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    Richner: Pre-Draft Blog #2

    Last Updated: 10/14/2014 10:06 AM ET

    Utilizing our unique, objective approach to player projections and development, PredictionMachine.com presents its 2013 NFL Draft content, including a Mock Draft, Position-by-Position Reports, Statistical Breakdowns and Future Projections for all prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. Content is FREE from PredictionMachine.com's Paul Bessire and Jonn Ewing as well as NFL Draft Expert Matt Richner.

    Every year there are a few players who seem to wow the scouting community with their blend of size, speed, power and agility. Scouts and front office executives think that their organization is the best place to mold these dynamic athletes into elite pass rushers. Unfortunately, the number of players to be developed from projects to Pro Bowlers is few and far between. For every player like Vernon Gholston, Aaron Maybin, Robert Ayers and Derrick Morgan, the likes of Michael Strahan, Robert Mathis, and Jared Allen were elite pass rushers in college that slipped down the draft boards. Below are two players—Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon, and Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU—that have all the measurables but lack the production. For that reason, I have them ranked lower than have most draft pundits.

    Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon

    In 45 career games, Dion Jordan had a total of 49.5 impact plays for an average of 1.10. This ranks 19th  amongst all pass rushers in this year’s draft class. Jordan failed to show up against quality competition; instead, he made a few highlight tape moments against weaker, less formidable opponents. Below is a chart that shows the teams Jordan registered a sack against last season (five in all), and the opponents’ NCAA rankings in terms of sacks allowed AND the average number of sacks these respected teams gave up per game last year.

     

    Sacks Allowed

     

    Rankings

    Avg. # of sacks allowed per game

    Fresno State

    78

    2.2

    Tennessee Tech

    FCS

    2.0

    Washington State

    120

    4.8

    Arizona State

    102

    2.9

    Avg.

    106.3

    3.0

    The highest-ranked team is Tennessee Tech, but they play in the FCS level of college football. On average, these teams gave up close to three sacks a game last season. To put this in perspective, the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide allowed, on average, 1.64 sacks a game last season, which ranks them 46th in the country.

    Of the roughly 150 current and former elite pass rushers in the NFL that make up our Pass Rushers Report, only 28 of them had 14.5 or fewer sacks for their college careers. This accounts for only 18.6% of the players in the study. In the report, I recommended that teams focus on players who have achieved at least 18.5 career sacks in college. There are a total of 98 players who have achieved this mark, which is 65.3% of the entire collection.

    Dion Jordan had 14.5 sacks throughout his college career, yet NFL scouts and media are enamored with his length and athleticism. The question I keep coming back to when I read scouting reports on Jordan is, why didn’t he showcase this speed and athletic prowess during games? Hard to imagine that a player who was ranked 85th in the conference in tackles per game at 3.67 is going to be a top ten selection. He was ranked 19th in the conference in TFL, third on his own team. Lastly, he ranked 21st in the conference in sacks at 0.42 sacks a game. Yet, when he lines up across from the likes of Joe Thomas, Russell Okung or Joe Staley, scouts believe he will have no problem getting after the quarterback?

    The best outside linebacker coming from the Pac-12 isn’t Dion Jordan; it is Chase Thomas from Stanford. For his career, Thomas had 27.5 sacks, 50 TFL and nine FF. Some team is going to get a steal with Thomas, and some team is going to get a major project with Jordan.

    Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

    Barkevious Mingo possesses a long frame, with athleticism that most scouts believe warrants a top ten selection. He outperformed most scouts’ high expectations at the NFL Combine, running a blistering 4.53 40-yard dash, and showing off a 37” vertical and 10’8” broad jump. All-in-all, an impressive physical specimen and a player who is the definition of a boom or bust pick.

    Up until this point, Mingo has been able to get by just on his raw athleticism and speed. His one area of strength is using his long arms to break up passes, with his 11 PB ranking sixth amongst all draft-eligible defensive ends. His go-to pass rush move is the outside speed rush; he doesn’t possess the technique to fight through blocks nor does he have an interior power rush move.

    Mingo played opposite the third-ranked defensive end pass rusher on our board, Sam Montgomery, who accumulated 19 sacks and 32.5 TFL and averaged 1.82 impacts plays per game for his career. Mingo had 15 sacks, 29 TFL and averaged 1.48 impact players per game for his career. Yet, Montgomery is graded by most scouts as a second-round selection, having played the RDE spot where he was matched up against some of the nation’s top left tackles, such as Luke Joeckel, a possible first-overall selection in this year’s draft from Texas A&M.

    Against Texas A&M, Mingo was matched up against 2014 future first-round draft prospect, Jake Matthews. Matthews stonewalled him throughout the game, barely giving up any ground and moving Mingo in any direction he pleased. For all the talk about Mingo’s speed, though, his average time from snap to contact with the quarterback was a pedestrian 3.46 seconds in this game, not the elite time one would expect from a future top-ten selection. If he can’t match up against one of the best in college football, how can someone assume he can deliver in the NFL?

    Mingo’s average impact plays per game ranks him 19th amongst draft eligible defensive ends. While he had a good redshirt sophomore campaign, he never quite reached the same level of production this past season, when he finished eighth on his own team with 38 tackles and fourth for TFL with seven. Not the production I would expect from a top ten selection.

    Though he is freakishly athletic, he leaves a lot to be desired. Without the strength to fight through blocks, he is a liability as a run defender. His limited production as a pass rusher also leaves me to wonder, why would someone take a chance on him in the first round? I have a mid-round grade on him, a third-rounder at best. He should be given some time to develop and learn the finer details on how to become a good pass rusher. 

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