Summer Scouting: Drake London, WR, USC

Drake London is a two-sport athlete for the USC Trojans, playing both basketball and football, and when you flip on his tape it is very easy to see why that is the case. He is 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, but he moves extremely well for his size. His basketball background shows up on the football field when he is forced to track the ball vertically down the field as well as in jump-ball situations when he has to rise up over defenders. London spent most of his time in the slot this last season due to Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown taking most of the reps on the outside. With both of those players gone we can hopefully see London take more reps on the outside so we can see how he deals with press coverage since that wasn’t the case last year. If he can win with a man on him at the line-of-scrimmage it will only help to boost his stock that is already quite high and we could be talking about a first-round prospect in next year’s draft, especially with his athletic profile.

Pros:

  • Natural ball skills, plucks the ball out of the air with ease.
  • Dog w/ the ball in his hands, scratches and claws for every yard.
  • Active as a blocker, moves defenders off their spot.
  • Acceleration through cuts/breaks.
  • Working through contact in his routes.
  • Lowering his hips at the top of the route.
  • Crafty at the top of his route.
  • Attacks defensive backs leverage/blind spots.
  • Flexible/loose hips makes transitions appear to be easy.
  • Finding the soft spots in the coverage/zone.
  • Tracks the football exceedingly well.
  • Plays tricks on the defensive back w/ his eyes.
  • Contested catch ability.

Cons:

  • Small route tree.
  • Operates mostly out of the slot, doesn’t face very much press coverage.
  • Needs to add tempo to his route, runs most of his routes at full speed.
  • Doesn’t possess great speed.
  • At times his feet can expand too far out of his frame, results in slips and trips.

2021 Season Statistics:

33 receptions, 502 receiving yards, 15.2 yards-per-reception, and 3 total touchdowns in 6 games played.

Preliminary Grade:

7.25 – First Round Grade

Alec Lindstrom Scouting Report

Alec Lindstrom is among the best centers in college football. Check out Mitchell Wolfe’s summer scouting report on the Eagles’ pivot man.

Background

Alec Lindstrom is a center from Boston College and a prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Lindstrom has been the Eagles’ starting center for the last two seasons and has been one of the best centers in college football during that time.  Lindstrom comes from a big family (five siblings) and a very athletic one as well. His father was a hall of fame lineman at Boston University and spent three seasons in the NFL; his uncle, Eric, played defensive end at BC  from 1984 to 1988; and his older brother Chris was a four-year starter at BC and drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. In high school, Alec played both sides of the ball for his father at Shepherd Hill Regional High School and earned several all-state honors. However, he was only a 2-star recruit, with only two scholarship offers. He earned a scholarship from BC and followed in his brother’s footsteps. 

After earning a medical redshirt as a true freshman in 2017, Lindstrom played in eight games overall (three on offense) with one start against Holy Cross in 2018. After packing on more than 30 pounds during his first two years on campus, he earned the starting center job for the 2019 season. Lindstrom did not disappoint, as started all 13 games, played 945 of 990 offensive snaps, and earned Third-Team All-ACC honors. In 2020, he started all 11 games in 2020 as well, played every offensive snap (785), and earned First-Team All-ACC honors. 

Lindstrom has earned his spot as one of the primary leaders on the BC team, not only because of his play on the field, but also his infectious personality. He is the vocal leader of the offensive line group and has developed some media following around his food/restaurant reviews and interviewing other members of the team on his podcast. This, along with multiple members of his family playing collegiately and in the NFL, indicate that Alec has the mental makeup to succeed at the next level. 

Statistics

Pro Football Focus Grades (20% snap minimum): 2020 – Offense: 65.2 (59th out of 128 eligible Cs), Pass Blocking: 85.1 (2nd), Run Blocking: 57.2 (90th), Penalties: 4, 9 hurries, 2 QB hits, 2 sacks; 2019 – Offense: 67.5 (t-53rd out of 145), Pass Blocking: 78.2 (26th), Run Blocking: 66.2 (48th), Penalties: 6, 4 hurries, 1 sack. 

Games Watched

North Carolina (2020), Pittsburgh (2020), Clemson (2020), Notre Dame (2020), Syracuse (2019), NC State (2019), Pittsburgh (2019)

Strengths

  • Very good movement skills/footwork: has quick smooth feet that allow him to move back and forth at the top of the pocket to easily mirror pass rushers and respond well to twists and stunts; keeps feet driving as a run blocker through the end of the play. 
  • Solid hand usage: hands are very active to mirror and deflect defensive linemen; displays good placement to locate the defender’s breastplate and strike him there. 
  • Very good anchor in pass protection: easily able to shut down bull rushers; can recover well if beaten quickly off the snap to drop his feet and plant in the ground to prevent further penetration. 
  • Solid in Man/Gap schemes: solid at executing Base blocks against A-gap defenders, as he can use angles and technique as opposed to brute strength to maintain his gap; good in DBLs, working very well with OGs to generate push and maintain balance. 
  • Solid in Zone schemes: movement skills and athleticism help him get off the ball and move down the line, pushing defender with the flow; very good in Combo blocks, displaying good instincts of when to climb to next defender. 
  • Solid when asked to get out in space as a puller or on screens; good athletic ability helps him get to the outside fluidly and quickly; good balance, as he rarely ends up on the ground against his will.
  • Good mental processing: responsible for setting and adjusting protections for the offensive line; good post-snap recognition of stunts and twists, keeping head on a swivel to look for work; plays well with others in doubles and combo blocks, with a good sense of timing to peel off. 
  • Elite competitive toughness: best finisher on the BC offensive line, relishing in burying defenders into the ground; consistently plays through the whistle and never gives up on his blocks. 

Weaknesses

  • Adequate play strength as a run blocker in all schemes: struggles to generate push at the point of attack; needs to improve how he uses his leverage in the run game. 
  • Adequate play speed: takes just a hair too long to get out of his stance and get into the block, leading to quicker defenders beating him off the snap and putting him at an immediate disadvantage. 
  • Lack of play strength and speed negatively affect his hand usage: sometimes doesn’t get his hands up quick enough, and does not have a ton of pop in his hands; timing of strikes could use some work as well. 
  • Struggles against bigger 0-1Ts in Man-Gap schemes: superior size and strength overwhelms him and cannot displace the defender.
  • Seems to be lacking arm length, leading to occasional issues with executing Reach blocks, especially if he has to get to the play-side 3T. 
  • Struggles a bit when asked to climb to the second level; doesn’t consistently make the block on his assigned defender and looks lost sometimes. 

Projection

Entering his third year as a starter, Alec Lindstrom is a polished center prospect. He is technically sound in the vast majority of the aspects of the game and is especially good in pass protection. However, he lacks some of the critical physical tools (size, strength, speed) in order to be considered an elite prospect. Lindstrom does not consistently win against better competition as a run blocker in Man or Zone schemes. In his final college season, he needs to display more competence in his ability to execute the zone-blocking scheme that BC has adopted, along with improving his play strength. At this point, Alec Lindstrom looks like a developmental mid-round selection who will need some time to adjust to the speed and strength of the NFL game. But his prowess as a pass blocker should make him a valuable asset in nearly any offense, as the game becomes increasingly pass-heavy. He is exceptionally durable and possesses all the off-field intangibles you could want in a draft prospect. 

Zay Flowers Summer Report

Zay Flowers is one of the most underrated wide receivers in college football. The Boston College product is in for a breakout year. Here is Luke Krumich’s summer report on Flowers.

Zay Flowers is one of the most underrated wide receivers in college football. The Boston College product is in for a breakout year. Here is my summer report on Flowers.

Florida Gators: Recruiting and Development Review

The Florida Gators had eight drafted players this year, as well as three undrafted free agents that signed with teams. Florida is producing NFL players, which can only help recruiting, but how are they doing when compared to their competitors. Compared to their competitors (Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Clemson), Florida is one of the best at developing lower-end recruits into NFL Draft prospects. Eleven players entering the NFL is tied for the second highest among this group. They also had the lowest average recruiting rankings of those players (special teams players not included due to their lower ranks). They were one of only two schools with zero five-star recruits in the span in which these players were recruited (2016-2018), the other being Texas A&M. They also had the second-lowest recruiting rankings on average ahead of only Texas A&M. Florida had the third most top-100 selections (considered to be the most valuable picks due to the likelihood of the player becoming a starter) behind only Alabama and Clemson. What does this mean for the state of the Florida Gators football program? While getting players into the NFL is not the end-all-be-all, it is a positive sign of good coaching and player development. More NFL success of former players, combined with winning, drives players to a program. Florida under Dan Mullen is developing lower-end recruits to compete with teams bringing in higher-end recruits, and putting them into the NFL at competitive rates. When a team can show a history of development, recruits will typically start to gravitate towards that program. It also goes the other way, which is why Florida State has had a worse recruiting class each of the last three years, most likely due to the poor development and coaching leading to just six draftees this year despite significantly higher recruiting rankings and 6 five-star recruits during the three year recruiting stretch in this draft. If Florida can pair this success in development with the greater on-field success of recent years to garner higher recruits, they can begin to ascend to a championship-level team. The top teams have players that on average are higher-level recruits that go pro, and their average NFL player is a top-100 pick, something that Florida needs to work on. Florida currently has an average draft position of 154.45 (with undrafted free agents weighing 260). To get to be a top-tier program, you have to not only put out NFL talent but high-end NFL talent. NFL starters. The other separator of on-field success between these teams has been the output of NFL talent at the quarterback position. Auburn, Florida State, and Miami have been the least successful of these teams in the past few years, and have not put out NFL-caliber quarterbacks. Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M have all put out mid-round quarterback prospects, and have had success, but have not found championship success. The teams with first-round quarterbacks, Clemson, Alabama, and LSU, have all won championships. So while general high-end prospects are an indicator of success, the real key is to have that at the most important position, quarterback. In conclusion, Florida under Dan Mullen has had success in developing players to higher than expectations, and even higher than many of their competitors. While this is a good sign of a program on an upward trajectory, it is not the level of program Florida wishes to be. The level of recruiting must improve in total, and they must start producing NFL starters. They don’t necessarily need to produce more NFL players, but rather just have them be a higher caliber of player. The most important thing, however, is that they need to develop a first-round caliber quarterback, something that Florida has lacked since Tim Tebow. Kyle Trask was the closest thing that Florida has had since, and even he, a late-2nd round pick, was not enough. Modern championships are won by high-level quarterback play, and Florida will almost certainly not be an exception. Florida is ahead of most of its competitors that have not recently won national championships in its development, and it should lead to more success in recruiting. Other than a slight jump in recruiting, which could lead to a slightly better team all around, the main point of improvement remains quarterback. If they can improve there, then a National Championship is very much in the cards. Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson will look to be that for them. Both were high-end recruits with a lot of physical tools that Dan Mullen can shape into what he wants them to be. If they work out, Florida will be able to compete with and then recruit with the top teams in the country.