Prospect Notes – Week 12

by Tommy Lawlor  –  http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com

* In last week’s win over rival Cal, Stanford QB Andrew Luck had a terrific game.  He was 16-20-235 as a passer, with 2 TDs.  He also had a 58-yard run.  Stanford won 48-14.  Remember that the week before Cal held Oregon in check.  The Bears have a good defense.

Luck is only a Redshirt Sophomore, but he could be the #1 overall pick in the draft if he comes out.  Luck looks like an NFL QB at 6’4, 235.  He plays in an old school, conservative offense (not an insult).  That keeps Luck’s passing numbers from matching those of guys in spread attacks.  Luck only averages 29 pass attempts per game.  There are plenty of guys who average more completions than that.  Luck is 8th in the nation in passing efficiency.  He won’t put up 4,000 yards or 40 TDs, but don’t mistake that for Luck not being a good passer.

Playing in a pro style offense will give him added value to the NFL.  They won’t have to teach Luck how to take the snap or drop back.  He’s fundamentally sound already.  He has good mechanics.  Luck has a strong arm.  He’s an accurate passer.  He’s completing 70 percent of his passes without throwing a bunch of WR screens.  That’s really impressive.

Luck might remind you of a classic drop back passer like Troy Aikman.  There is a difference.  Luck is a deceptively good runner.  He’s run for 445 yards and 3 TDs this year.  Luck has an amazing 3 runs of 50 or more yards this year.  That will be a big help to him in the NFL.  If you can run for one key 1st down a game you will really help out your team.

If the Carolina Panthers get the #1 pick you’d have to think they would take Luck in a second.  Jimmy Clausen hasn’t shown you anything that makes you confident he’s the guy for the future.  Luck has put up good individual numbers as a runner and passer.  He’s led Stanford to a pair of good seasons.  Luck is a winner.  This looks like the kind of guy you build a franchise around.  

* I haven’t talked much about Iowa recently.  DE Adrian Clayborn has actually disappointed me in recent games.  He remains an effective pass rusher, but his run defense is sub-standard.  And he’s not such a great pass rusher right now that you overlook his deficiencies.  Clayborn has only 3.5 sacks this year.  He is getting double-teamed plenty of times and is the focus of offensive gameplans, but I still expect more from him.  Clayborn also seems at his worst late in games, as if he’s wearing down.

Teammate Christian Ballard has mostly played DT in the past, but is seeing most of his time at LDE this year.  They list him at 6’5, 297.  That’s a good frame for DT or DE in the 3-4.  Ballard isn’t a natural pass rusher so I doubt 4-3 teams will like him as a DE.  He did have a sack of Terrelle Pryor last week.  Ballard used a good move off the edge and then showed good closing speed.  I was caught off guard by that flash of athleticism.  Ballard doesn’t show that often.  He has 2 sacks this year and 11 for his career.  Ballard had 5 total tackles in the loss to Ohio State.

TE Allen Reisner made a couple of key blocks on short TD drive in the 4th Qtr.  He’s a solid receiver (37-385-2), but is just as good a blocker.  I don’t know that he’ll ever start in the NFL, but he could be a very good #2 TE for some team.

* North Carolina QB T.J. Yates continued his big year.  Against NC State he was 33-44-411 with 2 TDs.  Impressive numbers.

* DT Stephen Paea had a good game for Oregon State last week.  He had 2.5 TFLs (1 sack) and a FF in the win over USC.  Paea bulked up to 311 pounds this year.  He’s still quick off the ball and disruptive.  He is one of the few college DTs what has the strength and toughness to consistently shed blocks and handle double teams.  Paea is only 6’1 and that will bother some teams, but he is a very good player.  He could be a NT or DT.

* Pitt DE Greg Romeus got hurt earlier in the year and came back from it.  He tore his ACL the other day and is done for the year.  That will hurt his NFL value as well.  Doctors will check him out at the Combine.  Romeus could go in the 3rd or slide down to the last couple of rounds.  Talented prospect, but injuries kill his value.

* Ohio State LB Brian Rolle had a very active day in the win over Iowa.  He was in on 10 total tackles.  He had 3 TFLs.  Rolle only goes about 215 pounds, but he isn’t just an athletic, finesse player.  Rolle is physical for his size.  He plays MLB for the Buckeyes, but projects to WLB in the NFL.  I’ll be very interested to see what he weighs at the Senior Bowl and/or Combine.

* Another LB who had a big day last week was Mark Herzlich from BC.  Against Virginia he had 8 total tackles, TFL, INT, and a FF.  He’s shown a lot of improvement as the year went along.  It really is great to see him back on the field, making plays and playing good football.

* Boise State has a pair of Senior WRs.  Austin Pettis is the bigger guy.  They list him at 6’3, 203.  He doesn’t have ideal speed and you can see that even against college competition.  I do think Pettis can play in the NFL.  He has good hands.  He is a good underneath receiver.  Pettis understands how to get open without being physically gifted.  I don’t know that he can start in the NFL, but he could be an excellent role player.  He’s always been good in the Red Zone.  Pettis has 37 career TDs, many of them on short or intermediate plays.

Titus Young is the speed guy.  He’s only 5’11, 175, but he has the ability to stretch the field.  Young doesn’t face the most athletic DBs so I’m curious to see how fast he actually times.  Young isn’t just fast.  He is a talented deep receiver.  He locates the ball well.  He is able to adjust to it on the fly.  He has good hands.  Young averages 15 yards per catch for his career and is averaging 18 yards per catch this year.  He has added value as a good KOR.

In the big win over Fresno State both guys had good games.  Pettis was 10-93-2.  Young was 8-164-2.  You can see that those numbers tell you about each guy.  Pettis is the possession guy, but still makes key plays.  Young is the vertical threat and delivers the big plays.

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