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 Championship Week 14 action where 49ers' scouts were credentialed to attend.
Championship Week 14
Florida vs. Alabama
The 49ers were 1 of 5 teams in attendance for the Florida vs. Alabama match-up. Florida has four defensive draft-eligible players 49ers' scouts are likely targeting in DE Jonathan Bullard, No. 90; ILB Antonio Morrison, No. 3; CB Vernon Hargreaves III, No. 1; and CB Brian Poole, No. 24.
DE Jonathan Bullard showcases impressive quickness and versatility lining up all over the place for the Gators. Bullard, possibly a five-technique fit for the 49ers, displays great strength in the run game and quickness and solid hand technique to get by defenders on the inside. Bullard has a great combination of size (6'3"), strength, length, bulk, change of direction skills, athleticism, and speed with excellent burst firing off the line of scrimmage, tremendous lower power to bull rush opponents, and superb balance and agility to penetrate through gaps with sound awareness. He shows strength and solid technique setting the edge, and impressive power to speed coming off the edge and pushing the pocket in the middle. Bullard's stats thirteen games in: 60 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.
ILB Antonio Morrison is coming back from a devastating knee injury he suffered in the Belk Bowl December 2014. Durability issues are a concern for the tackling machine, since he's had a history of knee issues; nevertheless, Morrison displays great awareness, strength, and speed, and should definitely be on the radar as an inside linebacker for the 49ers as a fiery prospect with a nose for the ball. Morrison's stats thirteen games in: 90 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 pass deflection, and 1 forced fumble.
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, No. 1, a junior, is arguably one of the top corner prospects in this years' class. VHIII is an amazing athlete on the field showcasing tremendous quickness, burst, speed, instincts, ball skills, and athleticism. His foot speed, quickness, and fluidity is extremely impressive and hip flexibility is top notch easily transitioning out from his back peddle with amazing smoothness. He is technically sound as a cover corner and solid in run support and is an eager tackler. VHIII also shows versatility in the return game and a few plays on offense showcasing his explosion and playmaking abilities. One of the top cover prospects, VHIII simply lacks the ideal size (5'11") and length, which is really nitpicking. VHIII's stats eleven games in: 31 tackles, 1 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.
CB Brian Poole is a smaller corner prospect at 5'10", displaying versatility in playing the corner and nickel position with great quickness, burst, and speed. Poole also showcases sound awareness, is an impressive open field tackler, has good closing speed off the edge, and looks to be a solid zone type corner at the next level. Poole's stats thirteen games in: 36 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, 10 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 5 forced fumbles.
The Gators are also showcasing two pass catchers to keep an eye on in WR Demarcus Robinson, No. 11 and TE Jake McGee, No. 83.
WR Demarcus Robinson, a junior, is a vertical threat that can take the top off coverages and shows great quickness and agility off the line of scrimmage to gain separation. Robinson displays impressive stop and start quickness and burst with good hands and nice ball skills. Robinson's route running is less than desirable and his success in mainly due to his amazing athleticism. An area of concern for Robinson is his tendency to be suspended quite often, four times in fact, which is a big red flag going in to the next level. Robinson was recently suspended and it was cited as a "personal choice" Robinson made to cause the suspension. Florida's coach, Jim McElwain, met with the team's seniors to help decide Robinson's fate, and the seniors collectively signed off on Robinson. Robinson's stats eleven games in: 46 receptions, 503 yards, averaging 10.9 yards per reception, and 2 touchdowns.
TE Jake McGee displays a nice combination of height (6'5") speed, and athleticism. A very sound reliable pass catcher with good hands, is a nice route runner, and has a large frame displaying a large catching radius for a quarterback. He will need to continue to improve his blocking and is likely a solid back-up at the next level. McGee is poised to have a breakout year after sitting out the 2014 season with two broken bones (tibia and fibula) in his left leg. Accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl. McGee's stats eleven games in: 41 receptions, 381 yards, averaging 9.3 yards per reception, and 4 touchdowns.
* = indicates junior status
** = indicates redshirt sophomore status
WR *Demarcus Robinson, No. 11, 6'1 - 197 lbs., 4.54 40 - (2nd-3rd) Suspended twice as a freshman, once as a sophomore, and once as a junior.
WR Latroy Pittman Jr., No. 9, 5'11 - 215 lbs., 4.65 40 - (UFA)
TE Jake McGee, No. 83, 6'5 243 lbs., 4.83 40 - (6th) Received another year of eligibility to make it his 6th. Broke two bones in his left leg September 2014, out for 2014 season. Accepted invite to Senior Bowl.
OG Trip Thurman, No. 63, 6'5 - 310 lbs., 5.38 40 - (UFA)
DE Jonathan Bullard, No. 90, 6'3 - 277 lbs., 4.86 40 - (1st-2nd)
ILB Antonio Morrison, No. 3, 6'1 225 lbs., 4.76 40 - (4th) Coming off December 2014 knee injury.
CB *Vernon Hargreaves III, No. 1, 5'11 - 198 lbs., 4.48 40 - (1st)
CB Brian Poole, No. 24, 5'10 - 208 lbs., 4.54 40 - (6th)
Alabama is loaded with draft-eligible talent, specifically on the defensive side of the ball, where the 49ers' scouts are likely targeting DT A'Shawn Robinson, No. 86; DT Jarran Reed, No. 90; DE Jonathan Allen, No. 93; ILB Reggie Ragland, No. 19; and CB Cyrus Jones, No. 5.
DT A'Shawn Robinson, a junior, is a very strong long-armed defender with great size, length, power, and athleticism. A large stout run stuffer, Robinson showcases power at the point of attack, capable of handling two-gaps, decent in collapsing the pocket, has sound awareness to stop ball carriers next to him utilizing good hand technique (great power in hands) stacking and shedding, and plays with good leverage and power with a high motor chasing down ball carriers. Has quick feet with balance to navigate through the trash. Versatility to play NT in a 3-4, as well as the 5-technique. Highly intelligent player. Robinson's stats thirteen games in: 42 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
DT Jarran Reed is another very strong long-armed defender with great size (6'4"), length, power, and athleticism. Reed is very similar to Robinson's skill-set, but also possesses great lateral agility navigating impressively through the trash. The space-eater two-gap defender is extremely stout against the run and displays great quickness for a man his size. Reed's stats thirteen games in: 53 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass deflections, and 1 fumble recovery.
While Robinson and Reed are the space-eaters in the middle, junior DE Jonathan Allen showcases amazing athleticism and power with impressive quickness and technique wreaking havoc in backfields as an upfield disrupter. Allen displays great burst off the line of scrimmage, quick, heavy, and violent punch at the point of attack, sound leverage utilizing great length, excels at converting speed to power, and the versatility to be disruptive from the inside and off the edge. Allen's stats thirteen games in: 34 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles.
ILB Reggie Ragland is a superb downhill plugger type of linebacker with a terrific combination of size (6'2" - 252 lbs.), physicality, and strength. Ragland is a fierce tackler, easily takes on bigger blockers with solid stacking and shedding technique, impressive sideline-to-sideline capabilities, and very skilled coming off the edge. He also brings value on special teams. Ragland's stats thirteen games in: 90 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles.
CB Cyrus Jones is a former wide receiver converted to corner with excellent athleticism, speed, strength, and fluidity. Still pretty raw at the position, Jones has shown improvement in his instincts and ball skills, excellent quickness and speed, and plays with an intense physicalness. A bit undersized at 5'10'', Jones plays bigger than his size and continuously has the confidence to back up his game. Jones also brings value in the return game. Jones' stats thirteen games in: 29 tackles, 1 interception, and 7 pass deflections.
On the offensive side of the ball, Alabama showcases four prospects to keep an eye on in RB Derrick Henry, No. 2; RB Kenyan Drake, No. 17; TE O.J. Howard, No. 88; and C Ryan Kelly, No. 70.
RB Derrick Henry, a junior, is a powerful downhill running back with excellent size (6'3" - 238 lbs.), speed, quickness, and strength. Henry's displays solid vision, quick feet, impressive nimbleness, and the speed to run away from defenders. A bulldozer of a man, Henry runs with tremendous power behind his pads, and with continued momentum, punishes tacklers with authority. Henry's stats thirteen games in: 339 rushes, 1,986 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, and 23 touchdowns.
RB Kenyan Drake has been an excellent compliment running back to the powerful Derrick Henry, and he is likely projected in a similar role at the next level. Drake displays superb skills as a receiver out of the backfield with solid reliable hands and good route running. He showcases a terrific combination of size (6'1"), speed (4.40 40), agility, and athleticism with amazing quick feet, superb stop and start quickness, nice change of direction skills, and tremendous burst with amazing acceleration exploding into a second gear pulling away from defenders. He is fair in pass protection, but will need more room for improvement (has a tendency to lunge towards defenders propelling himself out of the action). Drake is a perfect zone-blocking scheme running back showcasing great patience, vision, and will one-cut exploding to daylight. I believe Drake would be an excellent compliment back to the 49ers' Carlos Hyde. Drake also has been battling several injuries throughout the season (also a broken leg in 2014); therefore, durability could be a concern. Drake's stats eleven games in: 72 rushes, 347 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, 1 touchdown, 24 receptions, 250 yards, averaging 10.4 yards per reception, and 1 touchdown.
TE O.J. Howard is a mismatch in the middle of the field displaying an impressive combination of size (6'6" - 242 lbs.), speed, athleticism, and strength (benches 405 pounds and squats 500 pounds). A dangerous receiving weapon in the middle of the field, Howard can easily take advantage of defenses with his 4.59 speed up the seem and his impressive length and athleticism. Along with good catching and great YAC ability, his blocking has been steadily improving as well. Howard's stats ten games in: 30 receptions, 335 yards, and averaging 11.2 yards per reception.
C Ryan Kelly has a terrific combination of size (6'5" - 297 lbs.), strength, and athleticism. An intelligent anchor on the offensive line, Kelly thrives in run-blocking utilizing sound leverage, active hands, good power to drive defenders and sealing them away from the action and opening holes finishing blocks displaying good movement reaching the second level. Although Kelly displays excellent power, solid quickness, and nice balance when anchoring in pass protection, he will need to continue to improve this aspect of his game for the next level. Great fit in a zone-blocking scheme.
Other Alabama players of note are: OLB Denzel Devall, No. 30; and OLB Dillon Lee, No. 25.
QB Jake Coker, No. 14, 6'5 - 232 lbs., 5.12 40 - (UFA) Grad Transfer from Florida State.
RB *Derrick Henry, No. 2, 6'3 - 242 lbs., 4.54 40 - (2nd)
RB Kenyan Drake, No. 17, 6'1 - 210 lbs., 4.40 40 - (3rd) Out for several weeks with a fractured arm suffered November 2015. Broken left leg October 2014.
TE *O.J. Howard, No. 88, 6'6 - 242 lbs., 4.59 40 - (2nd)
OT Dominick Jackson, No. 76, 6'6 - 315 lbs., 5.38 40 - (UFA)
C Ryan Kelly, No. 70, 6'5 - 297 lbs., 5.23 40 - (4th-5th) Coming off October 2014 knee injury.
DT *A'Shawn Robinson, No. 86, 6'3 - 312 lbs., 5.18 40 - (1st)
DT Jarran Reed, No. 90, 6'4 - 313 lbs., 5.14 40 - (1st-2nd)
DE *Jonathan Allen, No. 93, 6'3 - 272 lbs., 4.73 40 - (2nd)
DE D.J. Pettway, No. 57, 6'2 - 270 lbs., 4.98 40 - (UFA)
OLB Denzel Devall, No. 30, 6'2 - 252 lbs., 4.77 40 - (7th-UFA)
OLB Dillon Lee, No. 25, 6'3 - 242 lbs., 4.73 40 - (7th-UFA)
ILB Reggie Ragland, No. 19, 6'2 - 252 lbs., 4.72 40 - (1st)
CB Cyrus Jones, No. 5, 5'10 - 196 lbs., 4.45 40 - (4th-5th)
FS Geno Matias-Smith, No. 24, 6'0 - 196 lbs., 4.64 40 - (UFA)
North Carolina vs. Clemson
The 49ers were 1 of 3 teams in attendance for the North Carolina vs. Clemson match-up. North Carolina has two draft-eligible players of note in WR Quinshad Davis, No. 14, and OG Landon Turner, No. 78.
WR Quinshad Davis brings a perfect combination of size (6'4" - 220 lbs.), speed, athleticism, length, and strength. Davis has the size and strength to outmuscle defenders and the deceptive speed (long-speed) to be a threat over the top. He uses his body well to shield defenders and has strong hands to win at the catch along with his impressive catch radius. Davis is also a willing blocker utilizing his impressive length (long arms) quite effectively. Davis recently passed Hakeem Nicks as the Tar Heels career receptions leader reaching the mark of 182 career receptions. Davis' stats thirteen games in: 49 receptions, 578 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per reception, and 4 touchdowns.
OG Landon Turner is a thick and wide mauler bringing tremendous strength and power at the point of attack road grading defenders with a physical intensity. His combination of size (6'4" - 325 lbs.), strength, and surprising nimble feet for a man of his size makes him a monster in a phone booth. Turner's greatest asset is as a run blocker plowing through people, but his pass blocking skills are solid, aided by his quickness and impressive technique.
QB Marquise Williams, No. 12, 6'2 - 220 lbs, 4.78 40 - (UFA)
WR Quinshad Davis, No. 14, 6'4 - 220 lbs, 4.50 40 - (5th-6th)
OG Landon Turner, No. 78, 6'4 - 325 lbs, 5.32 40 - (2nd)
ILB Jeff Shoettmer, No. 10, 6'1 - 235 lbs., 4.86 40 - (UFA)
OLB Shakeel Rashad, No. 42, 6'2 - 235 lbs., 4.84 40 - (UFA)
Clemson will likely have several senior priority free agent rookies going into next years' draft, but there are four underclassmen 49ers' scouts are definitely targeting in WR Mike Williams, No. 7; DE Shaq Lawson, No. 90; CB Mackensie Alexander, No. 2; and SS Jayron Kearse, No. 1. I believe if those four underclassmen declare, they are likely first to second round picks.
WR Mike Williams, apparently a popular wide receiver name, has a great combination of size (6'4"), length, deep speed, smoothness, and athleticism. The junior wide receiver is out for the year suffering from an small fracture in the neck after he rammed his head into the goal post on a touchdown catch during the season opener. Williams is extremely talented with great length, ball skills, and speed (he gets to top speed very fast) and is a knockout big play vertical threat with solid hands. Williams stats from 2014: 57 receptions, 1,030 yards, averaging 18.1 yards per reception, and 6 touchdowns. In one game in 2015, Williams had 2 receptions, for 20 yards, and 1 touchdown.
The junior, DE Shaq Lawson, displays impressive strength at the point of attack, great at setting the edge, and amazing burst, power, fluidity, speed, and athleticism coming off the edge. Lawson played great against one of the top ranked tackles in Ronnie Stanley, beating him with power and speed. Lawson would fit in the 49ers' defensive scheme as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and with his continued rise in performance and production, look for him to be highly targeted by the 49ers, provided he declares. Draft stock moving up. Lawson's stats thirteen games in: 54 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
CB Mackensie Alexander, a redshirt sophomore, is one of the top cornerbacks in college. Alexander is an aggressive corner with excellent fluidity and ball skills, tremendous coverage ability, and does not get challenged much, since opposing quarterbacks tend to avoid him. The shut down corner displays great patience, solid speed, good size, lightning quick feet, and and attitude every shut down corner thrives upon, a solid game to back up his confidence. Alexander's stats eleven games in: 21 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 pass deflections.
SS Jayron Kearse, a junior, displays an excellent combination of size (6'4" - 210 lbs.), speed, physicality, and athleticism for the position. The nephew of the freak athlete, Jevon Kearse, and the cousin of former NFL defensive back, Phillip Buchanon, Jayron comes from NFL bloodlines, but one aspect of his game he truly takes advantage of is his amazing length (very long arms). Jayron's lanky build also helps him cover a lot of ground with great range, solid closing speed, excellent ball skills, and a force in run support and blitzes. He will likely need to add more muscle at the next level, but Kearse's potential is very high. Kearse's stats twelve games in: 52 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 6 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 forced fumble.
DT D.J. Reader, No. 48, is a senior coming late to the season after walking away from football for personal reasons early in the season. He took personal leave to address "a mental issue" in regard to attempting to overcome the emotional toll of losing his father to kidney failure back in 2014. Reader missed the first six weeks of the season, but has come on strong. The former college baseball player is a stout wide-base defense tackle showing impressive quickness to his game and an excellent combination of size (6'3" - 325 lbs.), quickness, power, flexibility, and athleticism. His sneaky mobility shows with his lateral movement and penetrating in gaps, but he tends to be off-balance a lot of times and needs better hand technique in concert with is power to disengage when shedding. Reader's stats four games in: 7 tackles.
WR *Mike Williams, No. 7, 6'4 - 210 lbs., 4.54 40 - (2nd)
WR Charone Peake, No. 19, 6'2 - 205 lbs., 4.43 40 - (UFA)
TE Stanton Seckinger, No. 81, 6'5 - 242 lbs., 4.82 40 - (UFA)
OT Joe Gore, No. 73, 6'5 - 292 lbs., 5.06 40 - (UFA)
OG Eric Mac Lain, No. 78, 6'4 - 305 lbs., 5.09 40 - (UFA)
C Ryan Norton, No. 58, 6'3 - 286 lbs., 5.17 40 - (UFA)
DT D.J. Reader, No. 48, 6'2 - 325 lbs., 5.04 40 - (6th) Walked away from football for personal reasons. Came back and missed the first six games of the season. Took personal leave to address "a mental issue" in regard to overcoming the emotional toll of losing his father to kidney failure in 2014.
DE *Shaq Lawson, No. 90, 6'3 - 275 lbs., 4.67 40 - (1st)
ILB B.J. Goodson, No. 44, 6'0 - 250 lbs., 4.79 40 - (UFA)
CB **Mackensie Alexander, No. 2, 5'10 - 195 lbs., 4.43 40 - (1st)
SS *Jayron Kearse, No. 1, 6'4 - 210 lbs., 4.54 40 - (1st)