Scouting Notes: UCLA vs. Nebraska (9/14/13)

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez made some plays early against UCLA, but he is more likely to have NFL success by switching positions. (Photo: Bruce Thorson — USA Today Sports)

Nebraska

#16 DB Stanley Jean-Baptiste

-Whiffed on open-field tackle of WR Evans

-Good twisting catch on low ball for interception, baited the quarterback well

-Good return down sideline, showed surprising speed

-Quickly recognized run, helps make play inside

-Physical, good press corner

-Reached around receiver and swatted pass while in pursuit

-Liability against faster receivers, got beat a few times

Overview: Jean-Baptiste is a tall, big, physical cornerback who does very well in press coverage. Listed at 6’3” and 220 pounds, he is tough match for any receiver. He is also good in run support, using his size to his advantage here.

What you gain in size, however, you lose in speed. Speedy receivers could run away from him.

Having converted from wide receiver to cornerback before his sophomore season, he shows good instincts for the position. As a former receiver, his hands were also evident in the impressive adjustment he made to intercept an off-target pass.

Jean-Baptiste is still a bit raw at the cornerback position, but his size and physicality are very tempting elements for his football future.

#61 OG Spencer Long

-Drives through, gets great push up front

-Scans the field, good awareness

-Able to slide and pick up stunt on outside edge

-Creates seal to open huge hole

-Once he gets hands on second-level defender, they don’t get away

-Looks quick on pull, but didn’t seem to go too deep

Overview: Long had a quality game at right guard. He was adequate as a pass-blocker and won the battle in the run game consistently.

Against the pass, he held up to inside pressure and akept his head on a swivel, recognizing an outside rusher on one play and showing good lateral quickness to pick him up.

Against the run, he controlled the point-of-attack and opened up holes around him. He gets a good push off the line and gets his hands inside quickly.

Long is a prototypical right guard with starting potential in the NFL.

#3 QB Taylor Martinez

-Threw high to WR Bell, threw off back foot with no forward drive

-Bad footwork, sits in pocket and slightly shuffles rather than stepping up

-Doesn’t use lower body when throwing

-Arm motion is quick and compact but awkward looking

-Release is not high enough, looks like he is shotputting the ball

-Good runner, doesn’t always seize the opportunity to run

-Needs to know when to eat it and hold the ball when defender is right on top of him

-Ball goes upward out of hand rather than just straight out, and lacks any real zip

-Tough, takes hits and gets right back up

-Doesn’t feel pressure in the pocket well

-Fumbled, did not count because of false start penalty

-Throws to open receivers, doesn’t throw receivers open

Overview: Martinez started out strong, passing for three touchdowns in the first half. Ultimately, he leveled out and Nebraska did not score at all in the second half.

He had a quality passing day, but still many issues with his passing were exposed. His throwing motion is awkward-looking to say the least. Though much improved from where he was years ago, he doesn’t use his lower body, and though his arm motion is quick and compact, it flies up out of his hand more than out.

Fumbles also seem to be a problem. He fumbled twice against UCLA and had another fumble that would have been lost had it not been reverse by a penalty. His ball security is atrocious and requires major attention.

He runs well with quick acceleration and decent vision. While he won’t run anyone over, he doesn’t shy from contact either.

Martinez’s NFL future is not at quarterback, but rather wide receiver or running back where he can use his quick burst out in space.

#71 OT Jeremiah Sirles

-Lateral movement isn’t remarkable at all (at right tackle)

-Played both left and right tackle

-Looks more comfortable moving to his left

-Sustains and finishes blocks

-Handled bull rush of LB Barr well

Overview: Sirles shifted between left and right tackle, spending most of the latter half of the game on the left side.

On the right side he looked uncomfortable, and sliding to his right on passing plays looked forced. When he moved to the left side, he looked much more comfortable.

From the left side he looked like a different tackle, he controlled the line of scrimmage better on runs and absorbed the bull-rush from Anthony Barr.

Sirles showed quality blocking from the left side, but he’ll need to work on playing on the right. He’ll likely make it into a camp competing for a backup spot, and the more versatile he can be the better.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Anthony Barr, Brett Hundley, Cassius Marsh, Jeremiah Sirles, Jordan Zumwalt, Nebraska, Scouting Notes, Shaquelle Evans, Spencer Long, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Taylor Martinez, UCLA, Xavier Su'a-Filo

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