Terrance West RB Towson #28
Size/Athleticism: Well built. A bowling ball type who can push the pile. Decent athleticism with a quick burst in tight spaces.
Vision: Tends to put his head down and run straight ahead too often, especially against stronger opponents. Could develop more patience to allow things the develop in front of him.
Power: A downhill runner who appears to not trust his speed. Tries to run people over on the inside even when there is the potential for a lane on the outside. Keeps his legs moving and rarely gets stuffed. Does a nice job pushing the pile to pick up something if a running lane isn’t there. Below average ball security for a power running back (five fumbles as a junior).
Speed/Agility: A one-cut runner with limited ability to make guys miss. He can cut once to avoid contact from a lineman in the backfield, but he lacks the change-of-direction ability to put together multiple moves to break free. Lacks the speed to turn the corner and break off chunks of yardage.
Passing Game: Limited experience catching the ball out of the backfield but appears to have fairly soft hands. Small hands and short arms. Doesn’t provide a big target for the quarterback. Shows some pop as a blocker but lacks the strength to sustain.
Intangibles: Took two years off from football after high school. Making rare early jump to pros from FCS, but it’s a logical jump considering his age (23) and family situation (has a young son).
Durability: Missed four games with knee injury in 2012. 838 touches over last three seasons.
Comments: West is a classic one-cut runner who can be a quality second option in an offense. However, he’s limited athletically and probably isn’t capable of carrying the load at the next level. He reminds me of Tim Hightower, who was a serviceable power runner for a few years but never develop the explosive ability to take his game to the next level.
Tom Savage QB Pittsburgh #7
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height and overall build. Strong enough to stand in the pocket and take a hit.
Arm strength/Accuracy: Elite arm strength which stands out above most of the other prospects in this class. Adequate accuracy on short and intermediate routes but loses his accuracy on the deep ball. Has a nice touch on his passes at all levels.
Footwork/Release: Strong overall fundamentals. Looks comfortable moving around the pocket. Climbs the pocket smoothly. Consistent balanced throwing motion. Transfers weight smoothly and cleanly. Adequate athleticism. Capable of
Decision making: Comfortable standing in the pocket. Patient letting the play develop. Doesn’t often force throws downfield and is willing to check down with its all the defense gives him. Might check down a little too often and could probably benefit from take a few more chances. Has a tendency to lock on to a receiver. Makes some poor decisions under pressure and needs to know when to simply hang on to the ball and take a sack.
Intangibles: Transferred from Rutgers to Arizona to Pittsburgh. Already 24 years old with very little experience. Made progress during senior year despite limited supporting cast.
Durability: Suffered a concussion in 2013. Also battled a rib injury during senior year.
Comments: Savage has obvious NFL tools but is still a developmental prospect. He played in 2009 at Rutgers but then barely saw the field until the 2013 season. He should not be viewed as a guy who can come in and start immediately, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t eventually find his way on to an NFL field. He definitely has starter potential and his success will be determined by how he develops the mental side of the game. All the physical tools are there, he simply needs to refine the decision-making process.
Phillip Gaines CB Rice #15
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height. Slightly underdeveloped frame and could add some weight. Long arms for his size. Ideal speed and agility. Can turn and run with any receiver and has the quick-twitch athleticism to stay with the quicker receivers underneath.
Coverage: Extremely confident in his coverage skills and it shows in his game. Very smooth in his backpedal and does a great job staying with his assignment while keeping an eye on the quarterback until it’s necessary for him to turn and run downfield. Plenty of experience in man to man and zone coverage.
Ball skills: Does a great job reading the quarterback and playing the ball. Turns himself into the receiver and consistently impact the play in 50/50 situations.
Run support: Willing to step up and closes quickly. Not a wrap-up tackler and lacks the strength to consistently makes plays even when he’s in position. Great range and can make plays in pursuit.
Intangibles: Suspended for 2013 season opener for violation of team rules.
Durability: Suffered a broken wrist in 2009 which was reinjured in 2012. Lean frame raises some long term durability concerns but started final 35 games of his career.
Comments: Gaines is a fluid cover corner who has the confidence to play up in press coverage despite limited physical strength. He does a great job reading the quarterback and reacting to the ball. He would be an ideal fit in a cover-two system and has the tools to start immediately.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska #16
Size/Athleticism: Elite height and overall size. Good athleticism for his size, but borderline for the position. Not really a quick-twitch athlete and will struggle with elite athletes at receiver. A former receiver. Similar physical traits to Richard Sherman.
Coverage: Specialized in press coverage. Strong enough to consistently throw receivers off their route. Struggles to shadow receivers down the field and takes too many false steps and get trapped by double moves. Long strider who takes time to get up to full speed and will struggle with pure speed receivers.
Ball skills: A former receiver with the ability to come down with the interception. Long arms. Has the ability to react to the ball at the last second.
Run support: Still learning to quick diagnose the run. Big enough to make plays but very limited experience on defense and still learning how to close quickly and wrap up the ball carrier.
Intangibles: Will be a 24-year-old rookie.
Durability: No known issues. Did not miss any games at Nebraska.
Comments: Jean-Baptiste is a near physical clone of Richard Sherman, which has NFL teams intrigued by his potential. However, he isn’t nearly as aggressive or confident in his game as Sherman. He has potential but should be considered a developmental prospect. He’s an ideal candidate to land in a cover-two scheme due to his ability to press and throw receivers off their route, but also due to the need to have help over the top.
Marcus Roberson CB Florida #5
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height and overall build. A quick-twitch athlete who can run with most receivers. Short arms. Played much faster than his timed speed. Experienced returning punts.
Coverage: Elite athleticism and can run with any receiver. Frequently plays up at the line of scrimmage and has the quickness to stay with twitchy receivers. Bites on fakes and double moves. Gets grabby when he’s beat and will be called for more penalties at the next level if he doesn’t adjust. Has the speed to make up for mistakes but he tends to panic when a receiver gains a step on him.
Ball skills: Does a nice job turning to play the ball when he’s in position to do so. Reads the receiver well and knows when to turn.
Run support: Weak tackling effort. Hesitant and doesn’t close with a purpose.
Intangibles: Suspended for two games in 2013 for a violation of team rules.
Durability: Missed three games as a freshman with a neck injury. Missed time with a knee injury in 2013.
Comments: Roberson is a quick-twitch athlete who has the potential to be a successful cover corner but he lacks the patience and awareness on the field necessary to handle receivers who can match his athleticism. He’s too impulsive in coverage, biting on fakes and falling for double moves, and when he loses a step he panics and gets grabby. He has the potential to develop, but he is more of a project and shouldn’t be considered an instant starter.