All of the 49ers college area scouts are back at the team'ss facility preparing for the NFL Combine and Draft. Area scout Ethan Waugh keeps you up to date on their meetings in this blog entry.
All of the scouts arrived back at the 49ers facility in Santa Clara on January 29th. We spent the first three days watching tape of the all-star games and practices. We also watched tape on all of the juniors and underclassmen who recently declared. During the fall, we need to concentrate on the seniors, so this is the first time that we have actually focused on early entries. Much of the time was also spent on making phone calls to college coaches and double checking background information on all of the prospects.
On Monday, we started watching tape as a group and the first position we focused on was offensive tackles. We proceed in alphabetical order and covered any prospect who has even the slightest chance of playing in the NFL. As a rule, we will watch three or four games on each of these players and then try to give them a grade based on what position they will play for us, how soon they will play, and what their ceiling is.
We cannot watch every game on each player so we have to be selective. Most importantly, we try to choose games against good competition and also games where a player is particularly productive. But in the end, we need to see the prospect at both his best and his worst in order to get a true picture of his abilities.
There are several underclassmen from my area who declared early. Chris "Beanie" Wells has been the starting running back at Ohio State the last two years. He is a talented guy who is big, strong and fast. He's been very productive while playing at the highest level of competition. Ohio State also has a receiver, Brian Hartline, who has been a consistent big-play receiver. They are primarily a run-oriented offense, so he does not have the kind of numbers that some receivers do, but is a weapon nonetheless. Donald Washington, also a Buckeye, is a good sized corner that has played both inside and out and shows good speed – he will be interesting to watch at the Combine.
Vontae Davis, Vernon's brother, is an early entry cornerback from the University of Illinois. He has a lot of the same athletic qualities that Vernon does. He is extremely fast, explosive and has great size for a corner. Nate Davis, a junior quarterback from Ball State has also declared for the draft. He led them to a great season, the MAC Championship and a bowl game. He is a talented passer and has been consistently productive in the MAC.
Being back in the office is definitely different from being on the road. Here, we're basically locked in the draft room all day. We start our meetings at 7:30 a.m. and I try to get in early just to make sure that I have everything in order for the day. We have gone position-by-position, starting with the offensive line, working through the offense and on to defense. Right now, we are finishing up the safeties.
The discussion of a player begins by reading his name, school and measurables, and then whether or not he played in an all-star game and if he is attending the Combine. The area scout will then give a brief summation of the player's background and his strengths and weaknesses. Any other scouts who have written a report on the player will also chime in with a few comments and then we immediately move to watching tape.
As soon as we are done watching film on a player, we put his name up on our board based on where we think we would select him in the Draft. In most cases, players do not move up and down very far on our board based on things that occur after these meetings. The Combine and pro timing days give us a better understanding of a prospect's measured athleticism, medical background and his personality, but the most important thing is how well a player performs on film.
I look forward to checking in with you from Indianapolis.
Here are all of the Eye on the Midwest blogs from this past season:
Eye on the Midwest: Senior Bowl
Eye on the Midwest: East Coast Bowl
Eye on the Midwest: Big Ten Country
Eye on the Midwest: Power of Bagels
Eye on the Midwest: Out in Michigan
Eye on the Midwest: The Back Roads
Eye on the Midwest: Power Outage
Eye on the Midwest: College Season Begins
Eye on the Midwest: First Visits
Eye on the Midwest: Ready for the Road