Re: ***2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT THREAD***
posted at 4/25/2014 6:18 PM EDT
/2014 6:15 PM EDT
So McShay def reads the Draft Thread ;)
From ESPN Insider:
My favorite players to watch on tape:
As I go through prospect evaluations for the draft, some players' tape is painful to get through, while there are others whose tape I could watch all day long.
The prospects listed below fit the latter, including several potential first-rounders and a quarterback who has the potential to surprise by sticking in the league. They make up my 2014 All-Tape team, a distinction rivaled in prestige only by my All-Satellite team (the draft version of which is coming next week).
Here are nine players who are a joy to watch.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Landry is undersized and ran a slow 40-yard dash time at the combine, but he's still worth a Day 2 pick. Why? Because he is one of the best pure football players in this class. First off, his ball skills are second to none in the 2014 class of receivers -- and if you don't trust my eyes on that, there are plenty of numbers that back that assertion up. Landry has excellent focus and natural hand-eye coordination, and very good body control to adjust. Landry does an excellent job of competing for balls in traffic and has the strong hands to secure passes. He makes tough catches over his head look easy. He's also the toughest receiver in the 2014 class, with no fear of going over the middle (he'll take a big shot and still hold onto the ball), and a physical, competitive and effective blocker. I love the way this guy plays the game.
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Mosley has the four things you look for in a linebacker: instincts, motor, sure tackling and the versatility to be an every-down player. He is a relentless, tough and disciplined playmaker. He carries some injury and durability concerns with him into the league, but there isn't anything not to like about what you see from him on tape. He should go off the board in the first half of the first round; I've got him as the No. 8 player on my board.
Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
I liken Crichton to a less talented Chris Long. He is a tone-setter with his attacking, physical style. He plays with an edge and a relentless motor; he loves to chase and gives consistent second effort. Crichton is a high-energy pass-rusher with violent hands and explosive get-off quickness. He has a strong work ethic and practice habits, and he's a self-motivator and a vocal leader who can handle criticism.
Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
Attaochu is a tireless worker who plays the game hard and has continued to improve. His best season came as a senior, and he finished really strong down the stretch, with 10.5 sacks in his final six games (including his four-sack performance against rival Georgia). He has exceptional instincts as a pass-rusher, and figures to land in the early second-round range in the draft.
Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
Bitonio doesn't look the part, but he plays the part. He's a tone-setter who gives outstanding effort, and he is a classic finisher. He fights through the whistle and is looking to bury his opponents on every snap, and he can really get under his opponents' skin (the best example of that came when he went up against UCLA's Anthony Barr this past season). He has an excellent work ethic and is a really good leader. Bitonio figures to come off the board in the second round, but he could sneak into the late first.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Freeman is an elite competitor who runs like his hair is on fire. He keeps his pads low and legs driving at the end of runs and is almost always falling forward. He's tough, too, as shown by his willingness to throw himself around as a blocker in both the passing and running games. He does a great job of protecting the football as well, with a career fumble percentage of just 0.9.
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
There are two things you should know about Donald right off the top: (1) according to those who have coached him, he is the best practice player they have ever been around, and (2) he played the highest percentage of snaps among any draftable defensive linemen in this class. Donald is an exceptional competitor to go along with his elite first-step quickness and finishing ability. He figures to be off the board in the first 15 picks.
Chris Borland, LB. Wisconsin
Borland lacks the prototypical measureables you look for in a linebacker. He is short and has short arms (28 7/8 inches). His top-end speed is just average, but he plays faster on tape, and he has good bulk and carries it well. Borland plays with reckless abandon, does a great job of filling the hole and shows very good technique as a face-up tackler. He's not the type of guy to excel in a combine-like setting, but it's hard not to love his game on tape. He reminds me some of Zach Thomas.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
It's rare for a QB to make this list, but that speaks to the type of player that Shaw is. He is clearly a tape junkie and a "first one in, last one out" type of guy in terms of his preparation. His below-average arm strength and lack of size and injury history contribute to why he's only the 14th-ranked QB on my board, but he has very good touch and timing as a passer and good speed, quickness and toughness as a runner.