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Scouting reports on Ryan/Baker that you may not have seen


McMVP
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These guys are amateur scouts - and yes, they are Eagle fans that post on our boards. They are very objective and knowledgeable. They run scoutsnotebook.com

Baker - OT rank - 7

Matt's Notes on Sam Baker

I don’t believe that Baker can play offensive tackle in the NFL. As a junior I had high hopes for him, but as a senior he looked pedestrian at times. I have no problems with Baker in terms of his technique as he keeps a low base, gets his hands out and takes proper angles, however his footwork is mediocre and he really struggles with quicker players. He also has trouble with bigger, stronger ends as well. Baker does do an adequate job in the running game making his initial block and then getting to the second level. He always gives a lot of effort and generally sustains well in the open field. There were many times I saw him go to make cut blocks on defensive ends and simply watched him whiff. He doesn’t take out their legs, he simply falls down in front of the defender. That’s not going to work, especially at the NFL level.

I think Baker is going to have to make the transition to offensive guard in the NFL frankly. His performance at his Pro Day makes me think even less of him athletically than I did before. I would grade him out as a 3rd rounder due to the lack of depth on the offensive line in this class and the fact that I liked him much more as a junior.

Tommy's Notes on Sam Baker

Not a natural pass blocker. Uses proper technique, but lacks the natural footwork to handle edge rushers. Gets the job done with technique and effort. Comes off the ball well on run plays. Looks technically sound. Takes good angles. Shows a good understanding for blocking techniques. Gives very good effort on run plays. Needs to extend his arms better in pass-pro. Shows quick feet as he retreats in pass-pro. Uses his hands well. Smart OL. Shows good awareness. Poor job on cut blocks. Goes down well, but doesn’t go through the defenders legs. That allows the DL to just step over him. Wasn’t 100% in the ARZ game. Had a severe hamstring injury that hurt his level of play and cost him games. Father is David Baker, the commissioner of the Arena League.

SUMMARY

4 year starter at LT. That really says something at a program like USC. I don't know if Sam is naturally talented enough to play LT in the NFL, at least for a team that throws a lot. Could be an ideal LT for a team like Denver.

Ryan - QB rank - 1

Matt's Notes on Matt Ryan

Ryan does a great job spreading the ball around and had five players catch more then 40 passes in 2007. That speaks volumes considering he did not have even what I would refer to as an average group of wide receivers. Puts good touch on short and intermediate routes and places the ball well, showing good accuracy. I didn't see Matt throw a lot of deep balls as a senior which would usually concern me, however when watching his film you can see why many of his passes were shorter routes. Boston College had a very strong receiver in running back Andre Callendar, good tight ends and mediocre wide receivers. Ryan shows good pocket presence, feels the blitz and has the poise to stay in the pocket and make the throw while being rushed. One thing he excels at is recognizing the blitz and throwing into it, taking advantage of the open spots on the field. He makes quick decisions and they are generally good ones. Ryan possesses adequate athleticism and has the ability to buy time with his feet or scramble when needed, however scrambling isn't something he does much.

The game I was most impressed by with Ryan was his effort in the ACC Championship against Virginia Tech. He really spread the ball around while being blitzed very, very often. He did a nice job hitting Callendar in the first half, completing eight passes to the running back. He made one heck of a throw running backward to avoid the blitz off his back foot, drilling the ball between two defenders 30 yards downfield for a completion. You could just see how calm and collected he is in the pocket managing the game.

One thing I want to see out of Ryan is his deep throws. You do see a bit of him going deep and he shows good arm strength and accuracy, but I need to see him at the combine before lumping him into the "franchise quarterback" mold. He is certainly my top quarterback in the class and frankly, there isn't anyone even close to him as a second in my mind. Do I think Ryan has Top 5 talent? Not really. Will he be a Top 5 selection? I would imagine so. In the past seven years there have been six quarterbacks drafted first overall with the lowest being Vince Young at No. 3. In the last decade there has only been one draft without a quarterback taken in the Top 5.

Tommy's Notes on Matt Ryan

25-7 as starting QB. Great Senior year. Led BC to a top 5 ranking for a while. Extremely productive, despite not having a good set of receivers. Matt is patient. Reads his progressions. Will force a couple of throws, but that is more him trying to create something that not knowing better. Generally makes smart decisions. Can throw when running to his right. Sound mechanically. Accurate passer. Will throw to receivers who are somewhat covered. Does a pretty good job on play fakes. Really extends the ball. Has good escapability, but isn’t much of a runner. Handles the blitz okay. Can throw accurately off his back foot (short stuff). Not afraid to take chances. Led 4th Qtr comebacks on the road at Va Tech and Clemson. Had 5 INTs run back for TDs in 2007 (Adibi, Hayes, etc). Had a wild game at Virginia Tech. He struggled for the first 3 1/2 Qtrs. The VT pass rush got to him. Matt didn't handle the pressure well. He made poor reads and poor throws. I was highly disappointed and jotted down "Bad game" in my notebook. There were only 5 minutes left and surely there was no way Matt could redeem himself. Oops. Matt played brilliantly on the final couple of drives for BC as they scored 14 points and stole a win from Va Tech. That 5 minutes of football time did wonders for Matt, at least in my book. All QBs have bad games. All QBs struggle. He showed me an incredible amount of mental and emotional toughness by not giving up. Had he just made it a game, I'd have been impressed. The fact he led BC to the win really blew me away. The comeback was a combination of things. First, Matt settled down and played under control. His receivers also stepped up. Instead of dropping passes, they caught 'em. They even made tough catches. That kept the VT pass rushers on the field for more than 3-5 plays and started to wear them out. I was really impressed with Matt's footwork. He did a masterful job of moving around in the pocket on those last drives. If I were going to teach a young QB about pocket presence and how to move around, that is what I'd show him. Matt stayed cognizant of the rush, but only moved as much as he had to. Often, QBs panic and take off when a DL gets near them. Matt was aware that by sidestepping a defender or moving up, he could buy himself a few more seconds to scan the field and find a receiver. His running wasn't going to move the ball fast enough. He had to throw passes.

SUMMARY

Reminds me of a lesser Carson Palmer. Very good pocket passer. Not a great athlete, but moves around well enough to keep plays alive. Has the talent to be a good starting QB in the NFL. Deserves to go in the top ten. Not likely to last past the Ravens at pick 8. Could go first overall.

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"I would grade him out as a 3rd rounder due to the lack of depth on the offensive line in this class"

He loses credibility with that statement. What is classified as depth these days? I guess 8 first rounders don't satisfy people.

One more thing, they say he wasn't near as good his senior and then go on and say that he played the season injured. Did it not occur to him that maybe the injury cause himd not to play as well his senior year. What a concept.

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word from his veteran ol coach of 22 years is that Bakers footwork is very good. and that he is coming along just as planned at this point.

I haven't seen him play a single snap, that's just what the reports have been. We will know more mid season on Bakers future at OT

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just for contrast, here's a report on Baker from a Seahawks blog that had me excited about him way back in February. I'm a big fan of technically sound guys, and I think he projects well in the mold of the Green Bay tackles (clifton & tauscher), which I would be very happy with.

http://www.fieldgulls.com/2008/2/11/16156/3110

William Blake wrote that "The fool who persists in his folly will become wise." About 11 months ago I followed my folly to an almost absurd degree. I was attempting to decode the scouting combine, and while I don't think my method was flawed, I think my thinking was broken. Measuring a player's ability to explode in a straight line ignores some very essential facts: Football players almost never move in a straight line and blocking is not the same as running. My wisdom for so many hours of folly? A hard-earned appreciation of the skill of top offensive and defensive linemen.

That appreciation, fortified by 200+ hours of watching tape this past fall led me to a thoroughly satisfying realization: Sam Baker's the steal of this draft. In most drafts, the 6'5" 3 time All-America left tackle from one of the nation's premier programs and top offensive lines would be a sure first 15 pick. But with so many Jonathan Ogden sized tackles in this year's class recent rumor has Baker falling as far as the third. That would be 7 kinds of sweet - for the team that takes him.

What you notice right away about Baker is that he's not projectable, he's not a toolsy guy in need of polish, he doesn't need this or this to succeed at the next level; he's there. Let's start with his blocking, and compare him against a player that many boards have projected ahead of him: Gosder Cherilus. Cherilus slap blocks. That is, he uses open palm strikes to ward off a defender. Cherilus is a huge, powerful guy, so I'm not naming this as a fatal flaw by any means, but watch him and you'll see: he lets defenders get inside and dictate where the two go. He is, to put this into Seahawks terms, the type of tackle Darryl Tapp feasts on. It doesn't look so bad when there's no quarterback back there, but Cherilus was blocking awfully deep in the pocket, don't you think?

Baker, on the other hand, explodes into his blocks. Using his exceptionally quick feet to stay square with his defender, Baker's blocks start from his feet, move up through his legs, into his arms and up under the defender's pads. While Cherilus wards off the defender, Baker drives the defender up and back. From a site that I can no longer find (perhaps deleted) I was able to watch 3 condensed USC games: UCLA, Washington State and last year's Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. Baker is assignment correct on nearly every play and consistently shows a precocious ability to engage a defender, disengage them once he is certain that they are out of the play and run up and engage another defender. This is an unheralded skill that has become almost essential in the NFL, where exotic blitz packages and blitzing linebackers are standard. The scouting community doesn't seem to agree, but I think Baker is a substantially better run blocker than Cherilus, too. He may not be as dominant physically, but he's considerably less stiff and if not "mean" or whatever such nonsense, an awesome pull blocker that delivers knockout blocks on the move.

Baker may be suffering just the first wave of gobbledygook, drills and measurables that regularly push great players behind great talents. It's foolishness, outright hubris perhaps, and like the career gambler the occasional success reinforces this flawed thinking that pushes inferior players with better tools ahead of superior players, accomplished players who have excelled at the highest level, but it happens every draft. No track, no set of weighed plates, or tape measure can accurately measure the skill of a player to play his position like one series of balls-out, top competition I-A football. Here's hoping Baker continues to fall thanks to his poor showing in the swim suit portion of the NFL Draft, because while he struggles at plain clothes sprints and pushing iron, he does do one thing exceptionally well: play left tackle.

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Here's hoping Baker continues to fall thanks to his poor showing in the swim suit portion of the NFL Draft, because while he struggles at plain clothes sprints and pushing iron, he does do one thing exceptionally well: play left tackle.

:lol:

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Guest falcawkrave

McMVP,

thanks for the info- Although, if matt was so well informed, how come he wasn't aware that Baker played hurt his senior season?

And , to ask an ignorant question, who's the person we should be afraid of in your avatar? Is he going to break into my home? Threaten me on the street? If he does can i call you as a witness? :lol:

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And , to ask an ignorant question, who's the person we should be afraid of in your avatar? Is he going to break into my home? Threaten me on the street? If he does can i call you as a witness? :lol:

You'll have to figure it out B)

I think we play you guys this year - you should know who it is by then

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Guest falcawkrave
You'll have to figure it out B)

I think we play you guys this year - you should know who it is by then

Hey, if i wanted to think that hard, i wouldn't be on a message board :lol:

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Hey, if i wanted to think that hard, i wouldn't be on a message board :lol:

Ok - then I'll give you a hint.

He's one of the only players in NFL history, if not the only one (not sure), who was an undrafted FA - and then traded to another team for a draft pick and a player before the preseason even started.

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Matt's note on Baker: I agree he did take a step back in his senior year, but it was due to injuries not skill. He didn't become a worse left tackle his senior year...he was hampered by a rib injury. I think it was a rib injury, correct me if I am wrong.

If you evaluate Baker his entire 4 years at USC I think he easily projects to a mid 1st rounder. If you only look at his injury plaugued senior year, yeah more like a 3rd round pick.

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Matt's note on Baker: I agree he did take a step back in his senior year, but it was due to injuries not skill. He didn't become a worse left tackle his senior year...he was hampered by a rib injury. I think it was a rib injury, correct me if I am wrong.

If you evaluate Baker his entire 4 years at USC I think he easily projects to a mid 1st rounder. If you only look at his injury plaugued senior year, yeah more like a 3rd round pick.

yeah, he had knee surgery and then cracked a rib in a scrimmage just before his senior season. Anyone that had had a rib injury knows how bad the pain can be just to lift your arms at times. For any draft profile to miss this injury that cost him 3 games and part of 2 others means they didn't do thier homework very well.

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Tommy did mention his injury.

Matt seemed to be more critical of certain techniques and his Pro Day performance.

You aren't going to hear glowing things across the board on any player. The fact of the matter is many of you would be looking at the scouting reports a bit differently if the player wasn't a Falcon - which is completely natural to do. Every fan does it. Who will be right? We'll see several years down the road....

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