2014 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: 9/27/2013 Utah State at San Jose State

September 28th, 2013

Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton outplayed his counterpart in a win over David Fales and San Jose State (Photo: news.hjnews.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Last night Utah State went on the road and throttled the Spartans of San Jose State 40-12.  The two quarterbacks were the primary draw for the TV audience, but an offensive lineman wound up standing out as perhaps the game’s most impressive NFL prospect.  Here’s a look at how some of the draft-eligible players from both side performed last night.

UTAH STATE

#16 QB Chuckie Keeton

  • Drops and plants and connects on his first pass – a quick hitter to the left sideline
  • Read option hand off followed by a play fake that results in a short completion to the right sideline
  • Drops, dances, nobody open so he takes off and runs around the right edge for a first down on third and 12
  • Play fake and fires the ball – slightly behind his receiver – but in for a three yard TD – quick release on display and a strong throw
  • Play action, rolls and decides to take off again and run for a first down
  • Deep drop – pump fake and rolls right – fires downfield and draws a pass interference flag – second time one of his deep throws has done that
  • Play action, gets flushed right and fires back across his body to the middle of the field for a completion
  • Play action, rolls right and connects on a short TD to the wide open FB
  • Very athletic and adept at avoiding pressure – tries to step up initially on this play, then reverses field and rolls out before throwing it away
  • Keeper, makes a stutter step and bounces it outside for a seven yard gain
  • On the next play he is able to bounce outside for a first down run after it looked like he be stuffed in the middle
  • Misses on a fade to his WR in the red zone but looked like a slight miscommunication – the ball went over the wrong shoulder
  • Drops, nobody open, able to roll again and run for a first down
  • Combo of quick release and zip on the intermediate throws is a plus – especially combined with his elusiveness
  • Pump fakes the WR screen and looks back to the middle – finds man coverage and hits the open man for a fairly easy TD
  • Play fake keeper around the left edge for a short TD run from the red zone

Overview: Keeton’s combination of arm and athleticism is intriguing, but he sometimes commits to taking off and running a little too early.  He is just a junior, so he has time to develop in this area – and to be fair, he did make a couple of nice throws while rolling right and keeping his eyes down field.  Keeton is an energetic leader, and was impressive in this win.  He isn’t likely to declare for the 2014 draft, but is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

#58 C Tyler Larsen

  • Fires out into run block and looks for a second level pickup
  • Getting into his pass protection quickly and looks comfortable
  • Fires out and gets a head on block in the red zone and has the presence to slide to his right just enough to chip the LB and keep him out of the play – results in a TD run called back for a penalty on another lineman
  • Strong legs and gets good push on a head on block on a power running play
  • Stout pass protection on a red zone pass – doesn’t budge an inch
  • Displaying excellent strength – comes up too high on a run block but still is able to drive his man forward
  • Gets his block in pass pro, then rolls with his QB to peel back and get a piece of a defender on a first down run
  • Just a couple of times by the end of the first half he has let his man go a shade too early – could be looking ahead a little too early
  • Blocks his man head on and then kicks to his left to help open a lane on a short red zone run that gets close to a TD

Overview: Larsen was the most impressive 2014 prospect on the field Friday night, consistently driving his opponent off the ball on running plays, and displaying excellent form in pass protection.  Perhaps most impressive is that the senior center can improvise and pick up extra blocks when Keeton freelances.  Larsen plays with a nasty streak and exhibits strength in his lower and upper body.  He appears to be one of the top, if not the top center in the upcoming draft class.

 

SAN JOSE STATE

#10 QB David Fales

  • Play fake and rolls right but nobody open and throws it away out of bounds
  • Shoulder fake pump and overthrows his man deep in the end zone
  • Gets some pressure and flings it a long way across the field to the right sideline but only a short completion
  • Sets up the screen and gets rid of it while falling away – complete but short of the first down on a third down play
  • Drops, gets pressure and throws off his back foot a little – throw is into traffic and intercepted, but the play is negated by a roughing the passer call
  • Drops and tries to fit one in between the corner and safety down the left sideline but the ball sails and is too high for his open WR
  • Fourth and nine and he drops one in perfectly to a well covered WR down the left sideline – easily his best pass of the day to this point
  • Throws a fade to the back corner of the end zone but just looked like he put it up for grabs – overthrows the WR
  • Nice pass on the slant that would have gone for a TD but the ball goes through the WR’s hands
  • Throws to a spot – miscommunication – ball is thrown short and WR is going down field – lucky to not be picked off
  • Nobody open down the field and checks down to the RB for a minimal gain on second and long
  • Avoids pressure and rolls right – throws on the move and delivers a strike down the right sideline to convert on third down
  • Flares it out to the RB but throws it wide and incomplete
  • On third and six he fires a strong throw down the middle for a completion after looking to his left and seeing nobody open
  • Gets pressured and throws off his back foot – poor throw to a wide open WR who makes an outstanding adjustment t make the diving catch and salvage the play
  • Draws a flag on the deep ball with a pump fake
  • Gets pressured and steps up in the pocket – finds his WR on the left sideline – catch and run is called a TD initially but overturned
  • Throws the fade but doesn’t get it high enough to keep the DB from breaking it up
  • Tries to step up from pressure on a two-point attempt and takes a sack – has to unload the ball in that situation

Overview: Fales had a rough showing and continues his descent down draft boards.  He is a rhythm passer who does not possess the strongest arm, so his decision-making has to be on point.  On this night he made a couple of awful decisions, a number of poor throws, and was betrayed by a few drops.  Once touted as a potential first round draft pick, Fales looks more like a mid-rounder and potential NFL backup.

#31 LB Keith Smith

  • Brushes off a block and fires into the backfield for a tackle for loss
  • Combines for another TFL on the following run play
  • Fires into the backfield on the draw play but blows right past the RB
  • Makes the stop on an outside run but dives and commits a horse collar tackle penalty
  • Good effort in pursuit – getting in on tackles on plays run away from him and down the field
  • Tries to get into the backfield on a fourth quarter run but over-pursues and runs past the RB
  • Knifes into the backfield to get a hit on the RB behind the line of scrimmage but can’t wrap up

Overview: Smith was impressive early, but while he was credited for having a hand in 20 tackles (and 71 in four games so far this year!) many occurred at the end of a positive Utah State play.  Still, Smith worked hard and mostly showed good instincts and a nose for the ball. His tackle numbers may be over-inflated, but he was still the best defensive player on the field for the Spartans.

#89 WR Chandler Jones

  • Makes a strong, hands catch down the middle of the field on a big third down conversion
  • Terrific adjustment to a poorly thrown ball – he was wide open but twisted back toward the sideline to save the play and make a diving catch
  • Tries to make a catch on a jump ball fade to the back corner but the ball isn’t high enough and the pass is broken up

Overview: Jones was the go-to guy for Fales – easily his most reliable target – and finished the game with seven catches for 115 yards.  Jones doesn’t have great size, but he showed solid hands and run after the catch ability, as well as outstanding body control in bailing his QB out on a poorly thrown pass.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Chandler Jones, Chuckie Keeton, David Fales, Keith Smith, NFL Draft, San Jose State, Scouting Notes, Tyler Larsen, Utah State

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