East-West Shrine Game Practice, Day 2: Cornerbacks And A New Resource

Given my relative lack of knowledge about college football, I find myself scouring the Internet for any and all resources I can find. As I mentioned yesterday, ESPN has solid resources in place down in Orlando for the East-West Shrine game which includes tweets from the folks at Scouts Inc (McShay | Weidl | Muench). In doing some more searching last night I came across DraftInsider.net (tip of the cap to Adam Caplan from FoxSports.com). Draft Insider is run by Tony Pauline and Brent Sobleski. Pauline writes for SI.com so that lends at least a little bit of credibility to his info.

I bring all this up because they've been providing some updates that are NOT stuck behind the ESPN Insider wall, and thus give us some supplemental information about many of the prospects participating in this week's activities. You can read their reports on East players and West players at their site. Yesterday I pulled out some Scouts Inc comments about Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien. Draft Insider (DI) had some comments on the issue:

- Sources have told us part of the problem for Scott Tolzien is the Wisconsin quarterback is just not a confident kid.  Working and changing his mechanics have not helped the issue.  Tolzien has been recently working with former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington.

Tolzien is a bit short for a QB (in the 6'1 range), which might contributing to his lack of confidence. According to DI he throws with a 3/4 throwing motion. When he's already a bit shorter than other quarterbacks, dropping his throwing motion into the 3/4 slot seems like a bad idea if he wants to find success at the next level. At this rate he'd need to be rolled out fairly frequently to avoid throwing the ball into the arms of offensive linemen. For a west coast offense, mobility is important, but pocket passing is also important. Even if he impresses this week, I'm not sure this is a guy the Jim Harbaugh would be looking to mold as his and the 49ers' next great quarterback.

I focused in on some quarterback information yesterday, and thought I'd take a look at some cornerbacks today. If you have a particular position you'd like me to focus in on in tomorrow's post, please let me know in the comments.

Cornerback is a position the 49ers will be looking to address, particularly if they have trouble getting Nate Clements to take a pay cut (thus resulting in his being cut). The 49ers corner choices might depend a lot on what kind of coverage scheme we'll see from Vic Fangio. We've heard about Dom Capers-esque blitzes but I haven't heard much in the way he utilizes cornerbacks.

The folks at Scouts Inc had some comments on three cornerbacks:

Josh Thomas, Buffalo

Not having a good day. He's tight in his backpedal, and it takes him time to transition and break forward. He also struggles at times to find the ball. He's in position, but he just struggles to get his head around and locate the ball. When he does find it, he shows great hands and can make plays.

DI basically concurred with the disappointing performance of Thomas over the first two days:

Tues: Slightly disappointing in that we thought his foot quickness and backpedal would be better.

Wed: Another bad day.  Shows minimal quickness and was beaten downfield by Terrence Turner.


Justin Rogers, Richmond

Continues to make plays. At 5-10, 181 pounds, he's limited and needs to get stronger, but he's very instinctive and plays the angles well.

DI really liked Rogers' performances thus far:

Tues: Looked good all the way around.  Quick feet, nice burst and fast.  Made a nice break-up against Cecil Shorts in scrimmage.

Wed: Sensational day.  Showed great foot quickness, smooth hips and a burst out of his plant.  Broke up a number of passes all day and really battled hard, coming out victorious more times than not.

Are folks intrigued by a small school cornerback who might have some size issues having to face the likes of Larry Fitzgerald (among many others)?


Brandyn Thompson, Boise State

Has limitations in man coverage and appears to be better suited as a Cover 2 corner.

DI had a distinctly different impression:

Tues: Really looked good.  Quick pedal, smooth in his hips and made a number of really good pass defenses today.

Wed: Terrific and by far the best and most complete defensive back on the West. Terrific mechanics and top ball skills.  Broke-up a number of passes and came away with a pick, never getting beaten.

This represents the first significant departure between Draft Insider and Scouts Inc (at least among these three players. Scouts Inc currently ranks him as the #30 cornerback in this year's draft class. Can our college football fanatics weigh in on Brandyn Thompson?

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