Before They Were Eagles

I was looking through some old stuff and stumbled on some college notes from the 2008 season:

RB LeSean McCoy – Pitt

“Shady”,as he’s called, had a great 2007 season. Expectations were sky high for ’08. Things haven’t gone as hoped. He’s putting up okay numbers, but hasn’t been dominant, the way he was down the stretch last year. Losing a pair of Senior OTs will hurt the running game.

McCoy is only averaging about 4.4 ypc. He only put up okay numbers the first 3 weeks. Things are getting better. He’s now run for more than 140 yards the last 2 games. Maybe he’s starting to emerge from the slow start.

Watch him run and you can’t help but think of Charlie Garner. They are similar in size, although McCoy is bigger. Both guys look the same when running. The big difference is that Charlie wasn’t afraid to attack the middle. He was small, but ran hard between the tackles. McCoy has a tendency to bounce everything wide. He’s always looking for the homerun.

I think McCoy should stay for another year. He has the ability to play in the NFL, but needs to work on some technique things. He swings the ball around way too much. He has to learn to be more of a N-S runner. He’s got to stay playside more often and not go backside as much. Tons of potential, but some work to be done.

WR Jeremy Maclin – Missouri

He has played 1.5 years and dominates on a regular basis. His numbers have basically come against soft competition this year, but Mizzou is now getting into Big 12 games. I fully expect Maclin to dominate them was a runner, receiver, and returner.

He has excellent size and speed. He is a good receiver. UM runs a spread attack so Maclin will need some polishing by pro coaches. I watch him play and see NFL ability. There is always a fear of someone like him turning out to be the next Peter Warrick, but Maclin looks like the real deal.

I might advise him to go pro. The Senior class of WRs is nothing special. I don’t know how much better Maclin will get in college. The things he needs to work on require NFL coaching and QB play.

(Interestingly…I had written these 3 blurbs at the same time. I must have been focused on underclassmen. Who knew that 2 would end up as teammates and the third as a rival?)

RB DeMarco Murray – Oklahoma

He lost part of the 2007 season to a knee injury. I wondered how Murray would look this year. His best quality is speed. DeMarco is one of those guys who can turn any play into a huge gain if he gets a bit of room. About ’08…so far, so good. TCU shut him down last week, but he’s killed everyone else. The knee looks good and his speed is back. DeMarco is making plays as a runner, receiver, and KO returner.

Murray definitely needs to stay in school another year. His knee will be all the way back next year. He can make big plays with his speed, but that isn’t good enough at the NFL level. Trung Canidate was a speed back that couldn’t adjust to the NFL. When he couldn’t just outrun people he wasn’t as effective. Murray reminds me a bit of Felix Jones. I think DeMarco would benefit from improving as a receiver as well. If you have speed, hands, and return ability it will really make teams interested in you.

* * * * *

* Let’s talk about an interesting Senior DE. Connor Barwin (6’4, 255) is a starting DE for Cincinnati. He’s got 40 tackles, 7 sacks, and 3 blocked kicks. Solid numbers, but nothing special. He’s interesting because he was the starting TE last year. Caught 31 passes. They decided he was such a good athlete that the best way to use him was at DE.

Connor is athletic. He’s agile and looks good in space. He plays both sides of the ball. He’s got good change-of-direction ability. That might make him more of an interest at LB. He could interest creative teams. Connor could play DE or LB as his primary position. He can help at TE. I saw him catch a TD as part of the goal line offense recently. I’ll be really interested to see how he does at the Scouting Combine in February.

* * * * *

* Let’s talk about Everette Brown, the stud DE from Florida State. He leads the NCAA in TFLs. That alone tells you that this is a disruptive player. He goes to FSU, which generally tells you he’s gonna be a good athlete and edge rusher.

Put on the tape and he lives up to the expectations. Brown is very athletic. He’s got excellent speed. He also has excellent closing speed, something all the great pass rushers have. FSU is getting creative with him. They now use him at DT in certain sets. Brown had a pair of sacks from DT against Maryland. He used spin moves and a great burst on both plays. On the second sack he absolutely exploded from the moment the spin move ended to enevelop the QB.

Brown has a good motor. He’s very quick. He goes about 6’4, 250. That’s a good frame to build on. He has muscular arms. He isn’t the most rugged player, but he will battle blockers when he needs to.

Neither Michael Johnson of Ga Tech nor Brian Orakpo is a lock to be the first pass rusher taken. Brown could sneak in and grab that spot. He’s not as athletic as them., but is more productive. And that is something I value. I’m sure some NFL teams will feel the same way. Brown is only a Junior, but he would be wise to come out this year.

(updated note…I did overrate Brown’s production. He also shrank from 6-4 to about 6-1. That and a pedestrian showing at the Combine really hurt him. )

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3 Responses to Before They Were Eagles

  1. Iggles says:

    DeMarco Murray’s an Eagle? Did I miss something?

    • Tommy Lawlor says:

      No, he was just part of that write-up and since he’s an NFC East foe I left him in. As for the title, I liked it and just figured people would get that Murray was a bonus to the others. Should have put a note about him.

  2. Wilbert M. says:

    I like the comparison with LeSean and Garner. Charlie Garner was a great runner – unfortunately he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. He also wasn’t a great pass catcher. LeSean is MUCH better at the mental side of the game, but can use a little work on receiving. Garner protected the ball better, but I don’t know the statistics on that. I do know that LeSean has been incredibly lucky with not losing more fumbles by carrying the ball like a loaf of bread. Shady just needs a little more improvement and we’ll be comparing him to Barry Sanders instead of Charlie Garner.

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