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Cushing and Harvin Win Rookie Honors
Photo – LB Brian Cushing - Texans
The current rookie class has had a huge impact during the NFL ’09 season with many first year players being a difference in their clubs overall performance. Linebacker Brian Cushing and wideout Percy Harvin had Pro Bowl rookie seasons and became core performers for their clubs.
Cushing was a difference maker on an emerging Texans club that fell just short of making the NFL playoffs for the first time. Cushing had 134 tackles for the Texans who had their first winning record of 9-7 this season. He also had five sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in one of the most well rounded performers by a rookie defender in years. The Texans scouting staff has done a fine job in bringing in young talent and Cushing should be a core defender on this club for a number of years.
Harvin had a huge performance in the potent Vikings attack directed by veteran QB Brett Favre. Harvin became everything we felt he could be as a pro as both a receiver and returner. Harvin was added to the Pro Bowl roster off his outstanding rookie performance that included 60 receptions for 790 yards and 6 TDs. He also rushed 15 times for 135 yards; returned 42 kickoffs for 1,156 yards (27.5 yards per return) and 2 TDs. He set Minnesota's single-season franchise record for all-purpose yardage (2,081).
Here are the Scouting Reports on LB Brian Cushing and WR Percy Harvin from Draft Insiders’ Yearbook from March 2009. Draft Insiders’ Yearbook has over 400 In-depth Scouting Reports annually
Brian Cushing #10 - 6’3” 245 lbs. - Southern Cal - Sp. 4.7 Rating 90
Hindu Theory - Keith Brooking
Tough savvy outside linebacker has the athletic package to become a top NFL starter after an excellent college career in the Pac 10. Brian combines fine size, speed and quickness with keen instincts, especially toughness, to become an excellent NFL defender at any backer position in either scheme. Though best suited for the outside in a 4-3 set, he is capable of playing at a high level in any position and would welcome the attack backer role in a 3-4 scheme. He is a very good dedicated athlete with size, speed and quickness to become an excellent pro with the level of development to start as a rookie. He provides leadership and playmaking ability that will earn him high grades by most scouts that should solidify an early draft selection. He was a consensus N.J. high school All-American that has fine size and the overall athletic abilities that allowed him to become a core defender on the USC national championship college club. He made big plays that changed the outcome of games with the versatility to move along a front seven and create mismatches. He has rare versatility for a linebacker along with fine instincts, quickness and tackling skills plus the vital intangibles to become a top flight pro defender. He has the hip flip and movement skills of many safeties after earlier experience at that position. As a senior, he posted 73 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 6 PBU and 1 pick, while earning 1st team Pac 10 honors for the second time. As a junior, he posted 25 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 1 FR and 0 picks, earning Pac 10 honors. As a sophomore, he played the strongside backer role and made 57 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 BK and 1 PBU in 13 starts, earning 1st team Pac 10 honors. He is a natural knee bender that shows fine balance and does well at hitting through the ball carrier. He can be a downhill player who is able to makes plays all over the field and does a good job of playing off blockers and getting through traffic. He understands his responsibilities in the defensive scheme and carries them out perfectly, being like another coach on the field. He stays in his lanes and does well at turning the play back inside or stringing it out to the sidelines without giving ground. He is a mature and intelligent person with outstanding work habits and fine character who is an avid film watcher in the mold of a Zach Thomas in game preparation. He will take on and shed blockers and will fight through them to reach and take down the runner. In pass coverage, he does a fine job of getting deep drops and can be walked off in coverage and is able to take on slot receivers. He is a natural fluid athlete that moves very well, both going forward and in reverse. He has an excellent burst of speed and quickness when attacking forward, displaying upside as a pass rusher in the right scheme, though not always utilized to the fullest in that role in college. He competes as well as anyone in this draft and is prepared to start as a rookie. His fine athleticism and explosion is displayed by a good 35” VJ and the flexibility to fill a number of roles. He knows how to use his hands to control and discard blockers. He needs to get stronger to be more consistently quicker getting off blocks, but is a sure tackler with top instincts. He is a blue-chip prospect who could slip down to the mid 1st in this deep draft that will be overloaded with juniors. He is similar to defenders like Keith Brooking and Chad Greenway who are athletic ‘backers with rare skills to play any position in any scheme. At the combine, he weighed in at 243 lbs. and did 30 reps. He ran a 4.74 time and had a 35” VJ and a 10’” BJ with an exceptional 6.84 three cone time. Excellent defender with fine talent and intangibles to be a playmaker on the outside. One of the toughest players in this class and a top 20 prospect who should go in the middle of the round. Future Pro Bowler.
Draft Projection: 1st Round - Top 20 Prospect
Percy Harvin #1 - 5’11” 190 lbs. - Florida - Sp. 4.40 Rating 90
Hindu Theory - Steve Smith (Panthers)
Electrifying all-purpose junior playmaker has been one of the most explosive performers from the college ranks to enter the NFL early in recent years. Percy is a fast receiver/return specialist who shows explosiveness quickness after he gets his hands on the ball whether as a runner, receiver or a return specialist. He is a premier playmaker who has been instrumental in the Florida national title victories. Despite some concerns about size, he is a tough athlete who is well built, though he has only marginal NFL measureables for the position. He is a highly developed athlete as both a receiver and returner. He is both fast and quick with the explosive burst to separate easily and dangerous to score from any on the field. As a receiver, he possesses fine hands with the separation speed to get deep and hit the home run regularly. He also has outstanding openfield running skills after he gets his hands on the ball to create special problems for a defense. He has the components to become an NFL star - speed, quickness, hands, great vision and the natural running skills to strike from anywhere. After helping the Gators win another national title, he declared for the NFL Draft ’09. He has elite speed to get deep and hit the home run and displayed this consistently over his career. He has the top burst of speed to separate and get past cover men in the deep game to hit the big play. At the line, he needs to show he can beat the bump and run vs NFL caliber defenders after rarely facing that technique in college. His ability to handle the physicality of the NFL game is a major concern despite his big play ability at a very high level in the SEC. Once into his patterns, he can take the short hitch pass and create room to break a big play. His excellent running skills after the catch will warrant a very early selection and probably in the mid first round area. He is especially dangerous on the shorter routes to take the play the distance and is ideally suited for the West Coast offenses. His ability to find the end zone and natural running ability will make him a top commodity in April with every club looking for playmakers. He has fine hands and shows the ability to run sound routes and create separation consistently. He must prove he has the ability to stay on his routes and go over the middle in the NFL game. On the deep pass, he has developed good instincts tracking and the body control and hands to make the big play. He shows the ability to track the deep ball with the savvy to be in position to make the big catch. He is well developed as a route runner and recognizes coverage quickly with the ability to adjust and help his passer. His speed off the line puts him in a position to eat up a corners cushion when he comes off the line clean. Once into his route, he retains his top speed very well at the breakpoint and creates consistent separation. He has sudden speed and is very quick into his routes and cuts with the ability to create space in patterns. He needs some strength development to battle the jam and fight through being pushed off his routes. As a collegian, he was rarely tested with the bump and run and must prove he can beat that technique to become a starting NFL receiver.
The Numbers: As a junior, he started 11 of 12 games and caught 40 passes for 644 yards and 7 TDs for an 16.1. yard average per catch that earned him SEC honors. As a sophomore, he started 10 of 11 games and caught 59 passes for 858 yards, a 14.5 yard average per catch. As a freshman, he started 5 of 13 games and caught 34 passes for 427 yards and 2 TDs for a 12.6 yard average. At the NFL Combine, he checked in over 5’11” and a chiseled 192 lbs. He ran 4.39 and 4.41 times with and 10 reps in the lifting. He stopped due to an ankle injury.
Continue to Next Page for rest of Percy Harvin Scouting Report
The Skinny: Fast explosive playmaker with the speed and well developed talent to change games quickly as a receiver and returner. He can provide major impact as a rookie return specialist. He is one of the best return specialist in this class and one of the special playmakers in several roles. With the return game playing a bigger role in the NFL, return sensations like Devin Hester have provided incredible impact and Percy can be the next dangerous returner. As a receiver, he is one of the better deep threats in this class, displaying the special burst of speed to get behind the secondary, in addition to terrific run after the catch ability. He needs work on his strength and hand use to better fight off the bump-and-run from physical cornerbacks. As a return specialist, he combines both elusiveness and the sudden speed to pressure defenders. He needs some strength development to hold up vs big NFL athletes. He is a chiseled cut athlete who has been surprisingly durable as a collegian, though he was nicked up during the late ’08 season. He has a nose for the end zone and has produced vs. a high level of competition where he often beat double coverage situations. He is similar to the Panthers’ Steve Smith and former NFL Pro bowl returner Desmond Howard in size, athleticism and big play ability. Top 20 player and an excellent addition to a passing and return game, but he needs a creative coach to get him the touches to make a difference. He is not your classic #1 receiver and how he is used as a receiver will determine his pro success. He needs movement, reverses and slip screens to maximize his big play ability. Teams like the Texans, Chiefs and Bucs have on their short list for the 1st round. Playmaker with the talent to become an impact performer and an NFL star, but only if used properly in the passing game. Big play performer with character issues that hurt his final grade.
Draft Projection: 1st Round
Draft Insiders’ Yearbook has over 400 In-depth Scouting Reports annually