Bowl Preview – NC State, Clemson, LSU, USC

by David Syvertsen

Full bowl schedule here.

NC STATE

#8 Mike Glennon – QB – 6’6/232

I spoke about Glennon back in August.  I viewed him as the highest-upside senior QB in the nation.  It appears he has a good shot at being the first or second signal caller taken in April. Huge frame, looks like a young Big Ben.  Has one of the strongest arms in this class.  Likes to throw the ball deep. Knows how to drive the ball downfield with enough touch and precision.  Glennon is immobile.  Does not have great athletic skills but even more than that, he struggles to avoid pressure within the pocket.  Heavy feet.  Big upside here, I have more confidence in him than I do Barkley.  1st-2nd rounder.

*#1 David Amerson – CB – 6’3/194

Classic case of being overrated by the public because of high INT numbers in 2011.  Was exposed several times this past year.  Simply doesn’t have NFL speed to man up a receiver on the outside without help over the top.  Might need a position change at the next level, could be a Malcolm Jenkins type safety.  Good tackler, likes to play physical and wraps up.  Does well with the action on front of him, can explode downhill.  Positions his body well downfield.  Attacks the football, nice eye/hand coordination.  2nd-3rd rounder if he comes out.

#27 Earl Wolff – S – 6’0/207

Heart of the defense with a lot of starting experience.  Consecutive seasons with over 100 tackles, but not just an in-the-box safety.  All over the field, always around the action.  One of the more instinctive defensive players in this draft.  Does not take a lot of false steps, seems to always be moving in the right direction.  Good balance and agility.  Will be interested to see how well he works out at the combine.  Could be a 2nd-3rd round guy.

#30 Brandon Bishop – S – 6’2/205

A ton of experience.  Been starting since his freshman year.  Nice size and very physical.  Reliable last line of defense, tackles well.  Quick but not fast.  Will struggle with the speed of the NFL if he is put in to the wrong role.  Lacks the catch up speed.  Will be limited at the next level.  Late rounder.

VANDERBILT

*#87 Jordan Matthews – WR – 6’3/205

Junior that has not yet declared.  1st Team All SEC.  Had a huge, breakout year.  This will be my second look at Matthews, so I am still trying to gauge who he is as an NFL prospect if he comes out.  Fearless receiver over the middle.  Will catch anything.  Top grade as a pass catcher.  Very fluid and smooth, gets the most out of himself athletically.  The speed is there, although not elite.  Looking forward to seeing him against Amerson.

#2 Zac Stacy – RB – 5’9/205

Short, stocky running back that can run well between the tackles.  A true north/south runner that hits the hole hard, minimal hesitation.  Can handle hits.  Runs very low, very hard, very balanced.  Good combination.  Does not have the speed in the open field to outrun defensive backs, won’t be a big play guy.  Nothing special about Stacy but his running style fits in well at the next level.  Not much of a receiver or pass protector, so his initial impact will be minimal.  5th-7th rounder.

#8 Trey Wilson – CB – 5’11/195

Nice game against Justin Hunter from Tennessee this year.  Has made a few big plays over the past two years.  Aggressive cover man that does well in man coverage.  Very fast, very quick.  Smart player.  Can shadow receivers but struggles to locate the ball.  Will lose balance and a lot of speed when the ball is in the air.  I like Wilson as a late rounder, I think his ability could blossom in the NFL.  His issues are correctable. 

USC

*#2 Robert Woods – WR – 6’1/182

Will announce next week whether or not he will make the jump to the next level.  I think he should go, as I don’t see his value climbing any higher than it stands right now.  I like Woods a lot, I think he could be one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.  What impresses me most is his abiity to get open.  He is incredibly quick, smooth, balanced.  One of the best route runners in the nation.  Doesn’t have top tier speed but he can get behind a defense.  Has the mental side of the game down, just appears to be a step ahead mentally when it comes to him and the opponent.  Consistently makes the tough catches in traffic and in space.  Tough as nails.  A slot receiver with this kind of size and downfield ability can change a passing game real quick.  Has a shot at being a 1st rounder.   

*#21 Nickell Robey – CB – 5’8/165

Junior that has not yet declared, and I don’t think he should.  Robey comes from that Tim Jennings mold.  Very undersized, but you don’t really notice it that often because he is so talented.  He has long arms for his height.  My issue with Robey is a big time lack of consistency.  He does not move as well as he should considering his size.  Not an effective zone defender, simply needs more experience so he can be more decisive.  Not the most aggressive defensive back either.  Doesn’t really make the effort to tackle well, more of an ankle diver.  If he comes out I see him as a 3rd-4th rounder.

#7 TJ McDonald – S – 6’3/205

Underachieving safety that never really met expectations.  Looks great in pads, works out well, plays aggressive.  A lot of people view him as a top tier talent, but I’ve seen him 5 times and have never walked away impressed.  He plays the run well, can fly downhill and deliver the bone-jarring pops to a ball carrier.  Does a nice job of wrapping up.  Does not take the proper angles in pursuit, undisciplined player.  Similar to Taylor Mays in that he thinks he can get by with athletic ability alone.  His effort runs very hot and cold.  As a cover man, he is very average.  Lateral and deep speed isn’t there.  I see him as a 3rd-5th rounder.

#78 Khaled Holmes – C – 6’4/308

In a weak center class, Holmes may be the best of the group.  Great athlete, very light on his feet.  Excels at swinging his hips in to the hole, always in proper position.  Quick hands, bends well.  Lacks the power element to his game.  Gets pushed back in to the pocket when he is one on one with a good defensive tackle.  Too much of a finesse player for my liking. 4th-6th rounder that has some interior versatility.

#96 Wes Horton – DE – 6’5/255

Upside type prospect.  Hasn’t had a great career but I think he could blossom in to a productive player at the next level.  Has an ideal defensive end frame.  Long arms.  Has the room for 15-20 pounds.  Won’t ever have the elite get off, but he is an active player with strong hands.  Fights hard to get off blocks.  Late rounder that is worth taking a chance on for development.

GEORGIA TECH

#77 Omoregie Uzzi – G – 6’3/300

Two time first team All ACC guard.  Very good run blocker.  Carries his weight well, could probably add some more bulk.  Drives well from his base.  When the balance and hand placement are lined up, he can dominate any defensive tackle in the nation.  Moves well when he pulls, but not a good lateral mover in pass protection.  Doesn’t get the extension when matched up with a quick penetrator.  Feet can get a little too heavy at times.  4th-6th rounder that could start in the NFL.

#94 Izaan Cross – DE – 6’4/300

Underrated 3-4 defensive end that will find a spot in the NFL.  Has the NFL body, carries 300 pounds with ease.  Strong, thick base.  Weight room strength translates to the field.  Fires out low and hard, consistently powerful player.  Won’t stand out on the stat sheet but a guy that makes other players better.  Late rounder.

IOWA STATE

#47 AJ Klein – LB – 6’2/248

The best prospect in this game.  I like Klein, and I think he can start at the next level.  I also believe he can be had after the 4th round, so there is obvious value here.  Had a few issues with coaching early in his career, but there are rave reviews about his work ethic and leadership qualities.  He’s turned a corner.  Has quick, flexible, agile hips.  Physical player that fires downhill fast.  Fills the hole and meets a fullback with a lot of power.  Gets off blocks better than most inside guys, bends well and maintains strength.  I want to see more before now and the draft, but I think Klein is a starting caliber guy for the middle.

LSU

*#99 Sam Montgomery – DE – 6’4/245

I’ve seen LSU 7 times this year, more than any other team.  I’ve left each one with the notion that Montgomery is the best NFL prospect on that Tiger defense.  Will need to add some weight and strength, but he already plays with a tremendous physical presence.  Powerful, efficient punch on initial contact.  He can beat an offensive tackle off the edge in numerous ways.  Has the explosion to reach the edge, has strong and active hands with well developed moves, and he has the power to bull rush a blocker in to the pocket.  Montgomery is a football player, no doubt about it.  He will be a very good pro and I think he will end up in the top 15 overall on my board.

*#49 Barkevius Mingo – DE – 6’4/240

One of the most talented, gifted athletes you will find in the entire country, regardless of position.  A lot of people view Mingo as the elite defensive player in this entire class.  I don’t see it. Again, I’ve seen more than enough of him and I would not spend an early pick on him.  Mingo has elite explosion out of his stance.  He plays low with ease, and his long arms can keep blockers from really locking on.  He can run with some wide receivers.  Very fast, very good in pursuit.  But the lack of physical presence really bothers me here.  Sure, he will add some weight once he is in an NFL weight training program, but I don’t see him ever being a physical player.  Guys like don’t do well in the NFL.  1st round talent that will get overvalued based on upside.

*#1 Eric Reid – S – 6’2/208

Widely considered the best safety in the nation.  Again, I don’t see it.  Poor reaction skills in coverage.  Lacks the quick twitch that most quality safeties possess.  Takes too long to reach his top speed in deep coverage, can’t be trusted in man coverage.  Will factor in to a team’s run defense effectively.  Strong tackler that uses proper mechanics.  Will be an enforcer over the middle.  Can be a good player in the right scheme, but not a guy that can succeed anywhere.

*#46 Kevin Minter – 6’2/245

Junior that has not yet declared, but a lot of reports out there stating he will leave for the NFL.  Minter has a shot at being a top 45 pick.  Classic run stuffer that plays the game with a big time physical presence.  Great blitzer that times it well and can make quick reads once he is in the backfield.  Makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.  Minter has average speed to the sidelines.  There have been numerous occasions where it looked like he had the proper angle on a ball carrier but did not end up making the play.  May be limited to two down duty and in a passing league, he could lose value.  2nd/3rd rounder when all is said and done.

*#18 Bennie Logan – DT – 6’3/295

Junior that has not yet declared.  The defensive ends get a lot of attention, but I think Logan could be just as good in the NFL as those two guys.  He got the starting job last year and performed really well.  Again, I’ve seen a lot of LSU this year and Logan is a guy that does everything well.  Very nice blend of power and athletcism.  Quick feet, a lot of balance.  Logan was the one defensive lineman that gave Alabama’s All American guard chance Warmack a handful from start to finish.  He was able to control the engagement and disrupt.  2nd rounder.

#89 Lavar Edwards – DE – 6’5/258

Edwards will be a late round pick.  He’s been a backup his entire career, but don’t let that fool you.  He can play.  Very strong presence, can hold his ground consistently, tough guy to move.  Average explosion off the edge and his pass rush moves need help.  But Edwards shows flashes of being a starting caliber NFL prospect.  I’ve seen him drop in to coverage and he made it look easy.  I’ve seen him track his way down the line towards the action and catch speed backs from behind.  He lays the lumber on tackles.  Big frame.  Darkhorse defensive end that could be had after round 5.

CLEMSON

*#6 DeAndre Hopkins – WR – 6’1/204

Junior that has not ye declared, and I don’t think he will.  I saw a lot of Clemson early on in the year.  Hopkins is the second best receiver on that team behind sophomore phenom Sammy Watkins.  Hopkins is a strong kid.  Very difficult to tackle, very difficult to jam at the line.  Used all over the field.  Deceptive speed downfield, can get behind a defense.  Can change directions well, but not a great route runner.  Skills are there though.  If he comes out, he could challenge to be one of the top three receivers off the board.

*#10 Tajh Boyd – QB – 6’1/225

Junior that has not yet declared.  I think he goes back.  Another strong year could put him in to the top half of round 1 in 2014.  The obvious issue here is Boyd’s size.  Even though he has been very productive, winning ACC Offensive Player of the year in 2012, Boy’d transformation to an NFL offense may be difficult.  With such an up-in-the-air QB class in 2013, Boyd could have a shot at being the first one taken though.  Very smart.  Powerful arm.  Good decision maker. Comes across as a guy that simply gets it.  Anywhere from 1st-3rd round if he comes out.

#23 Andre Ellington – RB – 5’9/195

One of my favorite backs in the nation.  Ellington receives the top grade possible for his ability to stop and go.  One of the most fluid, agile backs I’ve seen.  Excels and making himself small behind blockers, then exploding through a crease.  One of those guys that appears to simply move faster than everyone around him.  Initially he looks too small, too fragile.  But in the 5 games I’ve seen this year, he shows minimal hesitation in putting his head down and fighting for extra yards.  I still think he’ll need to add some bulk before he can carry the ball 15+ times at the next level, but his attitude and aggression are there.  Ellington is a smart, instinctive runner.  A lot of backs don’t have that.  Potential great grab in round 2 for somebody.

#97 Malliciah Goodman – DE – 6’4/270

Undervalued defensive end with a tool set that will attract a lot of defensive line coaches.  Long arms, freakishly big hands.  Strong, well put together frame.  Has been noted for his strong work ethic.  Goodman does a lot of little things right.  Stays low on every play, keeps his hands up, butt down, feet active.  The initial explosion isn’t there.  I feel like he is faster than what I see on tape.  Could be a guy that blossoms after he reaches the next level.  Late rounder with a high ceiling.

#31 Rashard Hall – S – 6’1/210

Long, productive career.  A lot of starting experience.  Hall is a smart player that moves well in coverage.  Aggressive against the run.  Doesn’t really stand out in any one area though.  Not physical enough, doesn’t make much of an impact as a tackler.  I question his speed as a last line of defense.  Doesn’t catch up well enough.  Will get drafted anywhere from round 5-7.

#55 Dalton Freeman – C – 6’5/285

The leader of the Clemson offensive line with a ton of starting experience.  I don’t see a potential starter here.  He is a balanced knee bender, which I like.  But he lacks physical presence, rarely gets a push.  More of a guy that gets in the way of defenders.  That worked in college, but I see him being a liability in the NFL.  5th-7th rounder.

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