Posts Tagged ‘Combine’

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6) of Washington is projected to be the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, according to On the Clock's Jeff Vinton and Bill Slane

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6) of Washington is projected to be the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, according to On the Clock’s Jeff Vinton and Bill Slane.                  (Source: sportspressnw.com)

Cornerback Desmond Trufant (6′ 0″, 190 lbs.) out of Washington has risen up draft boards lately thanks to a great showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last weekend and is now considered one of the top two corners in the 2013 NFL Draft. Trufant, the younger brother of Seattle Seahawks corner Marcus Trufant and New York Jets corner Isaiah Trufant, played 45 straight games for the Huskies before getting injured and missing Washington’s game against Colorado this past season. He was named captain of the Husky football team this past fall and was named to the All-Pac 12 first team. Now he has healed and is gearing up to join his brothers on Sundays as a prospect in the NFL Draft April 25.

Here are Desmond Trufant’s statistics from Washington and his combine performance:

Stats:

Career- 50 games, 195 total tackles, 151 unassisted, 44 assisted, 2 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 5 fumbles recovered, 33 passes defended, 6 interceptions

2012- 12 games, 36 total tackles, 27 unassisted, 9 assisted, 1 sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered, 9 passes defended, 1 interception

Combine Performance: 4.38 second 40-yard dash, 16 bench press reps at 225 lbs., 37.5 inch vertical jump, 125 inch broad jump, 3.85 second 20-yard shuttle

I will now evaluate Trufant based on these criteria: Agility, Run Defense, Awareness, Range, Coverage, Tackle, Ball Skills, Speed, Burn Rate, and Health.

AGILITY:

Trufant doesn’t get juked easily and that has a lot to do with the quickness of his feet and the looseness of his hips. He can change direction extremely quickly and keep up with any move that a wideout tries to throw to shake his coverage. He’s balanced on his feet and in general, just has some damn good agility.  8.75/10.00

RUN DEFENSE:

This is the area of Trufant’s game that needs the most work. It just seemed like Trufant was very slow at diagnosing the run, even in obvious formations (no wide receiver on his side) and situations. Then once he did diagnose the run, the back would already be at or past the line of scrimmage and he would basically have no impact on the play from there. Now, Trufant is a cover corner, so I am not totally surprised that he is lacking in this area, but I would still expect him to be a little better at this, and with his speed, to have more of an impact on the play. This is something that he will no doubt work on as he advances. 8.0/10.0

AWARENESS:

Trufant possesses great awareness. He can diagnose any pass play and pretty much whatever route the receiver he is covering is running before the snap. He adjusts his coverage to what he reads and does it fairly quickly. He can diagnose play-action and route changes with the best of them and this helps make his coverage that much better. 8.5/10.0

 

RANGE:

Thanks to his 4.38 40 time, Trufant’s range is amazing. He can close in on receivers that get past him and knock balls that seem way out of his reach out the air. On runs, after he takes the time to diagnose the play and see where it is going, he takes good angles, but since it takes him so long to diagnose the play, he usually shows up after the tackle has begun, so sometimes he gets a final hit in there to force the ball carrier to the ground, but sometimes just shows up after the ball carrier has been tackled and the play is over. He gets there, but is not usually there in time to make the initial hit on the run. If a receiver gets behind him, then he can close in on the receiver quickly and then make a play on the ball. I was very impressed with Trufant’s range. 9.0/10.0

 

COVERAGE:

I said this above, I see Trufant as a coverage corner more than anything else. He blankets receivers and makes it insanely hard for receivers to get open and quarterbacks to complete throws. He is better in man, which is the coverage that Washington ran most often, and great against deep throws. QBs will still try to make deep throws, but that attempt is often misguided due to Trufant’s coverage. 8.5/10.0

TACKLE:

Not many people can get away from Trufant’s tackles, but a lot that has to do with where he makes his tackles on the field and how he hits and wraps up. When one is as fast as Trufant, a lot of momentum can be built up when sprinting at or with a man downfield and then hitting them. Since a lot of those hits happen along the sideline, the force that come with Trufant’s hits force receivers the extra foot or two that they need laterally to get out of bounds. When he does actually tackle, his technique is pretty good. He hits low, wraps up and takes down to the ground. Long story short, Trufant is a pretty good tackler.  8.5/10.0

BALL SKILLS:

When defending the ball in the air, one can’t get much better than Desmond Trufant in this year’s draft class. Trufant attacks the ball in the air, is not afraid to dive at any ball that is thrown to his receiver and basically just do whatever it takes to make the throw incomplete. When a receiver does catch a ball and Trufant is trying to take him down, he looks like he is trying to strip the ball pretty much every time. Since he is not afraid to attack the ball in the air, Trufant is fairly good at grabbing interceptions (6 in his career, 1 in 2012). He doesn’t grab as many as he could, but if he works on his hands a bit in practice, I’m sure that number will go up at the next level. 8.75/10.00

SPEED:

Trufant ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Combine in Indianapolis last weekend, so yeah. He’s fast. He’s fast enough where there is no doubt that he can keep up with any receiver currently in the NFL, coming into the league this year or any year after this. I am hugely impressed with his speed and it is something that I know NFL teams loved seeing last weekend and the team that drafts him will love seeing every Sunday during the fall.  9.0/10.0

BURN RATE:

I pretty much covered his burn rate in the ball skills section, but I’ll sum it up again here. Desmond Trufant doesn’t get burned often. When the ball is thrown to his man, he jumps up in the air, dives, and knocks balls down. Obviously, a corner can’t knock every ball down, but Trufant is a great defender when the ball is thrown to the receiver he’s covering.  9.0/10.0

HEALTH:

He started 45 straight games before getting hurt and missing the Colorado game this past season, so that injury will be something that teams will keep in their minds when thinking about drafting him on April 25. I don’t believe that this will be much of an issue in his career, however. One injury in four years is definitely not a worrisome thing to me, and I think that NFL teams will look past that injury on draft day. 9.5/10.0

 

OVERALL:

From me, Desmond Trufant gets a score of 8.75/10.00. I believe that the youngest brother in the Trufant family will become the greatest corner of the three. I think that he can make a great addition for a team in need of a corner and that he will become a Pro Bowl-level corner. Trufant really needs to work on his run defense, but that can come with time. He has excellent coverage skills and I love his speed. Trufant is a great corner that is going to make whatever team that drafts him very happy. There might be some growing pains right away, but give him time and he will be really good. Now as to where I think Trufant will get drafted? Well, I believe (and this can be seen in our Round 1 mock draft below [also in the “Mock Draft” category]) that Trufant will be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 13th overall pick. The Bucs are dealing with the best corner in franchise history, Ronde Barber, nearing retirement, and they will need to find someone to take his role on the defense. Trufant could come in and get game experience right away while learning the ins and outs of the NFL from an all time great. It is an awesome situation for Trufant to go into, and the Bucs would be extremely happy to grab a corner with the skills of Desmond Trufant.

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52 @OnTheClockNFL

Next, I’ll be previewing Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas!

BYU defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (47) intercepts a tipped pass against San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA on Dec. 20, 2012. The Cougars defeated the Aztecs 23-6.

BYU defensive end/outside linebacker Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah (47) intercepts a tipped pass against San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA on Dec. 20, 2012. The Cougars defeated the Aztecs 23-6. (Source: patriots.com)

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah is not the typical NFL prospect. The 6′ 5″, 271 pound BYU Cougar originally hails from Accra, Ghana and grew up playing basketball. When Ziggy came came to America and Provo, Utah, specifically, he ran track for the Cougars for one year and tried and failed twice to walk on to the basketball team. From there, Ansah discovered football and convinced head coach Bronco Mendenhall to give him a chance. Ziggy became a special teams player in his second season in Provo and was starting on the defensive line last season, his senior year.

His full story can be found in these two videos from 2011:

Here are Ansah’s stats from BYU:

Career: 31 games played, 72 total tackles, 39 unassisted, 33 assisted, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 7 quarterback hits, 9 passes broken up

2012: 13 games played (13 starts), 62 total tackles, 35 unassisted, 27 assisted, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 6 quarterback hits, 9 passes broken up

Ansah, who originally dreamed of playing in the NBA, is now headed for a career in the NFL and it is time for me to evaluate him. My evaluation will consist of these categories: Agility, Bull Rush, Speed Rush, Run Defense, Speed/Burst, Strength, Pass Defense, Tackle, Read and React and Health.

AGILITY: 

Honestly, Ansah has some of the best natural agility that I have seen in this year’s crop of defensive linemen and linebackers. He can change direction as quick or quicker than just about anybody, and when he is engaged with a lineman (or any type of blocker, for that matter) he throws one of the quickest and best spin moves that I have seen. This spin move is flat out dirty and it is one of Ansah’s best assets. He is not as balanced as I would like to see, but that is because he is still learning and getting comfortable in his pads. 9.0/10.0

BULL RUSH: 

Ansah doesn’t have the strongest bull rush, but that is mainly due to the fact that sometimes he doesn’t stay low and that is a horrible thing for a defensive lineman to do. One of the main thing that coaches preach to defensive linemen is to “Keep your pads low!” When a D-lineman is lower than his offensive counterpart, then he can get leverage and push the o-lineman backward. Now, during my third year of football, I wasn’t very good at this either, but I also am no comparison to Ziggy Ansah. But, Ansah seems extremely coachable and I bet that we will see improvement in this when Ansah takes the field in September for his first NFL game.  7.75/10.00

SPEED RUSH:

When Ansah is lined up in his typical defensive end or outside linebacker spot (he also lined up at nose tackle and defensive tackle at BYU), he has a pretty dang good speed rush. He stays outside and then cuts inside, usually using his spin when he sees that the quarterback has handed the ball off to a running back on a draw or that the QB is setting up to throw the ball. He doesn’t always get inside (notably during the Notre Dame game), but when he does, he causes a ton of disruption for the offense, and if you don’t believe me, check out the Utah State highlights throughout the videos. 8.5/10.0

RUN DEFENSE: 

Ansah is a naturally good tackler, which helps him a ton in his run defense. He’s not the greatest at diagnosing the play (but who is after only three seasons?), but when he does see it, he uses the speed and burst that I will talk about in the next section to catch up to running backs and throw them to the ground. I am honestly hugely impressed with Ansah’s run defense. 8.75/10.00

SPEED/BURST: 

Ansah ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Combine in Indy on Monday, sixth best among all the defensive linemen at the event. His speed and burst are even more impressive on the field. As I said in the last section, Ansah can chase down running backs who have gotten past him. There were times in his tape when he would come out of nowhere to make a tackle. He also has an insane burst when he sees a lane on a play. For example, in the Notre Dame game, Ansah was lined up at OLB and was left unblocked on a draw play. Ansah bursts through a lane on the Notre Dame line and takes Irish RB Theo Riddick down to the Notre Dame Stadium grass. That play shows Ansah’s burst more than almost any other. 8.75/10.00

STRENGTH:

If I were to say that Ansah is the strongest d-lineman in the draft, I’d be lying, but he is still really strong. He repped 225 pounds 21 times in the bench press test in Indianapolis and there are tons of plays where Ansah locks out 300+ pound offensive linemen to showcase how strong he really is. There is also a scene in the second video of Ansah’s story (above) that shows how strong he is. At one of BYU’s practices, Ansah lifts a blocking dummy (which, trust me, are not light) about six feet in the air and then throws it down to the ground as if it weighed nothing at all. That play showcased his strength to me more than any other. The best thing about Ansah’s strength is that there is more to come. He will benefit hugely from working with a NFL strength and conditioning coach to build a lot more strength in the weight room. I really cannot wait to see him in the NFL. 9.0/10.0

PASS DEFENSE:

Ziggy Ansah 2

Ansah knock as pass down against Washington State.

Ansah is about as good as it gets when it comes to defensive linemen against the pass. He broke up nine passes and even intercepted a pass this past season. I thought Bjoern Werner was about as good as it got for d-linemen here, but now that I have seen Ansah’s tape, I realize I was wrong. For Ansah, this all just comes naturally, and his pass defense is no exception. 9.25/10.00

TACKLE: 

I stated this earlier, and it seems like I’m saying this a lot, but tackling just comes naturally to Ziggy. He rarely misses a tackle and has learned well on how to form tackle from his coaches at BYU. He hits hard and doesn’t let players escape. If Ziggy gets ahold of a player, they are meeting the turf in some way. 9.0/10.0

READ AND REACT: 

This is an area where Ziggy could improve, but it really has to do with the fact that he’s only been playing the game for three years. It takes a ton of time to be able to read formations and linemen well, and Ziggy can do that, it’s just not as fast as I would like to see. But, I believe that he will improve with time in the NFL. So for right now my rating is 7.0/10.0, but I truly believe that he will improve and improve fast.

HEALTH: 

No injury problems currently, but with an inexperienced player, injuries are always a risk because of poor technique and learning how to defend different things that offensive players do (ex: cut blocks, a lesson I learned the hard way). 10.0/10.0

OVERALL:

If it’s not already obvious, I think that Ziggy Ansah is the best defensive lineman or outside linebacker available in this year’s draft. Overall, he got a score of I think that he has almost limitless potential. Here’s how I see it. If had his ability after only three seasons of football, then I would have a FBS scholarship and still be playing instead of sitting behind my computer screen writing about players. He is one of the most naturally gifted players that I have seen in a l0ng time, and I believe that with some coaching, then he will be an All-Pro defensive player. He is raw, but there is just a ton of potential there. Now as to where Ansah will be drafted. Various sources have him going anywhere from picks 6 to 19, and I believe really believe that he’ll be off the board quick at pick #6 to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are still trying to build a competing team the likes of which they had before the old Browns moved to Baltimore. Ansah will help them out a ton on the defensive side of the ball and they will have the time to properly develop him to his true potential.

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow us on Twitter! @J_Vinton52 @OnTheClockNFL

Tomorrow I will be previewing Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington!

Winners

  • Knile Davis of Arkansas opened some eyes with his combine performance

    Knile Davis of Arkansas opened some eyes with his combine performance

    Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas – Davis has had a rough last two years, after missing all of the 2011 season with an ankle injury, he followed it up with a poor showing in 2012. Teams should realize though that Davis was sensational in 2010 before his injury and a lot of his problems in 2012 were not his fault but the fault of the entire Razorbacks team, a team that had hopes of winning the SEC before giving up after about 3 weeks. Davis had a phenomenal combine performance and showed scouts that they should probably dust off that tape from 2010.

  • Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU – Mathieu started off his combine well with a great press conference with the media. He followed that up by having a pitiful performance in the bench press with just 4 reps, calling his work ethic into question. But when he got on the field he showed why he was the best defensive player in the nation in 2011.
  • Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – Austin’s stock was already on the rise prior to the combine but he really showed some elite skill in Indy. He had one of the fastest 40 times of the 4 days at any position, and showed some great pass catching ability. He even showed improvement with his route running, which for me, makes him a first round pick and a potential game-changer.

Losers

  • Manti Te'o of Notre Dame did little to help his draft stock in Indy

    Manti Te’o of Notre Dame did little to help his draft stock in Indy

    Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame – Personally, I think Te’o is going to be a fine player in the NFL. People are going to harp on him because of his slow 40 time but I don’t think it is that big of a deal. Players even at his position have run times slower than him and gone on to have good careers (Brandon Spikes comes to mind who ran a 5.0). Te’o also showed in his press conference that maturity really shouldn’t be a concern with him. When it comes down to it though, I just get the feeling NFL teams are not going to like what they saw out of him on the field and he may slip into the second round because of it.

  • Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – Obviously this doesn’t have to do with any kind of performance issue since he was unable to work out at the combine. However, the issue that arose as of a result of a combine examination could spell bad news for Lotulelei’s draft stock. On the other hand it could be great news for a team who would never have had the chance to draft him, as he could slip to the middle of the first because of this heart problem. Lotulelei is a special player and it is going to be a shame to see him fall out of the top-10 where he rightfully belongs. (I could also put Sharrif Floyd into the “winners” category because of this)

It’s players like Baylor’s Terrance Williams that make me very excited for the potential of players that won’t be taken on day one of the NFL draft. Williams is not a name that is mentioned when talking about top wide receivers in this year’s class, but when you look at his film (never mind his numbers) Williams becomes an extremely intriguing prospect with the potential to make a big splash in the NFL.

All of Williams’ measurables are pretty much on average with today’s wide receiver in the NFL. He’s 6’2”, about 210 pounds and runs around the 40-yard dash in around 4.5 seconds (ran a 4.52 at the combine). When you look at his numbers though, it becomes obvious that Williams is not your average, every day receiver. In 2012, he had 1832 yards receiving with about 90 catches, the best in the nation last year. Williams also managed 12 touchdowns to go along with his gaudy yardage total. He is not the best all-around receiver you will ever see, but what he does he does pretty damn well.

A lot of the catches he made for the Bears came off of button hooks and on the sideline. Very often on film you’ll see him run just around to where the first down marker is, stop and turn to the ball which was probably already on its way to his chest. Williams did a good job of consistently make this type of catch and getting the fist down in these kinds of situations, and it’s the kind of play he may be asked to make at the next level so he needs to continue to be consistent with it.

Williams did just about everything he could to help the Bears with some football games. He primarily played outside receiver, but he would on occasion move into the slot. He’d run the occasional in-route or slant route. He’d catch a screen pass every now and then. But that is not where Williams made his name; where Williams really shines is with the deep ball. For someone who doesn’t have world-class speed, it was very impressive to see how easily he was able to get behind the defense and make the big play deep down the field. A legitimate deep threat is a hot commodity in the NFL, and if Williams can translate his collegiate success into the NFL, he will have a very successful, and lucrative, professional career as well.

A key characteristic of a great deep threat receiver though is their willingness to go up and make the tough catch. Williams is not afraid to do that in the slightest. It’s apparent to me that he is not at all scared to jump up and fight with the defender for the ball. Fearlessness is a great quality in a wide receiver, and not just in a deep threat.

You also need to be fearless in the blocking aspect of the position. And, again, Williams is not at all afraid to block for his teammates. For someone who doesn’t, on the surface or otherwise, seem to have superhuman strength, his blocking ability is quite impressive. Whether it’s for his running back or a fellow wide receiver, Williams blocked well on an extremely consistent basis and helps his teammates get those extra yards.

One other thing that should probably be mentioned is the quality of his quarterback. While Nick Florence’s numbers were not terrible, I saw him on more than one occasion flat out miss Williams. From what I saw, and to be fair it was not a full analysis, Florence is not extremely accurate nor does he have a very strong arm. So, with that being said, I am extremely interested to see how Williams will perform if he is picked by a team with a top-caliber quarterback to throw him the ball.

Williams isn’t the world’s most perfect receiver. He has a habit of dropping open passes. He is not the world’s crispest route runner (although he did run a stop & go route vs. Texas that should be put in the Smithsonian). There are some good reasons why Williams isn’t the top wide receiver prospect in this year’s class, but there are some decent arguments for why he should be.

Terrance Williams reminds me a little bit of Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith; he simply makes plays for his football team. Whether it’s in the middle of the field or in the redzone, Williams will do anything to help his team win. He is a very good deep threat with some good hands and tracks the ball well. Williams also does a good job at adjusting to the poorly thrown ball even with defenders on top of him.

Williams isn’t exactly a “sleeper” pick, but I think a team picking him in the middle to late second round (or even the third) could be getting a steal. I think there is a decent chance that Williams will make a big splash at the next level for any team looking to add some playmakers to their offense. Teams like the Dolphins, Patriots, or even the Browns or Eagles (among others) should all have Terrance Williams on their radar.

Follow us on Twitter: @bill_slane @OnTheClockNFL

Like us on Facebook

Highlights: 

Alabama CB runs the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis

Alabama CB Dee Milliner runs the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis

The annual NFL scouting combine came to a close Tuesday as the nation’s top defensive backs took to the field in Indianapolis to show off their talents in front of the league’s talent evaluators. There were few surprises on the last day as the top prospects showed the world why they are the best and those fighting to gain some notoriety did little if anything to help their draft stock.

Starting with the top, Dee Milliner was and still is the best DB in this year’s class; it’s really not even close. I did a profile of Milliner last week and fell in love with the guy from what I saw on film. He solidified himself as a probable top-5 pick with his performance today on the field.

Milliner started off the day right with a very impressive showing in the 40-yard dash. He officially clocked in at 4.37 seconds, just .01 seconds slower than the fastest defensive back of the day, Darius Slay of Mississippi State. Where Milliner really shined though was in drills. He showed great hands, fluid hip movement, and great ability to change speed and direction. If he doesn’t go in the top-5 in April I’d be shocked and disappointed in the NFL’s scouts. I think the Lions right at that 5th pick makes a lot of sense for both parties.

The other story of the day came from former LSU Tiger Tyrann Mathieu, the player formally known as “The Honey Badger”. After managing a pathetic 4 reps in the bench press on Monday, Mathieu needed to do a lot to prove himself in the defensive back drills, and he did just that. He ran a solid time in the 40, officially clocking in at 4.5 seconds. But, like Milliner, where Mathieu really brought it was in the drill portion of the day. He showed good quickness and hands in the drills along with good movement in his hips, something I thought he needed to work on when I watched him on film. With his performance in Lucas Oil, Mathieu might have solidified himself as a third round draft choice. He showed good speed and quickness, so at the very least he has some good value as a kick returner. And all Mathieu needs to do is make a roster so he can begin to prove to the world he can make plays in the NFL like he did while at LSU.

Tyrann Mathieu participates in a defensive back drill at the NFL combine

Tyrann Mathieu participates in a defensive back drill at the NFL combine

A couple of other names that stood out today were Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Washington’s Desmond Trufant. Considering his size, Rhodes ran a pretty impressive 40 time at 4.43 seconds. I didn’t realize that Rhodes brought that combination of both physicality and speed to the table, and NFL teams are really going to like that. Trufant on the other hand probably solidified himself as, at worst, the third corner in the class with his performance today. He ran an official 40 time of 4.38, one of the top marks of the day, and had some good times in the shuttles. Trufant, like Rhodes, is slightly bigger than your average corner and should be a very intriguing prospect for teams looking to add someone to their secondary.

One player who fell slightly short of expectations was Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. In what is generally considered a very deep safety class, Vaccaro has been the consensus #1 at the position. He fell short of that label in Indy, running a pedestrian 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He redeemed himself somewhat in the 3-cone drill, and looked decent in the defensive back drills. Vaccaro probably didn’t hurt his draft stock much, if at all, with his combine performance, but he needs to pick it up at his pro day if he wants to remain the top safety in this year’s class.

One of the lesser-known names who showed up in Indy was cornerback Steve Williams out of the University of California – Berkeley. Williams didn’t make any all-conference teams this season, but he did garner a lot of praise from coaches in the Pac-12. He showed that at least some of that praise was deserved at the combine, running a good 40 at 4.42 seconds, having one of the best vertical leaps at 40.5 inches, and looking solid in the defensive back drills. Williams could be a very good pickup later in the draft for a team looking to add someone with a lot potential in the defensive backfield to their roster.

The annual NFL scouting combine is a very good resource for NFL talent evaluators, but it is far from their only resource. There is still plenty to be learned about these and the rest of the player available in this year’s class. Pro days, individual meetings and workouts, and more are still to come for these players..

Follow us on Twitter : @bill_slane @OnTheClockNFL

Like us on Facebook