In a pretty ugly Big 10 game, it was much prettier to watch the 2012 NFL Draft prospects than some of the actual plays unfolding on your screen.
Here is what we saw out of the Buckeyes and Illini.
#75 Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
-Gets two blocks, one at 2nd level on linebacker.
-Pushed back a bit on run play.
-Positions himself well, easily walling off defender and creating hole.
-Takes punch well, stays set and under control.
-Either he or LG misses assignment and get beat by Mercilus inside.
-Shows good athleticism, good base, moving well.
-Strong punch when he uses it.
-Finishes a block 10 yards down the field on big run.
-Gets away with a hold on Mercilus.
-Long arms are key in warding off defenders.
-Getting good push now in the run game, really finishing well.
-Bending at his waist on occasion.
-A bit rusty at times, need to see him some more before we anoint him as a for sure Top-50 guy.
#50 Mike Brewster, OC, Ohio State
-Walls off Akeem Spence.
-Stumbles initially, but ends up with decent 2nd level block.
-Another good angle on 2nd level, but doesn’t finish block with authority.
-Misses block, lets the linebacker disrupt the play.
-Not seeing the aggressiveness today.
-Gets the block, but bowled over by DL.
-Unbalanced, reaching for blocks.
-Great block on Spence, rooted him out and opened the hole.
-Showed good punch on draw play – got two blocks in.
-Two more good blocks, perfect positioning.
-Stands up Spence.
-Sets up the draw very well.
-Wasn’t Brewster’s best game early, but he improved throughout the game. I have to give him credit for dealing so well with the massive problems at QB.
#1 Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State
-Shrugs off first contact, nice balance.
-Good cuts, reading blocks well early.
-Great patience, weaves his way through his blockers and traffic for nine yards.
-No chance for Herron, wrapped up in backfield.
-Running well behind his pads, delivering the blows.
-Fantastic cutback, shows great elusiveness – jukes three Illini defenders.
-Fumbles the ball out of bounds at end of play.
-Gets the edge and runs away from the defenders for a TD. Good burst.
-Shows more elusiveness, setting up his blocks very well.
-Running with good power.
-Herron looked fresh – should be an NFL running back.
#8 AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois
-Takes short pass, can’t do much after the catch.
-Getting bumped on the line of scrimmage a lot.
-Makes a decent downfield block.
-Just an unreal catch on the sideline.
-Fantastic hands catch and body control.
-Needs to handle the physical corners better, getting frustrated.
-Not the crispest route we’ve seen.
-Very quick out of his break, gained separation.
-Makes big 1st-down on deep comeback – CB’s have to respect his speed.
-Does a lot with an iffy QB situation.
-Nice catch to pick up first down on 3rd and 15 – went to the ground and made the catch.
-Ball knocked out after catch, didn’t have it secured.
-Draws pass-interference, had a step on his man.
-Jenkins is starting to back up his boasting – might be best WR in the Big 10.
#71 Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois
-Lining up as weak-side tackle – switching from LT/RT.
-Good leg drive on run block, got under DE’s pads.
-Picks up line stunt with ease.
-Delivers a big blow – manhandling RDE.
-Stones LDE in pass-protection, never got off the line.
-Uses leverage well, uses DL’s movement against him.
-Misses block on sweep, couldn’t get back over his feet.
-Better run-blocking than we saw earlier this year.
-Great feet in pass-protection, stays in perfect balance.
-Got a bit upright and pushed back into the pocket.
-Bending his knees very well.
-Identifies his assignment with ease.
-Came away impressed after the NW game, even more so now.
#76 Graham Pocic, OC, Illinois
-Smoked on spin-move by blitzer.
-Makes two good blocks, knocked back a bit by linebacker.
-Misses blitz pickup – allows pressure.
-Not a finisher or particularly aggressive in his blocks.
-Looks like an UDFA to us. Just doesn’t do anything that incredible.
#85 Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
-Gets some good push on Adams, nearly makes TFL.
-Good discipline in contain, makes sure tackle.
-Beats LG/LT on missed assignment, makes the strip sack. (5th fumble caused this year)
-Shows good burst off the snap.
-Makes quick move past TE and disrupts play in the backfield.
-Pure speed move gets stoned.
-Good discipline again, stays put on play-action, turns QB back to his help.
-Held by Adams, but no flag.
-Goes nowhere on spin move.
-Good conversion move, pushes the pocket.
-Starting to draw some double teams, and attention from the TE.
-Liked Mercilus’ game, showed discipline and explosiveness.