2016 DRAFT: 5 "Gs" OF THE G5

2016 Draft: 5 "G's" of the G5

Staggering numbers, strong leadership, and big dreams. They are all great attributes, but is it enough to have your name called on NFL draft day if you play at a G5 school? Okay, what if your not a quarterback named Roethlisberger and you have chosen to come out early? Four outstanding wide receivers Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan), DeMarcus Ayers, (Houston), Rashard Higgins (Colorado State) and Roger Lewis (Bowling Green), and a stud DB (Marshall's Corey Tindall) are about to find out. Generally, an early entry to the draft is a one way ticket to Disappointmentville for a G5 player (just ask Houston WR Deonte Greenberry or UMass TE Jean Sifrin last year), but will 2016 be different? We here at pigskinpress.com had the opportunity to have NFL remote scout Nathan Cooper share his scouting reports (below) and talk us through the process in this week's podcast about these 5 intriguing athletes who have chosen to leave school early and take a risk at seeing their NFL dreams flourish or... fizzle out.

Daniel Braverman, WMU

Daniel Braverman Wide Receiver #8, Western Michigan 5-10, 178 lbs, RS Junior

Games Scouted – 2015 Michigan State, Ohio State, Miami (OH), Bowling Green Stats – 2015: 108 Rec, 1367 Yds, 13 TD – Career: 212 Rec, 2499 Yds, 19 TD

Strengths

  • Shifty

  • Extremely explosive when changing directions

  • Quickness

  • Gets in and out of his routes very quickly; especially great out of the top of his route

  • Concentration

  • Does a good job concentrating on the ball with defenders around him

  • Awareness

  • Very good around the sidelines

  • Comes back to the football

  • Helps his QB out by coming back to the football and not waiting for the ball to get to him

Weaknesses

  • System-oriented

  • In the 4 games I scouted, 18 of his 56 (32%) targets were within 1-yard of the LOS

  • Ran a good deal of routes, but will need to get more consistent with an NFL route tree

  • Separation

  • Tough time getting off of defenders when they engage their hands

  • Home run speed

  • Has good, but not great speed; quicker than fast

  • Hesitant across the middle

  • Good if he can cross the ball to the other side, but shy catching the ball over the middle

  • Too much

  • Will tend to try and make too much happen after the catch

  • Doesn’t always seem sure when to stick his foot in the ground and make a move or head for the sideline

Analysis

Braverman is solely a slot receiver. He has a very small frame, probably too small for the NFL game. He will have to show that he can play special teams before he will get a shot at receiver. I believe he would need to be utilized in screen packages to get him the football in open space. If a team can bulk him up and sharpen his routes running an NFL route tree, he may turn into a fourth or fifth receiver down the road.

NFL Comparison: Wes Welker No he is not and won’t be Wes Welker, but a lot of what he does and how he does it reminds me of him.

Draft Projection: 5th-6th Round

Demarcus Ayers, Houston

Demarcus Ayers Wide Receiver #10, Houston 5-11, 190 lbs, Junior

Games Scouted – 2015 Louisville, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Florida State Stats – 2015: 98 Rec, 1222 Yds, 6 TD – Career: 142 Rec, 1687 Yds, 9 TD

Strengths

  • Hands

  • Does a really good job going up and plucking the ball out of the air

  • Adjustment

  • Good ability to adjust to the ball in the air

  • Short-area burst

  • Able to stick his foot in the ground and go

  • Quickness

  • Extremely quick and shifty at the top of his routes;

Weaknesses

  • System-oriented

  • In the 4 games I scouted, 17 of his 50 (34%) targets were within 1-yard of the LOS

  • Didn’t run too many different routes; ran a lot of screens

  • High stance

  • High stance causes him to come off the ball slow and take longer getting into his route

  • Rarely comes back to the football

  • Doesn’t always help his QB by coming back to the football, lets the football travel to him

  • Doesn’t seem to show the physicality to want to fight through defenders for the football

Analysis

Ayers is a small-body slot receiver that doesn’t run many routes. He’s best running screens and routes around the line of scrimmage. He will need to get bigger and learn an NFL route tree, but I believe he does have the ability to be a slot receiver in the NFL. The fact that he only had one-year of big-time offensive production begs the question of if he’s even ready for the NFL. His return ability helps his value, but he will need to show that he can contribute on special teams early in his career before thinking about getting playing time as a receiver.

NFL Comparison: Tavon Austin He isn’t nearly as explosive as Austin, but they did a lot of similar things in college and look very similar. Ayers is very raw, but if a team can give him time and utilize him correctly, he has some ability to hit some Tavon Austin-type home runs.

Draft Projection: 5th-6th Round

Corey Tindal Cornerback #10, Marshall 5-10, 182 lbs, RS Junior

Games Scouted – 2015 Purdue, Southern Mississippi, Western Kentucky Stats – 2015: 64 Tackles, 2 INT, 13 PBU, 3 Sacks – Career: 198 Tackles, 3 INT, 31 PBU, 5 Sacks

Strengths

  • Short-area burst

  • Shows flashes of being quick and explosive when transitioning

  • Hip Turn

  • Quick and fluid hips

  • Run support

  • Assuming the run is to his side, he doesn’t mind helping out against the run

  • Pound-for-pound physicality

  • He’s not incredibly physical, but he is for his size and he competes

Weaknesses

  • Block shedding

  • Has a tough time getting off stalk blocks

  • Man coverage

  • Doesn’t have the speed or ability to stay with guys in man coverage

  • Recovery speed

  • Doesn’t have the speed to recover down the field after being beaten

  • Change of direction

  • Slow changing directions and getting out of the top of his break

  • Back pedal

  • High in his back pedal at times, which makes him off-balance and slow

Analysis

Tindal is a small-framed corner that played primarily to the boundary in college. Teams are looking for bigger corners that can compete with the large receivers in today’s NFL game and I’m not sure his 5-10, 182-pound frame will cut it. Although I don’t think he has great speed down the field, he does show a burst and quickness at times. Tindal seemed to play his best while he was in zone coverage and able to watch the ball and not a man. He is pretty physical given his stature and won’t hesitate to get in on a tackle if he’s in the vicinity. He does a few things okay, but doesn’t do any one thing really well. A team will need to bulk him up or at least refine some of his fundamentals and skills to see if he can play and contribute in the NFL

NFL Comparison: Brandon Boykin Both Tindal and Boykin have very similar frames. Boykin is durable and has turned into a solid depth-corner in the NFL. Although, I don’t think Tindal will have the impact Boykin had early in his career. Boykin had the chance to play SEC competition each week, while Tindal was in the C-USA.

Draft Projection: 7th Round-Undrafted

Rashard Higgins Wide Receiver #82, Colorado State 6-2, 190 lbs, Junior

Games Scouted – 2015 Colorado, Utah State, Boise State, UNLV Stats – 2015: 75 Rec, 1062 Yds, 8 TD – Career: 239 Rec, 3649 Yds, 31 TD

Strengths

  • Route running

  • Solid route-runner

  • Top of the route

  • Ability to make moves and work at the top of his routes

  • Hands

  • Good job catching the ball away from his body

  • Improved drop totals from 8 in 2014 to just 3 in 2015

  • High point ability

  • Does a good job going up and getting the ball at its highest point

Weaknesses

  • Speed

  • 4.64 forty at the combine (4.55 at pro day)

  • Can he separate from NFL DBs and stretch the field vertically?

  • Strength

  • Only 13 bench reps at the combine

  • Will struggle in press and when bigger defenders latch on

  • Average blocker

  • Will attempt blocks, but seems to block only when he wants to

Analysis

Higgins is a solid route runner and hands catcher that was extremely productive in his three years at Colorado State. He exploded his sophomore year with 96 catches for 1750 yards and 17 TD. He did struggle with drops that season, but managed to cut those down considerably in 2015. He’s a guy that will win a majority of “jump balls” with his ability to high point the football. However, he doesn’t have great speed or strength, so it’s a wonder if he can separate at the LOS and down the field at the next level. He has a pretty big ego, so that could either help him or hurt him, but you definitely won’t be able to say he lacks confidence in himself. Look for him to be a Day 2 pick that should come in and compete for playing time as a rookie.

NFL Comparison: Leonard Hankerson Hankerson was a little bit bigger and faster than Higgins coming out of Miami (FL), but many of their measurables are the same, with both having similar playing styles on the field.

Draft Projection: 3rd Round

Roger Lewis Wide Receiver #1, Bowling Green 6-1, 199 lbs, Sophomore

Games Scouted – 2015 Maryland, Purdue, Akron, Northern Illinois Stats – 2015: 85 Rec, 1544 Yds, 16 TD – Career: 158 Rec, 2637 Yds, 23 TD

Strengths

  • Creates separation

  • Very good at creating separation off the LOS against press defenders

  • Adjustment

  • Does a great job adjusting to the football in the air

  • Able to fight through defenders and find the football

  • Comes back to the ball

  • Really good at coming back to the ball to help his QB out

  • Doesn’t let the football come to him, especially on curl routes

  • Home-run ability

  • Almost 30% of his routes in the 4 games I scouted were go routes

  • Able to take a short pass and turn it into a long gain

Weaknesses

  • Character

  • Charged with two counts of rape in high school (one dropped and one plea deal)

  • Spent two years at a prep school before coming on at BGSU as a greyshirt in 2014

  • System-oriented

  • Ran a very limited route tree

  • In the 4 games I scouted, he basically ran only four different routes with go routes and curl routes making up 58% of his targets

  • Concentration lapses

  • Dropped some easy passes at times, seemed to be looking for a defender before securing the catch

Analysis

Lewis put up huge number in college, so he has top-of-the-draft talent, but I ultimately see him falling to the middle rounds mainly due to off-field issues. If he can interview well regarding those issues, look for him to creep up draft boards. He has some speed to break away from defenders down the field. Ultimately, he will need to work on running an NFL route tree to show he can contribute to an NFL offense. He’s a guy that may need to start on special teams, but if drafted into the right situation, has the ability to be a back-end receiver beginning Day 1 of Training Camp.

NFL Comparison: Terrance Williams Lewis is a little bit smaller than Williams, but they ran a similar style of offense in college that translated into a lot of production.

Draft Projection: 4th-5th Round

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