This summer, the National Football Post is breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from NFL teams in the 2010 draft.
The East Carolina Pirates finished the 2008 season with record of 9-5 and once again look like the class of Conference USA.
Note: Wide receiver Jamar Bryant returns in 2009 after being suspended last season for an unspecified violation of team rules. He led the team in receptions in 2007 with 48 and looked good in the East Carolina spring game, catching three passes for 58 yards. Bryant is a guy worth keeping an eye on this season.
Patrick Pinkney: No. 15, Quarterback, 6'0", 198 Pounds
Pinkney is a gifted athlete who has the ability to tuck the ball away and create plays with his feet. He does a nice job keeping plays alive, but he also has a tendency to put his head down too quickly and not keep his eyes down the field.
Pinkney isn’t a natural passer and gets antsy in the pocket. He struggles going through his progressions and has a tendency to lock on to his primary target and wait for him to uncover.
He lacks touch and accuracy down the field and doesn’t showcase much rhythm underneath. He’s consistently late with the football and struggles finding throwing lanes from the pocket.
Impression: A raw quarterback prospect who will likely be asked to make a position change at the next level.
Doug Palmer: No. 70, Guard, 6'3", 305 Pounds
Palmer displays a coordinated punch out of his stance and does a nice job moving his hands and feet together off the snap. He possesses good strength in his lower half and has the ability to create movement as an in-line run blocker. Palmer consistently wins initial hand battles inside and gains leverage on contact.
He showcases good coordination when asked to reach targets away from his frame and does a nice job remaining balanced and generating power through his lower half.
Palmer gets out of his stance quickly in pass projection and consistently extends his arms into blocks and locks out at the point. He is a Velcro player who’s tough to disengage from and works his feet through contact maintaining the upper hand.
He isn’t real explosive laterally and has a tendency to get a bit upright, negating some of his quickness. However, he showcases smooth footwork, and once he gets his hands on you, the battle is usually over.
Impression: A coordinated run blocker who can generate initial push inside and reach targets away from his frame. He is one of the better senior guard prospects I’ve seen this year.
Sean Allen: No. 54, Center/Guard, 6'3", 310 Pounds
Allen is a natural bender who fires out of his stance quickly in the run game, but plays too top-heavy and is easily shed on contact. He lunges into blocks at the second level as well and struggles breaking down when trying to reach a moving target.
He showcases good coordination getting out of his stance, but he isn’t really explosive in any area of the game, which is especially apparent when he’s asked to pull around the edge.
Impression: A flexible lineman, but he lacks the balance to consistently stay on blocks and doesn’t possesses the athleticism to make up for it.
C.J. Wilson: No. 95, Defensive End, 6'3", 278 Pounds
Wilson lacks an explosive burst of the ball and takes too many false steps to consistently reach the edge. However, he’s a coordinated athlete who displays the balance to quickly change directions and side-step blocks inside.
He showcases the body control to flatten down on his outside pass rush and gain the leverage needed to collapse the pocket, and he does a nice job lowering his pad level and driving his legs through contact.
However, he needs to do a better job extending his arms and using his hands to keep opposing linemen from getting in on his frame. Wilson doesn’t play very long-armed and struggles fighting his way off blocks as a pass rusher once a lineman gets hold of him.
He demonstrates good physicality versus the run game and has the power to overwhelm offensive tackles at the point of attack and set the edge outside.
Impression: Displays some lateral quickness as a pass rusher and looks like a guy who can be productive on all three downs, similar to Texans defensive end Antonio Smith.
Jay Ross: No. 90, Defensive Tackle, 6'3", 308 Pounds
Ross does a great job firing off the ball on time and getting into opposing linemen quickly. Has a good first step and is consistently one of the first linemen moving off the snap.
He is very sudden versus the pass game and exhibits the lateral quickness to side-step offensive linemen and create space for himself inside. Possesses a powerful arm-over move, which allows him to consistently disengage from blocks.
However, he has a tendency to get too high when asked to change directions and loses power in his lower half. He does a nice job gaining initial leverage on contact because of his quick first step, but he doesn’t generate enough power in his base to consistently capitalize.
At times, Ross really struggles to find the ball and has a tendency to stand up off the snap and can get jacked backward at the point of attack.
He showcases flashes of keeping his pad level down when asked to fire across the face of opposing linemen and penetrate through gaps. Ross uses his hands well to disengage from blocks and is very disruptive inside.
Impression: I love his awareness and first step off the ball. He’s consistently the first defensive lineman moving. He needs to learn to play a little lower, but he certainly has the frame and athletic ability to create pressure inside.
Van Eskridge: No. 4, Free Safety, 6'0", 200 Pounds
Eskridge is an instinctive safety who locates the football quickly and does a nice job remaining balanced when breaking on the pass. He isn’t afraid to put his body in harm’s way and showcases excellent concentration when tracking the play down the field. He possesses excellent ball skills and has the body control to consistently adjust to the throw.
He gets a bit high and choppy with his footwork in his drop and isn’t real explosive getting out of his breaks. Eskridge reads and reacts quickly to plays, but he lacks the closing speed to consistently make plays on the ball.
Eskridge takes good angles in pursuit and is a physical tackler, but he lacks the range to consistently make plays sideline to sideline.
Impression: His lack of burst and straight-line speed is apparent on tape and will likely keep him from becoming anything more than a reserve defensive back at the next level.