North Carolina State Senior Scouting
It seems like there has been a mass exodus from the Wolfpack over the past two seasons. Bradley Chubb, B.J. Hill, Justin Jones, Nyheim Hines and others came out of the 2018 class that saw North Carolina State tied for the second most drafted players out of any school. In 2019 we saw the offensive side of the ball lose plenty of playmakers such as quarterback Ryan Finley, receiver Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers. Center Garrett Bradbury went in the first round, while star linebacker Germaine Pratt went in the third.
This new North Carolina State team is not as talented as a previous editions. There's no designated star on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line lost key talent. Even the defense seems to have taken a step in the wrong direction. It's tough to see a path where any of the seniors for the Wolfpack get drafted in the first two days of the draft.
The most exciting player of the group in my opinion is Jarius Morehead, a hard-hitting safety who brings potential to convert to linebacker. He isn't a great athlete, but you know what you're getting from him. Edge rusher James Smith-Williams might be the best tester of the group, but his tape is a bit underwhelming and lacks the refinement you're looking for in a senior prospect. While I did my best to stack them from best to worst, it's a bit of a tossup after Morehead.
Prospects are ranked in order from best tape grade to worst tape grade.
Jarius Morehead Safety
Built thick for a safety at around 220 pounds, although it does have some negative repercussions. Moves around more like a linebacker than a safety on most occasions. Not going to function as a viable deep cover guy in the pros. Active gang tackler who wants to get a piece of the action. Might be able to match up against pro tight ends and hold them down. Diagnoses in a timely manner for a college safety, but will need to speed up even more for the pro game. Gives off some Nate Gerry vibes with his style of play. Might end up running in the 4.7s and needing to move to linebacker. Brings a hitter attitude and tries to light guys up when he gets openings. Tackling usually gets the job done, but could be cleaned up from a technical aspect. UDFA Summer Grade.
Larrell Murchison Defensive Line
Body type is a little odd and results in some waddling. Hands stay active regardless of what he runs into at the line of scrimmage. Not going to wow with explosiveness or power. Stout enough to hold his general area in the run game, but won’t survive against double team attempts. Has some counters at his disposal but limited length makes it difficult to pull them off. Strength allows him to finish as a tackler, but he doesn't cover ground well enough to reach most runners. Usually finds ways to win the leverage battle. Lacks positional versatility; likely stays in his spot as a run stuffing 3-tech. Sub 300 pounds and it shows. UDFA Summer Grade.
James Smith-Williams Edge Rusher
Body type is going to draw interest; one of the longer guys on the defensive line. Loses track of the ball and gets lost in traffic. Long arm has potential but he doesn’t play with the strength needed to finish it. Attempts to counter are usually slow and inaccurate. Get-off is average and won’t be beating most pro tackles. Has coverage reps on his resume, but looks stiff and uneasy in the open field. Unlikely to be used as a rush outside linebacker. Middling closing speed into the backfield. Bull rush has some potential if his strength continues to grow. A bit of a one trick pony with his approach. Gets his hands up to bat passes. Play strength allows him to hold his ground in the run game, but he has trouble disengaging from blockers. UDFA Summer Grade.
Nick McCloud Cornerback
Brings very little heat as a tackler. Allows guys to drift away from him with long speed. Spent most of his reps working half-turn rather than backpedal. Press coverage lacks the strength to control guys coming off the line. Takes missteps and puts himself in uncomfortable positions which he has to recover from. Hips aren’t the cleanest, but he isn’t stiff beyond saving. Listed at 6’0” and 185 and that skinny frame looks around that size. Anticipation has moments if he can play the ball coming downhill. Lacks the movement skills to be a nickel corner. Backpedal isn’t bad, just needs more time in the oven. UDFA Summer Grade.
I'm not quite sure what the odds are on North Carolina State in regards to how the team performs this year, but if the seniors are any sign of the team's overall talent, it's going to be a pretty disappointing showing this season. There aren't any standout underclassman who look like they could turn up big this year, so don't be surprised if only one or two guys end up getting drafted off of this roster come next April.
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