All posts by De'Angelo Bryant

DraftNasty’s Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl, In-Game Report: Northwestern vs. Kentucky, 12-29-17

The battle of the Wildcats ended in dramatic fashion as a failed two-point conversion by Kentucky propelled Northwestern to its second consecutive bowl victory for the first time in school history. DraftNasty’s National Correspondent De’Angelo Bryant provides a deeper look in analyzing the potential NFL prospects of this game.

Northwestern

21 RB Justin Jackson (5’11, 200, Sr.)

Jackson earned game MVP honors after being the workhorse with a season-high 32 carriers for 157 yards and two TDs. Jackson can best be described as elusive as he mixes a dose of quickness, jump cuts, and short-area explosion to elude defenders. He naturally squares his shoulder pads to get vertical and squeezes through tight areas to reach the second and third levels. There are times when he makes one too many cuts which causes him to accumulate negative yards. Despite his thinly-built frame, he shows toughness on initial contact. He only caught one pass for 10 yards.

18 QB Clayton Thorson (6’4, 220, Jr.)

Before being carted off the field from a right leg injury, Thorson was proficient moving the Northwestern offense downfield. He attempted just eight passes but showed precision in the pocket and kept his eyes downfield versus the rush. He showed quick shoulder nods when pump faking and remained in a strong throwing position to release the football.

9 H-Back Garrett Dickerson (6’3, 248, Sr.)

Dickerson caught my eye with his combination of speed and size. His position on the team is referred to as the Superback, a hybrid running back, fullback, tight end position. On a few occasions, he won on vertical routes versus linebackers and forced safeties Mike Edwards & Darius West to push to their maximum speed to avoid getting beaten. Though he has caught over 30 passes this season, there were a few times I questioned his hand-eye coordination.

2 WR Flynn Nagel (5’11, 194, Jr.)

Used in motion to line up as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. Product of hide and mid-star routes where he is responsible for reading the linebacker and safety drops to find the open zones. Tough when catching the football in traffic and knows how to protect his body to avoid the big hits. When being motioned in to block the overhang defender, he was often over-matched (particularly versus Kentucky OLB Josh Allen).  At times, he was also nudged off his landmark on routes downfield.

1 DT Tyler Lancaster (6’3, 315, Sr.)

Subbed a lot due to the personnel sets from Kentucky. Played predominately on potential run plays. Strength to move the center backwards is evident, but he struggles to maintain low pad level throughout his penetration. As a pass rusher, he did show an athletic spin move to complement his bull rush.

24 CB Montre Hartage (6’0, 195, Jr.)

Passes the eye ball test and has the physical style of play to complement the look. Kentucky picked on him on the first possession by going to Tavin Richardson. This was just one of several shots they took at Hartage.  After the first possession, he was moved to the opposite side away from Kentucky’s X-receiver and played more to the combination receiver side. This suited him well, as he did a good job of using the sideline as an extra defender to the boundary and played the underneath routes well when squatting in rolled coverage. A physical tackler, Hartage will duck his head and not bring his eyes with him through contact.  He had difficulty locating the ball in the air.

21 S Kyle Queiro (6’3, 220, Sr.)

Was not impressive on the opening kickoff. He was literally put on his backside by KR/RB Zach Johnson because of his high pad level on contact. Stiffness was exploited on several occasions when attempting to make tackles in space as defenders danced around him. His length was his savior. He does a good job of communication and can cover ground well. Maintained good leverage in bracket coverage.

16 S Godwin Igwebuike (6’0, 212, Sr.)

Aggressive safety when entering the box and can fill alleys with aggression. Interchangeable safety in 3-deep zone coverage concepts (can play both SS & FS). Can roll to the middle or roll to hold the No. 2 receiver's vertical route. Versus trips formations, he was effective holding the No. 3 receiver's vertical route and buzzing to cover the flats. Good wrap tackler and will look for an opportunity to go for the strip. When playing the backside safety, he identifies the crosser and looks to rob the route. His lower body stiffness was exploited when attempting to recover on routes after getting his eyes caught in the backfield on flash fakes from Kentucky’s QBs. Grabs in coverage and was called for a pass interference on Kentucky’s last drive. Doesn’t really have a defined technique, but maximizes his effort on every play.

32 LB Nate Hall (6’2, 230, Jr.)

Missed game due to a knee injury suffered in bowl preparation practice.

Kentucky

73 RT Kyle Meadows (6’3, 300, Sr.)

Veteran savvy. Understands the DL stunts, slant and twist games. Slow movement off the snap. Appears he doesn’t trust his feet; which puts him in bad position versus the rush. Uses little technique when releasing inside to get to the second level. Struggles to sit his hips down and it causes him to absorb contact too often.

41 OLB Josh Allen (6’5, 230, Jr.)

Active LB off the edge. Good speed rush and will dip his shoulder to avoid contact from the OT.  His backside pursuit on screens and options displayed his lateral movement skills. When Northwestern motioned a receiver or H-back in to block him, he showed quickness when slanting inside the blocks to take away his gap for the RB.

34 LB Jordan Jones (6’2, 221, Jr.)

High-energy, sideline-to-sideline defender. Does a good job of his scrape-to-fit versus the run game. Has a good sense of when to trigger when the QB becomes mobile outside the pocket. Will backdoor and shoot the gap on runs away. Needs to be more efficient on wrap stunts from the backside. Will overrun gaps because he’s too fast when tracking.

8 CB Derrick Baity (6’3, 186, Jr.)

Shows the most fluidity between he, Johnson and Westry. Evident that the coaching staff believes in his coverage ability more than the other two. Adjusted well to coverage checks. When playing press-man he shows some quickness and suddenness when reacting to the receiver's moves off the line. To the nub side of the formation, he was over-matched when taking on blocks.

6 CB Lonnie Johnson (6’3, 203, Jr.)

Started the game and rotated with Westry. Also was a part of Kentucky’s nickel package, where he lined up over the outside receiver. Patient in his off-man technique, but he will drop his foot in the bucket when transitioning out of his breaks.  When taking on blocks he tends to get his hands outside of the blocker's frame, which makes it difficult for him to shed  them.

 21 Chris Westry (6’4, 195, Jr.)

Long and rangy defender with experience. Did not start the game, but played a significant amount of snaps. Shows a strong punch and extension in press coverage. Can close on a ball carrier or receiver in a hurry, but will get bounced around due to his thin frame.

7 Saf Mike Edwards (6’0, 200, Jr.)

Mainly played the free safety position. In sub-packages, he rocked down to cover the slot in man coverage and to also play man on RB Justin Jackson. Showed some twitch when changing from his pedal to plant-n-drive coming downhill.

* 26 Benny Snell Jr. (5’11, 223, So)

Thickly-built and strong through contact. Shows good vision and will patiently follow his blocks. One-cut runner with a short area burst and a secondary move in his repertoire. Scored the game's opening TD, but was ejected in the 2nd quarter for removing an official's hands following a play.

Bryant’s Beehive: 3-for-3 into NFL Week 17

Is Dez Bryant worthy of carry the title of X-Factor? Is Drew Brees still the best QB in the NFC South? What challenges does Kansas City Chiefs rookie QB Patrick Mahomes face in his first career start? Read more to find out these answers and more in Bryant’s 3-for-3.

Dez Bryant: X-Factor or Not

There’s no question from a physical standpoint Dez Bryant is one of those Terrell Owens specimen-type athletes. However, Bryant’s mediocre productivity this season has only been a reflection of his previous two seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys need more from their big money receiver. Before the double coverage murmurs begin, teams have had to respect the veteran presence of Jason Witten, the consistency of Cole Beasley, and the speed of Terrance Williams. Even when comparing him with Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin in his eighth-year in the NFL, Irvin had 111 catches for over 1,600 yards (1995). Despite a decline in his numbers and less games played the following season, Irvin went on to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1997-98). At this point, the projection of Bryant reaching his 2012-14 status is not looking so bright. In 2017, Bryant failed to have a 100-yard receiving game and according to Pro Football Focus, he ranks second in the NFL with nine drops. The bottom line is Bryant is underperforming his contract, as well as his lead position for the Cowboys organization. With the future at quarterback and running back, is it time for the Cowboys to seek a No. 1 WR in the 2018 NFL Draft?

'Brees’-ing Through

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees continues to find the Fountain of Youth. Over the last few seasons, the NFC South has been graced with the athleticism of Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, Atlanta Falcons 2016 MVP QB Matt Ryan, and the emerging Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Jameis Winston. However, the 38-year old veteran has led his team to its first winning record and playoff berth in four seasons. Perhaps these accomplishments are more fulfilling at this stage in his career than passing for 5,000 yards in a season (something he has accomplished four times). With one more game remaining on schedule, Brees has completed a career-high 71.9% of his passes and has managed to stay in the single digit column in interceptions (8). It has been eight years since Drew Brees has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.  Does the ageless wonder have what it takes to bring another championship back to New Orleans?

Mahomes Debut

After locking up the AFC West for the second season in a row and clinching a spot in the playoffs, head coach Andy Reid is turning the keys over to rookie QB Patrick Mahomes for Sunday’s contest against the Denver Broncos. While this game may serve as a meaningless game for some, Mahomes will still be tested by a Broncos defense that ranks second in the league in total defense and fourth in the league against the pass.  Mahomes, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, displayed great arm strength, strong hips through his release, and mobility coming out of Texas Tech. With a notable seasoned veteran and the potential contract discussions of Alex Smith at the end of the season, could we be getting a glimpse of the Chiefs new QB next season?

DraftNasty’s R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, In-Game Report: North Texas vs. Troy, 12-16-17

Head Coach Neal Brown (left) and R&L Carriers Bowl MVP Brandon Silvers (right) share one last moment on the field in New Orleans after the Trojans' 50-30 victory over North Texas.

Troy

12 QB Brandon Silvers (6’3, 219, Sr.) 

Silvers added onto his passing percentage by completing 24-of-31 passes for 305 yards and 5 total touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 passing). Silvers sprayed the football all over the field from a variety of RPO’s and play actions. He was extremely accurate with his touch on the 9-route (go or fly) in one-on-one match ups, as well as his velocity on the football on speed cuts to convert first downs. The signature play of the evening was when he threaded the needle on a seam throw to Tevaris McCormick for a 59-yard touchdown.  NFL teams looking for a quarterback in the later rounds may consider Silvers.

15 WR Damion Willis (6’4, 194, Jr.)

Next man up must have been the motto for junior WR Damion Willis.  Willis had a big game in-place of Troy’s leading receiver Deondre Douglas. The 6-foot-4 wideout had his way with North Texas CB Eric Jenkins. He won the 50/50 grabs by utilizing his long frame to catch the ball high and away from his body. He was even impressive on rolling out of his break on speed cuts. With one more season ahead, Willis and Douglas could be one of the better receiver combinations in the Sun Belt next season.

 33 RB Josh Anderson (5’11, 255, Sr.)

Anderson is a downhill runner who can absorb contact and keep moving forward. What’s most impressive is how he can bend and drop his shoulder pads to shred tacklers. He has a tendency to cut off his inside foot, which causes him to loose his footing.  He could also be considered as a fullback prospect in the 2018 draft.

5 LB Sam Lebbie (6’3, 244, Sr.)

At 6’3, Lebbie presents a long rangy body in the middle of the defense. He runs well sideline-to-sideline; often making it difficult for second level blockers to get their hands on him. There are times where he is too aggressive on his run reads and will overrun his gap control.  As a pass defender, he does look for work in his area but will chase the first crosser or jump the first receiver in his area leaving a vacated spot in the zone. We like the way he is utilized as a blitzer. On third downs and sub-packages, he lined up off the edge as a pressure defender. While he doesn’t offer much movement as a pass rusher, he knows how to use his speed and arm length to get offensive linemen out of their comfort zone.

 24 Saf Cedarius Rookard (6’1, 210, Jr.)

Rookard is one of the most active defenders on the Troy Trojans defense. He communicates well with the defense and appeared to be the go-to defender to make the calls and checks. He displayed formation recognition and never appeared to be out of position, even with the variety of coverages he played throughout the game. He played both strong and free safety and returned punts as well. The South Carolina native led the team in tackles and deflected a pass that was caught for an interception.

30 DT Jamal Stadom (6’1 ½, 280, Sr.)

Despite being undersized, Stadom shows quickness off the ball. He was disruptive on the snap from any of the defensive line spots he played. He was consistently breaking through double teams and defeating backside cut-offs. Length got to him at times when pass rushing, but he was active enough with his hands and arms to work his way around blocks.

 18 CB Blace Brown (6’0, 186, RS-Jr.)

 Did not play due to a lower-body injury

 38 RB Jordan Chunn (6’1, 235, Sr.)

 Sidelined due to lingering knee injury

 80 WR Deondre Douglas (6’1, 197, Jr.)

 Injured on the opening kickoff

 

North Texas

 1 WR Turner Smiley (6’0, 193, Sr.)

Smiley can get up to his top speed in a hurry. On a few occasions, he simply won his footraces versus three different Trojan cornerbacks. He also does a good job of gaining inside leverage as he climbs. Because of his ability to press the gas pedal deep, it opened up routes such as the pivot-out and deep comeback. He has an impressive snap and acceleration at the top of his route on deep slants. Needs to continue to work on rolling his speed cuts.

 6 Saf Kishawn McClain (5’11, 187, Sr.)

McClain was someone who immediately caught our eye with his willingness to throw his body around versus the run. He was consistent with his force, fit, and alley play versus the run and RPO’s. North Texas used him in situations as a free hat to play the middle hole and the cutback run. On the 59-yard touchdown throw to Tevaris McCormick, McClain struggled to recover on help coverage largely due to the angle he took on a well-thrown football. He consistently defeated blockers when covering punts.

30 K Trevor Moore (5’11, 191, Sr.)

Moore ends his career without ever having missed an extra point attempt. He converted on a 24-yard FG in the third quarter to finish his senior season with 90% field goal percentage. Although he did not record a touchback, his kicks did reach the end zone.

3 RB Jeffrey Wilson (6’0, 194, Sr.)

Did not play due to a foot injury.

 

 

 

Bryant’s Beehive: Five Under the Radar Cornerbacks

Chandon Sullivan, Georgia State (5’11, 195, Sr.)

Sullivan presents a physical presence at the LOS, making it difficult for receivers to get an easy release out into their routes. While he will not over-excite in the interception stat column, his run support ability will be something NFL teams take note of in the upcoming draft. Aside from his on-the-field attributes, Sullivan performs extremely well in the classroom. He currently carries a 3.84 GPA and recently became the first ever Georgia State football player to be recognized as a National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation.

D’Montre Wade, Murray State (6’0, 200, Sr.)

Wade could perhaps be one of the best bump-and-run cornerbacks in this year’s draft class. He is patient and physical at the LOS, but covers enough ground to play his man and other receivers working in his areas.  He’s good at expanding his zone and attacking the football in the 50/50 battles. He’s shown physicality and technique when making tackles. Wade intercepted six passes in 2017 to cap off his career.

Blace Brown, Troy (6’0, 186, RS-Jr.)

Brown has not had trouble finding the football in his hands over the last two seasons. The former walk-on has recorded 11 interceptions the last two seasons, including the game-winning interception versus No. 16 LSU this year.  Brown plays a lot of bail technique and does a good job of baiting quarterbacks when either playing man coverage or a loose cover two zone.  Brown has good bloodlines, as he is the nephew of former University of Georgia Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Pro Bowl running back Herschel Walker.

Tremon Smith, Central Arkansas (5’11, 190, Sr.)

Passion and aggression are just two of the many words that can be used to describe Central Arkansas cornerback Tremon Smith. Smith immediately jumps out on film due to how competitive he is from the start of a play to the end of the down.  Although he doesn’t appear to be a leaper, he places his body in position between the ball and receiver to make it difficult for receivers to bring the ball into their bodies.  He ended his career with 53 passes defended and 15 interceptions.

Ryan Carter, Clemson (5’9, 180, Sr.)

Carter may be one of the shorter corners in the 2018 NFL draft class, but for Clemson he’s the big man on the back end of one of the nation's best defenses. His pick-six versus South Carolina this season was an example of his football IQ.  The Georgia native has really good feet, which is why you can find him lining up or stemming over the slot receiver in DC Brent Venables' sub-packages. Carter will look to keep the DB draft tradition alive in 2018.

DRAFTNASTY’s In-Game Report: Western Carolina vs. Wofford, 10-7-17

DraftNasty traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina for a SoCon showdown between the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Wofford Terriers.

Western Carolina

 21 RB Detrez Newsome (5’10, 210, Sr.)

Uses timely patience as an asset in WCU RPO zone scheme. Uses the slow to, fast through approach. Shows good vision and understands when he has the two-way go when he has lead blockers on the perimeter. Displays a controlled spin move and has confidence spinning to either side. Would like to see him get behind his pads more, as well as hit the gas pedal to stretch the defense more on zone stretch plays.

96 OLB Tahjai Watt (6’5, 220, Sr.)

Watt did a good job of extending the option attack of the Wofford Terriers due to his length. There were times after forcing the pitch; he displayed how much ground he could cover laterally to help out on the run. He was also effective defending the pass both as a drop and pressure player. His lack of weight is cause for concern.

1 WR Steffon Hill (6’0, 195, Sr.)

More quick than fast. Used in a variety of the Catamounts RPO game (hitches, swings, option). Lined up primary on the outside, but shows the quickness and niche for creating short separation fit for a slot receiver.

8 CB Tra Hardy (5’11, 185, Sr.)

Physical at the LOS. Forced Wofford’s receiver to take the longer path, due to his discipline of keeping his shoulders square and shuffling his feet versus the wide receivers release. He needs to improve on transitioning out of his break more fluidly. He does return kickoffs.

Wofford

21 LB Colton Clemons (6’0, 245, Sr.)

Clemons is a downhill thumper. What you have to like about him, is his consistency with downhill movement and scraping to fill the C and D gaps. He will finish on plays and drop his hips to drive through tackles. A great example of this came when he scooped Detrez Newsome on a screen play in open field. Recorded an interception in the 1st half.

90 DT Miles Brown (6’1, 320, Jr.)

The show starts in the middle with Miles Brown. He has an impressive get-off, which allows him to shoot the gap and create penetration in the backfield. His powerful lower half and stubby build allows him to quickly eat the up the cushion of interior lineman. Throughout the game he lined up as a shade, 2i, 3, and 4i. He made plays at each of the techniques he played. His short arms does bring a cause of concern.

24 CB Devin Watson (5’11, 195, Jr.)

Read and diagnosis routes quickly. Will drive on the out breaking route in ‘read’ coverage. Understands when to carry the No. 1 receiver in ‘read’ coverage after the No. 2 receiver climbs vertical. Will attack blockers and establish a presence versus screens. Lateral movement is questionable in space.