||01-30-2014 11:39 AM
Re: Matt Miller on 2014 NFL Draft
2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook 1/30
5. OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Heading into the 2013 college football season, I had Zack Martin pegged as a future guard in the NFL. With his shorter height (listed at 6'4"), Martin didn't seem to have the ideal metrics of a left tackle prospect. That changed after watching him handle speed and power throughout the year and again at the Senior Bowl.
Martin helped himself quite a bit thanks to his 34 3/8" long arms, too. That's a comparable measurement to the almost 6'7" Seantrel Henderson. And in the NFL, it's still all about height, weight and speed when evaluating prospects. Martin's long arms made him money in Mobile. Current Ranking: No. 23 overall
4. OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Another offensive tackle moving himself up the board is Virginia's Morgan Moses. As one league source told me, "I can't coach 6'6" and 325. I can coach blocking." Moses is loved by NFL scouts thanks to his mammoth size and crazy reach. But how does he play?
The Senior Bowl week didn't show Moses dominating every drill, but what was most encouraging was his development and progression throughout the week. He showed he was coachable. And if a team can refine his footwork, his natural strength and athleticism will make him a premier left tackle at the next level. Current Ranking: No. 34 overall
3. OLB Telvin Smith, FSU
The biggest concern with Telvin Smith as a prospect is his size. At almost 6'3", he weighs just 217 pounds. That's a strong safety, not an outside linebacker. And yet, turn on the film and Smith is a nightmare for offenses to contend with.
What I saw in Mobile was a player who used his speed and length to get through blockers and traffic. Coming home from the Senior Bowl, I wanted to see if he did the same throughout the season and what gave him fits as a run defender. Smith's film looked just like his Senior Bowl play, and that's why he's moving up the board. Current Ranking: No. 61 overall
2. CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood
The current NFL trend is to find a long, tall cornerback and play him up on the line of scrimmage in press coverage. The Seattle Seahawks do this better than anyone, and their success will lead to many copycats trying to do the same. Finding the players to run that scheme, though, isn't easy.
Teams hoping to emulate the Seahawks' secondary will like Pierre Desir. The Lindenwood product doesn't have eye-popping stats, but that's because opposing teams didn't throw the ball his way. That was the case at the Senior Bowl, too, as the quarterbacks ignored him as much as possible in live situations. Desir is moving up more each time I see him play. Current Ranking: No. 65 overall
1. TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State
Injuries at tight end during Senior Bowl practices opened a roster spot for Crockett Gillmore, and he hit the ground running. Gillmore's performance in practices and the game were remarkable given his late-arrival in the week. He quickly caught my eye as an athletic performer at the position.
Gillmore wasn't on my radar when the season began, but after viewing several Colorado State games after the Senior Bowl, it's obvious that he will be on every NFL team's radar. Current Ranking: No. 138 overall
5. OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor
The big Baylor guard looked like a potential first-rounder at times during the season, but during practices at the Senior Bowl, I noticed he was too often caught lunging at defenders when asked to pull or trap. Any lateral movement gave him trouble. Was that showing up in game film?
The Baylor scheme asks for a lot of movement, and Richardson didn't have a consistent habit of back-bending to get to defenders, but it's there on film. With his less-than-ideal agility and flexibility, Richardson has limited himself to being an option for teams running a power- or man-blocking scheme. Current Ranking: No. 62 overall
4. OLB Michael Sam, Missouri
It may seem like Michael Sam is mentioned here a lot, but where do you play him in the NFL? He's built like an outside linebacker, but his lack of fluid movement and agility is a big problem in space. Sam isn't big enough to play every down as a defensive end in the majority of NFL schemes, either.
That's the issue I run into when evaluating his play and setting my player rankings. Where do you play him? Current Ranking: No. 94 overall
3. DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
Going back through my practice notes from the Senior Bowl this week has been interesting. Somehow, I missed last week all the terrible things I had noted about Tennessee's Daniel McCullers.
The big man wasn't expected to be a great athlete, but his stiffness and lack of agility was shocking. And when you're 6'7", you have to be able to play low to the ground; otherwise, offensive linemen will have a field day blocking you. It doesn't matter how big and strong you are if you don't win the leverage game. Current Ranking: No. 112 overall
2. WR Cody Hoffman, BYU
Big wide receivers are en vogue right now, but Cody Hoffman doesn't stand to benefit much from that need. The BYU wide receiver is big, but he doesn't play big. Hoffman makes himself a huge target for cornerbacks playing up on the line of scrimmage, and that's where he struggles most. Without the ability to break off press coverage, Hoffman is opening himself up to kill-shots to the chest from cornerbacks—and that's before he even releases into his route.
Hoffman looks the part, but doesn't play it. Current Ranking: No. 188 overall
1. DT Will Sutton, Arizona State
No player disappointed me more during Senior Bowl week than Will Sutton.
The Arizona State defensive tackle looked like a first-round pick in 2012, but he played at a much heavier weight in 2013 and it showed. Sutton ballooned to 310 pounds, and his play suffered. The quickness he lived off of in previous seasons was gone, and in it's place wasn't great strength but a heavy-footed approach.
That showed up all week in Mobile, and even with his quarterback sack in the actual game, Sutton's stock still plummeted. Current Ranking: No. 66 overall
The Scout’s Report
— I spoke to former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla this week. He's training at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix and has received an invite to the NFL combine.
— What player did the Jacksonville Jaguars fall in love with at the Senior Bowl? Quarterback Derek Carr from Fresno State led the South team all week with the Jaguars' coaches running practices.
— Rumor has it that UCLA's Anthony Barr is up to 260 pounds after playing at 245 pounds in his final year as a Bruin. Barr should be expected to run in the high-4.4 or low-4.5 range at the combine. I'm told he will run his 40-yard dash there.
— Keep an eye on Virginia's Morgan Moses. One team scout told me to expect a run on offensive tackles again this year and that Moses stands to benefit most at the end of the first round.
— While not a first-round pick, Colorado State center Weston Richburg was called the "best in this class" by one college scouting director I spoke to after the Senior Bowl.
— Jimmie Ward impressed scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, and word from one AFC West team is that he's the "best coverage safety" in this year's group.
Updated Top 50 Players
Scout’s Take -- DT Aaron Donald, Pitt
Quickness. That's the first thing you notice when viewing Aaron Donald. He's the first man off the line of scrimmage, and that's tough for any offensive lineman to handle. Add in the fact that Donald's shorter frame gives him a natural leverage advantage, and you're talking about a nearly impossible assignment.
The stats don't lie when looking at Donald's film. He's a deadly pass-rusher from the three-technique position and has the speed to give chase once he clears the offensive line. He's strong enough to give a bull rush and drive back any lineman that does manage to wall him off, too.
A complete pass-rusher from the inside, Donald is a Day 1 starter.
Where is he against the run? That's the biggest issue when watching Donald's games at Pitt. He's dynamic and versatile as a pass rusher, but when teams ran at him, he could get lost in the shuffle. As a young player, he will have to learn to use his quickness to beat blockers but also learn to throttle down and see the run.
Too often he'll imitate Ndamukong Suh and just explode past the ball-carrier or take himself out of his gap assignment and actually create a rushing lane.
Pro Player Comparison: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals