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 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have a plethora of talented underclassmen on both sides of the ball and look like one of the favorites in the ACC this season.
Jonathan Dwyer: No. 21, RB, 5'11", 235
A thick, powerfully built runner who certainly has the physique to pound the ball between the tackles and wear down opposing defenses. Starts mostly from a three-point stance at Georgia Tech and will need to make the adjustment to more of a conventional two-point stance at the next level.
Displays good toughness as a single back, and I love his willingness to block in the run game for his teammates. Possesses the strength in his lower half to consistently push the pile, although he has a tendency to try and make defenders miss behind the line instead of just lowering his shoulders and taking what defenses gives him.
Exhibits impressive footwork and short-area quickness through the line of scrimmage. Does a great job sinking his hips and keeping his pad level low before cleanly getting out of his breaks. Possesses good balance in his lower half with the instincts and vision to instantly hit the cutback lane. Isn’t overly elusive or dynamic, but showcases the body control to change directions at full speed and sidestep defenders on all areas of the field. Isn’t a burner, but exhibits a good first step and has enough speed to consistently reach the corner. Is a powerful runner who looks more like a low 4.5 guy.
Impression: Possesses an impressive combination of power, vision and lateral quickness and is a bear to bring down in the open field. Looks like someone who can come in and enhance a team’s running game significantly from day one.
Demaryius Thomas: No. 8, WR, 6'3", 230
A king-sized wideout who possesses an impressive combination of body control and physicality off the line. Does a great job extending his arms into press coverage and simply overwhelms cornerbacks on contact.
Consistently gains separation on routes underneath. However, he isn’t real explosive off the ball and is more of a strider who picks up speed as he goes. Lacks much of a second gear and isn’t a real threat to outrun defenders down the field.
Gets hung up at times when he tries to be too cute and slip press coverage with his quickness, as opposed to simply overpowering defensive backs with his strength. Displays good short-area quickness as a route runner underneath and uses his body well to shield defenders from the ball. However, he isn’t real polished in the intermediate pass game and tends to simply drift in and out of his breaks. Lacks a real burst or sharpness to his game.
Isn’t a natural plucker and routinely lets throws get into his body. However, he works back toward the ball well and displays the agility and power to make a man miss after the catch.
Impression: A massive wideout who possesses good natural athletic ability and can beat press coverage off the line when he wants to. However, he is still developing as a route runner and lacks the burst to consistently gain significant separation at the next level. Looks more like a west coast receiver or even an H-back in the NFL.
Cord Howard: No. 71, OG, 6'4", 305
Isn’t a real gifted athlete and struggles to quickly get out of his stance and reach defenders off his frame. Is aided by the triple-option offense at Georgia Tech, where he can consistently lunge into cut-blocks and not be responsible for staying on his man through the play. Isn’t real fluid in the open field and lacks the body control to hit/seal a moving target at the second level.
Is a raw pass blocker who consistently gets his hands outside of defenders’ shoulders and is jolted at the point of attack. Lacks the power in his upper body to lock out and is routinely walked into the backfield and eventually disengaged from. Struggles to keep his pad level down when sliding laterally and isn’t real fluid when asked to redirect.
Impression: Does a decent job in his scheme carrying out his assignments, but lacks the type of athleticism and body control to hold his own in the run or pass game at the next level.
Derrick Morgan: No. 91, DE, 6'4", 275
Doesn’t really coil up into his stance well and lacks ideal footwork off the ball, but has an ability to greatly enhance his first step with some slight improvements in his technique.
Displays a good initial burst and consistently gets off the snap count on time, yet he fails to consistently flatten out along the edge once he gains a step and has a tendency to lose balance and end up on the ground.
However, it’s his combination of strength, hand quickness and lateral agility that routinely allows him to beat blocks and get after the QB. Does a great job mixing up his pass rush on the outside and using his power and length to disengage from linemen. Possesses the power to jolt opposing linemen on contact and cleanly sidestep blocks off the edge.
Showcases good strength in his lower half and has the ability to hold the point of attack vs. the run. Doesn’t use his hands quite as well as he does in the pass game, but works hard in pursuit and demonstrates the initial burst to penetrate through gaps inside.
Impression: A physical defensive lineman who uses his hands and short-area quickness well to disengage from blocks and make plays off the edge. Looks like a potential three-down defender at the next level with a lot of upside.
Morgan Burnett: No. 1, FS, 6'1", 210
A big, aggressive safety who does a nice job keeping his feet under him in coverage and cleanly jumping routes underneath. Demonstrates really fluid footwork in his drop and does a nice job cleanly getting out of his breaks.
Is a real ball-hawk in the secondary who likes to keep his eyes in the backfield and get early breaks on the ball. Possesses good top end speed, but doesn’t exhibit a great second gear when asked to track the ball sideline to sideline. Relies more on his initial burst to consistently put himself in position to make plays.
Displays good body control in space, but has a tendency to get too high and fails to properly break down into tackles. Takes more punishment at times than he gives out, but for the most part he finds a way to get his man to the ground.
Impression: A real ball-hawk in the secondary who is fluid in his drop and does a great job cleanly getting out of his breaks. Is only going to get better with time as he continues to improve his instincts in all areas of the game.