Prospect Evaluation #9: WR Crane & OT Peat

One guy seriously stretches the field, while the other guy seems to stretch seriously the confines of his uniform. Tall and deceptively fast WR Conner Crane is expected to help the Card get behind opposing secondaries while the potential pick-up of not-quite-so deceptively huge Andrus Peat would provide the Cardinal with a dominating, game-changing road-paver & pocket-protector for years to come.

Prospect Evaluation #9: WR Conner Crane & OT Andrus Peat

Conner Crane, WR  6'4" 198 lbs (Guyer High School, Denton, TX)


Scout.com Ratings – 3*, #97 WR


Rivals Ratings – 3*, 5.6/6.1, #86 WR, No National Ranking, No State Ranking


ESPN Ratings – 2*, 73/100, #187 WR, #324 Regional Prospect, #255 Prospect in Texas, No National Ranking


Rating the Ratings

ESPN stands out as the extreme low ranking of Conner Crane, marking him as a 2-star prospect with a positional ranking about 100 spots below the other two services. Rivals and Scout look like they do a much better job in considering the entire package that Crane brings to the table, which is underrated, especially given the strong level of competition that he faced in high school.


Evaluation

Crane's size is terrific, and with top-end height and arm length he can be very successful as a receiver without blazing speed and quick-twitch separation ability. However, the video shows that in fact Crane does have very good speed which is an added bonus to his size.  Regardless of what type of 40-yard dash time he has recorded, Crane is a legitimate "deep threat" and he exemplifies that by repeatedly running by defenders on top-level Texas high school teams. Crane eats up a lot of ground with each of his long strides, which seem to fool defenders into thinking that he is moving slower than he actually is.


Receivers in the 6'4" range often have trouble sinking their hips to be sudden in and out of breaks in their routes. Crane appears comfortable with getting his hips down to stop his momentum and change direction in routes. He can make a decent cut to turn up field after the catch and elude a defender, but he is not a "quick twitch" athlete who can juke an opponent into a bad tackling position. Such, however, is expected of a player with his body type.


Crane has good hands and can comfortably make all of the catches that one would want a BCS-conference receiver to make.  His video doesn't show him extending his arms to high-point a ball over defenders, however. If Crane has that skill or develops it, he will cause a lot of problems for defenses in red zone and third and long situations. What he does show on film is good ball judgment, which he uses along with his height to shield off defenders from under thrown long balls.  In many situations, that skill can work just as well as high-pointing the ball. 


Projection

At Stanford, Conner Crane has a decent chance to see playing time as a freshman given the depth chart and the unique combination of attributes he brings to the table. If his sneaky speed translates well, he could play in 2012 as a field-stretching receiver who will open up room for guys like Ty Montgomery, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo.  However, more than likely he will end up with a redshirt year as other freshman and redshirt freshman step into other receiver roles and earn playing time and spots on the travel squad.  hat alone will significantly decrease the benefit of burning Crane's redshirt year.


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Andrus Peat
, OT  6'7" 305 lbs (Corona Del Sol High School, Tempe, AZ)


Scout.com Ratings – 4*, #9 OT


Rivals Ratings – 5*, 6.1/6.1, #3 OT, #14 National Prospect, #1 Prospect in Arizona


ESPN Ratings – 4*, 83/100, #3 OT, #2 Regional Prospect, #1 Prospect in Arizona, #16 National Prospect


Rating the Ratings

Andrus Peat is a consensus stud offensive tackle as judged by the services.  There is little difference between the services' respective views of him. His lower ranking comes from Scout's evaluators who dropped Peat slightly in their rankings after the Under Armour All America Game. The difference, however, is so little that all three can be deemed as consistent and accurate evaluations of Peat.


Evaluation

Andrus Peat is a long athlete who has the ideal frame and build of a prototype offensive tackle.  His long arms pack a powerful initial punch that can neutralize pass rushers before they can execute their pass rush technique.  He maintains a good athletic position which will allow him to absorb bull rushes from college level linemen and rally with his feet to bring the pass-rusher's momentum to a halt.  He has a good initial kick and good feet which are utilized to take away outside rushers' angles to the passer and mirror them when they re-direct to the inside.


Peat is devastating as a run-blocker. Despite sometimes starting off with a high pad-level, Peat has great body position when he initiates contact with defenders. He keeps his hips as low as necessary to get under opponents who are always much shorter than he is. After he makes contact, Peat drives defenders back and finishes his blocks with a purpose. He plays through the whistle and has the requisite nastiness required of a big-time offensive lineman. 


The mobility Peat possesses shows when he pulls on traps or is seeking out defenders on the second level. He is quick out of his stance and very agile for a 6'7" lineman. That agility is used to quickly maneuver around fellow offensive lineman and flatten trapped defenders when he pulls. Peat gets to the second level very quickly and does a great job using his feet to get in the proper position to cut off the pursuit of linebackers.


Projection

Due to the early departure of veteran blind-side tackle Jonathan "Moose" Martin, Peat will have a chance to compete not only for playing time, but for a starting position if he ends up at Stanford.  He has the requisite size and athleticism to compete at the Pac 12 level immediately. However, the existing depth chart at offensive tackle still holds some very good, talented linemen with at least one year of experience in Stanford's offense. Thus, as a freshman, Andrus Peat would likely see time in goal-line and other packages in which there are more than five offensive linemen on the field. He is an exceptional football player who should have some starts under his belt by some point in year two. A whale among whales, recruiting-wise, Peat has the Stanford staff salivating with his astonishing upside. Whether Stanford actually can land the big fella or not remains to be seen.


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