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Solak | DTs Nnadi and Payne shine as Alabama tops FSU

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Scouting Notes

Solak | DTs Nnadi and Payne shine as Alabama tops FSU

#3 Florida State Seminoles v #1 Alabama Crimson Tide


Mercedez-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Score:  (#3) Florida State 7, (#1) Alabama 24


Notable Prospects Entering the Contest


Florida State Seminoles

Deondre Francois QB, Redshirt Sophomore:  Shockingly calm under pressure. Demonstrates ideal ball placement with understanding of leverage. Places ball impressively well when when delivering without ideal platform. Uses mobility well. Aware of blitzes and knows how to get the ball out before they arrive. Takes a ton of shots. Has the arm strength to deliver the ball on a line. Could throw with better anticipation–trusts his arm to get the ball in on time. Generally guilty of trusting his arm too much, forcing the ball into tight windows. Will stare down primary read. Feet will freeze, leading to all-arm throws. Play deteriorated as night went on; looking for big play. Internal clock diminished due to consistent pressure, leading to hasty decisions. Incurred knee injury that must be monitored moving forward. Stock:  Same

Auden Tate, WR, Junior:  Displays physical dominance. Climbs the ladder naturally and boxes out smaller corners with length, size, and physicality. Incredibly strong hands pluck the ball through contested situation. Physical nature helped draw a flag on back shoulder fade. Ideal NFL usage on display: fade in RZ, back shoulder fade, etc… Stock:  Up

Derrick Nnadi, DT, Senior:  Incredibly powerful punch allows him to control and rag-doll offensive linemen. Has excellent vision through the line on running plays. Regularly shucks OL to present in the correct gap. Strong hands lead to sure tackling. Can reset line of scrimmage with excellent burst. Did not generate much of a pass-rush presence. Flashes the ability to push the pocket with power. Stock:  Up

Matthew Thomas, LB, Redshirt Senior: Excellent athleticism allows for sideline-to-sideline influence and sure tackling in space. Incredible closing speed and great bend illustrates an ideal blitzer from the edge or A-gap. Plays downhill and fills with authority. Plays instinctually and will shoot gaps incorrectly, giving up chunk yardage. Displayed great tackling in space, coming to balance well and relying on radius/quickness to bring down ball-carrier. Stock: Up

Josh Sweat, DE, Junior:  Has a concerning lack of ability to corner. Often loses balance or abandons effort entirely, searching for a non-existent inside track. Can use hands to disengage, but inflexibility prevents a tight turn of the corner. Lack of twitch disallows for advantegoeExemplified great power working through OT to set a hard edge on running play. Stock: Down

Tavarus McFadden, CB, Junior:  Enviable combination of physicality and quickness led to multiple successful press reps, especially notable against Calvin Ridley. Active and aggressive as force defender in run game. Good closing speed. Tackles well in space and brings the thump. Showed clean hip transitions. Did lose a rep to long speed of freshman Henry Ruggs III. Stock:  Same

Derwin James, SAF, Redshirt Sophomore:  Moved all over the field and excelled at all locations. Effortless change of direction and bend reveal no lingering issues from knee injury. Succeeded on multiple nickel blitzes with excellent acceleration and flexibility. Reads and reacts naturally and with astounding speed. Physical through blocks and when tackling. Comes to balance well and is a form tackler. Silky smooth in transitions, especially when turning and running in man coverage. Successful return to form is worthy of stock increase.  Stock:  Up


Alabama Crimson Tide

Bo Scarborough, RB, Junior:  Incredibly physical, though saw secondary reps to Damien Harris. Exemplified power and regularly fought through first contact with nice balance. Dragged would-be tacklers with powerful leg drive. Upright style led to unnecessary body shots. Will lower pads to deliver a shot, if he sees it coming. Stock:  Same

Damien Harris, RB, Junior: Exemplified burst and balance. Low rider with natural leverage and fluid hips to change direction. Understands how to angle through contact; can get skinny through creases. Incredibly tough between the tackles. Sneaky acceleration on display on punt block. Patience and vision on display on TD run.  Stock: Up

Calvin Ridley, WR, Junior:  Understands coverage and can synthesize/settle into throwing windows for QB. Caught with hands away from frame. Elite acceleration/deceleration allows for success on go/curl concepts. Tracks ball well and gets under it with easy speed. Works nuance into routes to win release/leverage. Works well with scrambling QB to create throwing window. Did struggle with physicality from Tavarus McFadden in the press/at the top of routes. Stock:  Up

Bradley Bozeman, C, Redshirt Senior:  Rolled a shotgun snap on 3 and 10, leading to broken play. Massive and almost impossible to uproot. Generated good movement on run plays. Lack of movement skills greatly limits efficacy dealing with stunts/quicker DTs. Sluggish when climbing to the second level and easy to avoid in space. Lock down when he lands his hands inside. Punch can be low and lazy, however. Stock:  Down

Da’Ron Payne, DT, Junior:  Incredible blend of power and range. Motor always runs hot, allowing for incredible sideline-to-sideline influence for 320lb DT. Surprising quickness wins advantageous angles. Regularly resets line of scrimmage with great power, as well as excellent quickness and recognition to react to blocking scheme. Generates constant interior pressure with power on passing downs. Regularly places hands correctly and with heat. More developed pass rush plans would round out a premier prospect. Stock: Up

DaShawn Hand, DE, Senior:  Severe lack of twitch and poor bend renders Hand ineffective when attempting to corner. Often pushed past the peak of the pocket. Does well with using power to generate pressure through the OT. Has positional versatility due to considerable size and has interior pass rush upside. Hand usage is pedestrian. Stock:  Down

Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Senior:  Closes in a hurry, whether it’s to the sideline or downhill. Will struggle coming to balance in space and prefers to lunge when tackling. Fills with gap discipline and correct form. Willing to take on larger blockers with power and natural leverage. Fast to flow and has the vision and athleticism to mirror RBs while sifting through traffic. Must show an improved willingness to play behind hands and through traffic. Stock:  Same

Rashaan Evans, LB, Senior:  Has excellent reactionary skills and flows to the sidelines with good quickness. Will shoot gaps with varying degrees of success. Unwilling to play through contact and will undercut climbers instead of scraping over top. Did well to get connected in coverage. An improved profile of physicality is necessary, especially when defending the run. Stock:  Down

Anthony Averett, CB:  Struggled with quickness of Nyqwan Murray in short-yardage situation. Lost a jump ball to Auden Tate–was unable to compete with Tate’s physicality/high-point ability. Tate also out-muscled Averett on a back shoulder fade, leading to a DPI call. Competed well and with physicality, but struggled generally. Stock: Down

Tony Brown, CB, Senior:  Excellent closing speed allows for effective blitzing reps. A touch stiff and upright in transitions. Escaped with a DPI. Physical in the contact frame and looks to deliver a shot when tackling. Was not particularly present on tape, which can be a good sign for a CB. Stock:  Same

Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Junior: Excellent click and close. Elite burst allowed for end-of-half blocked FG attempt. Succeeded carrying speed down the field (Nyqwan Murray), an important aspect of his evaluation. Absolutely devastating when screaming down the field to deliver a strike. True punisher. Lost to Auden Tate on the red zone fade–was boxed out. Did well to assuage concerns of his potential at CB. Stock:  Up

Ronnie Harrison, SAF, Junior:  Closed downfield with excellent speed. Arrives with authority and looks to punish. Was not notably present on tape. Stock:  Same


Other Players that Flashed 

Alabama’s Josh Frazier, DT, Senior: Generated good interior push in limited reps. Situational awareness and nice size (6’3) allowed for two consecutive PBUs. Would push for more playing time in rotation, if not for skill of Da’Ron Payne before him in depth chart.

Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, DE, Sophomore: Showcased twitch on edge and the ability to turn the corner. Used quick hands well to keep chestplate clean and soften edge. Disciplined run defender who stayed home on misdirection looks. Dropped into hole and disrupted throwing lanes.

Florida State’s Brian Burns, DE, Sophomore: Flashed high-motor rushes with success inside and outside. Disciplined against option looks in edge contain. Great pursuit down the field. Excellent burst coming off the edge. Showed positive hand usage, including powerful rip move. Flashed placement and strength w/ hands to shuck OT. Received chips on multiple reps.

Florida State’s Demarcus Christmas, DT, Redshirt Junior: Flashed great hand usage on pass-rush situations, as well as the lateral quickness and fluidity through the hips to get through the gaps and generate interior pressure. Stout against the run with powerful hands, nice burst, and low pads. Occasionally can get wiped against the run.

Alabama’s Raekwon Davis, DE, Sophomore: Great lateral agility and use of hands to generate interior rush (club/rip) on 3rd down sack. Only popped and did not generate consistent pressure.

Best Players on the Field 

Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama


Forgettable Performances

Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama

Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama

Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

DaShawn Hand, DE, Alabama

Benjamin Solak

Ben Solak has been a football fan and film junkie for all of his life, and has the pleasure of serving as a National Scout for NDT Scouting. He also covers the Philadelphia Eagles for Bleeding Green Nation and co-hosts the Locked On Eagles podcast. Ben takes many things far too seriously, including fishing, Captain America, grammar, and Game Of Thrones.

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