Archive for the ‘Scouting Reports’ Category

Potential Patriots: Washington DL Danny Shelton

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

I will start off by saying Danny Shelton is not a flashy player. He will not wow you with body crushing hits, he won’t blow past offensive linemen with his speed, and he won’t be making jumping interceptions. What he will do is be a big body in the interior of the defensive line that will command two blockers and provide a sturdy run stopping presence with the ability to get after the quarterback as well. At 6’2″, 340 lbs, he is a very similar player to someone we have grown to love in New England: Vince Wilfork. He currently ranks 27th on Matt Miller’s Bleacher Report top 50 big board for the 2015 draft.

Currently, the Patriots are very thin on the defensive line. With this year’s first round pick, Dominique Easley, having the flexibility to play tackle as well as end, the Patriots still need a clear cut defensive tackle to compliment Sealver Siliga, Vince Wilfork, and potentially Casey Walker. Wilfork is no guarantee for the next several years, and someone will need to take his place. Shelton has the potential to be a possible replacement for Wilfork, should the big guy call it a career.

So far this year, Shelton has been a disruptive force in the middle. He has already recorded 7.5 sacks and more than 10 tackles for a loss. Working with an impressive Washington defense has allowed Shelton to put his talents on display for the nation to see, and he is not disappointing. His bio on Washington’s website highlights some of his career achievements in the Pacific northwest.

I watched his game against Colorado in 2013, and this year’s game against Hawaii, and identified some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Like Wilfork, Shelton is a large human being who will constantly demand the attention of two blockers due to his size and strength. Even double-teamed, Shelton was able to disrupt plays, even if he wasn’t able to get the tackle himself. Here, by attacking the guard and tackle, it allows the end to draw just the tight end, which frees the outside linebacker to come off the edge and tackle the back from behind.

While he won’t be outrunning many players, he does have enough burst to make plays from a variety of positions along the defensive line. Here, he lines out in a 4I technique (just inside of the tackle), and, despite jumping a bit, is able to adjust himself to peel off his block and tackle the quarterback upfield.

Here, Shelton is able to manhandle his blocker back into the pocket, forcing the quarterback to step up, allowing Shelton to disengage and get the easy sack.

When single blocked, instead of shedding the block and taking himself out of the play potentially, Shelton holds his ground until the back decides which hole he is going to run in. Then he sheds the blocker and makes a play on the back.

One of the most consistent parts of Shelton’s game is his constant effort. On this play, despite being blocked initially, instead of giving up on the play, Shelton keeps attacking and forces the pressure on the quarterback, which ends in an errant throw.

His on field awareness is showcased here, where he is initially blocked, but reads the lineman’s movements and the quarterback’s eyes, and identifies the screen and makes a play.

Shelton’s strength is his biggest upside. This play highlights his ability to take an offensive lineman’s mistake and push him right back into the quarterback. The lineman doesn’t even have a chance to try and reestablish himself.

Even without a good pass rushing move, he keeps driving his feet and using his hands to stay disengaged with the offensive linemen, collapsing the pocket as he goes.

The problem is, when his feet stop moving, he doesn’t have great technique when trying to disengage from blockers on run plays. Here, his feet stop and the lineman gets his hands in place, and Shelton never has a chance to get the ball carrier.

Overall, I think Shelton has the size and strength to play as a starting defensive lineman in the NFL. He needs to improve on his techniques when engaged with blockers, and possibly adopt better pass rushing moves in order for him to be a three down lineman at the next level. He could be available near the end of the first round, but as always there is no way to predict any draft position at this point in time. He could become a top 15 pick, he may fall into the third round, nothing is for certain this early. That being said Shelton could be a good player the Patriots could use to add depth to a thin DL position.

Follow me on Twitter – @PatriotsInform

The Turf Report Mid-Season Rankings: Upperclassmen on Patriots’ Radar

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon could join former teammate James White in New England’s backfield next season. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

With the Turf Report taking the past couple weeks off, figured it would be appropriate to return with some mid-season rankings. Lets take a look at who’s stood out from the pack, and which amateur backs might be donning a flying Elvis on their helmet next fall?

Last Sunday’s season ending knee injury to Stevan Ridley has cast some uncertainty in Foxborough as to what the Patriots will do after this season at running back. Both Rildey and Shane Vereen are impending free agents, and there’s no guarantee either will return after 2014. The following are potential Junior and Senior prospects that should be appealing to New England this spring. I broke them down into three tiers and detailed the ones that could land on Belichick’s radar.


Potential Patriots: LB Denzel Perryman

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Adam Bogdan

Continuing my Potential Patriots series, I decided to look at Miami’s middle linebacker Denzel Perryman based on the feedback from readers.

The Patriots have certainly struggled this year against the run at times, and their linebacking corps may be one of the shallowest positions on the team. While Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins have exceptional athleticism, and with Dont’a Hightower becoming a pass rusher, there lacks a physical presence in the middle of the defense that can stuff the run with ferocity and fearlessness. That is what Perryman can do.


2015 NFL Draft: The Turf Report Week #3

Saturday, September 20th, 2014
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah rushes for a 57 yard touchdown against Fresno State during first quarter action last Saturday. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah rushes for a 57 yard touchdown against Fresno State during first quarter action last Saturday. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

Tyler Murphy, Boston College (6’2″ 213lbs) vs. USC

It took until week #3, but here’s our first QB to make it onto the Turf Report. Murphy may of not done much through the air this past weekend, but he did orchestrate a masterful performance on the ground as Boston College stunned #9 USC Saturday night. He worked the option play beautifully with his running backs, and kept Southern Cal’s defensive on their heels all game long. His 66 yard TD run in the 4th quarter was not only an example of Murphy’s explosiveness, but his field acumen as well. The 5th year senior who left Gainseville for an opportunity to start at quarterback looks to have found a home with BC. As coach Addazio’s offense continues to evolve, I’m excited to see what else he has in store for Murphy and the Eagles ground game.


2015 NFL Draft: The Turf Report Week #2

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Javorius Allen busting off a run last Saturday in front Cardinal's sideline.

USC Trojan’s RB Javorius Allen runs past the Stanford Cardinal sideline during third quarter action of Saturday’s game. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

Javorius Allen, USC (6’1” 220lbs) vs. Stanford

This was a huge win for the Trojans that should send their trajectory skyward for 2014. Allen ran for a career high 154 yards, and set the tone for USC’s offense against a stout Cardinal defensive line. He showed his athleticism and displayed an impressive set of wheels busting off a 50 yard run down field. Going forward, Allen’s opportunities to impress should only increase as Sarkisian continues to make his role a robust part of Trojan game plans.

Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn (5’10” 210lbs) vs. San Jose State

Payne is already off to a tremendous start for his sophomore year, running for almost 290 yards in his first two games. Although a victory over San Jose St. won’t turn voter’s heads, Payne’s performance was no less impressive as he ripped off three touchdowns this past weekend. The rushing attack that  quarterback Nick Marshall and Payne offer Auburn is a potent combination that will leave defenses grasping for oxygen this year.

David Cobb, Minnesota (5’11” 229lbs) vs. Middle Tennessee

Similar to Payne, the opposition might not have been impressive, but anytime you rack up 200+ yards people are going to take notice. A week after only seeing 14 touches versus Eastern Illinois, Cobb was clearly ready to shoulder the load. Heading into his senior year, a leaner, faster Cobb aimed to become more explosive out of the backfield. If this performance was any indication of what’s ahead for him, then Big Ten foes better be prepared.

Week #2 Player to Watch: Mike Davis, South Carolina (5’9” 223lbs) vs. Georgia

What makes Davis such an offensive threat is his versatility and effectiveness in the passing game. Davis is a natural mismatch for any linebacker, and knows how to create space even when catching the ball in crowded areas. He didn’t get much of a chance to contribute in the Gamecock’s passing game during week one, but we got a glimpse of his receiving talents against East Caroline last Saturday, catching the ball 3 times for 28 yards. On top of that he rushed for 118 yards. Many eyes will be on Todd Gurley this coming Saturday, and rightfully so, he’s a beast. But my attention will be focused on the mismatches Spurrier schemes utilizing Davis.

Saturday Slate: Week 3 Matchups to Watch in College Football

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

The cupcakes will start going away soon, I promise. For a college football weekend that didn’t provide numerous big time match-ups, Week 2 certainly surpassed expectations.


Saturday Slate: Week 2 Matchups to Watch in College Football

Friday, September 5th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

Nothing quite beats opening weekend of college football. There’s no preseason, no practice runs. Week 1 as usual provided entertainment all the way through. Before I get into the Week 2 matchups you should be watching, lets recap Week 1.

What we learned: Kenny Football! Kenny Heisman! Kenny Trill! Kenny.. Sumlin? Seriously, Kenny Hill looked great.   His throws’ were accurate and on time all night long. But it’s time Kevin Sumlin gets recognized as one of the best offensive minds in football. Receivers were open… all… night… long. South Carolina’s defense had no answers, as they were too busy running sideline-to-sideline trying to catch their breath all night. (more…)

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