Friday, March 7, 2014

Scouting Reports 13 and 14 - Kony Ealy and Michael Sam- DE #2 and OLB #10

I need to start getting better at doing this, but here is a link to every scouting report I have done. Moving forward, I will try to post this link at the start of each article. I am going to do two scouting reports right now. One of Kony Ealy and the other of Michael Sam. A lot has been made of Sam lately. It's a bit ridiculous to me. This will be just an honest assessment of what I see in him. On a side note, I'm very glad E.J. Gaines didn't make the top 10 CB's. Disaster averted. I will also be posting more videos than 3 on this, similar to what I did for Nix and Tuitt. On to their vitals:

Name: Kony Ealy
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 275
Position: DE
College: Missouri
Stats: 43 tackles, 9 sacks
Projected Round: 1st

Before I move on, I think it's quite notable that Ealy had 9 sacks, but registered them all in 5 of his 14 games. That kind of production sends the red flags shooting up.

Name: Michael Sam
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 255
Position: OLB (played 4-3 DE in college but is too small)
College: Missouri
Stats: 48 tackles, 11.5 sacks

Again, before I move on, it is notable that Sam registered all 11.5 sacks in only 6 games. If you look at the games that either Sam or Ealy got sacks in, you'll find that 3/5 games that Ealy registered a sack in Sam did as well. The reason I bring that up, is because red flags go off saying that these kids were just good college players, and could beat inferior offensive lines. But let's take a look.

The first game I'm going to look at is Missouri versus Florida. In this game Sam had 4 tackles and 3 sacks. Ealy had 4 tackles and 1 sack.

The absolute first thing I noticed was that Ealy seems very slow off the snap. He doesn't seem to be that athletic either. He doesn't have any real burst. As a result, he doesn't get consistent pressure. To me, it seemed like the majority of pressure he generated was when he was coming in untouched, or the quarterback held onto the ball too long. His only sack was when he was untouched. He also makes a dumb move by hitting the QB when the whistle blew for a false start. In the NFL that's going to be a 15 yard penalty. He got lucky it wasn't called here. He also seems to give up on plays that get beyond him.

Michael Sam on the other hand looked to have good burst. He was very fast coming around the edge, and was able to generate consistent pressure. He was able to keep his pads low, and beat the blocker at a odd angles, which indicates good balance. His closing speed was great as well. He plays athletic and active. However, he only seems to rely on his speed in order to generate pressure. It doesn't look like he's got any secondary moves. He needs to develop those in order to be an effective 3-4 LB in the NFL.

The next game I'm going to look at is Missouri against Vanderbilt. This game took place on October 5, 2013. In this game, Sam had 5 tackles and 3 sacks. Ealy had 2 tackles and 2 sacks.

In this game, Ealy displays a lot more. He gets consistent pressure. In doing so, he relies on his strength, speed, and quickness. He bowls over the tackle to get to the quarterback, he also comes around the edge, and shoots the gaps. He does display a tendency to rely too much on his power and to shoot gaps though. He also inflates his stats by getting another sack where he was untouched. However, he does display good pass rushing ability, and a solid burst. Despite this, he still doesn't have a great burst, and isn't an elite level pass rusher. He just doesn't get off the ball quick enough and he doesn't seem to flash the elite level athleticism. He is an okay athlete, for an NFL prospect, not an incredible athlete, like Clowney.

Michael Sam again displays a very good burst. He does a good job allowing plays flow to him and beating his blockers to stop ball carriers in the backfield. Despite his size, Missouri seems to favor Sam on running downs. He flashes the ability to take on and beat double teams. And again, he shows good closing speed. However, he doesn't seem to get consistent pressure, nor does he show the ability to consistently beat double teams, let alone single teams. He again, seems to rely on his speed too much. If a tackle or guard catches up to him, it's almost as if he's done.

The next game I'm going to look at is the bowl game this year against Oklahoma State. This game took place on January 3, 2014. Ealy had 6 tackles 2 sacks. Sam had 3 tackles 1 sack.

Again, Ealy plays much better than the first game. He flashes good speed. He can beat the tackle off the edge, he can use his quickness to beat the tackle inside. He can also use his strength to push past the tackle and disrupt the passing game. He seems to be very aware. He sniffs out draw plays at times, and is patient on plays that could be runs or passes. He doesn't overcommit himself all the time. However, he is still very aggressive, and does a little bit too much to try to generate pressure. Sometimes, he sacrifices in the run game to get pressure, allowing the running back to get free. He also needs to display better balance. He doesn't show an ability to beat an offensive lineman if he's contorted in an awkward position, which happens a lot in the NFL. Instead, he often finds himself on his back. 

Michael Sam, on the other hand, continues to rely only on his speed. He still flashes great closing speed, and a solid burst. However, he is ultra aggressive. Every play he is trying to get to the Quarterback. Sometimes it helps in the run game, but more often than not, he will find himself out of position in the NFL. Nearly all of his sacks come off a speed rush. Sam needs to work on reading and reacting to plays, instead of just committing right away. He also needs to develop some secondary moves to be successful in the NFL. 

The final game I'm going to look at is against Florida from 2012. 

Through out all of the games, the one thing that is very clear about Ealy is that he plays smart. He reads plays and reacts. While he isn't an elite pass rusher, he does an incredible job of getting his hands up if he's not going to get to the QB. You'll notice he tips like 4 or 5 passes in this game, and he does so in a lot of other games. I don't think Ealy will ever have the burst to consistently win at the NFL level and he needs to use his pads better. But I think he will do a lot of things well. I think he can read and react well, hold his own in the running game, and generate alright pressure. He has an array of moves, and doesn't just rely on beating the offensive linemen around the edge. Instead, he relies on a rip move, a swim move, he shoots gaps, he bull rushes, he comes off the edge. I think there is enough there to be a good pro. 

Michael Sam, on the other, has only one real move, which is his speed. He's got great closing speed, and is able to get solid pressure on QBs. He's a bit over aggressive, and needs to learn to read plays as they come at him. If Michael Sam gets beat on a play, he isn't going to recover, the play is over for him. I attribute that to his lack of a secondary move. If he cannot out run you, he's dead in the water. 

Overall, I'm not sure how Sam translates to the NFL. He's projected as an OLB, and he does display really good closing speed. He keeps his pad level lower than the offensive lineman, and seems to have a really good burst at the line of scrimmage. I think he could be an effective 3-4 OLB. If I'm a 3-4 team I'm looking at Sam as a 4-5th round pick.

Kony Ealy, on the other hand, does almost everything you want pretty well. He's not an elite athlete, but he does have a great head on him. To me, he seems like he'll translate as a solid Defensive End in the NFL. To be honest, the way he plays, reminds me a lot of a 6 to 7 sack guy. Really, if I'm comparing him to anyone, I would easily say Alex Brown. Now, I'm unsure of who will be there in the second round, but I think you can get great play makers in the second round. I would say any pick of Ealy until the 3rd. But the second would be fine too. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Updated DT Ratings

This doesn't take into account combine results or pro day results. I will factor those in before the draft. Although, I don't know how much it could change my board. Originally, according to CBS Sports, here were the top 10 Defensive Tackles, in order:

  1. Louis Nix
  2. Aaron Donald
  3. Timmy Jernigan
  4. RaShede Hageman
  5. Stephon Tuitt
  6. Dominique Easley
  7. Will Sutton
  8. Kelcy Quarles
  9. Anthony Johnson
  10. DaQuan Jones
After reviewing film on all of these players, I would place them in the following order:
  1. Aaron Donald
  2. Louis Nix III
  3. DaQuan Jones
  4. Anthony Johnson
  5. Timmy Jernigan
  6. Dominique Easley
  7. Ra'Shede Hageman
  8. Stephon Tuitt
  9. Kelcy Quarles
  10. Will Sutton
In other words, I think Dominique Easely was the only correctly positioned DT. Once I'm done, I'll reveal my big board and what rounds I'd take each player in, if at all.

Scouting Report 12 - DaQuan Jones - #10 DT

Alright, it's the final DT. I can't wait to move onto DE or LB or something else. The final DT that I will be doing is DaQuan Jones. Here are his vitals:

Name: DaQuan Jones
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 318
College: Penn State
Stats: 48 tackles, 3 sacks
Projected Rounds: 3-4

The first game I'm going to look at is Penn State against Syracuse. This game took place on August 31, 2013. Jones registered 1 tackle and 1 sack in this game (also, does anyone remember in some of the old madden's it was possible for your defensive end to have more sacks than tackles? That was quite the oddity).

I think the very first thing I noticed was his how well he uses his hands. He is able to efficiently shed blocks and get into the backfield. If he's actually 320 pounds, he's incredibly quick, extremely athletic and appears to be very fast as well. He's got an incredible burst, and is in the backfield on almost every passing down. He displays an array of moves including great use of his hands, a swim move, a spin move, he slashes, and he bull rushes. He gets consistent pressure on the QB, despite taking on double teams almost every play.

However, he is borderline terrible in the running game. For someone who is 320 pounds, when the ball is handed off, he is constantly pushed 2-4 yards off the line of scrimmage. He gets double teamed quite a bit, but that's not an excuse. He needs to be able to hold up at the point of attack on running downs, and it just doesn't look like he's capable of doing that. While he does use his hands well, he still gets destroyed in the running game. At first glance, Jones appears to be a very bi-polar prospect.

The next game I'm going to look at is Penn State against Michigan. This game took place on October 12, 2013. Jones tallied 9 tackles and 0 sacks in this game.

This game is a little bit of a mixed bag as well. Immediately, you can see his explosiveness. He somehow manages to beat a running back to the edge, even though the running back had some space. Yes, he wasn't touched as he blew up the play, but the point is his athletic ability. He also does a much better job holding up at the point of attack. Michigan's offensive line seems like its much better than Syracuse's, but Jones is able to take on single blocks and double teams and flow towards the play, shutting down the run before it gets started. He is very impressive against the run in this game. He takes on multiple blocks and uses his hands to get free.

Where he isn't as impressive is in the passing game. He fails to get significant pressure on almost every down, unlike the Syracuse game. This is true, even when he only gets single blocked. However, he still gets good pressure throughout the game. I'm not saying he doesn't get consistent pressure, just not as consistent in the first game. He's able to beat single and double teams. He is very active, and never gives up on plays. By the end of the game, he is constantly fighting off double teams. He also goes to the right end position, and wins the battle there. He seems to be able to hold his own on both running and passing plays.

The final game I'm going to look at is from 2012. I had to look up Jordan Hill to find it. It's Wisconsin against Penn State.

Alright, so, it looks like my original assessment of Jones was wrong. He isn't bad against the run. He holds up really well at the point of attack. Wisconsin runs the ball an insane amount, and he always manages to keep himself close to the line of scrimmage, and flow towards the play. In this game he was double teamed a lot, sometimes triple teamed, and he was still able to hold up. He seems to be very disciplined, and doesn't over pursue much, if at all. He does a great job with his pad level, keeping it lower than the opposing lineman. That gives him great leverage, and allows him to consistently win one on one battles.

However, he does have a slight issue with balance. He ends up on his back a little too often. He needs to be able to maintain his balance when he is contorted in weird positions. He also isn't an elite level run defender or pass rusher. He's good at both. He seems to be very good at stopping the run, and a good pass rusher.

Overall, I think very highly of DaQuan Jones. He is incredibly athletic for his size, and exhibits great strength with an array of moves. He seems to have solid awareness and fundamentals. He also has the stuff you cannot teach: a great burst, incredible athleticism, quickness, strength, and speed. While I lack the knowledge to tell you what else he needs to develop to become an elite level pass rusher or run stopper, I think he has the ability. I'm actually very high on DaQuan Jones now that I've seen him in action. I would be very happy if the Bears took him in the second round.

Scouting Report 11 - Anthony Johnson - DT #9

So, that was quite the break. My bad. I'll try and do two a days or something. Moving on, the next person is Anthony Johnson. Here are his vitals:

Name: Anthony Johnson
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 294 lbs.
College: LSU
Stats: 35 tackles, 3 sacks
Projected Round: 2-3

The first game I want to start with is LSU vs. Mississippi State. In this game, Anthony Johnson had 5 tackles and 1 sack. Sorry, this is a little annoying, but there is a famous MMA fighter named Anthony Johnson and the Blog thing doesn't filter as well as youtube. So, I'm probably going to have to just rely on links.

I think he shows solid speed, good quickness, and an okay burst. I don't think he can shows enough burst to be an elite level pass rusher. He seems to be a really heads up player. For instance, the QB in this game is very mobile. Sometimes the DE collapses in too far, leaving a huge running lane on the edge. Anthony Johnson recognizes this, after engaging with blockers, and proceeds to roll out to the edge to cut off that lane. He also seems to hold his position in the running game.

I don't think he does a great job rushing the passer. His speed and quickness should allow him to be a good pass rusher, but he just seems to be missing that first step, strength, or that secondary move. At this point, I'm not sure what it is. However, even if he beats his lineman out of the gate, the lineman can recover and still fight him off. That said, I do think it looks like there is a lot of potential to work with.

A very quick note, Ego Furgeson is also a very highly rated DT. In this game, I think he looks like he could be a great 1 technique for the Bears. He has the size, at almost 310 pounds, and he looks to have a good burst, good quickness, and the ability to take on two blockers at once. I think he looks like a very good 1 technique at this point.

The next game I'm going to look at is LSU versus Auburn from 2012.

In this game, Johnson does a great job of consistently taking on double teams. He is able to maintain his area in the run game. He looks strong, quick, athletic, and fast for a defensive tackle. Again, he shows okay burst, and an ability to put some pressure on the QB. He also shows solid awareness, he seems to have an instinct for the location of the ball. 

However, I think he needs to work on alternate moves and his use of hands. Again, he can beat the offensive lineman off the line, but once engaged he seems to lose the ability to penetrate. He relies too much on his strength, and it gets him no where. I think that if he could develop some alternate moves he could become a good pass rusher from the DT position. 

The final game I'm going to look at is LSU versus Ole Miss from 2012. Again, there wasn't much film because of the MMA fighter, and I couldn't find much on Ego Furgeson either. 

To me, it seems like he plays a little too upright on passing downs. He seems to be very passive, making sure the play stays in front of him. That's why he seems to be so good against the run. I think if he played a little more aggressively, his sack numbers would have been good, and you would see a much better burst. However, he could still vastly improve that by getting his pad level lower, and adding more moves. Relying on just his strength isn't going to cut it in the NFL. He needs to develop his hands and some other move as well to really become great. 

The one time he used his hands effectively, he shed two blockers and got a sack. He seems to get very good penetration when the call is a run, but not when it is a pass. He shows good speed, strength, quickness, and burst. I also think he displays very good balance. At one point he continued running towards the ball carrier as he is at an odd angle getting shoved to the ground. If he can improve his moves and pad level I think he could be a very effective pro. 

Overall, there is a lot to like with Anthony Johnson, and a lot not to like. Nearly everything that I don't like about him can be fixed. However, he has to want to fix it, and he has to get the right coaches to help him fix it. He displays the intangibles: speed, quickness, burst, balance, strength. However, he needs to do more to become an impact player. He is a guy who has a high ceiling and a low floor. If he doesn't put the effort forward to improve, he'll never improve. If he puts the effort forward but doesn't have the right coaching, he could be a good player. If he gets both the coaching and puts forth the effort, he can be a very good NFL player. I would not be upset if the Bears took him in Rounds 2, 3, or 4. I'd really project him as a third rounder based on the effort he needs to put forth.