him but he was having a great year prior to the injury.

Other Notables:

#45 LB Darien Harris – 6’0/220
#36 CB Arjen Colquhoun – 6’1/202

ALABAMA

*#2 RB Derrick Henry – 6’3/242

Third year junior. Heisman winner. Old school bruiser that would have been a top 10 pick a decade ago. Henry isn’t the most exciting guy to watch but he’s effective. He wears a defense down. Always pushing the pile, always delivering blows to defenders. He needs space though. If he can’t get to the open field, he isn’t as effective. He doesn’t elude defenders, he won’t miss contact in short spaces. I don’t like how upright he is and long limbed he is, it just screams injury because defenders will be diving at his knees from day one.

*#88 TE OJ Howard – 6’6/242

Hasn’t declared yet, many expect him to. Some think he is the top TE prospect in then nation. I don’t see it. He is very tools rich and could develop in to a matchup problem at the next level. He is a sub par blocker though and I don’t see anything special about his speed or quickness. Maybe he just doesn’t get the looks because of the scheme. I don’t know. Some say he is a 2nd rounder, I think more like 4th/5th.

#70 C Ryan Kelly – 6’5/297

Fifth year senior. Team leader. Three year starter. Very good interior blocker that has the size and strength to stone defensive tackles. Active feet and good flexibility. He can be a day one starter in the NFL. High upside center that I have a 2nd round grade on.

#17 RB Kenyan Drake – 6’1/210

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team. The injury woes may bump him down to round 5 or 6.

#76 RT Dominick Jackson – 6’6/315

Transferred from JUCO in 2014. Didn’t start until this year. Big physical guy that has interesting tools. Long and stout. Good feet in space as a run blocker. He can drive guys back consistently. Struggles against speed to the outside. Has the ability to play inside in the NFL I think. Day three guy.

*#86 DT A’Shawn Robinson – 6’4/312

Third year junior that has been dominating from day one. All American DT. Plays DE and NT in their multi front scheme. He is a major matchup problem for any lone blocker. He can beat you in several ways. He doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but that isn’t his game. You have to watch him to appreciate it. He demands a lot of attention. He doesn’t get pushed back. He shows a lot of range in pursuit, just a crazy good athlete. 1st rounder, maybe a top 10 guy.

#90 DT Jarran Reed – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior, JUCO transfer. Early in the year I said Reed was a better player than Robinson. I’m not sure I still believe that but Reed makes up for less natural talent with a relentless, overly aggressive style. This guy can help change a culture of a defense. All out kind of guy all the time. He makes a ton of tackles from the DT position. Shows tremendous hand power, always delivering a violent blow to blockers. I like Reed a lot, maybe as a top 20 guy.

*#4 FS Eddie Jackson – 6’0/194

Third year junior. Haven’t heard much about his decision to stay or go but I think 2015 proved he is one of the top safeties in the nation, if not the best. All American. Made the move to FS from CB and he has 6 INTs with an amazing 230 return yards and 2 TDs. He is a game changer. Very rangy. Very fast. Won’t shy from contact and makes a lot of difficult tackles. Everything I want in a safety, Jackson has and I think the best has yet to come. I may have a 1st round grade on him if he comes out.

#19 LB Reggie Ragland – 6’2/252

Fourth year senior. This school just continues to pump out NFL caliber inside linebackers. Ragland is the next one. He’s not the athlete that CJ Mosley was a couple years back but he is just as good of a run defender. He can own the inside running game. Great tackler. Takes on blocks. I think he has a lack of range to the outside though and he may be a two down guy only or a 3-4 only guy. Still valuable but not to every scheme. Day 2 pick.

*#93 DL Jonathan Allen – 6’3/283

Third year junior. Pass rush specialist that may have played his way in to a 2nd round selection this year. Led the team with 10.5 sacks. He’s not on the field for a large percentage of plays and in college, that bothers me a little. I need to see more of him defending the run, playing more assignment based football. Some are saying he has 1st round potential but I’ll probably have him as a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#5 CB Cyrus Jones – 5’10/196

Fourth year senior. Jones could be drafted in the top 100 overall based on his return ability alone. He is the best in the country. Very shifty and fast. Great vision. Could potentially see a move to WR down the road a la Devin Hester. As a CB, Jones has struggled with consistency. He doesn’t stick to WRs in man coverage the way you would think he can based on his workouts. I don’t see the natural feel for coverage, which is essential for the position. Not sure where to peg him. Probably a 3rd or 4th rounder..

Other Notables:

#14 QB Jake Coker – 6’5/234
#16 WR Richard Mullaney – 6’3/208
#30 LB Denzel Devall – 6’2/252
#25 LB Dillon Lee – 6’4/242
#24 S Geno Matias-Smith – 6’0/194

Dec 302015
 
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Su'a Cravens, USC Trojans (October 8, 2015)

Su’a Cravens – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 30, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

AUBURN

#5 WR Ricardo Louis – 6’2/215

Fourth year senior that hadn’t been given much opportunity until this year. He still looks raw to me, which is typical of receivers that come from this kind of system. He has some tools to work with. Auburn gave him a lot of rushing attempts as well. He can be explosive with the ball in his hands. Best case he is a late rounder.

#8 LB Cassanova McKinzy – 6’3/253

Fourth year senior that has been moved all over the defense. Part of me thinks it has helped him appear more versatile to scouts while part of me thinks his growth as a player has been stunted by the constant movement of positions a la Mathias Kiwanuka. He’s been productive everywhere. I think McKinzy can be an elite 3-4 linebacker or an above average 4-3 linebacker. He is extremely powerful on the move. Very good blitzer and very effective in pursuit. He has the short area explosion to beat blockers to a spot and the strength to deliver violent hits. He misses too many tackles to be strictly a run defending linebacker. He could be a guy that changes to pass rusher on 3rd down. Versatile tool set here but he won’t work in every scheme. Coaches need to be careful with him. Day 2 guy.

#17 LB Kris Frost – 6’2/240

Fifth year senior. Two plus year starter. Has the triangle numbers that coaches want to work with. Second on the team in tackles. Appears to be a technician type, works hard to do things the right way. I think he lacks the natural feel for the position that I look for but he can hang around. There is untapped potential with him I think. 5th or 6th rounder that could at least be a good special teamer.

#3 CB Jonathan Jones – 5’10/181

Fourth year senior. A lot of fight in this undersized body. Jones can be beat by the bugger, more physical receivers routinely. He will be limited in the NFL when it comes to his role and position on the field. But this kid fights hard and can move with anyone. He has good body control underneath and always has another gear to catch up if need be. Very fast and agile. Jones gets his hands on a ton of balls. 23 pass breakups and 7 INTs over the past two years. Day 3 corner that could out perform several CBs drafted ahead of him.

#82 WR Melvin Ray 6’3/215
#6 DE DaVonte Lambert – 6’2/280
#24 FS Blake Countess – 5’10/185

MEMPHIS

*#12 QB Paxton Lynch – 6’7/245

Hasn’t declared yet but many expect him to be a top 5 pick if he does. He’s been a flavor of the month type. In a class that lacks the true no doubt prospect at QB, many have turned to Lynch as the guy with the highest upside. The body is there. The arm is there. The stats are there. The arm is there. He does have almost everything I want in a QB prospect. I question the accuracy though. I question his ability to read defenses quickly and efficiently from the pocket. I think he presents a much bigger risk than someone like Goff. I will say this though, Lynch is awfully similar to what we saw out of Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 when he came out of Miami (OH). If he comes out I would have a 2nd round grade on him but he would likely be a top 10 guy at worst.

#77 LT Taylor Fallin – 6’6/330

Fifth year senior. 3 plus year starter. Fallin has had a couple not so serious injuries over his career but all in all, he is a solid NFL prospect. I don’t think he projects to left tackle in the league. He looks like a guard to me. Just doesn’t keep his head up and feet moving out in space. He looks good when things are in front of him. Could be a really good run blocker but he can be beat by quality pass rushers. Day three guy but someone that could evolve in to a quality starter.

#87 WR Tevin Jones – 6’2/223

Fifth year senior. Won’t jump off the screen. Won’t stand out on the stat sheet. But Jones is one of my WR sleepers in this class. He has elite level ball skills. Built like a truck and shows precise route running ability. Jones didn’t get a ton of looks in this offense that loved to spread the ball around. He got the short end of the stick and in another offense, he could be a bigger name. Also a very good special teams defender which is important for late round WRs. I like this kid as a day three gamble.

#5 WR Mose Frazier – 5’11/190

Fifth year senior that initially walked on after playing at Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Led the team in catches each of the past two years. Slot receiver type that has dynamic speed and agility. Can be a nice underneath weapon for someone. He may run sub 4.4 at the combine and/or Pro Day. He doesn’t factor downfield too much and struggles to get the ball in traffic, but in space he can be a threat. Day three guy here.

Other Notables:

#40 TE Alan Cross – 6’1/235
#53 LB Leonard Pegues – 5’11/243

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NC STATE

#54 LT Joe Thuney – 6’5/295

Fifth year senior. Versatile guy that has seen plenty of action at RT, LG, and LT. Solid and strong presence. Can anchor against the bigger defenders and showed good footwork on the edge this year. I think he projects inside at the next level. Has starter potential down the road. 4th or 5th rounder.

#12 QB Jacoby Brissett – 6’4/231

Fifth year senior that started off at Florida. Dual threat that is still a pass first, run second kind of guy. Good decision maker from the pocket, protects the ball and avoids the head scratchers. Solid game manager type. Brissett has average arm strength but consistent accuracy. I think he can stick somewhere as a backup for a few years at the very least. You can work with a guy like this. Day three prospect.

#90 DE Mike Rose – 6’3/252

Fifth year senior. Leader of the defense. Ton of experience. Rose lost about 15 pounds prior to the 2015 season and it made a huge difference. He showed some signs of being a top tier pass rusher this season. Very refined from a technical standpoint. Strong hands, light feet. He finished 2nd in the ACC with 10.5 sacks this year. He faced off against some future NFL OL this year and he simply looked better than those guys. Rose won’t be a household name but I am confident you’ll know who he is in a couple years.

#11 CB Justin Burris – 6’0/207

Fifth year senior. Four year starter. Not a speed and quickness guy but Burris fits the mold of corners that have the size and length to alter guys at the point of attack and throw off the timing of what offenses want to do. Burris has some nice tape against his toughest competition this year. There is some sleeper potential here. Late rounder.

Other Notables:

#71 LG Alex Barr – 6’8/318
#60 C Quinton Schooley – 6’2/299
#1 SS Hakim Jones – 6’2/206

MISSISSIPPI STATE

#15 QB Dak Prescott – 6’2/230

Fifth year senior. Almost came out last year, wisely chose to return for his senior season and he did everything scouts said he needed to do. He cleaned up his mechanics. He showed better decision making from the pocket. He cut down on turnovers. Prescott is going to be a favorite among some NFL coaches. He has the talent. All American and 1st Team All SEC in 2015. Prescott changed the Miss State program in his five years there. He can handle the leadership role and all that goes with it. Top tier kid on and off the field. In a year where the QB rankings will be different all over the league, I still see Prescott as an option for being the first one taken.

*#1 WR De’Runnya Wilson – 6’5/220

Third year junior. Haven’t been told he’s coming out but he may choose to after a couple of strong years and Prescott leaving school. Wilson is a matchup problem. Very tall and long but has some bulk to him as well. I don’t think he completely understands how to use his body yet but there is an upside here that coaches will want to work with. When he attacks the ball, he can get to it before any DB. Lacks the top end speed and there is some developing coordination going on with him still so there is a risk here. Maybe a 3rd rounder.

#70 LG Justin Malone – 6’7/320

Fifth year senior. Missed 2013 season with a foot injury. Has been a 3+ year starter. Bug and physical guy with a great wingspan. Hard guy to get around. Plays with good knee for a guy this big. There is a lot to work with here. I’ve been told there may be something chronic going on with that foot so he will need some extra medical screening but he has an upside you want out of a day three pick. Already has some NFL ready traits to him.

#23 CB Taveze Calhoun – 6’1/180

Fifth year senior and 3 year starter. Long and lengthy cover man that has the quick turnaround speed to stick with speed downfield. Has always been a good ball skill guy. Can get his hands on a lot of passes. I’ve seen games where QBs don’t throw his way for an entire half. Calhoun has the ability to start in the NFL. If he was more physical he could be a 2nd rounder. As of now I have him around 100 overall type.

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TEXAS A& M

*#74 OT Germain Ifedi – 6’6/335

Fourth year junior. Not sure if he is coming out or not. Some said he would be the next 1st round caliber OL to come out. He hasn’t lived up to expectations but there is a definite upside. He has tools, namely size and natural power. He can stifle the strongest of defenders with his long arms. He has the feet of a right tackle though, not the left side. There are some legit concerns about his work ethic and desire to get better. Conditioning has been an issue since day one for him and even watching his film now, it’s easy to notice how deflated he gets late in games and drives respectively. He could be a day 2 guy if a coach sees the upside but more likely a 4th or 5th round grade.

#5 RB Tra Carson – 6’0/235

Fifth year senior that started off at Oregon and sat out 2013 after transferring. Led the Aggies in rushing the past two years respectively. Bruiser with some long speed if he can reach the open field. I think he has some interesting upside. Catches well. Blocks well. Wasn’t in the best offense for his abilities. Day three back that could easily factor early in his career at the next level.

#56 C Mike Matthews – 6’2/290

Fourth year senior. Three year starter. The next Matthews in line, this family has been in the NFL for years and it is worth something. Matthews is a tad undersized but big enough for center in the NFL. Technician with good footwork. Mechanics are always on. Smarts are always on. Excels blocking at the second level. Maybe an eventual starter once he can gain some man strength.

#1 CB De’Vante Harris – 5’11/185

Fourth year senior with a ton of experience. Solid cover man that lacks a physical side. Doesn’t track the ball well downfield, may be best with things in front of him. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#83 DT Alonzo Williams – 6’4/305
#95 Julien Obioha – 6’4/280

LOUISVILLE

#98 DT Sheldon Rankins – 6’2/303

Fourth year senior. Broke out in his first year as a starter in 2014 with 8 sacks and 13.5 TFL. Added another 6 sacks and 12 TFL in 2015. Rankins is very stout and very active. These are the kind of DTs I really like. They are tough to block because they can play with a really low center of gravity and there is enough athletic ability to out-maneuver blockers. He is very well developed physically and mechanically. May not be a top tier prospect but I bet he contributes early in his career and out performs several DL that are drafted ahead of him.

*#25 SS Josh Harvey-Clemons – 6’5/230

Fourth year junior that played 2 years at Georgia. I need to see more of him, I’ve only seen him in passing. Someone I trust told me this kid has some Chancellor in him which is some high praise. We’ll see. I don’t have an evaluation on him yet.

*#92 DE Devonte Fields – 6’4/245

Big 12 Freshman of the Year at TCU in 2012. He wasn’t coachable and had some issues off the field, was eventually dismissed from the program. Spent a year at Community College and is now here. Had a nice year. 8.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL. Reports are he matured and there are no issues off the field and he’s been a saint with this coaching staff. Has the first step burst and bendability that coaches want. He has another year left if he wants it, but I’ve been told he has the NFL in his scope. If he checks off the field well, he can be a day two guy that fits best in the 3-4 schemes.

#13 LB James Burgess – 6’1/228

Fourth year senior and 3 plus year starter. Speed and explosion is his game. Very fast to react and will often beat blockers to a spot. Wrap up tackler that delivers violent blows. He can cover well. True three down linebacker that needs to be in space to be most effective. Won’t thrive in traffic. Top 100 guy for sure.

Other Notables:

#78 RT Aaron Epps – 6’7/288
#44 Pio Vatuvei – 6’2/296

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USC

#6 QB Cody Kessler – 6’1/215

3 year starter. Enters the bowl game with 87 TDs/18 INTs over his career. He was my favorite senior QB coming in to this season and he still is. He played in a pro-style offense with a ton of pre-snap responsibility. He’s been making NFL-caliber reads. The learning curve with him will be a lot less than some of these guys coming from the shotgun-only, spread offenses. I like Kessler under pressure. He hosts a quick release and accuracy. He’s tough in the pocket. There is a height issue and an arm power issue. He doesn’t drive the ball downfield and I don’t think even he has the confidence throwing to the far sidelines. He may be limited physically. The comparison I have always seen with him is Drew Brees. A guy that can absolutely thrive in the right system with the right coach. But he’s not a guy that succeed anywhere. 2nd or 3rd round is possible but round 4 or 5 is more likely.

*#21 LB Su’a Cravens – 6’1/225

Third year junior, third year starter. Has been a stud from day one. Safety/Linebacker hybrid that was mainly at LB in 2015. I think that is where his future is in the NFL unless someone can find a Kam Chancellor role for him. He isn’t as good though. Cravens lines up all over the field. It seems like they just tell him to attack the action. He is constantly around the ball. Very fast and decisive, consistently reaching the ball carrier before a blocker even has an opportunity to get his hands on. Cravens is more than an athlete. He is very smart and aware, very mechanical as a tackler. If he can pack just a little bit of weight on without losing speed, he could be a star in the NFL. A true 3 down linebacker that can cover, rush the passer, and defend the run at a high level respectively. I think he deserves a 1st round grade for most schemes.

#99 DT Antwuan Woods – 6’1/320

Fifth year senior. Has been a solid contributor for four seasons. Initially comes across as a one dimensional run stuffer but he has move movement ability than you think. He plays real hard. Always wins the leverage battle. Tremendous lower body strength. He can be an immediate contributor to a team that needs a run stuffer. Day three guy but one that will out perform several guys drafted ahead of him.

#52 DT Delvon Simmons – 6’5/295

Started off at Texas Tech for two years, sat out 2013 because of the transfer. I think he is a very good 3-4 DE prospect. He can overpower guys, just a country strong kind of kid. Doesn’t get moved. There is some quick twitch to him as well, he can react well and get off blocks. There is some interesting upside here. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#23 RB Tre Madden – 6’1/223
#31 FB Soma Vainuku – 6’0/255
#56 LB Anthony Sarao – 6’0/235
#93 DE Greg Towsend – 6’3/275

WISCONSIN

#61 LT Tyler Marz – 6’7/325

Fifth year senior and three year starter. Very solid technician here. I remember watching him in 2014 thinking he would be a potential early declaration. I loved his consistent approach to defenders. Excellent body control. Easy hand power. The more I have watched however, the more holes I see. Marz may not be a good enough athlete for the left side. He doesn’t bend very well either. Good speed rushers with good leverage will eat him up. Drew Ott, DE from Iowa, absolutely dominated him this year. It was an ugly performance for Marz especially considering Ott is the kind of DE that Marz should thrive against. I am now thinking he may need a move inside. 3rd or 4th rounder.

#38 LB Joe Schobert – 6’2/236

Fourth year senior. Has had 32 TFL over past two years. Schobert isn’t your traditional Wisconsin linebacker. He excels in space and has plenty of long speed to him. He can play well against the fastest offenses in football. Very savvy as a blitzer off the edge. Takes the proper angles and will finish plays. Schobert struggles to perform in traffic. Good blockers can lock him up. He may need to be a weak side guy in a 4-3 so he can track plays from behind. Very good in pursuit but not so much when the action comes at him. 4th or 5th rounder.

#7 S Michael Caputo – 6’1/206

Fifth year senior. We are all looking for the next Jum Leohnard, some say this is the kid. He’s made a few All American teams over the past two years. Excels in space tackling, a lost art among defensive backs these days. Nice guy to have out there for that reason alone. Savvy in coverage but there is some stiffness to him. Won’t make a ton of plays in coverage. Could be a solid special teamer and backup for both safety positions. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#86 WR Alex Erickson – 6’0/197
#2 Joel Stave – 6’5/219
#3 S/WR Tanner McEvoy – 6’6/231
#5 CB Darius Hilary – 5’11/187

Dec 292015
 
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Corey Coleman, Baylor Bears (October 17, 2015)

Corey Coleman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 29, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

CALIFORNIA

*16 QB Jared Goff – California – 6’4/215

Widely, but not unanimously, considered the top QB prospect in this class. As clean a thrower as you will find in the group this year. Spins it real well and is very far along when it comes to putting proper touch and zip in the ball depending on the situation. Top tier accuracy. I like his poise. He is always under control, never too high and never too low. That’s important. Has better running ability than you think. Goff had a rough stretch halfway through the season. Just got caught up trying to in games by himself. I am totally confident in him as a passer. My issue is the same one I had with Sam Bradford years ago. Does he have the body to take hits on a weekly basis from NFL pass rushers? You’d hate to spend a high pick on a guy that in only a matter of time will break in half. Goff needs bulk, and plenty of it. Still will be a 1st rounder and is in the running for #1 overall.

*#4 WR Kenny Lawler – 6’3/195

Junior that hasn’t declared yet. He is 50/50 as of right now. Led the Bears in catches and TDs. There aren’t any real standout WRs on this team but Lawler has the best tool set and upside. He is the best hands catcher of the bunch and he hosts a nice combination of height/reach/leaping ability to make him a mismatch for most corners in one on one situations. Lawler can be tossed around by more physical cover men and is too easily altered by contact, but with the NFL trending towards quicker release passing games, Lawler could easily find a starting spot early in his career. If he comes out I see a day 2 pick here.

#9 WR Trevor Davis – 6’2/180

Fourth year senior. Came in to 2015 on everyone’s radar as one of the top kick returners in the country. He broke out as a WR as well. It helps to be in this scheme with this QB but he made some elite plays. Really good concentration downfield. Tracks the ball with balance and speed. He may be the fastest WR on this team, he can really run away from people. Slight frame and limited route tree will hurt his grade a little. Looking at a 4th or 5th rounder here with some interesting upside and roster versatility.

#1 WR Bryce Treggs – 6’0/181

Four year contributor, mainly as a screen game factor. Nobody has given this kid a ton of attention but he has a level of explosion and acceleration that lot of these other WRs do not. He can go from 0-60 in a blink. Tough with the ball in his hands, constantly gaining extra yards after contact. He is a a bit of a gimmick player but he can find a role somewhere. I think he has enormous upside from the slot. Day three target here with high potential.

#89 TE Stephen Anderson – 6’3/230

Fourth year senior. Listed as a tight end and I guess he starts with his hand in the firt every now and then, but he plays more WR than anything in this spread attack. Anderson has shown glimpses over his career of being a big time matchup problem. He was a huge factor in 2014. He may have actually suffered from a system full of quality WRs that simply got more looks from Goff. Anderson is a tweener without special physical traits. So I don’t see the point in spending anything more than a 7th rounder on him but like I said earlier, he’s made plenty of plays over his career. Someone could fall for him and draft him earlier,

Other Notables:

#10 WR Darius Powe – 6’3/220
#73 Jordan Rigsbee – 6’4/300
#13 DE Kyle Kragen – 6’2/245
#41 DE Todd Barr – 6’2/240
#7 LB Jalen Jefferson – 6’2/240

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NORTH CAROLINA

#12 QB Marquise Williams – 6’2/225

Fifth year senior. Was a backup for a couple years then took over in 2013 because of injury. Started off as a running QB that would be a passer second. Really turned a corner in 2014, setting several single season records. He’s been the leading rusher in addition to a very solid pocket passer. Williams is going to get a shot somewhere. He has the talent and the intangibles. He has choppy footwork and will lose his release point at times. I’ve seen him get too aggressive near the red zone and make some costly mistakes as well. He has what a lot of offensive coaches want to work with though. Anywhere from round 3-5 I think.

#14 WR Quinshad Davis – 6’4/220

In 2012 Davis was being talked about as the next big thing among ACC WRs. He had one of the best seasons for freshman in SCC history. 2013 was more of the same with 10 TDs…but 2014 didn’t go as planned. His weaknesses are obvious. He has a hard time getting open from man coverage. He has speed but lacks the short area quickness and agility. I think Davis can be a lethal red zone threat in the NFL but there are techniques and nuances to the position he needs to really work on. He has a high ceiling. If he works out well he could be a 3rd or 4th rounder.

#78 RG Landon Turner – 6’4/325

Fifth year senior. Three year starter. Turner is massive from head to toe, I wouldn’t be surprised if he weighs in higher than what he is listed. Naturally he is a very good straight ahead blocker, he can win battles in the run game consistently. He doesn’t get out of his stance laterally very well and he lumbers in pass protection. He can dominate guys when his hands are inside though. There is potential here. Good test for him in this game. 4th or 5th rounder.

#42 LB Shakeel Rashad – 6’2/235

Perhaps the linebacker that improved his stock the most via his game tape in this class. Rashad was a little-used rush linebacker/bandit for three years until the Tar Heels implemented a new scheme. He’s second on the team in tackles and shows top tier speed to the sidelines. He is a pursuit linebacker that works well in space. He doesn’t bring that ability to coverage and he struggles in traffic to find the ball, but Rashad’s speed and ability to close will be sought after. 4th or 5th rounder.

Other Notables:

#98 DT Justin Thomason – 6’4/295
#10 MLB Jeff Schoettmer 6’2/235

BAYLOR

*#1 WR Corey Coleman – 5’11/190

Fourth year junior that has already declared. I could write 300 words alone on his statistical accolades. Coleman was known as a workout warrior, hosting a team best 40, 3 cone, and vertical on a squat full of elite athletes. 2015 from start to finish may have put him in to top 10 consideration. His route tree is limited and the Baylor offense is very stat-happy, but Coleman has traits that will be attractive to teams in need of a young playmaker. Coleman has elite ball skills. Hands catcher. Will come away with the ball in traffic. I’ve seen several contested catches where it looks like he was being hung on to by defenders. Coleman is a strong kid. Plenty of muscle, tough after the catch. My issue with him is lack of effort on running plays, poor body language when things don’t go his way. He is a different player when the ball isn’t coming to him. That stuff worries me, especially with the WR position. He’ll be a first rounder but it he completely dominates the Combine, he could be the first WR taken.

#58 LT – Spencer Drango – 6’6/310

Fifth year senior. Has been starting his entire career. Has been the top LT in the Big 12 for a few years now. Drango almost came out in 2014 after an All American season. I think he will make a move to guard in the NFL ideally. He is a very good run blocker, can maintain power on the move. Lacks the ideal length and foot speed for the outside but in a pinch he could play tackle. Team leader, very good intangible guy. He is a blue collar player that will have a long career in the league. He is maybe the surest prospect on this team. Late 1st round is possible.

*#32 RB Shock Linwood – 5’8/195

Third year back that hasn’t declared. Big time explosion and change of direction. He may seem undersized but now a days with the committee approach tat many teams use, Linwood can be the gamebreaker most teams are looking for. He may run a sub 4.4 and I think he has more vision and awareness that some of the other backs that have cone out of Baylor in recent years.

#4 WR Jay Lee – 6’4/220

Fifth year senior. Lee is a height/weight/speed guy that doesn’t get thrown to a lot but he’s made several plays that leave you wishing he had more opportunities. The scheme and spacing helps but he has an upside based on tools that could get him drafted in round 4 or 5. He’ll need time to develop.

#2 DE Shawn Oakman – 6’8/280

Fifth year senior that started off at Penn State. Sat out 2012 because of the transfer to Baylor. Oakman almost came out after an 11 sack season in 2014, but that was only his first year as a starter and wisely chose to go back to school in 2015. Oakman is arguably the biggest “freak” in this class. What he can do in workouts is remarkable and rare. He has a combination of measurables that are very rare. He will be drafted based on upside, as he’s shown flashes of complete dominance. If you watch him a lot though, you’ll notice there are a ton of plays where he simply doesn’t factor. He still has some awkwardness to movement in short spaces. He doesn’t react well. He can really lumber around when it comes to changing direction. A guy this tall will always have a hard time winning the leverage battle, veteran NFL OL love to play against that. It will be a long road for him. He’ll make someone drool though and could be a 1st rounder.

*#75 DT Andrew Billings – 6’2/300

Another underclassmen here, most expect him to come out. Has world class level weight room strength. He has set world records among weightlifters. Interesting prospect here. He looks really stiff to me. Doesn’t bend that well and won’t easily change direction. But he is explosive from a standstill and he has a lot of functional strength. He is being coached by the same guy that coached Aaron Donald, and he has been quoted saying Billings can be a better player in the NFL. That is extremely high praise. Upside guy here but at the very least he can be a stout run defender. 1st rounder if he comes out.

#92 DE Jamal Palmer – 6’3/250

Fourth year senior. Backup for 2 years, starter for 2-ish. His 2014 ended after just 5 games because of a knee. Palmer is the guy that jumps off the screen when you turn Baylor on to watch Oakman. He is explosive out of his stance and he has a violent approach to blockers. Relentless motor, wants to finish every play himself. He can react and change direction faster than Oakman, he can change direction faster. I’m not saying he’ll grade out higher but the gap between the two is not nearly as large as some want to think.

Other Notables:

#73 LG Blake Muir – 6’5/310
#61 Jarrell Broxton – 6’5/330

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NEVADA

#6 RB Don Jackson – 5’10/210

This will be my third look at Jackson. From what I’ve seen, he looks like a guy that could have a top 100 overall grade on my board. He has the NFL body already. Very muscular from head to toe but he also has the quick and agile lower half. He misses initial contact often and will surge through tacklers, always falling forward. Very aggressive, angry runner. Has rushed for just under 2,000 yards past two years. Hasn’t been used much as a receiver. I will spend more time on him in the coming months but I like what I see so far.

#8 DE Ian Seau – 6’3/250

Nephew of the late Junior Seau. Fourth year senior that spent a season at Community College. 1st Team All Mountain West in 2015, led team with 15.5 TFL and 9 sacks. Emotional leader of the defense that is constantly hustling to the ball. Relentless style. Bends the corner well and plays with stable legs and a strong upper body, Seau lacks some physical gifts but he can make up for some with consistent effort and positioning. He plays mechanically sound. 5th or 6th rounder that may fit best in a 3-4 OLB role.

#94 DE Lenny Jones – 63/270
#55 DT Rykeem Yates – 6’2/280

COLORADO STATE

*#82 WR Rashard Higgins – 6’2/190

Junior that most are expecting to leave early. 1st Team All American in 2014 after an amazing, nation leading 1,780 yard and 17 TD performance. He didn’t match that production in 2015 but it may have been impossible to do so. I saw a lot of Higgins last year and this year. While his stat line is different by a long shot, I actually like what I see now more than what I saw in 2014. Higgins does everything well. He runs quick routes that can get himself open. He attacks the ball in the air with his hands. He can outrun defensive backs downfield. What I would like to see more of is the effort as a blocker and selling routes against man coverage. If Higgins works out well, he will be a 1st rounder and potentially one of the first five WRs taken.

#86 TE Kivon Cartwright – 6’4/245

Sixth year senior that had a redshirt in 2010 and missed 2014 with a slow healing foot injury that required multiple surgeries. Was invited to the East/West Shrine game. Prior to the injury, Cartwright was on his way to being a top tier TE prospect. 2015 was a slow road back but he showed signs of being the guy everyone thought he would be. He can get behind a defense with above average speed. He makes tough catches in traffic. I want to see more out of him as a blocker. It seems he tries to simply get his hands on the defender rather than drive through them. I don’t think he has the potentual to be a receive-only TE, so he’ll need to clean that up.

#26 FS Kevin Pierre-Louis – 6’1/215

Fifth year senior. His teammate Trent Matthews gets more attention but I like Pierre-Louis more. He has the speed, both vertically and downhill, that jumps off the screen. He is very decisive and will attack the ball carriers. Good tackler. Can flip his hips and catch up to receivers. I need to see him more but in a class that lacks cover safeties, I think this kid has an interesting upside.

#31 OLB Cory James – 6’0/245

Fifth year senior and four year starter. James has played the strong side and in the middle. Both positions work for him, he has the tools/skills for them respectively. James is stout. He can take on a block without losing ground. He has the speed to reach the sidelines. He does look stiff in coverage and doesn’t offer much as a blitzer, but he has special team and solid backup potential. The body is there and he can fit in to multiple roles. Limited upside. 5th or 6th rounder.

Other Notables:

#71 RT Sam Carlson – 6’4/295
#25 WR Joe Hansley – 5’10/180
#9 DE Martavius Foster – 6’4/270
#90 DE Joe Kawulok – 6’6/250

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LSU

#74 RT Vadal Alexander – 6’6/329

Fourth year senior with a ton of starting experience. Has played in 48 our of 49 career games with 45 starts. Has played RT and LG. Will be playing RT in this game. 2nd Team All American in 2015. Alexander is massive, the kind of massive that makes other big guys look average. He is a punishing run blocker that can render a defender useless if he gets off the ball well and gets his hands locked on. Elite level power. His footwork and reaction speed can be exploited by low pad level speed rushers, but even those guys have ahard time getting around the wingspan of Alexander. He could project to guard or RT in the NFL. Day2 caliber pick.

*#77 OL Ethan Pocic

Third year junior that has not declared. There hasn’t been a ton of chatter about him coming out but I’ve been told he is 50/50 at this point. If he comes out, we are talking about one of the top 3 interior linemen in the class. Pocic moves very well. Easy bender and easy mover in space. He is stout at the point of attack, really anchors himself against power guys. He plays hard through the whistle. Pocic led the team in pancake blocks. He is a young kid with plenty of physical development to come. He can play all the interior spots, it simply makes a lot of sense for him to come out. He could be a top 45 pick.

*#65 LT Jerald Hawkins – 6’5/305

Another third year junior that has not yet declared but it looks like he will. I don’t like him much. Every game of his I have seen, I’ve made notes about how easily he was pushed back. He doesn’t dominate anyone. He has the length and feet, but I don’t see the guy that can lock a guy up and control. Maybe there is an upside I just don’t see.

*#18 CB Tre’Davious White -5’11/191

Third year junior, third year starter. 2nd Team All SEC and Thorpe Award Semifinalist. Wears the coveted #18 jersey for LSU. White is one of the best corners in this class if he comes out. Elite press cover ability with long arms and a strong jab at the line and easy turn ability. Can run with anyone downfield. QBs did not like throwing in his direction this year. He can do it all and showed some high level punt return ability to boot. 1st rounder if he comes out.

*#52 MLB Kendall Beckwith – 6’2/252

Third year junior that has not declared yet, but did submit the paper work looking for his grade. Between the tackles thumper that fits best in a 3-4 scheme. Can dominate at times. Very physical and hard to move. Fills the lanes hard, blitzes well. Will locate the football fast and work his way to it. Knows how to finish. Definitely has a lack of speed to the outside and shows heavy feet in coverage. I would advise him to go back to school, as there are too many holes in his game that the NFL just hates to see these days. He may need to play at a lighter weight.

*#92 DE Lewis Neal – 6’2/264

Third year junior that has not declared, but many think odds are trending towards him leaving early. Neal got off to a hot start in 2015, totaling 7 sacks in 6 games. A sprained ankle that he opted to fight though hampered him the rest of the season, notching only 1 sack the rest of the way. He is shorter than ideal and may not have ideal length for the 4-3 DE role. He can beat blockers off the edge though. Plays low to the ground with a strong base and quick hands. I think he should go back for another year, there isn’t anything that screams special in him. He could fall in to round 4 or 5 easily.

#45 LB Deion Jones – 6’1/227

Fourth year senior. Had to wait until this year to get a starting nod. He played really well all year, leading the Tigers in tackles. Jones is a little smaller than ideal but he can play big against blockers. Violent player that delivers a pop. He can stay on the field all three downs, showing decent coverage ability. I’ve seen Jones miss too many tackles in space. He is a weak side guy, so that is an issue. He is not Kwon Alexander from last year. I see him as a 4th or 5th rounder.

#28 FS Jalen Mills – 6’0/196

Fourth year senior and four year starter at CB and S. Has the movement ability to play both in the NFL. Very good footwork. He is quick and mechanically sound. Smart player, always moving in the right direction. He made a few All American teams although I think that was based on popularity more so than performance. Mills is a solid player but he isn’t very physical. He doesn’t have the catch up speed I want out of this style of a guy either. He had a great year in 2013 but didn’t take the next step up. He was hampered by an ankle early, missing 6 games and slowed in others. Solid cover man that can back up a few spots but I don’t think he has starting potential.

Other Notables:

#11 LB Lamar Louis – 5’11/227

TEXAS TECH

#62 LT Le’Raven Clark – 6’6/308

Fifth year senior. Has been First Team All Big 12 for three years in a row. Clark has received a ton of accolades from the media and coaches throughout his career. He rarely gets beat one on one. While he doesn’t always look the part and his technique is very inconsistent, Clark gets the job done. He can project to guard or tackle at the next level. He has a nice combination of size, strength, and foot quickness. Right now I see him as a 3rd round type that could be a versatile backup early in his career.

#21 RB Deandre Washington – 5’8/200

Fifth year senior that sat out a year with a torn ACL. Very good 3rd down back type with hands and blocking ability. High effort guy. I can see him being a factor for someone in the screen game. He has a nice feel for setting up blocks and defenders. Good acceleration and change of direction. 5th or 6th rounder here that can bring excitement to an offense.

#10 OLB Pete Robertson – 6’3/238

Fifth year senior. This is the one guy on this defense that I think has top 100 potential. Robertson is a fierce, aggressive player that pursues hard and angry. He has cruel intentions. Very powerful kid. Has some straight line speed to him as well but lacks the quick wiggle out of his hips. Might not be a guy that beats blockers off the snap but he can play. He makes guys adjust to him and Robertson is playing through the whistle at all times. He has led the Raiders in TFL and sacks each of the past two years. He can fit in somewhere. 3rd or 4th rounder.

Other Notables:

#9 DE Branden Jackson – 6’4/270

Dec 282015
 
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Eric Murray, Minnesota Golden Gophers (September 3, 2015)

Eric Murray – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 28, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

PITTSBURGH

*#23 WR Tyler Boyd – 6’2/200

Third year junior that will most likely declare. Top prospect of the day. Has been drawing comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald since day one. All American receiver that has a big time skill set. NFL ready right now. First player in ACC history to record 1,000+ yard receiving seasons in freshman and sophomore seasons. Boyd doesn’t have the top tier triangle numbers but neither do a lot of the top WRs in football. He is as savvy as it gets, knows the game inside and out. Tremendous body control and ball skills make him a guy that QBs can throw to with a ton of confidence. Some minor off field issues need to be checked out but at the end of the process I except him to be a a first rounder.

#86 TE J.P Holtz – 6’4/250

Fourth year senior, starter for all four of those years. He’s been pretty much the same guy production wise every season but there were a few more big plays in 2015. Holtz has really good foot speed/quickness. He can get open underneath and sneak behind the second level more so than you would think. He had a few drops in the two games I scouted. He is a limited player but someone that can do everything well enough to make a roster somewhere. Late rounder.

#5 DE Ejuan Price – 6’0/250

Fifth year senior that started off at linebacker. Tore a pec in 2012 and had to sit out the year. Only played half of 2013 before injuring back, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Once again missed all of 2014 with another pec injury. Price finally put together a healthy year in 2015 and he broke out in a huge way. 1st Team All ACC. 19.5 TFL and 11.5 sacks. Price will make a move to 3-4 OLB in the NFL. He is very short and stout, a build that gives him a big leverage advantage. He doesn’t do well off the snap but he can get rid of blockers and his relentless motor helps him make plays as things break down. His injury woes will scare some teams away but someone will be drawn to his ability to finish plays. He is a relentless, powerful defender. Maybe a 4th or 5th rounder if his medicals check out.

#6 CB Lafayette Pitts – 5’11/195

4 year starter. Very aggressive player that will play a physical brand at the point of attack. Very hands on kind of guy. Pitts has had stretches that lasted weeks where he looked like a top 100 overall player, but also ones where he was taken off the field by the coaching staff. Very inconsistent player that doesn’t have the short memory you hear defensive coaches talk about. Someone can take a chance on his talent in the late rounds. The ability is there.

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CENTRAL MICHIGAN

#54 C Nick Beamish – 6’3/310

Fifth year senior. Has started every game of his career. Has the body type and lower body strength for inside. Ideal kind of guy to man the position. He is smart and vocal. Very aware and rarely gets caught out of position. Good enough athlete to work in space, more than enough strength to handle the big boys. I think he gets drafted day three. Starter potential.

#89 TE Ben McCord – 6’4/240

Fifth year senior. Broke out in 2015 with a solid line of 37/370/5. Moves well and can easily line up in space and move with defensive backs. Good hands catcher, makes me think he was under utilized his first three seasons. He isn’t a good blocker though, lacks presence and power. Won’t get movement on anyone. Developmental guy that is likely a priority UDFA.

#21 SS Kavon Frazier – 6’0/218

Wore #5 all year but he is wearing the #21 jersey honoring a fallen teammate. Only pkayer on the team to wear it twice this year. Leading tackler, had a big senior year and may have played himself in to being drafted in the top 150. 2nd Team All MAC. Built like a linebacker. Attacks downhill hard, can lay the lumber. He isn’t a speed guy and he won’t cover well in the NFL. Limited but could find a role as a run defender. Late round or UDFA.

MINNESOTA

#31 CB Eric Murray – 6’0/199

2nd Team All Big 10 two years in a row. 3 year starter that has a shot at being a 1st round pick. Top prospect in this game. Murray combines size, speed, physical presence and awareness to make himself one of the top senior cover men in this class. I’ve only seen him twice and he wasn’t challenged much. I’ll need to do more work on him. His name comes up from almost everyone I speak with when talking about the top cornerbacks. There isn’t anything about his game that screams weakness. His lack of career INTs (2) has more to do with teams not throwing his way. He can be a shut down guy.

#26 LB De’vondre Campbell – 6’5/239

Fourth year junior. Played one year at junior college. Has the triangle numbers that could get him drafted based solely on that. Shows some ability as a weak side guy with his ability to pursue across the field and finish plays. He looks strong on the move and will tackle well, but he looks weak in traffic. Struggles to take on blockers. He is an upside guy that could be a Special Teams monster. 5th or 6th round.

#29 CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun – 5’11/190

Fifth year senior. Played a year at Junior College and missed 2013 with a knee. Very productive in 2014 and 2015. Solid cover man with anticipation and awareness skills. Very savvy. Good decision maker that rarely seems fooled. Might be limited athletically but has enough to be a factor in the NFL. Not quite on the same level as Murray but Calhoun will get selected. Probably a day 3 guy.

Other Notables:

#1 WR KJ Maye – 5’10/194
#55 Theiren Cockran – 6’6/258
#11 S Antonio Johnson – 6’0/208

Dec 262015
 
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Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa Golden Hurricane (November 21, 2015)

Keyarris Garrett – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 26, 2015 Bowl Games (Late Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

TULSA

#1 WR Keyarris Garrett – 6’4/215

Fifth year senior. Missed 2013 with a broken leg. Here we have a boom or bust WR prospect that may have more upside than any WR in the entire class. I’ve seen a lot of Garrett and there is a combination of traits to his game that you simply won’t find every year. I honestly see glimpses of a young Randy Moss at times. Garrett has incredible length and acceleration. He will make catches that are nearly impossible to most players, and he makes them look easy. However the negatives to his game are obvious and need to be fixed if he is going to get a shot at playing in an NFL offense. He body catches too often. He rounds his routes. And he is incredibly thin. Garrett may be a little bit of a project but I’ll say it again, the upside is right up there with the best WRs in this class.

Other Notables:

#76 LG Garrett Stafford – 6’5/300

VIRGINIA TECH

#88 TE Ryan Malleck – 6’5/253

Fifth year senior. Missed 2013 with a shoulder injury. Malleck is a solid every down, traditional TE that can be a factor in the trenches as a blocker and in space as a receiver. His lack of physical ability is apparent, but he can do enough to work underneath. He catches balls with defenders on top of him. He willingly puts his body on the line. He won’t stretch the field and he won’t make the defense alter anything, but he can be a solid backup TE. 6th our 7th rounder.

#90 DE Dadi Nicolas – 6’3/223

Fifth year senior. Almost came out after a huge 2014. Unfortunately he really disappointed in 2015 after some were expecting him to be a 1st round caliber performer. Nicolas is really light. He will need to be an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He is a straight line athlete with good burst off the edge, something he didn’t get to do enough of in 2015. His flexibility is great and he can play a physical brand. My issue with him is that he doesn’t have a great feel for the game and doesn’t react well to the action. He also struggles to deal with head on blocks against the run. Someone is going to see the pass rush upside and take him in rounds 3-4.

#40 LB Deon Clarke – 6’1/227

Fourth year senior. Plays a position that yields production. A lot of straight line blitzing off the edge. He is an explosive athlete that plays hard and physical. Not sure he can handle that role in the NFL, may need to play 4-3 WILL or SAM. He doesn’t have a ton of experience in coverage though so it will be a tough go for him. Someone will like the upside based on his triangle numbers. Late rounder.

Other Notables:

#92 DT Luther Maddy – 6’2/283

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UCLA

#9 WR Jordan Payton – 6’1/212

Fourth year senior. Has led the Bruins in receiving each of the last two seasons by fairly wide margins respectively. Senior Bowl player here. Strong and physical hands catcher. Ball doesn’t wiggle at all upon contact. Scouts will like is refined route running ability and awareness of the defense. He will be a good situational receiver that you want on 3rd downs. Top tier kid off the field, too. Probably lacks the top end speed and agility to be considered anywhere before rounds 3-4.

*#24 RB Paul Perkins – 5’11/210

Fourth year junior that has not yer declared. Many think he will. He’s been the leading rusher for the Bruins by a long shot each of the past two seasons respectively. I think he’s proven himself and doesn’t need a third straight year of 225+ carries. Perkins is a little light in the pants but he excels at cutback runs, missing the meat of a tackle and gaining extra yards after contact. Very good at keeping his momentum moving forward as he dodges tacklers. I need to see more in terms of blocking and catching but based on what I see now, he is looking like a 4th or 5th round back that has solid rotation potential.

#54 C Jake Brendel – 6’4/305

Fifth year senior. Four year starter that has been a team captain since his redshirt sophomore season. One of the top centers in the Pac 12. His weaknesses are not something I want to see at the position. He is often late out of his stance and he has a hard time playing low and strong. Brendel is going to struggle with the combination of speed and power you see from NFL defensive tackles. He is smart, very experienced, and knows the mental side of the game very well. But there will need to be a fair amount of physical development before he can be relied on. Late rounder.

*#97 DT Kenny Clark – 6’3/310

Underclassman that hasn’t declared yet but many think he’s coming out. There are some that consider this guy to be one of the top defensive tackles in the class. He has some “freak” in him. Built like a fire hydrant. Country strong guy that will make an NFL defense more physical from day one. I need to spend some more time on him. He jumps off the screen at times but only in small flashes, just to disappear for long stretches. Maybe a little bit of a conditioning issue. Maybe a little bit of a length issue. Maybe some inconsistent technique. He isn’t short on talent though and I bet he turns heads at the combine. As of right now I see him as a 2nd rounder but easily could see a jump in to the 1st.

#51 OLB Aaron Wallace – 6’3/240

Fifth year senior that wasn’t a factor until this year. Will be a Shrine game participant. Has some tools to work with. Length, speed, hand power. He can rush the edge but probably needs time to develop lower body strength and flexibility. Nothing special here but his tools and some decent tape from 2015 could get him drafted late.

Other Notables:

#7 WR Devin Fuller – 5’11/195

NEBRASKA

#71 LT Alex Lewis – 6’6/290

Fifth year senior. Started off at Colorado for two years, one of which he was a ful season starter at LG, grading out as the second best OL on the team. Involved in an ugly off field fight that put him in jail for 45 days. Sat out in 2013 because of the transfer. Two year starter at LT for Nebraska. Lewis is a technician, a very good one. He almost always has his balance and his mechanics from head to toe are spot on. He lacks a go-getter mentality. He doesn’t attack. He doesn’t drive block. But he does react well and is always under control. Not a bad thing but not my ideal OL. He has the triangle numbers and footwork to play the left side and coaches will like his NFL-ready technique. 3rd-4th rounder.

*#7 DT Maliek Collins – 6’2/300

Third year junior. Hasn’t declared yet but the paper work is in and some think he will have a first round grade. He had a slightly disappointing year in 2015 but every game I watched he was seeing a ton of double teams. He is really quick and low off the snap. His game is all about gaining the initial advantage and causing the offense to adjust. I fail to see the every down contributor here though. Too often do I see him getting pushed around or ridden out of the play. He is an all or nothing kind of guy. He isn’t a first rounder on my sheet but maybe a 3rd/4th right now.

*#98 DT Vincent Valentine – 6’3/320

Another junior that hasn’t declared but he did ask the Advisory Board for a grade. Valentine doesn’t get the attention of Collins but I like him more for most schemes. He won’t be a top tier pass rusher and his upside is limited, but I trust a guy like Valentine. He doesn’t get pushed around. He is smart and savvy, sticks to his assignments, and will make plays when they are there. He is a tough guy for a lone blocker to take head on. Valentine offers better value than Collins and he may end up with the better grade on my board if they both come out.

Other Notables:

#32 RB Imani Cross – 6’1/240