NFL Draft Recap: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh

NFL Draft

Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh

The ACC is not shy at having Thursday night primetime national games and Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh was no different. The press box was filled at the start of gametime including 17 NFL Teams (Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans,) with 26 total NFL personnel. Three of those teams sent their General Managers in Pittsburgh’s Kevin Colbert, Minnesota’s Rick Spielman, and Buffalo’s Doug Whaley. The best players in the game may have actually been true sophomores with Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller (brother of first round rookie Kyle Fuller,) and Pitt offensive weapons WR Tyler Boyd and RB James Conner. That being said, there were plenty of seniors with potential to be drafted or at least get picked up on an NFL team, especially on the Virginia Tech defense.

Pitt Offensive Tackle TJ Clemmings (68)

Clemmings Gets off the snap well, but plays very high in stance. He doesn’t have the movement skills to handle speed rushers, but his long arms and frame are excellent with tons of potential. Clemmings started his Pitt career at Defensive Line and has shown great progress in his career. In this game, Pitt didn’t run offense toward him early, but as the game progressed they went back to the experience right side. Sealed a nice block for a James Conner TD in the 4th quarter and was wrecking in the run game throughout the game. A potential top 100 pick who could go even higher due to his upside.

Pitt Right Guard Matt Rotheram (74)

Rotheram is aggressive at the point of attack and uses his size to his advantage. Big man with power, but lacks the finesse in pass protection. Led the way on a James Conner TD run by crashing inside and sealing it for a big hole. Not going to pull much, but there is a lot of upside at 335 pounds and it could entice a team to sign him as an undrafted free agent.

Pitt Defensive End David Durham (44)

Good hand usage and good leverage. Keeps working and got a big sack in the first quarter. Undersized, but he has good leg strength and a solid swim move. Not going to scare anyone with his size (6’2 240,) but finds ways to get pressure and disrupt QB timing. Might not have the pro upside to be drafted, but could catch on with a team.

Pitt Free Safety Ray Vinopal (9)

Played back in Cover 2 a lot and played the deep zone if he read pass. Got eaten up by blocks when attacking the run, but solid in coverage. Went downhill after WR screen plays and runs where help defense was needed. Shows good burst and closing speed. He showed some good 1 on 1 coverage ability. This was one of Vinopal’s best games of his career as he forced Virginia Tech to respect him. Made a crushing downhill blow to essentially force a fumble in the flat. An ideal special teams player, Vinopal just doesn’t have the speed, arm length, and body to be drafted.

Virginia Tech Defensive End Dadi Nicolas, Junior (90)

Pitt ran offense away from him early, but he was showcasing closing speed and effort on run plays to the other side. Got pressure on the QB and usually used his speed and athleticism to get around Senior RT TJ Clemmings. Pitt was paying special attention to him, often double teaming but he couldn’t beat it. Read a WR screen and hustled to make the tackle. When Pitt ran to his side, he crushed Qb Chad Voytik. Showed power and speed as a potential professional DE. Top 100 player.

Virginia Tech Safety Kyshoen Jarrett (34)

Kyshoen Jarrett had an up and down game, but he is an intriguing prospect with a lot of upside. He got caught flat footed on Tyler Boyd TD and was out of position. Seems indecisive, wasting movement as he reads the QB juking back and forth in coverage, but did well reading and reacting to the screen game. He has pro athletic ability and can transition out of his back pedal very quickly. Jarrett seemed to shadow Tyler Boyd a bit presnap as the game progressed. Late in the first half, he tried to attack James Conner and got run over. There is some downside with Jarrett in the run game, but he is a intriguing playmaker in the Virginia Tech secondary.

Virginia Tech Safety Detrick Bonner (8)

Played in the box a lot in the game. Can whiff going low at times, puts his head down, but reads offensive blocking well and plays downhill. He is a solid athlete that plays with closing speed and good size. Maybe not great at anything, but good at everything and has some high potential.

Virginia Tech Left Guard David Wang (76)

David’s brother Ed was a Virginia Tech graduate and 5th round NFL Draft pick Little more finesse, but handled spin move of Darryl Render well and kept his hips lined up. Not super athletic and a bit dumpy with his movements, and got abused a few times in pass protection, namely on a Darryl Render sack in the 3rd quarter. He has a limited ceiling, but could end up a solid reserve with development.

Virginia Tech Center Caleb Farris (79)

Farris was very solid in the run game and moves his feet well. He may have some starting potential in a zone blocking scheme. Got to the second level pretty well but never dominated a defensive player, even LBs when he got his hands on them. Doesn’t have the anchor, but has the technique down. Reserve at the next level.

Virginia Tech Left Tackle Laurence Gibson

Gibson is a bit undersized having just bulked up to 297 pounds, but he is explosive and a ver good athlete. Often in this game he was used in space or moving to the second level. He doesn’t have the best anchor in the run game and can make mental lapses, but his intriguing athletic profile with a huge wingspan and nimble feet make him an upside player at the NFL player.

Tyler Boyd had another impressive game where he burned top sophomore CB Kendall Fuller for a 53 yard TD catch in the first quarter and even threw a pass back to QB Chad Voytik for 29 yards. Fuller had his moments with some nice tackles on screens and Virginia Tech put him on an island against Boyd with success plenty. James Conner continues to run well at a hulking 250 pounds and forcing multiple defenders to take him down. Look for all three for the 2016 Draft!

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