Players to Watch – Oregon State Beavers


September 29, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Oregon State Beavers defensive end Scott Crichton (95) against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Riley continues to put out quality players into the NFL Draft each and every year after entering each season as an afterthought. The Beavers are not a flashy team or program but are known for developing quality skill position players and in the 2013 NFL Draft, Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer were added to that list.

#16 – Rashaad Reynolds – CB
5’11” – 190 lbs. – SR

Rashaad Reynolds was the opposite corner of Poyer last year on the Beavers defense. Bothcornerbacks are left in man to man coverage often and are important in defending the pass for the Beavers. Opposite of Poyer, Reynolds had three interceptions, 13 pass break ups and finished second on the team with 70 tackles which earned him honorable mention All-Pac 12.

Strengths – Reynolds was asked to defend the opposite side of Poyer last year and did with great success. He has a low and tight back pedal which enables him to turn and run very well when covering a wide receiver in pass coverage. When the ball is in the air, he has great instincts at attacking the ball with the proper and deflecting the pass to a would be receiver. Used to playing man to man coverage in an off position but possesses adequate strength to come down and play press coverage. He shows willingness to come up in run support and defend the edge versus ball carriers.

Weaknesses – Reynolds has a tendency to be flat-footed at times in coverage while looking in the backfield causing him to stop his back pedal on the snap. He is a willing tackler but needs to polish his technique and go through the ball carrier and not lower his head at impact causing missed tackles on the edge.

Overall – Reynolds will be called upon to be the top cornerback for the Beavers this year and in the Pac-12 with some top flight wide receivers will be tested on a weekly basis. With adequate speed, strength, and fluidity, Reynolds will be one of the top cornerbacks entering the draft this year and is poised to have a big season for the Beavers and is vital to their success.

#95 – Scott Crichton – DE
6’3” – 260 lbs. – JR

Scott Crichton is coming off an All Pac 12 and honorable mention AP All American selection season where he had nine sacks and 17.5 tackle for losses with the Beavers. Crichton is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery that shouldn’t cause any issues entering the 2013 season where he should be able to continue where he left off for the Beavers.

Strengths – The first thing that jumped out when watching Crichton was how well he used his hands to engage the offensive lineman first and gain control on the snap. From this point, Crichton has a powerful upper body where he can shed a defender and pursue the ball carrier or quarterback. He possesses a good bull rush to the outside where he has enough bend to turn the corner when attacking the quarterback in passing situations. Crichton is well-disciplined and rarely fooled on counters or reverses plays and does well in chase mode down the line of scrimmage when the play is away from him.

Weakness – Crichton is a power rusher on the edge but will need to develop a counter move this year to be as effective and continue his dominance on the defensive line. He tends to get his shoulder pad level too high at times and allows the offensive lineman to engage and create running lanes.

Overall – Crichton is a blue-collar worker that has the size to go with his motor. If he recovers well from shoulder surgery, Crichton will be poised for another big year in the Pac 12. In the Pac 12, he will have ample of opportunities to pass rush and defend edge running plays which is where he excels.