Wednesday, April 2, 2008

USC Pro Day Write Up: Part 2

by: Michael Steffes

Ok, part deux. In this write up I am going to go player by player and tell you what I saw. Some will have more than other, because some people did more things, or stood out more through out the day. Here we go...

I will start with Sam Baker, G/T. He was the first of the prospects to run. The only announced time was his second, 5.4. Not so hot. First off though, Sam Baker seems to be a cool dude. He has a sweet beard and just looks like a lumberjack. I think that alone makes him a good prospect myself. All kidding aside, I started off not so impressed with Baker. The running drills do not highlight his skills well. He looked very solid in the O-line drills. However, I am just not sold on Baker ever being a left tackle, maybe never being a tackle. I think he will make a better guard. My opinion on Baker is really this. He needs to play with good guys around him. If he was in the middle of an all pro tackle and a veteran center he would look great. However, if he is on an island with a top DE, he may look foolish.

Will Collins, LS.... I will keep this one short and simple. His snapping looked good. He had good velocity and seemed to be very accurate. He was also a lot more nimble than a normal lineman. However, this was also due to the fact that he was a lot smaller than the normal lineman. He did do all the running drills. My guess was that he was trying to showcase that he was a pretty athletic guy. He will be a free agent, I am sure, so who knows, if the Hawks want him, I am sure they will have their choice of free agent long snappers. It may be the best place for a guy to win a job.

Fred Davis, TE..... Freddy my man, I wanted so bad to tell everyone that you are legit. But I can't. Fred just doesn't seem very focused in these situations. He is a gamer I guess. Anyway, I touched on a lot of my thoughts on Davis in the previous work up. When he runs, he has really long strides. He seems to be agile, but got frustrated easily when having problems with the three cone. In position drills, he caught everything thrown his way but one ball, which was partially off target. At the combine, he looked like he was an excellent route runner, but I didn't really see that today. He has some moves, but nothing spectacular. He is in excellent shape, but I am not sure he could get bigger with out giving up some of his speed and mobility.

Hershel Dennis, RB... I thought I would include a note about Dennis because I spent a little while talking with his father. Dennis will probably not be drafted. He has already had several knee surgeries. He reminds me a little of a Leon Washington type player. He has a rock solid build and is kind of a little guy, at least compared to a lot of the guys. He looks fast when he runs, but his times were a bit disappointing at 4.64 & 4.7. Hard not to root for a guy he came back after two knee reconstructions to a team that had a depth chart 7 deep. I hope he catches on somewhere.

Sedrick Ellis, DT.... Sed is a freakin' monster. He walked right up near me to sign a guys football. You will see the picture of him up close. He looked like he has lost some weight since the combine. His midsection looked much tighter. His 40 times were 5.0 and 5.08, but who cares. He killed it during d line drills. It brought huge cheers. At one point, during the drill with the punching bag like dummies, the one representing the QB had a ball on top of it. Sed hit the ball as if he were coming blind side, and the ball went 30 yards. He is extremely athletic for his size. My only complaint was that he seemed to get winded quickly and didn't last very long in the hand fighting drill to measure quickness and endurance.

Alex Morrow, DL... Morrow was a bit overshadowed by Ellis and Jackson in the D Line stuff. You wouldn't pick him as D Linemen if you didn't know it. I am not sure where he expects to be drafted, but it won't be high, if at all. He seemed like a real try hard guy who was just a bit short on the genes. His 40 times were 4.93 and 4.76.

Keith Rivers, LB.... Keith stole the show. From his opening forty of 4.5 all the way through his position drills. He is just a very large and well toned individual who can flat out fly. He had great change of direction. He showed good quickness in the drills. He caught the ball pretty well. Overall, he just impressed. Lots of ooohs and ahhhs when Rivers was working. He will probably be a top 15 pick now for sure.

Matt Spanos, C.... Spanos was a funny guy to watch. He was kind of the sterotypical fat lineman. He had a big gut and was not well toned. He ran 5.35, ouch! At first I was feeling dumb for including him in my draft preview, even if it was round 7, but as the drills started, he looked good. All of the USC linemen were well coached. He had good footwork and was able to really hold his ground. I thought he showed the ability to get good leverage. While the upside is clearly limited, I saw very little difference between him and Radovich, and they seemed as if they are going to be decent pros. They will struggle with speed guys, which is why they play inside.

Tarrell Thomas, CB.... I didn't get to watch Thomas very much. He ran 4.5 and 4.57 which is ok I guess. The few moments I did see him, he doing a drill in which they have their back turned as if they are in coverage and then turn and find the ball. He dropped two. I would say that is why he is a corner, but at this level, you better catch those and take them to the house. Funny, if this was two weeks ago, I would have been watching the corners and not the linebackers.

Chauncey Washington, RB... Chauncey made himself some money today, even if it was only a little. He ran fast with 4.43 and 4.35. He is also built like a brick. He may end up being the late round steal everybody is looking for at running back. Also, he was very good during the throwing drills. He catches the ball very well without losing speed. He is very fluid as a receiver. I believe there are some injury concerns, but I am not positive about what it was. I liked Chauncey a lot after the Senior Bowl. I like him a lot more now. I just wonder how high he may go.

Ok, I am cutting it off here for now. The reason I have glossed over some of the big name guys is that they didn't run the 40, so they come later in my little notebook. So, stay tuned and I will break down guys like Rachel, Radovich, Booty and Jackson. Right now, I am going to work on the pictures for you guys.