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Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina Gamecocks (October 12, 2013)

Jadeveon Clowney – © USA TODAY Sports Images

January 1, 2014 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch (Early Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

NEBRASKA

#17 Ciante Evans – CB – 5’11/190

Fourth year senior with a lot of experience. Evans has steadily improved throughout his career. He is an aggressive, physical defender that stands out with his ability to tackle in space and defend the run. He spends a lot of time in the nickel position, and I think he can stick in the NFL there. While he is best known for his play against the run, Evans has shown the short area quickness to shadow receivers underneath. He can do lot for a secondary. He might have a shot at the 3rd/4th round area.

#16 Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB – 6’3/220

Fifth year senior. Started off at WR but made the move to CB prior to 2011. Long, wiry frame that is becoming more sought after in the NFL these days. Jean-Baptiste is a rangy cover man that can play vertical with most receivers. He struggles to turn and change direction. There are a few schemes that covet a player with this size and style. Others will think he is too slow to play. Jean-Baptiste will get drafted somewhere between rounds 4-6 based on his size and ability to make plays on the ball.

#18 Quincy Enunwa – WR – 6’2/225

Fourth year senior that has improved every season of his career. Enunwa played in a run-heavy scheme that really hindered his ability to show his wide receiver skills. I think there is some talent here worth looking in to on day three of the Draft. He is big and physical. Very tough guy for corners to push around at the point of attack. Enunwa is also an asset on plays where just a few yards are needed. He has the quick movement skills to get himself open and he can box defensive backs out from making a play on the ball. Enunwa has shown, on a few occasions, some hidden ability that can make an impact in the NFL.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#71 Jeremiah Sirles – RT – 6’5/315
#63 Andrew Rodriguez – RG – 6’5/330
#41 Jake Long – TE – 6’3/240
#9 Jason Ankrah – DE – 6’4/265

GEORGIA

#88 Arthur Lynch – TE – 6’5/254

Fifth year senior that wasn’t really a factor until 2012. Lynch is a block-first tight end that consistently gets the job done against both defensive linemen and linebackers. He has a nice combination of power and quickness to go with good technique to handle whatever is in front of him. As a receiver, I think Lynch has some hidden upside to be factor underneath and up the seam. He has sneaky athleticism and strong hands. Lynch won’t ever be a star that puts up the sexy numbers, but for the offenses that still use a tight end as both a blocker and receiver, he will have value. I expect to see him taken somewhere in the round 4-5 area.

#56 Garrison Smith – DE – 6’3/299

Fourth year senior. Plays outside in Georgia’s 3-4 front. Smith plays the role very well, consistently demanding attention from one or two blockers. He is a blue collar type defender that does a lot of little things well if you watch him individually. Smith had a big year in 2013, showing he can make some things happen behind the line of scrimmage. He plays low and strong, making him a tough guy to block. He has the upside of a solid rotational player for most schemes. Round 5-6 guy.

#72 Kenarious Gates – LT – 6’5/327

Fourth year senior. Mammoth blocker that can overwhelm opponents and drive block. Powerful hands and a strong punch at the point of attack. Too much of a leaner, bending at the waist and playing on his toes. Gates has experience at guard and tackle. I think his future resides inside. I project him to be a backup in the NFL that can provide depth for a few spots along the line. He has some bad weight on him that impedes his ability against the quicker defenders. Developmental guy that needs time. Late day three prospect.

#68 Chris Burnette – RG – 6’2/314

Fifth year senior. Has been starting three years now and looks like a low ceiling/high floor prospect. Might project as a career backup but Burnette has been a consistent performer that past two years. He doesn’t dominate or get a big push, but he gets the job done. He is a much better run blocker than he is a pass blocker. His feet get heavy and he’ll lean forward too often. He is an impressive kid off the field and appears to be the player that can be a reliable second stringer. Late day three here.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#64 Dallas Lee – LG – 6’4/295
#17 Rantavious Wooten – WR – 5’9/176

UNLV

#35 Tim Cornett – RB – 6’0/215

Fourth year senior. All time leading rusher at UNLV by a pretty wide margin. Cornett is a size/speed prospect that will get a few looks after round 4. He doesn’t have the wiggle in his hips to be elusive. And I don’t see the girth to his lower half needed to handle a full load in the NFL. With that said he can be a guy that sits on the bottom of the depth chart for a couple years and tries to develop in to a quality rotational back. He has some tools and I like his style of play. Great blocker that takes pride in that part of the game. There is a spot for him somewhere.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#8 Caleb Herring – QB – 6’3/200

NORTH TEXAS

#8 Marcus Trice – DB – 5’8/193

Fourth year senior that started off at Oklahoma. He was a solid player without a true position for the Sooners, being moved all over the defensive backfield and even to WR for a little bit. He is mostly a S for North Texas and is a fun player to watch. He is brick house that can handle the physical side of the game. He explodes downhill and makes a violent impact on the running game. Trice also shows a lot of range as a cover man. He shows the ability to cover half the field as well as stick with receivers in man-based schemes. Trice will be fighting up an uphill battle because of his height and low level of competition. But keep in mind he played a great game against Georgia this year and has been coming up big for two years straight. I’m going to have him graded out as a top 150 overall guy.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#24 Brandon Byrd – RB – 5’10/223
#3 Breian Chancellor – WR – 5’9/186

WISCONSIN

#44 Chris Borland – LB – 5’11/246

One look at him prior to the game starting and I would say close to 90% of the public would state he had no shot at making an impact in the NFL. I think he is even shorter than his listed 5’11” with stubby arms and a lack of upper body strength. With that said, I’ve seen Borland more than enough to believe he will be a starting linebacker in the NFL, and a very good one to boot. He has out-produced expectations every season of his career, turning himself in to one of the most accomplished and well rounded linebackers in the nation. Borland is incredibly smart and decisive. He is constantly moving in the right direction, rarely caught out of position. He moves exceptionally well in pursuit, easily displaying true sideline-to-sideline range. He’s been a dominant blitzing linebacker because of his ability to time snap accounts and sneak under the pads of much taller, less agile blockers. Borland can be overwhelmed in traffic because of the size deficiency, but he is a guy that simply finds a way to get it done week in, week out. I’ll have him graded much higher than where I expect to see him selected. But even then, I can’t see him available after the 3rd or 4th round.

#4 Jared Abbrederis – WR – 6’2/190

It seems like Abbrederis has been around forever. I can remember watching Russell Wilson in 2011 throwing deep balls to Abbrederis, clearly looking like these two were above the level of every opponent they faced. I’m not sure how well he will test out in workouts, but he is an overachiever and I see that translating to the NFL. He is a reliable hands-catcher that rarely drops balls within his radius. He doesn’t have the top tier explosion, but he constantly runs himself open and can make things happen with the ball in his hands. The game he played against Ohio State’s Bradley Roby (whom some believe is a top 64 pick himself) was one of the more dominant one-on-one performances I saw all year. The lack of tools may hurt his grade when all is said and done, but he’ll be taken somewhere in the middle of the draft and could be an early contributor at the next level.

#20 James White – RB  5’10/195

Fourth year senior. White was the primary backup to Montee Ball for three seasons and split carries in 2013 with Melvin Gordon. He is a lesser prospect than both but something needs to be said for a back that has averaged more than 6 yards per carry for his career. He isn’t big and lacks the runaway speed, but White shows quick feet, agile hips, and easy vision. I question his ability to handle the physical part of the game. He doesn’t break a lot of tackles and has shown to be a non-factor as a blocker. White will get drafted late.

#79 Ryan Groy – LG – 6’5/320

Fifth year senior. Saw some spot duty early in his career before starting every game in 2012 and 2013. He is a guard, but has some experience playing left tackle. Groy’s greatest asset is his size and length. He can overwhelm defenders when his balance and mechanics are right. Groy is a solid run blocker because he can move forward quickly with power. As a pass blocker, he is slow out of his stance, slow to react, and leans forward too much. I think he has the tools to be a contributor but I wouldn’t spend a pick on him until day three. I project him as a backup.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#48 Jacob Pederson – TE – 6’5/240
#96 Beau Allen – DT – 6’3/325
#12 Dezmen Southward – S – 6’2/210

SOUTH CAROLINA

*#7 Jadeveon Clowney – DE – 6’6/274

No secrets or surprises here. Clowney has been destined for the top, or near the top of this draft class for years now. I firmly believe he would have been a first round pick after his freshman season had it been allowed. He has the tool set that comes around once every 5-6 years. He is the top defensive end prospect since Julius Peppers and will likely grade out above him when all is said and done. Clowney is the Calvin Johnson of defensive ends. The main red flag surrounding him has been hovering all year. His lack of hustle and conditioning have made his 2013 game tape look pedestrian for the most part. Even with that in mind, Clowney showed more than enough signs that he is still the most elite defensive talent that has come around in a long, long time. People need to stop attempting to be the black sheep when evaluating him. He is better than everyone. He isn’t a bad kid. I think he simply tried to protect himself from injury after watching what happened to Lattimore last season. He’ll be a dominant force from day one for whichever team selects him.

*#27 Victor Hampton – CB – 5’10/202

Third year junior that has already declared for the Draft. Hampton is a unique player that is incredibly strong and thick for the position. He is a little tight in the hips, but I think he can handle the speed and quickness of the NFL. He will need to shore up some technique because he is almost too physical, draping receivers down the field. Hampton brings a physical style that most teams want. I think he can be a quality nickel back and possibly even a starter down the road if he works at his craft. The talent is there, the skill set has potential. 2nd/3rd rounder.

*#99 Kelcy Quarles – DT – 6’4/298

Third year junior that has not yet declared, but his stock may be higher now than it ever will be. Quarles is a very nice prospect in his own right, but a lot of his production can be attributed to the presence of Clowney. The light came on for him towards the end of 2011, and he has shown signs every week of being a quality NFL starter. At 300 pounds, Quarles is a guy that can chase quarterbacks, and even some running backs from behind. Inside the trenches, he displays hand strength to control the engagement and the lower body power to create a new line of scrimmage. He can play a couple different roles inside, but I think teams looking for a pass rushing three-technique will have a high grade on him. He could even grade out as a 2nd rounder in a sub-par DT class.

#90 Chaz Sutton – DE – 6’5/263

Sutton looks like a player when you turn on the tape and see him prior to the action starting. Great height and length with a filled out frame and long arms. Once the game starts however, he looks pedestrian despite the majority of the opposing team’s attention on Clowney and Quarles. Too often was he overmatched by a single blocker. His run defense was especially poor because he can’t anchor. He is pushed where the blocker wants to push him. He has nice tools and can move in space, so I think there will be teams willing to gamble on him late in the draft.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#14 Connor Shaw – QB – 6’1/209
#67 Ronald Patrick – RG – 6’2/315
#15 Jimmy Legree – CB – 5’11/187

IOWA

#86 CJ Fiedorwicz – TE – 6’7/265

Fourth year senior. Took over the starting spot with 5 weeks to go in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. Fiedorwicz is about as balanced as it gets in this draft class when it comes his attributes. He shows dominant ability against defensive linemen. He fires off the ball well and has a strong pair of hands and light feet. He carries 260+ pounds very comfortable. As a receiver, he is better than you would assume. He has reliable hands that can pluck the ball out of the air. Very good underneath route runner that can shield defenders from making a play on the ball. Underrated ball skills, can really be a weapon in the red zone. Fiedorwicz will most likely be a solid contributor at the next level but he won’t be a star. 3rd/4th rounder.

#19 BJ Lowery – CB – 5’11/193

Fourth year senior. At this time last year I spoke highly of Iowa CB Micah Hyde. He was graded out as a day three prospect by pretty much everyone. I loved what I saw on tape in 2012 and put him in to my top 45 overall. Since then, he has played in every game of the 2013 season for division-winning Packers. I see something similar going on here with Lowery. Maybe it has something to do with the system, I’m not sure. But I think Lowery might be one of the top 5-6 CBs in this class, and he will likely be available on day three. He has good length for the position. Very good at press coverage with a blend of a physical and easy moving style. I’ll watch a couple more tapes in the coming months, but this is a guy that will outplay a lot of CBs that are drafted ahead of him.

#20 Christian Kirksey – OLB – 6’2/233

Fourth year senior. Team captain known for incredible intangibles and leadership. Rangy linebacker that pursues well and consistently takes down the ball carriers. Kirksey is a little weak with his lower half and he will need to bulk up before he can be an every down guy in the NFL. However he has great athletic ability and is comfortable in coverage. He has made a lot of big plays over the past few years. I think some teams will see him as a developmental guy that can be a star on special teams and an extra pass defender early on. There is a high ceiling with him.

#31 Anthony Hithcens – OLB – 6’0/233

Fourth year senior. Led the team in tackles each of the past two years. Hitchens is undersized and it will hurt him at different points of the game. He easily gets engulfed by blockers who come straight at him. If he doesn’t get an early break towards the action, he can easily be ridden out of a play. With that said, he shows quick reaction and finds himself in the right spot at the right time consistently. Hitchens can pursue well and make plays sideline-to-sideline. His biggest struggle is coverage. He lacks awareness of whats going on around him and it really hurt the Iowa defense in games I watched. I’m not sure he can handle every down duty but I think he can be drafted for special teams/backup duty. Day three guy here.

#70 Brett Van Sloten – RT – 6’7/300

Fifth year senior. Tight end in high school that made the to move to OL when he arrived at Iowa. I can see the movement skills here. He has light feet and quick reaction. The issue is a lack of power though. A guy this big and this fast should be able to move people and he simply doesn’t. He has the frame for more weight and perhaps he can add the power game once he gets put in to an NFL weight training program. Practice squad type prospect with the upside of a solid starting RT. Day three prospect.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#44 James Morris – MLB – 6’1/240
#59 Connor Boffeli – LG – 6’5/295
#5 Tanner Miller – S – 6’1/207

LSU

*#3 Odell Beckham – WR – 6’0/190

Third year junior that hasn’t declared yet. I think Beckham is a legit first round talent with big time upside. He is more than a speed/quickness guy. He is incredibly strong and tough. It will be hard to find a 190 pounder that plays with the power and brute force of Beckham. He has the speed to get behind a secondary and the quick twitch/agile hips to get open underneath. Very dangerous with the ball in his hands that will get a lot of yards after the catch with his toughness and ability to miss contact from defenders. What stood out to me in 2013 was the improvement with his ball skills. He can make a lot of tough catches away from his body in traffic. Over the past three years, I’ve seen as much LSU as any school in the nation and I am impressed with how Beckham has improved from a great athlete to a great player. If he comes out he will be a top 20 overall guy on my board.

*#70 La’el Collins – LT – 6’5/315

Third year junior. Has not declared yet and I think he will return to school. But just in case, I wanted to get a few thoughts out on him. I think Collins has the upside to be the top OT in this class. The former guard made the move to LT this year and has absolutely shined. He holds 315 pounds with ease, minimal bad weight. He is a punishing straight ahead blocker that consistently creates a new line of scrimmage. He bends well and can lower his pad level against anyone when necessary. Collins will surprise you with his ability in space. While his footwork needs refining, he can be an immediate upgrade along several starting offensive lines right away. His experience inside only helps. If he comes out I will likely have him in the top 25 overall.

*#9 Ego Ferguson – DT – 6’2/309

Fourth year junior that hasn’t declared yet. Ferguson is an impressive player in my eyes, a far better prospect than his well known teammate Anthony Johnson. Ferguson is constantly fighting off blocks and making a difference against the run. He pursues well towards the sideline but he can also eat up the double team and anchor his position. He plays a similar style to Bennie Logan, currently of the Eagles. I like his ability with his hands the his consistent performance throughout an entire game. I don’t think Ferguson is a star, but he is a reliable player at a position that most teams are always looking to add to. Day two pick here.

*#80 Jarvis Landry – WR – 6’1/195

Another third year junior that hasn’t declared yet. Landry may not have the upside of some receivers in this class, but I am just as, if not more confident in saying he will be a productive player in the NFL in comparison to every other WR prospect. What stands out about him is his refined skill set. He is a pure hands catcher. He runs great routes. He comes back to the ball well. He times his leaps and lunges for the ball well. Everything he does is NFL-ready. He is pure toughness over the middle in traffic and tries to drive cornerbacks in to the ground when blocking to boot. Landry can be a reliable #2 at the next level, which has become more and more important in this era. Day 2 pick here that will out produce a few WRs taken in front of him.

*#33 Jeremy Hill – RB – 6’1/233

True sophomore but has been out of high school for three years, thus is eligible for the 2014 Draft. Several off the field issues with Hill and it will hamper his grade. As a running back, Hill is a downhill brick house with surprising speed in the open field. He is an angry runner that can take on a lot of contact before being brought to the ground. He’s been the top back for LSU, a team that always has an abundance of great college running backs. Hill is a 4th/5th rounder right now because of the issues off the field.

#8 Zach Mettenberger – QB – 6’5/235

Fourth year senior. Transferred to LSU prior to the 2012 season and had a disappointing first year, but came back strong in 2013. Mettenberger is an old school pocket passer with a strong arm that makes all the throws look easy. When it comes to throwing ability, he is right up there with the best QBs in this class. I’m not sold on his ability to start in the NFL, but I think he is worth a shot for teams that haven’t made a change to the zone-read offense. Mettenberger has had some of the best talent in the nation to work with at the skill positions. His rebound in 2013 can be partially attributed to that, but he made some big time throws in 2013 that will make you think he’s got a shot to be a good one.

#56 Anthony Johnson – DT – 6’3/294

Third year junior. Johnson hasn’t made a decision yet either, but he needs to go back to school. He has been a major disappointment since his arrival at LSU. The expectations were sky high and I can remember watching him as a freshman thinking he was already NFL caliber when it came to power and movement ability. However he has remained at the same level since the beginning. He fails to make an impact on the game, plain and simple. He has rare speed and quickness for the position but he doesn’t beat lone blockers. His technique is hit or miss. Just seems like he thinks his tool set is good enough to get him by. That doesn’t happen at defensive tackle in the NFL. If he comes out, someone may gamble on his athletic gifts on day 2 but I wouldn’t consider him until the 5th or 6th round.

#6 Craig Loston – S – 6’2/209

Fifth year senior. Physical, run defending safety that plays with angry intentions when playing downhill. Loston can make an impact on special teams and he could probably help defend the run right away. The problem with him is the fact that he is a major liability against the pass. He has such tight hips in coverage, failing to react in time to balls thrown in his direction. His movement skills are sub-par and in this era, that could be a major problem for his draft grade. Day three guy here.

#18 Lamin Barrow – MLB – 6’2/234

Fifth year senior. Barrow is another run defender that plays the inside gaps well. When he has a simple assignment, he can make a difference. The issues arise when he has to sit back, diagnose, and flow to the action. He doesn’t appear to be a quick thinker. If a blocker can reach him, its all but over for Barrow. He can’t shed blocks and his power doesn’t translate to that part of the game. He is an easy target for a lone blocker. There are a lot of technique-based issues with Barrow and he isn’t exactly a supremely gifted athlete either. Late rounder that fits best in a 3-4 ILB role.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#44 JC Copeland – FB – 6’1/270

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Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona Wildcats (November 30, 2013)

Ka’Deem Carey – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 31, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

ARIZONA

*#25 Ka’Deem Carey – RB  5’10/198

Third year junior.  Carey is currently my top graded running back in this class if he declares, which most assume he will do.  He led the nation in rushing in 2012 (1,929 yards) while also breaking the school’s single season record.  He had another big year in 2013 despite being suspended for game one as a result of some trouble off the field during the offseason.  Those issues are considered minor and I don’t think it will affect his grade.  Carey is a statistical compiler in some ways because of how many carries he gets over the course of a season (averaging almost 30 per game).  Even with that in mind, I love his ability with the ball in his hands.  He is a tough, hard nosed runner that knows how to finish.  He has agile hips and light feet.  Very impressive after contact with good vision and instincts.  Carey is an established pass catcher and blocker to boot.  He’ll need to add some bulk to his frame but Carey is a rare every down horse with big play ability.  He’ll finish with a top 45 grad eon my board and has a good shot at being the first running back taken.

#5 Shaquille Richardson – CB – 6’1/186

Fifth year senior.  Richardson has a sketchy past that needs to be looked in to, but it seems he has matured.  Richardson is a height/length/speed guy that is becoming more and more popular in the NFL these days.  He gets his hands on a lot of passes.  He is a light-footed player with long speed but I question his ability to cover underneath.  Quickness has beat him time and time again in the 4 games I saw this year.  While I see the physical side to his game, he is a poor tackler and will often screw up his assignments.  He has some tools to work with though and I think a team will come after him in early day three.

#2 Marquis Flowers – OLB – 6’3/230

Fourth year senior.  Former safety that made the full time move to LB in 2012.  Flowers is a great athlete for the position that moves well in space.  He is a pursuit linebacker with coverage skills.  He has the short area explosion to make powerful hits and tackles.  He has come a long way in terms of taking on blocks, but he still has a lot of work to do.  Too often did I see him overwhelmed by a lone blocker at the second level.  He creates massive cutback lanes with his style of play and has shown to be a liability as much as an asset to their defense.  Flowers will impress with his workouts and coaches will want to work with him, but I don’t see him being taken before day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#33 Jake Fischer – MLB – 6’0/225
#98 Tevin Hood – DT – 6’0/302

BOSTON COLLEGE

#44 Andre Williams – RB – 6’0/227

Fourth year senior.  Williams was a nice power back his first three years at BC but broke out in a huge way this season.  He led the nation in rushing yards (2,102) while also setting school and ACC single season records.  While he did have a lot of carries, Williams is an impressive back that is more than impressive statistics.  At 6’0”, he can run with a low pad level, giving him maximum power behind every run.  He is thick, country-strong ball carrier that rarely goes down on initial contact.  He is a no-nonsense runner that works best in between the tackles with minimum lateral movement and cutting.  He won’t time well in workouts but Williams has a shot at being a day two pick.  Teams will love his potential as an inside/power runner.

#24 Kevin Pierre-Louis – OLB – 6’1/218

Fourth year senior that has started every game of his college career minus the games he missed with injuries.  He is a quality, rangy linebacker that plays bigger than his listed size  He has the strength and pop to take on blocks without giving ground.  Pierre-Louis works through traffic well and can factor against the inside run.  As a cover man, he shows instincts in zone coverage.  He shows nice flow to the action and makes quick breaks on the ball.  I think he can be a quality weak side guy at the next level down the road.  Day three pick that will stick somewhere.

#83 Alex Amidon – WR – 5’11/186

Fourth year senior.  Amidon has had a very productive career that has set a few school records for receptions and yards.  When I watch him, I fail to see a guy that will make a big difference in the NFL.  A receiver with such a slender frame needs to have elite speed and/or quickness, neither of which Amidon has.  He shows nice ball skills and NFL-ready routes, but I think the lack of talent is going to really hurt him at the next level.  He could be a solid 4th or 5th receiver down the road if he can find the right situation.

#77 Matt Patchan – LT – 6’6/305

Has been in college football since 2008.  Has had a very circuitous path to where he is now.  Started off at Florida as a DT, but made the move to OT early in his career.  Overall he started 8 games for the Gators but was in and out of the lineup because of injuries to his leg, shoulder, and pectoral.  Patchan is an under the radar prospect that I think has some starting potential at the next level.  He has a nice frame with great length and good enough flexibility.  His heavy hands give him a nice advantage at the point of attack.  I’m not sure he has the feet and balance to play the left side.  He was consistently late on reacting to blitzes and stunts in the games I saw.  All in all, Patchan put together a healthy year in 2013 and we got to see that he is capable of fulfilling his potential that many used to think was very high.  He’ll be a late day three guy worth taking a chance on.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#91 Kasim Edebali – DE – 6’3/246
#11 Chase Rettig – QB – 6’3/206
#49 Steele Divitto – ILB – 6’3/238
#96 Kaleb Ramsey – DT – 6’2/285

VIRGINIA TECH

#17 Kyle Fuller – CB – 6’0/189

Fourth year senior with a lot of experience and production.  Considered one of the hardest workers on the team, winning several offseason team awards.  Fuller is one of my favorite players in the draft.  He does it all from the cornerback position and he really doesn’t have a glaring weakness to his game.  He has the body control in coverage with superb ball skills.  He is one of the few corners that shows an all out effort when tackling on running backs downhill.  He has the short area burst and long speed to stick with receivers all over the field.  Fuller tore a muscle in his groin, forcing him to miss 5 games but it looks like he will be ready for the bowl game.  Despite playing in just 7 games, he was still voted 1st Team All ACC by the coaches.  He may grade out as one of the top 3 CBs in this draft on my sheet.

*#34 Kyshoen Garrett – S – 5’11/198

Third year junior that has not declared, but did file paperwork to the advisory board.  Garrett plays a SS-type role.  He is an effective run defender that tackles well.  He has the speed to play in deep coverage as well, showing wide lateral range.  Overall, he isn’t a great pass defender though. He doesn’t show the anticipation and quick breaks on the ball to be considered an asset.  I think he needs to return for his senior year because he will grade out as a 3rd-5th rounder at best.

#99 James Gayle – DE – 6’4/255

Fifth year senior.  Best known for his elite workout numbers across the board.  Fiery player that has not loved up to his strength/speed numbers.  Gayle shows average explosion out of his stance and average quickness when trying to use moves to reach the quarterback.  He has such a think lower half and I don’t think he has the power to handle the 4-3 DE role.  With that said, he did improve as the 2013 season progressed.  If he continues to progress, the tools are there to be a solid DE or OLB.  I see him as a 4th/5th rounder.

#98 Derek Hopkins – DT – 6’0/311

Fourth year senior, three year starter.  Hopkins is a bit undersized but I really like his game.  I think he can stick somewhere at the next level.  He has strong hands, quick feet, and a very high on-field-IQ.  He anchors against the double teams well and plays much heavier than what he is listed at.  He is more than a space eater though.  Hopkins can make plays between the tackles, showing a nice burst to the ball.  Coaches have always thought there was some big time talent here and I think he is starting to blossom.  Someone will take him day three and get a great value.

#3 Logan Thomas – QB – 6’6/254

Fifth year senior.  Thomas came to Virginia Tech as a TE/WR recruit, but made the move to QB full time in 2011 (he was a high school QB as well).  He was considered to be a potential first round pick after an impressive 2011.  Scouts have always loved his combination of size, speed, and throwing ability.  The tools are there, nobody can argue that.  However Thomas has failed to take the next step and if anything, he has gone backwards since 2011.  Thomas fails to make quick reads and decisions.  He has had stretches where his accuracy was woefully awful.  Even with all the failure he has had, I think someone will take a chance on him.  He has the tools and worst case scenario is he gets moved back to TE.  He does have the athletic ability to make a move.  Day three prospect here.

#1 Antone Exum – CB – 6’1/224

Fifth year senior.  I’m not sure if Exum will play because of a serious ankle injury.  But he is a guy that teams will look to steal late in the draft with the hope he will bounce back from his injuries.  He was a good player for their defense in 2011 and 2012.  He was all over the defensive backfield, playing S, CB, and Rover.  At his size, he can play in the box and make an impact as a downhill run defender.  He is very strong, very powerful.  While he doesn’t have the ideal hip movement when covering receivers in space, he can still factor in with his ability to press them at the line.  Exum played in just 3 games this year because of that ankle injury and long recovery from a torn ACL that occurred while playing basketball in the offseason.  When watching his 2012 tape, there is a lot that jumps out at you.  Day three guy that could pay enormous dividends in the right scheme.

#42 JR Collins – DE – 6’2/252

Fifth year senior.  Collins is a versatile edge player that can be moved around to exploit matchup problems.  He is a strong player with good short area quickness.  He took a step back in 2012 and there were some rumblings about a poor work ethic and dedication.  He turned it around last offseason and coaches raved about his improvement with the little things.  Collins is a sleeper prospect that may be undervalued as a result of average game tapes in 2012.  Late day three guy.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#24 Tariq Edwards – OLB – 6’2/234
#18 DJ Coles – WR – 6’3/234
#58 Jack Tyler – MLB – 6’0/234
#98 Derek Hopkins – DT – 6’0/312

UCLA

#11 Anthony Barr – OLB – 6’4/245

Fourth year senior that has an interesting story.  Barr was a RB/FB for the first two years of his career.  He wasn’t used a lot and the coaching staff wanted to get his athleticism on the field, moving him to LB prior to the 2012 season.  He flourished right away and has put himself in to round 1 discussion, possibly even top 10 overall.  Barr has elite closing ability.  He can explode downhill with the best of them with powerful strides and agile hips.  He has excellent reaction skills with the necessary suddenness to his game.  Barr is an awful pass defender, however.  I think he will need to play the rush linebacker position but I don’t think it will hurt his grade too much.  He is only in year two at this position, this his upside could be in the elite area.  Barr has the tools and the skills to be a demon behind the line of scrimmage.  In a weak edge rushing class, he could be a top 10 pick.

*#17 Brett Hundley – QB – 6’3/223

Third year junior with two seasons of experience.  Hundley has not yet declared for the draft, and many think he will return.  I think he needs to, as there are too many glaring weaknesses to his game that result from simple inexperience.  Hundley has all the physical tools that teams look for.  He is a strong-armed, thick, well put together athlete with a nice bend of movement and throwing ability.  Hundley lacks the presence within the pocket and tries too hard to make plays when his mechanics aren’t lined up.  Hundley was often late to react to the defense in 2013.  His issues are correctable though and he could be a top 10 pick in 2015.  Right now, he might be a 2nd/3rd round guy.

*#56 Xavier Su’a-Filo – LG – 6’3/304

23 year old junior that started at LT his freshman season in 2009.  Then took off two years for a Mormon mission, returning in 2012 to play LG.  He has bounced back and forth between G and OT, but his NFL future likely resides inside.  Su’a-Filo is a little awkward when it comes to his technique.  He plays too high and has issues with weight distribution and hand work.  He doesn’t play low enough to anchor his position in to the ground, often getting pushed back in to the pocket.  He is, however,  a superb athlete in space that can pull out and lead block with the best of them.  I think he is a solid prospect for a zone blocking scheme.  As a pass blocker, he really struggles with the speed rushers that play low.  He could benefit from another year but his age may force him to leave early, especially if he gets a nice grade from the advisory board.  Right now, I see him as a 3rd/4th round pick.

#99 Cassius Marsh – DE – 6’4/260

Fourth year senior.  Marsh has steadily progressed throughout his career.  He has a nice frame for the 4-3 DE position and can easily add 10-15 pounds of good weight over time.  He has the length needed to effectively play with his hands.  Marsh is a physical player that plays angry.  He shows quick movement skills out of his stance and is equally effective against the run and pass.  I’m not sure he has starting potential at the next level, but he can be a quality backup.  4th-6th rounder here.

#1 Shaquelle Evans – WR – 6’1/204

Fifth year senior that started off at Notre Dame but transferred after just one season.  Evans has led UCLA in receptions and receiving yards each of the past two seasons.  He isn’t an overly impressive athlete, nor does he have an special size attributes.  Evans is a reliable pass catcher that runs good routes and can get himself open underneath.  He is a savvy receiver that can fool a defensive back and set them up throughout the game.  He doesn’t jump off the screen but I think some teams will be attracted to his NFL-ready skill set.  Backup-type in the NFL that can be taken in rounds 5-6.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#29 Jordan Zumwalt – ILB – 6’3/235
#40 Keenan Graham – OLB – 6’1/255
#98 Seali’I Epenesa – DT- 6’1/310

MISSISSIPPI STATE

#61 Gabe Jackson – LG – 6’4/335

Fifth year senior.  Has been the starting LG since week one of his freshman year.  Jackson is a very well rounded guard that will do well in the NFL.  He is a hard guy to move backwards.  Jackson is more than a straight ahead mauler.  He shows good technique as a pass blocker and is pulled laterally often.  I like Jackson, but not as much as most out there do.  He isn’t as powerful as you would think when looking at him.  Linebackers get off his blocks easily in space.  Even though he shows good drive and strong hands, he doesn’t sustain his position and/or blocks very well.  I think he will be drafted somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round.  He can be a solid but unspectacular starter at the next level.

#1 Nickoe Whitley – S – 6’1/208

Fifth year senior, four year starter.  Whitley has an outstanding tool set and I like his aggressive style.  He has had a couple injuries slow him down (Knee, Achilles) though.  Whitley has a lot of experience as a single high safety as well as an extra linebacker in the box.  He brings a lot of versatility to the table.  I want to see some more of him in the coming months because I think there may be some hidden talent here.  He may not be far off from the top safeties in this class.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#27 LaDarius Perkins – RB – 5’9/195
#11 Deontae Skinner – OLB – 6’2/250

DUKE

#6 Ross Cockrell – CB – 6’0/190

Fourth year senior, four year starter.  Cockrell has a wiry frame and plays with an aggressive style.  He isn’t afraid to mix it up with blockers and shows the willingness to tackle a downhill running back.  He doesn’t have a big power game, however.  Cockrell also struggles to turn and run downfield.  He doesn’t have the movement skills to factor as a man defender.  I can see him being a solid zone coverage cornerback.  He sees the field well and can anticipate routes.  He is a 4th/5th rounder.

#84 Kenny Anunike – DE – 6’5/260

Sixth year senior.  Scouts like the natural tools here.  He has the size, length, and frame to develop in to a big 4-3 DE.  The main issue with Anunike has been his left knee.  He has had four surgeries on it since 2008.  He did play a full season in 2013 but that history with his knee will hurt his grade a significant amount.  Anunike is a fun player to watch.  His motor is always on and he shows relentless pursuit every play.  He has average get off and struggles to beat blockers with moves though.  Against the offensive tackles that are NFL bound, he appeared to be overmatched.  Anunike has the potential to develop physically over the next few years if that knee remains intact.  If he does so, I think there is a shot he can be an every down player in the NFL.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#92 Justin Foxx – DE – 6’3/255

TEXAS A&M

#75 Jake Matthews – LT – 6’5/305

Fourth year senior.  Played RT until this past season.  Widely considered to be the top OT in this class, a feat in itself.  Son of former NFL great Bruce Matthews, Jake is a sure bet to succeed at the next level.  He has top grades when it comes to power, quickness, balance, agility, and technique.  His experience on both sides will help him early on if he enters a situation where the team that takes him already has an established left tackle.  Matthews will be a top 5 pick.

*#2 Johnny Manziel – QB – 6’0/210

Third year sophomore.  Has not yet declared but many expect he will.  Manziel is no secret to anyone.  He has a world of talent and may be the most unique QB prospect we’ve seen in recent memory.  Hate him or love him for the off the field issues, Manziel is a player.  It is hard to find a more competitive signal caller than Manziel.  It equally helps and hurts him as a player.  On tape, he has the arm to play in the NFL.  He doesn’t have a cannon, but it’s strong enough to make NFL throws.  He can fit the ball in to tight spaces and makes the back shoulder pass look easy.  He is a magician with his feet.  Very good at avoiding pressure and creating big plays with his scrambling ability.  Do I think he is worth a first round pick?  It all comes down to his maturity and work ethic.  His antics won’t work in the NFL.  His style of play will need to change a bit as well.  QBs that run first, pass second simply don’t last.  His mechanics are enough to make a QB coach throw up.  I think Manziel has the swagger/confidence to win games though.  He needs to grow up, but which of us didn’t say the same when we were in college ourselves?  His path to the draft will be incredibly fun to watch.

*#13 Mike Evans – WR – 6’5/225

Third year sophomore that many expect to declare for the draft.  1st Team All American and record setting receiver has been Manziel’s go to guy over the past two seasons.  Evans is an asset within any offense because he doesn’t need to be open when a QB throws him the ball.  He has great ball skills with a huge catching radius.  He is physical and tough, showing the ability to completely dominate smaller cornerbacks.  His size and style of play creates matchup problems for opposing defenses.  Evans doesn’t have elite speed nor does he have the quick twitch-suddenness to his game.  I was a little let down in his performance against LSU this season.  The physical corners really took him out of the game.  He’ll see a lot of that in the NFL.  Evans will need to work on the little nuances to the position if he is going to succeed much like Vincent Jackson has done since being drafted.  Does he have that drive and dedication?  That’s the biggest question that needs answering.  Boom or bust pick here that can be taken in the top 15.

#70 Cedric Ogbuehi – RT – 6’5/300

Fourth year junior.  Currently playing RT but played RG in 2012.  Ogbuehi caught my eye in early September and I stated back then that he was a 1st round caliber player.  He has said he will return for his senior season but a friend of mine has recently found out he is now 50/50.  Ogbuehi has enormous upside.  Athletically, he is better than both Matthews and Luke Joeckel.  He shows proper technique and the position versatility will only help.  The catch here is Ogbuehi could return to school, play a dominant left tackle in 2014, and put himself in to the #1 overall pick discussion for the 2015 Draft.  As of right now we are talking about a 2nd round type guy in this loaded OT class.

#1 Ben Malena – RB – 5’9/195

Fourth year senior.  Malena is a small but quick and elusive back that can make things happen in space.  He doesn’t have elite speed but his ability to change direction and explode can be tough for a defense to handle.  He shows good hands and has some return skills that teams will look for late in the draft.  Malena has a good shot at being drafted late.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#11 Derel Walker – WR – 6’2/185
#81 Nehemiah Hicks – TE – 6’4/255
#8 Steven Jenkins – OLB – 6’2/220
#15 Travis Labhart – WR – 5’9/182

Dec 302013
 
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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon Ducks (November 29, 2013)

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 30, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

OLE MISS

*#12 Donte Moncrief – WR – 6’3/226

Third year junior that has not yet declared. Moncrief is a thick receiver that can push his way around a secondary. Very good functional strength and power. He has some sneaky speed downfield when tracking the deep ball and shows great ball skills. He is a reliable pass catcher with a strong pair of hands. The main issue I see here is the lack of ability to separate from defensive backs. I like receivers that run themselves open, Moncrief struggles to do that. He is a QB friendly receiver that can be a guy that moves the chains though. He could be a day two pick next spring, but if he goes back and shows more agility/speed, he could be a 2015 first rounder.

#38 Mike Marry – ILB – 6’3/250

Fourth year senior that has played a lot over his four years. Marry won’t jump off the screen when looking at statistics and production. But I see a guy that has the tool set you want out of an inside linebacker in the NFL. He has a huge frame with a lot of length. He has good straight line speed that can maintain power on the move. I think his game is limited because he doesn’t change direction in short space very well, but he can make an impact as a run defender and special teamer. I’d look for him in the 6th or 7th round.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#71 Pierce Burton – RT – 6’5/290
#85 Ja’Mes Logan – WR – 6’3/185
#3 Jeff Scott – RB – 5’7/170

GEORGIA TECH

#45 Attaochu, Jeremiah – LB Georgia Tech – 6’3/240

Fourth year senior that has been very productive over the past three years. Has played in a couple of different schemes, having experience as a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. I think his future will need to reside at linebacker because he doesn’t have the bulk to play with his hand in the dirt. Attaochu is a great athlete that plays aggressive and smart. He bends well, explodes off the point of attack well, and pursues with the best of them. I took a liking to him last year, but was a little underwhelmed in 2013. He is a raw space player that struggles when bigger linemen get a hold of him. He is going to need a specific role on top of needing time to add some weight and strength. I think he ends up being a 4th-5th rounder.

#14 Jamea Thomas – S – 5’10/195

Fifth year senior. Versatility is his top asset, as Thomas has played plenty of CB and S. I need to get another look or two at him before getting a feel for who he is. This is only my third time watching Georgia Tech this year. Thomas has the movement skills to play cornerback. He can turn his hips and maintain balance when sticking with a receiver. In addition, he plays a physical game and tackles well in space. He doesn’t seem to make a jump on many passes however. He doesn’t diagnose well and his angles towards the action are over-aggressive. I think Thomas is attractive because he can back up several spots but I don’t think he will ever be a consistent starter. 6th/7th rounder.

#20 David Sims – RB – 6’0/225

Interesting power back here that has really been evolving in to a quality prospect over the past few years. He was originally brought to Georgia Tech as a quarterback, but was moved to running back because the coaching staff wanted to get his talent in to the mix. From there, Sims took off and created a nice role for himself in one of the nation’s top running attacks. Sims will break a lot of tackles and earn the tough yards inside. He struggles in space, as he is not a quick change of direction back. He is strictly north/south, plain and simple. Backs like this won’t get drafted early but I think teams will look at him late day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#8 Louis Young – CB – 6’1/196
#52 Will Jackson – LT – 6’3/295

OREGON

*#14 Ekpre-Olomu, Ifo – CB – 5’10/185

Third year junior, third year starter. Ekpre has been one of the nation’s top cornerbacks from the beginning of his career and he will grade out near or even at the top of my sheet at the position. Despite the size, he is a physical player that tackles well and hits hard. I really like his movement skills and combining that with his strength, I think Ekpre can be a very good man-coverage cornerback. The lack of height and length may hurt his grade for some, but I’ll still have him in the top 20 overall.

*#8 Marcus Mariota – QB – 6’4/215

Redshirt sophomore that has already stated he will be going back to school, but has also sought out a grade from the advisory board. Mariota was my favorite QB prospect early in the year, showing improved throwing mechanics, arm power, and presence within the pocket. He has accuracy on the move and obviously the movement skills to be a factor as a rusher. He started to fizzle out as the year progressed, however. He failed to adjust to certain looks and schemes that defenses threw at him and it seems obvious that he needs more time to develop. When all is said and done, Mariota is a solid prospect but could be THE guy in 2015. If he comes out now, I think we are talking about a 2nd/3rd rounder.

#1 Josh Huff – WR – 5’11/202

Fourth year senior. Huff was one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects heading in to 2013 but I’m afraid he is no longer overlooked. He went for 57/1,036/11 this season. Huff is a deep threat that accelerates well and runs decisive, aggressive routes. He has great ball skills, attacking the ball with strong hands. He can track the ball well downfield. Once he has the rock in his hands, he is a tough guy to bring down. He has a thick frame with strong legs. Huff lacks the ideal height and length but he is a guy that simply produces no matter what the situation is. I think he gives an offense a reliable threat all over the field. He’ll grade out in the 3rd/4th round area.

#25 Boseko Lokombo – LB – 6’3/229

Fifth year senior. Lokombo is a tools-rich athlete with the frame, length, and speed you want out of a do-it-al linebacker. A quick look at him and he may become one of your favorite defenders in this class. Lokombo became a factor in the Oregon defense in 2012 after consistently grading out as one of the fastest/strongest players on the team in workouts. I want to like Lokombo but he was very average in 2013. He doesn’t seem to click mentally when diagnosing plays. He has poor reaction time which consistently leaves him in poor positions to make plays and/or get off blocks. Lokombo will get drafted based on his upside because watching him move and hit will make many dream about the upside. He can be a good one if it ever clicks. 3rd/4th rounder.

*#6 De’Anthony Thomas – RB – 5’9/169

Third year junior that had made himself known as one of the most explosive talents in college football. Thomas has not yet declared and I think he needs to go back for another year. Rarely do you see a ball carrier under 170 pounds do well in the NFL. As of right now, he is mainly a return specialist in the eyes of NFL scouts. He has elite burst once he finds a seam and doesn’t lose any speed when changing direction. He has he unique level of acceleration. My issue is that he doesn’t have the physical side to his game that you need when carrying the ball. I don’t see him having the impact at the next level that he does in college. The elite movement skill set will be hindered a bit in the NFL and he doesn’t have the necessary strength to do anything else. If he comes out, I think he is viewed as a 4th/5th rounder.

#12 Brian Jackson – S – 5’10/197

Fifth year senior. Good athlete that will test out well in workouts with a nice strength/speed combination. Jackson is good tackling safety that does his best work in the box. Even though he doesn’t have elite size, Jackson plays strong and big. He isn’t a quick-twitched cover man, however. He struggles to turn and run and won’t hang with receivers underneath. I think his lack of coverage dependability will knock him down to day three, but I think he gets drafted based on his ability to play the run from the defensive backfield.

#21 Avery Patterson – S – 5’10/189

Fifth year senior that made the move to S from CB during the 2012 season. Patterson is less physical than Jackson, but he is a much better cover man that plays the centerfielder role very well. He is a quick decision maker that can reach the sidelines fast. While he isn’t as physical, Patterson has shown reliable tackling ability in space. His versatility in the defensive backfield will earn him a draft-able grade, possibly even in front of Jackson.

#66 Taylor Hart – DT – 6’6/287

Fifth year senior. Versatile player that can pretty much play any role along the defensive line in any scheme besides the 3-4 NT spot. Hart has played mostly inside, but he has the movement skills to shift outside in certain packages. Hart is an aggressive hustler that makes a lot of plays away from the line of scrimmage. He pursues well and knows how to finish. I think he will struggle to make an impact in the NFL though. He plays with such a high pad level and doesn’t generate power from his base. He can be pushed around by bigger linemen. He is a very cheap version of JJ Watt, in that he uses his length to his advantage along different spots of the line. I see him as a 6th/7th rounder.

#92 Wade Keliikipi – DT – 6’3/306

Fifth year senior. He was a rotational guy early in his career that became a stout run defender in 2012. Keliikipi’s game revolves around anchoring his position and eating up blockers to free up the linebackers. He does that well but is very limited elsewhere. He offers minimal pass rush and won’t make plays away from the line of scrimmage. I think a limited amount of team will like him based on his ability to play the NT role in a 3-4, but that’s about it. I see a late day three pick here.

TEXAS

#1 Mike Davis – WR – 6’2/195

Fourth year senior. Davis has been a productive asset to the Texas offense for all four years of his career. I think he is one of the more underrated receivers in this class. He has tools to work with, being tall and long with big hands. Davis is a quick accelerator downfield that can knife his way through the top of a defense. He’s not just a long strider though, he can get open underneath with quick steps and agile hips. Very efficient route runner that understands coverage. Davis shows the toughness necessary to be a factor over the middle in tight spaces. If you watch him, there isn’t much he can’t do on the field. I think he can be a solid #2 receiver at the next level.

*#6 Quandre Diggs – CB – 5’10/200

Third year junior that many think will be leaving school early for the NFL. Diggs was a top tier recruit out of high school and made an immediate impact in 2011, winning Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Diggs will get a high grade from a lot of teams because of everything he can do. He is playing a similar role to what Vacarro did last year. He can play a solid CB and safety as well as add to the return game. He is short and stout with a physical element to his game. Diggs is a great tackler that plays downhill. Very fast reaction with good ball skills. I question his ability to turn and run however. He has tight hips when trying to shadow a receiver, which can be an issue if he plays CB in the NFL. Is he a tweener without a position? I think he only fits specific roles in specific schemes, which will hinder him a bit. All in all, Diggs is a solid prospect that will be drafted somewhere on day two.

#75 Trey Hopkins – G – 6’4/300

Fourth year senior. One of my favorite under-the-radar prospects in the nation. Hopkins has played plenty of RT and G during his time at Texas with a lot of starting experience. Hopkins has the ideal frame I look for in a guard. He is thick and powerful with minimal bad weight and a huge lower body. He has great knee bend and heavy hands. Hopkins is a guy that consistently creates a new line of scrimmage, pushing his man back and controlling engagement. He is a good enough pass blocker, as he can handle any speed/strength combination. I really think Hopkins will be a quality starter at the next level and I will likely have him graded in the top 100 overall.

#44 Jackson Jeffcoat – DE – 6’5/250

Fourth year senior. Jeffcoat’s career got off to a promising start and was considered a future first round pick until a torn pectoral ended his 2012 season prematurely. He came back for his senior season and has had a great year statistically. 12 sacks and 18 TFL will get a second look from anyone. Jeffcoat has the tall and long frame that teams want at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. I don’t like what I see on tape though. He doesn’t have an elite burst and he can’t push linemen backwards. He is a slow-reaction defender that plays too high. I think his production is a result of playing next to some big time defensive tackles on that Texas squad that you will hear from in a couple years. I can see a team selecting him on day two but I wouldn’t touch him anywhere before round 4 or 5.

#23 Carrington Byndom – CB – 6’0/180

Fourth year senior. Has started 38 straight games for Texas. I’ve seen Byndom a lot over the past two years and I think there is some serious talent here to work with. He has good length and ball skills. Those two attributes together are always sought after but what I think sets Byndom apart is the fluidity in his hips. He shows effortless movement when changing direction and has the speed to chase receivers downfield. The one knock I have on him is the lack of physical play. He is a hesitant tackler at best and he won’t press a receiver at the point of attack effectively. He is a slender 180 pounds. I’m not sure how much that can improve and it will keep his grade down on my sheet. But he is a candidate for a guy that gets drafted late and shines at the next level.

#72 Mason Walters – RG – 6’6/320

Fifth year senior that has been starting at RG since his first season. 50 straight starts. Walters is best known for his work in the offseason. He has won numerous strength/conditioning awards. Walters is a tenacious blocker that plays angry. He can be a fun guy to watch because of his style and size. Movement wise, he is average across the board. His feet get heavy and he struggles to adjust to quicker defensive linemen. Walters might be a limited athlete but I think he is a safe bet to be at least a quality backup.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#17 Adrian Phillips – S – 5’11/210

ARIZONA STATE

#90 Will Sutton – DT – 6’1/288

Fifth year senior that had to sit out a year because of poor academic performance. Was viewed as an average college player until 2012 where he broke out and earned 1st Team All American honors (23.5 TFL and 13 sacks). He came back down to earth a little in 2013 (11.5 TFL and 4 sacks) but many still view him as a top 45 overall guy. He is a fun player to watch, but I don’t see a big time prospect here. His impact play-to-play isn’t there. He is a gambler that can hurt a defense as much he helps one. He is a poor athlete in space that looks sluggish. He won’t anchor his position well and simply doesn’t demand double teams. He can however break in to the backfield with a powerful bull rush and make plays in tight spaces. Sutton is a solid prospect for a specific scheme but he just isn’t a fit for others.

*#52 Carl Bradford – OLB – 6’1/241

Fourth year junior that has already graduated and is seeking a grade from the advisory board. Most think he will leave early. Bradford is a hybrid DE/OLB that has had a nice two year run since the start of 2012 (39.5 TFL and 20 sacks). He is another fun player to watch because of his overly aggressive style. He is an all out hustler that wears a lot of hats for this team. When it comes to a tool set and overall ability, I think he is average across the board. A lot of his production comes from pure hustle and that’s not a bad thing at all, but it is something to consider. Can he, at this size, be a factor at the 3-4 OLB role? I see him as a solid contributor that can backup multiple spots and see some spot duty in pass rush situations. But as an every down player, I don’t see a difference maker. I’ll likely have him graded in the 3rd/4th round area but I think he goes higher.

#1 Marion Grice – RB – 6’0/205

Fourth year senior that is questionable for the game because of a lower leg injury sustained November 23rd. Grice transferred to ASU in 2012 after a couple years at Junior College. He is a legit dual threat that catches a lot of balls and rushes for an average of 5+ yards per carry. He has a nice frame for more weight, which he needs prior to be given a role in the NFL. He needs a stronger lower half to handle the physical upgrade he will see at the next level. Grice doesn’t have superb runaway speed nor does he have a lot of wiggle. I think he struggles to perform as an every down back but he can do enough to carve himself a nice role somewhere. 4th/5th rounder.

#4 Alden Darby – S – 5’11/195

Fourth year senior that has a lot of experience and a very good amount of production. Darby was a CB recruit but made the move to S upon arrival at ASU. He is a great zone defender that takes the proper angles and reads in coverage. He has an average impact on the game from a physical perspective and doesn’t have the speed you want back there. I think he is a backup caliber guy but can still make an impact. 5th/6th rounder.

#62 Evan Finkenberg – LT – 6’4/298

Fifth year senior. Has been starting since 2010 at both left guard and left tackle. He has a lot of experience against some of the nation’s top pass rushers over his career. Finkenberg is a guy that surprised me a few times in 2013. I think he can be a quality guard at the next level if he can develop physically, adding some weight to produce more power at the point of attack. He is a fluid mover that can explode out of his stance and get himself in to the right position. I like his consistent use of mechanics. He anchors well and doesn’t seem to be too far off from starting in the NFL.

#87 Chris Coyle – H-Back – 6’3/240

Fifth year senior. Versatile player that has seen a lot of time at Fullback, H-Back, and Tight End. Coyle was the team’s leading receiver in 2012 after standing out as a special teams producer earlier in his career. Coyle is an athletic blocker that does well against the second level of the defense. I think he has enough strength and power to be a solid fullback in the NFL. With is skill set as a receiver; offenses can do a lot with him. Versatile players like this usually get drafted late day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#24 Osahon Irabor – CB – 5’11/181
#21 Chris Young – ILB – 6’0/244
#9 Robert Nelson – CB – 5’10/169
#95 Gannon Conway – DE – 6’4/280

TEXAS TECH

*#22 Jace Amaro – TE – 6’5/260

Amaro’s 2013 season has helped his draft status more than any other player in the country. He was a backup in 2011 with minimal playing time, but came on strong in 2012. However he missed the final 6 games of 2012 with a back injury before coming back for their bowl game. Enter 2013 and we may be looking at the top graded TE in the draft that could sneak in to the top 15. Amaro is a matchup nightmare because of his height, length, and girth. He plays in the wide open Texas Tech offense that has him playing the role of a WR most of the time, but Amaro has a physical style to his game. He can push defensive backs around with ease and get to a spot where only he can make a play on the ball. He has superb ball skills and sneaky speed up the seam. He plays with a tough, hard nosed aggression. Very competitive athlete. Amaro may need a little coaching up on blocking technique, but I think he can factor in to the passing game right away in the NFL. I really like what he can do for a passing game and he will grade out as a first rounder if he comes out.

#18 Eric Ward – WR – 6’0/205

Fifth year senior. Ward is a statistical compiler without the ideal tool set. He doesn’t have the speed to get behind a defense more does he show the elusive movement ability after the catch. Ward his a strong player though with reliable hands and route running ability. He comes away with a lot of balls in traffic. He does a lot of little things well that can hide some of his talent-weakness. I actually like this kind of player a lot. Very similar style to Anquan Boldin. He’ll struggle to stick to a roster in some places but I can see him eventually finding a team that uses him well out of the slot.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#5 Tre Porter – S – 6’0/205
#1 Terrance Bullitt – OLB – 6’3/225
#91 Kerry Hyder – DE – 6’2/280

Dec 282013
 
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Eric Ebron, North Carolina Tar Heels (September 7, 2013)

TE Eric Ebron – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 28, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

RUTGERS

*#17 Brandon Coleman – WR  6’6/220

Fourth year junior that has already declared for the NFL Draft. Has been a big play threat since becoming a part of that offense in 2011. His upside after the 2011 season was being discussed as if he was eventually heading to the first round tier, but that is no longer the case. His size/speed/strength numbers are off the charts, no doubt. But Coleman lacks quickness and agility. He is a guy that really struggles to get open in man coverage. His acceleration is below average and simply lacks the quick twitch that is needed to react to speed. He will get drafted based on his upside and physical style of play. He is a terror or defensive backs to tackle in the open field, and he does pose as a deep threat. Coleman can be molded in to a receiver that creates matchup problems for the opposing defense, but I don’t see him being an every down contributor in the NFL.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#75 Antwan Lowery – G – 6’4/305
#18 Jeremy Deering – S – 6’2/200
#37 Jamal Merrell – OLB – 6’4/225
#92 Jamil Merrell – DE – 6’4/255

NOTRE DAME

*#7 Stephon Tuitt – DE – 6’6/312

Third year junior that has not declared for the draft yet, but I expect him to. Tuitt is one of the most unique players I have ever scouted. At his size, he moves exceptionally well when rushing the edge. Combining that with a top-level power grade leads me to the Richard Seymour-comparison. I am very careful about comparing players to Seymour, whom I believe was one of the top defensive linemen of his era. But Tuitt has that kind of body and movement ability, and I expect his services to be in high demand next spring. His power presence against the run and dynamic pass rush ability against the pass can be used in so many ways. He will likely end up in the top 15 on my sheet, and that is being conservative.

#70 Zack Martin – LT – 6’4/304

Fifth year senior that has been the top offensive lineman on the ND roster for a few years now. He has started every game of his career, mainly at left tackle. Because of his size and style of play, I think Martin will make the move to guard at the next level, where he projects to be a very good player. Mechanically, Martin is very sound and consistent with his form and approach. Excellent knee bender that shows flexibility from his ankles all the way up through his shoulders. Very good athlete in space that is balanced, maintaining power and strength. Martin has all the tools and skills you want in an offensive lineman. I think he’ll be a starter within a year or two, and a very good one at that. Expect to hear his name called as soon as the second round.

#55 Prince Shembo – OLB – 6’1/255

Fourth year senior with a ton of starting experience for a team that has had a very good defense over the past four years. Shembo is a high-motor edge player that always hustles, always plays through the whistle. He is a strong athlete that bends well and gets under the pads of his opponent consistently. He has a quick jump off the snap, but doesn’t have that next gear to strike fear in to opponents. He also doesn’t have the ideal height and length. With that said, Shembo can be a nice backup/rotational guy because of how hard he plays combined with his tools. I can see him being a middle round pick that a team ends up being very happy with.

#66 Chris Watt – G – 6’3/321

Fifth year senior, three year starter. May not be the prospect that Zack Martin is, but Watt is a different kind of player. He has great size for the position, carrying his weight well and really get the most out of himself. He is a little inconsistent with his weight distribution, playing on his toes too often and getting beat by the quicker defensive linemen. But when Watt has his mechanics and technique lined up, he can win the one on one battles against anyone. Watt has the upside of a quality starter at the next level. I think he gets called somewhere between rounds 4-6.

#2 Bennett Jackson – CB – 6’0/195

Fourth year senior, two year starter. Jackson stood out to me in the games I watched. I think he is a prime candidate for a move to safety at the next level. He has the size and tackling ability to be a factor in the middle of the field. What he struggles with his the quick twitched receiver that runs underneath routes. He is an ultra-aggressive downhill defender that knows how to finish. He can make due at cornerback with a strong jam at the line and ability to diagnose routes and throwing lanes, but he struggles to turn and run. A good defensive mind can find a role for him. I think he goes somewhere in rounds 4-6.

#7 Jones, TJ – WR – 5’11/195

Fourth year senior, three year starter. Jones has been a consistently productive receiver that shined in 2013. Despite some poor quarterback play, he had his best year and some believe he could be a mid-round pick. I like Jones and his ability to run routes and make things happen after the catch, but I think he is merely average across the board. Average size, average speed, average quickness. Jones doesn’t stand out as an athlete at the college level. A lot of his production was a result of being matched up against mediocre defensive backs and the defenses attention elsewhere. I view him as a late round guy that will struggle to stick somewhere.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#48 Dan Fox – ILB – 6’3/245
#44 Carlo Calabrese – ILB – 6’1/250
#11 Tommy Rees – QB – 6’2/215

CINCINNATI

#51 Greg Blair – LB – 6’2/252

Was a junior college transfer prior to the 2012 season. He started right away and opened some eyes with a 138-tackle season. His main issue revolves around athletic ability. Even though he lost 15 pounds prior to the 2013 season opener, he appears to be too slow to play every down. He struggles to reach the sideline on outside runs and doesn’t make an impact in coverage. With that said, it’s hard to find a linebacker in this class with the power presence of Blair. He can impact an inside run defense at the next level right away. I think Blair will be drafted on day three, most likely in round 6 or 7.

#10 Jordan Luallen – FB – 6’3/240

Little bit of a shot in the dark here, but I think Luallen is an athlete worth gambling on in round 7. He started off at Georgia Tech, but opted to transfer after just one year. Luallen has mainly been a rushing quarterback out of the wildcat package for Cincinnati. But whenever I saw him play in 2013, his tool set jumped out at me and I think he could be a prime candidate for a move to TE, FB, or even LB at the next level. He is a physical player with that plays hard and fast. Throw him on a practice squad for a year or two and I think he can blossom in to something that helps an NFL team.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#94 Jordan Stepp – DT – 6’1/285
#76 Austen Bujnoch –LG – 6’4/290
#11 Brendon Kay – QB – 6’4/228
#60 Sam Longo – RG – 6’5/305
#11 Deven Drane – CB – 5’11/187

NORTH CAROLINA

*#85 Eric Ebron – TE – 6’4/245

Third year junior that has already declared for the NFL Draft. Has been a big play threat ever since coming to UNC in 2011. Ebron is a weapon for any passing scheme in the league, as he creates matchup problems with his size/speed combination. He has shown some freakish ability when leaping for balls away from his body. In addition, Ebron has elite speed for the TE position once he has the ball in his hands. He has Kellen Winslow-type tools without the overhype. As a blocker, Ebron’s effort and technique are both there but he will need simply add some weight room strength to his lower half. He can still make a difference there, however. What he has shown on tape over the past two years could land him somewhere in the first round, possibly even within the top 20 overall.

#93 Kareem Martin – DE – 6’6/265

Martin is a little under the radar among the draft-analyst-public. He has always been a tool-rich player with upside, but lacked the quality level of play week to week. Well I have seen Martin play five times in 2013, three of which in the past size weeks, and I am a believer he is going to be a quality starter in the NFL. He has all the size, length, speed, and skills required to play the 4-3 DE role at a high level. Martin makes a lot of things happen behind the line of scrimmage. He can cover a lot of ground in just a few steps. I’ve seen him completely take over games and I think it starting to really click with him. There are little technique aspects to work on with his pad level and hand work, but NFL coaching will elevate him to a high level. Don’t be surprised to see him taken in round one.

#68 James Hurst – LT – 6’7/305

There is a ton of talk regarding the abundance of quality left tackle prospects in this draft class, and rightfully so. What often happens as a result, however, is the second and third tier or players at that position get overlooked. I think that is what happens with Hurst. Hurst was a 5 star recruit out of high school that has been starting at left tackle for four years now, grading out as the team’s best performing lineman every season (Ahead of 2013 first round pick Jonathan Cooper for three years). Hurst is a reliable, powerful blocker that can handle speed and/or strength. He is not an elite-tools guy. He does struggle in pass protection the further out in space he gets, often leaning forward on to his toes and being susceptible to inside moves. But when his mechanics and balance are there, he can play with anyone. He showed some signs of struggle against Clowney early in the year, but I thought he did a good enough job to hold on to his round two or three projection. He’ll be a starter in the NFL at some point.

#10 Tre Boston – S – 6’1/205

Fourth year senior that started his career off at cornerback, but made the move to strong safety in 2011. He has led the Tar Heels in interceptions each of the past three seasons. Boston is an aggressive hustler that is always around the action, but lacks some of the necessary tools to be considered a top safety in this class. He does not have the catch up speed downfield, nor does he intimidate receivers over the middle. He makes a lot of tackles with is ability to attack downhill and make plays in space against quicker ball carriers, but he doesn’t have a big power presence. Boston has the versatility to be a factor at the next level, but I’m not so sure he can be a quality starter. I project him to be taken between rounds 4-6.

#4 Jabari Price – CB – 6’0/200

Fourth year senior that has been a productive player over the course of his career with a lot of experience. Price is intriguing from the size/speed perspective. He is put together nicely and has shown the willingness to be a physical player. He is a straight line athlete, one that can turn and run down the field with anyone. He appears to be a little uncomfortable with some technique-based aspects to the position. He isn’t very fluid with facing the action, struggling to efficiently turn his hips and change direction. He doesn’t make a big difference with his jam at the line, and his ball skills need to be worked on. Price is a good athlete with an intriguing tool set that coaches want to work with. I think he gets drafted late because of the upside.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#93 Tim Jackson – DT – 6’5/285
#15 AJ Blue – RB – 6’2/215

MIAMI

*#52 Denzel Perryman – LB – 6’2/243

Third year junior that has started games at OLB and MLB for the Hurricanes. Has not yet declared but many think he will after a strong 2013 campaign. I’ve seen Perryman four times in 2013 and I think he is ready for the NFL. He has a country-thick frame that plays with power and short area explosion. I think he is an ideal fit for the MIKE or WILL position in certain 4-3 schemes, but could also play inside within a 3-4 defense as well. Perryman is hard nosed, physical tackler that can make things happen. For the teams that want an enforcer inside, Perryman is your guy. He doesn’t make a big difference in coverage and won’t rush the passer, but his ability against the interior running game is draft-able by itself. I can see him being a 2nd/3rd round pick that makes an immediate impact at the next level.

#1 Allen Hurns – WR – 6’3/195

Fourth year senior. Hurns was an afterthought heading in to 2013 but his big senior season has helped his draft stock quite a bit. Hurns is tall, long, and fast. He showed good ball skills and some quality route running skills this year. He has a wiry frame that struggles to handle physical corners. He doesn’t like contact and that was obvious when watching him go across the middle. All in all, Hurns looks like a diamond in the rough at the WR position. He really stepped up when the team needed him the most. A lot to like here. He could be a day two pick if he works out well.

#77 Seantrel Henderson – OT  6’8/345

Fourth year senior. It’s been quite the roller coaster for Henderson, the nations top rated high school prospect in 2009. Since the start of his career, he has been bouncing between the injury list, coach’s doghouse, the bench, and the starting lineup. There will need to be a lot of extensive looks in to his off the field issues. With that said there are very few people on this earth that stand 6’8”/340+ pounds and move the way Henderson does. His movement ability in space is almost unbelievable. He is a dominant run blocker with easy knee bend, strong hands, and explosive hips. His pass protection issues are technique-based and can be improved. Despite the character issues, Henderson will be drafted somewhere on day three. His tool set is something that won’t come by very often.

#65 Brandon Linder – RG – 6’6/317

Fourth year senior that has been starting since his freshman year. Big, physical mauler that loves to run block. He is a straight ahead, no-nonsense player that can dominate the point of attack. Linder struggles with his weight distribution, often leaning on his toes making him susceptible to quicker defenders. Linder has the frame and power to get him drafted on day three. He can be a starter down the road if he works on his skill set.

#51 Shayon Green – DE – 6’3/262

Fifth year senior. Former middle linebacker that has a couple of torn ACL’s on his resume. Was the team’s leading tackler in 2012 despite playing defensive end. Green doesn’t jump out at me play-to-play, but he is a guy that makes things happen over the course of a game. He is a disruptor against the run, getting in to the backfield and pursuing down the line. Green is not an elite pass rusher from a tools or skill perspective, but his aggressive style of play and strong hands will get him a second look from some teams. I think Green has a shot at being a 6th or 7th round pick.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#96 Curtis Porter – DT – 6’1/316

LOUISVILLE

*#5 Terry Bridgewater – QB – 6’3/196

Fourth year junior that has been re-writing the record books at Louisville, a program that has had its fair share of accomplished collegiate signal callers. Bridgewater has been considered the top quarterback in this draft class for a long time. The majority of the analysts believe he will be the first overall pick of the draft, but I don’t see it and I never have. Bridgewater doesn’t jump off the tape to me and I think his career in the NFL will eventually will reside as a backup. He doesn’t great size, doesn’t have great arm strength, doesn’t make a ton of plays with his feet. How is he considered “The” guy at the most vital position in sports? He does throw with tremendous accuracy and has a quick release, but so did Sam Bradford in college. Bradford is the guy I always think of while watching Bridgewater, and I think they will have similar careers. Neither are built to handle a lot of contact and neither can take over a game and elevate the level of play of those around them. I’ll grade him similar to the level where I had Geno Smith last year. He is a 2nd or 3rd round prospect that will get a shot in the NFL, but is best utilized as a quality backup type.

*#29 Calvin Pryor – S – 6’2/205

Third year junior that has not yet declared for the Draft. I watched Louisville twice in September and both times Pryor jumped off the screen. He is a do-it-all safety that gives the defense a lot of options. As the year progressed, every time I saw him play he appeared to just get better and better. Pryor will likely end the grading process as the best, or second best, safety in this class. He is an explosive downhill athlete that can fly in to the box and make physical tackles on ball carriers. He has tremendous ball skills and breaks on the ball in a way that you will usually only see in cornerbacks. He is such a reliable player that does all the little things right, but will make eye—opening plays as well. I think Pryor can be a star at the next level if he comes out. He could sneak in to the end of round 1.

#2 Preston Brown – MLB – 6’2/260

Fourth year senior that has played every game of his career, starting since 2011. He is a thickly built, powerful run stuffer that has more range than you would think. He makes a lot of tackles all over the field and I think he can be a quality player at the next level. I think he will eventually need to lose some weight if he wants to be an every down guy, but he has quick/agile hips and light feet to move around. Brown appears limited but he can be a contributor in most schemes. I am thinking rounds 5-7 here.

*#9 DeVante Parker – WR – 6’3/209

Third year junior that hasn’t declared yet. Parker has been the go-to-guy for Bridgewater over the past few years and I think his decision will be tied to what his quarterback does. As a prospect, I don’t think Parker stands out enough to earn a high grade. He has the size but he struggled to run himself open in almost every tape I saw. He isn’t physical and he won’t make things happen after the catch. I feel there are a lot of receivers just like Parker available every round of every draft. I’d rather go after a receiver with more upside and/or a tool that can be worked off of. 5th-7th rounder here.

#91 Marcus Smith – DE – 6’3/252

Fourth year senior. Smith was a high school quarterback that made the move to LB right away in 2010. His time was short-lived there, transitioning to DE in 2011 and going on to leading the team with 5.5 sacks. He has evolved in to a nice player and his breakout 2013 campaign may get him drafted in the first five rounds. Smith has average get off and flexibility. He isn’t a pure edge rusher. The Louisville scheme has him roaming around pre-snap, letting him rush the passer from numerous angles and positions. Smith is a good athlete in space, and I think his fit will be in a 3-4 scheme at the next level. He has the power and strength to mix it up with the OL, but also the athletic ability to cover and pursue. Solid player here.

#7 Damian Copeland – WR – 6’1/182

Under the radar receiver despite being a productive player over the past two years. Copeland lacks size and speed, and doesn’t exactly jump off the screen when it comes to agility and acceleration. But every time I watched this offense go, I found myself jotting positive things about Copeland. He is tougher than nails that will get after balls running straight in to the teeth of a defense. He is a hard nosed player that runs reliable routes and catches the ball with his hands. Copeland is likely a 6th or 7th rounder but I think he sticks somewhere and has a nice little career.

#29 Hakeem Smith – S – 6’1/179

Fourth year senior that has been a bit of a disappointment. He was the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2010 and came back strong in 2011, earning 1st Team all conference. Since then, however, Smith’s role has diminished and his level of play never took that next step. He has a thin frame that doesn’t make an impact in the power game nor does he run downfield with speed receivers. There isn’t anything to his game that jumps at you and I think he’ll be just another guy at the next level. His experience and early success will get him drafted late day three.

MICHIGAN

#77 Taylor Lewan – LT – 6’8/315

Fifth year senior that took over the starting left tackle job in week four of 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Lewan’s grade has been an up and down experience for me. I’ve seen games where he looks like another Jake Long with his dominant straight ahead run blocking and overpowering hands as a pass blocker. Last year when he was considering leaving early for the NFL, I didn’t have a 1st round grade on him. I thought he was too stagnant against speed rushers and struggles to adjust to double moves in space. He came back strong in 2013, proving to be much more technically sound and efficient. When a guy with this much power plays with mechanics, big things can happen. However, as the year progressed Lewan got a little banged up and seemed to lose his dominance. He really struggled in the final two games that I saw. I head in to the draft process still unsure about how good he can be on the left side in the NFL. He warrants a first round grade but I don’t think he is a top 10 guy in this class.

#21 Jeremy Gallon – WR – 5’8/184

Fifth year senior. Gallon’s primary roles early in his career resided on special teams as a return specialist. His quickness and ability to get open were too good to ignore in 2012, however. He made his way on to the field and led the team with 49 receptions, 829 yards. I think Gallon is an excellent slot receiver prospect. His body control and agility give him the tool set the be an outstanding route runner. Teams need a receiver underneath that can run the quick routes and get that separation. Gallon does that well and has the toughness and reliable ball skills to be a factor there. The size will limit him, but he has the look of a guy that turns in to a quarterback’s best friend on third down. I see a 4th/5th rounder here.

#75 Michael Schofield – RT – 6’7/304

Fifth year senior that has starting experience at LG and RT. Schofield is mechanically sound with outstanding footwork. He is a balanced athlete with solid weight distribution. Coaches at the next level will like how ready he is for NFL action right off the bat. I think he will struggle against the speed of the league, however. His reaction time is slow, as he was often playing catch up in the games I saw. I think he grades out as a 5th-7th rounder but can be a quality backup in the NFL.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#28 Fitzgerald Toussaint – RB – 5’10/200
#76 Quinton Washington – DT – 6’4/301
#55 Jibreel Black – DT – 6’2/278

KANSAS STATE

#12 Ty Zimmerman – S – 6’1/204

Fourth year senior that has been starting since his freshman season. Zimmerman has had a very productive career (13 career INTs) that has been a steady presence in the middle of the field for that defense from the beginning. He is the son of a football coach and excelled as a high school QB. With that in mind and by simply watching him play, it is clear that he gets by with his on-field intelligence. He is a student of the game and it can make up for physical shortcomings. Although he has good size and length for the position, Zimmerman doesn’t have a big physical impact on the game. In addition, he doesn’t run with the speed receivers downfield nor does he have the short area explosion and reaction to hang with them in underneath coverage. I think Zimmerman is a nice player to have on special teams, backing up the safeties. Other than that, I think he would be a liability for a defense more than an asset. 5th-7th rounder.

#79 Cornelius Lucas – LT – 6’9/328

Fifth year senior that didn’t start until 2012. Made an immediate impact, earning 1st Team All conference his junior year. At his size, I am surprised to see his ability in space. He is an excellent run blocker at the second level. He covers a lot of ground in just a few steps and with his length, he can overwhelm linebackers. He does have issues as a pass blocker, however. He struggles to play with consistent knee bend and is often trying to play catch up. Lucas gets really sloppy with his hands and feet and is a candidate for the practice squad before he is trusted to protect an NFL quarterback. Unique tool set however, and I think it gets him drafted late day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#86 Tramaine Thompson – WR – 5’8/167
#33 John Hubert – RB – 5’7/191
#79 Keenan Taylor – RG – 6’4/290

Dec 272013
 
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Ra'Shede Hageman. Minnesota Golden Gophers (October 26, 2013)

Ra’Shede Hageman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 27, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

MARSHALL

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#26 Gator Hoskins – TE – 6’2/244
#76 Garrett Scott – LT – 6’5/294

MARYLAND

#17 Goins, Isaac – CB – 5’11/190

Under the radar cover corner that I saw twice in 2013.  I had no intention of scouting him but his speed and acceleration caught my eye a few times.  After a closer look, I came away thinking Goins could be a diamond in the rough.  He has such fluid and agile hips.  Combining that with his deep speed leads me to believe he can handle the pace of the NFL as a cover man.  He won’t be a fit for the physical defenses.  He is an aggressive player and is not afraid to mix it up, but he simply doesn’t show the presence of when taking on blocks from receivers nor does he make an impact as a tackler.  I think Goins has a shot at being a late round pick that makes an impact at the next level.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#41 Marcus Whitfield – OLB – 6’2/240
#16 CJ Brown – QB – 6’3/210

SYRACUSE

#96 Jay Bromley – DT – 6’3/280

Undersized when it comes to weight and girth, but has the length to make up for it.  Can easily add weight if he gets put in to a scheme that needs him to anchor more.  But Bromley is a solid, penetrating interior defender that makes plays behind the line of scrimmage (18.5 TFL and 10.5 sacks over past two years).  I question his ability to play in a gap controlled scheme because he can be overwhelmed by power and size.  I think a limited amount of teams will be interested in him, making him a late round pick.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#11 Marcus Spruill – LB – 6’0/224
#59 Mackly MacPherson – C – 6’2/286

MINNESOTA

#99 Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – 6’6/311

Fifth year senior that started off as a TE, but moved to the DL in his redshirt season.  By far the top prospect in this game.  Hageman was a bit of a late bloomer, as he did not make much of an impact until last season.  With that said, he has come a long way and some consider him to be a top 45 prospect.  He has shown flashes on tape of sheer dominance at the point of attack.  He has tremendous movement ability for a player his size.  When his pad level is right and he fires out of his stance at the right time, he creates a new line of scrimmage whenever he wants.  The upside here is about as high as any defensive tackle in this class, and it could end up getting his name called in the first round.

#21 Brock Vereen – CB – 6’0/202

Fourth year starter that has played mostly at cornerback, but played safety for the final six games of the 2012 season and had some action there this season as well.  Vereen’s best trait is the versatility he brings to the table as a result of his size/speed combination.  He is a strong 200+ pounds and plays a physical brand of football.  He can attack downhill and make tackles in the open field.  He can line up at the point of attack across from a receiver and play solid press coverage.  I think he ends up being a 4th-6th round guy when all is said and done.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#57 Aaron Hill – OLB – 6’2/231

BYU

#3 Kyle Van Noy – OLB – 6’3/245

Highly decorated fourth year senior that almost came out after an impressive 2012 season.  Van Noy is an edge rusher that makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage (37.5 TFL 17 sacks past two years).  Some project him to be a top 45 talent although I think he is a notch or two below that tier.  Van Noy has outstanding quickness and movement ability.  He bends well and can change direction with ease.  I question his ability to play a power game, however.  Too often did I see him overpowered by a lone blocker.  He was be ridden out of a plays and be neutralized by guys that won’t be playing in the NFL.  He doesn’t have a lot of experience dropping in to coverage and when he did, it didn’t look like a natural role for him.  I think Van Noy is a limited player that needs a very specific role to succeed.  I will likely have him graded in the 3rd-4th round area.

#55 Eathyn Manumaleuna – DT – 6’2/305

Versatile player that started his career in 2007.  Has played a NT in the 3-4, DE in the 3-4, and DT in the 4-3 in games I’ve seen.  Solid movement ability for a 300+ pounder.  Strong against the run, can anchor his position and use his hands to free himself of blockers.  Will make a lot of plays between the tackles against the run.  I think Manumaleuna’s best position at the next level is at 3-4 DE.  He is a stout run defender that can be a solid role player at the next level.  I think he ends being taken between rounds 5-7.

#2 Cody Hoffman – WR – 6’4/213

Fifth year senior that has started all four years.  All time BYU leader in catches, yards, and touchdowns.  Highly decorated that some have projected to the top 100 overall.  I’ve seen Hoffman four times this year and was never impressed.  He failed to stand out and I think he will struggle to make an impact in the NFL.  At his size, I’d expect a player to be more physical but Hoffman was often tossed around by the stronger defensive backs he was matched up against.  In addition, he doesn’t have deep speed and struggles to run himself open underneath.  Hoffman is a solid hands catcher that will get drafted at some point, but there are too many important factors to the position that I don’t like about him.

#41 Uani’ Unga – ILB – 6’1/233

Under the radar linebacker that always caught my attention while scouting Van Noy.  Unga started off at Oregon State before transferring in 2010, sitting out the 2011 season.  2013 is really the first season that he has made an impact, thus why you rarely see his name out there.  He has very good movement ability, showing top tier balance and short area quickness.  He is a linebacker that gets off blocks well and will get his hat in on a lot of action.  Drops in to a deep zone coverage with ease and there were times where he actually matched up with slot receivers and stuck with them on seam routes 20-30 yards down the field.  Unga may not be a top tier prospect, but I think he is a guy that should be drafted late to see if he can evolve in to a rotational and/or quality backup.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#9 Daniel Sorenson – S – 6’1/215
#82 Kaneakua Friel – TE – 6’5/250

WASHINGTON

*#25 Bishop Sankey – RB – 5’10/203

Third year junior that is expected to leave school this offseason.  I’ve seen Sankey a lot in 2013 and I think he may end up being the top running back from this class when all is said and done.  Don’t be mistaken by his lack of elite size, Sankey is a tough ball carrier to bring to the ground.  He breaks a lot of tackles by missing the meat of a hit from tacklers.  His low center of gravity, elite balance, and ability to change direction allow him to gain extra yards every time he touches the ball.  Once in the open field he has shown the ability to run away from defensive backs.  I’m not sure he will show the elite speed at workouts, but he makes it happen on gameday.  Sankey should be a taken somewhere in the first two rounds with the possibility of sneaking in to the end of round one.

*#88 Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TE – 6’6/266

When a tight end prospect with Division I basketball experience at this size is coming in to the NFL, everyone perks up.  Seferian-Jenkins had a big year in 2012 but failed to take the leap this year.  I was disappointed in the games of his that I saw.  He lacks the quick twitch and movement skills that I like in receivers.  In addition, he doesn’t make an impact as a blocker.  At his size, I have to believe there is an issue with his desire to mix it up in the trenches.  I would advise him to go back for his senior year because the upside is there, he simply needs to show that he can improve on his weaknesses.  Coming out now could result in him being a 3rd or 4th round pick.  If he can put out some better tape in 2014, he could be a 1st rounder in the 2015 class easily.

#1 Sean Parker – S – 5’10/190

Fourth year senior that has started every game since the start of 2011.  If it weren’t for his lack of ideal size, Parker would be considered a first round pick.  He is a consistently productive defensive back that can play multiple roles.  He actually has the movement ability to play cornerback at the next level in most schemes and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up there.  Parker has great ball skills and anticipates the action as good as any safety in the nation.  He is rarely fooled, rarely caught out of position.  I like his game a lot in a league where the passing game has completely taken over the offensive game.  There is a lot you can do with him.  I view him as a 3rd-4th rounder that will play at a level that exceeds his draft position.

#17 Keith Price – QB – 6’1/202

Fifth year senior that has a shot at getting drafted late.  Price is a thick-framed signal caller that can rifle the ball in to tight gaps.  He is a smart player that takes calculated risks.  Athletic player that doesn’t look to run first in most cases but makes an impact with his legs.  Price has had some bad games, however.  Bad to the point where I think there is a shot he won’t be in the league within 2-3 years.  His accuracy woes when throwing the ball deep are scary.  He doesn’t have the necessary touch when throwing in the intermediate window either.  A QB coach may want a kid with more tools than Price when looking for a project, but I think the toughness and arm strength will get him drafted somewhere in the later rounds.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#37 Princeton Fuiamano – ILB – 6’1/217
#8 Kevin Smith – WR – 5’11/214

Dec 262013
 
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Devin Street, Pittsburgh Panthers (November 16, 2013)

Devin Street – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 26, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

PITTSBURGH

#15 Devin Street – WR – 6’4/195

Fifth year senior that has missed just 2 games over his career. Street has been the go to receiver for a few years now, and is now ready for the NFL. I can see him being a day two pick and might be considered even higher because of his size, fluidity, and ball skills. He’s an easy mover, easy catcher and can make things happen all over the field. I’m very impressed with the body control and his decision to go back to Pitt for his senior season was a good one. Don’t be surprised to see him sneak in to the end of round one.

#97 Aaron Donald – DT – 6’0/285

One of the most productive players statistically speaking that you will find in this draft class. 60.5 tackles for loss over the past three years, including 26.5 this season alone. Donald is a bit undersized when thinking about the prototypical defensive tackle, but he has freakishly long arms and incredibly strong legs. He’s an active player that plays low with heavy hands. I think he can do well at the next level in the right scheme. He has played every spot along the 3-4 front and if you can get a creative defensive mind to create packages for his unique ability, he can be a difference maker.

#7 Tom Savage – QB – 6’5/230

Savage took a rather complicated path to the position he is in right now. He started off at Rutgers, playing there for two years. He then transferred to Arizona for less than a year, never taking a snap. After sitting out 2012 when he transferred to Pitt, he took over the starting job in 2013 and displayed a lot of NFL-caliber ability. He is a classic pocket passer with a big frame and even bigger arm. He had a few games where he looked like a draft-able player, most notably against Florida State. While his state line was nothing to brag about, I was impressed with his poise and ability to maintain his presence and mechanics under pressure. I also saw his games against Duke and Notre Dame, both performances being something scouts will love to watch. I think he can project as a Charlie Whitehurst-caliber backup at the next level.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#25 Jason Hendricks – S – 6’0/190

BOWLING GREEN

#82 Alex Bayer – TE – 6’4/253

I’ve only seen Bowling Green once in 2013, this I have some catching up to do on Bayer. He is a fifth year senior that has been the starter for three years now. In his matchup against Northern Illinois, he absolutely shined. He shows good hands and good enough speed to get up the seam and split a defense. Against the lower level of competition, his power as a blocker was solid. He is a thick 253 pounds with a strong and athletic lower half. Bayer is a traditional tight end that has a shot at being drafted late day three.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#24 Jerry Gates – S – 5’11/209

UTAH STATE

#58 Tyler Larsen – C – 6’4/312

I saw Larsen twice in 2013. He is widely considered to be one of the top three or four centers in this draft class. Most project him to be taken somewhere in the rounds 3-5 area. I can see why he dominates his level of competition. He is a comfortable 310+ pounds with great athletic ability. He can move laterally and can hang with linebackers in space. He struggles to control defensive linemen, however. While he doesn’t get pushed back, he doesn’t exactly create space with his power, nor does he lock on to defenders and ride them out of plays. I am hesitant to believe he can handle the physical side of NFL defensive tackles right away. I see Larsen as a developmental prospect that could start a couple years down the road.

#1 Nevin Lawson – CB – 5’10/187

I saw a lot of Derek Carr & DeVante Adams (Fresno State) this year, one of the nation’s top QB/WR duos. Lawson had one of the best performances of the entire year against them, and I think he has mid round-potential. Despite being smaller than I like, Lawson is one of the top press corners I’ve seen. Very aggressive jams at the line combined with the ability to quickly turn and accelerate make him a tough matchup for any receiver. Again, being physical in college is almost completely different than what it demands in the NFL, but the foundation is there. I think Lawson can be a player at the next level. At the very least he can be an effective nickel defender.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#28 Joey DeMartino – RB – 5’11/200

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

#15 Jimmie Ward – S – 5’11/192

Fourth year senior, three year starter that has been very productive. Ward is an undersized safety that lacks a physical presence. While he is aggressive and consistently hustles all over the field, he fails to make an impact on the game as a power player. He has made a lot of tackles over the past three years, but he is an ankle diver and won’t send any jolt to the ball carrier. I think he is the kind of defensive back that misses a lot of tackles at the next level, which isn’t the end of the world for his potential but I tend to stay away from safeties like this. As a cover man he man, he has the tools and plays the position like a cornerback sometimes. Very quick feet and agile hips. Diagnoses well and has made some tremendous plays on the ball in the three games I’ve watched. I think Ward ends up going between rounds 3 and 5….I am likely going to have him grade out a bit lower.

#93 Ken Bishop – DT – 6’1/308

Another undersized defender that plays a position that requires a little more power presence than he currently has. Bishop is a fun player to watch though. He has a high motor, always playing amped up and with plenty of aggression. He does a nice job of pursuing down the line and gets in on a lot of action. I think he could be a solid prospect for a team that runs a scheme with bigger bodies playing outside of the guard/tackle gaps. He needs to bulk up his lower half, but I think he is draft-able player late day three.

#6 Jordan Lynch – QB – 6’0/212

Lynch is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in MAC history when it comes to production and wins. However, I don’t see him making at the next level as a signal caller. I think Lynch has some tools that teams look for when building backfield, however. He is a very good runner with vision and toughness. I think he could be turned in to a Michael Robinson-type fullback that is used for more than just blocking, but also some rushes and short passes. Lynch is a football player, plain and simple. I think if he can throw away the responsibilities a quarterback has to deal with, he can add some weight and be made in to a quality role player.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#79 Matt Krempel – RT – 6’5/307

Dec 242013
 
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Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Beavers (November 23, 2013)

Brandin Cooks – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 24, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

BOISE STATE

#65 Matt Paradis – C – 6’3/300

Fifth year senior that made the move to offensive line in year two. Three year starter. I saw one game of his in 2013 and was impressed with the athletic ability at 300 pounds. He looks like a candidate for a zone blocking scheme that likes to have their centers pull out laterally and lead block. He maintains power on the move and should have little issue adjusting to the speed of the NFL. When it comes to one on one blocking against bigger, more physical nose tackles, I think Paradis struggles. I need to see some more tape before making a definitive statement there, however. Late day three prospect.

#78 Charles Leno Jr. – LT – 6’4/298

I only got one look at Leno this year, thus I’ll need to do more work on him in the coming months. I saw him against Washington and took down a few notes. He has a physical presence about him. Very good run blocker at the second level. He struggles in pass protection, however. The further out to the edge he got, the worse he looked. He was losing balance and often reaching for the defender. For his size and the minimal tape I have seen on him, I think he will move to guard at the next level. He has a decent shot at hearing his name called late day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#43 Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe – NT – 6’3/300
#48 Kharyee Marshall – OLB – 6’2/240

OREGON STATE

*#7 Brandin Cooks – WR – 5’10/182

Winner of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top wide receiver. He had a huge year, going for 120/1,670/13 and 31 catches over 20 yards. Statistics aside, Cooks will be one of my top receivers in the class if he decides to forego his senior season. He is such an aggressive, efficient mover that runs outstanding routes. He can run himself open from the slot play in, play out. In addition, he has NFL-ready ball skills. He attacks the ball with his hands and showed the ability to make plenty of tough catches in traffic. It’s impressive to see a receiver at his height win so many one on one battles down the field. He has a lot of Steve Smith in him, especially after gaining 12 pounds of muscle to his frame last offseason. He is a guy that gets it, plain and simple. He’ll be an impact player.

*#95 Scott Crichton – DE – 6’3/265

Fourth year junior that has had a lot of success on the stat sheet but hasn’t impressed me on tape. He has not yet declared, but many think he will. He is a high-energy player that makes a lot of plays based on his relentless pursuit of playing through the whistle. While I love to see that kind of attitude this day and age, I think there is a lack of overall talent here. He has an average burst off the ball and doesn’t do much other than a pure bull rush. He has strong hands and good instincts, but I think he is the kind of player the really struggles to make an impact at the next level. I felt this way about Bjoern Werner (Florida State) last year, and I don’t think it will change between now and then.

#16 Rashaad Reynolds – CB – 5’11/187

Three year starter with good size and speed down the field. Part of the OSU track team in the 60M event. Reynolds is a tools-rich prospect that I think could sneak his way in to the 4th/5th round area. He has sloppy mechanics in man coverage. He backpedals too high without balance and his jams at the line are often soft and uncalculated. But he has the length and speed to attract the scouts eye He has the much-needed fluidity in his hips. In the games I saw, he was avoided by opposing QBs for the most part. Was that by design, or pure coincidence? I’ll try to find that out in the coming months but he has shown enough to prove he can be a player.

#77 Michael Philipp – LT – Oregon State – 6’4/328

4 year starter at left tackle in an offense that throws the ball a ton. Missed all of 2011 because of a torn ACL. Philipp has played at a high level the past two years. While he lacks the ideal length for tackle, I think he can stick there if need be. But where I think his future resides is inside at guard. Very powerful body that plays low and strong, Philipp knows how to move his feet and hips to get himself in to proper position. I’ve seen him struggle with quick lateral movers, which will be an issue in the NFL. With that said, I think he could be an end of day2/early day 3 guy that makes a roster and molds himself in to a starter down the road.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#69 Josh Andrews – LG – 6’3/304
#71 Grant Enger – RG – 6’6/291

Dec 232013
 
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Derrell Johnson (56), East Carolina (October 4, 2012)

Derrell Johnson (#56) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 23, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

EAST CAROLINA 

#56 Derrell Johnson – OLB – 6’2/262

Productive edge talent that caught my eye the one time I saw East Carolina this year. Thick frame with huge legs. Bends well and tries to get under the pads of his opponent. He has strong hands and understands how to get off blocks in a tight space. His issue is a lack of explosion after the snap. He takes too long to change direction and once faced with a stronger offensive lineman, he appears ineffective. Johnson has a good chance at getting drafted however. An edge talent, in a weak edge talent class, with his kind of year and power output will be worth gambling on late day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#21 Vintavious Cooper – RB – 5’9/200
#78 Will Simmons – RG – 6’5/342

OHIO 

#18 Travis Carrie – CB – 6’0/212

One of my favorite under-the-radar prospects in the nation. Few will talk about this kid, but I think he sticks in the NFL and ends up being an impact player. Carrie has great size for the position and brings a physical style of play. Despite his thick frame, he can turn his hips with explosion and his feet are light and agile. He shows minimal stiffness in man coverage. I first noticed him early in the year when he matched up against Louisville. He was across from NFL prospects DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland, catching balls from arguably the top QB prospect in the nation Terry Bridgewater. He shined in that game and since then, I’ve made it a point to watch him as much as I could. After missing all of 2012 with a shoulder injury, he came back on fire and seems to really understand the subtle, but vital, nuances to the position. He has top tier intangibles to boot and combining that with what he has on tape leads me to believe he’ll grade out as a top 100 player on my board.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#22 Beau Blankenship – RB – 5’9/206
#3 Donte Foster – WR – 6’1/200

Dec 212013
 
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Khalil Mack, Ohio State Bobcats (November 5, 2013)

Khalil Mack – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 21, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WASHINGTON STATE

#20 Deone Bucannon – S – 6’1/198

Bucannon is one of the most well rounded safeties in the nation. However, few have ever heard his name because of the school he plays for. Make no mistake, this kid is a legit NFL prospect that has starter potential. He is a four year starter that led the team in tackles in 2010, 2012, and 2013 while snagging 14 career interceptions. His playing strength and power are elite for his position. He can close a 10-15 yard window as fast as any safety in the country and he knows how to finish once he reaches the ball carrier. He doesn’t have the ability to turn and run with receivers down the field, but he is a savvy zone defender that can anticipate and pounce. He is an asset against both the run and pass. He has the potential to be a legit day two prospect.

#1 Vince Mayle – WR – 6’3/240

Mayle has one of the more interesting paths to the draft that you will find in 2014. He played basketball for a community college in 2009 and 2010 before sitting out in 2011 because of a family sickness and academic issues. He then proceeded to Sierra College where he dominated for a season, getting him multiple offers from schools around the country. He settled on Mike Leach’s offense at Washington State and has had a solid, but unspectacular year. He didn’t put together any eye-popping games statistically, but I saw some things on tape against California, Arizona State, and Oregon that raised my eyebrows. He has a natural tool set that NFL coaches want to work with. He has a unique ability to high point the football, using his body and timing to his advantage. He lacks the quick twitch that I look for and his ball skills need some work, but he has a few things that cannot be taught nor acquired by others. He is a late round project type that teams will look at when considering adding a versatile weapon to the passing game.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#77 John Fullington – RT – 6’5/301
#6 Damante Horton – CB – 5’10/178
#95 Ioane Gauta – NT – 6’3/285

COLORADO STATE

#70 Weston Richburg – C – 6’4/300

4 Year starter that has played Center, Guard, and Tackle with the most of them being at Center. Richburg is a good mover that can be attractive to teams that like to move their interior linemen laterally. He is an all out hustler that will play through the whistle for the entire game, every week. He lacks the ideal tools and doesn’t display a lot of ability but he produces and gets the job done. He’ll need more power and girth before he can handle the NFL defenders, making him a late round/UDFA prospect. Teams like guys in the wings that can play multiple spots and have the frame for more comfortable weight. Those will help him in his grading process.

Shaquil Barrett – OLB – 6’2/250

4th year senior that exploded on to the scene in 2013 with 20.5 TFL and 12 sacks. I saw him play against Alabama and Utah State and his ability to disrupt the opposing passing game is legit. He is strong and explosive and plays with a low center of gravity, making him a tough block for any kind of offensive lineman. He understands how to play the game with his hands and feet. He lacks the ideal length and size for the edge and won’t jump off the tape when it comes to speed and agility. But I think Barrett is a prospect worth taking late in the draft and seeing if he can develop in to a situation player against the pass. In a draft class that lacks depth at the pass rushing positions, Barrett could surprise some and be taken in the middle rounds.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#10 Crockett Gilmore – TE – 6’6/255
#78 Jared Blair – RT – 6’7/315

FRESNO STATE

#4 Derek Carr – QB – 6’3/218

Three year starter that has a legit shot at being the first overall selection. From what I’ve seen in 5 games, Carr has the best arm talent of any quarterback in this upcoming class. The power and accuracy are there, but what stood out to me in studying his tape was the ability to maintain that accuracy with altered arm angles depending on what was going on around him. He has great athletic ability within the pocket and understands how to avoid the pressure. Carr is a fiery athlete that is constantly praised for his leadership and toughness. The brother of former number one overall pick David, Carr comes from a strong football background and you have to think he has it all together between the ears. Combine that with some elite throwing ability and big time production, Carr has the opportunity to be a big time player at the next level.

*#15 Davante Adams – WR – 6’2/215

Redshirt sophomore that appears to be all but declared for the 201 Draft. Has had two monster years statistically in Fresno State’s pass-happy offense. He has been the go-to guy for Derek Carr over the past two seasons, showing the ability to make tough catches against single coverage down the field as well as dynamic run-after-the-catch skills. He has long speed but can make guys miss with quick cuts a decisive movement. There is a lot to like here and he is one of the receivers in this class that has Pro-Bowl potential. However his lack of physical play and hustle stood out to me. Little-to-no effort as a blocker in a scheme filled with screen plays and a lack of willingness to get after it with safeties bearing down on him stick out in my mind. Can he handle the physical side of the NFL? Speed helps but it will only go so far. Likely a second day pick should he come out.

#89 Marcel Jensen – TE – 6’6/270

2 year starter. At first glance, most will think Jensen played the role of the blocking tight end for Fresno State. But he was far from a single-role player and I think there will be several teams attracted to his potential. He’s tall, thick, strong, and has surprising speed up the seam. He can be a tough guy to cover and even tougher to bring down in the open field. His production won’t jump out at you but keep in mind the scheme he played which was very wide receiver-friendly. The upcoming months will be huge for Jensen. He needs to show he can start with his hand in the dirt and effectively control a defender at the point of attack. His athleticism and receiving skills are on tape, but the other nuances to the tight end position need to be worked on. I view Jensen as a mid rounder at the moment but this tight end class as a whole has a ton of question marks. Jensen has a legit shot at being a day two pick.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#1 Isaiah Burse – WR – 6’0/187
#72 Austin Wentworth – LT – 6’5/306

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

*#9 Marqise Lee – WR – 6’0/195

Lee is a classic “used to be overrated, but is now underrated” story. His career got off to a special start, especially in 2012 when he went 118/1,721/14 while nearly averaging 30 yards per kick return. He was being discussed as a top 5 pick prior to the 2013 season but inconsistent QB play and a knee sprain has put him in to the shadows of some receivers that simply don’t grade out the way he does. Lee has elite acceleration and agility. He has shown the ability to run away from defensive backs once he gets the ball in his hands. He can also run pro-caliber routes and run himself open all over the route tree. He is an every down weapon that can fill multiple roles within the passing and return games. His knee will have to check out in the coming months, but expect to see him taken somewhere in the first round, most likely in the top 20.

#25 Silas Redd – RB – 5’10/200

Well known for his transfer from Penn State to USC following the 2011 season as a result of the Sandusky scandal. Came to USC with high expectations after a promising start to his career, but has failed to stand out among a crowded USC backfield. He has had injuries to both knees over the past year but neither has been too serious. On tape, Redd doesn’t stand out in any facet of the game but he is a solid all around back. He is decisive and can locate running lanes quickly. He may be best suited for a zone-blocking scheme because of that. He lacks game breaking speed and doesn’t break a lot of tackles. That’s a tough combination to work with in the NFL. Some believe he still has some untapped upside that is worth gambling on later in the draft.

#77 Kevin Graf – RT – 6’6/295

Fifth year senior that has been starting since 2011 at right tackle. Has come a long way since his freshman year. Has developed big time weight room strength and has the frame for more bulk. He will need it before he can handle the physical side of the NFL trenches. Graf doesn’t make it look pretty, but he gets the job done more often than not. He is a hard nosed, gritty player that can move his feet and keep himself between the defender and the ball carrier. As a pass blocker, he doesn’t reach the edge well and lacks controlling power in his hands. I don’t see a lot of upside here so if Graf gets drafted at all, it will be late.

*#18 Dion Bailey – S – 6’0/200

Third year junior that has not yet declared, but I think he will. While I scouted safety TJ McDonald last year (71st overall selection by St. Louis), Bailey was a guy hat kept jumping out at me. He is nicely put together and has the blend of size, speed, and power that you want in a guy in the middle of the secondary. He defends the run well but can also turn his hips and cover receivers one on one. I think there is an upside here that a lot of safety prospects don’t have. If he comes out, I think he could be a day two pick.

*#90 George Uko – DT – 6’3/295

Another junior that hasn’t declared yet. Personally, I think he should return to USC for his senior season because he has the tools to be a very good player, but has yet to put a lot of quality tape out there for scouts. Uko is a long and almost slender 295. The frame is there for more bulk and combining that with his athletic ability, most notable speed and explosion, he can be molded in to a first round caliber player. The one thing he lacks the most is the ability to anchor himself in to the ground against double teams. Too often was he knocked back a few yards. He can rush the passer and disrupt the backfield though. Very good hands and feet allow him to win a lot of one on one battles throughout a game. Right now I see him as a 4th/5th rounder with enormous upside.

#42 Devon Kennard – OLB – 6’3/255

Coming in to 2013, the one thing Kennard had to prove was that he was at least capable of playing an entire season at one position while maintaining a starting spot. He has been bounced around from defensive end, to middle linebacker, to outside linebacker, and back to defensive end. In addition, he has a long list of serious injuries in his past including torn knee ligaments, torn cartilage in his hip, a torn pectoral muscle (forced him to miss all of 2012), and a thumb injury that required surgery. There is a lot to look in to with Kennard, but at the end of the day he has had an impressive 2013 campaign. He is physical player that has good power presence and range as a run defender. He gets off blocks well and can close a gap with speed and explosion. Kennard won’t test out in workouts exceptionally well nor does he jump off the tape but I liked what I saw in what was his first real complete season since 2011. Edge players with potential always get a second look and I think some 3-4 fronts will look at him late in day three.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#24 Demetrius Wright – S – 6’1/295
#4 Torin Harris – CB – 6’0/190

BUFFALO

#46 Khalil Mack – OLB – 6’3/248

One of the best players to ever come out of the University of Buffalo. Has 75 TFL for his career, which is tied the NCAA all time record. Mack has played the hybrid OLB/DE role over his four year career and developed in to a potential top 10 pick in 2014. Mack has the short area burst/explosion that you almost always see in the elite edge rushers in the NFL. In addition to that, he has a strong base that bends well with light feet and heavy hands. Those tools combined with his ability to use a wide variety of rush moves leads me to believe he will be highly sought after on day one of the draft. This is a class without a lot of edge rushing talent, thus there could be a lot of teams looking to gamble on him earlier than you would think. He is coming from a lower level of college football and he may need some more power output before he can be thrown in to the NFL trenches, but his upside is enormous. I see some Cameron Wake in him down the road.

#32 Branden Oliver – RB – 5’8/208

Under the radar prospect based on the lower level of college football and his size. I watched Oliver four times this year and I simply can’t ignore him. He is a hard nosed runner that is tough to tackle. I compare him to another overlooked back (for the same reasons) that I really liked coming out of Western Kentucky 2012, Bobby Rainey. Oliver runs with a similar style where he can diagnose running lanes before they really open up and has the burst to sneak through them. His low center of gravity is used to his advantage and he will surprise some with his willingness to lower his shoulder and break tackles. Oliver finished the season among the nation’s leading rushers despite missing one game early in the year. I think his performance has pushed him in to late round consideration.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#19 Alex Neutz – WR – 6’3/205
#34 Colby Way – DE – 6’4/293
#30 Okoye Houston – S – 6’0/209

SAN DIEGO STATE

#27 Eric Pinkins – S – 6’3/215

Some believe that Nat Berhe is the only draft-able player on this team, but I think Pinkins has a better shot at having his name called. Pinkins plays a lot of safety, but I saw him play a good amount of CB in two games this year and I liked what I saw. Pretty fluid hips and solid press coverage at this size can open eyes when scouts are looking for developmental defensive backs. The pre-draft process will be very important for him.

#78 Bryce Quigley – LT – 6’5/300

Well balanced athlete with the length and frame to be a developmental guy for the offensive line. I really like Quigley’s technique and understanding of mechanics. He almost always seems to be in the right position. The learning curve for him at the next level will be less mental, more physical. That is a safer gamble more often than not when drafting guys in the later rounds.

Potential UDFA to Look For

#20 Nat Berhe – S – 5’10/200

TULANE

#3 Ryan Grant – WR – 6’0/191

I have only seen Tulane once this year, hoping to get another couple tapes in the coming months. Grant is a quick, easy change of direction guy that can make things happen after the catch. He lacks the size/speed that you look for in an ideal NFL prospect, but he has a good chance to stick somewhere. Good hands and good routes from what I saw. Looking forward to seeing another game of his tonight.

#19 Cairo Santos – K – 5’8/160

I don’t scout kickers but Santos is considered to be the top, if not one of the top kickers in this draft class.

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#26 Orleans Darkwa – RB – 6’0/210

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

Potential UDFA to Look For:

#34 Justin Anderson – LB – 6’2/235

May 162013
 
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New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2013 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
1 19 19 OT Justin Pugh (Video)
2 17 49 DT Johnathan Hankins (Video)
3 19 81 DE Damontre Moore (Video)
4 13 110 QB Ryan Nassib (Video)
5 19 152 S Cooper Taylor (Video)
7 19 225 OG Eric Herman (Video)
7 47 253 RB Michael Cox (Video)

2013 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – OT/OG Justin Pugh, Syracuse, 6-5, 307lbs, 5.14
Justin Pugh - © USA TODAY Sports Images

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a three-year starter. Pugh has a nice combination of size and athleticism, although he lacks ideal arm length for a tackle. Pugh has the quick feet and fluidity to play left tackle, but he is versatile enough to play any of the five offensive line positions. He is more of a technician and position blocker than mauler, but Pugh is a very good technician with little wasted movement. Consistent and efficient. He plays with very good leverage. Pugh is very solid in pass protection and will surprise defenders with his strong hands. His mobility allows him to effectively block defenders at the second level – Pugh can pull, trap, and block on screen plays. Pugh is extremely smart, competitive, and hardworking. Unlike most rookies, Pugh could press for a starting job right away. He should get bigger and stronger in an NFL training program.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: We’ve got offensive tackle (Justin) Pugh from Syracuse, terrific football player. We think he’s really versatile. The Giants, we like guys that can do multiple things. We think this guy can play left tackle, right tackle, either guard, and actually (offensive line coach) Pat Flaherty thought he could even play center. He thought he had that kind of skill set. It’s hard to pass up those kinds of guys, really good football player. People ask about his arm length and that wasn’t an issue for us. We looked at him and when you see guys with 32-inch arms playing the offensive line, especially the tackle the position. I looked at tape after tape after tape and I never could see the arms come into play because I was looking for an excuse to downgrade him but you can never find that. This guy is really productive against the run, against the pass and he was too good of a value. As a matter of fact, he was the highest guy on our board, so we got value and the highest guy on our board. You guys think I’m joking when I say that, but it’s absolutely true, the highest guy on our board.

Q: What position do you think he’s going start out at?

A: I think he’s a tackle. I think he’s going to start out at tackle but I think he is one of those guys during a game that you can plug him in anywhere. He’ll play and he’ll play good for you. Smart, big, smart, high test score, team captain, all those things. Those are the things you like, our kind guy, clean.

Q: Any concerns with the shoulder he had in college?

A: No concerns, our medical staff saw him and they have no concern over the shoulder. He did miss four games early in the season.

Q: Do you think that he can start week 1?

A: We’ll see. I think it’s going to be a lot of competition and that’s what we try to do. We try to create competition and I think he will definitely come in and create competition.

Q: Did you get any calls to move up or move down?

A: There are always some calls and some thoughts about moving up and down. We had some calls to move up, some calls to move down, but nothing really materialized. Nothing really came close to being materialized for us to move.

Q: Did you expect a lot of offensive lineman to be drafted early?

A: Well, there were a lot of good offensive linemen in this draft up there at the top of the draft. Obviously you see them come off the board really quickly. Everybody predicted that this would be an offensive line big boy draft and it kind of held true to form. The big boys came off early.

Q: What do think George Young would think about the pick?

A: George, I’m sure he’d smile about it. George (said) you win with big people. You win with big people and you’ve got to have them. We are going to have another young guy in our offensive line fold that we really like. Again, when people talk about the short arms a little bit I think about Rosie Brown, who was a great player here and Hall of Famer and was a scout for a long time. One thing Rosie said to me one time was that you can never find a perfect player and so he’s not perfect, but he’s a really good football player and we‘re glad to get him.

Q: He’s not a huge guy; can he be a right tackle?

A: Yeah, he can be a right tackle. He played left tackle for them. He’s not a little guy. He’s a big man. He’s a big football player. He’s not little by any stretch of the imagination.

Q: Did you plan on taking an offensive lineman at some point early in the draft?

A: Obviously, we could see that the offensive line is aging a little bit as well, but we go into the draft like always and we look for the best player and we got that combination. We were sitting there at 19, and really sweating it a little bit because those guys were coming off pretty quickly and he came right to us, right where we had him and a good player for us at that spot.

Q: Were you surprised to see Sharrif Floyd drop?

A: Nothing surprises me in the draft. That’s one thing that I learned as young scout, don’t be surprised by anything in the draft so I’m really not surprised.

Q: So the 49ers jumping up really didn’t affect you at all?

A: No, not really. It didn’t affect us, no.

Q: Was there a particular game that you saw that made you think he was a possible draft pick?

A: I watch a lot of tape. I can’t pinpoint a game that I watched but I watched a lot of tape on him though because again I saw the 32-inch arms and I was like ‘I’m going to find something wrong with this guy,’ and there’s nothing wrong with him.

Q: Does it excite you that he seems to be a good run blocker?

A: The thing about him is when I make my notes: productive. This guy is really productive. He’s productive in the run game. He’s technical in the run game. He plays like a high test score. He’s high percentage on pulls, on second blocks, on downfield blocks. You get excited about a guy that brings all that to the table because a lot times when you get offensive lineman they are little bit one-dimensional. This guy is technically sound on all levels. At the point of attack he’s technically sound. He’s got that finish ability that you like in your offensive linemen and in the second level he’s a high percentage getting out on the pulls. He’s a high percentage on the second level in the linebacker area and even downfield he’s a high percentage productive run and pass-blocker.

Q: What’s the one thing that he needs to improve on when you get him in?

A: All young players can get stronger when you bring them into the National Football League. When you start in the offensive line, all young players can get stronger and they do get stronger. They get here and they get in a pro weight program. Their bodies mature a little bit more so they get stronger as they mature as get older in the league.

Q: You said he was “our” kind of player and you also said he was “clean”…

A: Yeah, clean player. He doesn’t really have any warts on him like off-field issues or he’s not a good athlete. He was a clean guy. He had everything you look for. He’s not an aircraft carrier. He’s not that guy but he’s a big solid football player and you win with those kinds of guys. I think you win with solid football players. We’ve won a couple Super Bowls with David Diehl, a solid football player, with Kareem McKenzie on the other side, a solid football player. You win with those kinds of guys, our kind of guys.

Q: Could you have waited until a later round to take a solid player?

A:  It is hard to wait when a guy is sitting right there – the highest guy on your board. We always try to wait a few minutes and see if somebody wants to come up there and knock us over with a trade that we can’t refuse. We always do that. But he was sitting right there so there really wasn’t a lot to wait for with respect to him.

Q:  Was he the last offensive lineman in your first round?

A:  I can’t tell you that but he was  – along with some of the guys that got picked ahead of him – he was right in the pack with those guys.

Q:  How much time did you spend with him pre-draft?

A:  Same amount of time as we spent with all of them. It is not a significant amount of time. You have heard this from me before – you don’t have to spend a lot of time with guys that are clean. Those guys – clean guys – there really wasn’t a lot to spend time with him for. We did spend some time with him but there wasn’t a lot of digging that we had to do with this player.

Q:  You said “32-inch arms” – what should a lineman’s arms be?

A:  Well, it depends. If you play inside, if you play center, if you play guard you could have shorter arms; you have shorter arm length. People like for your tackles to have longer arms. When you start talking about 33-inch arms it is really what I think about when I think about arms being long enough on the outside. I think about 33 inches. And so you are talking about this much. But it is just the way it is. We have our standards – what we like – and again, Rosie said there was not perfect player. He is not perfect. If there is anything wrong with him, that is it. But again, I looked at a lot of tape and wanted to see his short arms come into play – I never did; I never did.

Q:  What do you see in the second round?

A:  It will be interesting. With the draft you see players – the value seems to be similar in a lot of different positions. So you will see players coming out all over the board. We think we will get — there are still a lot of good players left on the board. We think we will get a couple of more really good players to come in and contribute for us right away. And we will get guys in the fourth and fifth round as well that we hope can hit on some guys in those rows. But there are still a lot of good players up there.

Q:  What is the next position you plan to address in round two?

A:  A good football player – that is what we would like to address; good football player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q: What were your general impressions of Justin Pugh?

A: Justin just is, I’m sure Coach and Jerry have said, is clean – is just a clean player. For us that means he was productive on tape, he plays hard, he’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s physical, he’s a great kid, he doesn’t have any issues and he has a lot of upside. When you go down the checklist of positives that you look for, he had most of those attributes.

Q: Did you think some of the tackles that were taken earlier in the draft were going to be available at 19?

A: No, we thought pretty much that some of those guys were going to go quick, that the four who went were going to go pretty much where they did, and even the guards.

Q: Is it a strength that he can play a number of positions?

A: For us, I think he has the skill set to play anywhere along the line, and whatever our coaches feel is the biggest need to put him at next year, I think he can do that – from left tackle to center to right tackle to guard, he really has… because he’s so smart, so technique-sound and so athletic, it’s definitely a positive to be able to do that.

Q: Do you normally see a guy like that go in the first round?

A: No. Most of these guys are what they are – they’re a right tackle, they’re a center. This guy is the most versatile offensive lineman in our eyes. Other teams may feel differently, but that’s the way we felt, that he was the most versatile.

Q: Why did you like this kind of player?

A: Because in a year who knows what our needs will be. Just having a guy that even during a game, if your center goes down, he can go in there and move wherever you want him to go. And there’s nothing wrong with having a top notch left tackle, if that’s what he is. This just added to it. This isn’t the only reason why we liked it. It just added to him.

Q: Jerry Reese said he needs to get stronger, but there are a lot of players like him. Is there a goal in mind?

A: That’s up to our strength coaches once they get here. And he was coming off a shoulder injury earlier in the year. He missed the first four games. We don’t think this year was a true indication. He kept getting better, getting stronger throughout the year and into his whole career, I think his body will fill out more and get stronger once he can fully workout with the shoulder. But even in today’s game, those top tackles that got taken, power’s not really their game. (D.J.) Fluker was the power guy, but those other guys were more athletic types of tackles.

Q: What makes you confident that he can play multiple positions?

A: He did it at the Senior Bowl. He played a bunch of different positions at practice and during the game. And then his intelligence, he had one of the higher test scores this year. Just talking to him, communicating with him at the Combine, it will be an easy transition for him.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: We are excited about this pick. We had an opportunity throughout the course of our meetings here to sort of analyze the players that we thought would be available to us at this particular spot in the draft if something didn’t happen to shock us out of that position. There was a run on the tackles early, as you know. It kind of backed off – Fluker was taken and then it kind of backed it. There was a trade right in front of us. We didn’t think San Francisco would take an offensive lineman. We didn’t know for sure, but we didn’t think so. And so in the group of players that we really liked that we hoped would be available to us at 19, we had this young man right at the top – Justin was the guy on the board who was on top. So we are real happy to get him. I have been asked, ‘Do you think it is time for you to take a hard look at your offensive line in terms of young talent?’ Well, there always is. Some years it is just not available to you. So we do feel like the addition of some young talented players in our offensive line is going to help us going forward in the future. We think we have a young man who has demonstrated the ability to learn. He is a very technically sound player. He has performed at the left tackle position. We think he can play right tackle. We have even talked about the versatility that he presents because he has big hands and perhaps he is even a guy that could be considered as a center if we thought we needed that. So versatility – smart – technically sound – a guy that we think can grasp the system right away and be in a position to help us out as a young player in a position that is not easy to play right away. And that is the offensive line at the professional level.

Q:  Would you like him to wind up on day one at right tackle?

A:  Well, that is probably what will happen. But we will look at the rest of the draft and see what happens to come our way. And at the end of that we will assess our depth and see where we think we should start him out. He has been a tackle. I would expect him to stay there. Whether he goes over to the right side or not, and how fast he goes over there – we will have to decide.

Q:  Could he be an opening day starter?

A:  I’m sure that competitively he will have that opportunity. If he wins the job, then he would be the starter.

Q: You and others in the organization talked a lot this offseason about fortifying the trenches on both sides of the line.

A:  Very important.

Q:  How big a priority…top of your list?

A:  Well, it certainly was a strong consideration. I have always believed that if you are strong in the offensive and the defensive lines, you have a great chance to be competitive. And this is certainly consistent with that theory. We have got good young players here that are going to compete. We have veteran leadership here as well. It is a good situation to be in. Let’s let them compete. As best we can, we would like to be competitive and have challenges at all positions. As more competition as we can place, no matter what the position is, the better off as a team we are going to be.

Q:  Did you have a chance to talk to him?

A:  I did.

Q:  What impressed you about him?

A:  His first answer; the first question he was asked.

Q:  Which was?

A:  ‘Who is the Syracuse alum that you are most familiar with?’  He didn’t say Jim Brown, he said ‘Coughlin.’  He passed the IQ test right away at the Combine. That was a Marc Ross (question) – you knew that was coming when Marc took the floor. I knew something was coming.

Q:  Was his run blocking what jumped out at you in watching the Syracuse offense?

A:  Run and pass. We certainly saw the bowl game in which they did a tremendous job of rushing the ball. But there have been numerous games where that good young quarterback up there had big days as well. So we have been able to see Justin as a pass protector and as a run blocker and have been equally impressed.

Q:  The way the defense struggled last year, was it hard to go with an offensive player with your first pick?

A:  It wasn’t hard, but if you know the way that we conduct our business, it is going to be the best player. You may think that there is a need – a greater need somewhere else – but the history of this organization has always been as far back as you can remember, take the best available player. And I think that was consistent with the first pick of the 2013 Draft.

MEDIA Q&A WITH JUSTIN PUGH:

Q: What was it like when you first got the call from the Giants telling you that they were going to select you?

A: It was surreal. This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid playing tackle football in my backyard. I got the phone call and there was about four minutes left on the clock. I saw that 201 number and knew who it was. I turned the TV down, I got a big smile on my face and it was crazy. Coach Coughlin was like ‘Welcome to the Giants.’ It was amazing.

Q: The Giants said they really liked your versatility. Would you be comfortable moving to right tackle after playing left tackle as a starter?

A: The biggest thing the coaches have told me and I’ve tried to present to teams is I can play all five offensive line positions. Coming in, I’m just going to compete wherever they want me to. I think I can play all five positions on the offensive line. I really just want to come in and show what I’ve got. I know coach has said that he likes my versatility and my football smarts so I’m definitely ready to get in there in minicamp next week and start competing.

Q: Did you have a lot of contact with the Giants before the draft?

A: I talked to these guys at the Combine but never had a private workout. I had a decent amount of contact but not as much as with some of the other teams. It wasn’t a surprise. I kind of heard that they liked me at that spot. It was awesome to get that call. Obviously with Coach Coughlin being a Syracuse guy, that makes it even better.

Q: Do you think you could be a starter as a rookie?

A: Yes. I think I can come in and compete. I’m confident in my abilities to start but also, at the same time, whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m willing to do and take on that role happily.

Q: They said at the Combine, the first question you were asked was about the most notable Syracuse alum you knew…

A: Yeah, the first thing that came out of my mouth was Coach Coughlin. Everybody started laughing and they said, ‘Welcome to the New York Giants.’ I guess I should have seen that as a little bit of a sign that they might be targeting me. So I guess it turned out real well. As soon as I got the phone call, my stepdad said ‘it was a good thing you answered that question the way you did because obviously it got them very interested in you.’

Q: RE: Shoulder Injury

A: My shoulder is 100%. Obviously, I came back and played in the last nine games, was All-Conference and played in our bowl game. I did 225 (lbs) 22 times, which is what I was at before (the injury). Obviously, I’m working on getting stronger, I did more reps since that, I’ve done 24. So my shoulder is a 100%, no worries there.

Q: With six offensive linemen going early, did you start to wonder if you were going to go in the first round?

A: When you see six offensive linemen get taken, obviously it shows the depth of the tackle class this year, the offensive line in general. So I knew there was a possibility that I would be the next offensive lineman/tackle off the board. You never want to get too overconfident because football has a way of humbling you. I was getting nervous as every pick went by, saying ‘is this going to be the one?’ I saw that 201 area code and my buddy is right from that area, so I knew it was from the Giants.

A: Are you a fan of the Giants by any chance?

A: I grew up in Philadelphia as an Eagles fan, but last year I told myself, I’m not a fan of anyone else anymore, whomever I’m going to, I’m going to become a fan of that organization. I’m a fan of winning, so I’m ready to get there and compete and win.

Back to Top


2nd Round – DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, 6-3, 320lbs, 5.31

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a two-year starter. Hankins is a big, strong, run-stuffing defensive tackle with good athletic ability and agility for his size. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Hankins is very stout at the point-of-attack and can take on double-team blocks. When he plays with leverage and proper technique, Hankins is very difficult to move off of the line of scrimmage. Hankins also has the athletic ability to pursue down the line and will flash occasionally on the pass rush with quickness and power. He has good lateral agility and even dropped into coverage at times in college. The biggest knock on Hankins is his inconsistency. At times, he dominated in college; at other times, he disappeared from the action. However, he played a lot of snaps in each game and wore down. He should perform more consistently in a rotation and with better conditioning. When not out of gas, Hankins plays hard. Hankins has the tools (size, strength, power, quickness) to excel at the NFL level if he wants it badly enough.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: We’ve got two defensive linemen, we’ve got a defensive tackle and a defensive end. Two really good football players. We’ve got a big guy that can hold the point inside, tough against the run game – big bodies. Both of these kids are really young players, so you like that about them. Big Hank is just a powerful inside presence, played a lot of snaps. They played him a lot. You like that about him that he can have the stamina to stay and play. That probably affected his game a little bit on the back end because I think he ran out of gas sometimes when we watched him, but early on when he gets going, he’s a tremendous inside big thick young player against the run game and against the pass. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he gets some pressure up the middle. He can push the pocket up the middle. He can snap some heads back with his initial contact so he can push that pocket back. We think he can be a great addition, a young player. The defensive end (Damontre Moore), he is sacks. When you think about him, he’s a young kid, he’s 20 years old. In three years he got almost 26 ½ sacks, 26 ½ sacks is what he’s got, had 12 ½ this past season, I believe. He’s an edge rusher, tremendous upside for us- too good a value for us to pass up.

Q: Was it a goal in this draft to get bigger and better in the trenches?

A: Well, that’s always a goal. Again, if you don’t have bigs it’s so hard to win up here, so the more bigs you have it gives you the opportunity to win football games.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Q:  Tell us about Johnathan

A:  Johnathan is a big, wide-bodied space-eater on his side. He is young. He is 21 years old. He has a lot of upside. He is not a glamorous type of guy inside but he does the dirty work that you need in there to occupy people – hold the point. He is a powerful upper body – snatch blocker for a 320-pound guy. Plus he plays the whole game, which you rarely see. You see most of these defensive tackles – defensive linemen – rotate in and out every series. This guy plays the whole game and plays with energy. He has got enthusiasm for the game. He is only going to get better.

Q:  Coach Coughlin has mentioned that a priority this offseason was getting better on the run defense. Was this guy a person you targeted as the person who would be a force in improving that area?

A:  Yeah, to us his skill set was real easy to identify. You watch him play and that is what he does. He just shuts people down when they try to run the ball. Whether it is taking on one block, two blocks – he just bangs inside and he holds the point. You need those guys to win. It helps everybody on your defense. It helps your linebackers get free. So we really like that about him. And you don’t see that much anymore with the types of defensive tackles that are coming out. You see more of the athletic, quick edge, movement-type of guys. So this guy is kind of a rarity nowadays where just somebody that does that dirty work in a big body inside. And he likes it.

Q:  How are his arms?

A:  He could give a couple of inches to Pugh. They balance out each other – they will play off each other well.

Q:  How big is he?

A:  He is wide…He is just wide. He is just wide. He is about 6-3, 320 pounds. He probably played over that during the year. But he got into shape obviously throughout the postseason – all of the training. So, yeah, he is a wide body. When we use that expression, he is that.

Q:  Is that where you want him – 320?

A:  He probably could lose a few pounds. He is young, so he is still growing into it. He probably hasn’t had as much of full-time training and conditioning and nutrition that he will get up here. And he is only going to get better – he will grow into his body. He will become more of a man and shed some pounds and the sky is the limit for him.

Q:  As young as he is, is he polished enough to be a starter?

A:  Yeah, he has played a lot of football at Ohio State. He started and he plays with good technique. He plays with good hand use. He plays with good leverage. He has got really good awareness inside to find the ball – recognize blocking schemes. So this is not just a raw guy that doesn’t know what he is doing. This guy knows how to play football. And he has played a lot of it and started a lot of it at the highest level.

Q:  Does he kind of compliment Linval (Joseph) and (Cullen) Jenkins?

A:  Right – you like a blend inside there. You would like a defensive tackle that is big and athletic and fast and can do everything. But that is just not the reality nowadays. A guy is either one or the other. And so this is a big, wide-bodied presence inside.

Q:  What would you say is the knock on him?  Mike Mayock said he has first round talent so he slips to the second round – good for you if that is where you wanted to get him anyway. But why do you think he might have slipped?

A:  We had him identified as a first round guy. Some people might have been scared off by his lack of sack production. He just had one. Some people might have questions regarding his stamina. Okay, the guy is 320 pounds and he plays every snap, like I said earlier. So if he wears downs at the end of a 60-play game, I could understand that. So you have to look at his body of work. You have to dig deep into who he is. The kid is a great kid. He loves football. He is going to work his butt off. So those concerns that others might have, we didn’t have.

Q:  He is a three-down player?

A:  Yeah. He has to develop his pass rush. That wasn’t his strength as a pass rusher. Right now we would throw him in there as a two-down run stopper and develop his pass rush.

Q:  You wanted to get bigger – last year you picked up Shaun Rogers. This year you brought in Hankins.

A:  You always want big bodies. You have to win with big bodies in this league. It starts up front on both sides of the ball. We think we have done a good job with that – with our first two picks. We will see what happens the rest of the draft. But we wanted to get bigger, more physical up front, and we really think we have done that with these first two.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: Two defensive players today to help our defense – take care of the front. Run stopper in Hankins, a young kid. They are both young; one being primarily a defensive tackle that has outstanding first and second-down run-stopping ability. The other kid, Damontre Moore, has great production – 12 ½ sacks – 26 ½ over his career, 21 TFL’s; a very, very good effort player on Saturday. He has some issues, I think, during the week, which we will have to address in terms of preparation and practice mentality, that type of thing. But he is young, just 20 years old. Hankins just turned 21. So we have three young guys in the fold – an offensive lineman, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. And so at the end of the day we feel good about where we are.

Q:  What about last year’s performance by the defensive line…?

A:  Well, you have to continue to build. We were 31st in the league on defense. I think that is enough said.

Q:  This is like a return to old time football – big bodies up front.

A:  Like to. Yeah, for us – for me – I’ll speak just for me – that is where it starts – up front. And you have to continue to develop and build. Be strong up there – competitive. We have good players here. We have just added some players to the mix and hopefully the competition will make our team better.

Q:  You see other trends going – teams going in a different direction – small players up front. Why, for you, is it important to stick with the big guys up front?

A:  Well, we are in the NFC East. We do have two teams now – one of which has established itself as running the option. However, if you  look at their offense, the plays that hurt you the most are the power-type plays – the dive, the zone run, and of course when the quarterback keeps the football. In Philadelphia that will change a little bit as well. But we still have Dallas and the Giants in this division that are primarily the run game that we have to come to acknowledge here as the professional football running game. We don’t run the quarterback – at least we try not to – and leave the running game to the front and the runners.

Q:  Last year there were some issues on defense at linebacker and the secondary. Do you think addressing up front helps take care of some of these issues?

A:  That is what has presented itself right now. We know it doesn’t take care of your linebacker issues; it doesn’t take care of your secondary issues. But if we can do a better job of stopping the run, those two areas will be naturally affected in a positive way. But we have addressed what we can. We have had three picks and the three picks have been represented by linemen. So that is a good thing. So where can we go and what can we do to continue to invest in some new talent; some competitive players that can come in and challenge, so we’ll see throughout the rest of the draft and what is left of free agency.

Q:  Are these two guys polished enough to be able to make immediate contributions?

A:  Basically they have to. You have to bring them in and they have a lot to learn. They have to understand principles and values and how you do things. They are young but the nature of the business in the game today is they have to help us.

MEDIA Q&A WITH JOHNATHAN HANKINS: (Video – Giants.com Interview)

Q: What were you anticipating tonight?

A: I was just anticipating hearing my name get called on TV. I’ve been working hard for this moment and all my family and my support – my coaches. I felt like this was a good pick for me and I’m ready to work hard and keep going.

Q: Did you know the Giants were interested?

A: Yeah, I knew they had a little interest in me and I talked to them a couple times but it was just so much building up to this moment. Just to get that call from the New York Giants and just be able to play for them and the history they have of winning championships. I’m ready to come along and help as much as I can.

Q: Can you rush the passer?

A: I feel like I can rush the passer. One of my strong points is stopping the run so I’m working on my pass rushing techniques. I’m working on getting that a lot better so I can be a complete D-tackle.

Q: What did the Giants talk to you about?

A: They basically talked to me about coming in and contributing to the defense and doing the best that I can and hopefully be a starter one day but just come in and make a good impression and help the team out.

Q: How did your career at Ohio State prepare you to play in the NFL?

A: It helped tremendously well from just my physical aspect with my weight and getting me stronger. Then when it comes to the game, just watching film and knowing what the offense is going to do before the play even happens and just the tradition there just getting guys to the league was just a great asset for me and they prepared me really well.

Q: Have you compared yourself to DT Shaun Rogers?

A: We have a nice comparison. He’s a dominant defensive tackle in the league. Playing, I feel like we both have kind of a sort of a similarity to our game but I’m going to learn from him and try to get better.

Q: Do you see yourself as a rarity as a player?

A: Yes, I see that. I feel like being the way I am, 325 pounds. You don’t really see too many big guys running from sideline to sideline making plays. Just playing defensive end and all of the positions on the defensive front, I feel like I’m probably one of the best and I feel like I’m the best so I’m going to keep working hard to help the team be good.

Q: How many plays were you on the field for in a college game?

A: I basically this past season played the whole game. With Coach Meyer, he never wanted his starters off the field so that’s one thing while I was getting ready for the offseason I was trying to get in better shape because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to come off the field. Plus, I love the game. I really don’t want to come off the field so I took the challenge of playing all of those snaps and I feel like I did pretty well at it.

Q: Did you think you had a chance to go in the first round?

A: It was a chance but things happen. Some teams saw who they wanted and who they wanted to pick but right now I’m just happy and blessed that I get the opportunity to play right now.

Q: Where are you right now, are you with your family?

A: Yeah, I’m with my family back home in Detroit.

Q: Are you able to come to the rookie minicamp?

A: Yeah, I think I’ll be there for the rookie camp.

Q: I assume you grew up a Lions fan?

A: Not really, I was really a defensive guy. I liked teams with good defense. I liked to watch the Patriots and the Steelers. I’m just more of a football player, not just a fan of a single team.

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3rd Round – DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, 6-4, 250lbs, 4.95

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry, but a two-year starter. Moore lacks ideal size and timed speed, but he is an athletic disruptor who plays hard and makes a lot of plays in the backfield. He has good first-step quickness, agility, and change-of-direction skills. Moore has very long arms. Moore is a better pass rusher than run defender. Relentless getting after the quarterback, but he can be handled at the point-of-attack on running plays. He needs to get stronger and add some bulk – still growing into his body. He tested and interviewed very poorly at the NFL Combine, but the production was there on gameday. Moore has some character concerns, including a drug possession charge. He needs to improve his off-the-field work ethic and commitment to the game. Moore has the tools to become a very good player if he wants it.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: We’ve got two defensive linemen, we’ve got a defensive tackle and a defensive end. Two really good football players. We’ve got a big guy that can hold the point inside, tough against the run game –big bodies. Both of these kids are really young players, so you like that about them. Big Hank is just a powerful inside presence, played a lot of snaps. They played him a lot. You like that about him that he can have the stamina to stay and play. That probably affected his game a little bit on the back end because I think he ran out of gas sometimes when we watched him, but early on when he gets going, he’s a tremendous inside big thick young player against the run game and against the pass. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he gets some pressure up the middle. He can push the pocket up the middle. He can snap some heads back with his initial contact so he can push that pocket back. We think he can be a great addition, a young player. The defensive end (Damontre Moore), he is sacks. When you think about him, he’s a young kid, he’s 20 years old. In three years he got almost 26 ½ sacks, 26 ½ sacks is what he’s got, had 12 ½ this past season, I believe. He’s an edge rusher, tremendous upside for us- too good a value for us to pass up.

Q: Why did Moore slip to the Third Round?

A: I’m not sure because early on people had him ranked pretty high. You listen to the people who rank college players and he was ranked pretty high. We were a little surprised he was up there that long with his sack production, but you can’t pass guys with that kind of sack production so it was a decision we made to go and go get him right there with that pick.

Q: Is his history with marijuana a concern at all?

A: Well, we’re always concerned if that’s an issue with players. We do extensive background information, get extensive background information. I think that it’s a situation where we can handle that. His off-field issues, which I don’t think are significant, I think that we can handle. If he has any issues, I think that we can handle it.

Q: Does the youth of Damontre Moore make him a project?

A: It makes him a kid that has a lot to learn. He’s got a tremendous upside. He plays three years, he’s a junior, so he can come in here with (Defensive Line Coach) Robert Nunn, who does a tremendous job with our defensive line. He’ll learn a lot right way. He’s one of those kids that can play on your special teams. He’s got a pretty unique skill set.

Q: Will Damontre Moore play exclusively on the defensive line?

A: I think he’s probably going to be penciled in as a defensive end and again all young players we get that can run; they play on special teams for us as well.

Q: Do you think a guy like Moore has the ability to step in as a rookie and be a situational pass rusher?

A: We hope so. It’ll create some competition. It’s going to be great competition all over our football team and I love that because it only makes your football team better when you have competition at a lot of different positions- we will have that. We will definitely have that.

Q: With Moore’s measurable, is there any comparison to DE Mathias Kiwanuka ?

A: He was 260 at his Pro Day so he’s a little bit heavy and again he’s 20 years old, so guys mature, their bodies mature, and they’ll get stronger. He’s already gained 10 pounds since the Combine. I think Kiwi is a bigger frame. Their lower body is probably similar but obviously Kiwi has been around for a while. He’s definitely matured and filled out, but there could be comparisons drawn if you look at their lower body. Yeah, that’s not a bad comparison.

Q: Did he play some linebacker during his college career?

A: Not a lot, I don’t think he played a lot of that linebacker stuff. When you see him a lot of times, they do rush him inside a lot but he’s off the edge most of the time. The thing I like, he plays hard. Guys that play hard, you can coach them to do the rest because this guy plays hard. He plays with a nasty streak and we think he’s got a tremendous upside.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Highly productive, well that’s the first thing. The guy’s production is off the charts when you compare him to people who got picked ahead of him at his position. Just look at the stats. In our view, the things we liked, we think good NFL players were good college players; productive NFL players were productive college players, and this guy epitomizes that. He’s only 20 years old. He has a world of talent. He’s athletic. He plays hard. A little bit leaner body frame, he has to grow into his body. He has 35-inch arms. He’s physical at the point of attack with the upper body. Tons of upside, but this guy, he’s a football player who makes plays.

Q: How good is he against the run?

A: He’s good. Right now with his body, the lower-body stoutness needs some development but he’s powerful and strong in his upper body using his arm length to snatch guys. When he gets his hands on guys, he can really control them. He does get swallowed up some if they get on him but if he gets his arms on people, he’s hard to handle and he’s really athletic in space. He makes plays all the way down the field and in the backfield. You look at his tackle for loss production and it’s amazing. So he’s really athletic once he gets in the backfield.

Q: Sacking ability is a highly coveted skill. Why did he last so long if that is one of his strongest traits?

A: Some people may have gotten scared off at the Combine when he ran so slow and didn’t lift that well. A Terrell Suggs, a Trent Cole, a Derrick Burgess ran really slow but played fast on tape; things off the field that people may not have been comfortable with where he just needs to grow up. He’s only 20. He needs to be a professional a little bit. He’s a good kid who loves to play. Those may have been a couple of reasons.

Q: Did he interview okay at the Combine?

A: Yes, he interviewed okay for us. But when you see a guy run 4.9 when guys are running 4.5s and 4.6s, people jump all over that number as opposed to the 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss numbers.

Q: Did you target him as a guy who might fall because of these issues?

A: Yes. We felt good that he wasn’t going to be a first round pick. I thought he might go at the end of two, so we had him in a good spot. But, again, nothing surprises you in the draft. You have to be prepared for everything. You have to stack your board for how you like the players. We were glad he was there. He was too good to pass up at that point.

Q: Is he strictly a defensive end?

A: No. He stands up there and does everything for them. They (Texas A&M) had a special joker role for him, they kind of called it there. He had his hand on the ground, he stood up. Our coaches are excited to use him in different ways. You’ve seen some of our guys do that hybrid role. Kiwi’s been up and down. He has a skill set to do a little bit of both. But he won’t be strictly a linebacker for us. It’ll be more of a hybrid role.

Q: Who does he remind you of?

A: Damontre Moore. He has his own type of unique skill set. He’s athletic, has really long arms, can bend. He’s explosive with his closing burst—nobody who I can say… When I watched him, it didn’t jump out that he reminded me of anybody. He was pretty unique.

Q: He didn’t lift or run well, so what made you like him?

A: Twelve and a half (sacks) and 21 (tackle for losses).

Q: Then why test him?

A: That’s a good question. That’s a good question. At the Combine you have to do it. Every year there are Combine stars and there are non stars, And there are always good players who get to the Combine who don’t fare as well and that fall off the board, and there are always guys who maybe aren’t good players and go to the Combine and tear it up and they get ascended. It’d be good to track those guys and see at the Combine to see how the guys who run the fastest, how they turn out, the guys who lift the most, how they turn out. It’d be a good thing for you guys to check out.

Q: Coach Coughlin mentioned his work ethic, specifically during practice. What did you gather on that topic?

A: Well, he just needs to learn how to be a professional to know what it takes day-in-and-day-out – what it takes to prepare. When you’re a star in college, sometimes you try to get away with a little bit more. He has to learn to do that. We feel we have a support network with, number one, Coach Coughlin, his position coach and our player development staff that will help him out.

Q: With your first three picks, it looks like your approach was to get bigger and stronger in the trenches. Was that basically the philosophy?

A: Yes. Earlier when we were talking about the other guys, it’s always good to get strong up front. But we didn’t go into our draft meetings saying ‘We’re definitely going to take two defensive linemen or two offensive linemen.’ Those just happened to be the guys there and who we coveted at the time.

Q: Did you get a chance to ask Damontre about his workout numbers at the Combine?

A: Yes, (defensive line coach) Robert Nunn was down at his workout, his Pro Day. Our area scout Donnie Etheridge was there. We’ve been in communication with him. Charles Way has talked to him a lot, so we’ve invested a lot of time into him. We’ve talked a lot to him, we like him as a person and we’re comfortable with bringing him here.

Q: Were those his true numbers or was he just having a bad day?

A: He upped his bench press when he got to his Pro Day. He tweaked his hamstring trying to run his 40 (yard dash) so he didn’t get to run that but he is a lot better. His shuttles are very high. His jumps and shuttles are very high, it was just his 40 didn’t correlate to his explosiveness on the field, but his 20-yard shuttle, his 3-cone shuttle, his vertical-jump, and his broad-jump were extremely high.

Q: Will he play at 260 pounds?

A: Even more, his body has got to fill out. He’ll get thicker in the upper body so he might get up to about 265, 270, eating right, training, full-time job. I mean these guys always get bigger.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: Two defensive players today to help our defense – take care of the front. Run stopper in Hankins, a young kid. They are both young; one being primarily a defensive tackle that has outstanding first and second-down run-stopping ability. The other kid, Damontre Moore, has great production – 12 ½ sacks – 26 ½ over his career, 21 TFL’s; a very, very good effort player on Saturday. He has some issues, I think, during the week, which we will have to address in terms of preparation and practice mentality, that type of thing. But he is young, just 20 years old. Hankins just turned 21. So we have three young guys in the fold – an offensive lineman, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. And so at the end of the day we feel good about where we are.

Q:  What about last year’s performance by the defensive line…?

A:  Well, you have to continue to build. We were 31st in the league on defense. I think that is enough said.

Q:  This is like a return to old time football – big bodies up front.

A:  Like to. Yeah, for us – for me – I’ll speak just for me – that is where it starts – up front. And you have to continue to develop and build. Be strong up there – competitive. We have good players here. We have just added some players to the mix and hopefully the competition will make our team better.

Q:  You see other trends going – teams going in a different direction – small players up front. Why, for you, is it important to stick with the big guys up front?

A:  Well, we are in the NFC East. We do have two teams now – one of which has established itself as running the option. However, if you  look at their offense, the plays that hurt you the most are the power-type plays – the dive, the zone run, and of course when the quarterback keeps the football. In Philadelphia that will change a little bit as well. But we still have Dallas and the Giants in this division that are primarily the run game that we have to come to acknowledge here as the professional football running game. We don’t run the quarterback – at least we try not to – and leave the running game to the front and the runners.

Q:  Last year there were some issues on defense at linebacker and the secondary. Do you think addressing up front helps take care of some of these issues?

A:  That is what has presented itself right now. We know it doesn’t take care of your linebacker issues; it doesn’t take care of your secondary issues. But if we can do a better job of stopping the run, those two areas will be naturally affected in a positive way. But we have addressed what we can. We have had three picks and the three picks have been represented by linemen. So that is a good thing. So where can we go and what can we do to continue to invest in some new talent; some competitive players that can come in and challenge, so we’ll see throughout the rest of the draft and what is left of free agency.

Q:  Do you foresee (Damontre) Moore as a big production sack guy in the NFL?

A:  That is why we brought him in here. He has outstanding quickness. You look at his 40 time and you are going to say well, it is not what you would think. But there was a big split in those times in Indianapolis and he does play faster than the time you are probably going to refer back to. But his quickness and his shuttles were outstanding. So from me to you, he is as quick as it is.

Q:  Are these two guys polished enough to be able to make immediate contributions?

A:  Basically they have to. You have to bring them in and they have a lot to learn. They have to understand principles and values and how you do things. They are young but the nature of the business in the game today is they have to help us.

Q:  There are different styles of pass rushers, defensive ends. Do you see Moore as more of a Strahan or Osi?

A:  I wouldn’t do that to him or to any player that has been here. Let’s see what he is.

Q:  It seems as if your picks were pretty quick. Were the picks pretty clear cut?

A:  No, there were long discussions. We usually start four, five or six players out and discuss those players that surround our pick just in case we would lose somebody. So there was deliberation and discussion about each of them. But the conclusions were made with plenty of time on the clock.

Q:  With three rounds in the books, how would you grade out the first three rounds. I know you always look for the best player available.

A:  That is what you do. For us it has come in that capacity. We did talk about – really at length a number of players that presented themselves in the second and the third round taking into consideration from some other spots. But in reality the highest graded player is where we went.

Q:  Each time?

A:  Each time

Q:  Is it a challenge to get the different pieces to be able to do different things defensively as you may go week to week?

A:  It is always a challenge. The faster you are, the better you are. Then your adaptability is quite obvious. But you have your position specifics and you do have to be flexible enough to defend and attack whatever the opponent presents.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DAMONTRE MOORE:

Q: How did it feel when you found out the Giants were taking you?

A: It was a breathtaking moment. It will be something that I will always remember.

RE: On adding to the history of the Giants successful defensive line…

A: Yes. I’m looking forward to just coming in and learning from the best in the game. There are so many talented people there. I just want to come in closed-mouth and open-minded and let everything soak in because they have such a successful history and so many talented people there.

Q: How good of a pass rusher do you think you are?

A: I think I’m pretty good but that was in the past. I’m just looking forward to coming in and proving myself right now.

Q: Do you compare yourself to anyone as a pass rusher?

A: No. I just compare myself to me. I go in and try to do what I do and not try to be anyone else. I just try to go out there and give the best effort I can.

Q: How did it feel to drop to the third round?

A: I wasn’t expecting it but in the same token, anything can happen so I wasn’t expecting to wait but this is a great opportunity for me to play the game that I love. Just because I didn’t go as high as other people thought I was going to go, it doesn’t really make a difference because at the end of the day, I still get to play the game I love. It really didn’t matter.

Q: Did you think your Combine performance was the reason you slipped?

A: To be honest with you, there could be many a reason and that probably is one of the reasons but that all happened in the past and I’m ready to look forward and start anew.

Q: Do you think your college production will translate to the NFL?

A: I would like to hope so. I’m going to go in there and give the best I can and listen to everyone there and take in all the knowledge. Hopefully it can (translate). I just want to contribute to the team and just help the team win.

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4th Round – QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse, 6-2, 227lbs, 4.95

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-year starter. Nassib lacks ideal height and mobility, but he is a well-built quarterback with a good (not great) arm. He is very smart and has the mental capacity to handle a complicated pro passing offense – Nassib played in two pro style offenses in college. Nassib is also mentally and physically tough. Nassib can make all of the NFL throws. He demonstrates good velocity, touch, and accuracy on his passes. He does need to improve his overall footwork, and accuracy on deep passes. Nassib has very good intangibles – mature, hardworking, confident, and competitive. He is a clutch player who has a history of winning games on the last drive. Football is extremely important to him. A leader on the field.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video) (Video -NFL Network Interview)

Reese: (Ryan) Nassib, the highest player on our board, so we talked about it early this morning that if he was still there, there was no way we were going to pass him up again because he has too much value. We’ve been thinking about developing a quarterback behind Eli (Manning) for a while now and we think this is a perfect opportunity for us to get a young quarterback with a lot of talent – very smart, high test score, very productive, and again the value was too high for us to move on from. When (USC Quarterback Matt) Barkley went, we were like, ‘Wow, this guy is not going to be there’ and so we thought it was in our best interest to move up a few spots if we could and we made several calls and finally got somebody who wanted to make the trade and we did it.

Q: It’s interesting that you pick a guy who is highly rated, but I assume you hope he doesn’t ever really play for you?

A: Yeah, if he doesn’t ever play, that would be great. That’s a good problem to have. If he needs to play, we’re hoping that whatever time that is that he’ll be up and ready to go if it ever happens that way. With respect to how many quarterbacks we’ll keep on the roster, we don’t know. We used to keep three quarterbacks all the time and I think we went to two for the last several years and usually have a guy on the practice squad. We could very well keep three quarterbacks, so we’ll make that decision when it’s time. Right now we have four quarterbacks on the roster.

Q: Does he have special teams value?

A: No, he’s just a quarterback. I don’t think it’s in our best interest to play him on special teams.

Q: You said that you have been trying to develop a young quarterback for years and you actively moved up to get this guy…

A: Well, the value was there. He was just too much value. To be honest, we thought the kid would probably get picked in the second round over there and we over here in the fourth round and he’s still on the board so it just makes sense for us to take the value.

Q: Did you talk to him?

A: (Head) Coach (Tom) Coughlin talked to him.

Q: I imagine it was an unusual conversation?

A: Again, you can never be surprised during the draft. Anything can happen and they can happen quickly, so he may be a little bit surprised but I think he’s very excited about coming over here.

Q: What grade did you have on him?

A: I can’t tell you that. We had a good grade on him.

Q: Why do you think he dropped?

A: I’m not sure. You never know why guys drop but we think he has the skill set to be a starter at some point in the league. We think he could be a terrific backup but we’ll see where it goes.

Q: Do you expect to take four quarterbacks to training camp?

A: We’re not sure yet, we’ll see. We’ll see how the spring goes. We’re not sure we’ll take four quarterbacks to camp. I can’t answer that right now.

Q: Would you have traded up to get USC quarterback Matt Barkley if he was available?

A: We didn’t have Barkley rated as high.

Q: What is it that you like about his game?

A: He’s got the arm strength. We like the accuracy about him. We like that “it” factor on him. When I first watched him he reminded me of the quarterback at Cincinnati (Andy Dalton) that played at TCU. He reminded me of Dalton in some ways when I first saw him, but our scouts liked him. Our coaches like him. Our quarterbacks coach (Sean Ryan) likes him. Too much value, we pick the highest guy on the board. He’s the highest guy on the board, we picked him.

Q: Was he your highest rated quarterback?

A: He was not.

Q: How do you determine when the right time is to develop a quarterback?

A: Well, you never know. Again, you always think about we have Eli in the prime of his career and you actually hope this quarterback never plays. Again, what if something happens? We want to have a guy ready to go and this guy fits the pattern that we need.

Q: Do you think he can challenge David Carr for the backup job?

A: Well, it’ll be some competition, there that’s for sure. We like competition at every position.

Q: It’s a different dynamic now in the QB room with a younger guy there…

A: Yeah, well I don’t think that’s a big deal one way or the other but it’ll be competition for that number two spot, that’s for sure.

Q: With Eli and Carr over 30 years old, was there some desire to get younger at backup quarterback?

A: We’re just looking for a good player to be the backup quarterback and we’re fortunate enough to secure this young guy and we’ll see where it goes. Again, maybe he’ll never play here. We hope Eli plays for long, long time and maybe this young man will never play but if he has to play, we think he has a good skill set to help us win football games.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Ryan Nassib, the quarterback, where we were picking, he was just too good of a value. We came in this morning and he was sticking out there and we talked about it, went over it, and just said if this guy is still around or close to our range, we should really consider something happening with him. The guy, when I look at quarterbacks, I don’t look at arm strength and all that. That stuff is secondary to me. I look at guys who are leaders and winners and raise the level of their team and when they’re on the field they have a presence about them and some moxie to them. Those are the attributes to me that stood out with him. I saw him play twice this year when USC played here and then up in the snow in the bowl game up in Yankee Stadium. Then at the Senior Bowl. This guy just has a presence about him around his team, and then at the Senior Bowl around guys he didn’t know. Those are the winning attributes for me that I look for in quarterbacks.

Q: Do you think Ryan Nassib should have gone in the 1st or 2nd round?

A: In our process, in our meetings, we obviously ranked the quarterbacks and kind of project where they’re going to go and I was surprised he did not go higher than he did. I would not have thought that he would have lasted this long.

Q: Is it strange to draft someone that you hope doesn’t play as in the case of Ryan Nassib?

A: Of course, every draft pick you want to be a Hall of Famer even though that’s not the reality, but with taking Ryan, there’s nothing like having a security blanket like that where we think he can be an excellent backup with the ability to start in time. Whether that’s here or for someone else, we don’t know. I understand what Jerry (Reese) is saying. Of course you want an Eli Manning to play and stay healthy and be there, but we think Ryan has a starter upside and starter ability. Hopefully that flourishes while he’s here.

Q: Do you adjust your priorities when you see a player like Ryan Nassib still available?

A: Well, you don’t adjust your priorities. Last night you’re aware, you’re looking at the board, then when you come in, you’ve got a good night’s sleep, you’re a little more focused, we get together, Jerry (Reese) and I get together, Coach (Tom Coughlin), John Mara, we get together and say ‘alright, well, we can’t ignore what we’re seeing.’ We go through this whole process of ranking guys and our scouts go on the road to get all this information and write reports and we do all this for a reason and it’s not just to be grabbing because we think we need a person here or there but because this is who we think is the best player. It was obvious he was the best player by far that we had, so is he the most needed person? No, but if something happens to the guy that’s starting, yeah, he was the highest priority in the draft for us.

Q: Is it fair to say that Ryan Nassib really didn’t become a part of the conversation until you met this morning?

A: Well, we just didn’t really talk about it last night. It was just this morning we talked about it but last night was just let’s close up shop and let’s get home and get some rest.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: We were pleased with the quarterback move. We thought we had to do that. The value was there beyond a doubt for us in that round. So we moved up to take him…What we had to do to get the quarterback was well worth the other pick.

Q:  You have been a two-quarterback roster team. Is there room for three now?  Do you want these veterans and rookie battling it out for the No. 2 job?

A:  That will be the best thing that we can get is the competition. And then we will make a decision as we go through camp in terms of whether we would want to be a two- or a three-quarterback operation. And that is all in front of us. But the competitiveness will be good for us in that regard. And I like the fact that we will go to camp, we will see where we are numbers-wise at that point in time.

Q:  You have had a stable quarterback situation. Does this change the dynamics at the quarterback position?

A:  It is still very stable. Stable is a great word. It is probably even more stable. That is all we have done is bring a young guy to learn from our exceptional quarterback and that is where we are.

Q:  You traded up for him?

A:  In the fourth round.

Q:  Do you prefer two, if possible?

A:  Well, you do if you can save the roster spot. Sure, you do. But you always have to make that decision as you go forward. What is in the best interest of the team?

Q:  You are a quarterback guy. What do you think of this quarterback – what is his upside?

A:  I like the kid. The kid was graded really basically right where we took him. He could have gone in the third round, I’m sure. We were worried about that. But he has got outstanding leadership qualities. And the way in which he directs and leads his team, the intangibles, he does have a strong arm. Those are the things that attract. He is a very, very intelligent young man. Of course, he went to a great school.

Q:  At the same time right after that pick Jerry came in here and said that he hoped that he would never play. Is that how you see it?

A:  Well, maybe 10 years from now. I like the guy we have playing. That is what Jerry meant.

Q:  What made you interested in him?

A:  I think it was value. I think it was the value of the player and where he sat. Timing is everything. There could be a year when you walk in and you need something desperately, but you can’t arrange it. So by being able to – the philosophy that has always been practiced by the New York Giants is ‘best player, best player, best player.’  And that is what happened here.

Q:  You have always had a backup that is older than Eli. Would it be interesting to you if you have a backup that is a rookie?

A:   Paul, I have said what I am saying about that. We will see what happens. We will see how that works out at camp. This is a great opportunity for Ryan because he is going to be in the classroom with Eli Manning. That is going to be a tremendous learning experience. There is no way you can put a value on that for him. Now on top of that, he is a really sharp kid. He will learn; he will grow. He will learn by watching Eli. And when he gets opportunities in camp he will take full advantage of that and we will go from there.

Q:  Have you reached out to Eli today?

A:  No, I haven’t talked with him. I’m sure I will, I will see him tomorrow when he comes in to work. He knows he is our guy – he is our quarterback. He will be that way for hopefully a long, long time. He is coming into his prime, maybe. Maybe in a couple of more years, he will be in his prime.

Q:  I guess what I am asking – you are kind of asking him to take on a newer role.

A:  No. I’m asking him to win a world championship and take the rest of us with him – that kind of thing.

MEDIA Q&A WITH RYAN NASSIB:

Q:  How are you doing?

A:  I’m doing well.

Q:  Are you surprised both that how long you lasted in the draft and the team that ended up taking you?

A:  I’m a little bit surprised at how long I lasted. Everyone was just hyping me up, I guess. But I was even more surprised by the Giants. Brief to nearly any conversations with them. So it all came as a big surprise.

Q:  How does it feel being the backup to a guy who hasn’t missed a game since 2005?

A:  I’m just so excited for the opportunity. I understand that he is a durable quarterback. I always compared myself to Eli. And it is crazy that I’m going to be playing with him. He is a tough, durable, smart guy; doesn’t say much. That is the kind of quarterback I always wanted to be. Being able to sit behind him and learn from him – like some great quarterbacks did in the past – learn from an elite veteran like the Aaron Rogers of the world – it is going to be a great opportunity for me.

Q:  Early on in this process there was a lot of talk about you being a first-rounder and a lot of people pared you with your old coach up in Buffalo. Did you think that that was a possibility with him to go that high?

A:  Yeah, I always thought that I was a first round talent. That is just the way you think of yourself when you are confident and you are… I thought the situation with Buffalo was going to go a little bit different, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t be happier where I am now. I won’t have to step in right away and play. It is a place where I can sit behind an elite quarterback and learn from him and just keep developing and just be ready to play if, God forbid, anything were happen.

Q:  What does it mean to you to be playing relatively close to home?

A:  It means a lot. My family is ecstatic right now. They were all nervous that I was going to be going far away. So now I’m going to be only an hour and a half down the road. So it will be great.

Q: When Buffalo took a different quarterback in round one, what was your reaction?  Did you speak to Doug at all afterwards?

A:  When they picked a different quarterback, going into Thursday night, I braced myself for that actually. I braced myself for the fact that they not only might take another position, but another quarterback. So going in, I kind of had a good feel for that. It could happen and it ended up happening. I would be remiss to tell you that I was a little disappointed. But at the end of the day when one door closes, another one opens. So I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am for now being a New York Giant.

Q:  Do you get along with Justin (Pugh)?

A:  Very well. We have been together for the last three or four years. We are from the same area. And we have had many a drive home from Syracuse together. I can’t believe that out of all the situations, he and I are going to be back together.

Q: When Tom Coughlin called you what did he say to you when he called?

A:  To be honest with you, I blacked out a little bit. I didn’t really get everything but what I could get from him was that first off I have to cut my ties with the Philadelphia Eagles, which won’t be a problem. And he just complimented me on coming from a good school and being a good football player. And he told me about the great opportunity I have for playing behind Eli.

Q:  What is your scouting report on Justin Pugh as your former left tackle?

A:  He is one tough football player, I’ll tell you that much. God honest truth – there wasn’t a game I went in where I didn’t trust his ability that I knew he was going to have my blind side taken care of. Right now he has been trying to be versatile so he could play wherever. He is smart and can play wherever they need him.

Q:  There was a quote by Justin a few weeks ago where he said one of the things he likes to do was make his opponent quit. I guess the insinuation is that he has got a bit of a mean streak in him. Do you see that in him as well?

A:  Yeah, absolutely. He is one tough dude. There were many times he made his opponent quit. It is almost humorous. One guy stopped rushing him at the end of the game.

Q:  Jerry Reese said this morning they talked about trying to get you today. Did you have a sense that they would make a play for you today or did you not know until they called?

A:  I haven’t watched TV in three days. So I couldn’t tell you one thing of what was going on. So when they called it was a complete surprise.

Q:  You sound a little weary – and trying to process everything. How do you feel right now?

A:  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Going into the third day you can image how strenuous it can be on a player; especially when my expectations were a bit higher. But that is just the way it is. With the uncertainty and all of the uncertainty of where you may end or the situation you may be in, it is more of… I’m extremely relieved that I am going to one of the best organizations in the league. And I’m going to be playing behind an elite quarterback.

Q:  I know it has been a bit of a whirlwind the last half hour or so, but do you see yourself as the quarterback of the future for the Giants, or do you think your future in the league is going to ultimately wind up being somewhere else?

A:  To be honest with you, I think either one. If something were to happen to Eli, I feel like I can step in and be prepared enough to be able to take over the position. It is going to be huge shoes to fill but I’ll be ready for that. I’m ready for the challenge. He is a durable guy. God knows how he plays every game; plays every snap. And if the opportunity outside of the New York Giants happens. But right now all I’m worried about is being a New York Giant. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it.

Q:  Are you home now?

A:  I just got home. I’m in West Chester, PA.

Q:  Have you ever had a football season in which you didn’t take a snap?

A:  Yeah, my freshman year in college. It was kind of similar.

Q:  How did you handle that?

A:  It went pretty well. Because… my high school where I had really had next to no feel for the knowledge of the game coming from high school to college. So I really took my redshirt year as a year to develop, not only physically but mentally. And even though I feel like I can step in and play right now, just because of the lessons and experience I have had in college, I’m going to take this rookie year as kind of my redshirt year and develop. And be ready and be prepared like I am going to be a starter because football is a crazy game and… anything can happen.

Q:  You talked about Justin being tough. That is one of the things that keeps coming up when your name is mentioned – you are a tough quarterback. For people who haven’t seen you play in this area – Giants fans and so on – how would you scout yourself?  What do you think you best attributes are?

A:  I think my toughness is definitely one of my strongest attributes. Like Eli, I have never missed a game in college. When I was a starter I started every single game; never missed a snap. So I’m proud of the fact that I’m a durable quarterback. Also, I’m very attentive to detail. And I’m always learning; always willing to learn; always looking to learn. So I’m just trying to get better.

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5th Round – S Cooper Taylor, Richmond, 6-5, 229lbs, 4.49

SCOUTING REPORT: Georgia Tech transfer due to a heart condition. Taylor is a huge safety with very good timed-speed, agility, and overall athleticism for his size. Strong. Taylor is an aggressive, physical safety who will hit. Taylor impressed sharp during East-West Shrine Game practices, taking to coaching well and showing good instincts. He should excel on special teams.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Cooper Taylor from Richmond is a transfer from Georgia Tech – big size-speed safety that we think has a really nice upside. I can envision him honestly on special teams with that size and speed. I can envision him being that third safety in some the three-safety looks that (defensive coordinator) Perry Fewell likes to use sometimes. A big, tough guy, we like his skill set. He’s got some redeeming qualities that we liked and he’ll create some competition in the backfield with our safety group.

Q: Is Cooper Taylor’s heart condition a concern?

A: Nothing significant for our trainers and doctors right now. They cleared him and they don’t really have any real concerns.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Cooper Taylor, just at that point in the draft we think we got a hidden gem there. This guy is big, fast, smart, plays the game the right way. He does a lot of things for Richmond. They line him up at multiple positions. You’ll see him in the box; you’ll see him back deep. He covers the slot. Productive there. He transferred from Georgia Tech, but we think this guy has got a lot of upside. Sent our (secondary-safeties) coach (David) Merritt down there to work him out-a private workout and he was really impressed by him. We had him in for a visit. The kid is really smart. Loves football, so we think he has a ton of upside.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: Cooper Taylor is the young safety who has the great, great numbers – 6-4 plus, 228. Really good test score – 4.45 range. He had four interceptions, 78 tackles this past year. We are hoping that he is going to come in and apply all of the tools that he has right away there in the secondary for us.

Q: It sounds like some teams were interested in Taylor as a linebacker. Do you see him more as a safety?

A:  Well, he is a safety by trade but you drop him down in that three-safety package or whatever you want to do in terms of – you substitute a defense whether he plays an outside backer or whatever. That is all going to have to be determined when we get him in here.

Q:  Jerry (Reese) talked about his heart condition. Are you guys confident that is not going to be an issue here?

A:  Yes. That was all discussed. We had our medical meetings and all that was indicated and discussed. The doctors gave us the green light.

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7th Round – OG Eric Herman, Ohio, 6-4, 320lbs, 5.21

SCOUTING REPORT: Four-year starter. Herman is a big, strong mauler who is a better run blocker than pass blocker. He lacks ideal athleticism and arm length. Herman can overpower opposing defenders, but he sometimes struggles with quickness and speed. Aggressive, physical, and competitive. Herman is a better in-line blocker than space player – not great at pulling or getting to the second level. Hard worker who could develop into a solid right guard.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Eric Herman, guard from Ohio, a big, tough, nasty guard. We really liked him. We’d been looking at him on the board for a while there and we were hoping that if he could get to the seventh row he’d be a nice pick for us at that spot. He’ll create some competition at the guard position – tough, hard-nosed, big football player.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Eric Herman, from Ohio University, is just a tough, nasty brawler as a guard. I mean this guy is just physical. He likes contact. He plays hard. Not the most gifted athlete, but he’s just a tough guy and he’s big. A big, smart, tough guy and we think he’ll bring a physical presence to the line.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: Eric Herman, a tough guy, another offensive lineman. He is a guy that will slug it out and battle with you. So a great spot for him right there.

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7th Round – RB Michael Cox, Massachusetts, 6-2, 220lbs, 4.60

SCOUTING REPORT: Michigan transfer. Cox is a big, strong back with decent speed and elusiveness. He catches the ball well.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE: (Video)

Reese: Last pick we made was (Michael) Cox, the running back from UMass. We brought him in for one of our visits here and we really like him. I think their team is moving up a division and they were really kind of out-manned this year and you don’t see a lot of production, but if you look closely and do what us scouts do, we’re excited about him. We think he’s got a chance. He’s a big and powerful elusive guy with speed, so he’s got a lot of things that we like about him.

Q: Did Michael Cox play much at the University of Michigan?

A: Yeah, he’s a transfer. I’m not sure what his background is from Michigan but I know he definitely transferred. Marc Ross could probably give you more information and background on that.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS: (Video)

Ross: Michael Cox, another guy we think is a little bit of an under the radar guy. If you look at his stats at UMass, they aren’t that impressive but he gets the ball and there are two guys in the backfield, he’s trying to make everything on his own there. Runs hard, he’s got size, he’s got really, really good hands, excellent hands, got a little burst to him. We had him in for a visit, real good kid. Our coaches were impressed with him so we were happy we’re getting a big, fast guy who runs hard that late in the draft.

Q: Is Michael Cox 6’3” 214 pounds?

A: He’s all of that, yeah. He’s around that 6’1 ½ , 6’2” range. He’s big and strong.

Q: Did he play at all for Michigan?

A: He was a backup there. He probably got about 19 carries while he was there.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN: (Video)

Coughlin: Michael Cox, the good sized running back that puts together the size and the speed. He will come in here and battle and compete. And that is what we need is competition at that spot as well.

Q:  The first three guys you drafted were pretty young. Is Cox really going to be 25 in November?

A:  What I have is 24 so it could be. He transferred so he went through that process. But I have 24.

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Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

* Failed physical at Giants’ rookie mini-camp in May.

RB Jeremy Wright, Louisville, 5-10, 205lbs, 4.49 (Video)
Junior entry. Wright lacks ideal size but he has good speed. He catches the football very well out of the backfield. Wright has experience as a return specialist.

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 233lbs, 4.55 (Video)
Davis is an extremely well-built, fluid athlete with very good size, leaping ability, and long arms. He has an impressive size-speed package and can get deep with his long strides. Davis is not explosive in his initial release and he needs a lot of work on his route running. Davis lacks natural hands, but runs well after the catch. Davis’ biggest issue may be his character. He does not give much of an effort when blocking and his maturity and competitiveness have been questioned.

TE Morgan Newton, Kentucky, 6-4, 240lbs, 4.83
Newton played quarterback for most of his career at the University of Kentucky before switching to tight end early in his final season. He did not catch any passes as a senior.

* TE Chase Clement, LSU, 6-5, 265lbs, 4.86
Clement converted to tight from defensive end. He has good size and strength and could develop as a blocking-type tight end with better technique. He was not used much as a receiver in college with only 14 career receptions in four seasons. Lacks speed.

LB Etienne Sabino, Ohio State, 6-2, 247lbs, 4.72 (Video)
Sabino was a highly recruited high school linebacker who had a disappointing overall career at Ohio State, but he started to come on as a senior despite breaking his leg. He could project to either middle or outside linebacker. Sabino is a well-built athlete with good agility, quickness, and speed. He flashes ability to run-and-hit as well as take-on-and-shed. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts. Sabino should do well on special teams. Good intangibles – mature and coachable.

LB Charles Dieuseul, Mount Union, 5-11, 235lbs, 4.58 (Video)
Dieuseul lacks ideal size, but he is a fast linebacker who hits like a ton of bricks. Dieuseul was used at both linebacker and defensive end at Mount Union.

CB Charles James, Charleston Southern, 5-9, 176lbs, 4.50 (Video)
Two-year starter. James lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a tough, instinctive corner who makes plays on the football. He has experience as a punt returner.

CB Junior Mertile, Florida International, 6-1, 197lbs, 4.49
Mertile has good size and excellent speed.

S Alonzo Tweedy, Virginia Tech, 6-1, 197lbs, 4.40
Part-time starter in LB/S role at Virginia Tech. Tweedy is a special teams stud.

S John Stevenson, Georgia Southern, 5-11, 197, 4.38
Stevenson lacks classic safety size, but played both safety and linebacker in college. Stevenson has very good speed. He is smart and hard working with good leadership traits.

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Eric’s Take on the 2013 Draft

With only eight picks heading into the draft, the Giants were not going to be able to address all of their “need” areas. That’s just the way it is. And by trading away one of their picks (sixth round selection) and drafting a quarterback at what was widely-regarded as a non-need position, that left only six picks to address perceived needs.

What I liked about the Giants draft is they spent four of their seven picks addressing the offensive and defensive lines. In addition, at one time or another, their four top draft picks were projected by many to be first round selections.

I usually say the success of a draft hinges on rounds 2-4. I don’t feel that way this year.  I think the success of this draft hinges on the Giants’ first pick: offensive lineman Justin Pugh. Let’s be frank, if D.J. Fluker had somehow managed to fall to #19, most of us would be claiming this draft was a homerun. But whether we want to admit it or not, the Giants were forced to settle for Pugh. That does not mean Pugh can’t become a very good player for the Giants, but many of us are wondering if the Giants reached for a tackle at #19 because they probably correctly assumed the tackles who they really liked in this draft would not make it to the second round. Pugh was probably going to be drafted in the first round, possibly by the Bears with the very next pick, so trading down would have been a huge risk if the Giants were set on getting at least Pugh out of this draft once Fluker was gone.

Drafting the seventh offensive linemen taken in the first 19 picks, and a guy who many “experts” did not consider to be a first round pick, does not sit well with many. The key question is, was this a need-over-value pick? The Giants have always claimed that need comes into play if the value is similar. If true, then the Giants are saying that they had similar grades on TE Tyler Eifert, DT Shariff Floyd, CBs Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant, and DEs Datone Jones and Bjoern Werner. Since the Giants were able to draft Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore in the next two rounds, missing out on Floyd, Jones, and Werner does not bother me that much (plus, I think the Giants had a bigger need for a 1-technique tackle like Hankins than a 3-technique tackle like Floyd). But one of those corners sure would have looked good in Blue. Same with Eifert. That said, if the Giants draft Eifert, Rhodes, or Trufant, they might not have been able to get a decent, non-developmental offensive tackle in this draft. Imagine the reaction by Giants’ fans had the Giants not drafted a quality tackle?

So maybe the Giants made the right move even if they slightly reached. Let’s look at the player. Pugh does not have ideal size, especially if he is going to play at right tackle. He’s just a little bit lacking in the height, weight, arm length, and power departments. He is a good athlete for the position. Aside from footwork, Pugh’s biggest strengths are his intelligence, on-field demeanor, and technique. He was coached by Doug Marrone, a former NFL offensive line coach, at Syracuse. And Marrone, who is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, is a big supporter of Pugh.

“Every single year he was at Syracuse, he’s been, in my opinion, the best lineman in our conference,” said Marrone. “He’s been a very productive player. I don’t know what other guy who will be drafted that can pay all five positions on the line as well as he can. You can put that kid anywhere and he’ll play well…For me, (Pugh) has all the intangibles I always look for. He’s versatile, tough, smart, plays hard, plays hurt, and finishes.”

And Marrone saw Pugh battle DE Chandler Jones (2012 Patriots #1 pick) in practice every day. He also saw him handle DE Bruce Irvin (2012 Seahawks #1 pick) and Nick Perry (2012 Packers #1 pick) in games.

“He’s a guy who usually has a smile on his face, someone who was smart enough to graduate from our university early,” said Syracuse Strength and Conditioning Coach Will Hicks. “But in practice or games, he flips a switch. He’s not one of those coolly efficient offensive linemen. He’s fierce. And at the end of a play, you better have your head on a swivel because he’s always looking to put somebody on the ground.”

“He is one tough dude,” said QB Ryan Nassib. “There were many times he made his opponent quit. It is almost humorous. One guy stopped rushing him at the end of the game.”

There are concerns. Pugh will never be a classic “power” player. He’s more technician than mauler. Pugh struggled at times at the Senior Bowl. There is also a concern that he may be a bit of a tackle/guard ‘tweener. Pugh may be able to play all five offensive line spots, but is he a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player? That remains to be seen. But because his technique is more advanced than the average rookie, and because he is so smart, Pugh should be able to compete for a starting position sooner rather than later. He is a junior and his body is still developing so he might need a year in the weight room. However, once Pugh starts, either this year or next, he is the type of guy who won’t make mental mistakes. He’ll block who he is supposed to block and usually erase that man from the play. And he is very good in space, blocking at the second level, blocking on pulls and screens. That style meshes well with HB David Wilson. The Giants will be able to call a lot of plays where Pugh is called upon to make the key block in space.

DT Johnathan Hankins. This is my favorite player the Giants drafted. He’s a classic, space-eating run stuffer. The Giants have not had this type of player on their roster in recent memory. Hankins will never be a big sack guy, but he is a better athlete than advertised and he can push the pocket.  Hankins can take on and defeat double teams and hold the point of attack. He’ll make life easier for everyone around him. The defensive ends and linebackers will miraculously all of the sudden look better because of him. And if the Giants can re-sign Linval Joseph next offseason, New York will have a big, strong duo inside for the next few years. Hankins is another young guy whose body is still developing.

DE Damontre Moore. Once considered a sure-fire first-round pick, Moore plummeted in the draft because of his poor Combine performance and off-the-field concerns. He is very young (20) and will have to grow up fast. This coaching staff and veteran defensive line should be the right fit for him however. Moore has “it”…if you don’t know what I mean by that, look at this highlight reel. He is a natural pass rusher and he is “relentless” on the playing field. “Relentless” is probably the best adjective you could ever use to describe a defensive player. Moore has not spent enough time in the weight room. That will change under this regime. Look for Moore to get bigger and stronger without hopefully losing that short-area quickness that makes him so dangerous.

QB Ryan Nassib. I have mixed emotions about this pick. The downside is that unless something terrible happens to Eli Manning or he retires before he is 36, there is a good chance that Nassib never plays any meaningful snaps for the Giants. In four seasons, Nassib will be an unrestricted free agent. So Nassib is basically an insurance policy or possibly future trade bait. Giving up two draft picks for an insurance policy may be the smart move, but it doesn’t satisfy our need for immediate gratification. The upside to this selection is that Nassib was viewed by many as a 1st-2nd round value. He has good tools, but more than that, he has the intangibles you look for in a quarterback: he’s very smart and tough, and he has a knack for making plays in the clutch.  You look for quarterbacks who make those around him better than they really are, and that’s Nassib.  It makes no sense to have a draft board and evaluate every single draftable player unless you adhere to that draft board. When the Giants began the third-day of the NFL Draft, Nassib was sticking out like a sore thumb at the top of their draft board. If you believe in the process, you make the pick. Who knows, maybe someday Nassib comes off the bench and wins a Super Bowl for the Giants just like Jeff Hostetler did.

S Cooper Taylor. Taylor is a size-speed package at safety who made a lot of plays against the run and pass in college. Whether he has the necessary fluidity/agility to eventually start at safety remains to be seen, but at the very least, given his intelligence and physical ability, he should seriously compete for the Giants’ third-safety spot (a sort of safety/linebacker ‘tweener position). On more than half the defensive snaps, many teams, including the Giants, simply get out of their base defense. It’s one of the reasons why the linebacker position has been minimized.

OG Eric Herman. If this guy can ever learn to pass block at the pro level, the Giants may have a steal. But there are questions about his overall athleticism. What we do know is Herman is a big, tough, road-grading guard who loves to not only block people, but drive them into the ground. Watch his highlights against Penn State. Pass protection is the key. If he can’t do it, he won’t make it. That’s why he lasted this long in the draft.

RB Michael Cox. Cox is a big back with some elusiveness and speed to his game. He also catches the football very well, which should help him compete for the third halfback spot behind David Wilson and Andre Brown.

What the Giants Did: The Giants invested heavily in the lines, both need positions. New York added two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen, and three of those four players were premium picks. They also added a big, smart, athletic safety and that was a need too.  Depth at running back was also addressed.

What the Giants Did Not Do: If you told me before the draft that the Giants would not draft a single cornerback or linebacker, I would have said you were nuts. But they didn’t. So while the Giants may have numbers at corner, one wonders how desperate they will be for a cornerback next offseason given the contract/performance/injury situations of Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas. At linebacker, there are quality and quantity concerns, especially if Mathias Kiwanuka is moved to defensive end. The Giants also did not add another two-way tight end.

The Giants tried to address some of this after the draft with rookie free agent signings. Ohio State linebacker Etienne Sabino was once one of the most highly-recruited players in the country. And he was coming on in his senior year. He could surprise. Charles Dieuseul is a long-shot, but I can’t get over the way this guy hits. CB Charles James is a small-school prospect who has a knack for making plays on the football. But is he big and fast enough? TE Chase Clement is a blocking tight end. WR Marcus Davis is an intriguing combination of size and athleticism. The Giants gave him a $15,000 signing bonus which tells you they really wanted him.

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