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Nice read, interview of an NFL scout
I like the fact there seem to be some depth with pass rusher and linebackers from his perspective
From The Inside: Talking With A Scout
Authored by Jeff Risdon - 27th October, 2008 - 8:08 pm
I had the opportunity to sit down for an extended lunch with a veteran NFL collegiate scout recently, and he was also gracious enough to answer a few follow-up questions via email.
Some more of that Q&A will be released as we get closer to the Senior Bowl and Combine evaluation periods.
Jeff Risdon: Youíre headed to the Ohio State-Michigan State game, so letís start there. Your thoughts on the key players in this one?
Scout: Well, Iím very interested to see how Javon Ringer (RB, MSU) runs against the Buckeye defense. Heís got a lot going for him but he also doesnít really do anything that stands out as making him special, you know. I want him to show me something special and distinct. Show me heís a power back, show me heís an elusive one-cut guy, show me heís a third down back. Right now I donít really know what exactly he is.
JR: Does his heavy workload concern you?
Scout: Some. He split the load before this year so heís not really overworked. Heís going to leave school with fewer touches than Darren McFadden got, than what Tomlinson got. Look at what Kevin Smith and Matt Forte have done and they both got more work than what Ringer will when heís done.
JR: What about those Buckeyes defenders, like Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis?
Scout: I love Jenkins and I couldnít find anyone in this business who doesnít love him. You name the quality you want in a corner, heís got loads of it. (Our team) almost never considers defensive backs as a top 10 pick, but we would look at him hard if we had the #1 pick. Heís got Champ Bailey potential and he isnít that far off from him already.
Laurinaitis scares me a little. There are times where he looks like heís thinking too much and he runs stiff. In the right defense heís got a chance to be real good, but heís no Tampa 2 guy. Iíll tell you one thing I love about him: James Laurinaitis thrives when challenged. You canít coach that, you canít teach that, and itís that quality that separates the great from the good. Ray Lewis has it, Pat Willis has that. And Laurinaitis has it.
JR: One prospect who has really disappointed me this year is Buckeyes left tackle Alex Boone. How do you see his stock?
Scout: Yeah, that kid seems to have regressed. Heís played better lately and that is encouraging. He has two things really working in his favor. You have to love his size and his temperament. He plays tackle like itís a street fight and heís the biggest kid on the street. Iíd try him at left guard but he might be too tall. He reminds me of Jeremy Trueblood, and heís a pretty good right tackle. Heís still worthy of being in your Top 103, thatís for sure (laughs).
JR: You have also been checking out the local MAC schools (Central and Western Michigan) this week in advance of their big game. Talk to me about Dan Lefevour (CMU QB) and Londen Fryar (WMU CB).
Scout: Well, Lefevour is hurt right now so he isnít going to play. And I donít believe heís coming out this year so Iíll pass on him for now. Fryar is a real confident kid, real savvy kid. You can tell his dad (Nebrasksa and New England Patriots great WR Irving Fryar) was a player and taught him young. Heís not real big and he tries to tackle like heís trying to not hurt himself. Heís got real good ball skills and heís great when the ball is in the air at the little pushes and grabs. He knows how to get away with it. How he handles the postseason stuff will go a long way as to if heís a third rounder or a seventh rounder.
JR: Talk to me about a quarterback I know you really like, Nate Davis of Ball State.
Scout: Funny you should ask because I watched him last weekend and he had a poor game at Western Kentucky of all places. But I do really like his skill package. Heís not very big but he can make any throw, and he can do it on the move. He reminds me of a short Roethlisberger, same kind of toughness and ability to make big plays at the right time and handle pressure. I love how he rallied his team when they lost the Love kid to that neck injury. Heís one of those guys that stands out as a winner and a guy who makes those around him better. I do think he is going to come out and in my book heís miles better than any of the seniors out there.
JR: On those quarterbacks, I havenít seen much to like in the senior class at all, and the junior class has some real questions too. Is this the weakest QB class in awhile?
Scout: Well, if you are looking just at the senior class it sure looks bad. All the kids we were looking at preseason, they all have not done well. We liked Cullen Harper (Clemson) going into the season but he played his way to the bench and then he danced on his coaches grave. Heís got no chance. The kid from Purdue, Painter, he hasnít shown much. None of those Big 12 kids does much for me. (Josh) Freeman at Kansas State is the best of that lot.
I havenít seen much of him but I have seen some good things from Cantwell at Louisville. One of our guys is pretty high on Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) but all those kids coming out of those one-read spread pass offenses are never worth the risk. ..if you want to count the juniors then you add something. Matthew Stafford (Georgia) can be just as good as Matt Ryan right away. Heís got the same kind of intangible qualities to go with the physical skills. The Bradford kid from Oklahoma has a real odd delivery but he has (those qualities) too. (Nate) Davis fits in the second or third round. Sanchez (USC QB) probably fits there too.
JR: Tim Tebow?
Scout: You know, I heard a caller to some radio show who nailed it on Tim Tebow. You donít want to be his first head coach or the guy who drafts him, because youíll be long gone before he ever does anything positive for you. I think there is a lot of truth in that. The kid has a lot of things working for him, but he has horrible mechanics, footwork. The lack of patience from that offense is what has ruined Alex Smith.
If that first read isnít there, theyíre just not taught how to handle that. Theyíre taught to take off or to just wing it. That works at college but it gets coaches fired in the NFL. ...the expectation level for him is going to be so much higher than he can ever come close to for his first few years. He isnít as good a passer as Vince Young and look at how awful heís been. The Titans were winning in spite of him and that is not going to repeat itself with this kid.
JR: Letís get back to something more positive. Who are the top 3 players youíve rated this year?
Scout: My top evaluation was Malcolm Jenkins like we talked about. Next would be Jeremy Maclin (WR/RS Missouri). That kid is dynamite. How well he can cut at full speed is rare. His hands are better than people think. Let me think about third. I would say Aaron Curry from Wake Forest or big Eugene Monroe from Virginia. Those kids arenít really in my area but Iíve seen a lot of coaches tape of them.
JR: No Beanie Wells there?
Scout: I havenít made up my mind on Beanie just yet. There are times when I see a kid every bit as good as Adrian Peterson and then he fades. Beanie runs streaky. He isnít the most mature kid either. He kind of showed up his coaches with the way he handled his toe and I donít like that.
JR: Last year at about this time, I asked you for some under-the-radar guys who were going to make good pros. You gave me Tracy Porter (CB, Indiana now on IR after earning a starting nod in New Orleans), Jamey Richard (C, Buffalo now starting at G for the Colts), and Josh Morgan (WR, Virginia Tech just breaking out in SF). Who do you have for me this year?
Scout: I just spent a lot of time looking at Wisconsin and linebacker Jonathan Casillas. Real fast and strong for his size. Heís real small but he plays bigger than he is. Heíll start in the middle for a Cover 2 base team. Heís better than the Dizon kid the Lions took, much faster and more fluid. I like Ziggy Hood from Mizzou as a big space eater type in the middle.
Heís got to get in better shape but he can make a real nice one-gap defender. ...you want to go real under the radar, thereís a center from Tennessee State named Cecil Newton. Real tough kid, lightning quick snap, knows how to use his hands. Not real athletic but his feet are good. Heís going to need a year or two just getting caught up with the speed and the size from where he plays, but he should be worth the effort.
JR: Give me a couple of guys who you find overrated.
Scout: Well, Iím not a west coast guy but I just do not get the hype around Rey Maualuga (USC linebacker). So what if heís a giant? That kid has zero football instincts and he isnít one bit better than when he got there. Every time he actually makes a play he looks great, but watch him on the plays where he isnít making the tackle. Heís taking himself out of plays and he cannot turn at all.
I know our west coast scout feels the same and he will not be high on our board. ...I know you like him (he rated him #24 in the last Top 103) but the more I watch Travis Beckum (Wisconsin TE) the less I like him. He is not an NFL tight end. Heís a slow slot receiver and I have never seen him break a tackle. Heís Mike Williams or Billy McMullen and you know how those guys do in the NFL.
JR: How does this draft class appear to shape up in comparison with recent years at the halfway point of the college football season?
Scout: It depends really on what you need. If you need a linebacker or a safety this is the best class in years. I can find you 10 safeties who have the ability to be good NFL starters this year. Real good year for centers and probably for guards. We have three centers with first round grades and thatís pretty unusual (upon follow-up, they are Jonathan Luigs of Arkansas, Alex Mack of California, and Antoine Caldwell of Alabama). Decent year for pass rushers.
But if you need a quarterback next year and Stafford or Bradford donít come out, forget it. The running back crop is top heavy and then really falls off. Really the offensive skill positions arenít much in this draft. That doesnít mean they wonít go high though (laughs).
JR: You know Iím a mock draft guy. Give me your first five picks in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Scout: (In a great Roger Goodell voice) With the first pick, the Detroit Lions take Andre Smith, tackle, Alabama. Second pick, well, the Bengals take Beanie Wells. With the third pick the Kansas City Chiefs select Matthew Stafford, quarterback, University of Georgia Bulldgos.
With the fourth pick the 49ers take Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback, The Ohio State University. And fifth, I guess the Rams, no the Raiders take Michael Oher, the tackle from Ole Miss.
Last edited by cmh6476; 01-10-2009 at 10:52 AM..