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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Scouting Report: Adoree’ Jackson

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

5’10 186 lbs

Jackson

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Cal, 2016 vs. University of Washington, 2016 vs. Notre Dame

OVERVIEW

Jackson is definitely a mixed bag in terms of his prospects as an NFL cornerback. He has the attitude, confidence, short memory and athleticism to excel as a number 1 outside corner in this league. What he lacks is consistency, versatility in his skillset, and the ability to translate that elite athleticism into his coverage.

It’s quite bizzare watching the incredible fluidity of Jackson when he returns kicks and punts, versus the stiffness that shows up from time to time on tape in man coverage. Jackson is at his most comfortable rallying to the football, reading the QB’s eyes and contesting at the catch point. He did, however, have a brilliant game against Notre Dame in which he flashed press, bump and run capabilities. Too often, though, he loses his footing to give up huge plays, as he did in man against Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson and UW’s John Ross.

Jackson will immediately bring an electric edge to any team’s return game. I believe he has the ability to have a Devin Hester-like impact in that area with four kick return TD’s and four punt return TD’s in college to his name. Teams will need to be patient with bringing him along as a coverage man though, he needs to be coached up on his technique, but has all the traits to thrive, especially in a zone-heavy scheme.

COVERAGE

Play Recognition: 8 out of 10

By no means a weakness in Jackson’s game, it’s clear that coaches told him to run bail technique against John Ross to avoid the big play. In the other two games I reviewed, Jackson consistently puts himself in solid position to affect the play, however he got toasted by Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson on a sluggo which resulted in a TD.

Speed: 5 out of 5

Just watch one play and you know you’re dealing with elite, game-changing speed. This stretches into his agility and acceleration as well. More often than not, he’s an ultra-explosive athlete.

Mirroring: 8 out of 10

An area of the game that has improved steadily over his career, it doesn’t seem that Jackson has any issues following receiver movements in terms of recognition, but his footing causes him to trip up more often than you’d like to see from an elite prospect.

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

This is the single greatest attribute Jackson possesses, and likely what makes him such a great returner, he closes so well, and he loves it. You’ll constantly see Jackson trick QB’s into thinking he’s left his man open, only to jump in front of the ball and snag a pick or PBU.

Man: 11 out of 15

This is not so much of an indictment of his abilities going forward, because he has improved greatly in this area, but nearly every bad play Jackson has on tape is in man coverage. Make no mistake, he has many good plays as well. He has the attributes you want in man, but must take coaching to learn how to use his feet better.

Zone: 15 out of 15

There isn’t a better zone corner prospect in this draft. Jackson, in a zone-heavy scheme, could be an immediate impact starter in the NFL. His natural ability and fluidity in the return game translates perfectly to his zone coverage. He’s an absolute playmaker when he’s reading the QB’s eyes.

Press: 3 out of 5

The Notre Dame tape shows a lot of reasons to expect this area to improve going forward. Jackson looked natural bumping with one hand in press and flipping his hips to perfectly mirror receivers downfield. He just doesn’t do it often enough to warrant a higher score.

Tackle: 2 out of 5

This is a concerning area. He has one outstanding form tackle on tape, that’s it. He also has one impressive open-field tackle of John Ross. Both times, he needed help to bring his man down. There are also a few bad misses on tape in which Jackson throws his body out of position, to somewhat comical results.

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Another area where Jackson might just be the best in the draft, his 5 interceptions in 2016 are insane when considering he’s the single most talented member of that USC secondary, and QB’s didn’t challenge him much. That’s not even to mention his 28 career PBU’s.

RUN SUPPORT

Tackle: 3 out of 5

It’s tempting to give this an incomplete, because he only has two tackle attempts on running backs on tape, which are successful. However, he consistently puts himself in position as a last line of defense and often allows tackles to happen by maintaining lane discipline.

Play Recognition: 5 out of 5

Jackson plays like the savvy three-year starter he is, and that doesn’t change against the run, in which he immediately (and often quicker than most members of the secondary) rallies to his position as a run defender.

Willingness: 2 out of 5

This is not to say he doesn’t like being a run defender, more that he doesn’t like being directly involved. Jackson prefers to become essentially a deep cover safety when a run play develops, trusting his speed and athleticism as the last line of defense. This approach has its merits and will be appreciated by some NFL scouts, though I would really like to see a nastier demeanor from Jackson.

GENERAL

Injury: 10 out of 10

This guy has started nearly every game since week 1 of his first year as a true freshman. And that’s while playing in all three phases of the game. You couldn’t find a more encouraging sign that injuries won’t be a systemic issue in his NFL career.

Total Prospect Rating: 82 out of 100

Jackson 1

Norman

Pro Comparison: Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins

While it is incredibly difficult to find a player with the exact (and incredibly unique) skillset of Jackson, Norman shares the same ultra-confidence, short memory and explosive pursuit which I expect will propel Jackson to quick success in the NFL as an outside corner.

A Prospect A Day: Wide Receivers, Will Fuller Scouting Report

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

6’0 186 lbs.

Fuller

OVERVIEW:

Fuller is more polished and versatile than he gets credit for. Considered by fans and media to be a deep-ball specialist, he actually runs hitches, comebacks, ins and crosses as well. His route running is crisp and quick and his hands are consistent on tape, though he will have a focus-drop now and then.

Still, he’s at his best using his blazing speed and superior athleticism streaking by nearly every college defender unfortunate enough to draw him in coverage. That speed will translate to the NFL and he will be able to make game-breaking plays downfield.

The big problem with Fuller is his small stature, he could get bullied by more physical corners, like Clemson defensive back Mackenzie Alexander was able to do this year when they played. However, Fuller uses his deep speed to force defenders to give him cushion on underneath routes, and he’s willing and able to take a hit to come up with a tough catch.

RECEIVER BREAKDOWN:

Hands: 16 out of 20

Fuller has a slight problem with focus drops, but is a solid hands catcher with a wide radius. He also has the ability to make tough catches away from his body.

Route Running: 17 out of 20

Fuller uses his deep speed and crisp cuts to create separation, he just needs to further develop his route tree at the next level.

Blocking: 12 out of 15

Fuller rarely misses a block but doesn’t often show the tenacity or aggressiveness of the better blocking prospects in this draft.

Athleticism: 14 out of 15

He’s definitely the fastest player in this draft with pads on. He also has burst to reach top speed quickly, and leaping ability to finish downfield.

Run after catch: 13 out of 15

Consistently finding extra yards after contact, Fuller has wiggle and speed but not the power or size to frequently finish forward through contact, which holds him back in this regard.

Size: 3 out of 10

Fuller is far too skinny for his own good and must add a little bulk, especially to his legs, to avoid severe injuries in the NFL.

Body Control: 4 out of 5

Able to contort his body on misplaced balls, he’s impressive in this capacity.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 79 out of 100

NFL Player Comparison: Mike Wallace, WR, Vikings

WallaceFuller 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A limited, but effective route-runner, wins with jaw-dropping straight-line speed and impressive short area burst. Both are game-changing threats downfield that are also dangerous on screens and over the middle. Fuller, however, is not a jack ass.

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A Prospect A Day: Wide Receivers, Corey Coleman Scouting Report

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

5’10 190 lbs.

Coleman

Baylor receiver Corey Coleman (1) brings in the catch amongst a West Virginia defender during the first quarter of a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 at McLane Stadium in Waco, TX. Baylor won 62-38.

OVERVIEW

Coleman is a diminutive, explosive playmaker with solid route running and at-times spectacular hands.

His blocking and outside receiving ability are both limited by his size, however he is still winning to go up for jump balls and inside on both runs and crossing routes.

He’s also a strong runner out of the backfield, lining up as a running back, rushing off tackle and counters; true running back plays.

His greatest asset, however, is his deep-ball tracking ability. He can run right by defenders and under deep throws with little apparent effort.

He must learn how to use his athleticism more on tight coverage and be able to use the elusiveness he showed against West Virginia to realize his full potential.

Receiver Breakdown:

Hands: 18 out of 20

He’s a gifted hands catcher who rarely has focus drops and often comes up with effortless catches downfield. His main problem is when he has to reach for balls outside his catch radius.

Route Running: 16 out of 20

Most of his routes are crisp, but he doesn’t run a full route tree due to the Baylor offense limiting his opportunities.

Blocking: 11 out of 15

His size limits his effectiveness, he also lacks consistent effort when the play is away from him, even walking and stopping entirely while a play is still going.

Athleticism: 13 out of 15

His speed and agility are off the charts. His jumping ability looks solid, not spectacular.

Run after catch: 15 out of 15

He can take short passes to the house and almost always finds positive yards after the catch. His play against West Virginia in this regard was transcendent

Size: 3 out of 10

Not only is he small and short, it limits his effectiveness noticeably. It clearly keeps him from being in the conversation for best prospect in this draft.

Body Control: 5 out of 5

His ability to dip in and out of cuts and maintain balance is eye-opening, to say the least.

Total Prospect Rating: 81/100

NFL Comparison: Golden Tate, WR, Lions

TateColeman 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the hands, route running and quickness to dominate from the slot, Coleman compares favorably to Tate who has made a living in the NFL burning defenses both deep and after the catch on underneath routes. Both have also proven to be effective runners out of the backfield, though Coleman is probably already more gifted in this aspect.

Senior Bowl: On Defensive Stats

I noticed that it was somewhat difficult to find defensive stats for the senior bowl so I went through looking for sacks in the play-by-play. This is what I found:

TOP PERFORMER: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

Oakman

2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

 

Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

Butler

1 sack, 1 forced fumble

 

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Spence

1 sack

 

Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame

Day

1 sack

 

Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State

Hargrave

1 sack

Also, on recommendation, I went a little deeper into the game and scoured what film I could gather to find some more defensive information:

  • There were no interceptions in the game. No turnovers at all. Each of the forced fumbles were recovered by the offense.
  • Jalen Mills, LSU FS, was playing corner in the game and had two PBU’s one of Ohio State receiver Braxton Miller on a slant and another against a low backshoulder throw. Showed great instincts and closing speed on both.
  • I also saw Alabama corner Cyrus Jones get way too physical and get penalized in the endzone for a pass interference. He never even turned his head. He’ll get burned for that at the next level.
  • Jake Ganus, Georgia Linebacker, got beat by Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett for a 29 yard pass from North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Ganus was in zone and also came up with the tackle.
  • Northern Iowa’s Deiondre’ Hall, playing corner, gave too much cushion on a 12 yard comeback from Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott to South East Missouri State receiver Paul McRoberts. Hall made the tackle.
  • Prescott found McRoberts again in the endzone for a 5 yard touchdown, Hall had primary coverage and Utah inside linebacker Jared Norris attempted to jump the route but just missed.
  • In the second half, USC QB Cody Kessler found North Western State of Louisiana receiver Ed Eagan for 23 yards. Okahoma outside linebacker Eric Striker had the underneath coverage and South Eastern Louisiana corner Harlan Miller had the bracket over the top. Miller forced Eagan out of bounds.
  • Hargrave and Alabama DL Jarran Reed got blown off the spot for the Kessler qb sneak touchdown.
  • Arkansas QB Brandon Allen found Kansas State H-back Glenn Gronkowski alone for a 32 yard gain. Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert had the underneath zone, West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon was one of the deep safeties and missed the tackle. Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell was the other deep man and made the tackle.
  • Alabama running back Kenyan Drake beat Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika to the edge on a pitch for a one yard touchdown
  • On the hail mary, Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel found Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbidge for a 26 yard touchdown in front of several defenders at the end of the play. The closest defenders to making the play were Auburn corner Jonathan Jones and William and Mary safety Deandre Houston-Carson.