Tag Archives: 2021 NFL Draft

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.

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.

Joshua Kaindoh DE-OLB Florida State: Embryonic Stage

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Has stood out in the classroom. Looks the part. Very good range and on-field speed. Closes in…(for the rest of the Strengths, please reference NOTE at bottom)

Weaknesses: Has yet to step up to turn it on vs. elite competition consistently. Out of his three-point stance at RDE (right-handed), he raises…(for the rest of the Weaknesses, please reference NOTE at bottom)

Other Notes: Attended the IMG Academy (Fla.) but originally hails from Maryland • Played in the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game • He was ranked as the….(for the rest of the Other Notes, please reference NOTE at bottom).

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Kaindoh (6’7, 265) presents a challenge for NFL teams. After back-to-back seasons (2017-18) where he began to hypnotize scouts with his combination of length and range, his career was beset with injuries. So where does it go from here? The most plausible comparison could be former Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat (Philadelphia Eagles). The difference? Sweat was more productive in school, but he arguably had even more serious injury concerns entering the league. This past season, the third-year pro set career-highs in sacks (six) and tackles for losses (nine) for the Eagles. Kaindoh has shown flashes when asked to keep contain versus the quarterback. His tackling radius allows him to frustrate teams who use naked bootlegs. Why didn’t he get his hands on more footballs in school as a 6-foot-7-inch defender (two career pass breakups)? On the plus side, he has operated from a two-point alignment and with his hand in the dirt. Is his best football ahead of him? Time will tell. It was unfortunate he got injured in the first game of the season (Georgia Tech ’20) and never seemed to fully recover. Kaindoh may have had the best fall camp of his career in 2020.

NOTE: The entire scouting report on FSU DE-OLB Joshua Kaindoh (including Strengths, Weaknesses, Other Notes and draft projection) will be featured in Corey Chavous’ 2021 NFL Draft Guide/Free Agency review (coming soon).

D’Ante Smith OL-ECU, Scouting Snapshot

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Starts have come at both OG and OT. Has taken his work seriously since bouncing back from injury. Lost 41 pounds…(for the rest of the Strengths, please reference NOTE at bottom)

Weaknesses: Sudden movement throws him off-kilter (Cincinnati ’19). Susceptible to snatch-and-pulls (QB sack allowed, Ankrah, James Madison ’16). He has a…(for the rest of the Weaknesses, please reference NOTE at bottom)

Other Notes: Attended Grovetown HS (Ga.) and was named a three-star recruit by Scout.com • Lettered in wrestling ….(for the rest of the Other Notes, please reference NOTE at bottom).

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Despite transforming his body, Smith dealt with a back injury that ended his season in November 2020. The ECU lineman does provide some positional versatility, having seen action at both left guard and left tackle in school. If his 2019 performance against Old Dominion is any indication, scouts will be impressed with his ability to keep his lower body and arms in concert when pass blocking. Keep in mind, that Old Dominion defensive front featured a number of pro prospects the last few seasons. The Georgia native performed at least adequately during the week of the 2021 Senior Bowl practices, as he showed an ability to create some movement inside at guard. Look for teams that emphasize positional versatility to draft and groom Smith this spring.

Note: For the full scouting report on Smith (including Strengths, Weaknesses and Other Notes), please check back for Corey Chavous’ 2021 NFL Draft Guide/Free Agency Review, Volume 18.

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?

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.

Chazz Surratt 6’2 227 LB- UNC, 2021 NFL Draft Preview


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Former QB who made a successful transition to the LB spot. Excellent closing speed. Looks like a 4.5 sprinter in lateral pursuit (3rd QTR/14:04, NC State ’19). Fluid hips. DB-like footwork breaking on out routes (PBU vs. Long, 3rd and 6, Boston College ’20). Has the ability to pick up running backs on option routes and/or cover slot receivers in short areas (Clemson ’19). Pushes the accelerator button to go forward when rushing the QB in space. As an edge rusher, he works to counter the OT back inside (1st QTR, Pittsburgh ’19). Shoots gaps with an instinctive feel (TFL, NC State ’19). Hustles to the football and plays through the whistle. Closes air in instant bursts (QB hit, 1st QTR/7:17, Virginia Tech ’20) and reacts favorably to handle bootleg concepts (Flowers, Boston College ’20). Special teams contributor. Plays on the kickoff team as well as the field goal block unit.

Weaknesses: Footwork gets him caught up when OL get up to him. At times, he gets caught in the wrong gap or over-purses. Needs to get more violent with hands in order to get off blocks of bigger players. 30″ arms. Struggles mightily vs. uncovered OGs (3rd and 2, 2nd QTR/15:00, Boston College ’20). Crosses over and the OC moves him laterally (3rd and 5, 4th QTR, Virginia Tech ’20). As he has tracked the ball laterally, he has been lifted off of his feet (Darrishaw, 1st QTR/4:06, Virginia Tech ’20). Can be picked up by backs when blitzing (Clemson ’19). On some of his blitzes, he gets caught and washed with high pad level (looks like a former QB, pancaked to ground, 1st QTR/7:10, Virginia Tech ’20). Fails to wrap tackle vs. slippery WRs (2nd QTR/0:52, Syracuse ’20). As an exchange LB, he overruns some tackle falling back to tackle. He has gotten hurt making contact hitting players (1st QTR/7:47, Syracuse ’20). 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): (9 gms, 7 sts): Completed 107-of-183 passes (58.5%) for 1,342 yards, 8 TDs and 3 INTs; 210 yards rushing and 5 TDs • 2018 (One game): 4-of-10 (40%) for 10 yards and 3 INTs; 69 yards rushing and one TD • 17 tackles, QB sack, 2 TFLs vs. Virginia Tech on 10/19/19 • 2019 (1st Team All-ACC): 115 tackles, 6.5 QB sacks, 15 TFLs, FF, INT and 3 PBUs • 2020 (11 sts, 1st Team All-ACC): 91 tackles, 6 QB sacks, 7.5 TFLs,, FF, FR, INT and 3 PBUs • Career stats: 207 tackles, 12.5 QB sacks, 22.5 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs; Completed 111-of-193 passes (57.5%) for 1,352 yards, 8 TDs and 6 INTs; 95 caries for 279 yards (2.9 YPC) and 6 TDs • 2021 Senior Bowl measurements: 9 1/2″ hands, 30″ arms, 76″ wingspan • 2021 UNC Pro Day: 25 reps-225 lbs, 4.6 40-yd, 31 1/2″ VJ, 7.07 3-cone, 4.2 20-yd SS

UNC's Chazz Surratt catches pass during the 2021 Senior Bowl
Former UNC LB Chazz Surratt is one of the top LB prospects available in the 2021 NFL Draft.


Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Surratt is a converted QB and has limited reps as a linebacker although he did play safety in high school. 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.

DN Grade: 5.85 (3rd Round)

Big Board Rank: 132

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.

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Travis Etienne 5’10 215 RB-Clemson

Etienne -the back-to-back ACC Player of the Year (2018-19)- began his senior campaign with a 17-carry, 102-yard performance versus Wake Forest (9-12-20). In typical fashion, the all-purpose playmaker added three receptions for 47 yards. His collegiate production has largely matched the Louisiana native’s high school resume’, when he accounted for 115 total touchdowns at Jennings High School (La.). We break down his versatile skill-set in our highlight feature on Etienne.