Sometimes when I sit down to write the Gems, I have a plan of attack…a position I want to feature. Other times I just let the fresh cutups take me where they may. This week is the latter. I’m taking what the defense, or the editors at draftbreakdown.com, are giving me.
And we’ll start this week with a video that serves as a good reminder: scouting is fluid. Guys hit hot and cold streaks, guys have tougher and weaker opponents, guys improve and/or give up. I looked at Mississippi State LG Gabe Jackson weeks ago after he had been given to the Seahawks in 1st or 2nd round in a couple national mock drafts…I didn’t see anything that warranted that high of a pick. This week, however, a new video arrived and a new perspective along with it. One of my favorite life mottos: if you're gonna fail, fail quickly. Might have missed on Jackson in September, but correcting by October still puts me on time for April draft.
Jackson is a steamroller. Seriously. Let’s put him on his side on some kind of rotisserie and see what all we can flatten. Listed at 6’4”/340 and looking every pound of it. For reference: James Carpenter is listed at 6’5”/321 (looks a bit bigger). In the previous video I reviewed, I remember Jackson seeming to get lost in terms of assignment anytime he was asked to block to the second level. This video showed me none of that. In fact, even against the highly-regarded LSU DT duo of Anthony Johnson (possible 1st rounder) and Ego Ferguson (8th rated DT for 2015), Jackson is dominant.
For such a road-grading body type, Jackson’s pass-pro might actually be his superior skill. I’m really pleased with his ability to anchor one-on-one versus the DT. At some point last year it was pointed out that an NFL GM (Ozzie Newsome, I think) used these one-on-one matchups to really help set his board…eg: if Gabe Jackson is the clear better player against Anthony Johnson, Jackson has to be ahead of Johnson on the big board.
In run-blocking, I would like to see Jackson more powerful in sealing the DT away from running lanes more frequently. He is surprisingly spry for a guy that size when pulling, though. In terms of Cableisms; Jackson has plenty of nasty, play to the echo of the whistle, attitude and motor. If THIS is the Jackson everyone else had seen in other games, then I’m now on-board. Stack him up with Cyril Richardson, David Yankey, Zack Martin (if he moves inside), and my late-round sleeper Ryan Groy, and we’re suddenly not necessarily pressed to take a LG in the 1st round. Either trade back to early 2nd, or maybe even just flat-out wait for one of them to fall.
Speaking of guys that will fall…UW quarterback Keith Price will likely be a day-3 pick; he has his knee problems, a bit of a long throwing motion, and a really deep QB class to compete with, but as far back as last year, prior to all of the Price/Russell Wilson bromance storyline, I have been a proponent of the Seahawks bringing Keith in to backup Russell.
Pete Carroll said at some point last offseason that it would be nice to have a backup QB that can do some of the same things that Wilson can do. And that might mean BJ Daniels, who I like a lot. Or it could be another new guy coming out this year. As of right now, Price looks worthy of consideration. He’s got similar size (6’1”/202), some of the same skills, certainly the intangibles. This is his game against Stanford when Price reminded me of Wilson against Atlanta:
Such great decisiveness, just enough escapability, exceptional ball placement, throws viciously on the run, and that never-say-die fight. The 5:00 mark of that clip is pretty much verbatim what we consistently hear about Russell Wilson. And as a reminder, this is what Russell Wilson did his last year at Wisconsin (14 games):
3175 yards, 72.8 comp %, 10.3 ypa, 33 TD, 191.8 rating.
This is what Price is on pace for (projected to 14 games):
3677 yards, 69.3 comp %, 8.2 ypa, 28 TD, 154.7 rating.
Many of those numbers were higher prior to Price playing two top-5 teams back-to-back. Could see them climb back closer to RW’s the rest of this season. Price is currently projecting as a 7th rounder, and #263 overall.
On the subject of QB’s, a tweet thread last Saturday had rumors that John Schneider was attending/scouting the Wisconsin vs Northwestern game. When asked who Schneider might be scouting from NW, I just answered “QB Kain Colter” almost on reflex. Then I went and looked up Colter to see why my memory sent his name so instantly to my fingertips to type.
53 carries, for 263 yards (4.96ypc), and 4 rushing TD’s…so he’s the Zone Read/running QB for NW. But then I looked at the next set of stats. Only 52 passes attempted…so he literally runs more than he throws. Passes completed: 43. Wait…9 incomplete passes?! 82.7 completion %?! Hmmm…7.6ypa and a 154.2 rating. If he had enough attempts to qualify, Colter would be the exact next QB behind Keith Price by passer rating (23rd) in the country. Which would also put him ahead of Derek Carr, Gil Brandt’s boy Tom Savage, Devin Gardner, Brett Smith, and David Fales. Many of those names may not mean much to you, but amongst draftniks they are/were highly touted names coming into this year. Colter also has a higher passer rating than Trevor Siemian. Trevor Siemian is Northwestern’s “passing QB”. That deserves a “HUH?” followed by a “Yeah.” One more note I discovered on Colter…the dude is pre-med.
Now here is the best video on Colter I could find from very limited supply:
Colter is listed at 6’0”/195 and could probably put on another 10-15 lbs to help with durability. But the moves are legit. As I said, Colter is averaging 4.96ypc this year with 4 TD’s in 6 games (on pace for 9 TD)…RW averaged 4.28ypc and rushed for 6 TD’s in 14 games at Wisconsin. Colter is currently projecting to go undrafted at #528 overall.
The last guy that really popped to me this week is Missouri’s DE/OLB Michael Sam. I’ve heard his name here and there in the last week, but prior to that little-to-never. I certainly hadn't watched him. Popped on the video and my first thought was this guy is a weird-sized tweener (6’2”/255). In fact, I thought at the beginning of the tape that he would be a LB that sometimes rushed the QB. Nope. Guy is a DE. Period. Sometimes a DT.
And oooohhhh is he slippery. As I watched, I started to wonder if this dude had some Clem to him, but it wasn’t until the second time through that I realized who he reminds me: Terrell Suggs. Suggs, at his pro day measured 6’3”/257 and ran a 4.84. Sam is just barely under that size and could possibly run a faster 40. Admittedly, Suggs put up an insane year at ASU back in like 2002 with 20+ sacks. Sam is not on that level yet. But he is on pace for 13 sacks and 22 TFL this year, both of which would be top-10 in the country. Take a look, see if you see it too:
It’s a little strange how often he gets into the backfield, but I don’t really see him utilizing many pass-rush moves…he literally is just…slippery. I don’t know how else to describe it. There is some great snap anticipation and decent speed and power, but after that I’m just not sure how he’s doing this against an SEC opponent. As of right now, nfldraftscout.com has Sam listed in the 6th round, with overall rank of 202 in the country. Like, who would have a problem with getting even 60% of a Terrell Suggs in the 6th round?? Not me.
But I don’t think that lasts. Michael Sam, like many of my in-season finds, will be cutting his draft rank in half in a week or two. #Bet