2013 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: West Virginia vs. Marshall

Geno Smith West Virginia

Is Geno Smith the #1 QB prospect in the nation? (Photo: US Presswire)


NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The 2012 college football season for these two teams starts off with a bitter in-state rivalry. West Virginia will begin playing in the Big XII, but before that, they have to deal with a Marshall team that has a very highly rated NFL Draft prospect.

West Virginia is loaded with NFL prospects, especially on offense. Here is how they fared.

West Virginia

#12 Geno Smith, QB
– Accurate throwing across the field, displays solid mechanics, velocity is solid
– Sells the play fake, rolls out to his right and lofts an accurate pass into the endzone for a touchdown
– Roll out was undercontrol and he let the play develop, didn’t look to run despite plenty of room
– Another accurate throw, with strong velocity, mechanics look great
– When he steps into it and wants to he can hum it
– Accurate ball from opposite hash to the sideline, led the WR towards the sideline
– Finally, lines up under center, but hands off
– Had Bailey open in back of the endzone, but over throws him. Rushed his delivery a little bit and didn’t set feet
– Smith doesn’t force things, rolls out, pump fakes, but decides to pick up 5 instead of forcing throw
– Consistently keeps a wide base, good balance
– Stands in the pocket, goes through his reads and delivers a rocket to his third read
– Always seems to keep his eyes down field, moves around pocket while going through his reads
– Excellent management in the 2-minute offense, takes what is given to him, marches the offense down the field.
– Puts his athleticism on display, makes a defender miss in the pocket, rolls one way and back the other, keeping his eyes down field, then finally decides to take off
– Really impressed with the way he is going through his reads and not locking on to one WR
– Broken play, takes off running for a 30 yard TD – Defense to blame, huge running land and untouched

Overview: Extremely impressed with his poise in the pocket, his footwork and his ability to go through the reads. He has plus athleticism for the position and a very good arm. He has improved his decision making it appears and knows when not to take chances. With his size, athletic ability and arm talent he has the looks of a first round QB. One question he must answer is can he operate from under center and run a pro-style offense. Based on what I saw today I don’t think that would be too much of a problem.

#1 Tavon Austin, WR
– Takes first reverse, follows blockers, makes quick, decisive cuts at full speed
– Screen pass on second play, takes a stutter steps and breaks the first tackle, keeps his feet moving
– Excellent balance, pulls off a spin move while getting hit, able to stay on feet and pick up extra yards
– Natural punt returner, looks comfortable and tracks the ball well
– Loves to use the spin-move, it’s one of the quicker ones I’ve seen, used it three times already
– Another screen, dances too much, needs to be more decisive and just GO
– Shows off his BLAZING speed on reverse, runs right through defenders who look like they have the angle on him, can’t even touch him – legit 4.3 speed
– Comes back on next two plays, with quick screens, makes one quick cut and is in the endzone
– When is stopped for a loss, he has a tendency to try to reverse, make people miss and it compounds things

Overview: Austin is one of the most explosive players anywhere. He is at his best with the ball in his hands in open space. He can make people miss and take contact well for his size. With his lack of height he is destined to be a slot WR at the next level, but also a kick and punt returner. He is a great competitor and the team looks for as many ways to get the ball in his hands. He has a very bright future.

#3 Stedman Bailey (JR), WR
– Finds the ball in the air, adjusts to it, and goes up and gets it with tight coverage
– Displayed excellent concentration with defender draped all over him
– Comes back hard to the ball, catches with his hands in traffic
– Quick feet during routes, able to create separation out of his breaks
– Once again displays strong hands, watching the ball in
– Uses strong stiff arm and takes a hit but can spin off of it
– Bailey is undersized but, has a better frame than Austin
– Is getting good separation out of his cuts, anticipating the throw

Overview: Very strong hands. Displayed good body control and concentration while running routes and tracking the ball. He is a more natural WR than Austin, while slightly least electrifying. Bailey has a little bit more bulk and showed the ability to take a hit and break tackles. He was able to consistently create separation out of his breaks and beat the coverage over the top. Only a Junior, it’s very possible he enters the draft.

#6 Pat Miller, CB
– Undersized, but feisty
– Too small to cover the tight end, but makes solid form tackle immediately after the catch
– Can’t get off the block by WR (not great effort), RB walks in off tackle, needs to be more physical there
– Plays so far off, that receivers are catching stuff underneath, he closes quick, but coverage skills are questionable
– Misses a tackle, by diving at feet of WR, allowing him to pick up YAC
– Absolutely PANCAKED on TE Hoskins long TD, driven into the ground and allowed for long TD – play called back
– Too small and not strong enough to get off blocks by bigger WR
– 3rd and Goal he recognizes the comeback route, showed good change of direction and burst out of stance for PBU

Overview: Lack of strength really hurts him. Struggles badly to get off blocks. Plays with a huge cushion and was exploited a little bit in coverage. He made a nice play when he trusted his eyes and made a nice break on the ball. He showed he is willing to tackle, but lacks form and technique. I need to see a lot more before I make a judgement one way or another.

#74 Joe Madsen, OC
– Gets great surge off the line, stayed engaged with is defender for ten yards, opened massive hole
– Good shot gun snaps, consistently into the chest of Smith
– Goal to go situation, they run the ball two times right behind him, but he can’t get a good push
– Snaps are getting a little bit higher as the game goes on
– Gets to the second level, maintains block until RB is by him and keeps moving
– Slow getting to second level and block in space, looks really stiff when he has to move
– Feet are really slow, looks like he is wearing cement shoes, not a natural athlete
– On Geno Smith’s run, created the huge lane by sealing off his mad and sustaining block

Overview: Not an athletic guy, looks stiff and slow footed. He showed he can shotgun snap with accuracy and velocity. He did a nice job in the run game of sustaining his blocks and sealing the running lane. When asked to get to the second level he is slow and late. His ceiling is limited and looks like an UDFA guy.

Check out the Marshall draft prospects on page two.

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