Posts Tagged ‘James Hurst’

2014 NFL Draft Positional Breakdowns: Offensive Tackle

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is the cream of this year’s offensive tackle crop. (Photo: John David Mercer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

At least one offensive tackle has been selected among the first 10 selections in every draft but one (2005) since 2000. Premier talents like Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson, who I compared in-depth earlier this draft season, make it a near certainty that the trend will continue this year.

It would not be surprising to see Taylor Lewan join that mix and make this year’s draft the second consecutive with three top-10 offensive tackle selections.

An average of 19 offensive tackles have been selected in the last five drafts. I have draftable grades on 23 tackles this year which is a testament to the depth of this class. Intriguing offensive tackle talents can be found in every round of this year’s draft.

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2013 Belk Bowl Prospect Preview: North Carolina vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Playing in his final college football game, North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is the top draft prospect to watch in the Belk Bowl. (Photo: Bob Donnan — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

North Carolina (6-6) started the season 1-5 before winning five of its last six games to become bowl-eligible and face Cincinnati (9-3) in Saturday’s Belk Bowl (3:20 p.m, ESPN). Cincinnati enters the game on a hot streak of its own, having won six of their last seven games.

North Carolina has made a habit of producing NFL prospects without having the onfield success to accompany their talent. That said, the headline player in this matchup, tight end Eric Ebron, has caught 55 passes for 895 yards and three touchdowns this season, proving himself as a player any NFL quarterback should want to have in their arsenal of weapons.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Offensive Tackle Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Jake Matthews could follow in the footsteps of the three offensive tackles who were top 5 draft selections in 2013. (Photo: Thomas Campbell — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

The 2013 NFL draft proved that offensive tackle is considered one of the league’s premier positions, as three offensive tackles were selected among the first four selections. The top offensive tackle in this year’s senior class, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, may be even better than last year’s offensive tackles.

The team who draft Matthews will likely not have to worry about their left tackle spot for a long time. Overall, the senior class of offensive tackles for the 2014 NFL draft has good depth, with many players who have starter upside.

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James Hurst, A Top Draft Prospect Faced With Taking On Jadeveon Clowney

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

North Carolina left tackle James Hurst’s game will be put to the test Thursday night against South Carolina superstar defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. (Photo: Steve Mitchell — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

College football, and arguably its biggest star, will be back in action Thursday at 6 p.m., when superstar South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a game televised nationally by ESPN.

The bulk of the attention leading up to this game has been placed on Clowney, and rightfully so: the junior is a virtually unanimous choice as college football’s best defensive player, is coming off of a 13-sack season and is projected to be a top-two selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

That said, Clowney isn’t the only top prospect playing in Thursday night’s college football season opener. The second-best prospect in the game may be North Carolina left tackle James Hurst, the player Clowney will spend most of his night lining up directly across from.

Going into his senior season, Hurst is a legitimate first-round candidate for the 2014 draft. He is a very well-rounded offensive tackle with the all-around game to start on either side of the line, but to be a top draft pick in a class full of offensive tackle talent, Hurst must continue to get even better in his senior season.

Hurst starts his season with an opportunity to make a name for himself, for better or for worse. Facing Clowney will be the toughest test of his college football career, and it is likely that Hurst’s flaws will be exposed. But if Hurst can hold his own and conversely prove to be a tough test for Clowney, he will impress scouts and could vault himself into the top tier of offensive tackle prospects.

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2014 NFL Draft: Atlantic Coast Conference Sleepers to Watch

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Michael Campanaro could be a 2014 NFL draft sleeper as a small, shifty slot receiver. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis

The Atlantic Coast Conference has consistently been one of the top conferences in producing NFL talent throughout the last decade.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins are receiving much of the focus heading into the 2013 college football season, but plenty of talent with 2014 NFL draft potential exists throughout the ACC.

31 players from the ACC were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, second only to the Southeastern Conference. The additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse this season add even more talent to the conference.

Let’s take a look at some lesser-hyped prospects in the ACC who should be names to watch leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest

It can be easy to overlook Michael Campanaro. Listed at a generous 5’11” and 190 pounds, Campanaro may not look like a top receiver, but he has been one of the most productive receivers in the ACC over the past two seasons.

He has caught 152 passes over the last two seasons, including an ACC-best 7.9 receptions per game last season.

Campanaro’s versatility is his greatest asset. He is used all over the field, but his best work comes from the slot, from where he finds holes in the middle of the field and creates mismatches against linebackers.

He uses his quickness and deceptive speed to create space. He has run a 4.41 40-yard dash time, according to Wake Forest’s athletics website.

Campanaro has a knack for finding holes in the defense, but he needs to refine his route running a bit more. He is also a natural pass catcher with some of the best hands of the 2013 draft class.

After the catch, Campanaro can make poor tackling teams pay. He came to Wake Forest as a running back, which his shifty running style shows. He can even come in motion and take handoffs on sweeps. He has 47 carries for 228 yards and two touchdowns in his college career.

With the exception of his route running, there are few weaknesses in Campanaro’s game. He does need to find the end zone more often and perhaps bulk up a bit, but for the most part, he’s a solid receiver who can contribute in the NFL right away.

With another solid season, Campanaro could possibly be a Day 2 draft selection.

Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh

With 16.5 sacks over the last two season, Aaron Donald has shown he is a fierce interior penetrator, but questions about his size keep him from being an elite prospect.

Listed at 6′ and 275 pounds, what position Donald will play and where he fits defensive schemes are huge question marks.

Despite his lack of size, he was able to use his quickness, strength and length to shed blockers and get into backfields. He led the Big East last season with 18.5 tackles for loss.

A smart player with a great motor, scouts and coaches will have a difficult time trying not to like Donald. As previously mentioned, size is the big question mark that will force him down draft boards.

Donald filed paperwork with the NFL Draft Advisory Committee last season, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but returned for his senior season.

As long as he doesn’t regress, Donald is a mid-round pick who should fit in a defense as an interior pass rushing specialist. He has the skill set and production to be a steal in the draft.



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