For scouts and general managers, bloodlines connect the dots when it comes to studying NFL draft prospects. Bloodlines are factored heavily in the process, using it to minimize the risk of drafting a bad prospect. When New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning entered the 2004 draft, teams analyzed him with Peyton’s throwing ability in mind. They naturally believed that Eli shared some traits with Peyton, making him a possible slam-dunk of a prospect. Now 10 years later, they’re connecting dots yet again, but in a reverse way — they’re hoping Derek Carr isn’t like David.
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under 2014 Draft, Feeling the Draft on Mar 11, 2014
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under Feeling the Draft, The Tape Never Lies on Mar 06, 2014
It’s the short side of the field where Virginia Tech cornerbacks have made their money. They call it the boundary. When the ball is on either hash, the cornerback will line up in the boundary and cover from there. There’s not much of this in the NFL because the ball is always positioned in the middle of the field, but for the Hokies, it speaks to a cornerback’s quality. In Kyle Fuller’s case, there’s been plenty of speaking prior to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under Feeling the Draft, The Tape Never Lies on Mar 04, 2014
It’s second-and-nine, and Kelvin Benjamin is the second receiver from the sideline in a twins set. He’s facing off coverage from the Florida Gators defense and is given a cushion of more than a half dozen yards. The Seminoles need to pick up meaningful yardage on this play, so they’ve called a flood concept that’ll require Benjamin to run a 12-yard corner or sail route toward the sideline.
At the snap, he stems vertically, going the necessary dozen yards before his left foot hits the ground once more and he turns left, shifting his body at a 45-degree angle towards the sideline. Simultaneously, quarterback Jameis Winston rolls out of the pocket and targets him for the strike downfield. After a long windup that drops the ball near his hip, Winston heaves it over a flat defender’s outstretched arm and straight into Benjamin’s hands. With room to concentrate, Benjamin allows the ball to hit his hands and looks away, never tucking it in his armpit like a receiver’s supposed to do. After some hard steps and juggling, the ball rolls onto the Gainesville grass and Benjamin throws a right handed punch through the air in frustration . . .
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under 2014 Draft, Feeling the Draft, The Tape Never Lies on Feb 27, 2014
The moderately thick dreads bush out the back of his helmet and lie on his jersey, covering his name’s stitching before reaching the top of the No. 25. His bulging arms are creased at the elbows, while his long legs are bent at his knees more than a dozen yards from the line of scrimmage. From a bird’s-eye view, he looks like Bob Sanders, the former Indianapolis Colts safety. A close-up when the play begins reveals more — that Calvin Pryor plays like him too.
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under 2014 Draft, The Tape Never Lies on Feb 25, 2014
The grass was still dark green. The hashes still looked freshly painted. It’d only been five minutes since the Saturday game started, and North Carolina’s offense was taking the field for the first time. Quarterback Marquise Williams stood in a shotgun formation, set to take a quick three-step drop and toss the ball out to the left flat, near where Aaron Donald was crouching across the left guard’s outside shoulder.
Donald, Pittsburgh’s fourth-year senior, was known for disturbing the backfield peace. That’s why when the play began, it wasn’t a surprise the Tar Heels assigned the left guard and center to him despite the nose tackle being closer to the center. But even two blockers weren’t going to silence Donald on this day.
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under The Tape Never Lies on Feb 20, 2014
The Iowa State outside receiver motioned inside the numbers before going back out. A yard from the line of scrimmage, Justin Gilbert followed across the formation and back, distancing himself more than five yards now and waiting for the receiver to make his first move. He switched his stance from a traditional backpedal to a shuffle, using the technique to match the receiver’s route. It went eight yards up the field and then he abruptly cut outside. Gilbert jammed his left foot out like a cane in the concrete and exploded off to the receiver’s direction, driving on the out route and the incoming throw. He had a couple yards of ground to make up in a hurry, but that wouldn’t be a problem. He’s always been known for his speed. As the throw sailed slightly inside, he craned his neck around to find it, intercept it above his head with both hands, and take it to the house.
The interception showed Gilbert’s physical talent when combined with proper technique. It’s what NFL evaluators want to see. Frankly, it’s something they need to see more of from him.
Posted by Alen Dumonjic under The Tape Never Lies on Feb 18, 2014
He’s not Rolando McClain. He’s not Dont’a Hightower. Both of those guys were cut from a traditional linebacking cloth, as they’re big and lumbering downhill types coming out of Alabama. C.J. Mosley is part of the new breed, the type that plays in space, covers significant ground from sideline-to-sideline and roams in underneath coverage. He’s more fluid and athletic and rangy. He’ll run down a ball carrier or jump a route in the middle of the field.
But does that make him a better player than them?