With my first catchup game of my second batch, I wanted to look at Boston College DE Harold Landry, who missed the last five games of the year with injury, but hopes to play in the Senior Bowl. I watched the week two Wake Forest game. In this one, Landry had a sack and other pressures. He has a good get off and his go to pass rush move is to dip low and turn the corner, demonstrating excellent balance. His sack came on one of these moves. Despite having long arms, he didn’t use them to his advantage – and I was hoping to see him do so more this season. He’s disciplined against the run, he has his eyes on the ball, so reads draws and the like. He can set an edge, but not consistently, as he did get moved at times – but he has the frame to add more weight. I got the feeling last year I was lower on him than most, but now with the injury his stock does seem to have fallen. I’ll see if I can more from him this season, but from this one, he looked about the same as last year.
This game also gave me the chance to get a second look at Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor. Unfortunately, he was quiet – not showing a get off and really struggling to get hands off him. TE/HB Cam Serigne was also quiet, and struggled to separate when he got into his routes.
I gave the Arkansas/Texas A&M game a watch as I usually tend to watch the game, and thankfully YouTube obliged! The first prospect to look at for me was Arkansas C Frank Ragnow, who was hurt and missed the end of the season. His greatest strength is getting to the second level and winning. He’ll work square with quick feet and wash his man up the field. In this one he struggled to get movement early on, but as the game went on he did win against A&M’s big DTs. In pass protection, I have a slight concern that he doesn’t trust his anchor. His base can be too wide, and he struggles to move his feet. He’ll be at the Senior Bowl, so is clearly held in high regard, so we’ll see how he does “in the pit”.
Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk wasn’t featured in this one, but he still had a massive impact of the game with three scores. He worked well on his first score when his QB extended the play – running a post-corner and getting wide open against zone coverage. He then had a 100 yard kick-off return, where his speed got the job done. To cap his day, he caught what turned out to be the game winning TD in OT, running a slightly rounded out cut from the slot, but he got his body in the right position to mean the CB couldn’t get to the ball.
I also had a look at safety Armani Watts, who will join Ragnow at the Senior Bowl – missed the Bowl game due to injury. Watts has the reputation as being a ball hawk and he demonstrated that at a key time in this one – in OT to make the game winning interception. He broke under a post route nicely to make the play on the ball. Watts isn’t the biggest and the main concern is whether he can bring bigger receivers to the ground. He doesn’t wrap as a tackler, and as a safety, he needs to address that. He played a varied role, two deep, occasional single high, in the box and over the slot WR (in off coverage – 10 yards off the line).
I also had a look at Texas A&M DT Zaycoven Henderson, who rotated in and out of the lineup. He was hard to move at the line and flashed power. The thing that will hold his stock back on Draft day is that he didn’t show up as a pass rusher. He wasn’t used on obvious passing downs, but when he got the opportunity to rush the passer, he didn’t show much. He doesn’t look that tall, which might also limit his stock as many teams like length on the DL.
I also watched Texas A&M on the road at LSU. For Kirk, again, he made big plays – that ability to rise up at key moments in the game seems to be in his game. He caught a nice TD in this one, with a first-class double move to undress the CB. He caught another TD, running an out cut from the slot and with his speed pulled away from the CB to create huge separation. I would say after my three watches, he’s a borderline 1st rounder.
Watts, meanwhile again struggled as a tackler. He missed Derrius Guice twice – the second on the receiving end of a nice stiff arm. When in man coverage, he gave up a big play, nowhere with a post-corner move by the receiver. Also, on a long wildcat set run, he flew downhill, but was blocked by a guard – there was no one behind him, so he needed to be more aware. Now, he will make plays – he forced a fumble and he is a genuine ball hawk – but I don’t trust him as the last line of defense at safety. I would say he’s a borderline top 100 prospect, but on balance from tape, I would say more 101-125 region. I’ll wait for the Combine for his final slot.
For LSU, WR D.J Chark had a nice game. He’s tall and has good speed, with punt return ability, so he has a top 100 shot. His best play in this one was a really nice 48 yard over the shoulder catch, adjusting well to the ball. He also had a TD, getting across the CB’s face easily. His hands aren’t natural – he can fight it and indeed bobbled one, but caught it at the second attempt. He muffed a punt (and in the Bowl game didn’t have a good game in this area) though. I would expect to see him run fast at the Combine, and that should see him go on day two.
One player who I’ve found difficult to get a handle on is LSU junior CB Kevin Toliver II. He’s not always in the game, but played most snaps against A&M. He has good length, but didn’t press in this one. However, he looks natural turning and running in man coverage. One question would be when the ball is in the air, as he grabbed his man twice – once PI was called, the other he got away with it. Speed wise I thought he was OK, but not a 4.3 flyer. He looked OK on the odd occasion they played zone – although his backpedal in off man looked a bit clunky (an area he struggled vs Alabama). He wasn’t thrown at much, so it’s always tough to judge – but the length and comfort in man coverage should mean he’s a top 100 pick – and if he can run low/mid 4.4’s, his stock will rise.
I watched Oregon RB Royce Freeman a bunch last season, but this was my first watch this season as he elected not to play in the Bowl game. If you can have a quiet 100+ yard game, his performance against Washington on the road was just that. I would say with him, he gets what’s blocked – and not always much more. He has flashes of power, but at times can run a little high which negates that. I don’t see a lot of “wiggle” and ability to create and I don’t know if he has a special quality that would make him a top 100 pick. He can catch, but I didn’t see much of him in pass protection. He’s been hugely productive in his college career, and I could see in the right system him having pro success – but with other backs in this class having more of a “wow factor”, I think he might be an early day three pick.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby in the Bowl game, but he played much better in this one. I was interested in his matchups with big Vita Vea and outside of one time when the Washington man got across his face, he did a nice job. He’s not a people mover as a run blocker, but he sticks well on stretch plays and he can wash defenders up the field, using their momentum against them. In pass protection he wasn’t tested against top edge speed – but he showed he can sit and mirror. His hands were up and he got his strike in early – with generally good hand placement. I could see some teams viewing him as a guard – listed at 6’5″, he looks a bit shorter. I’m also not sure he’s an elite foot athlete, so inside might make most sense.
One of the reasons I wanted to watch this game is for Washington WR/PR Dante Pettis as he was hurt for the Bowl game. He had a PR for a score in this one, which was his 9th in his college career – an NCAA record. That elite PR ability, added to his ability as a WR means he is likely going to be a top 100 pick. He also had a receiving TD, getting on top of the CB on a deep post and adjusting nicely to the ball in the air. Quite why you would punt to him, I don’t know, but he’s electric in this phase of the game and was fun to watch.
Washington RB Myles Gaskin isn’t the biggest (5’10” 191 lbs), but he’s patient and then explodes. He cuts at full speed and can defenders look silly. A junior with three years over 1,000 yards, I would expect him to declare to avoid another year of wear on his body. The size will prevent him from being a super-high pick, but he’s so exciting, I think he has a solid top 100 shot. His backup, Lavon Coleman, should be drafted. In this one, he had a fantastic TD run, getting tackled, but landing on top of the defender, keeping his balance and then heading to the end zone.