Author: ocscouting

2018 NFL Draft Journal: Post-Wentz Apocalypse Edition

2018 NFL Draft Journal: Post-Wentz Apocalypse Edition

We can officially dive in head first into the 2018 NFL Draft as the actual draft order starts to clear up, team needs are starting to become obvious and the 2018 Senior Bowl roster is nearing completion. The Senior Bowl is where I’ve been focusing my time on the most right now, along with a very deep quarterback class. Ideally I’ll have done tape study on every participant in the Senior Bowl before that game(played 8 days before the Super Bowl). That way I have tape study and each prospect’s impact on the week down in Mobile to go off of. Sometimes a certain scheme will make a prospect look faster or more capable in coverage or blocking. Practicing in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl will expose players that were more protected in college. This is especially crucial for corners who we might have concerns about their deep speed, that don’t run at the combine.

First let me get to the quarterback group. Josh Rosen is the clear cut number one prospect of this group and Sam Darnold is the wildcard who could completely change the draft. He’s a third year sophomore who may or may not come out. He has the highest ceiling, but also currently possess really bad mechanics and footwork. He can make some wow throws and scrambles, but also some of the dumbest decisions in and out of the pocket. He doesn’t get phased by his mistakes, which coaches will love, but he also doesn’t learn from them either, which coaches will hate.

Josh Rosen has outstanding mechanics and a really good, strong and accurate arm. For me, he looks like Matt Ryan on tape. He can make all the throws and he’s exactly the type of quarterback you want when you are down a score late and need that final clutch drive. He’s leaner and not quite as athletic as Darnold so I can see why a team might draft him over Rosen, but with Rosen I know I’m getting a franchise quarterback who is going to win a lot of playoff games at the next level. With Darnold I really don’t know. He’s a gamble. You might get Andrew Luck, you might get Jeff George.

The next quarterbacks to get drafted after Rosen and possibly Darnold are very much in the air. Josh Allen was supposed to be the third quarterback, but he has had a rough 2017 season and at times he looks more like Brandon Bridge than he does Big Ben.

A lot of people expect Baker Mayfield to be the third(or 2nd if Darnold stays in school) quarterback drafted. I love Mayfield and I wouldn’t want to bet against him, but his deep ball is a huge concern going forward. I have yet to find tape of him throwing a pass over 30 yards in stride to his receiver. It tends to die in the air after about 25 yards and his receiver is constantly waiting on the ball or fighting back against the defender. Better mechanics and some time in the weight room could improve this, but right now I see more of a Alex Smith than I do a Russell Wilson. The top 10 hype will soon fade and he’ll be a late first round, early second round draft pick. I gave him a 3rd round grade.

Lamar Jackson is probably the third best quarterback in this draft, but the team that drafts him is going to have to deal with his leaner body frame, aggressive running style and build an offense around him better suited to what he does best. He’s estimated at about 210 pounds, which isn’t a lot lighter than Josh Rosen, but Rosen doesn’t take off and run nearly as much as Jackson does.

Outside of his elite speed as a runner, there is a lot to like in Jackson’s game. Outside of Rosen and Darnold, he throws the best deep ball in this class and his mechanics in the pocket will surprise you. His issues as a thrower are mainly playing within a pro-style offense, learning how to make changes pre-snap at the next level and learning how to read an NFL defense. If he can get up to 220 pounds at the combine, I think he, not Mayfield, we’ll be the third(again could be 2nd if Darnold stays) quarterback taken in the top 10 next April.

There are three more senior quarterbacks that I’ve watched, one of which I really like. The other two are Luke Falk and Mason Rudolph. Falk is okay, he just doesn’t wow you in any way. He doesn’t do anything pre-snap, he has okay accuracy, weaker arm, average athlete and doesn’t go through his progressions very well. You can get a quarterbacks like that all day that go undrafted, which is why I gave him an UDFA grade.

Rudolph to me, looks like Blaine Gabbert 2.0. He has good straight line speed and an above-average arm. He plays in a very simplistic offense so adjusting to an NFL offense is going to be an up-hill battle for him. What really turned me off on him is how slowly he moves laterally. It’s really a sight to see. He’s a statue in the pocket and isn’t going to avoid any type of rush. There was a time in the NFL when a QB with zero lateral agility could survive, but that time passes when 280+ pound edge rushers starting moving like wide receivers. He’s a sitting duck who can’t read a defense. I wouldn’t waste a draft pick or even a 90 man roster spot on him, but I’m sure he’ll be drafted by somebody. I mean Johnny Manziel and Brandon Weeden both went in the first round and neither looked like NFL quarterbacks in college.

Kurt Benkert is this year’s Kirk Cousins. Not an elite arm, but good enough, deadly accurate at times, fearless and a very underrated athlete. When you put on the tape of the first half against Miami, you’ll swear he’s a first round prospect. The rest of his tape is pretty up and down and at times you wonder if he’s worth a draft pick. He’ll be at the Senior Bowl and that week will make or break him as a possible day 2 prospect.

Speaking of the Senior Bowl, that running back group is absolutely going to steal the show, and they still have a few spots open at that position. Royce Freeman, Rashaad Penny, Akrum Wadley, Jaylen Samuels and Kalen Ballage have all accepted their invites. Samuels is a hyrbid back whose role will depend on the team that drafts him. Wadley, Freeman, Ballage and Penny all have the potential to be 1,000 yard backs right away at the next level. Freeman reminds me of Kareem Hunt, Wadley is Shady 2.0, Penny is another elusive cutback RB and Ballage is an impressive athlete who could be a nightmare matchup on wheel routes.

There is senior running back who either hasn’t accepted a Senior Bowl invite or hasn’t gotten one yet, that has really caught my eye. Jarvion Franklin of Western Michigan reminds me of Jay Ajayi when he came out of Boise State. He’s big, powerful with really light feet and an explosive first step. He’s solid in pass protection and is a dangerous receiver coming out of the backfield. I haven’t seen enough of his 2017 tape yet, but from what I’ve seen from this year and in 2016, he’s got the potential to be the third best back in this class, just trailing Derrius Guice of LSU and Saquon Barkley of Penn State.

I’ll talk more about the actual Senior Bowl running backs and wide receivers next week, but I want to finish on another Mobile participant in Memphis’s Anthony Miller. Miller has started receiving top 100 hype, but by the end of the scouting combine he is going to be a consensus first round prospect.

Miller’s tape is phenomenal and at times he completely dominates games. He does everything a receiver needs to do at a high level. He competes as a blocker, he has outstanding hands, he runs crisp routes, he separates quickly and finds the ball in the air very quickly. He’s not as freakish as Odell Beckham, but he’s a similar prospect. Not great size, but good enough, he catches everything and he’s a nightmare to cover on an island. He’s too quick and too precise to handle without help. He’s going to wow at the Senior Bowl, run really fast times at the combine, catch everything in every drill he participates in and end up being the first wide receiver drafted.

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles Week 14 Playoff Scenarios

Philadelphia Eagles Week 14 Playoff Scenarios

The NFC Playoff picture will become a lot clearly after Sunday as two huge games featuring 4 potential NFC playoffs teams face-off, not to mention the huge NFC South showdown we saw Thursday might. On Sunday we have an early match-up of Vikings-Panthers followed by the biggest game of the week as the Eagles travel to LA to play the Rams.

A lot can happen this week as the Vikings can fall out of the 1 seed, the Rams can fall to second in the division and the Eagles could climb as high as first and as low as 3rd with the NFC East still up for grabs. No byes will be clinched this week, but the NFC East and North can and should get wrapped up this week.

Let’s take a look at the key scenarios in the NFC this week.

  • If the Vikings win or the Lions lose, the Vikings clinch the NFC North.
  • If the Eagles win or the Cowboys lose, the Eagles clinch the NFC East.
  • If the Eagles win and the Vikings lose, the Eagles will climb to 1st in the NFC and would win any tiebreaker over the Saints, Rams or Vikings(unless their conference record is worse than the Vikings or Saints).
  • If the Eagles lose, they will lose any non-conference record tiebreaker to the Rams, Saints, Vikings and Seahawks and will fall out of the top 2 seeds in the NFC.
  • If the Eagles win, the Vikings lose to the Panthers and the Seahawks lose to the Jaguars this week, then(hang on for this) the Eagles can clinch home field advantage in the NFC with a win next week against the Giants and a Vikings loss in Week 15 to the Bengals. The Eagles can also clinch home field advantage in the NFC with a win this week, a Vikings loss this week and a combination of two more Eagles wins or Vikings losses.
  • If the Eagles and Vikings win out, the Vikings would earn the top seed in the NFC based on the strength of victory tiebreaker.
  • If the Vikings beat the Panthers this week and the Bears in Week 17, then the Eagles will need at least one Vikings loss to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 NFL Season Predictions

2017 NFL Season Predictions

Intros to any sports league prediction article is like the opening of a stand-up comedians special-it gets skipped over. So I’ll be quick here. I went through each game and picked winners, keeping track of winners and losers until I finished the entire 2017 season. So when I say the ____s are going 11-5, I say so because I went through their schedule and felt confident in them winning 11 games. I also wrote a short blurb about each team, what direction they are headed and a bold prediction for how their season will go.

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Philadelphia Eagles 53 Man Roster Prediction

Philadelphia Eagles 53 Man Roster Prediction

We may only be halfway through preseason, but by now we have a pretty good idea of who will be on the Philadelphia Eagles final 53 man roster. The players running with the first team are pretty safe bets, the early to mid-round drafts picks are also pretty safe and the players who are playing well with the second team are also likely to make the final roster. It’s those final few spots that are tricky.

Do the Eagles keep those last few players that have more upside, performed the best in preseason or offer the biggest contributions on special teams? I tend to go for upside with these spots as the final roster spots tend to go to players who won’t be active on gameday. So if you like what you’ve seen from Greg Ward during preseason then don’t expect to see him win the spot as the 6th wide receiver over a player like Shelton Gibson who has a higher ceiling.

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Philadelphia Eagles Preseason Week 2: 5 Quick Observations

Philadelphia Eagles Preseason Week 2: 5 Quick Observations

Thanks to the heroics of new Philadelphia Eagles fan favorite Dane Evans, the Eagles defeated the Buffalo Bills in their preseason home opener. It was a sloppy performance from the offense, as more preseason games are, but there was a lot of positives to take away from this one.

The defense was the real story in this one as they held Buffalo to 16 points and were in the face of the quarterback on just about every single drop back. It’s crazy to think just a week ago some of us were wondering how many points Carson Wentz would have to put up each week to bail out this defense, but no we are pretty confident that it’s the defense that will carry this team.

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2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterback Prospects Pre-Season Edition

2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterback Prospects Pre-Season Edition

 

Let me just start this post off by proclaiming that this quarterback class is the best we have seen since the Elway-Marino class of 1983. That class featured three future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the first round(Jim Kelly also went in the first round that year) and this class has a chance to equal that. I’m not guaranteeing that the top three quarterbacks will be Hall of Famers, but they have that kind of potential if things go right at the next level.

This class is top heavy with a strong middle and good depth at the bottom. In my top 10 I have 3 QBs I know will be franchise players, 2 more than could be franchise QBs, two wildcards that could be starters or not get drafted at all and three quarterbacks who project to be outstanding backup quarterbacks in this league for a long time.

This list will change throughout the draft process, as will any pre-season draft ranking list at any position. Some guys get hurt, some unknowns show great growth and some of the top guys completely fade out. I remember thinking that Christian Hackenberg was going to be a top 5 pick going into his final season at Penn State, but now I wonder why he is still in the NFL.

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