2013 NFL Draft: Virginia Tech vs. Miami (And More) Scouting Preview

James GayleIn a Thursday night that features two talent-laden teams in the ACC, we’ll get to see Logan Thomas and the Virginia Tech front seven against Miami’s young yet talented team with a handful of 2013 prospects to watch. Get all the Logan Thomas, James Gayle, Bruce Taylor, Vaughn Telemaque notes here along with the rest of the top prospects from this game.

Also, with two other games on Thursday night, get some scouting notes on the Ohio vs. E.Michigan game as well as the Western Kentucky vs Mid Tennessee State game that features 2 likely draft picks and a sleeper mid rounder that will rise throughout the draft process.

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech – #3, 6’6, 262 (JR)
The issues with Thomas have been far worse than expected coming into this year. His pre-season hype was mostly based around the potential he showed as a sophomore, but he looks more like a JaMarcus Russell big bodied inconsistent passer than the high upside Cam Newton-like hope many evaluators had. He’s been extremely indecisive in his reads, his footwork and mechanics have continued to plague his success, and he’s been unable to utilize his big arm, physicality, or ability as a runner to his benefit.

RELATED: The Opposite Paths of Logan Thomas and Geno Smith (Scouting Notebook)  

Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech – #7, 6’4, 228
Logan ThomasThe big bodied receiver has faced similar struggles as Thomas thanks to the overall offensive issues, but he’s still flashed the ability in the past and at times this season of an outside NFL receiver with the high pointing ability, the long stride of a downfield receiver, and the ability to adjust to the ball in the short area. He’s scouting report will unfortunately shuffle with Logan Thomas’s, but he’ll likely impress in post-season workouts.

James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech – #99, 6’4, 260 (JR)
One of the most powerful and physically imposing power rushers in college football, Gayle’s ability to drive with his legs while engaged and strong hands to get separation after his initial rush has made him one of the best in getting pressure on the edge. He still lacks the edge bend rush moves to be a complete outside rusher, and could collapse inside better from the edge in the run game, but all the tools are there to work with for him to be a great NFL power rusher.

JR Collins, DE, Virginia Tech – #42, 6’2, 252 (JR)
Complementing Gayle is the quicker, more naturally explosive rusher in Collins, who hasn’t played quite as NFL-good as I had expected from my pre-season scouting. Possibly more of a 3-4 outside edge rusher, Collins explosive pops from the edge, change of direction skill to attack the ball carrier, and limitations with his size and separation ability once engaged in run support should make him a solid fit for a wide 4-3 set or a 3-4 set.

DeAndre Hopkins, DT, Virginia Tech – #98, 6’0, 305 (JR)
Similar to Collins, Hopkins hasn’t been as consistent as a pass rusher as I expected from the pre-season. He seems to not have developed a consistent set of rush moves, and still is attacking too high off the snap to consistently generate pressure. Still, Hopkins has strong hands, is very active initially, and keeps his vision and balance through double teams. While he may not declare now, he’d be worth a mid-rounder for sure thanks to his upside as a rusher from the nose tackle or 3-technique spot.

Bruce Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech – #51, 6’2, 253
One of the most impressive linebackers I’ve seen on film this year, Taylor has shown everything you’d like to see in a weakside linebacker, despite him being the focal point of the defense in the middle. He’s very fluid laterally, sorts through traffic well with balance, and his vision and explosiveness to get to the edge/backfield to make a play. If he can continue to flash the ability to play in coverage and stay consistent for the rest of the year, he’ll be one of the first linebackers taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.

RELATED: Scouting Notes on the Virginia Tech Prospects, Juniors and Seniors
Other Virginia Tech to Watch
Nick Becton, OT- #54, 6’6, 328
Vinston Painter, OT – #71, 6’6, 304
Dyrell Roberts, WR – #11, 6’2, 188
Antoine Hopkins, DT – #56, 6’1, 318
Antone Exum, CB – #1, 6’0, 219 (JR)

Mike JamesMike James, RB, Miami (FL) – #5, 5’11, 222
The senior has become more of a complement than the feature back with Duke Johnson being the featured weapon in the offense. James has managed to still show that he’s a complete back, being used as a between the tackles, full head of stem runner, while also showing ability as a 3rd down blocker and receiver. He’s likely not draftable, barring some great post-season workouts, but his role in the Miami (FL) offense may be hiding more than hurting what James can do at the next level.

Brandon McGee, CB, Miami (FL) – #21, 6’0, 190
While McGee has been playing well this year, he’s still showing the same concerns he’s had since the pre-season. He’s still a fairly “soft” cornerback, relying on speed and reaction vertically than staying physical in the short area. He’s not much in run support either. But as a vertical covering cornerback, he does a good job staying tight, getting to the point, and making a play on the ball. He may be ideally a nickel cornerback at the next level.

Vaughn Telemaque, S, Miami (FL) – #7, 6’2, 211
The highly athletic yet inconsistent Telemaque is both fun and exciting to watch at times yet frustrating to evaluate and project to the next level. He’s a fantastic athlete, changing direction smoothly in both deep coverage and reacting in run support who can deliver a pop to the ball carrier and receiver. But he’s inconsistent in his wrap up technique, takes overaggressive angles, and doesn’t react well in deep coverage, leaving him and his defense susceptible. He’ll have a good test in this game vs. Virginia Tech.

Other Miami (FL) to Watch
-Jake Wieclay, K – #40, 6’2, 195
-Seantrel Henderson, OT – #77, 6’8, 350
-Darius Smith, DT – #98, 6’2, 360

Other Thursday Scouting Notes

Middle Tennessee State vs. Western Kentucky
Quanterus SmithQuanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky – #93, 6’3, 250
As I reviewed film for this match-up, I was very surprised at just how devastating of an edge rusher Smith is. He’s a well built, very smooth athlete who shows the ability to attack the edge in space, dip, and beat the tackles kick slide, as well as the developed rush moves to attack inside and collapse the pocket. He’s active and explosive off the snap, extends well vs the run, and plays wide when making a tackle. He’s a fourth round prospect as of now, with the upside to go even higher.

Jack Doyle, TE, Western Kentucky – #82, 6’6, 253
The consistent receiving threat for Western Kentucky, Doyle has been a valued threat in this WKU offense. The well built, versatile receiving threat has made a name for himself as a complete yet versatile tight end. While the team around him doesn’t allow him to consistently show off his skills, he could impress in workouts after the season, and he’s one to follow now before he begins his “rise” up draft boards.

Others to Watch
-Kawaun Jakes, QB, Western Kentucky, #6, 6’3, 196
-Benny Cunningham, RB, Middle Tenn State – #2, 5’10, 205

Eastern Michigan vs. Ohio
-Jordan Thompson, TE, Ohio – #88, 6’4, 248
-Matt Weller, K, Ohio 0 #49, 6’0, 203
-Alex Gillett, QB, Eastern Michigan – #8, 6’1, 218
-Korey Neal, OT, Eastern Michigan – #68, 6’3, 316
-Andy Mulumba, DE/OLB, Eastern Michigan – #56, 6’5, 262