Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (October 30, 2015)

Vernon Butler – © USA TODAY Sports Images

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]
2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 19, 2015 Bowl Games (Late Games)

by Contributor Sy’56


#7 RB Tyler Ervin – 5’10/177

Fifth year senior. Was nicked up early in his career, missing some considerable time with a shoulder and ankle, respectively. Had a HUGE year in 2015. Second in the nation behind only Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey in all purpose yards. Ervin did not get a ton of carries until 2014 but since then, he’s really blossomed in to a legit prospect in the backfield. His return ability alone was good enough to get him drafted but now we are looking at a guy that some teams may want as a 3rd down back. Can he block? Can he put some weight on? Can he hold on to the ball in the NFL? Those are my questions on him. Likely a late rounder as of now.

#72 LT Wes Schweitzer – 6’5/314

Fifth year senior. Three year starter. Team Captain. This is another guy I am very intrigued by. I saw him play against Auburn and not only did he look like he belonged, but dominated. Very impressive blocker on the move in space. They do a lot with him and he showed the ability to stick with SEC caliber athleticism in the open field but also showed the power and mechanics to handle their big boys up front. He looks like he needs a year of strength development but I think there is a future as a starter in the NFL here. Whether its at guard or tackle I’m not quite sure yet, but he has the ability.

#8 CB Jimmy Pruitt – 6’0/203

Started all four year of his career. Mostly at CB but does have 11 starts at safety. He looks the part with the size and length, light feet and quick reactions. But there is too much weakness I see when it comes to tracking balls downfield and tackling. He isn’t a physical guy and he doesn’t have the catch up speed downfield. The essential traits to either DB position aren’t there for him. UDFA type.


#9 WR Donovan Harden – 5’11/175

Fifth year senior. Played two years at Illinois State and had to sit out a season because of transfer rules. Missed training camp and the first 3 games of 2015 with a broken bone in his foot. Came back strong and solidified his likelihood of being drafted. Harden is a speedster. May run in the 4.4 range and despite lacking ideal size, he can get up in traffic and come down with the ball. He is a tough guy. I think there is potential here to man the slot on a team that consistently puts 3 WRs on the field.



#75 LT Mike McQueen – 6’6/287

3 year starter that has played LG and LT. Has the feet and frame for the outside. Has the frame teams will look for. This is only my second look at him and I think he is a high upside guy. Late rounder.

#81 TE Keith Heitzman – 6’4/255

Played a 4 year career at Michigan, mostly at DE but made a good move to TE in 2014 after injuries to the actual contributors. Heitzman transferred as a Grad student to Ohio after Harbaugh took over. He has had a solid season at Ohio and showed potential to be a true two way tight end. Physical blocker that can take on DEs and LBs alike and showed some easy catching ability. I think he is an UDFA that could make a team.

#41 CB Ian Wells – 5’11/202

Fifth year senior. Haven’t scouted him yet. Some are saying he is a better prospect than Travis Carrie from a couple years back. He was one of my top sleepers of 2014 and he’s been playing well in Oakland relative to his 7th round draft position. I am looking forward to seeing this guy.


#49 DE Ronald Blair – 6’4/270

Top prospect in the game. Was a JUCO guy prior to transferring to App State in 2014. Has some tools. Wide frame that could easily add some more bulk. Really long arms and big hands. Blair jumped off the screen early in the year against Clemson. He was lining up all over the place and was able to beat different blockers in different ways. He is stout against the run, shows really good pad level and upper body strength. Has refined rush moves and appears slippery to blockers. Lacks the top end athletic ability but he can play. I think he can be a middle round guy that needs a year to develop in to a versatile starter.

#21 S Doug Middleton – 6’0/210

Strong safety type that showed really good tackling. Wraps up and hits hard. Can take guys down in the open field. Haven’t given him a hard look yet but he will be a late round possibility because of his ability to run and hit. Strong presence.



#15 WR Tres Houston – 6’2/199

Played three years at Arkansas State and one in Community College. Upside guy that has some length and speed to him. Makes tough, highlight reel catches. He showed some refined ability as a route runner as well and I think there will be teams that see a lot of upside here. He’s a big play guy but seems to struggle to get away from physical corners. As of right now he is a long strider that will need time to develop. Late rounder or UDFA.

#23 WR JD McKissic – 5’11/193

Fifth year senior. Has played in the wide open spread attack all four years. His first two seasons he combined for 185 catches and 1,872 yards including some return duty and a few carries each game. He has been their jack of all trades athlete but his production has slightly decreased over the past two years. Exciting guy to watch but there isn’t anything that jumps off the screen athletically. Product of a system but he likely gets a shot as an UDFA somewhere.

#19 TE Darion Griswold – 6’5/255

Fifth year senior. Interesting athlete here that some teams will view as potentially the next late round TE that blossoms in to a star. Former QB and basketball player. He has the frame and movement ability to work with. I saw him a few times in 2015 and I don’t see the upside that some do. He gets beat up in the trenches and there are rarely times where he jumps out at me. Late rounder maybe based on upside only.


#28 RB Kenneth Dixon – 5’10/213

A four year career full of accolades. Freshman All American in 2012. 2nd Team All Conference USA in 2013 despite missing 2 games. Became the school’s all time leading rusher in 2014. 2 TDs shy of tying the all time rushing TD career record. Dixon is a guy that consistently makes the first man miss. He has the late shifty movement ability to miss the meat of a huit and the lower body strength to keep moving. Dixon is a complete back. He blocks, he catches, he protects the ball. My fear with him is he’s taken a ton of hits over his career. He’ll have over 800 carries by the time he leaves school. Mid rounder at best.

#6 QB Jeff Driskel – 6’4/231

Fifth year senior that transferred from Florida last spring. He had a very good year for Tech and it may have saved his chance of being drafted in 2016. He got the short end of the stick at Florida and fresh start here was the best thing that could have happened. Driskel has the talent as a runner and passer. He has top tier intangibles. Being at Florida brought out the worst in him and while he is far from a first round grade, someone can easily see him as a draftable QB to stash on the bench for a year or two. He will be one of my top 10 QBs in this class. He’ll be at the Senior Bowl.

#9 DT Vernon Butler – 6’3/316

Top prospect in the game. Some guys really like Butler, labeling him a borderline 1st rounder. I’m not quite there but I do think he is a day 2 caliber prospect with big time upside. He looks like a man among boys at times. He won’t get pushed around. Very stout at the point of attack, big time strength and thickness. He will make plays on the move away from the line and he can make an impact as a pass rusher. He’ll be a starter in the NFL.

Other Notables:

#21 CB Adairius Barnes 5’11/186
#6 S Kentrell Brice – 5’11/198
#8 DE Vontarrius Barnes – 6’4/253