Consistently keeps his feet under him, is balanced when asked to make a defender miss and then generates good explosion when looking to separate. Also displays impressive instincts as a runner when asked to run between the tackles, does a nice job lowering his pad level, allowing blocks to set up and then exploding toward daylight. Makes everything look so easy.
Possesses good body control and awareness when asked to locate and adjust to the throw, keeping his feet in bounds and seems to know where he is at on the field at all times. Showcases a good gear tracking the football vertically down the field and seems to just find the second gear whenever he needs it. Is a bit inconsistent plucking the football, at times will violently go up and rip down the catch in traffic and at other times will let throws go into his body over the middle.
Will have an adjustment period learning how to beat press coverage at the next level, but the guy has great quickness in tight areas and displays the kind of balance that makes me think it won't be too difficult for him.
Possesses good balance as a route runner as well, will drift into his breaks a bit, but his combination of fluidity, balance and initial explosion will allow him to run just about every route needed at the next level. Battled some ankle injuries as a senior, but should be healthy for the postseason. Also, came to Mount Union as a quarterback and can throw the football when need be; took some snaps from center this year.
Impression: It's a huge learning curve for Shorts, but the guy is a gifted athlete with impressive fluidity and has a second gear that's impressive down the field. The guy can certainly play in the NFL and contribute, and if put in the right situation could have a similar NFL career as former Mount Union great Pierre Garcon."
The Ohio native came to Mount Union as a quarterback, going 16-for-24 for 206 yards as a redshirt freshman. But he flashed his future prowess as an all-purpose threat by rushing 12 times for 209 yards and two scores, as well as catching 12 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
As a sophomore, he focused on his receiving skills and earned All-American and All-Ohio Athletic Conference status by grabbing 77 receptions for 1,484 yards and an eye-popping 23 touchdowns. Shorts followed that performance up with a consensus All-American 2009 season: 100-1,736-19 receiving in 15 games, 34-206-8 rushing with some work at Wildcat quarterback. For good measure, he took over at quarterback in the D-III semifinal win after the starter was knocked out (10 carries for 98 yards and two scores).
Shorts once again put up huge numbers as a receiver (70-1,196-18) and contributed as a rusher (26-133-1) and passer (5-7, 56 yards) in his All-American senior season. In his first year as the featured returner (24-355-2 punts, 13-325-1 on kickoffs), he put another feather in his cap.
Combining that skill with his production as a receiver, All-American track speed and good hands means NFL teams may consider him worth a third- or fourth-round selection.
Strengths: Very good quickness off the line and elusiveness in the open field after the catch. Lines up outside, in motion and in the slot. Makes the tough catch look easy and turns the routine grab into long gains. Eats up cushion in a hurry. Effective on crossing routes. Adjusts to poorly-thrown passes, whether low, high or wide. Good vertical to get to jump balls. Runs every route in the tree effectively, D-III corners can't stay with him when he sticks his foot in the ground. Good sideline awareness. Willing to mix it up with his man on run plays, sustains against smaller cornerbacks. Solid hands, very good straight-line speed and a bit of wiggle a punt and kick returner. Good character, disciplined and very coachable. Finished fifth in the 55-meter dash in the 2009 Division III Indoor Track Championships.
Weaknesses: Must prove he can get off the line and stay in-bounds against physical pro corners if lined up out- side. Defenders can knock the ball out of his hands too easily. Inconsistent using his hands to catch the ball in front of him, will double-catch some throws with pace. A bit lazy on out-routes, rounding them off. Lacks great strength to block veteran defensive backs. Does not use correct blocking angle on the outside. Benefitted from playing against D-III level on offense and on special teams, will not be able to elude defenders as easily at the next level."
Positive: Productive one-speed receiver with reliable hands. Fluid releasing off the line, comes back into the clearing, and makes himself an available target. Extends his hands, looks the ball in, and makes the reception away from his frame. Keeps the play in bounds after making catches to pick up positive yardage. Gets vertical and extends, adjusts to the errant throw, and displays good concentration. Gets results blocking down the field. Effective running after the catch.
Negative: Not quick releasing off the line. Lacks sharpness into routes. Lacks a deep burst. Unnecessarily leaves his feet to make catches at times.
Analysis: Shorts was dependable on the small school level and possesses the skills necessary to be a 4th receiver for an NFL team. He needs to improve the details of his game yet could see action as a rookie in the league."
Negatives: Has trouble against physical corners, gets bumped off his routes too easily... Did not play against elite talent, most of the corners he faced at Mount Union will never smell an NFL roster... Just a marginal athlete, doesn't have great top-end speed and doesn't have the size to stand out in the NFL... Below-average leaping ability... More of a straight-line runner, has just average change-of-direction ability and is not a great runner in space... Poor blocker, doesn't give consistent effort to wall off defenders... Does not cut well when running at full speed."
Weaknesses: Thin upper body. Average transition out of his cuts. Will cradle the ball. Sometimes hears footsteps, and they WILL get much louder...Coast at times, esp. when he is not getting the ball. May have trouble beating the physical jam at the LOS at the next level.
Projection: Solid late draft pick."
Cecil Shorts is an exceptionally gifted and gracefull Navigator of the Field ~ albeit a raw one ~ and one with outstanding Burst, tremendous Fluidity and Lateral Agility, and amazing Instincts. Like Jerrel Jernigan, he undoubtedly developed those Instincts over the years as a Quarter Back. And while his Long Speed is pedestrian, he is blessed with frighteningly deceptive Acceleration.
He was clearly born to be a Slot Receiver, and while his Route Running is exceptionally raw, I believe that he could be an outstanding one.
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