During this week of Thanksgiving, I would like to briefly wish all the readers, fellow writers, and fans of Niners Nation a wonderful, safe, and joyous Thanksgiving. It is a pleasure bringing this weekly series to you and I truly appreciate the devoted support.
I hope you enjoyed your family and friends, got your grubbage on, and enjoyed Thursday's football.
Now, let's get started. 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 the folks at NFL.com's College Football 24/7, we have a look at some of the Week 12 action where 49ers' scouts were credentialed to attend.
This will also serve as a game thread for the annual Friday post-Thanksgiving college action. The biggest game of the day features No. 19 TCU hosting No. 7 Baylor. We also get plenty of rivalry action, including the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State, and the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State. Houston hosts Navy in a big West division game in the American Athletic Conference.
Michigan State vs. Ohio State
The 49ers were 1 of 17 teams in attendance for the Michigan State vs. Ohio State match-up. Michigan State boasts several draft-eligible players, one of which will likely be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2016 Draft, QB Connor Cook, No. 18.
QB Connor Cook showcases great size, arm strength with a quick release, decent mobility (sneaky athleticism), and good footwork in the pocket. His accuracy from within the pocket is impressive (when he is on point), adept at reading the entire field and making all NFL level throws, showing off pinpoint accuracy in tight windows and some beautiful throws over-the-top reminiscent of snowflakes falling from the sky. The problem is inconsistency with Cook, where he has severely suffered from accuracy and ball placement issues making head-scratching throws on a consistent basis. He shows the tenacity and toughness in taking hits, but also possesses the escapability to extend plays and make throws on the run. Very intelligent prospect with great vision and experience operating in a pro-style system. One thing to keep note, Cook did not start in the game against Ohio State. He was sidelined with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm, which he suffered during the game against Maryland (Week 11). It is an injury definitely to keep an eye on, especially leading up to the NFL Draft. Cook also received an invite to the Senior Bowl. Cook's stats ten games in: 174/310 with a 56.1% completion percentage, 2,472 yards, and a 21/4 touchdown to interception ratio.
WR Aaron Burbridge, No. 16, has quickly become Conner Cook's top receiving option already amassing 68 receptions for 1,073 yards, averaging 15.8 yards with 6 touchdowns through the first eleven weeks. Burbridge has a solid combination of size (6'1" - 208 lbs.), speed, ball skills, good route running, and athleticism. He wins at the point of attack high pointing balls with solid hands and is a smooth athlete running precise routes. Received Senior Bowl invite.
OT Jack Conklin, No. 74, the redshirt junior, is a tough powerful mauler at left tackle (has experience at right tackle too), excels in the run game, and is reliable in pass protection, but does have issues with speed off the edge and lacks athleticism. Conklin brings great size at 6'6" - 318 pounds and the length ideal for the position showcasing good lateral movement, solid base, sound technique, good strength, and heavy hands. Conklin is an ideal fit as a right tackle prospect or kicked inside to guard at the next level.
C Jack Allen, No. 66, may not possess the ideal size (6'1" - 298 lbs.,) and athleticism for the position, but he is a savvy football player with a high football IQ, excellent technique, patience, and an aggressive and physical style of play. The former high school wrestling state champion, utilizes his background in wrestling to display nice lateral movement, sound hand technique, and power leveraging his opponents with a good base. Furthermore, Allen shows versatility capable of playing all over the offensive line. There are not too many 6'1" center prospects that can hold their own at the left tackle position in the FBS, especially in a pro-style offense. Received Senior Bowl invite.
DE Shilique Calhoun, No. 89, is an edge prospect (possible 3-4 OLB in the 49ers scheme) showcasing a solid combination of size (6'5" - 252 lbs.) speed, flexibility, and length bending quite well coming off the edge with good foot quickness and speed. A physical and aggressive edge player with a quick burst off the line of scrimmage, Calhoun shows good change of direction skills, strength at the point of attack, solid instincts, and is a relentless player that has an eye for the ball with impressive closing speed and a high-motor. He is good at setting the edge, stacks and sheds with decent technique, and overall is good against the run, showcases good speed to power off the edge and can set the edge in the run game, but will need to be more consistent and gain more strength at the next level. Received Senior Bowl invite. Calhoun' stats ten games in: 37 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.
DT Joel Heath, No. 92, a very athletic and strong player easily capable of occupying blocks, very stout at the point of attack, nice closing straight-line speed, and has the ideal size (6'5" - 296 lbs.) to be a five-technique in the 49ers scheme. Heath's stats eight games in: 27 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
Other Michigan State players to keep an eye on: DT Lawrence Thomas, No. 8; OLB Darien Harris, No. 45; and +SS RJ Williamson, No. 26.
* = indicates junior status
** = indicates redshirt sophomore status
+ = injury status
+QB Connor Cook, No. 18, 6'4 - 220 lbs., 4.89 40 - (1st) Sidelined with shoulder injury on throwing arm. Did not start against Ohio State. Received Senior Bowl invite.
FB Trevon Pendleton, No. 37, 5'11 - 250 lbs., 4.93 40 - (UFA)
WR Aaron Burbridge, No. 16, 6'1 - 208 lbs., 4.57 40 - (4th-5th) Received Senior Bowl invite.
WR DeAnthony Arnett, No. 5, 5'11 - 182 lbs., 4.49 40 - (UFA) Transfer from Tennessee.
WR Macgarrett Kings Jr., No. 85, 5'10 - 186 lbs., 4.53 40 - (UFA)
OT *Jack Conklin, No. 74, 6'6 - 318 lbs., 5.43 40 - (1st)
OG Donavon Clark, No. 76, 6'3 - 317 lbs., 5.43 40 - (UFA)
C Jack Allen, No. 66, 6'1 - 298 lbs., 5.24 40 - (4th-5th) Received Senior Bowl invite.
DT Joel Heath, No. 92, 6'5 - 296 lbs., 5.13 40 - (6th)
DT Lawrence Thomas, No. 8, 6'3 - 300 lbs., 5.12 40 - (7th-UFA) Received Senior Bowl invite.
DE Shilique Calhoun, No. 89, 6'5 - 252 lbs., 4.78 40 - (1st-2nd) Received Senior Bowl invite.
OLB Darien Harris, No. 45, 6'0 - 220 lbs., 4.67 40 - (7th-UFA)
+OLB Ed Davis, No. 43, 6'2 - 233 lbs., 4.76 40 - (UFA) Out for year. Suffered knee injury August 2015. Will seek a medical redshirt for sixth year.
CB Arjen Colquhoun, No. 36, 6'1 - 197 lbs., 4.60 40 - (UFA)
+SS RJ Williamson, No. 26, 6'0 - 215 lbs., 4.63 40 - (7th) Out for the year with a torn bicep.
LS Taybor Pepper, No. 52, 6'5 - 230 lbs., 5.06 40 - (UFA)
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 very 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. Moreover, apparently Jones' development will take place at the next level, since it appears he made his draft intentions known on Twitter stating, "Last time walking down them steps and into The Shoe, wish the results were different tho". Jones' stats ten games in: 109/175, 62.3% completion percentage, 1,459 yards, a 8/5 touchdown to interception ratio, 64 rushes, 193 yards, averaging 3 yards per carry, and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Another Ohio State underclassman making his draft intentions known is RB Ezekiel Elliott, No. 15. After the loss to Michigan State, a frustrated Elliott stated, "This is my last game in The 'Shoe. There's no chance I'm coming back". Elliott 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 eleven games in: 232 rushes, 1,458 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, 17 rushing touchdowns, 24 receptions, 169 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 eleven games in: 47 receptions, 659 yards, averaging 14 yards per reception, and 8 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 eleven games in: 22 receptions, 323 yards, averaging 14.7 yards per reception, 3 receiving touchdowns, 38 rushes, 228 yards, averaging 6 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: 17 receptions, 140 yards, and averaging 8.2 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 ten games in: 44 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 4 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 ten games in: 47 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 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 eleven games in: 52 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 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 ten games in: 88 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.
SS Vonn Bell, No. 11, is a physically tough tenacious football player that plays with an aggressive mentality. A versatile ball hawk on the backend 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 eleven games in: 59 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 9 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.
WR 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 ten games in: 29 receptions, 417 yards, averaging 14.4 yards per reception, and 4 touchdowns. Marshall's punt return stats nine games in: 24 returns, 306 yards, and averaging 12.8 yards per return.
CB 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 eleven games in: 26 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
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)
WR Braxton Miller, No. 5, 6'1 - 215 lbs., 4.42 40 - (3rd-4th) Position change QB to WR during the Spring of 2015.
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)
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)
Michigan vs. Penn State
The 49ers were 1 of 5 teams in attendance for the Michigan vs. Penn State match-up. Michigan boasts some under the radar draft-eligible talent, but one elite prospect in particular is gaining plenty of notice beyond the unique last name, TE Jake Butt, No. 88.
TE Jake Butt, a junior, has been steadily rising throughout the college season. He displays an athletic frame with a terrific combination of size (6'6"), speed, and strength. Butt has deceptive sneaky speed, is fluid in his route running, showcases excellent ball skills, very strong reliable hands, and is a solid blocker. Butt is a complete tight end and is arguably the top prospect at the position coming out of this years' draft class (provided he declares). Butt's stats eleven games in: 43 receptions, 566 yards, averaging 13.2 yards per reception, and 3 touchdowns.
C Graham Glasgow, No. 61, brings an excellent combination of size (6'7"), strength, and athleticism to the position. A force for Michigan's offensive line, the mauler Glasgow has improved his game becoming a physical force in the middle with his blue-collar mentality utilizing his great power, strength, awareness, and a high-motor. The mental aspect of his game has also improved (works very hard in film study), and Glasgow displays sneaky quickness and nimble feet, easily capable of pulling keeping his head on a swivel and finishing blocks. The former walk-on's future at Michigan was in dire straits during the spring of 2015, where off-field issues (suspended March 2015 for violating alcohol-related probation) became a concern. Glasgow met frequently with Jim Harbaugh and met Harbaugh's condition in order to get reinstated to the program (Glasgow moved into a small apartment in downtown Ann Arbor with his 81-year old grandmother). Harbaugh's "punishment" was outside of the box, but ultimately was the right decision in helping Glasgow turn things around for the better. You can see an ESPN video feature on Graham Glasgow with his grandmother here.
OLB James Ross III, No. 15, is a hard-nosed very strong athletically explosive big hitter, with solid downhill speed and good instincts and awareness. He may lack the ideal height for the position (6'1"), but he plays with an aggressive physicality utilizing his stout strength to stack and shed opponents and his explosion and burst, along with an intense high-motor from his hockey background, displaying nice closing speed finishing as a solid tackler. Ross is a potential candidate to move to inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Ross' stats ten games in: 31 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.
ILB Desmond Morgan, No. 3, also a bit undersized for the position (6'1"), displays sound instincts and awareness and always has a knack for being around the action. A very smart and well-rounded football player, Morgan showcases great speed, athleticism, and is a sound tackler. The former two-way high school quarterback and middle inside linebacker also bestows strong leadership skills and a tremendous blue-collar mentality work ethic. Morgan also brings value on special teams. Morgan's stats eleven games in: 64 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 3 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.
ILB Joe Bolden, No. 35, displays a great combination of size (6'3"), strength, speed, quickness, athleticism, and instincts. Another strong and reliable tackler (especially one-on-one in space) with great awareness, Bolden bestows tremendous leadership skills and passion for the game that resonates with his teammates, a player fellow players look up to. Bolden is very strong at the point of attack and plays with great balance, agility, and flexibility. Another prospect that will also bring value on special teams at the next level. Holden's stats ten games in: 67 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
QB Jake Rudock, No. 15, 6'3 - 210 lbs, 4.86 40 - (UFA) Transfer from Iowa.
WR Amara Darboh, No. 82, 6'2 - 216 lbs., 4.56 40 - (7th-UFA)
WR Jehu Chesson, No. 86, 6'3 - 207 lbs., 4.54 40 - (UFA) ST value in the return game.
TE *Jake Butt, No. 88, 6'6 - 248 lbs., 4.83 40 - (2nd)
C Graham Glasgow, No. 61, 6'7 - 305 lbs, 5.27 40 - (5th) Suspended March 2015 for violating alcohol-related probation.
+DE Mario Ojemudia, No. 53, 6'3 - 252 lbs, 4.78 40 - (7th-UFA) Out for the year with Achilles tendon injury. Possibility of a medical redshirt for his fifth year.
OLB James Ross III, No. 15, 6'1 - 232 lbs, 4.67 40 - (5th)
ILB Desmond Morgan, No. 3, 6'1 - 236 lbs, 4.76 40 - (7th)
ILB Joe Bolden, No. 35, 6'3 - 232 lbs, 4.82 40 - (5th-6th)
CB Wayne Lyons, No. 2, 6'1 - 196 lbs, 4.56 40 - (UFA) Grad transfer from Stanford.
FS Jarrod Wilson, No. 22, 6'2 - 210 lbs, 4.62 40 - (UFA)
Penn State has several draft-eligible prospects the 49ers are likely targeting, but we start things off with the high potential, yet sporadic and head-scratching play of QB Christian Hackenberg, No. 14.
After a remarkably successful 2013 outing, QB Christian Hackenberg fizzled a bit throughout his 2014 campaign and has been a nail scratching chalkboard experience throughout the 2015 season. Of course former Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien's jettison to the NFL and becoming an impromptu cult superstar on Hard Knocks can definitely dampen one's progression, not to mention a lackluster offensive line. Nevertheless, Hackenberg showcases an NFL ready frame (6'4" - 234 lbs.) as a prototypical pocket passer, solid arm strength, can make all NFL level throws (some throws only a few select NFL quarterbacks can make), decent mobility and athleticism, good accuracy, capable of reading the entire field, and quite simply a physically gifted quarterback with natural talent. He also has experience operating in a pro-style offense.
Unfortunately, Hackenberg has not shown any improvement from last season, suffering from the same ill effects as the year prior with very poor decision making at times (sometimes egregiously poor), poor mechanics with a tendency to throw flat footed, accuracy issues, failing to appropriately read defenses, poor ball placement, and struggling to make quick passes. All in all, a big "I" for Inconsistency. Hackenberg potentially could be a franchise type quarterback, which is shocking, I know, but there is no question he has undeniable talent. Ultimately, the Jekyll and Hyde routine must stop! Hackenber's stats eleven games in: 162/306 with a 52.9% completion percentage, 2,129 yards, and 14/3 touchdown to interception ratio.
Penn State's defensive line is loaded with NFL caliber talent with likes of DT Austin Johnson, No. 99; DT Anthony Zettel, No. 98; and DE Carl Nassib, No. 95.
DT Austin Johnson, a junior, is a thick-sized naturally strong prospect with an impressive game. He showcases a great combination of size (6'4" - 325 lbs.), quickness, power, awareness, and athleticism. Johnson excels as a run defender anchoring the middle easily capable of handling multiple blockers with active hands, strength, and solid stout base. He displays quick feet, impressive agility for his size, and fluid lateral movement navigating through the trash. A stout run defender, Johnson also displays surprising pass rush ability and an intensive high-motor. Johnson's stats eleven games in: 68 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
DT Anthony Zettel is a high-motored relentless disrupter displaying explosion, quickness, strength, agility, and power. As a defensive tackle, Zettel is stout against the run with a strong base and power in stacking and shedding utilizing excellent active hands, quick feet, and sound technique. Zettel also explodes off the snap with his violently active hands and quickness (nimble feet) to be extremely disruptive in the backfield. Zettel would make an ideal 3-4 defensive end in the 49ers scheme being a force against the run and the quickness and high-motor to be a disrupting penetrator rushing the passer. Zettel stats eleven games in: 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
DE Carl Nassib has come a long way from starting his collegiate football career with Penn State as a walk-on. The former basketball star has grown into an ideal frame showcasing an excellent combination of size (6'7" - 272 lbs.), speed, and athleticism. Nassib displays tremendous explosion off the line of scrimmage, active hands, excellent closing speed, an intense high-motor, and outstanding length (long arms). Nassib is solid against the run and showcases great athleticism dropping in coverage. Received Senior Bowl invite. Nassib's stats ten games in: 46 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection, and 6 forced fumbles.
Another Penn State to keep an eye on is SS Jordan Lucas, No. 9 (Out for the year with an arm/shoulder injury).
QB *Christian Hackenberg, No. 14, 6'4 - 234 lbs., 4.78 40 - (3rd)
TE Kyle Carter, No. 87, 6'3 - 242 lbs., 4.72 40 - (7th-UFA)
OG Angelo Mangiro, No. 66, 6'3 - 315 lbs., 5.63 40 - (UFA)
DT *Austin Johnson, No. 99, 6'4 - 325 lbs., 5.27 40 - (2nd)
DT Anthony Zettel, No. 98, 6'4 - 284 lbs., 4.87 40 - (2nd)
DE Carl Nassib, No. 95, 6'7 - 272 lbs., 4.71 40 - (2nd)
CB Trevor Williams, No. 10, 6'0 - 196 lbs., 4.54 40 - (UFA)
+SS Jordan Lucas, No. 9, 6'0 - 202 lbs., 4.54 40 - (5th-6th) Out for the year with a arm/shoulder injury. Received Senior Bowl invite.
Cal vs. Stanford
The 49ers were 1 of 10 teams in attendance (49ers had five credentialed scouts) for the Cal vs. Stanford match-up. California has been receiving a lot of attention from numerous scouts this season, and the reason behind all the excitement is due to one of the most talked about players in college football, the junior QB Jared Goff, No. 16.
QB Jared Goff showcases ideal length, pin-point accuracy, sound mobility, good decision making, big-time arm (not super strong) with a quick motion and snappy high release, solid vision, and great field awareness. A technician operating in an up-tempo spread offense, Goff is an exciting player to watch take apart defenses at every level, where he can beat defenders with quick passes, mobility, driving a pass in a tight window, or gracefully loft one over-the-top with amazing touch. He shows poise in the pocket with impressive footwork and mechanics, always looking downfield and easily looks-off defenders. Shows toughness and grit absorbing a lot of hits. Operating exclusively from the shotgun, Goff will need to learn to operate under center at the next level. He also has a very lanky build and will need to gain muscle in order to avoid injuries in the NFL.
No doubt there will be a lot of buzz and excitement with Jared Goff this draft season, especially in the Bay Area. Even though he comes from a high producing system, he possesses transferable skills for the next level that could take him to elite status. His game is definitely transcending and although he has another year of eligibility left under his belt, Goff will likely be the first quarterback selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. A life-long 49ers fan, Goff attended the final game at Candlestick and dons the No. 16 jersey in honor of his idol, Joe Montana. Goff's stats eleven games in: 286/441 with a 64.9% completion percentage, 3,705 yards, and a 32/13 touchdown to interception ratio.
QB *Jared Goff, No. 16, 6'4 - 215 lbs., 4.76 40 - (1st)
RB Daniel Lasco II, No. 2, 6'0 - 210 lbs., 4.53 40 - (UFA)
WR Bryce Treggs, No. 1, 5'11 - 185 lbs., 4.43 40 - (UFA)
WR Stephen Anderson, No. 89, 6'2 - 220 lbs., 4.59 40 - (UFA)
WR Maurice Harris, No. 3, 6'2 195 lbs., 4.62 40 - (UFA)
WR Trevor Davis, No. 9, 6'2 - 180 lbs., 4.56 40 - (UFA)
WR Darius Powe, No. 10, 6'2 - 220 lbs., 4.64 40 - (UFA)
OT Brian Farley, No. 59, 6'6 - 286 lbs., 5.08 40 - (UFA)
OG Jordan Rigsbee, No. 73, 6'4 - 305 lbs., 5.32 40 - (UFA)
DT Mustafa Jalil, No. 90, 6'2 - 300 lbs., 5.18 40 - (UFA)
DE Todd Barr, No. 41, 6'2 - 245 lbs., 4.84 40 - (UFA)
DE Kyle Kragen, No. 13, 6'2 - 245 lbs., 4.87 40 - (UFA)
ILB Jalen Jefferson, No. 7, 6'2 - 236 lbs., 4.77 40 - (UFA)
CB Darius White, No. 6, 6'0 - 180 lbs., 4.51 40 - (UFA)
SS Stefan McClure, No. 21, 5'10 - 200 lbs., 4.52 40 - (UFA)
Stanford is known as a program that produces NFL ready type talent; therefore, 49ers' scouts likely have several players targeted. We start things off with Stanford QB Kevin Hogan, No. 8. Hogan displays the physical attributes of a NFL caliber quarterback (6'4" - 225 lbs.), but his funky delivery, sporadic accuracy, and inconsistency is a problem for the next level; however, he does come from a pro-style offense and has a strong arm, great instincts, toughness, and sneaky athleticism. Hogan efficiency has been steadily improving as of late, and it appears Hogan is staying on track becoming more consistent. Through eleven games, Hogan is 168/250 with a 67.2% completion percentage, 2,231 yards, and a 19/7 touchdown to interception ratio.
WR Devon Cajuste, No. 89, is another big-bodied receiver (6'4" - 229 lbs.) displaying decent speed, fair route running skills, great ball control, and strong hands. Cajuste will not blow people away with his speed, but utilizes his physicality, body control, and surprising quickness off his breaks to gain separation and win at the catch. He has inconsistent hands, but brings value as a solid blocker. Cajuste's stats nine games in: 20 receptions, 232 yards, averaging 11.6 yards per reception, and 2 touchdowns.
The Cardinal's OT Kyle Murphy, No. 78, showcases great size, (6'7" - 298 lbs.), quickness, flexibility, and length (long arms). The left tackle is solid in pass protection with quick movement, and displays power in the run game driving defenders with aggression. He also has experience playing right tackle (cue 49ers interest), which is his likely home in the NFL.
OG Joshua Garnett, No. 51, is a very large mauler interior lineman with NFL size (6'5 - 325 lbs.), strength, length (long arms), and power. Garnett is a brawler in a phone booth, and although he may not have nimble feet and the ideal athleticism (has balance issues), the power he generates from his lower half is impressive driving defenders with ease. Garnett also comes from NFL bloodlines, with his father, Scott Garnett, being a former NFL nose tackle.
ILB Blake Martinez, No. 4, is not overly athletic, but has tremendous instincts, good lateral quickness, awareness, good at shedding, and has a knack for always being around the ball with his high-motor. Martinez does not take false steps, shows good burst and closing speed, and is a sound and reliable tackler. He looks like a 3-4 ILB who will bring value on special teams. Martinez's stats eleven games in: 106 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 4 pass deflections.
Another Stanford Cardinal to keep an eye on is OLB Kevin Anderson, No. 48. At 6'4" 245 pounds, Anderson brings an NFL caliber frame to go along with his impressive awareness, intelligence, and a non-stop motor. Anderson displays nice explosion, closing speed, and is a sound tackler. Unfortunately, Anderson has been sidelined as of late (going on four games now) with an ankle injury. Anderson's stats seven games in: 36 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.
QB Kevin Hogan, No. 8, 6'4 - 225 lbs., 4.86 40 - (5th)
RB Remound Wright, No. 22, 5'9 - 204 lbs., 4.59 40 - (UFA)
RB Barry Sanders, No. 26, 5'10 - 198 lbs., 4.54 40 - (UFA) Son of the great Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.
WR Devon Cajuste, No. 89, 6'4 - 229 lbs., 4.60 40 - (5th)
OT Kyle Murphy, No. 78, 6'7 - 298 lbs., 5.19 40 - (3rd)
OG Joshua Garnett, No. 51, 6'5 - 325 lbs., 5.38 40 - (5th-6th)
DE Brennan Scarlett, No. 17, 6'4 - 265 lbs., 4.96 40 - (UFA) Grad transfer from California.
OLB Kevin Anderson, No. 48, 6'4 - 245 lbs., 4.84 40 - (7th)
ILB Blake Martinez, No. 4, 6'2 - 247 lbs., 4.79 40 - (4th)
FS Kodi Whitfield, No. 5, 6'2 - 204 lbs., 4.58 40 - (UFA)
LS Reed Miller, No. 67, 6'2 - 220 lbs., 5.14 40 - (UFA)
Week 12 - Practice
49ers scouts attended practice at Virginia Tech on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. There are several draft-eligible prospects the Niners are likely targeting, and one offensive player in particular is TE Ryan Malleck, No. 88.
TE Ryan Malleck displays a great combination of size (6'4" - 252 lbs.), speed, and strength (squats 500 pounds). He is a reliable pass catching receiver with solid blocking skills. Malleck's stats ten games in: 18 receptions, 211 yards, averaging 11.7 yards per reception, and 2 touchdowns.
DT Luther Maddy, No. 92, is a stout run stopper with nice quickness to his game. He has an impressive quick first step, lateral agility, violent and quick hands, and quick feet. His size (6'1") could be concerning for some at the next level, but his burst and closing speed is very impressive. Maddy's eleven games in: 50 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
OLB Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, No. 90, is a former high school basketball player showcasing tremendous length, size, speed, athleticism, fluidity, and explosion. Dadi has an excellent first step, shows quickness and great bend with impressive change of direction skills. He flashed good hand technique to help stack and shed opponents, and shows great balance, body control, and lateral quickness to side-step and burst with closing speed. Has a natural ability in coverage (good fluidity) and looks solid in space and a tremendous ability to run down ball carriers. Nicolas' stats eleven games in: 38 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.
My favorite cornerback in this years' class is CB Kendall Fuller, No. 11. Kendall, the youngest of the four NFL Fuller brothers (Vincent, Corey, and Kyle), in my opinion, is the best out of the bunch. The junior shut down corner showcases tremendous fluidity and quickness, has amazing instincts, and superb ball skills. I was a huge fan of his brother Kyle, and was pounding the table for the 49ers to draft him in the 2014 NFL Draft. If Fuller declares, he has the potential to be a #BaalkeDelight, since he is out for the season after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Fuller's career stats: 119 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 8 interceptions, 25 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.
Another Virginia Tech player to keep an eye on is DE Corey Marshall, No. 96.
QB Michael Brewer, No. 12, 6'0 - 200 lbs., 4.82 40 - (UFA) Grad transfer from Texas Tech.
RB J.C. Coleman, No. 4, 5'7 - 190 - lbs., 4.49 40 - (UFA)
TE Ryan Malleck, No. 88, 6'4 - 252 lbs., 4.77 40 - (6th-7th)
DT Luther Maddy, No. 92, 6'1 - 293 lbs., 4.96 40 - (5th)
DE Corey Marshall, No. 96, 6'1 - 262 lbs., 4.65 40 - (7th-UFA)
OLB Dadi Lhomme Nicolas, No. 90, 6'3 - 236 lbs., 4.58 40 - (5th)
OLB Deon Clarke, No. 40, 6'1 - 218 lbs., 4.65 40 - (UFA)
CB *Kendall Fuller, No. 11, 6'0 - 197 lbs., 4.48 40 - (1st) Out for the year with a torn meniscus.
Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble jive turkey!