By Alex Kozora
Our focus has shifted to the offseason and for the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on several draft prospects. Some of these players the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at and others will be top players that will be off the board before they select. All to make you as prepared as possible for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Breakdown of a small school prospect. Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Lorenzo Taliaferro/RB Coastal Carolina: 6’0/2 229
- Imposing size
- Broad build and carries his weight well
- Tough, physical runner who makes defenders earn their tackles
- Ability to fall forward and crank out extra yards
- Good vision and follows his blocks well
- Doesn’t dance, one-cut runner, prides self on running downhill to maintain the little speed he owns
- Fluid, experienced route runner
- Natural hands
- Above average job in pass protection
- Versatile, lined up in the slot as a receiver
- Good effort and motor
- Highly successful 2013 campaign
- Severe questions about talent as a runner transitioning
- Speed deficient
- Lacks defining quality as a runner
- Very little wiggle and makes few miss
- Slow in his cuts and change of direction
- Not an asset outside of the tackles
- Frame causes him to run too high
- Low level of competition
- Essentially only one year as the starter
- 18 career starts at Costal Carolina, 15 coming in 2013
- Rewrote school’s single-season record books
- 2013: 276 carries 1729 yards 29 total TDs
- Most single-season rushing yards, touchdowns, all-purpose
- Caught 23 passes for 153 yards in 2013
- Five-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week (tied league record)
- First Team All-Big South, conference offensive player of the year
- 2nd Team AP All-American
- Played at Lackawanna (PA) JUCO for two years prior
- Saw kick return duties there
- Ran for nearly 1700 yards and 21 rushing TDs during senior year of high school, leading school to winning state title
- Missed season opener in 2012 with an injury
- Suffered broken leg freshman year of high school
- Torn ligament in right thumb senior year of high school, played through it wearing a cast
On the good, he is your typical downhill runner that is capable of delivering a blow. Shows the leg drive to keep the pile pushing and grind out tough yards.
Takes multiple Presbyterian defenders to bring Taliaferro down.
This is really Taliaferro at his best. Patience to wait for his blocks to develop, one-cut downhill, and fall forward through contact into the end zone.
I first noticed him at the Senior Bowl standing out in pass protection drills. And as I noted in my report, he’s better in that area than most. But in the relatively limited look I got, no play that really stood out.
Stays with his block and ends up burying the defender into the ground.
Was asked to do some more advanced concepts out of the backfield. Like chip and then release out as a checkdown option.
Soft hands and a really good route runner for the position and his size. Love this catch on 3rd and 3 to keep the drive alive.
They would occasionally split him into to the slot. Dating back to his JUCO days, he could serve as a kick returner. Has versatility.
Something he’ll need because I don’t see a true running back. He barely had speed at the FCS level. Unlikely to magically get better on Sundays. It’ll regress because of the level of competition. Fearful of him becoming a plodder who is really only an asset between the tackles.
This is a first down run but look how slow he is at planting his foot and changing directions to get upfield. Hips are very stiff.
Look how high his body is as he cuts back to the left. Doesn’t shake the defender and gets pushed back.
At a glance, it looks like he only had four carries that went for more than 30 yards. At that level, it’s a tad disappointing.
He’s Brian Leonard-esque. A player who can carve out a niche role as a blocker/receiver and occasional runner inbetween the tackle but he doesn’t look to stand much of a chance as a full-time running back.
Projection: Late Fifth, Early Sixth
Games Watched: at Liberty, vs Presbyterian (Half), at Montana
Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
West Virginia DE Will Clarke
Louisville S Calvin Pryor
Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland
Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
Virginia T Morgan Moses
Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt
Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief
Central Florida QB Blake Bortles
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
North Carolina DE Kareem Martin
UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
South Carolina CB Victor Hampton
Clemson WR Martavis Bryant
Fresno State WR Davante Adams
Texas DE/OLB Jackson Jeffcoat
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
TCU CB Jason Verrett
Louisiana Tech NT Justin Ellis
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk
Rice CB Phillip Gaines