The Small School Notebook is back after a one week hiatus.
While it doesn’t include any games from this immediate past weekend, it does have notes from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, and Georgia Southern, all with at least one possible NFL Draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. That list includes prospects Terron Armstead, Kejuan Riley, Kadarius Lacy, and Brent Russell.
Terron Armstead, OT, 6’6, 305
Armstead is one of the smoothest offensive line prospects I’ve ever seen from the small school levels, and with his natural talent and reported 4.7-4.8 forty yard time, he’ll shoot up draft boards. He sets up on the move very well, balanced kick slide and gets great depth from there. But most intriguingly, they ask him to pull and make blocks in-line and out in front quite a bit for an offensive tackle. He shows great balance as he gets downfield, positions his body extremely well, and keeps good inside hand placement. He could plant and pivot better with better initial strength in run support, and he does try to over-finesse at times as a pass blocker and can be susceptible to bull rushes, but overall, he’s a very draftable and potential later-rising offensive tackle prospect.
Brandon Thurmond, DE, 6’2, 260
A surprising force this year for Arkansas Pine-Bluff, he’s been the best pass rusher in the SWAC conference this year and has the stats to prove it. As a rusher, he does a great job of setting the edge, getting low, and getting under the pads of offensive linemen. He stays balanced in pursuit and moves laterally very well as a rusher as he’s driving back. He also shows a great understanding of offensive linemen positioning, and takes advantage well against off-balanced blockers. His change of direction in space is just okay, and he’ll need more developed rush moves if he hopes to be a 4-3 defensive end at the next level, but he’s certainly impressing in his senior year.
Kejuan Riley, S, 6’2, 200
One of the best senior safeties in the country regardless of level of football, Riley is already firmly on the national scene scouting wise. He flows upfield very quickly and shows great form tackling in space. He’s asked to do a lot in the Alabama State defense, from seam coverage to Cover 2 sets to blitzing, and he seems comfortable in every role. His role as consistently a deep coverage safety doesn’t help his impact on the game or draft stock, but his consistency, versatility, and fluidity as an athlete certainly makes him a draftable safety prospect.
Terren Jones, OT, 6’9, 320
The long, well build offensive talent has a ways to go before he’ll get playing time in the NFL, but he certainly has the size, length, and anchoring ability as an offensive tackle to get NFL looks. He resets his feet well as he kick slides, consistently protecting his inside (which also limits his range in his kick slide). He extends well, keeps distance from rusher and uses his length to direct the rusher once he is engaged. He could do a better job of engaging initially, showing better balance on the move in the run game, and be a little smoother in his kick slide and not hop as much. But all the talent is certainly there for Jones to develop into a next level starting offensive tackle.
Saeed Lee, CB, 5’9, 180
The undersized cornerback isn’t tested much, as he’s likely the best cornerback in the SWAC conference. He dos show great fluidity in his hips initially, opening up and transitioning fairly smoothly. He attacks the runner quickly upfield. But his lack of size, not being overly physical as receivers work downfield, and lack of length to play consistently in the slot leave him in a bit of a pickle in terms of NFL future.
Kadarius Lacy, RB, 6’0, 230
A very smooth yet powerful runner, what Lacy lacks in deep speed he makes up for in cut efficiency, balance through traffic, and physicality as a runner. Lacy does a great job of maximizing his steps and not over cutting/being indecisive as he looks for an opening. He doesn’t slow through contact and runs through traffic with good pad level. His lack of deep speed will likely hurt him in the future, but his production and his lack of wasted steps could make him a power back in a zone blocking scheme at the next level.
Preston Nelson, DT, 6’4, 273
A pleasant surprise as I watched Alabama A&M, Nelson has a very athlete build for an interior rusher along with active hands, ability to get separation as a rusher, and good balance initially off the line. He does lack a true NFL position as of now (not physical enough to be a 3-technqiue, lacks enough bend on the outside to be a true 4-3 defensive end), but flashes enough in each area of the game to have me curious what his next level ceiling is. If he can show more bull rush ability, stay lower initially off the snap, and work through double teams a little better, he could get an NFL shot.
Jamal Johnson-Webb, OT, 6’5, 296
A well-built, strong in upper half right tackle prospect, Johnson-Webb struggles to set up quickly in pass protection which could limit his NFL chances at right tackle at the next level. He pivot blocks very well in the run game, and does a great job of attacking rushers outside shoulders to direct them initially. He struggles as a run blocker upfield after 1-2 steps. Overall, he has next level right tackle/guard potential if he can improve his flexibility and body control, but that’s asking a lot for Johnson-Webb at this point.
Notes by Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting
Brent Russell, DT
Plays with natural leverage heavy, active hands. Has the girth and wide body to hold point inside at 1 technique. Flashes some burst off the line, but more of a one gapper that plugs inside. Works his hands well to disengage, keeping his distance from the opposition and having the technique to disengage. Lacks the length to extend exceptionally well or affect the passing lanes. Creates a strong push with inside hand placement, powerful leg drive, and motor. Very violent and sudden with his hands to knock blocker of his pass set. Lacks quick twitch and lateral agility to stunt across multiple gaps. Motor and effort help him get to the ball carrier. Is regularly a step late in shedding for the tackle. Adds value on special teams with drive and motor to penetrate and block field goals.
Javon Mention, DE
Looks the part with long, physical frame that appears bigger than listed. Has a good first step to go along with active hands and good lateral agility. Sets up speed rush, knocks down blocker’s arms, and bends his rush to run the arc and record his 4th sack of the year. Real explosive, NFL type 3-4 olb
Dion DuBose, DE/OLB
Thick, well-strapped together linebacker prospect that currently plays DE for the Eagles. Decent chase speed in space, but sturdy and sudden inside the box. Closes fast and packs a punch at the point of attack. Had nose for the football and consistent motor.