Draft Notes

Here are some random thoughts on prospects.

The dirtiest/nastiest player in the draft? For my money that is Georgia OL John Theus. While down at the Senior Bowl, he got into a lot of shoving matches with DL. Theus is extremely competitive and has a real nasty streak. He’s not going to back down from anyone.

Watch his game tape and you will see the nasty streak. Theus gets in a shove or hit whenever he can. There was one play in the Senior Bowl that really stood out. Theus got off balance while blocking Sheldon Day and started to fall. He grabbed Day’s hair and pulled him to the ground as he fell. I can’t recall ever seeing quite like that from an OL. Some coaches will love that nasty streak.

Theus has a lot of experience. He has good size and is talented. He isn’t a gifted pass blocker and has some athletic limitations. I tend to think of him as a late round pick, but it won’t surprise me if some team takes him in the mid rounds.

*****

Pharoh Cooper from South Carolina is one of my favorite WRs in this draft. I love watching him play. But there are some issues. He is 5-11, 203, hardly an ideal build, and ran just 4.65 in the 40. He had a vertical jump of only 31 inches at the Combine and did the same at his Pro Day. That is shockingly low for a gifted receiver. OL Germain Ifredi (324 pounds) had a vertical of 32.5 inches.

I do love Cooper’s game tape.

He shows good hands. Toughness. Vision. Elusiveness. Body control. He will fight for balls in the air. And either he plays faster than he times or the SEC has a lot of DBs that run 4.8. There are quite a few plays on that video where he runs away from DBs.

I hesitate to do this, but Cooper reminds me a bit of Antonio Brown. When he came out, Brown was 5-10, 196 and ran 4.57. He had a 33.5 inch VJ. Those are bad workout numbers, but Brown has become one of the best WRs in the league. I don’t think Cooper is likely to pull off the same feat, but he is more of a gamer than a pure athlete or workout guy. He probably will be a slot guy, but it won’t shock me if Cooper ends up being a good starting receiver no matter where he plays.

*****

DT Drew Iddings from South Dakota had a great Pro Day. He measured in at 6-5, 290 and ran 4.75. He did 20 reps on the bench and had a VJ of 32.5 inches. That got me excited to watch his game tape. Unfortunately I came away disappointed. I think Iddings has a shot to be drafted, but I’m not sold that he will make it in the NFL. He is big and athletic, but I have concerns about his physicality and ability to deal with NFL O-linemen.

*****

Kevin Byard is probably my favorite Safety prospect. He had a great career for MTSU, picking off 19 passes. He doesn’t have great man cover skills, but no prospect is perfect. Byard is smart. You can see he studies the offense before the snap and gets players into the right spots. One of my favorite moments came in the Alabama game when he chased down a player and tackled him inside the 10-yard line. That play didn’t make a difference in that game, but plays like that are huge in the NFL, where the difference in a TD and a FG can be the difference in winning and losing.

*****

There is now some chatter that Le’Raven Clark could be a 1st round pick. I don’t get that at all. He played LT at Texas Tech and had a good career, but his pass protection skills need a ton of work. He got beat at TT. He got beat in the Senior Bowl (game and practices).

Clark is big and athletic. He is a good run blocker. I just can’t get past his mediocre pass blocking. If he was a 330-pound mauler that could dominate in the run game, maybe. But he’s not that guy.

I hope Clark proves me wrong and has a terrific NFL career, but his pass pro bugs the heck out of me.

*****

Who the heck is that?

Tavarres began at a junior college and then transferred to Arkansas. He ended up at UIW and had an amazing 2015 season. He had 22.5 TFLs and 110 total tackles. Daniel Jeremiah likes to talk about how when studying small college prospects they should jump out at you. Tavarres passes that test.

Watch his highlights and you will see him just destroy some people. There were some hits on there where I worried about the safety of the guys he blew up. Tavarres won’t be able to do that kind of stuff against NFL competition, but you can see what a physical, violent player he is. It’s like watching Greg Lloyd from 1992.

Gil Brandt has his Pro Day info.

Linebacker Myke Tavarres — 6-0 1/4, 230 — ran the 40-yard dash in 4.81 and 4.76 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-7 broad jump. He did the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.46 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.12 seconds. He performed 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Tavarres is a rookie free-agent pickup possibility for an NFL team following the draft.

Tavarres is a good athlete, but not great. I’ll be interested to see if he’s drafted or is a priority free agent.

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