Hey Shoup! Q&A with Steve Shoup and the “Scout on the Couch”: Will Hilton: Wk 2
By Steve Shoup and Will Hilton
As a buddy of mine pointed out, the NFL Draft “IS” the Super Bowl for the Cleveland Browns. For a displaced Browns fan, now living in Austin, TX, the months leading up to the draft have been the most exciting for me and many Browns fans. This is because there is still hope and optimism that a new coach (8 since rejoining the league in 1999) and some new players can turn around the team. Because they have 10 picks this year (most of any team) and this being a really deep draft, the Browns have a chance to fill a lot of holes and become relevant again. This is especially true at QB, where they have started 19 different signal callers since 1999 and haven’t had a good one, oh let’s say, since Bernie Kosar.
Disappointed with past Brown’s drafts and thinking I could be a better scout and GM, and with my need to (as my dad liked to say) “make order from chaos”, I took to scanning player rankings and analyzing YouTube video. From my living room, I would become the “Scout on the Couch”! While delving into various football media outlets and websites, I found Fanspeaks’ Mock Draft Simulator at Fanspeak.com and instantly became addicted. Realizing I still had many questions as a rookie scout, I turned to the man, Steve Shoup, for answers. After a few question and answer emails, we thought other NFL draft fans might be interested in this stuff as well. Welcome to the second edition of “Hey Shoup!”
1) How badly do you think Aaron Colvin’s knee injury will hurt his draft stock? Do players of his caliber ever take out insurance policies? Is there an immediate IR spot for NFL teams to put injured players on like Aaron Colvin this year or Marcus Lattimore last year?
-Colvin’s injury is definitely one that is going to drop him quite a bit. The fact that it’s coming so late in the process it’s going to be tough to get any real value of him in year one. That means you are basically drafting him for 3 years of service time before he hits UFA. Colvin’s injury reminds me a little of Chase Minnifield from a couple years ago who had microfracture surgery and fell out of the draft. Now I think a team that can afford to “redshirt” him will end up taking him, but it would be surprising if it’s before the 6th round. I’m not entirely sure how many players take out insurance policies, but I’d have to imagine that it’s pretty likely. I would think a lot of agents would look to have some level of insurance. There isn’t an immediate IR spot to put a player like him on, but it doesn’t really matter, the offseason roster are 90 players so you can easily save one spot for a guy like Colvin, and then put him on IR or the PUP list as needed.
2) JC Copeland looked like a beast at FB in the East West Shrine Game! He weighed in at 285, up from his normal playing weight of 265. Could he be even better at that heavier playing weight and what round do you think he will get selected considering a lot of teams don’t use a FB? Is he your top FB?
-Copeland was actually at the NFLPA game (I wish he was at the Shrine Game), but he did have a pretty good day that is for sure. Right now he is my top FB and probably is still no better than 6th rounder, given the fact that many teams are abandoning using a FB. As for his weight it will be interesting to see how he carries that weight going forward, especially in the combine and his Pro Day. If he can still maintain some quickness, that would be impressive and definitely could make him a better all-around player.
3) Some of the OG’s at the Senior Bowl and Shrine game opened some eyes with their play (both good and bad). Do you think the quality play of Dakota Dozier, Brandon Thomas, Jon Halapio and possibly Michael Schofield at guard, could vault them ahead of either Cyril Richardsonor Gabe Jackson? In what order would you rank all these prospects?
-I think Richardson is definitely falling and could maybe be passed up by one or two guys who played well, but I wouldn’t say it’s a lock given that some teams will see the raw potential of Richardson. Jackson on the other hand could end up being a late 2nd round pick, and possibly the 3rd guard taken (4th if you count Zack Martin as a guard). Right now I’d rank them: Jackson, Richardson, Thomas, Dozier, Halapio and Schofield.
4) What happened to Michael Dyer? He was a really good RB with Auburn. Was it his off the field issues while at Auburn or poor play with Louisville that has him looking like an undrafted prospect at this time?
-Guys like Dyer and Isaiah Crowell are frustrating guys, you know they have the talent and potential, but they have the off the field issues and inconsistency to contend with. Both are similar on some level to Bryce Brown from the Eagles, and will probably be top targets as undrafted free agents.
5) Do you see any Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead or Shane Vareen type backs in this years draft? Quick, but solidly built backs that can catch the ball coming out of the backfield or at times line up at WR are having a lot of success in the NFL.
-I don’t know it I’d yet put these guys in the Sproles/Woodhead category, but some interesting undersized quick backs that can be had late/UDFA are Tim Flanders from Sam Houston State and Zach Bauman from Northern Arizona. Jerick McKinnon from Georgia Southern could have the potential as well, though he’s never really had to catch the ball.
6) On tape it looks like RB’s Charles Sims from West Virginia and Marion Grice from Arizona State are very similar prospects (a little like Matt Forte). In your opinion, how are these backs different and how do you think they will be as pros? What teams could you see taking these two?
-I don’t think there is a big difference between the two as they are very similar prospects (and I like the Forte comparison). I think the biggest difference is that Sims has a better track record and may be a slightly better runner. I can see both being successful Pros and they should be utilized similar to a Forte where they are heavily involved in the passing game and have between 200-250 carries. I think both represent really nice 3rd-4th round value and any number of teams should be interested. I think they could fit well as a complementary back as a rookie, but eventually develop into a starter. Teams that throw the ball more do make more sense than some other teams. The Saints, the Browns (as a 2nd back), the Rams, Cardinals and Giants make a lot of sense in those rounds for me.
7) Do you think smaller college RB’s like De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon or Dri Archer, Kent State could be effective slot WR’s in the NFL? They are both blazin’ fast, so maybe they could be used like Wes Welker, but with the ability to take it to the house! South Carolina WR, Bruce Ellington is built more like a RB at 5’9″ and 196 lbs., so let me know what you think about him in the slot too.
-I think both Thomas and Archer should be considered as the new category of “Offensive Weapons”, they definitely have the ability to be significant contributors from the slot, but at the same time you wouldn’t want to keep them out of the backfield as well. Not only from a running stand point, but lining them up in the back-field could lead to some more favorable match-ups. Obviously special teams will be another area where they contribute as well. I’m not as high on Ellington as some, but I do think he can be a solid slot receiver at the next level.