The War Room | HoustonProFootball.com March 24, 2004
by Warren DeLuca
While Michael Vick may be the first name that comes to mind when Virginia Tech is mentioned, defense has been the bread and butter of the Hokies’ success under head coach Frank Beamer. With the Texans looking for an infusion of young talent into their defensive depth chart, Charley Casserly may be taking a close look at some of the players from the program in Blacksburg, Virginia.
HoustonProFootball.com asked Mike Harris of the Richmond Times-Dispatch for his thoughts on the Hokie prospects.
HPF: DeAngelo Hall may be the first cornerback selected in the draft after his phenomenal on-campus workout (10’9” long jump, 39” vertical jump, 3.68 short shuttle run, 6.39 three-cone drill). How good of a pro do you think he will be?
Harris: DeAngelo is an incredibly gifted young man. He’s fast and strong. His return skills are a plus. I’m not certain he’s the strongest cover corner going just yet but he has the ability and smarts to become one. DeAngelo is still young. He started college at 17 and played as a true freshman. If someone expects him to come in and be a standout right away, they may be a little disappointed. If someone is patient, they’ll have an outstanding player for a long time.
HPF: Hall is only about 5’10" – how did he hold up against bigger receivers? Did he match up against Larry Fitzgerald in man coverage when the Hokies played Pitt?
Harris: DeAngelo was suspended for the first half of that game after being ejected for fighting against Miami the previous week, so he didn’t do much against Fitzgerald. Hall is smart enough to make up for his size deficiency, though against a pro caliber receiver it might end up being a different story. I doubt it.
HPF: How do you think that Nathaniel Adibi would fit as an outside linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 defense after playing as a down end at Virginia Tech?
Harris: Tech relied a lot on a speed over size defense, which is great unless the other team’s size also has speed. Nathaniel isn’t terribly big but he is smart and quick and I think outside in a 3-4 may be a better fit for him. Does he have the speed necessary to play it in the pros? Time will tell. I wouldn’t bet against him, but I don’t think it is a lock.
HPF: How about the Hokies’ other end, Cols Colas?
Harris: Take pretty much everything I said about Nathaniel and apply it here. Cols has a "nasty" streak which takes him a long way. But Corey Moore, a GREAT collegiate end at Virginia Tech, didn’t make it in the NFL, and he was a better collegiate player than either of these guys. Other factors? I don’t know because I never covered Corey on a regular basis.
HPF: Running back Kevin Jones did not have a great workout for the scouts, at least in the 40-yard dash, but has gamebreaking ability. Is he a future NFL franchise back?
Harris: I don’t know what was up with that workout. I do know that Kevin was a physical specimen from the moment he arrived at Tech and stood out from the beginning. Powerful and fast – quite a combination. He got through last season without injury, something he hadn’t done before. Healthy, I see him as a standout back in the NFL.
HPF: Does wideout Ernest Wilford have the speed to get separation from NFL defensive backs?
Harris: That’s the $64,000 question. Speed alone isn’t going to make Ernest a pro. He’s not exceptionally fast. He’ll have to make up for it in other ways. He has good size, has developed good hands and has a work ethic that is nothing short of amazing. But lots of guys work hard. I think Ernest will develop into a solid pro receiver.
HPF: Is center Jake Grove a dirty player as some opponents have accused him of being, or is he just tenacious?
Harris: Define dirty. Jake plays hard, all the time. Some see that as dirty. I don’t. I never saw him do anything I’d consider cheap, though the folks at Miami may beg to differ (I didn’t see the play the Hurricanes screamed about after the game).
HPF: Do you think any of the other Hokie seniors, such as tight end Keith Willis or linebacker Vegas Robinson, have a strong shot at making it in the NFL?
Harris: Strong? No. A shot? Yes. Willis, many believe, was underutilized as a tight end. Tech rarely throws to its tight ends. Keith dropped a few but caught some too. He’s a guy I’d take a chance on but I’d stop short of predicting a career for him. I don’t see Vegas as a pro, but I’ve been wrong before. A guy to keep an eye on is fullback Doug Easlick. He turned out much better than anyone thought he would at Tech.
Mike Harris is an assistant sports editor with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He has covered Virginia Tech football since 1999. He has been with Richmond Newspapers since 1976 and joined the Times-Dispatch in 1992. He also covers auto racing as well as taking a regular shift in the Times-Dispatch’s night operations. We thank him for his time and insight. DeAngelo Hall Home
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