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A few draft nuggets I gleaned from my scouting reports

April 25, 2012

Is Kuechly the most productive collegiate LB ever?

I’ve often heard these past few months how Luke Kuechly is a “productive” linebacker but I’ve yet to hear how productive he actually is. In his 3 years (’09-’11) he averaged 14 tackles per game which is the highest per game career average in FBS History. In 2010 AND 2011 he had two of the 4 highest tackle totals in FBS History despite playing in 13 games in 2010 and only 12 games in 2011 with the two players ahead of him playing in 14 games and 15 games the years they accomplished the feat. Luke is 2nd All Time in FBS History in career tackles (532) despite only playing 3 years! I’ve heard the media say he’s “productive” but I’ve yet to hear them say what he really is: the most productive linebacker in the history of college football.

Sammy Brown being overlooked?

Sammy Brown just finished a historic season with 30 TFL (5th most ever for a season). He’s receiving relatively little interest from NFL teams but history shows he could be a big time sleeper as the top 2 players on the list for most TFL in a season are Jason Babin and Terrell Suggs who both were taken in the 1st round and have combined for 7 Pro Bowls (2 Babin, 5 Suggs). Tackles for loss stats appear to translate to the NFL and Sammy Brown racked them up at a historic pace making me think he’s being underrated by scouts.

Is LaMichael James the next Ray Rice?

I always find it interesting how two players with similar size, speed, and playing history can receive drastically different grades from the scouting community. In one corner we have a 5’8 199 lb running back who ran a 4.42 40 at the Combine and was a workhorse in college with 530 carries his first two years. In the other corner we have a 5’8 194 lb running back who ran a 4.45 40 at the Combine and was a workhorse in college with 541 carries his first two years. Somehow one has been painted as a workhorse and the other as an undersized scat back who will likely be injury prone at the next level if used too frequently. Such is the case with LaMichael James (the 2nd back mentioned) despite him having an eerily similar track record to Ray Rice (1st back profiled) when he came out of college. James had the 4th most carries of any running back in college in 2010 and has led the NCAA in rushing yards per game for two straight years yet still is being regarded as a 3rd round caliber, “complimentary” back. It’s a surprise to me as he reminds me of Ray Rice in size, speed, and collegiate career with Rice a little stronger and James a little quicker. I expect James to surprise people and be a full time back at the next level.

Chandler Jones: JPP Junior or colossal bust

With Mike Mayock’s Top 100 list published recently one of the names that has been discussed most fervently is Chandler Jones whose meteoric rise the past few months has moved him from the 2nd to 3rd round range all the way to #9 on Mayock’s Big Board. The scouts in love with Jones see his elite arm length, explosive burst, very good strength, and untapped potential in the same light as a Jason Pierre-Paul. The scouts opposed to him see a player who flashed at times on film but wasn’t consistent, lacked the production deserving of a 1st round grade, and consider him a far inferior athlete to a player like JPP. He’s the classic roll of the dice player and a guy who could become a dominant pass rusher but his lack of production really caught my eye and isn’t being discussed as much as it should be. He only has 8.5 sacks the past two years but what’s more astounding about that lack of production is that it’s actually much worse once a scout digs deeper. He missed 5 games due to injury in 2011 and the team didn’t make a bowl game so he had 13 games in 2010 and 7 games in 2011 to accumulate stats. In those 20 games the huge majority of his sacks come against two teams as he had a 2 sack game against Maine and had a 2 sack game in 2010 and 2011 vs. West Virginia. Against WVU he predominantly faced OT Don Barclay who was a senior this year yet is unlikely to be drafted and Maine has only had two players in the past 22 years get drafted so it’s unlikely he faced an NFL caliber OT in either game. That means 6 of Jones 8.5 sacks came in 3 games against non-NFL caliber offensive linemen and scares me to death when you realize he only had 2.5 sacks in the other 17 games the past two years. I see the potential he has due to his explosiveness and length but his lack of production is extremely glaring for a 1st round pick.

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