In the Valentine’s Day spirit, I wanted to return the “Scout’s Notes” section of the site on a high note: prospects I “love”.
While the next Scout’s Notes may not be as “loving” as these (actually quite the opposite), we’ll stay with prospects who have been the ones that I’d stick up for in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
-While at NC State, Wilson seemed to run a more helter-skelter offense, utilizing his athleticism, quickness in and out of the pocket, and his vision on the move to be successful. While at Wisconsin (for one year), he showed more control in the pocket, a consistently high release point, and balance in the offense. And at the Senior Bowl, he showed a mixture of both, along with making multiple reads from the pocket. His combination of football IQ, craftiness as a running QB, and check down ability as a pocket passer has me excited, as to me he seems like a much better version of Colt McCoy.
Running Back: Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech
While he lacks a dynamic first burst through the hole and isn’t a big play runner, Creer seems to play fairly well behind his pads, has some development as a pass blocker, and keeps his balance well through traffic and arm tackles. Not a flashy runner, Creer seems to be a running back destined for a great rotational back in a variety of systems in the NFL.
Wide Receiver: Rishard Matthews, Nevada
A physical receiver with flanker size, power, and explosive burst after the catch, Matthews has the frame to get even bigger and use his strength even more, as well as continue to catch away from his body and explode in short area routes after the catch. Also a very productive returner, Matthews was far more impressive and maybe more well-known as a junior when Colin Kaepernick was at the helm, he’s still has all the attributes to be a Terrell Owens type run after catch athlete who can work at all three receiver positions at the next level.
Tight End: Evan Rodriguez, Temple
The role of the tight end has increased and become THE position that adds versatility to the offense. Rodriguez has development as a fullback blocker, fullback route runner, tight end second-level blocker, and tight end seam and outside routes. That completeness plus his versatility in how many different spots he’s played over his career at Temple makes him a likely coveted mid-round addition because of how many spots he can fill, and fill well.
Offensive Lineman: Desmond Wynn, Rutgers
Wynn is, as of now, is a guard prospect, one who played the left guard spot in college. He has the length, power off the line, and second level blocking ability to play either guard spot at the next level. However, I’m mostly intrigued by his potential as a right tackle at the next level. Regardless, his potential to play three offensive line spots plus his length/balance combination really excites as a mid round interior lineman.
Defensive Tackle: Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
Wolfe didn’t flash to me at all through my first time of film watching, as he was mostly a tackle who took advantage of poor technique linemen and really was more of a delayed, clean-up tackler. However, it was at the Senior Bowl, where he showed fantastic vision to the backfield, lateral balance and quickness, and the ability to react quickly to blockers positioning/reach really impressed, and after I reviewed his film, I am thoroughly impressed with his patience and vision, and he could play and be very versatile in a 4-3 defensive front.
Defensive End: Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M
Another small school prospect on here, Hamilton is just too exciting to project to not be on here. While I’m not a fan of looking at stats AT ALL for analyzing prospects, his sack numbers (and more importantly, how consistently they were because of his pass rushing ability, not from offensive mistakes) are very impressive. Undersized for many 4-3 schemes, he can fit in a Robert Mathis role (a solid comparison for Hamilton) as well as in most 3-4 outside linebacker roles.
Outside Linebacker: Brandon Marshall, Nevada
James Michael Johnson, Nevada’s top defensive prospect and inside linebacker, seems to gain all the headlines for the defensive success, but Brandon Marshall is an impressive talent himself. Actually lead the team in tackles this year over JMJ, Marshall is more of a complete linebacker, showing good balance and fluidity (for a linebacker) in coverage, closes well on the ball and breaking down well, and be able to extend and drive through blocks or evade them well with balance. Not a flashy linebacker, Marshall should be able to play both weakside and strongside (depending on the scheme) and should be a long-term starter in the NFL.
Inside Linebacker: Shawn Losieau, Merrimack
Speaking of love, I love Losieau’s aggression and fearlessness to the ball. What he lacks in coverage range and overall speed to the outside, he makes up for in blitzing ability, forceful hits, and vision in and shortly outside of the box. He likely could fit in coverage limited 4-3 defense or an aggressive 3-4 team, but it’s his overall football sense that is the most impressive part of his game.
Cornerback: Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
Sensabaugh has good length and revovery speed who can run down the field well in man coverage. He’s been a team leader over his career at Clemson and was one of the more consistent defensive players for the team all season long. He had a fantastic week at the Players’ All-Star Classic according to our scout Alex Brown (see Tuesday and Wednesday’s Notes here: http://www.optimumscouting.com/2012-players-all-star-classic-coverage.html). Could bulk up a little and not a fit for zone schemes necessarily, he has the deep speed, fluidity, and length to be a potential starting cornerback down the road.
Safety: Matt Daniels, Duke
While he didn’t impress as much as I was anticipating at the East-West Shrine Game week of practice, Daniels film while at Duke is impressive as a strong safety prospect. He attacks the ball well, anticipates middle of the field routes quickly, finishes tackles very well, and has been a consistent leader and playmaker for the Duke team. As a strong safety prospect, he may be one of the best in this draft.