After floundering under Al Groh for a number of seasons the Cavaliers hope a new coach takes them in a new direction. Recently known for top offensive linemen and linebackers when Groh led the program, the first UVA player selected in the ’11 NFL Draft will be a defensive back, just as it was last April.
Offensively, receiver Jared Green works hard to come free, makes good use of the sidelines and effectively uses his frame to shield away opponents. A tall target, Green will extend expose himself to the big hit in order to make the reception. He lacks top end speed but has enough skills to make it as a fourth wide out.
Tight end Joe Torchia is an underrated prospect in the sense he has NFL skills yet is not highly considered in the scouting community. Torchia is fluid releasing off the line into routes, nicely extends his hands and makes the difficult reception in contorted positions. He bends his knees, blocks with leverage and is explosive at the point. Torchia lacks top physical skills yet does enough to get looks as a 2nd/3rd tight end.
Ras-I Dowling is a prospect we think highly of and a guy who exceeded our expectations last season. Off the ’08 film we thought he was a lot like Jimmy Williams, the former Virginia Tech defensive back who offered legendary physical skills yet marginal football abilities. Dowling proved us wrong last season. He is a terrific athlete and easily gets vertical and contorts to defend the throw, also displaying good hands for the pick. He uses his frame to box out opponents and also possesses a solid break to the throw. Tough defending the run, Dowling does a solid job diagnosing running plays and possesses better than average instincts. He lacks top-end speed and struggles following receivers out of their breaks but is a much better cornerback at this point in his career when compared to his former teammate Chris Cook, the 34th pick in April’s draft.
Safety Corey Mosely is another aggressive defensive back and a prospect effective against the run and pass. He possesses above average instincts and effectively locates the pass in the air. Just a junior, Mosely offers a nice upside.
Linebacker Cameron Johnson is a good athlete that is forceful and fast up the field on the blitz and fluid moving in all directions of the field. He’s a prospect we think can be a three down defender.
|FA||Jack Shields (ret)||C||64||5Sr|
It seems Virginia Tech does it with smoke and mirrors every season. Then again when you’re led by one of the best coaches in all of college football its’ easy to see why the program is always highly competitive. The talent they’ve put into the draft has been solid yet nothing spectacular. They had a few hits yet more than a fair share of misses. “Solid” is the best way to characterize the class of draft eligible Hokies.
Running back Ryan Williams is a nice prospect yet not the second coming as many have predicted him to be. Elusive with the ability to avoid defenders and piles, Williams has speed and quickness to break to the outside, shows a burst through the hole and creates his own yardage. He does a terrific job following blocks, keeps his feet moving on contact and works runs. Williams is also a competent receiver out of the backfield yet not a blazer carrying the ball nor a strong back on the inside. Is he a feature runner for the next level? We’ll need to watch more of him in the coming seasons before we give him that label.
Tyrod Taylor is an athletic college signal caller adept at both throwing the ball or carrying it. Patient, he buys time for receivers and shows a strong arm. An elusive ball carrier, Taylor can escape the rush then make defenders miss in the open field. As a thrower he sprays passes, forces the ball into coverage and shows minimal pocket intangibles. When it comes time to project him to the next level Taylor will be given more looks at running back versus quarterback.
Rashad Carmichael is a tough cornerback that battles with receivers throughout the route. He shows good recognition facing the action but lacks the great speed and may be best suited for a zone system.
Scouts like John Graves, an explosive one gap tackle with terrific first step quickness.
Virginia Tech Pro-Prospects
Cyhl Quarles is a tall, good looking safety. He possesses a decent burst of closing and recovery speed, gets outside the numbers in coverage and wraps up tackling. He’s a good player now with a decent amount of upside.
Russell Nennon is a hard working, intelligent blocker with limited upside. He does a terrific job quarterbacking the offensive line, blocks wide base and gets leverage on opponents. Getting the most from his assets, Nennon uses effective body positioning to seal defenders from the action, keeps his head on a swivel and shows terrific awareness. He lacks bulk, overall strength but could fit at the next level as an inexpensive utility blocker.
Marshall Williams is a solid possession receiver who lacks the deep speed and second gear. Williams displays terrific focus as well as concentration, looks the ball into his hands and could fit in as a fifth receiver.
Josh Adams is a nice back and a prospect we may be underrating. Adams offers solid running vision and instincts, works hard on the inside and weaves his way through the traffic to pick up positive. Showing quickness in his running, Adams sets up defenders, makes them miss and creates his own yardage. He also a very good receiver out of the backfield.
Wake Forest Pro-Prospects
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