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2015 Free Agency
Last week we looked at the potential prospect that Miami could consider along the offensive and defenisve line in the 1st & 2nd rounds of the draft. This week, we will take a look at some potential mid to late round picks that Miami could look at, once again starting with the offensive line.
A talented prospect that could go 2nd/3rd round is OLT Billy Turner of North Dakota State. He struggled initially while as the Senior Bowl, but bounced back nicely towards the end of the week. Athletic, with nice movement and size at 6'5, 315 lbs, Turner is one to keep an eye on. Here is the write up from NFLDraftScout.com on Turner.
STRENGTHS: Athletic with good shuffle to protect the edge, staying light on his feet to mirror. Good set up quickness, patience and reflexes with body coordination and bend. Strong at the point of attack with powerful initial jolt, generating power from his built upper body and long arms. Doesn?t slow at contact, showing latch-and-drive quickness and fight through the whistle. Good vision at the second level and the open field to come off initial block and eliminate the LB/DB ? looks natural on combo blocks. Has the frame to get stronger. Looks to punish and plays with a mean, nasty temperament. Easy to
appreciate his on-field demeanor. Energetic finisher and plays through the whistle. Football bloodlines as his father played RB at Utah State and was drafted by Minnesota Vikings (1983), brother played LB at BYU and was drafted by NY Giants (2008). Four-year starter with time at both left and right tackle (56 career starts ? 44 left tackle, 12 right tackle) ? two-time consensus All-American (2012-13) and part of three straight FCS National Championships.
WEAKNESSES: High cut body type with leaner-than-ideal lower body. Needs to keep his belt and butt low to stay balanced and win with leverage. Needs to keep his pad level low and dig his cleats in the ground, can be knocked off balance in space. Bad habit of lunging and allowing his upper half to be overextended. Needs to stay under control on the move to better break down. Late to protect the edge at times and looks more comfortable when not asked to cover a large area. Needs to do a better job with hand placement to better redirect rushers and keep defenders from attacking his body. Level of competition is a question mark ? didn?t face top-flight talent week-to-week in college. All of his experience is at tackle, not inside at guard.
A mid round prospect to look at probably at ORT in the 4th to 5th round would be James Hurst, the OLT of North Carolina. Hurst set a school record starting in 49 games at OLT while at North Carolina, he suffered a non diplaced fracture of his left fibula and will miss most of the pre-draft process. He is scheduled to work out at the North Carolina Pro Day, and was thought to be an early round pick before the injury. Here are some thoughts on Hurst from NFL.com.
Very good size. Smart and instinctive -- understands angles. Good leg drive as a run blocker -- is tough and aggressive. Competes hard and flashes some nastiness. Plays with a chip on his shoulder. Alert to see the blitz and feel stunts and switch off blocks. Experienced, four-year starter. Works hard and the game is very important to him.
Average athletic ability and agility. Tends to lunge, bend at the waist and get overextended. Is heavy-footed and struggles to adjust to quick, inside counters. Gets jarred, knocked off balance and at times collapsed and lifted off the ground by power-leverage rushers. Tends to shoot his hands wide of his target in pass protection and will give up the edge. Is late to reach the second level and connect in space. Has a fast metabolism and some trouble maintaining weight.
A wide-bodied, overachieving, college left tackle more ideally suited for the right side in the pros. Is football smart, gritty and competitive enough to eventually enter a starting lineup, but would be an ideal backup swing tackle on a strong offensive line and might even benefit from kicking inside where he'd have help on each side.
A late round talent that could be looked at is OLT Matt Patchan of Boston College. Highly rated coming out of college, he originally signed with Florida, and played 27 games, 11 of those games at defensive tackle. He dealt with many injuries while at Florida, and was granted a 6th year of eligibility, and followed Steve Addazio to Boston College and started all 12 games at OLT, earning All-ACC 2nd team. Here is the write up from NFLDraftScout.com on Patchan.
STRENGTHS: Looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle with broad shoulders, long arms and a trim middle. Very good initial quickness off the snap, firing off the ball when run-blocking to turn and seal his opponent from the action. Surprising straight-line speed to get to the second level and shows good lateral agility and body control to adjust to moving targets.
Easy athleticism is apparent in pass protection, as well, showing the balance and fluidity to remain outside in the NFL, perhaps even at left tackle (as he played for BC). Plays with good knee bend and on the balls of his feet, showing the ability to slide laterally, keeping his shoulders square to the defender. Latches onto opponents and shows good strength in his hands to control once engaged.
Undeniable talent whose question marks are largely off the field.
WEAKNESSES: Has been unable to remain on the field, mostly due to a maddening array of injuries. In May 2008, he was shot in the left shoulder as a bystander at a park in Brandon, Fla. He later injured his left knee in the first of two scooter accidents while at Florida, one of which also led to his being hit by a car. Missed all but the first four games of the 2009 season with a torn ACL (right knee), all of 2010 with a fractured right wrist and all of 2012 with a torn pectoral.
On the field, Patchan is a relatively clean prospect. He does not possess elite foot speed so he may need to make the move back to right tackle. Comes off the snap a bit high, leaving himself vulnerable to bull-rushes. Good core strength and flexibility, but can get pushed deep into the pocket.
COMPARES TO: Jammal Brown, Washington Redskins - Like Brown, Patchan's talent is obvious but an inability to remain healthy limits his value. Brown started 84 of 85 games following a selection in the first round of the 2005 draft by the New Orleans Saints, but he never started 16 games in any of his seven seasons in the NFL and hasn't played since 2011 due to complications from a hip injury.
One last name to look at is ORT Cameron Fleming of Stanford. A big, powerful run blocker that needs work as a pass protector. Fleming is considered a mid round pick. This write up on Cameron is from NFL.com.
Big body. Strong hands. Can down block and generate movement in the run game. Agile enough to run out of his kick-slide and push rushers wide. Shows alertness and reactions to combo block and pass off stunts. Three-year starter in a pro-style offense. Very intelligent.
Thick, tight hips. Needs to improve footwork. Can be impatient in pass protection. Tends to bend at the waist. Could be stressed by quicker rushers. Average sustain. Does not generate power through his core. Balance and coordination wanes on the second level -- struggles connecting with moving targets. Does not consistently block through the whistle and could become a better, nastier finisher.
Big, thickly built, experienced right tackle who graduated with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics and entered the draft early despite standing to benefit from another year of seasoning on The Farm. Has size and smarts to stick in a power/slide-protection scheme, but needs to make strides with his functional strength, technique and aggressiveness. Could be tried inside.
Switching to the OG position, a few names to look at in the mid to late rounds would be OLG Cyril Richardson of Baylor, Anthony Steen of Alabama, ORG Jon Halapio of Florida & Brandon Linder of Miami. Below is a write up on each of the prospects from NFL.com, starting with Cyril Richardson.
Outstanding size and girth with legitimate NFL strength. Sturdy base and heavy anchor -- squats a small house and is dependable in pass protection. Generates movement in the run game. Can work his hips and gain positioning. Walls off and seals. Packs a jolting punch and plays with a load in his hands -- latches on, controls and steers. Wins in a phone booth and can manhandle smaller linemen. Enough balance, coordination and foot speed to pull and trap effectively. Has played tackle and guard. Conditioned in an up-tempo, no-huddle offense.
Average arm length. Bad body -- has a fleshy midsection and could stand to shed some bad weight. Lateral agility and recovery quickness are just adequate. Gets in trouble when his feet stall or he bends at the waist (slips off blocks). Intermittent intensity -- does not play violently or impose his will physically as often as he should. Could stand to become more of a nasty finisher. Has underachiever traits. Questionable motivation and passion for the game.
Massive road grader with grown-man strength which enables him to reestablish the line of scrimmage in the run game and thwart the rush. Versatility to play right tackle adds to value and he has plug-and-play capability in a power scheme, though bust factor cannot be ignored.
Reliable pass protector. A 500-pound bench-presser and it shows -- jars defenders with his punch. Efficient run blocker. Is quick to set and gain positioning. Works up to the second level quickly and is agile enough to wall off and seal linebackers and safeties. Dominated LSU's Anthony Johnson. Hardworking and coachable. Tough competitor. Very durable.
Does not look the part -- has a deceptive, dumpy-looking frame with a lot of weight concentrated in his trunk. Can do a better job sustaining at the second level. Not a consistent finisher. Catches a lot -- tends to let defenders into his body and could stand to improve extension.
Scrappy, competitive, try-hard, tough guy who does not always look pretty, but consistently finds a way to get the job done. An efficient zone blocker, Steen understands angles and leverage. He could be ideally suited for a zone-based ground game such as the Eagles, Seahawks or Packers.
Naturally thick with big hands. Can drive block and is effective when he has an angle. Functional anchor. Provides adequate three-step drop protection. Has a warrior’s mentality -- played through an 80 percent tear of his pectoral as a senior. Made 43 career starts. Highly respected team captain.
Tightly wound -- struggles reacting to movement, changing direction and recovering. Does not generate power through his hips. Poor contact balance. Empties the chamber with initial punch and cannot recoil. Hands and feet do not work in unison. Opens the gate in pass protection. Unsudden to clear his feet and pull. Limited blocking range.
A Tongan-American, Halapio is a hulking short-area guard whose best traits are intangible. Is most effective in a phone booth, but too often looks like he requires max effort to provide adequate blocking. Best chance to stick will be in a slide-protection scheme.
Terrific size. Engages with urgency and works to gain positioning. Can lean and seal. Good hand placement. Functional anchor when his base and posture are technically sound. Ideal makeup to battle in the trenches. Plays with his head on a swivel -- alert to threats. Nasty finisher. Outstanding personal and football character. Smart vocal leader. Tough, durable and experienced (42 career starts).
Adequate athlete. Limited explosion -- cannot overpower defenders. Plays short-armed (average sustain). Tends to lunge and slip off blocks. Body control and contact balance wane in space and on the move. Is late to cut off linebackers and struggles the farther he has to go.
Big, experienced, highly competitive, short-area base blocker at his best in a phone booth. Lacks ideal power and athleticism, but has football intelligence, leadership traits and a bulldog’s mentality. Should earn a spot as an interior backup initially, but brings grit to the line and has the makeup to outplay his draft position.
Switching over to the defensive side of the ball, let now take a look at a few prospects that could be available in the mid to late rounds of the draft that Miami could consider with DT Randy Starks and Paul Soliai all but gone.
A mid round pick to look at is Tennessee mammoth DT Daniel McCullers. This massive man demands a double team in the run game and still a factor, he could be a nice pick in the 3rd-4th round. Here is a brief write up on Daniel from NFLDraftScout.com.
STRENGTHS: Despite his inexperience, McCullers' size and ability to disrupt things from the middle often made him the focus of an opponent's blocking scheme. Has been double-teamed on most snaps and has even seen triple-team blocks often. Despite the attention, McCullers' size and strength make him tough to move in the running game. He plays with better leverage than one might expect given his frame, holding up well inside and sliding off blockers to handle two-gap responsibilities when playing the 3-4 nose guard. He was equally impressive against the run when Tennessee switched to a four-man front in 2012.
WEAKNESSES: While McCullers' is tough against the run, he offers little in terms of a pass rush. He certainly has the strength to simply push opponents into the pocket but possesses below average foot-quickness and lateral agility.
Another SEC product that could be looked at in the 3rd-4th round is DT Anthony Johnson of LSU. Johnson is a defensive tackle that features explosive quickness and a motor that runs hot all the time. The write up for Anthony is from NFLDraftScout.com.
STRENGTHS: Johnson' best attribute at this point is his initial quickness. He is frequently the first of LSU's defensive linemen off the ball, and was so even with Mingo and Montgomery still apart of this unit. Johnson's athleticism, power and well-proportioned frame form a unique combination that is sure to intrigue scouts. His burst helps him slip through gaps quickly. He also possesses long arms and the strength to extend and shed blocks in the running game. Light on his feet and a high-effort player in pursuit, Johnson can make plays all over the field.
WEAKNESSES: He is far from a polished product at this point, however, often playing too high and showing little in the way of refined pass rush technique.
A late round prospect to possibly keep an eye on is California DT Deandre Coleman. Able to anchor against the double team and durable during his time at California. Here is the write up from NFL.com on Coleman.
Outstanding arm and body length and overall size. Is not easily moved off a spot. Can anchor vs. the double team and clog lanes. Very tough and durable. Plays through injuries. Versatile and has experience lining up anywhere along a "30" front.
Not an accomplished pass rusher -- hand use is unrefined and displays minimal acceleration and closing burst. Has to figure out how to work half a blocker. Tends to rise straight up out of his stance and stays blocked too long. Limited playing range. Lacks urgency. Has a hearing impairment in one ear.
A very big, strong, two-gapping plugger ideally suited to stack the corner of an odd front. Will make a living digging his feet in the dirt and defending the run.
Next week, we start looking at the skill position personnel, starting with running backs, wide receivers and tight ends that Miami could look at in the early rounds.