2014 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: 9/7/2013 Syracuse at Northwestern

October 1st, 2013

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter’s athleticism and versatility make him an intriguing NFL prospect (Photo: zimbio.com)

DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon

The Northwestern Wildcats are off to a 4-0 start, and back in Week Two of the college football season, they easily handled a Syracuse team that has since won two consecutive ball games.  Here is a look at how some of the draft-eligible players from both teams fared that day.


#2 QB Kain Colter

  • Rolls right and throws on the run complete to the first down marker
  • Play fake and gets it out quickly on the slot screen for a first down pickup
  • Plenty of time – steps into his throw and fires the ball down the middle to a wide open WR for a big gain on first down – good velocity
  • Finds the RB in the left flat on a short throw that turns into an easy TD
  • Gets pressure from the left and sprints right to get out of trouble and gain a few yards
  • Has time but takes off running to the left and cuts up right into a defender – stopped well short on a third down play
  • Getting into a good rhythm with quick throws to his right on a drive lat in the first quarter
  • Gets pressured up the middle but stands in and takes a hit as he swings it out to the slot man on the left
  • Somehow eludes pressure up the middle and takes off for a positive gain – carrying the ball away from his body and fumbles but a teammate recovers
  • Gets pressure up the middle and sprints to the left side and up the sideline for a 32 yard gain on third and two
  • Steps up from pressure – makes a move in the backfield and another in the open field then shows strength taking on a defender at the goal line and reaching for a TD
  • Eludes pressure and runs left then reverses field and heads back to the right for a big gain – called back for a holding penalty
  • Slides left, sets and throws but has his pass batted at the line of scrimmage
  • Zig-zags his way to the right side for a solid gain then slides down at the end of the run to keep the clock ticking

Overview: It would be a major upset if Colter went on to play quarterback in the NFL.  He is a tough player who does put some good zip on his throws, but his slight frame is a hindrance.  Colter is an elusive runner and a terrific athlete who played very well in returning from a concussion the week before.  His versatility will intrigue a few teams come draft time.

#13 QB Trevor Siemian

  • Steps and fires a quick hitter to the right sideline for a first down gain
  • Terrific throw down the right sideline between two defenders – just fits it in before the safety gets there – 32 yard gain
  • Good ball placement on an easy TD throw from 20 yards out to the TE down the right sideline
  • Play action – steps into his throw and hits the WR on a deep ball down the middle for a huge gain
  • Sharp throw down the middle but leaves his WR exposed to a big hit
  • In he two-minute drill, fires to the sideline where his WR can make the catch, get his feet down and get out of bounds
  • Next play he places an excellent throw down the left sideline over top of the CB – safety is late coming over and the pass results in a big gain inside the ten-yard line
  • Terrific placement on the post corner to get a TD just before half – ball was thrown where only his WR could get it
  • Scans the field, nobody open so he throws it away at the feet of his RB
  • Pumps and the unloads a perfect deep ball to his WR in stride for a TD

Overview: Siemian was the most impressive quarterback on the field that Saturday. The redshirt junior connected on 15 of 19 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns.  He displayed terrific ball placement on his throws, and his arm strength appeared adequate.  Siemian will continue to split reps with Colter all season, but should have the offense all to himself in 2014.

#14 WR Christian Jones

  • Sits at the first down marker to make a catch on the opening play – turns and runs upfield for about six extra yards
  • Blocking downfield on a slot screen
  • Tough catch down the middle and holds on after a big hit
  • Goes up for the ball on the post corner to get the TD just before halftime

Overview: Jones is a big-bodied receiver who was active in the first half.  The junior showed reliable hands hanging on after taking a big hit, and going up high to haul in the touchdown just before half.  The junior is not expected to declare for the 2014 draft.

#6 WR Tony Jones

  • Picks up a first down following his blockers on a slot screen
  • Gets wide open down the middle for a big pickup
  • Makes the catch at the right sideline and turns and dives for a couple of extra yards
  • Makes the catch down the right sideline between two defenders and turns upfield for a big gain – just stepped out of bounds preventing an even bigger gain
  • Makes a sliding catch on a deep ball down the middle – not sure he had to go to the ground – probably a TD if he stays on his feet
  • Gets wide open deep and hauls in the pass in stride for an easy TD – does let the ball into his body

Overview: Jones had a career day against the Orange, finishing with nine receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown.  Like Christian, Tony Jones is still only a junior and not expected to declare for the 2014 draft, but his play early this season is causing people to take notice.

#22 RB Treyvon Green

  • Stays in to pass protect on a rollout to the right
  • Slips out into the flat and catches the ball with his hands – turns it up and gets to the corner for a short TD catch
  • Settles out about five yards past the line of scrimmages and makes a short catch
  • Late in the game he takes an inside handoff untouched, makes a jump cut to the right about seven yards in, and sprints in for a long TD run

Overview: Subbing for an injured Venric Mark, Green was bottled up for much of the day until breaking that late touchdown run.  Green has played well, and should continue to see carries even when Mark returns.

#97 DE Tyler Scott

  • Gets over the outside shoulder of the RT and reaches out to strip the ball on the sack
  • Quiet first half after his first play – gets turned around and steered away from a run play that goes for about seven yards
  • Makes the tackle on a QB keeper midway through the fourth quarter

Overview: Scott started the day with a bang, but was mostly held in check for the remainder of the game.  Teams will appreciate Scott’s effort and strength, but he is not a dynamic player.  Still, he should get a look in the late rounds or as a priority free agent.



#8 QB Drew Allen

  • Big windup leaves the ball exposed – gets stripped as he drops back to throw
  • Dangerous throw down the left sideline – good zip but between two defenders and leaves his receiver exposed
  • Hits on a quick slant – almost a sidearm release on the throw
  • On third and 12 gets pressured and dumps it off short for a loss of yards – questionable choice
  • Play action and throws deep to a double covered receiver and overthrows everyone
  • Throws deep on tight one-on-one coverage – pass is broken up but pass interference is called
  • Keeps on a run and is stuffed at the line of scrimmage
  • Gets his pass batted down at the line of scrimmage – has a very low delivery – problematic
  • Another pass downfield into double coverage and he is intercepted – forced the issue
  • Throws low and wide to an open receiver and gets a favorable spot – WR had to come back for the ball
  • Rolls right and throws on the run – complete for a first down
  • Play action and delivers down the right sideline complete for a solid pickup – throw was high but pretty well placed
  • Designed QB run and powers his way for a couple of yards on a third and short to pick up the first down
  • Tries to fire one in between four defenders – doesn’t see the LB slide over and gets intercepted
  • Completes a throw while rolling left but WR was standing out of bounds
  • Quick hitter to the TE on a slant picks up a few
  • Follows that with a slant to the right side for a 28-yard gain on third and ten
  • Goes back to the TE on a slant left and he gets it in for a TD – good rhythm on the scoring drive
  • Makes a couple of tight throws to the right sideline – shows good arm strength
  • Rhythm turned to tendency and his quick hit to the right side is read and intercepted by the defensive lineman
  • Connects on a back shoulder pass down the right sideline for a big gain
  • Has his pass tipped across the middle and intercepted – fourth INT of the day

Overview: Allen made a number of poor decisions in the game, forcing throws that simply were not available.  He has good size and arm strength, but he is not particularly accurate, and his low release and long windup caused a couple of issues during the course of the game.  Allen has since been replaced as the Syracuse starter.

#45 RB Jerome Smith

  • Takes a handoff on a counter out of the pistol – nice job picking up his lane and powering through for a short run
  • Cuts back inside on a sweep – keeps legs churning to pick up a couple of yards – not really fast enough to run sweeps
  • Plows ahead for a couple of tough yards on an inside run
  • Takes the handoff wide to the right and steps out of a tackle for loss to turn the corner and pick up a positive gain
  • Hits the hole quickly and follows his blocks on a run for a first down – four straight carries on the drive
  • Takes the handoff right and hits the hole quickly – powers through a defender near the goal line on a short TD run
  • Cuts up inside, bounces out right and keeps legs pumping to pick up tough yards

Overview: Smith is a pure, power runner.  He isn’t elusive, and offers little in the passing game – he will function best in a committee at the next level.  Smith has a year of eligibility remaining after this season, but it is never surprising to see running backs leave school early.

#11 LB Marquis Spruill

  • Reads the run immediately and fires up into the gap to make a low tackle at the line of scrimmage
  • Good pursuit to the left sideline (his right) to make a tackle on a wide pitch
  • Spins back inside off the block from the guard and gets back in on the tackle after a short run gain
  • Gets drawn in too far and takes a poor angle in pursuit on a 32-yard run by the QB on third and short
  • Reads the run immediately and gets into the lane, then fires off to make a strong tackle in the backfield

Overview: A solid, if undersized inside ‘backer, Spruill is the type of late round prospect who could find a role on special teams, and eventually become a pleasant surprise on defense.  He is not terribly fast, but he shows generally good instincts and is a sure tackler.

#23 RB Prince-Tyson Gulley

  • Takes a carry outside to the left for a short gain
  • Next play powers through the middle of the O-line for a first down run – gets low and protects the ball
  • Takes the inside handoff and steps through a couple of tackles, bounces right and fights for a few extra yards
  • Nice vision to cut inside the pulling guard and find the lane for an easy TD run from about ten yards out

Overview: Gulley has his moments – he’s an underappreciated runner who can make a catch out of the backfield when needed.  He split carries with Smith and produced a couple of solid runs, but he doesn’t possess any one quality that sets him apart.

#59 C Macky MacPherson

  • Gets out to the second level and gets a piece of the linebacker on a short pass play
  • Gets out in front again but has to reach to get a paw on his man
  • Fires out head on to get a block on a short yardage run
  • Pulls to his right and gets a lead block on a short run
  • Gets bent back a little in pass protection
  • Gets out for a second level block but does not hit hard and does not sustain the block – his man gets in on the tackle

Overview: MacPherson did a good job getting where he was supposed to be on a number of blocks, but very rarely finished with any authority.  He’ll need to bulk up a bit, and learn to sustain his blocks if he is going to catch on with an NFL team.


  • Northwestern senior linebacker Damien Proby had a solid game, making a couple of strong reads and tackles right at the line of scrimmage.  He also managed to get his hands on a late pass down the middle and tip it into the arms of junior safety Ibraheim Campbell for an interception.
  • Syracuse senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley got underneath the inside shoulder of his man and got into the backfield for a sack late in the game


Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Drew Allen, Jerome Smith, Kain Colter, Marquis Spruill, NFL Draft, Northwestern, Scouting Notes, Syracuse, Trevor Siemian

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