2009 NFP scouting series: Vanderbilt

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2009 NFP scouting series: Vanderbilt
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

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 teams in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Vanderbilt Commodores return a deep group of prospects on the defensive side of the ball, but they’re still going to have a tough time competing in the SEC East in 2009.

Offense

Mackenzi Adams: No. 9, QB, 6-3, 215

Displays good athleticism for the position and has the ability to buy time in the pocket and create plays with his feet in the open field. Isn’t a real explosive athlete, but is a guy who can sidestep pressure and pick up a first down when needed.

Mackenzi AdamsAP Quarterback Mackenzi Adams

Isn’t a real polished passer and lacks ideal footwork when setting up to throw. Possesses a corky release and simply flicks the ball out of his hands on all levels of the field. Lacks arm strength and doesn’t look comfortable going through his progressions.

Exhibits good timing with his initial read and gets the ball out of his hands quickly, but throws tend to nosedive on him, even in the intermediate pass game. Displays decent touch in the pass game, although his deep ball will hang on him quite a bit when he tries to go down the field.

Impression: A solid athlete who can keep plays alive with his feet, but lacks polish as a pocket passer. Doesn’t possess the mental or physical tools to warrant an NFL roster spot.

 

Defense

Steven Stone: No. 96, DE, 6'5", 265

A tall, hard-working end who displays good lateral quickness for his size and possesses the body control to sidestep blocks in space. Does most of his damage working toward the inside on stunts and counter moves. Isn’t a real explosive pass rusher and lacks the burst to consistently threaten the corner. Uses his hands well on the outside and has a decent rip move, but isn’t real sudden when engaged and struggles getting off blocks.

Displays a good initial pop on contact and possesses the strength to hold the point of attack vs. the run. Does a nice job coming off the ball on time and gaining initial leverage on opposing linemen.

However, he lacks the body control to consistently stay on his feet and make plays away his frame. Has a tendency to lose balance easily when working toward the football and too often ends up on the ground.

Impression: A well-built defensive end who works hard and can be stout on contact. However, he doesn’t play the run well enough to make up for his lacking burst off the edge. Looks like a poor man’s Tyler Brayton at best.

 

Broderick Stewart: No. 90, DE, 6'4", 232

Broderick StewartAP Defensive end Broderick Stewart

Uses his length well to work through blocks along the line and does a nice job keeping himself clean in pursuit. Displays good initial hand placement on contact, but he lacks the strength in his lower half to consistently hold up vs. the run and can be easily turned away from the play.

Showcases a good initial burst off the edge, but doesn’t take a positive first step and struggles keeping his pad level down on contact. Is easily knocked off balance when trying to reach the corner and doesn’t stay real compact in his base. Is consistently forced well wide of the pocket by opposing tackles.

However, he does do a nice job dropping his shoulder and maintaining balance when flattening out along the edge.

Struggles to disengage any time an opposing lineman gets his hands on him and lacks the power to be a real effective bull-rusher.

Impression: Has some natural athleticism and good length, but needs to learn to play with a lower pad level. Might be worth a look as a developmental 3-4 outside linebacker.

 

Greg Billinger: No. 56, DT, 6'3", 297

Displays good flexibility in his stance but has a tendency to get too narrow off the ball and can be easily sealed away from the run. Is a good athlete who showcases natural body control when asked play the piano down the line and close run lanes in pursuit.

However, he isn’t real instinctive and struggles reading his run/pass keys inside. Doesn’t consistently find the football and will work himself away from the play off the snap.

Possesses good short-area quickness as a pass rusher and has the ability to slip blockers laterally. However, he lacks the initial burst to penetrate through gaps inside and doesn’t possess the closing speed to consistently get after the quarterback. Isn’t real physical at the point of attack and lacks the strength in his lower half to push the pocket or overwhelm opposing linemen on contact.

Impression: A decent athlete for the position, but struggles finding the football and doesn’t do anything well enough to warrant a spot on a roster.

 

Patrick Benoist: No. 30, LB, 6-0, 224

Patrick BenoistAP Linebacker Patrick Benoist

A smart, instinctive linebacker who diagnoses the action quickly in front of him and does a nice job sniffing out the football.

However, he lacks ideal strength and physicality inside the box and is easily knocked off balance in pursuit. Needs to do a better job taking on blocks and using his hands to maintain ball-side leverage. Fails to stay low when breaking down on contact and consistently gets washed out of the play.

Isn’t real fluid in his drop and has a tendency to get too upright. Looks to be fighting himself down the field.

Impression: An instinctive guy but isn’t the type of rangy linebacker his size would indicate and will struggle to make any kind of play inside the box in the NFL.

 

Myron Lewis: No. 5, CB, 6'2", 205

A physical corner who uses his length well to disrupt routes on all levels of the field. Possesses good instincts in man coverage and does a great job getting his hands on the football. Displays impressive coordination and has the ability to quickly adjust his body to the play and break up the pass.

Showcases above-average footwork in his drop and tries to sit into his stance, but he plays too high to generate much burst out of his breaks. Is routinely forced to gather his feet and lacks the type of short-area explosion needed to consistently close on the ball.

Doesn’t possess ideal body control when asked to turn and run down the field, and allows receivers to consistently get behind him. Is more of a strider who takes a while to get going and lacks a great first step out of his transition.

Impression: Displays impressive dimensions and physicality, but lacks the quickness to consistently close on the ball. Struggles transitioning out of his breaks, and I don’t think he has the ability to play man coverage at the next level.

 

Ryan Hamilton: No. 2, S, 6'2", 210

A tall, thickly built safety who certainly looks the part but lacks ideal range when asked to close on the ball. Isn’t real explosive out of his breaks and plays at one speed. Doesn’t possess the type of second gear to consistently make plays in pursuit and struggles taking proper angles toward the ball carrier.

However, he displays smooth footwork in his drop and possesses the coordination to keep his feet under him and cleanly get out of his breaks. Showcases good instincts in the pass game and always seems to be flowing toward the ball.

Exhibits a decent initial burst when asked to attack downhill, but isn’t real explosive laterally and struggles tracking the ball sideline to sideline in coverage.

Impression: Possesses a nice-sized frame with good instincts, but lacks the range to make plays in coverage. Isn’t a guy who will be able to hold up in an NFL secondary.

 

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