Prospect Notes – Week 9

by Tommy Lawlor  –

* Let’s talk about some prospects from mid-major schools.  Arkansas State has a pair of talented linemen.  DT Bryan Hall was picked as the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.  in 2009 Hall had 9 TFLs and was an active, disruptive force all year long.  He’s playing good football in his Senior season.  Bryan has 5.5 sacks already this year.  Forget about numbers and watch the tape.  You’ll see a good player.  ASU moves him around.  Sometimes he’s a 3-technique DT.  Other times they put him at DE in a 3-man line.  Hall plays with good leverage and is adept at penetrating.  He uses his hands well when fighting to get off blocks.  He can be very quick off the ball.  He also looks pretty natural when playing DE.  4-3 teams with a one-gap system should have interest in him as a rotational player.  Some 3-4 teams could have interest in him as a DE, but he doesn’t have ideal size.  He lists at 6’2, 290, but I wonder if those numbers are inflated.  He’s not a big, thick, powerful guy.  Hall is best at shooting gaps and being disruptive.

ASU has a Senior LT named Kiano Prater.  He’s an interesting player.  Prater is a JC transfer.  He has started for 2 years at ASU.  Good college player with some pro potential.  They list him at 6’5, 305.  That’s a good frame.  Prater has good lateral agility.  He’s very quick when moving to the inside.  His overall footwork is okay.  There are times when he plays too high.  He’s not a natural pass blocker, but he’s athletic enough to be effective.  He shows good potential as a run blocker.  Prater gives good effort and likes to finish his blocks.  Late round guy, but it won’t shock me if some quality organization takes him and turns him into a starting OL in a couple of years.    

* Florida Atlantic has a pair of talented Senior prospects.  TE Rob Housler is an unusual player.  He’s 6’5, 230.  At times he looks like a Vincent Jackson type of player.  I’m not sure if his future in the NFL is going to be at WR or TE.  In the game I watched he lined up all over the place.  He wasn’t facing great competition so he almost always had a size/speed advantage on his defender, whether a CB or LB.  Housler is comfortable playing out in space.  He’s a good downfield receiver.  He doesn’t have great hands, but I didn’t see any drops.  He runs very well for a tall TE.  He’s a bit of a long strider, which makes you wonder if he’s not best suited for playing in a WR/hybrid role.  In the game I watched he even got used on an end around.  Housler bobbled the ball, picked it up on the fly, and then got upfield for a long gain.  That showed good speed, athleticism, and concentration.  He never panicked.  Housler is a so-so in-line blocker.  There were a couple of plays where he really got after a defender, but other times he looked like the typical pass-catcher who is just killing time until the next pass play rolls around.  Because of the competition I don’t have a good feel for just how athletic Housler is.  I look forward to seeing him at the Combine.

CB Tavious Polo has NFL potential.  He’s has okay size at 5’10, 175.  He is a good tackler.  He had 7 solo stops in the game I was watching.  Polo is aggressive and works hard to get to the ball.  WR screens to his side were ineffective.  He gets a pretty good break on the ball.  I didn’t get a feel for his ball skills.  He’s got 10 career picks, but 7 of them came as a Freshman.

* Now let’s talk about some star players.  Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd had a good game vs Tulsa, 11-104-2.  Unfortunately, he made one critical mistake.  Floyd failed to break up pass in the endzone that was picked off to end the game.  The ball was poorly thrown.  It is Floyd’s job then to turn into a DB and knock the ball away.  Instead, he was trying to make the catch.  The CB had inside position on an underthrown ball.  You have to recognize that you’re in the final minute of play and if you can’t make the catch, you then have to make sure the DB can’t either.  I wasn’t as high on Floyd as some others coming into the year, but I think he’s responded well to Brian Kelly and the new situation.  Saturday was a painful lesson for him.  Hopefully he won’t repeat it.

* Oregon Senior Jeff Maehl is having a terrific season.  So far he’s 47-675-9.  Maehl is making big plays.  Last Saturday he had his best game of the year in the win over USC.  Maehl caught 8 passes for 145 yards and 3 TDs.  One of the scores was a diving catch in the endzone.  Maehl showed great concentration on the play.  He’s bulked up, but is still skinny.  I thought of him as a completely marginal prospect heading into the year, but he’s opened my eyes this season.  Jeff is productive and has good hands.  He is tall.  Has some RAC ability.  I don’t see him as a starter initially, but he could develop into a good player over time.  I’m sure a coach like Sean Payton would have no problems finding a role for a 6’5 WR with good hands and solid speed.

* Now let’s shift over to a pair of Senior RBs.  Roy Helu had a phenomenal game vs Missouri.  He had 28 carries for 307 yards and 3 TDs.  Helu killed Mizzou with big plays.  He had 3 runs go for more than 50 yards.  All were TDs.  Helu is a N-S runner with good burst and speed.  I think he’s a bit of a system back in college and that has me curious about where he fits in the NFL.  I think he’d be ideal in the Shanahan 1-cut system.  I don’t know if Helu is meant to be a starter, but I think he’d be a very good #2 RB

* Evan Royster broke the Penn State record for career rushing yards.  He had 150 yards on the ground in the win over Michigan.  The Wolverines played terrible defense.  I want to see what Royster does this week.  He’s not had a real strong Senior season, but I’m hoping that he really got his feet under him last week and will have a good finish.  Royster is a hard runner to get a feel for.  I like his body control, feet, and quickness.  His vision is up and down.  He’ll read some plays perfectly and other times I don’t know what he sees.  Royster is another guy I see more as part of a backfield than a pure starter.  He is a good pass catcher and that will help his cause.  He’s good on screen passes, but can also line up wide and catch slants or intermediate passes.

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