Greg Little and Misc Draft Notes

by Tommy Lawlor  –

* North Carolina WR Greg Little missed all of 2010 due to suspension. I popped in a 2009 game tape to check him out. Very impressive prospect. Little is big (free joke of the day) at 6’3, 230. There is no fat or waste on that build. He is incredibly muscular and cut. Little is a good athlete, although he lacks elite speed. He runs in the 4.5 range, which his fine for 230 pounds. Teams interested in him want a big, physical receiver and don’t expect a burner. Little split time at UNC as a WR and RB. He was a WR in ’09, but they still used him as a runner in some creative sets. He would line up in the slot in an empty set and then shift into the backfield. Little isn’t afraid to run in the box. He’s strong enough to break arm tackles. Heck, he’s got LB size.

Little isn’t a polished WR, but is skilled. He runs good routes. He knows how to get separation by being technically sound. In the game I watched he was headed upfield and planted his foot in the ground. He then broke hard to the outside on a corner route and was wide open. He’s got good quickness, agility, and body control for such a big guy. Little has good hands. He plucks the ball naturally. He can make tough catches. Watch the 2009 bowl game vs Pitt and you’ll see highlight material. Little posted good numbers in ’09, 62-724-5 as a receiver and 29-166-1 as a runner.

Little has the potential to be a top shelf NFL receiver. Character issues will push his value down. This is a guy who should be getting talked about in the late 1st or early 2nd, but will slide to the 3rd or 4th. If Little stays focused, he could be one of those guys who is much better as a pro than he was in college. You can’t help but think of Brandon Marshall when you see the build and the overall situation. Let’s hope Little plays that well, but doesn’t have the same kind of troubled start to his career.

* UNC also has DT Marvin Austin who missed the 2010 season. I was shocked to recently see that Mike Mayock has him rated as his #24 overall prospect. Did Mike suffer a concussion? Sure, Marvin had a great showing at the Combine. Yes, he dominated the practice sessions at the Shrine Game. He wasn’t a dominant force in the game. Nor was he dominant at UNC. I watched a couple of his tapes to try and make sure I’m not insane, but I just don’t see a player that is worthy of that kind of ranking. Marvin is gifted. I don’t question that for a second. I just don’t see a player who consistently plays up to that ability. Playing DT will only get harder in the NFL. Almost half of the Centers in the ACC weighed 280 pounds or less. Good luck finding that in the NFL. Guys will be bigger and more athletic than him. Austin has to play with a chip on his shoulder. Will that happen? I wouldn’t touch him until at least the 3rd round. And I’d only take him if my DL coach thought he could reach him.

* One player who has literally come out of nowhere is Iowa LB Jeff Tarpinian. He only played in 8 games as a Senior and was a backup before that. Jeff had a great showing at his Pro Day. He’s 6’2, 235 and ran 4.57. He did well in the jumps and great in the agility drills. I watched him in the bowl game. Interesting prospect. Played out over receivers in the spread set. AJ Edds did that for Iowa last year and was highly rated. Jeff looked comfortable playing out in space. He posted good numbers in the game vs Arizona. I’ll need to go re-watch that and take another look at him.

* I watched the Baylor/Illinois bowl game. DT Corey Liuget was awesome early in the game. He was shedding blocks and getting into the backfield with regularity. He finished the game with 2.5 TFLs (1 sack). He disrupted several other plays.

* Baylor SS Byron Landor is one of my favorite players in the whole draft. Marginal prospect. Okay speed, poor agility. I love the dude because of how good a tackler he is. Byron had 81 solo tackles this year and knows how to put people down. He wraps up and gets them on the ground. There is no reaching or grabbing. There is no watching. Byron gets to the ball quickly and wants to be in on every tackle. He put Mikel Leshoure down smoothly a few times. That’s easier said than done. Landor could be a great STs player, but he’s got an uphill battle to make it in the NFL. Fun guy to watch in college.

* I watched tape of South Carolina DB Chris Culliver. He was CB in 2010 and FS in 2009. I didn’t like him in either game. Very good athlete. Sloppy tackler. Doesn’t show instincts. I’d put him back at CB. A Safety must be a ball hawk or a tackler. Culliver is just an athlete. Why can’t a guy like Landor have Culliver’s athleticism?

* Randall Cobb is a fun guy to watch. Runner. Receiver. Returner. Good athlete, but also a tough guy. Willing to run inside. Doesn’t go down on first contact. Good hands as a receiver. Question is whether he can be a starting receiver or is best in the slot.

* I watched some Jake Locker tape. God, that is one frustrating guy. He failed to make some simple throws that would have either moved the chains or resulted in TDs. He led UW to a comeback win over USC. Sounds great, but on the final drive he completed one pass. The rest of the drive was him and Chris Polk running the ball. The throw was on 4th down, for what it’s worth. At one point in the game Locker was 9-10-148 with a TD outside the pocket. I don’t value him as a 1st rounder, but I can see Mike Shanahan looking at him as a Jake Plummer type. Won’t shock me at all to see him go 10th to WAS.

* A player that intrigues the heck out of me is USC runner Allen Bradford. He ran for 794 yards in 2010. That included games of 223, 212, and 131. The rest of the year he totaled 228 yards. When they fed him the ball, Bradford was incredibly impressive. He showed a very good combination of size and speed. In the UW game he made a move that caught me off guard. A defender got into the backfield immediately. Most big backs (Bradford is 240 pounds) have no chance against penetration. Bradford side-stepped the defender with a quick move that showed great agility and footwork. He only got a few yards on the play, but normally that is a loss. 2nd and 6 is much better than 2nd and 14. Huge difference. Bradford had an erratic career at USC. He only had 10 or more carries 10 times in 4 years. He did average 6 yards a carry and run for 16 TDs. Late round guy who could be a good role player in the NFL.

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