2012 NFL Draft - Scouting for Future Chargers: Bowl Games Part 9

Team Needs
Starter Starter Competition Depth Projects
Current starter is FA next year and has no surefire understudy Current starter is FA next year and has understudy or current starter is inexperienced One or more backups are FAs next year May need a new starter or backup after 2012 season
S, FB, C, DT S, ILB, WR, C, DT, OLB, OG
S, ILB, WR, RB, TE, CB, OT
QB, K, OLB, DT, DE, TE

In case you missed it, I justified the most recent updates to the team needs list a few weeks ago when I scouted the last week of the college football regular season. There's a lot of unknowns until we know the extent of some injuries and any changes in management are made, so I'm not going to say much more about that. Instead let's go to the games.

Texas A&M
(6-6) vs Northwestern
(6-6) Saturday 12/31 9:00 AM PT (ESPN)
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston, TX): When I covered Texas A&M earlier in the year, the premier Aggies prospect was WR Jeff Fuller and QB Ryan Tannehill was a mere curiosity. Since then Fuller's stock has slipped, but he's still an interesting prospect (as many tall WRs are) and Tannehill is bordering on being a 1st round consideration. Junior WR Ryan Swope has picked up Fuller's slack and helped Tannehill reach that status. Look for him to steal Fuller's thunder again. Nortwestern's offense is a creative one running up tempo at times and throwing in triple options and other college-y formations. They'll need all that creative mojo working and sleeper QB prospect Dan Persa to be at his best because the Aggies have a very solid D. They are young, so there's no Von Miller coming out of College Station this year, but Sophomore Damontre Moore is an excellent pass rusher and one to watch for the future.

Georgia Tech
(8-4) vs Utah
(7-5) Saturday 12/31 11:00 PM PT (CBS)
Hyundai Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX): Utah made the jump to the Pac 12 this year and surprised a few people by reaching bowl eligibility. There were big dogs in the Mountain West for the last few years, but some thought that the Pac 12 would be a much bigger challenge. The ramblin' wreck of Georgia Tech has seem better years with better talent, but still makes it a bowl game this year. The Yellow Jackets bring their traditional triple option attack against Utah's tough defensive front seven. The Utes will send out their Norm Chow coordinated offense led by San Diego native QB Jordan Wynn (Oceanside HS).

Illinois
(6-6) vs UCLA
(6-7) Saturday 12/31 12:30 PM PT (ESPN)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (San Francisco, CA): Both these teams come sputtering into this football game crammed into a baseball stadium. Illinois Sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase was supposed to bring a lot of electricity to the offense, but that spark died midway through the season. He does have an NFL prospect to throw to in WR A.J. Jenkins, but that only works if he's make good reads. RB Jason Ford is also an interesting sleeper prospect. The UCLA offense is a mess. Outgoing HC Rick Neuheisel brought a pistol formation to the team, but it's more like a pop gun. It should get terrorized by current 2nd round prospect, but potentially a 1st round consideration, Junior DE Whitney Mercilus (great last name!) who could possibly follow his ex-teammate Corey Liuget to the Chargers defense.

Cincinnati
(9-3) vs Vanderbilt 6-6) Saturday 12/31 12:30 PM PT (ABC)
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN): This game should mark the return of the Bearcats' sleeper QB prospect Zach Calleros. That might be good news for sleeper WR prospect D.J. Woods who once looked like a more promising player, especially as a deep threat. In his absence, RB Isaiah Pead was relied upon more and he still should feature heavily in this game and in the scouts' notebooks. Vanderbilt CB prospect Casey Hayward will also be watched to see how he handles this Cincy offense.

Virginia
(8-4) vs Auburn 7-5) Saturday 12/31 4:30 PM PT (ESPN)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA): The defending BCS Champions picked up a lot of losses this year following their undefeated 2010 season. Can Newton is a expensivehard man to replace. Of course, they lost a few others to the NFL as well, leaving them with barely any experienced NFL prospects this season. The most promising is OT Brandon Mosley, but even he has questions about his ability to stay at tackle. Virginia has an up-and-coming CB prospect in Chase Minnifield who will look to try and turn his current 2nd round grade to a 1st round grade in this primetime tilt. Virginia DE Cam Johnson looks too big for the 3-4, but has experience at the 3-4 OLB position. Cavaliers Junior RB Perry Jones is one to keep an eye on for the future.

I'll go over the individual players after the jump.

BFTB Scouting Targets:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Chase Minnifield
Virginia
CB
Sr. 6'0 187 lbs
Great work ethic, very mature, NFL bloodlines. Plays smart, knows his assignments, makes good reads, sets a great example. Can play the ball well and can avoid contact when doing so. Might struggle against the faster WRs of the NFL since his backpedal isn't the smoothest and his recovery speed is only decent. Not bad at run support. (2nd round)
Whitney Mercilus
Illinois
DE
Jr. 6'3 263 lbs
Leads the nation in sacks with 14.5, but also has 8 forced fumbles. Much like Ryan Kerrigan last year he's described as not being the greatest athlete, but uses elite effort to produce. Needs to learn some gap control since he sometimes loses that in an effort to get to the QB. Questions about ability to play 3-4 OLB because of lack of athleticism. He's a junior, but he's expected to declare. (2nd round)
Brandon Mosley
Auburn
OT
Sr. 6'5 300 lbs
Big body OT that might be able to a project at that position in the NFL or transition to OG. He's got that mean streak you look for and he's a heck of an athlete. If he were to play OG he'd need a loot of work on pulling since he's not that great in space. (3rd round)
Coryell Judie
Texas A&M
WR Sr. 5'11
187 lbs
An okay cover corner with great ball skills and excels with the football in his hands. He'll return kicks for someone in the NFL and perhaps develop into a decent CB as well. (3rd round)
Casey Hayward
Vanderbilt
CB
Sr. 5'11 185 lbs
Perhaps a poor man's Asante Samuel. He's not going to wow people with Darrelle Revis type man-to-man skills, but can play zone and plays the ball well. Good at tracking the ball and jumping routes. Can hold on to interceptions. (3rd Round)
Cam Johnson
Virginia
DE
Sr. 6'3 273 lbs
Prototypical build for a 4-3 DE, but has experience playing OLB in Virgina's old 3-4 defense. His first few steps in the pass rush are impressive. He's quick and hits with power, gets good leverage quickly and can knock blockers back. Needs to get to the QB quick though, because he struggles to adjust to a moving target. (3rd round)
Tony Bergstrom
Utah
OT Sr. 6'5 304 lbs
Developmental prospect. He plays OT, but better suited for guard. Too easily overpowered at this point and needs to learn to anchor. (3rd round)
Jeff Fuller
Texas A&M WR Sr. 6'3 217 lbs
Fuller has more of the height you are looking for in the position, but his football IQ isn't that high and his route running is sub par. Although he can run those go and fade routes like few others can. He's strong catching the bad and has good body control. He's not a burner, but his long strides can take him places. He has an arrest from 2010 on his record for consumption of alcohol by a minor. (4th round)
Jeff Allen
Illinois
OG
Sr. 6'4 306 lbs
A little chunky even for an offensive lineman. Will need to get in the weight room and tighten up. Has been playing tackle, but that's not going to flying the pros. His ability to seal off will work better as a guard. (4th round)
Tavon Wilson
Illinois
S
Sr. 6'0 203 lbs
Versatile safety prospect with experience at CB and free safety. Plays will good physicality and is comfortable close to the line of scrimmage. Not all that ranging and would struggle playing bump and run at times. Long arms come in handy. (Mid rounds)
A.J. Jenkins
Illinois
WR
Sr. 6'0' 182 lbs
Not tall, but not short, but certainly a little small even for his size. Slender, if you will. Can work the underneath zones, but doesn't show much as a deep threat. Needs some work on route running. Good hands, including when he gets extension. (Mid rounds)
Tony Dye
UCLA
S
Sr. 5'10 208 lbs
Good athlete with ability to move well as a safety. Transitions look good and he's got closing burst. Hasn't been much of a play maker in his time at UCLA. A little small, but nothing to be too worried about. Okay speed. Above average in man coverage for a safety. (Mid to late rounds)
Alex Hoffman
Cincinnati
OT
Sr. 6'5 295 lbs
Already labeled a finesse blocker, which probably takes him off more than a few teams' boards. He shows some good technique and great effort, but the power and ability to sustain blocks isn't there. Somewhat inconsistent. (Mid to late rounds)
Conroy Black
Utah
CB
Sr. 5'11 185 lbs
Looks okay in man coverage where he can use his track speed. Long arms are helpful, but he could learn to use them better. This is a little like his ex-teammate Brandon Burton who was a decent prospect, but hasn't made an impact in the NFL. He's a project, but one with good tools. (Mid to late rounds)
NFL Prospects:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Ryan Tannehill
Texas A&M
QB
Jr. 6'4 222 lbs
Athletic QB that stepped in and won games last year after their starter struggled, which showed good leadership. Skills are raw. (2nd round)
Isaiah Pead
Cincinnati
RB
Sr. 5'10
202 lbs
A back that can break some tackles, but doesn't have that home run speed. Has had to work hard this year since offensive line is decidedly below average. Physical style that could expose him to big hits. Doesn't necessarily keep a wide base when taking on tacklers, so there's questions about whether his style would transition well. Not shifty at all. Decent on third downs in the passing game, but a little bit of a liability in pass pro. (5th round)
Cyrus Gray
RB
CB Sr. 5'10 202 lbs
Missed final regular season game with stress fracture in his shoulder, so may miss this one. High character, durable RB who could be a decent scat back in the NFL. Has kick return experience. Lots of catches out of the backfield. Not going to be hurting people by running up the middle. (4th round)
Sleepers:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Randy Bullocks
Texas A&M
K
Sr. 5'9
210 lbs
(UDFA)
Tony Jerod-Eddie
Texas A&M DT Sr. 6'5 300 lbs
(UDFA)
Garick Williams
Texas A&M OLB
Sr. 6'2 237 lbs
(UDFA)
Terrence Frederick
Texas A&M CB
Sr. 5'10 182 lbs
(UDFA)
Jonathan Mathis
Texas A&M DT
Sr. 6'2 285 lbs
(UDFA)
Eddie Brown
Texas A&M DT Sr. 6'0 285 lbs
(UDFA)
Drake Dunsmore Northwestern FB
Sr. 6'2
238 lbs
(UDFA)
Dan Persa
Northwestern QB
Sr. 5'11 209 lbs
(UDFA)
Vince Browne
Northwestern DE
Sr. 6'5 265 lbs
(UDFA)
All Netter
Northwestern OG
Sr. 6'3 302 lbs
(UDFA)
Jordan Mabin
Northwestern CB
Sr. 5'9
181 lbs
(UDFA)
Brian Peters
Northwestern S
Sr. 6'3 219 lbs
(UDFA)
Jeremy Ebert
Northwestern WR
Sr. 5'10 194 lbs
(UDFA)
Roddy Jones
Georgia Tech
RB
Sr. 5'8 201 lbs
(UDFA)
Jason Peters
Georgia Tech DE
Sr. 6'2 270 lbs
(UDFA)
Steven Sylvester
Georgia Tech OLB
Sr. 6'0 241 lbs
(UDFA)
John Cullen
Utah
OT
Sr. 6'4
284 lbs
(UDFA)
Derrick Shelby
Utah DE
Sr. 6'2 264 lbs
(UDFA)
Matthew Martinez
Utah OLB
Sr. 5'11
224 lbs
(UDFA)
Derek Dimke
Illinois K
Sr. 5'11 177 lbs
(UDFA)
Jason Ford Illinois RB
Sr. 5'10
238 lbs
(UDFA)
Ian Thomas
Illinois ILB
Sr. 6'0 230 lbs
(UDFA)
Tru Henry
Illinois S Sr. 5'11 214 lbs
(UDFA)
Jack Cornell Illinois OG
Sr. 6'5 295 lbs
(UDFA)
Craig Wilson
Illinois DT
Sr. 6'5 319 lbs
(UDFA)
Nate Chandler
UCLA DT
Sr. 6'4 292 lbs
(UDFA)
Mike Harris
UCLA
OT
Sr. 6'4 327 lbs
(UDFA)
Cory Harkey
UCLA
TE
Sr. 6'4
272 lbs
(UDFA)
Taylor Embree
UCLA
WR
Sr. 6'4 201 lbs
(UDFA)
Sean Sheller
UCLA
OT
Sr. 6'4 309 lbs
(UDFA)
Nelson Rosario
UCLA WR
Sr. 6'4 220 lbs
(UDFA)
Tom Detemple Cincinnati LS Sr. 6'1 238 lbs
(UDFA)
J.K. Schaffer Cincinnati ILB Sr. 6'0 227 lbs
(UDFA)
Derek Wolfe Cincinnati DT
Sr. 6'5 295 lbs
(UDFA)
Zach Collaros Cincinnati QB Sr. 5'11 218 lbs
(UDFA)
John Hughes Cincinnati DT Sr. 6'2 304 lbs
(UDFA)
Adrien Robinson Cincinnati TE Sr. 6'4 267 lbs
(UDFA)
D.J. Woods
Cincinnati WR Sr. 5'11 173 lbs
(UDFA)
Wesley Richardson
Cincinnati S Sr. 5'11 189 lbs
(UDFA)
Brandon Barden
Vanderbilt
TE
Sr. 6'4 240 lbs
(UDFA)
Chris Marve
Vanderbilt ILB
Sr. 5'11 239 lbs
(UDFA)
Sean Richardson
Vanderbilt S
Sr. 6'2 213 lbs
(UDFA)
Jamie Graham
Vanderbilt CB
Sr. 5'11 192 lbs
(UDFA)
Anthony Mihota
Virginia
OC
Sr. 6'4 286 lbs
(UDFA)
Aaron Taliaferro
Virginia ILB
Sr. 6'0 234 lbs
(UDFA)
Matt Conrath
Virginia DE
Sr. 6'7 277 lbs
(UDFA)
Austin Pasztor
Virginia OG
Sr. 6'6 306 lbs
(UDFA)
Kris Burd
Virginia WR
Sr. 6'0 189 lbs
(UDFA)
Landon Bradley
Virginia OT
Sr. 6'7 280 lbs
(UDFA)
Rodney McLeod
Virginia CB Sr. 5'10 180 lbs
(UDFA)
Josh Harris
Auburn
LS
Sr. 6'0 232 lbs
(UDFA)
A.J. Greene
Auburn OT
Sr. 6'5 296 lbs
(UDFA)
Neiko Thorpe
Auburn CB
Sr. 6'1 187 lbs
(UDFA)
Quindarius Carr
Auburn WR
Sr. 6'0 182 lbs
(UDFA)
Mike McNeil
Auburn S
Sr. 6'0 205 lbs
(UDFA)

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