Karl Dorrell is out. Prime Time is in. While Colorado‘s new head coach gets the headlines, what do the scouting reports suggest about the Buffaloes’ 2023 NFL Draft class and their prospects at the next level?
Colorado 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Alex Fontenot, RB
Strengths: Quick, hard-charging ball carrier who displays terrific vision, finds the running lanes, and has a burst. Runs with authority and bounces around the corner. Runs with terrific lean and behind his pads.
Weaknesses: Plays to one speed and isn’t a perimeter ball carrier. Ineffective in short-yardage situations. Marginal blocker. Game has regressed over the past three seasons.
Overall: As a sophomore in 2019, Fontenot looked like a next-level prospect carrying the ball and catching it out of the backfield. His production has fallen off over the past two seasons, and he played in only six games last year. Fontenot possesses the athleticism and skill to make a roster as a fifth back if he makes football a priority.
Brady Russell, TE
Strengths: Hard-charging tight end who is effective as a pass catcher and blocker. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and fires off the snap. Stays square and gives effort. Tracks the pass in the air and extends to snatch the ball away from his frame. Shows outstanding blocking vision and works hard to take defenders from the action.
Weaknesses: Really doesn’t play to his 40-time. Rarely finishes blocks. Marginally productive as a pass catcher.
Overall: Russell is a tough, competitive tight end and offers solid size and athleticism. He needs to improve his playing strength and be more productive as a pass catcher, but he should get consideration for a practice squad.
Daniel Arias, WR
Strengths: Athletic receiver who displays flashes of next-level ability. Quick, sells routes, and adjusts to the errant throw. Doesn’t gather himself exiting breaks, loses little momentum running routes, and comes back to the ball. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, extends his hands, and makes the reception away from his frame.
Tracks the pass in the air and shows the ability to make the over-the-shoulder reception at full speed. Plays to his 40-time, if not faster. Gets vertical and competes to come away with the contested grab.
Weaknesses: Marginally productive and has combined for 34 receptions and two TDs over the past three seasons. Plays faster than his 40-time but lacks elite speed.
Overall: Arias possesses next-level size and pass-catching skill and enough speed to make an NFL roster. He’s flashed ability, but he’s shown little consistency or improvement in his game. Arius comes with a large upside and should be kept on a practice squad with the hopes of future development.
Guy Thomas, EDGE
Strengths: Athletic prospect who has flashed ability. Explodes upfield, sells out defending the run, and flies around the action. Shows the ability to drop into coverage on zone blitzes. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Rarely off his feet. Patient and does more than just pin his ears back and rush upfield.
Weaknesses: Was out of position at defensive end for Colorado. Gets handled at the point by a single blocker. Marginally productive.
Overall: Thomas gave a lot of effort on the field for Colorado, but he was out of position on the line of scrimmage. He’s an off-ball linebacker prospect who must learn to play in space, but he possesses an upside.
Isaiah Lewis, S
Strengths: Feisty, instinctive safety who keeps the action in front of him. Quickly diagnoses plays and remains disciplined with assignments. Aggressive, displays good change-of-direction ability, and moves laterally with speed. Breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Plays faster than his 40-time and flies to the football.
Weaknesses: Not a stout tackler and has ball handlers running through his arms. Struggles over the slot receiver. Lacks deep speed. Played in just four games last season.
Overall: Lewis displayed plenty of ability in 2021 before missing eight games last season with injury. He initially announced he was entering the transfer portal before deciding on the NFL Draft. Then he went on to have a poor pro day. Lewis is a strong safety type with potential in zone coverage, but his game is on the downturn.
Josh Chandler-Semedo, LB
Strengths: Hard-working linebacker who was a tackling machine in college. Quickly diagnoses plays, has good change-of-direction ability, and sells out. Instinctive, stays with assignments, and takes proper angles to the action. Bullies his way through blocks to defend the run, squares into ball handlers, and wraps up tackling.
Weaknesses: Plays to his 40-time and is ineffective in pursuit. Lack of size results in coverage mismatches.
Overall: Chandler-Semedo was a terrific run-defending linebacker for Colorado, but he has size and speed limitations.
Quinn Perry, LB
Strengths: Athletic run-defending linebacker whose game took off over the past two seasons. Breaks down well and displays short-area quickness and range going sideline to sideline. Fast in pursuit, flows well laterally to the action, and wraps up tackling. Sells out on the blitz or fires upfield to defend the run.
Weaknesses: Easily blocked from the action or disrupted from his angle of attack. Inefficient and overpursues plays. Doesn’t get depth on pass drops and blows assignments.
Overall: Perry possesses the size and style to be a two-down, run-defending linebacker, but he needs to polish his game. He plays with a special-teams mentality and is worth stashing on a practice squad.
R.J. Sneed II, WR
Strengths: Talented receiver who displays terrific vision. Finds the open spot in the defense and comes back to the ball out of breaks. Extends and exposes himself to the big hit and snatches the ball out of the air. Reliable, possesses soft, quick hands, and adjusts to the errant throw. Tracks the pass in the air, makes the reception in stride, and keeps the play in-bounds.
Weaknesses: Lacks a second gear and deep speed. Watched his game fall off last season, and finished the year with just 20 receptions for 468 yards.
Overall: Sneed displayed plenty of ability as a receiver at Baylor before transferring to Colorado, but then he watched his game go in reverse. He possesses the size, speed, and pass-catching ability to be a fifth receiver on Sundays, but Sneed is headed in the wrong direction.
Robert Barnes, LB
Strengths: Oklahoma transfer who has been marginally productive over the past two seasons. Quickly collapses outside-in to defend the run, redirects to ball handlers, and wraps up tackling. Explosive, flies around the action and shows a burst of closing speed. Fluid flipping his hips in transition and gets depth on pass drops. Covers a large amount of area on the field. Remains disciplined with assignments.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Easily blocked from the action. Possesses average ball skills. Combined for just 77 tackles over the past two seasons.
Overall: Barnes possesses the athleticism and the ability to be used as an off-ball linebacker at face value, but he never elevated his game and wasn’t very productive. He comes with an upside and should get consideration for practice squad spots this summer, but Barnes must quickly produce in camp.
Terrance Lang, EDGE
Strengths: Resilient lineman who gives effort. Plays with proper pad level, gets leverage on opponents, and uses his hands exceptionally well. Slides off blocks, works to defend the run, and wraps up tackling. Easily changes direction or redirects to ball handlers.
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk and gets handled by tight ends or out-positioned from the action. Lacks a closing burst. Marginal pass rusher.
Overall: Lang got the most from his ability, but he comes with average athleticism and a limited game. He must fill out his frame and become stouter at the point for any possibility at the next level.
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