- Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage's feet:
Pitt's Tom Savage is all the rage these days, reportedly a candidate to be selected very early on Day 2 to a Quarterback needy team. These aren't strictly rumors coming out of left field; highly respected outlets such as CBS Sports (who lists Savage 31st overall on their current rankings) and NFL Network's Gil Brandt (who says Savage should go top 40) are feeding this frenzy. But in watching Savage's game film, there are a number of red flags that manifest themselves, most notably with his accuracy and footwork. There are times in which Savage is set on a proper throwing platform but he still has placement issues. That is a greater concern than his footwork, but the problems with the feet flash quite regularly.
On the play above, Savage steps into a throw between the right numbers and the right hash mark before thinking better of it. He double clutches the ball before his eyes shift down to the flat receiver. But Savage never picks up his lead foot. He keeps the foot planted, pointing forward and drops the pass out into the flat. There wasn't any issues with the placement, the fullback is just slow to turn upfield and it's a gain of 1. But fundamentally, throwing off angles that don't align with your feet do two things, it endangers accuracy and sucks out velocity. This is a very dangerous habit for a Quarterback to extend his platform and not drive onto the lead foot.
A few minutes later in the 1st Quarter and Savage does the exact same thing. He has dual crossing routes coming across the middle of the field and off the plant at the top of his drive, he steps left to lead the left breaking crossing pattern (just on the edge of the picture). However he shifts his eyes right to the other middle pattern and without resetting his feet attempts to lead the receiver breaking to the right. With his feet still pointing left, this pass is low and away, falling incomplete. Savage DID recognize that there was pressure coming from his left, but all he needed to do was step up, allow the rush to blow past and reset his feet. A poor decision and poor mechanics.
- Rutgers WR Brandon Coleman's upside:
Brandon Coleman is a prospect who has somewhat gotten lost in the shuffle of both the overall depth of this year's WR class and the more flashy big bodied Wide Receivers like Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans. But when watching Coleman's 2013 tape it's quite evident that he brings a lot to the table and it is just a matter of planting him into an offense that has more room to allow him to grow. In all honesty, the Rutgers' offense suffocated him this past year.
One thing Coleman has consistently been during his time at Rutgers is a down field threat. Here against Notre Dame, Coleman released off the snap facing off coverage with a cushion of 10 yards. In 4 strides off the line, Coleman has closed that cushion down to 4 yards, forcing the DB to flip his hips to turn and run. Coleman already has this route won. He's got a committed defender and has a lot of space to the perimeter to allow himself to bow out as needed to create separation when playing the ball in the air (not to mention if he was running a post pattern, the DB will be greatly out of position and there are vertical patterns inside the seam to hold the center Safety). In another 2 strides, Coleman is level with the DB and on his way to slipping past him for a 55 yard completion down the right sideline.
But Coleman isn't just a "go long" weapon, he's a very large body who flashed outstanding hand technique to work through traffic. In the play above, you can clearly see Coleman beat press coverage with an over swat, his inside hand leverages on the forearm of the pressing DB and pushing clean through BOTH arms to keep the defender from getting his hands on his chest. The ball went elsewhere on this play because of pressure; but Coleman's ability to beat press gave him a lot of green and a lot of separation.
Of course the biggest threat Coleman can still present is in the red zone, where with less space to work his large catch radius because a premiere trait. But Coleman showed on more than one occasion against Notre Dame that he's not just one to dominate the catch point. He can actually run routes. You can see above that Coleman is isolated at the top of the formation 1 on 1 with a defender who is shaded towards the boundary. The goal here is to keep Coleman to the inside where the defensive help is. But as the play develops, Coleman shows some great football IQ, he is running a corner route but he initially presses inside. This forces the DB to squeeze with him, opening up more space for when Coleman crosses back outside.
And here you can see Coleman doing so. He's pressing towards the boundary but he's manages to get across the face of the defensive back and now has outside leverage, all he needs to do is finish the route and get depth behind him.
The final result of this play is a badly under thrown football and an incompletion. But you can see Coleman has indeed achieved depth and if the ball was thrown to the top of the 'O' in Notre Dame and not the bottom of the 'O', Coleman would have had an easy touchdown here.
Earlier in the game, Coleman had another opportunity to score from the red zone and again it is Notre Dame's willingness to play Coleman 1 on 1 in space. Above is an illustration of the play to be ran and which defender it going to be responsible for help over the top (or lack there of). You can see Coleman is working from the slot 1 on 1 with minimal safety help from the hash to the sideline.
This time, the ball is in play for Coleman who clearly has a ton of space to work to with the Safety focusing on getting depth instead of getting width. Coleman runs underneath this pass for an easy touchdown but his ability to maintain his pace thanks to a fairly fluid break made this catch an elementary one. Hardly a one trick pony.
- Arizona State OLB Carl Bradford's football instincts:
Sun Devils LB Carl Bradford catches a lot of flak for his arm length. While it certainly will have an effect on his impact as an edge rusher, Bradford has an unbelievable motor and as will soon be illustrated an outstanding football IQ:
UCLA is employed the NFL's flavor of the month here, the zone read play. The goal here is to leave the edge defender unblocked and for the Quarterback to keep the ball if the player is too aggressive to the Running Back. But Bradford in space plays this play perfectly, he's square to the line of scrimmage, he stops a yard deep in the backfield and he's patient. If Bradford collapses on this play, Brett Hundley may still be running. Instead, it's a minimal gain.
Bradford doesn't have the length to keep himself consistently clean on the edge, but he does an outstanding job here recognizing not just the play taking place, but that he's not going to win around the edge. First of all, look at just how deep Bradford is in the backfield. He's a full yard deeper than his teammates. This is an excellent display of his anticipation off the snap and his ability to get depth in a hurry. But the where with all to peel off of this edge rush, get width and to intercept this swing pass to the back for a defensive touchdown is an A++ defensive play.
Bradford against UCLA this season also flashed some versatility. Down near the goal line Arizona State put Bradford on the inside as an off the ball linebacker and he did not disappoint. Bradford shows great diagnosis skills here in getting down hill to plug the running lane. Bradford is a blur where every other 2nd level defender for Arizona State is only now reacting to the play. Bradford's quick diagnosis allows him to meet the fullback behind the LOS and reset the point of attack. In turn, the running back has no where to go and runs into the back of his own blocker. Bradford proceeds to clean up the play and bring down the ball carrier.
Would you like to see someone specific in the next edition of the Film Study Review? Contact Kyle Crabbs, Founder of NDT Scouting, on Twitter @NFLDraftTracker and let him know!