The Jedi Sack

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Week 1 Notes

* Arkansas QB Brandon Allen had a great showing in the season opener. He was 14-18-308 with 4 TDs and no INTs. A couple of the TDs came on quick screens, but one of them was a precisely thrown deep ball and the other came on a corner route. That ball was right on the money as well.

Allen was up and down as a Sophomore in 2013. He was better last year. He might be poised for a breakout season. I thought Allen looked good in the opener. His passes had good velocity and were accurate. Arkansas likes to be vertical with their passing game. Allen had a good day with intermediate and downfield throws. UTEP wasn’t the biggest challenge, but it was still good to see a Senior QB get off to such an impressive start.

WR Keon Hatcher was 6-106 in the game, with the 2 long TDs coming to him. He has pretty good size at 6-2, 210. It was hard to judge his speed vs UTEP DBs. Hatcher also blocked well on runs and screens.

* Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg had a miserable day vs Temple last Saturday. His blocking wasn’t good and that is a factor. His receivers didn’t do him any favors. But if you are truly a special player, that should be evident at times.

I have watched every snap of Hackenberg’s career. He showed a lot of promise when playing for Bill O’Brien in 2013. Things have not been good since James Franklin took over. There are personnel issues. The scheme is awkward. Hackenberg just hasn’t looked right the last 2 years.

He does have a strong arm. He can make some terrific throws. But he will miss some throws that he shouldn’t. Last week he had a WR open for a long TD and put the ball out in front of his guy. That didn’t seem like a big deal at the time since PSU was up 10-0, but the offense fell apart for the rest of the game and they lost. Had they gone up 17-0, who knows what happens in that game.

I do not see a 1st round player when I watch Hackenberg. That might change during the course of the season, but right now he just looks too flawed. He has NFL ability, but isn’t a polished pocket passer.

* Skai Moore is a Junior MLB for South Carolina. He had a big showing in the opening week win over UNC, picking off 2 passes. Both in the end zone. Don’t think of this as luck. Moore has 9 career picks.

Moore is only 6-2, 218 so he isn’t MLB material for all NFL teams. He could bulk up to 230 or so and fit some 4-3 schemes that focus on speed. Moore might be better suited to playing WLB in the 4-3. He is a playmaking LB in a pass-happy era so someone will have interest in him.

RB Shon Carson is only 5-8, 206, but he is a playmaker as well. He showed good speed on a 48-yd TD run. Got some good seal blocks and flew up the field. Only had 18 carries all of last year, but averaged 7.8 yards per run. Interesting role player. Also a solid KOR.

* I don’t know what to make of Cardale Jones. He is huge. And a good athlete. He has a very strong arm. He makes plays. I just don’t know how his game will translate to the NFL. Urban Meyer is a great college coach who crafts an offense that helps his QBs to shine. But that offense doesn’t always help them to develop as pro prospects.

Jones is a natural QB. He’s infinitely better than someone like E.J. Manuel, who was a mid-1st round pick. I just hope Jones goes somewhere he can develop. He’s a very intriguing talent. I think he will need time to adjust to the NFL.

Braxton Miller showed a ton of potential as a WR. He was good short and down the field. His spin move on the long TD was pretty freaky. Per Daniel Jeremiah, he measured in at 6013, 210 in the spring. That’s a solid build for a WR.

* Duke Safety Jeremy Cash got off to a good start. He had 5 solo tackles, a TFL and a PBU in the opening win over Tulane. Cash is 6-2, 210 and a versatile weapon for the Blue Devils. He has pretty good man cover skills. He is a terrific blitzer and a good run defender. Duke uses him creatively since he is their best defensive player.

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Scouting Report: ILB Stephone Anthony

by Tyler Aston

Stephone Anthony: ILB, Clemson, 6’3, 243lbs

Overview: Anthony was a unanimous 5 star recruit out of Anson High in North Carolina. He made 35 starts, recorded 330 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles during his four years at Clemson. Clemson used Anthony in an extremely aggressive manner. He was often blitzed, and is moving forwards at the snap on the vast majority of plays. He does a great job of using his athleticism on the football field and has sideline to sideline range.

In the run game he’s far more willing than most collegiate LBs to engage with OL, and with coaching should be able to become more effective at getting off blocks. His speed allows him to run down running backs. He has a natural feel of how to best reach the running back. His tackling is overall solid but at times he gets lazy with his footwork and tries to arm tackle. He occasionally takes bad angles against better competition. He doesn’t seem to be very good at reading what he is seeing, and gets by due to his athleticism and ability to get to the ball.

In the pass game Anthony is a much harder player to judge, due to the manner in which Clemson used him. He simply didn’t play as much coverage as other prospects. He’s a pretty average blitzer, with the ability to fight through a blocker, but lacking that intuitive ability of finding holes in the protection. He does a good job of sniffing out screens and sticking with the back in man to man situations. Struggles mightily against play action, as he bites far too hard on run fakes. Uncomfortable in zone coverage. Doesn’t seem to have a feel for play developing around him or passing lanes.

Grade: 3rd Round

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Scouting Report – OT Brandon Scherff

by Tyler Alston

Brandon Scherff:  LT,  IOWA,  6’5, 315lbs

OVERVIEW: Brandon Scherff hates you. He hates your mother, he hates your father, he hates your 4th grade teacher, and he really hates your mailman. Jon Runyan thinks Brandon Scherff wasn’t hugged enough as a small child. He’s the epitome of a Kirk Ferentz offensive lineman: technically sound, high football IQ, nasty, and relentless.

Scherff’s blend of brute force, technical ability, and high football IQ shine through in the run game. His footwork is solid. He has been well-coached on the fundamentals of zone blocking. He gets on his zone “track” and does a good job to move whoever is on it. When unengaged he excels at getting to the second or third level. Once there he typically does a good job of engaging the linebacker or safety. On occasion he gets juked or the defender is able to bounce off, typically due to not resetting his base and pad level, but that’s a fairly minor nitpick.

Scherff understands the angles of football. As a former offensive lineman, I don’t know that I can emphasize how valuable this skill set is. By understanding how the play is designed, Scherff is able to defeat many defenders simply due to superior positioning. For example on a toss sweep to the right, by simply stepping down into the “B gap” and hinging back to face the defensive end, Scherff has all but guaranteed to win his assignment. If the defender tries to cut behind him, Scherff is able to wash him wide. Should the defender cross his face and try to scrape down the line, he can lock his big meat hooks onto him and bury him. He is also able to get out in the open field on screen plays and does a good job of attacking more fleet-footed back seven players by being in better position.

Scherff has powerful hands. His grip is strong. His punch is ridiculous. Here is a video of him hang-cleaning 443×3.

When his punch hits your square in the chest, and it does more often than not, you feel every ounce of that power.

You’re now forgetting #8 from Oregon. You want the Eagles to sell the farm to trade up to get this generational freak. Well, to quote the great wordsmith Leland Corso “Not so fast my friend”. The major flaw in Scherff’s game is his vertical pass protection. His play-action pass protection is exceptional. He stops defensive linemen dead in their tracks. His horizontal pass sets are also a strong suit. When allowed to kick at more of a flat angle he is patient, and doesn’t leave himself open to inside moves. Even his understanding of pass rush stunts and games is quality. He doesn’t panic, simply passes his man off to the next blocker and waits for the next defender to come to him. However, when forced with having to quickly take a vertical pass set to stop speed he doesn’t have the foot speed to do it. Side to side, or moving forward, Scherff is a great player. Having to move backwards is a struggle for him. He gets too tall, and his feet come together, he tends to hop a little bit. Perhaps some functional mobility work can loosen up his hips and help some in the long run, but I doubt it will ever be a strength.

Grade: 1st round, likely Top 15

If you only watch one game: Indiana (2014)

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Scouting Report – OT Ty Sambrailo

by Tyler Aston

Ty Sambrailo: LT, Colorado State, 6’5, 315

Overview: The son of a collegiate pole vaulter, and brother of an Oregon State women’s volleyball player, Ty Sambrailo inherited the family athleticism. The agile big man helped captain Colorado State to 10 wins in 2014. Sambraillo plays with a relentless streak, and has excellent feet.

In the run game Sambrailo relies on his persistence and intelligence to continually put defenders on the ground. Whether blocking through the echo of the whistle or cutting a defenders legs out from under them, Sambrailo constantly harasses and annoys defenders. He is well coached and does a good job at executing his assignment. Colorado State used him as a puller both from the front side and backside of plays. He does a good job of leading up through the hole and getting a hat on the defender. He’s not the most powerful player in the run game, but does a good job of turning a defenders lateral movement into vertical movement. Sambrailo does a good job getting to the second level and into the open field on screens.

Sambrailo shines in pass protection. He has an excellent kick slide, which he executes quickly without suffering lapses in form. He does a good job of absorbing contact and quickly resetting his base. He has a great feel for where his quarterback is and does a good job reflecting that in his pass set. He does a good job of keeping his shoulders square to the line, preventing pass rushers from having a “two-way go”. He always knows who his man is and does a good job of patiently waiting for his assignment to come to him and not go chasing. He moves well laterally in play action and 3-step blocking. 

Grade: Late 1st 
If you only watch on game: Boston College (2014)

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Scouting Report – T.J. Clemmings

by Tyler Aston

T.J. Clemmings: RT, Pitt, 6’6, 315lbs

Overview: TJ Clemmings didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. Despite that, he was the top rated player in the state of New Jersey when he committed to the Panthers. The Redshirt Senior from Pitt moved from defensive to offensive line during the bowl practices his redshirt sophomore year. Clemmings is one of the top offensive linemen in the 2015 draft, a bit raw, but with a high ceiling.

Clemmings was a key figure in opening up big lanes on the right side of the line for standout RB James Conner. He provided a mauling yet athletic focal point for Pitt’s power run game. Clemmings does a good job engaging his defender. He caves in the right side of the line on down blocks, consistently pancaking his man, typically on the other side of the center. He does a good job on double teams and understanding who needs to remain with the defensive lineman and who needs to continue up to the second level. He is an effective cut blocker on the backside of sweeps. He does a good job using his body to position block on outside running plays. He does however end up on the ground too often. This is a byproduct of overextending and not keeping his feet under him. Such a problem is common among linemen in power blocking schemes, but is an area he needs to improve at the next level. Needs to develop more core and lower body strength.

Clemmings is a good athlete. He does a good job of getting to the second level in the run game. He gets there in a hurry, and his punch can send unsuspecting linebackers and safeties flying. His athleticism also allows him to get out in the open field on screen plays. He excels in this regard as he gets into good position, but then does a is patient, letting the defender come to him.

In pass pro, Clemmings has good footwork. His kick-slide is natural and technically sound. He does a good job communicating with other players in protection to identify his man against blitzes and line stunts. He has a solid punch that deadens the defender’s momentum, and does a good job not to overextend. This allows him to thrive in the play-action and short passing game. Against good speed rushers in the five-step game he drifts upwards, ends up too high, and opens his hips. This occasionally causes him problems with skilled pass rushers who can throw a club counter or run the corner. It looks to be a correctable problem, which with more experience should work itself out.

Grade: 1st

If you only watch one game: Miami (2014)

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Senior Bowl Day 2 – South

There was a new face in Mobile on Wednesday…QB Bryan Bennett from SE Louisiana. He was added after Auburn star Nick Marshall decided to play CB instead of QB. Bennett measured in at 6022, 210. Good frame, but he’s a bit on the lean side.

Bennett got everyone’s attention right away. He threw the ball better than the other QBs and looked natural at practice. Some guys take time to adjust to the situation. Bennett was ready to go.

He is noteworthy in part because he started his career at Oregon. When Bennett lost the battle for the starting QB job to some kid named Marcus Mariota, he decided to go somewhere that he could get on the field. Bennett was a dual-threat QB for SE La and led them to a pair of BCS playoff berths.

I watched him making simple warm-up throws and liked what I saw. He has a smooth motion and quick release. Once in drills, he showed the ability to drive the ball downfield on intermediate passes and also threw some good deep balls. He ran a couple of times and showed good mobility and speed. He’s not going in the 1st round or anything like that, but Bennett showed himself to be an intriguing option in a weak QB class.

* Miami TE Clive Walford had an outstanding day. He caught a ton of passes and made lots of plays. He showed the ability to make catches while going to the ground (a benefit of the sloppy passing). Walford showed good speed in getting down the field. He got into the end zone several times. I need to watch tape on him.

* CB Kevin White might be the most natural cover man in Mobile. Unfortunately he’s 5-9, 180 and it doesn’t look like he’s got top speed. WRs got behind him a couple of times on Wednesday. White was able to recover and break up the passes, but mainly because they were bad throws. White is very good at pressing and getting in the hip pocket of the receiver on short stuff, but I’m not sure about his long speed.

* QB Blake Sims has not impressed me. I kept my expectations limited so this isn’t a case of me thinking he would stand out. Receivers had to slow down and wait for deep throws from him. Sims didn’t look good on intermediate throws. He still has one more day to get going, but Sims hasn’t done much to sell himself as the #3 QB in this class.

* Garrett Grayson is the other QB in Mobile. He is inconsistent, but his good moments are impressive. He has a solid arm and will connect on some deep balls. I think his motion is awkward and a bit slow, which affects him on short, quick throws.

* LB/DE Lynden Trail is an interesting player. He’s huge at 6-6, 262. He was once a star recruit for the Florida Gators, but then moved on to Norfolk State, where he was a dominant player. You see him on one drill or rep and he looks really good. Then you see another and he looks stiff and gangly. Trail was a terrific pass rusher for NSU. He played LB and DE. 3-4 teams should be very interested in him, but so far Trail hasn’t been all that impressive when playing in space.

* Phillip Dorsett had another strong day. He is really impressive. Tyler Lockett also had a very good day. He’s tough to evaluate. though. Lockett isn’t explosive like Dorsett and he’s also not a big guy. Lockett just seems to have a knack for getting open and he does have good hands.

* DE/LB Markus Golden had a good showing. He was at LDE when I watched him make a couple of plays. He was able to use a quick burst off the ball and really good pad level to get by blockers. Golden is only 6-2 so when he stays low it can be tough for blockers to get their hands on him cleanly.

* I didn’t focus on ILB Stephone Anthony but he was around the ball play after play. That’s a key trait for good LBs. It shows a combination of instincts, vision, speed and the ability to move through traffic. I’ll be checking Anthony out more closely today.

* Owamagbe Odighizuwa was the most disruptive DL from what I could tell. He moved all over the line and gave everyone fits. He is 6-3 1/2 and 266 pounds. Odighizuwa plays bigger and stronger than that. He is a powerful, physical. nasty guy to go up against. 4-3 teams will love him as a DE. 3-4 teams have to decide if he should be an OLB or add a few pounds and be a DE.

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Senior Bowl Day 2 – North

by Tommy Lawlor

Day 1 can be tough on players. Many have been away from football for several weeks and that has them rusty. They’re learning new systems and dealing with new teammates. This all leads to some sloppy play.

Some players look much better on Day 2. They have their feet under them, so to speak, and look more comfortable and more natural. This seemed to be the case for QB Bryce Petty, who struggled on Tuesday, but threw the ball much better on Wednesday.

Petty threw well on the short stuff, but suddenly was much better on intermediate passes. He hit a TE down the seam. He hit a WR on a deep out, about 18 yards down the field. Petty hit a WR on a crossing route in the 7-on-7 drill. He’ll never be mistaken for John Elway, but this was a huge improvement for Petty.

On Tuesday, intermediate passes were hitting the ground or thrown behind targets. They didn’t have good velocity at all. Petty still mostly made short, quick throws. That’s his comfort zone. He did take a big step forward with his intermediate passing.

* The guys playing LT for the North are Donovan Smith of Penn State and Trent Brown from Florida. Smith has had some good moments. He has a solid combination of size and athleticism. He can really lock on and get the best of the rusher.

Brown is huge at 6-8 1/2 and 376 pounds. Heck, he’s the LG and the LT all at once. The old joke in scouting is that he’s so big it takes a $20 cab ride to get around him. Brown isn’t your typical athletic LT, but he moves well enough for a guy his size. And Brown can dominate rushers when he gets his hands on them. I need to do a lot of tape study on him. Brown is very intriguing.

* Coaches love to try guys at different positions to see who can do what. I remember watching Trent Cole play some OLB in January of 2005 in Mobile and he looked completely lost. Cole played DE for the first 8 yeas of his career, but has successfully moved to OLB the last 2 seasons.

Several pass rushers struggled in LB drills today. Deion Barnes, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Za’Darius Smith all looked awkward at LB. They are natural DEs. In time, they may move to LB successfully, but based on what they’ve shown in Mobile the change won’t happen quickly or smoothly.

* WR Ty Montgomery had a bad drop today. He measured in just under 6-feet yesterday and hasn’t done much on the field. This has not been a good week for him.

* Quentin Rollins has been pretty good in coverage. His highlight moment came on a double move by Devin Smith. Rollins had the initial move covered, but then stuck with Smith when he turned upfield. Rollins maintained inside position and looked back for the ball at the last minute. He never panicked. He was smart and kept the pass from being completed.

* WR Jamison Crowder continues to play very well. He has slot guy size (5-8, 174) , but looks just as good outside. He made a spectacular one-hand grab today. Crowder had to fully extend just to come close to the ball. He has great body control and is an explosive athlete.

* OLB/DE Nate Orchard is the most impressive pass rusher on the North team. He constantly seems to be getting the best of his man. He’s not just flying off the ball either. There was one play in the 11-on-11 drills where Orchard played a roll-out perfectly and was right there to blow up the play. Orchard has helped himself tremendously with his showing in Mobile.

* I had high expectations for OT T.J. Clemmings. He had a great Senior season and was a dominant RT for Pitt. Unfortunately Clemmings has had to block Orchard more than a few times and that hasn’t gone well. Clemmings has played RT and LT in Mobile and hasn’t impressed me. Even his run blocking hasn’t been what I expected. There was one play today where Za’Darius Smith came off the ball and moved Clemmings back half a yard. That really got my attention.

* Robert Myers has looked good when I’ve been able to check him out. He’s playing OG this week and looks natural in there despite the fact he’s mostly played OT in his career. Myers is able to block right at the LOS or get up to the second level.

* Duke OG Laken Tomlinson is very good when he’s able to engage the defender cleanly. Tomlinson stays low and anchors very well. He is really tough to move off his spot.

* One guy who did beat Tomlinson is DT Danny Shelton. He’s been very impressive at times. Shelton is powerful and able to get the best of blockers. He’s also got a great motor. There was a screen play today where Shelton chased down the ball over by the sideline. You just don’t see 340-pound DL hustle like that on a regular basis.

* QBs Sean Mannion and Shane Carden weren’t impressive. Mannion made some good throws, but didn’t stand out in any way. Carden was better than Tuesday, but still not good. He puts good touch on some of his downfield passes, but the problem is that they’re in the air too long and that won’t work vs NFL DBs.


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Senior Bowl Day 1 – South

* The most impressive player for the South that I saw was WR Phillip Dorsett. He was explosive and got open with ease on a regular basis. One GM raved about him as we watched practice. When CBs had to play off-coverage, they had little to no chance to cover Dorsett. He came off the ball and then just exploded by them. Blake Sims tried to hit him with a pass down the sideline. The ball ended up on the ground behind Dorsett. Sims has good WRs to work with, but no one as fast as Dorsett, who some think will run in the 4.25-4.30 range.

* Let’s talk about Blake Sims. He had an up and down day. I thought he was at his best throwing on the run and on short passes. He looked comfortable and was accurate with good velocity. I didn’t see many good throws down the field. You can see that Sims is a gifted player with potential, but he has to play better to show that he should be the #3 QB in this class.

* QB Garrett Grayson looked a bit stiff and awkward when I watched his tape this year, but he grew on me today. He showed the best arm of anyone in Mobile. He had a couple of good deep throws. Grayson got his week off to a good start.

* Auburn star Sammie Coates had a solid showing. As one NFL scout summed up the situation today, you basically have to teach him how to run routes, but the guy is physically gifted. Coates only measured in at 6-2, 213, but he seemed stronger and more physical than other receivers and DBs. He didn’t show great hands, but made a couple of nice catches. He looked comfortable  catching short stuff as well as going deep. Serious potential, but needs a lot of work.

* CB Kevin White looked the most natural of the CBs today. He was instinctive and showed good cover skills. Unfortunately, White is just 5-9, 180. Will some team give him a chance outside or is he doomed to a life in the slot? White is physical with WRs. He is tough and athletic. White was at his best playing press coverage.

* Ole Miss star Senquez Golson is another undersized CB who stood out today.

* I loved watching Clayton Geathers, the FS from Central Florida. He played in the box and back deep. He was impressive in man coverage. Geathers looked athletic in the drills. He showed fluid hips and looked agile. He had good hands. Good start to his Senior Bowl week.

* Jaquiski Tartt is a big Safety at 6-1, 220. He can hit like a ton of bricks. I was curious to see how agile and athletic he might be. As you would imagine, 220-pound DBs rarely have the same movement skills as smaller DBs. I did think Tartt moved okay and had a good overall day. He broke up one pass in the team drills and just missed picking off another one.

* ILB Denzel Perryman had the biggest hit of the day. I didn’t get to see it, but did hear the crowd go wild when it happened.

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Senior Bowl Day 1 – North

by Tommy Lawlor

* Let’s start with the QBs. Bryce Petty has a lot on the line. He needs to show NFL teams that he can be a good intermediate passer. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen today. Petty struggled when throwing intermediate and deep passes. In his defense, this was Day 1 and he was dealing with a new playbook and receivers he doesn’t know. Still, the throws just didn’t look good. This wasn’t a matter of poor timing and incompletions. These were bad throws.

Petty was very good on short, quick throws. Those passes were accurate and had good velocity. Those throws look natural to him because he threw so many in college.

Petty needs to take a big step forward in the next 2 days.

* QB Shane Carden also struggled. He just doesn’t seem to have an NFL arm. Sean Mannion was the best of the trio. He has a solid arm and is comfortable as a pocket passer.

* Michigan State FS Kurtis Drummond had a good day. He was solid in man coverage during 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills. He has good size and looked athletic. He showed good instincts and looked natural in coverage.

* Harvard star Zack Hodges played DE in college, but is getting looked at as a LB. He is very awkward in coverage and playing in space. Hodges is a gifted pass rusher and that’s what he is used to doing.

* Mike Hull was a terrific LB for Penn State. I was curious to see how he would look at practice. Hull struggled mightily in the 1-on-1’s. TEs and RBs were able to get separation from him and make plays. Hull looked better in the team drills, but was disappointing overall.

* RB Jeremy Langford is one of the guys who got the best of Hull. He had a good day, especially as a receiver. Langford showed the ability to get open and looked very good at playing in space.

* Eric Rowe played both S and CB for Utah. He was working with the Safeties today in practice.

* WR Jamison Crowder was one of the smaller players on the field, but he has NFL talent. He was able to get open short and deep. He ran good routes and didn’t seem the least bit bothered by going up against good CBs. Crowder is only 5-8, 174, but don’t think of him as just a slot receiver. He was good inside and outside today.

* WR Antwan Goodley also had a strong showing. He really impressed with his hands. Goodley extends and catches the ball away from his body. He did a good job of getting open and getting separation today.

* Penn State pass rusher Deion Barnes had a solid showing in the 1-on-1’s. He was able to beat blockers off the edge with his burst and agility. I did not get to see if he got any LB reps or was purely a DE today.

* Nate Orchard was the pass rusher who really stood out. He was tough to block in the 1-on-1’s and the team drills. Even when the ball went away initially, Orchard seemed to end up getting in on the tackle. Very active, very disruptive.

* I didn’t get to study OL as much as I wanted. Robert Myers played LT in college but was at OG today. He looked good in pass pro on a few drills.

* RB Ameer Abdullah is absolutely deadly in space. He can make defenders look foolish with his quick cuts and excellent burst. Abdullah is only 5-8, 199 so I don’t know if he’ll start in the NFL, but at the least, he could be a dynamic role player.

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