Monday, September 1, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: BYU EDGE Bronson Kaufusi

Bronson Kaufusi, EDGE Defender
Brigham Young University Cougars
Height: 6070 - Listed
Weight: 265 - Listed

Games watched: vs Nevada (2013), vs Connecticut (2014)

Strengths: Bronson Kaufusi is only a Junior, but his 2014 film should be interesting to watch as he's dropped over 20 pounds from his Sophomore season to play a new role standing up in the Cougars defense.  Things started off well for Kaufusi vs. UConn; he logged two sacks and was a constant source of pressure in the passing game.  As you may expect from a prospect who spent a majority of his time to this point with his hand on the ground; Kaufusi flashes the kind of hand technique that gives him the ability to be effective shedding blockers.  

This play is from Kaufusi's heavier days from 2013; but you can clearly see him jolt and then press off this OT before slipping around him for a pressure.  This "stack" of a blocker is important because once the space is established (and the longer the wingspan is) the less control an offensive blocker can have on a defender.  Given that Kaufusi is listed at 6'7, his reach is likely just as massive which gives him a natural advantage if he plays with his hands as well as he does here.  That wasn't the only think about Kaufusi that impressed me at 290 pounds; I was pleasantly surprised by how well he moved along the line of scrimmage.  

It's easy to see why the BYU staff felt this was a move that they could have success with; Kaufusi is nimble for 290 going down the line and hurdling bodies on the ground.  Continuing with that theme and transitioning into 2014; Kaufusi impressed me with his ability to hug tight on edge rushes.  

For 6'7; this is some fairly solid bend he's generating.  No one is going to confuse him with an elite boundary pass rusher but getting this level of bend and keeping his pad level down is definitely a plus.  And Kaufusi's pass rushing abilities didn't stop there this past weekend; he logged a sack in the red zone with a very nice swim move.  

The swim is sudden and it's perfectly timed.  He pairs it with a really nice shoulder turn to give the LT absolutely zero surface area to strike with his punch.  "Getting skinny" like that is an illustration of the understanding of pass rushing fundamentals.  Again, given his history as a down lineman, it shouldn't come as that big of a surprise that he's well versed in this area of his craft.  

Weaknesses: While Kaufusi is a surprising athlete at 290 pounds (from 2013), he's not necessarily a plus athlete at 265.  He isn't a very explosive player; he doesn't close short areas super quickly nor does he have a dynamic first step off the line of scrimmage.  Kaufusi also appears to be tight in the hips moving backwards; any kind of back pedal in zone coverages doesn't serve him well.  The good news is; he's experiencing this dynamic of football for the first time; so hopefully as time passes and he acclimates to his new weight and body; some of that may change.  

As previously mentioned; Kaufusi is playing a brand new position in a stand up role in 2014 and he's going to experience a number of growing pains.  Kaufusi here is given a flat zone coverage and it's a good example.

Kaufusi fakes a rush before dropping off into a zone; but look at his angle. He's taking off laterally out towards the line judge at first before his eyes pick up that the pass is sneaking in behind him.  Kaufusi will have to learn to feel that release behind him and identify that there's no player at all in his "area".  Doing so would allow him to drop off at a steeper angle and he can either take away this throw or potential get a hand on it if the Quarterback decides to pull the trigger anyway.  

It's hard to dole out too much criticism of the fundamentals which such a limited sample size; but this is a great example of something to look for improvement in as BYU gets deeper into their 2014 schedule.

Recap: In all; Kaufusi impressed me with the versatility he's shown as a prospect from 2013 to 2014.  I don't think he's going to be best served spending a lot of time in space because he's not naturally fluid opening up his hips or turning to run; but he certainly showed no lack of ability to generate pressure vs. UConn.  I'm looking forward to seeing if his body becomes better acclimated to playing at 265 and if we see a little bit more explosion in him.  I certainly think Kaufusi has a future playing on Sundays; I'm just not sure where he's best served to do it yet.  With a little luck; a larger sample size in 2014 can help us determine that.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi

Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Tackle
Texas A&M Aggies
Height: 6050 - Listed
Weight: 305 - Listed

Games watched: vs LSU (2013), vs Alabama (2013), vs South Carolina (2014)

Strengths: Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi is the latest Tackle prospect to be churned out of College Station over the past 3 seasons, following in the footsteps of Jake Matthews (2014 Draft) and Luke Joeckel (2013 Draft).  Similarly to both of his former teammates, Ogbuehi is a technically refined prospect at the Tackle position.  After 2014's season, Ogbuehi will have a full year of tape at both RT and LT (just like Jake Matthews) and if the season debut vs. South Carolina was any inkling to how his transition to the blind side will go, Ogbuehi will be just fine.  Ogbuehi is more finesse than pure power but that isn't necessarily a bad thing when he can get out onto the second level as quickly as he does here in the run game: 

Ogbuehi is helped with a clean release off the LOS but regardless, he's moving very well to get 5 yards onto the second level.  There isn't a defender that shows his face for Ogbuehi to block and impact the play, but regardless it is great hustle and athleticism and it shouldn't be overlooked.  Should there have been a cut back or anything along those lines; Ogbuehi is in a great position to spring the back.  And Ogbuehi's athleticism is put to use for more than just running free in the run game

This is a really nice job by Ogbuehi to chip the crashing DE and make sure the Guard can absorb the block before scraping laterally to pick up LSU LB Lamin Barrow (#18).  Ogbuehi lifts with his left hand once engaged to generate just enough torque and turn of Barrow's shoulders to re-position himself between Barrow and the running lane for QB Johnny Manziel (#2). 

This talent for positioning himself between would be tacklers is one that shouldn't be taken for granted, that body positioning and the effort to get it right makes it nearly impossible for his man to have an impact on the play unless the ball carrier bounces around wildly.  He showed this skill off against South Carolina the other day as well

Again, note how his shoulders are squared to his defender, while his back is directly to the running lane.  Ogbuehi does overrun this block slightly but he's on the back side of an off tackle play going to other way; it's not a negative impact by any means.  

While Cedric is a great athlete; his technique is what makes him such a stand out prospect.  Ogbuehi has an outstanding first step in pass protection; he snaps his outside foot back sharply to get depth away from the line of scrimmage and protect the edge. 

This first step is really pronounced and because it is crisp; it really puts him at an advantage directly off the snap.  Ogbuehi does a really nice job adjusting his depth depending on his rusher, he doesn't get too much depth to leave himself vulnerable to inside counters or not enough depth to force his feet to cross over to keep up with a speed rush.  

By and large, Ogbuehi does the little things right.  He's got sharp footwork in pass protection, he works hard for position and leverage in the run game, he's a heady player who is patient and picks up stunts/pressure well.  He even has perfected the fine art of a "Kouandjio club" in the delayed hand off blocking department.

Weaknesses: While Ogbuehi is a solid run blocker, a lot of the movement he generates is from the fact that he's a smooth lateral athlete as compared to actual run power.  Ogbuehi's anchor in pass protection is solid, but his leg drive and ability more defenders off the ball along the line of scrimmage isn't something I've seen a ton of.  Some of his perceived lack of power may well come from the fact that Ogbuehi isn't consistent with his hand strikes impacting blockers.  I've noted several times that Ogbuehi catches defenders with his chest instead of consistently stunning them with his hands.  

It's clear here how Ogbuehi's hands aren't into the defender's chest or pads but rather he's totally missed initiating contact.  His pass protection anchor is solid and he absorbs this contact well, he visibly sinks his hips to absorb and play with leverage.  However this is something that happens a bit too frequently to be dismissed as a rare occurrence and it's likely why there are times when Ogbuehi doesn't look overly dominant on film from a strength/physicality perspective.  It's really the only glaring hole in him as a prospect; but it's also something that can be easily fixed and can be made habit with coaching and awareness.

Recap: Ogbuehi is a physically gifted athlete for his size; he moves extremely well going forward, backward or laterally.  He also displays a great understanding of the game and an ability to execute the fundamentals of the position that talent evaluators have come to expect from Texas A&M Offensive Tackles.  Ogbuehi was extremely impressive in his season debut vs. South Carolina this past week; should he continue to perform at that level against top competition for the remainder of the season at Left Tackle; he could very well challenge for the top ranked prospect at the position.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: South Carolina RB Mike Davis

Mike Davis, Running Back
South Carolina Gamecocks
Height: 5090 - Listed
Weight: 223 - Listed

Games watched: vs Georgia (2013), vs Mississippi State (2013), vs Texas A&M (2014)

Strengths: Davis is on the shorter side, he's a very compact player with a great build to sustain a regular dosage of carries and hits.  Davis' stature plays well carrying the ball in the backfield as he at times "hide" behind his blockers until there's a crease.  He's got powerful legs, which he uses to drive through arm tackles (and sometimes bodies) and pairs it with a good understanding of pad level to stay low and brace for contact.  He's not afraid to run over a defender in his way, like on this touchdown run vs. Georgia

Mike Davis gets the pitch on the 9 yard line before planting and driving downhill.  You can see the pad level drop as he is actually the aggressor on the play; he strikes with more power and punishes his 3 would be tacklers, running his feet straight through all 3 of them to pull the Gamecocks within 3.  This is an impressive play; those aren't FCS defenders Davis is bowling through.  

Davis' skill set expands well beyond just power running; a scary proposition when you consider how good he can be at grinding out yardage (He struggled to produce vs. Texas A&M last night in part due to health concerns and South Carolina trailing big most of the game, but it was clearly visible that Davis' carries had a different assertiveness to them and he consistent fell forward).  Davis' running talents are accentuated with outstanding vision.  He does a very nice job pressing the line of scrimmage and THEN finding a lane; helping to produce flow and over-pursuit.  

Again, make note of how Mike Davis closes in on the line before planting and cutting back against the flow of the LBs and EDGE defender for Mississippi State.  It takes good vision to be able to see that lane so close to traffic, but Davis consistently shows top notch vision and sets up blocks to gain chunks of yardage on the ground.  

This isn't a line of scrimmage lane but rather good open field vision to see his lineman crashing down against a flowing defender and instead of continuing this play to the boundary he cuts back inside the numbers to pick up an additional 10+ yards on the play.  These open field cuts are regular reminders of Davis' vision as one of his best traits.

Nice job by Mike here to stick his foot in the ground and bounce laterally to set up yet another block on #26 in the second level.  For a runner with so much power, Davis makes a killing with chunk yardage because of how well he sets up blocks and IDs running lanes and he compliments with surprising acceleration

Davis really shouldn't be able to get to the sideline here, he's got 2 defenders who have angles on him.  But once Davis bounces and gets into open field, you can see he's up to top speed (which isn't particularly fast) almost immediately.  He's quicker than Georgia's second level bargains for and he's off to the races.

It's obvious Mike Davis can run the ball and run it well.  But how does the rest of his skill set look?  Can he stay on the field all three downs?  In order for a back to be an every down player; he needs to be able to step up in pass protection.  

Running backs are held to a bit different standard when it comes to blocking; they shouldn't be asked to lock on and sustain blocks for extended periods.  Davis does a really nice job here stepping up and absorbing the blow of a blitzing Safety without conceding any ground.  That's a great effort.  

Apologies for no GIF on this play; but Davis' pass blocking was given another plus on this play; where he comes all the way across the set to pick up a blitzing Linebacker.  What impressed me the most about this play was how quick he was to ID the player he's responsible for and shift all the way from behind the RT to the far side B gap and again not concede ground on the play.  

And Davis' supplemental skills don't stop at blitz pickup.  He's also got a set of hands on him.

Davis bails out Connor Shaw on this 3rd and 8 screen pass to come back across his body to bring it in 1 handed and still be able to turn up field and challenge for a first down.  But don't make the mistake of thinking that was a one hit wonder in the receiving game

Mike Davis' skill set is deep in many different facets of the position.  I came away from his 2013 cuts convinced it was the best 2 game sample of any 2013 RB I watched, including last year's draft class.

Weaknesses: So if Davis is such a complete back, what can stop him?  By and large, only he can.  Davis' body has betrayed him thus far in 2014, he's struggled with rib and hamstring issues all throughout the summer and in last night's contest with Texas A&M Davis aggravated his ribs, ending his night early.  Davis lost the start last night due to "missing too many preseason practices" according to Coach Spurrier before last night's game and the Gamecocks offense looked a bit lost without him.  Davis needs to get healthy and stay healthy; as a RB with a laundry list of injuries would make some leery of giving him a lofty draft status should he declare at the end of the 2014 season.

My only on the field knock of Davis is his lack of long end speed.  Davis isn't going to win footraces with plenty of secondary players and he ran out of gas down the field on a number of runs in 2013's cut ups.  Davis doesn't make his living as a home run hitter however and while he isn't going to outrun you, he should still manufacture plenty of large runs with his vision, cuts, short area quickness and acceleration to beat initial angles.

Recap: South Carolina's Mike Davis is the kind of running back teams can use as a centerpiece.  Running, receiving, blocking; provided Davis is healthy there's very little reason to take him off the field.  He's going to provide tremendous value as an every down back.  My hope for 2014 is that Davis can get healthy and flash all of the same talents that he did in 2013 that helped him pop off the screen every time he touched the football (and sometimes without the ball).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: Florida State OT Cameron Erving

Cameron Erving, Offensive Tackle
Florida State Seminoles
Height: 6060 - Listed
Weight: 308 - Listed

Games watched: vs. Clemson (2013) vs. Miami (2013), Florida (2013)

Strengths: Erving, a converted Defensive Tackle who switched over to the offensive side of the ball after his 2011 freshman season, clearly has the kind of athleticism to be an attractive prospect at the position.  Erving has a wide, thick build but moves very fluidly out in space and can get out onto the second level in a hurry.

Erving washes Miami LB Denzel Perryman way down on contact, you can tell Perryman never even saw the contact coming.  That ability to release and clean is a valuable asset in the running game and it's evident when the blocking scheme opens up and allows him to come onto the 2nd level that it's an area of Erving's game that comes naturally to him and suits his talents.  

Erving's movement skills go beyond coming straight out of his stance as well; he can close laterally with relative ease as well.  Here's a nice blitz pick up vs. Clemson that showcases both good awareness and lateral movement to slide out and cut off the blitz.   

Clemson's blitz doesn't show until late because it's coming out of the slot.  The defender takes a nice angle and times his blitz well, he'd be meeting Winston at the top of his short drop out of the gun if Erving doesn't get width and initiate contact.  Such a late shift in pass protect is a nice showcase of Erving's athleticism.  

From strictly a build standpoint, Erving appears to have a large wingspan, which helps him with his "sphere of influence" controlling defenders when he properly initiates contact in pass protection.  Here vs. Miami, you can see just how far out he can engage pass rushers.

His reach forces the DE to produce width before he's any more than 3 yards into the back field.  Nevermind how quickly the ball comes out, Erving has won the snap on first contact because he's got the range to stun defenders early in their pass rush thanks to his wingspan.  

Weaknesses: As you may expect from a converted Defensive Tackle with just 2 years of experience at the position (and the most important position on the line), Erving is raw in his fundamentals.  Extremely raw.  The first half of the Florida Gators game was an ugly one from a fundamental standpoint for Erving (who rarely faced the Gators' best rusher, Dante Fowler).  Offensive line play starts from the feet up and Erving's pass set was all kinds of wrong

Here vs. OLB Ronald Powell (#7), you can see how far Erving is drifting and stepping laterally in his kick slide.  Because he's not getting depth to steepen the angle Powell must press to gain the edge (and in due part because Erving has no pop on his punch), at the point of contact Powell is able to continue momentum up field and force Erving to cross over his feet in an effort to stay in front of the rush.  This pass pressure can be attributed to a poor angle out of his stance, too much width too close to the LOS and a soft punch.  It consistently showed up, including against the previously mentioned Dante Fowler (#6).

This play really showcases how Erving is jumping out laterally.  It forces him to square up on Fowler and turn his shoulders 180 degrees to the line of scrimmage just 2 yards into the backfield.  Once the Tackle squares up his defender, the Quarterback should be positioned directly behind the Tackle's back.  You can see here in this visual that it's clearly not the case, as Jameis Winston is set up approximately 30 degrees outside Erving's left shoulder.  It gives Fowler a wide area to press and still produce pressure and it's compounded by the fact that Erving's hands are DOWN, he triple clutches on a stun punch and Fowler is allowed to rush right past him.  This protection vs. Powell is a nice close up that allows a good visual on where his hands are at the point of contact and how he's forces to cross over his feet. 

Erving's hands are down, he's committed facing up too soon and he's crossing over feet to try to hold.  The ball is out quickly so it's not directly influencing the play; but it's something that showed up consistently and is the best illustration of the work Erving has to do from a pass blocking fundamental standpoint.  The good news is he flashes occasionally the proper kick slide to make him much more efficient and keep his integrity as an edge blocker. 

It's much more obvious on this snap that he's reaching BACK for depth and showing more patience facing up his pass rush, with exponentially better body positioning.  Now he just needs to make this kick slide second nature.  Erving's problems are very much fundamental in nature, however his overall lack of physicality doesn't impress me all that much at this point either.  There are times when Erving will allow his feet to stop on contact, he doesn't generate a ton of movement in the running game and his previously mentioned lack of heavy hands gets him into trouble in pass protection just as much as his sloppy footwork.  

Erving outweighs Clemson's Vic Beasley by a good 70 pounds if you trust the team rosters from 2013; but yet because Erving is passive with his hands and allows Beasley (who has a ton of momentum off the snap with that explosive first step) to initiate the contact, Beasley simply bowls over Erving and puts him on his back.  Beasley does a great job getting under Erving's pads and jolting him on contact and he had Erving inside out after about 3 steps but Erving has to show more ability to absorb and anchor than that as well.

Recap: I hope things click for Erving in 2014, because he's an impressive athlete for his build and size.  The potential is certainly there for an NFL Left Tackle, but at this point I'd consider Erving a mid-round work in progress.  Whether he's thinking too much or for whatever other reasons; he really struggles to put everything together consistently.  Either he's drifting in his kick slide or he's not engaging with any power or he's stopping his feet short on contact in the run game.  Erving shows bits and pieces of being able to do all of these things; but he needs to really brush up on his fundamentals and make them second nature.  Until then, he's going to be a good athlete with a great frame and not much more.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: Utah WR Dres Anderson

Dres Anderson, Wide Receiver
Utah Utes
Height: 6020 - Listed
Weight: 190 - Listed

Games watched: vs Stanford (2013), vs Arizona State (2013), vs UCLA (2013)

Strengths: Watching Dres Anderson's 2013 cuts reminded me of another tall, thin, speedy down field receiver from the past several years; Justin Hunter out of Tennessee.  While Anderson is listed 2 inches shorter than Hunter, both displayed an outstanding ability to track the football in the air and have the long speed to separate down the field.  This touchdown reception vs Stanford shows that ability perfectly: 

Anderson gets down the field and despite being muscled and squeezed towards the boundary; he has the awareness to stay in bounds and cut back across his defender.  He turns to locate the ball and his adjustment position-wise is made before his defender even finds the ball.  Anderson does a nice job going up to make the catch and not allowing the DB a second chance to play the ball through his hands and manages to extend the ball past the goal line for 6.  While this throw may have been the signature play of Anderson's season (it essentially was the deciding points in beating Stanford), it's only partially capable of displaying Anderson's down field prowess.  This ball vs. Arizona State is much better thrown and helps give us a fuller view: 

Anderson releases inside against press coverage and his timing is clean; he doesn't take any false steps on his way down the field.  After about 5 yards, Anderson has won the route; he's gotten over the top of his defender and his long strides and speed help him open up about 2 yards of separation by the time the ball is delivered on the post.  What I like most about this route is Anderson's adjustment as the ball drops in overhead.  Part of his advantage is running on an angle away from the sideline towards the uprights, instead of flattening out his post to catch the ball in front of him he runs directly underneath the ball and bows his head and shoulders back to cradle the catch.  If he flattens out his post, his angle isn't as steep and it opens the window for the defender to close from the trail position.  Instead, it's a catch and it highlights Anderson's deep instincts quite well.  

Anderson's open field speed was displayed in more ways than one in 2013, however.  Utah produced touches for Anderson by getting him the football on the boundary quickly and letting him get yardage after the catch in a number of ways.  This touchdown vs. UCLA is a great example: 

Running the bubble, Anderson gets a clean catch vs. off coverage and is faced with 2 options as he turns up field.  He can head all the way to the boundary or he can cut inside of the block he's gotten from the Z and try to break a tackle.  If he goes to the boundary, his block may not hold and the pursuit likely bottles him to a modest gain.  Instead he gets past his block quickly and proceeds to outrun 3 pursuit angles on his way to a touchdown, showing off impressive long speed.  Utah even moved Anderson across the set pre-snap in an effort to get him space for RAC (such as this lateral vs. Stanford):

Stanford's crashing Safety gets out to the boundary, forcing a cut back but it leaves Anderson with 7 yards of space and him 1 on 1 against a LB.  His short area burst gets him out into the second level quickly and before the pursuit can catch him Anderson has already bounced this play to the boundary for a long gain.  

Anderson's deep ability and ball tracking lead to some spectacular receptions, but no catch was more impressive than this short crosser in the red zone vs. Arizona State: 

This ball is hot coming out and because of the angle of the throw it's way out away from Anderson's body.  Coming over the middle in front of the squatting LBs, Anderson's speed busts the zone coverage but that's the easy part; he has to catch this throw.  With one hand, Anderson is able to corral the football and turn up for a score.  Concentration and hands received a plus mark for this play in particular.

Weaknesses: While Anderson does make some spectacular catches and adjusts to the ball very well on the fly, he doesn't always display strong hands when catching, particularly in traffic.  He, understandably so given his frame, doesn't hang tough with potential contact looming and can get a case of "alligator arms".  Additionally, adjusting to throws that test the perimeter of his catch radius produce irregular results, such as this dropped slant pattern

Yes, this throw was behind him, but this is still a fairly reasonable reception.  This was one of the more challenging drops I saw in 3 games from 2013; he had several between the numbers that hit him directly in the chest, including 1 vs. Stanford that directly resulted in an interception.  While Anderson's ball skills are strong, his hands need to show better consistency in 2014.  

While no one expects Anderson to be a juggernaut physically, it's another area that he will need to work on.  This applies to not just being a complimentary blocker on the boundary but also for his release vs. press coverage.  Anderson didn't consistently beat press with clean releases and it negatively impacts the timing of his patterns.  

There's no time on 3rd and 12 to get locked up at the line of scrimmage.  If Anderson wins here off the release, he's got a fair amount of space to release to and challenge for a 1st down.  Instead, he's jarred by the Cornerback and when he does release up the field it is because the Corner has turned to run with him and 7 yards off the line Anderson hasn't gotten on top of his defender, rendering his route useless.  

Recap: Anderson is a player that really pops off the screen at you when he's in space and attacking defenses vertically.  His skill set is somewhat specialized; he doesn't run a ton of routes other than the basic fly, post, bubble, slant and every so often a cross.  He can win in such a role but he'll need to continue to work to become more well rounded and increase his consistency catching the football; particularly in traffic.  The PAC 12 schedule the Utes face in 2014 will provide some great tests for Anderson, I'll be interested to see what steps he takes as a player this year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NDT Scouting Prospect Spotlight: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller

Braxton Miller, Quarterback/Athlete
Ohio State Buckeyes
Height: 6020 - Listed
Weight: 215 - Listed

Games watched: vs Penn State (2013), vs Michigan State (2013 B1G Championship), vs Clemson (2014 Orange Bowl)

Strengths:  Braxton Miller was the featured trigger man of the Buckeyes offense last season and looked to be poised for a massive 2014 campaign before a non-contact injury to his throwing shoulder ended the year before it ever began.  It's a horrible turn of events for Miller, who has since announced he expects to return for another season by the grace of a medical red shirt.  However, word is Miller had to be convinced to come back after 2013 and the draft process is a long ways off; so there's plenty of time for Miller to change his mind.  

In watching Miller's 2013 cuts, several traits immediately made themselves evident.  First and foremost, Miller has an absolute cannon for an arm.  He spins the ball cleanly and it explodes out of his hand on delivery.  There was no better illustration of this velocity/trajectory trait than this throw vs. Michigan State:

This is a gutsy throw on a post pattern and a defender in the trail position, but with no Safety sitting over the top it's a play that can be made if the Receiver goes up with a strong play on the ball.  Miller's throw pretty much runs straight for the upright crossbar and WR Corey Brown locates the throw much easier than SAF Isaiah Lewis for a touchdown.  The theme of attacking vertically manifested itself frequently watching the Buckeye offense; lots of backfield motion and zone read with secondary progressions down the field appeared to be Miller's bread and butter plays.  It's very easy with that backfield motion into the flat (the same motion that caught the Spartans 2nd level flowing laterally instead of getting depth) for secondary players to start drifting and Miller is usually there to capitalize

Miller's target TE Jeff Heuerman is so wide open, Miller under throws this ball by about 10 yards (forcing Heuerman to come to a dead stop on the 30) and he still pretty much walks into the end zone.  Secondary vertical reads after a zone read are ones Miller typically sees very well and very much likes to attack.  Every so often, Miller will even pop some nice ball placement, such as this throw vs. Penn State to protect his WR from a breaking Safety:

While a throw out in front may likely have been completed anyway, putting the ball there puts his receiver at risk of getting blown up on the hard downhill angle from the Safety.  By forcing his receiver to come back for the football not only does Miller guarantee the completion on 3rd and 13 but he shields his receiver from a huge hit.  Miller doesn't show these throws often but he flashes them enough to suggest he may have the ability to get harness them.  Of course, Miller isn't quite renowned for his arm like he is for his legs, he's absolutely devastating as a runner.  His zone read TD romp vs. Clemson shows just how fast he is when he's out in space: 

What's most impressive about the run (besides lowering his shoulder and going for broke on the goal line) is outrunning 2 angles in open space.  Miller's speed once he gets an opening in front of him isn't just surprising to me, it's clearly catching the Clemson defenders off guard.  Take into consideration that speed and now pair it with the fact that Miller is effective down on the goal line as well

This isn't the type of player you're going to be able to take down with arm tackles, as Clemson finds out.  Miller's legs make him a problematic player to defend and are undoubtedly his best asset when you take the player as a whole. 

Weaknesses: While Miller undoubtedly has the arm strength to attack defenses at any level, I'm more than underwhelmed at Miller's ability to throw the ball on multiple trajectories and with any amount of touch in the intermediate and short areas of the field.  This throw on the move vs. Penn State comes out entirely too hot: 

There's several issues with this specific throw outside of just the lack of touch on the ball.  First of all, when throwing on roll outs it's necessary to attack the line of scrimmage more.  Miller's roll out is too flat, so his momentum is carrying him out to the sideline instead of into his throw.  This compounds things when Miller pulls the trigger.  You can see him make an effort to square his shoulders but again, momentum is carrying him across the field so he doesn't get the proper upper body set.  If he's coming more down hill, those shoulders can really square and he can get more accuracy on this ball.  

As Miller's legs are his greatest gift, they can also be a curse.  Miller periodically tries to do too much, keeping the ball himself when it's best to give.  Both on zone reads and pass/run options, like this goal line snap vs. Penn State

First take a look at the blocking scheme.  Everything is drawn up for a QB draw, RB Carlos Hyde crashes off tackle as a lead blocker, the Right Guard comes around the edge to kick out the DE and there's a strong down block/double team  at the point of attack with the LG and LT.  But TE Jeff Heuerman doesn't block anyone; he releases as if to take the OLB but drifts past him and into the end zone, all by his lonesome.  

Miller could have thrown this ball left handed, behind his back while blindfolded and still could have completed this one.  He's 5 yards off the line of scrimmage and Heuerman doesn't have a defender within sight.  Granted, it's possible the coaches instructed Miller to keep this all the way, but then why leak both Heuerman and Philly Brown into patterns?  This throw was here for the taking and Miller missed a TD pass in favor of a 3 yard run.  

My biggest issue with Miller is a lack of anticipation.  He has to see throws to decide to throw them.  A lack of anticipation makes for an extremely uphill battle in an effort to become a NFL Quarterback.  For example, when is a 30 yard completion a bad play?  Well, this throw went for 30 yards vs. Penn State but I marked it as a negative play for Miller.  Why?  Because look what Miller sees at the top of his drop:

Miller has a clean pocket.  He has at least 4 yards in every direction as to manipulate the pocket.  He has his check down to RB Carlos Hyde WIDE open and his crossing pattern is getting ready to break on the other side of the dropping MLB.  The important thing to note is the LB is drifted slightly to Miller's left but mostly getting depth.  His WR is on a full on sprint to the sideline, if Miller wants this throw he can take a hitch step and put it directly over the official's right shoulder and hit his man in stride.  Instead, he wiggles for 4 steps, contemplates taking off to his right and then spots up to throw the cross, who has since sat down in open field.  This is a throw that needs to be made with timing, he can't rely on his athleticism to extend these plays regularly and expect success.  

Some of these struggles may be systemic issues, like this zone read/seam combination.  

Yes, Miller is staring down the barrel of pressure from the EDGE defender.  But he's also 6-7 yards away and coming from a standing position honoring the jet motion.  Yes, LB Glen Carson (#40) is scraping over the top here and intersecting this throwing window.  But there is a TON of space to drop this into the seam with some touch (and again, anticipation) But despite all the space, his receiver doesn't even turn his head until he's 15 yards down field.  Miller can't hold the ball that long, so his receiver isn't helping him out.  If it's timing based it may explain why Miller doesn't pull the trigger; but it's not helping him as an NFL QB prospect either.

Recap: I have significant doubts about Miller's ability to throw with anticipation, consistent accuracy and touch as a Quarterback.  He's a special athlete with great open field speed and enough size to challenge would be tackles on the second level and beyond but on the whole, I'm not convinced Braxton Miller is a Quarterback in the NFL.  He's quick to drop his eyes and run, he misses passing windows and he isn't asked to do many common practice NFL QB tasks, such as 3/5/7 step drops and timing patterns.  Miller is far too reliant as a passer on visual keys, he has to see a man open to throw more often than not.  Much of Miller's passing production comes off of zone reads and throwing vs. off coverage to receivers on the perimeter in the flat.  Miller has a place in the NFL, I just don't think it's as a signal caller.