We've come to a very slow period in the football calender, made infinitely slower by the lock out, where no football is being played. Even spring football is is complete. For us here at Mocking the Draft, that just means extra time to look at 2012 prospects. Thanks to our growing collection of game film over at our YouTube Channel, we are going to take a closer look at how prospects for 2012 performed this past season and how we use the tape to take notes. Today we are going to take a look at Arizona WR #82 Juron Criner (#61 on Mocking the Draft's 2012 prospect list, #7 WR) against rival Arizona State.
Arizona runs a offense that while not wide spread in the NFL, does run concepts and individual plays that you would find teams running on Sundays. Regardless of their offensive system, the skills wide receivers use to create space, run routes, catch, and block are universal. Its up to us as evaluators to determine what they are best at and what role they can make the biggest impact at.
Receivers are one of the tougher positions to analyze off of (non-coaches) tape because so much of what they do is away from the ball and not the focal point of the camera man. This in turn will require lots of focus on our part to determine what they are doing when we can see everything they can do and when we are missing a piece due to them being away from the play. Feel free to leave your observations and check out all the 2012 prospects from our videos at Mocking the Draft's Prospect Video Library.
- Juron is a tall, lanky, strider. Not the quickest off the line, but good downhill speed.
- It appears as though wide receivers are asked to take defenders out of the play by pretending to run routes instead of straight up blocking.
- Criner gets a WR sweep call to the far side of the field, but he is hit, and not wrapped up by Vontaze Burfict behind the line. Criner stays on his feet, but can't recover fast enough to gain any yards.
- He shows an ability to make the first tackler miss, but he seems to leave his feet often and goes down quickly after that.
- Catches the ball with his hands instead of letting into his body.
- Of his six catches, four of them are quick screens used to get him in space and make a play. He gains 15 yards, no touchdowns.
- On his four targets down the field, Criner catches two for 80 yards and two touchdowns,
- On one target, the defend has better positioning, but Criner does a good job of playing defense and not drawing an offensive pass interference call.
- His first touchdown catch is very fun to watch. He pulls a double move and beats the corner and safety to the back corner of the end zone. Juron makes a driving catch that would have been a TD in the NFL as well.
- The second touchdown catch is a deep floater. It hangs a little too long in the air, but the defender miss times his jump and Criner is able to high point the ball and run untouched to the end zone.
This is a nice performance by Criner, a 6'4'' 210lbs athletic receiver. Arizona's offensive uses the quick screens to open up the down field passing game, but it doesn't utilize Criner's size mismatch as often as you'd think. He's not a quick twitch athlete from what we can see in this game, which doesn't make him ideal for the screen game. He needs some work with technique and route running, but his excellent size combined with great hands is evidence of the kind of impact he can have at the next level.