MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
At the beginning of the year this game did not stand out as being a “need to watch” in terms of talent that could be entering the 2012 NFL draft, however after the first 6 weeks of the season there have been few teams as surprising as Kansas State.
I watched this week’s game to see if I could find any draft ready talent they may have flying under the radar at Kansas State. The first four are all juniors that may or may not declare, the last three are seniors and will be in the draft in 2012.
Collin Klein QB Kansas State
Only a JR, and doesn’t have traditional NFL QB tools, however after watching him for the second time in a month, it struck me, this kid is a much less celebrated Tim Tebow, complete with a game winning touchdown jump pass vs Miami a couple weeks ago. He runs faster than he looks, doesn’t have a great arm, but does have some accuracy, is tough as nails, leads his team, does whatever it takes.
In both games I have seen the kid has taken a POUNDING from the opposing defense, and he just keeps getting up. Bloodied, whoozy, wobbled, no matter, he lines up and calls the next play. Much like Tebow, there is something to be said about that. He will NOT be a first round pick like Tebow, but this kid is a football player. Maybe he’ll play safety someday, maybe he’ll be a punter, I don’t know, but he belongs on a team somewhere. He’s all heart and grit and his team follows him for it. Carson Palmer had every tool a QB could want, not sure his team gave their all for him.
Made a couple of nice throws including a fade for a TD. Ran for 3 more TD’s, runs a spread option variant (Like Tim) averages just under 100 yards a game rushing, makes enough throws to keep you honest.
The fade for a TD was a check at the line that he himself checked into.
He should stay another year (I can’t imagine anyone advising him to come out early) and work on his arm, much like Tebow did his final year at Florida.
Stays in the pocket, makes his reads and throws, doesn’t just scramble unless the pocket is truly collapsing.
Chris Harper WR Kansas State
Harper has good size, decent speed, he simply is not in the right program for showcasing himself. If he played this game for Texas Tech and their spread offense he would have had huge numbers. Instead he plays for K St and had 2 catches, both of them impact. He caught the fade from Klein for the TD, and also had a nice catch and run on a crossing route.
He is a #2 type WR on a team, never be a go to guy, little big to be a slot guy, but he could produce in the NFL if given the chance.
Nigel Malone CB Kansas State
Really really liked this kid. First drive of the game was a pick 6 for Nigel, made the read, broke and housed it. Was in zone coverage and read the QB’s eyes.
Rest of the game K St played a vanilla zone defense, he never got to play man to man until the final 3 minutes of the game. This is a Bill Snyder trademark to play this way, don’t let anyone get behind you, keep them in front, make the play.
Nigel was lining up 9 yards of his receivers most of the game, this led to several pitch and catches for Tech. Malone did a solid job of tackling after these catches though. They did not do a lot of running, so not a lot of evidence of Malone helping in run support, but I feel the way he tackled in this game he certainly could help out in the run defense if asked too.
He almost returned a blocked field goal for a TD, was tripped up by the last man to beat. Seemed comfortable with the return, could possibly be used in the role.
Did take a bad angle on a long run by Aaron Crawford that went for a TD, with over 60 throws in the game, the mere fact they ran the ball at all could have confused the kid.
Arthur Brown MLB Kansas State
If Brown had stayed at Miami, you would be hearing Ray Lewis comparisons to him. This man never stops. He ran side to side and chased down everybody. Even found him 15-18 yards down field in coverage on a few plays. Find the ball, you’ll find Brown close by.
He did get fooled on a QB zone read a time or two, just being overly aggressive, certainly something that can be coached better in the pros.
If he plays lights out the rest of the season and has a good combine, he could move into the late first round. He is a JR however, no guarantee he’ll even come out.
Tysyn Hartman S Kansas State
This kid was fun to watch. He had the most tackles in the game and was involved in several other pass break ups.
Great size, 6-3 206, not sure what his speed is yet.
Picked off a pass late in the game, read the QB’s eyes and jumped the route, nice play.
One issue that wasn’t even on defense, he was involved in the last minute onside kick. The ball was right there for him for the taking, and instead of going up to get it out of the air, he waited for it to come to him, and had it stolen from him by a kid that was going all out after it.
They probably don’t work too much on onside kicks, and the fact that he is even on the hands team leads me to believe he has decent enough hands, just need to work on those instincts a little bit.
Zach Hanson OT Kansas State
Hard to watch a LT during a football game with action going on everywhere, but this guy is MASSIVE. 6-8, 315. Yes, SIX-EIGHT!!! He is just huge out there.
He plays LT in college, but I noticed that his speed isn’t anything to brag about, he doesn’t always fire off the ball like they do in the NFL, it’s possible he could switch to the RT in the NFL. Bottom line, his size is so much, somebody is going to give this kid a shot. Maybe a mid to late rounder, but quality offensive lineman with this size are hard to come by, he will get noticed. A good combine would really help his case.
Almost no talent on Texas Tech to challenge him, he pushed whoever he wanted wherever he wanted. K St had a lot of success running behind him.
Did have 2 false start penalty’s, on the road, loud environment, many shotgun calls, I can live with 1 or 2. This can be fixed
He’s so tall that he almost has to bend down to block people. That could be a problem. I could see speed guys that get low like a Dwight Freeney being a serious issue for him. But with as much space as he occupies, it takes time just to get around him if he’s sitting still, any effort at all would still slow guys down enough to get passes off in the pocket.
A good offensive line coach would do wonders for this guy in terms of getting to blocks, getting off the line fast, footwork etc.
Raphael Guidry DT Kansas State
Was really easy to notice Guidry early on. He blocked not one, but two field goals early in the game. 6-4, shade under 300 pounds that could get through the line and jump with the right timing to block kicks, that’s some good athleticism.
On the line itself, he drew a holding penalty on Tech, had a tackle for loss, also noticed a couple plays rushing the passer where he knew he wouldn’t get to the QB, so he got his hands up immediately to try and block the pass. Good instincts, well taught. Good space eater, saw a few double teams on him which is invaluable in the NFL.
The only Texas Tech players that caught my eye in this game were WR Alex Torres a 6-1 JR who reminded me a little of Brian Hartline, decent hands, good routes, comes back to the ball, not blazing speed but quick enough, could be a #2-3 type WR. He was the one that stole the onside kick from Hartman as well.
RB Aaron Crawford also had a decent game, including a 51 yard TD run, he actually stiff armed Hartman on his way by which is what drew my attention.
He was stuffed on the goal line later in the game, he’s not very big overall. Also dropped a very catchable ball, but did have a couple of catches, nothing more than a backup running back in the NFL unless he takes some great strides the rest of his college career.