Print

Jesse James scouting report

Written by Dan Gigler on .

jessejames

Hometown boy does good as the Steelers select the Mon Valley native with the coolest name in the draft, tight end Jesse James from Penn State (via South Allegheny HS) with their 5th round pick.

Here’s the skinny on James, who was part of Joe Paterno’s last recruiting class:

NFL.com draft profile:   

NFL COMPARISON: Phillip Supernaw

BOTTOM LINE: Big, in-line tight end with room on his frame for more muscle, but he's limited by a lack of functional athleticism and a mechanical play demeanor. James isn't a plus receiver with great hands and he lacks the quickness to consistently free himself from man coverage, so he must become a more determined run blocker in order to have a shot at starting in the NFL.

CBS Sports

James is a well-rounded tight end who became a security blanket for the quarterback with his versatility as a slot receiver and inline tight end. He can effectively play on all three downs with many attributes that will be coveted by NFL evaluators. With his size and firm grasp of blocking principles, James has just one major lingering question - consistency.

SB Nation: 

A huge target with above-average athleticism and reliable hands, James has the tools to be a tough matchup in the red zone. He has the ability to catch the ball in traffic and enough straight-line speed to be a deep threat down the seam, but often has trouble getting separation in man coverage. James' biggest strengths are his height and reach, but he really needs to improve his technique as a run blocker if he is going to develop into an every-down tight end in the NFL.

From his Penn State bio:

James is director of marketing for Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter, which has raised more than $825,000 for kidney cancer patients, their families and research since the first Penn State Lift For Life was held in 2003. Among 10 returning players from the greater Pittsburgh area, James joins a long line of outstanding Nittany Lion football student-athletes from Western Pennsylvania.

A pair of articles on him from his South Allegheny days by our high school football gurus Brad Everett & Mike White:

Talent holds up for South Allegheny's Jesse James

Blue Chip Chat with South Allegheny's Jesse James 

Highlights:

NFL Combine 40:

Crushing it at Penn State's Lift for Life:

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Mario Alford goes in the seventh round to the Cincinnati Bengals

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Former West Virginia wide receiver Mario Alford was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (the 238th overall pick) of the 2015 NFL draft in Chicago.

Playing alongside Kevin White, the seventh overall pick in the draft, Alford was a productive cog in a high-scoring Mountaineers offense, hauling in 65 passes for 945 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.

Though he was primarily a wide receiver in college, Alford's speed -- he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds at West Virginia's pro day in March -- makes him a prime candidate to be used as a punt or kick returner in the NFL. As a kick returner last season, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Alford averaged 28.6 yards per return with two touchdowns.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Doran Grant scouting report

Written by Dan Gigler on .

 

Doran-Grant

The Steelers opened the third and final day of the NFL Draft by again addressing one of their greatest areas of need, cornerback, by selecting Doran Grant, a co-captain from the National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here are some of the scouting reports on the Akron native who attended the same high school as LeBron James:

From college football blog Land Grant Holy Land:   

"Grant's shown he can transform his body, working with Mickey Mariotti to turn his relatively small frame into a lean, mean, tackling machine.  That hard work showed at the combine, when Grant posted a second-best bench press, 3rd fasted 40-yard dash  (4.44 seconds), and a 4.33 second shuttle drill.  At Ohio State's pro-day, Grant logged a 35 1/2 inch vertical.  

"A team that drafts Doran Grant gets a hard worker and a leader, an intelligent defensive back who can adjust to the complex routes and schemes used on NFL teams.  Grant had the benefit of working within two defensive systems while at Ohio State, which should allow him to more easily pick up an NFL team's playbook.  As the only returning secondary starter last year, he helped turn a young defense into a powerhouse."

Ohio State blog 11 Warriors nailed the pick for Pittsburgh:

"Breakdown: Longtime Steeler Ike Taylor announced his retirement earlier this month and corner seems to be Pittsburgh’s No. 1 priority after taking an outside linebacker in the first round. But if Grant is still there in the third or fourth for the Steelers to grab, they might just pull the trigger."

NFL.com’s draft profile:

DRAFT PROJECTION: Round 3

BOTTOM LINE: Boundary corner with press responsibilities in college but might lack the necessary size to play outside and athleticism to star in a primarily man-based scheme in the pros. Grant plays the ball well and is smart, with a willingness to tackle. Could be headed to the slot with a more zone-based defense.

Ohio State bio:

"2014 Season: First Team All-Big Ten ... Voted co-captain by his teammates ... Started all 15 games at cornerback for the National Champion Buckeyes ... Finished second on the team with 5 INTs, good for sixth in the Big Ten; his five INTs totaled 106 return yards (21.2 avg.)" 

Not much film on the young man except for this:

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Shaq Riddick drafted by Arizona Cardinals in fifth round

Written by Craig Meyer on .

After Mark Glowinski was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft, West Virginia didn't have to wait much longer to see another one of its players get selected -- one who may get the chance to go directly against Glowinski twice a year.

Defensive end Shaquille Riddick was picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round with the 158th overall pick Saturday.

An edge rusher, Riddick led all Mountaineers players last season with seven sacks and was second on the team in tackles for loss with 11 (for 55 yards). Riddick spent just one season at West Virginia after transferring from Gardner-Webb, where he was an FCS all-American.

Though the Cardinals had one of the NFL's stingiest defenses last season -- giving up 18.7 points per game, the fifth-fewest in the league -- they didn't put steady pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as they finished with just the 24th-most sacks among 32 teams.

Even with his notable upside and natural athleticism, people who analyze draft prospects, including ESPN's Mel Kiper, have said that Riddick wasn't as consistently productive as his physical frame and skills would seem to indicate.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Mark Glowinski picked in fourth round by Seattle Seahawks

Written by Craig Meyer on .

A sizable gap existed between West Virginia draftees after Kevin White was selected seventh overall under the bright and all-consuming lights of the first night of the 2015 NFL draft. But on the draft's third day, that drought ended.

Former Mountaineers offensive lineman Mark Glowinski was selected in the fourth round, with the 134th overall pick, by the Seattle Seahawks Saturday afternoon at the league's draft in Chicago.

Glowinski -- who, like White, came to Morgantown by way of Lackawanna College -- was a mainstay of the West Virginia offensive line the past two seasons, helping pave the way for a team that was tied for 34th in Division I last year in scoring offense (at 33.5 points per game).

At 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, scouts have raved about the power he generates from his upper body, as well as his competitive spirit. He has, however, been criticized for a lack of quickness in his hands and the relative stiffness of his lower body.

Despite making their second consecutive Super Bowl last season, and having one of the more elusive quarterbacks in the NFL in Russell Wilson, the Seahawks could use some degree of help on the offensive line, as they gave up the 12th-most sacks in the league last season.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.