Posted: 9:16 am Friday, January 31st, 2014

Senior Bowl review for Attaochu, Thomas 

By Ken Sugiura

Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Senior Bowl, NFL Draft, college football, football

Jemea Thomas finished his career at Georgia Tech ninth in career tackles by a defensive back with 234. Along with the Senior Bowl, Thomas is invited to the NFL Combine.

Former Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu wasn’t able to take advantage of his Senior Bowl practices. Former Tech defensive back Jemea Thomas held his ground as he followed up a strong effort at the East-West Shrine game. So said Steve Muench, an ESPN analyst who was in Mobile, Ala., last week for the Senior Bowl and in St. Petersburg, Fla., the week before for the Shrine game.

“I would say he didn’t have the best week,” Muench said of Attaochu.

Muench tempered his comments about Attaochu by noting that the week of practices weren’t necessarily set up for him to excel. He was asked to play the “Leo” position by the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff, which is a hybrid end/outside linebacker position. As part of his positional drills, he had to cover backs and tight ends in space. Having seen Attaochu play this fall, Muench knows that he can drop into zone coverage without problem. Playing man-to-man in practice drills was a tougher assignment.

“That’s not really what he is built for,” Muench said. “That’s not his thing.”

Further, Muench said he expected to see Attaochu show more explosion in pass-rush drills. Muench acknowledged again he was basing his evaluation on a limited number of reps and that “it doesn’t mean that he can’t,” just that teams will have to debate the value of what they saw in Mobile vs. what Attaochu has put down on game video.

Muench said he gave Attaochu a fourth-round grade, but that “it wouldn’t surprise me if he went a little earlier than that.”

Muench said that Thomas “jumped out” during the Shrine game practices, which enabled him to earn a late invitation to the Senior Bowl. He said Thomas projects as a sub-package defensive back lining up over slot receivers. He liked the way he used his hands and was able to take on offensive linemen on blitzes.

“He’s got good feet and balance and he can recover,” Muench said. “He recovers fairly well. He was active against the run, very aggressive, filled hard. I think his size is more of a concern in pass coverage than run support.”

Muench said that Thomas compares with former Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner, though not as explosive or athletic. Muench gave him a late-round grade but said that he’ll have a chance to move up, particularly if he performs well at the draft combine.

“I think there’s still a lot of wiggle room in terms of where he’s going to end up on day three,” he said, referring to the fourth through seventh rounds.

22 comments
slydawg
slydawg

Both will be drafted, it's just a matter of when and what team. If Both are still hanging around somewhere in the middle of the 4th round, I suspect both will be gone no later than the 5th. Attaouchu simply has too much versatility, especially in today's game, not to be drafted. As far as Thomas is concerned, it's a passing league, he's physical, and can shut down slot receivers more easliy than outside receivers. His 40 time will determine whether he goes anywhere from 3rd to 5th round, no lower.


BTW, anyone using Todd McShay for scouting or drafting advice has not payed attention to his many mistakes and miscalculations. There are two folks are serious and mostly right when it comes to this scout/draft stuff: Kiper and Mayock. Year after year, they are more right than wrong. I remember when folks questioned: Who the hell is Mel Kiper, Jr.? Who the hell is Mike Mayock? No one ever questioned McShay, who is clearly an ESPN-created hack.

KenAJC
KenAJC moderator

JacketMan - that is interesting. Muench saw what he saw, though he acknowledged that you're dealing with a small sample size of plays. just because he disagreed with Todd McShay doesn't make him wrong (or right). i think we can all agree scouting is subjective and very unscientific. personally, i think the combination of Attaochu's skills and motor will get him a place in the NFL, but I'm not a scout.

juvenal
juvenal

Sherman guy with Seahawks 5th rounder out of Stanford.........game getting more complex, helps to have smarter guys(unless you are stuck in the 60's)........

AD4
AD4

Maybe GT biology professor, Tom DiChristina, can make him feel better by taking him to the Cheetah Lounge because the professor is the biggest cheetah of them all.

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

I want Attaochu in a Falcon uniform. I don't care what these talent evaluators talking about.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Attaochu will cash a few NFL paychecks.  Not sure about Thomas.  Many mediocre QBs and WRs have looked very impressive against our secondary for as long as I can remember.  And it never seemed to me at least that anyone was scared to throw his way.

Either way, both have fine degrees and will do well.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Interesting. This is what Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl, FROM ESPN.com, said of Jeremiah, AFTER the Senior Bowl:

Best pass-rusher: OLB Jeremiah Attaouchu, Georgia Tech

One of Attaouchu's greatest strengths on film is his ability to get to the quarterback, and it showed up here as well. He has good initial quickness, active hands and good balance.

It has also been said by numerous other publications that many people think that the JAG HQ INTENTIONALLY played Attaochu out of position during practices, and during the game, so he could HIDE him from other teams prior to the draft.

As far as him not "playing well" during the game, it was also mentioned by someone that Attaochu actually played man coverage VERY well as virtually NO passes were thrown his way as he was covering SO WELL. This accounted for such a low tackle count.

Jemea's coverage was also complimented this way. And it was mentioned that even runs were away from his side of the field. The two passes to his side of the field were a quick out the he ended up breaking off his coverage to handle and push the receiver out of bounds, and the other where he jumped the route on a wide receiver screen, which caused the QB to eat the pass and get sacked. This was the reason for HIS low tackle count, too.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Ken; I took the quote directly from the ESPN Insider site, which quoted McShay, Muench, and Weidl, which they said was their thoughts about the various prospects AFTER the Senior Bowl (they didn't differentiate who said what, but they all took credit for the byline as I copied it directly from the site so there wasn't any question of plagiarism).

So I guess, perhaps, Muench's article was originally based on his "initial" thoughts PRIOR to the game (I reread your article, and it talked about practice and drills), and perhaps after reevaluating his body of work with his film, the entire week of practice as both a rush end and outside LB, and then in the game, maybe he changed his mind. Who the heck knows.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@juvenal

Richard Sherman was the 26th CB taken in the 2011 draft.  Only 1 other CB from that draft (Patrick Peterson) has played in the Pro Bowl.  Shows what the "draft experts" know.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Most people didn't think Asante Samuel would make it in the NFL, either, and I think he's had a pretty good career, hasn't he? Jemea is actually a bit "bigger" that Samuel, has a much longer reach than he does, is faster, and doesn't shy away from contact like Samuel. Finally, Jemea can play the Corner and Safety positions, so he's got more versatility than Samuel as well.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@JacketMan  Bigger issue is that most linebackers can't cover a back in man coverage.   That's why so many teams are basically running a nickel as their base defense now, and using three linebackers almost as a subpackage.   It's weird because it wasn't this way for decades, but that's the reality of a pass happy league.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@JacketMan

Most are familiar with McShay (and Mel Kiper), but who are Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl?


Reading Ken's Muench report, then reading this leads one to believe Muench might not be very good at his job?   

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@JacketMan Concur JM. JT is a great utility ball player with a lot of heart that would be an asset to any pro team---great nickel back, brings a hammer in run support, can return punts, do special teams...can play either safety or CB. I think his versatility is his best asset.  He'd be a great pick up in the latter rounds. We'll miss him.

crackbaby
crackbaby

@JacketMan Hope I'm wrong but Jemea probably isn't big enough to play safety in the League.  He's gotta make it at corner first.

JacketMan
JacketMan

I think this may be what will make Sneezy more interesting to the Scouts than some players like Dee Ford because he may be considered more of a 3-down player rather than a "specialist". He can play a rush end/outside linebacker like Von Miller is used by the Denver Broncos whereas Ford is looked at as only a rush end.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket


@MikeBanning @JacketMan If one touchdown means a cornerback sucks, then Richard Sherman, Champ Bailey, Darrell Revis and a lot of other lock down corers suck as well.  


Nice try, troll.  

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@JacketMan  

You're a phony and a FRAUD!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZSYahmOYl8

In that Youtube highlight clip, there is a TD pass where Jemea was in man coverage with UGA's BACK-UP TE Jay Rome and got beat like a drum for a TD.

For you to try and re-write history after the fact and make it seem like Jemea played well in pass coverage vs. UGA is a lie and dishonest on your part.

If Jemea was "locking down HALF of the field vs. UGA in pass coverage" the 3 times that Murray played vs. us then he would not have torched our 2ndary like he did.

I'm looking for the other youtube highlights from 2011 and 2010 to go along with 2012 above and show exactly what Jemea did vs. UGA.

You are a FRAUD jack***-Man!

JacketMan
JacketMan

I normally don't respond to ignorant people, but here goes. Jemea did great against UGA. Turns out virtually every pass made against the Jackets when he was playing went to the opposite side of the field or underneath where LB's had coverage. In other words, Murray rarely tested Jemea's side because he was always in great position to make a play.

Obviously YOU didn't watch the games closely/with a discerning eye or know the nuances of football (or cares). I happen to be a three year letter winner in football from GA Tech from several years ago, so I think I qualify as someone who actually knows what goes on because I watch games very carefully - in fact, I watch the entire field of play and see how everyone interacts on the field and how that impacts the results of the play.

For example, in the Senior Bowl, one of the QB sacks was credited to a Defensive End, but he would have never had the chance to even get to the QB in the first place except Jemea jumped the route on a WR screen, which caused the QB to pull the pass play back down and eat the ball. THIS act by Jemea is what allowed the DE the time to get to the QB, NOT his burst off of the line of scrimmage or the fact he just beat the offensive lineman physically.

Against North Carolina, Jeremiah Attaochu was given credit for several QB hurries, a hold against, a sack, etc. in the second half, but one of the main reasons was all of these things that happened in Sneezy's "favor" occurred were because Jemea had taken away the primary receiver, Ebron, and it caused the Carolina QB to hang onto the football much longer than the first half.

Like I said, anyone who actually knows anything about football, and really watched the games, would have recognized these things. Obviously anyone who says otherwise either is speaking out of his arse, is trying to inflame the conversation, or is just plain ignorant. Regardless of what category you fall in, you're still wasting all of our time.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@MikeBanning @JacketMan  It amazes me how hard it is to get any level of honest and fair assessments about GT FB or about any GT player.

_______________________________________________


You mean, unless we just trash a player, we're not being honest?


Keep trolling....

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@JacketMan  

What did Jemea do vs. UGA and Aaron Murray the 3 times he faced them?

Every NFL team has a better QB and better WRs than what Jemea played against in those 3 games ,and IIRC Jemea was a non-factor and UGA did whatever they wanted to do through the air.

It amazes me how hard it is to get any level of honest and fair assessments about GT FB or about any GT player.

If I'm a an NFL GM , I'd think about bringing Jemea in for a FA tryout or on a FA contract, but I'd look for a taller DB that is a pure CB first and foremost.

I'm not sure Jemea projects as a pure CB on the NFL level, maybe best case scenario he can play nickel-back, but now nickel-DBs in the NFL are almost as good as your starters.

BTW, Jemea didn't shut down Ebron, UNCs crappy QB wasn't able to get Ebron the ball, Bryn Renner was hot stinking garbage at QB this year, we were lucky that we faced him and not Williams that made UNC's offense run a lot more smoothly.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Just a few of comments to make in reply. First, I'm not sure if you saw Jemea's measurements from the Senior Bowl, but he had a wingspan that was larger than most 6'6" linemen, meaning he had the basic "range" of at least a 6'3" defensive back. Couple that with the size of his hands (again, larger than most linemen), you can add another inch or so (and why he has better than average abilities to intercept passes). Now you can take into account that Jemea also has the ability to "leap, and well, I think you're starting to get the message.

With all of that info, I'll say there's film on Jemea from the ACC Championship game a couple of years ago where Jemea played Cornerback, and made a circus interception against FSU's eventual First Round Draft Pick QB, Manuel, who was passing to many project to be a First Round Draft choice in this year's Draft, 6'5", Benjamin. This shows Jemea has excellent skills as a Cover Corner against big, strong, tall, fast, Wide Receivers.

Then this past Fall, against North Carolina, after their star Tight end and potential First Round Draft Choice, Eric Ebron, torched GA Tech the first half of the game for well over a hundred receiving yards, the Jackets switched their Defense and basically put Jemea on Ebron the rest of the game, covering this 6'5", 245 lb TE. The results? He was basically shut out the rest of the game. Jemea covered him as a Safety.

And this doesn't even count some of his battles against the best receivers Clemson had to offer where he more than held his own.