2014 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: 10/5/2013 LSU at Mississippi State

October 9th, 2013

LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dominated the Mississippi State secondary last weekend (Photo: lsu.247sports.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

Last Saturday, Mississippi State stayed close with LSU until the Bayou Bengals’ offense took over the game late in the second half.  Despite the lopsided final score, the contest featured solid performances from both teams, and on both sides of the ball.  Here is a look at how some of the draft eligible players fared on the field that day.

LSU

#8 QB Zach Mettenberger

  • Play action with plenty of time fires a strong throw across the field to the left sideline – throw is high and WR makes a leaping catch
  • Good ball placement on the back shoulder throw down the left sideline – terrific throw
  • Fires one in high between two defenders for a completion
  • Well-placed ball on the slant – low and complete in tight coverage
  • Nice touch on the short throw to the FB in the flat – doesn’t rifle the ball
  • Gets pressured from his right and throws off his back foot – sails a screen pass way over the head of the RB and the ball is picked off – very poor decision to put it up for grabs in the middle of the field
  • Puts it up high on a quick hitter to the right sideline and off the hands of his WR – not a well placed ball but should have been caught
  • Shakes off pressure from the right side and checks down to the RB
  • Drops back with time – steps in and fires one in to his WR down the left sideline – ball is high and WR makes a great catch
  • Gets pressured from the right side and has to get rid of it early – play is stopped short of the first down
  • On second and one he fires a short pass in to the FB – not sure it needed to come in that hot
  • Fires the ball in on a slant – tight coverage – between two defenders WR makes an excellent diving catch
  • Looking for the back shoulder throw down the right sideline and throws it high and incomplete
  • Rifles one to his slot WR right at the first down marker on third and eight
  • Throws a back shoulder fade to the front corner of the end zone for a TD – high pass where only his WR can get it
  • Drops back and sets – with late pressure he throws an arcing pass off his back foot – thrown behind the WR who makes a nice adjustment to haul it in
  • Good awareness to cover up a fumble after the RB coughs it up at the goal line
  • Fires to the sideline to a wide open WR and again his throw is high – costs his WR yards after the catch
  • Plenty of time and surveys right to left – hits his WR on the left side on a comebacker – ball is slightly high but results in a catch and run TD

Overview: There is no question that Mettenberger has improved this season.  He is more poised, he has shortened his delivery, and he is getting rid of the ball more quickly.  But he consistently delivers the ball high to his receivers, and often this leaves them exposed to big hits, or limits opportunities for yardage after the catch.  Mettenberger also has to avoid throwing off his back foot and leaving the ball up for grabs as he did on a couple of occasions last weekend.

#3 WR Odell Beckham Jr.

  • Goes up high in single coverage to haul in a pass
  • Makes the contested catch on a high, back shoulder pass down the left sideline and holds on after taking a hit
  • Has the ball glance off his hands on a quick hitter to the right sideline – ball was high but should have been caught
  • Makes a terrific catch on a high, back shoulder pass to the front corner of the end zone for a TD just before half
  • Runs a post corner from the left slot and beats his man deep – has to turn back to the ball to make the catch on an underthrown ball – great adjustment but could have been a TD on a better throw
  • Misses a block on a slot screen – results in a tackle for loss
  • Gets wide open on a deep hitch and again has to go up and haul in a high throw
  • Comes back to the ball and plucks the high throw as he is turning back inside to run – so smooth and then turns on the jets to sprint to the end zone – terrific acceleration

Overview: Beckham was outstanding in this game, battling for contested catches and climbing the ladder to haul in a number of high throws.  Once the ball is in his hands, he’s an excellent open field runner with another gear to pull away from the defense.  Beckham’s early season success makes it appear more and more likely that he will leave school early for the NFL after this season.

#70 LT La’el Collins

  • Run blocking to the left and does not sustain his block – his man gets in on the tackle at the line of scrimmage
  • Gets beaten by an inside move but recovers to push the defender down
  • Getting good push on straight ahead run blocks early in the game
  • Bending at the waist in pass pro – ugly form
  • Gets out to the second level on a block but the run is stopped short of the first down in a short yardage situation
  • Bumps his man off the line of scrimmage and then gets out in front to pick up the LB at the second level and help spring a long TD run
  • Nice job in pass pro on a long completion down the left sideline – steered his man past the QB
  • Blocks his man out of the play on a run left but the runner is stopped for a loss
  • Pulls out in front on a run to the left and picks up a block
  • Slow sliding over in pass protection – looks like a guard playing tackle
  • Good leg drive blocking down to the left side – RB cuts it back the other way and picks up a big gain
  • Beat by speed around the edge and has to lunge to get back into the play – his man went a little too wide to really apply pressure

Overview: Collins played better than he did the week before against Georgia, but he still appears more suited for interior line play than for tackle.  His play improved Saturday as the game wore on and LSU’s offense began to fire on all cylinders.

#80 WR Jarvis Landry

  • Out of the slot, makes a leaping catch down the seam on the right side and holds on after a hit
  • Goes down low to make the catch on a slant
  • Leaping catch on a rocket thrown high down the left sideline – makes the catch in tight coverage and shows great strength in his hands controlling the ball to the ground
  • Dives to haul in a slant fired in between two defenders – CB in tight coverage with a safety over the top – makes the catch with his arms fully extended
  • Makes the catch on the slant on third and eight and fights to get to the first down marker
  • Cut down for a loss on the slot screen after his teammate misses a block

Overview: Like Beckham, Landry has a hand or two in Mettenberger’s improvement, leaping and diving to catch balls that lesser receivers wouldn’t reach.  Landry plays bigger than his frame would suggest, and he too appears to be a strong candidate for early entry into the NFL after a blazing start to his junior season.

#18 LB Lamin Barrow

  • Gets blocked by a slot WR on a run that goes for big yardage
  • Nice job knifing in underneath the guard to get into the backfield on a run for negative yards
  • Gets pressure around LT but the QB takes off and scores on a 28 yard scramble
  • Reads and reacts nicely to a draw play and closes quickly to deliver a big hit
  • Picked up by the pulling guard on what turns into a 20-yard run
  • In coverage on a slot WR and gets beat on a slant but the ball is thrown wide and the WR misses the catch
  • Covering the slot WR on a cross and gets shaken on an open field cut – misses the tackle
  • Used on a pass rush on the left side of the D but is picked up by the pulling left guard in pass protection
  • Blitzing from the left side of the D and gets a hot on the QB just after he lets go of the pass

Overview: Barrow is a solid run defender with generally good instincts, but he was out of his element while trying to cover slot receiver Jameon Lewis.  Barrow looks comfortable dropping into pass coverage, but he was no match for Lewis’s speed and short area quickness.  The senior linebacker is a good player and a respected leader on the Tigers’ defense, but this was not his best showcase.

#44 FB J.C. Copeland

  • Bruising lead block on a short yardage run for a first down
  • Sneaks out into the flat to make a catch for a short gain
  • Takes a goal line carry but is cut down low short of the end zone

Overview: Copeland got his hands on the ball a couple of times in this game, but his strength is clearly as a battering ram lead blocker.  Considering how few teams employ fullbacks of that ilk, his appeal will be limited.

#27 RB Kenny Hilliard

  • Takes it around the left side for a short TD run
  • Takes the handoff out of the I-form and follows his blockers into a huge hole – picks up the block by his LT at the second level and is sprung for a long TD run
  • Moves the pile on a short yardage carry near the goal line
  • Goes in a little too high near the goal line and gets the ball knocked loose on a third down and goal carry
  • Powers in for a garbage-time TD late in the game

Overview: Hilliard is a short yardage specialist who barreled his way in for three short touchdowns and coughed up a red zone fumble last weekend.  He is a pure role player and is not expected to be more than a late round draft choice.  It would be surprising to see him leave school after his junior season.

#90 DT Anthony Johnson

  • Gets under the pads of the RG and beats him for pressure – reaches a paw out and grabs the QB – play results in a sack
  • Gets blocked back off the line of scrimmage on a long pickup by the RB early in the second half
  • Sheds a block from the guard and makes a tackle on the RB right at the line of scrimmage
  • Tosses aside the guard easily on a QB run away from his side
  • Lines up at the left end and gets penetration to the inside shoulder of the RT – gives chase but the QB eludes him
  • Gets under the inside shoulder of the RG and tackles the RB behind the line of scrimmage

Overview: Johnson rebounded somewhat from a lackluster showing against Georgia by getting into the backfield on a couple of occasions.  He has not shown the dominance one would expect from a potential first round draft choice, so a team selecting him on Day One would be banking on harnessing Johnson’s occasional flashes of brilliance.

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE

#91 DE Preston Smith

  • Sheds a block and gets into the backfield to make a tackle for loss on a run to the right side of the offense
  • Beats the RT around the edge and gets a hand out to force the QB up into the pocket for a sack – gets a hand on the facemask and the play is negated
  • Applies pressure from the left side of the D and gets a hand on the QB forcing the check down
  • Lines up inside and gets pressure – teammate gets a sack
  • Gets off the block from the left end and flows to the middle of the field to make the tackle for loss on a run

Overview: Smith and his defensive linemates got pressure early, but cooled as the game progressed.  Only a junior, he is not expected to leave school early, but Saturday’s game was his best performance as a collegian.

#1 FS Nickoe Whitley

  • Gets over to help in coverage and delivers a hit but the receiver holds onto the catch
  • Comes up in run defense but the RB steps right through his tackle – results in a long TD run
  • Stays in close to cover the screen and makes a diving INT – very nice job picking the ball off the turf
  • Beat badly by the slot WR on a deep corner route – gives up a big catch but is saved from a TD because the ball was underthrown

Overview: Whitley made a terrific, diving catch to intercept a poorly throw pass by Mettenberger, but he was absolutely torched on a post corner route by Beckham.  Only an underthrown pass saved Whitley from surrendering a long touchdown.  Toss in the missed tackle on a touchdown run earlier in the game, and this is one game the senior safety would probably like to forget.

#11 OLB Deontae Skinner

  • Holds the edge on a run play and makes a tackle for loss after the back is redirected toward him
  • Gets in on a sack when the QB is pressured back up in the pocket – play is negated by a facemask penalty
  • Gets into the backfield to combine on a tackle for loss on a short yardage run
  • Makes the immediate tackle for loss on a check down to the RB
  • Steered wide on a run off RT and can’t get back into the play – goes for a long TD run

Overview: Skinner got into the backfield on a couple of occasions early in the game, even having a sack negated by a penalty.  Unfortunately, he all but disappeared in the second half of the game.

#4 WR Jameon Lewis

  • Back deep returning kicks – shows good speed bouncing outside and makes a nice open field move with a head slap to pick up some extra yards at the end of a solid return
  • Gets a block on the LB on a running play that goes for a big gain
  • Runs a short hitch out of the slot and turns upfield to pick up a nice gain
  • Gets separation at the last moment on a pass to the front corner of the end zone – makes the TD catch but only gets one foot in bounds
  • Tackled for a loss on the jet sweep to the right side
  • Has the ball go through his hands on a slant from the slot – had the matchup on the LB on what could have been a big play
  • Runs a stop and go cross and makes a nice open field move to shake the LB and pick up extra yards
  • Runs a zig-zag inside out to the left sideline and takes a short pass up the sideline for some big yards after the catch – very effective one on one in space

Overview: The junior slot receiver proved to be the toughest matchup for the LSU defense, finishing with the second 100 yard receiving game of his career.  Lewis is not expected to leave school early, but he should continue to see improved production as the Bulldogs find new ways to get him involved on offense.

#27 RB LaDarius Perkins

  • Nice job picking up his blocks and bouncing outside for a big run – doesn’t look incredibly fast but shows quick feet and patience
  • Gets stuffed behind the line of scrimmage on his next carry
  • Out of the pistol, follows his block up the middle and then bounces to his right for a few more yards – about seven on the carry
  • Goes hard through the hole on a short carry
  • On a delay follows the pulling LT and accelerates hard through the hole – makes a nice open field move to shake a tackler and bounces outside for a huge gain
  • Runs a jet sweep from right to left and gets strung out to the sideline for a loss of yards

Overview: Perkins made the most of his ten carries, picking up 81 yards on the ground.  The senior running back followed his blockers and showed good burst through the holes his line created for him.  His best run was a 32 yarder that featured a slick, open field cut to the outside that bought him an additional 20 or so yards.  Though not featured in the passing game, Perkins is a capable receiver, and has experience returning kicks.  He is shaping up to be a solid, mid-round value.

#61 G Gabe Jackson

  • Lined up a LG and gets excellent push on a run play that bounces outside for a big gain
  • Looks strong – locks up his man at the line of scrimmage on a run play and doesn’t budge
  • Stout pass blocking on a play the results in a QB scramble – finishes his block and puts the defender on his back
  • Defender gets a good jump on him on a pass play but he is able to stay with his man and steer him away from the QB
  • Fires off the ball and seals his man off to open up a running lane
  • Gets out to the second level on a run play
  • Pulls right and smothers the pass rusher allowing his QB plenty of time for the completion
  • Caught looking for a man to block while the pocket collapses all around the QB – sack on the play came from the other side though
  • Pulls out in front and picks up the LB to help spring a 20-yard run
  • Good base and doesn’t give up ground on a straight ahead run play
  • Good form in pass protection on a pass early in the second half – slides and stays in front of his man
  • Good push and steers his man to the inside walling off a running lane for the QB on a ten yard carry
  • Steers his man outside this time and opens a huge hole for the LT to pull through – helps spring the RB for a huge gain
  • Pulls all the way to the right edge and picks up the LB in pass protection – nice job mirroring his man while the QB takes off and runs to the other side
  • Again doing a nice job in pass protection – using his hands well and doesn’t get fooled by the spin move
  • Powerful run block sealing off the inside on a ten-yard carry – gets low and shows powerful legs

Overview: Jackson is an impressive talent who can maul opponents in the running game, but who is also agile enough to feature as a pulling guard.  Perhaps his most impressive play was pulling from the left to right to pick up a blitzing Lamin Barrow in pass protection.  While Barrow tried to out-quick Jackson, the big guard mirrored him like a pro and neutralized the pass rush.  With NFL teams now placing a premium on skilled interior linemen, Jackson should be off the board by the early stages of the second round.

#17 QB Tyler Russell

  • Sacked on his first play of the game – slow to react to the pressure
  • Excellent placement on a throw to the front corner of the end zone for a TD – weird delivery though – almost falling away and slinging the ball
  • Out of the shotgun, fakes the keeper – slings it again while falling away unnecessarily – connects downfield to his WR who had to turn back and wait on the ball
  • Throws with all arm on a play where the pocket collapses around him – complete for a short gain
  • Throws a little too far inside on a slant to the slot WR but the ball should have been caught
  • Poor option pitch late in the game results in a fumble – defense recovers

Overview: Russell split reps at quarterback and was not particularly impressive.  He appeared to fall away on a few of his passes, and he turned the ball over late in the game.  Russell has the size NFL teams look for, and is a decent enough athlete, but he simply has not shown much improvement over the past couple of seasons.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Anthony Johnson, Gabe Jackson, Jarvis Landry, LSU, Mississippi State, NFL Draft, Odell Beckham, Scouting Notes, Zach Mettenberger

One Response to “2014 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: 10/5/2013 LSU at Mississippi State”

  1. Wilson says:

    Mettenberger’s improvement this year is noticable. he may of helped his stock as much as anybody if continues to refine his game


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