Scouting The Holiday Bowl - Texas Vs Arizona St.

Arizona State vs Texas was an interesting matchup of ranked teams, but at the end of the night Texas was just too much Arizona State to handle. The Longhorns played much faster to start the game and built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The next three quarters were much more competitive but the Longhorns were able to run the ball down the Sundevils' throats and maintain clock control. Texas' defense was opportunistic and caused a number of turnovers which gave their offense plenty of time to control the tempo of the game.

A bunch of Day One talent wasn't on display due to various injuries to top players such as Texas WR Limas Sweed, ASU RB Ryan Torain, and ASU SS Josh Barrett. However there were other players worth watching tonight and I'll talk about some players who the Chargers might consider drafting in April:

I wasn't particularly impressed with DT Frank Okam tonight. I know he is touted as one of the best senior defensive tackles but I don't see him as a first round guy and I'm pretty sure the Chargers agree with me. For a man his size he does not command double teams and is often handled pretty well by a single guard or center. He has great length and is pretty nimble on his feet but I didn't see the aggression in him that you like to have on a 3-4 defensive line. He didn't show great power and strength and wasn't doing much to collapse the pocket. Okam moved around on the line playing a variety of techniques but he didn't really make any plays. On passing downs he was rotated out. Frank Okam is an interesting guy but I am wary of defensive linemen who have questionable motors. During the game, some of Texas' biggest plays on defense were made without Okam in the game! At this point I cannot see how he would carry a grade any higher than second round.

Running Back Jamaal Charles was a pleasure to watch. He is only a Junior and could stay for one more season but watching him run the football brought images of a young Ladainian Tomlinson to my mind. Charles even paid tribute to LT by imitating Tomlinson's signature "lay-up" touchdown celebration. Charles has great vision and lateral movement. If the hole isn't there, Charles can bounce it outside and get the first down. He has great jukes and is difficult to tackle cleanly. The Chargers might draft a running back and Charles, if he declares, would almost give the team another Tomlinson. However with the Chargers having only limited draft picks, Charles doesn't grade out high enough to warrant the team spending a first round pick on him.

One of the best players tonight was ASU's linebacker Robert James. As an NFL prospect, he is undersized to play linebacker (5"11" 230lbs) but he could potentially convert to Strong Safety. James was constantly around the ball and its evident he loves to hit. He breaks explosively on the ball and is looking to run through people. James reminds me a lot of Troy Polamalu the way he plays the run. This guy is a heat seeking missile and if he can maybe drop some weight and get a bit faster, he could take advantage of a weak senior safety class. Again, a good player but not a first rounder and with the Chargers not owning a second, third, or fourth round pick right now they need to make their first round pick the best player available.

Texas Defensive Back Marcus Griffin had a great game but I do not see him playing strong safety for the Chargers and didn't bother scouting him too much. He is athletic like his brother (Tennessee Titans Michael Griffin) and can probably play some cornerback in the NFL but he looks to me as a free safety and the Chargers are set there with Eric Weddle.

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December 27, 2007

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