Scouting Reports – 2013

Johnathan Hankins scouting report

Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State #52
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 332

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a nose tackle. Built like a true space-eater, but athletic enough to make some plays in the backfield. Struggled with weight issues early in his career. Came to Ohio State weighing around 350 pounds, but has been able maintain a playing weight around 330. Being able to keep his weight down will be key to ability to be a three-down lineman at the next level.

Run Defense: Can play the role of space-eater and hold his ground against double teams at the point of attack. One of the few nose tackle prospects that can make some plays in pursuit. He’s obviously not the fasted lineman on the field, but he gives a great effort in pursuit and will occasionally make some plays simply by being in the right place at the right time. Will occasionally line up at defensive end for Ohio State, primarily when they’re anticipating a run to a particular side of the line.

Pass Rush: Surprisingly quick off the snap. Does a great job staying low. His size, coupled with his ability to stay low and leverage his way into the backfield makes him extremely difficult to block and almost impossible in a one-on-one matchup. Bull rush is his go-to move to get into the backfield, but he is also involved in a number of stunt plays on the Ohio State defensive line. Occasionally lines up at defensive end and loops inside, which allows him to generate some momentum before engaging with an offensive linemen making his bull rush nearly impossible to stop.

Intangibles: Soft-spoken off the field. Coaches speak highly of his work ethic and his leadership, especially working with the younger defensive linemen on the team.

Durability: Suffered a knee injury in 2011 but continued to play with the help of a knee brace.

Comments: Former Ohio State defensive coordinator compares Hankins to Ryan Pickett, a former 1st-round pick who has played nose tackle but has also proven to be athletic enough to line up at defensive end for the Packers over the past few seasons. Hankins won’t be the most impressive looking lineman at the combine – he’s sort of built like a bowling ball, and is more pudgy than you’d like to see – but his athleticism shows on the field. What impresses me most about Hankins is his conditioning. He’s demonstrated the ability to stay on the field and, most importantly, remain productive for 30+ plays per game, which is rare for a guy carrying around 330 pounds.

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

Montee Ball scouting report

Montee Ball RB Wisconsin #28
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 212

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a workhorse running back. Well built and conditioned to take a pounding. Very average athleticism. Speed is adequate, but nothing special and he lacks the agility to be a serious home run threat out of the backfield.

Vision: He’s a very patient runner and does a great job following his blockers and not over-committing before holes open up. His vision makes him a very reliable runner, who you can count on to pick up positive yardage on nearly every play. He rarely deviates from the script and simply takes what’s given to him. However, this also means if the offensive line doesn’t open up a gaping hole, he’s not going to break off a long run.

Power: Very much a North/South runner. At his best when running between the tackles and has the size to take the pounding. He’ll run right through the arm tackles, but once he’s wrapped up he goes down. He lacks the elite strength to consistently push the pile and break out of a strong wrap-up tackle.

Speed/Agility: Basically a one-move runner. Has the open-field speed to break off some long runs, but not real elusive. He’s not that type of running back that creates much for himself and needs the offensive line to pave the way. He takes a few steps to gain momentum and lacks the agility to make guys miss in the open field. Below average start-and-stop ability. Once the hole closes up, he lacks the ability to make a second move and create something out of nothing.

Passing Game: A reliable receiver out of the backfield. Not a threat to break off many big plays as a receiver, but displays good hands and can be an asset in the short passing game. One of the better blockers in this class. Does a great job staying low in his blocks and doesn’t shy away from stepping up against defensive ends.

Intangibles: Cousin Darius Hill played at Ball State and was briefly a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. Arrested for trespassing at a party in May, 2012 – a very minor infraction and shouldn’t factor into his evaluation. Coaches speak very highly of his work ethic. He’s a team leader on and off the field and has the character NFL coaches will love.

Durability: Knocked out of a game in 2011 with a “head injury” but returned to the game and did not miss any further time. Enters the league with a lot of wear and tear on his tires. Carried the ball over 300 times in 2011.

Comments: Ball put up some ridiculous numbers at Wisconsin, but he is, at least partially, a product of the system. He played in a run-first offense and behind a dominant offensive line. He definitely has the skills to play at the next level, potentially as a starter, but he lacks the elite measurables to project as a can’t-miss prospect. While he does everything well, he just doesn’t doesn’t stand out in any one area. He’s sort of a ‘tweener in terms of his style – he’s not big enough to be a powerful downhill runner, but not elusive enough to be a threat running to the outside.

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

Sean Porter scouting report

Sean Porter LB Texas A&M #10
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 230

Size/Athleticism: Adequate size for a 4-3 linebacker and could play on the strong or weak side. May be slightly undersized to play outside in a 3-4, but does have experience lining up at the position during his first three years at Texas A&M. Would probably benefit from adding at least 5-10 pounds of muscle, especially if he lands in a 3-4 scheme at the next level.

Run Defense: Definitely the weak area of his game. Lacks the strength to consistently shed blocks. He’ll make plays in pursuit and can be disruptive by getting into the backfield, but he’s a liability at the point of attack.

Pass Rush: A pure speed rusher. When playing in 3-4 sets, he explodes off the edge and is simply too quick for most offensive linemen to get a hand on him. But when a lineman does get set in time to get his hands into Porter’s body, he’s done. He simply lacks the strength or any kind of meaningful pass rush move to shed blocks from offensive linemen. Can be a little reckless at times as a pass rusher allowing himself to get knocked off balance relatively easily, making him easier to be be picked up by blockers in the backfield.

Coverage: Has the athleticism necessary to excel in this area, but is still developing. Speed is his best asset in coverage right now, giving him the range to cover more space than your typical outside linebacker. Still learning how to read the quarterback at this stage in his career. Lots of hesitation in his decision-making process – struggles to balance watching the quarterback and keeping track of receivers in his zone and is often a step late when reacting to the ball being thrown. Has the athleticism to match up with just about any tight end or running back in man coverage. In 2011, A&M even used him in man coverage against Justin Blackmon in the red zone.

Intangibles: Three-year starter with experience in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense.

Durability: No significant injuries and has not missed any games. Slowed by an illness in September, 2011 and reportedly lost 10 pounds but played through.

Comments: Porter is a difficult prospect to grade. He clearly has the athleticism to be a star at the next level, but there are still a number of questions about his game.  He’s a great athlete, but not the most physical player. He’s best suited to play outside in the 3-4 and could potentially play the strong-side or weak-side position. He’s strong and quick enough to be utilized as a pass rusher, but also capable of dropping in coverage. His upside is limited, but he’s well rounded and could be a solid contributor.

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

Manti Te’o scouting report

Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame #5
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 255

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size and strength for an inside linebacker, and could easily shift to strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Straight-line speed is more than adequate for the position. Not as quick and fluid as he is fast, but not necessarily weak in that area either.

Run Defense: Excellent recognition ability. A tackling machine, but more so due to his ability to put himself in position to make a play than his raw athleticism. A scrappy player who can fight through traffic. Despite his size, doesn’t shed blocks as quicky and consistently as you’d expect. Once he’s engaged with an offensive linemen, he can be taken out of a play fairly easily. Fast enough to make some plays in pursuit. Not an elite athlete, and will get juked out of some would-be tackles in the open field, but is very strong fundamentally and rarely misses a tackle once he’s got someone wrapped up.

Pass Rush: Relatively effective when rushing off the edge. Lacks the strength to ever be a pure pass rusher, but has the speed to be effective in certain situations. Does a nice job staying low when turning the corner, making him tough for taller offensive linemen to get a hand on him. Not as effective when blitzing up the middle. Does a really nice job fighting through traffic against the run, but isn’t explosive or agile enough to slip through holes in the line, which are skills needed to be an effective pass rusher from the inside linebacker position.

Coverage: Looks comfortable in zone coverage. Does a great job reading the quarterback and putting himself in position to make plays. Limited experience in man coverage and lacks the fluid athleticism to excel in this area. He has the straight-line speed to get downfield but just doesn’t have the quickness to stay with the elite pass-catching tight ends that he’ll see at the next level. He’ll excel when matched up with short-yardage pass-catchers (such as Gronkowski) due his fundamentals and physical style of play, but he shouldn’t be asked to cover the hybrid tight end/receivers (such as Jermichael Finley).

Intangibles: Four-year starter with plenty of experience against top competition. Clashed with head coach Brian Kelly at times, but Kelly’s brash coaching style is at least partially to blame. I wouldn’t expect his attitude to be an issue in the pros.

Durability: Suffered a sprained knee during during 2010 bowl game and had minor knee surgery in the offseason, and was limited during spring practices. Suffered a broken nose in 2010, but played through the injury. Played on an injured ankle for much of the 2011 season.

Comments: Te’o is one of the more recognizable names in this draft class and, as a result, is probably a little overrated. He’s a classic example of a prospect who does everything well but nothing great. He definitely has NFL starter potential, but his upside is somewhat limited. He could be a great pick for a team that needs to plug a hole immediately, because his experience and strong fundamentals makes him one of the more NFL-ready prospects in this draft. However, I don’t expect to see significant development once he’s in the pros. Basically, what you see is what you get.

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

Star Lotulelei scouting report

Star Lotulelei DT Utah #92
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 320

Size/Athleticism: Elite size. Definitely has the size/strength to play nose tackle at the next level. Surprisingly athletic for his size. He’s more than just a space-eater. He’ll get into the backfield fairly consistently and even make some plays in pursuit. Utah will even drop him into coverage on occasion, a rare assignment for a guy his size. In terms of the size/athleticism combination, he compares favorably to Haloti Ngata, or, for a more recent prospect example, Dontari Poe.

Run Defense: Holds his ground at the point of attack. Can definitely be a space-eater when he needs to be, and can easily hold his ground against double teams. Very reliable tackler. Impressive awareness, always keeping his eyes on the backfield while engaged. Has the strength to make plays even while still engaged in a block (see 2011 Washington game – he reaches out with one arm and stops Chris Polk dead in his tracks).

Pass Rush: Elite explosion off the snap. He obviously isn’t the fastest lineman on the field, but he makes up for with a quick burst off the snap and then does a great job leveraging his way into the backfield. As soon as he catches an offensive lineman off balance, he’s won; very few linemen, especially collegiate linemen, possess the size and/or quickness to recover against him. Does a great job keeping his eyes on the quarterback and adjusting to pursue when they take off, and to get his hands into passing lanes.

Intangibles: Poor academics forced him to attend Snow College for two years out of high school. He played football at Snow College for one year, but quit the team the following year, stating he no longer had interest in the sport. While he’s obviously regained some amount of passion for football, it will certainly be a topic of conversion during pre-draft interviews. Has reportedly matured since his JUCO days, and is now married with two children. Teammates at Utah speak highly of his leadership and work ethic in practice.

Durability: No significant injuries of note.

Comments: Only a handful of players enter the draft each year with Lotulelei’s size, and among those that do, very few possess his athleticism. Lotulelei is built like a true nose tackle, but has the athleticism to be more than just a space-eater. His size/athleticism combination makes him a viable option in any defensive scheme, which should make him particuluarly attractive to teams running the increasingly popular hybrid defense.

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