NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko
In a game full of potential NFL Draft picks, a few in particular stood out. This film room will focus on a few prospects who will likely here their names called very early next April.
My first film room post for this website was to break down Notre Dame vs. South Florida. After watching Notre Dame again this game, I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know.
Michael Floyd still rounds his routes and can get lazy at times, he can be very one dimensional and will struggle to seperate at the next level. Cierre Wood is definitely a riser who may not come out. Julius Fleming is a late round pick at best. Manti Te’o is a 4 down linebacker who will likely be the #2 MLB off the board after Luke Kuechly.
There is definitely NFL talent in South Bend and those players will likely be rated all over the place depending on the draftnik.
For this film room review I have chosen to focus on the USC prospects, even one who isn’t eligible for the draft this year.
While watching this game I made the bold statment on twitter that if you take Stanford QB Andrew Luck out of the equation, then USC has 3 best NFL prospects in the country. QB Matt Barkley, LT Matt Kaili and WR Robert Woods are all studs and will all likely be consenses top 3-5 picks in which ever draft they are in.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC-
Coming into this season I was pretty high on Matt Barkley, maybe more so than others. I was anxious to see if he could elevate his game and close the the gap on Andrew Luck. After watching 5 of his games this year it’s pretty clear he has taken that next step. The more I watch him the more he impresses me. All we have heard for the first 7 weeks of the season is “suck for Luck”, but let me say this whomever gets the #2 pick will have a chance to get a QB who is better than any of the QB’s in the previous two drafts.
– Pocket poise and presence is world class. Hangs in to make the throw, can feel the pressure and avoids the rush.
– Doesn’t get rattled, doesn’t take many sacks.
– Can move out of the pocket and is extremely accurate when rolling out, has +mobility for a QB.
– Makes VERY few mistakes, if the play isn’t there he immediately checks down of gets rid of the ball.
-Ball comes out of his hand quickly, his mechanics have improved since his freshman year.
– His progressions are outstanding, scans the field an multiple times freezes the LB or safety, opening up the receiver.
-His accuracy is what seperates him from other QB’s not named Luck. Started the game 8/8 making a myriad of throws, both deep and short. Watching Barkley and then watching Landry Jones immediately after, it’s not close as to who is a better prospect.
-Throws one of the prettiest deep balls I’ve seen. Great touch on the ball, seems to be throwing to a spot, not just chucking it up and hoping.
– His play action game is unreal, he already ball fakes better than alot of NFL QB’s.
– His biggest knock is that he doesn’t have that “Matthew Stafford” type arm, but can definitley put some mustard on the ball and he can still make all the throws, his anticipation and understanding of defenses will make up for lack of elite ball speed.
– Also not the tallest QB so he could have trouble with tipped passes at the next level.
– There have been some knocks on him about where he holds the ball and foot work, but that is all very correctable, and I don’t foresee it being a problem.
-On the field Barkley is a field general it seems to me he has the ability to lead his team while staying poised and calm.
If I were an NFL GM and my team needed a QB and couldn’t get Andrew Luck, I would seriously condsider trying to trade up to get this kid. I am totally sold on him.
Matt Kalil, LT, USC-
If Matt Barkley doesn’t end up going #2 overall next April, it will be because Matt Kalil does instead. Kalil has been highly touted since he was a freshman in HS. His brother is a pro bowl center for the Carolina Panthers, so naturally following in his footsteps at USC the expectations were big. He has not only lived up to those expectations, he has surpassed them. If you look back at the tackles who were taken in the top 10 the last few years you have, Jason Smith, Russell Okung, Trent Williams, Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith and Tyron Smith. Kalil is easily better almost all of them, in my opinion. He has the combination of size, strength, athleticism, and agility to be a rookie pro bowl LT.
– The first thing that stands out is his build. Big tall kid, looks like a power forward, with the potential to add a lot of muscle. Really long arms, which is a must for a blindside protector.
– Very good quickness off the ball, his quick feet and agility allow him to get great position on reach blocks.
– Delivers and intial pop with his hands to the chest of the defender.
– Once he gets his hands on you, its over. He uses his extension and his strength to lock the defender up and move him where he wants to
-He’s a “natural bender” as Mike Mayock would say. At 6’7″ the tendency for players is to play too high. Kalil has very natural knee and hip bend.
-Can play too high at times with his pads, even though he can bend.
– At times he can become over extended which allows the defender to shed him.
– His footwork is what makes him elite. Quick feet and good angles allows him to be a lock down pass protector. On pass protection, he has a good kick step, opening up and allowing himself to be in good position. Forces the DE to be one dimensional.
– Has the speed and agility to be a lead blocker of screens, bubbles screens as well as a very effecitive “puller”.
-Really like the way he uses his hands in pass protection.
By the time he is drafted next April he will likely be even stronger and quicker. I don’t see any way this kid makes it out of the top 5 picks.
Robert Woods, WR, USC-
Woods isn’t draft eligible so I am not going to do a huge breakdown on him, I just want to touch on a few points. I have watched every play Woods has played this year, and its my opinion that he is not only currently the best WR prospect in the country, but he is the best, most NFL ready WR prospect since Calvin Johnson. When you watch the way Woods runs his routes, it looks like he has been in the pros for years.
He is able to get in and out of breaks so quickly, and always has a crispness to them. No rounding them off here. He has the ability to play every receiver spot on the field and USC uses him that way. Whether he lines up as the X, Y, slot, boundary, or field WR he produces.
When you combine his polished route running, with his world class hands and his likely 4.3 40 speed, there is no doubt where this kid is going in the draft. Another impressive aspect of his game is his YAC. He is the definition of a home run hitter. On numerous occasions this year I have seen him catch the ball behind the LOS and make 4-5 defenders miss when it looked like he is hemmed in. The kid is the total package and likely heisman front runner in 2012.
TJ McDonald, S, USC-
McDonald is another USC player I am extremely high on. Although the television copy of the film doesn’t show alot of his play, the USC secondary held Michael Floyd to 4 catches for only 28 yards McDonald was a big part of that. He didn’t wow me as I was expecting he is a player I will be watching more of in the future.
-Great frame, with perfect size for a safety.
-Closing speed and coverage skills are pretty good, can get over aggresive and fooled.
-USC played him way off the ball in this game, making sure Michael Floyd didn’t get deep.