Every NFL Draft brings with it a new set of players and a new set of circumstances with which to deal with. From across the country the college player pool pumps in (and you might be astonished at this) close to 11,000 draft eligible players each season. Not all are looking to play at the next level and in fact a very small fraction even get the chance to be evaluated. The scouting combines of National Football Scouting and BLESTO will each present about 700 in the spring prior to the start of the college football season. From that number we know that roughly 250 will be selected in the annual NFL Draft. Here’s a random look at three players, at three positions, presenting three different possibilities for NFL decision makers next week. Good luck to ALL THREE!
The Football Educator
By Ron Pickett
Derek Carr: QB Fresno State (6’2” 215 lbs)
Carr has an outstanding NFL arm. Has a compact, quick release. The ball jumps out of his hand with outstanding spin. He can make all of the throws necessary for the NFL. Has tremendous touch, but can also show tremendous arm strength to fit passes into very tight windows. Very good pre-snap decision maker who knows where the ball is supposed to go on every snap. On the run, he squares his shoulders, gets downhill and has good accuracy. Quick feet in the pocket, that helps him allude the rush, reset his feet and hit his check down routes. While the rush is on, he keeps his eyes downfield anticipating a wide receiver getting open. Fast enough (4.69 40 yard dash) to escape pressure and take off in key situations to move the chains. True “student of the game” as evident by his ability to recognize coverages and pressure. Shows great leadership skills on the field.
He has a tendency to throw off of his back foot resulting in high throws. Needs to continue to work on his pocket presence and make good decisions when under pressure. Has a tendency to throw with his arm and not use his legs on all of his throws. Needs to learn to throw receivers open. He has a tendency to stare down his read and try to force the ball in. Has to learn to have better eye discipline to move safeties and open windows. Will have to learn to play under center in the NFL.
Carr has plenty of arm strength to make it in the NFL. He can make all of the throws on the passing tree and reads defense very well pre-snap. He is a natural leader and has the “it” factor that organizations are looking for. He made some big time throws in key situations in his career, both with touch and with strength to fit some throws into tight windows. He would benefit from sitting behind a veteran and learning how to use his eyes more to influence the defense, however he has the potential to start immediately. Needs to learn to climb the pocket and make smart decisions in order to be trusted as a starter in the NFL.
Carr would be the ideal answer to the quarterback situation in Cleveland. The Browns have been starving for a quarterback for the longest time and Carr could step in and learn on the fly. His arm strength, instincts, and football knowledge alone make him a first round pick. If Cleveland wants to go with Sammy Watkins early in the draft, they may have to trade up to the middle of the first round to snag Derek Carr.
Cyril Richardson: OG Baylor (6’5 329 lbs)
Very physical lineman who has a mean streak to him. Very strong athlete who is also surprisingly light on his feet. He has a consistent base of support that helps him be a run game mauler and a serviceable pass blocker. Shows potential to anchor in pass protection. Shows good knee bend at times. Quick out of his stance (although a 2-point stance) and gets into defenders and is able to steer them where he wants them to go. Shows enough balancebut could use some improvement. Uses his size and strength to manhandle defensive tackles.
Really stiff in the knees. Doesn’t bend at the knees well enough to explode into his block. Could finish off his blocks better and more consistently. Pad level tends to be a bit high upon first contact in the run game. Successful against smaller linemen, but will need to improve pad level in NFL. Quick, but not as athletic as you’d want in a zone blocking scheme guard, as he played at Baylor. Has a tendency to dictate his pull by his pre-snap split alignment. Although he tends to be light on his feet, he struggles moving laterally, especially in space. Overall size is a bit bigger than the average NFL guard. Needs to become a more consistent blocker in the passing game.
Richardson is an experienced left guard, having played every game the past three years for Baylor. He is a run game mauler at the point of attack that will need some development time at the next level. He is a tall guard at 6’5″ but is slightly over the ideal weight for a guard(305-325lbs) and has 33 7/8″ arms. He could shed some weight, making him quicker and increase his ability to move in space. His lack of bend in the knees makes him a project lineman for a team who can develop him. His skill set fits teams with a power blocking scheme more than a zone blocking scheme. Should move to right guard where he will be a serviceable blocker with a bit of development. Has the mean streak and intensity on the field that can make him an NFL starter, in time.
Richardson will fit a team with a power blocking scheme because of his inability to move in space. He struggles to bend his knees, so he’s going to need some development before starting. My guess for a scheme fit would be Pittsburgh, Green Bay or Baltimore in the 5th round.
WR – Allen Robinson: WR Penn State (6’2″, 220 lbs)
Robinson has outstanding hands and ability to make a play on a badly thrown ball. He has a large catch radius, and really excels in the screen game, creating big plays after the catch. Can leap and extend to a football well. Has a nice burst off the line of scrimmage against off man or zone coverage. Uses quickness rather than speed to create space for himself. Fluid runner with above average route running ability that needs to work on his stems (route movement before primary break) and cuts. Has the ability to turn a two yard screen into a big play with tremendous field vision, instincts and creativity. Knows how to get open and use his body to work himself free in tight areas. Has the frame to put on more size.
Lacks elite speed to become a true deep threat. Struggles to be physical at the line of scrimmage against a press corner. Doesn’t make sharp breaks consistently, slowing his route down, and giving the defender a chance to stay with him. Takes extra steps on his stem to regain his balance, particularly on double moves. Has a tendency to make catches with his body at times, but has reliable hands. Tends to run routes half speed when the play isn’t designed to go in his direction. Not a competitive blocker in the run game. Poor form when blocking allowing corners to stay low and get by him.
Despite having a true freshmen quarterback in Christian Hackenberg, Robinson excelled in 2013. He has the physical size and ability to become a starter after some development. Can be a playmaker due to his quickness and field vision, but has to become a more consistent route runner. He has the potential to be a reliable possession receiver because of his ability to catch the ball in tight areas using his frame. He needs to become a better blocker if he wants to be a three down wide receiver in the NFL. If he can’t be trusted to block and run consistent routes, coaches will see him as a niche “jump ball” wide receiver. With some refining, Robinson could become a more complete wide receiver and have success at the NFL level.
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