2013 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas (Jr.):
– Missed many throws behind, low or away from receivers within 10 yards throughout game
– BIG MISTAKE: Miscommunication with center, ball snapped before Thomas is ready, Thomas able to run back into end zone and scoop up football but rather than kick ball out of end zone or take a knee for safety, tries to stretch ball out of end zone and fumbles it, resulting in Rutgers touchdown
– Throws over the middle into tight coverage 15 yards downfield, pass deflected up into air and could have been intercepted; very poor decision by Thomas to try to force throw
– Unable to get a play off on 3rd & 13, flagged for delay of game
– Even with early pressure on right side and offsides penalty against defense, Thomas completes tough throw into single coverage 9 yard ahead over middle of field
– As Rutgers stacks box, smart read by Thomas to run play action bootleg, check down to tight end for 3rd & 2 completion
– INTERCEPTION: With time to throw, takes deep shot to left sideline, ball underthrown for receiver in single coverage approximately 55 yards downfield; not enough arm on deep ball, poor decision to take unnecessary deep shot on 2nd down with 1:40 left in half
– Underthrew receiver on 20-yard throw, could have beaten coverage for big play if puts throw ahead of receiver rather than behind but instead pass broken up
– Forced to roll right, throws pass 30 yards through air on the run without setting feet, still hits WR on right sideline with accurate pass
– Next play, has time to set feet in pocket and hits Fuller 25 yards downfield
– With time to throw from pocket, overthrows receiver on 21-yd deep ball — downfield touch a problem throughout game
– Perfect fade throw to left side end zone to Corey Fuller to beat Logan Ryan for 21-yard touchdown
– Fakes handoff then takes keeper, makes defender miss with move to inside and gains 5 up left middle on run — didn’t run much
– Drops another shotgun snap low and outside, recovered by running back but results in big loss
– Flagged for intentional grounding for throwing ball out of bounds with defender having him wrapped up for would-be sack
– INTERCEPTION: Another pass hangs up deep around 45 yards downfield, underthrown and picked off in single coverage
– OVERTIME: Hits Davis on 18-yard curl over left middle; hangs up fade over wide-open fullback on 2nd and goal; fade throw on 3rd and goal to inside of Davis rather than back shoulder, interception dropped

Overview: Logan Thomas had a terrible junior season, and the finish wasn’t any better. While he made a few big throws late in the game to lead them to a victory, he struggled with accuracy on both short and downfield passes throughout the game.

His big arm didn’t help him much in this contest, as he lacked touch on his deep balls. He was intercepted twice on deep balls, and had a few other inaccurate throws that could have been picked off, including one in overtime. Thomas has all the physical measurables and tools to be a great quarterback, but if he cannot improve upon his accuracy, consistency and decision-making significantly, he won’t find success as an NFL quarterback.

Virginia Tech WR Marcus Davis:
– Has great speed, can be utilized as receiver and as runner on end-around plays
– Terrific effort to keep one foot in bounds, stretch over boundary line to make very difficult sideline catch to convert 3rd & 8
– Makes tough catch in tight single coverage for 9 yards ahead, shows leg drive to gain 4 extra yards through contact but fumbles at end of play, able to fall on his own fumble and recover
– Makes great adjustment to lay out to ground and come back to fluttering ball to make tough catch over middle on 3rd & 8
– OVERTIME: Beats Logan Ryan for catch on 18-yard inside curl

Overview: Marcus Davis had a very promising showing in his final collegiate game. Davis has been inconsistent throughout his senior season, but he made some very nice catches against Rutgers, taking advantage of his speed and athleticism to make some of the game’s most impressive receptions.

Virginia Tech ILB Bruce Taylor:
– Did not get start on defense, but played mostly every snap
– Blitzes through right middle, beats tight end block immediately and shuts down Jamison for 2-yard loss in backfield
– Lines up wide of right tackle, rushes off edge straight at Nova, leaps up and knocks down Nova’s pass with two-hand swat
– Instinctively reads run plays consistently, able to cover ground quickly and get in position to make tackle close to line of scrimmage
– Power inside rush between LT + LG, stops Nova on keeper run behind LOS
– Hits runners with authority on tackle attempts, often causes runner to fall backward rather than forward
– Brings initial pressure around right side of line toward Nova’s backside, forcing him to duck into sack with pressure in front
– Flagged for offsides on pass-rush off left side
– Covers Jamison screen perfectly out of backfield, hits him right away off catching screen at line to hold him to minimal gain
– Blitzes through WR block attempt, comes from inside to take down Huggins for 4-yd TFL on screen to left side
– Reads screen to right side immediately from middle of field, tracks it down and stops running back just two yards past line of scrimmage on right sideline

Overview: Khaseem Greene wasn’t the only linebacker in this game to make plays all over the field and consistently throughout the game. Taylor lined up in a variety of positions, from inside linebacker to on the line as an edge-rusher, and had success from all of them.

Taylor did an outstanding job of making stops around and behind the line of scrimmage in run defense, and he also had success as a pass-rusher, creating one sack and also swatting down a pass. He has the versatility to line up in a variety of different positions and defensive schemes at the next level, and he showed that in this contest.

Virginia Tech DE James Gayle (Jr.):
– Did not get start on defense, played a majority of snaps
– Sheds blocker at line of scrimmage, stops running back up middle
– Bring pressure against RT, forces Nova to step up in pocket
– Pressure wide off right side forces Nova to step up and throw quickly on 4th & 3, pass was broken up
– Missed Jamison on tackle in backfield
– Pressure off right side forces blocker to pick him up allowing Tweedy to come off wide right unblocked and take down Nova for 7-yard sack
– Rushes right by RT on his inside left, shuts down Huggins for 3-yard loss right out of backfield
– Pushes off TE block attempt, slides into middle and takes down Huggins after 3-yard run on 3rd & 14

Overview: James Gayle didn’t have any sacks in this game, but he made his impact felt when on the field. He beat Rutgers right tackle R.J. Dill with pressure on multiple occasions, and did a good job sliding off of blockers to make stops in the run game. He doesn’t have much success when the ball is run directly at him, but he makes plays all over the line with his explosive burst.

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