Category Archives: college prospects

2015 NFL Draft: Top Quarterbacks

Chris Schisler

Assuming the Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Brett Hundley declare for the draft, they headline the event. Some will try to sell you others like Clint Trickett or Connor Cooks, but its all about the big 3. Here is my first evaluation of these 3 quarterbacks.
1.) Jameis Winston
Positives:

Good Arm Talent
Accuracy
Clutch, winner
Dual threat, instinctive runner
Extends Plays, wants to throw first
Hard to bring down
Teammates love him

Negatives:
Needs quicker release
Inconsistent footwork
Throws too many interceptions
Takes too many sacks
Extending plays often hurts his team
He acts like a clown, gets in trouble
Does not seem to be the brightest
Overview: Winston has the talent to play in the NFL. He will however be a bit of a project. His advocates say he reminds them of Roethlisberger. His critics would say its not worth the trouble. This quarterback, more than any, needs the right situation.

2.) Marcus Mariota
Positives:
Takes care of the ball
Rolls out of pocket, extends plays
Quick and elusive, hard to sack
Puts great zip on the football
Accuracy
Footwork and throwing mechanics
Negatives:
Needs to read defenses better
Relies on feet too much
Overview: Mariota should be a bit of a puzzle. He has every desirable attribute but the question is will his game translate to the NFL? He comes from a spread offense with a lot of dink, dunks and screen passes, and has superior talent around him.

3.) Brett Hundley
Positives:
Dual Threat
Big and tough
Good deep ball
Throws so receiver can keep running
Great leader, very poised
Big hands
Negatives:
Injury prone
Needs to work on touch on passes
Footwork can be sloppy
Needs to read defense better
Overview: Hundley reminds me of Steve McNair. I see him as a future star but there is a lot of growth his game needs.

Reactions: Manziel Pro Day

Moments ago SportsCenter concluded its coverage of the Johnny Manziel pro day. While pro days are wildly overhyped in the first place, ESPN built it up like a Monday Night Football game. Pro days are important in a sense because it is a showcase of your talent. Manziel’s pro day was an opportunity to calm down NFL decision makers on his inconsistent mechanics. Here are my reactions to Manziel’s performance:

1.) Manziel was ready for the spotlight. Manziel decided to throw wearing shoulder pads and a helmet; this made the work out unique because it is normally done in shorts and a T-Shirt. This unique decision to wear pads was perceived as a risk and generated the eager pre pro day atmosphere. I like this. Football is played in pads and this made it a nice dress rehearsal for the NFL.

2.) Manziel showed great balance. One of Johnny Football’s flaws at Texas A&M was inconsistent footwork. Sometimes he would throw off his back-foot sometimes would extend to far into the throw becoming unbalanced. In the work out Manziel’s drop-backs were smooth and he transferred the weight to his back foot to his front foot well. I love that he did a lot of work from under center, something he showed very infrequently in his collegiate career.

3.) Manziel was accurate and his throws were on time. Manziel displayed great anticipation however the workout was obviously scripted. With only one really poor pass the football only hit the ground twice. Manziel displayed a really quick release. There is concern about his throwing angle and his critics note there will be tipped passes in the NFL. I believe this to be an overblown criticism. People had a problem with Dan Marino’s side arm throwing habit and look how that turned out (though it must be noted that Marino had standard QB size that Manziel does not.)

All in all this was a positive showing for the College Station legend. I put little weight into pro days. In a draft class with three very closely ranked quarterbacks, Manziel did not hurt his stock. Pro days have the ability to unfairly plummet your draft stock, just ask Teddy Bridgewater. If you liked Manziel coming into the work out you feel the same afterwards. If you disliked Manziel’s game prior to the workout you probably feel the same.

Draft Profile: CJ Mosley LB Alabama

Draft Profile: CJ Mosley LB Alabama

By Chris Schisler

CJ Mosley was the leader of one of college football’s best defenses. The Alabama linebacker is an every down middle linebacker, something that has become hard to find in the pass happy NFL. Mosley is an insane athlete and can be a great player in the pros.

Positives

1.) Every Down LB: It is hard to find an interior linebacker that you don’t have to substitute out of the game in passing situations. Mosley is great against the run and has the athletic ability to drop back into a zone. He may struggle to cover some of the bigger tight ends but most linebackers do. Mosley is a true sideline to sideline headhunter.

2.) Instincts: Mosley must love defense because he reads and reacts faster than most people can. He understands the game and it comes naturally to him. Mosley plays the game with lightning quick instincts that make him fly on the football field. When you put that instinctual feel for the game with his athletic ability you have a dang good football player.

3.) Textbook tackling: Mosely has perfected the lost art of tackling. He wraps up and runs through. The most impressive part of Mosely’s game is the drive he gets of his legs. The lower body strength of this linebacker is incredible.

4.) Off the charts athletically: Mosley had a great combine with a 35 inch vertical jump and a 118 inch broad jump. This tells me two things. The first is he has incredible explosiveness. The second is that he is a gym rat. These are two things I love in a football player.

Concerns

1.) Shedding blocks: Mosley may get caught in the trash in the NFL. Mosley could often get there before the blocker could reach him at Alabama. When he fought off blocks Mosley simply over powered the offensive lineman. While this is impressive he has to find new ways of shedding off blocks in the NFL.

2.) Size: Despite being a physical specimen some consider Mosley to be too small. 3-4 teams will be more concerned with that as they have to play Mosley on the weak side of the interior.

Common Sense Football Prospect Ranking

Mosley is ranked 7th on the CSF Official Big Board

NFL Comparison: Ray Lewis

I am not saying that CJ Mosley is going to be great like Ray Lewis. Ray was the greatest of all time (not arguably too me this is fact) and we cannot put that expectation on CJ. The two players however have such a similar style of play and they are comparable athletes at least by the measurables. Mosley will be good but no one is Ray Lewis good.

Draft Profile: Mike Evans WR TAMU

Draft Profile: Mike Evans WR TAMU

By Chris Schisler

Mike Evans is a big bad wolf playing wide receiver. Mike Evans was Johnny Football’s go to guy at Texas A&M for good reason. Evans is a dominant receiver with a physical toolset to make NFL scouts drool.

Positives:

1.) Big Frame: Evans is an impressive 6’5” wide out with 35.8” long arms. To make these numbers more impressive lets add his 37 inch vertical jump to the conversation. Evans can catch just about any jump ball and Johnny Manziel took advantage of his back shoulder pass proficiency.

2.) Catches well in traffic: Evans will excel in the redzone. He goes up and gets the ball at its highest point and grabs it out of the air with gusto. It is hard to break his concentration and can catch the ball in traffic with the best of them.

3.) He Won’t Be Bullied Around: Evans is a physical receiver and will get off the line fine against physical corners. In the NFL you can play physical within the first 5 yards. This won’t be a problem for Mike Evans.

4.) Great Possession WR: Evans is not going to be a speed daemon in the NFL but he does not need to be. Evans runs good routes and creates leverage in passing routes. When you need a first down Evans is the way to go. Evans runs like a halfback with the ball in his hands, he is not shy of contact. YAC (Yards After Catch) is why you have to yap about this prospect. (Forgive my cheesy nature).

Concerns

1.) Ego: Like many good wide outs, Mike Evans is a bit narcissistic. Like the QB who threw him the ball at TAMU, Evans is really into himself. He wants the ball and he may get frustrated if he does not get it enough.

2.) Hands: Evans has good hands but drops some of the easy ones from time to time.

3.) Evans does not have great speed and depends on his size to be dominant.

Common Sense Prospect Ranking:

Mike Evans is ranked 11 on the CSF Big Board.

NFL Comparison: Anquan Boldin

Draft Profile: Eric Ebron TE UNC

Draft Profile: Eric Ebron TE UNC

By Chris Schisler

Eric Ebron is one of the most impressive athletes in the 2014 NFL draft class. A tight end with his speed and size is almost unfair for NFL defenses. Ebron will be a future playmaker and is worthy of a top 15 selection come May 8, 2014.

Positives:

1.) Athletic Ability: Ebron is a fast tight end with a big 6’4” body. He ran a respectable 4.60 40 time but I think this is misleading. He plays a bit faster than that on the football field. He has great leaping ability and can make the tough catches in traffic.

2.) Red Zone Threat: Ebron is dominant in the red zone. Much of this is to do with his ability to go up and grab just about anything. With long strong arms and great jumping ability the circus catch is routine for Eric Ebron.

3.) Mismatch Creator: Eric Ebron is too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs. Covering Ebron is not something that will be easy.

Concerns:

1.) Height: You would like Ebron to be a bit taller than 6’4”. Jimmy Graham for example is 6’7” and has similar athleticism to Ebron. This is nitpicking though as the physical tools make Ebron just as dangerous as Graham.

2.) Hands: Ebron does not have flawless hands and he drops some easy ones despite catching the improbable with relative ease.

Common Sense Prospect Ranking:

Eric Ebron is ranked 8th on the CSF big board.

NFL Comparison: Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis is a comparable 6’3” with comparable measurables. I think however that Ebron may end up being a better version of Davis

Draft Profile: Trent Murphy DE/OLB Stanford

Draft Profile: Trent Murphy DE/OLB Stanford

By Chris Schisler

Trent Murphy is a very solid prospect to say the least. Murphy looks more like an outside linebacker in a 3-4 than a defensive end but could play either position very well. Murphy is 6’6” and 250 pounds. He has long arms and is gifted at knocking down short passes from quarterbacks on the edge. Murphy is a strong player who is willing to sacrifice his body for the good of the team.

Positives

1.) Ideal Size: Murphy looks the part. Murphy is not the most athletic prospect at his position but his size is not an issue.

2.) High FBI: Murphy has a trait that many Stanford football players have; he is intelligent. Most importantly Murphy has a high Football IQ. He understands his responsibilities in run defense, and is good when responsible for outside contain. The more I look at Murphy, the more I am enamored with his football smarts. He does not out run a play and takes good pursuit angles. Murphy is disciplined against the option; he makes the QB make a choice and puts himself in position to make a play either way. The option is not such a big thing in the NFL but the zone read is becoming prevalent. Murphy has tons of experience with this… just ask the Oregon Ducks.

3.) High Motor: Trent Murphy is relentless in his pursuit of the football. I watched Stanford a good bit this past season. I was very impressed with Murphy. He is a good athlete but is not dominantly gifted like a Jadeveon Clowney. His heart makes him a beast.

4.)  Textbook tackler: Anyone who knows me knows I am picky when it comes to great tackling. Trent Murphy passes the Chris Schisler eyeball test when it comes to tackling. This is not an easy feat.

Weaknesses/ Concerns

1.) I would like to see more explosiveness from an outside linebacker. He was a good pass rusher in the NFL but this may not translate right away in the pros. There are better athletes at his position all though he has all the intangibles you would want.

Common Sense Prospect Ranking

Murphy is ranked 29th overall on the Common Sense Football Big Board. He has good value as a late 1st round pick to a mid-second rounder.

NFL Comparison: Jared Johnson

Jared Johnson has been in the league since he was drafted by the Ravens in 2003. A veteran starter, Johnson has been a productive player because of his heart and high football IQ. Johnson is now a San Diego Charger.

Draft Profile: Aaron Murray: What Has To Be Said.

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By Chris Schisler

Aaron Murray seems to be the forgotten quarterback of the 2014 QB crop. The 6’1” 210 pound QB from Georgia merits a first round grade. He is arguably the most prolific SEC quarterback since Peyton Manning attended Tennessee; Murray is the SEC leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Another thing in Murray’s corner is that he has more experience than any other quarterback in this draft class as a 4 year starter in college’s most prolific football conference. Murray is thought of as a 3rd or 4th round talent and it really makes me scratch my head. If I was looking for a franchise quarterback, I would have to consider the huge presence Aaron Murray has under center.

Maybe I am crazy; I’m sure draft Twitter will jump over me like hyenas out for blood. I just can’t help but be a fan of Aaron Murray. In his freshman year he threw for 3,049 yards, 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. His sophomore year he threw for 3,149 yards, 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. While that was a high number of interceptions, Murray still had a TD to INT ratio of 7 TD for every INT. 2012 was Aaron Murray’s biggest statistical season in which he threw for 3,893 yards, 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The moral of this statistical talk is that Aaron Murray’s production on the football should speak for itself.

Murray is not a boom or bust player. The truth is I could see Blake Bortles and Derrick Carr as exactly that. Bortles was not even on most people’s radars until his UCF Knights beat Louisville halfway through the season. There is no doubt that Bortles has the physical tools but his value is on his potential not what he is right now. When I look at Derrick Carr I honestly fear he could be a Kyle Boller type player. Carr has a rocket arm and is a physical specimen at the quarterback position. That being said he played at the smaller stage of Fresno State. and he has not always been impressive when in the spotlight. This was evidenced by Carr and his Fresno State Bull Dogs getting shellacked by a USC team that got their coach fired during the season. Brian Billick fell in love with Kyle Boller the athlete from Cal (A big school, but the comparison still works). When Boller got to the NFL he was exposed as a train wreck of a quarterback. Derrick Carr has potential but he is far from a sure fire thing in the pros. You know exactly what you will get in Aaron Murray. Murray will be a good quarterback right away and eventually I believe he might be great.

The most impressive thing to me is that Aaron Murray has gotten better in every season of his collegiate career. Before his ACL injury 2013 was his most impressive seasons although his junior year was the statistical peak. Georgia’s offense seemed like a M.A.S.H. unit in 2013 with many injuries. Murray faced adversity and played at a high level. The consistent improvement each season shows that Murray is coachable. What I see in Aaron Murray is a guy who has been depended on as a leader to take the Georgia Bull Dogs through the SEC gauntlet for 4 years. In other words Murray has the intangibles to go along with his talent.

Murray has a strong arm and can make every NFL throw. Murray is mechanically sound, with good accuracy and anticipation. He has a very strong pocket presence. Like the best NFL quarterbacks he is great at stepping up into the pocket or rolling out to his right while remaining a passer, keeping his eyes downfield. The ability to extend the play and make something special happen is the most undersold element of his impressive skill set. Murray has a high football IQ and was as impressive as anybody in college football in the clutch moments of the game.

Murray is not perfect but I do think his flaws are overblown when people talk about his draft stock. Murray’s biggest flaw is that he tends to stare down receivers at times, a cardinal sin that leads to interceptions. Murray keeps his eyes downfield and throws some seemingly blind short passes. Murray will make some boneheaded throws. I once said about Murray that I never knew what to think about him. He can be so impressive and be on a complete tear and then make a frustrating mistake. There is a Brett Favre like quality to Murray who is best when he just lets it fly. Sometimes it is hard to root for Aaron Murray but it’s even harder not to.

This is a quarterback who is not a finished product and is more of project than some coaches want to take on. I would argue however that he has the highest floor other than Teddy Bridgewater and that his ceiling is very high. I see Aaron Murray as a first round talent but I seem to be in the minority in that opinion. Murray will likely go in the third round and he will be an absolute steal. The worst you’re going to get in Murray is an Andy Dalton. He may end up being a great quarterback. Say what you will about me because I said what needed to be heard. I have no problem putting my reputation on the line by saying that Murray is a stud QB prospect and the most underrated player in this draft class.

 

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