On offense for the South Carolina Gamecocks there isn’t much to report for players heading into the 2013 NFL draft. C TJ Johnson had two bad snaps, one high that Connor Shaw had to adjust to, and one that went low that’s disrupted to flow of the play. He didn’t really get a push in the run game, but never got beat either. It was an average performance for Johnson.
On defense, Devin Taylor was someone that jumped out early. He looks much better than last season and plays with a good motor. On one play he ran down the RB and made a tackle about 20 yards downfield. He had a quick first step and was able to beat the OT on several occasions. Taylor also set the edge well on a couple of sweep plays, but he looked stiff in pursuit at times, and disappeared late into the game. In this game Taylor did a good job using his length, and ultimately I think he looks the part of a 5-tech in a 3-4 front.
At ILB Shaq Wilson showed good instincts and read and react skills. He never got caught flat footed and did a great job working through the wash on several plays. He had an interception returned for 37 yards, but the thing that you notice on film is his speed, or lack thereof. Wilson was never really able to run down anyone and his feet look like they are stuck in cement at times. But, he was in the right spot more often than not, and it was something you notice when you watch the game.
Two guys that disappointed me were OLB Devonte Holloman and S DJ Swearinger. Swearinger did have a great play on a ball thrown to the endzone where he looked ran hip-to-hip with WR, looked back and knocked it away, and added another breakup later, but aside from that, he gave poor effort on a couple of tackle attempts when he failed to wrap up. He went for a big hit instead of the sure tackle and allowed extra yardage.
DeVonte Holloman was almost non-existent. He looks the part, with nice size, but he only finished with one tackle and failed to make any dynamic plays on the field.
I have to mention Marcus Lattimore. He fumbled on his first touch, and then scored on his second. He looks a tick slower, could be due to the knee brace, but he had zero problems cutting and did a great job breaking tackles. I like the fact he wasn’t shy about contact.
For Vanderbilt, QB Jordan Rodgers was a mixed bag. He showed his athleticism early on with a QB draw and on a couple scrambles, but the thing that bugged me the most was his inability to throw the ball away. On several occasions he was dancing around the backfield trying to make a play when he should if just thrown it out of bounds and lived for another play.
He puts good zip on the ball to several passes in the middle of the field, but at times he put too much on the ball. Rodgers missed an open receiver near the endzone that he should have put more air under the pass. Rogers threw flat footed several times on a few quick slants as well.
One thing you’ll notice is Rodgers’s ability to stand tall in the pocket. On several blitzes his way, he never got small, or panicked, but he delivered a solid throw in the face of defenders. He also did a good job for the majority reading through his progressions instead of locking onto his defenders.
RB Zac Stacy was better than his stats showed. He suffered from cramps and an apparent ankle injury early on, so he wasn’t 100%. I like the way he runs. He plays with a low pad level and lowers his shoulder on contact. Stacy plays bigger than he looks and had some wiggle to him at times. I’m definitely interested in seeing him as the season goes on.
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports