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2017 NFL Draft Round 4 #125: Rams select Samson Ebukam, LB, Eastern Washington

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  • 2017 NFL Draft Round 4 #125: Rams select Samson Ebukam, LB, Eastern Washington

    SAMSON EBUKAM
    EASTERN WASHINGTON BIG SKY

    6'3"
    HEIGHT
    240LBS.
    WEIGHT

    OVERVIEW
    Nnamaka Samson Ebukam was born in Nigeria, but learned football early on in Portland, Oregon and excelled as a high school defensive end and tight end. Ebukam contributed as a true freshman, playing 15 games as a reserve (28 tackles, four for loss, three sacks). He was a second-team All-Big Sky selection as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end in 2014 (12 TFL, 7.5 sacks) and 2015 (7.5 TFL, four sacks). Samson was a team co-captain in his senior year, garnering third-team FCS All-American honors from the Associated Press with 15 tackles for loss and a team-leading 9.5 sacks.

    ANALYSIS
    STRENGTHS Explosive athlete with a background in basketball, javelin and shot-put in high school. Triggers out of his stance with quick-twitch as a rusher. Attacks the edge with plus burst and has the desire to keep working when he gets punched and controlled early. Wowed teams with a vertical leap of 39 inches and a sub 4.5 forty yard dash at his pro day. Plays with a suddenness when crashing down the line after ball carriers. Drawn to the play like a magnet. Lauded for intelligence and work ethic. Initial quickness creates disruption in run game. Chalked up 15 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 2016. Rangy with a willingness to pursue way down the field.

    WEAKNESSES Tends to play too frenetically at times. Will need to eliminate some of the wasted motion with his flailing arms and legs. Gets overly focused on blocker in front of him and will lose sight of ball carrier. Wins with raw athleticism over technique. Better hand usage must become a priority. Gets glued to blocks for too long and can be slow to disengage. One-speed pass rusher who doesn't generate as much speed to power as hoped. Lacks the size to play through redirect blocks. Needs to develop a more nuanced rush plan with workable counter moves for next level.

    DRAFT PROJECTION Round 5

    NFL COMPARISON Bryan Braman

    BOTTOM LINE Ebukam is a driven prospect with above average intelligence who is still in the process of matching his skill to his athletic ability. He lacks desired size and power to play with his hand in the ground and will have to move to an outside linebacker spot. Ebukam has a chance to get drafted on the third day and his speed, explosiveness, and motor could make him a special teams standout while a team works to develop him as a pass rusher.

  • #2
    2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Samson Ebukam; sometimes the unknown talent is worth a second look
    Every year there is a player or two who comes out of nowhere and proves worthy of recognition heading into the NFL Draft. This year it could be a man by the name of Samson Ebukam.
    by [email protected] Feb 14, 2017, 6:00am EST

    There are prospects every single year that seem to escape even the most well versed draft analysts out there. I’ll be honest, I had no clue who this player was until the NFLPA collegiate bowl. While watching that game, I kept noticing number 91 getting a lot of pressure, almost every snap, and eventually I learned who he was.

    Samson Ebukam seems to be that guy this year that not many know about, and I am here to introduce the public to this unknown edge defender from Eastern Washington.

    Without further ado, let’s dive in into this.

    Samson Ebukam, Edge defender, Eastern Washington
    Combine/pro day results and measurables (*Note these will be updated when available.)

    Height: 6-1, 3/10

    Weight: 248 LBs

    Age: 21

    Arm Length: 32, 3/8

    Hand Size: 9, 5/8

    40 yard dash: N/A

    Vertical jump: N/A

    Broad jump: N/A

    20 yard shuttle: N/A

    3-cone drill: N/A

    Overview:
    2016 Statistics

    Tackles: 71

    Tackles for loss: 14.5

    Sacks: 9.5

    Forced Fumbles: 2

    Samson Ebukam has quite an interesting background. Ebukam was born outside of the United States in Nigeria. He also has a very interesting story that ranges from being bullied, to soccer, throwing Javelin and how Eastern Washington felt they got a steal, according to this great article from their spokesman.

    Perhaps Ebukam thrives in space because he had so little as a child. One of seven children, he grew up in Nigeria, which is slightly larger than Texas but holds 188 million people.

    It holds them uncomfortably. Ebukam, who lived there until age nine, recalls the overcrowded markets in his home town. The schools were even worse, though he didn’t know it yet.

    But his father knew. Tobias Ebukam, a businessman, had seen enough of the United States to seek a better life for his family – whatever the cost. Settling in Portland, he scrimped and brought the rest of his family across the Atlantic child by child, a heart-wrenching project that lasted eight years.

    When Samson was six, his three older siblings departed for America. Three years later, Samson and the younger children made their way west – without their mother, Stella, because there wasn’t enough money.

    Even while Stella lived half a world away, “She was the glue that was holding it all together,” said Ebukam, who leaned on his mother via cell phone during the tough times in Oregon.

    There were many. Smart enough to be bumped up a grade in Nigeria, he was pushed back down in America because he didn’t speak English. His first four months in Portland were spent in front of a television.

    “I was watching movies, trying to repeat what they said,” said Ebukam, whose favorite flick was “Friday After Next.” He bought or borrowed any CD he could find, trying to catch up.

    Meanwhile, the schoolyard bullying followed him from Nigeria. Scrawny when he left his homeland, he appeared even more vulnerable to American kids. “I was in a lot of fights,” Ebukam recalled.

    The bullying stopped in the eighth grade, thanks to a growth spurt that also opened up the world of sports. Until then, “football” was the game they played back in Nigeria, 11-a-side kicking a ball.

    Ebukam played soccer with more abandon than grace, racking up so many red cards that he was invited to try American football.

    By the end of his career, he’d played most positions on offense and special teams: running back, fullback, tight end and returned punts and kickoffs. On defense he was a natural at end “because I could play free and not worry about the rules and be more physical,” he said.

    At David Douglas High, he was a state runner-up in the shot put and javelin, but flew under the football recruiting radar. Eastern coaches spotted him at a summer camp, offering him a scholarship.

    “We felt like we maybe got a little bit of a steal in recruiting, “because he was one of those guys who could have gone to a higher level,” EWU coach Beau Baldwin said.

    Ebukam’s only other offer came from Portland State.

    “But when I came here for a visit, I said there’s no way I’m going to PSU,” Ebukam said with a smile.
    According to that same article from the spokesman, Ebukam has a tremendous work ethic.

    “He came in here with a lot of tools,” Baldwin said. “But he takes every offseason and every summer and works to keep getting better mentally and physically.”

    “He’s become that difference-maker because of the extra things he does,” Baldwin said.
    No doubt because of his work ethic, Ebukam was a 2016 first team All American as voted by coaches in the FCS. He was also a member of the Big Sky All academic team every year, pretty impressive for somebody who couldn’t even speak English when he came to America. He also finished 6th all time among Eastern Washington's sack leaders with 24.

    Ebukam is tremendous talent on the field, who this season played somewhat of hybrid role between LB and DE (essentially a 3-4 OLB). Ebukam, for his listed size, looks quite built for being only 248 LBs.

    What immediately sticks out about him is his tremendous ability to dip and bend nice and tight around the edge, while also being able to flatten to the QB. Of course his get off of the snap is pretty explosive too. What really helps him though is the natural leverage he has because of how low to the ground he’s built, often offensive tackles can’t get their hands on him without holding him. Ebukam has also shown flashes of good technical hand usage but what really stuck out was his motor.

    A lot of times his motor is running hot a lot of the game. He’ll chase down plays he has no business making and he’ll finish plays. He shows signs of developing a pretty good spin move as well.

    When it comes to how he works in space, Ebukam can make tackles in space and has shown the ability to effectively drop back into coverage. He also shows flashes of being able to set the edge against the run.

    However, Ebukam is a bit undersized and can get engulfed sometimes against the run, particularly due to his undisciplined mentality against the run. Often times I see him shoot inside and lose outside contain, allowing some decent sized runs to come through on his side. His get off is also a bit inconsistent which is very reminiscent of Yannick Ngakoue from last year’s draft. He also struggles to really generate power, often looking a bit more like a finesse/speed rusher. He also plays in FCS which he’ll no doubt get knocked for his lack of competition.

    So let’s take a closer look at Ebukam.

    Positives: Explosion, Dip and Bend
    These are three key elements that help define Ebukam and his style of pass rush. His explosion off the line can be inconsistent but when he gets a really explosive get off, it’s a sight to behold.


    This is a really nice get off at the line but what is really impressive is the bend and flexibility he shows as he dips and flattens to the QB. This really is a flat out speed rush and we’ll look at it frame by frame by his first, third and fifth step.




    Now look where he is by his third step. The offensive tackle has his butt facing away from the QB and then by the fifth step he clears past the shoulder. The reason he’s able to get the sack though is because he shows the flexibility to be able to keep his balance as he dips, bends, tightly turns the corner and flattens to the QB.

    Textbook example of why a good burst and ability to bend are such wanted traits in an edge defender.

    His ability to bend is really a great asset and by far one of his biggest signatures as a pass rusher. It often resulted in many offensive tackles having to blatantly hold him so he didn’t kill the QB.

    These are the kind of plays that the boxscore doesn’t tell you about. The offensive tackle from my novice mind looks to be in a good position but the problem is that Ebukam does a nice job of putting his shoulder into the tackle and showcasing a nice rip move that may have led to a sack if he was not held on the play.

    A big reason why he was able to pull this off was no just his bend but it was his natural leverage due to his height. The offensive tackle couldn’t really get his hands on him and when he did it was outside the shoulder pads and Ebukam had already won the edge.

    Positives: Relentless pursuit
    I talk a lot about the intricacies of pass rush and the ability to bend around the edge but motor is something you should never overlook in a front seven player. Ebukam in particular is absolutely relentless with his pursuit. When he sees a chance to make a play, he goes right after it.


    This play isn’t even to his side of the field but he sees the ball carrier and even though there are defenders on that side, he doesn’t wait for someone else to make a play, he makes the play.

    This is important because it measures a prospects on field character at the least and how much desire he has to make a play.

    Positives: Developing hand usage and counter moves
    Ebukam doesn’t always uses his hands as a pass rusher but the light is starting to come for him more when it comes to using his hands. When he does use them, he can become an even deadlier pass rusher.


    This is excellent hand usage, the tackle gets his hands on him but Ebukam does a great job of getting a good punch on the tackle’s right hand and eventually getting inside, creating pressure on the QB. Again this doesn’t really show up on the stat sheet and as he continues to get better with his hands, he will become more disruptive.

    Here’s another example of good hand usage vs Washington State.

    His initial rush got stalled and the tackle had good positioning to stop him from getting the edge. Ebukam though does an excellent job of trying to execute the one arm stab to prevent the tackle from getting his hands on him. Though it fails, he does an even better job using his outside hand to throw the tackles outside hand off of him, leading to him winning the edge.

    Here’s a frame by frame look of the play.

    One Arm Stab fails


    Engages with the tackles outside hand


    Throws it down, wins the edge


    As Ebukam continues to develop, so will his growing repertoire of pass rushing moves. Have good hand usage is one thing, knowing when and where to use a counter is another.

    The design on this play is clearly to have all the defensive linemen to flow to the right side of the field (or left depending on where you are viewing it from). What this does is help free up the blitzing DB #10 and as Ebukam gets doubled, the TE leaves the outside open due to his positioning.

    Ebukam sees this and he throws a nice tight outside spin move as a counter to his inside rush being absorbed and the TE leaving the outside open.

    Now the problem with a play like this is that it opens up a lane for the QB to run through and you could say it was a bit of an undisciplined play by Ebukam.

    Positives: Coverage ability and playing in space
    Ebukam as I said before, played in a bit of hybrid role similar to a 3-4 OLB and as a result, he dropped into coverage quite a bit and he showed the ability to make plays in space.


    Ebukam recognizes the screen play, avoids the blocking the offensive linemen and heads straight for the running back, tackling him for a loss of yards on 3rd and 10.

    Ebukam at points got thrown a lot of cut blocks his way during the season but his ability to avoid those blocks in space showed up.

    Ebukam doesn’t lose his balance, keeps his eyes on the QB and is able to deflect the pass. This is a player who can play in space and stays aware of the situation around him, he’s an excellent 3-4 OLB candidate in the NFL because of this.

    Negatives: Lack of discipline against the run
    I’lll go ahead and get this one out the way, Ebukam isn’t bad against the run because he doesn’t have the size to set the edge. No, that is in fact a lie.

    He shows the ability to do this a lot throughout a game and yes it will be a big jump to the pros in terms of competition, problem is that his discipline can kill him against the run.

    A lot of playing the run is discipline and doing your job. Don’t be caught out of position, don’t get overaggressive and stop abandoning your gap.

    What does Ebukam do on this play? He gets completely washed out of the play because he funneled inside, abandoning his gap which led to a TD.

    Plays like this were consistent throughout his film and while he showed the ability to be more disciplined, I saw way more undisciplined run integrity than disciplined.

    Negatives: Fails to generate power/push
    I noticed this a lot throughout his film and while there aren’t very many specific examples of where he uses a flat out power rush, you can notice that he doesn’t generate much of a push when it comes to his pass rush.

    Not very much push at all and even though he’s got a TE helping, I don’t think that had much to do with it. Ebukam struggles to really generate power with his rushes and while I’d like to say that could improve in the NFL, it’s no guarantee.

    That’s not where he’ll make his money rushing the passer though. Where he’s going to succeed is by winning with speed, hands and bend.

    Conclusion
    Samson Ebukam is an underrated pass rusher in this draft. Not many know who he is and it has a lot to do with where he played. He played in the FCS at Eastern Washington and while he clearly has scouts and coaches attention considering he got invited to the NFLPA collegiate bowl, the public draft community has very little clue who he is.

    A lot of his strengths are things you can’t teach like his ability to bend and get a good burst off the line. His hand usage and counter moves are improving and while he may never be a pass rusher who generates very much power, he has other methods of getting to the QB. His discipline against the run is infuriating but can be fixed.

    To sum up, he’s a damn good football player who I believe could come in immediately as a pass rush specialist on certain downs, with the capability of developing into a 3 down player in the future. What round he goes in is still a mystery but wherever he goes, the team that picks him is getting someone who’s going to work their butt off and help their pass rush.

    NFL Comparison: Yannick Ngakoue

    Comment


    • #3
      PFF SCOUTING REPORT: SAMSON EBUKAM, EDGE, EASTERN WASHINGTON

      The PFF analysis team breaks down the prospects of Eastern Washington's Samson Ebukam ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.

      PFF ANALYSIS TEAM | 2 WEEKS AGO (Loren Orr/Getty Images)(Loren Orr/Getty Images)

      Name: Samson Ebukam

      School: Eastern Washington

      Position fit: 3-4 iutside linebacker, edge rusher

      Stats to know: Ebukam had 11 sacks, 10 hits, and 42 hurries on 398 pass-rush snaps in 2016.

      What he does best:
      • Productive pass-rusher from multiple positions and alignments.
      • Pass-rushing productivity rating of 13.2 ranks No. 13 among 3-4 OLBs in the draft class.
      • Can win with outside speed, long arm, club, rip, hand-swipe, bull, bull-jerk, inside counter rushes.
      • Engages with very good body lean which gives him leverage and power in his rush.
      • Best move is swiping tackles outside arm with his inside arm on his outside speed rush.
      • Can bend around tackles and win outside with a speed rush.
      • Can blitz effectively from middle linebacker position.
      • Sudden burst of lateral agility and acceleration make him productive on stunts.
      • Plays at a frenetic pace and stays after his rush and will make effort sacks.
      • Outstanding footing in slick field conditions.
      • 25 run stops tie him at No. 4 among 3-4 OLBs in the draft class.

      Biggest concern:
      • Needs to do a better job of finishing tackles.
      • Misses tackles in open space at times, finished 2016 with 9 missed tackles.
      • Gets too aggressive and will lose contain on occasion.
      • Very unorthodox pass-rushing footwork with false steps and short choppy stride.
      • Would like to see improved hand usage as he is mostly winning with bend and athleticism.

      Bottom line: Ebukam is a prospect that combines dominance on tape, outstanding production grades and explosive athleticism. At Eastern Washington he rushed the passer from the edge both standing up and with his hand on the ground as well as blitzing from the middle linebacker position. Ebukam has the athleticism to zone drop, and the physicality to set the edge in the run game but is at his best rushing the passer. Ebukam is a change-of-pace pass-rusher who can provide a different style of pass-rush than the other edge-rushers on the team. Ebukam should be able to carve out a role as a reserve edge-rusher and special teams contributor.

      Comment


      • #4

        Comment


        • #5
          I like it thumper
          Last edited by Head Slap; -04-29-2017, 11:25 AM.
          All bets are Goff

          Comment


          • #6
            Strong work ethic and intelligence...a winning combination!
            "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

            Jack Youngblood

            Comment


            • #7
              The Rams gave up their second fourth-round pick, 141st overall, and the 13th pick of the sixth round to draft Samson Ebukam at 125 overall. Outside linebacker; 6-3, 240. Good speed, explosiveness and football IQ, but still needs to develop, according to draft reports. Rams need more linebackers now that they're converting to a 3-4 system under Wade Phillips.

              Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff Writer

              Comment


              • #8
                OLB Samson Ebukam said rushing the passer is "what I do best." On his Eastern Washington teammate, WR Cooper Kupp, also getting drafted by the Rams: "I was just happy for him because he deserves it. When he got picked by them I was like, 'Yeah, that's the perfect team.' Then I thought to myself, 'What are the chances I get picked by the same team?' And it just happened and I was like, 'Woah, Eagles really do stick together.' That's awesome."

                Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff Writer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Round 4, No. 125 overall: Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington

                  My take: Amazingly enough, Samson Ebukam represents the Rams' second pick from Eastern Washington, having teamed with third-round receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams moved up 16 spots with the New Yokr Jets and gave up the 13th pick of the sixth round in order to take Ebukam. He brings speed, explosiveness and football intelligence but needs time to develop, according to draft reports. At 6-3, 240 pounds, Ebukam doesn't necessarily have the size to operate out of a three-point stance.

                  How he fits: The Rams operated without much linebacker depth last year, but they need more of it now that new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is converting them from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Ebukam can be a backup to the recently added Connor Barwin, who signed a one-year contract, and Robert Quinn, who is transitioning from defensive end. One of their inside linebackers, Alec Ogletree, heads into his final year before free agency unless the Rams can sign him to an extension.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Two guys from Eastern Washington. Interesting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nick View Post
                      2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Samson Ebukam; sometimes the unknown talent is worth a second look
                      Every year there is a player or two who comes out of nowhere and proves worthy of recognition heading into the NFL Draft. This year it could be a man by the name of Samson Ebukam.
                      by [email protected] Feb 14, 2017, 6:00am EST

                      There are prospects every single year that seem to escape even the most well versed draft analysts out there. I’ll be honest, I had no clue who this player was until the NFLPA collegiate bowl. While watching that game, I kept noticing number 91 getting a lot of pressure, almost every snap, and eventually I learned who he was.

                      Samson Ebukam seems to be that guy this year that not many know about, and I am here to introduce the public to this unknown edge defender from Eastern Washington.

                      Without further ado, let’s dive in into this.

                      Samson Ebukam, Edge defender, Eastern Washington
                      Combine/pro day results and measurables (*Note these will be updated when available.)

                      Height: 6-1, 3/10

                      Weight: 248 LBs

                      Age: 21

                      Arm Length: 32, 3/8

                      Hand Size: 9, 5/8

                      40 yard dash: N/A

                      Vertical jump: N/A

                      Broad jump: N/A

                      20 yard shuttle: N/A

                      3-cone drill: N/A

                      Overview:
                      2016 Statistics

                      Tackles: 71

                      Tackles for loss: 14.5

                      Sacks: 9.5

                      Forced Fumbles: 2

                      Samson Ebukam has quite an interesting background. Ebukam was born outside of the United States in Nigeria. He also has a very interesting story that ranges from being bullied, to soccer, throwing Javelin and how Eastern Washington felt they got a steal, according to this great article from their spokesman.

                      Perhaps Ebukam thrives in space because he had so little as a child. One of seven children, he grew up in Nigeria, which is slightly larger than Texas but holds 188 million people.

                      It holds them uncomfortably. Ebukam, who lived there until age nine, recalls the overcrowded markets in his home town. The schools were even worse, though he didn’t know it yet.

                      But his father knew. Tobias Ebukam, a businessman, had seen enough of the United States to seek a better life for his family – whatever the cost. Settling in Portland, he scrimped and brought the rest of his family across the Atlantic child by child, a heart-wrenching project that lasted eight years.

                      When Samson was six, his three older siblings departed for America. Three years later, Samson and the younger children made their way west – without their mother, Stella, because there wasn’t enough money.

                      Even while Stella lived half a world away, “She was the glue that was holding it all together,” said Ebukam, who leaned on his mother via cell phone during the tough times in Oregon.

                      There were many. Smart enough to be bumped up a grade in Nigeria, he was pushed back down in America because he didn’t speak English. His first four months in Portland were spent in front of a television.

                      “I was watching movies, trying to repeat what they said,” said Ebukam, whose favorite flick was “Friday After Next.” He bought or borrowed any CD he could find, trying to catch up.

                      Meanwhile, the schoolyard bullying followed him from Nigeria. Scrawny when he left his homeland, he appeared even more vulnerable to American kids. “I was in a lot of fights,” Ebukam recalled.

                      The bullying stopped in the eighth grade, thanks to a growth spurt that also opened up the world of sports. Until then, “football” was the game they played back in Nigeria, 11-a-side kicking a ball.

                      Ebukam played soccer with more abandon than grace, racking up so many red cards that he was invited to try American football.

                      By the end of his career, he’d played most positions on offense and special teams: running back, fullback, tight end and returned punts and kickoffs. On defense he was a natural at end “because I could play free and not worry about the rules and be more physical,” he said.

                      At David Douglas High, he was a state runner-up in the shot put and javelin, but flew under the football recruiting radar. Eastern coaches spotted him at a summer camp, offering him a scholarship.

                      “We felt like we maybe got a little bit of a steal in recruiting, “because he was one of those guys who could have gone to a higher level,” EWU coach Beau Baldwin said.

                      .....SNIP........

                      NFL Comparison: Yannick Ngakoue
                      What a great article. Guys like this are the players you really hope make the transition to the big game, and become stars. Especially so as a RAMS


                      gap

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Amazing athlete. I like it. If he can develop, he'll be a solid edge rusher.

                        Comment

                        Related Topics

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                        • Nick
                          With the 250th pick, LA Rams select TREMAYNE ANCHRUM, OL, CLEMSON
                          by Nick


                          Player Bio
                          Anchrum's build is not that of a typical high-level offensive tackle. He's been an immovable object on the right side for the Tigers over the past four years, however, garnering first-team All-ACC honors as a senior and second-team all-conference notice as a junior. He started all 15 games both seasons, helping the team win a national title in 2018 and make it to the championship game the following year. Anchrum started one of 11 games played at the position as a true freshman, coming off an all-state senior season at McEachern High School in Georgia. He started six of 14 games played as a sophomore. His father, Tremayne, was an all-state football player in Colorado and played basketball at USC, where he led the Trojans in rebounding as a sophomore and in three-point shooting percentage as a junior.

                          Analysis
                          By Lance Zierlein
                          NFL Analyst
                          Draft Projection: Rounds 6-7


                          Overview
                          Short college tackle with good quickness and leverage. Will need to bump inside due to a lack of functional length. Anchrum does an excellent job of getting to landmarks laterally as a move blocker and has above-average body control to adjust and capture his second-level blocks. He has the tools to fire out and operate as a base blocker but could find himself controlled by two-gapping defensive tackles due to his short arms and average hand quickness. Despite his lack of desired size and length, he could be a nice, capable fit as a quality backup guard for a team looking to play in space.


                          Strengths
                          • Short in stature, but plays a confident brand of football
                          • Sturdy build with big bubble
                          • Quick out of stance and into his work
                          • Pass slides are rhythmic and smooth
                          • Above-average bend and agility
                          • Quality lateral slides to mirror in protection
                          • Excellent range to find proper positioning on outside zone
                          • Accurate targeting run fits, using inside hands at proper pad level
                          • Fluid and controlled adjusting and striking second-level targets

                          Weaknesses
                          • Sawed-off frame lacks desired length
                          • Loses the battle to land first hands into the frame
                          • Could have issues staying connected to blocks in the pros
                          • Too much forward lean in pass punch to make up for arm length
                          • Over-extends outside, giving away openings for inside counters
                          • Anchor will be challenged by bull-rushers
                          • Lacks experience as a guard
                          • He needs to play with faster hands for his move inside
                          ...
                          -04-25-2020, 04:48 PM
                        • Nick
                          2017 NFL Draft Round 6 #189: Rams select Tanzel Smart, DL, Tulane
                          by Nick
                          TANZEL SMART
                          TULANE AAC

                          COMBINE RESULTS
                          5.24 SEC
                          22 REPS
                          27.0 INCH
                          105.0 INCH
                          7.53 SEC
                          4.57 SEC

                          6'1"
                          HEIGHT
                          32 7/8"
                          ARM LENGTH
                          296LBS.
                          WEIGHT
                          9 5/8"
                          HANDS

                          OVERVIEW
                          Even though Smart grew up in Baton Rouge and was a first-team all-state pick, he did not get a chance to play SEC football, so he went to nearby Tulane to show his wares. Playing in every game as a freshman, he was credited with 14 tackles. Then he was rewarded with a starting role each of the next three seasons, increasing his production from his sophomore (47 tackles, 6.5 for loss, two sacks), junior (62 stops, 15 for loss, two sacks), and senior (67 tackles, 18.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks) seasons. He was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick in both 2015 and 2016 for his efforts.

                          ANALYSIS
                          STRENGTHS Excited to play football on every single rep. Times up snap and is quick into the neutral zone. Always searching for the ball. Uses hand quickness to disengage and tackle on time. Good football instincts and quick to recognize and react to screens. Plays with quick hands and quick feet that get him in position to make plays. Gets to blocker's edge with low center of gravity to drive up the field and disrupt. Able to fill a stat sheet up against both run and pass. Feet and hands are a whirlwind of action that never stop looking for improved positioning. Catches blockers under their pads and has the leg drive to bull them back into the pocket.

                          WEAKNESSES Short and squatty frame. Matched up against below average competition on most weeks. Plays straight-legged which limits his change of direction. Lack of length causes him to swing and miss in tackle attempts against shifty runners. May not have enough raw power to make up for his lack of size. Long-armed guards can stab his chest and stick him in neutral.

                          DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 5-6

                          NFL COMPARISON Rakeem Nunez-Roches

                          BOTTOM LINE He's a three-technique only who lacks desired size and length, but his quickness and disruptive nature lead to consistent production week in and week out. Smart needs to be in an upfield scheme that takes advantage of his ability to play in the gaps. His draft stock will take a hit due to his lack of measurables, but he has NFL backup potential thanks to his ability to rush the passer.
                          -04-29-2017, 02:05 PM
                        • Nick
                          With the 199th pick, LA Rams select JORDAN FULLER, S, OHIO STATE
                          by Nick


                          Player Bio
                          Fuller is an excellent football player and exceptional all-around student-athlete. He was a captain for the Buckeyes in 2018 and 2019. Fuller tied for the team lead with 81 tackles, 2.5 for loss, while also posting an interception and four pass breakups in 13 starts as a junior, and then garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019 (62 tackles, two interceptions, four pass breakups in 14 starts). He also started 13 games as a sophomore (70 tackles, three for loss, two interceptions, two pass breakups). The 2015 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year helped his high school win its first state title in 30 years and then stepped onto the field to contribute in all 13 games in 2016 (11 tackles). Fuller was a first-team Academic All-American in 2017 and created a seminar to educate Ohio State student-athletes on sexual assault, sexual violence and healthy relationships. His brother, Devin, played receiver at UCLA. His mother, Cindy Mizelle, is a singer who has performed with Luther Vandross, Bruce Springsteen and many others. The comedian Sinbad is married to Fuller's paternal aunt.

                          Analysis
                          By Lance Zierlein
                          NFL Analyst

                          Draft Projection: Round 7/Priority free agent

                          Overview
                          After watching his coverage struggles in 2018, it felt like Ohio State was trying to hide him as a single-high safety in its scheme. With that said, Fuller actually stepped up and had a bounce-back season protecting against chunk passing plays and supporting the run. He doesn't have the range to play single-high in the pros and is a little thin as a box safety. He doesn't lack football intelligence or toughness, but the traits and instincts fail to stand out. Fuller could compete for a backup role as a split-safety with the potential to match up with tight ends.

                          Strengths
                          • Able to line up and cover tight ends
                          • Hurries downhill to cut off angles and limit explosive runs
                          • Agility to make quick alterations to pursuit angles
                          • Reactive athleticism and length to wrangle cutbacks across his face
                          • Finds his fits when playing near the line of scrimmage
                          • Maintains depth integrity from high safety
                          • Can track and attack downfield
                          • Has leadership traits on and off the field

                          Weaknesses
                          • Doesn't have ideal traits for either safety spot
                          • Heavy legged backpedal
                          • Lacks desired range and long speed as free safety
                          • Quarterbacks manipulate him out of position with glances
                          • Long gather-and-drive phase from the top of his drop
                          • Gets lost at route stems in space
                          • Showed his issues with man coverage duties in 2018
                          • Needs to run through tackle attempts
                          ...
                          -04-25-2020, 02:34 PM
                        • Nick
                          East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch
                          by Nick
                          East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch include sleeper at running back
                          These are the draft prospects you need to watch in the Shrine Game on Saturday
                          Chris Trapasso
                          @ChrisTrapasso
                          20 hrs ago • 4 min read

                          The East-West Shrine Game is the first big all-star game of the pre-draft process, and while not featuring as many high-profile prospects as the Senior Bowl, it's undoubtedly a worthwhile event in which a handful of participants will eventually make plays in the NFL. Some will become stars.

                          Recent alumni include Jimmy Garoppolo, Za'Darius Smith, Justin Simmons, Terron Armstead and Shaq Barrett.

                          Here are the five prospects from each team to keep a close eye on during this year's game.

                          East Team

                          Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
                          Onwenu is a large, heavy guard who carries his 350-plus pounds well. His frame is very unusual in that he has shorter arms and isn't imposingly tall. Because of his size, he's rarely pushed back into the quarterback and plays with high-level awareness of stunts and blitzes with just enough lateral movement to get to a secondary block when needed. Most offensive line prospects aren't "NFL strong" as rookies. It looks like Onwenu is.

                          Kendall Coleman, EDGE, Syracuse
                          Coleman is a technician with his hands, rarely letting offensive tackles to get into his frame, and when they do, his arsenal of pass-rushing moves allows him to counter. While not overly twitchy, Coleman is decently smooth once his momentum starts moving forward, an attribute which gives way to an effective inside move. Coleman needs to get stronger, because at times he can get manhandled. But the senior was productive thanks to his fundamentally sound hand usage during his time with the Orange.


                          Parnell Motley, CB, Oklahoma
                          On mostly average-at-best Oklahoma defenses, Motley stood out as a play-making cornerback. His pass breakup figures improved from nine to 11 to 13 in his final three seasons with the Sooners, and he hauled in six interceptions in that span. Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Motley isn't super strong and his hips can be a little tight, but his feet are lightning quick, and he obviously plays with high-end awareness at the catch point.

                          Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
                          Highsmith went into the season with a fair amount of draft hype after 18.5 tackles for loss in 2018. Then, the 6-foot-3, 240-ish pound edge rusher amassed 21.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in 2019. He held his own against Clemson early in the year and flashed a nice blend of quickness, power, and hand use around the corner as a senior. There will definitely be Day 3 appeal with Highsmith in April.

                          Garrett Marino, DT, UAB
                          A strong penetrator on the inside, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Marino tallied 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss for UAB in 2019. And he reached those figures in many ways....
                          -01-17-2020, 04:57 AM
                        • Nick
                          East-West Shrine Game Reports
                          by Nick
                          I'll be pasting some reports from around the 'net about some practice notes regarding players in the East-West Shrine Game. If you've found some others that have good info and would like to share, feel free to copy and paste them into this thread as well.
                          -01-21-2011, 09:12 AM
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