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: 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: Cordrea Tankersley

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By: Shae Dougall

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

6’1”, 199lbs

Tankersley

Tape Viewed:

Clemson vs Ohio State (2016)

Clemson vs Virginia Tech (2016)

Clemson vs Troy (2016)

 

OVERVIEW

Nothing really stands out to me about Cordrea Tankersley, except his awesome name. As you read on, you’ll find that I view the former All-American third teamer to be slow to react, stiff, upright, and not particularly good in coverage. Currently projected as a fourth round pick, I wouldn’t touch Tankersley until the sixth round as a project pick. He’s a press corner with a lot of stuff that needs to get coached into him. He was able to get away with his deficiencies at Clemson because of the ridiculous talent around him, but will struggle to make a name for himself in the NFL except in very specific, beneficial circumstances.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 6 out of 10

Tankersley is consistently befuddled by deep routes with a lot of cuts. He might recognize the play, but it’s hard to tell. I’m not confident in his chances to successfully make the leap to the NFL because his reaction time is just too slow.

 

Speed: 3.5 out of 5

Tankersley perplexes me. His combine 40 yard time of 4.4 should speak to excellent straight-line speed, and yet…it doesn’t show up on tape, especially on deep routes. I feel like this indicates some sort of mechanical issue. He definitely seems to play a little bit stiff and upright, which isn’t conducive to maintaining top-level change of direction speed at all times. Until Cordrea can get coached up, a 3.5/5 his speed score shall remain.

 

Mirroring: 7 out of 10

Tankersley can blanket the receiver on just about any quick route, making it difficult on them and occasionally bumping them off of the route completely. This ability scales back the longer he has to cover and deeper the route gets.

 

Pursuit: 3 out of 5

Takes too long to come back to the ball on any route that ends with a hitch, although he does usually make a strong, squared-up tackle in those situations. He can catch up to some guys that have burned him, but usually only when the pass is inaccurately thrown.

 

Man: 8 out of 15

Tankersley has a bad tendency to get beat deep. Even worse, he gets called for pass interference a lot on those plays. He has the size necessary to cover bigger receivers, but the tape indicates that he doesn’t have the speed, despite his 4.4 40 yard dash time at the scouting combine. He also lacks the lower body explosiveness to go up and get the ball in jump ball situations. Finally, Tankersley allows way too much separation on off-coverage routes, failing to quickly close on the ball. This is either due to lack of recognition or lack of athleticism (or both).

 

Zone: 8 out of 15

Whiffed badly in some of the zone situations I watched on tape. On one play, Tankersley was so far out of position that he had to run nearly 8 yards downfield just to get to the receiver…and then he promptly missed the tackle. Simply lacks the instinct and reaction speed necessary to play effective zone coverage.

 

Press: 5 out of 5

I’m most confident in Tankersley when I see that he’s right on the line of scrimmage. Assuming the receiver doesn’t blow him off the line immediately, he’ll be able to compete with them for a while using bump-and-run technique. This almost always causes enough of a problem for the quarterback’s timing to be thrown off, which allows Tankersley to compete for underthrown passes, whether in zone or man coverage.

 

Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

I saw more than one occasion on tape where Tankersley was in position to make the tackle and made the tackle…and then there were some other times where he was in position to make the tackle and missed the tackle. So, he’s basically like a lot of cornerbacks.

 

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Despite mechanical issues and slow reaction time, Tankersley sure did seem to be in the right place at the right time a lot in college. He came away with 8 interceptions with just two years of starting experience at Clemson and he consistently plays the football very well when it’s not going over his head for a huge gain.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

Tankersley won’t be pulverizing guys in the open field too often, but he seems to have the mechanics of tackling down pat. You could certainly do worse at the cornerback position.

 

Play Recognition: 2.5 out of 5

Like on passing plays, Tankersley is often slow to react to a running play. Curtis Samuel made him look foolish on a cutback in the college football playoff, catching Tankersley out of position and blowing by him for a huge gain.

 

Willingness: 5 out of 5

On every running play I saw, Tankersley showed the want-to that a lot of cornerbacks don’t possess at any level. He consistently ran towards where the ball was going, even when it wasn’t close to his side of the field.

 

GENERAL

Injury: 8 out of 10

Missed a couple of games due to injury in 2016, but that might have been due to Clemson’s coaching staff not wanting to risk him aggravating something that was pre-existing (read: resting him because they were playing mediocre South Carolina and something called South Carolina State).

 

Total Prospect Rating: 68/100

Pro Comparison: Jonathan Banks, CB, Chicago Bears

Tankersley 1

Banks

Both have the prototypical size to match up with number one receivers and absolutely lack any further abilities necessary to do so. Whether in zone or man, these players look lost more often than not, though certainly not due to their prototypical size and tantalizing athletic abilities. Banks was a second round pick, a fast-riser following a solid pre-draft season. Tankersley could follow the same path to be horribly over-drafted as teams scramble to make sense of the absolute cluster-f of cornerbacks graded between the second and fourth round. 

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Scouting Report: Marshon Lattimore

By: Shae Dougall

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

6’0”, 193 lbs

Lattimore

Tape Viewed:

Ohio State vs Wisconsin (2016)

Ohio State vs Michigan (2016)

Ohio State vs Oklahoma (2016)

OVERVIEW

Marshon Lattimore is a beast of an athlete. His combine numbers were fantastic, and the tape backs those numbers up. He has ridiculous, natural coverage ability and makeup speed that could make any defensive backs coach swoon. His soft tissue injury history is concerning, but his raw talent and instinct are tantalizing beyond any team’s wildest dreams.

 

COVERAGE

Play Recognition: 10 out of 10

Appears to always know what is required of him on any given play, and I never once saw him out of position on any tape that I watched.

 

Speed: 4.5 out of 5

(4.36 40yd)

Excellent speed for a shorter corner, easily able to keep up with any college receiver. Should be able to use remarkable athletic ability to recover against the fastest NFL receivers to make up for any straight line speed deficiencies.

 

Mirroring: 10 out of 10

Can instantly recognize, process, and mirror any route thrown at him. Frequently runs routes better than some WRs, especially deep ones.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

One of Lattimore’s best skills; can catch up to any play, and can consistently outspeed receivers to defense or intercept underthrown passes (and overthrown ones)!

 

Man: 14.5 out of 15

Per NFL.com, Lattimore was only challenged 35 times in the entire 2016 season (average of less than 3 times per game), and it didn’t work out well for those quarterbacks, as it resulted in 4 interceptions and a whopping 14 passes defensed. Man coverage is definitely Lattimore’s strength, as he’s able to use his mega-athleticism to keep his receiver locked down.

 

Zone: 12.5 out of 15

At his best, Lattimore might be able to play safety with how instinctive he usually is in zone coverage. At his worst, he sometimes freezes when the zone coverage around him breaks down. As I’ve said 100 times already, though, he can use his great talent and athleticism to make up for those rare moments of indecision.

 

Press: 4.5 out of 5

Very willing to get up into opposing WRs grills. Will lock them up at the line without hesitation. Doesn’t win every single time and can get burned as a result, but it’s a trait I like to see in corners, and Lattimore also has the hip speed to catch up to anyone but the fastest receivers in these situations.

 

Tackle: 4.5 out of 5

Great open field tackler (for a corner). Was able to catch up to and bring down running backs and tight ends running route patterns if the initial tackler whiffed.

 

Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Willing to go up and get overthrown passes, sacrificing his body for a diving interception in the Oklahoma game that I watched. The pass was deemed incomplete, but it wasn’t a great call. Lattimore has soft hands that would impress any cornerback in the NFL.

 

RUN SUPPORT

Tackle: 4 out of 5

Able to bring guys down when needed, but I question if his “go low” approach will work every time, especially in the NFL.

 

Play Recognition: 5 out of 5

Coverage ceases immediately when the run play begins.

 

Willingness: 3 out of 5

 

As willing as the average NFL corner to get involved in a run play; I didn’t see any tape to suggest otherwise.

 

GENERAL

Injury: 3 out of 10

This is easily the biggest concern for Marshon Lattimore. Chronic hamstring problems sidelined him for the majority of the 2015 season. They got so bad that he even had to have surgery. Don’t expect Lattimore to have many career years where he plays a full season, especially not in the NFL which practices harder and more often, plays more games, and generally requires more from cornerbacks from a physical standpoint. I don’t think these concerns are enough to keep him out of the first round or anything, but it’s definitely something to watch out for.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 85.5 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Jason Verrett, CB, San Diego Chargers

OU OHIO STATE FOOTBALL

Jason Verrett, Jeremy Maclin

Verrett is perhaps the greatest coverage cornerback left in this league (a talent which I’ve endlessly touted Lattimore for above), and yet most people outside of the darkest inner regions of NFL fandom have no awareness of his existence or incredible work. This is because, like Lattimore, he cannot stay healthy for an entire season. With such a supreme and promising talent like Lattimore coming into the league, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I sincerely hope we see more of Lattimore than we have of Verrett up to this point in his career. Both Verrett and Lattimore share the ability to match up and truly shut down even the best competition, when they’re on the field, despite their relatively diminutive stature for the outside corner position.

Scouting Report: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

6’1 196 lbs.

conley

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Clemson, 2016 vs. Penn State, 2016 vs. Indiana, 2016 vs. Oklahoma, 2016 vs. Wisconsin

 

OVERVIEW

Conley is an above average athlete who excels in coverage but benefits from the strong Ohio State defense that surrounds him. He looks comfortable in all game situations, but is a very spotty tackler and isn’t highly involved in run support.

Ohio State liked to use Conley as a blitzer out of various spots on the defense, and this seems to be because of his strong short-area burst, but on tape, he didn’t finish a single one of those blitzes for a sack, despite having many opportunities. He notably bounced right off of Clemson QB DeShaun Watson despite a free release.

Conley is a very confident player, constantly attempting to read the QB’s eyes, and rarely allows large separation. This leads to excellent disruption on the ball at the point of the catch.

There are some red flags with his game, including his technique and tackling. Conley often looks like he’s playing out of control in coverage, which leads to wasted movement that he has to use his athleticism to compensate for, that will burn him at the next level. His tackling is atrocious at times, and this is also due to poor technique, as he doesn’t seem to understand how to square up and use leverage to his advantage. He’s often in the wrong position when attempting tackles as well.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 8 out of 10

 

While Conley has some fine moments on tape in this regard, particularly in breaking up a would-be TD on a 5-yard-out to receiver Dede Westbrook against Oklahoma, Conley struggles to diagnose read options and certain complicated route patterns.

 

Speed: 4 out of 5

 

While his straight line speed is exposed a few times on tape, especially by strong receiver prospect Mike Williams of Clemson, he more than makes up for it with explosive burst. This is the main reason Ohio State likes to put him in blitzing situations.

 

Mirroring: 9 out of 10

 

While he can get loose at times, Conley doesn’t have much trouble sticking to his receivers, and more than once on tape, he ran the receiver’s route better than the receiver.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

 

On those plays where Conley gets behind his receiver, be it from a pick play or just beat off the line on a fly, he’s always putting in maximum effort and uses his explosion to close gaps in a hurry.

 

Man: 13 out of 15

 

Conley likes to play man coverage, you can tell watching tape he feels he’s the best player on the field and he brings that swagger every down, he’ll need to clean up his footwork and hip swivel at the next level, but he rarely allows separation.

 

Zone: 13 out of 15

 

A natural eye-reader, Conley uses his cognitive abilities to his advantage in zone coverage. While his spacing isn’t always perfect, his explosion helps close gaps and disrupt catch attempts. This is on display in the best possible way against Wisconsin, where Conley closed seven yards from the time the QB decided his target on the play to when the ball reached the receiver. Conley jumped the route and made the easy pick.

 

Press: 4 out of 5

 

While Conley likes to press, he sometimes misses his bump which leads to issues on downfield throws against faster receivers, this was on display against Mike Williams.

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Far too many missed tackles to garner a positive rating. His technique is often terrible and he’s usually out of position, though he has a few really solid form tackles on tape and shows a willingness to try to bring receivers down in his area.

 

Ball Skills: 4 out of 5

 

Conley is often at his best when the ball is in the air. He dropped a couple of interceptions and misused his hands on a few 50-50 balls leading to catches on tape. For the most part, though, he’s very disruptive at the catch point and locates the ball early while it’s still in the air.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Same story as in pass defense, He flashes correct technique and contain principles, and on some plays just looks like a joke out there.

 

Play Recognition: 3 out of 5

 

With the exception, glaring though it is, of read option runs and designed quarterback runs, Conley seems able to read the direction of a running play well and takes nice angles to limit big gains.

 

Willingness: 3 out of 5

 

You get the feeling watching Conley sometimes that he wishes the offense wouldn’t run the ball, because he looks so much more comfortable in coverage, but he rarely shies away from the contact and doesn’t mind attempting tackles, even in the open field.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 9 out of 10

 

A minor shoulder injury was likely an anomaly. Conley’s health is not an issue going into the draft.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 79/100

 

Pro Comparison: T.J. Carrie, CB, Oakland Raiders

Ohio State v Michigan

carrie

Carrie has been an above average cover corner in this league for a couple of years now, really coming on in late 2016 after the injury to fellow Raiders corner D.J. Hayden, but that hasn’t helped his absolute deficiencies in tackling ball carriers. Conley and Carrie share similar frames, similar swagger, and similar technique issues that likely limit their ceiling as pros, at least in run support.

A Prospect A Day: Wide Receivers, Michael Thomas Scouting Report

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

6’3 210 lbs

Thomas

OVERVIEW

Thomas is the classic example of wasted potential. He’s a true NFL receiver with dominant traits who has the ability to run a full route tree and the savvy and athleticism to dominate against both man and zone.

However, he was criminally underused in the Ohio State offense by quarterbacks incapable of putting him in favorable positions consistently. It’s very clear that defenses respected his immense ability as he constantly drew flags and double coverage.

Still, there are a couple of knocks on Thomas’ game: he has uneven hands, especially on contested balls and he doesn’t seem to have the demeanor or swagger of a number one receiver.

He’s also an extremely skilled blocker.

RECEIVER BREAKDOWN

Hands: 14 out of 20

Thomas shows the ability to catch nearly any ball when he’s coming back to it. When running away from the ball, he shows much more inconsistency. While he’s willing to fight through contact. He doesn’t use his superior frame and athleticism nearly well enough to go up and snag contested balls.

Route Running: 17 out of 20

His route running isn’t quite razor-sharp, but it’s adequate to create separation and he shows the ability to read zones and sit in the soft spots to make a QB-friendly target.

Blocking: 14 out of 15

Thomas consistently shines in blocking situations, springing runners for big gains several times per game. He shows incredible latching ability and awareness to disengage at the right time. He’s, however, not quite aggressive enough if the play is shifting away from him.

Athleticism: 14 out of 15

I fully expect Thomas to be among the leaders at the position at the combine. He clearly has excellent long-speed and agility. Though he doesn’t use it often, he also has excellent jumping ability. The main problem is he doesn’t often use these traits to dominate competition like one would expect.

Run after catch: 14 out of 15

Look no further than a hitch Thomas took to the house against Rutgers. He slid between two defenders and delivered a punishing stiff-arm to spring free for the touchdown. On that play, he showed all the major traits: speed, power and vision, which will allow him to dominate on the next level with the ball in his hands.

Size: 9 out of 10

He’s big and tall, ideal for his position, though he could stand to add a bit more weight in his legs, he looks a little bit lanky at times.

Body Control: 3 out of 5

Though he shows strong ability to break tackles with proper pad level through contact, he’s not able to contort his body in ways that allow him to win on downfield throws.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 85 out of 100

NFL Comparison: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

JulioThomas 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He may be one of the best receivers in the league, but Thomas has nearly an identical frame with the same combination of athleticism, strength, savvy and crisp route-running that has made Jones such a matchup nightmare. Thomas must improve his hands and ability to win the contested catch, but could have a Jones-like impact.

A Prospect A Day: Running Backs, Ezekiel Elliott Scouting Report

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

6’0 225 lbs

Tape Viewed: 2014 vs. Michigan, 2014 vs. Wisconsin, 2015 vs. Virginia Tech, 2015 vs. Oregon

Elliott

Ohio State plays Indiana at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

OVERVIEW

Elliott possesses rare burst through the crease. He shoots through the line like a rocket into the secondary and can change direction laterally without losing speed. Benefited from running out of a spread, he’s an excellent run blocker that was used often in this capacity and also has the ability to receive out of the backfield.

What makes Elliott special is his mix of speed, field vision and balance, he uses these three traits to get to the secondary, and bust through arm tackles to finish for touchdowns more often than most.

Elliott has some strange lapses in concentration on tape, resulting in fumbles but they show up rarely and are likely the result of youth and slight inexperience. He is a very impressive prospect with a compact frame that could maybe stand to add a little bit of muscle weight in his legs.

Already a brilliant prospect in 2014, he upped nearly every facet of his game this past season and put an exclamation point on it by rushing for 149 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.

 

 

RUSHING

Speed: 5 out of 5

Elliott may not put up a blazing 40 time, but his burst is rare and he has the speed to run away from defensive backs, while never losing it when moving laterally.

 

Elliott Burst speed

Outrunning the highly talented and athletic Alabama defense is nothing to sniff at. Elliott really burst onto the national scene with this dominating performance on the big stage.

 

Power: 3 out of 5

He rarely lowers his shoulders for trucking moves, but he’s definitely a load to bring down and runs with a physical presence.

 

Field Vision: 14 out of 15

Perhaps the best aspect of Elliott’s game, he works off excellent blocking from his lineman but rarely fails to find the crease when it’s there. On his long touchdown runs, this ability really shows as he dances through lanes deep into the secondary, easily transitioning from lateral to vertical movement.

 

Elliott burst, field vision, elusiveness

Giv via SB Nation. Elliott shows his graceful dance through Oregon’s secondary for a long touchdown. He sets up the block by WR Michael Thomas (3) and uses burst to get through the crease.

 

Balance: 10 out of 10

Had some brilliant moments on tape, including maintaining balance to burst for 2 more yards and a touchdown against Michigan, he shows rare ability in this aspect.

Elliott balance

After being tripped up, Elliott regains his balance almost immediately to burst up-field, turning a loss into a gain.

 

Break Tackle: 7 out of 10

Rarely goes down on first contact, but can get blown up one-on-one.

 

Elliott Break Tackle

Gif via SB Nation. Busts right through the tackle to walk into the end-zone, despite the tackler squaring up and getting low.

 

Moves: 3 out of 5

Has a nice juke and hurdle but rarely, if ever, uses a spin or truck.

 

Run blocking: 5 out of 5

Really nice lead block to spring QB Cardale Jones for a TD against Oregon. He has very good awareness of how a play develops and uses that mixed with tenacity to be a force in the run game even without the ball.

 

RECEIVING

Route running: 4 out of 5

There isn’t a lot of data here, but he looks to be a fine route runner who could develop at the next level.

 

Hands: 8 out of 10

One drop on tape. As long as he’s focused, he’s reliable as a receiver out of the backfield.

 

Run after catch: 3 out of 5

A natural athlete in the open field, can make a play when there’s cushion, but lacks elite wiggle to get away when the defense is a little tighter.

 

Elliott hands

Elliott runs a nice little swing, creating the necessary cushion, completes the catch and gets up-field for the touchdown, bursting through a tackle and finishing forward.

 

Blocking: 4 out of 5

Much like his ability in the run game, when asked to block for receiver’s downfield, he’s willing and able. Came back from ten yards downfield to spring WR Braxton Miller for a touchdown against Virginia Tech

 

PASS PROTECTION

Technique: 4 out of 5

Squares up well and has solid pad level but can get lazy with his feet causing him to lose balance when someone comes at him with a bull rush.

 

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

Bowled over by current-Packers linebacker Jake Ryan, nearly gives up safety to Oregon DE Gus Cumberlander. Other than that, Elliot is very stout in pass protection, he did not give up a sack on tape.

 

Elliot pass blocking

Elliott helps pick up the rusher as he bursts by the blocking tight end on Jones’ blindside. It’s not always pretty, but Elliott gets the job done in pass protection.

 

Potential: 8 out of 10

Looks like this could be a strength to his game at the next level, I don’t think he’ll be elite but neither do I think he’ll ever be a detriment in this area.

 

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 82/100

NFL Comparison: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

BellElliott 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No real weak points in their respective games. Elliott and Bell share incredible burst to pull away from defenders and the field vision to find those lanes and creases. Bell is a more accomplished pass catcher but Elliott has shown all the ability to develop in that role. Both are three-down backs that should never come off the field.

 

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