Category Archives: NFL

Shai Werts QB-Louisville (2021), Georgia Southern: Scouting Snapshot

The decision by the NCAA to give everyone an extra year of eligibility gave Werts a new lease on life as a college football player. It is not like he hasn’t produced at Georgia Southern. In fact, prior to announcing on Twitter that he had entered the transfer portal (eventually committed to Louisville), the now former Eagle finished off his career with an MVP performance in the 2020 New Orleans Bowl. In that contest, he sliced up the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 65-yard touchdown strike that traveled 52 yards in the air. He finished with 126 yards passing and one touchdown, while rushing for 71 yards and three more scores.

Due to the Eagles spread option attack, some felt Werts would look to throw the ball more at another school. However, he has been working at the wide receiver spot in possible hopes of a transition to that spot potentially in the ACC. In four seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, Werts finished with 3,778 yards passing (57%), 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Perhaps just as impressively, he rushed for 3,072 yards (4.4 YPC) and 34 more scores.

Werts has a bevy of highlights, but his two-point conversion spin cycle throw to put the Eagles up by one point against Louisiana in 2020 serves as a true gauge of his multi-purpose capability.

Cade Johnson WR/KR-South Dakota State

Johnson will get an opportunity to show what everyone has seen from him in the FCS over the last few years in the 2021 Senior Bowl later this month. The 2019 AP first-team All-American is used on fly sweeps, speed shovels, speed outs, box fades (No.2 slot), slants and even one-step screens from the No. 3 position in bunch formations (back in 2018).

Johnson (No. 15 pictured vs. Kennesaw State in the 2018 FCS quarterfinals) has been an elite kickoff returner since stepping on campus. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns back in 2018.

He demonstrates savvy working against off-man coverage in the slot or on the outside. His biggest impact may come in the return game, where he has very good peripheral vision and balance. We had the opportunity to watch him perform in the 2018 FCS playoffs versus Kennesaw State and his hand-eye coordination impressed in that contest.

Other Notes: Attended Bellevue West HS (Neb.) and earned all-state honors after catching 16 TDs and recording 4 INTs • Was a member of a state championship team in basketball • 2017 (1,166 all-purpose yards): 23 receptions for 318 yards (13.8 YPR) and 3 TDs; 28 yds/KR and 2 TDs • 2017: 32 tackles, TFL, 5 PBUs • 2018 (AP All-American): 67 receptions for 1,332 yards and 17 TDs; 27.2 yds/KR • 2019 (AP 1st Team All-American): 72 receptions for 1,222 yards (17 YPR) and 8 TDs; 8 carries for 149 yards; 21.7 yds/KR • Career Stats: 40 games, 162 receptions for 2,872 yards (17.7 YPR) and 28 TDs; 12 carries for 182 yards (15.2 YPC); 26.7 yds/KR ad 2 TDs

2020 Boca Raton Bowl, UCF vs. BYU, in-game report: STOCK WaTCH

2021 NFL Draft prospect Zach Wilson’s 425-yard, five-touchdown performance (3 PASS, 2 RUSH) led the day -and rightfully so- and now we take a look at some of the other pro prospects from BYU’s 49-23 victory over the UCF Knights in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl.

STOCK UP:

95 Khyris Tonga
6’4 321 DT-Senior
BYU

Tonga’s stat line will never jump off the screen. In today’s NFL, the splash interior defensive line prospects typically are able to work to half a man for quick penetration. This is not Tonga’s game. Where he does flash in the passing game revolves around his timing to cloud passing lanes.

He posted a pass breakup in this contest and recorded three in the team’s final four games of 2020. He finished his career with 12 pass deflections. The former rugby star is strong, runs well in a straight line and projects as a zero-technique in three-man fronts.

STEADY:

5 Dax Milne
6’0 189 WR-Junior
BYU

Milne has been a model of consistency all season for the Cougars and this game was no different. There were several games this season where he flashed down the field capability in terms of high-pointing the football (see Houston ’20). The former walk-on uses deception and a quick-footed style to fool defensive backs. It is a big reason he was the team’s second-leading receiver on third downs. One of his better patterns is the stutter-and-go comeback route (see Western Kentucky ’20), but there have been occasions where he’s made deft one-hand grabs from his quarterback down the field in contested situations (TD vs. Sails, USF ’19). Milne recently declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and he could be the program’s first receiver picked since Austin Collie in 2008 (Indianapolis Colts, 4th Round, 127th overall).

67 Brady Christensen
6’6 300 LT-Junior
BYU

For the most part, Christensen has been steady. There are some occasions where players get the best of him due to a questionable anchor (see Boyles, USF ’19; Wiley, UTSA ’20). In those instances, he has even been knocked to the ground. Mobility and foot quickness, however, make him a viable option to hear his name called this spring after recently declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. In this contest, he was adept at baiting the opponent up the field, particularly on QB Zach Wilson’s quarterback draw for a touchdown in the first quarter. Christiensen is also agile as a pulling option on the perimeter (1st QTR/0:25, Boca Raton ’20). Can he long-arm the opponent when quick-setting (2nd QTR/5:11, Boca Raton ’20)?

2 Otis Anderson
5’11 174 RB-Ret-Senior
UCF

After not playing against USF, Anderson was solid in what may have been his last collegiate game (16 carries, 73 yards). He does have the option of returning for one more season. The former wide receiver finishes with over 90 career receptions and a healthy six yards per carry average.

Anderson (pictured in the slot in the 2017 AAC Championship game) has rushed for 2,187 yards (6.1 YPC), caught 91 passes for another 1,025 yards and averaged 12.3 yards per punt return. Along the way he has crossed the paint for 27 total touchdowns in four seasons.

An adept punt returner who could carve out a niche in that role, he has more than one tool in his skill-set. His foot speed will likely determine whether he can sneak into an NFL training camp.

FUTURE WATCH:

83 Isaac Rex
6’6 247 TE-Redshirt Freshman
BYU

As the season has gone on, Rex continued to work the seams both in the field and the Red Zone. He scored two or more touchdowns in five of the team’s final seven contests. The team will line him up one-on-one for back-shoulder fades (Western Kentucky ’20, 2nd QTR/0:21). And just think what this offense would have looked like had NFL prospect Matt Bushman been available all season. Versus UCF, Rex led the team with five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns. One of his touchdowns came on a flea-flicker where he was left wide open down the right sidelines.

The former San Clemente High School (Calif.) product was a basketball recruit and part of the 2017 recruiting class. He has already served a mission in Samoa for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Is the future now?

Miller Forristall TE- Senior Alabama, 2021 NFL Draft Preview

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Miller Forristall 6’5 244 TE- Senior Alabama 

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): One of the better Wham blockers in college football. Shows the ability to come in motion and stonewall bigger defensive lineman and linebackers (UGA ‘20). While he doesn’t look as filled out as other tight ends, the willingness and technique is solid as a blocker. In his few targets, Forristal exhibits the skill to make acrobatic grabs. Large catch radius. Efficiency as a blocker allows him to lull defenders to sleep and then get behind linebackers (TD, Citrus Bowl ‘19).

Weaknesses: The plethora of injuries are a major concern. Two seasons were cut short by knee injuries. (https://www.si.com/college/alabama/bamacentral/coming-off-knee-injury-tight-end-miller-forristall-happy-to-take-a-hit-again-TwwQEARd5U-0q2ppi46O-Q). He also has dealt with throat, ankle, shoulder and groin injuries in consecutive seasons. 14 combined games played in his first four seasons. Lack of production (31 total receptions as of midway through the 2020 campaign). 

Forristall is averaging 14.1 yards per reception through six SEC games in 2020.

Other Notes:  Attended Cartersville High School (GA) and played alongside Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence • Forristall played QB during his junior season and was rated the No. 11 tight end nationally by Scout.com • Suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2017 and in 2018 • 2016 (3 games): 5 receptions, 73 yards • 2017 (1 game): 1 reception, 7 yards • 2019 (8 games): 15 receptions, 167 yards, 4 TDs• 2020 (6 games): 10 receptions, 141 yards, 1 TD

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Alabama has been an NFL factory and they’ve been able to get a number of late round picks onto professional rosters despite a lack of college production. Wide receiver Cam Sims (Washington Football Team) and tight end Hale Hentges (Indianapolis Colts) are some recent names that come to mind. Forristall has the blocking chops to join fellow Crimson Tide tight ends Irv Smith Jr. and O.J. Howard in the NFL. His Wham blocking skills reminds us of former Washington Redskins tight end Don Warren, who was used primarily as a blocker in Joe Gibbs’ offensive schemes, but did end his career with 244 receptions (seven TDs). Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor comes from the Joe Gibbs coaching tree and his single back offense would be attractive for a player with Forristall’s skill-set. 

Austin Trammell WR-Ret Rice, 2021 NFL Draft

DN SNAPSHOT

Trammell has averaged 28.5 yds/KR through two games for the Owls in 2020 to go along with five receiving touchdowns. In 2018, he posted a 27.4 yd/avg on kickoff returns and posted a 9.3 yd/avg on punt returns in 2019. In addition, he has posted back-to-back 60-catch seasons for the team (2018-19).

Rice wide receiver/returner Austin Trammell may rank as quicker than fast, but he is efficient and strong with the ball in his hands. The former Klein High School (TX.) product broke his shin as a senior at the prep level, but his durability concerns have not shown up at the collegiate level. In fact, he has yet to miss a game for the Owls. Versus Middle Tennessee in 2020, he had a rare muffed punt near the end of the third quarter (1:53 mark).

This belies his down-to-down consistency in the return aspect of his game. Trammell catches kickoffs coming forward, which often allows him to get on top of kick coverage units when the team uses double teams. His shiftiness nearly allowed him to score on a 34-yard punt return versus Wake Forest in 2019.

As a receiver, he is capable of executing on the post-corner-post pattern and is fluid on stop routes outside the numbers. His footwork allows him to be effective on option routes in the slot. He understands how to work the leverage points of defensive backs. Last season, Trammell averaged 13.2 yards per reception on third downs. In the Wake Forest contest (2019) referenced earlier, he did drop an out route from the No. 2 slot position. There is also some slight stiffness in the lower half.

Trammell is known for his backflips around the Rice program (https://twitter.com/RiceFootball/status/1324833265702871042) but his coaches agree that his overall impact has moved the team forward.

While at Klein HS (Tex.), Trammell set the school record for stolen bases as a member of the team’s baseball squad. He has been both a three-time C-USA Honor Roll member and All-C-USA performer.

“He is a role model for everything we want our program to be,” said former UNC-Central head coach and current Rice offensive coordinator Jerry Mack back in 2019.

We feel his playing style carries similarities to former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, who entered the NFL as a lightly-regarded undrafted prospect out of the now-defunct Hofstra football program. Chrebet finished his Jets career with 580 receptions for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Through just two games in 2020, Trammell has already set a career-high in touchdown receptions (5) and is currently averaging 21.9 yards per reception.

Chauncey Manac LB-Louisiana: 2021 NFL Draft

DN SNAPSHOT

After totaling 7 QB sacks and 13.5 TFLs in his first two seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns, Manac (No. 17 pictured with late OL coach DJ Looney’s name on back of jersey) has posted 3.5 tackles for losses in 2020 (through five games).

The former Georgia Bulldog’s agility can leave offensive tackles grasping for air when aligned in either a two-point stance at outside linebacker or four-point stance at defensive end. He has satisfactory length and enough flexibility to occasionally drop into coverage on some of the team’s zone blitzes. His quick snap-count reactions have enabled him to make a number of plays behind the line of scrimmage over the last two seasons (4th QTR/3:34, Arkansas State ’19). He proved against Iowa State (2020) that he is strong to set the edge versus tight ends and some offensive tackles. At times, however, he tends to lead with his shoulders to hold gap control can be flattened as a result when spiking into inside line gaps (Georgia State ’20). So far this season, Manac has yet to match either his 2018 or 2019 production for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

2021 NFL Draft Preview: James Skalski 6’0 235 LB-Senior Clemson

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Leader of the Clemson defense. Correctly aligned the front seven in the pre-snap. Lines up late to disguise blitzes and rallies to the football. Frequently seen in every frame of the film (Boston College ‘19). Excellent anticipation. Takes solid angles to the football. Versus inside zone run schemes, he attacks downhill to fit his gap control and will fight OL (offensive linemen) to react back to the action. At his best working off of OL when coming forward on designed run blitzes. Dips underneath climbing OGs to make tackles on the second level (vs. Davis, 2nd QTR, Ohio State ’19). Sifts through inside crossing traffic over the middle to get to the running backs in the flats (Virginia ‘20). Special teams standout. 14 tackles his freshman season on 20 snaps (eight on special teams). 

Weaknesses: Showed he can use his hands inside on the neck and sheds offensive linemen (Citadel ‘20), but can he do this consistently at the next level? As a blitzer, he brings the noise but exposes his chest on some of his one-on-one pass rushes vs. RBs. Leads with his shoulders as opposed to leading with his hands to ward off OL. Buys some false keys on split zone action, steps forward and takes a couple of steps to fall back (Dobbins long run, 1st QTR, Fiesta Bowl ’19). Benefited from a strong defensive front and wasn’t forced to hit and shed often. Will have to win with anticipation and film study, due to the fact he lacks natural lateral quickness.  Gets his depth in zone coverage but can he roam efficiently from side-to-side? Ejected in the 2020 National Championship game for targeting against LSU. Redshirted in 2018 due to a toe injury. Recent groin injury (2020) forced him to have surgery and will sideline him for a number of games (https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/article246747536.html).

Skalski (No. 47 pictured) had 9 tackles, 1/2 QB sack and a half-tackle for loss in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl versus Ohio State.

Other Notes:  Attended Northgate High School (Ga.) and handled kicking duties for his football team while graduating as an all-state linebacker  • Also played soccer at the prep level, often playing day-long soccer tournaments the day after Friday night games (https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/sports/college/clemson/2019/07/30/james-skalski-3-things-you-may-not-know-clemson-football-linebacker/1493033001/) • Sister, Brenna, played softball at Georgia State. Father, John played football at Oklahoma 2016 (7 games): 11 tackles, 6 solo tackles, QB sack, 2 TFLs  • 2017 (12 games): 31 tackles, 16 solo tackles, 0.5 QB sack, 2 TFLs 2019 (15 games):  90 tackles, 40 solo tackles, 3.5 QB sacks, 6.5 TFLs, 3 PBUs, FF, FR

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Skalski on tape will remind scouts of throwback linebackers from the 1980s and 1990s, as evidenced by his trademark neck roll. However, like the stereotypes surrounding those linebackers of yesteryear, he can be susceptible to sharp lateral movement. In addition, he can be isolated to unfavorable match-ups in the passing game. Improving his pass coverage skills could ultimately determine his pro longevity. Skalski’s competitiveness allows him to fend off larger offensive lineman on occasion but his stack-and-shed capability is inconsistent. Look for him to start his career as a two-down linebacker and special teams contributor.

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Chazz Surratt 6’2 225 LB- UNC


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Excellent closing speed. Grades well against read option (App St ’19) and as a QB spy (Syracuse ‘20). Trusts his eyes and gets to the ball in a hurry. Fluid hips. Has the ability to pick up running backs on option routes and/or cover slot receivers in short space (Clemson ’19). Hustles to the football and plays through the whistle. Doesn’t cross his legs on front side run schemes but instead chops his feet so he can play the back side cutback if needed. Special teams contributor. Plays on the kickoff team as well as the field goal block unit. 

Weaknesses: Can be picked up by backs when blitzing (Clemson ’19). Surratt is a converted QB and has limited reps as a linebacker although he did play safety in high school. At times he gets caught in the wrong gap or overpurses. Needs to get more violent with hands in order to get off blocks of bigger players. Played in one game in 2018. One of 13 Tar Heels suspended for selling team issued shoes in 2018 and missed four games (https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article216175450.html). Missed seven games later that year with a right wrist injury. 

Other Notes: Attended East Lincoln High School (NC.) • Named state Gatorade Player of the Year and broke the state record for career total yards (16,593) • First-Team All-ACC (2019) and runner up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year  • Passed for eight touchdowns, six interceptions and 1352 yards as a QB in two seasons (10 games) • Brother, Sage, plays wide receiver for Wake Forest  • 2017 (9 games): 1342 passing yards, 210 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns,  8 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 58.5 completion percentage • 2019 (13 games): 66 total tackles, 49 assisted tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass deflections. 


Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): If you go back and watch the 2019 Clemson tape, Surratt jumps off the screen. Clemson’s offense stresses the eye discipline of opposing linebackers with its formation variety (bunch sets, etc..), which can lead to defenders overthinking and playing a step slow. Surratt didn’t have that problem and arguably played one of his better games. The Tar Heels converted QB will be judged by his ability to learn the intricacies of the position, but in a short time he has shown the raw talent is there.

Justus Reed 6’3 255 DE-Senior Virginia Tech: ‘Eight-Mile Road?’

Justus Reed (who now wears No. 9 for Virginia Tech) opened up the 2020 campaign with a solid outing against NC State’s veteran-laden offensive line. He was able to split two blockers (RT Justin Witt and RG Joe Sculthorpe) early in the contest versus turn protection to post the first of his two sacks on the evening. In addition, his right-handed pole move (from the LDE spot) long-armed Witt and got him off-balance a couple of times.

On the downside, he was inconsistent once staying frontal versus a gap-schemed run when having to spill the football versus the pulling guard (1st half, NC State ’20). Reed also lost contain on the quarterback during the first half of the contest.

Justus Reed (No. 97 pictured above at the six-technique DE spot vs. Michigan in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl posting a tackle for loss on this play) got off to a huge start for Virginia Tech this past Saturday.

Nevertheless, his five-tackle, two-sack, two-tackle for loss performance versus the Wolfpack all started with a seventh year of eligibility.

Reed initially signed with Florida as the 285th-ranked player in the ESPN300 Class of 2014. The former Clearwater Central Catholic High School (Fla.) star posted two tackles for loss in 2015 for the Gators (see video above). The two tackles for loss in that season were sandwiched in-between a normal redshirt season in 2014 and a medical redshirt in 2016.

Injuries in Gainesville led him to leave the school for Youngstown State, where he was solid in 2017 (5 QB sacks, 6 TFLs) despite missing four games due to an arm injury (https://www.ysusports.com/sports/fball/2018-19/bios/reed_justus_swjx?view=bio). Reed finished his three-year run for the Penguins with 58 tackles, 17.5 quarterback sacks, 25 tackles for losses, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups.

VTScoop did a piece in April 2020 chronicling the cavernous journey of Reed’s career (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/), which included a medical redshirt for an Achilles injury in 2018.

Reed (who now wears No. 9 at Virginia Tech) played three seasons at both Florida and Youngstown State before arriving in Blacksburg, Virginia.

NFL scouts may be put off by the extensive injury history, but pass rushers find a way to get home. In Reed’s case, getting back on the field was home plate. He broke down his own personal satisfaction after the Penguins win over Illinois State on November 17, 2019:

“Worked really hard this offseason (2019). Shout out to Terry Grossetti (Youngstown State strength and conditioning coach),” Reed said with a smile. “Just came out and did everything I could do. So it feels good.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb7Geymqq3I)

Now that Reed has gotten this far, the only question is whether or not he will stay on Virginia Tech’s campus for an unprecendented eighth year.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this season will not count against any player’s eligibility. Reed became just the fifth player to earn a seventh year of eligibility this century when he opened the 2020 season in the ACC. In 2021, he will have yet another opportunity to take advantage of that rare seventh year next fall.

So could the current Hokie actually add another mile to his seven-mile hike?

For now, the 24-year old is attempting to make another lengthy topic take over the headlines.

“I think I have pretty good length, my arms are pretty long. I can’t remember when, but we had scouts come, and they were freaking out because my arms are so long. I’ve been told I’ve been good with my hands. Converting speed to power using my long arms. Doing whatever I have to do to get back there,” Reed said in the aforementioned VTScoop piece (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/).

If he can continue to get to the quarterback in the ACC, then the former Florida Gator may not have to go down the eight-mile road.

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Sage Surratt 6’3 215 WR- Wake Forest

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Big and physical target. Surratt has the ability to get on top of smaller corners and “stacks” them in order to gain leverage in the deep passing game (FSU ‘19). Makes a number of possession routes as a No. 2 slot WR crossing the face of DBs with pure strength (Rice ’19). Uses subtle hesitation (nods) to set up his post corner patterns (Virginia Tech ’19). High-points the ball and has strong hands. A legitimate red zone threat (15 touchdowns in two seasons). Willing blocker in the read option game (Louisville ‘19). Punt return capability (91 return yards on 12 returns). 

Weaknesses: Struggles at times to get separation in shorter routes. How quick can he get in and out of breaks? Plays his best in a straight line. Scouts will watch his shuttle times at his Pro Day and Combine. Works his way to top speed, not naturally explosive off the ball. Suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in November 2019 against Virginia Tech. 

Surratt, pictured, scored 11 touchdowns in 2019 despite not playing in the season’s final four games.

Other Notes: Attended Lincolnton High School (NC.) and was the school’s valedictorian • Played basketball in high school and finished second in North Carolina high school basketball history with 2,951 points scored. Named the state’s Player of the Year in basketball and football • Set state records for receptions (366), yards (5,926) and touchdown receptions (80) • Brother, Chazz, plays linebacker for UNC • 2018 (10 games): 41 receptions, 581 yards (14.2 YPR) and 4 TDs  • 2019 (9 games): 66 receptions, 1,001 yards (15.2 YPR) and 11 TDs  • Career:  107 receptions, 1,582 yards and 15 touchdowns.  

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Surratt has prototypical NFL size for an outside receiver. He could immediately translate into a red zone threat. Like most young receivers, his success will be measured by his ability to master the entire route tree. Look for Surratt to be a Day 2 prospect, but it would have been intriguing to see him produce for a full season in school after missing the last four games of the 2019 season.