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Florida State Seminoles vs Louisville Cardinals 9/17/2016

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Scouting Notes

Florida State Seminoles vs Louisville Cardinals 9/17/2016

Florida State Seminoles @ Louisville Cardinals

Saturday, September 17, 2016 @12:00 p.m.

Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

Score: 20 FSU v Louisville 62

Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

FSU Offense

Deondre Francois, QB, Redshirt Freshman #12 (6’2” 205 lbs)

He may be a good quarterback in the years to come but this game was far from his best. He often felt as though he was being pressured even though he had plenty of room to step up in the pocket. Because he felt the imaginary pressure, he would take off running and not let the routes develop. He does have decent speed to run and get yards when all else fails. As far as throwing, he has nice velocity on his mid-range passes. On one play he threw an accurate seam route into a tight window in the redzone for a td. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: N/A too young

Dalvin Cook, RB, Junior #4 (5’11” 213 lbs)

Last season Cook ended the regular season leading the nation with 168.2 yards from scrimmage per game. So the fact that Cook ran 16 times and only gained 54 yards, tells the story of Cook’s and FSU’s offensive game this game. Everyone knows that Dalvin Cook is a really good running back and maybe that’s why defenses always load the box against him. Defenses have to focus on him because he has the speed to break away, the agility to one step cut at any point, and the vision to cut back across defenders’ faces. He has the speed to outrun defenders to the sideline on sweep plays. I really like his lower body strength to break tackles if they come from the side. However, during this game I saw a tendency of Cook to quit on the run play and run into the arms of an oncoming tackler; basically giving up on the play. Also, he needs to improve on his pass protection. On one play he tries to cut block a LB blitz and totally missed the block and forced the QB to flush out of the pocket. On another blocking play, he turns to his side and then attacks the rusher with his shoulder instead of attacking the tackler with a square base. Stock: down; Draft’s bargain round: 2nd

Roderick Johnson, T, Junior #77 (6’7” 311 lbs)

He is a big, athletic tackle. His speed to get to the second level and make contact with linebackers is very good. When pass protecting, his speed out of his initial crouch position and into his kickback stage is very fast as well. Moving toward D linemen, he stays in a wide base and uses choppy steps so that he isn’t off balance at the point of contact. He also has good strength when he down blocks, so much so that he basically moves the entire line. He has the athleticism to compete with the best of them. He made Devontae Fields (highly rated D linemen) take the long way around his outside edge when rushing the QB because his kickback speed was fast enough to keep up. There are some things that he can work on such as keeping his hand placement more consistent because sometimes he likes to grab rushers’ shoulders and this causes his leg drive to be ineffective. Also, he needs to understand leverage more because there were a few plays that he had initial leverage but because he went directly at the rusher, the rusher crossed his face and disrupted the run play. I think that offensive linemen in the draft are premium players so because of his natural athleticism his stock is up; Draft’s bargain round: 1st

Kareem Are, G, Senior #72 (6’6” 325 lbs)

He could be a potential starter for an NFL team one day because he shows some good traits. On outside zone running plays, he works to quickly gain leverage on Defensive tackles that initially have leverage on him. After gaining leverage, he has good hip rotation and flips his hips to completely shield the rusher away from the ball carrier. He works pretty hard to consistently fight for leverage and then use his hands to drive the rusher away from the ball carrier. He did show that he stays way too high in pass protection that the rusher can easily get under his shoulder pads and force him into a backpedal. This happened multiple times; sometimes he was even too high when in drive phase on running plays. If he works on his pad level, he can be a good player down the road. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 4th

Auden Tate, TE, Sophomore #18 (6’5” 225 lbs)

This prospect is a very interesting player because he has the body of a TE but he runs like a WR. He is mainly used in the redzone and scored two touchdowns in this game. Once on a seam route and another on a one on one fade route. He has really soft hands and concentrates on the ball to catch in the middle of traffic. On the fade route, he caught the ball at its upmost highest point and then controlled the ball although the oncoming safety leveled him. He showed toughness and he is a credible redzone threat. I will have to continue to watch him and see how his blocking game develops and if he can be a threat outside of the redzone. Stock: up; Drafts’ bargain round: N/A because he’s too young but if he were eligible today it would be 3rd round

Louisville Defense

Devontae Fields, OLB, Senior #92 (6’4” 242 lbs)

He is an interesting prospect for me. I can definitely see the athleticism that has made him a high prospect in this draft class but I can also see some faults within his game that may make it harder for him to stand out in the NFL. He has the speed to attack the QB when his # is called. However, most of the time he sacked or pressured the QB was when the coach called an all-out blitz and he was untouched. Multiple times they blitzed him from the LB position to give him a head start and he was very effective at this blitz. My problem is that I never saw him create pressure when going one on one against a tackle and so my theory is that he needs the coach to have the proper play call for him to create pressure. Sometimes, even when he was untouched, he did not attack the QB with all out speed from the beginning but rather he assessed his surroundings and then he exploded. In the NFL, his hesitation will make him too late. He did not hustle from the backside of plays to re-track the ball carrier. This may seem like I am ripping him but I am not trying to. He shows good strength to snag blockers and get off of them to move to the ball carrier when on outside force responsibility. He also showed tremendous finish ability because every time he had the opportunity for a sack, he attacked with control and finished the play. He shows a lot of good things but he also showed characteristics that cause me to hesitate. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 4th

Keith Kelsey, LB, Senior #55 (6’1” 236 lbs)

He shows all the traits to be an above average linebacker. He has good speed to track the RB to the sideline and also to remain sticky to WRs coming into his zone. They mostly played in zone defense during passing situations and he showed good route awareness to pick up the route quickly when a WR entered his zone and then he showed good quickness when he stayed really close to the WR after they made their cut move. When a lineman tried to cut him, he showed good bend ability to not allow the block to take him to the ground. When there is a running play, he finds the creases within the linemen to make his way to the ball carrier. On one toss sweep play, he dodged two offensive linemen to make the tackle. He has good strength. One play he met Dalvin Cook in the hole, one on one, and Kelsey lowered his shoulder and stopped Cook in his tracks. Kelsey checks all the boxes to be an effective linebacker in the NFL. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd

Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Senior #25 (6’5” 228 lbs)

Just looking at his size, any NFL team would be interested because he can play the hybrid safety/linebacker role. After watching his tape, I am encouraged at his ability to do so. He came up and made one on one tackles against Dalvin Cook with great technique and strength at the point of attack. He was aggressive when WRs tried to block him, using his shoulder to hit and then shed off of them to make the tackle on the RB. The team also occasionally lined him up in the box, like the hybrid position, so he has the experience of doing so. In the game, he shot the gap on a blitz play with great speed and control to sack the QB. I like his potential and want to evaluate his coverage skills a little more. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 3rd-4th dependent upon future evaluation of coverage skill

FSU Defense

Demarcus Walker, DE, Senior #44 (6’4” 280 lbs)

He is also an interesting prospect because a lot of people in the country are saying that he may be the best pass rusher in the draft class. Whereas I do see the potential, I also have reason to be hesitant to give that title. He is very efficient with his hands when pass rushing. On one play, he made the tackle look foolish when he hit the tackle’s shoulder pad and then swim moved over the top to pressure the QB, leaving the tackle lunging for air. He did the move very efficiently to the point it almost looked effortless. He also showed great hip movement because when he got his hands on the blocker, he would twist his hips to the side so that he was almost running sideways toward the QB and then when he threw the blocker to the side, he already had momentum moving toward the QB. It’s strategic and savvy.  He also has the strength to hold his ground when filling the gap against the run. On one play, he showed tremendous strength and athleticism to split two blockers and make the tackle on the option QB, Lamar Jackson. His liabilities are his short arms. His arm length makes it harder for him to shed the blocker if the O lineman gets a good initial grip on him with good arm extension. Multiple times in the game, his pass rush was totally thwarted because he could not get off of the block once the lineman latched on with good arm extension. Because of this, I believe in the NFL his best rushing position is at DT during specific situations where he can go against shorter arm length guards and use his quickness and efficient hands to get around them. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 2nd

Derwin James, S, Sophomore #3 (6’3” 211 lbs)

Was injured and out for the game.

Louisville Offense

Lamar Jackson, QB, Sophomore #8 (6’3” 205 lbs)

His athleticism is off the charts and at this moment, he is on a Heisman campaign tour. He has tremendous start-stop quickness and can cut across an oncoming tackler at any moment or he can outrun them with his 4.4 speed. He is really good at running the read option play because he hides the ball tremendously well so the defense has no idea who has the ball. Multiple times, the FSU defense was running in the opposite direction of the true ball carrier. His throwing motion is quick because he uses a flick of the wrist technique and his short passes have really good zip on them. However, when he throws deeper passes, because of his ‘flick of the wrist’ technique, his accuracy level goes down but there is still great velocity on the pass. He missed a wide open corner route and also a 10 yd. dig route because he doesn’t follow through on his throws. When rolling out, he quickly readjusts his feet before making the throw. He recognizes blitzes very quickly and throws to the open receiver. I don’t like that he constantly holds the ball with one hand when a defender is tackling him. I also do not like when he jukes too much within a play because eventually a retracing tackler is going to catch him by surprise. Not only will he get hurt on this tackle but he’ll probably fumble because he holds the ball loosely. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: N/A too young to say (if Chip Kelly’s pick then pick #1 of 1st round)

Brandon Radcliff, RB, Senior #23 (5’9” 210 lbs.)

Last week marked his 6th 100+ yd. game. He is a physical, low center of gravity runner who hits the hole confidently. A defender has to fully tackle him to take him down; no arm tackles are allowed. Understanding of the offense and how to set up his blockers allows him to run like he knows exactly where to go and how to get there. He showed good jump cut and start-stop quickness throughout the game, occasionally running horizontal to the line and then exploding up field once the linemen made their block. Once up field, he changes his quickness to power and keeps his legs driving after contact. On one play he set up his block perfectly by initially going outside until the blocker had inside leverage on his rusher and then Radcliff quickly changed direction and cut inside of his blocker’s butt quickly. He has the speed to hit the sideline but he does not have the long speed to outrun DBs and safeties. All in all, he is a good solid RB. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 5th-6th

James Quick, WR, Senior #17 (6’1” 180 lbs)

He showed quickness after the catch to one step cut across on coming tacklers but he does not have great YAC speed. He also showed very good eye-hand coordination. During one play, he clutched a pass to his knees when a DB deflected the pass.  On another play, he easily caught with his hands a heated throw 5 yds. downfield while running a shallow route. He understands the small details of route running, like when he double moved a LB on a simple 5 yd. out route and then came back downhill toward the QB after his cut so that the LB couldn’t undercut the pass. On an over route, he pushed the DB up field to get the DB’s momentum running like a deep route and then he cut the route flat across the field to create separation. Knowledge and execution of route running was well done. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 6th (more film needed to fully evaluate)

Jaylen Smith, WR, Sophomore #9 (6’4” 210 lbs)

He is a powerful, strong wide receiver. He had the strength to stay on his feet after a head up collision vs DB 5 yds. away from the end zone. He lowered his shoulder into the DB, knocked him off of his feet and then continued toward the end zone. He also showed that he will use his strength in down field blocking. Multiple times he was seen blocking DBs downfield after another teammate broke loose for a big run. He ran a great route on the goal line for a td when he stuttered his feet to allow the other route to develop and side track the DBs before he slipped underneath on a shallow route to be wide open. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 6th (more film needed to fully evaluate)

Other Players that Flashed

Trey Marshall, DB, Junior #20 (6’1” 210 lbs) for FSU

He continued to flash by making the tackles on the ball carrier that broke loose. He would fully wrap up the ball carrier to make sure that he would not miss the tackle. He physically avoided blockers, even if they were linemen, who tried to shield him away from the ball carrier. He showed fantastic awareness of route concepts when he bit on the play action but then turned and sprinted to cover the over route that was being developed behind him. It’s a usual pass concept to have an over route be ran after a play action run fake and he knew it and reacted quickly. He also was right in position when a WR was trying to catch a sideline deep go pass. He didn’t have much help vs the Louisville offense and I would like to see how he matches up on a defense that can contend with a high powered offense.  Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: 7th

Jacques Patrick, RB, Sophomore #9 (6’2” 231 lbs) for FSU

He runs like he is the next LeGarrette Blount. He has the same body type and running style. Mostly runs with brute, strength and power. He’s so big that no one on the defense really wants to tackle him. He also showed a glimpse of quick feet when he 1 step juked after he burst through the los and a safety was coming downhill on him. Stock: up; Draft’s bargain round: 5th

James Hearns, LB, Junior #99 (6’3” 249 lbs) for Louisville

I am going to stress that he flashed, didn’t have a great game but did show some flashes. He had a sack when he was untouched and the QB held the ball for too long. He doesn’t have great speed to contain the edge because Cook out ran him to the sideline. The next time they ran the play; he reached Cook on the sideline but after Cook had already gained 8 yds. He showed good ability to bend his upper and lower body when he was able to contort his body with an inside blocker trailing him in the backfield but he still got around him to touch the QB. He looks like a tall player on the field. The coach used him to blitz from the LB position to give him momentum and it created a huge disruption. He didn’t have a lot of initial, natural pass rush moves.  Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: undrafted.

Jaire Alexander, DB, Sophomore #10 (5’11” 188 lbs) for Louisville

He was the definition of flash. He continuously ran up to assist on tackles. Then his hustled paid off when he was right in position to recover a fumble. He is a dangerous punt returner; he returned 1 punt return for a td and his next punt return he almost returned for another td. On his punt returns, he showed really good speed and vision to cut back and read blocks. Stock: same; Draft’s bargain round: doesn’t start as corner, and he’s too young to determine as of this moment

Best Players on the Field

Lamar Jackson

Auden Tate

Forgettable Performances

Jamari Staples, WR, Senior #2 (6’4” 195 lbs)

I was disappointed in his play because he continuously didn’t give good effort to block downfield when a ball carrier broke loose. He always had multiple defenders to choose from to block and wouldn’t block any of them. He ran a horrible slant route on 3rd and 5 to create 0 separation from the DB.

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Roger Dixon Jr

Roger is a native of Orlando, FL. After excelling in DII football his first 2 seasons, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing on the Florida Gators football team, where he was named Special Teams Player of the Year and Team Captain. He earned his degree in Economics from UF's Warrington College of Business. Roger brings a passion for football and unique perspective of what it takes to be successful in football at the highest level.

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