Saturday, 17 October 2009

Draft thoughts on Oklahoma vs Texas

Just finished watching the tape of Oklahoma vs Texas, with plenty of potential pro-prospects on offer. I'll cut to the chase - it was a largely disappointing watch. The game confirmed everything we already knew about Colt McCoy - he'll be a reach in round five let alone anywhere near the top of round one. The other McCoy - Gerald - is the real deal however. Oklahoma's stud defensive lineman stood out and justified his place at #2 on my 2010 rankings, behind only Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska).

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He has that similar relentless style to Suh, without perhaps the supreme motor. Having said that, he's still very active and never takes a snap off. Persistently battled double teams and didn't stop when the play moved away from his area, he'll locate the ball carrier and try to get back in on the action. Consistently gets into the backfield to collapse the pocket or flush out a run play for negative yardage. With 9:41 left in the first half - McCoy lined up at defensive end, burst past his first blocker before blowing up the running back. He got to the quarterback and forced the play to collapse. Five minutes later, he collapsed the pocket forcing the right guard into the quarterback. McCoy leapt into the face of the QB forcing a bad throw that was almost picked.

The half ended with a Gerald McCoy sack, beating his man with pure power and having the speed to get to the QB despite a substantial drop back from the shotgun. In the second half, Texas tried to grind it out with a number of QB draws and running plays, but McCoy showed run stuffing capabilities and was certainly the big plus point in the game overall. I think there's a very good chance he'll be a top ten pick and possibly a high one at that.

So what about Colt McCoy, why was he so unimpressive? I'll be honest, when Mel Kiper compares him to Drew Brees, I just don't see it. When I see McCoy going #1 overall in mock drafts, I wonder 'why?' and 'how?'. The guy only throws short slants and screens. Nothing ever goes further than 5-6 yards deep and when he does try, it shows up his distinct lack of arm strength and a spiral that wobbles more than a topless Andre Smith running the forty-yard dash.

Considering he throws so many short routes you'd think they'd at least be accurate, right? Well no, actually not. He makes bad reads, shown up with huge lights on when he tossed a woeful pass late in the game to cough up a pick. That should have cost his team the game and he was very lucky it didn't. He locks on to one receiver, usually his well publicised roommate Jordan Shipley and throws without any other read. He'd over throw the running back on a short screen, he'd miss the receiver on a basic bubble screen.

Sure, he's athletic. He can make plays with his feet, but he isn't a big guy and is prone to fumbling - like he did near the OU end zone at the end of the first half. I just can't place the guy in the NFL. Teams would be able to overload the box and blitz McCoy like crazy, knowing he isn't going to beat them deep. His stat line today against a good defense? Twenty-one pass completions for 127 yards. That's an average of six yards per pass.

I'd struggle to justify taking him in the same place Seattle took Mike Teel last year - round six. I don't quite understand how he's built the reputation he has from a draft prospective. Look - he's done a good job at Texas and he's a good college QB. But as a pro-prospect, I wouldn't even recommend a 6th round flier.

We were expecting to see two big names quarterback's today of course, with Sam Bradford starting his second game since returning from a shoulder injury. Well, he lasted the grand total of three and a half minutes before re-injuring the shoulder. Clearly someone has made a very poor decision here. If the shoulder was this susceptible to such a basic tackle, Bradford should not be starting games. With three defeats on the card, OU MUST shut him down before he does any further damage to his shoulder and his draft stock. Scouts will be watching this skinny guy taking hits and picking up serious injuries and pondering serious concerns about his ability to survive the rigorous NFL schedules. I have to believe his draft stock will take a dramatic hit after today.

You also have to wonder if Bradford's injury woes will play some part in potentially persuading Jake Locker and Jimmy Clausen to declare for the 2010 draft?

I also kept an eye on OU left tackle Trent Williams... before he also went off injured. He's not a good match for Seattle's zone blocking scheme and I think it's fair to write him off any wish list. He looks very heavy, his footwork is poor and he relies on his superior size in protection. He will have some value to teams who favor bigger blockers but Seattle want nimble, athletic guys. That isn't Williams. I have to believe he's better suited to playing right tackle in the pro's if not guard. His run blocking looked quite good.

During half-time I was treated to an Iowa touchdown drive against Wisconsin, affording the opportunity to watch another highly touted offensive lineman - Bryan Bulaga. He showed a good hand punch, decent footwork and a more than adequate ability in pass protection. It was only a small sample, but he would appear to be a better fit for what Seattle are looking for. For the touchdown he got away with a blatant holding call that wasn't flagged, but it was that 'block' that created the hole for the running back. Worth keeping an eye on.

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