Stock up, stock down… top prospects so far

September 12th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Cyrus Kouandijo struggled against Virginia Tech and Jake Matthews faces the daunting task of a rematch with Alabama this weekend. Lewan had a big day against Notre Dame last week (see the tape above). He might still end up being #3 behind Kouandijo and Matthews, but there’s little doubt he’ll be a top-15 pick next April. Notre Dame’s Zack Martin is another player to keep an eye on.

Ed Reynolds (S, Stanford)
Any team looking for a playmaker in the secondary has to consider Reynolds. He had an interception in Stanford’s opener against San Jose State to go with the six he had last season (three returned for touchdowns). He might not quite be the same athlete as an Earl Thomas, but he has decent size for the position (6-2, 205lbs) and is criminally underrated within college football.

Dominique Easley (DT, Florida)
We talked about him in more detail yesterday, but it’s hard not to be impressed with his display against Miami. Whether he ends up playing as a hybrid, a three technique or an end, Easley has a terrific motor, great get-off on the snap and he makes plays. In what looks like a down year for interior lineman, Easley stands out.

Scott Crichton (DE, Oregon State)
It’s not been a great start for the Beavers in 2013, but Crichton looks back to his best after recovering from injury. He had 1.5 sacks against Hawaii and a strong junior season could mean a high draft grade. He’s 6-3 and 265lbs. Last season he had 17.5 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. He also forced a fumble, recovered two more, and blocked a kick.

Kyle Van Noy (DE, BYU)
I watched the Texas game and Van Noy was all over the field. Again. Because that’s what he does. He’s not an orthodox pass rusher and some teams will look at his frame and run a mile. More fool them. Van Noy is the real deal and a true playmaker.

Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
The quarterback situation at Southern Cal is a problem. Even more of a problem is the coach Lane Kiffin — he was on borrowed time last year. But Lee can’t have any excuses for his two performances so far. He’s dropped easy catches, looked lethargic and he’s been unproductive. Instead of helping two raw quarterbacks get settled, he’s been part of the problem. He can’t afford to feel sorry for himself and lose focus.

Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame)
At times last year Tuitt really looked the part. Then the Alabama game happened and it raised a few doubts. This weekend, Tuitt again looked sloppy. Yes, he had an interception return for a touchdown. But as a pass rusher he was handled far too easily. He didn’t look like a first round pick in this game.

Stephen Morris (QB, Miami)
I’m pretty confused by the whole quarterback situation this year. Teddy Bridgewater is a lock to go early. After that, your guess is as good as mine. There’s an opportunity though for some guys to surge up draft boards. Morris isn’t one of those players. In two games so far, he hasn’t looked like a guy with a NFL future — even if Miami are 2-0 and playing well.

It’s still very early — and I’m weeks away from doing any updated mock drafts — but at this stage a premature top-15 could look something like this:

Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Kyle Van Noy (DE, BYU)
Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA)
Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
Cyrus Kouandijo (T, Alabama)
Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson)
Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Dominique Easley (DT, Florida)
De’Anthony Thomas (WR, Oregon)

16 Responses to “Stock up, stock down… top prospects so far”

  1. Kenny Sloth says:

    Are these an nfl, personal, or seahawks top 15?

  2. Barry says:

    I have to admit Rob, I’m surprised that you have yet to mention Keith Price’s name. Sure last year wasn’t pretty, but that happens when you are playing behind a swisscheese O-line. Go back to his sophomore year and then the bowl game against RG3 and he completely out played RG3.

    I remember looking at film when Sark recruited him and he looked like he weighted about a buck fifty. But you watched him play and he wasn’t a runner, he would let that ball fly and dang did it have a lot of RPMs on it. I’m not saying first round (yet) but the kid can play and has all the tools you look for, only minus is his size and it effected his play last year. Saturdays game will be very telling for him and where he is at mentally.

    • mjkleko says:

      I’ll avoid getting into it in depth here on a post where he’s not even listed, but saying Keith has all the tools is a stretch to put it lightly. Price has above-average talent at this level and coupled with his ability to deliver the ball efficiently in a well-orchestrated offense, should win a good amount of games and have some impressive games.

      But if you are projecting him to the next level, he falls short in a number of areas. I will restrain myself from going too in depth, but the biggest red flag I see in Price is what I deem a poor ability to scan multiple receivers on any given play. Playing on a talented offense, Sark has kept Price from having to make multiple decisions on a given snap. He simply needs to watch his primary option, deliver or throw to his dump off. As a result, I’d argue he hasn’t developed the ability to manipulate defensive backs, a necessary trait in the NFL. Go watch a couple series from the Alamo Bowl for both Baylor and UW. The ability of RG3 to scan multiple options on a snap puts Price to shame.

      Ask any Husky fan who breaks down his film regularly and you will definitely hear about how Price routinely leaves big plays on the field by not recognizing a receiver breaking free down field. Is Price capable of improvising consistently? In a league where defenses add another order of complexity, will Price be able to quickly make an advanced read, 2, 3 or 4 options down the line? I highly doubt it.

      At the collegiate level, sure, he has the ability to be a star. But I have serious reservations about teams viewing him as a legitimate option under center at the next level.

      • Barry says:

        That’s a fair assessment. But I should have listed I don’t believe Price belongs on this list above currently.

        I must disagree on a few points you brought up though. To say UDubs offence was anything but limited talent wise prior to this year is a far miss evaluation of college talent as a whole. This year and this year alone Sark has the skill players capable of competing a the level he wants to get the Huskies program to be at. His words not mine

        It’s funny you should mention the Alamo Bowl because I had that on in the back ground as I worked. If you follow the Huskies you know we got rid of the D coordinator after the season and brought in Wilcox. That wasn’t a move based on how great the previous owner of the position was at his job. I bring that up because the only reason the Huskies lost that game wasn’t because RG3 was looking off one DB and going to his next. It was because we couldn’t stop the running game of Baylor. While the ball was in RG3′s hands the Huskies were in-control of that game. In fact Price’s ability to read the basic college D prior to the snap and the deep option outs that attack the different levels of a defense and know where he wanted to go with the ball by far out shined RG3′s ability to run around. There are moments in that game where Griffin isn’t keeping up as well when it came to composer as well as Price did. You see RG3 scanning because he has no idea where the opens are to begin with my friend. Its something even now he’s having trouble with. Emphasized but his inability to scramble like he has in the past.

        I’m sure many Huskie fans would say Price misses a good fair share of deep opens down the field. But then again they would be forgetting the very obvious fact that he got killed behind a patchwork (due to injuries mostly) offensive line last year. Fans may talk or point out or however you want to say it, but there are plenty of *analysis* (not fans) who know Keith became gun shy from the beating he took. Now do you want to see him play through that? Hell yes, does that always happen? Nope. Ask Brock Huard, ask David Carr, ask Jay Cutler.

        When the kid is on he carves up a D. As a first time starter he stepped in and looked better then most SRs because when he trusts whats going on around him he knows where to go and has the arm to get it there. He has the instinct you look for in a thrower and qb. I just hope he can find that rhythm again this year and not continue to be gun shy.

        Now you might not agree with what I just said. That’s fine, we don’t have to and in fact its what makes all this so great. But to ignore facts and elements for action and reaction can have you not seeing everything.
        Sorry for going on so long but I’ve never seen a short in depth scouting report that are as accurate as i’d prefer.

        • MJ says:

          Good discussion…here’s my take:

          The first thing that stands out with Keith, performance wise, is that he has struggled against good opponents and shredded bad ones. Baylor is a prime example of an awful defense that he completely dominated. Besides some physical tools (legs, arm), this is where NFL teams could watch Jake Locker (outside of the Nebraska debacle) and they’ve seen him perform big against top notch teams (ND, USC, LSU, etc)…Keith has yet to do that. Keith can most certainly turn that around (he did play well late against Nebraska), but up to this point, he hasn’t necessarily risen to the occasion against premium competition.

          Positive attributes:
          Good, not great accuracy: He has the ability to have really nice ball placement, but his lack of RPMs can really affect his intermediate/deep accuracy. He has hit on some big deep balls, but I’ve seen plenty of misfires that were extremely off.

          Natural QB feel: He truly has QB instincts (for the most part). He has a lot of Russell Wilson type of “improvisation ability,” however he tends to make catastrophic mistakes trying to do too much (ie Wazzu, Boise St last year). If he can reign in the mistakes, this can be a great strength.

          Progressions: Unlike 95% of college QBs, he does have the ability to go through reads, even if it is inconsistent.

          Negative attributes:
          Injury history: We saw Chris Polk go undrafted due to health despite not missing any time. Keith has a long history of bad knee injuries (perhaps even a degenerative issue). He visibly has been affected by injuries and he ends up having the mobility of Ryan Mallett.

          Arm Strength: He cannot drive the ball and doesn’t generate RPMs. With the way NFL DBs close, he will struggle to complete anything over 15 yards. It’s kind of like why you don’t see Major League pitchers who throw 85. You don’t have to be John Elway, but you have to have functional arm strength at that level.

          Decision making: He has had a tendancy to do exactly what he can’t do in certain situations. All QBs make poor decisions, but the truly successful ones find a way to avoid that in critical moments. Keith has had a propensity to crumble when the game is on the line.

          Overall: Keith doesn’t have the physical tools that warrants a high pick. He’s very Kellen Moore like, just add slightly more physical talent, but subtract the savy/intelligence. Bottom line, I don’t think he’s the type of QB the NFL wants to spend any sort of decent draft capital on. I don’t think he gets drafted, but he will be in an NFL camp next year. Keith has proven he can be a great college QB, but as we have all seen, there’s a huge difference between great college QBs and NFL Qbs.

  3. HardcoreHawk says:

    I like your top 15. I’d take Jason Verrett over Bradley Roby every day of the week though!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ll have a look at Verrett, not had a chance to watch him yet.

    • MJ says:

      I’d be concerned that Verrett’s lack of size could be a huge detriment in the NFL. He’s a fine talent, but size “can” be an issue in the NFL where WRs are getting bigger and faster, and the officiating favors the passing offense.

  4. Attyla the Hawk says:

    You’ll want to keep an eye on DaQuan Jones DT Penn St.

    He was a lackluster performer as a Junior at a flubbery 330+. He’s down to 315 or so and has exploded in the early part of the season. He’s going to be a fast riser this year as he had underachieved in 2011/12.

    Found this after looking at his tape. Statistically it fits with the limited video of him:

    Jared Odrick (R1 2010) Penn State had 43 tackles, 11 tfl and 7 sacks for the year as a senior.

    DaQuan Jones has 18 tackles (12 solo), 5 tfl and 3 sacks through two games.

  5. Kenny Sloth says:

    Dontae Johnson from NCSU has great length and plays like a Seattle CB.

    I think Jordan Taylor WR from Rice could be our Sidney Rice of the future. 6’5” 210. Great radius. absolute mismatch.

    Jace Amaro TE of Texas Tech is a future star. But clearly a white collar guy.

    LG of Florida looks solid. Not sure who he is. W/E

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I am becoming a big fan of Taylor. Admittedly, he’s just come on the radar for me so I still will reserve judgement. But what I’ve seen, I like. In particular, I think his ball skills would make him very appealing for Seattle who really seem to value that aspect above all else. He needs to improve separation, but his ability to secure the ball if it gets near him is impressive — whether it’s the 50-50 ball, or catches on the sideline or where he goes to the ground. He has glue like hands and attacks the football aggressively.

  6. Kenny Sloth says:

    Watch the new NFL 2020 series. It’s pretty good. Hosted by Russell Wilson. Examining what the NFL could be like in 7 years.

  7. Kenny Sloth says:

    Arthur Lynch could be the next best classic inline Y TE in the NFL. Great, ferocious blocker. Solid hands. Decent speed, good size. Seems to be a hard worker, decent fellow.