Scouting Notes - 27 Jan 2009

Teams that are in need of a running back are concerned about Chris “Beanie” Wells injury history. The red flags being raised are likely to push him behind Knowshon Moreno & LeSean McCoy. As you see with our latest mock draft, Wells doesn’t project into the first round any more.

On that note, injury concerns didn’t stop Carolina from taking Jonathan Stewart in the first round last year.

According to our sources, the 2009 season may be the last chance for quarterback Jason Campbell to get things “right” or the team may proceed to look in another direction in regards to their franchise quarterback.

An anonymous NFL scout relayed the message that Wisconsin tight end Travis Beckum will likely get his looks in the 6th or 7th round of the draft. Prior to breaking his leg, Beckum was being perceived as a big slow wide receiver, rather than a tight end. He does have good hands but his speed is questionable and he isn’t the soundest blocker in his class.

Three prospects that have potentially fallen out of the first round for good, before the combine: OC Alex Mack (California), ILB James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), and CB Darius Butler (Connecticut).

Stay tuned to Sideline Scouting for more news and notes as we get them.

Five Players That Will Boost Their Stock for 2010

The 2009 NFL Draft seen a less than anticipated number of prospects declare. Potential studs such as Taylor Mays (safety, Southern Cal) and Jermaine Gresham (tight end, Oklahoma) elected to return to school despite staring down a barrel of millions of dollars. The aforementioned players, as well as some others should enter the 2010 NFL Draft with the same relative value.

To the contrary, some players did themselves a favor by returning to school to improve on their game. Each year, we see prospects that are not ready for the NFL level declare and do little to nothing on the next level, as they are not prepared.

Arthur Jones (Syracuse)

Arthur Jones, a defensive tackle from Syracuse, should be in the running for a first round selection next season. At 6′4″, 296 lbs., Jones brings an insanely strong presence to the gridiron. By sticking around at Syracuse, he will have an opportunity to break Dwight Freeney’s all-time school record of tackles for a loss.

Jared Odrick (Penn State)

Another defensive tackle, this one from Penn State, has a strong and menacing presence on the interior. He recovered strong from two injuries in 2007 that ended his season to finish with 9.5 tackles for a loss, including 4.5 sacks from the middle. When fellow teammates Maurice Evans & Aaron Maybin declared, many speculated that Odrick would follow suit. He didn’t and with that he has a chance to become a first round selection in 2010.

Naaman Roosevelt (Buffalo)

This wide receiver from the Bulls was watched carefully by us at Sideline Scouting due to his unbelievable production in 2008 where he caught 104 balls for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has decent size at 6′0″, 190 lbs., but we would like to see him produce that highly once again. Although, Roosevelt did catch 63 receptions last year. He must improve on his route running though and if he does that, Roosevelt could be a second round pick in 2010.

Brandon Lang (Troy)

One of the more unheralded defensive ends in football came close to entering the 2009 NFL Draft but resisted to his lack of media exposure. He was near the top nationally in sacks and tackles for a loss. Don’t let his school deceive you either as Troy has a pipeline to the NFL which includes Osi Umeniyora, DeMarcus Ware, and Leodis McKelvin. All eyes will be on Gainesville on Sept. 12 when Lang’s Trojans walk into the home of the Florida Gators. Scouts will be paying close attention as Lang has first round upside.

Syd’Quan Thompson (California)

The knock on Thompson is that he may measure in at just 5′8″ but that doesn’t stop him from defending every pass within sight. Thompson is a natural playmaker that does extremely well in zone coverage. He needs to improve in man-to-man but no one can overlook his 4 interceptions. Add in the fact that he is one of the more prolific punt returners in the Pac-10 and Thompson has the perfect formula to be a first or second round pick next year. He needs to bulk up though since he is just 185 lbs. soaking wet and looks rather fragile.

Senior Bowl Winners and Losers

The 2009 Senior Bowl lacked the star power of previous games but several players were out to prove that they had the inside track to more money come draft day. With a lot to be desired for some positions, especially at defensive tackle, prospects performed their way to the top of draft boards during the four days of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl game on Saturday.


DT B.J. Raji (Boston College)
B.J. Raji was utterly explosive all week during practices. Already considered to be one of the top two defensive tackles, Raji may have locked up a top 15 selection when he dominated Oregon State OG Andy Levitre. Raji simply outworked his counterparts and put on a display of size and speed that Mobile has not seen since Brodrick Bunkley came through in 2006.

DT Evander “Ziggy” Hood (Missouri)
Hood set the tone early for his domination by out-maneuvering Cal center Alex Mack on Monday. While he didn’t really stand out the rest of the week, Hood’s strength should show on Saturday during the game. His knowledge of the game was impressive and therefore he should be a lock for at least the second round.

WR Derrick Williams (Penn State)
Derrick Williams put on a clinic all week long in practice. He showed the other wide receivers (and d-back’s) how to come out of a break and get separation by way of speed and proper route running. Williams also practiced as a punt returner where his skill set appears to be satisfying.

DE Larry English (Northern Illinois)
English is a possible outside linebacker in a 3-4. Still, he said he would love to get drafted by the Chicago Bears. He may not be around for them in the second round though, especially after his performance during the practices in Mobile. English showed his good motor, lateral quickness, and great moves.

TE Shawn Nelson (Southern Miss)
Shawn Nelson is one of the five best tight ends according to us. He is having one of the best week’s a tight end has ever had at the Senior Bowl. He catches everything plus his blocking is very good. He uses his hands, not his body, to reel in the reception.

CB Coye Francies (San Jose State)
One of the more unheralded defensive backs had a good week of practice in Mobile. He stays low and grounded, shows excellent balance, and is physical with the wide receiver from the snap. In 11-on-11 drills, he showed excellent coverage skills.

RB Andre Brown (North Carolina State)
Brown is from the Brandon Jacobs-variety. He has showed a powerful inside running ability all week long. Likely, he could get drafted within the first four rounds. Still, will he be another Jacobs or an Eric Shelton?

OT Jason Watkins (Florida)
Watkins was surprisingly consistent all week long. He has good, quick feet and is very fundamentally sound. He was hardly beaten off of the tackle all week long and showed enough for us to like him in the rush offense.


OT Phil Loadholt (Oklahoma)
Like we have said, Loadholt is a very big boy but has very slow feet. He was beaten more this week than he has all season (which makes us question how good Oklahoma’s offensive line really was). Loadholt was almost likable for the second round of the draft but we have to now say that he is nothing more than a mid-rounder at best.

CB Darius Butler (Connecticut)
The wide receivers that he faced this week wiped the floor with him. Butler may have been too aggressive and bit extremely hard on any pump fake or side-step, but he was simply terrible in man coverage and will not be a first round selection.

OG Andy Levitre (Oregon State)
After getting beat a lot this week, Levitre almost got into a fight on Wednesday with USF’s Tyrone McKenzie. Levitre has some work to do as he doesn’t combat any swim-like move real well. His injury history raises some red flags as well.

OLB Clint Sintim (Virginia)
Sintim, one of our favorite prospects, struggled getting any pressure from the edge and looked slow compared to the other defenders. While we can’t ignore what he did on Saturday’s, something wasn’t clicking this week in Mobile for him.

CB Domonique Johnson (Jackson State)
Hoping to be this year’s small school high-riser, Johnson has failed to impress. He struggled in zone and man coverage all week. He doesn’t get off of blocks well either.

S Derek Pegues (Mississippi State)
Needs a ton of work on his tackling, as we seen with the practices where coaches were focused on improving that area of the game. Speed was inconsistent and Pegues seemed to play out of his element a lot this past week.

Of course, more guys looked good and more struggled than we mentioned but we just wanted to point out our winners & losers. The winners should see their stock improve while the opposite should happen with the losers.

Pat White won’t give up dream

Yes, sir, it’s a time for Steelers fans to smile. But White, who calls Rod Woodson his all-time favorite player, lost his smile when the name Antwaan Randle El was mentioned.

Randle El, of course, gave up his quarterback dream when he came to the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver. He still is one – a rich one. So, will White, who’s very similar to Randle El coming into the draft, follow in his footsteps and try to play wide receiver this week?

“No,” he said. “In my mind I’m a quarterback until they tell me I’m not.”

White, of course, was a terrific quarterback at WVU. He quarterbacked the school to bowl wins over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and North Carolina, and was MVP of the last three. He threw for 6,049 yards and rushed for 4,480 – similar to Randle El, who threw for 7,469 yards and rushed for 3,895 yards at Indiana. But Randle El went to the Senior Bowl to play for the Steelers’ staff as a wide receiver, and he was drafted in the second round to play that position. Randle El returned kicks and threw several passes for the Steelers, the most famous of which was a touchdown pass to Hines Ward in Super Bowl XL. But the key to the equation is that he volunteered to show coaches he could play another position. Pat White has not, nor does he intend to.

“He’s made it known that he’d like to be given a shot to play quarterback,” said South coach Jack DelRio. “I think we acknowledge and recognize he’s got some skill with the ball in his hand, but people are going to want to see him as a slot receiver or some other position.”

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