Welcome to debut of Scouting The Nation, an exclusive report from the NFL Draft Bible scouting department that brings you the latest NFL Draft buzz and breaking news. Be sure to check back every Monday for our exclusive updates and follow us @NFLDraftBible
THE ANATOMY OF A FIRST ROUND DRAFT BUST: TITANS LEARNS WITH FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT
One of the late risers leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft was Georgia offensive tackle ISAIAH WILSON. A native of Brooklyn, New York and five-star recruit, the redshirt sophomore had started each of the past two seasons for the Bulldogs, possessing prototypical size, strength and athleticism. His overall body of work deemed him worthy enough of the Tennessee Titans using a first round pick (No.29 overall) to help fill a huge void on their offensive line.
In case you missed the news over the weekend, Wilson was arrested late Friday night just before midnight, capping off an uneventful month for the rookie and placing him on the path to the dubious distinction of becoming a first round bust.
Let’s recap the events that have left the rookie unraveled and in need of dire help. Wilson showed up to Titans camp out of shape and was flagged by the coaching staff for his conditioning. Less than a week later, Wilson was found on campus at a Tennessee State college party, a clear violation of the NFL Covid-19 policy. When police arrived, the 350-pounder had to be coaxed down from a second floor balcony after contemplating an escape. After getting off with a trespass warning by authorities, Wilson would later be placed on the Covid-19/Reserve list by the Titans, on two separate occasions. His latest incident over the weekend, which resulted in a DUI arrest, was the pinnacle of a treacherous chain of events, as Wilson lost control of his car while doing ‘donuts’ at an intersection and slamming into a concrete wall.
There are various reasons as to why players bust. However, the number one cause can be attributed to maturity (or the lack thereof). NFL scouts and team decision-makers will never be able to accurately measure the makeup of a player between the ears. No matter how in-depth of a vetting process they indulge in, there’s always room for human error. The mental makeup of a player still remains the hardest trait for pro scouts to accurately predict and determine. You can do all the due diligence in the world but you never know how a person is going to respond to being awarded a million dollar contract and in this case, placed under the bright lights of a happening city such as Nashville and the temptations of its environment.
While Wilson is just the latest example of why draft picks bust, he is not the first player to experience difficulty grasping the concept of ‘being a pro’ and surely won’t be the last. At this point in time, his NFL career should be the least of his priorities as he attempts to turn his life around. Kudos to the Tennessee organization for not discarding this young man and giving up on him. Hopefully he gets the guidance he needs and possibly one day make a triumph return to the playing field.
OHIO STATE CORNERBACK OPTS OUT, AS B1G IS ON THE VERGE OF OPTING BACK IN
While many parents, players and coaches awaited the outcome of Big Ten officials meeting over the weekend to determine the fate of conference play this season, another big time prospect decided to take fate into his own hands. Ohio State cornerback SHAUN WADE has officially opted out of the 2020 season and will instead focus on the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. While many were enamored with Jeff Okudah (No.3 overall/Lions) leading up to this past year’s draft, many evaluators around the league believe Wade is actually the better prospect. Surprised? Don’t be. It was Chase Young (Redskins) who informed us at the Maxwell Club Awards that Wade would be a potential top five selection. Primarily playing in the slot for the Buckeyes a year ago, Wade was expected to slide outside this year with Okudah and Damon Arnette (Raiders) moving onto the NFL. Instead, Wade, the former five-star prospect, will prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine, where he could very well run a sub 4.4-forty, standing in at 6-feet tall and weighing nearly 200 pounds. Make sure you remember the name, Shaun Wade, as he’ll be a consensus top ten pick come April.
NOTRE DAME HYBRID LINEBACKER GIVES DECISION-MAKERS SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
In South Bend, Indiana, the Fighting Irish defensive dynamo that is JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH, was flying all over the field on Saturday with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble. The converted safety has thrived in his new linebacker (rover) role, demonstrating the type of natural instincts, athleticism and closing speed that could make him a very high selection once the NFL Draft rolls around. According to our sources, J-O-K is expected to run sub-4.50 in the forty, with 20-plus bench press reps and a vertical jump close to 40-inches, which could very well catapult him into the first round conversation. His performance was an excellent start to the season, which caught the attention of our scouting staff and also helped guide Notre Dame to the win over Duke in their first ever ACC matchup in school history.
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LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: FLORIDA STATE CORNER MAKES NAME KNOWN DESPITE LOSS
While the Seminoles stumbled out of the gate under new head coach Mike Norvell, falling victim at the hands of Georgia Tech, cornerback ASANTE SAMUEL JR provided a blast from the past. The highly touted prospect recorded two key pass deflections and made a pair of interceptions during the loss, while mimicking his father, Asante Samuel Sr, with his run after catch ability. In fact, junior looks to be a spitting image of senior, in his ability to make big time plays—he allowed just two touchdowns in 465 coverage snaps a year ago! Despite a year of college eligibility remaining, expect Samuel Jr. to make a mad dash for the draft once the season concludes.
TULANE DEFENSIVE END PROVIDES LARGE SAMPLE SIZE
While it remains uncertain which position he projects best at as a pro, Tulane defensive end CAMERON SAMPLE certainly made his presence felt in the Green Wave come from behind 27-24 victory over South Alabama, utilizing an assortment of pass-rush moves and applying pressure on the quarterback for the entire game. The senior led the way with three and a half tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and seven total tackles. Sample had just five and a half career sacks coming into this season but his arrow is on the upswing and the Tulane defensive line as a whole could be one of the best units in the American Athletic Conference.
SMALL SCHOOL QUARTERBACK CAPTURES THE ATTENTION OF NFL SCOUTS
In Lubbock, Texas, the Houston Baptist Huskies nearly pulled off a huge upset versus Texas Tech behind the valiant effort of gunslinger quarterback BAILEY ZAPPE, who was highly efficient, completing 30-49 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns. His ability to throw the deep ball was on full display, tossing touchdown passes of 65, 65 and 75 yards. In addition, Zappe flashed the ability to alter arm angles and show an array of releases, which shouldn’t come to much of a surprise. His offensive coordinator is Zach Kittley, the former Texas Tech quarterbacks coach when Patrick Mahomes was enrolled. It’s safe to say that some of that magic has rubbed off on Zappe, as he now has thrown for over 1,000 passing yards, with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions through his first two games against FBS opponents. You can be sure that NFL scouts will be paying close attention to Zappe when the Huskies visit Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech in their next matchup.
Since voters are only allowed to vote for clubs currently playing this fall, the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette, who upset Iowa State on the road this weekend, are now ranked No.19 in the country, this marks the first time since 1943 that they have been a part of the Top-25. Congrats to Head Coach Billy Napier, his staff and players on this accomplishment!
ARKANSAS STATE BUILDING NFL PIPELINE OF WIDE RECEIVERS TO THE PROS
In Manhattan, Kansas, it was another small school standout with a big game performance. This time by Arkansas State playmaker JONATHAN ADAMS JR., who totaled eight catches for 98 receiving yards and a trio of touchdowns, including the game-winning score with just :38 seconds remaining, helping the Red Wolves seek out the victory over Kansas State. The long, big-bodied receiver demonstrated tremendous athleticism, making several acrobatic catches and one-handed grabs, in addition to showing off his wide catch radius with his vertical game. Last year, the NFLPA Bowl featured two Arkansas State wide outs who eventually landed on NFL rosters in Omar Bayless (Panthers) and Kirk Merritt (Dolphins). The next player to emerge from the pipeline could very well be the talented Adams Jr., who is a second generation ASU standout. His father, Jonathan Adams Sr., is the school’s fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,005 yards during his time with the Red Wolves.
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BUSTED, BRUISED & BROKEN: NOTRE DAME SAFETY AVOIDS MAJOR INJURY
Notre Dame safety KYLE HAMILTON may have dodged a bullet on a play that he appeared to suffer what is being categorized as a high left ankle sprain. Upon first glance, the hit initially appeared to potentially be much greater but he was re-evaluated on Sunday and indications are he could have returned to action on Saturday if needed. It’s a huge sigh of relief for Notre Dame, although Hamilton did appear to be hobbled after the play and it would not come to a surprise if he did miss some time. The big, long Georgia native is viewed as one of the top safety prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft.
FUTURE WATCH: THE BEST CLEMSON DEFENSIVE LINE PROSPECT YET?
They don’t rebuild at Clemson, they simply just reload. Meet MYLES MURPHY, the latest Tiger who is sure to be a household name before he departs for the NFL Draft, which he won’t be eligible for until 2023. The true freshman defensive end announced his arrival against Wake Forest, making seven tackles, including two sacks. At just 18 years old- the magnificent 6-5, 275-pound Murphy is an incredible physical specimen, who has been timed at 4.65 in the forty with a 35” vertical jump, to go along with a sub-4.3 short-shuttle time and eye-opening 82” wingspan! Keep an eye on #98, as he figures to be a menace in the ACC for the next several years and possesses the ability to be the best defensive line prospect to emerge from the Clemson football factory in recent memory.