Ryan McCrystal

Storm Johnson Scouting Report

Storm Johnson RB Central Florida #8
Ht: 6’0″
Wt: 209

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Size/Athleticism: Average size and strength. Doesn’t really stand out in any area in terms of his physical tools, but he meets all the minimum requirements.

Vision: Capable of maneuvering his way through traffic between the tackles, but he’s quick to bounce it to the outside. Played in sort of a gimmicky offense at UCF, at least in terms of their rushing attack, and benefitted from a lot of reverses and fake-reverses to confuse the defense.

Power: Doesn’t run between the tackles all that often—he’s quick to give up and bounce it outside. When he’s got momentum, he’ll fall forward a fair percentage of the time but he doesn’t break  a ton of tackles and he doesn’t have the strong legs to really push the pile. He’s very much reliant on his blockers to create for him between the tackles.

Speed/Agility: Hits the hole with a nice burst. Has the speed to take it the distance, but he’ll get caught from behind occasionally. Lacks the elite burst and the agility to runaround unblocked defenders closing off the edge, which sometimes resulted in some negative plays when tried to bounce it outside. Basically a one-cut runner. He’ll make a most and then try to just turn on the jets, but he isn’t fast enough to have a ton of success with this method. Tends to run upright, which leads to a lack of balance and makes him susceptible to being knocked down without even a wrap-up tackle or a solid hit.

Passing Game: Limited experience in the passing game. Hands are shaky and he made some bad drops. Pass protection is a liability, but it appear to improve as the season went on so there’s reason to hope he’s willing and able to grow in this area.

Intangibles: Only one year of experience as the feature back. Transferred from Miami FL after 2010 season.

Durability: No known issues.

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Comments: Johnson is a fairly well balanced back with a blend of size and speed. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t stand out in any one area. Teams generally prefer to target running backs that can do one thing well—either power or speed—and Johnson just doesn’t really have either. But he has enough to both to warrant a look late in the draft and could be a successful backup if improves his vision and willingness to work between the tackles. With his current approach of bouncing everything outside, he just won’t find success against the athletic linebackers of the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2014 Leave a comment

Dri Archer Scouting Report

Dri Archer RB/WR Kent State #1
Ht: 5’7″
Wt: 173

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Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized. Lacks the bulk to project as an every-down player. Athleticism is off the charts. Has the type of speed and agility that scares defenses, as he can take it the distance on any play. Has some experience returning kicks and will almost certainly be asked to resume those duties in the NFL.

Vision: Vision between the tackles is decent, but he tends to take everything outside. Also has a tendency to push himself to full speed immediately, rather than remaining patient and letting things develop in front of him. Offense was designed to allow him to run outside, so it didn’t require a ton of adjustments other than to simply dodge the tacklers in front of him.

Power: He’ll break an occasional weak tackle attempt from a defensive back, because he’s short enough to generate some leverage, but he goes down on contact between the tackles. Ball security is a major issue. Partially may be attributed to his small hands, but he also has terrible technique. Tends to hold the ball away from his body and rarely protects it unless he’s running between the tackles.

Speed/Agility: Pure speed ranks among the game’s elite. Explosion is off the charts. He seemingly gets up to full speed the second he turns on the jets, but then has a second gear to leave defenders in his dust once he reaches the open field. Start and stop ability is special. You simply can’t contain him one on one in the open field.

Passing Game: Lined up as a receiver occasionally, more so during 2013 under new coaching staff. Small hands, but generally reliable on the short stuff when he’s open. Hands are more shaky down the field or when attempting to match a catch on the move. Uses his body too often and had some bad drops. Ideal weapon to use on screens. Offers almost no help in pass protection. Routes as a receiver are poor. Rounds off all his cuts. But his elite agility gives him tons of potential to develop in this area. Used a deep threat occasionally but can’t make contested catches—as long as there’s a safety over the top to contain him, he isn’t much of a threat because he won’t come down with the ball in traffic. As a deep threat, he’s more valuable as a decoy, because the safety has to be aware or else he will run away from the cornerback in man coverage.

Intangibles: Academically ineligible in 2011.

Durability: Suffered an ankle injury in 2012 and was slowed by the injury again for most of the 2013 season. Suffered a knee injury in 2012 bowl game. Lack of size and history of injuries raises a huge red flag in terms of his long term durability.

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Comments: Archer is a man without a position, because he’s too small to strictly play running back or receiver. But he has the rare talent to potentially to play a Dexter McCluster/Eric Metcalf role in the NFL. He’ll never be a guy who touches the ball 20 times per game, but can play a significant role in an offense because the defense always needs to be aware of his presence on the field. If healthy, his playmaking ability would legitimately put him in the conversation as a top 50 prospect, but because he was slowed by an ankle injury throughout the 2013 season it would be tough to justify such a high pick on a guy who will never be an every-down player. How he checks out medically at the combine and during pre-draft visits will play a significant role in his draft stock.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2014 Leave a comment

Devonta Freeman Scouting Report

Devonta Freeman RB Florida State #8
Ht: 5’8″
Wt: 206

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Size/Athleticism: Short and lacks ideal bulk. Not a tough runner and easy to bring down. Extremely explosive. Hits holes with a burst and gets to full speed exceptionally quickly. Shows great balance when moving at full speed.

Vision: Great vision running between the tackles. And maintains his vision when moving at full speed. Does a great job making adjustments on the move—doesn’t just pick a hole at hit it with his head down. He’s patient and waits for his lead blockers.

Power: Almost no power and breaks very few tackles. Builds up some momentum when he’s moving at full speed, so he’ll run through some week arm tackles but he generally goes down on first contact.

Speed/Agility: Impressive balance. Capable of stringing together multiple moves while maintaining balance and momentum. Start and stop ability ranks among the best in this class and somewhat resembles Darren Sproles. Didn’t time exceptionally well at the combine, but he clearly has the athleticism and speed on the field.

Passing Game: Gives a strong effort as a blocker and doesn’t immediately resort to the chop block. Stays low and can use leverage to take on bigger pass-rushers. Reliable hands. Occasionally lined up out wide.

Intangibles: Nothing positive or negative of note.

Durability: Played through a back injury. Did not miss any time, but back injuries are always concerning because they tend to linger. Has a well-filled out frame, but he’s still undersized which always raises some concern about durability in the long run.

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Comments: It’s tough to see Devonta Freeman emerging as a starter in the NFL because he simply lacks the power to run between the tackles consistently. But his vision and quickness makes him a dangerous threat. He’s sort of a poor man’s Darren Sproles and should be capable of filling the change-of-pace role in a backfield getting 8-12 touches per game.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2014 Leave a comment

Jeremy Hill Scouting Report

Jeremy Hill RB LSU #33
Ht: 6’1″
Wt: 233

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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size for a workhorse running back. Adequate athleticism for his size. Has the speed to break off some longer runs and will occasionally make guys miss in the open field. Likes to attempt to jump over defenders and has made a few highlight reel plays as a result.

Vision: Not as patient as you’d like to see from a guy who lacks the quickness to create open space for himself. He runs up the back of lead blockers, and misses out on some opportunities.

Power: Keeps his legs churning and is capable of pushing the pile. Easily runs through arm tackles. Doesn’t break as many tackles as you’d expect for his size. Balance is just so-so, and he struggles to spin out of tackles and goes down on contact too often.

Speed/Agility: Hits the hole with a decent initial burst. Doesn’t make guys miss in tight spaces—just too big and doesn’t have very quick feet. Balance is poor. Gets tripped up too easily and lacks the balance and quick footwork to catch himself and keep moving. Start and stop ability is below average, even for a bigger back. He moves reasonably well once he’s on the go, but he just doesn’t have the quick footwork and balance to stop on a dime and cut.

Passing Game: Can be an asset as a blocker. Strong enough to anchor against some edge-rushers and does a lot more than just chop block like many backs. Adequate hands displayed in limited opportunities. Looks awkward adjusting to poorly placed balls. Doesn’t have great body control.

Intangibles: Huge character red flags. Arrested on sexual assault charges in 2011 and delayed enrollment to LSU for a year as a result. Arrested again in 2013 for a fight outside a night club, which violated his probation from the initial arrest. Originally suspended indefinitely (returned after missing one game). Reportedly still on probation through 2015.

Durability: Extremely durable through his two years as starter.

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Comments: Hill is right on the fringe of having starter potential, but his history of arrests probably knocks him off a few draft boards. His size is intriguing, and it stands out in the class filled with undersized backs. However, he’s sort of a ‘tweener. He doesn’t have the dominant strength to be successful as a guy who just plows ahead (like Brandon Jacobs) and he doesn’t have the blend of size and quickness to be a well-rounded workhorse (like Michael Turner). Hill will probably be most effective sharing the workload with a chance-of-pace back, and could develop into a solid short-yardage option.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2014 Leave a comment

Bishop Sankey Scouting Report

Bishop Sankey RB Washington #25
Ht: 5’9″
Wt: 209

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Size/Athleticism: Slightly undersized but has elite measurables for a back of his size. Posted best three-cone and short-shuttle times at the combine among all running backs and ranked among the best in the 40 and bench press.

Vision: A patient runner who is willing to take his time following his blockers until the hole emerges. Doesn’t usually force it if it isn’t there—he’s willing to take what’s given him and turn everything into a positive play, even if only for a yard or two. Has a knack for slipping through small holes in the line and is surprisingly productive between the tackles as a result.

Power: Adequate leg drive for an undersized running back, but he seems to lack balance and goes down on contact too often. He’s a similar runner to Doug Martin in many ways, but pales in comparison in this area.

Speed/Agility: Has enough speed to bounce it outside and break off some long runs. Doesn’t always run with great balance, and plays a little out of control at times. Despite combine times, he isn’t exceptionally explosive. He can make guys miss in the open field, but he isn’t as elusive in tight spaces as the ideal undersized running back. Athleticism shows when he’s moving forward, but it’s the side-to-side movement and footwork when he’s dancing around linemen in the trenches where he’s a notch below the ideal ability for a runner of his size.

Passing Game: Didn’t get a ton of chance, but was always productive in the passing game. Used on a lot of screens, giving him opportunities in space where he’s most effective. Does a nice job snatching the ball away from his body. Enormous hands for his size (for comparison, they’re 3/8″ larger than Mike Evans’).

Intangibles: Team captain in 2013. Coaches speak highly of his work ethic and leadership.

Durability: Suffered a rib injury in 2013. 653 touches during his final two years—a lot of wear and tear for a smaller back.

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Comments: Sankey does everything well, but nothing great. I wouldn’t bet against him, but he also doesn’t show enough to project as a surefire starter at the next level. He reminds me of Justin Forsett, who has had flashes of productivity when given opportunities but has never been able to hold down a starting job. Like Forsett, Sankey has the tools to stick around in the league for awhile in some capacity, but it may only be as a backup.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2014 Leave a comment