Scouting the Pac 10: Oregon State

Led by the likes of Nick Barnett, Stephen Jackson and Chad Johnson, the quality of prospects Oregon State has recently put into the NFL continues to improve.   While there is no sure-fire first round choice for 2005 the Beavers still have plenty of talent to offer the drafts seven rounds.

Offensively quarterback Derek Anderson is a tall, pocket passer with solid physical skills for the next level.  Setting up in the pocket with solid footwork, Anderson accurately leads receivers over the middle and between the numbers.  Sensing pressure, he quickly finds the open wide out on the field and displays the ability to zip the ball into receivers.  Not always displaying great poise, Anderson wilts under the pressure releasing the ball off his back foot to avoid getting hit and has minimal skills making plays with his legs.  Rarely does Anderson take his eyes off the intended target and his interception-to-touchdown ratio is nothing to brag about.  Needing to improve his defense reads, Anderson still has the basic fundamentals to work with and is worth a middle round selection in the draft.  Tackle Doug Nienhuis is a highly rated a blocker with good reason.  Though he seems a bit limited athletically, Nienhuis displays strength at the point, turns opponents off the ball and is a solid position blocker who uses angles well.  Quick with his hands, he jolts opponents at the point yet at the same time shows good patience in pass protection.  Lacking the top blocking range, he is not a leverage player and struggles sliding out to protect the edge.  Yet even with that Nienhuis possesses both size as well as growth potential and is a good developmental prospect for strong side tackle.  Center Matt Brock is a rough and tumble blocker who works well with linemates and looks for someone to hit.  Explosive in all his actions Brock quickly gets off the ball and into blocks but at the same time plays with both mental and physical control.  A solid position blocker he works his hands nicely, stays square and shows the ability to kick out or pull.  Not a prospect who tests well athletically, Brock lacks body adjustment, a dominant base as well as overall playing strength.  He possesses good work ethic and could backup at several positions on the offensive line.  Guard Kanan Sanchez is another explosive blocker who jolts defenders at the point of attack then turns them off the line of scrimmage.  Working hard, he stays with the play yet is more of a mauler effective only in a limited area.

The last several seasons Oregon State has been characterized by the play of some very good linebackers.  The next in line would be Jonathan Pollard, a terrific athlete on the outside.  Displaying good footwork and the ability to change direction, Pollard gets depth on pass drops and displays excellent range.  Breaking down and playing with leverage, he stays with tight ends in pass coverage and is strong at the point of attack.  Also effective defending the run to the outside, Pollard displays a burst of closing speed.  Not an instinctive defender, he continually overruns plays and takes a lot of missteps. If Pollard learns to iron out the rough edges of his game he could be headed into the late part of the drafts first day next April.  Defensive end Bill Swancutt is a hard working pass rusher who displays quickness off the snap and goes hard pursuing the ball carrier from the backside.  A tough guy who chases to get involved in the action, Swancutt is also a heady ball player that does a solid job reading the action.  Tall and thin, he lacks the great explosion and rather easily gets locked up at the point of attack once wired in a block.  Possessing growth potential, Swancutt could eventually develop into a starting left defensive end as he physically matures.  The Beavers have a pair of prospects to keep an eye on in the secondary.  Cornerback Aric Williams is a tough defender who plays bigger than his listed size and works hard to defend the throw.  Safety Mitch Meeuwsen does a solid job patrolling center field and makes plays with his head, reading the quarterback and staying with assignments.  Showing great ball awareness, he fights very hard to break up the pass yet lacks top playing speed and is a bit late getting to the spot moving laterally.  Meeuwsen has an outside chance as a dime back at the next level but his main responsibilities will lie on special teams.


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