Scouting Reports – 2013

Johnathan Franklin scouting report

Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA #
Ht: 5’10”
Wt: 201

Size/Athleticism: Decent size/athleticism combination, but not elite in either. Definitely not big enough to be a powerful between-the-tackles runner, but lacks the elite speed to consistently get to the edge and break off longer runs.

Vision: Not one of the stronger areas of his game. He takes too many wasted steps and dances too much in the backfield. At times he’ll take the handoff, approach the line of scrimmage and then come to a near complete step before picking a direction. He’s not a multiple-move type player; he can make one cut, but lacks the vision and anticipation to continue to weave his way through traffic.

Power: Strong enough to break through arm tackles and will occasionally carry a defender for a few yards. However,he lacks the elite strength to be a quality between-the-tackles runner. Due to his tendency to stutter step, he’s frequently stopped dead in his tracks and doesn’t pick up the extra yard or two by falling forward.

Speed/Agility: Has the speed to break off some long runs, but he’s much faster than he is quick. He doesn’t make a lot of guys miss, especially in tight spaces. While he’s fast, he just lacks that stop-on-a-dime ability that the elite speed backs possess. He’s small enough to slip through tight spaces in the trenches, but he lacks the quick footwork to consistently elude defenders.

Passing Game: Reliable hands, but not a consistent threat out of the backfield. Needs to improve his routes to give the quarterback a better angle when he’s running an out route in the flat. Did show some improvement in this area in 2012. Below average blocking skills, which will hurt his ability to get on the field early in his career.

Intangibles: Coaches have praised his work ethic.

Durability: No significant injuries, but already has racked up a lot of millage. Had 846 touches during his four years at UCLA, including 315 as a senior.

Comments: Franklin has some value as a speed back and could provide a nice spark as a chance-of-pace option. However, he would significantly improve his ability to contribute by becoming a more reliable blocker. He has the basic skills of a third-down back, but most teams won’t trust him in those situations due to his inability to consistently protect the quarterback. While he does have some potential, he may end up as too much of a ‘tweener to be effective. He’s not big enough to carry the load, but lacks the elite quickness to really make a living off making guys miss.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Joseph Randle scouting report

Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma #1
Ht: 6’0″
Wt: 200

Size/Athleticism: One of the more explosive prospects in this class. Slightly undersized, but big enough to occasionally lower his shoulder into a defensive back. He’s a threat to take it to the house on any given play.

Vision: Appears to have decent vision, but he played in an offense that tends to create wide running lanes. He likes to bounce to the outside whenever possible, and he’ll make some poor decisions in an effort to get outside. He rips off a lot of long runs, but his desire to get outside also gets him caught in the backfield a decent amount.

Power: Willing to run between the tackles and doesn’t shy away from contact, but definitely not a power runner. He’ll occasionally take on a a defensive back if the right opportunity presents itself, but he tends to go down on contact. However, he does build up speed quickly and he’s shifty enough to avoid many head-on collisions, so he’s typically able to fall forward for an extra yard or two.

Speed/Agility: Impressive change-of-direction ability. Very shifty in tight spaces. He can run between the tackles and make himself small enough to slide through holes. Has the speed of a true home run hitter. He hits the hole hard and gets up to full speed quickly.

Passing Game: A playmaker in the passing game. Occasionally lined up wide or in the slot and caught a number of balls out of the backfield. Soft, reliable hands. Secures the ball quickly and turns up field. Elite in pass protection for a guy his size. Gives a strong effort and clearly takes pride in his blocking ability. Combination of ability in pass pro and as a receiver makes him an ideal third-down back.

Intangibles: Nothing positive or negative of note.

Durability: No known issues.

Comments: Randle is a prototypical third down back and should be able to contribute immediately in that capacity. However, he shows very little upside beyond that role. His lack of power limits his effectiveness as an every-down back and his speed will be most dangerous when used in small doses. He’s a nice complementary piece, but nothing more.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Eddie Lacy scouting report

Eddie Lacy RB Alabama #42
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 220

Size/Athleticism: Elite size. Strong enough to take a pounding and can definitely be a feature back at the next level. Above average athleticism for his size, but definitely not a consistent big-play threat.

Vision: Really impressive vision for a running back of his size. Many bigger backs hit the hole like a bulldozer and just try to plow through, but Lacy knows when he can make himself small and slide through tight spots to pick extra yardage. He consistently makes the right decision in terms in where to go and when to explode through the hole.

Power: The definition of a downhill runner. Consistently lowers his shoulder into the defender and picks up the extra tough yardage. Very powerful legs that he keeps churning at all times. He consistently runs through arm tackles and frequently requires multiple defenders to bring him down.

Speed/Agility: Surprisingly quick considering his size. Has shown the footwork to make guys miss in the open field. Decent speed. He isn’t a true home run threat, but he is fast enough to bounce some runs outside and pick up chucks of yardage. Much more than just a pure bulldozer; he mixes in jukes and spins moves and attempts to avoid contact when possible.

Passing Game: Lack of elite athleticism makes him only an average receiver, but he does have the hands to catch the ball out of the backfield and can be an asset. Gives a solid effort in pass protection, but needs to refine his fundamentals. Consistently gets into position and slows down the pass-rusher, but doesn’t have the ability to sustain the block.

Intangibles: A true team player. Excelled in a reserve role early in his career and contributed on special teams.

Durability: Missed time with a toe injury in 2011. Had toe surgery following 2011 season and missed spring practice. Slowed by an ankle injury in 2012.

Comments: Lacy doesn’t quite have the athleticism to be an elite prospect, but he definitely has the skills to be an effective starting running back in the league. He’s a powerful downhill runner and would be extremely effective in a dual-back system with a smaller, change-of-pace back to share the load. My only concern with Lacy is his weight. It hasn’t been an issue in the past, but as  he ages, how quickly will he put on bad weight and how hard will he work to keep it off? As soon as he loses that burst that makes him more than just a short-yardage back, his value will drop considerably.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 1 Comment

Dion Jordan scouting report

Dion Jordan OLB Oregon #96
Ht: 6’7″
Wt: 241

Size/Athleticism: Tall and skinny. Definitely needs to add some weight in order to become a more well-rounded player. Rare athleticism for his size. He’s capable of being a versatile player at the next level due to his size/athleticism combination and should be coveted by teams running a hybrid scheme.

Run Defense: Lacks the strength to consistently hold up at the point of attack. Can get driven backwards by linemen once he’s engaged. Elite straight-line speed for a linebacker. Speed allows him to make an impressive number of plays in pursuit. Second effort is impressive; always fights to the whistles and always gets back up to pursue ball carrier when knocked down. A very smart run defender who stays in his space and doesn’t over commit. Occasionally asked to spy on the quarterback (vs Stanford, for example) and does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield and mirroring his movements.

Pass Rush: At his best when he wins off the snap and can blow past slow-footed linemen. Does a great job using leverage to generate a surprisingly effective bull rush considering his relatively lack of size. Needs to refine his pass-rush moves. He relies too much on his speed and would benefit from learning how to use his hands more to fight past stronger offensive tackles.

Coverage: Elite coverage ability for a 3-4 linebacker. Occasionally lined up in man coverage over tight ends in the slot. Has the speed to stay with most tight ends and the height and strength to cause issues for them in jump-ball situations. Experience dropping into zone and man coverage.

Intangibles: Still developing as a defensive player. Originally committed to Oregon as a top-rated tight end recruit. Converted to defensive end in 2010.

Durability: Missed time with a shoulder injury in 2012 and had offseason surgery. Slowed by an ankle injury in 2011.

Comments: Jordan is a freak athlete for a guy his size. He looks like a basketball player lined up at linebacker. Oregon used him in a variety of roles, asking him to blitz, drop in coverage and spy on the quarterback. That type of experience makes him uniquely prepared for the NFL, and coaches that run a hybrid scheme should fall in love with the options he brings to the table. He definitely needs to bulk up, especially if he’s going to end in a 4-3, but he has the frame to add some weight without losing his quickness. He compares favorably to Shaun Phillips, who excelled both in coverage and as a pass-rusher in his prime in the Chargers 3-4 scheme.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Jarvis Jones scouting report

Jarvis Jones LB Georgia #29
Ht: 6’3″
Wt: 241

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a 3-4 outside linebacker. A good athlete for his size. Impressive quickness of the snap. Has enough athleticism to drop into coverage and hold his own in certain matchups.

Run Defense: Lacks the strength to hold up at the point of attack, and probably can’t play end in a 4-3 for this reason. Bigger offensive linemen can easily neutralize him when they run directly at Jones. D.J. Fluker and Alabama made this work particularly well in 2012. Does a nice job diagnosing the play. Doesn’t pin his ears back on every play, even when he’s blitzing off the edge he keeps his eye on the play and is quick to react to a draw or screen. Has the speed to run down the ball carrier and typically takes correct angles in pursuit.

Pass Rush: Undoubtedly the strong suit of his game. Excels as a speed rusher off the edge. Frequently lines up wide and will simply beat the tackle with his pure speed. When matched up against D.J. Fluker of Alabama, there were a few plays where he timed the snap up perfectly and flew past Fluker. Once he’s stood up, he gives a solid second effort. He keeps his eyes on the backfield and is quick enough to slip between linemen on a second effort. Bull rush is very limited. When he isn’t able to disengage from a block, he gets stopped dead in his tracks and sometimes gets taken to the ground.

Coverage: Almost no experience dropping into coverage. Does not appear to have the speed or fluid athleticism to excel in man coverage.

Intangibles: Intelligent player who was well liked by teammates and coaches at Georgia.

Durability: Suffered what was believed to be a career-ending neck injury while at USC. Georgia’s training staff gave him the OK to play, however, which prompted  him to transfer after one year at USC. Jones was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which has caused other players such as Marcus McNeill and Chris Samuels to retire prematurely.

Comments: Ignoring the health issue, Jones is an obvious first-round pick. His ability as a speed-rusher off the edge makes him an intriguing prospect for 3-4 teams. However, Jones may be limited to playing the 3-4. He lacks the strength to play end in a 4-3, and may lack the athleticism to really excel at strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 due to his limitations in coverage. If I were grading specifically for a team running a 4-3 defense, I would probably give Jones a 2nd- or 3rd-round grade. In a 3-4 scheme, he should be able to make an immediate splash as a pass-rusher, but may take some time to develop his all-around game while he gets stronger against the run. As for his health,  teams will simply need to make a decision as to whether or not he’s worth the risk. He could be removed from some draft boards, but someone will likely roll the dice in the first round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment