2014 NFL Draft: Scouting Notes from Clemson vs. Georgia Tech

Sammy WatkinsClemson’s offense and defense came ready to play as soonas the game started and they didn’t look back. They were able to jump out to a quick 20-0 lead which Georgia Tech couldn’t recover from. Clemson’s defense played close to the line and used an inside blitz to force Georgia Tech to the outside where Clemson’s speed was able to contain them.

They showed some weakness against the seam routes, which forced Georgia Tech to throw the ball. On offense, Clemson showed good balance to their offense, but hit their big plays by using their taller WRs against Georgia Tech’s small secondary. Clemson’s big test will come against South Carolina in two weeks and we’ll find out if they truly are a top-10 team.

Tahj Boyd, QB, Clemson (#10), 6’1, 225 – The most important play of the game for Boyd was the play he injured his shoulder. Reports are it’s just a bruise, not a break so he should be fine. Will be interesting to see if/how long Boyd plays next week against Citadel. As for his play during the game, we saw the same old Tahj Boyd. Very accurate throws, but always seem to lack the zip he’ll need at the next level. He also made a panic throw while under pressure which led to an interception. He looked good in the running game as well. Still have difficulty projecting Boyd as an NFL starter in a non-read option style heavy offense.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (#2), 6’1, 205 – Watkins had a couple of touchdown catches, but his most impressive came on a screen play where Watkins showed off his acceleration. As he was coming inside, he made one cut and was gone. He’s a first rounder, it’s just a question of where. He has the skills to make plays at any level of the passing game, although he’s a little bit stronger in the shorter game. See him playing well in a West Coast offense that can take advantage of his ability to run after the catch.

Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson (#3), 6’3, 225 – I’ve liked Beasley as a prospect since the beginning of the season, but still had some questions as to whether he has enough skills to be a first round pick. He quieted most of my concerns with his play in this game. As always he showed great burst off the snap, resulting in a sack on Vad Lee. What was more impressive was his ability to play the run, as well as his hustle. On one of Robert Godhigh’s 60 yards runs, Beasley was attempting to chase him down the whole way.

Jemea Thomas, S, Georgia Tech (#14), 5’10, 195 – Thomas is putting together a strong season so far, particularly in his tackle numbers. Unfortunately he had a tough game against Clemson as he didn’t make many plays in the passing or running game. He had good coverage on the slot WR, but wasn’t able to make a play on the ball due to his size, leading to a long gain for Clemson. He showed great acceleration on a few CB blitzes, but he wasn’t able to getany pressure on the QB. He looks to be a good football player who can come up and tackle, but he lacks the athletic ability and size to play in the NFL. I can’t see him matching up well against any NFL WR.

Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech (#25), 5’7, 188 – Huge game for Godhigh as he was productive in both the running and passing game for Georgia Tech. With so many Clemson defenders on the line, Godhigh simply needed to find a hole and beat one tackle to take it to the house. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, but he has great vision and he uses downfield blocks extremely well. His ability to catch the ball is poor however. He had a couple of drops, partially due to height limitations and partially due to the fact that he lets the ball come to his chest. He may catch on with an NFL team, but he’ll never be a homerun hitter or a starting NFL back.

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, Georgia Tech (#45), 6’3, 240 – Can’t say enough about the game this guy had, particularly in the first half. He showed off his speed and burst off the snap to pick up two sacks, as well as great body bend to get around the RT and run down Boyd. On a screen play to his side, he showed tremendous reacts and ability to change directions to disrupt the play enough to allow another player to pick up a tackle for loss. I think he can play as a weakside DE in a 4-3 but I’m not positive. Think he’s much better suited for the 3-4 defense but either way would like to see him add some more weight in the offseason. Either way, great athlete and football player.

Other Notes:

  • Clemson’s OG Tyler Shatley had an impressive game, particularly in the passing game where he looked perfect, as well as getting some push in the running game. Looks to be a mid-round pick who will end up as an NFL starter.
  • Clemson’s OT Brandon Thomas played pretty well against Attaochu when given the chance. For a LT listed at 305, he appears to anchor his position well in the passing game. May need to switch to RT, but he has what it takes to start in the NFL
  • Clemson’s RB Roderick McDowell still doesn’t impress me. I rarely see him create yardage himself, instead bursting through holes his OL creates. That won’t be enough to start in the NFL.
  • Clemson’s CB Darius Robinson didn’t appear much in the passing game but I can’t figure out whether he likes to tackle or not. Will lay a huge shoulder at times and back off at others. That kind of inconsistency won’t fly in certain NFL defenes.
  • Clemson’s OLB Quandon Christian seemed to constantly be around the ball but does a bad job finishing plays.
  • Clemson’s WR Martavis Bryant had a big game, taking advantage of GT’s small secondary to haul in a couple of big play catches. Would like to see him do it against better competition, but certainly has the size and ability to get the job done.
  • Georgia Tech’s LB Brandon Watts is not nearly as ferocious as a linebacker should be.
  • Georgia Tech’s CB Louis Young had a rough game, getting beat on a deep ball (although it looked like he expected safety help) as well as a dumb personal foul.
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