Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame’

2014 NFL Draft: 10 Prospects Whose Tape is Better Than Their Tools

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Chris Borland isn’t the biggest or fastest linebacker, but he makes plays every time he is on the football field. (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

In an ideal world, every prospect would have the prototypical size and athletic ability that scouts envision to play a given position, but that is far from the case. Despite that, every year rookies who didn’t check an important box still succeed at the professional level. Whether it’s Anquan Boldin and his 4.72-second 40-yard dash dominating at wide receiver, or London Fletcher playing linebacker at a high level for 16 seasons at a height of 5’10″, limited physical traits do not preclude a player from NFL success.

The 2014 NFL draft class has several players who perform well on tape but lack the desired physical tools for their positions.

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2014 NFL Scouting Combine Impressions: Day 3 (Defensive Line and Linebackers)

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Aaron Donald was the star among defensive linemen at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. (Photo: Pat Lovell — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

Monday’s on-field portion of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine featured the draft’s best defensive line and linebacker prospects as the depth of the draft continued to prove itself in workouts. While no prospect was able to officially record a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash, there was plenty of speed and athleticism on display alongside a few disappointments.

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Super Size Me: Big, Strong Guards in the 2014 NFL Draft

Friday, February 21st, 2014

The Buffalo Bills should be in the market for a guard on Day 2 of the draft, and UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo would be among their best options. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

Last offseason, the Buffalo Bills let left guard Andy Levitre go and failed to amply replace him. Doug Legursky and Colin Brown proved to be below average starters, and the offensive line, especially the interior, got pushed into the backfield enough to neutralize most of running back C.J. Spiller’s game-breaking ability.

Also needing to take pressure off of EJ Manuel, finding solid pieces to fill out the offensive line is of utmost importance to the Bills this offseason.

Some people have suggested drafting an offensive tackle like Auburn’s Greg Robinson or Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and shifting Cordy Glenn to right tackle or left guard, but most specifically, the Bills need to find someone who can fill the need at left guard. Based on Doug Marrone’s style of offense, the Bills are likely to look for a versatile offensive lineman who can block with power, but also has the athleticism to pull and get to the second level to help free running back C.J. Spiller.

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2014 NFL Draft: Linebacker Options to Fix Buffalo’s Run Defense

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

If the Buffalo Bills choose to improve their linebacker corps with the No. 9 overall pick, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is one possible option. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

The Buffalo Bills improved in many ways under a new coaching staff in 2013, but stopping the run continued to be a problem. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 129 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and 19 runs of longer than 20 yards.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso had a tremendous rookie year, totaling 159 tackles and two sacks, but he showed far more value in coverage, sometimes being swallowed up by blockers in run defense. If the Bills are going to get better against the run as a team, they need to spend the offseason adding more stout talent around Alonso in the linebacker corps.

With that in mind, the Bills should have their eyes on some of the following linebackers in the upcoming draft who excel against the run. Most of these players have experience in versatile defenses or possess skill sets that would lend themselves to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s hybrid system.

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2013 Pinstripe Bowl Prospect Preview: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

In what could be his final college football game, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt will be a player to watch Saturday. (Photo: Matt Cashore — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

Notre Dame and Rutgers will “play ball” when they face off in the Pinstripe Bowl (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Yankee Stadium. Both Notre Dame (8-4) and Rutgers (6-6) took a step backward in 2013 after strong 2012 seasons. The Fighting Irish had an unbelievable 2012 season, going 12-0 before getting throttled in the national title game against Alabama. Rutgers started the 2012 season 7-0 before finishing the season 2-4. Neither team could match its win total from the year before in 2013, but a win Saturday could get one team off on the right foot as they head into 2014.

While neither team had great 2013 seasons, both have talent headed to the 2014 NFL draft, though Notre Dame’s roster has more overall talent.

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