Scouting Notes: 2014 BCS National Championship Game (Florida State vs. Auburn)

Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford had two sacks in his final collegiate game. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea — USA Today Sports)

Chris Davis, CB, Auburn, Sr.

-Outmuscled in press coverage, easily moved by wide receiver on running plays

-Lost footing in backpedal, recovered to force receiver inside and make arm tackle

-Falled down changing direction to leave receiver wide open

-Quick acceleration and fast, shifty runner on punt return

-Swatted ball away from tight, aggressive coverage

-Overplayed and sunk in to leave outside receiver open

-Wrapped up underneath receiver for tackle

-Slow out of stance and trailed receiver on catch, but made tackle from behind

-Dropped back to cover deep on a quarterback scramble

-Slow to bail out of coverage and play run

-Bobbled punt but recovered it

-Overran running back in backfield

-Quick break on shallow pass, made hit as ball got to receiver to force incompletion

-Punt bounced toward him and off his hands, loose ball recovered by Auburn

-Broke on wrong underneath defender

-Got off block to make tackle

-Slow to break on underneath receiver and took a bad angle

-Pass interference penalty called for hooking receiver from behind

Overview: A rough game for Davis culminated with giving up a big passing play, committing a pass interference penalty and giving up the game-winning touchdown on the last drive. Still, amongst the issues, he flashed some skill.

Most evident about Davis is his athleticism. When running in the open field on punt returns, he accelerates quickly and has good top-end speed. He is shifty but stiff in the hips, which is noticeable in coverage.

He did not get many opportunities to play press man coverage in this game, but he flashed that he could throw a runner off of his route at the line. He had trouble turning and running in coverage.

He is a willing run supporter who gets downfield quickly. He overpursues plays far too often and needs to learn to play more disciplined.

Davis is an athletic player, evidenced by his now-famous 109-yard missed field goal return to win the Iron Bowl against Alabama, but he needs to learn to play more disciplined and technical football to have a lasting career at the next level.

Dee Ford, DE, Auburn, Sr.

-Stayed down on snap and threw shoulder into tackle

-Fought through chip block, swam past offensive lineman, forced runner outside

-Good speed off edge but needs to get lower

-Held edge then reached quarterback quickly for sack

-Used inside arm to work outside and hold edge

-Came off block to run with running back on swing

-Worked outside to inside with some power, pursued quarterback downfield

-Relies on speed off edge, doesn’t use hands

-Stepped out before diving in and swimming through for sack

Overview: Ford showed off his athleticism and registered two sacks in his final collegiate game.

As a pass-rusher, he relies far too much on his athleticism, whether just speed off the edge or quickly changing direction. He under-utilizes his arms, especially when rushing outside, to create space. He also runs too upright.

He showed excellent discipline and football smarts in this game. He consistently contained the outside run and knew when to break and make the play. He plays with an excellent motor, never giving up on a play.

Ford’s fit at the next level will be interesting. He plays both stand-up and down on the line of scrimmage, but he has the motor and quickness to be a contributor.

Tre Mason, RB, Auburn, Jr.

-Read field, made a quick juke by defender, grinds for yardage after contact

-Caught swing pass, accelerated quickly, juked past safety for 12-yard catch-and-run touchdown

-Shows good mix of speed and power, tough to take down, low center of gravity

-Saw cutback before it developed, got outside and upfield quickly

-Readies and powers into contact

-Made a good jump-cut back inside, saw hole before it opened

-Squares up through hole and takes short steps

-Patiently surveyed field then burst through hole, ran through arm tackles

-Kept grinding through contact then spun out of crowd

-Jump-cut to outside hole, exploded through and ran over safety for 37-yard, go-ahead touchdown

Tre Mason continued to be the star of Auburn’s offense in the BCS National Championship Game. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea — USA Today Sports)

Overview: Mason had an outstanding game, rushing for 195 yards and a touchdown while also scoring a 12-yard touchdown off a reception.

Though most will see his quickness as his biggest asset, it’s his vision. Mason shows fantastic vision out of the backfield, often seeing running lanes before they even open.

His ability to blend quickness and power is just as appealing. He has the ability to explode through holes, juke defenders then run over defensive backs, as he did on his lone rushing touchdown.

Largely due to his short, stocky build, he has a low center of gravity and is difficult to tackle. He keeps his legs churning and fights for extra yards.

Mason, who declared for the draft Thursday, could compete to be the first running back off the board.

Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn, Sr.

-Squeezed through line, turned and walled off linebacker

-Mirrored outside blitzer, kept hands outside and on defender

-Totally whiffed on block

-Decent route but easily covered

-Reached defender but didn’t get arms out

-Maintained good bend, held ground in pass protection

-Hammered and cleared defender from hole

Overview: A fixture in the Auburn offense, Prosch moves all over the formation and sets up their big runs with his lead blocking.

As a lead blocker, Prosch does a good job of getting to the next level and walling off defenders. He’s not going to move many defenders and might have trouble cleaning up the hole at the next level. While he is fairly sound technically, he had trouble a few times in this game with getting his hands out before approaching defenders.

Prosch is purely a blocker who had just five receptions for Auburn each of the past two seasons, but for a team looking for a stout lead-blocking fullback, he could be a good fit.

Greg Robinson, LT, Auburn, R-So.

-Mauls lineman, takes opponent to ground with guard help

-Has quick dancer’s feet, stays low and gets under opponents’ pads

-Patiently saw delayed safety blitz and blocked out

-Slow in a drop and defensive end swam by for sack

-Ran over and knocked on his back by defensive end

-Got downfield and hastily took out safety

-Even, wide base, knee bender who gets hands out away from his body

-Flagged for a holding penalty

-Has poor kick-slide technique

-Strong lower half

-Got under defensive lineman and planted his opponent into ground

-Needs to shuffle better

Overview: Robinson, who declared for the NFL Draft on Wednesday, could be a top-10 selection and may sneak into the top five. He is raw and has technical issues, but the skills and athleticism he flashes have offensive line coaches salivating.

As a run blocker, Robinson is a mauler who pancakes defenders. He regularly stays low, keeps his feet under him and uses his strength to drive defenders back.

Pass blocking where his issues are. His kick slide is regularly poor, but he is able to use his athleticism at the collegiate level to hold the edge. That will not work well in the pros.

His hands also need work. He lacks a good punch and too often places his hands outside the defender’s frame, risking holding calls.

Still, Robinson’s potential is very appealing and he is likely to workout well due to his natural athleticism. Not only could Robinson sneak into the top five, but also he could be the first offensive lineman taken in the draft.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Auburn, BCS National Championship Game, Chris Davis, Christian Jones, Dee Ford, Florida State, Greg Robinson, Jay Prosch, Kelvin Benjamin, Lamarcus Joyner, Scouting Notes, Telvin Smith, Timmy Jernigan, Tre Mason

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