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 UTEP Miners finished the 2008 season with a 5-7 record and will be forced to lean heavily on their offense this year if they hope to compete for a Conference USA title.
Jeff Moturi: No. 6, WR, 6'0", 190
Moturi is a thin wideout who showcases a good burst off the line and has the ability to consistently get down the field. He displays natural explosion out of his breaks and exhibits the straight-line speed to run away from defenders underneath.
He also does a nice job changing gears in the pass game and gets back up to full speed quickly. Moturi locates the ball well out of his routes and consistently extends his arms and snatches the ball away from his frame.
He demonstrates some wiggle after the catch and has the short-area quickness to make a defender miss as he accelerates toward daylight.
However, he lacks body control as a route runner and struggles changing directions at full speed. Has a tendency to round off his routes down the field and gets really sloppy out of his breaks.
Impression: Moturi isn’t a real natural route runner and struggles getting out of his breaks sharply. However, he displays some natural short-area quickness and has the burst to threaten corners down the field. Looks like a developmental guy at the next level.
Mike Aguayo: No. 71, OT, 6'4", 300
An intriguing athlete who possesses a quick first step out of his stance and has the footwork to consistently reach the edge. Ahuayo does a nice job snapping off a compact punch on the outside and possesses the coordination to quickly recoil and set again.
He showcases impressive lateral mobility in pass protection and does a nice job mirroring defenders and redirecting in space.
However, he has as a tendency to get too high at times and is consistently handled at the point of attack. Aguayo struggles maintaining his balance against the bull-rush and can be driven backward into his quarterback’s lap.
He doesn’t play with natural leverage and struggles dropping his pad level on contact and anchoring inside. He isn’t much of an in-line run blocker and lacks the power to create movement off the ball.
Yet he’s very efficient when asked to reach-block and does a great job getting his feet around defenders and sealing them from the play.
Impression: I like his footwork and athletic ability and think his best shot will come as a guard in a zone-blocking scheme, but he needs to continue to get stronger.
Cameron Raschke: No. 78, OG, 6'4", 320
Raschke gets out of his stance quickly and showcases good fluidity on his initial first step in pass protection. He possesses smooth lateral footwork and has the quickness to cut off opposing defenders on either side of him.
However, he has a tendency to get too wide with his base and struggles redirecting in space. He isn’t real sharp or sudden when asked to change directions, and can be sidestepped on the counter move.
He plays with good bend and does a nice job keeping his base down and anchoring at the point of attack. But he isn’t much of a Velcro player and doesn’t consistently stay on blocks.
He isn’t real explosive out of his stance in the run game and has a tendency to get high on contact. Also, Radchke isn’t as powerful as his frame would indicate and doesn’t create consistent movement as an in-line run blocker.
He demonstrates impressive straight-line burst when asked to reach targets at the second level, but lacks ideal body control and struggles cutting a moving target out of the play,
Impression: He possesses a nice-sized frame with some natural quickness in pass protection, but struggles redirecting and isn’t a guy who can consistently stay on blocks.
Note: The Miners will get a huge boost in the secondary this year with the return of strong safety Braxton Amy. Amy suffered a torn ACL during the spring of 2008 and was forced to miss the season. He led UTEP in tackles per game in ‘07 and is a guy to keep an eye on in 2009.
Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith: No. 23, SS, 6'2", 208
Smith lacks instincts in the pass game, struggles anticipating throws and rarely gets good jumps on the ball. He has a tendency to take bad angles in pursuit and will run himself out of plays.
Smith possesses a decent initial burst for his size and uses his long strides to track the football down the field. However, he lacks the footwork to quickly make up for a false step and struggles redirecting out of his breaks.
He uses his length well to keep himself clean at the line of scrimmage and does a nice job shedding blocks inside. He possesses a physical dimension to his game, but has a tendency to take on blocks when he doesn’t need to and simply lacks a real instinctive feel to his game.
Impression: A good size/speed athlete for the position, but makes too many questionable decisions to be trusted as an NFL safety.
Cornelius Brown: No. 47, CB, 5-11, 200
Brown is a well-built corner who showcases natural bend in his stance and does a nice job being patient in his drop. He exhibits good straight-line speed and uses his body well to box receivers away from the play when tracking the football.
However, he lacks fluidity and is slow to flip his hips when forced to turn and run down the field. Browns consistently allows receivers to separate behind him and struggles transitioning out of his back-pedal.
He has a tendency to get overextended in press coverage and doesn’t consistently get a good jam off the line. Brown isn’t really comfortable playing with his back to the play and lacks the awareness to consistently find the football.
He doesn’t exhibit a great feel in zone coverage, either, and allows opposing receivers to consistency find soft spots behind him.
Impression: Possesses decent size/speed numbers, but lacks the fluidity, instincts and footwork needed to be effective in man-coverage at the next level.
Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.