Wednesday, 7 August 2013

40 Players in 40 Days: Numbers 27-22

The Top 40 countdown finally returned to action yesterday after a hiatus and we're back today with a few more names. As explained yesterday, due to changing circumstances in my life the blog and by extension, the countdown take a back seat. I did a multi-player post yesterday and I will have six more players in the post today to get caught up. Before we get started, here's a recap:

40. WR Chris Harper, Cal
39. OLB/S Dion Bailey, USC
38. S Alden Darby, Arizona State
37. OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
36. DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, Colorado
35. S Deon Bucannon, Washington State
34. LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
33. DE Taylor Hart, Oregon
32. DT DeAndre Coleman, Cal
31. CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
30. C Hroniss Grassu, Oregon
29. DL Henry Anderson, Stanford
28. QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford

27. Carl Bradford
Bradford was used sparingly at ASU as a freshman in 2011 under Dennis Erickson and showed flashes of elite ability as a stand up pass rusher. Last season under new head coach Todd Graham, Bradford had a breakout season with 20.5 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He is a great pass rusher who can get to the QB whenever ASU needs him to. He measures in at 6-1, way below what you normally look for from a 3-4 OLB. Despite racking up 81 tackles, I'd like to see him improve his run defense and as far as his future goes, I can't see him making it in the NFL in a 3-4 at his size. I think he has the talent and skills to be an OLB in a 4-3, especially one with an attacking style that featured him in blitz packages. However, despite his production and ability I question his upward mobility at his position.

26. Storm Woods
Woods came from way off the radar as a freshman in 2012 and broke out to the tune of 1253 yards and 13 TDs. Woods isn't overly explosive, he's not a wildebeest who trucks through defenders on every play. Woods is one of those guys who just does everything well, nothing poorly, and nothing at an elite level. That is both a benefit and a detriment. Woods will ground out his five yards a carry, catch checkdowns, keep the Beavers ahead of the chains and punch the ball into the endzone or past the first down line. It's also a detriment because Woods likely won't break off absurd long runs or score touchdowns in bunches and take over games in a moment. Woods is a fine tailback but he doesn't have the upside of other backs in the conference. I also have my concerns over how he holds up over the course of games. Woods scored only one fourth quarter touchdown, with a 3.87 yard per carry average (versus 4.63, 5.18, and 5.64 in the first three quarters) last season and his longest fourth quarter run all year was just 11 yards.

25. Taylor Kelly
Kelly was one of the nations most efficient passers last season, putting together a 159.45 QB rating, a 66.9 completion percentage, and 8.4 yards per attempt. He is a very accurate passer who distributes the ball to his play makers effectively and avoids costly mistakes. He is also a plus athlete, running on designed plays and scrambling for yardage when the pocket breaks down to the tune of 520 yards last season. Nine interceptions is a pretty low number but he was actually better than that as most of those picks were deflections and miscommunication with receivers. He lacks elite arm strength and is not an overly dynamic player either a s a passer or runner. Like Woods, he's another, everything good, nothing great player but you would be happy to make him your QB as long as you surround him with elite athletes who can run after the catch and a smart play caller who puts him in a position to succeed. Luckily, ASU has both of those things in spades.

24. Cassius Marsh
Marsh is almost like the Pac-12's mystery man. He was wildly over shadowed on UCLA's defense last year thanks to stars like Anthony Barr and Datone Jones. Marsh was responsible mostly for eating up blocks but still found time to produce seven sacks. he wasn't an All-Conference pick and I haven't found too many NFL scouts who love him although I also haven't found one that does not like him. I love his mix of size and athleticism and I really enjoy watching him use his ability to eat up blocks and allow guys behind him like Erik Kendricks to rack up tackles. He isn't an elite pass rusher but he has the size, athleticism, and skill set to play several different position which gives him very good upward mobility down the road.

23. Ed Reynolds
Reynolds is easily the best returning safety in the conference. Reynolds had an incredible year last year, tallying six interceptions and returning half of them for touchdowns. He is a great deep safety with great range, instincts, and ball skills that allow him to cut off an entire section of the field and break passes. Most people define Stanford by their physical play and dominant front seven. However, due to poor defensive back play, Stanford still put up middling defensive numbers for years until last season when the DBs, specifically, Reynolds, caught up to the big guys. He does get in trouble some times by selling out for an interception and mistiming his jump or reading a play a split second too late which leads to a big play surrendered. I also don't like him against run support which isn't a huge deal right now but if he's going to stick in the NFL, he needs to become a better tackler.

22. Jeremiah Poutasi
 The one and only Utah player on the Top 40 countdown happens to be one of the brightest young offensive linemen in the nation and a likely future 1st round pick. Poutasi is a mountain at 6-4, 345 pounds and possesses great quickness and athleticism for his size. He has good foot work and bends well at knees and never gets caught reaching or putting himself off balance. Love his strength at the point of attack and the nasty attitude he plays with however I would like to see him shed a little weight to improve his athleticism and alleviate health concerns that frequently come up for even the healthiest 340+ pounders. Only a Sophomore he has plenty of time to improve as a player and find his right body type. he already has the length, strength, footwork, and raw athleticism to play on Sundays though.

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