clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Scouting Notebook: Week 9 players to watch in college football

New, comments
NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Another week and yet another Scouting Notebook. With the 2-5 Indianapolis Colts taking on a very underwhelming Oakland Raiders squad, the team could be heading in the right direction before the bye week. Still though, it is never too early to look at some 2019 draft prospects.

This week’s guest analysis is from Mark Jarvis of WhatsOnDraftNFL.com. Jarvis is one of the most detailed and hardworking evaluators out there and I highly recommend following his work on his site.

Let’s jump into this week’s scouting notebook, featuring four player scouting reports.


Qadree Ollison, RB (6’1”, 225 lbs.)

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Playing significant time for the Pittsburgh Panthers since his redshirt Freshman season, Ollison has flashed some real ability in his career. Filling in for NFL sensation James Connor back in 2015, Ollison had a big year. He finished his redshirt Freshman season with 212 attempts for 1121 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his career, Ollison has appeared in 42 games and has rushed for 2292 yards on 443 carries for 24 touchdowns.


Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh - Ollison is a well defined 6’1” and 225 pounds of muscle, and it shows in his ability to create yardage through contact. He could even pack on more weight as he transitions to the pro game. He lacks long speed or overwhelming physical traits, but I believe in his ability to win between the tackles. Look for him as a potential fourth or fifth round selection who can take the short yardage snaps in Indy.


Film Room

Here is Ollison’s best trait in my opinion. He is an excellent pass blocker. He always identifies his player that needs to be blocked and stays square with the defender with a good base. His size often allows him to control the block as well. This is so valuable, especially for a team like the Colts who need to continue keeping Luck clean.

The Colts have a very impressive running back trio but they are in dire need of a power back added to it. Ollison is not only good at finding small creases but also finishing runs with great power and strength. He is not a great athlete by any means but his leg drive and ability to finish will be key on short yardage plays.

The Colts rely on their running backs in the pass game so much. Ollison is not an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield— as he is not the type of athlete who can get himself open at will— but he is a good route runner with solid hands. He checks off all three boxes that Robert Turbin fills for the team right now. Add in that he can play fullback as well, and you have a good, young replacement.


Fit with the Colts

Ollison looks like a perfect replacement for Robert Turbin. Despite being a bit older running back, Turbin has stuck on the Colts roster because he is a strong runner who is an excellent pass blocker.

Well that is exactly what Ollison is as well.

He is one of the best pass blocking running backs in college football as his time spent at fullback during his sophomore and junior seasons have helped him improve in that area. He also shows off some nice receiving ability. Another positive thing with adding Ollison is his ability to play fullback if the Colts wanted to call a play that asks for a lead blocker.


Daniel Cooney, OT (6’8”, 315 lbs.)

Background

The huge Daniel Cooney is an FCS player who could be selected in the NFL draft. In 2016 as a redshirt Sophomore, Cooney was voted as San Diego’s Most Improved Offensive Player by his teammates. In 2016 and 2017, he was named as All-FCS second team tackle. His only career statistical output came in 2015 as a freshman when Cooney caught a 9 yard pass for a touchdown against Valparaiso.


Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Daniel Cooney, OT, San Diego - Jumping down to the small school guys, I’m a massive fan of the Torero’s pillar of a tackle. Cooney has work to do from a technical aspect as a pass protector, but the frame screams blind side protector. The ability to dominate is there in the run game if he gets in the mindset for it. Don’t be shocked if he becomes a day two target with an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and Combine. We could be looking at a top 75 selection.


Film Room

Here you can see Cooney’s strength on display. Cooney (LT #75) is able to get his hands on the North Dakota State pass rusher and effortlessly throw him aside at the beginning of the play. This strength along with his natural size make him a very interesting developmental tackle.

Here you can see a little bit of Cooney’s athleticism. He engages the defender early and is able to strafe and stay with his man. Cooney’s long frame and quick feet are desirable traits for a tackle prospect and are solid building blocks to work upon.

Cooney could be a great run blocker if he focused on finishing more. His strength and athleticism allow him to get out in front of running backs and open up lanes. I’d like to see him put some defenders on their backs but he is great at moving in space and creating open lanes.


Fit with the Colts

The Colts have finally figured out their tackles situation with Anthony Castonzo locking down the left tackle spot and rookie Braden Smith locking down the right. The next step in really solidifying this line is adding depth. A major need going forward is a developmental swing tackle who can sit behind these two and really refine his game. Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark have filled in well this year but at this point those guys are what they are. With Cooney, the Colts would have a huge body who can move well in the run game and pass pro. If they can refine some of his little flaws, he could be a potential replacement for Castonzo in a few seasons.


Gerald Willis III, DT (6’4”, 300 lbs.)

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Gerald Willis has had a very up and down collegiate career. After transferring from Florida, Willis was suspended before his first game with the Miami Hurricanes. Along with the off field issues, Willis really hasn’t produced much for a former five star recruit. That all changed this season. Willis has 39 tackles— 14 tackles for a loss— and 2 sacks in just 8 games played.


Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami - Now for the most exciting of this bunch, we get to the rising Willis. Willis has been almost non-existent on the stat sheet through his college career until his senior season. The off-field red flags will be worrisome, but what he does as a pass rusher is rare for the interior. Active and violent hands combine with lightning fast twitch off the snap. They come together to form a guy who can beat you with speed, power, and even technique. He’ll likely need to be taken round one.


Film Room

Willis’ natural strength and technique on full display. Willis first uses a swim move to create separation. Then he transitions inside and finishes the play with an under move inside to get the sack. This level of hand usage and technical development is crazy for a guy who hasn’t really played at all up until this point in his career.

Again Willis shows off his ability to shed blockers. He is contacted by two blockers in the hole here but is able to stay square with the runner and make the tackle for a loss. Notice how quick he is off the line here as well. That quickness along with his hand usage— which I will continue to hype up because it is great— makes him impossible to block one on one.

This play is just flat out silly. He has the guard grabbing air right off the snap. Only option for the guard is to tackle Willis to save the safety. The most impressive part of these clips is that all of these highlights are from the same game. Even more impressive? This was his first game for Miami after not playing at Florida and sitting out another year after transferring.


Fit with the Colts

Willis would come in and immediately be a top interior pass rusher for the Colts if he continues playing well this season. His athleticism, length, and size could make him a versatile mover along the defensive line much like Margus Hunt has done this season. I do disagree with Mark’s point above about Willis going round one though. Although he obviously has the talent, with such a deep defensive line class and Willis’ off field issues, I could see him slipping to early round two. Colts would be wise to invest in his talent there.


Kyron Brown, CB (6’0”, 195 lbs.)

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Florida Atlantic vs Akron Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Background

The captain of the Akron Zips’ defense, Kyron Brown is solid player. Appearing in 37 games in his career with Akron, Brown has tallied 105 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 18 pass deflections. The senior cornerback was also named as a Jim Thorpe watch list honoree prior to the season.


Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Kyron Brown, CB, Akron - I love my small school guys, and I love my corners who hit. Brown is both. Despite only being listed at a relatively modest 6’0” and 195 pounds I view him as one of the most controlling zone corners in the class. He won’t be running step for step with anyone, but he can wall off the sideline and come downhill to smoke screens. An angry tackler who leaves nothing behind, he’ll be a stalwart of run defense. The testing won’t be great and should leave him as a round six or seven option, but the potential to be a starter is there.


Film Room

Best trait that Brown has is his tackling ability. He is very sound in this area, as he breaks his hips down excellently and targets the runner’s waste. Very controlled in his tackling too as he is not just throwing his body at guys. He is always wrapping up and bringing guys down.

Again Brown is able to shed a block and make a big tackle. He is excellent at making sure that receivers don’t take him out of the play, often times stacking and shedding like a linebacker in run defense. He’s able to lay a big hit on the runner here as well.

Brown is not a great athlete and it limits him a lot in coverage. Where he does win though is in jump ball/ red zone opportunities. He is feisty and competitive, and he uses that competitiveness to contest jump balls. Receivers may out jump him, but Brown is almost always able to knock away one-on-one situations.


Fit with the Colts

Brown may not be a flashy pick, but he is a very good scheme fit for the Colts. He is very similar to Nate Hairston in my opinion. Brown is a great tackling senior corner with pretty decent size. He may not a be a great athlete and it will lead to him being beat in man coverage, but I think he can play pretty well in a zone dependent scheme. He has the energy and leadership ability of a guy like Kenny Moore and those are the types of guys you need rounding out your roster.


Final Thoughts

This is now the 7th Scouting Notebook of the year and it has been quite obvious what the Colts’ positions of need are. Although they keep changing since the Colts are still playing regular season football— example being that tackle isn’t as big a need now because of Braden Smith— the main positions of need stay the same.

Chris Ballard found a lot of gems in this past draft and I’m confident in him finding more in the 2019 draft as well. These are a couple more guys who could fit this Colts’ roster. Outside of Willis, none of these guys appear to be top flight picks. That being said, I think Mark Jarvis did a great job identifying players that Ballard would like.

Versatile, multi-position players in Ollison and Brown along with a big developmental tackle in Cooney. These are the types of players I expect Ballard to be targeting in this next draft.

If any of you are more interested in the work that Mark Jarvis does over at WhatsOnDraft.com, here is a link to his draft database. It is quite expansive so please enjoy.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KY3jyelNpheEC9cIauXKeBWU6k1W5O-6IjJ5zcyy_vo/edit?usp=sharing