Omar Bolden scouting report

Omar Bolden CB Arizona State #3
Ht: 5’10″

Wt: 202

Good overall build; fairly strong and can hold his own in press coverage. A solid all-around athlete.  Looks very fluid in his backpedal. Smooth hips to turn and run with receivers. Does a nice job turning to track the ball in the air. Shows the ability to read the quarterback and anticipate in zone coverage – good sign for his potential move to safety later in career. Willing to play the run. Fairly reliable tackler; shows good technique in most situations. Experienced returning kicks. Team leader on and off the field with plenty of experience against top competition.
Suffered a torn ACL in 2009 and again in 2011. Speed is average at best; may eventually need to switch to free safety as he slows down with age. Trusts his athleticism too much and will get sloppy at times. Below-average ball skillls; does a nice job turning his head to play the ball, but struggles to put himself in position to make plays and doesn’t come down with many interceptions that aren’t gift wrapped. Probably won’t return kicks at next level due to injury concerns and lack of speed. Does well tackling in tight spaces, but doesn’t make many plays in the open field.
If not for the knee injuries, Bolden would probably be considered a 2nd or 3rd-round prospect. However, given his modest speed and the fact that he’s returning from a knee injury which caused him to miss the entire 2011 seasons, it’s tough to justify taking him before Day 3 of the draft. There’s a lot to like about his game when healthy, but the knee injuries raise some serious concerns about his ability to play at the next level. If he can stay healthy, however, he could make a solid nickel corner. He lacks elite speed, but he’s quick and smart and should be able to handle receivers in the slot, especially against west coast offenses.
2010 vs California
2010 vs Oregon 


Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

Draft Needs: Tennessee Titans

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Tennessee Titans [full archive here].

Season Recap: The Titans improved in 2011 under new head coach Mike Munchak, finishing with a 9-7 record. Veteran QB Matt Hassleback did a good job of managing the offense and brought experienced leadership to the locker room. It hurt loosing star WR Kenny Britt for the season, along with Chris Johnson having the worst season of his career. Promising QB, Jake Locker looks poised to take the reins and with the return of Britt and Johnson, Tennessee could be a sleeper team in 2012.

Team Needs:
1. Defensive Tackle: The Titans lost Jason Jones to Seattle this offseason, making defensive line a priority. Jurrell Casey showed enough during his rookie season to hold down one of the spots, but there is still an opening next to him. Devon Still, Michael Brockers, and Jerel Worthy are options in round one.

2. Defensive End: Even though Kamerion Wimbley was recently signed, Tennessee needs more at the position. Jason Jones and Dave Ball are gone, meaning the Titans need more depth. Nick Perry should be available at the Titans selection.

3. Center: Eugene Amano is horrible. The Titans need an upgrade at the center position. Peter Konz, Ben Jones, and Phillip Blake are among the top center prospects in this year’s draft.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012, Titans 2 Comments

Mitchell Schwartz scouting report

Mitchell Schwartz OT California #72
Ht: 6’5″

Wt: 318

Prototypical size. Decent athleticism; can get down field on screens. Once he’s set, generally shows strong fundamentals. Good hand placement on his blocks; can get into a defenders chest and consistently slow him down. Has played on left and right side of line, sometimes within the same game. A physical run blocker; does a nice job getting low and driving his man backwards.
Footwork is slow; struggles to stay with faster edge rushers. General field awareness is very average; struggles to pick up blitzes pre-snap. Gets happy feet when he’s left alone; doesn’t stay in his zone and will create space for delayed blitzes to slide inside. When presented with decisions on an overload blitz on his side, he hesitates and will sometimes whiff on everyone. Inconsistent getting low to anchor and will get pushed back into the pocket. Suffered a back injury in 2011.
What you see is what you get with Schwartz. He’s technically sound and has enough athleticism to play at the next level (although probably on the right side). However, things start to go wrong when he has to think on his feet. He can be overwhelmed by delayed blitzes and overload blitzes and seems to lack the ability to anticipate and make quick decisions.
2011 vs Stanford
2011 vs USC
2011 vs Texas 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 2 Comments

Andrew Datko scouting report

Andrew Datko OT Florida State #67
Ht: 6’6″

Wt: 315

Prototypical size. Four-year starter. Solid all-around fundamentals. Gets into position quickly out of his stance. Fairly quick feet and consistently shows good footwork; can slide outside to stay with athletic edge rushers. A mauler as a run blocker; stays low and can drive his man back. Decent athleticism; can get to the second level and can run on screens plays. A team leader; great communicator and clearly a leader on the field.
Serious injury concerns. Missed time in 2010 preseason with shoulder injury and again during the regular season. Underwent shoulder surgery prior to 2011 season. Re-injured shoulder during 2011 season and missed remainder of season and the combine due to surgery. Athleticism is adequate, but he will struggle with elite pass rushers at next level; probably best suited to play on the right side. Limited strength; makes up for is with solid fundamentals, but he will simply be overpowered by some of the game’s elite bull rushers.
If healthy, Datko would be a very safe mid-round pick. While he lacks the elite measurables and athleticism, what you see is what you get. He’s technically sound and a hard worker and, at worst, will be a very reliable backup who potentially can play four positions on the line. However, the repeated shoulder injuries (to both shoulders at various points in his career) are a definite concern. Depends on his medical checkups, it’s possible he will receive some undraftable grades from teams.
2011 vs Oklahoma 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 1 Comment

George Iloka scouting report

George Iloka S Boise State #8
Ht: 6’4″

Wt: 225

Impressive size. Good all-around athlete. Looks fluid in coverage considering his size. Has more than enough size and strength to further develop his tackling skills. Impressive leaping ability; can be an asset in coverage in the red zone.
Simply misses too many tackles. Doesn’t know how to wrap guys up and bring them to the ground; dives and swipes with his arms. Below-average ball skills; won’t come up with many interceptions. Doesn’t consistently track the ball and put himself into position to make plays. Clashed with coach Chris Petersen on multiple occasions early in his career, but coaching staff says he has matured.
Considering his size and athleticism, Iloka is a very disappointing prospect. He has everything you can’t teach, but he doesn’t put it together on the field. There is plenty to like about him from a physical standpoint, and he definitely has the tools to develop into a starter at either free or strong safety, but he needs to improve in every aspect of his game. Iloka is boom-or-bust prospect who probably shouldn’t come off the board until the 3rd day of the draft.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 1 Comment

Draft Needs: Cincinnati Bengals

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Cincinnati Bengals [full archive here].

Season Recap: Good for Owner Mike Brown. When everyone was calling for Head Coach Marvin Lewis to be fired, Brown stuck with his man. The Bengals hit gold on their first two picks: AJ Green and Andy Dalton. The two rookies led the Bengals to the playoffs and both made the Pro Bowl. With two first round picks in the upcoming draft, Cincinnati will only improve in 2012.

Team Needs:
1. Wide Receiver: AJ Green is incredible and should be one of the top receivers in the league very shortly. Once teams began to double him, Dalton didn’t have many other options to throw to. Jerome Simpson made some highlight plays, but likely wont return due to impending drug charges. Kendall Wright or Reuben Randle would fit nicely in round one.

2. Running Back: The Bengals would like to find a star RB to complement Dalton and Green. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was signed, but I don’t believe he is that good. Lamar Miller would be a perfect fit and would bring a homerun threat to the young offense.

3. Strong Safety: A young safety to pair with Reggie Nelson would give the Bengals a very solid defense. Chris Crocker is getting old and Taylor Mays looks to be a bust. Mark Barron could be a nice option with one of the Bengals first rounder’s.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Bengals, Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off

Janzen Jackson scouting report

Janzen Jackson S McNeese State #12
Ht: 6’0″

Wt: 188

Impressive natural athlete. Great body control; can go up in traffic and make some acrobatic plays on the ball. Good hands for a defensive back; will come down with the interception when he’s in position. Hard hitter who can knock the ball loose. Has some experience at cornerback; very fluid in coverage for a safety; has the smooth athleticism necessary to stay with receivers. Strong leaping ability allows him to hold his own against taller receivers/tight ends in jump-ball situations.
Originally played at Tennessee; suspended in 2009 for violation of team rules. Left team briefly in 2011 but was later dismissed from team shortly before 2011 season began. Reportedly had “substance abuse” issues at Tennessee, but very little has been officially reported about his situation at Tennesse. Below average size and strength. Misses a lot of tackles; does not wrap guys up and loves to go for the big hit instead. Will be a liability in run support at the next level.
It’s tough to grade Jackson without knowing the details behind his dismissal from Tennessee, which is something that NFL teams will be asking him about during interviews. In terms of his raw talent, he’s an intriguing prospect who could be an asset as a center fielder-type free safety. He lacks the speed to play corner, but he has the basic coverage skills and ball skills to excel in coverage as a free safety.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

Antonio Allen scouting report

Antonio Allen S South Carolina #26
Ht: 6’1″Wt: 201  
Does a nice job fighting through traffic considering his modest size. A scrappy player who won’t back down from bigger, more physical assignments. Decent ball skills; will come down with the interception when he’s in position. Experienced as pass rusher off the edge; speed makes him tough to block and will get into the backfield fairly frequently. High energy player who gives a solid effort on every play. A true sideline-to-sideline defender who makes a lot of plays in pursuit.
Frequently lined up at weak-side linebacker in college, but lacks the size to play anything but safety in the pros. Vision/awareness are very average; does not consistently keep his eye on the ball carrier and misses a lot of opportunities to make plays by reacting late. Limited experience in man coverage. Very much willing to play the run, but tackling technique is shaky. Not a wrap-up tackler; tends to swipe low with his arms or go for the big hit. Hesitates a lot in zone coverage and will bite on pump fakes. Delayed enrollment in school to focus on academics for a year at Hargrave Military Acadamy; also played limited role in freshman season to continue to focus on academics. Suffered concussion in 2009. Missed two games with hamstring injury in 2010. Missed time with “neck spasms” in 2011.
Allen is very raw, but it’s tough to blame him for his deficiencies. South Carolina used him as a weak-side linebacker early in his career, and used him in a hybrid safety/linebacker role during his final seasons. As a result, he’s going to be a strong run defender for a safety, but his coverage skills need a lot of work. Most of the issues simply stem from a lack of experience, and he should improve with time. He’s a developmental prospect, but definitely has the basic skills necessary to develop into a solid contributor. Due to his intensity on the field, he should also be a strong special teams performer.
2011 vs Nebraska
2011 vs Auburn
2011 vs East Carolina 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 3 Comments

Texans looking to upgrade secondary

The Houston Texans typically don’t use their pre-draft visits on highly rated players, so there’s usually very little we can learn from their list of visits. However, an interesting trend seems to be developing this year.

Of the Texans 10 visits/workouts we’ve learned of, six of the players are defensive backs (three corners, three safeties).

None of the prospects will be 1st-round picks, with the highest rated player likely being Boise State safety George Iloka, but it’s likely more than just coincidence that the Texans are studying up on so many defensive backs.

Given this trend, and the Texans recent struggles with their secondary, it’s hard to imagine them not addressing the position at some point on draft day. And while none of the reported visits will be 1st-round targets, it’s worth considering the possibility that they may address that need early in the draft, possibly with strong safety Mark Barron in the 1st round.

For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily. 

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Texans Comments Off

Draft Needs: Atlanta Falcons

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Atlanta Falcons [full archive here].

Season Recap: The Atlanta Falcons approached last offseason with the anticipation of making a serious run at the Super Bowl. They traded up to the number six overall pick to acquire another weapon for Matt Ryan in Julio Jones. Jones showed he was worthy of the selection, but nothing else seemed to pan out for the Falcons. Without many high draft picks, Atlanta needs their returning players to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season.

Team Needs:
1. Defensive End: The most important position in football is the Quarterback. In today’s league, teams have to have excellent pass rushers in order to disrupt opposing team’s QB. The Falcons need to find a pass rusher that an offense fears. John Abraham used to be that player, but is on the downside of his career. Ray Edwards was signed last offseason, but only posted 3.5 sacks in 16 starts. A player like Vinny Curry in the second round would be a good addition.

2. Left Tackle: Former first round pick, Sam Baker was benched during the season after poor play. If Baker can come back strong, then this is not a need for Atlanta, but the Falcons can’t take a risk at not giving Matt Ryan the best protection possible. With no first round pick, Atlanta better hope Baker can handle the job, because it will be hard to find a capable starter in the second or third round

3. Tight End: Tony Gonzalez had another solid season, but at 36 it is time to begin looking for his replacement. If a player like Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener slips in the second round, Atlanta may be smart enough to grab one of them.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off