NEPD Editor: James Christensen
Upset-minded Northern Iowa nearly pulled an “Appalachian State” on Wisconsin, but ultimately fell short. Both teams had some interesting performances from their 2013 NFL Draft prospects.
Read on to see how they performed.
#58 OT Ricky Wagner
-Lining up at left tackle.
-Pancakes linebacker, got an angle and drove through.
-Looks a bit slow out of his stance, but showing impressive power.
-Effective cut block, third time in a row he’s taken a defender to the ground.
-A little high coming out of his stance on occasion.
-Kick slide and shuffle look slow, but he is able to cover ground.
-Locates target on the move, delivers perfect cut block.
-Doesn’t exhibit great knee bend, looks a little stiff.
-Shows decent speed out to the edge on sweep.
-Blocks down on sweep, takes DE out at his knees with a cut block.
-Gets a better bend, mirrors the defensive end.
-DE’s violent hands don’t seem to bother Wagner, keeps hands locked on.
-Finishing blocks with authority, gets under the DE’s pads despite his height and puts him on the ground.
-Feet are coming alive, changing direction against active DE.
-DE gets a running start, no problem anchoring, resets and gets his hands on him.
-Awkward coming out of stance, falls down on his own trying to get to the second level.
Overview: I’m not sure I’ve seen a lineman put as many people on the ground as Wagner did since watching Orlando Pace at Ohio State. His feet get a little sluggish at times, but he is brutally strong and has some decent agility for a guy of his size. He might be a better fit as a RT at the next level.
#72 OL Travis Frederick*
-Lining up as center, played guard last year.
-Accurate shotgun snaps, good velocity.
-Turns defensive tackle, drives him backwards.
-Nice base, sets quickly and keeps his feet moving.
-Clubbed out of the way by the DT – couldn’t keep his hands on him.
-Finishing every block, all the way to the whistle.
-Looks good on the move, balanced moving through the trash on pull.
-Sees end/tackle stunt coming, picks it up easily.
-Good hustle and awareness, jumps on fumble from WR down the field.
-Brutal block at the second level, turns the linebacker with pure strength.
-Defender got under his pads, but was able to anchor and regain leverage.
-Can’t pick his way through the garbage on pull, tripped over teammate who tripped.
-Uses the angle on defensive tackle, pushes him well clear of the hole.
-Combo block on the DT, gets to the second level and controls the linebacker.
Overview: Much like Peter Konz and John Moffitt before him, Frederick is going to be a NFL interior lineman, the question is, could he finally crack the first round? Frederick was technically sound, strong and moved his feet very well. His blocking didn’t suffer after adding the snapping duties this year and looks like he has the football IQ and demeanor that the NFL is looking for from a center/guard.
#28 RB Montee Ball
-Runs through an arm tackle, brought down by two Panthers.
-Jump cut in the backfield, makes one guy miss, but knocked backwards and can’t make the first down.
-Gets skinny through the hole, taking some big hits.
-Showing average speed – patience and good blocking are a big help.
-Lined up in the slot, nice out route and hands catch.
-Dart route, nice catch and turn, powers over the cornerback.
-Poor effort in pass protection, reaching rather than moving his feet.
-Plants and spins, has a decent repertoire of moves.
-Takes screen pass, runs through a couple arm tackles and makes a big gain.
-Shows some plus balance, absorbs the hit and continues to churn forward.
-A bit too patient on the goal line, finds the crease and goes in for a TD.
-Getting better as the game goes on, breaking more tackles, wearing down the defense late.
Overview: I’m sure Badger fans are going to kill me for this, but I have to wonder whether Montee Ball will have more than four or five productive seasons in him at the NFL level – he has taken a lot of punishment at Wisconsin. He certainly has all the physical skills, would like to see him improve in pass protection.
#14 CB Marcus Cromartie
-Lining up as field and boundary corner, left side – also seeing time on special teams.
-Changes direction, makes the ankle tackle in the open field.
-Comes up to support the run, wraps up the RB’s ankles.
-Press bail, stays on top of receiver, QB throws it out of bounds deep.
-Closes quickly on the ball, times contact perfectly and disrupts the catch.
-Gives up clean inside release to TE, beat deep down the seam, blocked by his teammate.
-Doesn’t get his head around, WR makes the catch right over his helmet.
-Allows 7 yard catch on 4th and 7, wasn’t anywhere near him – needs better stick awareness.
Overview: Cromartie looked good in run support and special teams while flashing some physical skills in coverage. I’d like to see him tune up the finer points of the game a bit, read the receivers hands/eyes, know the situation.
#10 CB Devin Smith
-Lining up as field and boundary corner – right side.
-Forces outside release in man, stays with WR through scramble drill.
-Sets a decent edge, can’t make the tackle on jet sweep.
-Gets a good jam in, disrupts timing of route.
-Man off, shows open field tackling fundamentals but nearly misses the tackle.
-Stumbles in transition breaking on the ball, then misses the tackle – didn’t break down.
-Sits in the flat, finds receiver coming into his zone and delivers a big hit.
-Nice break on the ball, sticks his hand in front and disrupts the catch.
Overview: Similar to Cromartie, Smith showed off some impressive physical skills. He had one breakdown in coverage where he slipped in transition, but was very solid overall, both in man and zone.
#97 DE Brendan Kelly
-Lining up at left defensive end.
-Called for hands to the face penalty.
-Good motor, hustling down the field chasing receivers.
-Strong initial punch, jolts the offensive lineman, closes on QB but can’t bring him down.
-Flashes outside, sheds block, wraps up RB for no gain.
-Slow snap reaction, great push/pull move beats the LT, delivers big QB hit.
-Shows good discipline, reading his keys, not just running after the QB.
-Chases down RB from behind on screen play – great effort.
-Quick off the ball, turned the OL’s hips and bowled him over, got some pressure.
Overview: I came away very impressed with Kelly. He will probably need to add some weight to thrive at DE at the next level, but I really liked his motor, array of moves and power. Under the radar right now, but I think he is certainly a draftable prospect.
#53 LB Mike Taylor
-Lining up as inside and outside linebacker.
-Sucked up on play action.
-Zone drop to the flat, drops an easy interception.
-Flows to the ball, forces play inside, changes direction and wraps up for the tackle.
-Shoots the A-gap, breaks down well, assists on the tackle for loss.
-Tracks the ball on jet sweep, breaks down and makes a nice open field tackle.
-Sets a nice edge, sheds block and assists on tackle.
-False step, loses RB on wheel route, gives up long TD.
Overview: Taylor is all business – he isn’t flashy, but rarely makes big mistakes. He tackles well, has great instincts and is very effective against the run. I’d like to see his coverage improve.
Draft prospects for Northern Iowa can be found on page two.