2014 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: 10/12/2013 Texas A&M at Ole Miss

October 17th, 2013

Johnny Manziel completed 31 of 39 passes and ran for two touchdowns in a close win over Ole Miss last weekend (Photo: newsday.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Most folks in the college football and NFL Draft community expect 2013 to be Johnny Manziel’s last as an amateur.  Last Saturday, the reigning Heisman winner and his Texas A&M teammates descended on Oxford, Mississippi to take on an Ole Miss team that had lost two straight games after a 3-0 start.  The Rebels mounted a spirited defense of their home field but were ultimately handed their third consecutive defeat on a last second field goal.  Here’s a look at how some of the draft eligible players from both sides fared that night.

TEXAS A&M

#2 QB Johnny Manziel

  • QB draw on the first play – initial cutback leaves a defender on the ground then cuts back up the middle for a big gain – drags the pile for extra yards at the end of the run
  • Excellent vision as a runner – impressive elusiveness
  • Delivers a quick hit complete to the slot WR on the left side – leads him out in front to allow yards after the catch but just a little wider than he’d like
  • QB run on third and three – great burst through the hole and follows his blockers
  • Takes off on a drop back and tries to go wide right but nobody is there to pick up a block on the DB
  • Nice timing on the screen – falling away as he throws hits the RB in stride
  • Deep drop – looks right first then back left and connects down the field to the back shoulder of his slot receiver – great spin and ball placement for a big gain on third and seven
  • Holds the ball – tons of time – then tries to run to his left and throw on the run – throws wide and goes down in pain as he lets go of the ball
  • Steps into a strong throw deep down the middle – once again he has plenty of time to throw
  • Threads a needle on a short slant – just a hair behind the WR but still in stride
  • Fires the ball down the seam to the right and puts it right on the WRs hands – ball is broken up by two DBs – on called for a personal foul on the hit
  • Showing better arm strength than last season
  • Quick throw out to the right – all arm, low arm angle and good ball placement out in front of his WR
  • Good timing and accurate throw to the left sideline – falling away as he lets go
  • Fires between two defenders and in front of a third down the middle for a first down in the red zone – plenty of time
  • Drops back and sees a run lane open – takes off and makes a terrific open field move to fake a defender out of his shoes before diving in for a short TD
  • Carries the ball loosely and away from his body at times – appears to have large hands
  • Soft pump fake sells the screen and throws over the middle to the TE – good zip on the ball and a high release point – puts his lower body into his throws
  • Looks right and throws late across the middle – tries to force it between three defenders and gets picked off in the end zone
  • Rolls right and throws across the middle high where only his WR can get it in the back of the end zone but the pass is broken up with a hit – throw was all arm off his back foot but on target and could have been caught
  • Steps up from pressure and is cut down for a loss – couldn’t beat the LB to the outside
  • Delivery almost whip-like at times – gives the appearance of falling away but he is using his hips and torso to get more on the ball
  • Loses a fumble on a run up the middle early in the fourth quarter – ball security is an issue when h carries the ball away from his body
  • At times he is holding the ball too long and creating pressure on himself
  • Fires one to the left sideline – string throw and a tight spiral to the outside shoulder of his WR
  • Getting excellent protection and throws a strike deep down the middle between two defenders and in front of two others – a rope
  • Pump fake and completes a hitch to the slot WR – takes a shot as he throws and defender is called for a personal foul
  • Steps into his throw and fires deep middle for another big completion – excellent ball placement
  • On fourth and seven drops way back and has great protection – sees a lane open and sprints ahead for about 15 yards – delivers a blow at the end of the run and takes a shot in the process
  • Rolls right and stops on a dime – reverses field and sprints to the left wide and dives for a TD at the corner
  • Good timing on his crossing routes setting his WRs up for yards after the catch

Overview: Manziel’s vision as a runner and ability to make defenders miss in the open field caused headaches for the Rebels’ defense all day long.  He is clearly one of the most – if not the most – dangerous ball carriers in all of college football.  The threat of Manziel taking off and running for 15 yards on any play (especially on a fourth and long!) made him nearly impossible to defend, even for the talented and speedy Ole Miss defense.  To make matters more difficult for his opposition, Manziel’s arm strength and ball placement appear to have improved significantly since his 2012 Heisman season ended.  It would appear that the redshirt sophomore spent every bit as much time during the offseason working on his game as he did carousing.  Manziel’s unorthodox delivery and tendency to improvise (and hold the ball too long) make him difficult to evaluate; but his ability to create with his arm and legs, his quick release, and his on-field leadership make him impossible to dismiss.  Off-the-field concerns aside, Manziel now looks the part of a top 40 draft choice (an idea that yours truly would have scoffed at prior to the season), and could come off the board as early as the top 10-15 picks of the draft.

#75 OT Jake Matthews

  • Steers his man out wide on the QB draw
  • Drives his man well down the field and tosses him at the end of an eight yard QB run on third and three
  • Completely neutralizes his man in pass protection while the QB surveys the action – tons of time
  • Brick wall on a deep throw down the middle – barely gives up an inch
  • Helps open a big hole to the left on a run play but the RB misses the hole
  • Nice job sliding to his left in pass protection – doesn’t allow his man a lane to the inside or outside
  • Terrific protection late in the game allowing a clean pocket on two consecutive strikes down the middle
  • Rock steady in pass protection and not allowing defenders to cut back inside on him

Overview: Matthews was a rock in pass protection and kept Manziel’s blindside clean all day long.  The senior offensive lineman is a terrific athlete with quick feet, and has proven his ability to succeed at right or left tackle.  Against Ole Miss, Matthews consistently demonstrated proficiency in run blocking and pass protection, making it easy to see why many scouts consider him a top five overall talent.

#70 OT Cedric Ogbuehi

  • Locks up his man on the outside on a the QB draw
  • Looking for a man to block on a drop back and when the QB takes off he is a tad late trying to pick up the DB – QB tried to take it way wide to the right
  • Shoves away one man and then looks good mirroring the LB in pass protection
  • Slides with his man to the right and doesn’t allow him by – gives the QB plenty of time to deliver a throw deep down the middle
  • Gets up a little high – loses some leverage in pass protection but uses long arms to keep his man at bay
  • Gets beat around the edge but uses his length to steer the pass rusher outside
  • Called for a false start in the red zone on a second down play
  • Nice job mirroring his guy on a strike down the middle in the fourth quarter
  • Takes his man wide and out of the picture on a pass rush attempt late in the game
  • Steers his man wide then anticipates the spin back to the inside

Overview: After seeing time at guard early in his career, Ogbuehi has taken over at right tackle with Matthews moving to the left side.  Last weekend, the junior lineman flashed the ability that has helped him climb up draft boards all season.  Ogbuehi used his athleticism and long arms to make up for his lack of polish, and was equally effective in the running and passing games.  He has already stated that he plans to return for his senior season in 2014.

#51 G Jarvis Harrison

  • Seals off the running lane to the inside on a QB draw
  • Bent back at the waist on a pass rush but recovers and digs in and holds his ground – doesn’t give up pressure
  • Gets out in front blocking on a screen pass
  • Shoves a man down clearing some room on a short TD run by the RB
  • Nice job picking up a blitzing LB on a short run – gets pushed back a bit but mostly absorbs the blow
  • Picks up a block at the second level and then peels back on a TD run in the red zone
  • Helps open a big hole to the left on a run play but the RB misses the hole
  • Stout in pass protection on a pass down the middle in the red zone
  • Picks up the DL on a drop back and pancakes him when the QB starts to take off
  • Excellent job picking up the LB and driving him to the inside and out of the play on a TD run in the red zone midway through the fourth quarter
  • Stones his man at the line of scrimmage on a crossing route late in the game

Overview: Often overshadowed by his linemates to the outside, Harrison played a terrific game against the Rebels.  In pass protection he was typically an immovable object and in the running game he made some excellent blocks at the line of scrimmage and at the second level.  Harrison is a redshirt junior and has not yet given any indication that he will forgo his senior season, but he certainly caught the attention of scouts with a strong performance last weekend.

#1 RB Ben Malena

  • Nice job following his blocks on a well-executed screen for a solid gain
  • Jump cut in the backfield frees him up then picks his way through traffic to score the TD – good balance not to go down and fights for extra yards at the end of the run to get into the end zone
  • Misses a huge hole to his left and runs into the back of his blockers
  • Out of the pistol he follows his blocks and carries ahead for about seven yards
  • Good burst to the line of scrimmage but can’t avoid the DB flying over from left to right

Overview: Malena ran hard, hit the hole quickly, and generally did well to follow his blocks.  He is not a real home run threat, but is a reliable all-around back who should come off the board sometime in the latter stages of Day Three of the draft.

#13 WR Mike Evans

  • Gets both hands on a ball deep down the seam but pass is broken up – DB called for a personal foul on the play
  • Takes the quick pass, stutter steps and hurdles a defender trying to tackle low – gets to the first down marker
  • Makes the catch on a quick screen and is cut down almost immediately
  • Gets wide open on a crossing route late and picks up yards after the catch – tries to hurdle a defender and exposes himself to a big hit but holds onto the ball and picks up a couple of extra yards

Overview: Ole Miss did a nice job of limiting Evans.  The redshirt sophomore receiver managed just four receptions for 46 yards on the day.  Evans is a huge target and was effective running after the catch, but he was not able to burn the Rebels on any deep throws.  On two of his receptions, Evans went into hurdler mode while trying to avoid a tackler.  This is a move he may want to reconsider in the future for the sake of safety and ball security.

 

OLE MISS

#14 QB Bo Wallace

  • Pump fakes then looks left and finds a wide open WR for a long catch and run TD – strong throw
  • Overthrow deep down the left sideline to a well covered WR
  • Looks right then left and throws deep way past his WR and is almost picked off near the end zone
  • Free play when the D jumps offsides and overthrows his WR again
  • Steps into his throw and connects on a post down the middle on fourth down – good zip on the pass
  • Avoids pressure from the middle right and steps up in the pocket – fires it on the run and completes a 19-yard TD pass to a wide open WR
  • High throw down the middle late in the game that gets broken up by the safety

Overview: Ole Miss’s QB had a big day statistically but he remaind erratic, missing open receivers and making the occasional questionable decisions.  Wallace has a strong arm, and can be an effective runner, but he continues to be swapped out in favor of senior Barry Brunetti in red zone situations.  Wallace does not seem likely to leave after his junior season, and perhaps he will be afforded the opportunity to play full time if he returns in 2014.

#12 WR Donte Moncrief

  • Catches the screen and stutter steps – runs out of bounds after a short gain
  • Blocking down the field on a screen to the slot WR out of trips
  • Blocking again on a quick hit to the slot – has his man locked up and being aggressive

Overview: The junior wideout is expected to declare for the draft after this season, but he was little more than a decoy last Saturday.  Moncrief was held to just one catch, though he did look good blocking.

#71 OT Pierce Burton

  • Nice job in pass protection giving the QB plenty of time to pump fake and scan the field on a long catch and run TD pass
  • Good protection on a fourth down completion down the middle early in the fourth quarter

Overview: The senior right tackle helped keep his quarterbacks clean with a solid day in pass protection.  Burton didn’t get much push on his blocks but was able to move laterally and stay in front of his man for the most part.

#56 C Evan Swindall

  • Pushed aside on a run play – strength looks to be an issue
  • Consistently giving up ground in pass protection
  • Stands his man up on a run play to the left side for an eight yard gain
  • Gets a solid block in pass protection on a long TD pass to the RB late in the game

Overview: Swindall was pushed around a bit but improved as the game wore on.  He doesn’t seem likely to be drafted at this point but could get a look as an undrafted free agent.

#74 G Jared Duke

  • Used to pull on a couple or run plays – looks slow and plodding – doesn’t seem to get there in time to be very effective

Overview: The massive Duke was unremarkable, but the decision of Ole Miss coaching staff to pull him was mystifyingly noteworthy.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Cedric Ogbuehi, Donte Moncrief, Jake Matthews, Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans, NFL Draft, Ole Miss, Scouting Notes, Texas A&M

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