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Scouting Reports

Scouting Breakdown – ILB Anthony Hitchens

Regan Creswell

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Nov 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens (59) in the second quarter during an NFL football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Hitchens

Welcome to the Kingdom

Jersey: #53

Position: Will start at one of the ILB spots next to Reggie Ragland.

DOB: 6-10-1992          Age: 25

College: Iowa (IAUN)

Draft Year – Round – Team: 2014 – 4th – DAL

Games Played: 63        Games Started: 49

Games Won: 37     Winning Percentage: 58.73%

Team Captain: No

Previous Injuries: 2014: Week 10 – Chest – played

Wild Card and Divisional Round – High Ankle Sprain – played

2015: Week 1 – Foot – played, Week 10-12 – Ankle – played

2016: Week 9 – Knee – played

2017: Week 1-4 – Tibial Plateau Fracture in right knee – out,

Week 12-13 -Groin Strain – played

Key Stats: Only missed 4 games his entire career.

73 solo tackles in 11 starts in 2014 – 3rd on team

66 solo tackles in 9 starts in 2015 – 5th on team

78 solo tackles in 16 starts in 2016 – 4th on team

84 tackles in 12 starts in 2017 – 2nd on team

Height: 6’3″    Weight: 240 lbs

40 Time: 4.71 seconds      Short Shuttle: 4.45 seconds

Broad Jump: 9’08”    3 Cone: 7.15 seconds

Vertical: 31.5 inches    Bench: 23 reps

Hand Size: 9 1/8 inches    Arm Length: 32 ½ inches

Grading Scale

7 – Elite

6 – Very Good

5 – Good (above average)

4 – Solid (average)

3 – Adequate (below average)

2 – Marginal (minimal ability)

1 – Poor

Grades

Athletic Ability: 5/7 Good     Mental Processing: 6/7 Very Good

Competitive Toughness: 6/7 Very Good     Play Speed: 6/7 Very Good

Play Strength: 6/7 Very Good

Vs. Run at Point Of Attack (POA): 6/7 Very Good     Vs. Outside Run: 5/7 Good

Zone Coverage: 6/7 Very Good     Man Coverage: 5/7 Good

Ball Skills: 4/7 Solid     Pass Rush/Blitzing: 4/7 Solid

Strengths

Very good mental processing allows him to call out defensive adjustments, quickly key and diagnose runs, play with good gap discipline, gap exchange with teammates, and take good angles to the runner both at the point of attack (POA) and on outside runs.

Very good play speed and solid foot speed help him get in good positions to make plays on the ball carrier.

Hitchens is very good vs. runs at the POA, leverages his gap and uses very good play strength, physical toughness, and good hand placement to stalemate or drive back FB, TE and OL blockers at the POA, extends his arms, sheds blockers when he isn’t able to use his lateral quickness to avoid the block entirely and can make the tackle on the ball carrier in the hole.

He is able to finish on all RBs in a variety of ways, can wrap at waist and drag or spin down, hit and wrap high and explode through the tackle and drive the ball carrier backward, or drive through the legs of the RB while wrapping to secure the tackle.

If a teammate has stood up the ball carrier and secured the tackle, Hitchens will lay a big hit to clean up the tackle. He has good ability vs. outside runs by taking good angles on outside runs to his side, sorts through the trash, forces the ball to the sideline, and either delivers a hard hit to knock the runner out of bounds or wraps up and spins to ground.

Able to play off of cut blocks with good hand placement and agility. He gives good effort when on the backside of an outside run, takes good angles and uses the swat and swim or his lateral agility to beat blockers.

Hitchens is very good in Zone coverage, able to cover the Deep Middle and Hook/Curl zones. He reads the routes, and understands route concepts, is aware of threats and looks for work in Zone, and can reroute crossing routes.

Also good in Man, able to mirror Out, Hitch, and Seam routes from TEs and Flare, Wheel, and Option routes by RBs. He can cover Slot receivers on short to intermediate in breaking routes.

Anthony displays his solid ball skills after getting in position to secure the tackle, will try to knock down the ball as it reaches the edge of the receiver’s catch radius with off hand.

Can track the ball while it’s in the air and has the ability to intercept passes. Also, he will punch at the ball when making tackles on ball carriers. Hitchens is a solid blitzer, takes good angles, disguises by coming from depth, and tries to shed blockers.

He can get pressure and finish on the QB with a hit to the chest. He was used as the penetrator in a majority of his stunts to free up DL by attacking the OG/OT and knocking him off the path to the man he is supposed to be blocking.

Anthony’s very good mental toughness is displayed when he steps up to make a play in the red zone, on 3rd down, or late in games.

He shows very good physical toughness by being an aggressive and consistent player that takes pride in stopping the offense and leads his team by example.

Weaknesses

His lack of long speed affects his ability to chase down faster RBs on outside runs, and allows his initial angles to get outrun and forces him to adjust.

Also, when tracking an outside run, he will avoid blocks to the wrong side, which knocks him off of his angle to the ball. The less than ideal long speed limits his effectiveness to cover fast WRs and RBs for long periods of time and on all deep routes without having help over the top.

Despite his ability to get pressure on blitzes, he won’t be a consistent sack producer.

Overall

Hitchens is a starting LB you can win with due to his very good mental processing, play strength, tackling ability, position flexibility, high motor, and infectious pride in stopping the offense.

Lacks the long speed to cover faster RBs and TEs in man on deeper routes without safety help over the top and the ability to make a consistent impact while blitzing.

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Kansas City Chiefs

A Scout’s Eye For The Fan Guy: Patrick Mahomes

Regan Creswell

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes will be taking the reigns from Alex Smith this season as QB1, and the buzz around this young QB couldn’t be higher. I’ve luckily been able to watch Mahomes from the start of his career as a true freshman at Texas Tech University, to the player Kansas City decided to spend the #10 overall pick on last year. Let me tell you, it’s been an incredible journey, filled with highlight plays, and some head-scratching moments. Through all the highs and lows, it is extremely difficult to not sit in awe of what this young man is capable of doing. So, here is a guide on what to expect from the newest QB to lead the Chiefs offense.

‘Pat always wanted to do things perfectly, and he’d be upset with himself if he didn’t do it right on the first try. He held the offensive guys accountable. I always respected his ability to be a team builder.’ 

–  Former Texas Tech Safety John White

The Arm

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the arm strength, and how mind-blowing it is. Mahomes can sling the ball all over the field with ease and will drop some jaws with the types of throws he is able to complete. His arm strength allows him to attack every inch of the field, and when combined with his accuracy, he can fit passes into the smallest windows.  It also allows him to make throws that are typically frowned upon in the NFL, like throwing off platform, throwing off his back foot, and throwing across his body or across the field.

Here is just a glimpse at the distance Mahomes can cover with his cannon for an arm.

 

This throw is off his back foot, with a pass rusher closing in on him fast.  He throws off his back foot, drops the pass in an area that only his WR can make the play, and absorbs the contact from the incoming pass rusher.

 

The Eyes

Mahomes has displayed excellent vision in his college career, and that continued into the NFL in his lone start last year. Regardless of pressure, or what is going on around him, Mahomes always has his eyes downfield looking for his target. He is able to see the whole field and anticipate throwing windows. This trait is very advanced for his experience level and should continue to progress. Mahomes can also look off defenders, or throw the occasional no-look pass.

Below is an example of Mahomes using his eyes to get the LB to slide towards the RB on the Flare route and out of the passing window so he can hit the slot WR behind the LB and under the Safety.  Excellent touch and accuracy as well.

 

He can also escape the pocket, threaten the defense with his feet, and throw a ‘no-look pass’.

 

He does have a tendency to struggle with seeing underneath defenders dropping into short zones and will gift the underneath defender with an easy INT.  Definitely, something he will continue to work to improve.

On this throw, Mahomes leads his WR into the Safety and gets picked off.  The ball should have been thrown to the outside.

 

Play Making Ability

Mahomes’ playmaking ability is one of my favorite things to watch. He is just mobile enough to escape the pocket when needed and can scramble for positive yards. He has a strong lower body and can shed some tackles in the pocket and escape to the outside. But don’t confuse his ability to scramble with him being a running QB. Mahomes wants to throw the ball, and he will use his feet to extend the play to give him a chance to hit the home run play. His ability to extend plays and escape the pocket means that on 3rd and 25, Andy Reid doesn’t have to run a draw and punt the football away on 4th down. He can call a pass and use his strong-armed QB to get a 1st down.

This play is just impressive.  Mahomes escapes the pressure, breaks a tackle with his lower body strength and balance, all while keeping his eyes downfield and completing a pass on 3rd and long for a 1st down.

 

Mahomes has just enough mobility and elusiveness to be dangerous running with the ball.

 

Leadership and Work Ethic

I was able to talk with some of Mahomes’s teammates at Texas Tech to find out some about his leadership skills and work ethic. When asked about Mahomes’ ability to lead, WR Ja’Deion High said ‘He commanded the huddle with a high level of confidence, and everyone around him fed off of that. Everyone around him respected him and knew exactly what and how certain things needed to be done.’

Furthermore, when asked the same question, Safety John White elaborated.

‘Pat was young when he first came to the team. You could see he had all kinds of talent, but he didn’t try to act like he was the best. He took a step back to understand the learning curve and pay respect to Davis Webb (the starting QB when Mahomes got to Tech).

Examining Mahomes progression over seasons, White added his thoughts on maturity.

His maturity growth was very noticeable in the 2 seasons I played with him. Pat always wanted to do things perfectly, and he’d be upset with himself if he didn’t do it right on the first try. He held the offensive guys accountable. I always respected his ability to be a team builder.’

As far as work ethic goes, High stated  ‘He had a strong work ethic. I don’t think he could’ve got to his level of success without having that and studying the game like he did. He always watched film and stayed in the playbook. He definitely did what was asked of him, and more.’

I think White summed up the behind-the-scenes Mahomes best when he said

‘He’d put in the work with Kliff Kingsbury (HC at Tech) to make sure he was prepared each week.   Pat was a superstar who was capable of still being level-headed enough to get along with everyone. He was the kind of player you enjoyed being teammates with.’

Reasons For Optimism

I could go on and on about all of the highlight type plays I’ve watched Mahomes make over the years. He’s very entertaining and has no shortage of eye-opening moments. Chiefs fans will get to see all of the ‘I can’t believe he just did that’ plays soon enough.

His arm strength is off the charts, his accuracy is pinpoint most of the time, and he has the vision to see the whole field and get the ball to the guy with the best chance to do some damage. Mahomes can use his legs to extend plays and is no stranger to the home run play. He will give you everything he’s got on every single play.

Pat’s leadership skills and work ethic are far beyond his years. And if his talent and intangibles aren’t enough, Andy Reid is his coach and has been able to develop several QBs in his time as an NFL coach.

Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!

Reasons To Slow Down The Hype Train

For all the positives that Mahomes has, there are some concerning parts of his gameplay. He is young, and with the youth comes inexperience, and some growing pains. Andy Reid will have some teachable moments to help his QB grow.

With Mahomes’ strong arm, comes the confidence to make every throw. While on its own, that’s not a negative, it does lead him into trouble with INTs. He will sometimes try to fit the ball into too tight of a window, although he very rarely repeats the same mistake.  Mahomes does have a tendency to struggle with seeing underneath defenders dropping into short zones and will gift the underneath defender with an easy INT on occasion.  Definitely, something he will continue to work to improve.  Having the big arm sometimes is a disadvantage as well, because Mahomes has to find the right amount of zip to throw the ball with to avoid the throwing it through a WR’s hands, or having it tipped up in the air giving a defender a chance to make a play on the ball.

He will take some avoidable sacks this year because he is always looking to make a play. He doesn’t like to give up on a play. A few of those sacks will end with a fumble as well. As long as Mahomes can continue to grow and mature like he already has, and he can find the right balance between ESPN Top 10 Plays, average plays, and the occasional head-scratcher, the sky is the limit for him. Just pump the brakes before you run away with the hype train.

Personal Expectations For This Season

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little biased with my projection for Mahomes this season. To steal the words from Seth Keysor, I am a big Mahomer. After watching him for 3 years at Texas Tech, and his one NFL start, I am extremely high on his potential. I expect him to throw for 3900-4100 yards, 34-36 TDs, and 14 INTS this season. All really high numbers, but once he gets comfortable in Reid’s system, the yardage and TDs will pile up, and the INTs should come down.

Here’s to wishing Mahomes has the kind of year that puts the rest of the NFL on notice and leads the Chiefs on a deep playoff run!

 

 

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Scouting Reports

Breaking down starting CB Kendall Fuller

Regan Creswell

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Fuller is a starting CB you can win with because of his elite ball skills, very good AA, mental processing, competitive toughness, and range, and good Man coverage, LOS skills, and open field tackling.

Let’s take a closer look:

Strengths

Kendall Fuller has a lean, athletic frame with very good AA, displayed by his very good play speed, explosion, quickness, COD, hip fluidity, balance, and solid strength. In Washington, he was mainly in the Slot, and was tasked with Man and mainly short-intermediate Zone coverages.

Good in Man and Zone coverage. He displays a smooth backpedal, and very good hip fluidity when opening or flipping his hips to run with WRs. Fuller is able to change directions quickly to mirror WR routes. Very good ability to plant and explode forward allows him to drive on underneath routes while in Off Man or Zone. He also shows very good speed to stay in phase with WRs on deeper routes.

He possesses good LOS skills, and can disrupt routes at the line with good hand usage and placement, and very good lateral agility. Kendall can mirror the route until forced to flip his hips and run with the WR.

Fuller displays very good mental processing by making pre-snap reads and adjustments, communicating changes with teammates, recognizing routes and route concepts, and excellent awareness to routes in his Zone. He reads the QB very well in Zone coverage, and is able to show off his elite ball skills by jumping routes and either knocking down the pass, getting an INT, or making an immediate tackle on the pass catcher. He looks back over his shoulder for the ball when trailing the WR on a deep route.

Kendall is solid in run support and possesses good open field tackling. While he won’t wow you with his run stopping abilities, he will fill the gap, leverage the ball, and force the ball carrier to his help defense. He can shed blocks by extending his arms and using his agility to get away from the blocker. Fuller doesn’t make the prettiest open field tackles, but he is proficient at getting the ball carrier on the ground, or slowing down the runner until his teammates arrive to help. He mostly dives and wraps up the ball carrier’s legs and holds on tight.

Fuller shows off his very good competitive toughness by regularly stopping the ball carrier short of the 1st down marker and coming up with a clutch INT or pass deflection. He is a scrappy player that will battle with anyone on the field and rarely is beat by the same thing twice, unless it’s a physical limitation, such as height or strength.

Weaknesses

Although Fuller has solid play strength, he tends to get bullied by bigger pass catchers at the top of routes, and by long armed or strong blockers in the run game. Is able to recover quickly when bullied in coverage, and fights hard to hold his ground when facing a strong run blocker.   Most TEs and FBs are able to push him back when blocking him. His play strength also limits his ability to easily tackle players 1 on 1.

Overall

Fuller will be the starting Slot CB and could push for playing time as an outside CB as well. He has the ability to be a good to very good outside CB, but does his best work out of the Slot. His elite ball skills will fill the void left by Peters in the turnover department.

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Scouting Reports

Raiders to Chiefs – CB David Amerson – Chiefs Scouting Report

Regan Creswell

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Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

David Amerson is a starting CB you can win with because of his very good ball skills and range, and good AA, Man and Zone coverage, mental processing, competitive toughness, and play speed.

Let’s take a closer look:

Jersey: #24

Position: Should be in the mix to start at one of the outside CB spots

DOB: 12-8-91           Age: 26

College: NC State (NCST)

Draft Year – Round – Team: 2013 – 2nd – WAS

Games Played: 69         Games Started: 57

Games Won: 28     Winning Percentage: 40.58%

Team Captain: no

Previous Injuries: 2013 – Back injury week 2 and Concussion in Week 7 (no full games missed)

2014: Concussion Week 7 – out for the week

2015: No injuries

2016: Concussion in Week 2 – only missed the rest of Week 2

Knee injury in Week 11 – missed Week 12

2017: Concussion in Week 4 – missed rest of Week 4 and all of Week 5

Sprained foot and sprained AC Joint in Week 7 – missed rest of season after suffering multiple setbacks with a foot injury in practice

Key Stats: NC State all-time INT leader.

In 2015, finished tied with Marcus Peters for the league lead in passes defensed with 26.

8 Career INTs, 2 taken back for TDs

Height: 6’1”     Weight: 205

40 Time: 4.35 seconds      Short Shuttle: 4.13 seconds

Broad Jump: 10’07”    3 Cone: 6.75 seconds

Vertical: 35 1/2 inches     Bench: 15

Hand Size: 10 ½ inches   Arm Length: 32 5/8 inches

Grading Scale

7 – Elite

6 – Very Good

5 – Good (above average)

4 – Solid (average)

3 – Adequate (below average)

2 – Marginal (minimal ability)

1 – Poor

Grades

Athletic Ability (AA): 5/7 Good      Mental Processing: 5/7 Good

Competitive Toughness: 5/7 Good      Play Speed: 5/7 Good

Play Strength: 4/7 Solid

Man Coverage: 5/7 Good      Ball Skills: 6/7 Very Good

Line Of Scrimmage (LOS) Skills: 3/7 Adequate      Run Support: 3/7 Adequate

Open Field Tackling: 3/7 Adequate      Range: 6/7 Very Good

Strengths

David Amerson has a long, lean frame with very good AA, highlighted by his very good length, speed, explosion, and quickness, good COD and solid strength and balance. In Oakland, he mainly lined up to the right side of the offensive formation, and played on the outside, but would occasionally move to the Slot against 21 personnel with the receivers lined up in Twins. Amerson was mostly running Cover 2, 3, and Off and Press Man.

Good in Man and Zone coverage. He displays a smooth backpedal, and good hip fluidity when opening or flipping his hips to run with WRs. Very good ability to plant and explode forward allows him to drive on underneath routes while in Off Man or Zone. David’s very good speed allows him to stay in phase with WRs on deeper routes as well. Better in Zone and Off Man.

Good mental processing and awareness in Zone to recognize and understand route combinations and concepts. He is able to read through the WR to the QB. Amerson is aware of routes in and around his zone, and knows where he has help from other defenders.

His length allows him to extend on WR blockers, keep his distance, and shed blocks when necessary. David’s long arms are key to his very good ball skills. He is able to use his length to reach around WRs to swat down passes, or rake the WRs arms when the ball arrives. Can track the ball, anticipate throws, and has the ability to catch the ball when it arrives.

David has good play speed and competitive toughness. His foot speed, quickness, and fast reactions allow him to get in position to make plays on the ball and respond to breaks in routes quickly. Amerson steps up his play on 3rd and 4th down and near the goal line to stop the offense or force a turnover.

Weaknesses

Amerson has adequate LOS skills. He causes minimal route disruption with poor hand placement and leverage, tends to stop moving his feet and lunge to get his hands on the WR and is forced to open his hips early to recover from the lunge.

Although he has solid play strength, he will get bullied at the top of Curl, Hitch, and Comeback routes when the WR uses a push off to create separation.

Amerson is adequate in run support and open field tackling. He shows a disinterest for getting involved in the run game outside of his responsibilities. David will contain run plays and force them back inside, and will step up into a gap, but doesn’t actively try to make plays on the RB unless forced. His average play strength limits his ability to wrap and take down ball carriers quickly without assistance. He will wrap up and hold on until help arrives. When open field tackling, Amerson will dive and throw a shoulder into the knees of the ball carrier, but does not wrap up, and will miss tackles on ball carriers that possess good balance.

Overall

Amerson will compete for one of the outside CB spots for the Chiefs. He has the tools to make an impact defending the passing game. Would be best if he was not asked to be a key contributor in stopping the run game.

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