We are continuing our weekly series, Scouting 49ers' Scouts, where each week we will highlight some of the draft-eligible players from the games 49ers' scouts were credentialed. The Internet, and Twitter in particular, provide some insight into where NFL teams are sending scouts for college football games. We will likely never know the full list of games, but it does give us some insight.
Thanks to a few folks on Twitter, we have a look at some of the Week 8 action where 49ers' scouts were credentialed to attend.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers
The 49ers were 1 of 8 teams in attendance for the Ohio State vs. Rutgers match-up, and word is that 49ers Senior Personnel Executive, Tom Gamble, was also credentialed to attend. Ohio State is insanely loaded with draft-eligible talent; therefore, the odds the 49ers drafting an Ohio State player are relatively high.
Although the sampling size of games from QB Cardale "12 Gauge" Jones, No. 12, are relatively small, what we have seen thus far has ranged from absolutely impressive, to lethargically mediocre. It also does not help Jones' draft stock when your coach, Urban Meyer, benches you in favor of J.T. Barrett. Nevertheless, the junior showcases an ideal physical mountain of a frame, strong arm easily capable of making every throw, fascinating mobility with power and quickness, and decent fundamentals to make good accurate throws over-the-top, but lacks the necessary touch when throwing underneath. It appears his physical traits are limitless with a high upside, but he is still a very raw prospect with a lot of development ahead of him, specifically in the mental aspect of the game. Jones stats eight games in: 95/151, 62.9% completion percentage, 1,265 yards, and a 7/5 touchdown to interception ratio.
RB Ezekiel Elliott, No. 15, is an explosive and powerful runner showcasing great speed, vision, and impressive balance always leaning forward gaining positive yards. The junior is arguably the best running back prospect in this years' draft class, and displays a dynamic combination of size (6'0"), speed, and athleticism. If Elliott does not power through defenders, he is hurdling over them. Elliot's stats eight games in: 167 rushes, 1,130 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, 13 rushing touchdowns, 23 receptions, 160 yards, and averaging 7 yards per reception.
WR Michael Thomas, No. 3, a junior, showcases great combination of size (6'3" - 210 lbs.), speed, and athleticism. Thomas is the nephew of Keyshawn "Just Give Me the Damn Ball" Johnson, and although he may not have the speed of last years' deep threat, Devin Smith, he is a polished all around wide receiver that is dependable in the middle of the field displaying good route running, tremendous ball skills, a solid pass catcher with strong hands, and attacks the football at its highest point. The savvy wide receiver will likely see his numbers increase now that J.T. Barrett is behind center. Thomas' stats eight games in: 35 receptions, 536 yards, averaging 15.3 yards per reception, and 6 touchdowns.
WR Braxton Miller, No. 5, the former Ohio State quarterback turned wide receiver impressed right out of the gate, displaying the same explosive and elusiveness he was known for as a quarterback, and added the soft hands and ball skills to the new position. He has a nice combination of size (6'1"), speed, and athleticism with the potential to be a consistent deep threat with more polishing to his game. Miller has continued to improve throughout the season and has shown the look of being a natural receiver. Miller's stats eight games in: 18 receptions, 279 yards, averaging 15.5 yards per reception, 3 receiving touchdowns, 31 rushes, 208 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and 1 rushing touchdown.
TE Nick Vannett, No. 81, is a former high school basketball player who showcases the ideal combination of size (6'6"), strength, and sneaky speed to be a coveted all around tight end prospect. Vannett is a stout and physical player in the run game and shows great blocking skills (specifically exterior blocking) with a few de-cleaters to his resume. With his solid hands and route running, and natural ability as a reliable pass catcher, Vannett is a prime option in the middle of the field and as a red zone target. He also has solid durability with 40 games played over the past three seasons. Vannett struggled at the start of the season, but has steadily improved as of late, especially now that he has been utilized more as a blocker than receiver. Vannett's stats eight games in: 9 receptions, 88 yards, and averaging 9.8 yards per catch.
OT Taylor Decker, No. 68, another former high school basketball player, showcases an amazing combination of size (6'7" - 315 lbs.), length, strength, sneaky athleticism, agility, and physicality. With his solid fundamentals, strong hands, and a fierce punch, Decker impresses with superb toughness in the run game driving defenders away, and an impressive kick-slide maintaining balance and anchoring nicely in pass protection. Shows versatility to play both tackle positions, and durability playing in all 41 of Ohio State's games the past three seasons.
The junior OG Pat Elflein, No. 65, is one of the top offensive draft-eligible guards in this years' class, provided he declares. The former high school wrestler and track and field athlete is a physical and tough right guard who plays with a tenacious aggressiveness. Elflein showcases great power at the point of attack and quick feet that helps him do a great job in pass protection and excellent when pulling showing great athleticism finishing his blocks with aggression. His size is not ideal at 6'3", but he does have versatility to be a utility interior lineman at the next level.
On the defensive side of the ball we start things out with one of the best players in all of college football, junior DE Joey Bosa, No. 97. Bosa could very well be the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He is a tremendously gifted athletic talent showcasing a terrific combination of size (6'6" - 275 lbs.), strength, athleticism, natural ability, power, and quickness. A relentless motor, Bosa dominates in the run game with great fundamentals and pure power. Stack and sheds nicely and has tremendous awareness. Not necessarily a speed rusher off the edge, Bosa does utilize fantastic speed to power conversion to get in the backfield, along with quickness and flexibility to side-step opponents on his way to the quarterback. He also has a very impressive swim move. A man amongst boys, Bosa is an all around complete player with excellent technique, adept in all facets of the game whether rushing the passer, wreaking havoc in the backfield, or a stout run stopper. Extremely strong, Bosa has been reported to have benched 440 pounds and squat 500 pounds while in high school. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ In the 49ers' 3-4 scheme, I envision Bosa as a five-technique, but he his scheme diverse, so the options with Bosa are numerous. Bosa's stats seven games in: 30 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 3 pass deflections.
DT Adolphus Washington, No. 92, is an explosive disrupter with great combination of size (6'4" - 290 lbs.), strength, and athleticism. He displays nice quickness off the snap, excellent use of violent hands at the point of attack, solid lateral quickness maintaining balance navigating his way through the trash, the agility to make himself skinny to penetrate through gaps, shows discipline, and could potentially be seen as an ideal prospect as a 3-4 defensive end the 49ers' employ. Washington's stats eight games in: 37 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
A redshirt sophomore to keep an eye on is the amazing and explosive athlete OLB Darron Lee, No. 43. The former high school quarterback, wide receiver, safety, and kick returner has tremendous speed running sideline-to-sideline chasing down ball carriers, wreaks havoc in the backfield as a punishing blitzer, terrific instincts, and is solid in coverage with excellent range. Lee is an absolute playmaker that I believe is a better prospect than Ryan Shazier. I also believe he could do well as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but is also extremely versatile and can be utilized in many ways as a feared linebacker and defensive threat. Lee's stats eight games in: 33 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection, and 1 forced fumble.
OLB Joshua Perry, No. 37, is another explosive athlete with tremendous sideline-to-sideline range displaying a high motor, physicality, and great length. Perry has an excellent combination of size (6'4" - 254 lbs.), strength and athleticism showcasing impressive pass rush skills off the edge utilizing great burst, solid and strong hand technique, and excellent closing speed. Perry is also very good at setting the edge, using his length and hand strength to stack and shed, and his quickness, burst, and athleticism to run down ball carries as a reliable tackler. He has great lateral movement and is solid in coverage. Shows tremendous leadership skills, and is known as a "consummate teammate". Perry would fit in as an outside linebacker in the 49ers 3-4 scheme. Perry's stats eight games in: 54 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 pass deflection.
SS Vonn Bell, No. 11, is a physically tough tenacious football player that plays with an aggressive mentality. A versatile ball hawk on the back end with impressive range, Bell shows excellent vision and awareness, superb ball skills, good burst, takes great angles, and is a sound tackler. His size (5'11") is less than desirable at the next level, and he will definitely need to improve his strength. Bell's stats eight games in: 39 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 8 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
Two additional redshirt sophomores to keep an eye on, since there is a possibility one, or both, forego their remaining college eligibility and declare for the draft are: WR Jalin Marshall, No. 17, and CB Eli Apple, No. 13.
Jalin Marshall is a fluid playmaker with excellent speed and quickness, strong reliable hands, solid ball skills, and explosive after the catch. A freakish athlete with impressive strength and toughness, the former high school quarterback displays terrific vision and awareness, versatility, and brings value on special teams as an excellent punt returner. I believe Marshall should stay an extra year in school to improve his route running (he already shows great fluidity to excel in route running). Marshall's receiving stats seven games in: 21 receptions, 301 yards, averaging 14.3 yards per reception, and 3 touchdowns. Marshall's punt return stats seven games in: 17 returns, 228 yards, and averaging 13.4 yards per return.
Eli Apple is a boundary shut down cornerback with an excellent combination of size (6'1" - 200 lbs.), range, and athleticism. Apple bestows great length (very long arms) for the position, good use of length to jam at the point of attack, willing and aggressive tackler, and impressive burst and closing speed. He does not have hip fluidity (a bit stiff); however, he trails nice showing good pace with wide receivers, excellent ball skills, sound instincts, and hounds receivers with his length and athleticism. Like Jalin Marshall, I believe Eli Apple should stay another year and improve upon his all round game. Apple's stats eight games in: 19 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
* = indicates junior status
** = indicates redshirt sophomore status
QB *Cardale Jones, No. 12, 6'5 - 250 lbs., 4.76 40 - (2nd-3rd)
RB *Ezekiel Elliott, No. 15, 6'0 - 225 lbs., 4.42 40 - (1st)
WR *Michael Thomas, No. 3, 6'3 - 210 lbs., 4.54 40 - (1st-2nd)
WR Braxton Miller, No. 5, 6'1 - 215 lbs., 4.42 40 - (4th) Position change QB to WR.
WR **Jalin Marshall, No. 17, 5'11 - 205 lbs., 4.40 40 - (2017?) Suspended season opener for violation of athletic department policy stemming from either marijuana or academics.
WR Corey Smith, No. 84, 6'0 - 195 lbs., 4.52 40 - (7th-UFA) Out for the year with a broken leg injured on 10/3/15.
TE Nick Vannett, No. 81, 6'6 - 260 lbs., 4.76 40 - (3rd)
OT Taylor Decker, No. 68, 6'7 - 315 lbs., 5.21 40 - (1st)
OT Chase Farris, No. 57, 6'5 - 310 lbs., 5.04 40 - (UFA)
OG *Pat Elflein, No. 65, 6'3 - 300 lbs., 5.28 40 - (2nd)
C Jacoby Boren, No. 50, 6'1 - 285 lbs., 5.06 40 - (UFA) Coming off 2014 leg injury.
DT Adolphus Washington, No. 92, 6'4 - 290 lbs., 4.96 40 - (2nd)
DT Tommy Schutt, No. 90, 6'2 - 290 lbs., 5.09 40 - (UFA) Out for a few weeks with a broken wrist.
DE *Joey Bosa, No. 97, 6'6 - 275 lbs., 4.82 40 - (1st) Suspended season opener for violation of athletic department policy stemming from either marijuana or academics.
OLB **Darron Lee, No. 43, 6'1 - 235 lbs., 4.64 40 - (1st) Former high school QB, WR, S, and KR.
OLB Joshua Perry, No. 37, 6'4 - 254 lbs., 4.67 40 - (2nd)
CB **Eli Apple, No. 13, 6'1 - 200 lbs., 4.50 40 - (2017?)
SS *Vonn Bell, No. 11, 5'11 - 205 lbs., 4.52 40 - (2nd)
Rutgers has three draft-eligible prospects 49ers' scouts are likely targeting in RB Paul James, No. 34; WR Leonte Carroo, No. 4; and OT Keith Lumpkin, No. 74.
Paul James is a physical runner with nice size (6'0" - 205 lbs.), speed, and athleticism. James is a downhill runner that runs behind his pads always leaning forward displaying nice quickness, excellent vision, great balance, and solid strength. James is a one-cut type running back that finds the hole quickly and explodes with a decent burst. Area of concern with James is durability, where he missed a portion of the 2013 season with a broken fibula and the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL. James' stats seven games in: 58 rushes, 341 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, and 1 touchdown.
Leonte Carroo is an explosive playmaking wide receiver with a great combination of size (6'1"), impressive speed (4.3's 40), and athleticism. A threat all over the field, Carroo is a physical receiver with solid route running, tremendous speed, tenacious physicality, top notch ball skills that attacks the football with strong reliable hands, and a deep threat taking the top off coverages. A willing blocker, Carroo also displays great effort in blocking. There are a couple of red-flag concerns 49ers' scouts will need to address with Carroo. Earlier in the season, Carroo was dismissed from the team due to an arrest and domestic violence simple assault charge stemming from an alleged altercation of slamming a female (ex-girlfriend) onto the concrete. The charge was recently dismissed (10/6/15) and Carroo was reinstated to the team on 10/7/15. Carroo was also suspended the first half of the season opener for a curfew violation. Carroo stats five games in: 24 receptions, 527 yards, averaging 22 yards per reception, and 9 touchdowns.
Keith Lumpkin is a massive (6'8") tackle prospect with tremendous length, strength, and fair foot speed the NFL desires at the next level. A work in progress, Lumpkin needs to improve his technique, balance (bending issues), and lateral movement. He shows great use of length and arm extension to impede defenders, but has issues with defenders displaying speed and quickness (stiff in space). A developmental prospect that potentially is best suited to start off on the inside at the next level (a punisher in a phone booth).
RB Paul James, No. 34, 6'0 - 205 lbs., 4.57 40 - (5th-6th) Torn ACL in right knee on Sept 2014.
WR Leonte Carroo, No. 4, 6'1 - 205 lbs., 4.3s 40 - (2nd) Suspended first half of season opener for curfew violation. Dismissed from team after domestic violence arrest 9/13/15. Simple Assault charges dismissed on 10/6/15. Reinstated to team on 10/7/15.
OT Keith Lumpkin, No. 74, 6'7 - 310 lbs., 5.27 40 - (6th)
DE Darius Hamilton, No. 91, 6'3 - 255 lbs., 4.87 40 - (7th-UFA) Out for the year with a knee injury and likely redshirt candidate.
OLB Quentin Gause, No. 50, 6'1 - 226 lbs., 4.72 40 - (UFA)
Middle Tennessee State vs. Louisiana Tech
The 49ers were 1 of 4 teams in attendance for the Middle Tennessee State vs. Louisiana Tech match-up. There are not a lot of draft-eligible prospects on both teams, but there are a few notable players 49ers' scouts are likely targeting.
Two Middle Tennessee State prospects likely on 49ers' radar are: OT Darius Johnson, No. 75, and SS Kevin Byard, No. 20.
Darius Johnson is a very strong mauler prospect best suited to kick inside to guard, where he can use his toughness, strength, wide frame, long arms, sound awareness, and great balance to a be a force in a phone booth. He shows a nice burst at the point of attack with aggressive hands (can tend to be a bit grabby), a powerful punch, and a non-stop leg drive plowing defenders away from the action. His high school tape is filled with more pancakes than IHOP. Johnson will continue to need to play with sound leverage and improve his strength and technique at the next level.
Kevin Byard is a hard working physical safety prospect with great strength, vision, ball skills, fluidity, awareness, quickness, and a nose for the ball. The fluidity in his hips is impressive and with his ball hawk skills and awareness, he bestows a great deal of versatility capable of being solid in coverage and being a force in the run game running downhill and sideline-to-sideline with great closing speed. Although Byard's size (5'11") is less than ideal, his impressive ball skills and winning contested balls at the point of the catch makes him an ideal defensive player looking to make turnovers at every encounter. Byard's stats eight games in: 47 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, and 4 pass deflections. Byard's college career up until this point: 299 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 17 interceptions, 19 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 5 forced fumbles.
Middle Tennessee State
RB Jordan Parker, No. 6, 6'1 - 222 lbs., 4.67 40 - (UFA)
WR Ed'Marques Batties, No. 80, 6'0 - 198 lbs., - (UFA)
OT Darius Johnson, No. 75, 6'3 - 305 lbs., 5.23 40 - (6th-7th)
OLB T.T. Barber, No. 38, 6'1 - 230 lbs., 4.78 40 - (UFA)
SS Kevin Byard, No. 20, 5'11 - 226 lbs., 4.62 40 - (5th-6th)
Three Louisiana Tech prospects 49ers' scouts are likely targeting are: RB Kenneth Dixon, No. 28; DT Vernon Butler, No. 9; and CB Adairius Barnes, No. 21.
Kenneth Dixon is a complete running back with good speed, explosion, quickness, and strength. A very productive and successful college running back, Dixon runs with a somewhat aggressive style, breaks tackles (sometimes goes down in one hit), and although he does not have an elite explosive burst, he shows excellent patience and vision, impressive cuts, and runs will solid balance and a great lean. He has fluid feet, very agile and good change of direction skills with great flexibility and tremendous balance. Shows good aggression in fighting and gaining extra yards, but sometimes the aggressiveness comes with a lack of ball security. Occasionally, Dixon tends to have lapses of vision and patience (needs more consistency) attempting excessive cuts at times bouncing outside going lateral (where the speed of the NFL will catch him) instead of going north and south. He is a solid pass catcher with nice reliable hands and route running, and will need to improve on pass protection.
Dixon does not have elite speed or a second gear, but as a complete running back, he does everything well: running inside with solid power and agility, outside with good burst and enough speed, breaks tackles, causes defenders to miss with change of direction, and one of the better pass catchers, plus is decent at pass protection. Moreover, solid college production. Dixon's stats six games in: 109 rushes, 649 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry, 9 rushing touchdowns, 17 receptions, 200 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per reception, and 3 receiving touchdowns. Dixon's career stats: 713 rushes, 4,059 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, 62 rushing touchdowns, 71 receptions, 705 yards, 9.9 yards per reception, and 11 receiving touchdowns.
Vernon Butler is a very athletic and nimble man for his size (6'3" - 309 lbs.) with tremendous quickness, strength, and power. The former high school basketball player and track athlete plays with an intensive high motor with relentless pursuit, quick burst off the line of scrimmage, uses violent hands very well, and is a disruptive force collapsing the pocket and clogging up gaps. Shows great speed to power conversion. Butler also displays good awareness and tremendous balance utilizing his nimble feet to easily navigate through the trash. Plays with sound leverage always in a position to overwhelm opponents with his impressive power and quickness. Butler's stats eight games in: 30 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
Adairius Barnes is an aggressive cornerback with a competitive nature. The former high school basketball, baseball, and track athlete (also was a triple-jump athlete at Louisiana Tech) bestows excellent athleticism and terrific elite speed. The former phenom calf roper (rodeo), displays a toughness for the position, a willing and aggressive tackler, impressive agility, hip fluidity, excellent burst off his breaks, tremendous closing speed, and nice recovery speed. In coverage he shows solid vision, excellent ball skills, impressive jumping capability, patience, and can get up to top speed in a hiccup. Barnes' stats eight games in: 32 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 9 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
Final interesting tidbit on Louisiana Tech football. Former 49ers quarterback Tim Rattay, is the current wide receiver's coach at Louisiana Tech.
QB Jeff Driskel, No. 6, 6'4 - 234 lbs., 4.78 40 - (7th-UFA) Transfer from Florida.
RB Kenneth Dixon, No. 28, 5'10 - 212 lbs., 4.54 40 - (3rd-4th)
WR Paul Turner, No. 3, 5'10 - 192 lbs., 4.53 40 - (UFA) Transfer from LSU.
DT Vernon Butler, No. 9, 6'3 - 309 lbs., 5.06 40 - (4th)
DE Vontarrius Dora, No. 8, 6'4 - 253 lbs., 4.92 40 - (UFA)
CB Adairius Barnes, No. 21, 5'10 - 186 lbs., 4.4's 40 - (6th)
SS Kentrell Brice, No. 23, 5'11 - 198 lbs. 4.62 40 - (UFA)
Week 8: Practices
A scout for the 49ers attended practice at Fordham University last Wednesday, October 21, 2015. Along with all the seniors, two likely targets on the 49ers' radar are: OG Garrick Mayweather Jr., No. 76, and OLB/ILB Stephen Hodge, No. 43.
Garrick Mayweather is an extremely strong and powerful guard prospect with good size (6'3" - 319 lbs.) and athleticism. The former high school basketball player, tennis player, and track athlete shows impressive agility and foot quickness for a man his size, and is a mauler in a phone booth. Mayweather displays heavy hands, a strong and powerful base, good bend, nice lateral movement, anchors well, and maintains solid leverage. He is a force in the run game with excellent functional strength and nice athleticism mirroring well in pass protection. He will need to improve on his footwork and finishing blocks at the next level.
Stephen Hodge is an aggressive tackling machine that was voted as an All-American and Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He missed the entire 2014 season with a season-ending knee injury during the preseason of 2014. Hodge displays a good size (6'2") for the position as an inside linebacker, but he lacks the ideal frame and strength at the next level. He will need to continue to add bulk (currently 212 lbs. and was under 200 lbs. during his impressive 2013 campaign) to his slender wide receiver-like frame (came to Fordham as a wide receiver). However, his excellent instincts, awareness, vision, athleticism, intelligence, sound leverage, and nose for the football will bring him added advantage to break an NFL roster on special teams. Hodge's stats eight games in: 75 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 3 pass deflections, and 1 blocked kick.
OG Garrick Mayweather Jr., No. 76, 6'3 - 319 lbs., 5.29 40 - (UFA)
OLB/ILB Stephen Hodge, No. 43, 6'2 - 212 lbs., 4.82 40 - (UFA)