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Don't Be A Stat Scout

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As you begin to watch draft prospects and imagine them in Burgundy and Gold, remember to look at the whole pie.

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While we didn't "break the internet" yesterday, 600+ votes, 350+ comments and 300+ shares for four paragraphs on the "Front Office" post isn't too shabby. While I thought it was a valid topic even this early, those numbers show that many of you believe the same. Not only did readers prove that it was a topic worth taking in, readers also proved that there are many opinions, they are forming fast and and they all want to be heard.

As you begin to start watching draft prospects and imagine them in Burgundy and Gold, remember to look at the whole pie. A mini-debate started yesterday in the comments section about Landon Collins vs. Gerod Holliman. I'm going to pick on Gerod Holliman for a second just to make my point. He currently has 13 INTs which is just one short of the NCAA all-time record. That is an amazing accomplishment. Now let's flash back for a minute; remember "pick city" or "interceptskins?" David Amerson (17 college INTs), Bacarri Rambo (16 college INTs), and Phillip Thomas (13 college INTs) have combined for a whopping 2 INTs since they entered the pros. It's not the same game at the pro level.

Interceptions are not the end all, be all, either. You need to possess other skills as well. Durability, as Phillip Thomas has proven. Good angles, as Bacarri Rambo has proven. Learning new tricks, as David Amerson has proven. I watched Gerod Holliman live this weekend against Boston College and it looked like he wanted no part of tackling. I have plenty more work to do on him, but let me show you the two biggest red flags from this weekend:

Example #1. As you can see, Holliman comes down into the box and gets cut by the lead blocker. Not going to knock him for getting cut. I won't even knock him for his initial lackluster attempt at pursuit even though the LB next to him gets deeper into the backfield and flies by him in order to bring the WR down. My biggest knock on him is when the LB catches up to the WR and he breaks his tackle, Holliman comes back into the picture with a clear chance to tackle him and instead pats him on the back as he nearly gets to the end zone.

Example #2. Holliman is in the deep middle of the field. The PA Jet Sweep gets him to widen outside while the slot WR (who is 6'5" 240 lbs) runs a climb route across the middle of the field. I won't knock Holliman for getting out of position because the WR Jet Sweep burned them last time. As soon as the WR catches it though, Holliman gears down to a jog. The WR isn't a burner by any means. It just appears Holliman expects the CB who is currently being blocked to do all the work.

I'm not saying Gerod Holliman isn't a first round pick, he is just the person I decided to use as an example because his name was brought up so many times. This is to make sure people keep in mind that it's not just about stats, it's not just about about size, it's not just about the smarts and it's not just about the speed when evaluating talent. All of those traits and more need to be viewed when putting the pieces of the puzzle together on a prospect.