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Posted Dec. 21, 2009
2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates
Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews vs. Wyoming
I was really looking forward to Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews' game tape against Wyoming in the New Mexico Postseason Exhibition Match (Code for "Bowl" on WF.com).
When I put on the tape, I'm just having a very hard time finding something to like about this prospect. He has no chance of cracking a 4.50 40 time; the burst
through the hole is poor and he has no second gear. Mathews was struggling to turn the edge or break one upfield against Wyoming - how is he going to do this against even bad defenses like Detroit or St. Louis? It isn't going to happen.
Mathews has a good frame with nice upper body mass, but he has average thighs. You want a running back to have thick thighs because these muscles generate the lower-body power to absorb shock from tackles and break them. If you have below-average speed (and average speed for an NFL back is 4.45 by my estimation), then you better have elite intangibles.
Mathews' game intangibles are very poor. He isn't a competitive back like a Knowshon Moreno who would break tackles at will. Mathews didn't break one tackle in this game by my count, and we are talking about WYOMING. His legs go completely dead on any initial contact. In a critical goal-line carry in overtime, he was easily tackled on the 1-yard line by a linebacker - and we are talking about a carry that should show his heart and leadership. This isn't something that will be remedied in the NFL. If you can't do it in college against poor talent (most college talent is poor talent compared to the NFL), then it isn't happening in the pros.
Also, Mathews had a fumble in this game, but I won't begrudge him because I need to find out if this is a problem or not. If he consistently has ball-security issues, then that's another knock. If he has taken care of the ball well all year, then I'm not holding it against him because all backs fumble once in a while.
The Fresno State offensive line is very experienced and they dominated against Wyoming. I've seen this unit play very well this year and there is no doubt in my mind Mathews is the beneficiary of a lot of monster holes created to fuel his stats.
Mathews runs very good routes out of the backfield, has soft hands, and is a very good pass protector. He can definitely play on third down if a team needs him to.
The problem with Mathews is he lacks the heart and talent of a No. 1 back, and he lacks the speed and game-breaking ability of a No. 2 back. I'm not really sure what role he will have in the NFL. What is his calling card? If statistics are your calling card in college, then you aren't going to produce in the NFL because you simply don't have the talent to find a niche at the next level.
The 2010 NFL Draft running back class is pretty shallow and I'm confident that if Mathews does in fact then he will come off the board in the third or fourth round based on production alone. Kevin Smith and Shonn Greene both had very average speed, but their production got them drafted toward the top of Round 3.
I haven't been a big Mathews fan all year (I've seen a couple games), but this Wyoming tape really ticks off the scout in me - sometimes I'll see a game and just start asking myself how such an average talent can be so heavily hyped up.
I'll be completely shocked if Mathews sees the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He isn't going to run well at the Combine if he declares and the tape can't possibly impress NFL teams to consider him in the second round. Don't buy the hype.
Rutgers OT Anthony Davis vs. Central Florida
I thought Davis had a very good game against Central Florida. He does a great job of maintaining a solid base and absorbing the blow from the end on the bull rush, but once he did get too high and allow the rusher into his body to force a QB hurry.
Davis is an extremely strong player who displays very strong hands and he is a mauler against the run. His footwork is solid, but I'm not sold on him as a great athlete. He is a good athlete, but he isn't up to par with a Eugene Monroe. Davis occasionally gets too high in his stance and while he does occasionally overextend for the most part, he is patient in pass protection.
Davis is going to come off the board in the top 25 picks, but I highly doubt he gets drafted ahead of Maryland OT Bruce Campbell who is simply a far superior athlete and pass protector.
Central Florida DT Torrell Troup vs. Rutgers
Troup had a very good game and he certainly looks like an at-worst fifth-round pick. He was quick off the snap, but I am concerned about his range. He is sluggish for a 315-pound nose tackle, and I wonder how much more weight he can carry and still be in playing shape. Troup is extremely strong at the point of attack and he does a good job of staying low and clogging the A-gap. I love his quick, strong hands, and he has a deadly club move.
Troup is one of the top five nose tackles in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he isn't a prospect you'll pencil in as a starter in his rookie year.