BRIAN ALLEN OC #65 MICHIGAN STATE 6’2/305 Being a solid college player does not necessarily mean the pro game is in a player’s future. Size, athleticism, etc. often end up derailing pro aspirations for dozens of solid players each season. And then there are the guys who play well in college, don’t quite measure up athletically, and yet still make the grade because of that we usually call grit and determination, or more romantically “heart”. Which brings us to this Spartans player who has forged a solid career in the Big Ten and has an older brother who is already kicking around the NFL since his graduation a couple of years ago. ALLEN is the heartbeat of a very young MSU OL unit, and is clearly being looked at by NFL Personnel People. He’s strong and smart, which get him off to a good start as a prospect. He gives his all and is an absolute pain for DL to deal with all day long. He may have enough versatility to play at OG as a back-up, having more college starts at OG. I think he has draftable qualities and expect to see him at an All-Star Game in January. He may be a late round draftee or another URFA, but on the right team, with the right coaching staff he has a chance. In fact he reminds me of another overachiever who has hung around the NFL for a decade in A.Q. SHIPLEY of the Cardinals.
MARCUS BAUGH TE #85 OHIO STATE 6’5/250 Let’s start this thumbnail by saying the TE in Urban Meyer’s offensive scheme is not targeted a whole lot. Just ask a guy like NICK VANNETT, who plays for the Sea Hawks. But BAUGH is perhaps the best overall athlete, for a Buckeye TE in the Meyer era in Columbus. He blocked his butt off as the Buckeyes buried the Spartans last Saturday. And he also had his usual production as a receiver with 3 catches for 30 yards. He shows some pretty solid run-after-catch ability, either running through people or hurdling tacklers on occasion. He also presents a large target radius for his QB to throw to with his length. This looks like a pretty solid, if unspectacular year for TE in the Draft. But several of those prospects are really H-B/hybrid FB types. BAUGH has the size and skills to be a true inline TE. His production as a receiver should only go up in the NFL. His skill set says to me 4th or 5th Round.
ORLANDO BROWN OT #78 OKLAHOMA 6’7/345 JR When you see BROWN come out of the tunnel and onto the football field you can’t help but think of that long, lean monster, future HOFer JONATHAN OGDEN. But there are games his work ethic is a bit lacking. Last weekend against TCU he clearly felt the urgency and had a productive, if not dominant game. IMO, OGDEN was like that at times. You expect pancake blocks constantly but don’t see them. He doesn’t always play to the whistle. He will blow up the Combine when he gets measured with his length, wingspan and general appearance in his underwear. He’s a bit slow footed for my taste, but he will get to second level blocks. He plays a bit too high, but what can we expect from a guy who’s at least 6’7, if not taller. He needs a much stronger hand punch at the end of those long arms. We saw him at his best Saturday in the 2nd Quarter when he pulled from LT, all the way across to the right side of the defense, at the second level, and a got a dominant seal block that wiped out a LB. I would guess he declares for the 2018 Draft and goes in the middle of Round 1. He looks like Top 10 material, but doesn’t quite play at that elite of a level all the time. He is the son of NFL player of the same name who was nicknamed ZEUS and hd a 10+ year career. If he can pick up his intensity to the nasty level his daddy played at this is a potential perennial Pro Bowler.
ERIC COTTON DE #80 STANFORD 6’6/275 This is the case of a curiosity to my scouting eye after watching Stanford take down Washington on The Farm. Stanford, since the Harbaugh days, kind of became TE-U for NFL scouts. And they have been traditional TE types not the undersized, pass-catching hybrid style. COTTON was caught in the backlog at that position and started over as DE for the Cardinal. He’s a long, slightly lean guy with vines for arms. He has not much of an idea what he’s doing right now. He plays way too upright and does not know how to, or have the strength (maybe both) to keep OL blockers off his body. But I saw that flash several times against the Huskies, that makes you wonder what he might become as say a 3-4 DE at the pro level. What I see here is a possible diamond in the rough who should not be drafted, but as an URFA with a couple of seasons of pro coaching and weight training on an NFL Practice Squad, perhaps he eventually helps fill out a DL rotation. If you watch a Stanford game watch for #80, with a patient eye. Try to see what he might develop into.
CARLTON DAVIS CB #6 AUBURN 6’1/202 JR This was another player that jumped off the screen to me while watching the UGA/AUBURN showdown. He has potential to develop into an NFL lock-down CB from what I saw. He is absolutely fearless in covering opponents in man-press roles. He has very nice size, and has been a 3-year starter for the Tigers. The only check mark against DAVIS that I see is a bit of concern about his having only 1 INT in 2 1/2 seasons. But conversely he has had double digit PBU numbers every season. For the game against Georgia DAVIS was credited with 6 tackles, 4 of them solo, and 2 PBU. Watching his demeanor he reminds me of a slightly smaller version of RICHARD SHERMAN/Seattle. He has that panache’ which comes with one-on-one confidence, bordering on arrogance. He’s also a willing participant in supporting run game defense. In the UGA game some of his best work was defending along the sidelines. He screened off receivers from escaping the sideline to get back into the field of play and jumped in to breakup multiple sideline throws. I have to think he’s leaning toward entering the 2018 NFL Draft after starting for 3 straight years in the SEC. He surely looks ready to me! I wold presume he’d post good numbers at the Combine, and be a threat to go in Round 1.
CHRIS HERNDON TE #23 MIAMI (F) 6’4/252 Count me among those who think MARK RICHT is a very good fit at his alma mater as their Head Coach. And I am surprised that he is doing so well, so soon in Miami. But let us not discount the fact that AL GOLDEN did some fine recruiting while piloting the Hurricanes program. HERNDON was in the 2014 recruiting class and has progressed nicely as a player for the ‘Canes. HERNDON has never really been a featured receiver in the Offense, which has become all too typical with today’s college spread offenses. But HERNDON has the talent and skill versatility to stay on the field for all downs. Despite weighing a tad over 250 lbs. he still has above average TE speed. He’s a dependable pass catcher and can go the distance if he sees a crease in the secondary, and can accelerate to full speed. Against ND he caught 4 balls for 30 yards. Watching the ‘Canes demolish Notre Dame last Saturday night I noticed him lined up in the slot on multiple occasions. I also saw him execute some effective blocking when lined up inline. But he will need some fine tuning as a blocker both in technique and aggressiveness. With his overall skill set I could see any NFL team having interest in him since he looks capable of performing as an H-B/FB/TE hybrid. He’s not in the Top 3 TE group (ANDREWS/GESICKI/FUMAGALLI) but should be in the next cluster, which should slot him for early Day 3 Draft selection position.
KERRYON JOHNSON RB #21 AUBURN 6’0/210 JR Always luv it when I get the note pad out to watch a big time game, like GEORGIA/AUBURN, and I just watch the game and do literally wait for players to catch my eye. As often as not a player I was not truly looking for on that day just jumps off the screen. If you watched that game then you know why KERRYON is on this weeks list. He was literally the Auburn Offense in this game. It’s not easy to carry the ball 32 times in one game against an outstanding UGA Defense. But they just kept giving him the ball and his results never dropped off. He finished the day with 167 rushing yards, which figures out to a solid 5.2 ypc. Just to paint the prospect picture he also caught 2 balls for another 66 yards and 1 TD. The TD was a short pass in the flat that he took 55 yards to the house. JOHNSON has been carrying the Auburn ground game almost exclusively thanks to injuries that have plagued running mate PETTWAY who ran for over 1200 yards last season.JOHNSON is smooth runner with great vision at the second level. He weaves his way through secondaries. He also can power for short yardage between the tackles. Combine that with his soft hands as a receiver and he could be a No. 1 RB in the NFL. I would expect him to cash in on this great season by declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft. I would expect him to test well at the Combine and be a first rounder next April.
R.J. McINTOSH DT #80 MIAMI (F) 6’4/295 JR R.J. looks like a very solid prospect for a DT slot in a 4-3 NFL defensive scheme. He shows exceptional pursuit ability and hustle. Quickness is a big part of his game. He’s an excellent prospect for some team that likes to loop their DL around each other to confuse blocking schemes. He also shows good strength for his size. Against Notre Dame he hustled his way to 6 tackles, 2 of them solo, and including a shared TFL. Whenever plays went to the outside if McINTOSH was on the field I saw him in hot pursuit. The Hurricanes play a lot of guys to build team depth and keep players fresh. I could see this guy at least inquire about a Draft projection to keep his options open. HC RICHT is carrying the tradition of having a lot if guys play and letter to build up team depth. So don’t expect McINTOSH to put up huge tackle totals this season. But I will predict that he’s out on the field in most crunch-time situations because of his energy and seemingly high FBI. He is a good one, and a very dependable and consistent performer. He could rank in the Top 100 on some prospect lists if he comes out. He’s right on the borderline for me as a Round 3/4 prospect.
GREG STROMAN CB #3 VIRGINIA TECH 6’0/180 Seems like STROMAN has been playing for VA TECH for a decade or so. He evolved into a 2nd-team All-ACC performer in 2016 with 3 INT and 10 PBU for the season. He’s basically a pass-coverage specialist and might be destined for a slot Corner job and other sub-package roles in the NFL. He is quicker than fast, which usually is a top criteria for the slot around the NFL. He had a huge 4th Quarter Pick-Six of 24 yards which almost secured a victory for Tech. Because of his lean frame he’s not much of a factor in run support, as evidenced by his single tackle in the game Saturday. But here is the clincher in his pro potential; he’s an excellent Punt Returner. In the BEAMER tradition of having strong Special Teams play at VA Tech STROMAN has 3 TD this season as a return man. With the need for 10-plus DB on every NFL roster Greg should have a very good chance for a late round draft slot.
VITA VEA DL #50 WASHINGTON 6’4/340 JR A couple of seasons ago we were preparing for DANNY SHELTON to arrive in the NFL via the Pac-12. Next up could be junior VEA for the 2018 Draft. And here’s a couple thoughts for you: VEA is even bigger and looks more athletic than SHELTON. Think about those claims for a second. VEA was not any part of a reason for the loss to Stanford last Friday night. He was credited with 6 tackles, 4 of them solo. He also had a Sack but lost it to penalty when he touched the QB’s face mask upon initial contact. Two things in particular about VEA’s play really caught my eye in that game. He very seldom leaves the field for a blow, other than change of possession. Every time I looked he was lined up and ready for the next play. That is unusual for a guy playing at over 340 lbs. And I never felt like he was taking a play off. The big guy’s motor runs high. Despite his power, he also relies on uncommon quickness and bend to his body, as he often penetrates behind the line-of-scrimmage to harass opposing QB. On multiple occasions I saw him loop around the blockers and attack the pocket from the side or even the back side. He may not have gotten any sacks in this game, but he put some big time hits on Stanford QB COSTELLO. I hope he doesn’t end up as a NT in a 3-4 scheme in the pro game. He deserves to have the space and freedom to attack the pocket and literally collapse it. This giant is special and if he comes out he can’t last past the middle of Round 1.
ISAIAH WYNN OT(G) #77 GEORGIA 6’2/302 It was clearly a disappointing day for the Bulldogs on the plains of Alabama last Saturday. And from my perspective the game action really helped me in my thumbnail evaluation of WYNN. He did not have a great day out at LT as he battled to keep up with blitzing LB in pass-pro, and tried to stay out in front of his RB for blocks in the running game. Let me first say that I still consider WYNN to be a middle round draftee with a move back inside to OG in his future. Most of WYNN’s career has been doing very good work inside at OG. To help the team out during the recruiting transition from RICHT to SMART, WYNN was moved outside to fill a void at LT. But he is too short in both his legs and arms and not quite agile enough to thrive at LT. He gets by against lesser teams but when playing against better athletes his shortcomings clearly show up. His lack of height, arm length and foot quickness will not be exposed if he’s inside batting in a short area. I think he will earn a starting job as an OG in the NFL in time. And for a while he should be a very handy guy on game day, when he can fill in at any OL slot. I’d luv to see him at the Senior Bowl under the eyes of NFL coaches all week. WYNN should rank as a Top 5/6 prospect as an OG, and be drafted by the end of Round 4.