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 Ohio State Buckeyes again have a talented group of NFL prospects and are definitely one of the favorites to capture the Big Ten title.
Ray Small: No. 82, WR, 5'11", 185 lbs.
A gifted start-and-stop athlete who has the ability to change directions and crank it up to full speed quickly. Displays a good first step off the line and possesses the vertical speed to get down the field.
Tracks the ball well over his outside shoulder and showcases the coordination to adjust to the throw. Is very sudden out of his breaks and possesses the body control to stop on a dime when driving corners up the field and separate underneath. Is dangerous with the ball in his hands and can create after the catch.
However, he isn’t a natural plucker and lets the ball consistently get into his body. Lacks physicality in any area of the game and can be easily rerouted off the line or down the field. Struggles recognizing coverages and isn’t a real polished route runner when asked to snap off routes down the field.
Impression: Is still developing as a receiver. Has the tools to separate at the next level but hasn’t shown the willingness to put it all together.
Jake Ballard: No. 86, TE, 6'6", 256 lbs.
A big, physical tight end who lacks flexibility in his stance and struggles really firing off the ball and reaching defenders at the second level. However, he possesses good length and natural power on contact.
Does a nice job extending his long arms into blocks and shuffling his feet through the play. Is a Velcro player who consistently is able to win initial hand battles and seal opposing linemen away from the ball.
Impression: Doesn’t offer much at all as a receiver but can certainly be a factor in the run game. Should at least be in an NFL training camp competing as a blocking tight end on a team’s roster.
Jim Cordle: No. 64, OL, 6'4", 298 lbs.
Exhibits a narrow base and isn’t real flexible out of his stance, which causes him to struggle generating much power from his lower half. Isn’t real explosive off the ball in the pass game and struggles reaching interior linemen penetrating off his frame.
Does a better job reaching linemen in the run game and gaining an initial surge but has a tendency to lunge into blocks and fails to engage on contact. Showcases a decent punch into blocks but isn’t much of a Velcro player and struggles staying on his man.
Is a good straight-line athlete who has the ability to get up to speed quickly when asked to reach and seal a target at the second level. Does a nice job keeping his head up and working his legs through contact but lacks ideal body control and consistently is shed after his initial push.
Impression: A versatile lineman who will make the move to RT in the fall. However, I wasn’t overly impressed with his play inside at left guard and don’t think he warrants much of a grade anywhere along the O-line.
Note: Ohio State DE Lawrence Wilson has had a tough time staying on the field over the past two years, suffering season-ending injuries in 2007 and 2008. But if he can stay healthy in ‘09, Wilson certainly possesses the talent to warrant a draftable grade and is a guy to watch.
Cameron Heyward: No. 97, DE, 6'6", 286 lbs.
A tall, long-armed defensive end who exhibits impressive bend for a man his size. Does a good job getting his hands up and extending his arms into offensive tackles off the snap; is consistently able to gain leverage on contact.
Displays a strong lower half and possesses the flexibility to keep his base low through contact and get an impressive push on his bull-rush.
Displays a great first step off the ball for his size and uses his long stride to get on top of offensive linemen quickly. However, he isn’t the type of explosive edge rusher who is going to consistently turn the corner.
Is at his best when asked to play off opposing linemen’s shoulders and use his long arms and quickness to disengage from blocks. Keeps his pad level down and hands up when attacking up the field and consistently is able to fight his way into the backfield.
Possesses the power to stack and shed at the point of attack and does a great job keeping himself clean versus the run game.
Impression: A big, physically gifted defensive end whose combination of power, length, and athleticism allows him to consistently shed blocks and make his way toward the ball. Looks like a talented three-down player at the next level.
Doug Worthington: No. 84, DL, 6'5", 276 lbs.
Lacks ideal instincts and struggles getting off the ball on time but does a nice job staying low into blocks and plays with natural bend for his size. Uses his length well to keep linemen off his frame and has the athletic ability to make plays up and down the line. Is a good straight-line athlete with the closing speed to get after the ball in pursuit.
However, he isn’t real physical at the point of attack and can be handled one-on-one in the run game inside. Struggles consistently finding the football and is easily sealed away from the play. Lacks proper hand placement and really struggles shedding blocks once offensive linemen get into his body.
Impression: Doesn’t have the girth or instincts to play DT at the next level, but he could get some interest as a DE in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.
Anderson Russell: No. 21, FS, 5'11", 205 lbs.
Showcases smooth footwork in his backpedal and does a nice job keeping his feet under him through his drop. Remains balanced in coverage and is able to quickly click and close on the ball underneath. Possesses good lateral mobility out of his breaks and has some intriguing range in the secondary.
However, he’s slow to diagnose plays and doesn’t consistently get good jumps on the football. Has a tendency to take a false step in coverage and isn’t always flowing toward the play.
Possesses natural body control in space and does a nice job breaking down and taking proper angles toward the ball. But he isn’t a real physical tackler and doesn’t make many plays attacking downhill. Plays it safe as the last-line defender and looks content to sit back and simply funnel plays toward the sideline.
Impression: A fluid safety who showcases good footwork and range in the secondary. However, he isn’t much of a playmaker and lacks the type of instincts needed to be a ball hawk.
Kurt Coleman: No. 4, S, 5'10", 190 lbs.
Lacks great body control when attacking the run at the line of scrimmage and struggles breaking down in space and wrapping up on the ball. Tends to overrun plays and can be easily sidestepped in the open field.
Displays decent short-area quickness as a pass defender but doesn’t consistently take proper angles toward the ball. Exhibits good body control and fluidity out of his breaks but has a tendency to get a bit leggy when asked to turn and run down the field.
Lacks great range and closing speed in the secondary and is forced to rely more on his instincts than pure athleticism. Doesn’t possess a real second gear and struggles making up for a false step.
Impression: A limited size/speed athlete for the position who doesn’t offer much upside in any area of his game at the next level.
Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.