Scouting Reports: Scifres and Wilhelm

As each San Diego Chargers draft pick signs, Chargers Update provides the scouting report for them based on watching them practice and game tape. Unable to compile this news as Mike Scifres and Matt Wilhelm signed, we provide the scouting report for them now.<br><br> Any undrafted free agents who make the team will also get their own scouting report.

Our apologies for the lateness of this news. Generally we try and have the scouting report compiled and ready to go as a draft pick signs. These reports are assembled from our team of writers and interviews we have done with coaches and colleagues.

On to the reports...

Chargers Update Scouting Report: Mike Scifres

Chargers Update had Scifres tabbed as a sixth round pick.

Punters, no matter how good they are, do not get the love other positions do. Perhaps we are no different when we tabbed Mike as a sixth round pick. Punters are often an afterthought, but they can do so much. A punter is often the holder on field goals; a punter is the last line of defense after the kick and a punter can kickoff?

Well, this punter can.

Mike Scifres kicked the ball off 209 times in his collegiate career at Western Illinois and recorded 95 touchbacks. In 2002, he kicked off 91 times, with only 47 of those kicks returned for 822 yards (17.5 avg.) while maintaining a 4.08-second average hang time.

And he can punt too. Sixty-one of his punts were downed inside he 20-yard line and 54 of those attempts were for 50 yards or longer! He has a strong leg and a great work ethic. Scifres is not afraid to tackle either. He will gladly throw his body around and was credited with 13 special teams tackles in college.

Head Coach Don Patterson of Western Illinois promptly compared Scifres to another great punter, Reggie Roby.

"He is the strongest leg I have seen in a long time. I have coached college football for 25 years. We had a guy that is well known in NFL circles named Reggie Roby. And Reggie was a great punter in college and Reggie still owns the NCAA record for single season punting average. Mike has the strongest leg of anyone I have seen since Reggie. It's hard to argue who is stronger than who. They were both exceptional."

Scifres is the most prolific punter in Western Illinois history, holding the Leathernecks' career record with a 43.45 average, gaining 8,908 yards on 205 attempts, breaking the old mark of a 40.4-yard average, first set by Mike Krause (1986-89) and matched by Ross Schulte (1992-94).

Scifres must learn not to outkick his coverage at the NFL level. He also must work on his directional punting. With the competition and talent in the NFL, sometimes the kicks must be placed perfectly for special teams to be deemed a success. (Anyone recall Santana Moss making returns last year against San Diego?)

Chargers Update Scouting Report: Matt Wilhelm

Chargers Update had Matt Wilhelm tabbed as a fifth round pick.

Wilhelm is a leader both on and off the field and earned praise in that regard from Coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

"He was probably as crucial as anyone, not embracing change, cause I don't know that anyone embraces," said Coach Tressel. "But in allowing change and making sure he was in the locker room saying, ‘Hey you guys I know its different, let's go. Let's have a little faith.' And for that I will never forget him."

Wilhelm is always in the weight room, which has provided him with a well defined muscles and does his due diligence watching film. On the field, Wilhelm is a very astute player. The same play does not trick him twice. He has solid vision and compliments that with great sideline-to-sideline ability. Wilhelm is especially proficient in coverage of running backs on screens and any hesitation plays (draws, reverses). He has a great overall understanding of the game and is capable of instructing the defense on alignment before a play.

Wilhelm was a key factor on special teams and Coach Tressel termed him "crucial" to the Ohio State punt team.

Wilhelm can sometimes get caught looking at the quarterback trying to be aggressive towards the line of scrimmage and get beat on passing plays behind him. He does not have great speed and will suffer covering tight ends in space. He is more of a read and react type player and does not attack the line looking to make a play. Therefore, he is not a great blitzer.

Wilhelm was an All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection as a senior starting every game, leading the team with a career-high 121 tackles (79 solos), with three sacks for minus-15 yards and a team-high 20 stops for losses of 49 yards. He also deflected three passes, intercepted two others and had a pair of forced fumbles.

Wilhelm recorded 266 tackles (180 solos) with eight sacks for minus-41 yards, 44 stops for losses of 126 yards, three interceptions for 25 yards in returns and four forced fumbles during his career at Ohio State. His 44 stops behind the line of scrimmage rank sixth on the school's career-record list.


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