Christmas Eve Bowl Preview

by David Syvertsen

8pm – Espn


#16 Phillip Thomas – S – 6’1/215

Unanimous All American.  Led the nation in interceptions this season.  Was primed for a big year in 2011, but suffered a nasty leg injury in training camp, forcing him to miss the season. This will be just my second look at Thomas, hoping to get a few more in before April comes.  From the little I’ve seen, Thomas jumps out to me in his ability to track down ball carriers and bring them down.  A nice blend of being physical and technically sound when it comes to tackling.  His lack range as a deep cover man will prevent his grade from reaching the elite status though.  He does not move with the same fluidity when reading the quarterback and diagnosing routes.  2nd-3rd rounder in my book, still a few safeties I like more than him.   

#8 Robbie Rouse – RB – 5’7/190

All time leading rusher at Fresno State by a pretty wide margin.  Has a thick, strong frame with a lot of power generated from his lower half.  Does not run as physical as I was assuming however.  Struggles to find holes within the inside gaps, but never had a good line blocking for him either.  Very tough to tackle.  Runs so low to the ground and he is an excellent cut and go rusher.  Tremendous, elite balance.  Has had over 800 carries and over 100 receptions over the past three years.  I think Rouse finds a home in the right scheme at the next level. Jacquizz Rodgers type.  Likely a 6th-7th rounder if he can time well.


#92 Margus Hunt – DE – 6’8/280

Well known for the wrong reasons.  Is a freak when it comes to his measurements and capabilities in workouts.  I’ve seen Hunt play three times, and there is upside there.  But he seems very raw and looks downright awful for stretches at a time.  Lacks the quick twitch I want out of NFL defenders.  Doesn’t use rush moves to get off blocks, just a lot of bull rushing or sprint to the edge. He will get drafted based on tools.  But he will put on a show at the combine which will get him drafted higher than his grade derived from game tape gives you.  Probable 3rd-4th rounder.

#3 Darius Johnson – WR – 5’10/175

I’m interested in Johnson.  The slot receiver is becoming more and more sought after because of their ability to find windows underneath and keep the chains moving little by little. Johnson is more quick than fast.  Won’t out run defensive backs once he has the ball,  but he is tough to cover one on one.  In addition, he catches everything thrown his way.  He can make the tough reception in traffic and/or away from his body.  Tremendous body control, strong hands.  Late rounder but taking a chance on a receiver with hands like his is worth the gamble.

#56 Ja’Gared Davis – LB – 6’1/235

Undersized for the role he plays.  Davis is a hustler with above average athletic ability.  Makes a lot of plays.  4 TDs over the past two seasons.  Spends a lot of time in the opposing backfield.  Lacks discipline, gets fooled by playaction and counters.  Doesn’t seem to have the savvy decision making in a quick spot that I want.  However a solid downhill player that could find a niche.  Maybe gets drafted in round 7.

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