Scouting Reports – 2013

Giovani Bernard Scouting Report

Giovani Bernard RB North Carolina #26
Ht: 5’10”
Wt: 205

Size/Athleticism: Not a big, physical back but well-built enough to hold up as a feature back at the next level. His athleticism and ability to make defenders miss is his best asset.

Vision: Great vision in the open field. He does a nice job taking angles to pick up maximum yardage when bouncing runs to the outside. Vision in the backfield appears to be limited by his average height. When holes don’t immediately open up he hesitates. Needs to be more decisive when the obvious hole isn’t there.

Power: Limited in terms of his ability to run between the tackles. Rarely lowers his shoulder to take on a defender and instead relies heavily on an occasionally-effective spin move. He’ll slip out of some tackles due to his quick feet but he doesn’t run over defenders and struggles to pick up the tough yards. He’s not the type of runner who can push the pile and should be complemented by a power running back.

Speed/Agility: Unquestionably his best asset. He possesses incredibly quick feet and has the ability to slide between holes in the line. He’s difficult to corral in the open field and can pick up chunks of yards once he’s able to work his way into some open space.

Passing Game: Frequently used as a receiver out of the backfield and demonstrates the ability to be a productive dual-threat running back. Lacks the size to be a dominant blocker, but gives a solid effort and is generally effective.

Intangibles: No off-field concerns of note. Worked hard to rehab from injuries. Limited information available on the extent of the injuries due to North Carolina’s policy on disclosing information about injuries and other off-field issues.

Durability: Serious injury concerns due to multiple knee injuries. Missed entire 2010 season with knee injury. Missed two games in 2012 with another knee injury.

Comments: Bernard has the athleticism to be an effective running back at the next level, but he lacks the size to project as a true difference maker. My biggest concern with Bernard is the extent to which he avoids contact. While his ability to make guys miss will make him a valuable asset, he simply isn’t the complete package. He reminds me of Kendall Hunter or a poor man’s C.J. Spiller. Unless he bulks up and alters his running style, I have a difficult time picturing him as anything more than a complementary running back at the next level.

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

Denard Robinson Scouting Report

Denard Robinson RB/WR Michigan #16
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 197

Size/Athleticism: Slightly undersized for a feature back at the next level. Lacks the strong, compact build of a prototypical NFL running back. An elite athlete with the ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces and extremely difficult to corral in the open field. Although he lacks a true position, he is a playmaker the ball in his hands.

Vision: One of his best assets, but he’ll need to adjust to seeing the field from a new position at the next level. Does an excellent job reading the defense and finding space to run. He is also a very patient runner who is willing to wait for holes to develop before committing.

Power: Needs to refine his running style. Too often he’s out of control and off balance which leads to fumbles and big hits. He isn’t big enough to take a pounding, so he must learn to stay lower to the ground and lower his shoulder to avoid body shots. Unless he adds weight and improves significantly in his area he won’t be a feature back in the NFL.

Speed/Agility: Among the fastest players in the draft in terms of straight-line speed. Extremely quick feet and can make guys miss even in tight spaces. He simply has a knack for squeezing through holes due to the combination of his impressive vision and agility. His skills in this area could lead to him developing into a dangerous return specialist.

Passing Game: Very limited experience as a receiver. Occasionally used as a receiver out of the backfield late in his senior year, but not enough to demonstrate any meaningful skills in this area. Only three career receptions, all as a senior.

Intangibles: Despite being a three-year starter, never developed into much of a leader at Michigan. Consistently made poor decisions with the football while playing quarterback. Never showed significant improvement in any area of his game, which raises some concern about the speed at which he could learn a new position. Reportedly willing to embrace switch to running back or receiver in the NFL.

Durability: Consistently injured throughout his career. Reckless running style leads to big hits which have knocked him out of many games, even if for just a few plays. Missed two games with an elbow injury in 2012. The majority of his injuries were minor, but the sheer number of them raises enough concerns to raise a red flag about his durability.

Comments: Robinson’s athleticism makes him worthy of a mid-round pick and he should be able to find his way on to the field at the next level. But he should be viewed as a project and shouldn’t come off the board until the 4th round or later. His NFL future will depend entirely on his willingness to commit to learning a new position. Robinson’s lack of improvement at Michigan makes me wonder just how dedicated he was on the practice field. His elite athleticism allowed him to get by in college, but he’ll be just another guy in the NFL. Unless he fully commits to learning the nuances if his new position he will quickly go by the way of Pat White and other converted college quarterbacks who failed to embrace a new position in the NFL.

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

Stepfan Taylor scouting report

Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford #33
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 215

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a feature back. Has the size to run between the tackles and take a pounding, but also has the athleticism to make guys miss.

Vision: One of the weaker areas of his game. Tends to take the handoff and plow straight ahead, often missing holes that open just outside of his narrow field of vision. He has the athleticism to change direction quickly, but he turns himself into more a true north/south runner by failing to remain patient and keep his head up.

Power: Not big enough to run many people over or push the pile, but he’ll break some tackles if he’s not wrapped up. He does a nice job staying low and giving defenders a small target, giving him the leverage necessary to get the most power out of his size. Always willing to pick up the tough yardage and won’t shy away from contact.

Speed/Agility: Adequate straight-line speed. Once he hits the open field, he’s a threat to take it the distance. Has very quick feet which allows him to maneuver in tight spaces. Change-of-direction ability is above average, but he doesn’t show it off nearly enough. Shows impressive athleticism and balance which allows him to keep moving forward after a hit – picks up a lot of extra yards that other smaller or softer running backs won’t find.

Passing Game: Reliable receiver out of the backfield. Targeted at least two or three times per game in college. Excels in pass protection. Very much willing to take on bigger defensive ends and linebackers. Will be a rare rookie at the next level capable of being a true three-down back.

Intangibles: Grew into a leadership role as a three-year starter. Smart player who does all the little things on the field to help out the team.

Durability: Three-year starter who remained healthy throughout his career.

Comments: Taylor reminds me of a poor man’s Trent Richardson. He has the size and athleticism to play at the next level and he does a lot of little things well to get the most out of his ability. However, he’s still developing some of the finer techniques of being an elite running back. His most noticeable flaw is his lack of vision, which all of the elite running backs have at the next level. If Taylor can remain more patient and cut down on the number of times he simply puts his head down and runs straight ahead, he’ll develop into a solid starter in the NFL.

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

Taylor Lewan scouting report

Taylor Lewan OT Michigan #77
Ht: 6’8″
Wt: 309

Size/Athleticism: Impressive height and long arms. Elite athlete for the position. Has the quick footwork necessary to handle elite speed rushers at the next level. Fast enough to get downfield and make some plays at the second level. At times he almost looks like an oversized tight end the way he moves, getting to the second level and when pulling.

Pass Protection: Quickness is his best asset in pass pro. Very quick off the snap and can easily slide outside to slow down edge rushers. Limited strength makes him a liability against bull rushers. He lacks the elite upper body strength to consistently handle more physical players. His height adds to his struggles, as shorter, stronger linemen are able to use good leverage to force him into the backfield. Needs to consistently stay low and fight the urge to play more upright. Has improved in this area, but definitely still needs work to reach an elite level.

Run Blocking: Does a better job staying low as a run blocker. Explodes off the snap and uses his momentum to drive defenders back. More physical in the run game than you might expect from a guy who’s more of a finesse pass blocker. Fights hard to the whistle. Often pulls on traps and sweeps and his athleticism makes him a dangerous weapon on these plays – he has the ability to get into position quickly and can adjust to the pass rusher even when matched up with more athletic linebackers.

Intangibles: Dad played offensive line at Minnesota. Struggled with penalties early in his career but has developed into an intelligent football player. Well liked and respected by teammates and coaches. Regarded as a hard worker and a team leader.

Durability: No significant issues.

Comments: Lewan is still developing, but has all the physical attributes necessary to be an elite left tackle at the next level. He would probably benefit from adding some weight to improve his ability to anchor against the more physical pass rushers he’ll see at the next level, but he clearly has the frame to do so and will likely improve in this area with the help of an NFL coaching staff.

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

Marcus Lattimore scouting report

Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina #21
Ht: 6’0″
Wt: 218

Size/Athleticism: Fairly well built, but doesn’t have the size to be overpowering when running between the tackles. Athletic enough to make some guys miss up front, won’t elude many defensive backs in the open field.

Vision: Very decisive. He picks his hole and hits it with a burst. This approach leads to consistent positive gains, but he also misses out on some big plays. Too often the hole collapses immediately after he’s committed, which leads to a lot of one and two yard gains. With just a little more patience, he may be able to break off a few more big plays per game.

Power: An overrated aspect of his game. He’s been listed at 230 by some sources during his college career, but has never played like a back with that kind of size. He’s definitely strong enough to take a hit and can break some tackles, but he isn’t a between-the-tackles bulldozer. Runs a little too upright at times, especially when he’s turning upfield, which opens him up to some big hits (his injury history makes this more of a concern).

Speed/Agility: Gets up to full speed quickly. Not a home run hitter, but more than enough speed to turn the corner and get downfield. Very quick feet. Does exceptionally well fighting for extra yardage in tight spaces by slipping through holes you wouldn’t expect most backs of his size to find.

Passing Game: Reliable receiver out of the backfield. Played a significant role in South Carolina’s passing attack throughout his career.

Intangibles: Coaches praised his work ethic and determination to rehab from ACL injury.

Durability: Legitimate durability concerns due to multiple injuries throughout his career. Suffered season-ending knee injury in 2012 and will likely miss the majority, if not all, of the 2012 NFL season. Suffered a torn ACL in 2011 which ended his season and forced him to miss most of South Carolina’s offseason workouts. Missed one game (vs Vanderbilt) with an ankle injury in 2010. Suffered a concussion during 2010 bowl game and was removed from the game and taken to hospital. Given the way he plays the game as a downhill runner, these injuries are concerning.

Comments: When healthy, Lattimore is the clear-cut top running back in this draft class. However, he isn’t in the same class as a guy like Trent Richardson and does have some obvious flaws in his game. To reach his full potential, Lattimore needs to decide what type of runner he wants to be. At this stage, he’s a ‘tweener stuck between a downhill runner and guy that likes to consistently bounce it outside. He has the skills to be either, but he may need to either bulk up or slim down to truly excel at the next level as either guy. Based purely on talent, Lattimore is an obvious first-round talent. However, his long history of injuries have put his NFL career in jeopardy. At this point, there is no guarantee that Lattimore will ever return the level he once demonstrated at South Carolina and even if he does, injuries will almost certainly cut his career short.

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