With at least three NFL Draft prospects selected from South Carolina in the last four years, this year’s group hopes to at least match that feat. Below, you will find our South Carolina scouting reports for their top 12 prospects.
South Carolina 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Brad Johnson, LB
Strengths: Former defensive end who effectively reads plays, shows good recognition, and fluidly moves about the field. Covers a good amount of area, gets outside to the flanks in pursuit, and gives effort against the run. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and makes plays in space.
Weaknesses: Inefficient and doesn’t take proper angles to the action. Easily knocked around by blocks. Plays to one speed and lacks a burst. Coming off a disappointing campaign.
Overall: Johnson got the most from his ability, yet he comes with linebacker size and defensive line speed.
Cam Smith, CB
Strengths: Athletic cornerback with nice size and a developing game. Quick-footed in reverse and displays a smooth backpedal. Physical, mixes it up with receivers, and quickly tracks the pass when he faces the action. Smooth in transition and stays downfield with opponents.
Drives to the ball out of his plant and displays an explosive closing burst. Uses his size as an advantage and physically beats down receivers to defend the throw. Aggressively makes his way up the field to defend screen passes or the run.
Weaknesses: Hesitates when reacting to receivers’ moves off the line and does a lot of trailing in coverage. Slow getting his head back around to locate the pass in the air. Does not always time pass defenses well in man coverage. Got hammered by Cedric Tillman of Tennessee last season.
Overall: Smith was on my watchlist off the 2021 film, then he really elevated his game this past season. He possesses the size, athleticism, and traits teams want in a next-level starter, but Smith is unpolished and needs to finish his game. I see a lot of bumps in the road early in his NFL career. Nevertheless, if Smith is properly coached and given time to develop, he could turn into a dominant shutdown cornerback.
Want more information on Smith? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Darius Rush, CB
Strengths: Nice-sized cornerback coming off a terrific season. Effective facing the action, tracks the pass in the air, and has a nice move to the throw. Displays good route recognition, effectively times pass defenses, and displays the ability to drive to the ball out of his plant. Fires upfield and gives effort defending the run.
Weaknesses: Not quick in transition, which puts him behind opponents. Cannot stay on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Average long speed despite his 40 time.
Overall: Rush showed a lot of improvement in his game last season. He has limitations, but Rush also possesses enough ability to line up in dime packages, preferably in a zone system where he can face the action.
Want more information on Rush? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Devonni Reed, S
Strengths: Central Michigan transfer, who is a tough run-defending safety effective in zone coverage. Instinctive, quickly diagnoses plays, and throws his body around the field to make the tackle. Tracks the pass in the air, works well with corners, and has a nice move to the throw. Efficient, takes proper angles, and wraps up tackling. Physical and fires upfield to defend running plays or screen throws.
Weaknesses: Needs more eye discipline, as he looks in the backfield rather than focusing on his responsibility, which leads to blown coverages. Not smooth or quick pedaling in reverse. Coming off a somewhat disappointing season.
Overall: After four very productive seasons at Central Michigan, Reed chose to return for another senior season and transferred to South Carolina. It did not work out as planned, as he underperformed in seven games.
Going back to the 2020 and 2021 film, Reed looked like a legitimate zone safety prospect who can lend a hand on special teams. He needs to return to prior playing form to make it out of camp this summer.
Dylan Wonnum, G
Strengths: Strong college tackle with long arms who projects to guard. Quick off the snap, explosive at the point, and blocks with good lean. Stays square to seal defenders from the action and works his hands throughout the play. Keeps his feet moving, jolts opponents with aggressive hand punch, and knocks defenders from their angles of attack.
Weaknesses: Lacks footwork and balance sliding off the edge. Exploited by speed rushers. Has a long injury history.
Overall: Wonnum initially caught my eye as a sophomore in 2020 and has been a solid lineman for South Carolina. He’s an average athlete with marginal upside who will struggle to make it out of camp this summer.
Eric Douglas, C
Strengths: Underrated center who was a three-year starter for South Carolina. Displays outstanding vision, always looks for someone to hit, and anchors at the point. Keeps his feet moving, keeps his head on a swivel, and blocks with good lean. Explosive and turns defenders from the line. Does an outstanding job quarterbacking the offensive line.
Weaknesses: Must improve the strength of his base. Must improve his hand placement.
Overall: Douglas was a terrific lineman at South Carolina and possesses an outstanding feel for blocking. He comes with growth potential and will have a future at the next level if he gets bigger and stronger.
Jalen Brooks, WR
Strengths: Former small-school wide receiver who jumped onto the scouting radar after a terrific campaign. Uses his hands to separate from defenders, tracks the pass in the air, and adjusts backward to grab the ball in stride. Possesses eye/hand coordination and extends to make the reception away from his frame. Flashes big-play ability and shows good playing speed. Gives effort blocking.
Weaknesses: Struggles in battles despite his size. Must develop a larger route tree. Has never been overly productive on the college level and totaled just two touchdowns for South Carolina. Ran terribly slow during Combine workouts and shows minimal speed on the field.
Overall: Brooks is a nice-sized receiver with an upside. If he continues to progress off the 2022 season, he could make a roster as a fifth wideout.
Jordan Strachan, LB
Strengths: Once highly rated pass rusher who is quick and explosive. Fires off the snap with a terrific first step then shows speed up the field or laterally. Easily changes direction, gets out into space to pursue plays, and works his hands to protect himself. Agile, effective out of a three-point stance as well as standing over tackle, and works hard.
Weaknesses: Controlled at the point by a single blocker and gets easily out-positioned from plays. Gets upright in his stance. Had a disappointing 2021 campaign and played in just two games last season before suffering a torn ACL.
Overall: As a junior at Georgia State in 2020, Strachan turned in a monster campaign that included 14 TFLs, 10.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He transferred to South Carolina a year later and had minimal impact. Then he chose to return for a sixth senior season before getting injured. Once considered a Day 2 prospect by scouts, Strachan must now return from injury and revert to his former dominant self.
Josh Vann, WR
Strengths: Big-play receiver who is smooth, fluid, and displays focus as well as eye/hand coordination. Plays to his 40 time, tracks the pass in the air, and gets vertical to come away with the difficult grab. Adjusts to the errant throw, effectively times receptions, and makes the deep catch in stride at full speed.
Extends his hands to snatch the ball out of the air and sacrifices himself to come away with the reception. Plays to his 40 time, if not faster. Gives effort on coverage units.
Weaknesses: Small and struggles in battles. Was not a big part of South Carolina’s offense last season. Suffered a leg injury late in the year against Clemson.
Overall: Vann was considered a legitimate mid-round pick coming into the season, but he watched his production fall off a cliff after not starting a single game. He’s an explosive wideout with next-level athletic numbers and return potential. Vann also comes with terrific upside, but he really needs to get his game back to where it was in 2021 and improve from there.
Jovaughn Gwyn, C
Strengths: Durable three-year starter who gets the most from his ability. Fundamentally sound, quick, and explosive. Fires off the snap into blocks, quickly gets to the second level, and keeps his head on a swivel. Plays with outstanding knee bend, keeps his feet moving, and squares into defenders to seal them from the action. Possesses excellent vision and always looks for someone to hit.
Weaknesses: Lacks strength with short arms and doesn’t finish blocks at the line of scrimmage or in motion. Late with his hands. Doesn’t possess much growth potential.
Overall: Gwyn is much more athletic than his testing numbers lend one to believe, and he has enough ability to back up in a zone-blocking system.
Sherrod Greene, LB
Strengths: Safety-sized linebacker who is effective in pursuit. Breaks down well, flows to the action, and displays solid lateral speed. Solid open-field tackler who remains disciplined with assignments and is aggressive. Relatively instinctive and effectively reads plays.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Doesn’t play to his 40 time. Struggles getting off blocks. Inefficient and doesn’t take proper angles to the action.
Overall: Greene is a try-hard defender who lacks the size and speed for the next level and may not have a true NFL position.
Zacch Pickens, DT
Strengths: Explosive one-gap tackle with growth potential. Plays with terrific pad level, fires off the snap with a tremendous first step, and penetrates the gaps. Quickly gets his hands up, easily changes direction, or immediately alters his angle of attack.
Gets down the line of scrimmage and outside the box to pursue plays into space. Keeps his feet moving, stays with the action, and has a closing burst of speed. Intense and goes very hard. Shows a lot of pass-rushing moves.
Weaknesses: Easily out-positioned or blocked from the action. Handled by a single opponent. Sack numbers have been very ordinary.
Overall: Pickens is a hard-working lineman whose first-step quickness and ability to get leverage on opponents give him a decided advantage. He’s a 3-technique type who can also play in a one-gap system. Pickens should only improve as he physically matures and adds strength to his game.
Want more information on Pickens? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Zacch Pickens, DT, South Carolina | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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