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View Full Version : B.J. Cunningham overview and analysis nfl.com



phinatic1399
04-28-2012, 04:36 PM
Overview Cunningham has been a highly regarded prospect. He has size for the position and is a very polished, well-rounded receiver. He was a durable starter, making him a solid third-round value.
Analysis Strengths Cunningham is very savvy off the ball when getting into his route, using his core strength to swat away hands and lean on corners. He has very quick feet and can get corners off balance in-route, and can burst and then snap routes off quickly, gaining separation. He is a good zone-feel receiver who likes to sit in holes, catch the ball and work upfield. He is a strong and physical player who makes his presence felt when blocking downfield. Weaknesses Cunningham can struggle if he doesn't get open quickly with his footwork. He can be physical in routes, which at times can allow defensive backs to run in-phase with him.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2012/profiles/b.j.-cunningham?id=2532824

mrhankey81701
04-28-2012, 05:51 PM
Seems like a good pick, very solid ran a pro style offense at Michigan State. I think Philbin is putting an extremely high emphasis on route running for our receivers.

BMarshAllDay
04-28-2012, 06:47 PM
he'll run slants all day long...very polished and not afraid of contact...hands look pretty good and plays a little faster than his 40 time. he should contribute...

Cinderjav
05-02-2012, 08:07 PM
His highlights are very intriguing.

dr.jake
05-02-2012, 09:42 PM
well the marshall trade cost us two second rounders. are bj and rishard second round values?

tay0365
05-03-2012, 01:52 PM
well the marshall trade cost us two second rounders. are bj and rishard second round values?

Considering how many balls Marshall dropped last year(Especially all the early TDs he dropped), if both BJ and Rashard contribute, and are consistant (very little, to no drops) It will pretty much even out.

I doubt niether will ever be as good as Marshall, but if you end up with as much or more production from both receivers combined, you can feel good at the end of the day, especially without all the off-field issues.

ckparrothead
05-03-2012, 02:15 PM
I'm not as big a fan of the Cunningham pick.

First, what he does well. He runs slants and drags/crossers really well. He has steady balance during his run which lets him see the ball and snatch it with his hands without breaking stride one bit, and this is one of the first things I noticed about him at Shrine practice. When he's not running a route where he can run through the catch, he stays balanced, gathers his feet under him very quickly, and that makes him ready to run after the catch immediately. He's pretty big at 6'1" and 211 lbs, and that helps him break marginal tackle attempts from smaller players. He gets north-south very quickly in his run after catch and his size helps him get an extra yard or two even after solid contact. He's a smart player that can recognize the leverage of his coverage on the run and knows how to adjust his route accordingly so that a quarterback can throw him open. His eyes and balance help him adjust to the ball in the air. He can execute a scramble drill.

Now what he's not good at. He has no real lower body strength or explosion. He doesn't run outs, comebacks or curls with the kind of burst out of his break that you want to see because he's not a very explosive player and lacks the leg strength. He's not fast and he won't outrun anyone. His lack of leg strength and explosiveness means he can't make sharp cuts or get creative with his run after catch, so big plays will be at a minimum with him. That's why he's a no-nonsense north-south runner after the catch. He has no choice. His lack of lower body explosion means that he can't go up real strong for the football in contested/jump ball situations, nor are his hands very strong for those situations either. Getting off the jam will be a big test for him because he lacks both lower body and upper body strength (12 bench reps). He did this OK against smaller, non-physical corners at the college level, but bigger, more physical corners clearly gave him trouble at the jam, and when he gets to the NFL the players most likely to jam him will be those big and/or physical corners.

That's the player I saw. I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's good enough. When I hear "he's just a great football player" that's often code for "he's productive but I don't know why". It's also usually an indication to me that a coach was involved in the pick. My guess is either Philbin or O'Keefe had a lot to do with the Cunningham pick, whereas Jeff Ireland had more to do with the Rishard Matthews pick.

NUGap
05-03-2012, 03:08 PM
Now what he's not good at. He has no real lower body strength or explosion. He doesn't run outs, comebacks or curls with the kind of burst out of his break that you want to see because he's not a very explosive player and lacks the leg strength. He's not fast and he won't outrun anyone. His lack of leg strength and explosiveness means he can't make sharp cuts or get creative with his run after catch, so big plays will be at a minimum with him. That's why he's a no-nonsense north-south runner after the catch. He has no choice. His lack of lower body explosion means that he can't go up real strong for the football in contested/jump ball situations, nor are his hands very strong for those situations either. Getting off the jam will be a big test for him because he lacks both lower body and upper body strength (12 bench reps). He did this OK against smaller, non-physical corners at the college level, but bigger, more physical corners clearly gave him trouble at the jam, and when he gets to the NFL the players most likely to jam him will be those big and/or physical corners.


On the curls/comebacks, you'll have to excuse my ignorance because I'm certainly no expert on route running. I went and watched a solid chunk of his games, and I noticed on curls a lot of the time, he'd get a hard release up to the break point. Instead of getting a strong, hard cut back by planting his leg - he'd almost stop and just sort of turn around quickly. It wasn't so much a cut as a spin back to face the QB. The best example I can find is in this year's Michigan game in the 3rd quarter at 2:43 in the game. Is this something they would coach at Michigan State, is it just a technique I'm not familiar with, am I just crazy, or is this what you're talking about?

I kind of informally counted drops when I watched about 4 games of Cunningham's. I came out with about 4 drops in 4 games. Based on the number of passes to him during those games, I came out to something like a 13% drop rate - which according to PFF is about the same as Brandon Marshall. I tried to make sure they were definite concentration drops, but doesn't mean Cousins wasn't just throwing a bad ball either. Something to think about, not sure if it was the size of his hands or just concentration problems.

There were a few times, mostly in the Michigan and Ohio State games, where I saw him drag about two to three defenders after the catch on a slant route for a first down. Those plays reminded me of Bess about two or three years ago (I don't know if we saw it much last year) where he would stay up and push for more yards with his legs. Like you said, it could just be a product of smaller defenders. It's likely he can't translate that to the strength of the NFL, I'm not sure many can.

I can't seem to find any cutups of the Nebraska game for Cunningham. I remember Cousins and MSU having an awful game, I'd be curious to see how Cunningham fared against Dennard (assuming Dennard wasn't on Keshawn Martin). I see that he had zero catches in that game, was that a product of Dennard or was Cousins just as bad as I remember him being then? If so, I'm not sure that bodes particularly well.

TedSlimmJr
05-03-2012, 03:58 PM
On the curls/comebacks, you'll have to excuse my ignorance because I'm certainly no expert on route running. I went and watched a solid chunk of his games, and I noticed on curls a lot of the time, he'd get a hard release up to the break point. Instead of getting a strong, hard cut back by planting his leg - he'd almost stop and just sort of turn around quickly. It wasn't so much a cut as a spin back to face the QB. The best example I can find is in this year's Michigan game in the 3rd quarter at 2:43 in the game. Is this something they would coach at Michigan State, is it just a technique I'm not familiar with, am I just crazy, or is this what you're talking about?

I kind of informally counted drops when I watched about 4 games of Cunningham's. I came out with about 4 drops in 4 games. Based on the number of passes to him during those games, I came out to something like a 13% drop rate - which according to PFF is about the same as Brandon Marshall. I tried to make sure they were definite concentration drops, but doesn't mean Cousins wasn't just throwing a bad ball either. Something to think about, not sure if it was the size of his hands or just concentration problems.

There were a few times, mostly in the Michigan and Ohio State games, where I saw him drag about two to three defenders after the catch on a slant route for a first down. Those plays reminded me of Bess about two or three years ago (I don't know if we saw it much last year) where he would stay up and push for more yards with his legs. Like you said, it could just be a product of smaller defenders. It's likely he can't translate that to the strength of the NFL, I'm not sure many can.

I can't seem to find any cutups of the Nebraska game for Cunningham. I remember Cousins and MSU having an awful game, I'd be curious to see how Cunningham fared against Dennard (assuming Dennard wasn't on Keshawn Martin). I see that he had zero catches in that game, was that a product of Dennard or was Cousins just as bad as I remember him being then? If so, I'm not sure that bodes particularly well.



Well, these are option routes, not curls/comebacks. Cunningham has to hitch up at the mark... if the ball isn't on him when he turns around, he has to drift inside or out from there to find the soft spot in the zone dependent upon how the defender is playing his zone.

A curl is a turn towards the hash out of your break and works back towards the quarterback and back down the stem of the route. A comeback is a break away from the hash towards the sideline and works back towards the quarterback. A comeback doesn't work back down the stem.

phinnatic91
05-03-2012, 07:31 PM
JEFF Fuller should make it atleast on practice squad but like the Cunningham pick heard on finsider that Philbin was happy with the pick..thats what counts

RobertHorry
05-04-2012, 09:43 AM
Well, these are option routes, not curls/comebacks. Cunningham has to hitch up at the mark... if the ball isn't on him when he turns around, he has to drift inside or out from there to find the soft spot in the zone dependent upon how the defender is playing his zone.

A curl is a turn towards the hash out of your break and works back towards the quarterback and back down the stem of the route. A comeback is a break away from the hash towards the sideline and works back towards the quarterback. A comeback doesn't work back down the stem.

This.

Also on curls and comebacks you are not supposed to "plant" your foot and turn around". Thats the worst way to run curls, comebacks hitches. You are supposed throw your head and chop your feet and sinking your hips and then turn around. You plant your foot for an explosive cut on routes like speed outs, post-corners, dino routes, digs, etc.

ckparrothead
05-04-2012, 10:05 AM
Not according to Terry Robiskie.

DominateTheLine
05-04-2012, 11:36 AM
How big of an issue will his small hands be? I know in Draft Winds you were saying that was a major predictive variable for WR success.

TedSlimmJr
05-04-2012, 04:34 PM
A curl or option route has to be packaged with some sort of route combination where you threaten the flat (defender). All routes combinations are packaged. Receivers don't just curls or option routes just for the hell of it.

The formation the offense is running it out of (3x1, Twins-Flex, 2x2, etc.) combined with the coverage the defense is playing determines the read by the quarterback. Coach Roushar at Michigan St. has his quarterbacks operating from under center a significant amount of time, making these route combinations tied to the quarterback's drop. (3 or 5 step) This concept obviously varies if you're an Air-Raid, Run-&-Shoot, or any other type of spread offense where you have your quarterback playing from the gun. The quarterback's drop isn't what your synchronizing with. They then become pre-determined reads.

Quality defenses are fairly good at disguising coverages and weaker defenses don't always play good technique within the coverage.... which is why it's best to go with an MOFO/MOFC read. It eliminates the variable of poor technique by the defense or disguised coverage pre-snap. Once the ball is snapped you'll see the rotation.

Against 2-high/MOFO we like to run fade/out (3-step), or fade/flat. If you run it out of trips (3x1), you have the #3 run a skinny post and hit the fade in the honey hole of the Cover-2 which is outside the numbers about 10-15 yards deep.

We'll also run mesh (5-step), or curl/flat (5-step) reading the high safety to that side and have a middle of the field seam stretch from the #3 in an attempt to split the safeties.

If you're a spread or 4-verts offense, you'll do the exact same thing on the option routes that you would from a conventional set.... the option to bend for inside verts or break out for outside depending on the defender's leverage. It's up to the receiver to make the adjustment.



Against 1-high/MOFC, we like stops (3-step) with the option to go vertical based on the leverage and depth of a specific defender. You have the choice here to read linebackers or just run past them and read only the highest defender... the safety in the middle of the field.

Once again, a curl/flat except with a 5-step drop with a middle of the field seam to occupy the high safety. You can also run Switch (5-step) front side routes where you have 3-verts from the middle of the field to the bottom of the numbers. This is the coverage where you run comebacks, comebacks, and more comebacks.

If a defense likes to blitz you out of that situation, you'd run slants (3-step). It could be a slant/slant, slant/shoot in 2x2, or slant/slant/shoot in 3x1.

If you're getting 0-coverage you're going to package the slants same as above, or run fade/out, mesh, switch. Again, it all depends on what type of offense you run, but you want to package slants here any way you can get 'em.



Cover-4 you're going to run Spacing.... if the defense commits to not getting beat deep or in the vertical seams, you need to make a living off of stretching them horizontally (see Art Briles at Baylor, etc.)


If you've played or coached football beyond the Junior Varsity level, you understand that 4-verticals is the weakness and way to attack Cover-3. You're going to hit the seams here... or curl/flat. If their flat defender is aggressive, hit the curl route. If he's well coached and disciplined, take the flat route until his instincts override his coaching.


Cover-2 with man underneath gives you plenty of time to run a lot of double moves, etc. since the defense can only rush 4 and dropping 7 into coverage. This changes if you're weak up front or they have an elite pass rusher or two. That's when you hit 'em with screens and draws.




The touchdown B.J. Cunningham scores here against Wisconsin is on an option route tied to the 5-step drop by the quarterback. They're running it out of their Twins-Flex formation. From the endzone angle you'll clearly see the flat defender (Sam linebacker here) jump the flat route by the TE Brian Linthicum who was flexed out. As I mentioned previously, you have to package option routes with a threat to the flat.... you don't just run curls. When the ball isn't on top of Cunningham as he completes his stop route, he's required to work the zone based on how the defenders are playing.

They're running one way, he's running the other... (then endzone angle starts at 2:43)





http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5pLvCYm_yNg

RobertHorry
05-06-2012, 11:35 AM
Not according to Terry Robiskie.


Planting your one foot on a curl or comeback is probably the worst way you can run the route. It hinders the ability to set up the defender later in the game.

Lee2000
05-06-2012, 03:34 PM
Not according to Terry Robiskie.

Do you not see BJ as having the same potential as a kid like Colston, abeit he is shorter. He might actually run faster than him. I was going to ask about the difference in him and Sanu, but I am guessing you would say Sanu has more burst. But Sanu has 4 plays for 20 yards or more in 2011, but more previously. I watched the Wisconsin game and he appeared to have a little burst, but certainly not to the level of Martin. This guy has reviews that go everywhere between 3rd round to undrafted, and I know where you stand with that. I am guessing the Matthews pick makes you feel a little better because you are probably saying he has more explosion. I believe in the WCO a guy like Cunningham will be ok. His speed is 4.59. It isn't blazing, but adequate for a possession receiver. The kind of patterns he will run and the way the wco is implemented should cater to his strengths. His hands looked good to me. Very good level of concentration. With it being a 6th round draft pick, it isn't a great gamble, and the Matthews pick might take some of the pressure off. The real question is whether getting Vernon and Egnew was worth missing on a guy like Sanu, who i am not clear they were targeting any way.

ckparrothead
05-07-2012, 12:06 AM
Planting your one foot on a curl or comeback is probably the worst way you can run the route. It hinders the ability to set up the defender later in the game.

Curl yes. Comeback, I'm not sure Terry Robiskie would agree. Regardless of whether you chop your steps or not, you still need to dig in that one foot during the break to help you explode out of it and back down the stem.

RobertHorry
05-07-2012, 12:02 PM
Curl yes. Comeback, I'm not sure Terry Robiskie would agree. Regardless of whether you chop your steps or not, you still need to dig in that one foot during the break to help you explode out of it and back down the stem.


On comebacks? I'm not sure I would listen to what Robiskie says and much rather listen to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

You dont dig one foot in during the break. You chop still but sinking your hips should be enough to help you explode back down the stem and towards the sideline


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7gTH8RGJus

Both Gonzales and Wayne run it correctly here although they should be throwing their head more

torontodolpfan1
05-11-2012, 12:08 PM
great pick