Alerts Serve As Fair Warning

Mar 10, 2004
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Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Updated: April 18, 2005
Alerts serve as fair warning
Scouts Inc.

When NFL teams evaluate players, they not only grade their on-the-field performance but also report on players' personality traits such as character, durability and ability to retain information, which are called intangibles. Most teams will attach a letter to a player's grade if there is a concern the player lacks a certain intangible. These letters are frequently referred to as "alerts" or "flags."

Explaining Alert Flags
A – Age
B – Bulk/Size
C – Character
D – Durability
E – Experience
Y – Young Player
M – Mental
I – Injury
S – Speed
U – Underachiever
O – Overachiever
• Complete explanations

For example, a player with a 70 C is a player who has the ability of a late first-day or early second-day pick but has some character issues that could very well cause his stock to drop. Even physical concerns such as size, speed and athletic ability can be flags. For example, a player with a 70 B,S grade lacks prototypical bulk (size) and speed.

These flags allow evaluators to grade a player's on-field ability objectively without lowering his grade because of an intangible issue. If a player has the qualities of a 75 grade on the field but has big character issues and his grade is lowered to 65 as a result, the evaluator isn't being true to the grading system. Sticking with the 75 grade while placing an alert on the report makes everyone aware of potential problems. It then becomes an organizational decision whether the team can live with the potential trouble area.

Of course, the ideal player has no flags and is what we call a "clean" player. As a result, organizations try to erase these alerts or at least get comfortable with them between assigning semi-final grades after the NFL combine and draft day.

The following is a list of the players with alerts ranked in the top 150, starting with those graded highest. If these prospects fall on draft day, it will be a strong indication that teams couldn't erase or at least get comfortable with their respective alerts.

Adam Jones, DC, West Virginia | Flags: B, M
Jones lacks the height to challenge for jump balls downfield consistently and scored a 13 on the Wonderlic test.

Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn | Flags: D
Williams sustained a season-ending clavicle injury in 2001 and a season-ending fibula injury in 2002.

Cedric Benson, RB, Texas-Austin | Flags: C, D
Character is an issue after an arrest for possession of marijuana in 2002, then a separate charge for misdemeanor trespassing in 2003. There are some questions regarding his passion for the game, and teams wonder whether he has the potential to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Ricky Williams. Also, he was durable throughout college but has a lot of mileage on his legs as a four-year starter coming out of Texas. In 2001, he pinched a nerve in his neck and missed the Holiday Bowl.

Travis Johnson, DT, Florida St. | Flags: C, D
Johnson sustained a shoulder injury that required surgery in 2003. Although it's critical to note that he was eventually acquitted, he was also charged with sexual assault that year.

Marcus Spears, DE, Louisiana St. | Flags: D, S
Spears doesn't have the speed to regularly turn the corner, and he's coming off surgery to repair an ACL he injured during a workout.

Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin | Flags: D
James missed the entire 2003 season because of a hip injury, and an ankle injury forced him to miss one game last year.

Heath Miller, TE, Virginia | Flags: D
A lingering "sports hernia" injury prevented Miller from working out at the combine.

Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma | Flags: D
Cody is a playmaker with the potential to make a significant impact at the next level, but he has been treated for clinical depression and has to take meds to control it. He also has a history of fainting.

Shaun Cody, DT, Southern Cal | Flags: B, D
Cody doesn't have the size to occupy multiple blockers at the line of scrimmage. He is vulnerable while lined up at defensive tackle and lacks the speed to move to defensive end. Also missed six games because of injury in 2002.

Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington | Flags: D
Barnes is coming off a season-ending wrist injury.

Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma | Flags: B
Clayton lacks the wide frame to shield defenders from the ball, and physical corners will have some success muscling him out of his routes.

Fabian Washington, DC, Nebraska | Flags: B
Washington gets pushed around by bigger receivers and doesn't offer much in run support because of his lack of prototypical bulk.

Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma | Flags: D, M
He had a knee injury in 2000 and scored a 13 on the Wonderlic test. Effort is also a concern, on and off the field.

Marlin Jackson, DC, Michigan | Flags: C, D
Michigan suspended Jackson for the first game of the 2003 season after he was charged with assault, and he missed three more games that year because of a leg injury.

Channing Crowder, ILB, Florida | Flags: D, C
Crowder took a year off after high school to rehabilitate a knee injury and he missed time with an arch injury in 2004. Florida suspended him for the 2003 and 2004 season openers after separate off-campus altercations.

DeMarcus Ware, DE, Troy | Flags: B
Ware is explosive, but he lacks the size to anchor against the run and might never develop into an every-down player.

Kevin Burnett, OLB, Tennessee | Flags: D
Burnett underwent reconstructive knee surgery after tearing his ACL and missed the entire 2002 season as well as 2003 spring practice as a result.

Anttaj Hawthorne, DT, Wisconsin | Flags: C
Tested positive for marijuana during physical in February's NFL scouting combine.

Justin Miller, DC, Clemson | Flags: B
Miller is physical in coverage and willing in run support, but his lack of ideal height means he could have trouble lining up on the outside, where he will regularly face much bigger receivers.

Reggie Brown, WR, Georgia | Flags: D
Brown took a medical redshirt after tearing his ACL in a game against Arkansas in 2001.

Luis Castillo, DT, Northwestern | Flags: C
Tested positive for steroids during physical in February's scouting combine.

Odell Thurman, ILB, Georgia | Flags: C, M
Thurman decided to attend Georgia Military Academy in 2002 after Georgia penalized him for violating academic as well as team rules, and Georgia suspended him for the first three games of the 2004 season. He also scored a 12 on the Wonderlic test.

Brandon Browner, DC, Oregon St. | Flags: S
Browner lacks the second gear to recover when he gets caught out of position and will give up some big plays when he's left on an island.

Chris Canty, DE, Virginia | Flags: C, I
Canty sustained a season-ending knee injury four games into his senior season and a shoulder injury caused him to miss time earlier in his career. He also injured his eye during a bar brawl, and that prevented him from flying, which caused him to show up late to the combine. Teams also are concerned that he'll need surgery on his eye. A first-round prospect who could free-fall on draft day.

Marcus Johnson, OT, Mississippi | Flags: S
Johnson doesn't show great range when asked to pull or tap and has some problems adjusting to the moving target in space.

Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame | Flags: D
Tuck sat out Notre Dame's 2004 spring practice because of a knee injury that continued to hinder him during the season and caused him to miss the Insight Bowl.

Eric Green, DC, Virginia Tech | Flags: D
Green tore an ACL during a summer workout in 2002, and it caused him to miss the entire season that year.

Roscoe Parrish, WR, Miami-FL | Flags: B, M
Parrish lacks the height to compete for jump balls, isn't big enough to shield defenders from the ball and scored a 10 on the Wonderlic test.

Mike Patterson, DT, USC | Flags: B, M
Patterson doesn't have the bulk to hold his ground regularly working against double teams, and he scored a 9 on the Wonderlic test.

Ernest Shazor, S, Michigan | Flags: S
Shazor is overaggressive at times and isn't fast enough to recover once he's caught out of position.

Chris Henry, WR, West Virginia | Flags: C, M
West Virginia suspended Henry twice during the 2004 season, and he scored a 9 on the Wonderlic test. Extremely immature and lazy.

J.J. Arrington, RB, Cal-Berkeley | Flags: B, C
Arrington is never going to be a powerful interior runner, and his lack of prototypical bulk raises some concerns about his ability to handle a heavy workload. He has some minor character issues related to recruiting violations after reportedly accepting gifts from the University of Oregon.

Corey Webster, DC, Louisiana St. | Flags: D, M
Nagging turf toe and arch foot conditions. Hamstring injuries really hindered Webster last year. He also scored a 12 on the Wonderlic test.

Andrew Walter, QB, Arizona St. | Flags: D
Walter is coming off a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery and prevented him from playing in the Senior Bowl as well as working out at the combine.

Fred Gibson, WR, Georgia | Flags: C, D
One of nine players the NCAA accused of selling their SEC championship rings. Thumb, hamstring and knee injuries caused him to miss time during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Antonio Perkins, DC, Oklahoma | Flags: D
Perkins missed two games with a knee injury and his production really dropped off last year.

Jonathan Babineaux, DT, Iowa | Flags: B, D
Babineaux will struggle when teams run directly at him because of his lack of prototypical bulk. He also broke his leg at the end of Iowa's spring drills in 2001, causing him to miss the entire season that year. He sustained a season-ending knee injury in 2003.

Vernand Morency, RB, Oklahoma St. | Flags: A, C, M
Suspended in spring 2003 for receiving stolen property (bike). There was also more than one rape allegation while he was at Oklahoma State, but no charges were filed. The Colorado Rockies signed Morency coming out of high school, and he played minor-league baseball for three years before enrolling at Oklahoma State, so he is 24. He also scored an 11 on the Wonderlic test.

Chris Colmer, OT, North Carolina St. | Flags: D
Colmer broke his wrist as a senior in high school, he underwent shoulder surgery during his redshirt season in 1999 and missed North Carolina State's 2002 spring drills because of an ankle injury. He sat out the 2003 season with a rare disease named Parsonage-Turner syndrome. Also had swelling in his knee and had to have it drained twice in 2004.

Chris Kemoeatu, OG, Utah | Flags: C, D
Kemoeatu missed most of Utah's 2004 spring drills and time during that season because of a kidney infection. Utah also suspended him for kicking opposing players in the face during games.

Matt Jones, WR, Arkansas | Flags: C, D, Y
Jones appears to take plays off at times, and while he saw some time at receiver during his freshman season, he primarily played quarterback at Arkansas. He had his right knee scoped in 2002, his right shoulder in 2003, but he didn't miss any playing time.

Ben Wilkerson, OC, Louisiana St. | Flags: D, I
Wilkerson is coming off a season-ending left knee injury that required surgery, and he sustained a back injury that required surgery during his sophomore season.

Michael Munoz, OT, Tennessee | Flags: D
Munoz missed the entire 2001 season because of a knee injury and has been slowed by ankle and shoulder injuries.

Kay-Jay Harris, RB, West Virginia | Flags: D, M, A
Nagging injuries slowed Harris last year; he scored a 12 on the Wonderlic test; and he is a former minor-league baseball player who will be a 26-year-old rookie. Also concerns that he's very selfish.

Darrent Williams, DC, Oklahoma St. | Flags: B, C, D
Williams lacks the height to compete for jump balls consistently; Oklahoma State suspended him for the team's trip to the Alamo Bowl; and he missed time with a broken forearm last year. He shows up late for practice and treatments and got into a verbal fight with a position coach in college. Also had two positive tests for marijuana while at Oklahoma State.

Wesley Britt, OT, Alabama | Flags: D, I
A broken leg that required surgery to repair ended Britt's season prematurely in 2003, and he broke his fibula at the 2005 Senior Bowl. Could be a PUP (physically unable to play) as a rookie in 2005.

Ronald Fields, DT, Mississippi St. | Flags: S
Fields isn't relentless in pursuit and lacks the range to make plays from sideline to sideline.

Mark Bradley, WR, Oklahoma | Flags: M
Bradley scored an 11 on the Wonderlic test.

Kevin Everett, TE, Miami-FL | Flags: C, D
Everett is coming off a shoulder injury that required surgery, forced him to miss the Peach Bowl and could have long-term effects. He also needs to play with more of a mean streak. Laid-back and not a hard worker.

Frank Gore, RB, Miami-FL | Flags: D, M
Gore missed the entire 2002 season after tearing the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2003. He also scored a 6 on the Wonderlic test.

Nick Kaczur, OG, Toledo | Flags: A
Kaczur, who was one of the top high school linemen in Canada coming out of high school, played in the Canadian Junior Football league in 1999 and didn't enroll at Toledo until 2001.

Vincent Fuller, DS, Virginia Tech | Flags: B
Fuller isn't an intimidating presence over the middle when he drops into coverage, and he lacks the size to consistently line up in the box. Toughness is very much in question.

Lance Mitchell, ILB, Oklahoma | Flags: D, S
Mitchell sustained a season-ending knee injury in 2003, and he wasn't the same explosive playmaker once he returned to the lineup. Had a poor showing at the combine. Clearly not fully recovered from the injury.

Darren Sproles, RB, Kansas St. | Flags: B
Sproles simply lacks the bulk and power of an every-down back in the NFL.

Scott Starks, DC, Wisconsin | Flags: B
Receivers will have success shielding Starks from the ball, and he isn't tall enough to compete for jump balls regularly, making him somewhat of a liability in the red zone.

Jason Brown, OC, North Carolina | Flags: S
Brown does not move well for his size, and he struggles to reach his assignment when he's asked to pull or trap.

Matt McCoy, OLB, San Diego St. | Flags: B
Offensive linemen will have success engulfing him at the point of attack, and he's vulnerable to wearing down when teams consistently run at him.

Anthony Davis, RB, Wisconsin | Flags: B, C, D
Davis isn't a powerful between-the-tackles runner and lacks the bulk to anchor at the point of attack when asked to help out in pass protection. In addition, he has had some off-the-field legal problems, he missed five games with an ankle injury in 2002 and an eye injury forced him to sit out three games last year.

Claude Terrell, OG, New Mexico | Flags: S
Terrell possesses excellent size, but he isn't fast enough to turn the corner regularly when he's asked to pull and lacks the athletic ability to adjust to the moving target in space.

Ryan Moats, RB, Louisiana Tech | Flags: B
Moats lacks prototypical bulk, raising concerns about his ability to carry a heavy workload, and he might never develop into an every-down back.

Dustin Fox, S, Ohio St. | Flags: D, B
Fox broke his arm and missed three games and most of a fourth last year. He also lacks the size and strength to line up in the box.

Jonathan Welsh, DE, Wisconsin | Flags: B
Welsh isn't big enough to hold his own against the run, so he might never be an every-down end and lacks the lateral mobility to move to linebacker full time.

Craig Bragg, WR, UCLA | Flags: D
Bragg missed three games after dislocating his shoulder last year.

Adrian McPherson, QB, Florida St. | Flags: C
Florida State kicked McPherson off the team for his involvement in a gambling scandal. He then looked into attending Tennessee State, but the NCAA made it close to impossible for him to play collegiate football again. As a result, McPherson entered the Arena Football League and has played well there the past two seasons.

James Sanders, S, Fresno St. | Flags: S
Sanders doesn't show a second gear when tracking the ball downfield and he lacks the range to cover the deep half of the field consistently.

Ryan Claridge, OLB, UNLV | Flags: D
An abdomen injury forced Claridge to take a medical redshirt in 2002.

Alex Holmes, TE, Southern Cal | Flags: B
Holmes doesn't have the height to compete for jump balls in the red zone as well as downfield.

Leroy Hill, OLB, Clemson | Flags: B
Offensive linemen have success engulfing Hill at the point of attack, and he takes too long to shed blocks once he has been reached.

Adam Snyder, OG, Oregon | Flags: S
Snyder doesn't have the speed to reach his downfield assignments regularly, and he isn't very effective pulling or trapping.

Cedric Houston, RB, Tennessee | Flags: D
Houston missed one game after tearing ligaments in his thumb in 2002 and one because of an ankle injury in 2003.

Craphonso Thorpe, WR, Florida St. | Flags: D
A broken leg ended Thorpe's 2003 season prematurely, and he failed to bounce back with a strong 2004 season.

Andre Maddox, S, North Carolina St. | Flags: S
Maddox's range is adequate at best, and his lack of ideal speed limits his upside somewhat.

Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Southern Cal | Flags: B, S
Tatupu is a technician who plays with a great motor, but he lacks the bulk to stack lead blockers up at the point of attack and isn't fast enough to run with most backs in coverage.

Marques Harris, OLB, Southern Utah | Flags: B, D
Harris missed the entire 2003 season after breaking his leg, and his glaring lack of bulk makes him a liability against the run.

Nick Collins, DC, Bethune-Cookman | Flags: M
Collins had to sit out the 2001 season to become academically eligible, and he scored a 14 on the Wonderlic test.

Chauncey Davis, DE, Florida St. | Flags: M
Davis scored an 11 on the Wonderlic test.

Derek Wake, OLB, Penn St. | Flags: D, S
Wake took a medical redshirt after tearing an MCL in 2001, and he lacks prototypical top-end speed.

Kirk Morrison, ILB, San Diego St. | Flags: D
Morrison is a tough player who will play with pain, but nagging injuries hindered him much of last year.

Calvin Armstrong, OT, Washington St. | Flags: S
Armstrong doesn't have the explosive first step to beat defenders to the point of attack regularly, and he doesn't show great range when asked to pull.

Jason White, QB, Oklahoma | Flags: D
Two major knee injuries have robbed White of some of his mobility. He has also been hindered by hand, shoulder and toe injuries.

Alvin Pearman, RB, Virginia | Flags: B
Pearman isn't big enough to wear opposing defenses down over the course of the game. He might never develop into an every-down back.

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Mar 10, 2004
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Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Explaining The Alert Flags

Flags are a good way to 'tag' a player with concerns that may hinder his production. Obviously, the more flags, the more concerns. The ideal player for his grade is the one with no alerts.

A Age (player may be older or younger than usual)

B Bulk/Size (lacks size/bulk for position)

C Character (problems on and off the field)

D Durability (player that can't stay healthy)

E Experience (player lacks game experience or position experience)

Y Young Player (need more film evaluation)

M Mental (does not retain and learn the system)

I Injury (coming off injury that may affect play)

S Speed (player lacks ideal speed at position)

U Underachiever (player that doesn't play up to ability)

O Overachiever (player that lacks AA and skills)

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