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2014 NFL Draft: Scouting Notes from Baylor vs. Oklahoma

Lache SeastrunkWith injuries to star running back Lache Seastrunk and the speedy receiver Tevin Reese in the first half, Baylor’s offense struggled against the Sooners fast flowing defense and physical corner play. Still, thanks to stellar defensive play in the first half, Baylor righted the ship as the game progressed and simply won the game in the trenches.

Oklahoma’s gameplan of committing 7 bodies in the box held Baylor in check early, as the previously mentioned defensive back play allowed the Sooners to stay in cover 1 looks. The issue with Oklahoma is no semblance of consistency at the quarterback position, where Blake Bell showed little to no velocity control or accuracy to his passes in this game. Baylor stayed undefeated and passed their first test on a national stage, but there were a number of 2014 draft prospects that stood out in this game.

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor (#14), 6’3, 230
Although Baylor came out of this game with a win, Petty did not play his best game. There were certainly “wow” throws to be had, but he did not consistently do a good job of maintaining a balanced lower half, particularly on longer developing concepts. Drifting towards the line of scrimmage and getting too far out on his front foot, Petty lacked consistent fundamentals to complete throws to the backside of passing plays when working to secondary and tertiary targets. Also concerning was the amount of sacks he took, as he either needs to pull the trigger and “throw his man open” or tuck the ball earlier to run. Need to see improvements in anticipation, especially when receivers are rerouted at the line or bumped down the field –Petty will often quick to shift his vision across fields. As the game progressed, and Baylor got into the pace they’ve generally worked in, Petty’s footwork improved, his confidence rose and the ball placement was on point. It was an adjustment facing this talented defense but a game that will provide Art Briles plenty of teaching material for his young quarterback prospect.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (#25), 5’10, 210
Seastrunk was hobbled early in this game, but continued to flash the elite short area burst, lateral control and explosiveness to turn potentially negative plays into positive ones. Even when he returned from injury and was clearly not 100%, he was able to jump cut away from a tackler and gain positive yards. His injury will be worth monitoring, but it appears to be only a strained groin.

Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor (#5), 5’10, 225
I saw more of the same Goodley that I’ve studied on tape to this point with focus drops early, explosive yards created after the catch and vertical speed to burn defenders off the line of scrimmage. This really is a dynamic weapon and potential top target at the next level, but he must clean up the drops. Versus Oklahoma, Goodley showed more patience to read the corner’s leverage, adjust his stem and attack the corner’s transition; accelerating off the line with intimidating speed and throttling down quickly to stop the defender’s feet, Goodley has a secondary gear he can access in a hurry to find, locate and track vertically. Rocked up with an impressive physique, Goodley has the tools to be a top two round type of pick.

Chris McAllister, DE, Baylor (#31), 6’3, 255
This defensive end won’t wow with speed rush ability or an array of moves, but what he will do is play physical, assignment sound football. Setting the edge with powerful and active hands, McAllister takes pride in feeling out down blocks, locating run flow and pursuing at full speed. He’s far more athletic than credited, can work laterally to protect the sideline and even flashes the ability to implement strong, rip/dip moves off the edge to cross face of opposing tackles. McAllister has the long arms, stout frame, more than enough range and violent hands that should translate very well to a 3-4 outside linebacker position.

Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor (#2), 6’9, 275
The best way to describe this defensive end is “rare”. It’s rare that you find a 6’9, 285 pound man with Oakman’s get-off and first step explosion, in addition to overpowering hands on contact and balance to redirect with run flow. He was a constant disruption to the Sooner offense, routinely jolting his blocker 2-3 yards in the backfield before locating the football. He’ll need more reps and experience to get a better feel for how blockers are approaching him, but overall this is a special talent that could be a top 10-15 pick.

Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor (#6), 6’0, 205
As has become a common thread in my notes over Dixon, the Baylor senior safety does not do a consistent job of gaining ideal depth in his single high alignment coverage drops. Not fully adjusted to playing detached from the line of scrimmage, Dixon remains at his best closer to the line where he can either attack the ball carrier like a heat seeking missile or lock up man-to-man with slots and tight ends. Nevertheless, Dixon played one of his better games of the season, continually finding his way through trash for plays in the backfield and also breaking up multiple passes downfield. Explosive and violent to the football, but reliable as a tackler and a natural athlete in space, Dixon looks like a lock to go in the early part of day two.

Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma (#8), 5’9, 160
All hope wasn’t lost for Oklahoma, as Jalen Saunders turned in an excellent game. Save for one ugly drop over the middle, Saunders continually separated from Baylor defensive backs by setting up his defender at the top of route and transitioning out of the break effortlessly. With the ball in his hands, Jalen can immediately click into full speed, only to decelerate entirely and change directions to elude would-be tacklers. He’s fun to watch as a returner and slot dynamo, and his continued development as a route runner will only solidify his standing as a top 5 senior wide receiver in the 2014 draft class.

Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma (#14), 6’0, 192
Baylor made a concerted effort to avoid matchups against Colvin, who plays as Oklahoma’s left cornerback. Despite his long, lean body type, Colvin will play physical and support the run, as evidenced by his sound tackling technique on the perimeter. When targeted in off-man coverage with in-breaking routes, I came away impressed not only with Colvin’s quick twitch transition steps and redirect, but also liked the angles he takes out of the break to close on the ball carrier. Colvin actually played very well, despite the fact that his team surrendered 41 points.  

Other Notes
-Senior wide receiver Tevin Reese was unable to get on track in this one for Baylor’s offense and was knocked out of the game before he had a chance to create many big plays. Suffering a broken wrist in the first half, head coach Art Briles said he hopes to have Reese back for the bowl game. This is a huge blow to the Bears offense, as Reese’s elite downfield speed commands safety help or at the minimum, a large cushion from off-man covering cornerbacks. Reese set up and defeated press coverage attempts on multiple occasions with his explosive feet off the line, but there were times that he failed to hit his landmarks on given playcalls due to rerouting and hand fighting. Reese’s slight frame will lend to this concern versus physicality and he’ll need to use his hands more effectively to keep from being checked downfield by aggressive, bigger corners.

-Baylor cornerback Demetri Goodson played very well, despite being placed on an island multiple times in cover 0 (no free safety help over the top). Taking an interesting road back to football, Goodson played three seasons –starting 68 of 69 in his final two seasons– with Gonzaga University. Goodson transferred to Baylor and has been granted hardship waivers after suffering season ending injuries in 2011 and 2012 consecutively.

-Another intriguing second sport athlete is Baylor receiver Clay Fuller, who’s a 26 year-old former minor leaguer that enjoyed a 6-year career in the Los Angeles Angels farm system. Bigger than your average slot receiver with great ball skills and a catch radius to succeed at the next level, I’m intrigued with Fuller’s length and hands. He’ll be one to watch moving forward, considering Tevin Reese’s broken wrist could keep him out of the lineup until the team’s bowl game. Fuller has yet to be utilized as a true vertical threat, but has flashed the speed to do so.

-Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard put out more of the same film, with only adequate strength on contact but excellent hand fighting adjustments and footwork to compensate for his lack of power. I really like his approach to the game and blocking fundamentals, as well as his move skills to pull and locate on the outside; Ikard looks the part of a starting center in a zone system and could even garner looks at the guard position due to his experience there.

-Oklahoma safety Gabe Lynn started the game hot with a few pass deflections as a single high safety and nickel corner, but was burned late in this game for a few scores. He likely won’t run a stellar 40 time, which puts his draft stock in question, but his versatility to play outside corner, nickel and safety will give him a shot to make a roster next season at the NFL level.


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