Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 NFLPA All Star Game (aka: Texas vs. Nation): Highlights

(I watched this game to look at DT/NT Kenrick Ellis, he did not disappoint)
 There are actually three college All-Star games that are played before The NFL Scouting Combine. The most well know is The Senior Bowl. Obviously, this game highlights many potential 1st round seniors entering the draft. There is usually a mix of other valued players as well, but this game is most known for the amount of blue chip players entering the NFL. Then there's the East/West Shrine Game, which has more day 2 and day 3 prospects. Still, there is a third game that is less talked about because it features more small school prospects and has mostly late day two and mostly day 3 prospects; yet, there have been a few big NFL players that have played in this game. That game is the Texas vs. The Nation (now officially known as the NFLPA All Star Game, because it's sponsored by the NFLPA).

Here's some interesting things about the Texas vs. The Nation game (according to the CBS announcers):
- 95% of participants have been invited to NFL camps.
- There were 220 scouts from various teams (I'm thinking other football leagues as well) in attendance.
-31 players from the 2010 teams were drafted.
- Notable players throughout it's inception (2007): Pierre Garcon, Sam Shields, Johnny Knox, Lardarius Webb, Kareem Moore, Erik Cook.

I primarily wanted to watch this game to scout/watch two players. One was Kenrick Ellis, a NT from Hampton. The other was NT, Jerrell Powe from Ole Miss. The Redskins have a need at NT and both have the prototypical size and weight to be 3-4 NTs at the NFL level. Luckily, I have some weird sports package that allows me to get the CBS University/College channel and was able to view the game (Note: the other college all star games are currently aired on NFL Network). Overall, there's not that much to report. The game had its moments, but mostly it was a quiet 13-7 game (won by the Texas team) that seemed like it lasted longer than it should have. Also worth noting was that Jerry Glanville was coaching The Nation team. Sadly, he wasn't dressed in all black and waring a big belt buckle like he did when he coached the Falcons in the early 90's.

Here's some brief highlights:
- Very nice TD pass by Texas Tech QB, Taylor Potts to WR Denarius Moore of Tenn.
- Big 72 yard run by Miami (The U) RB, Damien Berry for The Nation's lone score.
- Ladi Ajiboye (DT, SC) with a sack. Looked bigger than 6'2" 290lbs. to me.
- WR/KR Jock Sanders reminds me a bit of Brandon Banks
- NC QB, TJ Yates looked ok at times and threw an INT, however what made him stand out was causing the Texas defense to jump offsides four times in the game with his hard counts.
-Both corners Josh Gatlin and Anthony Gaitor had good games.
- Willie Smith, OL from East Carolina had a good game. In particular it seemed like he dominated DT/NT Jerrell Powe.

As for Powe, he looks like a NT but generated little penetration and at times was handled in one on one situations with linemen. Right now, I see him as a mid day three talent.

Kenrick Ellis looks like he has some serious potential. Seemed to only be stopped with double teams, could penetrate the pocket and generate pressure (and get a sack). Has some decent lateral movement. Has improved his draft stock with this performance.

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