Boston College Notes
Note: All senior report docs have been linked and can be accessed by clicking on underlined names.
I'm a sucker for the Boston College Eagles, I'll admit it. The program has consistently been one of my favorite over the past several years, and it doesn't seem like it'll leave a sour taste any time soon. Despite being a somewhat middling team in a loaded Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Eagles have been consistently playing above their expectations. Since 2010 they've finished 7-6 overall a surprising five times. Some of the routine match-ups include the likes of Clemson, North Carolina State, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, and Virginia Tech.
Although Boston College will need to rebound from some key losses on defense, I believe the pieces are in place for another solid season at Chestnut Hill. The loss of bookend cornerbacks Isaac Yiadom and Kamrin Moore stings. Star edge rusher Harold Landry heading to the league is even more painful. But the depth of a good upper-classmen group can dull the pain.
On the offensive side of the ball there isn't too much to talk about. Wide Receiver Jeff Smith is a converted quarterback who looks more developed than you'd anticipate for someone transitioning positions. Smith is a natural route runner who can create space with his technique. He's wise beyond his years when it comes to setting up defenders and making opportunities. The thing that pushes Smith down and makes him undraftable on my board is his lack of size or athleticism. I don't see the movement skills working against better athletes, although I believe in Smith to produce decent numbers and stick on a couple camps.
Tommy Sweeney may be getting noise as the best tight end in the ACC, but I'm not convinced of his skill set at this juncture. Sweeney is a solid blocker who can be relied upon to hold his man. When asked to combo block and form openings at the college level, he seemed good enough. But Sweeney is far from a mismatch in the open field and looks more like a career TE2 rather than a legitimate NFL starter. His hands are decent enough when the ball comes to his catch radius, but he'll be blanketed by any safety or linebacker who isn't running on peg legs. When asked to play big boy ball and muscle up at the catch point he might not get it done against pros. I love the effort at all areas, as he even shows flashes with his route running footwork, but there isn't quick twitch muscle to make plays with the ball. I'm currently tabbing Sweeney as a day three guy.
Left tackle Aaron Monteiro and left guard Sam Schmal both underwhelmed be on the field. Monteiro has gotten a little bit of noise from Draft Utopia's Chris Ransom as a first round talent, but I wouldn't feel comfortable putting him on a camp roster. Monteiro has a routine with his pass set and some decent awareness as a run blocker. Everything else needs to be completely reset. He has no control of distance with his punch, poor angles, incredibly limited power, and a tendency to get moved by guys much smaller than him. I want to like the frame, but the game does not come easy to him. The size is the only truly impressive asset he has, standing at 6'6" and 315 pounds.
Schmal is similar to Monteiro in regards to having a solid frame and decent awareness, but his questions loom just as large. His pad level rises too much, allowing him to get walked out of plays off the snap. He's a little thicker and absorbs contact well, but he falls off of blocks just as much. With a good season that demonstrates better hand usage I think he could make a practice squad.
The last guy I watched on the Boston College line was different from those two. Within a couple plays, you can tell there is something special about right guard/right tackle Chris Lindstrom. He moves differently than his teammates on the line. He moves differently than opposing defensive lines that had plenty of talent, guys like Tim Settle and Ricky Walker on Virginia Tech. Lindstrom's quickness in combo blocking and pulling situations is shocking. He reaches linebackers with consistency and sends them tumbling out of the play. His feet are disciplined and never get out of order, even when asked to take on edge benders who had the burst to beat him. He'll likely stay on the inside at the next level, but I believe the combination of mobility, strength, and mental acuity makes him a first round talent. This is the first senior I've watched so far out of over a hundred guys that I'd stamp with the "franchise guy" tag. He looks like a ten year starter to me.
The first nose tackle has been entered in for the year on my summer reports, and it's Ray Smith, a 6'1" and 305 pound box of a man. Although I thought about putting Smith as a 3-4 DE (run-focused 3-tech) I didn't see enough pass-rushing acumen to even consider that much responsibility in getting after the quarterback. His frame really gets exposed when attempting to utilize his hands and shed blockers. Often forced into just holding his ground because he can't fight out of his chest, Smith is an abysmal player whenever the play isn't at his doorstep. There is little to no block shedding ability to work with. He plays hard and uses his motor to its fullest potential. That's about it for the San Diego native.
Our Jeff Fidler is super excited about the potential for hybrid defensive lineman/edge rusher Zach Allen, but I'm a bit more bearish on his value. Allen stood out a lot during cutups for his ability to work all over the defensive line. His versatility maintained its value during the full evaluations, but he was not consistently impacting the play like I anticipated. Although Allen had the lateral quickness to ride down the line to pursue the play, I did not see anything in regards to block shedding at the point of attack. Too often the play would pass him by without him getting a piece of it. From a pass rushing standpoint he did not demonstrate nuance with his hand usage. Counters were rarely used. The physical tools are there to be built up, as Allen stands a towering 6'5" and 285 pounds. Hype and upside would be the two words I'd use for him at this stage of his career though.
Harold Landry's successor as an edge rusher with experience both standing and with his hand in the dirt is Wyatt Ray, a less bendy version of Landry who seems to possess more strength in run defense. Ray does a good job of keeping a wide base and maintaining his ground against much larger guys. When asked to drop into coverage and hold zones he has no issues. The reason I put Ray as an undraftable talent is the inability to generate pressure. He can't create with his hands frequent enough to win the edge, and I don't believe in his arc running potential. If there is any flash of pass-rushing development Ray could easily vault into day three discussion.
Losing Yiadom and Moore is certainly a hit to a loaded secondary last year, but the nickel corner last year Taj-Amir Torres is a smooth operator when moving around the field. It's no guarantee that he will find the same success playing on the outside as he's undersized at 5'9" 185, but the athleticism to mirror receivers upfield and at the break point is intriguing. He needs to stay on his toes and avoiding getting flatfooted when looking for the ball, plus improve his run defense ability. I like Torres as a late round flyer at this point, but that's on very limited action and could change now that he's top dog in that corner group.
The safety tandem of Lukas Denis and Will Harris excited me a lot prior to the full evaluations, but I came away very disappointed with both relative to what I expected. Denis was easily the more impressive of the two, as he showed versatility playing all over the field. He spent time between single high, two deep, and nickel corner. Athletic enough to run with most receivers in man off the snap, he can pester slot guys every play. The tackling is what will get Denis dropped on most boards, as he takes poor angles to the football and tries to shoot for ankles rather than squaring up. A sub-200 pounder, he lacks the weight on his frame to go solo tackling with any reliability, especially with his timid approach. One thing that is really worrisome is his range when playing the back end. He doesn't have the closing speed to the ball that you expect for someone billed sideline-to-sideline. Denis is a developmental starter at safety at this point, and poor testing could push him into day three conversation.
Harris really broke my heart. I came into the evaluation anticipating a dog as a linebacker/safety hybrid who would set a tone for the defense. Instead all I got was Harris grabbing at shirts. He routinely throws himself out of the play by taking a bad trajectory. Clear paths to the ball-carrier turned into whiffs that left gaping holes at the second level. The movement skills are less than adequate for the NFL level. When given hole shots that can't be missed he can finish plays, but that's really the only way he gets his tackles. He'll need to take a massive leap if he wants to be on radars by the end of the 2018 season.
OG Chris Lindstrom: Late 1st Round
DL Zach Allen: Middle 3rd Round
S Lukas Denis: Middle 3rd Round
TE Tommy Sweeney: Middle 6th Round
CB Taj-Amir Torres: Middle 7th Round
WR Jeff Smith: Undrafted
OT Aaron Monteiro: Undrafted
OG Sam Schmal: Undrafted
DL Ray Smith: Undrafted
EDGE Wyatt Ray: Undrafted
S Will Harris: Undrafted
To read my full notes on the Boston College Eagles click the link below