Player Analysis: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

**Due to time constraints I will merely be reprinting my work from the CHTV Draft Guide for WRs and QBs. I wish I had more time to write up all my notes but such is the life of a part time freelancer. Thanks for your understanding.**

image via ESPN.com

Name: Aaron Murray

School: Georgia

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 207

40-Yard Dash: N/A due to injury

In a nutshell: Murray tore his ACL during the 2013 season and is still rehabbing. Incredibly productive against top-shelf SEC competition, Murray is a four-year starter in a pro-style offense. Height and build are concerns, as is durability. Height and low release point contribute to batted balls, as does his average arm. Murray does get rattled under pressure and has fallen apart in big games.

Vs. #7 Auburn: While not flawless, Murray played some incredible football against Auburn in a huge game. After scoring on a scramble to take the lead, Georgia fell behind and Murray had to bring the offense to the Auburn 20 in under 25 seconds. His final pass fell incomplete, but otherwise Murray came through when they needed him.

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Player Analysis: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

**Due to time constraints I will merely be reprinting my work from the CHTV Draft Guide for WRs and QBs. I wish I had more time to write up all my notes but such is the life of a part time freelancer. Thanks for your understanding.**

image vi BleacherReport.com

Name: Zach Mettenberger

School: LSU

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 224

40-Yard Dash: N/A due to injury

In a nutshell: Mettenberger did not participate in any Combine drills due to a torn MCL/ACL injury which happened in November, and he may not be ready for LSU’s pro day. When healthy, Mettenberger shows extremely good arm strength, comes out of a pro-style offense and being a pocket passer, may not see much degradation in his game coming off his knee injury. Also has some character questions.

Vs #9 Georgia: Mettenberger was accurate and poised, putting his team in the lead of a shootout with 4:14 left to go in the game. On the drive he threw four straight completions, including a nice 27-yard pass to put LSU in scoring position. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the deed and threw four incompletions to end the game.

Player Analysis: Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

image via zimbio.com

Name: Bishop Sankey

Class: Junior
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 209 lbs.
School: Washington

Strengths: Looking at Sankey, there’s no one thing which stands out about him upon first glance, but pop in a game and he jumps off the screen. Sankey has great vision and does a fantastic job seeing—and then getting through—the hole at the line of scrimmage. He also does a great job setting up and following his blockers. Sankey is elusive in traffic, showing a good jump-cut. He also runs stronger than you’d expect in the interior, leaning forward and driving with his legs. Sankey shows good acceleration when he gets to the second level and his 4.49 speed is evident on tape. Sankey is also a three-down back—he can catch the ball well, and can get extra yards after a catch. He’s also a much better pass-blocker than you’d expect from his size and frame, and achieves success with technique rather than brute force.

image via collegefootball.ap.org

Weakness: Because of his size and frame, as well as the high number of carries he saw over his last two years, there are some concerns about his durability. Granted, he never missed a game and was a workhorse back for the Huskies, but long term, it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Sankey also will expose the ball when running—specifically when he is trying to maintain balance. This can lead to turnovers and if he doesn’t change it, teams will go after the ball.

Intangibles: By all accounts, Sankey is a solid worker and good teammate. He has no off-the-field issues I’m aware of at this time.

Notes: Sankey is a very good all-around running back. There’s little to dislike about his game and while his upside isn’t as good as Tre Mason or Carlos Hyde’s you can build an argument that he could be ranked ahead of Ka’Deem Carey. The heavy workload is a concern, but it’s not so bad that he will collapse before his rookie contract is out and may even outlast that. This is assuming someone picks him as a lead, bell-cow back—something less common in today’s NFL. If part of a committee, Sankey could be productive for a very long time.

 

image via SeattleTimes.com

Player Analysis: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

image via Yahoo! Sports and USA Today Sports

Name: Tre Mason

Class: Junior
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 207 lbs.
School: Auburn

image via fifthquarter.org

Strengths: Mason has good burst off the snap, has the vision to read where the hole is and punches through it. He doesn’t waste any time in the backfield, doesn’t dance or hesitate—Mason just plants his foot and goes. That decisiveness along with his vision makes him hard to contain in the backfield and with his low pad level, he’s hard to tackle. When you do get a hand on him, Mason will spin out of the way. He’s not shy about contact, bringing a nice physical style to finish his runs, which also seems to translate to some very good pass blocking—a huge bonus for any rookie running back. Mason carried a heavy workload at Auburn without wearing down, so he could potentially do that at the pro level. He also showed good hands receiving out of the backfield, though saw limited use in that area. Mason is also a strong kickoff returner.

Weakness: Mason’s shorter than what teams look for in a prototypical back, but has enough mass to where durability isn’t a concern.

While he is fast, Mason only seems to have one speed so once he tops out, he isn’t adding more burst to get away from tacklers. We know he can catch the ball, but our ability to really examine that is limited because he just didn’t get used in the receiving game often enough to get a firm grasp on it.

image via AuburnTigers.com and the AP

Mason has had some ball security issues the last two years and will need to take better care of the ball at the pro level. There might be some question about his potential effectiveness depending on where he lands because he may have benefited a bit from a very good offensive line and an up-tempo scheme which wore down defenses.

On the other hand, if he’s in a scheme which does that,  it’s going to be a strong fit.

Intangibles: Mason is reportedly a hard-working player and a pretty good guy but did have some off-the-field issues in 2013 (see below).

Notes: Even in a year where we know running backs will slide because of the decrease in relative value at the position, Mason wouldn’t have gone as high as, say Trent Richardson did a few years back. He might have snuck into the first round—and may yet because this is the draft and wackiness ensues—but he’s not what we used to see as an elite back. That’s not to say he won’t be very good though and I like what he brings to the table a lot.

Player Analysis: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

image via the Columbus Dispatch and Dispatch.com

Name: Carlos Hyde

Class: Senior
Height: 6’
Weight: 230 lbs.
School: Ohio State

image via SportsIllustrated.com, shot by Jamie Sabau of Getty Images

Strengths: Hyde is a big, thick, bruising running back who will lower his pads and hammer through a hole (or through someone blocking a hole). He keeps his legs churning after contact, shows great balance and footwork through trash and will stay on his feet even with tacklers trying to drag him down. Hyde has a real “can’t stop/won’t stop” attitude which makes him very effective in goal-line and short yardage situations. His brutal running style will wear a defensive front down, so he gets better as a game goes on. Hyde is also a lot quicker than he appears upon first glance and moves swiftly and with agility through small holes and traffic and will plant his foot and spring in another direction with speed. Hyde is also a solid receiver as well, showing soft hands. Finally, Hyde is an instinctive blocker

Weakness: Mason’s shorter than what teams look for in a prototypical back, but has enough mass to where durability isn’t a concern. While he is fast, Mason only seems to have one speed so once he tops out, he isn’t adding more burst to get away from tacklers. While we know he can catch the ball, our ability to really examine

image via WKYC.com

that is limited because he just didn’t get used in the receiving game often enough to get a firm grasp on it. Mason has had some ball security issues the last two years and will need to take better care of the ball at the pro level. There might be some question about his potential effectiveness depending on where he lands because he may have benefited a bit from a very good offensive line and an up-tempo scheme which wore down defenses.

On the other hand, if he’s in a scheme which does that—well that’s a strong fit.

Intangibles: By all accounts, Hyde is a good worker and teammate. He was suspended for three games (via USAToday.com) in 2013 after an incident with a woman at a nightclub. The case was dropped but Urban Meyer still suspended him. He appeared to be remorseful and aware of what he cost his teammates and himself (via SportingNews.com), and it sounds as though he learned from his mistake.

Notes: Hyde is a guy who could easily be a workhorse back at the Pro level, and he showed that when he was the first Urban Meyer back to total 1,000 yards in a season, despite missing three games. After pulling a hamstring at the combine, Hyde bounced back and performed well in some private workouts at the end of March. He breaks a lot of tackles and runs hard, which should translate to some nice games at the pro level.

 

Player Analysis: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

image via ESPN.com

Name: Ka’Deem Carey

Class: Junior
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 207 lbs.
School: Arizona

Strengths: Carey had a very productive career as a Wildcat, even more impressive for the fact that he only got significant carries two of the three years he played. Possess great vision and can see a hole forming, then bursts to it and through it quickly. Carey can easily cut back across the grain and shows the ability to make sharp cuts and jump cuts with ease.

image via TusconCitizen.com, photo by Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

Once past the line, Carey does an excellent job spinning off tacklers and breaking arm tackles as well. Carey runs with a punishing style and will run over tacklers when he needs to, wearing down defenses. It’s not easy to take him down and he keeps his legs pumping well after contact—especially when he is close to the first down marker. Keeps his pads level to deliver the big hit and finish a run.

A solid receiver, Carey does a good job of getting upfield after the catch and shows some shiftiness in space.

 

Carey also does a good job pass-blocking, locating and sealing off blitzing defenders and delivering a big hit or cut-block.

He’s a three-down player, something teams will find very valuable.

Weakness: As nice as it is to see him run tough and deliver hits, he leaves himself open to big hits too often. He needs to run smarter or he could end up with some injury issues. While his frame is good, Carey is a bit shorter than ideal height for his position, and his legs appear to be a bit thin. His high number of carries in a short time might be a concern for some teams as he carried the ball 652 times in the past two seasons.

On the other hand, some teams may be more worried that he only has two years of experience as a starter.

While he can be elusive, he lacks breakaway speed or the extra gear needed to break a big run off. Carey also rarely faced stacked boxes as Arizona’s spread offense kept the defense out of the tackle box.

Intangibles: Carey has had some off-the-field issues—a quick google search for “Ka’Deem Carey” and “arrest”

image via Yahoo.com, photo by USA Today Sports Images

brings up numerous issues. He was suspended for the first game of the 2013 season (via Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star)due to the amount of issues that off-season, the worst of which was a domestic violence charge against his ex-girlfriend which was later dropped according to James Kelley of Arizona’s student newspaper, the Daily Wildcat.

Still, you know teams will take along look at him and his past, asking a lot of pointed questions about that offseason in particular.

How he answers can go a long way towards securing a second or third round grade or dropping him down boards.

Notes:It’s hard to know what goes through the minds of a GM or team regarding things like Carey’s off-the-field issues but know that the teams know virtually everything about the players by now and if they have questions, they’ve asked them. A lot. It doesn’t mean they won’t miss on occasion *coughAaron Hernandezcough* but more often than not it gets done right. On the field, Carey is very talented and ultimately that will get him drafted as—in the NFL—talent wins out. I’m concerned about the repeated issues , however hopeful that given that it appears as if the issues were over one unfortunate offseason, that it was just that—a really bad offseason—and not reflective of a wider issue.

Edited to add: Was forwarded this interview by Zoltan Buday, a journalist who has a lot of good coaches interviews on his site, InsideHandoff.com. Here’s Buday’s interview with Carey’s position coach (and Wildcat offensive coordinator) Calvin Magee.

Player Analysis: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Name: Derek Carr

Class: Senior
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 214 lbs.
School: Fresno State

Strengths: Carr is a very good all-around athlete, able to move well in and out of the pocket and generally move well when he needs to.  He has a tremendous arm, with the ability to throw deep as well as drive the ball with good velocity.  Carr has shown good accuracy and record-breaking production at Fresno State, despite having to adjust to a coaching and system change. He’s got solid mechanics, with pretty good technique during his delivery and the ability to get the ball out quickly.

Weakness: The problem with lauding Carr’s accuracy and production is that it came against sometimes sub-par teams in the Mountain West Conference. When he played against bigger teams, like USC in the 2013 Vegas Bowl, he wilts. Yes, the loss to USC (I would have also accepted the words “disaster” and “pummeling”) was one in which the whole team collapsed, but Carr himself looked overwhelmed. He struggled under pressure and had a hard time completing passes under fire. That’s a real concern considering USC’s defense wasn’t one of its best ever and the level of play in the NFL will be much fiercer. I didn’t walk away from the Senior Bowl excited either (more on that below), as I saw too many passes sail on him even when there was no pass-rush. When he’s blitzed, you can see him hurry throws, which result in some badly overthrown balls. He also has a tendency to stare down receivers at times. Carr played almost exclusively out of the shotgun, so he’ll need to adjust for that. He didn’t look terrible comfortable under center in Mobile and he’ll have to work on it, though that’s common for many quarterbacks these days. Carr also seems to struggle on deeper throws.

Intangibles:  The biggest question about Carr, in my mind, is how he reacts to pressure and pressure situations. While he appears calm and poised in many games, he has struggled in bigger games. Now, as mentioned above, the bludgeoning by USC was a team-wide failure. If Fresno State doesn’t collapse early on defense, maybe USC’s defense  doesn’t have carte blanche to tee off on Carr and maybe he struggles less. On the other hand there are definitely times in other games where he was under pressure and definitely looked shaky.  Aside from that, all reports are that he is solid in the huddle and a smart quarterback who was able to weather changes in the program without freaking out. That may not seem like much, but for a young quarterback in the NFL, that’s a big deal—just ask Alex Smith.

Notes: A lot of folks came away from Mobile and the Senior Bowl saying Carr was the best quarterback there—and he was. Which was a lot like saying he was the best natural disaster.  That’s a bit harsh but I really just want to drive home the point that, save for Carr and Jimmy Garropolo, this was not a group where “being the best” should mean as much as you think. Once you take that grain of salt, combined with what you see on tape, a picture is painted of a decent quarterback whose ending value is balanced on his ability to improve. It’s what would keep me from drafting him in round one, or at least high is round one. That said, he’s a solid second round pick or a good pick for a team willing to get back into the late first. He has some issues, but the upside is there to become a solid NFL starter.