Skip to content

2014 Specialist Rankings

April 23, 2014

Image

Fullback
1.
Trey Millard Oklahoma 6’2 3/8 247 Sr.

Stats: Big 12

Year Yards Avg TD Rec Yards TD
2013 97 5.7 1 11 78 1
2012 198 6.0 0 30 337 4
2011 169 7.0 2 13 127 1
2010 74 3.1 3 16 135 1

Combine: He didn’t work out due to an injury.

HGT WGT Arms Hands 40 Reps Vert Broad Shuttle 3 Cone
6023 247                

Strengths: 2nd team Big 12 in ’10. 1st Team Big 12 in 2011-2013. He’s been considered one of the best fullback prospects in the nation for the past 3 seasons. He’s a swiss army knife as a FB, RB and receiver out of the backfield. His ypc the past 3 seasons has been very good which is rare for a FB as they usually are only used in short yardage situations. He’s very shifty in the open field and gets YAC vs. linebackers and safeties. He has a patented move where he leaps a defender and he’s done it so many times successfully that it’s become commonplace, despite it being a legit highlight play. He has great hands as they are consistent but he also can make the spectacular catch. He at times has looked like the team’s best player.

Weaknesses: He tore his ACL late in the 2013 season and is still recovering. He is a good blocker but isn’t a “move” blocker like Copeland who creates holes on his own. He does everything well but nothing great and if a team just wants him to be used in one role he won’t seem all that special.

Overall: Trey has been my #1 FB the past 3 seasons and he was the rare FB that I thought might leave school early when the decision was made by him in 2012 to come back. He’s the perfect example of the “new” fullback as he is multi-dimensional as a runner, blocker and receiver. He has great hands and is a legit athlete so he can make people miss in the open field or hurdle them if they get too set up for a big collision. He also is a solid blocker and at 247 lbs he can lay the wood on people. Millard is the best fullback I’ve graded in years and it will be interesting to see how high he goes considering fullback is the least valued position in the NFL with some teams no longer even having one on their roster. 3rd round as my #1 FB who can do anything a team asks him to do 4/20/14.

2. JC Copeland LSU 5’11 1/8 271 Jr.

Comparison: Vonta Leach

Combine: Surprisingly good in weaving cone drill. Good hands in post corner drill. Double caught one and was slow in mini gauntlet drill.

HGT WGT Arms Hands 40 Reps Vert Broad Shuttle 3 Cone
5111 271 32 10 4.95 23 28.5 903 4.58 7.68

Strengths: He is right next to Matt Bernstein as the greatest blocking fullback I’ve ever graded. At 271 lbs he is huge and head on there was no one in college football stronger than him at the POA. He missed 2 games in 2013 due to a concussion and, with the physical style of play he brings to the table, concussions could pile up on him in a hurry. He was the MVP of the NFLPA game and really made an impression with some outrageous blocks on linebackers. At his best he’s a true weapon and could be a big help for a run oriented team like the Seahawks.

Weaknesses: He’s massive at 271 lbs but he’s also fat at that weight and last season he at times played even heavier with reports varying from 280-300 lbs. He can’t be that weight in the NFL as he’s only a 4.95 40 guy at 271 lbs which is right on the edge of being too slow to get to the hole. He has been called for unnecessary roughness penalties throughout his career and is a bit of a loose cannon. At one point in 2012 he was called for a  penalty in 4 straight games with 3 of them being unnecessary roughness varieties. That is unacceptable for a role player like him and he will quickly find himself cut if he continues on that path. He likely is too slow to play special teams which is a normal role of the FB on most teams.

Overall: Copeland is an interesting case study as he’s a traditional fullback heading to a league that rarely uses traditional fullbacks. Vonta Leach for the past 5 seasons has been the best blocking fullback in the NFL yet when the Ravens cut him in the 2013 offseason there were only 2 teams even interested in him. Some teams, the Cowboys being one, didn’t even have a fullback on their roster last season while others prefer a back that can function in a variety of ways. Copeland is not that back as he is mediocre as a short yardage runner, is too slow to be worth anything as a receiver and is also too slow to be even on special teams punt and kick coverage units. What you get with Copeland is a wrecking ball in the backfield who will lay down some of the biggest hits you’ve ever seen. On a team like the Seahawks that run the ball regularly and like their players to show a little attitude, Copeland could become a local legend. On a team like the Broncos that wants every player to have some value in the passing game, Copeland could quickly find himself cut. I think JC is an incredible player but he’s also one of the most specialized players in this draft and it could hurt him on draft day. Late 3rd round as my #2 FB who is a traditional fullback that is VERY scheme specific 4/20/14.

3. Gator Hoskins 6’1 1/8 244 Sr. An H-back, FB type with elite production. In 2012 he tied with Joseph Fauria for the national lead for TEs with 10 TDs along with 35 catches for 374 yards. In 2013 he was even better with 50 catches for 821 yards and again a nation leading 15 TDs. He led all TEs with 15 TDs in 2013 with the next highest, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, with only 8! It’s strange how a player can lead the nation in TD catches back to back years yet there is literally no buzz at all about him as a prospect. He wasn’t invited to the Combine either so it’s looking like he goes undrafted but he could be a huge sleeper 3/2/14. Senior Bowl: Gator Hoskins-Day 3: He has a noticeable lack of height and looks like a RB/FB not a TE. Easily got open vs. Marcus Smith. He reminds me of Charles Clay as a body type and style. He put up some great stats and has good quickness to go along with great bulk so I think he makes sense as a late round pick for a team like the 49ers that uses an H-back a lot. 6th round as my #3 FB 4/20/14.

 

Free Agents:

Jay Prosch Auburn 6’0 256 Sr. #20 on Bruce Feldman’s freak athlete list for 2013 due to 5.9% body fat and a work ethic that Ryan Russell his strength coach considers unparalleled. Senior Bowl: Day 2: Beat easily by Jeremiah Attaouchu in pass pro drill. Beat eventually by Lamin Barrow in pass pro drill. Slight win vs. Kyle Van Noy in pass pro drill, beat Christian Jones on out-bad blocker/good receiver as a FB. An elite athlete who didn’t impress me in games or at the Senior Bowl. Free Agent 4/20/14.

Ryan Hewitt Stanford #85 6’4 1/8 246 Sr. Has long hair out back of helmet. In the 2012 USC game he had a 1 yd run on 3rd and 1-pushed hard for it but was bad call as he was short, had dump off in flat for 12 yds. Combine: I literally laughed when I saw his 40 it was so bad compared to everyone else. It was 4.87 but looked even slower than that. He has a great frame to be an H-back or F-back. Free Agent 4/20/14.

James Wilder Florida State 6’2 5/8 232 Jr. He had a terrible 40 (4.86) and it showed on film as he is achingly slow. He did have good explosion and quickness drills though which also show on film as he’s a big, explosive back with terrible speed. He makes a great cut but then lacks the burst to finish the run off. He will have to make it as a FB with that 40 time and likely goes undrafted now. Tight in bag cut drill-one of the worst as he’s just too tall. Bad on out and up drill. P: Has a shockingly ripped body for +230 lbs that he carries, is a physical pounder who loves contact. N: As of 2013 opener he has an 8 month old daughter (not married), has had some brushes with the law. Wilder was arrested in April 2014 for a bench warrant related to driving with a suspended license. It is the 4th time he’s been arrested in the past 18 months. Undraftable as his lack of explosion and uncertainty over what position he will even play make his criminal record not worth dealing with 4/20/14.

 

Kicker

1. Nate Freese Boston College 5’11 192 Sr. He is THE best kicker in the country on kicks inside of 50 yds and it’s not even close. His one issue is that he doesn’t have a strong leg and his coaching staff knew it as in 4 years he only attempted 4 kicks +50 (3-4 though). On kickers I have three evaluation metrics and he passes two out of three. He has at least two seasons with high 80’s or better FG% (3 seasons with 88% or better and is an astounding 36-38 in last 2 years!), he has a steady stroke and the ball doesn’t move too much either way when kicking (kickers that curve the ball into the uprights are notoriously streaky) but he doesn’t have a strong let that can make him a threat from +50 consistently. If he can prove in workouts that he has that leg then he could go as high as the 4th round but I don’t think he does so he’s a late round guy who is money from 0-49 but dicey from there on out. 6th round as my #1 K as he is one of the most accurate kickers I’ve ever graded but one without a big leg 12/10/13.

2. Zach Hocker Arkansas 6’0 184 Sr. He’s had an up and down career as he’s never had a season with a % higher than 86.7 (Sr. year) and in 2011-2012 was a very mediocre 32-45 (71.1%). He does have the long leg though (3-4 from +50 in 2013, 5-7 in his career) and absolutely drills some kicks so at worst he’s a camp leg. Due to his inconsistencies he doesn’t get a draftable grade but there is legit potential as he reminds me a lot of Dan Bailey of the Cowboys. Free Agent 12/10/13. In the East-West Shrine game he destroyed every kick with each ball going higher than the goal post and driven 30 yards past the target (he hit a 56 yarder that would have been good from 63!). As impressive as you can get with those kicks. His leg strength is the best of any kicker in this draft AND he’s coming off the best season of his career so he has a legit chance to become an NFL kicker. I still can’t give him a draftable grade though due to his previous 3 years as consistency is the most important attribute for a kicker and he just doesn’t have it yet. Free Agent 4/20/14.

3.Anthony Fera Texas Sr. He was the Penn State kicker in 2011 and transferred to Texas in 2012 by way of the Sandusky scandal loophole. He did it to be closer to his mother who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosisIn 2013 he was a Lou Groza award finalist due to his elite season (20-22 for a 90.9% mark). His biggest red flag is his form, which I’m not a fan of, and the fact that he essentially only kicked for two seasons in college. In 2012 he was only 2-4 due to missing the first four games with a groin injury and the final three with a hip injury. As a freshman in 2010 he didn’t play. It’s rare to see a college kicker with that few career attempts (53) considered an NFL prospect but Fera is a favorite among quite a few scouts. He has handled punting duties as well with his 40.1 ypa average being very solid. In the 2014 College All-Star festivities he was by far the worst kicker of the group but he did show a big leg. I’m not a huge fan of him due to his technique but in his two full seasons at work he had a good season (2011 at 82.4%) and a great season (3013 at 90.9%). I’m also a fan of guys that can, in a pinch, be an adequate punter so he gains brownie points with me there. Free Agent as my #3 kicker since he has far less upside than Hocker 4/20/14.

4. Jeff Budzien Northwestern 5’1 165 Sr. An extremely small kicker that lacks a big leg. He only has attempted 1 field goal of +50 yards (0-1) but inside the 50 he’s elite as he was 23-25 in 2013 (92%) and 19-20 in 2012 (95%). That two year stretch going 42-45 (93.3%) is rare to see and makes him worth a look. His lack of a big leg will likely keep him from ever being an NFL starter, unless a team has a punter that specializes in long field goal attempts which a few teams due, but his accuracy and consistency is elite and someone might be willing to use him in a platoon situation. Camp invite 4/20/14.

5. Cairo Santos Tulane 1st team C-USA in 2012 and 2013. He won the Lou Groza award in 2012 as the best kicker in the nation. It was hard to beat him as he was 21-21 that season. In the 2013 UL-Lafayette game he was hitting FGs in practice from 63 yds away but he missed a 48 yarder to tie. He did hit 2 game winners in 2013 so he’s usually clutch. In 4 seasons as a kicker he had one perfect season (2012), one good season (2010 when he went 13-16 for 81.3%) and two bad seasons (2013 and 2011 when he hit 69.6% and 61.1% respectively). To me he is living off his elite 2012 season and I worry about his consistency. It’s obvious in his technique too as his kicks aren’t hard and true but curve and don’t stay straight. Someone will take a chance on him as a camp leg but I wouldn’t. Camp invite 4/20/14.

6. Chris Boswell Rice Sr. He has an NFL leg but lacks the accuracy to ever been an NFL kicker. In 4 seasons he had two bad seasons (2013-66.7%, 2010-64.7%) and two good average seasons (2012-79.3%, 2011-81.0%). I want my kicking prospects to have two seasons of high 80’s completion percentage or better and he had 0 seasons. Undraftable on my board yet some have him as the 2nd or 3rd best kicker in this draft for some reason 4/20/14.

 

Punter

1. Pat O’Donnell Miami 6’5 220 Sr.

Stats: ACC

Year Punt Avg Long
2013 47.1 71
2012 41.8 65
2011 43.8 76
2010 41.9 61

Overall: He was 2nd in the nation in yards per punt (47.13). He’s a bit streaky as a punter as his ypp fluctuated between 41.8-47.1 during his career but they all were +41 ypp so he was never a bad punter, just not always a great one. He has a very strong leg (multiple punts +70 yards) and seems to be improving each season. 7th round as my #1 punter 4/20/14.

2. Tom Hornsey Memphis 6’4 221 Sr.

Stats:

Year Punt Avg Long
2013 45.2 79
2012 43.4 63
2011 42.0 66
2010 42.7 63

Overall: Winner of the Ray Guy Award in 2013. He averaged 45.2 yards per punt in 2013 (7th in the nation), including 29 punts that were downed inside the 20 yard line. He had 4 straight seasons of +42 ypp showing the consistency you want in a punter (22nd in the nation in ypp in 2012). 7th round as my #2 punter 4/20/14.

3. Ben Skaer New Mexico 6’0 195 Sr. He was 5th in the nation in yards per punt in 2013 (45.79) and 19th in 2012 (43.85). Unfortunately he isn’t one of my favorites as he’s short (6’0 is very short for a punter with most being 6’4 or taller), he’s light (it’s rare to see a punter under 200 lbs) and he had two poor seasons to begin his career (2011-40.5 ypp, 2012-39.7 ypp). Camp invite as my #3 punter who is improving dramatically each year and could be a diamond in the rough 4/20/14.

4. Kirby Vander Kamp Iowa State 6’4 202 Sr. He has been on my radar for years now but never seemed to get much recognition (0 times as a Ray Guy Award winner or finalist and 0 times as even a 1st Team Big 12 punter). He was Freshman All-American in 2010 but that was really the only award he ever received during his career. He had 4 seasons of work and due to Iowa State struggling as a team during much of his tenure he was used frequently. All 4 seasons he had a +41 ypp (yards per punt) average with his best being his freshman season in 2010 (45.2). He once had a 74 yard punt (2010) but doesn’t have an extremely strong leg. He’s a consistent punter with good technique but without a high ceiling due to his mediocre leg strength. Camp invite 4/20/14.

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: