Preseason football is underway and before you know it, college football. Thank you to those of you who are making the Rookie Scouting Portfolio Blog a part of your regular reading schedule. As I’ve been saying weekly, if you like what you’ve seen thus far, please consider these three acts of kindness:
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The RSP is a 120-150 page rookie report loaded with analysis, rankings, and player comparisons of over 150 offensive skill position prospects. And unlike any publication, I also show the reader my work with an appendix containing hundreds of pages of game study notes as well as my position-specific scoring checklists adopted from best-practice methods for performance evaluation.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more prospect analysis that you’ll likely see in the 2012 Rookie Scouting Portfolio, which will be available here for purchase in the early spring.
Back issues of the RSP (2006-2010) are available for purchase by emailing me.
A Few Preseason Takes
Dallas WR Dwayne Harris scores twice, earns over 100 yards: Harris demonstrated his patented open-field skill as a runner, spotting a huge lane up the gut of the Broncos defense in the fourth quarter and put the hammer down for a 76-yard score. There were some proclaiming that this play proves Harris is more than a possession receiver. I don’t think it would ever be accurate to label Harris as such. At the same time a short zone pass that Harris has the presence of mind and burst to take through a huge lane up the middle of the field doesn’t make him a deep threat, either.
Jason Hill sighting: Hill didn’t have a huge game, but he was the most relied upon receiver for the Jaguars in the first quarter. He caught two comebacks and then a nice play over the middle in the intermediate range. I’m beginning to believe that Hill isn’t a practice player. This makes him a troubling player for coaches to feel confidence in. However, when he gets into the game, he makes plays. He has to feel a little more like a gamble and less than the steal now that the Jaguars have experienced a training camp with Hill in the fold.
Denarius Moore: Moore looked fast, smooth, decisive and ready to contribute immediately. He might not earn the starting job in Oakland on opening day, but he’ll be on the field enough early on to earn it sooner than later.
Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett: Hoyer gets better every season. He’s always shown flashes of strong pocket presence, accuracy, maneuverability in the pocket, and poise. Mallett demonstrated why he has the tools to develop with a stable, talented team around him. If Mallett progresses quick enough, I think Hoyer is traded sometime next year.
Riley Cooper: The Eagles’ reserve is in my opinion the better bet than Jason Avant to start in place of Jeremy Maclin. Here’s my overall take on Cooper from the 2010 Rookie Scouting Portfolio:
I think Cooper has a lot of potential to be a starting NFL receiver. He is a physical player against press coverage and uses his size to his advantage to get open. He has enough speed to separate vertically and he can adjust to the football in the air. He shows some facility with pro style, intermediate routes. He is a good runner in the open field who can dip in and out of traffic and he shows good balance to get yardage after contact. He is a physical player as a blocker and can help on special teams. I don’t think he’s as athletic as Jordy Nelson, but he might be a better receiver. Michael Irvin would be at the top of this spectrum of receivers to compare him to, and I think he’s has more upside and downfield speed than Malcolm Kelly.
If Steve Smith is truly healthy early in the season, the former Giant is not comparable to Jason Avant. Smith has more speed than Avant. He’s classified as a possession receiver, but he’s demonstrated numerous times in New York that he can get open on vertical routes. The issue has been Eli Manning’s timing with Smith on these verticals. Manning tends to overthrow the football and Smith has his man beat by at least a couple of steps. My point with Smith in relation to Cooper is that a healthy Smith would eat into Cooper’s opportunities. However, I think Smith won’t be that ready to play the outside and the Eagles will be thrilled to use his route-savvy skills and reliable hands in the slot.
Reads, Listens, Views
It’s this time of the week where I share what I’ve been reading, listening, and viewing each week – football, fantasy football, and non-football.
Dr. Saturday – College football blog. The college football blog? Quite possibly. by Matt Hinton
The Most Tepid Defense of Scouting You’ll Ever Read by Chris Brown
Mark Ingram Spotlight by Jason Wood -Meaningful analysis that counters why you’d be foolish not to consider Ingram as an early-round RB.
Incorporating IDP by Jene Bramel and Bob Magaw
Breaking Down Defenses by John Norton
A great blog post about a former NFL player/current ESPN analyst’s life perspective by Mark Schlereth
A Brief Dry Spell for the U.S.S. Monitor by John Tierney [This is a fantastic piece that is a lot about the unbelievably innovative engineer John Ericsson, whose story in this article could be riveting cinema. The politics, lobbying, devious business practices, and society's regard to innovators makes this Civil War story seem like it could happen today. If you like reading about innovators, Ericsson is fantastic.]
The Horse by Phillip Levine (our newest Poet Laureate and a long-time favorite of mine)
Puppy Fakes his Own Death
Stone Crazy by Buddy Guy