Category Archives: Draft preview

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jaret Patterson- Buffalo RB (Free Preview)

26 Jaret Patterson

5’6 1/2″ 195 RB- Junior

Buffalo

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Built well. Outstanding boxer-like feet.  Can tap dance in the hole and make safeties miss (Wade, 1st QTR/14:48, Penn State ’19). Sticks his foot on inside spins to find room on the edges and will look to not go out of bounds.  Spins on first contact instinctively (3rd QTR, Bahamas ’19).  Four-or-five-yard runs turn into highlight film runs.  Shifty stop-and-start quickness is aided by acceleration (42-yd TD, Rutgers ’18).  Sticks his right foot in the ground, drops his right shoulder into tackler and leans forward for three or four yards (1st QTR, Penn State ’19).  Displays energy on his stiff-arms when bouncing runs (EMU ’18).  On gap-schemed runs to the right, he flashes quick burst.  On goal line runs, he lowers his pad level and runs through LBs with a low center of gravity (TD, Bahamas ’19).  Takes a hip away from LBs in the open field.  Lead blocks for fellow RBs with vengeance.  Translates speed-to-power along the sidelines vs. CBs who come up to tackle (runs over Castro-Fields, 2nd QTR, Penn State ’19).  He’s an instinctive open field runner in the screen game. 

Weaknesses:  Lacks a true home run gear once he gets into the open field.  Eighth men in the box surprise him at times and his reactions have been less than stellar (3rd QTR/8:01, Liberty ’19).   Can he get himself out of a mess (3rd QTR/6:33, big hit along sidelines, Liberty ’19)? Speed begins to die out at the 25-yard mark.  Struggled with injuries down the final back half of his junior campaign.  Injured his right leg in the 2020 MAC Championship game, left the game and came back with a brace on the leg.  Struggled in that game and did not play in the team’s bowl game.  Zero receptions in 2020. 

Other Notes: Attended Saint-Vincent Pallotti HS (Md.) and rushed for 2,045 yards and 23 TDs as a senior •  Accounted for 558 all-purpose yards in one high school contest (Riverdale Baptist) •  Twin brother, James, plays football for Buffalo • 2018 (14 gms, 6 sts, 2nd Team All-MAC, MAC Freshman of the Year): 183 carries for 1,013 yards (5.5 YPC) and 14 TDs; 7 receptions for 62 yards • 2018: Started 11 games at RT • Rushed for 298 yards and 6 TDs vs. Bowling Green on 11/29/19 •  2019 (1st Team All-MAC): 312 carries for 1,799 yards (5.8 YPC) and 19 TDs; 13 receptions for 209 yards (16.1 YPR) and TD •  31 carries for 301 yards and 4 TDs vs. Bowling Green on 11/17/20 • 36 carries for 409 yards and 8 TDs vs. Kent State on 11/28/20 • 2020 (6 gms, 1st Team All-MAC): 141 carries for 1,072 yards (7.6 YPC) and 19 TDs • Career Stats: 636 rushes for 3,884 yards (6.1 YPC) and 52 TDs; 20 receptions for 271 yards (13.6 YPR) and one TD • 2021 Buffalo Pro Day: 9 1/4″ hands, 28 3/4″ arms, 68 3/4″ wingspan, 19 reps-25 lbs, 4.57 40-yd, 30″ VJ, 9’9″ BJ, 7.03 3-cone, 4.35 20-yd SS

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):  One of the big things that Patterson has improved on is ball security.  After fumbling the football four times in 2018, he has put the ball on the ground just once the last two seasons.  He didn’t finish the 2020 season as strong as he did in 2019, when he finished the season with six straight 100-yard rushing games. He plays low, balanced and contains excellent vision to find cutback lanes.  While he doesn’t have blinding speed, Patterson gets to his top speed in a hurry and surprises opponents with his low center of gravity.  On top of that, he actually shows better receiving skills than one would imagine from a running back with zero receptions in 2020.  Much like former Buffalo running back Branden Oliver (Chargers), the wear-and-tear of so many carries began to add up for Patterson.  Backup running back Kevin Marks, arguably as good of an NFL prospect, carried the load for the Bulls much of the postseason in 2020.

Grade:                                                                                           5.33 (4th Round)

DraftNasty Big Board Rank:                                            212

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Davis Mills- Stanford QB (Free Preview)

15 Davis Mills

6’4 217 QB-Junior

Stanford

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):  Good ball handler.  Smooth, compact delivery. Gets the ball out of his hand quickly on possession routes.  Forgets his mistakes within a game and bounces back (UCLA ’20).  Extends the ball away from his frame on ball fakes.  Exhibits relaxed quiet feet before throwing nine routes outside the numbers with touch.  From under center, he can turn his back to the defense on seven-step drops and fire deep comebacks accurately (3rd QTR/7:23, Northwestern ’19).  Keeps a shoulder-width base and can make these passes on his third hitch in the pocket. Places back-shoulder passes to his No. 2 slot WR (4th QTR, TD, UCLA ’20) or to the X-WR on fades vs. tight man coverage (3rd QTR, Northwestern ’19; OT, UCLA ’20).  Projects with touch throwing the ball in the middle of the field. Capable of making the free rusher miss and then scrambling for yardage (3rd and 10, 3rd QTR, California ’19).  Has good feet speed running to the corner to outrun defenses.  Projects with touch throwing the ball in the middle of the field. Described as “even-keeled” by coaches (https://www.stanforddaily.com/2019/11/14/mills-to-start-against-wazzu-as-injuries-continue-to-plague-cardinal/).  Led a game-winning drive vs. Oregon State in 2020 and also a fourth quarter comeback vs. UCLA in 2020. 

Weaknesses:  He has left some layups on the field (3rd and 5, 2nd QTR/5:01, California ’19).  Some of his double posts to the No. 1 WR don’t get up-and-down in the middle of the field (3rd QTR, Northwestern ’19).  Loses some passes on deep over (Dover) concepts (INT, 3rd QTR/11:08, California ’19).  Locks in on his targets and takes safeties to the ball (INT, 3rd QTR, California ’19).   Fooled by UCLA CB Jay Shaw in a two-deep trap coverage and threw a hitch (five-yard stop) into the trap (INT-TD, 4th QTR, UCLA ’20). Time management is still a work in progress.  Needs more reps. He had two delay of game penalties vs. California in 2019.  Eyes drop in the pocket too soon when reading through coverage (4th QTR, Northwestern ’19).  Knee injuries hampered Mills for most of his first two seasons at Stanford.  Also missed time after suffering an injury against Washington in 2019.  In high school, he did not play in the 2017 U.S. Army All-American game due to injury.

Other Notes:  Attended Greater Atlanta Christian HS (Ga.) and was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 QB ahead of Tua Tagovailloa and Jake Fromm in the 247Sports class of 2017 •  2016 Nike Sparq testing results: 4.32 20-yd SS, 33″ VJ • 2018: Appeared in two games • 2019 (8 gms): Completed 158-of-241 passes (66%) for 1,960 yards, 11 TDs and 5 INTs; 44 yards rushing; TD reception • 327 yards passing (55%), TD vs. Colorado on 11/14/20 • 2020 (5 gms): Completed 129-of-195 passes (66.2%) for 1,508 yards, 7 TDs and 3 INTs • Career Stats: Passed for 3,468 yards (65.5%), 18 TDs, 8 INTs; 86 yards rushing, 3 TDs • Stanford Pro Day: 9 1/2″ hands, 31 3/8″ arms, 77 3/4″ wingspan, 4.78 40-yd, 32″ VJ, 9’2″ BJ, 6.95 3-cone, 4.4 20-yd SS

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):  There was a reason that former Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello left the Cardinal program for Mississippi State.  Some people may point to injury, but in reality it was due to the emergence of Mills.  After Costello’s injury in 2019, Mills could not truly grab the job and he himself went down to injury.  The trend of injuries dates back to his high school days, where he was once ranked ahead of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in 247Sports’ 2017 rankings.  So what does he bring to the table?  Mills is an inexperienced quarterback with a smooth delivery, good mobility and an even-keeled nature.  That calm in the face of the storm helped him deliver after falling behind in games as a junior.

Grade                                       5.75 (3rd Round)

DN Big Board Rank:     168


Avery Williams: Walking on to the Blue Turf

Boise State return man Avery Williams went from a walk-on to an indispensable force for the Broncos. In 2019, he was voted the Mountain West Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise after notching weekly honors five times during his career. He also set the NCAA all-time record for punt and kickoff return touchdowns (nine).

Williams averaged 11.6 yards per punt return and 27.4 yards per kick return in his career.

But that’s not all…

Williams can make plays at cornerback. For his career, he had 152 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four interceptions and 22 pass breakups. At cornerback, he is quick-footed and can mirror opposing receivers. How does he do it as a return man? The Pasadena, California native possesses the ability to dart, slide and break tackles on a regular basis. The former high school running back impresses on film with his balance.

For a full scouting report on Williams, purchase Corey Chavous’ 2021 NFL Draft Guide this spring.

Tutu Atwell WR-Louisville: 2021 NFL Draft Preview

Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell had already left his mark with the Cardinals in just two seasons on campus. The speedy 5-foot-9 wideout is perhaps the ACC’s toughest one-on-one tackle in the open field. The former Miami Northwestern High School (Fla.) Miami-Dade County Player of the Year starred as a quarterback at the prep level. His on-field savvy is present when diagnosing either zone or man coverage. Atwell led the ACC in receiving yards in 2019 (1,276) and finished second in receiving touchdowns (12). While he didn’t repeat the success in 2020, he stills ranks as one of the more electrifying players in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Not Your Average Joe, Tryon

Three-sport athletes that stand 6’5″ 260-plus pounds aren’t your “average Joes.” Washington Huskies edge rusher Joe Tryon looks the part and has a strong build. He matches the physical gifts with an ability to line up as both a defensive end and as an outside linebacker in a two-point stance.

Tryon (pictured) had 8 sacks in 2019.

Despite the athletic gifts, he still has room to work on his technique. He only had one year of high-level production in 2019, and it came after he posted one quarterback sack and 4.5 tackles for losses in 2018. Tryon opted out of the 2020 season but still projects as a prospect with the chops to get after the quarterback. Scheme-fit may determine if the former baseball, basketball and football standout out of Washington state’s Hazen High School translates seamlessly to the NFL.

Is he extraordinary or just an average “Joe”?

Leighton McCarthy OLB-FAU: Nocturnal

McCarthy, a four-year contributor for the Owls, feasted on opposing quarterbacks throughout his career. As a pass rusher, he demonstrated the ability to work around C-USA’s best offensive tackles with regularity in 2020. It was a season befitting of his overall consistency.

McCarthy finished 2020 with 10 quarterback sacks for an Owls defense that finished in the nation’s Top 5 in points allowed.

Former FAU defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin said back in 2017 of McCarthy, “He allows us to be multiple.” Even in that year as a 210-to-215-pound outside linebacker, the former Owl played bigger than his size. He ran the hoop to post a strip-sack versus North Texas and finished off Western Kentucky with a fourth quarter take down of quarterback Mike White. But it was his ability to play defensive end, outside linebacker and drop into coverage that Kiffin was referring to in describing McCarthy.

McCarthy finished his career with 158 tackles, 18.5 quarterback sacks, 34 tackles for losses, an interception and two forced fumbles.

For much of the 2020 season, the FAU defense (led by defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt) was the engine behind the Owls’ path through C-USA opposition. Although the team finished the season 24th in total defense nationally, they ranked ninth in scoring defense (17.4 PPG). McCarthy’s workmanlike approach caught the eyes of Florida Atlantic first-year head coach Willie Taggart.

“He’s serious about his business when here,” Taggart said prior to a scheduled game against MTSU in late November 2020.

The second-team All-C-USA performer has not always been efficient holding the edge at the point of attack (see Southern Miss ’20), but his versatility and width (78 5/8″ wingspan) give him a chance to make it as an off the ball linebacker. McCarthy (6’2, 223) has shown some aptitude in man-to-man coverage. He can drop into zone coverage and exhibit fluidity versus bootlegs when aligned on the edge. In addition, he has lined up as a hold-up guy on the punt return unit and at the left wing on the punt team. Perhaps more importantly, the team referenced that he did not miss a practice all year.

The former Owl contains many of the bird’s characteristics. He hunts his prey in a stealth manner, often surprising opponents with his quick burst to close. McCarthy has flown silently under the radar for most outside of Conference USA, but his upside could be unearthed by NFL teams operating in a nocturnal manner.

Ja’Marr… Chase Me To The End Zone

Not many players in this draft can track the ball down the field as well as LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Of his 84 receptions in 2019, 24 of them went for 20-plus yards, a nation’s best. He has an ability to carry his pads well despite his running back-esque frame (6’0 227).

Ja’Marr Chase, the 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner, (pictured) hauls in the football.

LSU is known as DBU (Defensive Back University), but lately, with receivers like Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Justin Jefferson, the Tigers have become a home for top receiving talent. Chase looks to be another strong prospect from Baton Rouge. In 2019, he posted 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Can Chase be dynamic after the catch like the aforementioned receivers from Louisiana State? Time will tell. One thing is for sure, don’t expect too much time to pass before a team “chases” the card to the commissioner to draft the LSU product.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo Gallery/Practice Notes: National Team, Day 2

We look at Nebraska’s Brenden Jaimes’ technique, as well as many of the National team’s offensive linemen on Day 2 of the 2021 Senior Bowl. A Big Ten linebacker began to stand out with his positional versatility and a Pac-12 linebacker wasn’t too far behind.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo gallery/Practice Notes: National Team, Day 1

The National team had several high profile players on its roster, including Alabama Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. On Day 1, however, we spotlight disruptive defensive tackles, an FCS slot wideout and a flexible Fighting Irish defender in our Photo Gallery recap.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo Gallery/Practice Notes: American Team, Day 2

We spotlight a hard-charging safety, two hybrid defensive line prospects, an underrated SEC wideout and a couple of intriguing tight ends in our breakdown of the American team’s Day 2 practice at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl.