FanPost

The Evidence Says: No Square Pegs in Round Holes.

As I kept saying in my previous fanpost analyzing the Draft (Here), I knew little about the 2nd day picks, Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray, but understood the rationale behind the picks.

So, as I'm not one that doesn't like to regurgitate what others say about a player, I started a process of collecting game tape from their teams and focused on them in every snap. It wasn't just a matter of seeing their best games (which by itself is really hard to do, especially when they play smaller schools), so I payed special attention to their games against "bigger" Colleges in 2010 and 2009 due to how those games are easier to get my paws on and because those include some of their best and poorer performances (Carter: Miami x 2, Georgia Tech x 2, Pittsburgh, LSU and VT. Murray: Texas x 2, Nebraska x 2, Missouri, Baylor and Miami.).

What I saw in those games is what follows, an analysis of both guys in the following categories: Assets, Questions, Fitting them in and Reminds me of.

Bruce Carter, ILB.

Ncf_i_bcarter1_400_medium

Assets:

  • Versatile. Can attack gaps in run support. Blitz. Cover TEs from the slot. Drop back and cover hook zones. Shadow the QB or RB.
  • Great pursuit LB. Fast, quick and explosive. The guy can run and change directions.
  • Aggressive. Will go for the kill shot when he's well positioned to do so. Will jump routes in coverage. He's such a good athlete that he could take some risks.
  • Knows how to use his tools. Known for making pretty and non-pretty plays. He can make plays even from the wrong angle.
  • Good use of hands (against WRs, TEs, RBs and FBs).

Questions:

  • Instincts. Comes from Butch Davis' read-and-react kind of D in North Carolina, in which he was supposed to wait for the play to develop and fall in pursuit.
  • Shedding blocks from OLineman need more than just use of hands. He needs to work on hands-footwork combos in order to better use his athletism against OLineman.
  • Health. Knee, thigh, ankle and hamstring injuries in his career. Notice no upper body injuries, is his injury list another example of plain bad luck?

Fitting them in:

It's all about the Rob Ryan kind of D. I've already written 2 fanposts about it (Here and here) so I won't get into much detail.

If there's a difference between the Ryan brothers, that is highlighted in the 1st post, is that Rob likes to press the QB from the inside while Rex prefers to attack from the outside. And Rob really likes to blitz with his ILBs. Which puts a premium on someone that can effectively blitz (James is inconsistent, Brooking doesn't have the required speed anymore and Lee has his own injury concerns).

And now in the 2nd post, look at Chris Gocong. 1st play: gap asignment in run support. 2nd play: blitz. 3rd play: bracket coverage 11 yards deep. James and Brooking can attack gaps in run support with really good results, but that's about it. Seeing them in Gocong's position 11 yards deep, when he's supposed to provide bracket coverage for Welker is nightmares material!

Something tells me that Carter and Lee may be starting sooner rather than later.

Reminds me of:

Ceiling: Keith Bulluck. Note: I'm not saying that he's going to have that kind of career, I'm saying that his versatility and overall level of play in College reminds me of him.

Likely level of play: Kevin Burnett. Not much of a player against the run, more of a pass specialist.

DeMarco Murray, RB.

Demarco-murray_medium

Assets:

  • Fast one-cut kind of back. Best fit in a zone or area blocking running attack.
  • Tough. Not good at absorbing contact and running over someone. More like a pinball, takes a contact and redirects.
  • Decisive. Knows his asigned gap and goes after it with speed and quickness. Can also wait for players on the move and attack behind them.
  • Vision. In highlights, look at his head, it's always moving, looking at defenders. He's also conscious of his teammates blocking in front of him.
  • Versatile. Soft hands and really good route runner as a pass catcher. Has a bit of a mean side in pass protection.

Questions:

  • Thin lower body and upright stance = Easy low tackling. Too much falling from first contact.
  • Tough enough for inside carries (drive blocking)? Too tall running style gives defenders a lot of contact space. Also gave him some ball security problems.
  • Almost stiff? Seeing him won't make you think Barry Sanders, if he has to make a last second cut to run around a tackler, he won't make it.
  • Injury prone? Better training gave him a "healthy" 2010 (ribs), injuries in his other years cost him playing time (turf toe, knee, hamstring and ankle).

Fitting them in:

In August of last year I wrote a fanpost about the running game style of the Cowboys (Here) and how Garrett was mixing concepts of area and drive blocking to have a versatile running attack. It was partially a plan and a necessity. With the inhability to do one style consistently enough, he's been forced to keep defenses guessing.

After a year, we can all look at the Free Agents moves and the Draft.

  • Jeremy Parnell, questionable talent but good athlete.
  • Tyron Smith, HIGH potential athlete.
  • DeMarco Murray, one-cut area blocking style RB.
  • David Arkin, too much like Kyle Kosier to be a coincidence.
  • Bill Nagy, questionable talent but good athlete.

I really don't like to bet, but I'm pretty sure of this: the Cowboys style of running the ball in the 90s is long gone. Their dominating style is going to be zone blocking but how well they're going to run the ball will be defined by how well they drive block as a combination. Think about the Marshall Faulk Rams. The Cowboys OLine has that kind of potential.

Reminds me of:

Ceiling: Clinton Portis.

Likely level of play: Chester Taylor.


BONUS: David Arkin, G.

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Unfortunately, I can't say much regarding this guy, getting my paws on Missouri State games proved to be impossible, so I tried my best in what was possible, getting some film from the Shrine and NFLPA practices and games.

  • The guy is mean (Doug Free will be proud - Here). The guy stops with the whistle, sometimes after that. And it seems that he enjoys giving defenders a taste of the turf.
  • Versatile. For the most part he played at Guard, left and right. But he also saw some action at Tackle.
  • He can move and find his asignment. He's also mean on the move... Larry Allen... The memories of LBs and DBs being tossed around like rag dolls...
  • He has the footwork to redirect pass rushers around the QB in pass protection.
  • Movement can confuse and beat him, but he's a good athlete that played against low level competition.
  • Needs to add some strength, a pet for Woicik?

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