Scouting the Pac 10: Stanford

Last seasons four win campaign was surprising for Stanford. A program that had its' share of recent struggles, the team offers several solid late round picks on defense as well as possibly one of the most underrated offensive players in the nation.

While he does not get a headlines he deserves, tight end Alex Smith could very well be one of the top sleepers at his position and player that could make a major move up draft boards next year.  Displaying the ability to make big plays down the field into the defense of secondary, Smith is an athletic pass catcher that adjusts to make the difficult reception in a crowd.  Offering the quarterback a nice target, he looks the ball into his hands and is effective running after the reception.  Blocking with forward lean Smith displays adequate strength at the point of attack and works hard blocking.  If he could and more bulk to his play frame then run well in the post season he will complete the deal.  Keep an eye on Smith as he could easily wind up in a first day of next April's draft.

Stanford's top defensive prospects lay in the back seven.  On the outside linebacker Jared Newberry is a heady, disciplined player that takes good angles to the action and displays solid playing speed.  Quick to key or diagnose, he immediately fills the gaps in run defense and takes good angles to the action.  Getting depth on pass drops Newberry displays the ability to stay with a running backs in pass coverage and has a solid change direction.  A bit undersized and lacking great sustained speed, Newberry will be engulfed at the point of attack and does not have the much growth potential yet looks like a solid prospect on the weak side. David Bergeron is a heady middle linebacker who flies around the ball and squares into tackles.  Disciplined, he immediately picks up assignments and takes good angles to the action.  Only ordinary in pass coverage he does not get great depth on drops nor does he display the ability to quickly change direction.  Looking more like a straight-line defender, Bergeron stands to improve his draft ranking if he shows himself to be more than a two down defender as a senior.  Finally Oshiomogho Atogwe is a solid centerfielder that does good job reading and diagnosing the action from his safety position.  Remaining disciplined, he stays with assignments, works well with cornerbacks and keeps the action in front of him.  Rarely getting caught out of position, Atogwe works hard to defend the throw and is an excellent special teams player. Stiff with his backpedal in man coverage he may be best as a dime back in a zone system.

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