2009 NFP Scouting Series: Syracuse

Dale ThortonCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 25:  The Syracue Orangeman mascot supports his team as they were defeated by the Virginia Cavaliers 31-10 at Scott Stadium on September 25, 2004 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/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 NFL teams in the 2010 NFL Draft.

For a team that went 1-6 in the Big East last year, the Syracuse Orange still feature a pair of talented senior prospects, who should hear their names called in next year’s NFL Draft.


Mike Williams: No. 1, WR, 6'2", 205 lbs.

Mike Williams is an extremely gifted athlete who exhibits impressive explosion in all facets of his game. He is an impressive leaper and displays an ability to not only time up the pass, but skies for the ball at its highest point. Williams looks like a forward going up for a rebound and aggressively comes down with the catch. He plucks the ball with his hands and showcases good concentration when asked to take a hit over the middle of the field.

Williams possesses a good burst off of the line and has the ability to get on top of corners quickly and make plays down the field. He showcases an impressive second gear to his game when asked to track the football and he does a nice job fighting through defensive backs and adjusting to the play.

However, he is still a raw product and has a long way to go as a route runner. Williams does a nice job dropping his pad level when changing directions and he exhibits a natural speed burst out of his breaks. Yet he isn’t real polished with his footwork and he has a tendency to get leggy out of his breaks, while consistently rounds off his routes.

Impression: He possesses the physical package to be as good as he wants to be at the next level and should be able to develop under first year head coach Doug Marrone. However, he missed the 2008 season due to a cheating allegation, and character/work ethic is a major concern with him.

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Lavar Lobdell: No. 11, WR, 6'3", 210 lbs.

Lavar Lobdell is a tall, lanky receiver who isn’t real explosive off of the line and looks to be fighting himself when asked to run by defenders. He plays at one speed and lacks any kind of a second gear down the field. He struggles getting out of his breaks cleanly and doesn’t possess the balance to keep his feet under him, when changing directions. Lobdell has a tendency to round off of his routes and struggles gaining separation in man coverage.

Impression: Lobdell lacks the athletic ability to threaten defenders down the field and has a hard time creating separation at the college level. He isn’t a legit NFL prospect.

Mike Owen: No. 85, TE, 6'4", 252 lbs.

Mike Owen isn’t overly flexible off of the snap, but consistently gains initial leverage on his opponents and can generate movement off of the ball. Owens does a nice job keeping his base down, head up, and arms extended, while driving his feet through contact. He showcases a quick first step off of the ball and possesses the body control to reach and seal linemen away from his frame. However, he doesn’t exhibit the same type of power when asked to hit a moving target at the second level. he redirects well in space and has the ability to mirror on the outside in the pass game.

Owen isn’t much of a factor as a receiver and struggles getting off of the line and into routes quickly. He lacks fluidity in the open field and has a tendency to lumber in and out of his breaks.

Impression: Owen showcases the ability to win at the point of attack as a blocker and might be able to find a spot on an NFL roster/practice squad that way.


Arthur Jones: No. 97, DT, 6'3", 302 lbs.

Arthur Jones displays a flexible stance and really fires off of the ball quickly, generating a lot of burst from his lower half. He does a nice job extending his arms and keeping opposing linemen from getting into his body on runs away from his frame, but he needs to do a better job keeping himself clean from cut blocks inside. Jones is an impressive athlete who showcases great closing range and works hard in pursuit. He does a nice job keeping his pad level down when shooting gaps inside vs. the run, although he isn’t overly physical and has a tendency to get sealed away from the play.

Jones displays an explosive first step off of the snap and has the lateral quickness to fire across the face of opposing linemen and work his way into the backfield. He possesses a powerful lower half and can consistently overwhelm linemen 1 vs 1. However, he isn’t real sudden once he gets engaged and struggles shedding his man and making his way toward the quarterback. Jones looks content to simply drive his way into the backfield, but doesn’t use his hands well enough when he has an opportunity to disengage and make a play on the ball.

Impression: I love his explosive first step, athleticism, and motor inside. However, the attribute that keeps him from being an elite DT prospect is his inability to use his hands and shed blocks once he engages with a lineman in the pass game.

Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at NFPost.com.

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