BDS - 2015 B1G NFL Draft Part 4

Joe Hermitt - The Patriot News
This is intended to be a look at the B1G players participating in the NFL combine (and a couple others that I think may get drafted). I include combine results, though that is only a small part of the equation for me. I put much more value into what I've seen on film rather than by how well someone has been taught to run the 40 yard dash. I try to give a basic overview of strengths, weaknesses, fit, and where I'd expect them to be drafted based on "norms". What that means is that I'm not really looking at mock drafts, I don't have my ear to the ground for what Mel Kiper is saying about a guy. It's just based on what I've seen on film. This will be five parts long, with teams coming in alphabetical order.

Part I
Part II
Part III

Penn St

Amos, Adrian - FS/SS/CB - 6'0" - 218 - 32 1/4" Arm - 9 1/8" Hand 
40 - 4.56 sec
Bench - N/A Reps
Vert - 35.5"
Broad Jump - 122.0"
3-Cone - 7.09 sec
*20 Yd Shuffle - 4.03 sec

*60 Yd Shuffle - 11.33 sec

Strength - Amos is a versatile defensive back that is optimal at FS, but can play a bit in the box but is best on the edge, and he can also step in in a NB role as well. He has good range from the deep center position, but has the hips to also be a man coverage defender well above average for most safeties coming into the NFL. He's played a lot of games in his time at PSU and has been a leader from the DB position. Very consistent player that sometimes doesn't show up on the stat sheet but consistently does his job.

Weakness - Is a player you're probably going to want to keep more on the edge than right in run support. Not a great tackler against RB as he doesn't always wrap well. Consistent from the DB position, but not a guy that will make a lot of plays on his own.

Projection - 2-4

Overview - His versitility as a DB is what sets him apart from most safeties, particularly his ability to play man coverage. That allows DCs to run a lot of complex coverages and feel comfortable with him back there. Because of that, he has a very high floor. What's going to prevent him from going higher is that his ceiling is also a bit limited. How willing is a GM to take a guy early that won't be a huge playmaker for you?

Deion Barnes - OLB/DE - 6'4" - 260*
*Not invited to combine

Strength - Part of a stellar DL unit. Has very good initial burst and speed off the edge. Raw athlete that can play with his hand in the dirt or as a stand-up OLB. His burst allows him to be very threatening on stunts and from a variety of blitz positions. Still growing, has frame to add more mass, and is strong despite not always showing it on the field.

Weakness - Still very raw. His hand usage is inconsistent at best, and because of that he struggles sometimes to hold the point of attack in the run or get off blocks with his pass rush. Not a refined player as far as pass rush moves, still a very raw athlete that gets by on athleticism. Needs to do better getting off blocks.

Projection - 6-UDF

Overview - Barnes never seemed to full materialize at PSU. He is a raw athlete that didn't show very well at his pro-day. He has some versatility in the fact that he could develop into a solid DE or OLB for a team, but he's going to take some work. He needs to get more technically sound if he expect to make a contribution, because right now he is simply a raw athlete playing football. I doubt he goes at the early end of the spectrum above, but some team may see the ceiling and be willing to spend a draft pick on him to have him on the practice squad a couple years and try to develop him. He's a very intriguing athlete.

Ficken, Sam - K
Strength - Turned around from what was an ugly start at PSU into a great career. Consistent kicker that can put the ball through the uprights.

Weakness - Not great leg strength. Too many kicks get blocked due to low trajectory.

Projection - UDF

Overview - It's difficult for kickers to get drafted. Ficken has a great story and was a consistent kicker in college. He'll get a shot somewhere in camp, but his lack of great leg strength will prevent him from getting picked.

Hull, Mike - OLB/ILB - 6'0" - 237 - 30 1/2" Arm - 9 3/8" Hand
40 - 4.68 sec
*Bench - 31 Reps
Vert - N/A"
Broad Jump - N/A"
*3-Cone - 6.99 sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.15 sec

*60 Yd Shuffle - 11.52 sec

Strength - Instincts. This is a guy that understands football and how to tackle. He understands run fits really well, gets in position to makes tackles, has good hands to get off blocks, and then finishes plays. He's also adept for a MIKE (at PSU) in the pass game. Understands routes and recognizes where to drop into coverage.

Weakness - From a size and athleticism standpoint, he just doesn't stand out. He's small for an inside LB and on the smaller side for an OLB. His short arms result in him getting swallowed by bigger blockers that reach him in the 2nd level. He isn't a strong player than can blow up a blocker, he needs to be able to control them and shed with his hands. Does't have the range many teams look for at the LB position.

Projection - 5-7

Overview - I loved watching Hull play at PSU. He is the definition of a great college football player. Unfortunately for him, there isn't a lot that immediately is apparent that will transfer to the NFL game. In college, he could get away with his limitations because of his instincts (and great DL in front of him). In the NFL, a lot of his attributes will be below average to the point of being a liability. Someone will give him a shot, he was way too productive and he's too much of a "football player" to not give a shot, but he doesn't fit OLB in a 4-3 because of his lack of athleticism and he doesn't fit ILB because of his lack of size. He's a backup and special teams player unless he can drastically improve in some other areas.

James, Jesse - TE - 6'7" - 261 - 33" Arm - 9 3/8" Hand
40 - 4.83 sec
*Bench - 26 Reps
*Vert - 37.5"
*Broad Jump - 121.0"
3-Cone - N/A sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.50 sec

*60 Yd Shuffle - 12.15 sec

Strength - You look at the measurables and it's hard not to see the positives. He is tall with great length. He has a long frame that can hold mass, which is important because it gives him the potential to play off the line or on the line down the road. He has good speed in space for his position and is an above average catcher. Needs to be more consistent catching, but shows the ability to make the difficult catches. Works well on his routes against zone and finds open areas underneath or in the intermediate section of the field.

Weakness - He is a liability right now as a blocker. A lot of people pointed to the OL at PSU last year, but many times James didn't give full effort and failed to stay on blocks. He doesn't have great burst, which causes him to struggle as an in-line blocker and getting off the LOS when going into routes. Can get over-powered and leveraged by box players at the point of attack or when being jammed. He needs to learn to adjust to the ball better in the air if he wants to be a consistent red zone threat.

Projection - 5-7

Overview - His size is what separates him, but on tape he just doesn't show you enough right now. From a blocking standpoint or an ability to get off the LOS (burst), he's lacking. Because of his average athleticism, he doesn't always present that match-up problem that you look for in an H-back, and eventually will probably need to be more of a in-line TE. Unfortunately for him, that's where the weaknesses of his game come up more often. A couple years ago people would have been more excited about his receiving upside, but he was inconsistent at best this past year. Besides his size, he's average in a lot of ways, and that doesn't give him the ability to standout and cause match-up problems that GMs and coaches are looking for with a modern day TE. If he can develop his run blocking though, his size and length give him a shot to develop into a TE that can contribute and cause some problems for smaller defenders.

CJ Olaniyan - DE/OLB - 6'3" - 252*
*Not invited to combine

Strengths - Perhaps the most underrated DE in the B1G last year, Olaniyan was stout against the run. Long arms, good hand usage on the outside, low, leverage-winning DE in college, he could potentially play OLB in a 3-4 on the strong side. Great tackler and very stout at holding the point of attack on the edge.

Weakness - Not a great athlete. His feet often stay glued to the ground and he doesn't have the athleticism to split doubles inside or make a good pass rush threat at the NFL level on the outside. He is an edge holder, and doesn't change direction well enough to make plays that are outside of his assignment right now.

Projection - 7-UDF

Overview - There just isn't enough there for him. He's small for a DE but not athletic enough to be a 3-4 OLB. He can be very good at holding the edge, but doesn't really make plays outside of his assignment. While he tackles well and is consistent in doing his assignment, he isn't a technician that makes the most of his attributes. His strength and length make him intriguing as a run specialist, but that's probably his upside right now.

Smith, Donovan - OG/OT - 6'6" - 338 - 34 3/8" Arm - 10 5/8" hand
40 - 5.27 sec
Bench - 26 Reps
Vert - 32.0"
Broad Jump - 109.0"
3-Cone - 7.95 sec
20 Yd Shuffle - 4.79 sec

Strength - Is a raw athlete that is big and strong. At times shows an ability to bend to get good leverage in his pass sets. If he can latch onto you and get underneath you, look out, because he's a strong drive blocker. Prototypical low base.

Weakness - His feet aren't good enough to stick at OT. He has heavy feet that struggle to change direction against better pass rushers and struggle to win playside on the edge consistently enough. Still raw at the position, as he is slow to recognize blitzes and stunts. He doesn't consistently stay on blocks or stay in proper position against blocks, allowing to many defenders to slip off of him and work themselves back into the play. While as a drive blocker he shows strength, his initial punch often fails to "shock" defenders, which causes him to struggle on the edge as a pass rusher and begin latching onto defenders in the run game. Poor balance despite low center of gravity.

Projection - 3-5

Overview - Probably has to slide inside at the next level, though if he can get in better shape and improve his footspeed, he has the length to play RT. Smith has a lot of boom or bust potential. His thick legs and powerful frame can potentially make him a very strong run blocker, and a move inside can hide some of his deficiencies as a pass blocker. But he needs to get more fundamentally sound, he needs to improve his feet, and he needs to be more violent with his hands to make full use of his natural ability.

Photo: USA TODAY Sports
Russell, Ryan - DE - 6'4" - 269 - 33 3/8" Arm - 10 1/4" Hand
*40 - 4.75 sec
Bench - 25 Reps
Vert - 32.5"
Broad Jump - 119.0"
3-Cone - 7.25 sec
*20 Yd Shuffle - 4.47 sec

*60 Yd Shuffle - 12.26 sec

Strength - Great, long frame. Has good feet that can gain a lot of ground very quickly and make it difficult for OL to get good position on him while blocking. His quick first step makes him better at the point of attack than he otherwise would have. Raw athlete that has room for improvement.

Weakness - Frankly, he didn't produce. While he can win the battle of getting to a spot, he has a weak base and gets pushed around quite a bit. He doesn't use his hands well and this allows OL to win back position on him or swallow him completely at the point of attack. He's an athlete right now that can get dominated by technically sound OL because he stays high and doesn't disengage.

Projection - 6-UDF

Overview - How much are GMs willing to take on a project DE at this stage? On top of that, one that hasn't produced and doesn't yet have a standout portion of his game? Russell looks the part on paper, but his production and tape tell a different story. He is very technically unsound, often giving up leverage, losing his assignment, and overall not showing the physical traits that are needed to play football against stronger, more technically sound competition. With Russell's first step and long body, you'd have liked to see him produce as a pass rusher by now, but even there, his strengths get outweighed by several of his weaknesses. He's a project, but could develop into something much better than what he currently is.