Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be in San Jose, California on Saturday evening to scout the No. 19 Utah Utes going up against the San Jose State Spartans.
A mismatch at first glance, as the Utes appear to have the upper-hand in the game, but from a scouting standpoint, it's the Spartans that possess the prospect that will generate the most attention in hybrid Justin Cole. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Cole is an athletic defender who possesses elite intangibles and upside. He’s a rangy player who breaks down well and is effective in space. He plays with a great degree of suddenness and uses his athleticism to his advantage when in pursuit. He has a nose for the ball and quickly diagnoses the action. He has to improve his coverage skills and get better depth on his drops, but he has progressed in this area and shown promise.
Last week, the Spartans had no chance of winning a game against 4th ranked USC, a game that they lost 56 – 3. Cole was overmatched by the Trojans highly rated OT Charles Brown and amassed just two tackles. This week it doesn’t get any easier for Scout.com’s 7th rated OLB, as he will go up against Utah’s outstanding left tackle Zane Beadles.
At 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, Beadles is a top 10 offensive tackle in the nation and is currently the 6th rated offensive tackle by Scout.com. Entering his fourth year as a starter, Beadles has been a durable, reliable performer who offers versatility to a team at the next level. He started his career at left guard and was moved to left tackle prior to his sophomore year. He’s an athletic lineman who has a lot of upside. He has a solid base, moves his feet well and is strong at the point of attack. He demonstrates excellent balance and uses his hands effectively in pass protection and in running situations. He has to play lower and not allow the opposition to get in on him. He shows good awareness, but at times loses concentration and doesn’t finish his blocks.
In addition to Beadles, Utah has two more top prospects that scouts will have their eye on, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester and defensive end Koa Misi; senior running back Matt Asiata and free safety Robert Johnson, as well as juniors; center Zane Taylor and guard Caleb Schlauderaff will also receive attention.
Misi will make his 2009 debut tomorrow night against the Spartans after he missed last week’s game against Utah State with a back injury. But Sylvester, who is currently the 9th rated OLB by Scout.com, is coming off of a solid performance against Utah State and led the team with nine tackles. Sylvester had an outstanding junior campaign in ’08 where he recorded 73 tackles, eight for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Sylvester is a gifted defender who forces the action and is very instinctive on the field. He breaks down well, sheds blocks and is physical at the line of scrimmage. He’s tough to knock off his feet and moves well laterally flowing towards the ball. He takes good angles in pursuit and positions himself well to make plays. He has good range, gets depth on his drops and is aware of his surroundings in coverage.Other draft hopefuls from the home team in this contest are San Jose State’s senior defensive end Carl Ihenacho and his brother, junior safety Duke Ihenacho. The Ihenacho brothers, along with Cole, make up most of the production on defense for the Spartans; Carl had an outstanding ’08 season totaling 64 tackles, 18.5 for a loss and seven sacks, while Duke emerged on the scene last year with 66 tackles, 5.5 for a loss and five interceptions. In a lopsided loss last week against USC, Carl Ihenacho had the best defensive performance for the Spartans, recording four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com.