Scouting Report: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma

Height: 5’10 Weight: 207 lbs.

Tape Viewed: 2018 vs. Texas, 2018 vs. UCLA, 2018 vs. West Virginia, 2018 vs. Alabama (Orange Bowl)

 

OVERVIEW

Murray is a unique prospect, in that his stature is so striking, even at the college level. One could imagine once Murray takes an NFL huddle, the difference will be all the more accentuated. Trailblazers like Drew Brees, Russel Wilson and Doug Flutie have shown the workaround for extremely gifted QBs who are height-challenged. The key is finding passing lanes, and working the protection in the pocket. Another option is to be highly mobile, able to escape the pocket entirely and improvise as plays break down, count Murray in the number of the latter.

With his stark quickness, long speed, ability to navigate blocks, and willingness to take off as soon as he sees lanes forming, Murray is a running quarterback, first and foremost. He thrives most working outside the framework of a traditional NFL offense, much like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. The game is evolving in such a way that players like Murray not only are viable options, they’re becoming the new ideal. His arm talent, too, is impressive, but his scattershot accuracy brings questions about his ability to consistently keep his completion percentage in the high 60’s. Regardless, his big play potential and clear intelligence and patience will make him a player that has a high chance of early success.

 

PASSING

Accuracy: 10 out of 15

The actual mechanics of Murray’s game display his lack of experience. His footwork constantly affects his accuracy, even on passes he completes. He flashes incredible accuracy, especially deep downfield, but can miss simple throws because of his happy feet and lack of a tight release.

 

Power: 3 out of 5

Flashes functional throw power for most throws that will be asked of him, but will never be considered as having a rocket arm. Struggles driving balls to the sideline from the opposite hash.

 

On the run: 3 out of 5

This is where Murray’s best and worst plays tend to occur. Especially on one deep TD against Alabama, Murray throws an absolute dime in a full forward sprint. However, Murray also puts balls behind, too high, and too low, often on film. Most of those throws are when he’s scrambling.

 

Consistency: 8 out of 10

Murray typically plays at an extremely high level for a college player, displaying an excellent understanding of situational football. There are occasional bizarre lapses, where all fundamentals go out the window and he can look fully out of rhythm.

 

Field General: 16 out of 20

Murray does a great job operating his offense, moving around receivers and making strong reads presnap. He struggles with reaching intermediate reads, though he often didn’t need to at school. The system typically had him throwing to his first or second read, and they were usually open. There are occasional flashes of ability to run quickly though 3 or more reads, but it’s rare.

 

Athleticism: 5 out of 5

This is where Murray really shines, he displays incredible acceleration, and sufficient top speed to run away from top-level college defenses. His ability to work outside the script makes him a dangerous threat on every play.

 

Pocket awareness: 9 out of 10

While Murray does an excellent job using his pocket, and moving around it, he doesn’t often step up. This hasn’t gotten him into much trouble yet, but bares watching going forward.

 

Poise: 10 out of 10

Murray’s best comes out in big games, as the game against Bama displays, he showed heightened ability even from his incredible standards.

 

Clutch: 5 out of 5

Murray is definitely a late-game QB, he has a knack for rallies, as well as closing out close, hard-fought victories, with intelligent decision making.

 

Size: 2 out of 5

Clearly lacking ideal size, Murray’s slight frame could become an injury concern and will give many teams pause.

 

Reliability: 8 out of 10

 

Murray has had no injury issues, It’s a small sample size, but he’s been available consistently. However, there has been differing word on his interviewing ability and recall at the whiteboard. To me, this is a minor red-flag, because this could very well be a smokescreen.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 79/100

 

Pro Comparison: Doug Flutie, QB, Retired

Murray 1

Doug-flutie

Flutie was a diminutive quarterback that took his height limitations and crafted an incredibly unique and explosive game around his strengths. Both Flutie and Murray are outstanding natural runners, though with the nature of the game as it is today, Murray should expect far more career rushing yardage than Flutie’s 1634. Just as Flutie was a sensation and sparkplug for any team he suited up for, Murray definitely has that star quality needed to be a top-level NFL QB.

 

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Scouting Report: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State

Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State

Bosa

Height: 6’4 Weight: 263 lbs

Tape Viewed: 2018 vs. Oregon State, 2017 vs. Wisconsin, 2017 vs. USC, 2017 vs. Michigan

 

OVERVIEW

Bosa has the same relentless effort and superior hand technique his brother has. He is a player that pops on tape numerous times with second, third and fourth effort sacks. His ability, willingness and patience setting the edge in the run game is also very impressive for such a young prospect.

Bosa will benefit from an NFL weight room, as he is sometimes beaten at the point of attack, and needs to build up steam to win with power in both pass rush and run stop situations. He intelligently handles double teams by using his superior speed, hand usage and leverage understanding to win, where brute strength is lacking.

His technique, tool box of pass rush moves, and diagnosis ability vastly improved from 2017 to 18. His game tape against Oregon State is easily his most impressive, but even in that one he shows his tendency to be fooled by reverses. This facet will need to improve with the increase in dual threat QBs that is sweeping the NFL.

 

PASS RUSH

Moves: 4 out of 5

Bosa prefers finesse moves, like the swim and rip, but also developed usage of a spin move as his career progressed. He also flashes bull rush, as well as quick and explosive lateral moves.

 

Technique: 13 out of 15

This is an important part of Bosa’s game as he uses this to mask his slight deficiencies in play strength. He shows a superior understanding of the minutiae of the position, but can get in trouble as the game goes along and he gets more tired.

 

Bend: 4 out of 5

Though it doesn’t happen often on tape, Bosa shows the bend reguired to run under a table sideways at full speed, which is crazy considering his size and frame.

 

Finish: 5 out of 5

Bosa always either gets the sack or affects the QB when he has the opportunity, it’s the most impressive part of his game.

 

Tenacity: 5 out of 5

Second most impressive, and most similar to his brother, Bosa hustles all over the field, hunting the ball with reckless abandon.

 

Consistency: 8 out of 10

While Bosa boasts an elite toolbox and skillset, he can disappear in pass rushing snaps, usually due to extra attention by larger linemen.

 

RUN STOPPING

Edge Setting: 9 out of 10

Bosa shows extreme discipline and patience in forcing runs inside where the help is, but there were a few instances on tape where he jumps inside and loses contain as a result.

 

Tackling: 9 out of 10

I don’t recall any one-on-one missed tackles on tape, but Bosa doesn’t have many as he’s often mixing it up in the middle and has swarm tackling help from his active defensive teammates.

 

Double Teams: 3 out of 5

This is the way to win against Bosa in the run game, if he doesn’t win with agility, he can get washed out. He’s quite good at masking this most of the time, but NFL OC’s will be able to exploit it.

 

Lane Discipline: 7 out of 10

This is perhaps his biggest weakness, and it has majorly improved in his most recent tape, Bosa showed a tendency to jump laterally at the line in order to have a free penetration into the backfield, but both running backs and quarterbacks were able to outrun him in many of these situations. This is by no means a negative area of his game, however, he is still often very disciplined, there are just a few glaring examples on tape.

 

Consistency: 8 out of 10

Bosa can get washed out of plays, but very often positively influences them with his leverage and technique.

 

GENERAL

Reliability: 9 out of 10

Despite the injury that prematurely ended his career at Ohio State, Bosa has shown no indication that injury problems will plague his NFL career, he also has no character concerns.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 84 out of 100

Pro Comparison: DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys

Bosa 1

Lawrence

The relentless motor, edge setting ability, and similar size with tendency to take false steps against reverses are areas these two players share. Lawrence is a much stronger player, but didn’t come into the league that way and was a bit of a late bloomer. Bosa could have similar struggles early, especially if asked to be the sole provider on defense as a rookie. However, he has the toolbox and natural athleticism to be a top player at his position at some point.

 

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Scouting Report: Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

6’3 270 lbs

Barnett

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Florida

OVERVIEW

Barnett is bizzare to watch play. At times, he looks sluggish beyond belief and yet covers ground quickly. At times he looks like he’s carrying way too much weight on that relatively small (for the position) frame. And yet, you see this outstanding quickness, hand fighting ability, bend around the edge and excellent finish that have made him a premiere sack specialist in the SEC.

Derek Barnett also boasts the experience and consistency against top level competition, at times taking over the entire game against Alabama’s Cam Robinson (also a potential first-rounder). This is the one question mark in Myles Garrett’s game, so it’s certainly encouraging to see Barnett thrive regardless of who he’s lined up against.

PASS RUSH

Moves: 2 out of 5

It seems that this is the area on tape, consistently, where Barnett shows a lack of versatility. He’s pretty much just a finesse rusher, using superior agility and hand fighting to weave his way through lineman. He must add more to the arsenal at the next level.

Technique: 14 out of 15

Of this, Barnett may be among the cleanest in the draft, his hand use, footwork and control of his body allow him to consistently put himself in the correct positions and gain advantages on his opponents where sheer athleticism would seem to indicate that he should be less effective.

Bend: 4 out of 5

This is one of the biggest reasons Barnett was the leading sack specialist in his three-season span in the SEC. He has that uncanny ability to contort his body in any way to get around the edge, and also the knowledge of exactly when to do this for optimal opportunity at the QB. The one concern I’d have here is that he tends to round out his rush at times, though this is only a problem on a few snaps on tape.

Finish: 5 out of 5

This is the other aspect that leads to those insane sack numbers, Barnett knows what to do when he gets home, it’s a sack, a tackle, in fact he had a play where he tipped a pass to himself for an interception. If Barnett is near to making a play, it’s a safe bet he’ll make it.

Tenacity: 4 out of 5

Not to say that Barnett ever takes plays off, on the contrary, he’ll chase across formation when the play is moving away from him, but he seems to realize he doesn’t have the speed to catch plays that go beyond him, and he often doesn’t try.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

What more can you say for a man who has averaged 10+ sacks per season in his 3 years as a starter against the top-level competition he faces playing in college football’s premiere conference? He’s rock solid steady.

RUN STOPPING

Edge Setting: 8 out of 10

The only times I really see this to be an issue is when the play calls for a pass rush, his quickness and anticipation gets him upfield early and can sometimes take him out of running plays.

Tackling: 9 out of 10

While not a perfect tackler, there are very few discernable issues in positioning, technique, want-to or ability to bring down any ball carrier that comes his way. He’ll continue to develop that consistency at the next level and should be among the league’s most reliable.

Double Teams: 3 out of 5

I wouldn’t say that Barnett lacks the functional strength to hold up in double teams, but he does seem to lack the desire to use it, this is shown by his distinct lack of a bull rush, however, he is quite effective at using his finesse to work through double teams and make plays on ball carriers.

Lane Discipline: 10 out of 10

Barnett is as smart and pro-ready as any evaluator could dream in terms of his ability to see offensive plays developing and put himself in the right position to leverage the play to his advantage.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

Honestly, Barnett never looks to be out of position, or tired, or overwhelmed by level of competition and this quality extends to his run defense.

GENERAL

Reliability: 9 out of 10

Though perfectly available throughout his college career, Barnett has been limited in recent weeks (going into his pro day) with a hamstring injury. He is expected to perform regardless, and that’s been Barnett’s MO as a player, but going forward, teams will need to be aware of that potential and keep him in the ice bath after games.

Total Prospect Rating: 89 out of 100

Pro Comparison: Trent Cole, DE, Indianapolis Colts

Barnett 1

Cole

Sharing nearly the exact same dimensions, elite hand and foot technique, ability to get after the quarterback and penchant for punishing hits once they arrive, the comparison came to me pretty immediately. Cole has been an underappreciated impact rusher for most of his career, who boasts an all-around game that suits him to any defense. The kind of skills that Barnett boasts should give him similar versatility. I expect Barnett to get off to a quicker start than Cole, who took a few years before he became elite, production-wise.

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Scouting Report: Mitch Trubisky

By: Shae Dougall

Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

6’2”, 222lbs

Trubisky

Tape Viewed:

North Carolina vs Stanford (2016)

North Carolina vs Florida State (2016)

North Carolina vs Miami (2016)

 

OVERVIEW

Mitchell Trubisky (also known as #MitchNotMitchell) is the young, talented up-and-coming quarterback out of North Carolina who is likely to fly up draft boards on draft day due to his immense talent, big arm, lack of injury history, intangibles, and a bunch of other things that NFL GMs moan about in their sleep. In my opinion, Mitch is being underrated in the draft process, as I think he could eventually develop into a Diet Aaron Rodgers type of player (more on that later).


Mitch is also technically a dual-threat QB who ran a boatload of read option plays in college, so he’d be well-suited to go to a team that is willing to let him tote the ball a bit, because he has a lot of experience in that area. As a result of these read option plays, Mitch will need to learn how to drop back in a proper, traditional NFL offense, but there’s no reason he can’t be successful as we recently saw Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota excellently transition from shotgun shotfun to taking snaps from under center. The key for Mitch is landing spot, he’ll need to find a situation where he can continue to develop. If he’s forced to start right away, I fear a worse fate than the perennially underwhelming Ryan Tannehill. Though again, this is not a knock on Mitch’s talent level, but rather his relative inexperience as a signal caller.

 

PASSING

 

Accuracy: 12.5 out of 15

Short- No issues on any quick routes or screens.

Intermediate- The first tape I watched had Mitch hitting an 18 yard streaking receiver into the endzone between two defenders. The window was fairly tight, and taught me all I needed to know about Mitch’s willingness to throw into coverage and to do so with excellent accuracy. Another note: Mitch completes 62.1% of his intermediate passes, easily outstripping other QBs in this class. I also saw him throw behind a receiver and throw a pretty bad interception, so

Deep- Mitch has a big enough arm and throws with enough velocity to consistently attempt the deep pass, but he’ll need to work on his accuracy in this area. He overthrew receivers a lot, which is at least better than underthrowing.

 

Power: 5 out of 5

Mitch has a big arm. There is no denying that. The ball explodes out of his hand with jaw-dropping velocity. I actually wonder if he can put consistent touch on his passes, but that’s a concern for a different category.

 

On the run: 5 out of 5

Mitch is absolutely brilliant on the run. I saw quite a few opportunities at the end of the Stanford game where he had to escape the rush and then make off balance intermediate-length throws without setting his feet…and he nailed every one of them. Unfortunately, almost all of them were dropped by the receivers!

 

Consistency: 7.5 out of 10

It was a little concerning that Mitch only started for one full season of his entire college career, and the team wasn’t particularly great during his tenure as the starter. This is a very hard category to judge because of the lack of data and tape to go off of, but it’s definitely concerning that he can complete 81.5% of his passes at Florida State and then hit under 40% at home against Virginia Tech the very next week! What the heck?

Generally, though, Mitch had a great season and very few head-scratching games. I’ll give him what I believe to be a fair score for a strong season.

 

Field General: 17.5 out of 20

Arguable the most important category for any quarterback is his ability to read the field and understand where pressure is coming from, in addition to understanding where the ball needs to be placed. Mitch is solid in both categories, making up for his slight blitz reading deficiencies with exceptional read quickness. He is very, very good at determining the assignments of downfield safeties, and I trust him to not make too many crushing mistakes. With just one year of starting experience, Mitch has so far shown tremendous potential to get even better.

 

Athleticism: 4 out of 5

Great speed and lower body explosiveness to get away from oncoming defensive ends. Frequently ran read option plays out of shotgun, so he clearly has the ability to outspeed slower defensive edge players and break through weak tackle attempts.

 

Pocket awareness: 8 out of 10

Competent in the pocket by any definition, but it remains to be seen whether or not Mitch has the ability to drop back in a traditional NFL offense, since 100% of his college snaps came out of the shotgun.

 

Poise: 10 out of 10

Mitch is consistently ready to go in any and all pressure situations. He can dodge defenders and make plays down the field with flair and spectacular awareness.

 

Clutch: 4 out of 5

Came up just short against Stanford in the Sun Bowl, but did have a spectacular final drive that featured no fewer than 4 dropped touchdown passes and terrible offensive line work. Lost close games against Duke and NC State (tape not viewed), but engineered a terrific game-winning drive against Florida State early in the season.

 

Size: 4 out of 5

Mitch has decent height at 6’2”. Plays at an appropriate weight for his height.

 

Reliability: 9.5 out of 10

Mitch is tough both mentally and physically, never missing a game due to injury or choking under pressure due to mental fatigue. Despite only being 6’2”, he plays much bigger than his advertised size, and probably won’t suffer too many early NFL career wear-and-tear related injuries since he rode the bench for much of his college tenure.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 87/100

 

Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Trubisky 1

Rodgers

Okay, don’t freak out. I know that there is almost no way that Mitch will reach the career heights of Aaron Rodgers. But the category says to look for similarities in play styles and the number one thing that sticks out to me is how much Mitch is willing to gun the ball in there every single time. Seriously, the ball explodes out of his hands and he has great short and intermediate accuracy. Both players stand 6’2” and have the same playing weight. Both have outstanding read-the-field ability. WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY ASK FOR? Can you tell I love the prospect of Mitch Trubisky under center for an NFL franchise? Time shall tell if he works out, but my money is on Mr. Ohio.

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Scouting Report: Jamal Adams

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Jamal Adams, S, LSU

6’0 214 lbs

Adams

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Auburn, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Alabama

 

OVERVIEW

Already an outstanding player early in his LSU career, Adams added a new dimension of polish and urgency to his game in his final collegiate season.  Very few plays on tape show Adams even remotely struggling.

While he’s an outstanding in-the-box safety who clearly likes to be close to the ball and set the tone, some of his most impressive plays on tape showcase his insane range playing from the deep middle. One knock I have is that he doesn’t appear to have much experience playing that “last-line-of-defense” role. I do, however, think he projects really well into that role.

He also has an ideally sturdy build which goes well with his rangy, physical style of play. When you think of the term enforcer on a football field, you need look no further.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 14 out of 15

Adams looks like he has a deep intelligence and understanding of the keys to read nearly any offense. There are few times where he appears to be out of position.

 

Speed: 5 out of 5

His 4.56 40 time notwithstanding, Adams’ speed on the field pops on tape constantly. He covers ground so quickly that he often reacts on screens before the receivers do.

 

Pursuit: 8 out of 10

This is a tough one to grade because Adams has the ability to close space so effectively on horizontal plays, but when plays move vertically, he struggles a bit and gives up ground. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s often enough to be notable.

 

Man: 3 out of 5

On a 5-yard out against Texas A&M, Adams runs the route better than the receiver, coming from the middle of the field. This shows his potential and ability to read the hips of receivers. His reaction time is outstanding, but his hips aren’t as fluid as they need to be.

 

Zone: 8 out of 10

The knock I have on Adams here is his ability in deep zone. There are times where he allows receivers to get behind him which is a concern for the next level where better QBs will torch him if he doesn’t clean it up. He does, however, have brilliant plays all over the rest of the field in zone.

 

Tackle: 9 out of 10

Adams uses a player’s momentum and leverage against them by wrapping up their legs and allowing them to take themselves down. This is consistently effective. When a player is already engaged, Adams also knows to go for the ball.

 

Ball Skills: 3 out of 5

In 2015, he had 4 interceptions, but this was an anomaly. While Adams has all of the attributes to be a ball-hawk and didn’t drop any opportunities that I saw, he needs to find a way to be in position to pick the ball off more, or at least rack up more PBU’s.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 8 out of 10

He improved a lot in this regard from early in his career to 2016, where he not only increased his total tackles, but TFL’s to career best. However, as Adams tends to be flying around near the line of scrimmage, he sometimes forgets to sink his hips which causes him to fly off the players he intends to tackle.

 

Play Recognition: 15 out of 15

Adams is pretty unbelievable in this regard. He’s almost always the first to recognize a play-fake. This is showcased in the 2015 game against Alabama on a fake end around bootleg where Adams was the only one that stayed with QB Jake Coker. He turned what was undoubtedly a 15 yard gain into a TFL.

 

Willingness: 5 out of 5

Adams appears to be happiest and most eager on the field mixing it up at the LOS, flying in, even through interior lanes, to be involved in run defense.

 

GENERAL

 

Reliability: 10 out of 10

Adams has the character, squeaky clean injury history, stout frame, leadership qualities and empty rap sheet that makes him among the safest picks in this draft.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 88 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins

Adams 1

Jones

While Jones is a more accomplished ball-hawk, both players share the same leadership ability, knack for the tone-setting play and outstanding run defense. Jones and Adams share a stout frame which allows them to deliver serious force as tacklers, and serious range to make plays all over the field and rally the defense on any given play.

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Scouting Report: Solomon Thomas

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Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

6’3 273 lbs.

Thomas

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Kansas State, 2016 vs. Arizona, 2016 vs. Colorado, 2016 vs. North Carolina

 

OVERVIEW

Solomon Thomas stands out for his versatility, tenacity, quickness and sound hand usage. He’s also, by all indications, a fantastic guy with great work ethic that would fit in well in most locker rooms. He’s lacking the height that would ideally couple with a 270 pound frame on a defensive end which has caused some teams to view him as a tweener prospect.

None of that will matter once he hits training camp though, it will be clear immediately once the pads come on what kind of incredible prospect Thomas is. He could just be scratching the surface of his potential as he continues to learn the position on the edge.

He lacks the ideal bend that elite prospects have, but makes up for it with outstanding understanding of what an offense wants to do. This is on display against North Carolina as he tears up field towards Trubisky but pulls up on a dime and stops the screen back for no gain.

 

PASS RUSH

 

Moves: 5 out of 5

Rip and swim moves are Thomas’ bread and butter. The more tape I watched though, the more I saw him attack different opponents with different plans. He sometimes employed spin moves (to great effect) sometimes opted for straight up bull rushes, and sometimes he’d even win (both inside and outside) with his outstanding explosiveness on a speed rush.

 

Technique: 13 out of 15

The name of Thomas’ game is technically sound. He plays under control at all times, with nearly elite hand usage. He loves punching lineman away, which makes sense as he developed his game in the boxing ring. However, he can sometimes get his feet tangled and he’s still learning how to play on the outside as he lined up at 4-3 DT so much for Stanford.

 

Bend: 2 out of 5

This is the one area that will likely hold teams back from drafting Thomas in the Top 10, if they envision as a 4-3 DE. He doesn’t show natural ability to bend around tackles, and doesn’t even seem to understand how to do this. He tried once that I saw on tape, and it was almost hilariously bad. However, his balance and athleticism would suggest that he has potential to develop in this part of his game.

 

Finish: 4 out of 5

There are some frustrating misses for Thomas on tape, but they’re few and far between. In particular, one play in the Arizona game where he did a spin move to the inside, then chased the quarterback all the way to the sideline to force the incompletion shows Thomas’ ability to affect the game other than on the stat sheet.

 

Tenacity: 4 out of 5

Ordinarily, you will see Thomas showing off his exceptional motor straight to the whistle. But he also seems to have an understanding of when to turn the jets off since he can no longer affect the play. Because of this, sometimes he’s wrong and gives up on plays too quickly.

 

Consistency: 10 out of 10

What you see is what you get with Thomas on any given down. He’s an above average pass rusher that tries really hard and is physically intimidating.

 

RUN STOPPING

 

Edge Setting: 6 out of 10

Often on tape, Thomas shows his inexperience in this aspect, allowing lanes to form as he has the wrong leverage, however, there are some flashes that show his potential in the pros.

 

Tackling: 9 out of 10

Thomas misses some tackles, but very few, and even when he misses, he’s almost always a part of the reason the play ends prematurely. Besides that, he’s vicious, and delivers some serious body slams. A play early in the North Carolina game shows this aspect of his game quite brilliantly.

 

Double Teams: 4 out of 5

Thomas has the functional strength, leverage, and balance to consistently take on double teams through the whistle, though it would be nice to see him make more plays when he gets the extra attention.

 

Lane Discipline: 9 out of 10

On tape, there are some exceptional plays that show just how deep an understanding Thomas has of lane discipline and how to properly set up a team defense, and then there are plays like the one against Kansas State where he allows the QB to scoot right by him untouched for a 20 yard gain. Those are rare.

 

Consistency: 9 out of 10

I’ve seen on nearly every report of Thomas that he’s an outstanding run defender, PFF graded him number one among draft eligible players in fact. However, I do see times where his play falls off, particularly when he’s receiving extra attention or being stretched horizontally.

 

GENERAL

 

Reliability: 10 out of 10

Thomas is as rock solid as it gets. Seems to have the mentality any NFL GM would love. No character issues or injury question marks to speak of.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 85 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Michael Bennett, DE, Seattle Seahawks

Rice Stanford Football

Bennett

Though a lofty comparison for a player that hasn’t played a single down in the NFL, there really isn’t another player in the NFL that has the quickness and inside pass-rush ability, mixed with effective run defense like Bennett. Bennett has found a perfect niche as the designated Swiss army knife in Seattle’s defense, and has become one of the league’s best. I believe Thomas has that level of ability, but must find the right role to maximize  his potential. To me, a lot like Bennett, he’s a high floor high ceiling player.

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Scouting Report: DeShone Kizer

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DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

6’4 233 lbs.

Kizer

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Stanford, 2015 vs. Ohio State, 2016 vs. Texas, 2016 vs. Michigan State, 2016 vs. Miami

 

OVERVIEW

I’ve had the pleasure to watch every single start of DeShone Kizer’s Notre Dame career and this kid was perhaps the most precocious starter in his first season that I’ve ever seen. His deep accuracy, dropping dimes to current Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller especially, was jaw-dropping. He complimented that with a poise and moxie that rivaled NFL veterans.

People forget that Kizer led a comeback and was within a two-point conversion of knocking off Clemson in 2015 (Clemson would go on to be undefeated until the National Championship). This was all with a relative lack of NFL talent surrounding him, and a very poor defense that he was forced to make up for week in and week out.

2016 was more of the same for Kizer, except with a worse defense, and replacing Will Fuller with some tall guy named Equanimeous St. Brown. The point being, the talent around him got even worse, and he felt the pressure to will his poor team to wins. The struggles were predictable, and partly the fault of Kizer for setting his original bar so high. Kizer’s 2016 season is a very difficult study because it was such an unstable situation all year in South Bend.

 

PASSING

 

Accuracy: 12 out of 15

Kizer is the most accurate deep passer in this draft, and his accuracy on deep passes rivals anyone in the NFL. He has unbelievable touch to drop it to deep streaking receivers in stride. Kizer also flashes incredible accuracy on intermediate and short throws, but has strange lapses that could potentially be due to his inconsistent footwork and incredibly live arm.

 

Power: 4 out of 5

Can throw a heat-seeking missile at times: look no further than the Texas game with Kizer throwing to receiver Torri Hunter Jr. between 3 defenders. However, there are strange lapses in which Kizer’s velocity on short and intermediate throws fizzles.

 

On the run: 5 out of 5

Kizer can run off to the left, or the right, and throw an accurate ball without setting his feet. He can reach any area of the field, or work the sideline. It’s pretty incredible.

 

Consistency: 7 out of 10

This rating should seemingly be lower, with the huge disparity in wins from year one as a starter to year two. However, Kizer himself doesn’t see many drop offs in his overall game. The talent around him is often what lets him down. You’ll see this constantly, especially in the 2016 tape where three of the starters on his offensive line have no business being on the field.

 

Field General: 17 out of 20

Works through his reads quickly and naturally. Very decisive when he sees what he likes. He does have a tendency to tuck and run rather than take an easy underneath completion, but it really depends on the flow of the game. When Kizer is in a rhythm, he’s as decisive as you could ask for and usually gets it to the right guy.

 

Athleticism: 5 out of 5

For a player his size, he’s an incredibly fluid and natural athlete. He flashes impressive balance against the blitz, weaves in and out of run lanes with ease and can get skinny or even vertical when seeking the pylon on a rushing TD attempt.

 

Pocket awareness: 8 out of 10

Kizer is never taken unaware. He feels pressure immediately and slides in the pocket with very sudden moves. The problem is that he sometimes doesn’t trust his protection which causes him to feel pressure when it isn’t quite there.

 

Poise: 9 out of 10

Much more often than not, Kizer thrives under pressure. He can deliver a pinpoint accurate ball from any number of contorted poses, and he loves to stretch a defense on a broken-down play.

 

Clutch: 4 out of 5

All of Kizer’s biggest games of his career feature solid to outstanding individual performances by him. In fact, his game against Stanford in 2015 for a CFB Playoff bid was perhaps the best of his career. The knock though, is he lost that game, and the bowl game against Ohio State, and the game against Clemson. It’s a slight concern.

 

Size: 5 out of 5

He is the quarterback prototype, in every single way.

 

Reliability: 9 out of 10

Kizer is sturdy, he doesn’t get banged up despite his very physical style of play. The only slight concern here is the issues he had with Coach Brian Kelly at Notre Dame and why he never quite seemed to get the keys to the Ferrari, so to speak.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 85 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Randall Cunningham, QB, Retired

Kizer 1

Cunningham

This comparison comes with a slight caveat: this is the Vikings’ Randall Cunningham, later in his career when he allowed his exceptional natural abilities as a passer to shine through. Cunningham and Kizer share that uncanny ability to deliver perfect passes running off to the left and right. They’re both outstanding natural runners that thrive on deep ball accuracy but flash accuracy to all areas of the field. Most of all, both appear to be very difficult to rattle and are borderline-unstoppable when in a rhythm. They also both happen to be prototype physical specimens.

 

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