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Sun Belt Scouting Reports for 2021 NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Sun Belt Conference scouting reports from Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst and Insider Tony Pauline.

Sun Belt Scouting Reports for 2021 NFL Draft
HUNTINGTON, WV - SEPTEMBER 19: Appalachian State Mountaineers quarterback Zac Thomas (12) throws a pass during the second quarter of the college football game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Marshall Thundering Herd on September 19, 2020, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Scouting reports for 2021 NFL Draft prospects from the Sun Belt Conference from Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider. To view overall and positional rankings, visit and bookmark Pauline’s Draft Board. Please note that the links below will open in a new tab.

Teams covered in this 2021 Sun Belt Scouting Report:

Page 1 – Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Georgia Southern Eagles
Page 2 – Georgia State Panthers, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, Lousiana-Monroe Warhawks, South Alabama Jaguars & Troy Trojans

2021 NFL Draft | Sun Belt Scouting Reports: Appalachian State Mountaineers

Marcus Williams NFL Draft Scouting Report | Running Back

Positives: Rotational ball carrier who struggled with injuries last season. Patient, keeps his feet moving, and works hard for every yard. Displays vision, waits for blocks to develop, and follows them everywhere on the field. Runs with good lean and displays a terrific stutter step as well as short-area quickness. Adjusts off the initial hit and quickly gets back to running form.

Negatives: One-speed ball carrier who lacks a burst and the ability to turn the corner. Never established himself as the primary back at Appalachian State.

Analysis: Williams is a hard-charging ball carrier who is best on the inside, but he’s a one-dimensional runner who lacks great next-level physical skills.

Noah Hannon NFL Draft Scouting Report | Center

Positives: Four-year starter at center and a quick, explosive blocker. Fires off the snap, stays square, and works his hands throughout the action. Keeps his head on a swivel, blocks with good lean, and smothers or engulfs opponents at the point of attack. Flashes skill blocking in motion.

Negatives: Falls off blocks rather than finishing them. Lacks balance. Must bend his knees and consistently block with proper pad level.

Analysis: Hannon is a hard-working college blocker who comes with poor size and height. He has limited upside at the next level, but his tenacious style will turn heads in camp this summer.

Shemar Jean-Charles NFL Draft Scouting Report | Cornerback

Positives: Two-year starter who also contributed on special teams during his college career. Nice-sized corner with an aggressive style who is best facing the action. Possesses excellent length, effectively fights with his hands, and battles receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Competes to break up throws and physically defeats receivers to strip the ball away. Works hard to get off blocks and make plays against the run. Instinctive and shows good awareness facing the action, quickly locating the pass in the air.

Negatives: A bit late out of his transition following receivers off the line. Average burst to the ball out of his plant. Struggles staying on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Slow getting his head back around to locate the pass in the air.

Analysis: Jean-Charles is a tall, physical corner who struggles making plays with his back to the ball. His skills facing the action and productive special-teams play could help him snatch a roster spot as a ninth defensive back.

Zac Thomas NFL Draft Scouting Report | Quarterback

Positives: Three-year starter who was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. Productive college quarterback who struggles with accuracy. Patient, leaves the pocket only when necessary, and consistently keeps his eyes downfield. Quickly locates the open wideout, flashes the ability to be right on the mark with throws, and plays with reckless abandon on designed quarterback runs. Effectively sells the ball fakes.

Negatives: Does not put great speed on throws and cannot drive deep passes. Indecisive, slow pulling the trigger, and does not sense the rush.

Analysis: Thomas was a terrific quarterback for Appalachian State but lacks the physical skills and measurables for the next level.

2021 NFL Draft | Sun Belt Scouting Reports: Arkansas State Red Wolves

Forrest Merrill NFL Draft Scouting Report | Defensive Line

Positives: Junior college transfer who missed most of the 2019 campaign with injury. An explosive interior defensive lineman who plays with great intensity. Fires off the snap, keeps his feet moving, and easily changes direction. Plays with proper pad level, works his hands throughout the action, and chases hard. Attracts double-team blocks in the middle of the line and holds his ground to occupy gaps.

Negatives: Really doesn’t play to his size and gets easily turned from the action by a single defender. Doesn’t show the athleticism or sustained speed to get outside the box and make plays.

Analysis: Merrill is an enigma of sorts, as he plays like a 3-technique tackle despite having nose-tackle size. He has a bit of upside and flashed ability last season after missing most of the 2019 campaign. Merrill is a developmental prospect, and in a worst-case scenario, he should be kept on a practice squad.

For information on Arkansas State wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr., check out his 2021 NFL Draft Profile.

Justin Rice NFL Draft Scouting Report | Linebacker

Positives: Fresno State transfer who began his college career at running back. Tough, instinctive linebacker who is constantly around the ball making plays. Smart, quick to read and diagnose, and works hard. Drives his shoulders through ball handlers, sells out to make plays, and creates turnovers. Fluid moving in every direction, shows a burst of speed, and gets the most from his ability.

Negatives: Lacks great range. Better up the field. Struggles in coverage. Plays faster than his 40-time but lacks overall play speed.

Analysis: Rice was a productive linebacker for Arkansas State and Fresno State but comes with limited upside. His instincts and intensity translate well to special teams, which is how he’ll have to make it at the next level.

2021 NFL Draft | Sun Belt Scouting Reports: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

C.J. Marable NFL Draft Scouting Report | Running Back

Positives: Four-year starter who began his career at Presbyterian College. Undersized scatback who does a great job using all his skills to pick up yardage. Patient, displays outstanding vision, and follows blocks everywhere on the field. Possesses a burst through the hole, easily cuts back against the grain, and changes direction without losing momentum.

Keeps the play in bounds and consistently runs north and south. Outstanding receiver out of the backfield, contorting to make the difficult reception, and displaying outstanding hands.

Negatives: Small with size limitations. Gives effort blocking but lacks strength and does not get good results. More quick than fast.

Analysis: Marable was a terrific small-conference running back and has all the tools necessary to translate as a third-down back/situational ball carrier at the next level.

Tarron Jackson NFL Draft Scouting Report | Defensive End

Positives: Three-year starter who participated in the Senior Bowl this year. Hard-working college defensive end with average size and speed. Plays with balance and body control, is rarely off his feet, and effectively uses his hands.

Keeps his feet moving, fluidly moves about the field, and easily gets down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the action. Agile, breaks down well, and easily changes direction. Gets leverage on opponents and plays through the whistle.

Negatives: Lacks great first-step quickness, has an average burst, and marginal long speed. Easily slowed by the initial block and gets out-positioned from the action by lesser opponents.

Analysis: Jackson had a productive college career and was a major contributor for the Coastal Carolina defense. He lacks the size for a defensive tackle as well as the quickness and speed to play defensive end, but he has enough tools to be a serviceable backup at the next level.

2021 NFL Draft | Sun Belt Scouting Reports: Georgia Southern Eagles

Raymond Johnson NFL Draft Scouting Report | Defensive End

Positives: Four-year starter who also played extensively on special teams. Breaks down well and bends his knees. Rarely off his feet. Easily changes direction and gets out into space to pursue the ball handler.

Attracts double-team blocks, gets leverage on opponents, and bends off the edge. Gets a lot of momentum and force going up the field. Displays outstanding hand technique to protect himself or get off blocks. Tough but also instinctive and quickly locates the ball.

Negatives: Lacks great edge speed and a closing burst. Possesses average bulk and is easily out-positioned by a single blocker. Displays an average burst off the snap.

Analysis: Johnson was a terrific defensive end for Georgia Southern and was constantly around the action making positive plays. He comes with marginal size and athleticism but could make a roster as an eighth defensive lineman in a four-man front.

Wes Kennedy NFL Draft Scouting Report | Running Back

Positives: Rotational starter the past three seasons who contributed on special teams. Hard-working ball carrier with average size. Quick, keeps his feet moving, and works runs. Easily bounces around the corner, makes defenders miss, and shows the ability to turn the perimeter. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes. Explosive returner who alters the momentum of games with big plays.

Negatives: Small and easily brought down at the point by a single defender. Marginally productive as a pass catcher.

Analysis: Kennedy possesses the physical skills to line up as a situational back/punt returner, but he must improve his pass-catching skills and production to make it at the next level.

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