Scouting Reports – 2014

Zach Martin Scouting Report

Zach Martin OL Notre Dame #70
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 308

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Size/Athleticism: Lacks ideal height. Athleticism is only average for a tackle, but quick footwork would be an asset if shifted inside to guard. Seems to struggle with balance, which especially hurts his play in pass protection at tackle. Short arms, especially for a tackle, and it shows up in his game.

Pass Protection: Lacks the long arms and elite upper body strength to swallow up defenders and completely take them out of the play. Once he’s engaged, he battles hard but he’ll the battle on occasion. Looks awkward trying to slide outside with edge-rushers. He’s fundamentally sound but he just isn’t quick enough. When the outer limits of his ability to kick out are tested he looks awkward and tends to get upright and out of position. Fairly strong lower body allows him to handle himself the bull rush, but it’s a challenge and he often loses leverage as the battle goes on.

Run Blocking: Not strong enough to be a dominant road grader but is technically sound and can be effective. Quick off the snap and delivers a nice initial pop. He’s a fighter and always plays through the whistle. Shows great awareness and doesn’t get lost in space. Looks fluid getting to the second level. Takes smart angles and diagnoses his assignment quickly. Lacks the mobility to adjust if he’s attacking a moving linebacker in space.

Intangibles: Plenty of experience as a four-year starter. Team captain as a junior and senior.

Durability: Started 52 games with no known issues.

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Comments: Martin is a smart lineman and technically sound in all aspects of the game. But he lacks the athleticism to play tackle in the pros. My biggest concern is his lack of balance, which really showed when facing more powerful edge-rushers such as Ziggy Ansah. I think most of his flaws can be masked at guard, because he can handle bull-rushers, he simply lacks the ability to handle the dominant punch delivers from strong edge rushers who can build momentum before engaging. That said, his power is still a concern and there are too many questions to warrant a first-round selection.

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

Joel Bitonio Scouting Report

Joel Bitonio OT Nevada #70
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 302

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Size/Athleticism: Lacks ideal height and overall frame. He’s little on the light side and doesn’t have the dominant strength to overpower anyone. Arm length isn’t great but perfectly adequate, especially for his size (same length as Taylor Lewan). Impressive quickness. Tested well in agility/speed drills at the combine. Some teams may view him as a better fit at guard.

Pass Protection: Elite footwork and quickness allows him to slide outside with faster edge-rushers. Uses leverage to his advantage to hold his ground against bull-rushers. Shows great awareness on the field. Quick to react to the movement around him. Once he’s engaged, he’s already won. Very tough to shed his blocks once he’s locked in.

Run Blocking: Does a nice job working to the second level. Shows good awareness in terms of locating his assignments and gets there quickly. Quick enough that he can adjust to the movement of the linebackers at the second level. Plays with a nasty demeanor, always fighting through the whistle which helps him overcome his modest strength and power.

Intangibles: Played extremely well against his toughest competition (faced Florida State and UCLA in 2013). Clearly a tough competitor who gives his all on the field every play.

Durability: No known issues.

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Comments: Bitonio doesn’t have the elite measurables, but he does everything necessary to make up for his modest size and physical tolls. He’s an impressive athlete, which could attract certain teams to him (Chip Kelly’s offense would be a great fit). Any team willing to overlook his height and focus on the total package may get a steal.

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

Antonio Richardson Scouting Report

Antonio Richardson OT Tennessee #74
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 336

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Size/Athleticism: Massive frame and has the ability to swallow up defenders. Surprising quickness for his size and is capable of getting to the second level.

Pass Protection: Fundamentally sound. Quick out of his stance and his impressively quick footwork when sliding outside considering his size. Has long, strong arms and can lunge after an edge-rusher who gains a step on him and still throw him off balance enough to recover. Shows impressive awareness and seems to diagnose blitzes before the snap. Adjusts quickly to stunts on the line and delayed blitzes from the second level. Struggles to stop the second effort if the lineman is able to disengage from the block.

Run Blocking: Quick out of his stance and delivers a devastating initial punch. Easily drives his man back and finishes off blocks. Takes proper angles and shows good awareness when getting to the second level, but lacks the mobility to react in space. If he isn’t beat off the first step, he’ll win the battle but he does get beat by the elite athletes (Clowney had a few plays where he was simply too quick off the snap for Richardson to handle).

Intangibles: Two-year starter at left tackle. Transferred high schools due to academic reasons.

Durability: Underweight knee surgery in 2013.

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Comments: Richardson has all the tools that  you can’t teach. It’s easy to notice his size, but his quick footwork and balance is just as important and impressive considering his size. He definitely has some flaws in technique and may be a risky starter as a rookie, but his flaws are coachable.

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

Ja’Wuan James Scouting Report

Ja’Wuan James OT Tennessee #70
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 311

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Size/Athleticism: Good height, but that’s about it. Appears a little soft and clearly lacks the dominant strength to win simply by overpowering. Mobility is below average. Doesn’t have the speed to get downfield and agility on the line is shaky.

Pass Protection: Inconsistent awareness. Seems to still be learning how to read the defense and anticipate when/where the pass-rush is coming. Late to react and doesn’t always put himself in the best position to be effective. Slow off the snap—consistently beat by more athletic edge-rushers. Reasonably quick feet and can slide outside smoothly, but gets choppy when trying to stay with the most athletic edge-rushers. Extremely inconsistent hand placement. Strong power body gives him a sturdy base to hold his ground against bull rushers, but he isn’t a true finisher.

Run Blocking: Flashes a mean streak as a run blocker and can finish off blocks when he gets proper hand placement and stays balanced. But he struggles with consistent hand placement and pad level and will slide off blocks. More experienced and technically sound linemen can easily take advantage of his lack of technique and shed blocks. Takes poor angles and struggles to quickly diagnose his assignment.

Intangibles: Four-year starter.

Durability: Sprained knee during senior bowl practices.

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Comments: James has decent physical tools but his lack of fundamentals and awareness on the field raises some serious red flags considering the fact that he’s a four-year starter. With so much experience, how does a player continue to make the same technique mistakes? How does he fail to develop on-field awareness? I worry about his ability to handle the complex defenses he’ll see in the NFL. Too many NFL teams do a great job disguising blitzes and making late adjustments which will throw him off.

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

Taylor Lewan Scouting Report

Taylor Lewan OT Michigan #77
Ht: 6’7″
Wt: 309

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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height. Arm length is only average but shouldn’t be a concern. Shows quick footwork on the line and moves very well when getting to the second level. Has experience at left and right tackle—primarily played on the left side, but would occasionally rotate to the right for certain plays/matchups.

Pass Protection: Swallows up defenders once he get his hands on them. Rarely gives up ground once he’s fully engaged with a pass-rusher. Strong lower body allows him to anchor against bull rushers. Quick off the snap and does a nice job sliding outside to stay with faster edge-rushers. Does tend to lunge at edge-rushers when they get a step on him and will fall off balance occasionally.

Run Blocking: Powerful run blocker who, at worst, holds his ground and is often capable of driving his assignment back to create gaping holes. Impressive mobility for his size. He moves smoothly to the second level, quickly diagnosing his assignment and taking efficient angles to get there. Explodes off the snap and gives a quick, powerful initial punch. Great footwork when working to slide over to see seal an edge.

Intangibles: Character needs to be investigated by teams. Arrested for his role in an altercations after the 2013 Ohio State game. Also allegedly threatened to rape a girl who had accused teammate Brendan Gibbons of raping her. Public reports certainly shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but with multiple accusations against a player, teams will dig deep to learn as much as they can about his personality and character.

Durability: Four year starter with no significant injury concerns.

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Comments: Lewan’s character concerns need to be looked into, but from a talent standpoint he’s close to a can’t miss prospect. In pass protection, once he locks onto a defender, it’s over. And he’s strong enough to consistently clear space in the run game and finish off his blocks. He has the prototypical blend of size and athleticism and should be a quality starter from day one.

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