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Football Scouting Combine Underway This Week

February 25, 2020
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The three Cal football players invited to the NFL combine are arriving in Indianapolis week for the annual scouting event. 

Linebacker Evan Weaver was due to arrive on Tuesday with the other linebackers and defensive linemen. Safeties Ashtyn Davis and Jaylinn Hawkins are due in on Wednesday with the rest of the DBs.

After three days of orientation, medical exams, meeting with teams, psychological testing, weight lifting, etc. the players are put through their on-field drills. Weaver’s group will be on the field Saturday (1 pm - 8 pm PST). The DBs do it Sunday (11 am - 4 pm PST).  The combine will ve televised by NFL Network

Because of the injury that caused him to miss the Bears’ victory in the Redbox Bowl, Davis’ won’t run in Indianapolis.  Projected as a second-round draft pick by most analysts, Davis could run at Cal’s Pro Day March 20.

NFL.com evaluated all 200 players, and analyst Lance Zerlein didn’t seem to be all that enthused about any of the Cal players. In the NFL.com grading system, in which 8.0 is a perfect score, Davis rated the highest at 6.33, (A starter by his second year). Weaver, the nation’s leading tackler and a consensus All-American was rated just 5.95 (Backup/special teams) and Hawkins 5.40 (Preferred free agent).

Here is the full evaluation of the three Cal players

Davis

Overview

Late-comer to the game who has rare physical gifts that can't be taught but can be capitalized on. His instincts are just average right now, but he appears to have decent recognition skills. He just needs to trust what he sees. Learning to play under control in coverage and as a tackler will be the difference between being considered a good football player instead of an explosive athlete. The elite traits should get him drafted inside the first two days, but there are some boom/bust elements to his game right now. He should become a future starter at safety, but his size, length and speed could create interest in him as a potential cornerback conversion.

Strengths

  • Monster athletic tester and scouts rave about A-plus character
  • Has electric chase and recovery speed
  • Experienced lining up in a variety of spots
  • Smooth in his backpedal paired with exceptional closing burst
  • Athletic gifts make up for slower eyes.
  • Range to play over the top from single-high
  • Disruptive length at catch point
  • Alert and energetic in zone coverage
  • Possesses traits of a future ballhawk if recognition develops
  • Does not lack toughness
  • \Trigger and demeanor to race into the alley in run support

Weaknesses

  • Can be reckless as downhill tackler
  • Has issues coming to balance and getting controlled, wrap-up tackles
  • Needs to shorten stride length in leveraged pursuit to prevent overflows
  • Instincts inconsistent due to inexperience
  • Has some hip tightness
  • Leggy in short-area movement, limiting balance in space
  • Room for tighter route squeeze to deter throws
  • Peripheral route awareness can be spotty from deep zone
  • Needs to play with better contain discipline against zone-read quarterbacks

Weaver

Overview

Rambunctious tackle sponge and perennial grudge holder who lives to prove people wrong. Weaver certainly doesn't look the part of All-American inside 'backer in the uniform, but he lives for football and plays every snap with urgency. He can be patient but has the instincts and play-recognition skills to beat blockers to the spot. He is slow-twitch, and there is no question that his athletic limitations will be harder to disguise against NFL competition. A lack of traits could limit his upside, but he has the intangibles and toughness to compete as a backup box banger in a 3-4 alignment.

Strengths

  • Outlandish production dating all the way back early high school
  • Great teammate and elite competitor
  • Instinctive with elite recognition of blocking schemes
  • Has the patience to not get trapped or goaded by misdirection
  • Hustles to stay ahead of backside cut-off blocks
  • Feels blocks and alters flow angles when necessary
  • Finds and fills his run fits on a consistent basis
  • Has aggressive, heavy hands waiting for climbing linebackers
  • Punches and plays off blocks with consistency
  • Eyes play past blockers and locks in on where the ball is
  • Motor and pursuit seem unfazed by contact
  • Makes plays on the football in passing game
  • Aware of incoming traffic from short zone and squeezes the route

Weaknesses

  • Won't be a head-turner at the beach
  • Built like an undersized center with stubby arms and fleshy midsection
  • Lack of speed offers little margin for error in diagnosing the play
  • Lower body tightness creates movement limitations
  • Can't stop-start with any twitch
  • Lacks the agility to circumvent traffic quickly when scraping
  • Needs to step further downhill to blow up pulling guards and collapse the crease
  • Plays upright, leading to occasional inconsistencies as open-field tackler
  • Not sudden enough to be an NFL blitzer

Hawkins

Overview

Physical safety whose lack of speed and cover talent could pigeonhole him as a box safety at the next level. His eyes and instincts are good enough in space, but Hawkins just doesn't have the twitch to make enough plays on the football. He's a striker, but not reliable as a "get him down" tackler in the open field and that will work against him. He will need to shine as a special-teams contributor to make a roster.

Strengths

  • Good size with frame for NFL contact
  • Core special teams potential
  • Can go up and adjust to throws in mid-air
  • Comes downhill with bad intentions, looking to swap paint
  • Adequate hip flip changing direction in zone coverage
  • Decent instant response time to what his eyes tell him
  • Experienced in a multitude of alignments

Weaknesses

  • Speed deficient with a lack of ball production
  • Clunky back-pedal and missing burst to challenges throws
  • Below-average short-area quickness
  • Loses the pursuit angles too frequently
  • Looks to punish rather than wrap and run as tackler
  • Too much lunging drops success rate as tackler
  • Inconsistent with hands in getting rid of blocks
  • Has history of targeting penalties

 

 

 

Discussion from...

Football Scouting Combine Underway This Week

1,495 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by 82gradDLSdad
golden sloth
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I honestly can't remember one targeting penalty on Hawkins, so I don't know why they say he has a history with them.
ARbear
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Ashtyn has tight hips? Is that even possible with him being a world-class hurdler??? And they said he is inexperienced?? Jhawk has LACK OF BALL PRODUCTION???? He had 10 INTs!!!
Big C
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Hey, it's all about flaunting the Combine jargon and this guy (NFL,com's Lance Zerlein) is unequaled. NEXT-LEVEL cliches...
OneKeg
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golden sloth said:

I honestly can't remember one targeting penalty on Hawkins, so I don't know why they say he has a history with them.


Not that I agree with these assessments but Hawkins had at least a couple. One in the blowout win at Oregon State in 2018 and another that I can't remember which game it was.

That said, I think he learned from those. I love Hawkins' game and hope it translates to the next level. It's hard to argue with the value of a physical hard-hitting P5 safety who also gets tons of interceptions.
82gradDLSdad
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Big C said:


Hey, it's all about flaunting the Combine jargon and this guy (NFL,com's Lance Zerlein) is unequaled. NEXT-LEVEL cliches...


Yep..."rambunctious tackle sponge"...lol
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