All posts by dnmadmin

Center of attention

Former Mississippi State offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins stood out in college for his versatility. There are not many positions he didn't have a hand in contributing at for the Bulldogs. As he moves on to the next level, we sat down to talk with him about his flexibility, technique and overall mindset heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.

Q&A with Mississippi State OL Elgton Jenkins

DN: With all of the different positions (LG, LT, RT, OC) you've played in school, which one would you say is your favorite? Did you have one that you feel like you're best at?

Jenkins: I think I'm better at center than all of them. I've been playing it for two years and in those two years I've been playing it I've been more wise to the game… having more knowledge. But I think with any position I play at this point right here, with the knowledge I have for the game, I can dominate and play at a high level.

DN: And speaking of playing at a high level, it seemed like one of the things that you do a really good job of is re-anchoring. Even if somebody may get you for a second, you do a good job of hopping back to sink back in the chair. Do you think your tackle experience helps dealing with guys inside trying to use leverage?

During the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl practices Rankin (No. 74 pictured with player grabbing his jersey) demonstrated very good balance and core strength.

Jenkins: I really think it is a mix of athleticism, being strong and being able to bend. That's what I think it is.

DN: Some of the guys you've played with and have moved on, what type of advice have they given to you? Can you draw experience from your teammate being in this same situation, Rankin (Martinas, 3rd Round, 80th overall, 2018 NFL Draft, Houston Texans)? What has Martinas kind of talked to you about?

Jenkins: Man, he just says come to work every day with a business-mind approach. Treat this as your job and things like that. So every day come to work and every year somebody else is trying to come and take your job. You've got to be a man, step up and keep your job.

DN: In terms of learning a new offense this year under Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State head coach), what was one of the big things you had to pick up in terms of making a quick transition? Certainly a different style than the previous scheme.

Jenkins: Just the scheme and the offense and things like that. I think I pick up offenses really fast man. It is really just the same thing, you've just go to be able to use the verbiage from each offense and you'll pick it up fast.

DN: Do you feel like it was one game that you would want someone to take a look at, what game would that be?

Jenkins: I feel like you can look at the majority of my games, but a game I'd say probably was Auburn. They've got one of the bigger D-tackles and he probably had one tackle that game. Not only me, but my offensive line back at Mississippi State. They had a big part in that. We play as five and then we play as one. Us as a whole O-line had a big part in my success.

DN: Is there one guy at the next level you pattern your game after? Or a guy you've looked up to?

Jenkins: When I was playing tackle, I always looked at tackles. Me playing center right now, it'll probably be somebody like Maurkice (Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers) or someone like that.

DN: That's a pretty good one. Thanks a lot for your time man. Good luck in the draft.

Jenkins: Appreciate it.

Related Images:

2019 NFL Combine, Day 1, Offensive linemen: ‘Who got nasty?’

The 2019 NFL Combine featured a collection of very athletic offensive linemen on Day 1. We take a look at four players from the group who helped their respective stocks.

Joshua Miles 6'5 314 OL Morgan State

The former Western Tech High School star and Baltimore, Maryland native had already won his fair share of bar room brawls during the week of 2019 East-West Shrine practices. Tough to dislodge from inside at guard, he also slid his feet well at times during the week at left tackle.

The last player drafted from Morgan State was back in 2003. Former Bears and New York Giants tight end Visanthe Shiancoe impressed NFL scouts during his own combine performance with an eye-opening 39 1/2-inch vertical leap while weighing in around the 251-pound mark.

While that leap was impressive, the 36-inch vertical jump that Miles - a 2018 All-MEAC performer- turned in on Friday may end up as the most impressive athletic feat of the weekend. Why? He weighs in the 315-pound range. When you couple that with his 9'1" broad jump, it is easy to quantify his lower body explosion on the field. His 4.75-second showing in the 20-yard short shuttle will also open the eyes of NFL teams. He is a near lock to become just the second Bear drafted in the last 37 years.

Max Scharping 6'6 327 OL Northern Illinois

Max Sharping (No. 73 pictured) started 53 consecutive games for the Huskies.

An above average postseason has been icing on the cake so for Scharping, whose game is defined by his patience. On film, he frustrates defensive ends by always keeping his hands up around his numbers in a position ready to punch. He understands angles. The kinesiology graduate and Academic All-American offers teams flexibility. He started at right guard, right tackle and left tackle in school.

On Friday, he put to rest some doubts about his true foot quickness and explosiveness despite not running a 40-yard dash. He went under 4.7 seconds in the 20-yard short shuttle (4.69), posted an impressive 28-inch vertical jump and notched a respectable 7.77 time in the all-important three-cone drill. Perhaps even more impressive was that he did it while weighing in seven pounds heavier than he did at the 2019 Senior Bowl.

Trey Pipkins 6'6 309 OT Sioux Falls

Pipkins (No. 78 pictured) was the first player ever selected to attend the NFL Combine from Sioux Falls.

NFL teams want to see a player dominate his level of play (Division II) and Pipkins obliged, turning in an All-American campaign that routinely saw him finish versus overmatched personnel. Regardless of the personnel, he has shown an element of ‘nasty’ finishing linebackers and defensive ends once he gets his hands inside the numbers (2nd QTR/4:33, Minnesota State Moorhead ’18; Jones, Day 2, East-West Shrine ’19-pancakes him through ground).

Although he underwhelmed in the bench press (16 repetitions at 225 pounds), he made it up for it with a solid on-field workout. He was fluid changing directions and displayed much of the base that has been evident on film. On Friday, he ran a 5.12 40-yard dash, went an eye-opening 33 1/2 inches in the vertical jump and also posted an equally impressive 9-foot-6-inch broad jump. For good measure, he blazed a 7.61-second time in the three-cone drill.

Michael Jordan 6'6 312 OC-OG Ohio State

Ohio State's Michael Jordan (No. 73 pictured) started 41 games for the Buckeyes.

When you hear the name Jordan you immediately think of the ability to sky over the competition. The former Buckeye has the look of a heavy NBA power forward. Despite 34 1/4-inch arms, he still posted a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump. He also recorded a broad jump (9'8") that bested even some of the running backs, including Temple's Ryquell Armstead, who ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.

It could partly explain how he's been able to compensate versus leverage defenders at the center spot, where he can execute his combo-rub blocks with efficiency (see Tulane '18). His pad level is still an issue at times and this was even apparent at the left guard spot in 2017 (see Indiana). His quickness, however, in the 20-yard short shuttle (4.71) helps explain his above average ability to pull in confined areas. Jordan helped his stock on Friday.

OFFENSIVE LINE RESULTS

Related Images:

2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl, Photo Gallery, 12-31-18: 22) Northwestern vs. 17) utah

The 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats used a furious third quarter rally to overtake the 17th-ranked Utah Utes, 31-20. Led by a defense that forced timely turnovers and 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP Clayton Thorson, the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points in the third stanza. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous takes us inside the game with this photo collage.

Related Images:

2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl Photo Gallery, 12-28-18: Auburn vs. Purdue

Led by redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham's six touchdowns (5 PASS, 1 RUSH), the Auburn Tigers overtook the Purdue Boilermakers 63-14 in Friday's 2018 Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous gives a peek at some of the images from Nashville.

Related Images:

2018 Walk-on’s Independence bowl, PHOTO gallery, 12-27-18: Temple vs. Duke

Temple got off to a strong start in the 2018 Walk-On's Independence Bowl, but the Duke Blue Devils took off in the second half to pull away from the Owls 56-27. DraftNasty's Corey Chavous goes inside the action with his photo gallery from Thursday's action.

Related Images:

2018 Las Vegas Bowl Photo Gallery, 12-15-18: Fresno State vs. Arizona State

 

MAC Players to Watch, 10-16-18: It’s Miller Time

Scotty Miller 5'10 163 WR-Senior Bowling Green

Since Miller has arrived on campus, he's been a terror despite his lack of size.  His body control, route-running expertise and fearlessness all get high marks.  While capable of playing outside, he's most adept at working in-between the hash marks on inside dig routes, post corners and option routes.  He is the best receiver in the MAC when it comes to disguising his intentions on jerk and return-pivot patterns.  Linebackers, safeties and nickel backs have to maintain patience against his first moves.  Quite capable of tracking the ball versus tight man coverage, he can get his body to become limp along the sidelines. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to finish through double teams down the field.  Once he gets the ball in his hands, he uses his long speed to challenge defenses.

The former Barrington HS (Ill.) product has been a speed demon since his days at the prep level.  The former track and field standout holds personal-bests of 10.53 seconds in the 100 meters, 21.26 seconds in the 200 meters  and 6.36 seconds in the 55 meters.  Through six games, Miller has 42 receptions for 640 yards (15.6 YPR) and six touchdowns. This includes a 13-catch, 166-yard, two-touchdown performance against Oregon in Week 1 of the 2018 campaign.   For his career, the Falcons standout has 186 receptions and 20 receiving touchdowns.  Keep an eye on the Falcons speedster the rest of the year.  The MAC's leading receiver is on pace for career-highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.

Henderson providing early returns for Tigers

Perhaps no running back has made a more indelible mark on college football's first month than Memphis' Darrell Henderson.  The former South Panola High School (Miss.) star has been a factor since his arrival on campus, but this could become a season to remember.

Through three games, he is averaging nearly 14.5 yards per carry while leading the nation in rushing yards (521).  He is also tied for second in the country with six rushing scores.  The added strength he put on this offseason could explain some of his early season success (https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/college/memphis-tigers/football/2018/08/04/memphis-tigers-football-darrell-henderson-mike-norvell-aac/858753002/).   Over the course of the last three seasons, DraftNasty has gotten the opportunity to see Henderson play live on three different occasions.  Here are some of the attributes which make him such a difficult player to get on the ground.

CONTACT BALANCE

Some of Henderson's best moves come in-between the hash marks setting up second and third-level defenders.  To get there with ease, he runs with a center of gravity low to the ground that allows him to bounce off would-be tacklers.  This becomes evident on the team's outside zone (stretch) run game principles versus force defenders.

Henderson (No. 8 pictured) ended 2017 with five consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.

The patience that he shows in allowing his offensive linemen to reach block defenders creates cutback lanes for him back into the middle of the field.  In the clip pictured to the left, he forces UCF free safety Tre Neal to overrun a tackling angle that results in a 30-yard touchdown scamper in the 2017 AAC Championship Game.  Neal weighs 215 pounds and Henderson -standing 5-foot-8- checks in around the 205-pound mark.

SPEED-to-POWER/YARDS AFTER CONTACT

Henderson gets to full speed in a hurry once he hits the accelerator button.  A combination of lower and upper body power allows him to run through tacklers.  Versus Georgia State last Friday, he buckled freshman safety Chris Bacon once he burst through the line of scrimmage.   Later in the first quarter, Bacon overran Henderson on a top-down angle as Henderson displayed his ability to stop-and-start with relative ease on an outside stretch play.  It resulted in a 54-yard touchdown that showcased his game-breaking speed.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Since arriving on campus, Henderson has showcased capability on special teams.  Although he has just four tackles in the course of his career, three came during his freshman campaign in 2016.  On his 18 career kickoff returns, he has averaged 22.5 yards per return with one score.  Overall, this is not an area (special teams) to expect to see him in much during the year, but he will show up as a kickoff returner and punt cover guy in big games (see 2017 AAC Championship Game).  As seen in the picture , he runs with passion as a kickoff returner.

HAND-EYE COORDINATION/VISION

Vision is one of the top characteristics many college recruiters identify at the running back position.  Aside from the outside zones, the Tigers used a combination of weakside one-back powers in 2017.  The team would pull its backside guard and tackle while blocking down with the center, guard, tackle and tight end on the front side of the formation.  When they did, it was Henderson's job (from an offset shotgun alignment) to find a crease and get vertical quickly.  They also employ him at the Wildcat quarterback in the shotgun to add an insert blocker on outside runs.  His cutback ability shines on these types of schemes.

As a freshman in 2016, the team used him on wheel routes from the offset running back position.  In these instances, he's shown the ability to snag passes away from his frame (3rd and 6, Cincinnati '16, vs. 3-cloud defensive look).   They also occasionally use him in the screen game to the weakside of their formations away from speed motion (by the Z-WR) to the strong side.  Versus Georgia State last Friday night, he lined up at  the No. 2 slot position to run a quick out in the team's Empty Gun Spread Trips Left formation.  Henderson averages 11.5 yards per reception for his career (53 receptions, 6 TDs).

BALL SECURITY

Despite 319 touches in three seasons, the eighth-leading rusher in Mississippi high school history has fumbled just twice during his time in school.  He holds the ball high and tight to his frame and rarely allows it to swing loose from his frame.

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

Despite the ball security, Henderson does have a tendency to run as a left-hand dominant runner.  Even when he is running to his right he is most comfortable with the ball in his left hand.  Take a look on the picture to the right.  Henderson is running a right kickoff return towards the right sidelines versus UCF in the 2017 AAC Championship Game with the ball high and tight in his left elbow.  While he is also able to jump cut and make defenders miss with sudden stops in momentum, he carries some tightness in the lower body.  As a tightly-wound athlete, he has to pay increased attention to flexibility moving forward.  He was unable to play in the 2017 Liberty Bowl versus Iowa State due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

Regardless, the former 2014 Mississippi Gatorade Football Player of the Year has increased his production at a time where the Tigers are transitioning from All-AAC quarterback Riley Ferguson to former Arizona State quarterback Brady White.  In three games, White has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception.  In his own estimation, Henderson is a big reason the transition has been so smooth.

"I love it," White said, when asked about having Henderson lined up behind him. "It makes my job easy. You just hand the ball off and watch him run to the end zone. It's been a huge help to have that guy in your backfield." (--https://gotigersgo.com/news/2018/9/14/football-henderson-white-lead-tigers-past-georgia-state-59-22.aspx)

---By: Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Staff Reports

Alabama’s Miller making his mark

Alabama outside linebacker Christian Miller is blessed with NFL bloodlines.  His father, former NFL linebacker Corey Miller, enjoyed an eight-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants that included 72 starts, 14 sacks, seven interceptions and a host of tackles.

Miller hasn't been able to get his career on the same upward trek up to this point, but he has shown flashes in the past.  Before going down to a biceps injury versus Florida State in 2017, he had already run through the Seminoles offensive tackles on a couple of occasions when defending the run out of a two-point stance.  Well- balanced at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, he has enough length to occasionally battle with offensive tackles on the edge (see picture vs. USC's Chad Wheeler in 2016).  He possesses the necessary bulk to create separation while deciphering the action.

So how has he grown mentally over the last year?

First of all, he didn't allow the biceps injury to end his 2017 campaign.  He rehabbed religiously to make a comeback in time for Alabama's national championship run.  His arduous journey draws high marks if for nothing more than its pure tenacity.  Miller put it best when he described the passage prior to the team's Sugar Bowl contest against Clemson in early January.

“I feel good. This is what we wanted,” Miller said. “This is the opportunity that we wanted. Obviously had a rough start to the season with getting injured in the first game. But I rehabbed and worked back, and now I’m back." (https://www.seccountry.com/alabama/christian-miller-describes-grueling-rehab-shit-not-easy).

And he didn't just come back, he contributed.  In the 2018 National Championship Game, he was seen lining up on the punt team at the left tackle spot.  In the same game, he used a right-handed post versus a tight end and just wouldn't quit on a down that resulted in a quarterback sack after he re-mapped his course.

Coming into this season, the true test would be to see if his pass rush variety would improve coming off the edge.  Last week vs. Ole Miss in Oxford, he put together arguably his best career performance to date (5 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, 2.5 TFLs).   His first quarterback sack came on a play from the left defensive end spot.  He took a shoulder away and then surfed around the corner to wheel the edge and get the quarterback on the ground. On this play, he displayed an increased skill running the loop.   He later ran over a running back (in a one-on-one blitz pick-up) with a speed-to-power rush that resulted in his second quarterback sack.

These types of plays create a baseline to judge Miller on for the rest of the season.  As a competent complementary pass rusher alongside Dylan Moses, Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis, the former five-star recruit may give the Crimson Tide's defense even more room to blossom.

New Cleveland Browns placekicker Joseph looks to solve team’s woes

After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez.  Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns.  He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's three-point loss to the Saints.  Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.

The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals didn't leave college with the same resume', but his work in college was still impressive.  Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017.   Here's a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214

School: FAU

DraftNasty's 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)

What makes this player Nasty....(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle).  2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength.  Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion.  Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017.  Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG).  Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017.  Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15;  77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15).  Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range.   He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15).  Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang).  He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
  • Earned All-State honors as a senior
  • 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
  • 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds),  5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
  • 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
  • 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
  • Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs

Time to get Nasty...(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone.  He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’.   A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.

DraftNasty's projection:  If there's a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn't have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career.  In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school.  This has relevance due to the NFL's 33-yard extra point attempts.  After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio?  This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017.  We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions.  He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half.  Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. 

 

 

Related Images: