GT Pros is Back! Here’s What You May Have Missed

After a stressful last two weeks, as any Tech grad or student would know, it is now time to get back to writing. There have been some very exciting news over the last two weeks, so hopefully this post covers everything!

The NFL Draft has come and gone and there wasn’t a single Georgia Tech player drafted. Although this draft was abnormally deep, it is still surprising to see guys like Uzzi, Barnes, and Sweeting go undrafted. Luckily for them, however, almost all have signed UDFA deals. Here’s a list of where everyone ended up with the exception of Uzzi, who has not signed with anyone as far as I know.

Orwin Smith- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TJ Barnes- Jacksonville Jaguars

Rod Sweeting- New Orleans Saints

Tyler Morgan- Carolina Panthers

Izaan Cross- Buffalo Bills

In NBA news, Jarrett Jack and the Warriors were able to pull a major upset over the Denver Nuggets in the 1st round of the playoffs. They now have a date with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2nd round, which means Jack will have to be a big contributor off the bench. Curry will have a hard time keeping Parker out of the paint, which means Jack will have to be even more important on the defensive end. Chris Bosh and Iman Shumpert are also still alive in the playoffs. I expect the Heat to coast by the Bulls, but the Knicks will have a very tough time scoring on the Pacers’ defense. They already lost game 1 at home, which is a really bad start to the series.

Another interesting development is the call up of Tyler Greene by the Chicago White Sox. He has played well when given the chance, and he certainly should stay on the active roster for the foreseeable future. Matt Wieters has improved on his stats recently and is starting to improve on his average. This slump has lingered longer than expected, but he still has a long season ahead of him and needs to avoid pressing.

The last two weeks have been eventful, but we are now heading into the summer, which means baseball, golf and the NBA playoffs will dominate our coverage. Make sure to come back and check out what you have missed as we gradually start to post again!

 

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2013 NFL Mock Draft- Georgia Tech Edition

usatoday.com

usatoday.com

Since the NFL Draft is almost upon us, I figured it would be a nice time to do a mock draft. This will be a typical first round mock draft, but will also have projections for all of GTs potential drafted players. Do you agree or disagree with certain picks and projections? Let us know by commenting below! Continue reading

Mock Drafts in Agreement About Uzzi

Although mock drafts are meaningless to NFL GMs and scouts, who use their eyes to evaluate talent, they are still intriguing to NFL fans. They give the common fan an idea of where players are currently expected to go based off of the author’s “sources”. If one team falls in love with a player, however, there’s no telling where that player will be drafted (Bryan Anger to the Jags in the 3rd round). This could very well be the case with Omoregie Uzzi, who came into last season as a potential second day pick. After missing out on the entire pre draft process, his stock has dropped and he is a late round pick. Let’s take a look at where some of the mock draft websites have him going. Continue reading

NFL Draft Speculation

waitingfornextyear.com

waitingfornextyear.com

The NFL Draft is almost two weeks away, which means teams are starting to throw out smokescreens and rumors to confuse other teams. Sometimes they can actually be quite humorous when they poorly thought out and obviously false. We’re going to ignore all of this confusion, however, and look at Tech’s players in this years draft and where they should expect to go. Continue reading

Orwin Smith Scouting Report

Orwin Smith was a fan favorite during his time on campus, but that is irrelevant now that the NFL Draft is approaching. He was unable to attend the combine and didn’t participate in Tech’s pro day, which caused his draft stock to take a hit. The most important thing in the scouting process, however, is game tape, and Orwin has quite a bit of it. He was a key contributor in Tech’s offense for three years and has made many game-changing plays in his career. This scouting report will highlight his key strengths and weaknesses by looking at the first half of the Miami game from last season (I decided to spare everyone the second half) and a highlight video of his career. Below are the two videos respectively and he is #17 like always. Continue reading

Omoregie Uzzi Scouting Report- Part 2

As many of you hopefully saw, I did Part 1 of Omoregie Uzzi’s scouting report a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, here it is. For Part 1, I used the Clemson tape from last season and highlighted many of his strengths and weaknesses. This time around I’ll be using the game tape from Georgia Tech’s ACC Championship Game contest against Florida State. This game should be more telling of Uzzi’s ability since they have more talent along their DL. Below is the video I will use for reference in this scouting report and Uzzi is #77 at RG like usual.

Strengths

Uzzi’s first strength I pointed out from the Clemson game was his ability to dominate DL and push them back at the point of attack. Although it isn’t as noticeable in this game (given the increased competition), he is still able to control his blocks and get leverage on the DT. If you look at 15:20 in the video, Uzzi gets off the line well and pushes the DT back. He holds his block, which keeps the DT from arm tackling the B Back. Throughout the game, Uzzi shows the strength to play in the NFL and it should help him see some playing time early on.

In the Clemson game Uzzi didn’t get a chance to show his pull blocking and pass protection abilities, but luckily he was asked to do this more against FSU. At 27:50 in the video, Uzzi gets out of his stance and pulls to the left side of the line. He gets a block on the defender and takes him out of the play, opening up the field for the A back. Another example of his pull blocking is at 1:01:00, when Uzzi gets out of his stance and gets to the defender. He isn’t able to cut block the defender because the DE makes a better play to avoid the block. In this instance however, we are just looking at his ability to get out of his stance and pull with good footwork. He has impressive athleticism that helps him quickly get off the line and get into position to finish the block.

After watching the Clemson game, I had Uzzi’s pass protection down as an unknown, purely since he never had to in that game. Almost all of Tech’s passes were short routes where the ball was out of the QB’s hands in 2-3 seconds. In the ACC Championship game however, Tech was forced to pass the ball against better CBs, which means longer blocking for the OL. At 24:55, Uzzi stays in front of the DT by using his quick feet. He keeps his balance and maintains the block through the play. He does it again at 51:45, where he dominates the DT and holds his block. He did a great job of pass blocking during the ACC Championship game and he projects favorably to the NFL.

Weaknesses

Much like the Clemson game, Uzzi played well against FSU. There isn’t much to critique after watching the tape, but there are a few minor issues he needs to work on. At 29:15 in the video, Uzzi gets thrown to the side by the DT, who ends up getting a tackle on the play. This is another example of Uzzi getting caught off balance. It could certainly be a problem going against NFL caliber DTs, but it doesn’t happen consistently enough to be a major concern. He also whiffed on a few cut blocks during the game, but he has all the ability to fix this problem (check out 26:40 and 51:10). In both plays, he completely eliminates the defender from the play, which is ultimately what you want all of your OL to do. Again, after watching the FSU video he doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game, which is why he is a two time First Team All-ACC guard.

Overall

Omoregie Uzzi is an extremely athletic OG who has the ability to become a starter in the NFL. He has been a successful football player at every level of competition so far in his career and I don’t see him slowing down. Had he not been injured for the combine, I believe he would be a 3rd or 4th round pick in the draft. Since he wasn’t able to perform for scouts, however, other players have risen ahead of him and he is now a 4th or 5th round pick. What also hurts Uzzi’s draft stock is the depth at the OG position this year. There are three or four potentially elite OGs in this year’s draft along with a few potential starters, which makes it harder for him to stand out. In the end, Uzzi dominated some of the best DL in the country throughout his career and I don’t see any legitimate reasons why he won’t succeed in the NFL.

Omoregie Uzzi Scouting Report- Part 1

Now that we are through the two major parts of the pre-draft process(Combine and pro day), it is time to look at another Tech draft hopeful, Omoregie Uzzi. Uzzi was considered Georgia Tech’s best NFL prospect back in January, but his stock has slowly slipped after missing the combine due to injury. When scouts go back and look at his game tape, however, they will see an impressive prospect who is undervalued heading into the draft. This scouting report will be divided into two parts because the only game tape I could find is full games against Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech. It would be very difficult to complete one scouting report with 5-7 hours of youtube video, so the first part will be based off of the Clemson game. Below is the video I will reference throughout the scouting report and Uzzi is playing RG in the video.

Strengths

Uzzi is 6′ 3″ and weighs 300 pounds, which is ideal size for an NFL offensive guard. Along with his size, he shows the strength to physically dominate DL at the point of attack. At 1:16:07 in the video, Uzzi completely consumes the DL and uses his strength to push the defender back. Throughout the game he shows the strength necessary to compete as a rookie in the NFL. He has clearly spent time in the weight room and it shows on tape. What helps Uzzi along with his strength is his ability to bend his knees and get leverage on defenders. At 20:50 in the video, he shows he is able to maintain proper form throughout his block and gets good leverage to keep his ground. Throughout the game, I very rarely saw Uzzi give up ground and get pushed back by Clemson’s DTs. This is directly related to his ability to win the leverage battle in the trenches.

Another one of Uzzi’s strengths is his ability to hold his blocks and take defenders out of the play. At 50:51 and 1:02:30, he holds his block and drives the Clemson player back. The second time I just mentioned was an exceptional play by Uzzi as he completely removes the defender from the play, which is what scouts look for in OG prospects.

All of the above strengths show that Uzzi is a very capable run blocker, which would be expected coming out of a triple option system. What was more of a surprise when watching the game was how he projects as a pass blocker. At 22:20, Uzzi uses his footwork to stay in front of the DE and keeps him out of the pocket. Sine he is an excellent athlete, he is able to quickly slide and use his feet to keep his balance. Tech’s offensive mentality during this game was to utilize a lot of quick out passes though, which makes it hard to determine how he’ll hold up when he’s required to hold blocks for longer periods of time in pass protection. Right now I see his pass protection projecting favorably to the NFL, which will help him see more playing time early on.

bleacherreport.com

bleacherreport.com

Weaknesses

Let me first clarify, Uzzi had a very good game against Clemson. He was able to create holes and did a great job of keeping defenders away from the plays. Therefore, these weaknesses are more consistency issues than they are actual problems with his game. The first weakness I saw was at 33:20, when Uzzi gets caught off balance and is thrown to the side by the defender. Throughout much of the game, he was able to dominate the competition and showed good footwork, so I am chalking this up as a consistency problem. The next weakness I saw was at 52:45, where Uzzi completely whiffs on a cut block and the defender blows up the play. This happened multiple times throughout the game, so it is certainly something he needs to work on. When college teams play Georgia Tech though, they know they are going to get cut blocked throughout the game, so it is easier to avoid them when you’re expecting it. NFL teams don’t use the cut block as often, which means he should be more effective at it at the next level.

Another big question scouts will have regarding Uzzi’s game is his lack of film on pull blocks. Pull blocking is a very important part of an OG’s game and I don’t recall seeing Uzzi attempt one in the Clemson game. He certainly has the athletic ability and quickness to become successful at it, but it is still a mystery.

Overall

Omoregie Uzzi is an extremely athletic OG who has three years of excellent production in the ACC. He is an experienced player that shows the skills required to translate his game to the NFL. Prior to the combine, he was considered a third or fourth round prospect. After missing the combine due to an injury however, he now projects to go in the 5th or 6th round. I believe he will wind up going somewhere in the 4th round because he has the talent level that teams won’t want to pass up on. If he goes to a strong running team, he should see some playing time as a rookie in a bench role. He has proven, with three years of All-ACC performances, that he can dominate some of the best players in the country and should be a very solid player in the NFL.

For Part 2, I am either going to use the Virginia Tech game or the FSU game in the ACC Championship. Do you guys have a preference? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to use whichever one is favored. Thanks!

Top Ten Tech NFL Players- #3 Michael Johnson

Now that we are deep into the NFL offseason, let’s go back and take a look at the Tech players who performed the best on the field last season. I believe the most informative and exciting way to do this is to make a Top 10 list, counting down from 10 to 1. I’ll post one player a day for the next ten weekdays, so make sure to keep up and share your opinions by commenting below. The next player we are going to talk about and the number three player on this list is Michael Johnson, a DE for the Bengals.

thepenaltyflagblog.com

thepenaltyflagblog.com

Michael Johnson was drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Bengals. He has played all 4 years of his career with Cincy, developing into a very good DE. In his first two seasons, he had 3 sacks and 2.5 sacks respectively. Then like most young DEs in the league, he started to show signs of promise. In his third season, he had 6 sacks and 42 tackles. This was a nice improvement from his 2010 season, and really excited the Bengals fan base. Last year, Johnson really performed well, starting in all 16 games and tallying 52 tackles and 11.5 sacks (one behind the team lead). His impressive performance in 2012 forced the Bengals to franchise tag him, since they did not want to lose a potential game-changing DE.

Some might worry that Johnson had a big year in the final year of his contract, but I don’t see this as an issue. He has shown gradual improvement over the last two years that lead me to believe his game is a product of excellent coaching. He has also benefitted from playing next to Geno Atkins, who has turned into arguably the best 4-3 DT in the NFL. Playing next to another great player helps alleviate blocks and lets him focus on rushing the passer.

Johnson will be on a one year contract going into next year since he was franchised, and I expect him to have another excellent year. The Bengals need him to have another double digit sack year to make sure they can keep up with the Ravens in their division. I don’t see him changing in the rankings next year however, unless he can post at least 15 sacks on the season and get his team deep into the playoffs. The two players that are currently ahead of him are in their prime and are playing at All-Pro levels, so he has his work cut out for him. With that said, Johnson has turned into one of the best young 4-3 DEs in the league and is in an excellent position to improve on last season’s impressive numbers. Below are the rankings so far.

#10 Vance Walker- Atlanta Falcons

#9 Jonathan Dwyer- Pittsburgh Steelers

#8 Dawan Landry- Jacksonville Jaguars

#7 Derrick Morgan- Tennessee Titans

#6 Daryl Smith- Jacksonville Jaguars

#5 Philip Wheeler- Oakland Raiders

#4 Morgan Burnett- Green Bay Packers

Stats from ESPN.com.

Top 10 Tech NFL Players- #4 Morgan Burnett

Now that we are deep into the NFL offseason, let’s go back and take a look at the Tech players who performed the best on the field last season. I believe the most informative and exciting way to do this is to make a Top 10 list, counting down from 10 to 1. I’ll post one player a day for the next ten weekdays, so make sure to keep up and share your opinions by commenting below. The next player we are going to talk about and the number four player on this list is Morgan Burnett, a S for the Packers.

espn.com

espn.com

Burnett was drafted by the Packers in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in only 4 games as a rookie because he tore his ACL. He had a break out season his second year in the league, recording 107 tackles with 3 interceptions and 11 pass deflections. Last year was much of the same for Burnett, as he posted 123 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and 5 pass deflections. He has turned into a do-it-all safety who can create turnovers and change games. The Packers have some young players on defense, so I expect him to continue to improve next year.

Burnett lands at number 4 on this list because he was an excellent contributor for a playoff team and started every game last season. He was all over the field and turned into a key performer on the Packers’ defense. 2013 should be another good year for him, but I don’t see him moving up in these rankings. The bottom line is that this Super Bowl Champion is a young and improving player that should be good for a long time. Below are the rankings so far.

#10 Vance Walker- Atlanta Falcons

#9 Jonathan Dwyer- Pittsburgh Steelers

#8 Dawan Landry- Jacksonville Jaguars

#7 Derrick Morgan- Tennessee Titans

#6 Daryl Smith- Jacksonville Jaguars

#5 Philip Wheeler- Oakland Raiders

Stats from ESPN.com.