Nathan Enderle & Mid-major Prospects

by Tommy Lawlor –

* I watched a few Idaho games over the weekend to take a look at QB Nathan Enderle. I was pretty impressed with his play. Nathan was thought to be a guy who could go as high as the 2nd round with a strong Senior campaign. Things didn’t go well for him and he’s now slated to go somewhere in the mid to late rounds.

Enderle had a tough year. He threw 16 picks (5 vs Nebraska). Idaho had terrible OL play and was 117th in the nation in sacks allowed. Enderle is a classic pocket passer and didn’t handle that much pressure well. He doesn’t have the kind of escapability needed for that bad of a line.

Enderle is big at 6-4, 235. He has a good arm. He played in a Pro Style offense. Idaho did a lot of shifting and pre-snap motion. Enderle was under Center and running a tough offense. It wasn’t shotgun, one read, and boom. Enderle had to drop back and find the open guy. He used his TEs well, which I think is important for pro prospects. TEs are invaluable in the NFL. Guys coming from the spread don’t always know how to use the TE. Enderle is mechanically sound. Accurate passer. His passes have good zip on them. He’s not afraid to throw into tight coverage and also has the arm to pull it off.

Enderle is a 4-year starter. He led his team to a bowl game in 2009, which is a big accomplishment for Idaho. He threw for more than 10,000 yards. He didn’t have a lot of help from his skill players. In the game vs UNLV he had at least 2 TDs dropped. Both were good throws. All the WR had to do was hang onto the ball. Didn’t happen. He did get some help in the La Tech game in the form of a pair of tough catches, but overall Enderle didn’t have the benefit of playmaking skill players.

I think teams that like big, pocket passer types should have interest in Enderle. The Bengals were there at his Pro Day. That’s a team he’d fit. The Chargers are another team that would work. I think the Colts should have interest in him.

* I also watched SS Shiloh Keo in the games. I was not as impressed with him. I like Keo a lot. I love guys that fly around the field and attack the ball. Problem with Keo is that he sometimes was out of control. I saw him burned in multiple games by players putting a move on when he was flying over to make the tackles. You want defenders to fly to the ball, but they must be able to come under control and make the stop. He fell down and gave up additional yards. I do applaud his effort. He plays like every snap means something.

I do have concerns about whether he can start at Safety in the NFL. I love him as a STer and role player. Heck, I wonder if some teams might want him as a LB. I’m just not sure he’s good enough out in space to handle some of the elite receivers of the NFL. I do think he’s good in the box. Excellent run defender. Wrap-up tackler. Physical player.

* Hawaii RB Alex Green is a player that has gotten a lot of buzz recently. Some fans are dismissive of him, but don’t be. I watched a couple of his games and he broke off some really impressive runs. Green is 225 pounds, but has good burst and speed. Hawaii spreads you out and then has him attack between the tackles. If he gets a seam, he’s going to deliver a big play. Green runs hard. He’s tough to tackle. Good vision. Can bounce runs wide on some plays. Isn’t a burner, but runs well for a big guy. Has good balance. Could be a very good #2 RB for a team that throws a lot and wants someone to be a situational, downhill runner.  Reminds me of a lesser version of Steven Jackson.  Green lacks that size/speed combo, but is a similar style of player.

* Greg Salas is the Hawaii receiver that gets all the pub. He deserves it. Salas is a great route runner who knows how to get open. He has great hands, maybe the best in the draft. Salas is more quick than fast, but that’s fine for the slot. He is comfortable working the middle of the field. Salas has better RAC skills than I expected. Very slippery runner. Hawaii has another Senior WR, Kealoha Pilares. I was impressed with him as well. Short, thick build at 5-10, 201. Had a very good showing at his Pro Day. Tough receiver. Can take a hit. Like Salas, he could be very good in the slot. Quick player with good RAC ability. Caught 15 TD passes in 2010. Could be a good #4 WR. Has little RS experience.

* Watched some tape of UNLV LT Matt Murphy. 4-year starter. Nice size at 6-6, 310. At first he wasn’t impressive. The more I watched, the more he grew on me. Still a late round pick, but I can see some OL coach liking him. Good student and he plays smart. Understands the importance of positioning. Lacks the athletic ability to be a great pass protector, but works hard to mirror the DE. Matt knows he can’t recover if he’s beaten. He must keep his body in the proper position.

* I also caught some of Rob McGill, the LT for La Tech. Better run blocker than pass blocker. Too upright in pass pro and that means he can get off balance when dealing with speed rushers or pushed back too much when bull-rushed. Rob does come off the ball well and he’s a physical run blocker. Might be an interesting developmental G prospect.

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