MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
The headliners coming into the Orange Bowl between West Virginia and Clemson were defensive players, head scratching was the end result however as neither defense did much stopping and offense became the name of this game.
We take a look at some of the expected draft picks coming soon in the April NFL Draft.
Bruce Irvin, OLB, WVU
- Built like a WR, will need to add muscle or at least weight in order to stand up to NFL offensive lineman.
- Uses his speed to try and blow by the OT, however the tackle is able to get his hands on him, and control him with ease.
- Adjusts, gets a sack later using his speed rush heavy upfield, then shifting, and coming underneath, the QB was right there. Great, smart play.
- Nice chase down strip tackle, causes fumble just before half. Closed down 15 yards or so to make the play
- I think if he was just a little heavier, or stronger he would be a solid first rounder. His potential is there however, and his speed could be a real problem someday so somebody will get him fairly early and then give him lots of milkshakes.
Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
- Small, 5-9, but tougher than you would think, good strength, and an absolute monster in open space.
- Explosive quickness, lightning fast feet
- Plays mostly slot, but in an interesting pitch/shovel pass hybrid when he comes in motion in front of the QB who catches out of the shot gun and basically pushes the ball to Austin at full speed. Scored three touchdowns on this play, reminiscent of the Wildcat introduction at New England in 2008. Clemson could not stop this play, Austin’s speed/moves were the reason
- Scores a fourth touchdown from the slot on an actual 2 hand grab 4 yards from the line of scrimmage and makes a devastating cut that left the safety grasping at air.
- Returns kickoffs as well, great vision, reads and sets up blocks well
- Broadcast brought up names such as Eric Metcalf and Percy Harvin, and I myself was thinking along the lines of DeSean Jackson. Not a physical specimen at all, certainly not the NFL prototype size/strength wise, but on the field, with the ball in his hands, this guy is electric. Still only a Junior, after this bowl game, I hope he decides to come out and take his talents to the NFL. The goal for any team would simply be, get this man the ball in any way shape or form.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
- Possibly the most gifted TE in college football
- Reads zones well, knows where to sit and get open
- Lead blocker on a long TD run, set up in a fullback type position, picked up blitzing safety to open the hole
- Just missed on a one handed grab in triple coverage. WVU was aware of Allen at all times on this night
- Solid route runner, lot of weapons on Clemson keeps him from seeing a lot of the ball though.
- Favorite play of the night, Clemson fumbles on the 1 yard line, Safety picks it up and races back 99 yards for a touchdown, TE Allen was right behind him step for step for the whole 99 yards, speed, hustle, lack of quit, all on display. Showed me all I need on this kid. Would LOVE to see him as a Dolphin. Fleener and Allen are top 2 TE’s to me this year.
Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
- Faced a constant double team throughout the night, at minimum they would chip with a second lineman who would then peel off if they felt he was under control
- Quick off the snap, fires off
- Excellent recognition on a screen, stops and finds the RB to break up the play
- Strong, powerful kid, moves blockers when not doubled
- O-Lineman was late on a crossblock, no chance. Tackle for Loss as Thompson reads it and blows by immediately. Best play of the night
- Can take up space, and certainly can occupy two blockers. 4-3 type DT
- Should be called in round 1, dependant on work outs if he moves up early to mid.
Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
- Came in high on a tackle, runner shed him easily, needs to get low and form tackle
- Pursues a broken play well, seeks out bodies to hit even not in the play, takes out blockers, physical kid
- Angles concerned me. Couple times he took poor angles, lost contain of a guy he should have pinned in, need to improve that
- Solid play later in the game on the goal line, makes good quick read, busts in and gains tackle for loss with a solid tackle
- More natural body type right now for the position, Irvin may have the higher ceiling however. Branch should still be an early round selection
Unfortunately, this game was a complete laugher once it hit 63-26 midway through the 3rd, many of these players had a seat on the bench. All of them did show up and play well for the most part, but certainly the two Clemson defenders can’t be too happy when their defense gave up 8 touchdowns with them on the field.
I admit, I had not heard much of Tavon Austin before this game, but after seeing him, I think he could be one of those players that gets overlooked until he actually gets onto a field in camp, and blows coaches away with what he can do. His speed/elusiveness cannot be taught. Whether it be as a returner, or a slot WR, or even a Percy Harvin clone, he will help an offense, and if he lands on a team that plays in a dome where it’s a fast track, watch out.