More to underclassmen than Newton, Fairley
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Steve Muench's Stock Report
Up: Maryland WR Torrey Smith* -- Smith is a raw route runner who wastes too much motion making cuts and he needs to improve his footwork at the top of his stem, but he is productive and has upside. His top-end speed appears a notch below elite on film but he runs well enough for his size to get behind the coverage on occasion, and he doesn't have to separate to make plays downfield. Smith tracks the deep ball well, uses his frame to shield defenders and can make tough over-the-shoulder catches. He is a dangerous, albeit inconsistent, kickoff returner. With Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd staying in school the receiver class has thinned out, making Smith is an interesting second-round possibility for teams in need of help at receiver.
Down: Delaware QB Pat Devlin -- Devlin has to show NFL teams he can adjust to a much higher level of competition and transition to a pro-style offense after playing in a passer-friendly spread scheme at the FCS level. On the plus side he has the frame, arm strength, quick release and mobility NFL front offices look for in quarterbacks. He also has the ability to work his progressions and manipulate coverage with his eyes. On the downside, Devlin will have to throw into tighter windows in the NFL and he's not as accurate as his completion percentage would suggest. He frequently threw underneath in Delaware's scheme and still forced receivers to adjust too often. Devlin's yardage totals are also misleading because his receivers did an excellent job of producing after the catch. Finally, Devlin will sometimes hold the ball too long. He looks like a mid-round prospect at this point.
Kevin Weidl's Stock Report
Up: USC OT Tyron Smith* -- I've watched a lot of film on Smith recently and have come away impressed. He is a bit undersized at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, but be is well-build and plays with a wide base that give him more inline power than his size would suggest. Smith also has the most natural feet and athleticism of any tackle in the 2011 class. He is an easy mover in pass protection, showing the ability to slide and mirror, and he uses his hands and long arms well in protection. He might not be an ideal fit for power running teams in the NFL but zone-blocking teams and/or those looking for help on the edges in pass protection could be very intrigued in the middle rounds.
Down: Pittsburgh TE Henry Hynoski* -- New Panthers coach Todd Graham brings with him a spread offense that does not feature the tight end much, and that surely played a role in Hynoski leaving school early. However, after watching the film it's clear he could use another year to develop his overall skill set. Hynoski is assignment-sound in the running game and does a good job getting in position to cover up defenders, but given that he is 260 pounds he does not show a lot of power or snap at the point of attack. I'd like to see more violence as a blocker and he needs to keep his feet moving better to avoid falling off blocks. And while he's been a reliable receiver during his career Hynoski seemed to lose focus at times this season and will need to show good hands in pre-draft workouts. Overall, I did not see enough on film to warrant anything more than a late-round grade, and Hynoski could very well end up being a priority free agent.
Video: Nick Fairley No. 1 overall?
Scouts Inc. Observations
Muench -- True nose tackles are hard to find so 351-pound Baylor NT Phil Taylor could see his stock move up in the second round. Taylor is strong enough to drive most interior offensive linemen into the backfield in one-on-one matchups, and with his size he can hold his ground against double teams. He is prone to wearing down and lacks elite closing speed as an interior pass rusher, but Taylor shows above-average initial quickness and lateral mobility for his size when he's fresh. Teams running base 3-4 defenses and looking for help on the inside could also find value in the middle rounds where Hampton's Kenrick Ellis and Mississippi's Jerrell Powe* are expected to come off the board. Both come with character flags but Ellis has above-average upper-body strength and initial burst for a 336-pound prospect and the 320-pound Powe has good quickness and enough lower-body strength to make him hard to move off the ball when his technique is sound.
Weidl -- Coming into the college season the 2011 quarterback class looked like one of the best in recent history, but now things are somewhat of a crap shoot. Blaine Gabbert has the accuracy, mental capacity and physical tools, but there are concerns about the college system he played in and his poise in the pocket. Jake Locker was not nearly as productive as expected in 2010, and while much of that had to do with a terrible supporting cast he still needs to work on his accuracy. Cam Newton is a physical freak but he's coming from an option system, still has work to do in terms of accuracy, and he carries big-time character baggage given all the off-field problems he's dealt with. As for Ryan Mallet, his arm strength and release are enticing but he lacks foot quickness in the pocket and he makes poor decisions under pressure. Teams will certainly reach for these guys, but only Gabbert is worthy of a grade in the top half of the first round.