2016 NFL Draft: Holiday Bowl Scouting Preview: USC vs. Wisconsin

Baltimore 344

Wisconsin’s run-first offense is going to have a tough time outscoring USC’s West Coast attack. This year in particular has been disappointing for the Wisconsin rushing attack because, to some extent, it has morphed its identity.

By: Derrik Klassen

They have begun to explore the realm of zone blocking more than in the past, but don’t quite have the personnel to make it work. The loss of star running back Melvin Gordon and Corey Clemente’s injury also left them without the running back talent they have been used to.

USC, on the other hand, has plenty of talent at the skill player positions to create enough explosive plays to beat the Badgers. As per usual, their plan will be to get the ball in their hands and to do so quickly.

Both defenses are talented and have a handful of NFL caliber players, but USC’s group is more talented as a whole. More than anything, USC’s defensive backfield is going to give Wisconsin’s quarterback, Joel Stave, hell for four quarters. Wisconsin should be able to generate a fair amount of pass rushing pressure, but it will not be enough to overcome the talent disparity between Wisky’s defense and USC’s offense.


Cody Kessler, QB, #6
Games will neither be lost nor won by the hand of Kessler. For the most part, Kessler is efficient enough to get the ball out quickly to his playmakers, but not talented or aggressive enough to consistently generate offense. Roughly 25%-30% of Kessler’s passes are some sort of screen pass, and much of the rest of the throws are basic West Coast concepts. Kessler has the feet and release to keep the offense humming, barring nothing goes terribly wrong. His arm doesn’t quite have the juice to project Kessler into a starting NFL role, but he can be a quality backup to keep a team afloat in a crisis.

Su’a Cravens, LB/S, #21 (JR)
Talent oozes out of Cravens no matter what he is doing. His freshman year, Cravens played more of a safety role and looked spectacular. Due to other personnel changes, Cravens transitioned into a weakside linebacker role where he has thrived for the past two seasons. The fluidity and speed that Cravens displayed at safety worked just the same at linebacker, though he does lose battles of might against most offensive linemen. Cravens would still be best suited to move back to safety or add some weight to his frame, but nonetheless, Cravens is a wildly talented football player who will find his true position in the NFL.

Tre Madden, RB, #23
College offenses that sustain top level success tend to have a veteran workhorse that comes in to relieve to the younger, more talented superstars on the roster. Madden is that player for USC. As both a runner and a pass catcher, Madden is good for a healthy 10-or-so total touches per game in relief of Ronald Jones and Justin Davis. Madden is not a burner or a brute force runner, but he does do a good job of working to and through rushing lanes, as well as finishing runs with a bit of a fight.

Other Prospects
Delvon Simmons, DL, #52
Justin Davis, RB, #23 (JR)
Leon McQuay III, S, #22 (JR)


Joe Schobert, OLB, #58
Schobert is an ideal college player. He is athletic enough to hold his own, but he wins by executing his assignments with precision and excellent understanding of the position. Though Schobert is technically an edge player, a lot of his work is done is space covering the flats. Schobert reacts very well to the offense and gets in position quickly, but he lacks explosiveness in space and that can leave him whiffing on tackles. As a rusher and front line run defender, Schobert lacks the muscle to do anything more than hold his ground, and even that is a struggle for him as times. The well-versed and reactionary style of play that Schobert exhibits will be enough for him to be given a shot in the league, though his lack of physical traits may bar him from professional success.

Vince Biegel, OLB, #47 (JR)
Unlike his counterpart outside linebacker, Biegel can move. Off the snap, Biegel displays quality burst, followed through by enough lateral twitch to work his way in and out of tight spaces to fight for sacks. He is constantly fighting with his hands to keep himself clean of the opposing lineman. Biegel’s twitchy, active nature as a rusher will get him on board with an NFL team as a quality sub-package rusher and third down weapon, not to mention that he can cover plenty of ground in a timely manner. Biegel’s downfall will be that, like Schobert, he does not possess the strength to be much of a speed-to-power rusher or confined run defender.

Tyler Marz, OT, #61
As would be expected of a Wisconsin lineman, Marz is a clunky, hulking monster of a player. If he can land his punch and get in front of his player well enough initially, Marz has essentially won the snap by default because of his power. Of course, changing direction, moving laterally and working to the second level is a bit of a struggle for Marz. Defenders who can keep their distance initially or quickly disengage can slip away from Marz with ease. Marz can also play a bit top-heavy with his 6’5”, 325 pound body, making him a stumbly mess when trying to handle quicker defenders. Marz’s best fit in the NFL would be at right tackle, though he has served well in his left tackle role at the college level.

Other Prospects
Alex Erickson, WR, #86
Tanner McEvoy, S, #3


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