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Five Former Horns To Participate in NFL Combine

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Watch the NFL Scouting Combine Feb 24 - Mar 1, only on the NFL Network.

Aaron Williams CB 6-1 190

Projected draft rounds

2nd, 45th pick (Optimum Scouting), 1-2 (CBS Sports), 1st, 26th pick (FOX Sports), 1-2 (NFL Draft Scout)

Position Rankings

6 (Optimum Scouting), 6 (National Football Post), 4 (CBS Sports), 5 (ESPN Scouts, Inc.), 5 (NFL Draft Scout), 4 (Draft Countdown), 5 (New Era Scouting)

Strengths

ESPN ($):

Reads and flows with quarterback when drops into zone. Recognizes bubble screens...Fluid hips. Can open and run with receivers in press bail coverage. Quick feet and changes directions well for size. Closes quickly when receivers catch the ball in front of him and can limit production after the catch...Can elevate too early but flashes the ability to high-point in jump ball situations. Gets head turned in time to locate the ball. Can time dive and knock ball down when gets caught in trail position...Plays with an edge and fights off blocks. Effective wrap up tackler that can get bigger ball carriers to the ground.

Weaknesses

ESPN:

Mid-points high-low routes and flashes good route recognition skills but highly inconsistent in this area. Gets caught peeking into the backfield. Gets caught guessing too much and vulnerable to double moves. Slow to recognize run when matched up in man coverage...Inconsistent but talented and most weaknesses can be improved upon. High in backpedal. Can allow some separation out of breaks and recovery burst is just average. Can give receivers too much of a cushion. To quick to open and turn on comeback routes. Not as physical in press coverage as is in run support and doesn't always reroute receivers with powerful stab at the line of scrimmage...Consistently steps up when teams run at him but could show better effort in pursuit when teams run away from him.

My take

Williams undeniably hurt himself with an uneven 2010. In particular, he got beat on routes late in the season and notably struggled finishing plays, as his ball skills seemed to slip from 2009, when he made several spectacular catches. Value is hurt somewhat because he does not project as someone who can help in the return game at the next level. Has prototypical size and speed that NFL scouts will love and the good news is that most of the question marks about him can be corrected if he improves his technique, something NFL teams will feel they can teach him. Has added value because he's big enough and physical enough to play the safety position. Should have a long and productive career in the NFL.

What he needs to do at the Combine

The single most important thing that Williams can do at the Combine is run well. If he can run in the mid 4.4 range, he'll solidify his status in the end of the first round, early second round. So while it would benefit him to show better technique than he did in college, NFL scouts will feel that they can coach him up to refine his backpedal, transition ability and the former star Texas cornerback should show well in the position drills at the Combine given his natural ability and time to prepare for the specific drills he will encounter. Williams would also benefit from showing an increase in strength, which could make him more versatile as a potential safety prospect.

Curtis Brown CB 6-0 180

Projected draft round

2nd, 63 (FOX Sports), 2 (CBS Sports), 2 (NFL Draft Scout)

Position Rankings

16 (Optimum Scouting), 11 (National Football Post), 7 (CBS Sports), 8 (ESPN Scouts, Inc.), 7 (NFL Draft Scout), 8 (Draft Countdown), 9 (New Era Scouting)

Strengths

ESPN ($):

Plays with confidence. Displays good awareness in zone coverage. Keeps eyes on quarterback and gets quick break when seeing QB start throwing motion. Does a nice job of passing off and marking targets coming into his area. Has the field awareness to fall off of primary assignment and make a play on the ball. Anticipation and route-recognition skills are good but have room for improvement. Displays good short-term memory loss and can bounce back from mistake...Quick-twitch and shows explosive change of direction skills. Transitions quickly when planting and driving forward. Moves feet well to stay in front, jam and disrupt receivers release when aligned in press coverage. Does a good job of mirroring receivers when locked in man coverage on an island. Closing burst is above-average and can make up ground when ball is in the air. Also appears to have adequate recovery speed when caught in trail position...Turns, locates and plays the ball well. Does a nice job of getting in position to separate the ball from the receiver. Hands are good and can come down with routine interception. Plays big against taller receivers and times leaps well in jump ball situations...Aggressive and uses hands well when shedding blocks.

Weakness

Not an elite playmaker at this point to pull in highlight-reel interception...However, can be controlled by bigger and more physical receivers on occasion. Wrap-up and drag-down tackler. Needs to do a better job of breaking down in the open field to secure tackle in one-on-one situations.

My take

Scouts have to love some of the physical attributes that Brown brings to the table -- solid height, but excellent athleticism in terms of speed, leaping ability, change of direction ability, and balance. The major concern is going to be his strength and his willingness to tackle, the type of concerns that could limit him to being a nickel corner at the next level unless he can show the ability to consistently tackle larger receivers on the outside. As a senior, Brown did appear to move past the concerns about his lack of physicality as a tackler and showed a greater willingness to play the run and bring down receivers after allowing receptions. Lack of playmaking ability a concern for Brown, as he recorded only two interceptions during his Texas career despite receiving consistent playing time for nearly three whole seasons.

What he needs to do at the Combine

NFL scouts would surely like to see Brown show average strength for an NFL cornerback due to his issues as a tackler at times. Showing good ball skills in drills will probably also be important to him since he didn't intercept a lot of passes in college.

Sam Acho DE 6-2 257

Projected draft round

2nd, 55th pick (Optimum Scouting), 2-3 (CBS Sports), 2-3 (NFL Draft Scout)

Position rankings

8 (Optimum Scouting), 16 (National Football Post), 11 (CBS Sports). 16 (ESPN Scouts, Inc.), 11 (NFL Draft Scout), 16 (Draft Countdown), 11 (New Era Scouting)

Strengths

ESPN ($):

However, flashes effective power moves and can occasionally rock OTs back into the pocket. Also uses hands well to keep blockers hands off of frame. Does a nice job of staying with rush to register effort sacks...Plays with leverage when having edge responsibility. Appears to have a strong upper body and uses arms well to lock out and stack blockers...On the other hand, possesses quick and explosive hands to disengage and get involved in play. Generally a strong wrap-up tackler in confined areas...Athleticism is good and generally plays on his feet with balance...No question about effort and plays with a consistent motor. Fights to work through traffic in pursuit. Instincts are good but not elite...Disciplined working from the backside and does a nice job of closing off cutback lanes.

Weaknesses

ESPN:

Lacks elite first-step quickness. Also a bit stiff in the torso and does not have great bend to shave the corner with speed rush. Going to have issues gaining the edge at the NFL level...Lacks an elite anchor and can be engulfed by more massive and powerful OTs. Was seen reduced inside to 5-technique or 4-technique during film study and struggled to hold the point...Overall range against the run is adequate at best. Will have some limitations in space especially when caught in one-on-one situations in the open field...Change of direction skills are average at best and maybe a liability if having to play in space. Also lacks the anchor to hold the point inside...Can be a second late finding the ball off of play action or misdirection plays.

My take

If there's one thing that Acho will unquestionably do well at the next level, it's work hard and be a good teammate. His physical skills, particularly his lack of true NFL-level height for the defensive end position and a first step that is merely average for the league, are well below the level of the elite players in the draft class. Unless Acho can prove at the Combine and during his pro day in Austin that he can play in space and be effective as an outside linebacker, he's going to be limited to teams that run a 4-3 because he's isn't strong enough to hold up as a five tech. An NFL team is going to have to fall in love with his motor and intangibles because his actual skillset seems a little bit fring-y, especially for a second or third round pick.

What he needs to do at the Combine

Run well enough to get some consideration as a 3-4 OLB, as Acho otherwise projects as a reserve defensive end at the next level. It's also important for Acho to measure in at every bit of his listed 6-2, as he's already on the short end of the spectrum for NFL defensive ends. If Acho measures at shorter than expected, it's going to be even more important for him to show well in the speed and agility drills.

Chykie Brown CB 5-11.5 187

Projected draft round

5 (CBS Sports), 5 (NFL Draft Scout)

Position rankings

23 (Optimum Scouting), 19 (National Football Post), 20 (CBS Sports), 15 (ESPN Scouts, Inc.), 20 (NFL Draft Scout), 13 (Draft Countdown), 22 (New Era Scouting)

Strengths

ESPN ($):

Will mix it up and plays with good intensity on the field...Displays good awareness in zone coverage and generally maintains strong position...Can open hips and to run with WRs downfield when aligned in press coverage... Appears to have very good top-end speed though and can stay in the back pocket of receivers with vertical routes. Also shows ability to close and make up ground once caught in trail position...Can hold up when caught in one-on-one jump ball situations...

Weaknesses

ESPN:

Can be a step late breaking on the ball at times... A bit high in back pedal and zone bail and can struggles to drop weight and quickly transition with any sudden change of direction. Struggles to redirect and recover once initially beaten by double move...Can be a step late turning and locating the ball. Does not have great timing when playing the ball and is susceptible to drawing pass interference flag. Hands are adequate to pull in routine interception but lacks elite play making skills in this department...Needs to be more physical discarding blocks and can be controlled by bigger and stronger WRs. Ducks head on contact and whiffs on far too many tackles. Can get caught inside and lose contain when aligned in near the line of scrimmage in Cover 2.

My take

There's no question that Chykie has the physical skills to be an NFL cornerback. The problem has always been between his ears and it resulted in quite a few big plays given up over the course of his career. Of course, given the institutional hubris of NFL scouts and general managers, some team is probably going to be willing to take a chance on Chykie in the mid rounds of the draft simply because of his physical attributes, though his struggles in transition aspects of playing cornerback have to be a concern, as are his tackling problems

What he needs to do at the Combine

It may sound kind of strange to say, but Chykie needs to do well in interviews. He's going to have to find some way to convince NFL teams that he's going to be able to show more consistent focus on the next level and avoid the mental mistakes that characterized his play in college. Chykie also needs to show better transition ability than he did in college, particularly in getting out of his breaks. Unfortunately, Chykie won't be able to put to rest one of his major questions marks and that's his ability as a tackler.

Kyle Hix OT 6-7 318

Projected draft round

7-FA (CBS Sports), 7-FA (NFL Draft Scout)

Position rankings

16 (Optimum Scouting), 34 (National Football Post), 22 (CBS Sports), 22 (NFL Draft Scout), 20 (Draft Countdown), 21 (New Era Scouting)

Strengths

ESPN ($):

Displays a strong punch and can control defenders once getting into strong position. Possesses a strong base and flashes ability to sink hips and anchor to neutralize bull rush attempt...Possesses a strong power base and can get good movement on defenders once gaining initial position...Has better overall instincts in pass pro than as a run blocker at this point. Keeps head on swivel in sets to recognize and react to pressures from the second and third line of defense. Shows good discipline to stay at home against defensive line twists... Can struggle to quickly locate and cover up targets when pulling down and through the line of scrimmage...Appears to have good core strength which translates to the field. Aggressive with his play and does not shy away from contact. Will finish on occasion.

Weaknesses

ESPN:

Limited athlete and a bit heavy-footed. Will have problems preventing quicker rushers from gaining the edge at the NFL level...Limited lateral mobility and struggles to re-direct and recover against double moves...Heavy-legged and lacks quickness with first step. Also will false step on occasion and can clean up initial angles to the point of attack...Does not possess great balance and can fall off blocks on occasion. Limited in space and struggles when having to adjust to cover up moving targets. Angles are inconsistent when climbing to the second level to cover up LBs...Would like to see more of a mean streak.

My take

Besides his size and some lower-body strength, there seems to be little to recommend Hix as an NFL-level player. His lack of athleticism is the biggest problem and means it's questionable if he could play on the outside at all, even if he does somehow have the talent to make a roster. And if he does make a roster as an inside player, who value is even further limited because he does so poorly in space. Then, of course, there are his problems false starting. He's like a really, really poor man's Flozell Adams like that. Maybe a homeless man's Flozell Adams. Bottom line: if Hix has an NFL career, it's probably going to be a short one that includes a couple stops on some practice squads.

What he needs to do at the Combine

Needs to look good with his kick step and find some other way to stand out from the rest of the pack, whether it be with his strength or his agility. Given his play on the field, it's unlikely for Hix to stand out either with his strength or his athleticism unless he's made major strides in those areas since the end of the football season.