In an effort to show more transparency in how I evaluate talent during the draft process, I have decided to post my raw scouting notes for every game that I watch this Spring. These are unedited, real-time notes on six individual prospects for nearly every snap of the Big Ten Championship between Michigan State and Ohio State (In case you are wondering, I forgot to actually take notes for the first five or six minutes of the game, but nothing major happened so I just picked up where I left off). These six prospects, and their summarized notes, are as follows:
#31 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
- Flawless technique in press and when bailing to zone
- Sound tackler, enforcer against the run on the edge
- Even when he loses a step, has the recovery speed to win anyway
- Great ball skills, makes quarterbacks pay for targets
- Questions about deep speed, though technique is so perfect that receivers rarely get a step on him anyway
- A bit smaller than prototypical press corners in today’s NFL
#9 Isaiah Lewis, S, Michigant State
- Sound tackler, worked well near the line of scrimmage as run stopper
- A bit undersized to fit typical strong safety mold
- Worry a bit about long speed if asked to handle receivers one on one
- Flashed hip fluidity in coverage when having to turn with post-corners and corner-posts
- Probably best suited for SS in a two-shell base
#74 Jack Mewhort, LT, Ohio State
- Sound technique with hands and feet. Very good hand placement in particular
- Better run blocker than pass protector
- Surprising power despite svelte 300 pound frame
- Plays a bit too high at times, compromises leverage both in run and pass blocking
- Disappointing length for a 6’5" tackle. Calhoun was able to turn the corner on him twice by simply keeping him at bay with stiff arm
- Average athlete. Showed struggles keeping up with speed rush at the end of the game with just a kick slide. Needed help from Hyde
- Probably would work best as a right tackle for his run blocking ability, and wouldn’t have to face so many speed rushers on that side
- Got arrested for public urination, tried fleeing from police
#34 Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- This dude’s a bull. Always falling forward, hard to stop his momentum from getting one or two extra yards on every run
- Nimble for a 240 pounder. Had a few fantastic cuts with burst to redirect from gap to gap
- Won’t pull away from defenders in the open field, more of a bruiser than a home run threat
- Catches the ball well
- Decent pass protection skills, though he got ran over once. Could improve there
- Good vision for gap scheme. Understands his blocking, showed patience to wait for pulls down blocks to get into place. A couple instances of misreads, but MSU’s defense is incredibly hard to run on and he lit them up
#1 Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
- Used in zone more than man. Frustrating because he’s got nimble feet, sound technique, and speed to burn to man up all day.
- Was not targeted once in man to man, gave up two passes in his area in zone where he didn’t carry seam
- Otherwise showed excellent plant and close ability. Same quick footwork in transition and speed as last season.
- Not afraid to get physical against the run. Through his body into blockers, great effort
- Need to watch more tapes with man coverage, see what all the panic is over the Wisconsin game
#2 Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
- Incredibly exciting player. Has insane sideline to sideline speed, instincts, hitting ability
- Very good in coverage, almost looks like a safety with how fluid he is
- Looks 235 pounds soaking wet. Got blasted off the ball when engaged by offensive linemen
- When kept clean can be a game changing play maker, would work best as 4-3 Will. Might, MIGHT survive in a two-gap 3-4 behind a good defensive line that can absorb blocks
- If he doesn’t work at linebacker, has possibility to transition to strong safety in a defense that plays single high so he can roam LOS
Feel free to follow the game and my notes snap to snap to get a better understanding of what I look for in prospects at a variety of positions. For reference, grading this kind game with so many good prospects (not even including Allen or Bullough!) took roughly twelve hours. Let’s just say I’m thorough.
- Roby in catch technique again. Lots of that so far on opening drive. Looking at the center pre snap, then whips his head to receiver on the snap. He takes a jab outside automatically to play a fly while turning his head to receiver rather than just keeping eyes on hips pre-snap. Not sure why he does this because it’s not like the receiver can jump off sides and get away with it anyway. That outside jab makes it easy for receiver to get double release inside. Fix that at NFL level, good feet though.
- Shazier PI on coverage. He’s been great so far. Good working hole to hole, athletic in coverage.
- Zone stretch, Shazier Mike. Roby way off coverage field side (zone?).
- Shazier great sideline to sideline speed, scrapes and makes tackle for 2-3 yards. Good angle.
- Roby in catch again. Love his feet, nice six inch ladder steps mirror release then flips and runs down field. QB attacked opposite corner #12 AGAIN. Hasn’t thrown Roby’s way yet.
- Roby way off again, cover 4 against 4-wide.Is he in zone every time he’s off like that? Dual slants underneath him.
- Shazier PERFECT coverage, opening hips toward his side of the field, knowing QB is attacking over the middle. Sees QB start his release, charges on the ball but it’s too high for him to reach. Was in great position to make the play. Terrific coverage.
- Dennard press bail, good position.
- Hyde used on power up the gut. Burst and strength, but also eludes Bullough in the hole. Good run.
- Lewis comes up in run support, throws shoulder at Hyde rather than wrapping up. Bad form.
- Mewhort turns out DE on the run. Didn’t over set. Good work.
- Miller throws ball behind Hyde on wheel, he adjusts well and gets head of steam going to LOS, but is up ended by field corner. Gets 1-2 yards, would have gotten more with better throw.
- Dennard boundary in press, great feet, perfect mirror.
- Mewhort tries cutting back side DE, dives too low. Needs to get into his outside hip, not knees.
- Miller not ready for snap, throws high to Hyde uncatchable. Bounces off hands.
- Mewhort good mirror in pass pro. Good knee bend, didn’t over reach. Hands inside. Technically sound.
- Delayed hand off. Shazier sucked up into front side hole by FB, Roby on back side fill because his man goes on fake sweep. Roby fills excellent and makes sound tackle for minimal gain. Good play. He’s missed one tackle on a screen, but this was nice.
- Counter coming back towards Roby. Scrapes to sideline and dips under pulling OL, but Langford cuts back and Roby barely gets his ankles to get him to stumble for 7 yards-ish.
- Shazier false steps a bit on the misdirection, then gets caught up in wash behind pulling linemen. If Roby didn’t get Langford’s feet he would have been gone.
- Shazier engaged on 4th and short by LG, couldn’t get off the block and stop RB short even though he the lane was wide open to be filled. Size might be an issue in him extending and getting to the hole.
- Roby in press look again on boundary side X. Eyes on hips. Doesn’t bite on stutter, even though it was a run play anyway. Good discipline.
- Shazier is Mike, three down balanced two-gapping front. RB gets held up in the hole by the 5-tech falling down, Sam backer comes flying off the edge and spills to field side corner. Shazier didn’t stack on TE so much as just pushed him back to try to get free. If the back cleared to second level he would have gotten at least 5 yards. Size probably biggest factor in inability to stone blockers and disengage.
- Roby off coverage on 2nd and 16. Looks like Cover 4 zone pre-snap again. Ended up being Cover 6 while he played curl/flat. He dead dropped instead of matching, so TE found hole in zones.
- Shazier carried TE up the seam then came back over the middle on Z crosser. Roby responsible for picking up the seam and forcing check down to back, then rallying to tackle. As soon as that Z crossed underneath he should have immediately blanketed TE. Mental mistake. Good coverage on Shazier’s part.
1st 3:47 3rd and 4.
- No receivers to Roby’s side, so he’s off TE in zone. Again didn’t carry TE in seam. Showed good footwork to recover and get in position to play the hitch, but his early drop opened up the middle way too much.
- Great coverage by Shazier buzzing to flat from blitz look. Dropped to first down marker so he didn’t blow the angle, read for throw, broke down and held up the back long enough to Roby to finish. Perfect coverage and tackle for loss.
- Dennard eyes on hips, great mirror. Light, quick steps so he doesn’t over extend. Good coverage on release, though run play.
- Hyde hits hole hard as soon as he sees it open. Doesn’t accelerate too early to allow blocks to develop. Makes violent contact.
- Mewhort jab inside to set up turn out, finishes his block all the way through whistle. Love it.
- Lewis again comes up in run support, wraps up this time on Hyde on second level.
- Another gap run with Hyde. Play side 3-tech slants away from the hole, which holds up DE too. Missed stunt call by DE, maybe? Great cut in the hole to get past Bullough again, runs through contact on second level. Falls forward for more yardage. Great run.
- Mewhort again finishing block to the whistle, though it’s not to his gap. Want to see what happens when he’s at point of attack.
- Lewis run support, slightly misjudged angle on Hyde but gets his legs enough to trip him up.
- Dennard boundary press. Great route by receiver to stutter, fake outside release, get him to flip on it, then punch and get open on the hitch. Dennard would have kept it to 4-5 yards, but great route none the less. Shows the kind of technician it takes to get open on a play of Dennard’s caliber, even if just for a second. Miller lets it fly to open man deep, incomplete.
- Hyde working inside out in pass pro, helps against DE inside.
- Mewhort working against Dennard corner blitz. Doesn’t over set and delays Dennard enough to force him around the back of the pocket. Miller able to roll out on PA and hit his receiver on the sideline.
- Lewis off man on slot receiver. Receiver blew by him with speed, but couldn’t bring the ball in. Lewis lucked out, should have been a huge play and probably a touchdown. Speed concerns?
- QB keeper. Mewhort double team on DT then advance to LB on second level. Good block, hands inside, stays balanced, light feet. Miller makes bad read, could have had big gain to his left.
- Lewis tracking Miller in traffic, sees cut back and fills perfectly. Takes him down for no gain in the hole. Excellent tackle and read.
- Hyde pass pro. Gains ground and rides him to back of pocket on first move. Miller has nowhere to throw, Hyde can’t protect him forever and gets beat on counter spin.
- Dennard perfect coverage. Eye discipline on hips, mirrors and flips with hands on shoulder to jam a potential double release and squeeze him to sideline. Once he’s in the route, he gets his hand on receiver’s back to feel the break, good feet to mirror the cut, in position to break up a pass. TEXTBOOK PRESS COVERAGE.
- Mewhort in pass protection on 5-tech. Good knee bend at first, love his hands staying wide to catch the inside move in the chest and buy him time to power step inside to cut it off. Doesn’t let his hands get neutralized by punching early or pinching his shoulders. Only complaint is that once engaged he gets a little bit high, compromised leverage a bit though he still anchors well. Needs to keep his butt lower through any counter move so he doesn’t get flat backed.
- Shazier driven back by blocker in the open field. Too small to stack and shed.
- 72 yard catch and run TD. Roby and Shazier in zone nowhere near the play. Safety tried to jump the route and lost.
- Dennard perfect again.
- Hyde flairs to flat, nice hands catch, DE tracks him down on the edge for no gain. Not the fastest guy out there.
- Mewhort has got some nasty in him. He hasn’t once stopped blocking his guy before the whistle yet.
- QB draw. Mewhort blocking slanted DT. DT spins out of it, but he is delayed enough to not be a factor.
- Hyde run blown up by nose. Spins out of it for a couple. Nice recovery.
- Mewhort driving into slanting DT again. Gains a couple yards of ground and puts him on the turf at the end of the play. Love it. Generating movement.
- Read option. Mewhort advance to second level to block Bullough. Seals him out of any potential alley Hyde would have had, but Miller keeps it so his block is largely irrelevant.
- Hyde in pass pro. Cuts off the angle, but Miller runs backwards straight into the edge rush. Miller should have slid protection to account for blitz.
- Again, blown protection call produced this sack more than anything. Mewhort picked up the DE expecting the guard to slide towards the nose and Hyde to take the linebacker, but the extra blitzer to that side overloaded the protection and caused the sack. This play was screwed before the ball was snapped. Not sure if Miller or center has the power to adjust protection, but one of them messed up.
- Roby fill against fullback on play side D, nice side step to dodge him. Gets yanked down by pads, uncalled holding.
- Shazier scrape to stack on jumbo tackle play side. Loses a little ground but gets free to force running back inside into teeth of defense. Surprisingly held up well there, even though he eventually got flat backed at end of the play.
- Strong Iso run towards Roby boundary side. Roby again on fill against full back, goes low and plugs the hole. RB can’t get through the clog, minimal gain. Great play from Roby.
- Shazier in position to make the tackle if he gets through, but he’s a bit too deep. Want to see him attack LOS, not wait for the back to come to him.
- Roby didn’t carry the seam on stick route again. Receiver immediately ran to the safe spot between zones unopposed. He got caught peaking to flat, which Shazier was already covering. Roby struggling with mental mistakes in zone so far.
- Roby in press. Can’t tell if he let receiver get inside separation to avoid rub with safety or if he just didn’t squeeze it. That’s more of a coaching philosophy thing. Either way safety carries receiver inside and on crosser with Roby over top during roll out.
- Roby corner blitz. Coming from depth so it takes him longer to get there, slows down a bit to juke Langford rather than trying to get around him with speed or flat out momentum. Still gets him a bit off balance, but he pretty much never had a shot here. I think they were banking on Roby being able to catch QB on a roll out unblocked.
- Shazier waiting in flat, also looks like he was expecting roll out and crossers. Instead Langford stays in to protect and QB takes shot for TD. Roby still hasn’t given up single reception in man to man, just in zone.
- Dennard half field in cover 6. Hyde runs into pile, minimal gain. Had a one on one with linebacker to his right that he could have taken for 4-5 yards. Want to see him use his size and run over the Will backer there.
- Lewis does a good job of finding his way through traffic to get to Hyde and stop him for minimal gain. All MSU DBs are very good in run support so far.
- Hyde open on hitch, Miller scrambles instead. Hyde doesn’t do much to block the corner on the edge, but it’s enough and Miller breaks a big run. Corner should been more aggressive to try to tackle Miller rather than just strictly playing force. Needs to do both redirect AND attack.
- Mewhort back side turn out again. Hasn’t had a bad block yet.
- Hyde doesn’t really have anywhere to go. Lowers his shoulder for 3.
- Hyde wheel route wide open, Miller throws to Brown for TD anyway.
- Mewhort a tad high in pass pro again, but he gets the job done alongside TE on double team. Love his hand usage so far. Very disciplined in his punch and placement.
- Both safeties, including Lewis, bit hard on play action. Receiver ran right by them.
- This Joey Bosa kid is amazing. He’s going to be something to behold in a couple years.
- Roby lined up in press, but it’s zone. Shoves receiver off the line then passes him off to safety. Sees PA rollout and drops, but QB makes a nice throw to the hole for a big gain.
- Shazier again loses ground against pulling guard.
- Shazier blitzing, impressive closing speed to track down QB and plant him into the ground on the throw. Exciting athlete.
- Roby in deep third zone. Play not near him. Want to see him play more man because he’s got the feet for it. Ohio State scheme might be holding him back.
- Roby in man on third and long. Little motion in the WR stack and rub designed to create separation. Pocket collapses before route can develop. He’s not tested.
- Shazier blasts his way through RB in pass pro and forces QB off his spot. Incomplete. Love it.
- Mewhort still a bit high. When he gets bent back like that he can’t get enough power from his quads and glutes, lost leverage and couldn’t power step to cut off inside lane. Lucky that his man was playing contain and not trying to get up field. Miller broke contain for big gain anyway.
- Lewis does good job of flipping hips and shadowing receiver over the top. In good position to break up any deep pass thrown over the middle.
- Mewhort chips DT then comes back to help TE with DE. LOVE his mirror on the spin move. Great feet.
- Miller had receiver open on the sideline and didn’t see it. Protection couldn’t hold up forever. Miller’s fault.
- QB draw. Lewis comes off the back side edge and takes down Miller from behind. Great play in pursuit. He seems to work very well near the line of scrimmage. Sure tackler outside of one shoulder shot in Q1.
- Shazier knifes through the line on strong stretch, TFL. This dude is awesome when kept clean. Ideal 4-3 Will. Closing speed from read to contact is insane.
- Shazier works through traffic on delayed hand off. Read/react ability is fantastic.
- Bosa again. Awesome.
- Roby got rubbed again, but pass rush made it irrelevant. Still like his feet. Light, quick steps. Obvious speed. Will probably do well at Combine.
- Good pass pro from Mewhort. Mirrored well, but it looks like DE was just trying to play contain anyway. Keep an eye on how many snaps people are coming after the quarterback, because only blocking against contain assignments might skew his results. Hasn’t been beat so far though.
- Hyde got destroyed by Bullough. Two big men colliding. Hyde lost.
- Lewis playing middle of the field to cover hot from Bullough, C6 on back end.
- Lewis in slot on other side of the field, tracks down Miller from behind before first down. Good effort on pursuit.
- Hyde finally gets another carry. Been behind. Great cut. Read play side to back side, sees Bullough on inside guard shoulder, Nice cut to B, grabs first down.
- Always falling forward.
- Mewhort drops his head and gets swimmed. First time he’s been clearly beat all day, though Hyde still got through the hole.
- Dennard hasn’t been tested still. Miller found TE on seam deep on verts against cover 3. Perfect call.
- Lewis over loaded in single high, had to choose between receiver over the middle and receiver in number one seam. Couldn’t cover both. TE wide open. Either way he was going to lose.
- Mewhort again holding up against the contain DE. Still good mirror skills, but he’s not really tested.
- Hyde squirts through tiny hole, love the burst. Gets an extra 8 yards after first contact dragging the safety. Powerful.
- Great block by Mewhort. Double teamed 3-tech with guard then disposed of him while OG blocked LB, allowing Hyde to get through. Nasty.
- Lewis ran into ref. Run would have been shorter otherwise.
- Mewhort mauled DT on down block. Did his part.
- Hyde running behind Mewhort. Probably could have bounced to other side of pulling RG but would have gotten roughly same yardage anyway. Moved pile with power.
- RG dropped his head and gave up the B. Nowhere to go. LB fill brought Hyde down for minimal gain.
- Not sure what the coverage is here. Dennard starts the release like it’s man then disappears like he’s bailing to a deep zone. Rallies for a tackle on underneath receiver and forces a fumble that goes out of bounds, but that might have been his responsibility in man. Can’t tell.
- Mewhort oversets to the outside and leaves a window to counter inside, but he recovers very well. Fluid hip and power step inside to get himself in position to re-anchor, but his hand placement in the chest is perfect. Powerful punch to keep rusher from gaining ground. Stopped him cold. Great pass pro.
- Love Lewis here. Hips pointed outside anticipating a corner route, sees the receiver cut back inside, plants one foot and immediately swings around to cover the post. Very fluid. Shows he isn’t just a run stopper. Athleticism main question mark.
- Hyde lead blocker for Miller. Takes on safety, Miller scores.
- Mewhort looks to get his legs caught and trips. Can’t tell.
- Shazier impressive speed. Came all the way across the field to lay the boom.
- Something is wrong here. Both Roby and the safety are in the same place. Someone had responsibility to carry the tight end deep and neither of them did it. Either way there was a good interception, but this could have been a disaster.
- Great run from Hyde. Good vision to dissect gap scheme runs. Finishes with power.
- Dennard’s ability to mirror and flip his hips is awesome. Still not sure about long speed, but he can ball.
- More good anchor and mirror from Mewhort. Phenomenal game so far.
- Every single man to man snap from Dennard has been perfect. Still showing flawless feet, eye discipline, hand usage. Everything textbook.
- Mewhort blocks both the DT and the DE on a read option run. Impressive.
- Lewis comes up and chases down Miller for a moderate gain. He’s been around the ball constantly.
- Mewhort finally gets Calhoun in pass pro. Kick set doesn’t get off as well as Calhoun, but he makes up for it with good hands to drive into his chest and slow him down on the corner. Calhoun can’t get through.
- Dennard tested. Doesn’t press receiver, just mirror, receivers takes inside release and gets a step (deep speed?). Dennard recovers and knocks ball away. Great play.
- Power with Hyde. Good bounce outside.
- Good block by Mewhort. Hands inside, kept DE off Hyde long enough for him to bounce.3rd 7:20
- Great lead block by Hyde.
- Another powerful run from Hyde. Getting yards when he really shouldn’t.
- Good feet from Roby, even though he’s a tad bit high. Needs to sink hips a bit more so he doesn’t get off balance against more physical receivers. Speed evident. Still hasn’t been thrown at in man, though they’ve played mostly zone since Q1.
- Roby in zone. Great read, sees TE in the flat, breaks on it before QB even starts throwing motion. Miniscule gain. This guy is fast.
- Shazier makes drive saving tackle. Dips under guard, works through traffic to bring down ball carrier before he can get to first down marker. Great motor.
- Shazier’s size bites him in the ass again. Gets pushed back 4 yards and allows MSU to convert. Role as a run and chase backer and space player being solidified.
- Great force from Roby to turn TE back inside. Not afraid to be physical.
- Joey Bosa is ridiculous.
- Roby hurt. Knee injury that basically ended his year. Great coverage. Playing deep third in C3 look, sees QB boot out, knows he can only throw to sideline so he flips and plays the corner route. QB doesn’t have anything, Bosa gets pressure, and he comes up and nearly makes INT. Unfortunate injury but great work from him.
- Shazier got a hand on the ball to tip it in the first place. Constantly around the ball.
- Lewis good open field tackle.
- Hyde still flashing great vision working in a gap scheme. Had two way go, knew he had a TE coming to seal out the backer, took the big gain. Reminds me of the gap scheme version of Eddie Lacy.
- Mewhort over set outside, let Calhoun penetrate inside. If he wants to turn out the end he needs to secure B gap run lane. Has to jab inside and force the DE to C gap. If DE stays in B gap, then it gives the back a bounce option. Cannot have first step be outside.
- Mewhort showing power to stone and move Calhoun to the inside. Still a bit high, but he has the strength to win anyway. Surprised how much power he’s got for being just over 300. LG gets beat and play blows up.
- Grant has been targeted this entire game, even with Roby out.
- Shazier a bit too sharp of an angle in man coverage on TE. Too much separation on the wheel. If he’s even he’s leavin’.
- Great breakdown in space by Dennard.
- Hyde has nowhere to go and he still gets yards.
- Dennard bail from press against smash. Risky play, sees the curl underneath him, breaks and closes on it to break it up on third down rather than carrying the TE deep, thinking Miller will just want first down. Ballsy, possibly disastrous, but paid off. He just always makes it work.
- Nevermind, Roby is back. Limping after play. Visibly effected by injury.
- Shazier bulls his way through punt protection and blocks it. Dynamic player.
- Good run blocking by Mewhort on Bullough. Drove him out of the play. Scrape from Will backer stopped the run, but Mewhort did his job.
- Good jam from Roby. Tough to judge deep speed with injured knee.
- Shazier demolished by guard, opens up a giant hole that Langford runs through for TD. Disadvantage of size.
- Mewhort kick slide again a little bit behind Calhoun. Gets stiff armed and can’t neutralize Calhoun’s arm. Nearly gives up a sack, but Miller steps up. Calhoun nearly turned the corner on Mewhort twice now. Watch for problems against speed rush in other games.
- Again letting Calhoun get under his pads a little bit. Playing a bit high coming back to bite him. Need to see him neutralize pass rusher’s hands rather than just get inside his chest. He doesn’t have the length to be at a standoff.
- Dennard showing plenty of deep speed to keep up with vertical route.
- Mewhort does a good job of passing off DE to DT on stunt, riding him around pocket.
- Mewhort gets help from Hyde outside. Holds up decently well. Was worried earlier about him mostly seeing contain assignments because of Miller’s run threat, and now that they are coming after Miller with everything they’ve got his lesser athleticism and length is starting to show. Still did tremendously well as a run blocker, but I question his ability to handle speed rushers on the left side.
- Dennard again blanketing his receiver down field. They haven’t completed a pass on him yet.
- Mewhort gets more help from Hyde, again looked sluggish in kick slide.