NEPD Editor: James Christensen
South Carolina featured two first round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive lineman Melvin Ingram. For the 2013 NFL Draft, the Gamecocks just might have two more top picks, although the first round might be stretching it.
Auburn has its own share of future NFL players, although their best player – running back Michael Dyer – has since transferred to Arkansas State.
For more breakdowns of college prospects, use the conference navigation links above.
#98 DE Devin Taylor
-Lining up at left defensive end, some 2-point stances.
-Very quick off the snap.
-Drops into coverage on zone blitz, pursues across the field.
-Gets hands in the face of quarterback, forces early and inaccurate throw.
-Isn’t initiating a lot of contact, runs around some blocks.
-Misses running back initially, but fast enough to pursue outside and catch him cutting back.
-Shows some strength bull-rushing outside and then dipping inside to collapse the pocket.
-Takes huge strides in pursuit, gets out to the bubble screen in time to assist on tackle.
-Stays on his feet against cut block, closes on quarterback and gets the hurry/hit.
-Sheds the block from the h-back, forces quarterback to cut back, showing good balance.
-Big hit on the quarterback, disciplined play by Taylor on the option.
Overview: Taylor is a physical freak with incredible length, size, athletic ability and balance. What I didn’t see was the fire and killer instinct of his teammates. I want to see my defensive ends loving contact, not shying away from it, which was the impression I got at times of Taylor.
#21 SAF DeVonte Holloman
-Lining up at safety, often in the box – also playing on special teams.
-Engulfed by left tackle on tunnel screen.
-Late reacting to the ball, lets Dyer go by him before chasing him down.
-Blitzes from the edge, able to wrap up on Dyer for tackle for loss.
-In cover one, times up the hit on the receiver and disrupts the catch.
-Can’t wrap up on Dyer, misses tackle.
-Takes on block from h-back, sheds and assists on tackle.
-Shoots through the C-gap, solid tackle on Dyer.
-Missed open-field tackle on McCalebb, side-stepped blocker and couldn’t bring him down with one arm.
Overview: Holloman spent a lot of time in the box trying to stop (now Arkansas State) running back Michael Dyer. He missed a few tackles, but showed some versatility playing the run as well as the pass.
#36 SAF D.J. Swearinger
-Lining up at cornerback and safety – also playing on special teams.
-Trail coverage on deep out, couldn’t close in time.
-Touchdown saving tackle, able to change directions and accelerate to catch the quarterback.
-Misses open-field tackle on Dyer, spun out of his grasp.
-Tight coverage, not fooled by wheel route, shows a lot of confidence after the play.
-Not afraid to come up and fit against the run.
-Can’t make the tackle on Dyer, ran through his arm tackle.
Overview: Didn’t see a lot of Swearinger on tape, but flashed some ability in coverage as well as the willingness to come up and support the run. He had some trouble against the powerful Michael Dyer and will need to focus on wrapping up.
#21 RB Marcus Lattimore
-Lining up as running back, mainly in shotgun sets – occasionally split out as decoy.
-Making decisive cuts, doesn’t look to have elite acceleration.
-Able to put a block on Lemonier in pass protection.
-Bouncing off of tacklers, ball pops out, fumble lost.
-Bottled up early, blockers not creating holes.
-Gets skinny in the hole, driving hard with his legs for six yards.
-Great cut, shrugs off four arm tackles and powers into the end zone.
-Another fumble, ball ripped out of his hands.
-Check release, ball thrown behind him, can’t haul it in.
Overview: This was one of Lattimore’s least impressive games. He didn’t have a lot of room to run and seemed to lose the ball every time he found a crease or broke a tackle. Ball security isn’t normally a problem so it will be interesting to see if this issue continues in 2012. Michael Dyer was certainly the more impressive runner in this game.
Auburn 2013 NFL Draft Prospects are on page two.