2013 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: Wisconsin vs Utah State

Montee Ball Wisconsing

Is Montee Ball merely a product of his blocking? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Contributor: Jeff Risdon

Wisconsin escaped the strong upset bid, winning 16-14 as Utah State missed a last-minute FG. Lots of penalties on both sides made the game even more of a slog than the low final score would indicate.

Here are how the 2013 NFL Draft prospects performed.


T #58 Ricky Wagner (6’6”, 322)
–played left tackle
–popped up high several times
–showed great power in turning out shoulders and drive blocking end
–had trouble getting leverage and blocking inside on runs when DE was lined up inside his right shoulder
–sold run block on play action, effectively transitioned quickly to sliding wide to pick up edge rusher
–missed blitz pickup on play where O’Brien threw INT, but play was overturned on penalty
–couldn’t find targets up the field on a couple of screens and a counter run
–showed a tendency to overstep and reach when asked to block inside
–wound up running after the play and not engaged on several runs

Overall impression: Wagner definitely looks the part and flashed the ability to really impact the game as a run blocker, but his tendency to rise out of his stance and lack of lateral quickness are both limiting factors that need work. The Badgers fired their OL coach this week and that is a mitigating circumstance that must be factored in here.

*C #72 Travis Frederick (6’4”, 328)
–junior center that has played guard in the past
–generated big straight surge on iso block on nose
–no issues with snaps despite switching QBs in 2nd quarter; one fumbled snap was on the QB (O’Brien).
–missed his assigned pickup on 3rd snap of game, led to TFL
–popped straight up out of stance and beaten low to his left on 3rd and short that resulted in TFL
–holding penalty that was legit on first drive with Stave at QB
–slid nicely to left on combo block
–had head down and missed delay blitz that resulted in sack/fumble
–good outside surge on quick screen

Overall impression: More than anyone else, Frederick was negatively impacted by the sudden change of OL coaching. He’s only a junior and based on this game tape I would strongly advise him to stay in school and beg the coaching staff to move him to guard.

RB #28 Montee Ball (5’11”, 212)
–exhibits strong ability to lower shoulder thru hole
–missed cutback lane that would have resulted in big gain
–ran into back of blockers 6 times, including 3 on 3rd and short that all resulted in TFL
–made excellent cut block in pass protect
–stonewalled blitzer, then nicely flared out as a receiver
–strong forward lean, consistently finishes his runs falling forward when past the line
–attacked hole on counter play for nice pick up
–consistently missed opportunities to bounce outside or cut back
–scored TD by aggressively going after good seal block off-tackle, blew past any defensive help

Overall impression: Ball made his name scoring a plethora of TDs last year, but he very much appeared a product of his blocking in this contest. When the OL opened the hole where he expected it, Ball was assertive and ripped off nice chunks of yardage with hardnosed running inside. When the hole wasn’t there or he had to get outside the B gap, Ball was extremely ineffective. He did not show good vision or agility, but did quite well in the passing game. He lacks special traits but should be a functional member of a backfield by committee.

*LB #44 Chris Borland (5’11”, 250)
–plays primarily inside but also plays SAM when the Badgers go to two LBs.
–spent a lot of time in nickel D as spy on agile dual-threat QB
–showed quick burst to close on ball carrier
–overran a stretch run, allowed a cutback for a first down
–easily turned away on a blitz, did not attack hard
–held inside too long on a wheel route for a TD; back was not his responsibility but because he stayed inside it kept his cohort from releasing outside.
–made nice shed and stack on off tackle run
–quickly attacked several read-option runs outside the tackle box
–played better in 2nd half, seemed surer of his role and was more aggressive
–undercut a deep out route, forced overthrow

Overall impression: Because they used him so much in a passive spy role, he did not stand out as he has in prior games. He has decent range and plays with good, controlled physicality. Borland looks more like a SAM in the NFL, if he can demonstrate consistent range and quicker reactions as he plays out his junior and senior seasons.

LB #53 Mike Taylor (6’2”, 224)
–lined up on short side and weak side most of the game
–showed good patience and positional discipline on option
–seven solo tackles in first half
–got stuck in trash on screen, missed tackle by diving from too far away
–ran step for step with motioned-out back on crossing route
–exhibited quick ability to decipher information and react
–got away with blatant hold on wheel route
–very tight man coverage on tight end
–showed good depth in zone coverage, good awareness of receiver and angles

Overall impression: Classic try-hard, coach’s favorite type of linebacker that puts up big numbers in college on instincts, solid positioning, and excellent fundamentals. Taylor is undersized and not as quick as many undersized backers in the NFL, but has good enough instincts and cover ability to merit a late-round look.

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