Dec 7, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) celebrates with running back Tyler Gaffney following the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Stanford defeated Arizona State 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Championship - NFL Draft Prospect Recap

When Stanford plays “their” game, they are extremely tough to beat as Arizona State will testify. The Cardinal won the Pac-12 Championship 38-14, by using a power run game, complimented by a deep passing game on offense, and pressuring the quarterback on defense. Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov stood out on defense. They were a large reason why Taylor Kelly and ASU wasn’t able to get going offensively. Kevin Hogan had an outstanding game, going 12-18 for 277 yards! He clearly got an advantage standing behind David Yankey & Co, but the kid can sure throw a good deep ball. Hogan gave the Cardinal an extra dimension that they were able to use to beat ASU handedly.

Arizona State Offense

Quarterback #10 Taylor Kelly (6’2” 202lb JR) was pressured consistently by Stanford all night. He never had much time to throw the ball downfield. He was forced to run a lot, not only by Stanford’s defense, but also because of running back injuries. Kelly is at his best when he can run to supplement his passing. This was not the case, as he never got going passing the ball. He wasn’t able to step up and deliver quick throws that punished Stanford’s aggressive defense. Kelly is a good college quarterback, but he doesn’t have a strong arm or quick decision making to step up to the next level. Current Projection DOWN: 2015 UFA

Wide Receiver #21 Jaelen Strong (6’4” 205lb SO) had a rough game. He never got going. Kelly never had the time to look downfield. Also, Strong was pretty well covered even when Kelly did have time. In a game that could have put Strong on the national scene, he left a lot to be desired. Current Projection DOWN: 2015 2nd Round

Stanford Defense

Outside Linebacker #93 Trent Murphy (6’6” 261 SR) just went about his business giving Arizona State’s offense hell. He pretty much had his way with ASU’s right tackle Tyler Sulka, and got after Taylor Kelly regularly, sacking him once. What is most impressive about Murphy, is the way he uses his hands and arms. He’s got an incredibly active upper body that confuses defender, and puts them on their heels. Current Projection Unchanged: 1st Round

Strong Safety #8 Jordan Richards (5’11” 205lb JR) had a quiet game. Which, often times, is good for a defensive back. He was seen in the vicinity of Jaelen Strong, and was certainly used to keep him under wraps. Kelly was never able to utilize the middle of the field, and Richards had a role in that. Current Projection Unchanged: 5th Round

Stanford Offense

Running Back #25 Tyler Gaffney (6’1” 225lb SR) took a 69 yard run to the house on the 3rd play from scrimmage. He showed good speed and awareness at the sideline. The rest of the game he just took his 3-5 yards per carry behind the giant offensive line. It’s becoming clear, that while Gaffney is quite and athlete, he’s benefitting greatly from running behind an NFL caliber offensive line. That being said, he’s had to commit a lot of time to baseball, and if he was 100% committed to football we might expect improvements. He seems to have the mentality to contribute on special teams, so he could possibly get drafted. Current Projection Unchanged: Undrafted Free Agent

Left Guard #54 David Yankey (6’5” 313lb JR) for the most part, won the battle with Will Sutton. Sutton beat Yankey a couple of times, but at least one of them was inconsequential. Yankey won the battles that counted. On Stanford’s 4th touchdown he pulled, on a 4th and Goal from the 1, and paved the way for Gaffney to score. Yankey might not be the most intimidating player, but when it comes to pulling and lighting people up, there’s no one better.  Current Projection Unchanged: 1st Round

Arizona State Defense

Defensive Tackle #90 Will Sutton (6’1” 290lb SR) battled hard, but was no match for David Yankey and Kevin Danser. The Stanford offense continued to do what they do best, run the ball up the gut. And that meant that Sutton had to expend a lot of energy defending the run, and by the end of the game it showed. Sutton was just worn out and didn’t have the burst. He is still one of the fastest off-the-ball players in the game, and he got 1 sack on Kevin Hogan. At the end of the day, Sutton’s draft stock will depend more on schematic fit than talent. Current Projection Unchanged: 2nd Round

Cornerback #24 Osahon Irabor (5’11” 182lb SR) did not play a huge role in the Pac-12 Championship. He was neutralized by a Stanford attack that used a power running attack, complimented by deep passes. Irabor excels in the “in between”. He’s a decent cover corned, but is better of working the slot or zone. He got beat a couple of times, but did have a pass break up. Current Projection DOWN: 6th Round

Tags: Arizona State Sun Devils Football David Yankey Stanford Cardinal Football Trent Murphy Will Sutton

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