2017 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM (COACHES): DL Jacob Martin, Temple, Sr.,...Sharif Finch and Jacob Martin entered their final seasons in cherry and white with question marks. Neither was able to contribute much on the field during the spring. Finch was forced to redshirt last season due to injury and Martin suffered a foot injury prior to the American Championship game and had surgery right before the 2016 Military Bowl. Each came back to start in 11 games and posted the best seasons of their careers. Finch nearly doubled his career totals in sacks (7.5Z) and TFLs (14.5) and posted a career-high 51 tackles. Martin exploded more than doubling his initial three-year output at Temple. He posted 39 tackles, a team-high 8.0 sacks, and 11.0 tackles for loss. Two of his sacks forced fumbles and one he returned for a touchdown. "Sharif and Jacob were both coming off injury so we weren't certain what they would be able to contribute this season," said Collins. "Even in the spring when they were off the field, they provided outstanding senior leadership. On the field, though, they were able to take over games. They were constantly playing in the other team's backfield whether getting sacks in the pass game or tackles for loss in the run game." - Temple Football
SUMMARY: A five-star athlete recruit out of high school, Raymond “Ray-Ray” McCloud III had an illustrious career at Sickles with a county-record 5,765 rushing yards, earning over 50 scholarship offers. He signed with Clemson as a wide receiver and primarily worked out of the slot, improving his production each season. McCloud was the team’s primary punt returner his final two seasons and averaged 9.7 yards per return with one career touchdown. He is quicker than fast with sharp footwork out of his breaks to give his quarterback a workable window. He shows quick reflexes as a pass-catcher to snare throws, but fumbling was an issue and he was often out-physicaled vs. larger defensive backs. McCloud also saw snaps at cornerback at Clemson (four career tackles) and a move to defense might be in his best interests long-term. Overall, McCloud has a limited skill-set for the pro game, but could be drafted late for a team searching for a steady underneath target and punt returner.
Balanced feet in press and off-coverages. Enough speed to carry receivers downfield. Contact-driven mentality. Eager handwork to jam early in the route. Willing run defender and not shy sticking his nose in the fire. Takes on wide receiver blocks with violence to punch/shed. Efficient playing the edge. Short, but not small with an adequate build. Processes route concepts and stays in a ready position. Knack for timing at the catch point. Didn’t surrender a touchdown as a senior. Voted a team captain in 2017 and the coaches speak highly of his leadership. Experienced playing inside and outside and routinely helped his teammates get aligned based on his pre-snap reads – also experienced on special teams coverages. – Dane Brugler 2/7/2018
Not a top-tier athlete with average speed and change of direction skills. Can be baited with his aggressive mentality. Receivers are able to snap away from him, creating separation at the top of routes. Lacks the recovery measures in press once receivers gain a step. Needs to better locate once his back is turned to the ball. Only two career interceptions and his tape doesn’t show a player who will create turnovers. Handsy approach will make him a penalty target. Durability will be questioned by NFL teams with two season-ending injuries the last three years, including a separated shoulder (Nov. 2017) as a senior, requiring surgery – missed the final month of his sophomore season after injuring his right leg (Oct. 2015), requiring surgery. – Dane Brugler 2/7/2018
IN OUR VIEW
Moore’s draft position might rely heavily on his workouts where he will need to convince NFL teams he has the necessary cornerback athleticism, but his best fit long-term might be at safety due to his physical play style and awareness from off-coverage.
Notable ball production with nine career interceptions in only 13 starts. Tracks the eyes of the quarterback to be a right place, right time player. Steady focus and soft hands to finish interceptions in his zip code. Gets physical with tight ends at the top of routes. Excellent understanding of football angles. Adequate play speed and body control for the position, staying on the balls of his feet. Chase skills to close the gap in pursuit or blitz off the edge. Comfortable near the line of scrimmage and doesn’t mind engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Type of competitor willing to throw the first punch. Plays with a nasty edge and helps set the tone during the week and on the field. Collected 156 interception return yards, including two defensive touchdowns. Second player in school history with three multi-interception games. – Dane Brugler 1/6/2018
Stiff hips. Lacks the transition speed to turn and run with receivers vertically. Doesn’t own the burst to compensate for a late start. Doesn’t always trust his eyes with marginal route anticipation. Play urgency isn’t always there, allowing too many completions underneath. Inconsistent strike zone when tackling in motion. Needs to better gather and come to balance as a run defender to avoid missed tackles. Most of his interceptions were gifts that landed in his lap (overthrows, etc.). Good edge speed as a blitzer, but struggles to shed once engaged. – Dane Brugler 1/6/2018
COMPARES TO: Darian Thompson, New York Giants – With his high interception total at Boise State, Thompson was a top-75 draft pick, but to this point he has struggled to nail down a significant role in the Giants’ secondary.
IN OUR VIEW: Despite the interception totals, Elliott looks more comfortable closer to the line of scrimmage where the field shrinks, projecting best as a box safety in the NFL.