Scouting the PAC 10: Washington State

A program consistently competitive the past several seasons, Washington State has been decimated by graduation and early defections to the NFL as we move into a new campaign. And though they may have a tough time putting together a winning season in 2004, many of their seniors will end up on NFL rosters next year.

Productive on the offensive line the past three seasons, tackle Calvin Armstrong is a nice sized lineman with growth potential.  Blocking with forward lean, Armstrong displays quickness off the snap, footwork in space and strength at the point of attack.  Quickly getting his hands up in the the opponents, Armstrong is patient and immediately picks up blocking assignments or blitzes thrown by the defense.  A solid position blocker, he keeps his feet moving throughout the action and displays a good feel for the position.  Not a natural knee bender, Armstrong lacks top agility and blocking range.  Though sized well he is more of a finesse blocker rather than a mauler who attacks assignments and Armstrong must pick up the intensity of his play as a senior to reach his uppermost level.  The Cougars other offensive tackle, Sam Lightbody is also a big blocker yet has a different playing style.  Working to stay square, Lightbody blocks with a wide base and easily controls opponents at the point of attack.  Possessing only marginal footwork, he does not show the ability to slide out and protect the edge nor is Lightbody a fluid lineman rather a blocker who lumbers about the field.  Best in confined quarters, he could develop into a back-up at strong side tackle.  Junior tight end Troy Bienemann is a good-looking pass catcher and a prospect with a large amount of upside.  Quickly releasing off the line of scrimmage, he possesses excellent hands and is a solid athlete that adjusts to the errant throw only to come away with the difficult reception when opponents are draped on him.  Also possessing solid blocking techniques Bienemann just needs  time to physically mature and improve his strength but is someone to keep an eye on.

Defensively middle linebacker Will Derting is a tough defender who does a solid job reading the action.  Quickly moving up the field, he flies around the football and plays hard sideline-to-sideline yet the same time is disciplined.  Undersized, Derting gets caught up in the trash moving laterally and is slow shedding blocks once engaged at the point of attack. He could be best on the outside for conventional defense yet may also be a solid fit at inside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.  Cornerback Karl Paymah is a good athlete who looks best in press coverage.  Relatively smooth in his hips, Paymah runs well laterally, plays a physical brand of football and is strong at the point of attack.  Very confident in his abilities Paymah also excels on special teams.  Not overly instinctive, he seems confused at times and does more face-guarding then quickly turning his head around to locate the ball.  Paymah must also improved his secondary techniques yet possesses excellent speed/speed numbers.  Keep an eye on Hazma Abdullah, a terrific athlete who moves into the starting position at free safety this year.


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