15

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert

CB Justin Gilbert

Packers prospect profile:  CB Justin Gilbert

Player Information:

Justin Gilbert,  CB, Oklahoma St.,  6-0, 202 pounds  Hometown: Huntsville, TX

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.37

Vertical jump: 35.5 inches

225 lb. bench: 20 reps

Broad jump: 126 inches

News and Notes:

Second team All-American in 2013. … Averaged 26.8 yards per kickoff return, second all-time at Oklahoma St. … Six kickoff returns for touchdowns in college. … Picked off 12 passes during his career. … Fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine among defensive backs. … One of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top cornerback. … Appeared in 51 games and started his final 39. … A former track star in Texas.

What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Gilbert changes directions fluidly and has impressive acceleration to handle deep coverage responsibilities against speedy receivers. Gilbert possesses prototypical height and overall frame for the position with broad shoulders and long arms. He extends well to snatch the ball out of the air and times his leap well. Gilbert is a willing tackler, who closes quickly and effectively…Gilbert can be physical and tough in press coverage, but his technique and footwork are inconsistent. He is too grabby in tight coverage, and his contact downfield will easily attract penalties at the next level.
  • NFL.com:  The most talented cover corner in this year’s draft class, Gilbert has size, speed and flexibility to blanket receivers at the next level. Also brings impact ability as a kick returner. Is capable of stepping into the starting lineup from Day One and playing at a high level if he adheres to a professional approach to the craft. Could stand to improve in run support.
  • Ninersnation.com: The tape says he may have a rough rookie year, but has potential to be pretty good. I’m souring on the idea of taking him in the mid-first round, though someone probably will. If he falls to 30, I’m OK with it, but not jumping up and down. In the 2nd I think you’re starting to talk about a real value with what he brings to the table, though there’s likely a fat chance of that happening.

Video:

 

Video Analysis:.

  • His speed is no joke. Appears to be as fast on the field as he was at the NFL Combine.
11

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: RB Marion Grice

Marion Grice

RB Marion Grice

Packers prospect profile:  RB Marion Grice

Player Information:

Marion Grice  RB, Arizona State,  6-0, 208 pounds  Hometown: Houston, TX

STATS

Personal Pro Day:

40 time: 4.61 (unofficial)

Vertical jump: 32″

225 lb. bench: 14 reps

Broad jump: 8′ 01″

News and Notes:

Did not participate in NFL Combine or ASU’s Pro Day workouts due to a leg injury suffered late last season. . .Second team All Pac-12 in 2013. . . scored 20 touchdowns in 2013, one of only fifteen backs in the Pac-10/12 to accomplish that feat in the last 36 seasons. . . 2013 Hornung award finalist (nation’s most versatile player). . .scored at least one touchdown in 10 straight games in 2013. . .507 kick return yards in 2013

What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Shows good plant-and-go burst with the patience and instant acceleration to let defenders over-pursue before surging for positive yardage. Talented ballcarrier, willing blocker and reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. Isn’t the most impressive-looking prospect with a lean body type and upright running style. Needs to show more finishing toughness and lacks many distinguishable traits.
  • NFL.com:  Good balance and body control. Has loose ankles and very good lateral agility. Explosive one-cut ability. Displays vision and elusiveness in the open field. Sees the cutback and weaves in and out of traffic. Has some wiggle to shake tacklers in space. Good receiver — bursts into routes, adjusts to passes and has soft hands. Fumbled only once the last two seasons. Blue-collar work ethic. Solid character. Has a lean, narrow frame. Needs to bulk up and get stronger. Not equipped to pound between the tackles — gets tall inside and doesn’t push the pile (soft on contact). Weak tackle-breaker who cannot be counted on for yards after contact. Can become a more disciplined route runner. Questionable awareness in pass protection. Statistical production belies inconsistency.

Video:

 

Video Analysis:.

  • Has quickness and can elude tacklers despite a lack of burning speed
  • Here’s the versatility: runner and pass catcher.  Good hands and ability to find an open spot in passing game
  • Very poor in pass protection and could be a liability in that area
  • Has a decent burst through the hole but doesn’t create much for himself.  Not always very decisive
3

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: LB Shayne Skov

 

Shayne Skov

LB Shayne Skov

Packers prospect profile:  LB  Shayne Skov

Player Information:

Shayne Skov  LB, Stanford,  6-2, 245 pounds  Hometown: Guadalajara, Mexico

STATS

NFL Combine:

Did not participate in Combine and to date, has not participated in any pre-draft drills

News and Notes:

Started nine games as a true freshman in 2009. . .led Stanford in tackles in 2010. . .lost the 2011 season to an ACL injury. . .was instrumental in Stanford’s run to the PAC-12 title and Rose Bowl run in 2013. . .2013 All PAC-12 first-team. . .very upbeat and vocal leader

What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Ideal size and temperament for the inside linebacker position. Possesses broad shoulders, a trim middle and thick lower-body. Terrific instincts and physicality. A tone-setter in the middle, who frequently made big plays at key moments for the Cardinal. Demonstrated more explosiveness in 2013, in his second season removed from a torn ACL. Explodes through holes in the offensive line to make emphatic tackles in the backfield. Aggresive in taking on and shedding blockers in the hole. Displayed greater patience in 2013 when breaking down with ball-carriers in the open field because he has regained his explosive closing ability. This has led to less lunging by Skov and more secure textbook tackling. Likely limited to inside linebacker duties in a 3-4 alignment due to the fact that he does not possess ideal speed to beat backs to the edge, nor the fluidity for extensive coverage responsibilities. Working to break a bad habit of lunging. Over-aggression caused Skov to take himself out of too many plays early in his career.
  • NFL.com:  Outstanding instincts and recognition — plays much faster than he clocks on a stopwatch. Goes full throttle and plays very hard. Times up the blitz extremely well. Explosive tackler. Alert in coverage.  Intense emotional leader. Has a love for the game and it shows. Ideal special-teams temperament.  Marginal foot speed — limited twitch and agility to adjust to movement in coverage and could be exposed by NFL backs and tight ends. Can play with too much abandon and recklessly miss some tackles flying to the ball (out of control). Long-term durability is a concern — has already had multiple knee surgeries.

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • As I always disclaim, this is a “highlight” reel
23

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

C.J. Fiedorowicz

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

Packers prospect profile:  TE  C.J. Fiedorowicz

Player Information:

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE  Iowa,  6-7, 265 pounds  Hometown: Johnsburg, IL

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.76

Vertical jump: 31.5″

225 lb. bench: 25 reps

Broad jump: 9’8″

News and Notes:

Named Most Outstanding tight end at 2014 Senior Bowl. . .2013 First-team All-Big 10 by coaches. . .had a reception in 31 straight games. . .career-high six touchdown catches in 2013. . .Coaches Appreciation Award, Offense recipient

What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Good versatility, showing the ability to come off a down block to get past defenders as a receiver. Good body control and soft hands for such a large man.  Fast in a straight-line and is a physical and attentive blocker.
  • NFL.com:  Has outstanding size and big hands. Has size to widen the hole or seal defensive ends. Good balance and body control for his size. Surprising lower-body flexibility to sink his hips to run sharp-angle routes. Has stature and enough speed to threaten the seam. Understands how to use his frame and physicality to create subtle separation. Makes athletic hands catches off his frame. Sizable catch radius. Shows toughness and concentration in traffic. Lowers his shoulder to deliver a blow after the catch. Can line up in-line or split out. Smart and durable. Builds to average speed. Fairly straight-linish athlete. Not elusive after the catch. Can improve as a move blocker and develop more of a mean streak to finish blocks. Average production. Could stand to adopt a more blue-collar work ethic when people aren’t watching — is not a self-starter and has been able to cruise on his rare size and natural ability.

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • As I always disclaim, this is a “highlight” reel.
  • Shows quite a bit of Fiedorowicz’s blocking abilities, which are good.  Spent more time in three-point stance than a few other TE’s I have profiled
  • Not quick getting into his routes and does not change direction well
  • Speed is not an asset, won’t pick up much yardage after the catch
  • Can make some tough grabs in traffic and uses his size well
  • Seems to be the type of receiver who needs to be in the right offensive system to thrive.  Won’t likely do it on ability alone

If drafted by the Packers:

22

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: TE Eric Ebron

Eric Ebron

TE Eric Ebron

Packers prospect profile:  TE Eric Ebron

Player Information:

Eric Ebron, TE  North Carolina,  6-4, 250 pounds  Hometown: Greensboro, NC

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.60

Vertical jump: 32″

225 lb. bench: 24 reps

Broad jump: 10′

News and Notes:

Second-team All-American in 2013. . . semi-finalist for Mackey award (most outstanding tight end in college football). . . had 973 receiving yards in 2013, breaking Vernon Davis’ ACC record. . . started at least one game in all four years at North Carolina. . . was second-leading receiver on the team during his sophomore season

What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Smooth, gliding athlete with easy acceleration to speed past defenders in coverage and finish. Agile feet and dangerous after the catch to create with quick cuts to make defenders miss. Quick release off the LOS with route fluidity and natural flexibility. Smooth adjustments to pluck the ball with his hands away from his body – large catching radius. Physical when he wants as a blocker with strong initial power at the point of attack. Very good toughness and plays unintimidated and confident. Good football awareness and plays alert. Versatile experience lining up in-line, but mostly in the slot – also plays on special teams coverage. Still far from his ceiling. Still developing his body with room to add bulk and get stronger. Still learning how to use his size to his advantage. Needs to show more authority in his routes and is too easily redirected – needs to be more physical in this area to match up in tight spaces. Needs to be more aggressive and strong at the catch point, especially in contested situations. Has his share of focus drops and needs to be more consistent finishing catches. Good length, but won’t overwhelm defenders in the run game. Blocking technique needs developing – somewhat untested as an in-line blocker. Room to refine and sharpen his routes. Right shoulder injury in 2013.
20

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: S Jimmie Ward

Jimmie Ward

S Jimmie Ward

Packers prospect profile:  S  Jimmie Ward

Player Information:

Jimmie Ward,  S  Northern Illinois,  5-11, 192 pounds  Hometown: Mobile, AL

STATS

Pro Day:

40 time: 4.47

Vertical jump: 38″

225 lb. bench: 9 reps

Broad jump: 10’5″

News and Notes:

Third-team All-American in 2013. . .First-team All-MAC in 2012 and 2013. . . had 92 tackles, 62 solo in 2013. . .seven interceptions in 2013. . .semi-finalist for Jim Thorpe award. . . had three blocked punts in 2010 as a true freshman

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com:  Compact frame. Remarkably fluid athlete with quick feet, smooth change-of-direction agility and easy acceleration. Dropped down to cover slot receivers with solid man-to-man skills to handle a similar role in the NFL. Good balance and lateral agility, including the ability to sprawl to avoid cut-blocks. Physical, competitive defender who doesn’t back down from the challenges of bigger opponents. Very good diagnosis skills and closes quickly and forcefully. Takes proper angles in pursuit, limiting breakaway opportunities for opponents. Shorter than scouts prefer, a fact that could lead to some projecting him at cornerback. Good but less-than-ideal speed to recover if beaten initially. Gets too grabby once he’s turned around. Leaves his feet to tackle, creating some impressive collisions but occasionally failing to wrap up securely. Misses tackles against the bigger, stronger athletes.
  • NFL.com:  Flies around the field. Aggressive run supporter. Shoots downhill and chops down ball carriers. Breaks on throws and shows short-area burst to close. Has quick hands to snatch interceptions. Confident and energetic. Has a special-teams mentality and four blocked kicks to his credit. Size is just adequate — lacks ideal bulk and is built more like a cornerback than a safety. Can be a tick late diagnosing pass, gaining depth and digesting route combos. Lacks elite top-end speed. Has man-coverage limitations. Inconsistent downfield ball reactions with his back to the throw. Limited functional strength to discard blockers when he gets snagged. Shows lower-body stiffness in space. Has some maturing to do and needs to learn what it means to prepare like a pro. Could rub some people the wrong way.

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • As I always disclaim, this is a “highlight” reel, so does not show any of Ward’s weak spots
  • Flies to the ball and not afraid to get physical with receivers
19

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DB Brock Vereen

 

Brock Vereen

Minnesota Gophers DB Brock Vereen

Packers prospect profile:  DB Brock Vereen

Player Information:

Brock Vereen, DB Minnesota, 6-0, 199 pounds  Hometown: Valencia, CA

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.47

Vertical jump: 34″

225 lb. bench: 25 reps

Broad jump: 117″

News and Notes:

Three-year starter. … Never missed a game his final three seasons. … First-team All Big-Ten coaches selection senior season.  … Switched from safety to cornerback throughout his career. … Broke up 22 passes and had 4 interceptions in final three seasons. … Father played football at UNLV and was drafted by Tampa Bay. … Brother is a running back for the Patriots.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • NFL.com: A very smart, pedigreed, rangy free safety with the athletic ability and cover skill desired on the back end. Lack of size and tackling strength could leave much to be desired when defending the run. Top-notch intangibles — toughness, instincts, competitiveness and leadership ability — should allow him to quickly emerge as a defensive leader and enhance his draft status.
  • 1500ESPN.com  In his first two seasons with the Gophers, he played primarily at cornerback. Heading into the 2012 season, he was shifted over to safety to address an issue of depth. Injuries last year forced the Gophers to make a midseason change, slotting him back out at corner.In turn, his ability to move between positions has helped his draft stock. He has talked with teams about playing at safety, nickel or corner, though he said he feels his best games have been at safety and in the nickel.

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Vereen is No. 21 in the video
  • As a Gophers fan (don’t laugh), I’ve watched Vereen his whole career
  • Vereen’s range would be a welcome addition to the Packers lumbering and slow-to-react safety corp
  • However, even if Vereen is able to range over to a ball hanging in the air, is he big and strong enough to battle bigger NFL receivers once the ball comes down?
  • Not a great tackler, but he lays it all on the line when trying to make tackles
  • Has the quickness and burst to get sneaky sacks on slot blitzes
  • Smart player. Won’t lose contain in key moments of the game (*Cough. Jarrett Bush on Colin Kapernick. *Cough.)