NFL: In depth "Scouting" Of Draft Prospects (A forum "experiment")
First I like to say that I agree whole-heartily with everything you've said. Kiper has come out and said he is his #1 prospect and I believe I even heard him say he is the best defensive prospect he has seen in years. I think this is Kiper getting caught up in the hype of the moment. Notre Dame is #1, their defense has been solid, so T'eo gets a lot of the benefits from that.
But watching him play he looks so raw and wild on the field. This isn't a player that plays under control. That maybe fine for an OLB, outside rusher, or even a one gap inside Tackle. You can play off the benefits of these positions playing that way(watch nick fairley play, theres nothing under control about him but his disruption is incredible).
At the MLB position in a 4-3 system I desperately want my MLB to be captain, a soothing presence, a player I can push all the offensive rush plays too. As is, T'eo can't do that. With that said, he is raw. Which might mean what he has done this year is all that much more impressive. Though in college you can get away with talent, at the NFL you can try to get rid of these bad habits and they will never go away and you are stuck with an Aaron Curry(or instead of stuck you used a high pick on a player that is sitting at home).
So onto specifics rather than generalizations. What am I looking for in a MLB? I want to watch his eyes and feet. Recognition is most important for a MLB. Is he fading on a run play? Is he attacking on the PA? Is he blitz engaging when he reads his running back in man coverage going to block? How does he sink into a zone and does he look to attack a player coming across within the 5 yards or is he playing passively? Does he fit onto blockers or run away or get swallowed up? Does he rip once he fits? And maybe most importantly, how does he tackle?
To the first point, he guesses. This is so blatantly obvious its confusing how during his senior year his coaches haven't attempted to fix this. He doesn't try to read his run keys. I know he is in man coverage a lot so he needs to look at the RB to see what he does but he should be looking at the RB through the guard. This is early high school stuff. Instead we see him crashing in on run plays and then immediately trying to recover in the pass game and somehow Denard Robinson can't make any throws so T'eo looks like an all-american in coverage. Scouts won't miss this.
The second point plays onto the first point. T'eo looks for big TFLs. And it looks amazing when it happens. But then there are back to back plays in the UM game where T'eo crashes into a gap and looks to have the RB dead to rights. But because he is just sprinting out of control he runs right by the RB and he doesn't even get a hand on him. If he goes to get a fit into the hole and plug it while readying himself for a pulling OL or an iso'ing player he is ready to form tackle the RB and he will get that big play(just 2 or 3 yards more upfield but still a TFL).
Which leads to MJW's point 3. He goes to take on full OL. That is just a recipe for disaster. Watch a Ray Lewis play. Now he is top 2 or 3 MLB of all time but technique wise he is still extremely sound. Lewis will never take a OL on straight on. He chooses a side, attacks half the man, and can rip under. Its flawless. T'eo does none of these. He engages a full man and then never uses a move. The one tackle I saw him make after he engaged an OL in the two tapes from this year is because the RB had no place to go but into T'eo's arms. That is fine for a DT. But for a MLB you can't be taking on 300+ guys head on. It's not like T'eo was getting iso'd by FB's, he was willingly engaging OL head up. Really going to be keying on him during the MNC. I wonder if this was just early season issues that get resolved.
As far as in the passing game, he is fine once he realizes what is going on. His guessing costs him steps though. And in the NFL thats huge gains. If T'eo is playing a pure Will LB in a 4-3, he will be deadly. But, Will is also the least important spot in a 4-3 and if you are going to use a top 3 pick on T'eo he better be playing MLB and the centerpiece of your defense.
I'm going to wait to do my full report on him until after the MNC where coaches much better than me will have 5 weeks to break him down and isolate him. As of right now, 1st round raw talent. But I can't even consider him top 10 let alone top 3. Maybe there will be two or three more films out on him and my mind will change. He just doesn't have that WOW factor that Star has let alone the technique. I'll be interested in looking at Jones to see who I feel is the best defensive player in this draft. Right now Star looks far and away it, with Jones being more valuable due to pass rushing.
When I use the word technique I'm usually talking about the whole package. Basically everything you listed. When I sit down with my head coach to talk to him about a recruit I'll list what he does well and then from that point forward those attributes are his "technique," or the general idea of what we as coaches consider perfect "technique." It's a general word that I get caught using too much probably. For the most part it's coach speak, lol.
But specifically about leg placement I just don't want to see a player leaning. His chest should be just over his legs and thats it. I'll sit and go frame by frame on some players just to see exactly how they engage. A lot of players will engage with their legs almost a full yard and half away from them. You have no power there. And make sure their hands are inside the OL. The inside man wins.
To be honest we probably spend ~2 hours a week on film. Time constraints are gigantic at the high school level. I wish we could do more but unfortunately you basically have 3 hours after school. That's it. That works to about ~12 hours a week of true practice time and you want to spend most of that on the field. It's basically 45 minutes of ourselves and 2 separate 30 minute films on our opponents.
We truly keep things simple for our players. They have to practice both offense and defense in a day. If I were at a larger school it would be different where players only play one way. But, we will do get offs, read drill(just reacting to reach blocks and fighting through them), shooting hands into the sled, and pass rush.
I'd add inside drill when I can, and more one on one stuff, oklahoma's. Defenses are simple, one gap, shoot it, limited engagement with offensive players. We concentrate more offensively than we do defensively.
Its something that very few players have. Shaun Rogers was a player of Star's size that has that kind of speed off the ball. I think Rogers is a nice comparison for Star(as long as Star has a better head on his shoulders). It's not only elite in the passing game but also in the rush game. It can take guards off their pull paths if the center is in the way and either the LB can fill faster or the player to be trapped on trap plays gets a free hit. A get off can't be overstated at how important it is.
Yeah, he got doubled, and just goes full take the play off mode. It's a half-assed effort. Unfortunately from big players that play 3 downs, its going to happen. Its a knock for sure, but also a reality of the position.
Yeah, his getoff helps a ton. But the issue becomes what if he was getting cut blocked? What if he is getting trapped? And he goes to engage and his head drops? A NFL linemen will recognize this and attempt to take advantage of this. An issue when watching college game tape of these elite players is that they are that much better than those they are playing against. This Colorado G/C/G combo is not as good as Star with all three of them put together. So talent takes over and he still looks elite(*ehem* Manti *ehem*).
The coaching staff at the NFL will have something I'm sure. As far as what exactly, I don't know. I usually have the kids hit the sled and they have to tell me what number I'm holding up. Simple but seems to get the point across. Though again, habits take over. This is a very difficult thing to correct.
Man thats such a sick play. Also realize that he recognizes he is getting doubled so he shifts all his weight into the the left hand player. Now the double team ends up having to break off as another rusher comes and the tackle has to pick him up but its that kind of recognition that makes him such an amazing athlete. Teaching that is difficult. And that kind of reaction as a junior, well, thats why he is a top 3 pick.
Its something that had to be coached up. He looks better his senior year. But really its something that needs to be out of his repertoire before he gets to the NFL. Its not a strong point and he is going to get drilled the second he turns his back to an NFL linemen, aka, facemask into the kidneys.
I haven't counted his plays but most DT's don't have 7+ minute videos. He is on the field a ton. Like I mentioned before, its a knock for sure, but something that we do come to expect from the bigger guys. Also, you saw a guy that is not used to playing in space go and play and space and get schooled. Guys that don't normally make tackles in the open, will go full ****** when they get out there.
Like I said before, he just needed to breakdown and keep his outside shoulder free. He had help inside and it would have been a sack. Really is the ugliest play he has in the all the films we look at.
Watch his hands. He is hand fighting from the start. He gets an incredible punch. The OG is completely off balance. Once he recognizes it its full bull rush time. There is no need for an inside move, no need to swim, no need to finesse, just run this mother****er over and crush the QB's soul. It truly is an utterly outstanding play. Its plays like this that shine on tape. This is what you want when looking for those early round picks, plays that just say, "Only a handful of people make this play."
"Finishing." I see what you are saying but I'm going to disagree. He has an OG draped on him. That is easily a holding call on the OG. Yeah he should make the tackle but as far as I'm concerned he drew a 10 yard penalty(that wasn't called) showed elite ability, and hit the RB in the back field. Yeah, you want the TFL, and you want the play to be over. So you take off for that, but he shows so much more before that, and stuff that overall is more important.
As far as the losing his cool, I'm giving Star the benefit of the doubt. You learn more about these players when you talk to them. It's a 17-14 game, middle of the 4th quarter. He really wants to make a play for his team and help them out. They desperately need this game. He goes for more of a trip than kick(its not a Suh situation). Is it wrong and dangerous? Yes, of course. But one is malicious and the other is a 21 year old making an error of judgement on the field.
I'd have to see interviews and realistically the sit down with him will tell us more about his character. He doesn't really show much of that else where.
Consistency is #1. Its a great point you bring up. From looking at film over the past two drafts, its definitely a common issue among all DL is consistency. It's something that is lacked. Star shows a good amount of it though.
Jarvis Jones, OLB
Jones has been touted as the best edge rusher in the country and perhaps the best prospect on the defensive side of the ball. I'd like to offer a dissenting opinion.
I'm a huge fan of unteachable attributes, or ones that don't figure to change much at the NFL level. Ridonk get off, ideal size, lateral movement, and just overall athletic ability. When I look at Jones, I'm skeptical of his size. At 6-2 242, he's almost certainly going to be too small to play defensive end at the next level. People have been comparing him to Von Miller, which I think is loltastic. Miller ran a 4.4 at the same weight as Jones. Miller's flexibility, athleticism, and burst off the edge were (and still are) elite. Considering how small Jones is, I question whether he has the speed off the edge or athleticism to compensate. He looks less than magnificent against Florida.
1:00: Off-balance at the point of attack, gets dominated and pushed backwards as a result. Doesn't look strong enough.
1:06: Can't beat the chip, lets the RB right past him.
1:25: Keeps contain on the QB, but still takes too wide of an angle and misses an opportunity to blow up the play. I'm not sure if he took that angle because he isn't athletic enough to keep contain after taking a sharper angle or if he just took a meh angle. He's being compared to Von Miller; Miller gets the tackle for loss a high % here because of his superior flexibility and get off.
1:32: RT seemed to jump slightly too far outside and gave up some leverage to Jones. Still a nice shed. Sticks the RB on his back.
2:13: Would like to see a better effort after his move inside.
2:20: Violent hands, beats his man around the edge, but loses balance. Gives up for a 1/2 second, but a nice hit on the ball on his second effort.
2:55: Stacks and sheds nicely, solid stop.
3:05: Pushes the TE backward, gets off his man, plasters the RB.
3:36: Keeps contain, doesn't look especially nimble attacking the QB.
4:45: Would like to see him beat the LG on the stunt, who happens to be way off balance. Lacks an elite burst.
5:54: Type of play that he would never make in the NFL. RG is late getting over, allowing Jones to blow up the player, even after a lol spin move.
6:21: Unblocked off the edge. Poor change of direction. He didn't seem to be out of control either which worries me a bit, as it may be a talent issue and not an instance of excessive overpursuit.
7:42: This is a play that probably gets overrated as an OMG SPLASH PLAY when you watch the game in real time. When you break it down, it's not a particularly impressive play. It's a nice call, but there's some wasted movement as he starts to get upfield. Then, the center essentially pushes Jones into the QB, making Jones seem faster than he is.
8:43: Seriously run hotter. He initially backed off so he wouldn't take himself out of the play immediately if it was a run. When he recognizes play action, the LT gifts him a sack with a pathetic effort.
9:28: One of his better rushes, nice inside move.
9:53: Bad bad bad. Loses contain on the outside. Again, what worries me is that he only slightly overpursued and wasn't able to recover. A player with better speed and change of direction would probably be able to compensate for this and perhaps even blow up the play. Terrible missed tackle on the end of the play. Tbh it's tough to tell if he gave up on the play or if he really is that unathletic. May be a fatigue issue as he looks gassed after whiffing on the tackle.
10:03: Solid hustle play and strip.
After watching Lotulelei, who dominates on such a high % of plays, I think it's obvious Jones is the inferior prospect. He looks to be pretty polished in the run game, at least in comparison to past pass rushing prospects. I'm impressed with his ability to shed blocks in the run game, but I'm underwhelmed by his strength and athleticism. I don't think he possesses an elite burst, and I think he has shown meh change of direction and lateral movement. He needs to gain at least 10 lbs and get faster. I'm curious to see how he shows up at the combine, because atm, he looks like a 4.7 40 guy when he needs to be a 4.5 guy. I feel like he's good-great in a lot of areas, but not elite in many. He reminds me in that sense of Cameron Jordan, who fell to the Saints at #24 in 2011. Jordan excelled in a lot of areas in college, but he doesn't have an elite burst and he has been underwhelming as a pass rusher in the NFL. Miller went 2nd overall two years and was two inches taller but was nearly the identical weight. He was an athletic freak and was absurdly strong for his size. The difference between Jones and Miller is obvious. Talk of Jones going #2 seems lol. I don't think he's a top 15 pick and I'll be surprised if he turns into an elite pass rusher. I think there's a decent chance his game won't translate super well and he ends up as an afterthought.
Maybe I'm being too picky but I think Jones is wildly overrated. I'd love for some comments and even for someone else to writeup one of his other games, cause I'm sure he has some better tape.