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

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

GT Pro Day Update

For those of you who are struggling to find information regarding GT’s Pro Day, here’s a link from 11Alive’s website. I haven’t seen any official performance numbers online, but that link talks a little bit about who showed up and has a pretty good video that shows everyone performing. Here’s my thoughts about todays pro day:

1) Orwin Smith lost any chance he had of getting drafted. After not attending the combine due to injury, he really needed to perform well today. Now his only chance to impress scouts will be at private workouts with individual teams. Hopefully he can come back soon so he can meet with a few teams and eventually get a training camp invite.

2) At this point Uzzi just needed to show he was healthy for the scouts who were in attendance. He is a solid mid round prospect and his game tape will speak for itself.

3) Rod Sweeting and TJ Barnes will get drafted. Sweeting performed well at the combine and apparently impressed again today. He is looking like a very nice developmental CB who should go somewhere in the 4th or 5th rounds. Barnes has also performed well in the offseason and will most likely be a 6th or 7th round pick as a developmental nose tackle. He was limited today, which means he was satisfied with his combine numbers.

4) Crenshaw mentions Tevin Washington as having to play defensive back in the NFL, but I personally disagree. Tevin does not have the athleticism to be a defensive back at the next level and I have a hard time seeing him making it out of an NFL training camp. I hope he can prove me wrong, but he never showed fantastic athleticism in college, so I don’t know how Sam thinks he can make it in the NFL.

5) Josh Nesbitt’s attendance today was surprising, but makes a ton of sense. He made the Bills roster in 2011 like Sam mentions, so he has proven he can make it in the NFL. He will definitely get a camp invite from a team.

Today’s pro day seemed like a successful one for the players who were able to perform. This was the last major event leading up to the draft, so don’t expect our players’ draft stock to change much after today. In the end I see three Tech players being drafted on the third day of the draft next month.

 

Georgia Tech Pro Day

Tomorrow is Georgia Tech’s official pro day, which means all of Georgia Tech’s draft hopefuls will be working out for NFL GMs, coaches, and scouts. As far as I know, the major players who will be performing tomorrow are Omoregie Uzzi, Orwin Smith, Rod Sweeting, TJ Barnes, and Izaan Cross. It’s also common for former players to perform at pro days in a last ditch effort to make it into the NFL, but I am not sure if that is the case for anyone this year.

I’ll write a post tomorrow to update everyone on our players’ performances and whether they helped or hurt their stock. It will be really big days for Uzzi, Smith, and Cross, since all three weren’t at the combine. Hopefully they can impress the scouts because this is their last major chance to do so.

TJ Barnes Scouting Report

TJ Barnes was one of the two Georgia Tech players who received an invite to this years NFL Combine. By all accounts, he helped himself with his faster than expected 40 time and the rest of his performances. It certainly helps that he measured in at 6′ 6″ and almost 35″ arms. He has some upside, but let’s see exactly where he stands heading into Georgia Tech’s Pro Day on March 14th.

Here are the two videos I will be referencing during this scouting report. The first video is TJ Barnes’ performance against Florida State, who had a pretty good run-blocking offensive line this year. The second video is a compilation of his highlights from 2012. This video should be taken with a grain of salt, but it does show some nice traits of his that he can continue to improve on. Here they are.

Strengths

Let’s take a look at what TJ has done well in his time at Tech and what should get him drafted. His massive size(6′ 6″ and 370 lbs) allows him to be a successful space eater and take on double teams. NFL teams love adding players on their D line who require a double team because they free up space and blockers for the other defenders in the front 7.

After seeing TJ run the 40 at the NFL Combine, it is clear that he is an athlete and has quick feet. In the first video at 1:07, he uses his quick feet to fend off a cut block by the offensive lineman and get into the backfield. Another example of his quickness is at :40 in the same video, where he splits the gap between the C and LG to knock the RB off his path and stop the play.

One of his best attributes is his ability to keep his eyes on the QB and knock passes down at the line of scrimmage. When successful defensive linemen can’t get to the passer, they keep their eyes up and try to swat passes away. The player who does this best in the NFL happens to be the reigning Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt. If you go to :23 and 2:07 in the second video, Barnes shows he is able to time the passes and knock them down.

TJ Barnes

Weaknesses

Successful DT’s in the NFL are able to move the pocket by providing push up the middle. Therefore, lower body strength is extremely important and they should know how to use it. TJ Barnes shows the tendency to get stood up at the line and frequently get pushed back. He doesn’t get low enough on the C and is unable to push the pocket. This is something that can be improved on with better coaching, but it can’t entirely be fixed. His height will make it hard for him to gain leverage, so he will need to improve on his lower body strength.

The other big issue I saw on tape was how easily he can be blocked out of plays. At 2:06 in the first video, Barnes gets absolutely manhandled by the LG, who moves him 10 yards out of the play. This again goes back to leverage at the line and improved lower body strength. He will have a very short career in the NFL if he doesn’t correct these issues in his game, even with the strengths mentioned above.

Overall

Barnes shows some very nice tendencies that are excellent compliments to a DT’s game, but he will need to improve his lower body strength and explosion to ever see an NFL field on Sundays. With that said, he is an above average athlete for his frame and has good quickness. Right now I see TJ as a late round pick in the NFL Draft. I can see a team like the Ravens, Patriots, or 49ers spending a 6th or 7th round pick on him to stash him on their practice squad for a season or two. He will need quite a bit of coaching, but those teams have Pro Bowl DT’s on their roster already and can afford to give him time to develop. He has good upside and that will eventually get him drafted.

Rod Sweeting’s Performance At The Combine

Earlier this afternoon Rod Sweeting ran his 40 at the NFL Combine and he made the best of his opportunity. He posted an unofficial 4.40 in his first run and a 4.38 in his second run.

Overall Sweeting has had a very nice day, also posting 37″ in the vertical jump and 10′ 4″ in the broad jump. In his pre combine analysis I stated that he needed to run a fast 40 to help eliminate some of his weaknesses on film. He would consistently get beat deep by receivers, and he needed to prove to scouts that he had the speed to be drafted. Although a fast 40 doesn’t mean he won’t show the same issues when he gets to the next level, it still certainly helps his draft stock.

I think both Tech prospects at the combine this week(TJ Barnes was the other) showed up and helped themselves. They still need to have good pro days to ensure getting drafted, but this was a great start for them and should give them some momentum going forward.

Also, I have a video of Sweeting running his 4.38, but I’m having trouble uploading it, so come back later if you missed it and want to see him run.

TJ Barnes Has Solid Combine

Considering TJ Barnes size, he is already an interesting football prospect in this year’s draft. With his height, weight, long arms, and big hands, he looked like a late round developmental prospect heading into the NFL Combine. There were some nice traits, but he didn’t really perform on tape like you would expect.

After today though, he definitely helped his draft stock. First, Barnes ran an official 5.3 40, which is pretty quick when you consider how much he weighs(370 lbs). Also, his long arms would usually be a hindrance to posting a high rep on bench press. He was able to manage 25 reps of 225 lbs though, which is a good number for him. His vertical and broad jumps were 22 inches and 97 inches respectively, which aren’t very good, but he has a lot of baggage to move.

All in all, he showed better quickness than expected and some nice upper body strength. I wouldn’t expect him to run again at Georgia Tech’s pro day, but I would expect him to increase his bench reps. He managed to increase his draft stock and would be a nice pick by a playoff team with a 3-4 defense who can spend a year or two grooming him as a player.

TJ Barnes shows up

Today is the day for all of the defensive lineman and linebackers to perform at the NFL Combine, and TJ Barnes certainly ran well. In his first 40 time, he ran a 5.22, which isn’t very fast, until you remember he is 6′ 6″ and 370 lbs. That is very impressive and he received some positive reactions from Mike Mayock and Rich Eisen. To put that run into perspective, the one Georgia DT who ran today, Kwame Geathers, ran a 5.4 40 while being ten pounds less than Barnes. That’s good news for Barnes, as teams looking for a big run stuffing NT may look at him as a late option in the draft. I’ll post some of Barnes’ other measurables later today since he’ll probably do almost everything, being a potential late round pick.

Rod Sweeting Pre-Combine Analysis

This past Wednesday represented the start of this year’s NFL combine. Unfortunately Georgia Tech will only be represented by two players, which is a smaller number than most expected. Rod Sweeting and TJ Barnes are the two lucky Tech players to get the NFL combine invites this year, while Omoregie Uzzi and Orwin Smith were left out. Uzzi is believed to be a mid round pick and one of the top run blocking guards in the country, which makes his omission surprising. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at one of Tech’s combine performers this year, Rod Sweeting, and what he needs to do to improve his draft stock.

I will use this video as a reference, since it is one of the few available that has tape of Sweeting.

Strengths

First, let’s take a look at some parts of Sweeting’s game that I like and are building blocks for him to make an effective transition to the NFL game. Sweeting has a big frame for a corner, 6′ and 187 lbs, that allows him to be physical against bigger receivers and not get pushed around. What helps even more is that he has a nasty streak and isn’t afraid to use his body to make big hits and knock receivers off of their routes. At 3:25 in the video, he completely upends the slot receiver and takes him out of the play. He shows NFL level strength, which should impress scouts early. Sweeting also shows that he is able to effectively play the ball in the air and make adjustments. He times his jumps and is able to use his hands to knock the ball away or come down with the interception.

Rod Sweeting

Weaknesses

Now let’s see what areas he needs to work on. Sweeting consistently whiffs on tackles by taking bad angles and trying to tackle high. Multiple times late in the Virginia Tech game he took poor angles and tried to arm tackle the receiver, giving up big plays in the process. This is a really bad weakness to have, but luckily for him he has some potential in this area. When Sweeting gets into a runner/receiver’s body, he naturally finishes the tackle and runs through the player. At 3:20 in the video, Sweeting runs through the player, which is exactly what defenders are taught to do. Going lower on tackles will help him tremendously since multiples times I saw receivers shake him off. A player with his type of physicality and strength should be able to do better than that.

His biggest weakness seems to be the inability to turn and lower his hips quickly when adjusting to a receivers route. At 4:25 in the video, the receiver blows by him because he is unable to quickly turn and explode to keep up. He got burned deep multiple times in this game, but this was the first time that Logan Thomas and his receiver were able to put a play together. Sweeting should be able to put some of these concerns to rest if he shows up focused and performs well at the combine.

Combine

After looking at Sweeting’s play, I expect him to perform well at the strength drills. He shouldn’t have a problem putting up an above average number of reps in the bench press and posting high broad and vertical jumps. In order to really help his draft stock though, he will have to impress scouts on the position and agility drills. The position drills will allow him  to show fluid hip movement and explosion out of his breaks. The agility drills(3-cone drill and shuttle drills) will show how quickly he is able to change direction, which is extremely important for CBs.

Since everyone loves to talk about the 40, I will touch up on it. Although it would be nice for Sweeting to come out and post an impressive 40 time, it will be more important for him to post a fast 10 and 20 yard split. This is probably the stat that scouts and GMs care about the most. The prospects who can show explosion off the line will improve their draft stock and have successful combines.

Sweeting post game interview after winning the Sun Bowl MVP award.

Sweeting post game interview after winning the Sun Bowl MVP award.

Overall

So what does all of this mean for Rod Sweeting? Right now he is projected as a late round pick. If he can show at the combine that he has improved in some of the areas mentioned above, then he can move himself into the 4th or 5th round. Currently, I see a prospect who, with proper coaching, will be able to see playing time on an NFL team. He doesn’t show the potential to ever be a true starting CB, but he should develop into a rotational CB if he has the proper work ethic. He is an athletic player who has potential, and that by itself will probably get him drafted. It will be interesting to see how he does throughout the draft process because he is by far the most interesting Tech prospect to me this year.

Extra Information

Cornerbacks and Safeties arrive at the combine tomorrow. They will go through the pre workout activities(team interviews, aptitude tests, physicals, etc.) for the next three days and then have their workouts on Tuesday. All coverage is on NFL Network so record it if you won’t be home or tune your television to it in between classes.