NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein is constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Zierlein will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.
The scoop: "I have no doubt that (Su'a) Cravens can play down in the box in the pros. He will either be a 4-3 WILL (outside linebacker) or a 3-4 inside 'backer. He's carrying his new weight well and he's tough enough to play down there as a pro." -- NFC Pac-12 scout on the USC LB
The skinny: Cravens, a junior, was a safety/linebacker hybrid last season for the Trojans, but this year, he's listed as an outside linebacker. Cravens added weight to his frame in preparation for his full-time position change, but I haven't seen it affect his play speed in a negative way. He's still able to line up on the slot and cover when asked.
Players that used to be known as "tweeners" are now called hybrid players, and they carry more value due to their ability to match up against the increasing percentage of sub-packages that offenses are running out on the field. Cravens would have been a devalued box safety in the past, but he might be considered a valuable matchup player in today's game.
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The scoop: "You know who Kenny Clark reminds me of? Eddie Goldman from last year. I noticed him wearing people out last year when I was studying Owa (Odighizuwa) and he's doing it again this year. Powerhouse at the point (of attack)." -- NFC regional scout on the UCLA DL
The skinny: The comparison to Goldman, a former Florida State defensive tackle, is an interesting one because Goldman was a run-stuffing defender without much pass-rushing ability, which is similar to Clark's style. The big difference is that when Goldman was drafted 39th overall by the Chicago Bears, he was at least an inch taller and weighed 26 pounds more than Clark's current listed weight (310).
I'm a big fan of Clark, a junior, and love his combination of toughness and strength, but it will be interesting to see if NFL teams view him the same way they viewed Goldman -- as a fit in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense -- whenever he enters the draft.
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The scoop: "Boise State has a tackle who got hurt this week that I really like. I think he's probably a guard in the league because he's not as long as you need at tackle, but if he can hit the weight and bulk up, I think he has a shot at being a really good guard." -- AFC West scout on senior Rees Odhiambo
The skinny: Odhiambo broke his ankle in the fourth quarter of this past weekend's game against Wyoming, and this scout failed to mention that Odhiambo will have missed four games or more in each of his last three seasons due to injury. While Odhiambo has played left and right tackle at Boise State, NFL scouts are concerned about his arm length. The scout told me his arms have been measured at less than 33 inches, which is below the level NFL teams expect from tackles.
Odhiambo has the athletic build of a tackle. However, he will get pigeon-holed as a zone-only guard unless he proves that his body can add mass. On tape, I see a tough player with some ability to drive-block, but I didn't see enough to co-sign this scout's statements just yet.