In this week’s Inside the War Room I take a look at the senior cornerback class, name this week’s prospect of the week, and name the All-Small School defensive team.
Top Senior Cornerbacks
1. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Oregon 5-10 195
Ekpre-Olomu is a polished corner who has been named first team Pac-12 for two consecutive seasons. He lacks elite physical skills, but his production and feel for the game should earn him a late first round grade.
2. Wayne Lyons Stanford 6-1 196
Lyons is a big physical corner who shows the potential to develop into a starting cornerback in the NFL. He has also excelled on special teams being named special teams player of the week twice last season.
3. Steven Nelson Oregon State 5-11 195
The Pac-12 is loaded at cornerback this season with Nelson being my number three senior cornerback, and third highest rated cornerback in the Pac-12. Nelson might be the top athlete in this bunch, but he needs to play smarter on the field and not take so many chances in coverage.
4. Ladarius Gunter Miami 6-2 198
Gunter is a big physical corner who should excel in press coverage. I have some concerns about his overall athletic ability, and he will need to test well to move up the draft board.
5. Kevin Johnson Wake Forest 6-1 175
Johnson is another big cornerback in the year’s draft class. He shows good speed and overall athletic ability to go along with his size. I would like to see him add some weight this season, and be more physical in coverage.
1. Merrill Noel Wake Forest 5-10 180 #10 CB
Noel is a player that could find a home in the NFL as a nickel cornerback. He is a good overall athlete, and is a proven playmaker recording six turnovers last season. He needs to get stronger though in order to hold up in run support.
- Greg Henderson Colorado 5-11 185 #13 CB
Look for Henderson to break Colorado’s four year streak of not having a defensive back drafted. Henderson led Colorado in interceptions with four last season, and also led the team in pass breakups with ten last season.
3. De’Ante Saunders Tennessee State 5-11 200 #15 CB
Saunders is a physical corner whose best fit might be at safety which he played at Florida. The biggest concern with Saunders is his character, since he was kicked off the Florida football team for violating team rules and being arrested for marijuana.
Prospect of the Week
This week’s Prospect of the Week is one of the biggest sleepers in the 2015 NFL Draft in Pitt State CB De’Vante Bausby. Bausby is one of my highest rated Division II prospects despite not even earning a draftable grade from several NFL Draft websites.
While Bausby is far from a finished product his natural athletic ability stands out. He has outstanding size at 6-2 180 pounds, and has impressive speed 4.44 40-yard dash to go along with his size. This size speed combination should garner him plenty of NFL looks as a developmental project. He has good ball skills as well. Last season, he led the team in pass breakups with ten, and also recorded three interceptions on the season. His ball skills are partially due to the fact he was an outstanding WR in high school being named All-State in high school in 2009, and 2010.
YOU CAN SEE BAUSBY’S HIGHLIGHT HERE
One of the biggest concerns I have with Bausby is his lack of physical play. He is not a very stout player coming in at only 180 pounds. His lack of physicalness can hurt him in several ways with the first being in run support. He only recorded 33 tackles last season, and is not very aggressive in run support. Another area his lack of physical play will hurt him is in press coverage. He very rarely played press coverage at Pitt State, and I don’t think he would be a great fit for a team that plays cover two or press man. I would like to see Bausby make an impact on special teams as well. I am very intrigued by his return man possibilities, but unfortunately he does not return kicks at Pitt State.
Overall, Bausby has outstanding physical skills which will impress NFL scouts. If he can be a more physical player this season look for him to earn a day three draft grade.
All-Small School Defense
Earlier this summer I named Inside the War Room’s All-Small School offensive team, and now that I have finished scouting all of the upcoming seniors on the defensive side of the ball it is time to name our All-Small School defensive team
Trail is a big athletic defensive end who recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks on the season. He needs to add some strength in order to make the transition from college linebacker, to pro defensive end.
DT Charles Tuaau Texas A&M-Commerce 6-4 316
Tuaau was named the 2013 Lone Star Defensive Player of the Year after recording 25 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks.
DT Xavier Williams UNI 6-4 309
Williams is a player I have talked about several times in Inside the War Room, and is quickly becoming one of my favorite small school prospects. He has the size to hold up vs. the run, and has shown nice pass rushing skills recording 5.5 sacks last season.
DE LaBrandon Richardson Bethune-Cookman 6-2 225
Richardson is a player that might have to move to OLB due to a lack of bulk. He has been extremely productive at Bethune-Cookman since transferring from Central Florida in 2012 recording 117 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks.
OLB Zach Hodges Harvard 6-3 235
Hodges is another college defensive end who will have to make the switch to outside linebacker in the NFL due to a lack of size. Hodges shows a nice burst off the line of scrimmage, and the overall athletic ability to make the move to OLB.
MLB Tanner Burch Gardner Webb 6-3 250
Burch has been a tackling machine at Gardner-Webb leading the team in tackles for two consecutive seasons.
OLB Darius Allen Colorado State-Pueblo 6-3 239
Allen is a proven pass rushed leading Division II in sacks last season with 15.5. His production on the field allowed him to earn the Gene Upshaw Award which goes to the top lineman in Division II.
CB De’Vante Bausby Pitt State 6-2 180
Bausby is this week’s Player of the Week due to his outstanding physical skills. You rarely find a Division II corner that has Bausby’s size (6-2), and speed (4.44 40-yard dash).
S Keeston Terry Pitt State 6-3 198
Terry joins his teammate De’Vante Bausby as the only teammates to make the All-Small School defensive team. Terry is a natural athlete who shows good ball skills, and the natural instincts to be a force vs. the run.
S Jaquiski Tartt Samford 6-1 218
Tartt is a big physical safety who shows the ability to lay the big hit. Tratt is one of the leading candidates to be the top small school player drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft.
CB De’Ante Saunders Tennessee State 5-11 200
Saunders is a versatile player who has played both cornerback and safety in college. If he can stay out of trouble he should earn a third day draft grade.
Ten Football Thoughts
1. I think when November rolls around you will Ryan Williams as the starting quarterback at Miami. He is currently coming back from a torn ACL, and has recently begun jogging and throwing at practice. He is competing for the job with Jake Heaps, and Brad Kaaya.
2. I think Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry will be one of the top second round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has already impressed the team with his excellent hands, overall football intelligence, and kick return ability.
3. I think things are looking bleak for Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. Last week he lost three starters on his defense in LeRoy Alexander, Michael Rose, and Charles Jackson for the season. Pelini already enter the season on the hot seat, after less than stellar success at Nebraska the past couple of season. If Pelini is replaced keep an eye on Craig Bohl who would be a likely successor to Pelini
4. I think one quarterback that has stood out to me is Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke. He is an accurate pocket passer who completed 70% of his passes last season. He has great football intelligence as well throwing 33 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions last season. One concern I have with him is a lack of great arm strength.
5. I think one walk-on I hope makes the Northwestern football team is Tom Hruby. Hruby is a Navy Seal who is trying to walk-on to the Northwestern football team as a linebacker. He will obviously bring mental toughness and leadership ability to the team which are two important components of any successful team.
6. I think the Houston Texans will be in the market for a quarterback next season. The team should have a top pick to draft a player like Marcus Mariota or Brett Hundley. They could also go the free agent route and bring in a player like Brian Hoyer, or Carson Palmer
7. I think Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall’s best position in the NFL will be WR. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL, and has the speed and overall athletic ability to play WR. He could also move to defensive back which is a position he played at Georgia, but I prefer him at WR since he is a proven playmaker
8. I think one quarterback I am looking forward to seeing is Everett Golson of Notre Dame. Golson missed all of last season due to the fact he was academically ineligible, but led Notre Dame to the National Championship two seasons ago. He is an outstanding athlete who has the potential to be a high draft pick.
9. I think it is no surprise that Devin Gardner has been named the starting quarterback at Michigan. I wrote a story on Gardner a few weeks ago, and everyone I spoke to said Gardner would be the starter. I think the only reason Michigan didn’t name him the starter earlier in the season was due to fact Brady Hoke was trying to keep the pressure on Gardner.
10. I think Northwestern took a significant hit on offense this week with WR Christian Jones tearing his ACL, and RB Vernic Mark deciding to transfer. Jones led the team in receptions last year, and Mark is Northwestern’s fourth all-time leader in all purpose yards.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall called out senior WR Deon Long for dogging it in practice. … Georgia LB Ramik Wilson missed the start of spring practice due to a concussion, but has since returned to action. … TCU will block the move of Devonte Fields transferring to Stephen F. Austin. … Florida QB Jeff Driskel graduated last week. … Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon has been working on pass catching skills. … Duke TE Braxton Deaver was allowed to practice again this week. He had been held out by Duke head coach David Cutcliffe for non-injury reasons. … Oregon junior LT Tyler Johnstone will miss the season with a torn ACL. … Oklahoma has suspended junior LB Frank Shannon. …. Duke LB Kelby Brown tore his ACL this week, and will miss the season. … Tanner Lee beat out senior Nick Montana for the starting quarterback job at Tulane. …