2013 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: Appalachian State v. East Carolina

RB Michael Dobson was a pleasant surprise in this game for the Pirates (Photo: US Presswire)

BIG 10 / BIG 12 / SEC / PAC 12 / ACC / BIG EAST / OTHER FBS / FCS
Appalachian State came into Greenville looking to pull off another miracle upset over a FBS opponent but fell short losing to East Carolina 35-14. More than a couple of good prospects to watch including a junior QB-WR combo that showed the potential to become special for the Mountaineers.

Appalachian State
OLB Brandon Grier 24
-Tries to fill the hole but gets swallowed up by OL
-Great read and play on 3rd down screen pass to stop back before he can pick up any yardage
-Runs extremely well in the open field
-Does a good job chasing down a play on the opposite side of the field
-Looks pretty good dropping into coverage
-Smooth backpedal and stays on balance
-Not sure he’s as instinctive as advertised
-Seems a step slow in his reaction time and isn’t quite able to stop the RB from turning the corner
-Wraps up very well
-Goes low on his tackles aiming for the hips and upper leg, very hard to shake once he gets his arms around you
-Closes quickly on the ball carrier
-Doesn’t deliver the big hit that some OLB’s tend to
Summary: Grier was among the most impressive prospects in this game, he had a strong game finishing second on the team in tackles. His ability to run and move in the open field was impressive and better than I had anticipated. Would like to see his reaction time and ability to handle blocks improve some.

MLB Jeremy Kimbrough 33
-Diagnoses running play well and gets through the hole and into the backfield
-Can’t get off the block
-Good delayed blitz after he saw the QB trying to escape the pocket, delivered a nice hit
-Lacks functional strength to take on blocks at the 2nd level
-Does not look comfortable in coverage
-Moves well laterally flowing to the hole in order to make a stop
-Gets lost in the wash again, really sees to struggle in traffic
-Doesn’t have the speed to get outside and make plays v. the running game
-Solid tackler, but doesn’t show the same consistent technique as Grier does on the outside
-Classic read and react LB who fills holes
-Size is an issue and will continue to be
Summary: I was not as impressed with Kimbrough as Grier on this day. Kimbrough moves well laterally but when asked to run and get outside he doesn’t have the speed to cut off those runs. His size appeared to be a huge issue v. a big ECU OL. He doesn’t have the strength to get off blocks and his arm length was detrimental as he struggled to make any kind of a move to get off blocks. His stat sheet says he led the team in tackles but he was not the best LB on his own team.

SAF Troy Sanders 9
-Great jump on the ball to get his hands in front of the WR to deflect the ball
-Kept his eyes on the ball and made a big INT
-Closes well on a reception a few yards in front of him, delivers a good hit
-Chases down bubble screen before the WR can even get back to the line of scrimmage
-Goes for INT and misses both the ball and the tackle
-Looks comfortable and is playing with a swagger
-Allows WR to get behind him for a big catch
-Comes up strong and fast in run support
-Tackles really well in the open field
-Comes down to cover the slot WR
-Comes into the box on run downs
Summary: Has all the makings of being a playmaker from the safety position that many have come to expect from him. He was aggressive and played down hill throughout the game which was what his team needed him to do. His INT was a combination of his aggression and athletic ability and really energized his team early on to go up 7-0.

QB Jamal Jackson* 12
-Quick release
-Looks the part
-Smooth roll out
-Abusing ECU on the underneath routes
-Recognizes coverage and puts the ball in a position for his man to beat his defender
-Making quick reads and decision
-Ball is accurate and on time
-Takes a designed QB keeper into the endzone for a touchdown, good vision and acceleration
-Rolls right and has Washington open down the sideline but can’t keep the pass inbounds
-Feels pressure and starts to scramble, get tackled from behind going for extra yardage and fumbles the ball that is recovered for a TD
-Taking what the defense gives him, not forcing the ball
-Starting to see some effects from an unclean pocket, pressure coming up the middle
-Forcing the ball down the field and into coverage
-Mechanically he looks clean, compact throwing motion with plenty of torque
-Ball comes flying out of his hand, plenty of arm strength
-Defense has clamped down on the underneath stuff daring throws down the field and Jackson has not adjusted
-Passes are off target and the game is getting out of hand
-Needs to be a better leader on the field when times get tough, did not see him on the sideline keeping his teammates spirits up
Summary: Jackson was my favorite prospect coming into this game but he didn’t perform up to a standard that Im used to seeing him perform at. From an athletic and technical point of view he’s got all the tools. He’s tall, his mechanics are clean, and he beat you with a big arm or with his ability to run. He’s a guy many NFL teams want to see but he has to do more in games like this to lead the team. The lack of Brian Quick to get deep and open up the defense really hampered Jackson and this offense.

WR Tony Washington* 15
-Quick hips, makes a guy miss and gets forward for another 4-5 yards
-Had beaten the CB but Jackson couldn’t beat him streaking down the sideline
-Well run wheel route to beat CB
-Explosive speed
-Runs a lot of short routes, many of them crossing underneath zone coverage with drags
-Not a lot of route discipline
-Can be bumped off route by physical DB, doesn’t have the size or strength to deal with physical play
-Would like to see him run more routes down the field
-His first move after the catch is very quick, has the ability to make you miss consistently
-Gets hands out in front of him to make the catch
-When given the ball in space he has the ability to break a big play
Summary: A little disappointed in the small sample of routes we saw Washington to run. I would like to evaluate him further as a route runner but with how App State used him it was impossible. He is a fast twitch athlete though with great speed and quickness. His ability to make you miss makes him a dangerous player and he could develop into the big play threat Jamal Jackson badly needs.

East Carolina
RB Michael Dobson* 35
-Quick feet
-Changes direction well
-Fast through the hole
-Seems to identify the lane quickly showing off impressive vision
-Some lateral movement but not going to make a ton of players miss
-Quicker than fast
-Seems to find another gear in the open field to pull away some
-Soft hands out of the backfield
-Adept at picking up the blitz
-Nice strength to run through arm tackles for a solid gain
-Would like to see more awareness in the open field to find blockers to run behind
Summary: An impressive game for Dobson as he went over 100 total yards and showed off some nice running ability. Reminds me a bit of Jonathan Williams who was there a few years ago and got over looked by a number of people. Dobson should be able to really help out QB Rio Johnson as he gets settled into this offense.

DT Michael Brooks 92
-Does well to disengage and make a play on the running back
-Getting good pushed against under sized OL
-App State is really struggling to block Brooks one on one with his size and power
-Doing well to come out of his stance low and get up under the small offensive lineman and really push him back into the pocket
-His push is really disrupting Jackson’s timing
-Not playing with great leverage but his strength is too much for App State
-Still getting some push (though less) even when facing the double team
-Really closing up the running lanes that App State is trying to use
-Almost no blockers are getting to the second level since they can’t handle Brooks
-Hand placement is good but not great
-Technically speaking it wasn’t a great game from Brooks but his speed and strength were dominating
Summary: There was a lot to likes from Brooks in this game and it was maybe one of his most dominating performances. The level of competition has to be considered and it was evident on tape that App State was over matched but even still Brooks did what he was supposed to and dominated the interior against an inferior opponent. It will be interested to see if his lack of technique bites him as he goes up against better lineman in the C-USA.

Tags: Applachian State, ECU, Jamal Jackson, Michael Brooks

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