Deone Bucannon


Class: Senior
Height: 6’0 1/2″
Weight: 216 lbs.
School: Washington State

  • First-team All-American (2013)
  • First-team All-Pac 12 (2013)
  • Led Washington State in tackles (114) & interceptions (6)
  • Second-team All-Pac 12 (2012)
  • 2013 stats:  114 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3 forced fumbles and 6 INT


Senior Bowl Notes

  • Bucannon accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile.
  • He finally was heard from on Tuesday.  And, by “heard from”, I mean literally.  He popped Wisconsin RB James White in the open field that got a reaction from the NFL people on hand.
  • The former Wazzu star finished with three tackles during the game on Saturday.


It’s easy to pigeonhole Bucannon as nothing but the fiercest hitter in college football.  After all, he is definitely one of the most intimidating secondary players in recent memory.

But, that’s not telling the entire story.  He also showed his ball skills and ability to play the middle of the field.  Through his four years at Washington State, Bucannon finished with 15 interceptions, in addtion to the cadre of knockout hits for which he became a Youtube legend.

The 2014 safety class isn’t loaded, to say the least, and with a solid showing in Mobile, Bucannon can more than raise his stock in the eyes of the NFL scouts.

Charles Sims


Class: Senior
Height: 5’11 1/2″
Weight: 214 lbs.
School: West Virginia

  • Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (2013)
  • First-team All-Big 12 (2013)
  • Transferred after playing his first three years at University of Houston
  • Second-team All-C-USA (2012)
  • First-team All-C-USA (2011)
  • C-USA Freshman of the Year (2009)
  • 2013 stats:  1,095 yards, 11 TDs; 45 rec., 401 yards and three TDs

Senior Bowl Notes

  • Sims accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile.
  • One scout said that Sims could play slot receiver for his team and that scout isn’t wrong.  He’s one heck of an interesting package with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  The Falcons offensive staff threw a pair of screens to him to get him out in space on Monday.  He’s without question the best running back in Mobile.
  • One of the best match ups all day long on Tuesday was the pass rush battle between Sims and UCLA LB Jordan Zumwalt.  Sims more than held his own against the UCLA ILB, but the last couple of reps went to Zumwalt. Nothing pleases scouts more than to see guys compete at that level.
  • We sat in the stands talking to agents and scouts debating the 2014 running back draft class and, as expected, there was no clear consensus as to the No. 1 back in this draft.  The hard part is that the top juniors are not here, but the one senior that continues to impress is Sims.  Pass protection.  Check.  Vision.  Check.  Burst to and through the hole.  Check.  Toughness.  Check.  I heard the words “Matt Forte” and it makes sense.  Forte was a relative unknown heading to Mobile after his senior year.  After that week, Forte seemingly got more and more attention until the day he was a second round selection by the Chicago Bears.  Sims may have played his senior year in a more well-known conference but I gather that people still don’t truly understand how versatile and productive he has been and will continue to be at the next level.  Although I like what Wisconsin’s James White did during the week, Sims is clearly the best RB in Mobile and making money each and every practice.

Taylor Lewan


Class: Senior
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 309 lbs.
School: Michigan

  • 2x B1G Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year (2012, 2013)
  • Rotary Lombardi Award Semi-Finalist (2013)
  • First-team All-American (2012, 2013)
  • First-team All-B1G (2012, 2013)
  • 48 career starts

Combine Notes

**Combine measurements

  • 40 yard dash – 4.87 seconds
  • Bench Press – 29 reps
  • Vertical Jump – 30.5″
  • Broad Jump – 9’9″
  • 3 Cone Drill – 7.39 seconds
  • 20 yard shuttle – 4.49 seconds

**Arm/Hand Measurements

  • Arm length – 33 7/8″
  • Hand size – 9 1/4″


  • Good length and gets pretty good extension in pass pro
  • Outstanding in space as a blocker in screen game
  • Shows ability to change direction fluidly against inside moves off snap
  • Very fluid straight line athlete who can get down the line quickly on stretch plays
  • Keeps proper weight on inside foot with kick-slide and maintains good balance in setup
  • Uses length to re-direct defenders around pocket
  • Good at making adjustments on the second level vs. moving targets in run game
  • Despite his height, shows good bend in pass pro setup
  • Displays consistent hand placement
  • Shows ability to recover if beaten around the corner
  • Has taken snaps at both tackle positions
  • Strong grip once he punches and locks on


  • Fails to roll hips into his blocks at times which limits his power
  • Despite athleticism, will miss some second level blocks due to taking poor angles
  • Leans into DE too often in pass pro and is succeptible to “snatch & pull” defenders
  • High center of gravity can cause issues when dealing with edge rushers
  • Good athlete but average foot quickness with first two steps in pass protection
  • Inconsistent with angles to get across the face of defender in run game
  • Character concerns revolving around off-field and on-field behavior
  • Was flagged for 14 penalties over his last two seasons.

Film Room

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:26 Shows outstanding athleticism in getting out to perimeter and adjusting to make a block in space
2:56 Does a poor job of taking the proper angle to get a body on the DT
3:46 More issues with execution in attempting to get across the face of the DT
4:20 Quick sets defender on play-action, gets good initial punch, locks out and keeps defender squared
6:14 Gets weight out on balls of foot and leans on defender which causes him to lose engagement
8:57 Doesn’t take proper angle to backside LB on the second level
12:54 Sets to stop edge rush, changes direction vs. inside move and busts ass to get DE redirected at the end
13:54 Doesn’t fire out of stance and drive defender off spot, but gets stacked up instead
16:10 Sells the down block and then is able to sprint out in time and dive to make critical kickout block


TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:37 Comes out with low pad level, drives defender off the spot and finishes his block
1:12 Does a really nice job of playing with leverage and continuing to drive his feet after contact
1:54 Prevents athletic rusher from getting corner and stays engaged preventing secondary, inside move
3:05 Smooth step out to DE on play-action and shows strong hands to lock him up throughout play
4:53 Fires out with good pad level and leverage and finishes by burying defender
6:15 – 6:54 Completely loses cool on the field.  Watch entire sequence
5:53 Impressive ability to flip his hips and chase down back-side rusher


Taylor Lewan went back to Michigan for his Senior season, but I’m not sure he was able to raise his stock with his performance this year.  Lewan is a tall left tackle with a frame that should be able to pack on more mass and strength.  Lewan allowed just four sacks over his last two season, but allowed more pressure on the quarterback this year than last.

Lewan doesn’t always exhibit as strong a punch in pass protection as you would like, but he’s technically sound and does a good job of mirroring and keeping his defender squared up for the most part.  Lewan is equipped to deal with “try hard” pass rushers and it looks like he plays with a decent anchor for being so tall.  Because of his high center of gravity, I do see him get a little off-balance when edge rushers attack up field and then make a move back inside.

In running game, Lewan is inconstent as a drive-blocker but has tools to get better.  Lewan is active with his feet and generally stays engaged with his defender and he frequently gets his man walled off.  Upon contact, Lewan does a nice job of keeping his feet moving, but we don’t always see him snap his hips up underneath him to create even more leverage.  I don’t see Lewan as a scheme specific tackle, but I also don’t see him as a dominant power blocker or outstanding zone scheme fit despite his straight-line quickness.  Lewan is a solid pass protector who still needs work in run game.

Lewan is outstanding in space in Michigan’s screen game and he’s better than most with his ability to make contact with moving targets on the perimeter.  As of this writing, there are questions about Lewan’s involvement in an altercation with an Ohio State fan and he lost his composure on the field and admitted to “losing composure” with some “blantant” face masks.  His character will need to be vetted by NFL teams.  Lewan may not jump off the tape in any one regard, but he’s sticky with his pass protection and he has the necessary physical tools to develop into a more consistent run blocker.

Jordan Matthews


Class: Senior
Height: 6’2 1/2″
Weight: 209 lbs.
School: Vanderbilt

  • First-team All-American (2013)
  • 2x First-team All-SEC (2012, 2013)
  • Biletnikoff Award Semi-finalist (2013)
  • SEC’s All-time reception leader (262)
  • SEC’s All-time reception yardage leader (3,759)
  • 2013 stats:  112 receptions, 1,477 yards and seven TDs


  • Matthews has accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile
  • Matthews showed that he’s perhaps the most polished of all the receivers, easily coachable, desired coaching, played physically, didn’t mind mixing things up with the defensive backs.  He ran good routes, consistently caught the ball and whenever he faced the top corners, it was great competition.  He did show that he has to be more efficient getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage.
  • After Tuesday’s practice, many of the South DB said that Matthews the best receiver they’ve faced.  Not just here in Mobile but all year.  He continues to show that throughout the past two days.  He had some decent battles with Utah’s 6’3” CB Keith McGill.  Matthews came out ahead in most of those 1-on-1 situations.
  • Matthews didn’t look right to us on Wednesday.  He didn’t appear to be running as fluidly as in the previous two practices and was as tight with his routes.  He might be a little dinged up or fatigued.
  • He finished with two catches for 38 yards during Saturday’s game.


  • He. Can. Fly
  • Smooth
  • Plays the game at a much faster rate than the rest of the college players on the field
  • Excellent Route runner, precise
  • First three plays noted on South Carolina video, he lined up in 3 different WR positions
  • Gives effort blocking
  • Explosive runner after the catch – plenty of quick hitch and run in his career
  • High points the football
  • Solid hands – tends to body catch going across the middle on occasion
  • Downfield acceleration is obscene


  • Needs work on his double move – v. Houston 2013, he didn’t sell the stutter and go at all, couldn’t get open.
  • Understanding of coverages, needs to know when to settle down v. zone, sprint v. man
  • Wiry but can he get separation at the LOS against more physical corners?
  • Will push off downfield to high point the football
  • Catches the ball away from his body but lets ball get into his body at times.
  • Has a little hitch when exploding from the line of scrimmage that he got away with in college


TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

First three plays – lines up in different spot each play – X, then Z and then in the slot
0:41 Watch him “dig” out the DB on the run play with inside leverage, impressive
1:11 WOW, the burst after the catch, tears past four USC DBs
1:38 Plants outside foot and BOOM he’s left the DB in dust – creates yards of space


Matthews is rated as the third best WR on our board (as of January 8, 2014 – he’s No. 14) and many may not have seen him play.  He’s Vanderbilt’s all-time leading receiver in nearly every single category that you can think of and then some.  He’ll leave Vanderbilt holding plenty of SEC records at receiver as well and that was playing in an offense that didn’t throw the ball as much as you’d expect with a player of his talent.

Many things stand out about Matthews, but one thing that really hit me occurred in the opening game of the season vs. Ole Miss.  Throughout the summer, Matthews received a ton of hype as one of the best players in the nation, not just the SEC.  In fact, heading into said opener against Ole Miss, he was truly the only weapon Vanderbilt had on offense.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the Commodores had some fine players, but without former WR mate Chris Boyd (suspended all year), Matthews was THE guy that could change the game.  Vandy knew it.  Ole Miss HAD to know it.

And, the Rebels couldn’t stop him.

He finished with ten catches for 178 yards and a touchdown.  But, in the second half of that game, he was exhausted.  He took an IV, came back in the game.  He caught a key third catch with just over two minutes left, got drilled, threw up all over the field.  He then came back four plays later and caught his tenth pass of the game on 4th and 18 for the biggest first down of the game.  But, after Ole Miss had scored to take the lead, Matthews had a pass bounce off his hands that ended up in the hands of an Ole Miss DB.  Matthews was distraught on the sideline; he thought he had cost his team the game.  Yet, Ole Miss beats Vandy by three touchdowns if Matthews didn’t completely sell out all over that field in 95 degree heat.

Vanderbilt used him all over the field – Z, X, in the slot and even as a tight Y on occasion.  Either way, he’s got scary athleticism, body control and explosiveness.  He’s a lot like Houston Texans WR Deandre Hopkins was coming out of Clemson but Matthews is more polished in the finer things of the game.  The WR class is LOAD-ED so there’s no telling where he’ll land, but an NFL team will get an NFL ready player on day one.

Zach Mettenberger


Class: Senior
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 230 lbs.
School: Louisiana State


  • Big Tall Pocket Passing QB at 6’5″ 235.
  • Rocket Arm throws the deep ball accurately as well as anyone.
  • Can make all of the throws.
  • Familiar playing in a Pro-Style offense under long-time NFL OC, Cam Cameron.
  • Cameron spoke very complimentary about Mettenberger saying he’s a “hard worker, tough, has an NFL arm similar to Joe Flacco, and sees him playing for many years to come.”
  • Tough and stands tall in the pocket versus the rush and delivers accurate passes against the pass rush.
  • Understands defensive coverages as well as pre-snap and post-snap reads.
  • Has the ability to audible and change plays/protections at the line of scrimmage depending on the defensive look.
  • Will go through his progressions quickly as well as hit check down throws to RB’s.
  • Big & strong able to shrug off arm tackles like a Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Has shown he can anticipate and throw the ball with great timing before receivers are out of the break on pass routes.
  • Can make touch passes over defenders.
  • Strong enough arm to easily hit outs and comebacks to the field from far hash as well as drive throws on middle seams and go routes in the hole outside versus 2 deep safety look.
  • If given time to throw can pick defenses apart.
  • Has ability to still run bootlegs and pass effectively on the run.
  • Faced top-notch talent and competition week in and week out in the Southeastern Conference.


  • Slow-footed, not very elusive or able to accelerate effectively escape pass rushers.
  • Will force some throws into coverage.
  • Not great pocket presence, stands on the spot (directly behind center) seven yards deep in the pocket, and do not see him moving and sliding laterally in the pocket to avoid pass rushers.
  • Not going to pull the football down and make too many plays with his feet.
  • Has a tendency to hang onto the football too long and take sacks instead of throwing the football away when receivers are covered.
  • Has gotten caught trying to do too much at the line of scrimmage resulting in negative plays.
  • A little bit of an elongated wind-up throwing motion, relies on arm strength to make up for it.
  • Low release at times, the ball will sail high on him.

Film Room

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:04 – Great pass and location on the go route off NFL 7-step play-action drop.
:55 – Awareness of 9 Man Box, throws alert route for first down.
1:16 – Not elusive slow-footed on scramble.
1:39 – Hangs in pocket delivers a great deep ball go route pass in the hole vs. 2 deep safety look.
2:06 – Good play fake to the left flip his hips and delivers a strike to deep curl route.
3:39 – Again, not a real threat to run, gets sacked by retracing defensive end.
4:52 – Great touch pass on the seam route by TE dropping over LB’s.
5:22 – Facing a blitz hangs in pocket to hit hot throw slant.
6:52 – Strong throw on naked bootleg to the left to deep cross.
7:21 – Goes through his progression and hits a big 3rd & 8 pass on cross route for a TD.

Against Auburn, Mettenberger showed off his big arm as well as his ability to throw the deep ball accurately and effectively.  He hit a couple of go routes that he was able to drive in the hole versus 2 deep safety look.  He showed he’s also capable of playing and executing in a pro-style offense under new OC Cam Cameron.  He displayed an understanding of reads and defenses and went through his progressions quickly finding and hitting open receivers on time.  He also stood tall in the pocket and delivered accurate throws down field against the pass rush.  He also gets the ball out on time to receivers before they’re out of the break giving them a chance to get yards after the catch. He even showed he has the ability to move out of the pocket and pass effectively on run on naked bootlegs throwing a laser on a crossing route while rolling to his left.  However, he’s a little slow-footed and lacks acceleration, he took a couple sacks while being unable to elude the pass rush.  However, his executing and making his reads were excellent for most of the game and he led his team to a win and handily defeating SEC Champ Auburn.

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:55 – Good use of double cadence to see blitz, then throws bang post on 3rd Down for a TD.
1:41 – Checks to pass plays at line of scrimmage versus loaded box, and hits WR on time out of the break.
1:55 – Good read to hits slant for a TD.
4:21 – Stands on the spot and takes a sack instead of sliding to avoid pass rusher to his right.
4:47 – Throws on time to curl route out of the break giving his receiver a chance to get yards after the catch.
5:26 – Stands tall in pocket on 3rd & 4 taking a hit in the teeth while delivering great pass to the In route for first down.
5:46 – Holds onto the football and takes a sack instead of throwing it away.
6:55 – Low release ball sails on him.
7:44 – Big time NFL throw with a defender in his face, great pass but is dropped.
8:19 – Great read and seam throw on a rope for a TD.
10:22 – Forced throw into coverage, great throw result, lucky safety didn’t intercept.
11:50 – Big 3rd & 23 Conversion, throws a laser on seam throw for a first down.

Against Georgia, he made some big time throws on seam routes down field as well as making big throws on 3rd down to keep LSU in the ball game and gave them a chance to win at the end.  He showed he can check to pass plays at the line of scrimmage versus 8 and 9 man boxes as well as use a double snap count to see the defense declare blitzes and then hit his appropriate receivers.  However, while standing tall in the pocket he does not move and slide to avoid the pass rush very well.  He took a sack instead of sliding to avoid the pass rush.  He steps up great in the pocket against the rush but needs to move better sliding to his right and left.  He also showed a bad habit of holding on to the football too long and taking sacks and negative plays, instead of throwing it away when the pass rush is closing in and the receivers aren’t open.  While Georgia was getting away with some questionable interference calls late, LSU had a chance to convert on a 4th down pass late and Mettenberger threw off of his back foot missing an open curl route thus coming up short on the road.

TSV videos provided by Draft Breakdown

:04 – Can adjust arm and to make check down throw to RB.
:23 – Great accurate pass off play action to to the deep post.
1:00 – Trying to do too much at line of scrimmage, results in confusion fumbled snap.
1:33 – Hangs in takes a hit and delivers strike to in route.
2:05 – Strong enough to almost shrug off arm tackle and still make throw.
2:40 – Nice under thrown back-shoulder go route to his left.
2:59 – Throws an accurate play action field comeback from the opposite hash on a rope.
3:22 – Hangs onto the football too long, forces it into coverage, needs to throw it away.
4:49 – Great touch throw on jerk route for a TD in back of end zone.
7:15 – Gave up on TE pump route too soon forced throw into coverage.
9:29 – Misses CB Blitz hot read.

In the Alabama game, LSU was moving the ball effectively against Alabama early Mettenberger again showed he’s one of the best deep ball throwers in college football hitting a deep post early.  However, LSU turned the football over a couple of times instead of coming away with points.  Mettenberger looked to be trying to do too much at the line of scrimmage at one point, wanting to change a play after he signaled for the center to snap it, which resulted in a costly snap fumble.  However, Mettenberger still showed his ability to stand tall and deliver throws with defenders in his face all night.  He hit a nice jerk route in the back of the end zone over a defender for a TD.  While Alabama pulled away late, Mettenberger still was competing and showed his toughness taking and enduring hits.  However, some of the hits and sacks were not only breakdowns in protections, but also his inability to slide and elude pass rushers, and setting up and standing seven yards deep on the spot in the pocket.


Mettenberger may have the strongest arm and is perhaps the best deep ball passer in college football.  He is incredibly accurate throwing deep posts and go routes in addition to throwing just about every route required in the NFL.  He is also smart enough to pickup and play in a pro-style offense under long-time NFL OC Cam Cameron and understands NFL pass concepts and reads.  He clearly understands defensive coverages because he is able to check out run plays at the line of scrimmage into pass plays versus too many defenders around the ball as well as goes through his pass reads and progression quickly getting the ball to his receivers.  Additionally, he stands tall in the pocket and delivers throws accurately while taking hits from rushing defenders.  Another distinct aspect of his game is he has a great sense of timing and gets the ball out to the receivers before they break out of their routes, giving them an opportunity to get more yards after the catch.  He is already making NFL-type throws off of play actions while hitting drags, in routes, seam throws, comebacks, posts, as well as check downs and routes by the RB’s.  He plays a lot like a Kerry Collins or Ben Roethlisberger.

However, while he is accurate and a great deep ball passer, his biggest issue is his lack of elusiveness and real ability to slide and avoid defenders in the pocket to buy himself time.  He is big and tall that he can see over most defenders, and strong like a Roethlisberger where he can shrug off arm tackles.  However, he relies too much on his height and does not slide laterally and move to avoid defenders to buy himself time, and avoid taking sacks or hits.  He does do a good job of stepping up in the pocket, but he’ll stand on the spot directly behind the center seven yards deep.  This makes it easy for pass rushers because they know exactly where the QB is likely to be when they rush.  While Mettenberger is tough when facing the rush, he also has a bad habit of holding onto the ball too long and taking sacks and negative plays instead of throwing the football away.  As a quarterback in the NFL he will need to learn to throw the ball away.  Roethlisberger has been accused of holding onto the football too long.  However, Roethlisberger has been more successful because he’s shown escapability, moving and sliding inside and outside of the pocket buying himself time which Mettenberger does not do very well.  Furthermore, he has a little bit of a longer release like a Kerry Collins, but has a strong enough arm he could probably still get away with it.

Mettenberger also suffered a torn ACL and MCL late November.  His recovery from a major knee surgery will also affect his ability to work on his footwork and improve moving in and out of the pocket as he gets ready for the draft.  Ultimately, he has shown he has the tools, arm, and understanding of NFL-type offenses to be an NFL quarterback.  It will be interesting to see how he will progress and recover from his surgery and how that will affect his draft value this spring.  Regardless, he will bring value to an NFL roster, with his ability to throw the ball accurately down field as well as his understanding of already executing an NFL-type offense as well as NFL pass concepts, play actions, and reads.

A Metrics Study of Undervalued Draft Prospects

The majority of my writings on draft statistics have been on players who will be picked in the first three rounds, but late round prospects merit discussion as well. I’ve gone through and picked out players who had positive metrics in college, but just aren’t being discussed much in the draft process for one reason or another.

“One of the key purposes we developed the ICE system and created our specialized College X-Info statistical services was to help support our team clients’ efforts with identifying and evaluating mid-later round draft talent as well as experienced college free agents,” John Pollard, General Manager of Sports Solutions at STATS, said. “Most of us in the industry are aware of the top position players coming out of college, the 1st and 2nd round talent. The ICE application and X-info statistics services help our team clients build and validate their assessments of these players”

I’m going to explore some of the positive metrics for some mid to late round talent show why they could or should go higher than they are being projected. All statistics are from the STATS ICE program which has every BCS game charted from the entire 2012 season.


Montel Harris is one of the most elusive backs in the entire draft. He had the 4th most broken tackles (12) per carry despite being only 5’8” and 208lbs. His yards after contact per carry, 2.91, is the highest among the top tier of running backs, beating out statistical leaders like Jonathan Franklin and Montee Ball. All in all, his total ability to generate extra yardage ranks third in the class behind Franklin, Eddie Lacy, and Giovani Bernard.


Expected to go in the third round, Bailey isn’t the perfect definition of a draft sleeper. However, it seems like he often gets ignored for his explosive teammate, Tavon Austin. Bailey, despite his diminutive size at 5’10”, 193lbs, generates superb yards after the catch. Averaging 6.2 yards after the catch, he is almost as good after the catch as the highly ranked Cordarrelle Patterson (6.4 yards/ catch). His drop rate of 5% ranks his hands near the top of this class.


Some critics of Griffin have noted his lack of ability after the catch, the statistics couldn’t disagree more. At 7.2 yards after the catch, the big TE has the second highest YAC in the entire class only behind Travis Kelce (10 yards/ catch) and ahead of consensus number one TE, Tyler Eifert. Per STATS ICE, Griffin didn’t drop a single ball this year showing excellent hands. His strong hands and YAC allowed him to convert 72.4% of his receptions into first downs or touchdowns for the Huskies.


While everyone focuses on the big three OTs and athletic specimens like Menelik Watson, Brennan Williams had a very quiet 2012 season (in a good way). Williams only allowed 5 combined pressures the entire season at UNC, less than all of the big three OTs. He may be underrated or underappreciated in the media, but expect teams to take note of his quality pass blocking.


Williams is probably the least discussed prospect out of this entire group. He had really solid production at Kansas State, racking up 10 sacks in 2012, but turning out extremely poor numbers at his pro-day at only at 245lbs. However, his production in college wasn’t just limited to sacks – Williams had 30 combined pressures in college to complement those sacks. When you divide by the number of pass rushing snaps – his Snaps Per Pressure (SPP) is around 8.6 or very similar to Bjoern Werner’s. While college production isn’t guaranteed to translate to NFL production, his pass rush efficiency shouldn’t be ignored for a potential late round pick or UDFA.


While big names like Sharif Floyd and Star Lotulelei dominate the discussion about defensive tackles, Jordan Hill deserves to be discussed based on his stats alone. As a pass rushing DT, Hill grades out with a Snaps Per Pressure (SPP) of 13.3, which makes him the most efficient pass rusher of the DTs (slightly ahead of Sheldon Richardson) and more efficient than some pass rushing DEs like Datone Jones. Hill also had the most combined tackles in the backfield and 1-2 yards from the LOS (25 tackles), more than any defensive tackle. Based on these metrics alone, Hill should be considered solid all-around DT to be picked earlier than the 4th-5th round he’s projected in.


Defensive backs in general are a bit tricky to apply statistics too, but there are some things we can look at to evaluate their play quality in college. Two of my favorite stats are pass defensed per target and how often a player was beaten on their targets. With 19 passes defensed on 86 targets in 2012, Johnson had the best ability to knock down balls on a per target basis amongst late round CBs. He also was burned on only 44% of his targets, which is to say 37 passes thrown in his area were completed. That burn rate is lower than every CB expected to be picked after round 3 and equivalent to some CBs like Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay. To see Johnson’s penchant for knocking down passes (and generating pass interference penalties) see his play against Notre Dame’s star TE Eifert.


While teammate Matt Elam drew most of the attention at Florida, Josh Evans did an excellent job in coverage for the Gators. Evans’ burn rate was 35%, one of the lowest in the entire NCAA last year. Often times playing deep safety, Evans was only targeted 20 times the entire season. On those 20, he defensed 6 passes – the same amount as Kenny Vaccaro on far more targets. While he didn’t make many impact tackles, he did a solid job at tackling with 11 missed tackles in total, about average for this safety class. Evans may not be the complete package as a safety right now, but certainly has potential as a starting FS with his coverage skills.