Time for the Pewter Plank Round 2 Wish List. We still only have potentially 3 open roster spots: CB, RB, WR.
All strengths and weaknesses contained in this article are from Scouts Inc. of ESPN.COM.
I love this guy. Four year starter at ‘Zona. Personally, a Ronde Barber clone. Probably a little better suited for our scheme than a man to man scheme. Great tackler, great at the occasional blitz, great at the faux blitz (Ronde style). Has a great nose for the ball. Not the biggest or fastest guy in the world, but neither is my man Ronde.
Strengths: A tall, somewhat lean corner with long arms (32.3) and big hands (9.2). Very instinctive and confident. Played in a blitz-heavy scheme that frequently left him on an island, but he’s better suited to play zone in the NFL. He has very good straight-line speed. Footwork is sound, plays with good balance and shows good burst coming out of cuts. Gets good knee bend in backpedal, reads routes fairly well and closes quickly. Times jumps well and is tall enough to compete for jump balls. Has quick feet and shows a second gear when tracking the ball downfield. Reads routes well, reads quarterback’s eyes and is aggressive. Locates the ball well. Displays good ball skills and flashes big-play ability after interceptions. Physical and fills hard when reads run. Active and can effectively bluff blitz. Has progressed steadily and should only continue to get better with experience. A person of high character and a hard worker on and off the field. Passionate about the game and is out to prove he’s better than people think. Very durable athlete.
Weaknesses: Though he has quick feet and good straight-line speed, he shows stiffness in his hips. Struggles to open quickly and mirror faster/quicker receivers. Press technique can improve. Hand-placement is inconsistent and he hasn’t shown great upper body strength. Will have some problems rerouting receivers at the NFL level and is more effective playing off the line than he is jamming receivers. He plays the game hard but isn’t as physical as you’d like to see, especially from a cover-2 type NFL prospect. Takes too long to shed block when gets reached and occasionally takes himself out of the play by trying to avoid blocker rather than stacking him up. Doesn’t always wrap up upon contact and is an inconsistent open field tackler that isn’t going to deliver a lot of big hits.
Michael Bennett, even with a new contract, is no lock to make the team in my opinion, especially if we can pick up a player of Johnson’s caliber in round 2. This guy is freaking fast, and would make quite the complement to bruiser Ernest Graham. Graham, Johnson, and Dunn would be quite a formidable combination in the backfield, especially with BJ Askew blocking for them. Another guy that can double as a return man. Shows the hands to stay out of Gruden’s doghouse.
Strengths: Possesses elite speed. Is an explosive open-field runner. Brings excellent versatility to the table thanks to his experience at RB, WR and KOR. He can explode through a hole. Gets from 0-to-60 mph faster than most RB’s. Shows excellent burst to and through the hole, as well as the second-gear to run away from defenders in space. Vision and patience were much improved as a senior in 2007. He has a compact running style and will do a decent job of protecting his body. He displays very soft hands as a receiver and return specialist. Has great experience working out of the slot and knows how to separate as a route runner. Can pluck on the run and gets upfield in a hurry after the catch. Shows good vision and run instincts when he gets into space; knows when to cut back against the grain and how to set up blocks.
Weaknesses: Is undersized and must add more bulk to frame in order to hold up physically at the next level. Has better strength than frame indicates but still not strong enough to break lots of tackles or push the pile as an inside runner. Doesn’t always drive his legs and finish runs strong. Durability was a problem throughout college and most concerning is his history of neck injuries. Lacks ideal running instincts and got away with a lot at the college level because of his speed that he won’t get away with in the NFL. Will get overwhelmed at the point of attack versus bigger linebackers in pass pro. Will struggle to hold up in that facet of the NFL game. Ball security has been a problem at times, as he turned the ball over seven times on fumbles during his first three seasons. He also has small hands (7¼ inches).
This guy is a freak of nature. 6’6″ 217 lbs guys do not come around that often, and certainly don’t run 4.45 40’s at the combine. A lot of analysts do not think he has the top end speed to get off the line of scrimmage in jam situations though. Had 16 Td’s last year, and would provide us a much needed red zone target, as we currently lack one.
Strengths: Flashes the ability to get a clean release working against press coverage and can get open quickly when corners give him a cushion. Athletic and fluid changing directions when footwork is sound. Shows good toughness over the middle and can hold onto the ball after taking the big hit. Doesn’t have great top-end speed but is a long-strider, shows good sideline awareness and tracks the ball fairly well so can make the occasional play downfield. Has excellent size and rarely gets muscled out of routes. Stays alert, shows good awareness and works back to the quarterback when the protection starts to break down. Uses wide frame to shield defenders from the ball and can make tough catches in traffic. Snatches the ball out of the air, is fluid turning upfield after catches and can pick up yards after contact. Times jumps well and has the potential to develop into a productive red zone target.
Weaknesses: Rounds off too many cuts, doesn’t set corners up by changing speeds and is an inconsistent route-runner at this point. Lacks ideal explosiveness and is going to have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. Takes too long to reach top speed, isn’t going to make defenders miss in space and isn’t much of a big-play threat after the catch. While has great size and flashes the ability to get into position doesn’t play with enough of a mean streak and effort is inconsistent when blocking. Indiana suspended him for two games for an off-the-field incident in 2006 and character is somewhat of a concern.