This is my second film study, to read about UNC Senior DE Kareem Martin go here.
My name is Tanner Knauth and I am not a professional scout.
But I do love football and think I have a decent eye for talent and an understanding of the talent it takes to succeed in the NFL. Therefore I have decided to post some of my thoughts on players in the upcoming draft.
I will primarily focus on players who I think fit the Cowboys needs, so you will see a lot of defensive linemen a few linebackers and a couple of skill position players. With the film I look at, skill players away from the ball are difficult to evaluate so I will probably avoid them. I will also try and focus on lesser known players who will be taken after the first round.
When evaluating a player I look at least two full games where I am only watching one player. I try and take into account what the player is being asked to do within the scheme.
While watching film I will jot down notes of what I see and then will try and put them into an informative format.
I will try to be as transparent as possible when writing about a player letting you what I saw and why I think it helps or hurts a player.
Without further ado, here is my study of Daniel McCullers.
Senior Defensive Tackle, University of Tennessee
6'6" 351 lbs
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
McCullers was a transfer from Georgia Military College. He played his Junior and Senior yeas at Tennessee. As a Junior McCullers played in 12 games and started seven. He tallied 5.5 tackles for loss and one sack and two quarterback hurries. His Senior year, McCullers started all 12 games and ended up with 4.5 tackles for loss, half a sack and four quarterback hurries. He was named to the second team All-SEC. McCullers also had two career blocked kicks.
(Games watched: Georgia and South Carolina, 2013 and Alabama, 2012)
McCullers is an absolute mountain of a man and his size creates problems for blockers. Once he gets his momentum moving forward he looks like a freight train rolling through the line. There are times where he puts his blocker on roller skates and pushes him into the backfield. If he beats his man early, the blocker cannot recover due to McCullers size. He stands his ground against double teams and creates piles in the run game. Has adequate speed for a man of his size. Occasionally he will explode out stance and overwhelm blocker. There are moments where he looks like a dominant force.
McCullers will be dominant for a play and then be neutralized for the next 20 plays. Despite his size, which should command constant double teams, he can be handled by a single blocker at times. Shows very little hand technique, more of a push and lean on you defender rather than using rip, swim, shoulder dip, or other moves to disengage blocker. Does not show the pop you want to see when he extends his arms into player. Does not play up to his physical tools. McCullers is not consistently explosive out of his stance and there are times when he is the last man off the line of scrimmage by a noticeable margin. You see glimpses of explosion, but they are rare. Does not play very aggressive in pursuit. He gets cut frequently and goes to the ground. McCullers also misses more tackles than you would like. You do not see much in terms of lateral quickness.
Where Does He Fit?
McCullers is a maddening prospect because you can see the talent to be a dominant interior defender. He will never be a major pass rush threat, but he can be a player who does a lot of the little things which help a defense succeed. He can command double teams by overwhelming single blockers, he clogs gaps by piling up men in the run game and pushes the pocket into the quarterbacks lap in the pass game. The problem is, you only see flashes of this on film. More often you see a player who is just a big guy on the football field. Coaching may be able to help his hand technique which will improve his ability to disengage blockers and be more consistent and make more plays. He has only been in a major college program for two years and is still learning how to play at a high level. As of right now, he is a guy whose best fit is in a defensive line rotation where he can be used in short yardage situations. His rookie year he probably will not have much of an impact, but could be a player who blossoms with patience and good coaching.
Draft sites are projecting him to be drafted in the third or fourth round. This is based solely on potential because on film he looks more like a sixth round prospect to me. It would not surprise me if he ends up being one of the better interior linemen in this draft, however; it also would not surprise me if he was out of the league in four years.