Sporting News’ Pro Football War Room has hundreds of player evaluations in preparation for the 2010 NFL draft. Here is a capsule look at prospect Geno Atkins:
NFL position: DT
Height: 6-1 1/8
40 time: 5.01
Current projection: Second-round pick
Against the run: Was productive in this area in college, but lack of size will be more of an issue in NFL. Shows the initial quickness off the snap to get into gaps and disrupt blocking schemes or make tackles in the backfield; is highly productive against "reach" blocks. Shows the initial quickness, leverage and hand usage to jolt offensive linemen; can defeat one-on-one run blocks with quick hands and feet. Lacks the size and strength to shed offensive linemen once they get their hands on him. Grade: 7.5
Pass rush: Explodes off the snap and into the backfield. Shows the hand usage and footwork to defeat one-on-one pass blocks with quick pass-rush moves. Gets underneath offensive linemen, jolting them backward when bull rushing aggressively; however, struggles to free up and make sack when close. Lacks size to be an elite bull rusher. Will deliver crushing hits to QB after the pass. Grade: 7.5
Initial quickness: Excels in this area, enabling him to be highly productive despite his lack of size. Anticipates the snap count well, and often is the first defensive lineman moving. Gets into gaps or on top of offensive linemen before they can get set. Grade: 8.5
Instincts: Shows excellent instincts, and makes big plays. Sniffs out misdirection and trick plays. Must work on awareness of "side" blocks; can be driven down the line and out of the play too easily. Grade: 8.0
Pursuit/tackling: Excels in this area. Gets inside "reach" blocks and accelerates down the line. When unblocked on runs away, moves easily through traffic to chase down ballcarriers. As a tackler, stays under control and shows good technique. Grade: 8.0
Bottom line: During the ’09 season, Atkins was Georgia’s most productive defender although he lost playing time late in the season to the emerging Kade Weston. Atkins has great athleticism, speed and explosiveness, but undersized defensive tackles are not suited for all NFL schemes. For teams that run a 4-3 scheme, he has high value as a 3-technique tackle. He probably will need a season or two as a backup to adjust to the pros and add bulk. Atkins will not be drafted as highly as we have him rated because of his size, but in time will prove to be a good value.
For more than 600 player scouting reports from Russ Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated Mock Draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.