Kiper says Dwyer is high-risk — updated at 1:50 p.m. with news about Thomas

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper said on Tuesday that Georgia Tech  Jonathan Dwyer was a high-risk pick in the upcoming NFL draft in April.

Dwyer, who rushed for more 2,700 yards the past two seasons,  is one of four Tech underclassmen who are preparing for next week’s combine in Indianapolis.

In a video on ESPN.com, Kiper said he likes Dwyer, but has concerns about his weight (Dwyer was listed at 235 in last year’s media guide). He also questioned his receiving skills, as well as his kick-return ability. He said he will still likely go in the first round.

Interestingly, he said Clemson’s C.J. Spiller has the biggest upside. I would flip Spiller, who is somewhat small to be an every-down back in the NFL, with Dwyer, who likely has a lot of skills that teams haven’t seen yet.

For example, Dwyer’s receiving skills weren’t really needed at Tech because of the nature of the offense, but when he did catch passes he made teams pay, particularly against FSU two years ago and against Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Plus, he was a decent baseball player at Kell High School if memory serves, so he’s got hand-eye coordination.

Going back to Dwyer’s weight, I’m not sure what the concern is, other than teams sometimes fall in love with dimensions rather than production. Dwyer was plenty quick enough to outrun defenses once he got into the secondary. I assume that teams are worried that Dwyer’s weight could increase, which was a concern that some teams had about USC’s Lendale White, for example, a few years ago.

I got to speak to former Tech safety Morgan Burnett during a break from his workouts in Orlando. He said he’s been working on improving his speed and technique and that he’s looking forward to the combine next week. You can read more about Burnett, Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas and Derrick Morgan.

Kiper said he think Burnett could go in the second round, according to colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter, who was on a conference call with Kiper earlier in the day.

In the biggest surprise, Kiper has moved Thomas into the first-round of his most recent mock draft. It’s interesting because he doesn’t have Thomas listed as one of the top five WRs in his position breakdowns, but has him as the second WR taken. On the flip side, The Sporting News’  Matt Hayes says Thomas is one of the most overrated prospects because he said he ran two routes, curl or go, at Tech.

Please check back soon for more details on why Kipers thinks Dwyer is a high-risk pick.

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In other news, A-back Roddy Jones and  defensive tackle Logan Walls, both management majors, were named to the ACC’s All-Academic team on Wednesday.

To be eligible, a player must have earned a 3.00GPA for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career.

81 comments Add your comment

GTMike

February 17th, 2010
11:06 am

This is interesting… In other news, I had heard that Demaryius Thomas hurt his foot. Do you know if this is true, and if so how serious?

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
11:09 am

I hope to talk to Thomas today or tomorrow, so I’ll try and find out.

BuLLdawg

February 17th, 2010
11:11 am

Paddy

February 17th, 2010
11:22 am

If I were picking for the Falcons, I don’t think you could go wrong with either Spiller or Dwyer. But my guess they won’t take a RB in the first round.

wesleywhatwhat

February 17th, 2010
11:23 am

does kiper EVER know what he’s talking about?

RAMBLE ON!!!

February 17th, 2010
11:29 am

Typical Dawg, thinks they are first, when truth be told, actually 3rd. LOL

GT

February 17th, 2010
11:36 am

Somebody tell Kiper that Dwyer has yet to be caught from behind in the open field in three years of college football, how is that for measurements?

jadams

February 17th, 2010
11:38 am

Good article, keep the updates coming. its all we have durning the off season. Also loved the recruiting updates.

kshizzle

February 17th, 2010
11:40 am

Dwyer to me is the most sure bet running back prospect out of them all. If you are looking for Daren Sprolls type skills then you pick Javed Best (not really a running back) If you need a return man who could also back-up at running back and contribute in the passing game then you take Spiller. If you want a 4 down starting tailback you take Dwyer or Gerhardt. As for receiving skills I have not seen anything that tells me Dwyer can’t catch. First of all I bet he was thrown to all of 15 times in his career but every single pass in range I believe he caught and typically had Yards after catch. These people like Kiper can only be so thorough and I guarantee you he is looking at stats. If you compare the # of catches of Dwyer to the other ones and conclude that because Dwyer has a lot less he is not much of a receiver then you don’t really know what you are talking about. I would pick Dwyer first personally because I like the big, bruising, fast ball control backs which is what all good running teams have.

jadams

February 17th, 2010
11:42 am

Go Jackets! hope roddy can help us win on the diamond. Hope CPJ recruits like he has never recruited before. And fire paul Hewitt.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
11:43 am

Debating the veracity of Kiper’s analysis is a fruitless exercise. It’s a system that is built to fail, just like recruiting services and anything else that functions as analysis based upon suppositions.

I go with what I see. And, here’s my concerns about Dwyer: Against the teams with the good defenses, such as Iowa and Virginia Tech, for example, his stats weren’t that great. Then again, he torched North Carolina, which is supposed to have a great defense.

That’s my way of saying I have no idea what kind of pro Dwyer will be. So much depends upon where they go, the system they run and how they are used.

I like Dwyer with a team like the Giants or Steelers, who like big backs and seemingly know how to maximized production. I wouldn’t like to see him go to a team like the Browns or Seahawks, who have had issues getting production from their backs.

Not Disappointed

February 17th, 2010
11:47 am

Kiper’s opinion is just that……..an opinion. Good luck to all.

Ramblin Wreck!

Hey Dogtards

February 17th, 2010
11:53 am

It’s also weird that Kiper dings him for not returning kicks. I never knew RBs needed to be good at kick returns to not be considered a “risk.”

To me, the main difference between Spiller and Dwyer is that Dwyer has the potential to be an every down back. I see Spiller as more of a Reggie Bush type – not really able to run between the tackles and grind it out. Both should be good, but Dwyer is the most likely to get 20 carries a game, while Spiller is the most likely to get 20 touches via runs, passes, or returns.

poopdawg

February 17th, 2010
11:53 am

Dwyer is a stud who will do well wherever he goes. Wait till they interview him he is also smart, his stock will continue to rise.

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 17th, 2010
11:54 am

Dwyer over Spiller???? You’re insane.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
11:57 am

I think Spiller will be a great player in the NFL. As I said before, it depends upon how he’s used. He’s a threat everytime he gets the ball. But in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (making fun of TV announcers who are incapable of using the acronym NFL), he’s not going to be able to take a handoff 7 yards deep, cut back and see a wide-open lane as frequently as he did in college.
But I wouldn’t want to be the defender who is matched up with Spiller in the open field on a screen pass, or kick- or punt-return. I know that.

Same as being the last man standing between Dwyer and the goal line. Shoulder pads aren’t yummy.

Ramblin Wrecker

February 17th, 2010
11:59 am

I know right, about the kick/punt returning. I don’t recall Adrian Peterson returning kicks, or Knowshon Moreno or Chris Johnson. You can’t tell me that Dwyer is such a fringe player that special teams ability will put him over the top. He’s a horse RB.

the voice of truth

February 17th, 2010
12:03 pm

Dwyer is a horse who can play in any offense,,if Kiper had done his homework he would have seen that in JD’s freshman year,,also the guy is 2 years younger than Spiller,he’s only 20 so look for him to be productive longer.I see Dwyer as Michael Turner with quicker feet.Kiper is a dope

Sam

February 17th, 2010
12:11 pm

I would be concerned about injuries in Spiller. How many college RBs with injury issues go to the NFL and get healthier?

I am not sure age has anything to do with it. A RB has only a few years in him. For a RB, going to the NFL early is the best bet. Those hits in college add up.

louisville slugger

February 17th, 2010
12:14 pm

I think both Dwyer and Spiller will be great pros, but I’d have to choose Spiller over Dwyer. Dude is an Adrian Peterson clone. I was amazed seeing him up close at the ACC championship game, the combination of size and speed.

uradork

February 17th, 2010
12:18 pm

Funny, UGA saw Dywer’s pads last November and found them delicious and yummy in sealing the 8-9 dominance over the Tech football program….

I would draft the kid if Spiller was already gone.

Asheville Dawg

February 17th, 2010
12:19 pm

Spillars next years Percy Harvin. Book it.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
12:20 pm

Asheville, that’s an interesting comparison between Harvin and Spiller.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
12:22 pm

I wouldn’t compare Spiller and Peterson. Peterson is 6-1, 217 and likes to run over people. Spiller is 5-11, 195 (both seem generous) and likes to run away from people.

the voice of truth

February 17th, 2010
12:31 pm

Bingo,Doug,,Spiller is a nice player but nothing like Peterson,,Spiller doesn’t break tackles

kcgtfan

February 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

GT-I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Excellent.

Mr. Buyie

February 17th, 2010
12:40 pm

Spiller’s missed 1 game in 4 years because of injury. He didn’t miss any games due to injury this year when he got 15-25 carries per game. He was injured the whole season and still torched almost everybody he played. Turf toe isn’t injury prone, people. Spiller’s nothing like Reggie Bush, especially in running style. He never runs backward, (unlike Dwyer who did so in the bowl game against Iowa) and loses yards. Based purely off of versatility, Spiller’s the better pick right now.

Keith

February 17th, 2010
12:46 pm

Most running backs do not come out of college and start on day one. Take Tashard Choice for example. His special teams play gives him a pivotal role with Dallas in addition to carrying the ball. While not a starter, his value is immeasurable by his special teams contributions. Dare I bring up Reggie Bush? Why keep a player that can only run when you can have a good utility player that can do both. Salary caps and roster limits makes versatile players more valuable. I am a big Tech fan but I will attribute Dwyer’s collegiate yards more to the style of offense than his running ability. Unfortunately, they don’t run the option in the NFL. I have seen Dwyer punish some defensive players so I am not questioning his hard running or speed. Rather, he must be able to earn his yard differently versus receiving the option pitch into a wide open field.

Richard Hamilton

February 17th, 2010
12:47 pm

I would be extremely disappointed if the Falcons drafted a running back in the first round. Running backs and linebackers can be found much later in the draft if they need a change of pace type guy. I don’t think Spiller or Dwyer are worthy of first round picks.

Spiller an Adrian Peterson clone??? That is too funny. Not only are they completely different runners with opposite skill sets, they aren’t even built alike. You need to have your eyes checked.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
12:49 pm

Buyie, you are correct. I just went back and looked it up. See, this is how rumors get started, by dummies like me.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
12:51 pm

Keith, dwyer earned most of his yards between the tackles the past two season. I’m not a football coach, but I would think that most players are considered equal when they are producing between the hashes.

59bulldawg

February 17th, 2010
1:17 pm

Wow a writer who truly interacts with his bloggers instead of using sarcasm to tweak them. What a refreshing change! Please feel free to write about the Dawgs as well! You are absolutely correct regarding the Steelers. We like big backs and wish the the Bus could have played forever! I think Dwyer will be just fine. Kiper probably didn’t see a single game in which the kid played. But the GT player whom I think could possibly be great at the next level is Demaryius Thomas. I haven’t watched enough GT games to know how well he runs his routes and can get open, but that guy can really fly!

B Man

February 17th, 2010
1:23 pm

I’m a Dog fan, but would freely admit that Dwyer seems like a tough runner to me. Playing in the spot he did, he got a lot of his yards on that quick handoff (the first option in the triple option) and gained his yards not just between the tackles, but between the guards. The knock that I’m guessing scouts would have on him is whether he can pick up blocking schemes as required by RBs in a pro-style offense. The pass-catching may be a bit unknown too. I’m not saying Dwyer can’t do it, just that he didn’t have to do it in college, so it’s an unknown quantity to scouts. I did hear Dwyer a week ago on the radio say that he’s lost 15 lbs. and is down to 220, which seems good.

Tom

February 17th, 2010
1:23 pm

Can’t wait to see the Wonderlic scores again this year.

kshizzle

February 17th, 2010
1:42 pm

I agree with the comparing Dwyer to Micheal Turner but Dwyer is obviously faster (maybe even tougher at dragging the pile). I have seen a lot of Spiller and all his “COLLEGE” stats and how much he killed GT’s pitiful defenses of the last several years, but if I want a 4 down running back I want Dwyer. If I want a playmaking return man I’ll take Spiller. I just do not see Spiller becoming the next Charles Johnson or anything of that nature. I agree he is more like Reggie Bush and we all see how great of a Pro Reggie Bush has been. Spotty at best and definitely not a between the tackles running back.

uradork...actually imadork

February 17th, 2010
1:58 pm

I totally agree 59, Doug it is nice to see a blogger actually blog with the people reading his/her articles and interact with them.

Continue the good work and reporting.

Citation Needed

February 17th, 2010
2:03 pm

If you could please tell me the number of games that Spiller missed because of injury over his career, that would be great. (The answer, by the way, is one.) He played the majority of this season with turf toe, missed zero games, and was still one of the best players in the country.

I’m not sure where the “injury issues” theory started with Spiller, but I’m glad to see the blogosphere has continued to buy into it.

Doug Roberson

February 17th, 2010
2:10 pm

Citation, as I admitted I repeated something I heard, which was lazy on my part. He has missed just one game.

NOTSO FAST

February 17th, 2010
2:25 pm

Kiper is paid to tell what he thinks of players. Sometimes he right,sometimes he’s wrong. I don’t think many pro teams pay much attention to him.

Wrecker

February 17th, 2010
2:29 pm

Maybe Spiller has missed only one game, but his activities have been severely hampered in several other games. What about the Alabama game in 2008, when he had 2 rushes, 2 receptions, and 5 KO/Punt returns? What about the Wake game in 2008, when he only had 3 touches the entire game? He had multiple games in which his activities were limited by injury. He may be able to play through pain, but simply playing is not the key. He must be able to play at a high level, which he was not always able to do. No knock on the guy’s ability, but it may be difficult for him to stay on the field and be effective.

Big B CH 99

February 17th, 2010
2:37 pm

Kiper obvibously didn’t ever look at what Dwyer did his Freshman yr (under Gailey). That yr he was 195-200 lbs, extremely quick, shifty, & agile to go along w/ good speed. The main touches he got that yr were returning kicks. When CPJ was hired & he was gonna play B-back he had to put on quite a bit of weight, the B-Back is the bruiser. He still had great break-away speed, never saw him get caught from behind, & we don’t know about pass catching, he never had the chance to in college, neither did Tashard for that matter. If B-Man is right, & Jon is down to ab’t 220 that would be great, increase the agility/shiftiness.

collegeballfan

February 17th, 2010
2:41 pm

Here is the problem with analysis of college players. College players play in a system and they run the plays called. Example: Teshard Choice had a pre-draft of not being able to catch the ball. Tashard Choice had a pre-sign in high school of being an exceptional receiver.
So what does he do with Dallas – 64 carries 349 yds, 15 receptions 132 yds.

Old Gold Britches

February 17th, 2010
2:44 pm

When we look back in a year or two Demaryius Thomas will be truly loved by his team. The young man has extreme talent.

Regarding Dwyer and his downside...

February 17th, 2010
2:50 pm

…there is very little; however, if I am observing and rating him he does get downgraded since his “unknown factor” is whether he can block!!! The CPJ offense is very good at show casing his running style and ability, but it lacks any evidence that he can handle this very important part of a pro offense.

dawgfacedboy

February 17th, 2010
2:56 pm

I think the knock for Dwyer is that he was part of a system that isn’t compatible (sp?) with the NFL. However, I think he can be successful running in a more conventional offense as well. I love the Steelers and Giants call. Maybe Baltimore? Jamal Lewis was pretty good there.

As far as CJ, if I’m the Falcons, i would def. take this kid if he’s available in the 1st round. They can find guys through FA or later in the draft on D. Spiller is def. a Harvin type player. Can’t pass on him.

VT Yellow Jacket

February 17th, 2010
3:01 pm

Dwyer to the New England Patriots.

Goodbye Laurence Maroney!

I can dream, can’t I?

VT Yellow Jacket

February 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

I think that blocking ability will be one of Bey Bey’s selling points. He’s been asked to do it as a major part of the scheme for 2 years. That’s more than most top-level college WR’s can say. And it’s an important skill in the NFL. He’s got the size and speed. He can learn the routes.

dan

February 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

Dwyer’s a good player, but he’s no CJ Spiller. Without Spiller, that Clemson team would have been 5-7 last season. Spiller not being asked to New York for the Heisman presentation was a crock. He should have been there over the media darlings Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, neither of whom did enough in 2009 to warrant a Heisman voting IMO. CJ has a 2nd gear that guys like Dwyer and Gerhardt just don’t have, and running backs MUST have that at the next level. Dwyer could have benefitted from staying another year. Coming out now will hurt his draft status because no one is taking him over Spiller.

Douglas

February 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

I’m a UGA alumni and I think Kiper is wrong — when I first saw Dwyer play at Ga. Tech, I told some of my Tech friends that he would be a #1 draft pick one day — he is big and fast. If he stays healthy, he will be an all-pro on the right team.

flagboy?

February 17th, 2010
3:13 pm

As a Dawg fan, i’m sure my opinion doesn’t count much. . . but i thought Dwyer packed it in during the bowl game. . . his blocking was awful. .really really awful.

Spiller goes all out on every play from the limited amount of times I’ve seen him. He’s a special kind of player.