Sunday, 6 September 2009

Jevan Snead is Matt Stafford

Before the season began, I was touting Jevan Snead as my favorite college QB this year. Let's be honest, there were a few people on the bandwagon. It was a trendy pick - Snead's regarded as a solid pocket passer with a big arm. The comparisons to Matt Stafford were inevitable and the feeling was a solid year for a talented Rebels outfit could propel Snead into a potential #1 draft pick next year.

It's only one game, but the comparison appears justified. It's been a particularly inconsistent display from Snead against Memphis in Ole Miss' season opener. He's thrown two picks, made some terrible decisions and forced a lot of throws. At the same time, he has the big arm and is on the money when he gets a receiver in single coverage. Doesn't this just sound like Matt Stafford mark II?

His first pick occurred when he zoned in on Derek McLuster and without seemingly making any read, simply threw it straight to a defensive back. I'm not sure if it was a bad route from McLuster or not, but Snead threw almost without looking and barely in the receivers range. Memphis turned it into six shortly after.

With 12:25 left in the second quarter and Ole Miss at 2nd & 13, he moved out of the pocket and ran towards the line of scrimmage. With a good 5-6 yards of empty space in front of him, he should have taken the handful and moved on to third down. Instead, he noticed he was approaching the LOS, checked his run and then threw what could only be described as a basketball free throw into the direction of a covered receiver. The ball dropped safely to the ground, but it was an unnecessary incomplete throw when there was 4-5 rushing yards on offer.

He threw a second pick with 5:38 left in the half. Snead stepped away from pressure in the pocket before throwing deep into double coverage. He was easily picked off. It was a blatant example of Snead trying to rely on his arm too much and forcing the throw. The deep play was never on, but he didn't make a read. It was the kind of decision making which raised question marks about Matt Stafford last year and it's something Snead needs to control. He can't afford to always rely on his arm and he's shown an inability to manage this game thus far. Why make that play when you're 10-7 up?

His second half performance was a little better in the sense he made up for the picks with a couple of TD's. Both thrown from around the 20 yard line, showing that clinical ability when he latches onto a receiver in single coverage. Both passes were thrown well and he showed good athleticism on the first to avoid pressure.

It's only week one but the feeling I get with Snead is that he does have the tools the pro-teams will salivate over. Like Stafford, he has a big arm and can make all the throws. Like Stafford, he can be erratic and he will throw interceptions. With the national spotlight firmly fixed on his performances this season, it'll be interesting to see how Snead copes and if he can find the form he showed at the end of the 2008 season.

The other top QB's also endured mixed fortunes. Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy coasted to victories in powder puff contests, whilst Sam Bradford suffered an injured shoulder as Oklahoma crashed to BYU. On the other hand, it's been a great weekend for underclassman running backs. After the depth filled 2008 class of RB's and the declaration of Knowshon Moreno this year, it did look like a tough act to follow.

However, Jahvid Best showed off his Heisman potential with a great display against Maryland. Jonathan Dwyer made a good start as did Joe McKnight. I need to see more of all three to determine whether or not they have the kind of potential to be every down backs in the NFL, let alone top draft picks. It's a good start though and Best is the one that intrigues me the most.

Finally, Mel Kiper published some of his 2010 big board during the Ole Miss game today. He has Sam Bradford at #1 (although this doesn't take into account his recent injury). Jevan Snead is at #7. There's a couple of other interesting choices - Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) at #4 and Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State) as high as #8. Fellow Cowboy Russell Okung only makes it to #15.


Patrick said...

I am definitely intrigued by Jahvid Best. Everything I've heard about him has sounded great and for him to come out and perform like that in the first game of the season is terrific.

I am certainly unsure about the QB situation when it comes to the Seahawks' draft. I think the biggest question to me is whether or not Mike Teel showed enough in his preseason apperance to at least earn a shot down the road. I'm not going to hide the fact that I want Seattle to draft Tim Tebow. However, another part of me doesn't want to see Seattle ignore Mike Teel. Going 11/19 with 2 touchdowns is no fluke. It was against Oakland's scrubs, sure, but the two touchdown passes were perfectly thrown and they probably would have been just as well thrown against a first string defense. What impressed me the most was the fact that he was not sacked once. And the pressure was certainly there. Do I think Mike Teel is our QB of the future? No, probably not. At least I don't want to proclaim it yet. However, I can't help but think he showed enough to at least consider it. I mean really, with Hasselbeck healthy (knock on wood) and Seneca Wallace capable, would someone like Sam Bradford really do any better? I like to look at Josh Freeman. If I had to choose between Josh Freeman or Mike Teel... it's no contest.

Rob Staton said...

With regard to Best, he certainly impressed me against Maryland. I'll be keeping an eye on him. The only concern I have is whether he's a guy you can rely on to carry the load. He's not particularly big, so is he a situational kind of guy? When I watched Knowshon Moreno last year, I had no doubt he was an every down back and would be for years. I'm not sure Best is.

I have the same concerns for Joe McKnight. I think CJ Spiller and Jonathan Dwyer are more likely to be the type of back you can rely on for most snaps and therefore probably carry the biggest value.

On Teel, he's done as much as he can this off season. We were never going to know if he's a future franchise guy on one pre-season. He beat out Jeff Rowe and he has a year further to impress. Whether we draft another QB next year will depend on the health of Matt Hasselbeck in 2009, the continued development of Mike Teel and flat out who is available when we pick.

If there is a top QB there with one of picks, who we rate highly, I'm not sure you can pass because of what remains a 6th round flier with some potential.

1stHill said...

Rob, is Jonathan Dwyer fast or at least have a decent amount of speed? Is his production more due to the funky triple option they were running last year at Georgia Tech or is truly a gifted RB? I have yet to watch him play.

I think Jahvid Best proved last year that he could carry the load. He led the Pac-10 in rushing and had 6 fewer attempts than Jonathan Dwyer. I think C.J. Spiller is the one who needs to prove he can be the feature RB.

Best and Spiller have a similar build and have similar running styles (electrifying). Here is a comparison of their production from 2008;
Jahvid Best 5-10 195 lbs 194 Attempts, 1580 yards, 8.1 AVG., 27 rec., 246 yards.
C.J. Spiller 5-11 195 lbs 116 Attempts, 629 yards, 5.4 AVG., 34 rec., 436 yards.

I think we need to draft a RB in the 1st or 2nd round next year. I would be excited to get Best or Spiller with our second 1st round pick.

Here are a few other RB’s I like but that are most likely to get drafted somewhere between rounds 2 and 4.
Ben Tate 5-11 217 lbs Auburn : Great initial burst, good speed, and very tough downhill runner.
Stafon Johnson 5-11 215 lbs USC : Good combination of speed, agility, and power.
Keiland Williams 5-11 229 lbs LSU : Good initial burst, good speed, and powerful.

Rob Staton said...

1stHill, thanks once again for your input. You seem to know your stuff, if you ever spot a prospect who you'd recommend send me an email.

NFL Draft Scout has Dwyer's 40 times estimated between 4.40-4.48. I'd probably go along with that. He's capable of taking it the distance which is rare for a guy his size. He's carrying 20lbs on Adrian Peterson. Obviously Georgia Tech's offense will help him rack up the stats, but the talent is clearly there.

The reason I'm concerned about Best being able to carry the load is that he's 5'10" and 193 lbs. He's not a big guy. His yards per carry are very impressive and he's an explosive playmaker. But does he need to work with another back to keep him fresh? Will he tire with too many carries?

Knowshon Moreno had 500 carries in two years. We had a good test of whether he can take that work load. Best is at 233 in two and a bit years. He's reacted a couple of times to big hits - he was physically sick on one play after taking a huge jolt. Do you have to use him as a one-two punch?