6

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina

South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: RB Marcus Lattimore

Player Information:

Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina
5-11, 221 pounds
Hometown: Duncan, SC

STATS

NFL Combine:

Lattimore did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. (Injured)

News and Notes:

Lattimore enters the NFL Draft as a junior … In 2012, his season ended Oct. 27 when he blew out his knee against Tennessee; he tore three of the four ligaments in his right knee … As a sophomore in 2011, Lattimore suffered a torn left ACL against Mississippi State … If healthy, most believe Lattimore would be the No. 1 running back in this draft class … Lattimore exploded onto the scene as a freshman in 2010, racking up 1,197 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the SEC … Has value as a receiver, catching a total of 74 passes in 29 games at South Carolina … He’s a first-round talent that will likely be a late third-round or early fourth-round pick based on health concerns.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: ”Very good at keeping defenders off balance, showing excellent acceleration, anticipation and footwork. Natural balance and feel between the tackles with good vision and patience to follow his blocks. Reliable receiving target, adjusting well to the ball with good focus. Never goes down easy and rarely goes out of bounds, running with toughness and confidence. Good effort in pass protection and not shy about giving up his body.”
  • NFL.com: “Possesses vision and quick feet for his size to slide into a rushing lane and the speed to get upfield once finding the hole. Quite effective on zone runs when used in that capacity. Has the wiggle to freeze and elude tacklers to space. Spins off piles inside and keeps his legs churning to pick up the extra yard. Gets into his routes fluidly out of the backfield and flashes the hand to adjust to poor throws. Good build for pass protection, and is willing to hustle and make contact to keep his quarterback clean.”

 

Video:

 

Video Analysis:

  • Reminder: Georgia’s front seven features three potential first-round picks in the front seven in linebackers Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones, along with defensive tackle John Jenkins.
  • Tough runner between the tackles, doesn’t shy away from contact.
22

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: D.J. Swearinger, S South Carolina

DJ Swearinger

South Carolina S D.J. Swearinger

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: S D.J. Swearinger

Player Information:

D.J. Swearinger
5-10, 208 pounds
Hometown: Greenwood, SC

STATS

NFL Combine:

Vertical: 37 inches
40 time: 4.67
225-pound bench: 17 reps
Broad jump: 124 inches
3-cone drill: 6.7 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.11 seconds

News and Notes:

Hard-hitting three-year starter and captain of the South Carolina defense. … Played every position in the secondary while at South Carolina. … Totaled 80 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups his senior season. … Blitzes off the edge. … Suspended for one game in 2012 after drilling a defenseless receiver. … Says he models his game after Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. … Gets a lot of praise for being a team leader. … Reputation as one of the hardest-hitting players in college football.

What they’re saying about him:

  • National Football Post: ”The game is not too big for him and he should be able to translate immediately at the NFL level. Worst case scenario is he is a solid special teamer and adds quality depth to a defensive backfield. He could work his way to being a starter but don’t expect him to be a difference maker but more a strong piece to the puzzle that doesn’t make the big error. Overall Swearinger is a great pick up in the 4th round and should have a long NFL career for some team.”
  • DraftInsider.net: “Underrated safety with a complete game. Tough run defender that also displays outstanding ball skills. Size and speed may be questioned.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Appears to have no fear about sticking his nose in the middle of the action and taking on offensive lineman and fullbacks that are almost twice his size.
  • He looks bigger than 5-10, 208 pounds to me…
  • Check out the play at about the 1:30 point of the video. Swearinger needs to get off that block from the WR and make a play.
  • Puruse the ball well and makes a good, solid tackle when he has to.
  • Attacks the ballcarrier violently. Fights and claws and does whatever is necessary to bring the ballcarrier down.
  • Looks capable in pass coverage. I’d rather not see him covering NFL WRs, but he should hold his own against TEs.
8

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Player information:

  • Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  • 6-foot-0, 190 lbs
  • Social sciences economics major and Detroit, Michigan native.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.40 40yd dash
  • 3.94 20yd shuttle
  • 11.15 60yd shuttle
  • 6.61 3-cone drill
  • 123″ broad jump
  • 36.0″ vertical jump
  • 15 bench press reps

News & Notes:

South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” in 2008 as a game-breaking quarterback, Gilmore was recruited by Steve Spurrier to be a defensive back for the Gamecocks. That move paid off almost immediately. Gilmore started every game his freshman year, notching one interception and three sacks while earning Freshman All-American honors. By the time he was done with his junior season, Gilmore had registered 40 straight starts and was a first-team All-SEC and third-team All-American selection. Touted as a team leader with size (6’1″) and physicality, Gilmore is widely considered one of the draft’s top-5 cornerbacks. Compares to Charles Woodson.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post):  ”Is a “plus” sized corner with good quickness and fluidity. Needs to clean up his footwork in off/zone concepts, but has skill set to play near the line, check receivers and turn and run. Should be able to fight for a starting role during his rookie year in more of a zone scheme.”

Frank Cooney (CBSSports): “Gilmore plays with an astute awareness that makes him a dangerous defender to test. He is a vocal team leader who understands everybody’s role on defense and is especially effective in zone coverage where he seems to triangulate well, tracking both the quarterback and receivers. Gilmore is aggressive both going to the ball and coming up on the run, although he could use a little more bulk to hold up in the NFL.”

NFL.com (Combine): “Gilmore is a dynamic athlete who made a lot of plays at corner for South Carolina. He has the skill set to move to safety but is talented enough to challenge for a starting role at the corner position as a rookie. He is a football player who makes big plays and was among the SEC’s finest athletes.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

25

July

Packers Sign South Carolina WR Tori Gurley

The Green Bay Packers signed South Carolina wide receiver Tori Gurley Monday night, following up their acquistion of Utah kick returner Shaky Smithson.

Gurley didn’t make an official visit to the Packers before the draft. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Gurley is an imposing receiver who surprised some by coming out after just his redshirt sophomore season. At the NFL combine, Gurley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.67 and the 10 in 1.62. He also benched 225 pounds 15 times and had a vertical leap of 33.5 inches. He chose not to run at his pro day in March.

College summary

Gurley certainly didn’t light up the stat book in his two years at South Carolina. He caught just 31 passes for 440 yards and two touchdowns in his redshirt freshman season, and he followed that up with 44 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns the next season. Joe Schad of ESPN did state that Gurley was “one of the most sure-handed receivers in the nation with no drops the entire season.”

During the 2010 season, Gurley had one of the best games in South Carolina’s receiving history. He caught 13 passes (one short of the school record) for 109 yards and a touchdown. But for most of his career at South Carolina, Gurley was stuck behind likely 2012 first rounder Alshon Jeffrey and his production lagged behind.

Commentary

From a purely physical standpoint, Gurley looks the part of a NFL receiver. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, Gurley would appear to be a size mismatch for any cornerback and a legitimate red zone threat. He’s trimmed down from his playing weight of 233 pounds, and at the combine, he told reporters that the lost weight helped him increase his speed. If that’s the case, he could be a scary option down the road.

But even with the physical traits, it’s hard to look past the lack of production at South Carolina. He had one of the premier receivers opposite him, and he wasn’t able to take advantage of the mismatches that likely created for him. And though he’s almost 24 years old, Gurley had just two years of playing time with the Gamecocks.