Category: 2015 NFL Draft

WR JUSTIN HARDY, EAST CAROLINA

WR #2 JUSTIN HARDY, EAST CAROLINA

6’0” – 188 lbs. – 4.50e

Played in a spread offense which called for him to line up both on and off the line of scrimmage, on the outside and, more frequently, in the slot. Highly-productive three-year starter with escalating numbers. Has the size to play either in the slot or as a flanker in a pro offense. Fluid movement skills with adequate top-end speed. Has the leaping ability and body control to make acrobatic catches; could offer value on fade routes in the end zone. Runs a diverse route tree, including some whip routes and other patterns including double moves; however, much of his production came on short, quick throws such as out routes and screens. Generally a reliable receiver, with the occasional drop; capable of making highlight-reel grabs. Has a wide catch radius and adjusts well to poorly-thrown balls. Tough, energetic player who is not afraid to work the middle of the field; can come down with contested catches. Has enough shake to make the first man miss, but doesn’t do so on a consistent basis; hard runner who sacrifices his body to make a catch. Has been effective as a punt returner. Gets good leverage and demonstrates active footwork as a blocker, which should enhance his value as a potential slot option; on occasion, flashes the killer instinct to dominate opponents. Blocking ability appears as though it will translate to the next level, but looks a bit thinner than his listed weight and may need to add some additional bulk, especially in order to stay healthy working over the middle. Production has been somewhat inflated by playing in the slot in a spread offense. May not be a true deep threat at the next level; won’t necessarily be limited to short and intermediate routes, but didn’t gain much separation downfield in college and appears best-suited to run the same types of routes he has executed at East Carolina. The type of prospect whose passionate play, football intelligence, and versatility should endear him to a coaching staff; may never develop into a team’s top option but has adequate height, bulk, and speed, long arms, soft hands, and impressive body control and could realistically project as a potential outside or inside receiver.

Games watched: North Carolina (’13), Southern Mississippi (’13), Virginia Tech (’13)

WR DRES ANDERSON, UTAH

WR #6 DRES ANDERSON, UTAH

6’2” – 190 lbs. – 4.55e

Looks bigger than his listed weight; possesses prototypical height and length for a boundary receiver. Has pro bloodlines. Was productive as a junior, but could have been even more prolific with quality quarterback play. Has experience lining up both on and off the line of scrimmage. Strong enough to release against press coverage; also does a good job of using his physicality to make contested catches. Could give more consistent effort as a blocker, but is generally effective. Comfortable running routes over the middle, with the build to stay healthy while doing so at the pro level. Complements his underneath routes with deep posts and go routes. Frequently utilized in catch-and-run situations: coming off of screens, running shallow crosses and drags, etc. Length gives him a considerable catch radius and the ability to bring in balls away from his frame. Has also worked as a kick returner. Receives the occasional reverse after going in motion, but is most commonly employed as a decoy in those situations. Powerful, but an unimaginative, straight-line runner with the ball in his hands. Double-catches too many balls; doesn’t routinely stop throws on initial contact. Also commits plenty of concentration drops. Lacks refinement as a route-runner, with a very basic tree in which shallow crosses and go routes predominate. Smooth, but may struggle to separate downfield as often at the next level as he did in college due to what appears to be a lack of elite top-end speed; is he a deceptively-fast long strider, or someone who will be limited to underneath routes? Must improve his awareness versus zone in order to avoid running himself into coverage. An effortless mover who possesses obvious physical gifts, but someone who currently leans too heavily on natural advantages and must develop his game in all facets before he can be considered a complete receiver; without diversifying his route tree, it will be easy for opponents to anticipate his responsibilities on a snap-to-snap basis, as defenses haven’t had to respect the possibility of many intermediate routes. Perhaps more disconcerting, his hands don’t inspire much confidence. By paying more attention to detail as a senior, teams could feel they have a starter on their hands, but plenty of work remains to be done.

Games watched: Arizona St. (’13), Stanford (’13), UCLA (’13)

QB BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

QB #5 BRAXTON MILLER, OHIO ST.

6’2” – 215 lbs. – 4.65e

Took over the starting role four games into his true freshman season; has been highly productive at the helm of Urban Meyer’s offenses. Has adequate height and a thick build. Operates out of the shotgun; will have to adjust to making drops from under center and re-reading defenses after turning his back. Footwork on his drops will need some further refinement, but is serviceable; however, despite stepping into his throws, doesn’t effectively transfer his weight onto the front foot, which limits his velocity. Throws a tight spiral and a very catchable ball overall; fairly accurate passer, although he tends to miss high rather than low. However, didn’t have to make many pro-style throws at the intermediate level and may lack the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. Uses more of a three-quarters delivery, which leads to some of his passes being batted down at the line; arm angle also tends to drop on shorter throws. Hasn’t been asked to function as an anticipatory thrower, but will need to become one at the pro level, especially given his average arm strength. Production has been inflated by a high volume of predetermined short-yardage passes including screens, although he did make some strides from 2012 to 2013 in terms of making secondary reads. Effective running the read-option; follows his blocks well. Elusive in the open field, with the ability to make the first man miss. Mobile enough to take advantage of an open rushing lane, but generally tries to keep his eyes downfield and find receivers when evading rushers; brilliant ability to extend the play versus pressure. Can throw on the run. Tough runner who is willing to play hurt. However, needs to do a better job of protecting his body by sliding to avoid hits; had surgery on his throwing shoulder following the 2013 season and will miss the 2014 season after re-injuring it. A more polished prospect than former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor, Miller’s footwork, albeit from out of the shotgun, is actually fairly advanced, and he throws a nice football. However, will need to become accustomed to working from under center, reading defenses, working through multiple progressions, and anticipating throws, in addition to making more pro-style throws; consequently, profiles more as a developmental backup than a legitimate starting option.

Games watched: Iowa (’13), Michigan St. (’13), Wisconsin (’13)

QB SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

QB #5 SHANE CARDEN, EAST CAROLINA

6’2” – 221 lbs. – 4.80e

Redshirted in 2010, then appeared in one game at wide receiver in 2011 before succeeding Dominique Davis in 2012; will enter the draft with three years of starting experience. Possesses adequate height and a relatively thick build for a pro quarterback prospect. Operates out of the shotgun. Awkward sidearm/three-quarters motion, albeit with a quick release. Mechanics tend to deteriorate versus pressure, but flashes the ability to climb the pocket given outside pressure. Occasionally runs himself into trouble when his protection is still well-positioned. Footwork is very poor at this stage; throws without setting his feet or transferring weight, which has a deleterious effect on his accuracy. Sprays the ball all over the field; mediocre ball placement downfield somewhat diminishes the value offered by his arm strength. Nonetheless, despite poor weight transfer, gets great velocity on his passes, with a tight spiral; applies appropriate touch. Can fit the ball into tight windows. Confident passer, but a bit of a gunslinger who attempts passes he shouldn’t. Has some experience working through progressions and looking off safeties on his deep throws. Not much of a runner, but does have a little bit of experience carrying the ball on designed runs such as draws or read-option plays; has scored a handful of goal-line touchdowns each year. Reasonably accurate making throws when rolling to his right. Has some upside due to his impressive arm and ability to manipulate defensive backs with his eyes, but his footwork, his weight transfer, and his throwing motion are all in need of significant improvement; additionally, he will need to transition from passing exclusively out of the shotgun to lining up under center. Teams will be forced to determine whether or not his extensive starting experience has fossilized his poor technique, or whether he would be able to make significant strides by working with a pro quarterbacks coach; successfully overhauling his footwork in particular would go a long way toward mitigating his accuracy issues. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could develop into a starter, but at this point he projects as more of a career reserve.

Games watched: North Carolina (’13), North Carolina St. (’13), Ohio (’13)

RB KARLOS WILLIAMS, FLORIDA ST.

RB #9 KARLOS WILLIAMS, FLORIDA ST.

6’1” – 219 lbs. – 4.55e

Started his collegiate career as a five-star safety recruit, appearing in a reserve/special teams role before converting to running back in 2013. Possesses prototypical size and bulk for a starting running back. Powerful runner who can gain yards after contact; capable of lowering his shoulder and punishing defenders. Has potential as a goal-line/short-yardage back. Easily runs through arm tackles. When given a hole, hits it hard and gets upfield in a hurry. Agile enough to make the first man miss; can recognize cutback lanes and find his way into the open field. Can be caught from behind but is fast enough to get to the edge and pick up chunks of yardage. Doesn’t have much tread on his tires, but fits the physical profile of a workhorse. Upside is considerable given the brevity of his career as a running back. Has played with an outstanding supporting cast and hasn’t had to carry the team; much of his production came in garbage time. Gets caught in the backfield far too often for a back with his tools; can work as a downhill back but gets too cute or tries to bounce runs outside. Pad level rises at times; naturally taller than most running backs. Sub-par balance. Has the size to develop into a quality blocker but is well below-average at this point; lacks technique and even gets overpowered at the point of attack more often than he should. Unreliable receiver who has some experience running routes in the flats but doesn’t catch the ball well; has also had some trouble handling kickoffs. Broke his wrist as a freshman, which could require a medical follow-up. Has experience as a kick returner. Defensive background could make him a candidate for early contributions on coverage units. Big, raw back who’s still learning the position but could contribute in a short-yardage/special-teams capacity early, but whose long-term starting potential may be constrained by his poor blocking, limited value as a receiver, and inconsistent play. Working as a full-time starter in 2014 with another year of experience under his belt should clarify his standing; it’s easy to imagine him succeeding, but looks more like a reserve so far.

Games watched: Duke (’13), Idaho (’13), Miami (’13), North Carolina St. (’13), Syracuse (’13), Wake Forest (’13)

QB CODY FAJARDO, NEVADA

QB #17 CODY FAJARDO, NEVADA

6’2” – 215 lbs. – 4.70e

Extensive starting experience spread over his first three years in college. Overall height and bulk are adequate, but confirming his listed size at the Combine will be important; could stand to add some additional muscle, especially if teams plan on asking him to run the ball as often as he does in college. Operates almost exclusively out of the pistol (and, occasionally, shotgun); rarely begins snaps from under center, making it unclear how well he’ll adjust to turning his back to the defense and making post-snap reads. Willing to climb the pocket versus the outside rush; somewhat mobile, but keeps his eyes downfield rather than committing to running the ball. More likely to elude pass-rushers than to pick up substantial chunks of yardage on the ground. Has done a considerable amount of read-option work, as well as some designed quarterback draws. Capable of making accurate throws while rolling out to his right. Doesn’t take unnecessary risks with the ball; (too?) willing to take the short completion. Fairly quick over-the-top release. Throws a tight spiral with impressive velocity given his throwing mechanics; room for improvement with further development. Applies appropriate touch and exhibits generally good ball placement overall, although he tends to miss high rather than low. Inconsistent footwork on his drops; looks sound on some snaps, robotic on others. Doesn’t transfer his weight effectively on throws, which forces him to rely too heavily on his arm; throwing mechanics are reminiscent of Johnny Manziel’s. Played in a gimmicky, simplistic offense in which he wasn’t asked to make too many reads; tends to stare down his targets. Did a lot of his work over the middle of the field, rather than operating outside the hashes with difficult pro-style throws. Vision as a runner is above-average, but doesn’t always have the athletic ability to capitalize on what he sees. Durability may become a concern given his of bulk and tendency to run the ball. Will need to make the transition to being more of a traditional pocket passer at the next level, while also learning to operate from under center and cleaning up his footwork and throwing mechanics. Doesn’t make it look pretty, but is already an effective player who possesses the upside to become a spot-starter given time.

Games watched: Fresno St. (’13), UCLA (’13), UNLV (’13)

QB BRYCE PETTY, BAYLOR

QB #14 BRYCE PETTY, BAYLOR

6’3” – 230 lbs. – 4.80e

Has solid size for a pro quarterback, with a thick build. Willing to stand in the pocket and take a hit to complete a throw; body type sometimes allows him to withstand the first blow. Lacks a great feel in the pocket but is athletic enough to escape when he becomes aware of pressure; keeps his eyes downfield while on the move. Arm strength is more than adequate to push the ball downfield with velocity; has the arm to make all the throws at the pro level. Confident about attacking defenses deep and making throws into tight windows. Throws a tight spiral despite somewhat inconsistent throwing mechanics; alters the release point even in a clean pocket (but gets the ball out quickly.) Applies appropriate touch to his passes. Misses a lot of throws due to poor footwork; needs to be more consistent about stepping into throws and making sure his feet are aligned with his targets. Results on sideline throws are highly inconsistent; also hasn’t been asked to complete many back-shoulder throws or comebacks. Gets lazy with his mechanics and bounces a lot of his short throws. Played in a pass-happy spread offense which inflated his statistics and, more importantly, prevented him from having to turn his back to the defense or go through progressions; nearly all of his targets are to predetermined receivers. Stares down his targets and could get victimized by pro defensive backs early. Didn’t do much work at the intermediate level. Has some experience running the read-option but is more of a battering ram than a threat to break big runs; capable of running through arm tackles; tough style of play should help him win over teammates. Was only a first-year starter in 2013 and has time to sort out mechanical issues in his game. Has the potential to develop into a starting quarterback, but at this point there are too many questions about his footwork, mechanics, and ability to play in a pro-style offense to consider him anything more than a developmental backup with considerable upside. That said, despite all of the aforementioned deficiencies in his game, he highly efficient in his first year as a starter, and there are times when he steps into his throws and fires the sort of accurate passes which should endear him to an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach looking for a project.

Games watched: Iowa St. (’13), Oklahoma (’13), Texas Tech (’13)

DE HAU’OLI KIKAHA, WASHINGTON

DE #8 HAU’OLI KIKAHA, WASHINGTON

6’3” – 250 lbs. – 4.80e

Has added weight since tipping the scales at 238 pounds during his freshman year; combination of height, bulk, and length is adequate for a pro rusher. Looks like his frame has a little bit more room for growth. Plays both left and right defensive end; occasionally lined up at defensive tackle on obvious passing downs in 2013. Capable of using the ball rush effectively on passing downs; power extends to his ability to reset the line of scrimmage against the run. Active hand use allows him to shed blocks effectively. Can make tackles while engaged in run defense. Physical, passionate player with an impressive motor. Intelligent with high character on and off the field. Doesn’t react very quickly to the ball being snapped; average burst. Not a very creative rusher; gets stuck on blocks if his initial move doesn’t work. Will mix the inside rush in at times, but doesn’t really threaten the edge, although he flashes the ability to bend. Often forced to take indirect routes to the quarterback; would benefit from more consistent application of spins and speed rushes. Rather than winning off the snap, much of his production comes as a result of his motor; lots of second-effort coverage sacks. Can get distracted by blockers and fail to recognize ballcarriers running through his gaps; inconsistent awareness in run defense. Occasionally blown off the ball when anchoring. Built more like a 3-4 outside linebacker but may not be fluid enough to play in space; didn’t look great out of a two-point stance. Comes with serious medical flags; has torn his left ACL twice, once in September 2011 and then again in August 2012. Played in just four games over that span, all in 2011. Has the intangibles to develop into a member of a defensive-line rotation, but is still far from a finished product; missing nearly all of the 2011 season and the entirety of his 2012 campaign has prevented him from cultivating a diverse set of rush moves. Will probably be limited to playing defensive end in the pros, where his stiffness will be better masked; doesn’t look like he’ll be able to do work in coverage. Could improve his stock by diversifying his repertoire of moves and staying healthy as a senior, or kill it with another injury; as it stands now, his strength, his frame, and his mental attributes should help him come off the board somewhere on the draft’s third day.

Games watched: California (’13), Stanford (’13), Washington St. (’13)

LG JOSUE MATIAS, FLORIDA ST.

LG #70 JOSUE MATIAS, FLORIDA ST.

6’6” – 331 lbs. – 5.40e

Has started the past twenty-nine games at left guard for the Seminoles. Massive prospect with excellent height, bulk, and length; carries his weight well. When given the opportunity to attack an opponent’s outside shoulder, can drive his man well off the line of scrimmage. Keeps his feet churning after contact. Has a very strong grip; almost impossible to shed once he has his hands on an opponent. Physically overwhelming blocker who can finish snaps with knockdowns; rarely ends up on the ground himself. More athletic than anticipated given his size; works hard to get out in front of screens or to the second level on run blocks. Not just an obstruction down the field, but can actually engage second-level defenders. Bends his knees well in pass protection despite his height. Uses his arms to get good extension, albeit not on a consistent basis. Exhibits a superb anchor against power rushers. Gets caught bending at the waist too often for a player with his size and length. Lateral agility is generally adequate, but pass protection technique suffers the further he has to travel. Can be victimized by delayed blitzes and unconventional rush combinations. Would benefit from being more patient in pass protection; will overextend and make himself vulnerable to gap-shooting defensive tackles with quick hands. More comfortable anchoring than attempting to prevent rushers from attacking gaps; struggles to recover when he’s beat off the snap, where he exhibits a tendency to get grabby and potentially get flagged for holding. Consequently, despite being built like a right tackle, could be exposed if left on an island against defensive ends and outside linebackers. Benefited from playing between highly-touted left tackle Cameron Erving and 2014 fourth-round pick Bryan Stork. As it stands, however, is one of the most impressive offensive guard prospects in some time, a beautifully-built road grader who offers more range and a better work ethic than most players his size. Overextends a bit too often, but technique is actually pretty good overall as both a run blocker and a pass protector; with further tweaking, has the look of a quality starter at offensive guard.

Games watched: Clemson (’13), Florida (’13), North Carolina St. (’13)

RB AMEER ABDULLAH, NEBRASKA

RB #8 AMEER ABDULLAH, NEBRASKA

5’9” – 195 lbs. – 4.50e

Team captain. Smaller than you’d like from a workhorse running back, with a thin build; will enter the draft with three years of starting experience under his belt but shouldn’t be asked to carry the load in the pros. Does a lot of his work on tosses and stretch plays. Shifty, explosive runner who gets up to speed quickly and can make the first man miss; impressive jukes. Capable of making something out of nothing when the hole’s not there. Fast enough to hit the home run; speed makes him a candidate to return kicks or punts at the next level, both of which he has some experience doing. Hard runner who works to gain yardage after contact and often falls forward at the end of his carries; can run through arm tackles, but doesn’t project as a power back. Good vision and impressive balance. However, is more of an east-west runner before he reaches the line of scrimmage; has been successful bouncing runs outside at the college level, but may have difficulty doing so as a pro. Has lost twenty fumbles over three seasons; will need to hold onto the ball in order to avoid ending up in a coach’s doghouse. In some spread formations, lines up in the slot to provide an additional receiving option, although he’s generally retained as a blocker rather than sent on routes. A willing blocker whose effectiveness is somewhat constrained by his lack of size; doesn’t stay on his feet to engage rushers, but must go low in order to obstruct their path. Gets overwhelmed on contact when he tries to remain upright. Will be entering the draft with three years of starting experience under his belt; has been able to stay healthy so far, but the amount of times he’s carried the ball may concern teams. Does a respectable job in blitz pickup and has been effective running the ball out of spread formations, which should help him compete for snaps as a team’s third-down specialist, but must prove that he can run between the tackles and protect the football in order to establish himself as a member of a team’s running-back rotation. Success as a return specialist in college will help him distinguish himself from some of the draft’s other third-day running backs.

Games watched: Georgia (’12), UCLA (’12), Illinois (’13), Southern Mississippi (’13)