Sunday, April 27, 2014

Top Prospects by Position

3-4 Outside Linebackers
These scouting reports come courtesy of my friend, Justin Rasile. I wouldn't have been able to complete all of these without his help.

1) Khalil Mack, Buffalo Bulls
Careers Stats: 327 Tackles, 75 Tackles for Loss (NCAA Record), 28.5 Sacks, 16 Forced Fumbles
Height: 6'3                  Weight: 251 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.62 Seconds (1.56 Seconds 10-Yard Split)
Bench Press: 23 Reps

This is one of the most athletic rushing outside linebackers Iv'e ever had the pleasure of watching. Mack has the speed, quickness, burst, and can even drop back and pick the ball off. By the way, when he has the ball in his hands, he looks like a running back. he tucks the ball away and will not let go until he goes down or is in the endzone. His burst is what impresses me the most. It is so fast that as soon as the ball is snapped, he is somehow in the quarterback's face (just ask Taylor Decker from Ohio State). Despite playing for the University of Buffalo, Mack played against notable competition like Ohio State, Baylor, and Georgia. He has the stregnth to bullrush his opposition but also has the elusiveness to swim move the offensive tackle and blow the play up. While playing football at a young age, everbody is told to "bite the ball" and although not many players carry that skill with them as they get older, Mack does. I could easily see him coming in and immediately having an impact. This kid is a beast.

2) Anthony Barr, UCLA Bruins
Career Stats: 152 Tackles, 41.5 Tackles for Loss, 23.5 Sacks, 10 Forced Fumbles
Height: 6'5                Weight: 255 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.63 Seconds (1.56 10-Yard Split)
Bench Press: 15 Reps

Raw. Extremely raw with such an upside. Anthony Barr was one of my favorite collegiate players to watch this past season. One of the things I was paying attention to was his transition from running back to outside linebacker. It is very apparent that he is learning the position, but it is also very noticeable that he is a big boom or bust prospect. He has amazing burst off of the line, comparable to Mack, but when going head to head against a bigger ball carrier, he gets hesitant when making the tackle. That is almost to be expected. It's a difficult transition from defense to offense, especially when it's not from corner to receiver. As long as he works hard at it and fits into the right defense, he can succeed. He has good, quick hands and fights offensive linemen well to not let them engage him. Barr is smart when attacking the quarterback as he goes after the ball and tries to lodge it loose. The majority of his big hits are when the ball carrier does not see him. As long as Barr lands with the right team, he can have a very good professional carrier.

3) Dee Ford, Auburn Tigers
Career Stats: 93 Tackles, 27.5 Tackles for Loss, 20.5 Sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles
Height: 6'2               Weight: 252 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: DNP
Bench Press: DNP

He brought down Johnny Football during a game, what more needs to be said? He was consistently going up against the best offensive tackles the SEC had to offer and he made an impact play seemingly every game. I love his relentlessness as it helps him make plays all over the field. He plays pretty smart, staying away from aiming for the head of the quarterback and going for the sure fired tackle. Ford has great balance for a rushing defensive end. When a quarterback pulls up to throw the ball, he has some keen ability to watch the ball and not leave his feet too early, which would give the quarterback the option to fake and tuck the ball. He shows the ability to bring down the smaller, quicker quarterbacks like Manziel, but also the bigger quarterbacks like Jameis Winston. This may seem as something weird to say, but quarterbacks are getting bigger and stronger, so it gives comfort knowing that at his 250 pound frame he can bring down those bigger quarterbacks like Roethlisberger. Ford could be a great situational edge rusher in his first year much like Bruce Irvin, but once he adds a few more pounds he could be quite a dominant player.

4) Trent Murphy, Stanford Cardinal
Career Stats: 160 Tackles, 52.5 Tackles for Loss, 32.5 Sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles
Height: 6'5                 Weight: 250 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: 4.75 Seconds (1.63 10-Yard Dash)
Bench Press: 19 Reps

Murphy reminds me of Calais Campbell, which in my opinion is a good thing. Campbell is always around the ball and has that long and lengthy frame that makes it quite difficult for offensive linemen to control him. Murphy shares many of those exact qualities. He is that big 6'5-6'6 frame for a prototypical defensive end. One of my favorite plays from this past season was when Murphy was pursuing Oregon State's quarterback Sean Mannion and he deflected Mannion's pass. His pass was caught by the tight end, but Murphy is simply relentless is his pursuit of the ball and doesn't give up on plays, as evidenced by his shoe string tackle on the play. He stays true to his area of the field to cover and he doesn't let play actions take him away from the play. Murphy does a good job of taking on running backs and using his big body of pushing them to try and do whatever he can disrupt the play. Although he appears to not have the greatest footwork, he has a pretty good spin move for a big man which will throw the offensive tackle off balance when he chooses to use it. I would be ecstatic to grab this kid in the second or third round, as he will be a great source of production in many aspects of the game. If he adds a little bit more strength and keeps his speed, he could very easily become an every down end.

5) Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Career Stats: 196 Tackles, 43.5 Tackles for Loss, 31.5 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles
Height: 6'3                 Weight: 252 lbs.
40 Yard Dash: DNP
Bench Press: DNP

When a player has the ability to put a team on their back and take over a game, you have a special player. Attaochu was a constant menace all over the field for opposing teams. He has the canny ability to get to the quarterback while being the key player that offenses would focus on. He has great burst which is a necessity in the NFL but he also has some experience playing as a 3-4 linebacker has he played that position the year before. His experience of playing the position will give him and advantage over most of the other comparable players coming out this year. HE can make his body skinny so that he can squeeze through the small holes on the interior offensive line. This ability will give him another advantage of blitzing from the linebacker spot but also having the talent to bull rush the offensive line. Anyway to get to the quarterback, Attaochu can do it.

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