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Quarterback Matt Scott Leads The West Team In Day Two of Practice

January 16, 2013 in 2013 East-West Shrine Game

Here is a full recap of Day Two of the East West Shrine Game for the West Team:

Quarterbacks:

Matt Scott, Arizona:

-Scott has now had two pretty strong practices, but really opened some eyes today. He's got good height and while he's a little thin, he still has a good deep ball, with nice velocity. His touch isn't perfect, but it's good and more than playable. In addition Scott has good athleticism and can be used in more of a running capacity.

Alex Carder, Western Michigan:

-Carder has nice size and a decent deep ball, but he really looks to be nothing more than a practice squad type of guy.

Seth Doege, Texas Tech:

-Doege struggled in practice, and really doesn't look like a prospect  for the next level. He can handle underneath stuff fine (though doesn't have much zip), but struggles outside the numbers or on deeper throws.

Running backs:

Zach Line, SMU:

-Line runs strong and finishes his runs. He has solid agility and speed, but isn't a game breaker in either area. He does look like a bit of a tweener, but there is still a lot to like with him as a late round guy.

Christine Michael, Texas A&M:

-Michael had a really good practice today, continuing to show excellent burst and strong legs. With back-to-back really nice practices, he is looking more like a mid-round (late 3rd-early 5th) prospect, and could likely be at worst a number two back as a rookie.

Kerwynn Williams, Utah State:

-Williams is a bit undersized and doesn't have much of a chance to be an every down back, but he brings great speed and agility to the table. He made some really nice long runs/catches in practice, showing some home run ability. He needs to do a better job of keeping his feet with contact, but still looks like a solid change of pace back for the late rounds.

Tight End:

Joseph Fauria, UCLA:

-Fauria didn't practice this afternoon after getting injured yesterday

Wide Receiver:

Anthony Amos, Middle Tennessee State:

-Amos consistently flashes as a solid player in practice, with nice speed and  some short area quickness. He has some upside as a slot receiver, but there are some questions as well. At times he struggled to get off press coverage, and his route running wasn't as smooth as you'd like it to be. His hands were solid, though he did have one that he dropped.

Dan Buckner, Arizona:

-Buckner really uses his size well and once again showed good hands and initial quickness. He adjusts well to the ball in the air and runs pretty crisp routes. He doesn't have a great long speed which may keep him from ever developing into a star, but he can play at this level.

Jasper Collins, Mount Union:

-Collins had a mixed second day. On one hand he showed great speed and quickness, making a number of tough catches. On the flip side he really struggled versus the jam, and got rerouted on some other plays. He has the ideal potential for a slot receiver, but struggling versus the press is a concern and was noticed by more than a few scouts.

Keenan Davis, Iowa:

– Davis had a number of nice catches in traffic, and did a good job getting open. He isn't top level in any one area, and made a few miscues, but overall looks solid.

Offensive Line:

Jeff Baca, UCLA:

-Baca had a nice practice working at both guard and center, he missed a few blocks and got out muscled at times, but he continued to work to get better. He took to coaching tips well, and never gave up on blocks.

Sam Brenner, Utah:

-Brenner struggled throughout practice today. He was caught reaching on multiple occasions and had to be corrected a couple of times. It was a really poor showing overall and definitely a big step back for Brenner, who had been considered a solid late round guy.

Blaize Foltz, TCU:

-Foltz got outmuscled a few times but overall had a strong practice maintaining leverage and finishing blocks. He profiles best as a guard and may work best in a power system.

Ryan Turnley, PITT:

-Turnley has been working at guard and had a really solid all-around day. He struggled at times, but seemed to correct his mistakes. Despite being 6'6" he maintained his leverage for much of the practice. With some tackle work in his history he offers some nice versatility as well.

Defense:

Defensive Line:

Josh Boyd, Mississippi State:

-Boyd shows good power and gets off the ball well. He's not elite, but had a really good all-around day getting nice penetration.

William Campbell, Michigan:

-Campbell had another impressive day, giving offensive linemen fits throughout practice and at times living in the backfield. He was very quick off the snap and played with really good leverage. A couple of times he was maybe a bit out of control, but the West offensive linemen weren't able to take advantage. Campbell flashed a lot of potential with this practice, and with the right coach/system could be very effective at the next level.

Wes Horton, USC:

-Horton was the best edge rusher of the group and got a lot of penetration throughout the practice. He works best as a 4-3 defensive end, and has really impressive length/speed combo.

Travis Johnson, San Jose State:

-Johnson had a good practice, particularly when asked to rush the quarterback. He's not a good run defender and really needs to move to an outside backer/situational role.

Linebacker:

A.J. Klein, Iowa State:

-Klein showed good instincts and filled the hole well throughout the practice. In coverage at times he lost his man but did well overall.

Keith Pough, Howard:

-Another solid day from Pough, he shows good leadership/work ethic and continues to make some nice plays out in the field. Not a star, but looking like a good late round guy.

Cornerback:

Terry Hawthorne, Illinois:

Hawthorne had a couple really nice plays, but overall struggled. He was getting beat deep too many times and struggled to adjust to the ball. His awareness was a continuing problem today, and really hurting his draft stock. His back peddle looks to be a little sloppy and he's not flipping his hips as quickly as you'd expect.

Travis Howard, Ohio State:

-Good all-around practice, constantly challenged receivers and played the ball really well in the air. He was pretty smooth and fluid in his back peddle and breaks.

Safety:

Zeke Motta, Notre Dame:

-Solid day overall, needs to do a better job of locating the football. He positions himself well, but would have had some more big plays if he would turn and look for the ball earlier (or at all). That being said he did well against the run, and did make one big play in coverage.

Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse:

-Thomas had a nice day, flashing good instincts to go along with his impressive athletic ability. His range was very impressive as was his ability to diagnose the run.

Duke Williams, Nevada:

-Williams had a solid day making a couple really nice plays in coverage. He broke on a couple of passes really well reading the quarterback the whole way. He's got nice range and good size overall.

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West Roster Preview

January 13, 2013 in 2013 East-West Shrine Game

As I head for St. Petersburg, I wanted to preview the East-West Shrine game and the rosters. Here are the top players on the West Roster to follow:

Joseph Fauria West Roster Preview | 2013 Shrine Game

UCLA TE Joseph Fauria is among the list of players to watch on the West Roster at this year's Shrine Game

Wide Receiver (Running back)- Theo Riddick, Notre Dame:

Theo Riddick is one of the more intriguing players at the East-West Shrine Game, and not just because he played in the Nationals Championship for Notre Dame. Riddick started his career for the Irish as a back-up running back/return man, but switched positions as a Sophomore to wide receiver. Riddick became the Irish's 2nd leading receiver in 2010, and also played a big role in 2011. He converted back to running back, and became the leading rusher this past season for Notre Dame. He could project as a hybrid player at the next level, in a role similar to Dexter McCluster in Kansas City. He's listed as a receiver for the East-West Game, though coaches should let him showcase some at both positions. He will likely never be a star, but with his versatility can be an effective weapon on offense, and would be a good pick-up in the 5th or 6th round.

Safety Zeke Motta, Notre Dame:

Motta wasn't a fulltime starter until this past season, but even prior to this year you could see his future potential. Whenever he was on the field he displayed good coverage instincts and sound tackling ability, which was only magnified this past season when he was named the starter. At 6'2", 215 pounds he projects best as a strong safety. Though he's not a top prospect and this is a deep safety class, Motta should be an intriguing 4th-5th round player. In addition to his starting ability he should be considered an immediate contributor on special teams.

Offensive Lineman Jeff Baca, UCLA:

Baca is a multi-year starter for the Bruins with experience at both Guard and Tackle positions. He profiles a better fit on the interior and gives NFL teams versatility and leadership. He should get solid attention from NFL scouts in the late rounds.

Tight End Joseph Fauria, UCLA:

Fauria is a big physical tight end, who excels at in-line blocking. With his 6'7 size, he should be a match-up nightmare in the short area or inside the red zone. While not a dynamic tight end, he would be a good 2nd tight end or solid starter on a team that prioritizes the run.

Cornerback Terry Hawthorne, Illinois:

Hawthorne is a big physical corner, who displays good speed. He's got solid ball skills and good instincts. One area to watch this week is his short area quickness and his ability to flip his hips. If he checks out well in that area, he could push his way into the 3rd or 4th round range.

Cornerback Micah Hyde, Iowa:

Hyde is a physical corner at 6'1. He can match-up well against bigger receivers but there are questions about his speed. He may be better suited to move to free safety.

Defensive Lineman Travis Johnson, San Jose State:

Johnson was among the NCAA leaders in sacks this past season, and projects to be an above average edge rusher at the next level. He's limited with his size and could get exposed in the run game or if he has to drop into coverage in a 3-4 system. He may just be projected to be a situational pass rusher but will find a role given his unique talent.

Defensive Tackle Josh Boyce, Mississippi State:

Boyce plays with good strength and an ability to shed blocks at the point of attack. He projects best in a 4-3, but could get looks as a 5-technique in a 3-4. His strength is in stopping the run, and he gets above average penetration.

Safety Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse:

Thomas projects well as a free safety at the next level with good speed. He's got above average coverage ability and is known as a bit of a playmaker. He's slightly undersized but should be able to develop into a starting role. Expect him to go in the 4th-5th round range.

 

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Inside Linebacker Rankings

December 11, 2012 in Defensive Player Rankings

Inside Linebacker Rankings | 2013 NFL Draft- Updated April 12, 2013

1. Alec Ogletree, Georgia     

2. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

3. Kevin Minter, LSU

4. Kiko Alonso, Oregon

5. Kevin Reddick, UNC

6. Jon Bostic, Florida

7. A.J. Klein, Iowa State

8. Nico Johnson, Alabama

9. Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers

10. Vince Williams, Florida State

11. Steve Greer, UVA

12. Albert Rosette, Nevada

 

Though not a really deep class, there are still some pretty talented players at this position. Ogletree, Te’o and Minter could all end up day one starters and project to be very good players. Later, other options like Alonso, Reddick, Bostic and Klein all have the potential to develop into that level. Though the position currently looks pretty thin, there are a number of 4-3 outside linebackers, who would move inside for 3-4 teams.