As the season starts to come to a close and fans begin to look towards the draft for solace and hope I wanted to slowly and steadily begin to assemble a list of prospects I like.
For a few weeks now I’ve been taking a closer look at the college game looking for possible players Ballard might have his eye on. This list is primarily my notes from those film sessions, feel free to go look up the highlights of a lot of these guys after reading the articles.
I don’t expect to be making a lot of film room pieces, at least not until we begin to get closer to April or unless there is an uproar of clamor on a certain guy (Jordan Love might be the only one). Finally, the layout will be a periodical release of 3 prospects, if there’s some under-the-radar player you might think I may miss, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll take a closer look. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR
Weight: 220 lbs
Class: Senior (C)
Statistics: 95 receptions (3rd) for 1,222 yards (6th) and 11 TD (13th)
Pittman seems like a total Ballard pick. He could’ve left school as a Junior and been a mid to late round pick after posting 48 receptions for over 700 yards. Instead, he decided to bet on himself and come back to a loaded WR room for his final year. Clearly, the gamble has paid off.
Usually when I see a player posts such a dominant stat line I expect them to play outside the Power 5. Pittman does play in arguably the 2nd weakest conference in the Power 5 (Pac 12), but he does have some big games against some good defenses. Unfortunately for Pittman, or fortunately for the Colts, this is a loaded WR class and I could definitely see the USC product slipping into early Day 3 due to concerns about his speed, release and route running. The Combine will be essential for Pittman if he wants to raise his stock
- Not great off the LOS, lacks burst.
- Amazing physicality, uses his size in all the right ways. Wears corners down as the games goes on.
- Long arms (waiting on exact length from Combine). Has incredible catch radius
- Uses size and basic route running instead of speed to gain separation. Can make contested catches
- Good with back shoulder catches
- Can put the clamps on a DB/CB when blocking on run plays.
- Not much ceiling left to explore as he isn’t a freak athlete. Could improve/expand route tree
- Has glue for hands. Drops are not an issue. If it’s in his general vicinity he will make a play on it.
- Can high-point a ball well. Does a good job of redirecting his route and tracking the ball in the air.
- High character guy, USC captain. Has a Youtube channel where you get more of a direct touch on his demeanor. Seems like a good kid.
Best film: Utah, Cal, ASU
Worst Film: Notre Dame, Oregon
Marlon Davidson, DE
Weight: 276 lbs
Statistics: 46 tackles, 28 solo, 12 TFL, 7.5 sacks (41st), 1 FF
if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a big Davidson guy. This is another Ballard guy. The #32 rated player coming out of high school, like Pittman, he could’ve left last year and been a 5th-7th round pick. Still, he decided to come back for another year, along with Derrick Brown, to form an experienced and formidable defensive line. There’s a lot to like about Davidson, as of right now I have a mid to high 4th round grade on him, but he could squeak into the tail end of round 3 with a great showing in Mobile.
There is a bit of a concern about his bendiness as he doesn’t really have great hip-mobility (more about this in my notes). In that regard he doesn’t fit the lengthy, bursty, bendy portfolio that Ballard has drafted with the Colts (Basham, Turay, and Banogu). Nonetheless, Davidson compares positively versus the likes of Jabaal Sheard in the terms of height (6’2’’ vs. 6’3’’) and weight (260 vs. 276).
- Has a lot of upper and lower body strength.
- Seasoned vet. Good technique and high football IQ
- Plays well against the run. Can diagnose the play as it develops.
- Played against NFL caliber SEC OTs
- Size is a bit of a problem. Specially tackles with long arms.
- Relentless motor.
- Bullrushes too much, it only works against lower level tackles. Stronger tackles stonewall him.
- Good tackler, uses arms to wrap up. Will stop RBs on their tracks.
- Can play with hands in dirt or on 2-point stance. Is more explosive out of 2-point.
- Sets the edge really well.
- Leader, has all the intangibles.
- Strength to play LDE, RDE and on the inside DL
Best film: Alabama, Kentucky State, Florida, Arkansas
Worst film: Georgia (versus Andrew Thomas, a top 5 pick and my highest graded LT in 2020 draft)
*Davidson’s style of play worked against everyone this season (except Thomas). That includes against Alex Leatherwood, a 5 star prospect (#4 overall out of HS) who many deem a first round pick.
Blake Mazza, Kicker
Weight: 175 lbs
School: Washington State
Statistics: 20/21 FG (95.2%) and 52/54 PAT (96.3%)
College kickers are hard to scout. Unlike other positions, the resources I don’t have available make it exponentially harder to separate great kickers from good ones. For example, the Colts have the ability to interview players like Mazza or put them through high stress situations to see how they perform. I can’t. All I have are his stats and his film.
However, if you use just those two things to judge Mazza, then he’s pretty stinking good. Fortunately for me, he plays for an explosive Washington State offense, so he kicks the ball a lot more than other prospects. From his 75 kicks (of the which I’ve watched about 35-40) he checks every single box by which I judge a kicker.
- Leg power
- Clutch factor
Here’s a breakdown of Mazza’s kicks by distance for 2019:
- 20-29 range: 6/6
- 30-39 range: 11/11
- 40-49: 1/2
- 50+: 2/2
His sole miss? 48 yards. Personally, I would’ve liked to seen the WSU product kick more 40+ kicks, but he doesn’t really have power over where he kicks from. Also, he clears his kicks by a pretty decent margin.
I scouted Mazza about 2 weeks before McLaughlin joined the team. So far, McLaughlin has done nothing to disprove the fact that he should be the Colts kicker, but there are still 3 games left for him to blow it.
Finally, Mazza is a rSo. So while he could technically declare for the draft, there is a very real chance that he decides to come back for another year at WSU.
I hope you enjoyed the article. I’ll make an effort to get at least 3 prospects out on a weekly basis, feel free to comment any players you might think I should take a look at, specific positions you want to see targeted or just general questions/opinions on prospects. I didn’t really want to put out mock drafts as Zach Hicks is currently making a series out of that (make sure to give it a look, there’s great analysis there). Also, I just wanted to outline guys that I thought were talented without having to necessarily worry about where they were projected to go.