Josh Norris

Weekly Prospect Matchups

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CFB Bowl Preview: Dec. 27-28

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Military Bowl: Marshall vs. Maryland, 2:30 on ESPN


Senior TE Gator Hoskins

- Move or H-back prospect thanks to his agility from motion, in the slot, or lined up in the backfield. There might be some Charles Clay to Hoskins’ game, including fighting for extra yards after the catch. The senior is a very fluid mover and carries the ball like a big running back. Sets up blocks and does not mind taking screen passes and getting upfield. Runs outside breaking routes very well, has sideline awareness.

Junior QB Rakeem Cato

- Viewers of this game might see some Pat White in Cato’s game, except the latter is a passer first, runner second. The junior does not mind drifting towards his dominant and firing passes to the short and intermediate levels. Cato can hit downfield routes, but plenty of air and touch must be put on these passes. Improvisational plays are there and he doesn’t mind being moved off his spot. Would like to see Cato step up to find operational space rather than drift laterally or escape out the backdoor, but the athleticism to do so is there. To be fair, there are flashes of good pocket movement. Seems to be equally successful throwing while on the move as a balanced base.

Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse, 6:00 on ESPN


Senior DT Ra’Shede Hageman

- Hageman is going to tear up the Combine, but could start the draft process by bullying the Orange up front. The defensive lineman projects as a three or five technique at the next level and could really develop into an impact player if the landing spot is right. Hageman also frequently saw time as a one technique. Hand use could be the tipping point for Hageman, as he seems to play over his pads with a forward lean rather than use strength and length to control his opposition. The senior seems to prefer playing close to his frame, using a quick swat and hip turn to find gaps in the offensive line. There are some real flashes of dominance with instant hand use and press to keep the interior linemen off balance.


Junior RB Jerome Smith

- One of the draft’s real power backs, Smith has already stated he will declare for May’s draft. The junior is asked to work between the tackles frequently and displays nice vision to test either side of the center as well as an understanding of when to take what is given to him. There is not a lot of explosion in his steps, but Smith is a strider in space and does not mind lowering the shoulder to finish off runs. He is also a willing blocker.

Senior DT Jay Bromley

- I do not think Bromley’s game matches his great production. He tends to clean up plays rather than produce them, but that is not the worst backhanded compliment. The big difference between Bromley and another ultra-productive interior defensive lineman, Aaron Donald, is hand use, leverage, pop, and momentum. Bromley frequently lines up as a three technique but tends to work around blockers rather than through them. This leads to the senior creating an arc in the pocket rather than forcing his way with the shortest possible distance. I like the flashes, but consistency in a straight-line would be nice.

Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington, 9:30 on ESPN


Senior OLB Kyle Van Noy

- I like Andrew Parsons’ comparison of Kroy Biermann for Van Noy. Biermann might not be the biggest name, but he allows the Falcons to utilize a variety of defensive alignments. Van Noy does not really specialize in anything, but he could allow a defense to switch from a three man line with two stand up rushers to a 4-3 under set. I don’t see Van Noy as the top 32 pick some are projecting, but a top two-round selection is more likely.

Senior WR Cody Hoffman

- Hoffman has faced some adversity this season, including a suspension, which quieted the early draft buzz that surrounded the receiver. I never thought Hoffman was worthy of that top-50 label, and maybe he will show off why against Washington. The long strider is predominantly an edge target that boasts a large frame. He consistently attempts to spin after the catch in order to pick up yards, but we worry about Hoffman being the last one among receivers to get seven or 10 yards downfield. He does track the ball quite well, and we want to see Hoffman get some snaps from the slot, since he does not mind getting physical during routes.


Junior TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

- Seferian-Jenkins is one of the biggest names at the tight end position, but we expect him to be selected after the first 32 picks in May. With that said, Seferian-jenkins might be the best pure inline option in the group. We love Eric Ebron, but expect him to be split out more often. ASJ has a basketball background and displays great body control to work at multiple levels of the field. He is also willing to be physical.

Senior QB Keith Price

- He will get a chance in the NFL, but Price has seemingly regressed over the last few years. Last season Price’s struggles could be attributed to a lack of mobility thanks to injuries, but he hasn’t improved under duress. Count how many NFL plays or throws he makes.

Junior RB Bishop Sankey

- Sankey fits the current NFL landscape in terms of receiving ability. As a runner he displays little wasted movement and good vision to find the open field. Sankey then flashes picking up yards after contact. In terms of what Sankey does not have, the list includes visible explosion and a second gear. he is not flashy, and some will knock him for that. He could certainly improve as a pass protector, but he is a willing road block right now.

Senior S Sean Parker





Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers. Noon on ESPN

Notre Dame

Junior NT Louis Nix III (will not play)

- Lines up as a nose tackle or shade in a three man front. Can work over top of a block and create penetration at the same time. Stops momentum very quickly and changes direction well for a big man. Has the leg drive to penetrate face up and strength to shed it close spaces. Can disrupt the run upfield or hold his spot with anchor versus the run. Has some Vince Wilfork to him. Likely a one or zero shade in a three man front, but don’t rule him out of four man fronts.

Junior DE Stephon Tuitt

- I like but don’t love Tuitt’s game. There are some differences between this year’s tape and last, and some of them could be credited to a weight gain following offseason surgery. He seems a bit more stiff in 2013 and lacking closing speed. He finished plenty of plays the previous two years. Many will project Tuitt as a three for five technique in a three man line, and he also produced some tape at nose tackle against the Service Academies.

Senior LT Zack Martin

- A future guard, Martin has a wide base to mirror but is sturdy and stout when facing a head up defender. He will likely go through the pre-draft process on the outside, but don’t be surprised if he sees a few snaps on the interior and that ultimately becomes his position at the next level. Martin received second day grades form the NFL last winter, according to Mike Mayock.

Senior CB Bennett Jackson

Senior WR TJ Jones

- Great route runner that could impress at the East-West Shrine Game.

Senior OLB Prince Shembo

Junior TE Troy Niklas

- Expected to return despite requesting an evaluation.


Redshirt junior WR Brandon Coleman

- Coleman has already declared for the NFL. Last season was a great one for the long receiver, but his game took a step back this year. Some will blame the quarterback play, and I did for some time, but after taking a closer look Coleman deserves some blame. Coleman is a long strider with good athleticism, but he failed to generate separation or win at the catch point consistently in 2013. That is not a good combination. Still, he is a super intriguing talent that could draw a top-64 selection.



Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina, 3:20 on ESPN


Senior LB Greg Blair

- A JUCO transfer prior to last season, Blair was granted another year of eligibility but has not looked as impressive in 2013. He lines up in a variety of spots but sees most of his action as an inside linebacker. We wonder if Blair projects to the strong side spot in the NFL, since he flashes the willingness to take on blockers, crash down, and create separation to make a tackle. He has enough mobility to drop into curl to flat coverage.


Senior QB Bryn Renner (will not play)

- There has been plenty of regression this season for Renner, and he didn’t have a chance to right the ship before season ending shoulder surgery. Last year Renner impressed by keeping tempo between snaps but displaying patience during plays. That was not consistent this year.

Junior TE Eric Ebron

- Ebron was always a talented prospect, but he really improved this season. That progression was visible at the catch point in contested situations. Ebron is an outstanding athlete, but winning in tight spaces is a major aspect to tight end play. I have compared him to a less stiff, more flexible Jared Cook Jr., and Ebron has a real chance to be a top-20 first-round pick. He can line up inline or be moved around in a variety of sets.

Senior T James Hurst

- Throughout the summer, Hurst consistently generated first-round buzz. That conversation continued after UNC’s opener against South Carolina. I don’t see it. To me, Hurst is too narrow and gets jolted on first contact, leading to a lack of recovery flexibility/athleticism. I like Hurst, since he can definitely hold his own if gaining proper hand placement and a balanced base, but I don’t see a top-40 selection.

Senior DE Kareem Martin

- Martin has been ultra productive this season, totaling 10 sacks, and that is likely due to the defensive end embracing his power style rather than attempting moves associated with a speed rusher. Martin has length and power to hold up at the point of attack, especially when creating a nice burst off the line, but he tried to dip and run around the edge too often in 2012. Working through blockers and keeping them on skates could be his future.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami, 6:45 on ESPN


Junior QB Teddy Bridgewater

- Excellent pocket movement. Bounces off his back foot to step up against edge pressure and isn’t afraid to slide laterally when faced with an interior rush. Keeps eyes up to survey coverages and works to multiple reads. Placement and touch are there, but has the velocity to hit vertical routes on the move. Not afraid to give a covered receiver in single coverage a chance to win. Reports have stated he takes care of many checks at the line of scrimmage. He fits any offense. Sustains success from the pocket but also has mobility which isn’t showcased often. Hits every level with placement and timing.

Senior DE Marcus Smith

- This is a talented prospect who projects as a stand up rusher next to a three man front. Smtih displays some bend around the edge once creating separation but also has experience working in the curl to flat areas of coverage. be sure to note when he loops back inside, since that is a growing trend and skill in the NFL.

Junior WR DeVante Parker

- One of the best high pointing receivers in the country. He and Teddy B are money in goal to go situations.


Senior QB Stephen Morris

- Morris started the season as my top senior quarterback. I expected consistency, progression. I received neither. Morris has all the tools. Athleticism, a great vertical shot, and reported intangibles. Instead, Morris showed frenetic behavior in the short to intermediate game when pressured, making some terrible decisions with poor placement. Some of that could be attributed to a foot injury. I still like what he has to offer, but Morris has a long way to go.

Senior T Seantrel Henderson

- Henderson can be dominant. Few can match his combination of power and athleticism. He might receive some DJ Fluker comparisons, but Henderson can stick at left tackle. One the senior has his opposition in his grasp, it is over. I can’t question his personality, because I have never meant Henderson. But there have been multiple suspensions to go along with a decreased role. The draft process, as well as the Senior Bowl, will be telling.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State vs. Michigan, 10:15 on ESPN

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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