Thoughts on Miss State @ Kentucky & Brandon Scherff

Kentucky’s senior DE Bud Dupree could be a first round candidate

Thoughts on Miss State @ Kentucky

Josh Robinson (RB, Miss State) looks like a smaller version of Michael Turner and deserves a chance in the NFL. He has superb lower body power, enough speed and he can make the big play. He had a crucial 73-yard run for a touchdown in this one, dodging tackles and cutting his way to the end zone. All the attention goes to Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon and others — but do not sleep on Robinson. He’s not a flashy player who will go early — but I bet he’ll get a shot at the next level and has a chance to make it happen. On one play he broke six tackles, doubled back on a run up the middle and bounced outside to get a first down. He’s a powerful ‘cannonball’ style runner with a future.

Keep an eye on Patrick Towles (QB, Kentucky) going forward. He made some big time throws in this game into some tight windows. Admittedly he was fractionally off on some easier, shorter attempts to the outside. He can work on that. Some of the downfield stuff he showed today is just innate. He’s also a fantastic athlete for 6-5 and 238lbs — he had a 48 yard run and scored two rushing touchdowns. He ended with 390 yards passing against the #1 team in the country adding two more passing scores. He didn’t turn the ball over. He’s a talented sophomore who could eventually work his way into the early round conversation in 2016 or 2017.

Kentucky corner Blake McCain also impressed as a potential slot corner prospect. He’s 5-11 and around 195lbs. He was physical — competing well against the run and delivering one huge (clean) hit over the middle on a receiver. He also looked sharp in coverage, making one nice break-up in the corner of the end zone against a taller wide out. He’s also only a sophomore but again he’s another to monitor going forward.

After the game Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops touted senior pass rusher Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree as a first round draft pick. He had at least two sacks in this game, showed a high motor throughout and had one big QB hurry. He looks like an impact player and better still, he used his hands well today to go along with the speed. He’s around 6-3/6-4 and 265lbs. He’s a definite LEO candidate. Very interesting prospect and reports suggest he’s also a big time character guy. Great get off, better than you’d expect against the run. He’s a playmaker and the first round talk is legit. In Kentucky’s upset win over South Carolina recently, Dupree scored a game-winning pick-six.

Miss State linebacker Benardrick McKinney is such an underrated player. He’s a beast at linebacker — constantly swallowing up running lanes and hitting with ferocity. He has perfect size for the inside linebacker role in a 3-4 at 6-5 and 245lbs. He’s a monster, an absolute beast and he’s destined to be an early pick if he declares for the 2015 draft. He also moves well for the size. He could end up being the player Rolando McClain could’ve been (and in a strange way kind of is right now for Dallas).

Thoughts on Iowa’s Brandon Scherff

I feel like the more you watch the group of potential 2015 offensive tackles, the less excited you become. Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M) has had a torrid year conceding nearly double-digit sacks. Cameron Erving (T, Florida State) has been distinctly hit and miss. Brandon Scherff (T, Iowa) likewise is not having a fantastic season on the evidence I’ve seen over the last few days.

So far La’el Collins (T, LSU) is the only one making big steps forward and improving on last season. His best position at the next level could be guard — he’ll probably be a regular Pro Bowler if he moves inside. And yet after watching the three others — he’s outperforming them all at tackle.

Scherff, like Collins, excels in the running game. He’s at his best pushing people off the line, driving forward and blocking at the second level. He needs no invitation to burst through and take on a linebacker. He’s best suited on a run-heavy offense that values second level blocking — and will be prepared to accept his obvious flaws in pass protection.

It really starts with the footwork and foot speed. He’s just not very good at mirroring a pass rusher, to the point he’s getting beat by mediocre Maryland linebackers rushing a very basic curve off the edge. He’s no counter either — no strong jolt with the hands to disrupt the arc of the rush. You don’t see him get his hands on a DE early, planting and driving them out of the play. It doesn’t take much to beat him and you get a real sense he could be a liability at the next level protecting the edge against the speed rush.

Like Collins he might be better suited moving inside. He’s got a real mean streak in the run game and when he’s blocking head-on he’ll drive people off the ball. Angles are not his friend. When he has to move around or slide to make the block he has problems. When he can look another guy in the eyes and get at it — he has success.

In the last few years there’s been a tendency to go after big time athletic tackles who look good at the combine. The exception is Luke Joeckel — an excellent technician. The first tackle or two off the board next year could be based purely on who does the best at the combine. It’s funny it’s come to this — the combine never used to be a difference maker for this position. And yet watching all the top prospects on tape, none are making a case to be the clear #1.

If I needed an offensive lineman badly, as things stand I’d have La’el Collins at the top of my board. That way you know at least you’re getting a terrific guard if nothing else. It won’t be a total shock, however, if the likes of Scherff and Ogbuehi go a little lower than most currently project.


  1. CC

    But do they wrestle? Seems like that is a prerequisite for Tom Cable. I’m watching the Ole Miss LSU game and there is some serious talent on these teams. It is easy to see why Seattle looks at drafting LSU players – they play a similar style to Seattle.

    Ole Miss’ receiver Treadwell looks the part – have you looked at any tape on him Rob?

    Great analysis as always!

    • Rob Staton

      I have seen bits of Treadwell — but not focused enough on him to offer a take. On the wrestling point — Scherff did not as far as I’m aware but he owns his high school shot put record.

      • CC

        Wrestle – shot put – all good for Cable!


  2. Barry

    Thanks for the great write up Rob, I love reading about pass rushers and they guys that run from them especially if they are new prospects to watch.

    • Rob Staton

      Bud Dupree is an exciting pass rusher. Big time player to watch for this upcoming draft.

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