College Football 2009 NFP Scouting Series: Washington Huskies
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.
Washington finished with a record of 0-9 in the Pac-10 last season and will turn to new head coach Steve Sarkisian to help rebuild the struggling program. The Huskies lack talent on both sides of the ball and are still a couple of years away, but they do feature one of the nation’s most talented quarterback prospects who should develop under Sarkisian’s tutelage.
Jake Locker: No. 10, QB, 6'3", 222 Pounds
A well-built quarterback with a thick upper body and good overall athleticism for the position. Showcases an ability to not only side-step pressure and buy time in the pocket, but he knows how to break containment and pick up yards with his feet. Isn’t a real explosive runner but is deceptively quick and has enough speed to be a threat in the open field.
Possesses a quick, compact release and gets the ball out of his hands with little wasted motion. Does a nice job stepping up in the pocket and looks comfortable when asked to make plays on the move.
However, he is slow deciphering information in the pass game and struggles reading defenses quickly. Has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long when going through his progressions or will take off prematurely. Lacks a great feel in the pocket and is slow to recognize the blitz; doesn’t consistently find his hot read in the face of pressure. Will trust his athletic ability too much at times and doesn’t routinely make the simple play to keep his offense out of the hole.
Possesses the arm strength to make all the throws at the next level and really throws a clean ball. Has the ability to drive the ball down the field and outside the numbers with good zip. However, his feet tend to get a bit fidgety in the pocket, which causes his accuracy to run hot and cold. But I think that has more do with the poor offensive line play in front of him and can be easily fixed.
Is a tough kid who isn’t afraid to stare down the barrel of the gun, get hit in the teeth and dust himself off play after play. A natural leader whom his teammates really seem to rally around.
Impression: Is in a situation similar to former first- round pick Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt, who was asked to carry a bad team every week. However, Locker has a really impressive skill set and is as gutsy as any player in the nation. I think he has a chance to develop into one of the top quarterback prospects under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian, and with time could end up being the top-rated signal caller in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Ben Ossai: No. 79, OT/OG, 6'5", 336 Pounds
Sets too high in the pass game and can get jolted at the point of attack vs. the bull-rush. Isn’t a real gifted athlete and looks heavy-footed when asked to reach the edge vs. speed rushers. Lacks overall range and is routinely forced to open his hips and lunge into defenders in an effort to push them past the pocket. Doesn’t possess much fluidity in space and can be easily side-stepped when asked to redirect on any type of counter move.
Displays a decent first step in the run game and does a nice job getting his body between the ball and his man. Extends his arms well into blocks, although he isn’t real heavy-handed and is easily disengaged from on the play. Lacks coordination in space and looks top-heavy when asked to get down the field and hit a target at the second level.
Impression: A limited athlete who lacks fluidity in pass protection and doesn’t play as big as his frame would indicate. His size might get him into an NFL camp, but he's going to really struggle from an athletic standpoint.
Daniel Te’o Nesheim: No. 66, DE, 6'4", 254 Pounds
Lacks physicality at the point of attack and struggles holding up on the outside when run at. Works hard and uses his hands well to fight off blocks, but even when he does make a play vs. the run, it’s usually five-plus yards down the field.
Isn’t a real explosive pass rusher and lacks the burst to be much of a threat off the edge. Has a tendency to get too high off the ball, which negates his lateral mobility and suddenness. Doesn’t keep his base low enough to routinely fight through blocks and lacks the body control to consistently slip linemen on his counter move. However, he does a nice job remaining balanced when extending his arms into blocks and working endlessly in pursuit.
Impression: A hard-working player who’s too small to play DE at the next level and lacks the explosion to rush off the edge as a 3-4 OLB. His motor might intrigue some scouts, but he’ll have a tough time finding a home at the next level.
Donald Butler: No. 9, ILB, 6'0", 242 Pounds
Isn’t real instinctive and struggles finding the football inside. Has a tendency to take false steps at the line of scrimmage and runs himself out of too many plays. Gets high at the point of contact and struggles taking on blockers in the hole. Consistently gets jarred on contact and is easily washed from the play. Lacks the body control to break down in space and struggles wrapping up his man. Doesn’t take the most consistent of angles in pursuit and has a tendency to overrun the ball.
Works hard in pursuit but isn’t real explosive when asked to run sideline to sideline and looks stiff in all areas of his game.
Impression: A limited inside linebacker who lacks the size/speed numbers to really have much of a chance at the next level.
E.J. Savannah: No. 22, OLB, 6'1", 224 Pounds
Displays good short-area quickness in space and possesses the body control to extend his arms and slip blocks when working toward the football. Exhibits a good motor and has the straight-line speed to make plays sideline to sideline. Is a secure tackler who demonstrates good power and wrap-up ability when working in pursuit. However, he lacks ideal instincts and has a tendency to take himself out of plays when avoiding linemen.
Struggles consistently finding the football in the pass game and has a tendency to bite on play fakes and get caught in “no-man’s land.” However, he’s a good athlete in space who possesses smooth footwork in his drop and does a nice job keeping his feet under him when redirecting out of his breaks.
Impression: Has some character concerns, but definitely possesses the athletic ability to play at the next level. Will need to be re-evaluated during the year, but is a guy who could sneak up draft boards with a strong senior campaign.
Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at NFPost.com.
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