CFB week six: Beasley ties record, thoughts on Brett Hundley

Vic Beasley has 28 sacks in his last 25 games — tying a Clemson record. The 28th was a sack, strip, touchdown (see above). He explodes off the edge, coasts past the tight end and makes a huge play. Beasley is well known but remains underrated purely due to a lack of brilliant size. In terms of a speed rusher, he’s a fine prospect who certainly warrants top-15 consideration. Look at the production. He’s not going to set the edge and play dominant run-D. He’s not going to line-up inside in nickel. He’s just a flat-out speed rusher off the edge. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Of all the top ranked pass rushers eligible for the 2015 draft, Beasley remains the most intriguing right now. Nobody has his get-off, speed to round the edge and lean/balance. He can use his hands when he needs to. He’s a big-time competitor. He’ll make a ton of money at the combine. Expect a split in the 1.5 range and a very fast forty time.

He lacks bulk and length. Ideally you’d like to see longer arms and the ability to add weight. Marcus Smith was long and looked like he could add 10lbs — he went in round one to the Eagles. Beasley shouldn’t try to add too much weight and he has shorter arms. But he’s incredibly fast. Difference making fast. He’s on a different speed level compared to Smith.

At the end of the day you can’t ignore the production. 28 sacks in 25 games — seven in total in 2014. At the next level he can be productive in passing situations and on third down. Any team needing a speed rusher will have a long hard look at Beasley.

Brett Hundley is not a first round pick

Draft pundits are desperate to force quarterbacks into the first round debate. It happens every year. Every season we see mid-round QB’s getting hyped up. I guess it helps fill out a pointless October mock draft.

This year UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Michigan State’s Connor Cook are getting the hype treatment. Cook is a very average prospect. He’s not particularly elusive or a threat to run. He doesn’t have a big arm. His decision making in the pocket is inconsistent. He’ll force throws and make mistakes. The Oregon tape was hit and miss. Where’s the first round appeal?

Against Nebraska he completed just 11/29 passing and threw a pick and a score. Eleven completions at the college level?

The league is hopefully learning from Minnesota’s error in drafting Christian Ponder in the first round in 2011 — a pick that looked hopeless at the time. Average college quarterbacks lacking tilt-the-field ability are wasted picks.

Hundley is a different case. He has some arm talent. The problem, however, is he’s so lacking in terms of pocket awareness. He takes an age to get the ball out. He’s gun-shy and unwilling to pull the trigger. He constantly hesitates looking for a wide open target. It’s the main reason why he’s been sacked over 100 (!!!) times at UCLA.

Yes, he’s playing behind a poor offensive line. There aren’t many ‘dirt bags’ blocking for Jim Mora. But it’s no excuse and last night’s Utah game was a prime example. Hundley was sacked ten times and several could’ve been avoided.

On the sixth sack of the night he was supposed to fire a quick throw to the outside after a three step drop. His footwork was appalling — it took him far too long to complete the drop and set. He had the single coverage he wanted but still pumped the ball anyway and absorbed the sack. Everything about this play has to be sharp. Drop, set, throw. Hundley made it look so laboured and it’s a really simple concept.

There were various other examples where Hundley’s basic technique let him down — but he also has a really bad habit of holding onto the ball far too long. He locks onto his first read and lingers. He’s not progressing through reads and at the nearest sign of pressure the eyes drop and he’s trying to scramble. He’s not going to be getting overly complicated defensive looks in the PAC-12 and even still — he’s finding it hard to make quick decisions. At the next level he’s going to need to read plays a heck of a lot better — and he’s going to have to be much more decisive to go with the technical improvements he’ll have to make (footwork is vital).

The frustrating thing is he had two throws in the game that really wowed. The first was a lazer between two DB’s to the right sideline. Perfect placement, arm strength and touch. He scored a late touchdown to put UCLA ahead (they were eventually beaten) that looked equally pretty. Yet these are offset by the issues. He conceded a terrible pick six lofting an attempted screen pass straight to the DB. Again — he’s not reading the situation. The screen wasn’t on, Utah had the play covered. He needed to improvise or throw it out of bounds. Instead he just lobbed it straight to a defender who gladly accepted the pick and the touchdown. It’s not good enough.

You can’t invest in Hundley as a potential franchise quarterback. For me he’s a mid-round development pick who needs to sit and learn behind a veteran, accomplished starter. He will struggle like crazy if he’s challenged to start quickly. It’ll be car crash.

Right now it wouldn’t be a major surprise if Marcus Mariota went first overall and we didn’t see another QB taken in the first round. Jameis Winston’s laundry list of off-field incidents will be a major cause for concern — so much so you wonder if he’ll even declare for next years draft. This is only his second season as a starter, after all. He’s a redshirt sophomore. As things stand — Cook, Hundley and the rest don’t warrant first round consideration.

Other notes:

— Kevin White (WR, West Virginia) equalled Steadman Bailey’s WVU record with a sixth straight 100-yard game. White had six catches for 132 yards in a win over Kansas, including one touchdown grab. He leads the NCAA for passing yards after a relatively ineffective day for Alabama’s Amari Cooper at Ole Miss.

— Whatever happens to Georgia down the stretch, Todd Gurley should win the Heisman. He’s the best player in college football this year and should be a first round pick in 2015 — even as a running back. Melvin Gordon (WR, Wisconsin) also has a great shot of getting in round one. It’s hard to imagine any other RB’s cracking day one, including T.J. Yeldon and Jay Ajayi.

— Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor) is going to be a top-ten pick if he tests as expected at the combine. In one play against Texas he shed the left tackle, destroyed the running back and made a huge sack. Height, length, power, speed. Oakman is a beast and will go a lot earlier than some are currently projecting.


  1. CC

    Thanks Rob – I agree with you on Hundley. UCLA obviously has problems on the line, but it seems like he holds on to the ball too long as well. Coaching Hundley up seems to be needed as well.

    So what do you think about Connor Halliday – not a Coug fan – just interested? He sets all these records, but is setting these records helping him become draftable?

    • Rob Staton

      He’s in a system that has produced a lot of mega-productive — yet marginal — college quarterbacks. I haven’t had a chance to watch the Cougs this year thus far. But the Leach system is known for massive production.

      • CC

        I think you have it exactly right – without watching him much.

  2. Ben2

    Wow! Went and looked at a few min of Oakman’s tape on utube. Soooo long and with that size…. Would you keep him more on the outside like a Peppers or can you bulk him up and hope for a jj watt type guy (I know watt & peppers are some of the best ever….I’m just thinking size and role). Or do designations like this not matter as much in the modern nfl….like Bennett last year playing inside and out. Do you have to have long arms at that height to keep guys off and negate any pad level issues? If so Oakman has them.

    • Rob Staton

      I think you line him up all over the place. He can line up inside, play the edge. You could fit him into the 3-4 and 4-3. Exciting player. Won’t be a 12 sack guy but will be a player you can use on virtually every play call.

      • bigDhawk

        One thing I’ve noticed about Oakman is that he seems to take plays off and disappears for stretches. I’ve seen him on multiple occasions not pursue plays from behind that at full speed he had a chance to reach. If the play is not right in front of him he tends to give up. This is likely coachable, one would hope. At this point he is good for a couple highlight plays a game but there is a lot of dead space in between where he does not seem to be impacting the play indirectly with effort. Just something to watch as the season goes on.

      • Hay stacker509

        Another player to keep an eye on from the cougars is
        96 Xavier Cooper DL 6-4 299 RJr. Tacoma, Wash. (Wilson)
        This guy has been the one bright and shiny beacon on a lousy defense. He plays full tilt boogie all over the field. Against the ducks he was constantly in the backfield. And again against cal he was wreaking havoc. It’s probably me being a Seahawks and cougs fam but this guy just screams seahawkiness to me

  3. Sean

    Rob, what do you think about Ameer Abdullah? Is he a second rounder?

    • Rob Staton

      I think he’s probably a mid rounder at best.

  4. Kenny Sloth

    I’m just hoping Jameis Winston slips to the late first and the cardinals take him. Make him live with Larry Fitzgerald for a year.

  5. MJ

    Totally agree on Hundley. Honestly, he reminds me of Logan Thomas. Every physical tool you want in a QB, but is just a lousy QB. He needs a master offensive mind like Jim Harbaugh to manufacture reads for him, similar to what is done with Kaepernick in SF.

    The one QB I am really intrigued with, is the Mississippi State QB, Dak Prescott. He has some really nice physical tools, but I was most impressed by his ability to read the entire field. It’s a gimmicky system, but I saw him looking off the Safety on multiple occasions, just to throw an absolute rocket/dime down field. I’m curious if you’ve watched him and what you think. I’m not saying he’s a first rounder, but I think he’s an intriguing mid-round guy who has some serious ability, if honed properly.

    Keep up the good work.

  6. jmpasq

    I will be posting Hundley vs Utah later in the week but this performance was damning. The lack of pocket presence in this game will destroy his draft stock. He might have to stick around another season.

    • Miles

      I really hope he doe stay. I hate to see QBs leave college early for the NFL when they’re so not ready. It’s not good for anyone, not the player, the school or the NFL.

      Really like what you said about Christian Ponder and wasted picks, Rob. If I were a Vikings scout/personnel guy, that comment would sting. Cause it’s true.

      • jmpasq

        I gave Ponder a 4th round grade , I can’t believe they picked him that high

  7. AlaskaHawk

    A lot of great upsets this weekend. I have to think there will be plenty of players coming from two teams that we normally don’t think about: Mississippi State and Old Miss. I don’t have any names, but I really like Mississippi State’s defense. Must be something in the water.

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