Show Them The Money
By Russell V.
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Breaking down B.J. Coleman, Brian Quick and Ryan Steed's NFL Draft positioning.
With the NFL Draft coming up on Thursday, I had a chance to talk with Josh Norris, an NFL Draft Contributor for Rotoworld.com, about B.J. Coleman, Brian Quick and Ryan Steed, three Southern Conference athletes expected to be drafted this weekend. Mr. Norris (@JoshNorris on Twitter and definitely worth a follow) sees a bright future for all three players and highlights what makes each so special and what they will all need to do in the NFL to become stars a la Victor Cruz and Joe Flacco.
Norris said he has watched at least three “exposures” for each player, plus has seen them up close and personal at the Shrine Bowl (Coleman) and the Senior Bowl (Quick and Steed) on top of other research that he usually does.
He added that he didn’t treat them any different than a player from the FBS. With all players, he tries to find their games against the best competition and goes from there.
“I would try to find their quality competition and see how they match up, because – for example, if you take a defensive lineman and he’s beating up FCS offensive linemen, you want to see how he does against FBS competition. And I think really, with any prospect, I gave Quick a second round grade … but other than that, pretty much after you get past the third or fourth round, you look for certain things guys do well. It’s easy to see what guys don’t do well. But you want to pinpoint in what situations, in what roles do they excel in because teams will want to put them in those roles and let them blossom from there.”
So what exactly does he think about these SoCon greats?
-Norris’s take: “I watched the interview before I watched him and I kinda wish I hadn’t. As soon as he went to Tennessee, he started studying Peyton Manning and his tendencies and his movements – little things he does like calls at the line and pump fakes. I hate comparing anyone to Manning, but he has the little things – the movements.”
“I think he was the only person during Shrine week with an NFL-caliber arm. He can really put it in there on any part of the field and was the only one to get it down the field. But in games, you can see him move around in the pocket. I try to watch their best competition, so this year against Nebraska. You saw him really step up in the pocket. Everyone else seemed overwhelmed, but you saw him really make some quality throws in some windows (and with) anticipation routes and stuff like that.”
“There’s obviously the issues of injuries and accuracy, but he really seemed to pick up the offense quickly with those NFL-type coaches down there during Shrine week. … I think he’s destined to be an NFL coach one day, just because of his demeanor and attitude.”
“I think he’s going to be a fantastic second-string quarterback for many years early in his career because he is knowledge – he seems to love that part of the game, the X’s and O’s part.”
-On how much injuries hurt his draft stock: “I don’t think it really does with a prospect coming from a smaller system, especially one with his kind of experience and his kind of mental capacity because I think the interceptions are much more worrisome.”
“Obviously, teams want to see consistency at the end of your career, so him missing four and a half games would’ve helped him a lot because it would’ve been against Furman and Steed, teams like that. But when you’re looking at FCS players, you’re not looking at production as much as you’re looking for skills. That actually goes for every player in the entire draft obviously.”
-On where he ranks Coleman and where he may be drafted: 5th overall quarterback, best case scenario would be to go to Denver. “I’d love to see Coleman drafted by the Broncos and learn under Peyton Manning. … That’d be a perfect match. … It’s like being able to hear a song and being able to play it without ever looking at the music.”
-Norris’ take: ““With Quick, I think you can see him beat up all these teams in the Southern Conference, but when you turn on the Virginia Tech tape from last year, you can really see his potential against prime time players. I mean, (VT cornerback) Jayron Hosley is someone that’s going to go in the second round and I think will be a very quality corner, maybe even starting caliber. And Quick did very well against him.”
“Now, he still body catches and his movements aren’t fantastic in terms of that quick burst and second step. Once he gets going in that straight line, he’s very good. I compare him to Marques Colston. I think that kind of slot target right away that can win on the seam routes by high pointing the ball, on curl routes, he’d be an absolutely viable weapon.”
“I think he’s a different kind of contributor than what you (usually) get from the FCS because you don’t get many guys who can contribute right away from that level of competition.”
“He even admitted that he never really had a real wide receivers coach.”
“And finally, he was the first person in on interviews when we had time to do media interviews with the players and the last one to leave. So that tells me a lot about him.”
“I’ve talked to some scouts who didn’t like his Senior Bowl performance. … One mentioned to me that he’s worried Quick might get ‘deer in the headlights,’ because he is a very aware player and understands the surroundings. Let’s say he goes to the Green Bay Packers, and he’s in the locker room and says, ‘Oh man, that’s Charles Woodson. I’m going to have to face him every day.’ He might outthink himself a little bit. While most football players are very overconfident and think that they can beat anyone at times, Quick is very aware.”
-On what he needs to improve upon: “It’s not going to make or break his career, but he’s not a good blocker, at all. He doesn’t sustain blocks. Like I said, he’s first two-step burst off the line, he’s going to be jammed because he’s a big body and got a big contact area for corners to jam. He’s going to have to add strength to that area or hand control. “
“He needs to utilize his length. He flashes it, but he doesn’t always use it. He makes plenty of body catch and short arm catches, but … I think he just needs to show that top flight or top echelon catch in traffic ability and high point ability at all times because he’s a basketball player. He also doesn’t look very comfortable with the ball in his hands after a catch. He’s certainly a long strider and he’s tough to stop once he gets going, but he carries the ball with both hands at times and doesn’t really know how to tuck it in. “
-On where he ranks Quick and where he may be drafted: 6th overall wide receiver, predicts he will be drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots.
-Norris’ take: “He got the best of Quick in their matchup, at least to me. I really like his length. His wingspan is 78 inches. I think that’s the biggest of any corner at the combine and that helps because he’s not a burner.”
“He was a part of that South squad with Raheem Morris (in Mobile) and Raheem put all those defensive backs in press coverage over and over and over again. He was there with Janoris Jenkins. He was there with Dwight Bentley and Casey Heyward and some other guys that are press corners. He really held his own.”
“I think he does very well to be very physical at the line, not to overextend himself. Uses the armbar to locate then turns his head to look for the ball and stays in the hip pocket of the receiver.”
“…with Steed, if you line him up in zone coverage instead of man, he’s not going to do very well. You need to put him in press situations and let him stay in the hip pocket.”
“One of the things that stood out to me was he (was one of) the last two players to leave the film room in Mobile when I was there with him. It was the last night and they were tearing down the room around us and he was just sitting there, watching film on receivers and seeing their tendencies. That stands out.”
-On how much his Combine performance hurt his stock: “You never want a corner to run over 4.7, and he ran over 4.75 twice in hand times. 4.6, 4.64 was his other hand time and that’s too fantastic at all.”
“I think that a team like the Seattle Seahawks who really want their corners to jam on the outside … It’s really all about scheme. If a team thinks he can really press at the line and redirect and hold up wide receiver’s routes and make it seem like they are not open, then he’ll be fine. But, if he misses that jam and overextends himself, then he’ll be in trouble because he doesn’t have a lot of catch-up speed. His arm length really helps him and his knowledge of certain receivers and their releases and route combinations they like to run, the tells they give off at the top of their routes, that’s really going to help him and keep him in the position. A lot of team might even be thinking of him as a safety with that speed. But I think his understanding of route combinations will help him a lot.”
-On where he ranks Steed and where he may be drafted: 10th overall cornerback, believes he will be drafted in the fifth or sixth round. “I really like his length, I really like his attitude. He certainly held his own against Dwight Jones and Quick in practice (at the Senior Bowl) and did very well with it. ... With Steed, I have no clue. I think Seattle is a possibility. I think Washington is a possibility because Raheem Morris is very comfortable with him after working with him at the Senior Bowl.”