Texas A&M will send two cornerbacks, two guards, a running back and a punter to the NFL Scouting Combine later this month, according to the league’s website. The six prospects will have a chance to improve their draft stock at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Feb. 23-29.
Running back Tra Carson, offensive guards Joseph Cheek and Germain Ifedi, cornerbacks De’Vante Harris and Brandon Williams and punter Drew Kaser will showcase their talents and run through the proverbial scouting ringer.
Here’s what the experts are saying:
Carson is compared to former NFL back Tim Hightower. The Liberty Bowl Offensive MVP is labeled as a physical runner who leads with his shoulders for punishment, but is injury-prone. He’s not expected to be a starter in the NFL.
An SEC West coach said, “Really tough guy. I know coaches on that staff who like the person as much as the player. You know he’s ready to challenge your guys on every carry, but he’s not the kind of runner who you fear if that makes sense.”
Cheek is an athletic and well-conditioned guard who plays well in space, but he plays with a narrow base and gives ground against power. Contact balance and sustaining blocks is also an issue. He’s built like a tackle, so his draft stock could be helped substantially if teams work him out at that position and like what they see.
Harris has great instincts at cornerback and locks in on a quarterback. The ball hawker has slippery tackles and sometimes bails on coverage. An AFC area scout said Harris believes he’s always the best player on the field, and this scout likes that attitude, but wishes Harris had 20 more pounds on his frame.
Thanks to his strength and physicality, Ifedi is built like a prototypical NFL lineman. He has good hand strength and ability to protect the edge, but the offensive scheme he played in college didn’t give scouts much opportunity to see him fire off the ball. An NFC area scout said, “I think he should have gone back (to school). I like the talent, but he didn’t put it together like I needed to see to give him a first two-round grade. I see him as a guard and not a tackle.”
Kaser is compared to former NFL punter Donnie James. Kaser has a booming leg, but that sometimes leads to outkicking his coverage. Scouts say he needs more hang time, but he should be the punter taken highest in this year’s draft.
Williams didn’t have analysis listed, but he entered college as a running back who didn’t get the touches he needed, so he switched to defense by his senior year. With little game film and relatively little stats to go by, WIlliams will need a good showing at the combine.