C.J. Mosley LB Alabama #32
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for the position. Below average speed. Lacks the explosiveness to get into the backfield consistently. Timed speed (4.63 at pro day) doesn’t quite show up on tape.
Run Defense: Decent range but struggles to diagnose. Bites on a lot of fakes and is often a step late to react. Really struggled in 2013 against Auburn’s option attack. Takes strong angles in pursuit. Does a nice job fighting through the junk to get to the ball carrier when he knows where he’s going. Strong anchor at the point of attack and sheds blocks quickly. Disciplined and rarely over pursues.
Pass Rush: Rarely used as a pass-rusher. Lacks the explosiveness to slip past the interior line consistently.
Coverage: Lacks ideal athleticism for coverage. Stiff hips. Disciplined and does a nice job reading the quarterback in zone. Closes quickly on underneath routes. Lacks the speed and agility to run with the elite tight ends and running backs. Bites on play action a lot, although it’s partially due to Alabama’s scheme which is designed to focus on stopping the run.
Intangibles: Quiet leader and well respected by coaches and teammates. Not your typical loud, vocal leader at inside linebacker. No issues off the field.
Durability: Missed two games with dislocated elbow in 2011. Dislocated hip in 2011. Underwent right shoulder surgery following 2012 season.
Comments: Mosley is a steady, physical inside linebacker who can excel against the power run game but he lacks the elite athleticism to play at a high level in today’s NFL. He’s capable of playing a starting role in certain schemes, but his modest range and inconsistent ability to diagnose, especially against play fakes and options, will hold him back.
Jimmie Ward S Northern Illinois #15
Size/Athleticism: Good size/athleticism blend. Fast enough for man coverage but strong enough to play near the line against the run—the ideal blend for a strong safety.
Coverage: Used almost exclusively at free safety in zone coverage. Looked fluid and confident in limited man-to-man opportunities. Decent range but not elite. Fluid in his backpedal. Late to react and struggles to pick up the subtle movements of receivers that can give away their direction. Development still needed in man coverage. Quick-twitch athleticism is modest, causing him to struggle against elite slot receivers.
Ball skills: Does a great job reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball. Good hands with 11 career interceptions. A playmaker after the interception.
Run support: Quick to diagnose and closes quickly. Reliable wrap-up tackler. Lacks elite size and some runners will plow through him, but its rarely due to a lack of effort or poor technique.
Intangibles: Multiple reports exist about a lack of maturity but has never been suspended or in trouble with the law. It’s unclear if these issues have impact his status on the draft board of any teams.
Durability: Missed combine due to foot injury. Missed just one game in college and played in 55. Relatively small frame for the position does raise some minor concerns.
Comments: Ward reminds me of Quintin Mikell, whose ability to react and close quickly have made him a solid run defender despite modest size. Ward needs to continue to develop his man coverage skills in order to play strong safety in most schemes, but he has the tools to do so. He fits best at strong safety, which he played at NIU, but could transition to free safety if necessary.
Calvin Pryor S Louisville #25
Size/Athleticism: Well built for his size. Good blend of strength and speed. Can build momentum and dish out some big hits. Somewhat reckless with his hits and will need to tone it done to avoid fines at the next level.
Coverage: Used almost exclusively at free safety in zone coverage. Looked fluid and confident in limited man-to-man opportunities. Decent range but not elite. Fluid in his backpedal and can explode when reacting to the throw. Still developing ability to read the quarterback and late to react too often at this stage of his career.
Ball skills: Tends to go for the hit rather than playing the ball. Has come down with a few acrobating interceptions and is capable of making athletic plays on the ball.
Run support: Great effort but takes inconsistent angles. Closes quickly and can deliver a big hit. Fairly reliable wrap-up tackler, but will miss some easy ones every so often.
Intangibles: Suspended one game in 2013 for violation of team rules.
Durability: No known issues, but modest size and reckless style raises some concern for long-term durability.
Comments: Calvin Pryor is an intriguingly well-rounded prospect. He’s a natural free safety who can play the centerfield position and cover the deep portion of the field, but he’s also willing and able to step up to play the run. He’s a hard hitter and has a bit of a reputation as a headhunter, which he will need to tone down at the next level. He’s probably best suited to stick in his free safety role, but he’s shown enough ability against the run and in limited man coverage situations to have some potential as a strong safety as well.
Ha Ha Clinton Dix S Alabama #6
Size/Athleticism: Above average height for the position. Adequate overall build. Strong enough to bring down bigger ball carriers.
Coverage: Prototypical free safety. Frequently played the role of centerfielder in Alabama’s cover one sets. Does a nice job reading the quarterback and is capable of cover the deep portion of the field on his own when asked. Understands his assignments and rarely caught out of position. Rarely used in man coverage and inconsistent footwork when he did match up one on one. Easily forced into false steps, even against unathletic tight ends, when in man coverage.
Ball skills: Modest leaping ability. Shows inconsistent timing when going up to contest the pass in jump ball situations.
Run support: Diagnoses the run quickly and is quick to close. More of a pile-on tackler than a difference maker but is capable of plugging a hole and taking on a ball carrier head on. Inconsistent open field tackler. Does a nice job plugging holes at the line, but in the open field his footwork is slow and he whiffs on too many attempts. Takes proper angles.
Intangibles: Suspended for two games for taking a loan from a coach. Viewed as a quiet leader by the coaching staff.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Clinton-Dix is capable of coming in and starting immediately at free safety. He’s a prototypical centerfield who covers a lot of ground and can read the quarterback to put himself in position to make a play. There are some questions about his ability in man coverage and he’s inconsistent against the run, but for a team looking to fill a specific hole, he can make an immediate difference.
Andre Williams RB Boston College #44
Size/Athleticism: Well built. A tough between-the-tackles runner who can take a pounding. Adequate speed for the role he’ll play in an offense. Quick feet and shifty between the tackles.
Vision: Shows impressive vision between the tackles. Makes good decision in terms of when to put his head down and plow forward and when to bounce it outside.
Power: A true power runner. Can break tackles and also move the pile. When he lowers his pads, he’s tough to bring down and can run through defensive backs and smaller linebackers. Somewhat inconsistent with his pad level and stays too high sometimes.
Speed/Agility: Surprising speed and is capable of breaking off some longer runs once he gets to the open field. Shows a nice burst when he hits the hole. Quick footwork, but not enough to consistently make guys miss. He’s simply too big of a target to break free within tight spaces.
Passing Game: Used almost exclusively as a blocker on passing downs and did not catch a single pass in 2013. Poor awareness as a blocker. Late to react to blizting linebackers. Has potential to develop, but may be a liable in pass-pro early in career.
Intangibles: Took two year
Durability: Quite, hard working, leader by example. Praised by coaches for his work ethic.
Comments: Williams is a power runner but has just enough agility and burst to project as a potential starter at the next level. He’s far from a can’t-miss prospect and has plenty of tread already taken off his tires, but he is worth a look in the third or fourth round. The biggest knock against him right now is his lack of production on passing downs, where he offers almost nothing as a receiver and has been a liability at times in pass protection. It’s enough of an issue that it may prevent him from earning a starting job.