Scouting the Big 12: Texas A&M

Could this be the year of the Aggie in the Big 12? Talent wise, we say yes. This program is laden with quality players on both sides of the ball and there are numbers in draft choices that will be available to NFL teams; both now and in the future, both in the early or late frames of the draft.

Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies have always offered talented linemen to the league and this year will be no different. Bill Yates is an athletic guard that plays with solid fundamentals and displays the ability to move in space. Mike Mahan is a big and powerful tackle best in confined quarters on the right side. Each will be given late round consideration with Yates having the possibilities of moving into the middle frames. Teammate Taylor Whitley is also a strong run blocking guard but his inability to move in space or block with leverage will more than likely leave him out of the seven rounds. The man they protect is Mark Farris, to our mind an underrated and overlooked signal caller. Farris, a former semi-pro baseball player entering his mid-twenty's, is a fireball thrower with a decent head on his shoulders. He makes plays in the pocket or on the move and his accuracy is more than adequate. In scouting circles Farris is not spoken about enough but should he lead this team the way he is capable that will change next January. Joe Weber is a hard-working football player but a ‘tweener as he's not big enough to play the fullback position he's situated at in the Aggie backfield and not fast enough for a feature runner. They have a slew of receivers that could make a move up draft boards. Bethel Johnson, a former prop-48 player, returns for a fifth season and is a solid possession wide out with consistent hands and the ability to break into the later frames. Dwain Goynes and Terence Murphy will also get consideration if they can step it up.

Like the offensive line, A&M has a long history of solid pro-prospects on the first wall of defense with Ty Warren being the best this year. Warren, effective at either tackle or end, is a lineman with great explosion and quickness off the snap, displaying the ability to make plays in the backfield or laterally out to the flanks showing speed in his pursuit of the action. With the ability to twist or stunt, Warren can be used on the nose or in a "three technique." Warren is not big, bulky nor strong and is easily slowed at the point by opponents. He is also hesitant locating the action and his instincts would not be considered top-notch. That said he has a great amount of upside potential and plays a position hotly desired on draft day, which will result in an early pick. Possibly the best pro-prospect on the line could be third-year sophomore Marcus Jasmin, a huge and dominant tackle that flashes ability but must get in shape and dedicate himself to being an every down defender. If he does it will mean a very early pick for Jasmin in the future. At linebacker Jarrod Penright is the talk of the town and the pass rushing specialist is a tremendous athlete that displays great explosion and ferocity in all aspects of his game. Penright has great range and makes plays in any direction all over the field, quickly arriving on the scene. He is fast enough to beat running backs to the corner and strong enough to defeat blocks on his way there. Problem is, as is the history of the A&M defense with big, strong linebackers, Penright is used more up at the line then in coverage, hence his pass defense skills have been slow developing. Still, compared to many of the recent highly ranked Aggie outside linebackers, he displays better speed, range and upside abilities. Brian Gamble is a heady linebacker with a penchant for being in the right place at the right time but has terrible size/speed numbers, which will leave him out of the draft. Sammy Davis will vie for an early draft selection as he is a top cover-corner with both skills and instincts. Davis reads the action and puts himself in the proper position to make a play on the ball when it is in the air, also being a tough little corner that will mix it up defending either the run or screen passes. Davis could break into the first 32 choices next April. Terrance Kiel is a nice sized, athletic safety that likes to lay it on the line but has a tendency to play the run first, getting caught out of position in deep centerfield, lacking the pure instincts for a top-notch pass defender.

RC Slocum has taken a lot of grief during his career in College Station and this is a chance to shut adversaries up. The talent is available for this program to make a serious run at the Big 12 title and BCS game; it will all come down to getting the team ready to play and not being out-coached. That said, the last time we made a "bold" statement like this was about the 2000 Georgia Bulldogs, a team with Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud and coached by Jim Donnan for the last time!




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