Category Archives: Weekly Prospects Review

WHO CAUGHT MY EYE Bowl Edition Part 2

Just when you thought we might be through with prospect thumbnails I have dusted off my notes from the second half of the Bowl season. By this time next week I’ll be deeply immersed in prep work for Shrine Week. But I did find some impressive work from prospects during the past couple of weeks, and wanted to share some more of them with you. Here’s a Baker’s Dozen for your consideration.

JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER/WR/SOUTHERN CAL 6’2/215 #9 JR I’m going out of alphabetical order here because I witnessed one of the greatest, all-time receiving exhibitions in this season’s Rose Bowl that I have ever witnessed. And a healthy JUJU was one of the two stars. SMITH is the best WR the Trojans have had since KEYSHAWN JOHNSON. He’s not quite as “big” as JOHNSON, but is a bit faster. This young man can do it all, and seems to have a great work ethic and competitive fire. I was taking notes on him the last month of the regular season and though he played well, he was beaten up with leg & back issues, which limited his playing time and effectiveness. As I expected his health was much improved by the time the Rose Bowl rolled around. He was outstanding with 7 catches for 133 yards and a TD. He made an amazing, over the shoulder, sideline catch in the first half to set up a Trojan TD. If he comes out early (no announcement yet) his 40-time at the Combine is going to get tons of attention as teams look to ascertain his true speed. His combination of good hands, catching radius and overall size has most NFL teams salivating. If he comes out, and runs a 4.40-40 he should be a lock for Round 1 selection.

CHRIS GODWIN/WR/PENN STATE 6’1/208 #12 JR On the other side of the field GODWIN was drawing oohs and aahs with some of the same talents on display as JUJU. Nice size and great hands. Good at locating the ball in the air, and beating defenders to it, GODWIN snagged 9 catches for 187 yards and 2 TD. He’s as good looking of a prospect as was former PSU star ALLEN ROBINSON, who now plays at a Pro Bowl level for the hapless JAGUARS in the NFL. GODWIN knows how to run patterns and is excellent at finding the openings in the D. You can also bet that he does not lack speed. In order to beat a fast and athletic USC secondary, speed is a must beyond ten yards. He really grabbed my attention in the second quarter, when replay showed him making a great, behind-the-back catch on a throw in traffic. Like JUJU I would expect he is near the top of a lot of prospect lists coming out of the 2016 season, and with a spectacular Bowl performance. Several of his catches defied logic in that game. GODWIN just announced his intentions to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s moved into my Top 100 with his performance in the Rose Bowl.

The ROSE BOWL was one of the more entertaining and exciting games of the Bowl Season, and these two receivers were absolute stars.

DEREK BARNETT/DE/ER/TENNESSEE 6’3/265 #9 JR I have been lukewarm on BARNETT as a prospect because I saw him as a one-trick pony. But give the man his due, he was absolutely a game changer in the Bowl win over Nebraska. He absolutely terrorized back-up Huskers QB FYFE all day long. This game was clearly an audition tape for him and the film gets 4-stars, for both effort and execution. He was credited with 6 tackles, including 1 sack and a TFL. I am still not convinced how he fits into an NFL defensive scheme, other than as a n edge-rusher, buy I just have a feeling some clever DC will figure it out. His sack allowed him to pass REGGIE WHITE into first place alone on the Vols career sack list, although the style of play was a bit different back in WHITE’s day. But he clearly has the motor to dominate when motivated. He declared for the 2017 Draft just days after the bowl game. I will be fascinated to see how he ends being ranked heading into the Draft. I am also suspecting that there will be some serious differences of opinion on his value around the League, and even within scouting departments.

ADAM BUTLER/DL/VANDERBILT 6’4/300 #69 One of seemingly many DL in this years prospect group who plays the DL with high energy and good intelligence, He is also versatile, as he showed all season and in the Independence Bowl against NC State. He played DT in a standard 4-3 scheme, but moved out to DE in a 3-4 set in passing downs. Vandy was able to use the two different sets interchangeably, in great part because BUTLER was strong enough to play inside on the one hand, but also athletic enough to generate some pocket pressure when moved outside in the DE spot. He showed a very effective and smooth inside-reverse pass rush spin on a couple of occasions. He was credited with 7 tackles in the Bowl match-up. Vandy is not known for great defensive players, but I have a feeling this young man may just rank as draftable, albeit late, by teams looking for versatility and depth along their defensive fronts. Teams like the PACKERS & PATRIOTS come to mind.

CORN ELDER/CB/MIAMI(F) 5’10/175 ELDER had a stellar senior season for the Hurricanes. He’s a fairly little guy, who has excellent quickness and is not afraid to mix it up with the bigger boys. Take for example his play in the Russell Athletic Bowl win over West Virginia. When WVU did pass they usually went away from his side of the field. But he was in hot pursuit of the WVU running game, leading his team in tackles with 7. Not bad at all for his size. For the 2016 season ELFER recorded 76 tackles, had 1 INT and 12 PD. He’s been solid in a secondary that has sent multiple players to the NFL like ARTIE BURNS & TRACY HOWARD in 2016. At the very least I see him using his quicks and aggressiveness as a slot-nickel back. He probably doesn’t go until Draft Saturday, but by the same token he’ll probably earn a roster spot and contribute right away. I like the attitude and quickness of this little and think he can overcome his lack of size to play at the NFL level.

MATT GALAMBOS/ILB/PITT 6’2/245 PITT #47 When scouting players I always go into a game with a short list of players I am curious to watch carefully. But I always try to stay alert for “lesser” prospects who just stand out with their play in specific contests. GALAMBOS was not on my watch list for the Pinstripe Bowl in NYC with Northwestern. But all too often it was #47 chasing down a play to make the tackle. By halftime, I knew I would have to track him in the second half, based on his play in the first half. Sure enough, by the end of the contest he had recorded 15 tackles, including 2 TFL and a recovered fumble. Big numbers for a large body ILB like MATT. This is not the first time GALAMBOS has caught my eye while watching PITT play this past season. Usually i was watching several of their players on Offense, but in each instance #47 had my attention after a couple of defensive series. He stays on his feet well and wraps when tackling. He looks strong at the point of attack and uses his hands well to fend off blockers. He’s likely to be taken off the field in certain passing downs as a pro, at least early in his career. He brings some serious “pop” to his tackling and runs well enough to contribute on Special Teams at the next level. Probably best suited for a 3-4 scheme, but likely would not be lost as a pure Mike-LB. I’d be ready to draft this guy for my team by the 5th Round or so. His Combine and/or pro Day work will be a serious consideration come April.

DARIEN HOWARD/DT/WEST VIRGINIA 6’1/305 #49 It was another disappointing game under the bright lights for WVU against Miami. The Mountaineers OL could not handle the ‘Canes relentless DL pressure. But WVU hung in there for 3 quarters, in great part due to their DL matching Miami’s intensity for much of the game. HOWARD is probably just a bit undersized to play the Nose as a pro, at least on a full-time basis, but he shows good strength and awareness for his size. He also has enough gas to play some loop games and stunts to pressure and/or push the pocket. He is also active in pursuit along the line-of-scrimmage for his body type. He can eat up blockers and thus allow his ILB to pursue the ball. I like the way he battles with blockers and holds up the middle of the line-of-scrimmage. I also appreciate the way he stays on his feet and off the ground. He may end up as a mid-to-late Round pick who will fight his way onto a roster as part of a DL rotation.

KEVIN KING/CB/WASHINGTON 6’3/195 #20 KING has caught my attention several times this past season as I watched the Huskies put together a top notch 2016 season.He did so again in the Bowl loss to Alabama, where the Huskies D held up well until fatigue set in and the Offense failed to control the ball and post points. KING is the tall, long striding defender who can run with most wideouts well down the field. He is also solid in his hand use, without being too grabby. He looks to me best suited for a zone/Tampa-Two base defense. What really impressed me was his feisty attitude, and willingness to back it up with tackling skills and want-to. In the Loss to ‘Bama KING led the Huskies Defense with 9 tackles, including a TFL. That TFL came in the 4th Quarter when Alabama chose to go for it on a fourth down. That TFL turned the ball back over to the Huskies, who failed to convert the possession into a score. For the 2016 season KING recorded 44 tackles, with 2 INT and 13 PD. A couple of teammates in the secondary (BAKER & JONES) got more pub than KING, but I felt he was the more productive overall player. His nose for the ball should serve him well at the next level, and add value to a Special Teams unit or two. He’d be high on my last early on Draft Saturday if he’s still available, which may be the case thanks to a DB-rich looking Draft class.

DAVID NJOKU/TE/MIAMI(F) 6’4/240 #49 JR Following a nice performance in the Hurricanes Russell Athletic Bowl victory, this excellent athlete declared for the 2017 Draft. In that game, he caught 5 passes for 44 yards and 1 TD. As he plays more and learns more of the nuances of the TE position his threat to defenses should only grow. Though not a great blocker, he gives it a try and might grow into a complete inline TE with time. He will help make the TE group for this upcoming Draft be one of the best and deepest in quite some time. He’s an all-around athlete, who is relatively new to football. He often displays his athleticism by hurdling would-be tacklers after he catch. He may need to be persuaded to limit that practice at the next level, for fear of injury. His upside for a pro career sure looks to me to be very high. He may not hit his pro stride for a couple of seasons. If he posts the numbers most feel he is capable of at Combine testing he may be knocking on the door of Round 1 come April.

JOSH REYNOLDS/WR/TEXAS A&M 6’4/195 #11 This long, lanky receiver has been the most consistent receiver for the Aggies the past couple of seasons. And he really put on his best looking performance against K-State in the Heart of Texas Bowl. REYNOLDS battered the Wildcats secondary for 12 catches, 154 yards and 2 TD. He outran defenders with his long striding legs, and got separation with some excellent pattern running. He shows very nice footwork along the sidelines and in the end zone. He also shows the ability to outrun most defenders once he gets his hands on the ball, and shows strength, despite his wiry frame. He could make a nice addition to an NFL team as a No. 3 receiver on their roster. He may post numbers at the Combine that get him further notice, but I still have a gut feeling he will have to wait until Round 4 to hear his name called in April. But then again a lot of 4th Round players make NFL rosters at the WR position.

STEVIE TU’IKOLOVATU/DT/SOUTHERN CAL 6’1/320 #96 Stevie, used the NCAA graduate transfer rule to move to USC from UTAH. He was effective, but part of a deep DL rotation for the UTES. He was a nice depth addition to the Trojans Defense, but he really stood put at the end of the season, and in the Rose Bowl as injuries allowed him to see more playing time. He was a major force along that DL against Penn State. His final stats showed 8 total tackles on the game, with 6 of those being listed as solo tackles. Folks that’s a lot of solid work for the interior of the field. Quite often this year he looked like DT/WOODS from last years Trojans D. He is very active and he gives great effort. He was a key part of the Trojans defense shutting Penn State down in the 4th Quarter, while QB/DARNOLD rallied the Offense to victory. This is a strong, hustling player who could contribute as a pro rotational guy.

ANTHONY WALKER/LB/NORTHWESTERN 6’1/235 #1 JR Another outstanding performer who has declared for the 2017 Draft. He’s a very good athlete with a high FBI. He covers the field and makes tackles from sideline to sideline. In the WILDCATS upset win over PITT, WALKER was credited with 7 tackles. That allowed him to total 105 tackles over 13 games in the 2016 season. He is also mobile/agile enough to pick-up RB & TE in pass pro with regularity. He also looks to have picked up some of the grit and determination that marked his Head Coach’s playing career at Northwestern and on into the pro game. Having PAT FITZGERALD in his ear for 3 seasons can only have helped WALKER on several levels. Combine that bulldog mentality with his natural talent and a high FBI, and he should make quite a pro player. I look for him to end up in my Top 100 Prospect lists going forward.

BRAD WATSON/DB/WAKE FOREST 6’0/200 #25 WATSON was clearly the best DB on the field for the Wake D this season. He has excellent size for a CB, but in reality he may lack the quicks to handle the Corner in the NFL. He shows decent coverage skills, with a nose for the ball, and a serious willingness to throw his body around. He was credited with 7 tackles in the close Bowl loss to Temple. I would have also credited him with several PBU for his efforts. With his long frame, he was able to disrupt several catches with his reach, even though he was technically beaten by the receiver. He could make a very versatile sub-package performer, and I would work on converting him to a FS position as an NFL Rookie. WATSON was the team’s leading returning tackler after 72 tackles in 2015. He almost duplicated that number in 2016. He’s been consistent in grabbing 2 INT each of the past 2 seasons. I did not get a final count for this season, but he easily led the team in PBU in 2015 with 16. Special Teams should also be a Rookie niche for him as a pro. I really like WATSON’s overall game and though he may go late in the 2017 Draft I would not hesitate to pull the trigger and draft him in the middle rounds. He’s a good, not great athlete, and a solid core player for his team, IMO.

Who Caught My Eye Bowl Watch

It’s our last chance to see prospects in live game action as the Bowl season trudges on. In some cases the games are bereft of serious prospects to thumbnail because almost 150 were done during the regular season play. But in some cases there are also previously injured players who are returning to action. On the downside the new trend of players skipping their final collegiate game to head for Performance Camps, but those numbers are small, at least for now. Anyway here are some guys who have literally caught my eye already.

DANIEL BUSHKILL/OT/SAN DIEGO STATE 6’5/270 #71 Watch for this guys name at the Combine and during All-Star Game action. He was their second string TE going into Spring ball in 2016. But the coaching staff switched him to OT. By October I was starting to hear his name being whispered as a legit pro prospect at his new position. Sure enough, he looked fundamentally sound in their Las Vegas Bowl win. My eyes say he is of course far from a finished product at his new spot, but I also saw enough to think he has long range potential. Believe it or not I thought he looked better in pass pro, than trying to run block. He is reportedly up to 270 lbs, and clearly is trying to adjust to his new body. He still looks lean and fit though. What he currently lacks in strength is compensated for, in part, by his athleticism. He may become a very intriguing late round prospect.

DAKOTA COX/LB/NEW MEXICO 6’0/231 #49 Sorry to say I had little opportunity and even less viewing time to watch New Mexico play this past season. So watching the New Mexico Bowl was my first/last chance to watch the team carefully. Congrats to Bob Davie for reviving a dormant football program, by the way. The most impressive player to my eyes was LB/COX for the Lobos. He displayed nice athleticism and football savvy. He’s a good tackler and pursues til the whistle. I was impressed with his ability to handle his responsibilities in pass coverage situations. At times he looked to me like a jumbo SS playing in the box. At the end of the day his stat sheet showed me what I thought I saw from him was legit. He was credited with 10 tackles (to lead his team) including 1.5 TFL. He also clearly had several PBU. If he can further develop his current skill set he may have a career in the NFL as a back-up, sub-package & Special Teams player. He might be draftable, albeit late.

MARCUS COX/RB/APPALACHIAN STATE 5’10/200 #14 COX lost his starting/feature RB job to JALEN MOORE this past season, but with MOORE nicked up throughout the Camellia Bowl it was COX who flashed his old skills that allowed him to gain over 1400 yards rushing in 2015. On the day he carried the ball 22 times for 143 yards and 1 TD. I’m not sure how straight-line fast he is, but he has great burst and can really pick up those feet and put them down, as we used to say a quarter century ago. He gets lots of yards after contact due to his balance and forward lean running style. I would think that this effort has put some shine back into his game as a legit possible third day draftee. He also caught two short passes, which will be a major consideration when looking at his overall value. This guy is the kind of quick hitting runner, with the balance and burst to gain yardage through NFL size creases in opponents DL. He’s fighting to make himself draftable and his performance in workouts and hopefully an All-Star game will be critical in the coming months.

SAMSON EBUKAM/DE/OLB/E. WASHINGTON 6’3/240 #3 The long range prospects for EBUKAM are very good because he plays with high energy and looks to be a natural as an edge rusher. But he clearly faces the challenge of adapting to life standing up as an OLB. No question about his athleticism however. Against Youngstown, he got caught up in the wash way too often when trying to set the edge or collapse on running plays inside the tackles. His eagerness to rush the passer also resulted in his being pushed way too far past the QB to actually affect the play. But his quickness and balance are excellent when targeting the QB in the pocket area. He had a 2nd Quarter sack as well as a deflected pass. I felt he was held on multiple occasions during the game, especially in pass-pro. I think it is safe to say that he is fairly raw, but possesses the athleticism and energy to refine his game under pro coaching, and could be RBOERT MATHIS player as a pro. He has to be drafted, likely in the middle rounds.

ANTONIO GARCIA/OT/TROY 6’7/302 #53 Most NFL personnel people think this is one of the weakest OT groups this decade. This will be especially true if a handful of the top juniors don’t declare for inclusion in the 2017 Draft. When such a situation presents itself the talent scouts dig a little deeper looking for potential gems. Go back a few years when a guy named ERIC FISHER from the MAC had a really solid Senior Bowl and vaulted up to being the first pick in the entire Draft. I’m not projecting that for GARCIA, an actual senior, but his name is rising and he recently was named to the Senior Bowl roster for late January. Coincidentally, he was in Mobile Friday night for the Dollar General Bowl affording yours truly his first chance to see him in action. We are talking the real deal here folks with strong Top 100 potential. He has some work to do in strengthening his run blocking, but the whole package is there. He’s a long, lean athlete with great feet. He’s as quick off the snap in pass-pro as anyone I have seen this year. He’s clearly a natural knee-bender who almost looks like a training film for form with fully bent knees, a straight vertical upper body and extended arms waiting to repel pass rushers. He uses agile feet to mirror defenders handily. He looks like he needs to work on a stronger initial hand punch to jolt defenders. He also needs to beef up in his upper body. He’s barely over 300 lbs. right now and should/could easily slide up to 315/320 if it’s muscle. He also showed a tendency to try to cut-block defenders on running plays. I do NOT like that technique in taller, athletic linemen. The bottom line is that he is really good, and looks to have major upside. He should emerge as a starting OT in the League in a few years, and I look forward to watching him a the Senior Bowl next month.

COOPER KUPP/WR/E. WASHINGTON 6’2/215 #10 KUPP seemed to be the top rated FCS prospect going into the 2016 season. After watching him play in the semi-final loss to Youngstown State I can see why. This guy is a polished player and a good athlete. Though he is not a speedster, he had enough speed to get open deep on several occasions. And to his credit on those occasions he had to pull up to wait for under-thrown balls, then battle with defenders to make the catch. And catch them he did. He showed excellent hands on a single digit temperature day. He made a nifty one-handed catch of an errant throw in the second quarter. He was double teamed from the start of the game and still finished the day with 10 catches for 180 yards and 2 TD. He also showed the physical strength to win contested throws and break tackles. I think he will bring the same ability to an NFL team as that of ERIC DECKER of the JETS. Luckily, we will see much more of him in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. A good showing there, and posting some solid numbers at the Combine could push him to the cusp of Round 1, IMO.

HENRY LANGI/LB/DE/BYU 6’3/249 #16 This do-everything defender may be a riser as we get into All-Star game action and Combine/Pro Day workouts. BYU had a Top 10 rushing Defense this season and the versatile LONGI played a big part in that work. He split time this season as a LB, and a pass-rusher with his hand on the ground. He is not a superior athlete, but he is a highly productive player with a clearly high FBI. He absolutely covered the field in BYU’s win over Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl. He was dropping into coverage, rushing the passer and, of course, stuffing the Cowboys rushing attack. He finished the night with 16 tackles, to match his uniform number, including 1 TFL. He’s big enough to take on blockers and runners at the point of attack, but also does an excellent job dropping into shallow/medium coverage. Watch for his name in the next 4 months. I just have a notion he will make some noise as a fairly early 3rd Day draftee prospect.

NICK MULLENS/QB/SOUTHERN MISS 6’1/195 #9 Anther gunslinger is coming out of Southern Miss, but let’s be real and dispense with any pretense of FAVRE comparisons. At best he may have potential to stick on some team as a developmental 3rd QB. Which means he’s likely to go undrafted, but… He can move around and sling the ball downfield. In the near home game New Orleans Bowl MULLENS was a one man army in crunch time situations. He finished the game going 25/40- 62.5%- 346 yards- 2TD- 1 INT. He did not dominate the game totally with 2 turnovers to his name (1 INT, 1 Fumble), but he was the field general who did what needed to be done more often than not. The 2016 NFL Draft featured 15 QB being drafted. I don’t expect a new record this next April, but if it gets close he’ll be among those getting late consideration. Right now I would say he’s most likely an URFA.

CALVIN MUNSON/ILB/SAN DIEGO STATE 6’1/240 #54 In the last 3 seasons MUNSON has never failed to start a game for the Aztecs D. He has played both inside and outside in their schemes. I think he’s best suited as an ILB in a base 3-4 scheme at the next level. His lack of length will be less obvious on the inside, IMO. But he shows the whole package despite not exactly being a great athletic specimen. How about if we say he’s a smart, hard nosed football player. He was decidedly the leader of the Aztecs D with his play in the Las Vegas Bowl. By the end of the evening he had recorded 8 tackles, including 1 Sack and 1 TFL. Then as a finishing touch to the evening he sealed his team’s victory with an INT in the late 4th Quarter. He’s a high rev motor guy with a high FBI. He should be outstanding Special Teams player immediately for his pro team. Given his skill set what appeals most to me is his ability to diagnose the pass and effectively drop into short area coverage. His resume’ says he gets a few Picks every season. His pro potential may exceed his athleticism.

STORM NORTON/OT/TOLEDO 6’7/306 #74 I am not going to proclaim NORTON as a top prospect, but I do see him as being draftable. His play can best be described as steady. He more than held his own in the Camellia Bowl against an aggressive APP State Defense. I liked his work best in pass-pro in this contest, but he was adequate with his run blocking, especially to his side of the field. He had a tendency to go for cut blocks on running plays away from him, which in general I feel is an ugly look for guys his size. He looked to me to have a strong, effective arm extension and hand punch. He also showed a pretty good/quick first step backwards in pass-pro. Like most really big bodies he is likely to be challenged at the next level by fast/quick edge rushers, and primarily for that reason I think he is a possible late round draftee at this stage in his play.

JORDAN REID/WR/OHIO 6’3/210 #12 REID turned out to be the go-to guy for the Ohio Offense in the Dollar General Bowl Friday night. He ran solid routes, and showed dependable hands. He was also to gain some significant yards after the catch with his strength and good field vision. He can catch in a crowd and his size makes him a natural red zone threat on jump balls. He became the teams big playmaker against TROY finishing the night with 12 catches for 162 yards and 1TD. Speed, or lack thereof, may be the biggest concern for Personnel People heading into Draft evaluation season, but his size and hands will earn him points. Most NFL receiving groups show balance between pure speed, quickness, size and a few other factors. For a team lacking a big guy to work the middle and run over defenders after the catch REID should start generating interest in later rounds. If not in the states, he should generate some scouting interest from CFL talent scouts.

Who Caught My Eye Week 14

This pretty much wraps up our weekly prospect thumbnails of the week since the 2016 College football season is now over. But wait, in a couple of weeks the Bowl season gets underway and will provide us with more prospect play to review.

TARELL BASHAM/DE/OHIO 6’4/265 OHIO #93 There may be almost as many questions about BASHAM’s pro potential as their are actual positives. He has been a reliable player for FRANK SOLICH at Ohio, and has some nice pass-rush moves, not to mention a very high rev motor. He tries to set the edge against the run, but he’s pretty lean. So an immediate question is whether he can pack on 10 or more pounds and hold up in a pro 4-3 scheme. He had a solid effort in the MAC Championship game against Western Michigan, being credited with 5 tackles, including 1 TFL & 1/2 Sack. To his credit I would also estimate another 3 QBH as he and his teammates on D forced WMU QB/ZACH TERRELL to play under pressure all night and have his most mediocre performance of the season. With a Bowl game still to play BASHAM has 10 1/2 Sacks on the season. I expect him to be a Saturday Draftee. He is committed to the Senior Bowl and I will be curious to see how they work with him in practice with a possible OLB job in mind.

RUEBEN FOSTER/ILB/ALABAMA 6’1/240 #10 In the 2015 season ‘Bama’s Alpha Dog of Defense was REGGIE RAGLAND, who has moved on to the pro game. In 2016 another ILB, FOSTER has taken over the lead dog role for the Tide D. FOSTER is a savvy, instinctive, high FBI player who holds the unit together. During the Tides 13 game roll to the SEC title, FOSTER racked a total of 94 tackles. He is slightly undersized by NFL standards bit he is certainly big enough to play ILB in a base 3-4 scheme. In the anti-climactic SEC title game with Florida he amassed 11 tackles, including 2.5 TFL and 2 Sacks. I don’t expect him to be taken in Round 1, but if he makes it to Round 3 some NFL team likely gets a steal. If he has to wait his turn at a starting job, I would project he will star on multiple Special Teams units. Don’t expect him to rock the Combine in his underwear. I could picture him as a slightly lesser version of MOSLEY of the RAVENS, in an NFL Defense.

MATT GESICKI/TE/PENN STATE 6’6/255 #88 JR Just like the Penn State team overall GESICKI really blossomed during the surprisingly successful 2016 season for the Nittany Lions. He’s a full sized guy, who is a solid inline blocker. But he has also shown that he has the perhaps surprising speed to get separation downfield, as well as excellent hands to make catches. He is also almost acrobatic on the sidelines and in the red zone. His 1st Quarter TD catch of 33 yards in the end zone broke the early game dominance of the Badgers. For the game he had 3 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD. On the season, he pulled in 47 catches for 668 yards and 4 TD. That’s a solid 14.2 ypc for a 255-pounder. My gut says he’s staying in school for another season, but I would also expect that he will have voices in his ear telling him he can be a Top 5 TE if he comes out now. Those voices might be correct. After a couple of recent years of relatively few full-sized TE prospects, his presence might be welcomed by the 3rd Round for some NFL teams without a young TE on their roster.

FORREST LAMP/OG/WESTERN KENTUCKY 6’3/300 2016 was LAMP’s 3rd straight season as a starting OT for the Hilltoppers. He has developed as both a run blocker and a pass protector in the wide open WKU offense. He is quick off the snap of the ball and easily gets to second level blocks. He has a strong upper body, with a devastating hand punch. He put several defenders on their butts with his explosive hand punch, in the win over LA TECH that I watched. He is projected by most to be moving inside at the next level, because he is only about 6’3 and has less than ideal arm length. In reality that may make him one of the top 5 OG prospects, because he has shown more than enough athleticism to play well at LT the past 2 seasons. He looks to be a natural knee bender who fires out to get to second level blocks. His initial role in the NFL may be as a 3-4 position backup on a game day roster. He has accepted an invitation to appear in the 2017 Senior Bowl game in Mobile. Can’t wait. Could he be the next JOE HAEG to emerge there against the big boy competition?!

JOE MIXON/RB/OKLAHOMA 6’1/225 #25 RSO I am surprised I don’t see MIXON on more prospect sheets since he is indeed Draft eligible, after sitting out the 2014 college season for qualifying reasons. MIXON has been almost the perfect compliment to SAMAJE PERINE in the Sooners running attack. While PERINE pounds opponents’ Defenses, MIXON is the big play waiting to happen. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield. The big instate W over Oklahoma State was a great example of his value and multiple skills. PERINE was carrying the ball and the day as the Sooners pulled ahead in the 3rd Quarter. But then he got nicked and went to the locker room for repairs. In comes MIXON and immediately breaks off a 79 TD run, winding his way through the entire State D. For the game MIXON carried 11 times for 99 yards and that TD. He also caught 2 balls for 19 yards and another TD. On the season MIXON now has 1183 yards rushing, at 7.0 ypc and 8 TD. He also has 32 catches for 449 yards and 5 TD. I do NOT see him as the new ADRIAN PETERSON, but he’s damn close. I hate to say it SOONER fans, but I could see you losing both PERINE & MIXON to the 2017 Draft. I would guess MIXON would be a monster in underwear at the Combine. Athletically, I’d see him as a First Rounder if he comes out early.

TAYWON TAYLOR/WR/WESTERN KENTUCKY 6’1/190 #2 This guy is close to being a first rounder IMO. Chances are a Senior Bowl appearance and his Combine work will decide that. But I have little doubt that his combination of speed, good hands and elusiveness after the catch will add up to an immediate role as a top 3 receiver on an NFL roster. He’s not one of the “big” receivers, but he will work the middle of the field and will bounce off contact in the secondary, picking up significant after the catch yardage. He had a typical day, for him, in the Conference USA Championship Game victory for the Hilltoppers. He caught 7 balls, for 194 yards and 2 TD. On the season he posted 89 catches for 1586 yards and 16 TD, in 13 games. That yielded a yards/catch average of 17.8, making it 3 years in a row of over 17 yards per catch. He has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl. he should show well there, and in Indy.

TRENT TAYLOR/WR/LOUISIANA TECH 5’8/178 #5 It has become much more common place in the NFL these days to have a smaller framed guy like TRENT on their roster to compliment a team’s full sized WRs. TAYLOR is as quick as a hiccup, and just as fearless. He did not handle return work this season, but I can envision him as a potential Punt Returner with his quickness and explosiveness. He was Mr. Reliable in the Championship game against WKU, hauling in 11 balls for 108 yards. For the 2016 season he has totaled 124 caches for 1570 yards and 10 TD. Happily for those of us wondering how he potentially fits against the truly big boy defenses he is currently listed as a Senior Bowl attendee. We can dredge up names like WLEKER, AMENDOLA and more, but more smurf guys have slipped away quietly than succeeded as pros. Let’s just say right now that to my eyes TRENT has more than a few of the qualities the League seeks, and should be draftable, albeit late.

ANTHONY WALES/RB/WESTERN KENTUCKY 5’10/195 #20 I watched the final two games (sans Bowl season) of the season for the WKU team and came away the most impressed with the productivity of WALES. This dual purpose back may not have the size to tote the rock 20 times per game as a pro, but he has the versatility to see a lot of action in a RB rotation. He gained 1376 yards rushing on the season, at an average of 6.8 ypc. He also found the end zone 28 times, including 24 on the ground. He was indeed a workhorse in the Conference championship game touching the ball 41 times while rushing for 209 yards and 4 TD, plus catching 5 balls for another TD. He’s not a speed burner, but is light on his feet and can get to the corner. He also picks his running lanes well between the tackles for tough inside yards. His cutback moves are swift and decisive. Good balance allows him to get significant yards after contact. It will be a gross oversight if he’s not at the Combine and an All-Star game.

T.J. WATT/OLB/WISCONSIN 6’5/247 #42 JR Will the supply of players to the NFL from the WATT family never end? Not any time soon, and that’s a good thing for the pro talent pool. T.J. is the next in line and if not for some injury issues during his stay in Madison this guy would have been garnering more serious pub prior to this season. He’s not J.J. on a pure talent basis, but he certainly has enough ability and the high rev energy level that J.J. and DEREK have displayed, to be highly sought after in the 2017 Draft if he declares. He shows natural pass-rush ability and has a long frame. He and VINCE BIEGEL could arguably be the best pair of OLB in college football this year. WATT had 4 tackles, including 1/2 TFL and 1 Sack, and 2 QBH in the Big Ten championship game. He was close to recording sacks on multiple additional occasions. He is above average in coverage, although he was caught in man-coverage on a RB out of the backfield, which resulted in a Penn State TD. The other issue on this day was that TRACE McSORLEY/QB may be more dangerous on the run than when he stays in the pocket. But WATT had a very solid Junior season, and certainly has to be considered as a possible early entry for the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s a Top 100 prospect.

WHO CAUGHT MY EYE WEEK 13

DANIEL CARLSON/PK/AUBURN 6’4/215 #38 JR It is not very often that I look to Kicker underclassmen as prospects for declaring early for the NFL Draft, but after watching CARLSON again this season I think he is as close to being a dominant player at the position as we can get right now. And for way too many NFL teams, even in this era of wide open offenses, the ability of their Kicker to convert on more than 75% of his FG is critical to several potential wins per season. CARLSON has one of the smoothest kicking motions of anyone I have seen in recent memory. He has accuracy as well as power. He stood out again in the Iron Bowl hitting on 4 of 5 attempts, with his only miss being from 50+ yards out. In fact for the season he is now 9 of 13 from 50-yards or more. That’s 69%, which many current day kickers barely top on all attempts. It should also be noted that he has the leg strength to kick-off into and thru the end zone. I have no info indicating he’s thinking of leaving school early, but I will also note that he is a 3.66 GPA who already has his degree in Finance. He might be draftable in the Top 100 if he does come out.

TACO CHARLTON/DE/MICHIGAN 6’6/275 #33 TACO is another of Michigan’s seniors who reinvented themselves with the arrival of HC JIM HARBAUGH last year. And he really impressed with his work in the big showdown game with Ohio State last weekend. He appeared on camera, chasing the ball constantly. Officially he had 9 tackles, including 3 TFL, 2.5 of them for sacks. He has incredibly long arms and legs. I can’t wait to see his hand and wing span at the Combine. He looked to be battling cramps during the second half of the big game last Saturday, but he kept getting back on the field and making plays through the pain. He shows natural pass rush ability and is starting to use his length to intimidate and block the vision and throwing lanes of opposing QB. Based on his development this season I would suspect that he has more upside to be tapped at the pro level. A good All-Star game performance and some eye-popping numbers at the Combine could easily get him into the top 3 Rounds of the 2017 Draft. He has a CLOWNEY look in pads.

D’ONTA FOREMAN/RB/TEXAS 6’0/238 #33 JR FOREMAN has exploded for the Longhorns over the past two seasons. To put it frankly he has looked a lot like a former Longhorns RB named EARL CAMPBELL. He can run through, over and around tacklers. He should make a strong short yardage runner as a pro and a guy who can accumulate multiple 20 yard runs for his team. He topped 2,000-yards behind a very average OL this season. Why come back for his senior campaign? Another coaching staff change and the wear and tear of another season on his body cannot logically be making him lean toward another season in Austin. He’s already a late first rounder IMO, and I doubt that gets any higher even if he runs for another 2000 yards next season in college. Come on down D’ONTA, and start getting paid for the beating your body is absorbing. By the way, despite the Longhorns passing their brains off in the 2nd half against TCU, trying to keep up on the scoreboard, FREEMAN finished the day with 165 yards on 31 caries. And believe me if you didn’t watch the game, he earned most of those yards on effort and power, behind a mediocre OL blocking effort.

JADAR JOHNSON/S/CLEMSON 6’0/210 #18 Here is another guy who tickles my fancy. He had a whopping 2 starts during his first 3 seasons with the Tigers. Then when multiple juniors in the secondary defected to the 2016 Draft, JOHNSON got his chance, and made the most of it. He clearly won a starting job last Spring and August. He’s not an elite player, but showed he is better than average this season. He was a major part of a strong Clemson defensive effort that shut down the Gamecocks in a 56-7 victory. He tallied 3 tackles with 1.5 of them being TFL. He also made a nice downfield INT, giving him 5 picks for his first full season as a starter. I can guarantee you that he should also make a solid Special Teams performer as a pro. He has enough athleticism and more than enough “want-to” to go out there and knock heads covering kicks and punts. Chances are good at this point that he will be a late Draftee.

ERIK MAGNUSON/OT/MICHIGAN 6’6/305 #78 Believe it or not even the top college football teams (except for maybe that Saban team) are full of nothing but 5-Star recruits. There are lots of less heralded high school players who dot college rosters. ERIC MAGNUSON has worked his tail off and made himself a solid OT, who has a solid chance to be a mid-Round Draft Pick in 2017. He has flourished in the Jim Harbaugh offense the past two seasons where the run and pass are balanced leaning slightly more to the run. He has a nice long frame and stays on his feet well. His biggest weakness shows when he must try to keep up with speed rushers. But that is partly why he’s over on the right, not the QB’s blind side. He held up well overall in the Ohio State game. He was able to engage and control some Buckeye DE, which is a deep talent position for OSU. He shows good and active hand usage overall. He displayed some excellent seal blocks down on the goal line. I’d look for him somewhere in the Round 5-6 area with a decent chance to fight for a starting RT job in a few years, with some intense OL coaching at the next level.

PAT MAHOMES/QB/TEXAS TECH 6’3/230 #5 JR I present another name in our seemingly endless search to find an NFL QB candidate worthy of early selection in the 2017 Draft. The first thing in his favor is that his dad pitched in the Major Leagues for almost a decade. You know me and the gene pool theory. He has been the highlight of TECH HC KINGSBURY’s program. TECH can’t recruit enough athletes to play Offense and Defense, so most games are a shootout and scoring fest. They beat Baylor last weekend by the score of 54-35. MAHOMES has thrown for over 5,000 yards this season, with one game left to play. Go check your NCAA record books folks. Against Baylor MAHOMES was 30/46- 65%- 586 yards- 6 TD- 0 INT. He can throw it long or short with a better than average arm. His throwing fundamentals and footwork require some serious refinement for the NFL, but the natural talent is there. Luckily he has good size because he’s constantly throwing under pressure. On several occasions I was fearful he was out for the game, but he got up and kept on throwing. You can call him a product of a system, but he’s mastered it and looks to me to have solid pro potential. If the NFL shuns him he could be a record setter in the CFL. I can’t see him returning to college for 2017.

DREW MORGAN/WR/ARKANSAS 6’0/195 #80 You could almost put MORGAN’s picture in the football dictionary next to the definition of possession receiver at this point in time. Going into the Mizzou game MORGAN had 56 receptions on the year and 35 of them had resulted in first downs. That clearly indicates to me a receiver who runs good patterns and gets the needed yardage on those routes. He can gain some yardage after the catch, but that’s not his strong point. He had a typical game effort against the Tigers with 6 catches for 54 yards. I counted 3 of those 6 receptions being good for first downs, by the way. He is also known for his reliable hands and ability to work the sideline as an ally against defenders. He’s tough as nails, although it does concern me the number of hits he takes which cause him to leave the field for at least a few plays. Will he be a constant target of concussion protocol watch dogs at the next level? I would also expect him to find several niches on Special Teams units to secure a pro career. Another middle round draftee in my book.

JALEN MYRICK/CB/MINNESOTA 5’10/205 #5 Last season the Golden Gophers sent both of their starting CB to the NFL in MURRAY & BODDY-CALHOUN. But not to fear in 2016, because MYRICK was ready and waiting to step up and seize a full-time job. He is a solid cover Corner who plays the ball well in the air and can deliver a solid blow to would-be receivers with his compact, 205 lb. frame. He also handles his coverage business really well all across the field. He was part of a great defensive effort agains the Badgers last Saturday, when the Minnesota Defense kept the team in the lead, until a hobbled starting QB MITCH LEIDNER started throwing picks in crunch time. MYRICK finished his day with 6 tackles and several PBU. He reminded me a great deal of MURRAY and his play last season. He’s a tough guy, who plays hard, fast and smart. It may be a struggle for him to earn a starting CB job in the NFL, but he should be able to handle sub-package roles and could excel on Special Teams. Right now I’d say he deserves a late round Draft selection.

JABRIL PEPPERS/LB/SS/MICHIGAN 6’1/208 #5 RSO Most of the talk surrounding PEPPERS this season has centered around whether or not he could parlay his multiple skill set into a strong Heisman Trophy run. HC HARBAUGH has used PEPPERS in almost every imaginable role, including at QB this season. But I am more concerned about what his pro potential is. In my mind he has not used him at his most likely NFL spot as a SS. Ignoring his work on Offense and in return work, PEPPERS had 67 tackles on the season, including 4 sacks, as an OLB. In the showdown game with the Buckeyes, PEPPERS totaled 7 tackles and recorded his first career INT on a deflected ball. Perhaps his primary playing position of OLB this year is in part predicated on his lack of ball hawking ability in the secondary. He clearly is an elite athlete but there are not very many full-time LB who weigh just under 210 lbs., in the NFL. If he declares for the 2017 Draft (which I think he will) it will be interesting to see what position group he is listed in for the Combine. I would guess that he will work out with both the DB & LB group. For those confused about his Draft status, he was red shirted with an injury as a true frosh, so even tho 2016 was his second season on the field he meets the 3-years beyond HS rule regarding the Draft. I would find it hard to believe he does not have a bright pro future ahead of him, but…

ETHAN POCIC/OC/LSU 6’7/310 #77 AFter watching all or part of over 100 college games this season, POCIC is probably my choice as the best all-around OC prospect for the 2017 Draft. He could become the tallest OC in the NFL, but his height never seemed to be a detriment to his play at LSU. He is a natural knee bender and plays with decent pad level for his size. He is also experienced enough, with 36 career starts, to make line calls and direct traffic in the trenches. His long arms serve him well in pass-pro where he ties up would-be pocket collapsers trying to push right up the middle of the field to his QB. He spends little time on the ground, unless he’s being cut-blocked, in which case he tends to just lay on the DL doing so. In the run game, he shows no difficulty getting to second level blocks quickly. I have no doubt he’s a Top 100 prospect, and a Day 2 Draftee.

RYAN RAMCZYK/OT/WISCONSIN 6’6/309 #65 If you are looking for a fascinating back story google up info on RAMCZYK who took quite a circuitous route to the starting LT job for the Badgers. And he has done so well in his first season actually on the playing field for the Badgers that there is growing speculation that he could come out for the 2017 NFL Draft and be Friday Draft selection. The big guy, has exceptional feet for his size, as well as long, strong arms to push defenders away from his body and out of the pocket area. He is functionally strong and may only get bigger and stronger. Several of my contacts up in Badger Country told me in September to watch out for this guy. AFter a redshirt season n Madison working in the weight room and with the varsity in practice, he grabbed hold of the starting LT job and excelled. Sure enough he’s impressed everyone in a surprisingly strong season for the Badgers as a team. If he returns for a senior season he will be perhaps the highest ranked OT on Draftnik Big Boards next September. If not he’ll be fighting for a starting job in the NFL next summer.

FRED STEVENSON/FB/FLORIDA STATE 6’1/240 #23 IN this dying age of the FB as a full-time football position there are still teams around the NFL that want and nee one on their roster. I laugh at teams that e=bemoan their lack of a Red Zone running game, but don’t have a legit FB on their roster. Just before FSU brought in a guy named DALVIN COOK, they had a guy named KARLOS WILLIAMS, who was built like a FB and really blossomed as a RB, including a promising but brief pro career with the BILLS. His demise had more to do with off-field and personalty issues than lack of talent. Several FSU coaches have been quite vocal that STEVENSON could gain 100-yards per game if they needed him at RB. We got a glimpse of that in the Florida game when STEVENSON took 1 of his 2 carries to the house on a weaving run of 27 yards. He is also known to have reliable hands and run good routes on the rare occasions when he is thrown to. Most importantly for his position, he is a stout blocker, especially in the run game. He’s also the perfect specimen for Special Teams duty. He has already been announced to appear at the Senior Bowl venue next January, which will tell us even more about his pro potential as NFL coaches put him through his paces. Having a solid week in Mobile could put him in a strong position to be drafted next April.

Who Caught My Eye Week 12

DANTE BARNETT/S/KANSAS STATE 6’1/195 #22 Team leader who lost his 2015 season to a shoulder injury in Sept. He was 2nd Team All Big-12 back in 2014. Is back looking as good as ever. He is a fine all-around player who is effective in coverage and is aggressive in run support. He’s always around or on his way to the ball. Seldom fooled in his play reads. He gave up a 2nd Quarter TD pass even tho he had good coverage on the receiver. The QB for Baylor threw his receiver open with a ball to the outside, while BARNETT had coverage to the inside of the field.But BARNETT got revenge later on when he grabbed an INT to stop Baylor’s last chance to tie up the game. He returned that INT 48-yards, and K-State ran out the clock for HC Bill Snyder’s 199th coaching Win. For the game BARNETT had 4 tackles and the INT. Without a doubt BARNETT will make a fine Special Teams player at the pro level while he develops into a sub-package role player in a secondary. If his medical checks out at Combine he should be a late round draftee.

K.D. CANNON/WR/BAYLOR 6’0/180 #9 JR This young man has that special “it” factor about him that is best described as explosive. He displays good hands and can make grabs away from his body if the throw is a bit errant. He displays excellent body control and flexibility. His rhythm has been disrupted some the last two seasons as Baylor has been shuffling at their QB position because of injuries to SETH RUSSELL. True frosh ZACH SMITH was throwing to CANNON against K-State. I am curious to see what his 40-time is if he comes out and attends the Combine. With 2 games left in the season CANNON has 56 receptions, only 2 short of his career best. Against K-State he caught 9 balls for 91 yards, but could not crack the end zone. Given all the strife within the Baylor football program over the past year plus I would be surprised if CANNON did not come out, and secure a place in the 2nd or 3rd Round.

JAMAL CARTER/S/MIAMI (F) 6’1/210 #6 Overall things are looking pretty positive for the MIami football program in year one of he MARK RICHT era. And CARTER would appear to be one of the reasons for it, as well as being a recipient of the positive vibes of the RICHT coaching staff. CARTER looks to be a bit more free to rely on his reads and instincts under DC MANNY DIAZ. The Hurricanes victory over NC STate, on the road, was a clear indicator of CARTER’s new role. He split his time quite evenly between pass coverage responsibilities, while still having a big role in run defense where his size and hard hitting style work to his advantage. At the end of the day CARTER had 10 total Tackles in the Win, which included a shared TFL. CARTER made several significant plays that the officiating crew did not give him credit for. In the second quarter CARTER made a strip tackle on a screen play, which the Hurricanes recovered. The officials called it an incomplete pass. Not so sure I agreed on that call. While protecting the lead in the late 3rd Quarter CARTER went high to tip a pass back into the end zone to a teammate for an INT. His foot appeared to just touch the sideline negating the play. IMO, these plays both clearly indicated a high FBI on CARTER’s part as well as the athleticism to make things happen. His toughness on the field would also indicate to me that NFL Special Teams would be an added asset to his playing tool kit. I see CARTER as being a late round Pick not just another left over URFA.

JUSTN CRAWFORD/RB/WEST VIRGINIA 5’11/200 #25 JR Now before you jump all over me to ask how I can thumbnail a JC transfer, who wasn’t even starting until injuries hit the RB corps at WVU, understand please his situation. The clock is ticking on his life, and has been harsh at times to date. He already has a family to feed, and has shown plenty of talent in his short tenure with the Mountaineers. With injuries to the two guys ahead of him CRAWFORD became the man in this contest and really answered the call. By the end of the day, as WVU recovered from a miserable first half, CRAWFORD had carried the ball 24 times for 331 yards. He showed good burst, field vision and the balance to get yards after contact time after time. He is also pretty strong for his size. On the season (with 2 games left to play) CRAWFORD has 930 rushing yards, @ 7.6 ypc. He has 4 100-yard rushing games. Assuming another 2 healthy, strong games, plus a Bowl appearance he may approach 1500 total yards rushing. He’s already traveled a long and tough journey to get where he is. Why would he not think about heading for the NFL and the kind of money to support his actual family? It may sound crazy, but I see something special here, and a real “hardship” situation. I’d draft him in Round 3 for my team, unless a problem showed up at the Combine. Sorry Mountaineer fans, but in this case I would support one and done.

JOSHUA DOBBS/QB/TENNESSEE 6’3/207 #11 And away we go again, with another great athlete and an exceptional team leader, who just may be lacking a bit in the necessities to become an NFL QB. The VOLS have been derailed this season in large part due to extensive injuries to key players, especially on Defense. But heading into last weekends home game with MIZZOU the team was 7-3 and still had a chance to win the SEC East title, until FLORIDA beat LSU that is. Deservedly, DOBBS got a standing ovation when introduced on Senior Day. The VOLS defense could not stop Mizzou all day, but DOBBS did his best LAMARR JACKSON impression and helped the Offense put up 63 points. On the day, the multi-talented DOBBS posted these stats: Passing 15/22- 68%- 223 yards- 3TD- 0 INT; Rushing 10 carries, 190 yards, 2 TD. And yet, put me near the front of the line of doubters as to his prospects to be an NFL QB. His throwing mechanics are TEBOW-esque at times and his throwing accuracy has not allowed him to top 60% his last two years, as The Main Man. He also seems unsure of what he reads in a Defense at times, which causes him to make his throws too late at times. He can extend plays and commands the huddle and the locker room, without trying to dominate teammates. I fear that his lean frame, and propensity to take off with the football, will land him on IR on a regular basis as a pro. Can he be a multiple position player, and emergency third string QB? That may indeed be his future, although if willing to serve an apprenticeship in the CFL, who knows what he might look like coming back to the NFL in 3-4 seasons? I hope he takes a slot at the Senior Bowl under pro coaching for a week.

JAKE ELLIOTT/K/MEMPHIS 5’10/165 #46 Nobody at the NFL level wants to pin too much hope on college kicking prospects coming into the league and taking over their PK job. In fact the vast majority of NFL Kickers went undrafted. But every team needs a good one, so the search must go on. ELLIOTT just might be the first PK drafted in 2017. He wasn’t asked to perform heroics against Cincinnati, but he was perfect on the night going 4/4 on XP and hitting 2 of 2 FG. Despite his relatively diminutive size he has a strong leg. He can regularly reach the end zone with his kick-offs. And he’s more accurate on long distance FG than intermediate ones. He is 81.8% on 18 of 22 FG this season. But interestingly, he is 2/3 from 50+ yards, and 9/10 from 40+ yards. Those kind of numbers will get you drafted. He’s a cool customer and has the confidence of his coaches and teammates, that he will make big kicks and win them some games, late. He has totaled 102 points in 11 games so far this season. Watch for his name on Draft Saturday.

LUKE FALK/QB/WASHINGTON STATE 6’4/215 #4 JR As the season has worn on more QB prospects than not have fallen a bit in the evaluation process. One who has risen as his team has played well, is FALK for the Air-Leach attack in Pullman, WA. FALK is a former walk-on but don’t let that fool you. He was a well known HS talent, who got caught up in last minute recruiting shuffles. He is flourishing for LEACH, and showing NFL scouts that he has many desirable pro attributes. His stats in the big showdown with Colorado were not exceptional, but I am gong to make a couple excuses for him. I think the Buffalos have one of the best defensive secondaries in the country. I also felt the State OL gave up way too much pocket pressure around FALK. FALK played without his top target in RIVER CRACRAFT, and it took a while for his receivers to pick up their play. I counted 4 drops in the first two Cougar possessions. I saw a guy who locates his throws well the vast majority of the time. He also throws a nice catchable ball, despite the drops. He clearly takes time to go through his throw progressions and targets the right receiver much of the time. He can make all the throws, though some of his deep ones were a bit errant on this day. In the end he passed for 26/53- 49%- 325 yards- 3 TD- 1 INT. If FALK decides to come out I think he will be considered one of the Top 2-3 QB prospects. His interview work at the Combine will be critical, as pro personnel people try to gauge how his processing of the LEACH Offensive scheme could translate to the NFL.

KYLE FULLER/OC/BAYLOR 6’5/315 #55 There has been a bit of a trend in the NFL recently to concentrate more on technique and FBI at the OC slot. But there is nothing wrong with a big hulking strong guy at the position, especially for match-ups with teams that run a 3-4 scheme and have monsters like WILFORK & BRANDON WILLIAMS manning the Nose/0-gap slots. FULLER fits that role as a solid, big based body who can move in a limited area and understands the mental aspects of pass protection. FULLER stays on his feet and is always watchful of help situations he can involve himself in. He keeps his head on a swivel and can move straight ahead to help out at the second level. I saw him be asked to pull on several occasions against K-State and that was a challenge to him. He is adept at both run blocking and pass-pro because despite what some people envision when you mention the Baylor offense, they try to establish the run first, then pass whenever possible. FULLER should be an early Saturday Pick, who could develop into an NL starter in time. He may also be able to back-up at all three INT OL spots.

BRAD KAAYA/QB/MIAMI (F) 6’4/215 #15 JR I think we are all still trying to identify the top couple of QB prospects for the 2017 Draft. There are a good number of projects, a few of whom will likely become pro starters someday, but I sure don’t see the GOFF/WENTZ guys to take over the top of the Draft. Then again at this time last year I said that about both of them. KAAYA has been a starter for the Hurricanes since arriving on campus. The game with NC State was his 36th consecutive career start, even though when he takes his helmet off he still looks like a rosy cheeked frosh to me. Under some serious pressure from the Wolfpack D, KAAYA passed 22/38- 58%- 286 yards- 0 TD- 0 INT on the game. After some risky forced throws into coverage in the first quarter he throttled it back and let his running game and Defense control the game. He shows a nice, catchable ball, with a quick release. He’s not a big scrambler, but is athletic enough to extend plays. He holds his ground in the pocket under pressure. His passing numbers were hurt on multiple occasions by penalties committed by his OL, which called back significant completions. His mechanics are OK and improving. In fact here is the deal to me. New Miami HC MARK RICHT has his finger prints all over KAAYA’s play right now. That can only help the young man. If he stays another year with RICHT tutoring him, he might turn into a Top 10 Draft PIck for 2018. If he comes out I’d take him by late Round 1 if I needed a young QB for my franchise to develop.

ARTHUR MAULET/CB/MEMPHIS 5’11/190 #8 We are pretty late into another football season, and most of the tires have been kicked when it comes to the usual, known prospects. It is indeed a pleasure to unearth an additional talent this late in the process. So a big thank you goes out from Pigskin Paul to ex-NFLer COREY CHAVOUS, who does color analyst work and is a devoted Draftnik in his post-NFL days. I watched the Memphis/Cincinnati game last week and my ears perked up when I heard CHAVOUS talking about the play and pro-potential of CB/MAULET, who was not on my watch list, or anybody else’s as far as I know. I paid attention and agree with CHAVOUS. This guy has nice size and can cover as well as tackle in the open field. He owns the sideline. He uses excellent footwork, and fluid hip action to stay with receivers through their cuts. He is aggressive fighting off blocks from receivers, and had himself 10 tackles for the game. In the 3rd Quarter, he fought thru a TE block at the line-of-scrimmage and recorded a TFL on the Cincy RB. He looks to have a very high FBI in anticipating routes and diagnosing the overall action around him. He looked to me in this game like a “shut down Corner”. It’s only a snapshot of one game, but this guy deserves some attention and an invite to a January All-Star Game!

CONOR McDERMOTT/OT/UCLA 6’8/310 #68 A former Mr. Basketball in HS back in Tennessee. He now roams the football field as a very smart and athletic LT for the Bruins. He’s built for today’s NFL game, where precision passing attacks rule the field. He has decent functional strength, though certainly not overpowering, with very good foot action. His arms are very long and he fends off defenders, and steers them away from the ball. To me he looks like this year’s version of JASON SPRIGGS/IU, who was a second day draftee of the Packers after entering college with a basketball background. I especially like the fact that he doesn’t jump up at the snap of the ball. He keeps his feet moving and appears to be a natural knee bender. I am also impressed that after his first blocking assignment is over he is usually looking for another block to make. If he can somehow bulk up a bit in a pro weight room, then so be it, but he has the athleticism and attitude to get the job done. He did his part in helping an undermanned (because of injury) UCLA team hang with the Trojans into the second half of play.

TAKKARIST McKINLEY/DE/ER/UCLA 6’2/265 #98 It’s kind of hard not to root for TAK as he finishes up his senior season with the Bruins. He had a tough upbringing and had to take long route, which led him into the JUCO routes. But HC JIM MORA will tell you what a great job he has done for the Bruins and what a fine young man he is. He also happens to have one of the most sought after football skills in the NFL these days: that of an edge rusher. Entering the Southern Cal game TAK had recorded 18 TFL, including 10 sacks during the 2016 season. He beat LT/CHAD WHEELER on multiple occasions and despite not officially getting a Sack on the night, he had 3 QBH by my count. He officially had 4 tackles for the game, but he was an irritant all game long, and only the mobility of USC QB DARNOLD kept him from ringing up several sacks. He’s a bit light in the pants to truly set the edge as a DE, but there is speculation that he will run somewhere in the 4.5/40 range. Given his intensity and effort if that speed guesstimate turns out to be accurate I wouldn’t bet against him being able to adapt to a stand-up OLB slot in an NFL 3-4 base scheme. He’s a very good athlete with long legs and arms. He’s also a young man who realizes what a great opportunity football may afford him in his life ahead. This young man has more than enough “want-to” to make his mark as a pro.

TEDRIC THOMPSON/S/COLORADO 6’0/205 #9 THOMPSON is one of the best performers, on a top notch Colordao defense, which has had a resurgent season at 9-2 after the big home win over Washington State. He and teammate CB/CHIDOBE AWUZIE, may both be Top 100 Draftees next Spring. Led by these two aces COLORADO held LUKE FALK/QB (see above) to under 50% passing last Saturday. THOMPSON is solid and explosive to the ball & receivers. Overall, he’s a sure tackler and a tough dude. He is a much better cover guy than the majority of S in the college game, and currently ranks 3rd on his team in tackles. He finished 4th on the team in tackles last season with 63. With 26 seconds left to play THOMPSON sealed the deal with an INT. He also had several PBU (I counted 3) on the day and was credited with 5 total tackles. This is an all-around performer, who dies not shy away from the action in either the run or pass game.

Who Caught My Eye Week 11

BRANDON BELL/LB/PENN STATE 6’1/233 #11 One has to start to pay attention to a school’s players when the team wins on a regular basis, and is a Top 15 team in weekly polls. So I decided to really concentrate on one of Penn State’s most productive defenders in BELL. I taped the game and then checked the stat sheet for said contest. The numbers looked really good for BELL with him being credited for 9 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2.5 TFL & 1 FF. What more can you ask of a guy in winning effort against a competitive Indiana squad? But in watching the tape I had to wonder how his stats sheet read as it did above. BELL did not look quick or active in tracking down the ball. He looked to be moving at about 3/4 speed most of the time. What struck me the more I watched was that other defenders were flying to the ball while he still seemed to be figuring out where the play was really going. He did not seem to trust his eyes. Either that or he was being used as a safety valve player in case a runner broke free. He also looked stiff at times. I guess I also need to check into his recent medical history in case he was playing at significantly less than 100%. His stats sheet say solid pro prospect, but my eyes say a somewhat reluctant warrior. I will need to look at him again in the coming weeks.

VINCE BIEGEL/OLB/WISCONSIN 6’4/245 #47 The 2016 Badgers are not winning with mirrors folks. They may be shy of big names at the skill positions, but they have more than enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to find themselves ranked as a Top 10 team. And BEIGEL is one of their top players, as well as a serious Top 100 NFL prospect. In fact, BEIGEL reminds me quite a bit of CLAY MATTHEWS who wreaks havoc at the next level about 3 hours north and east of Mad Town. He has prototype size for an OLB and the athleticism and fire to play at the next level. He can bring the heat on the pocket, but I am actually more impressed with his self-discipline. He’s currently playing through a foot injury which required a pin be put in his foot. But opponents don’t see much difference in his play. In the pounding of Illinois BEIGEL recorded 4 tackles, which included a TFL and was also credited with 1 QBH. The hope is he will be at 100% when the Combine rolls around. If sooner an All-Star game appearance might help his Draft stock. I’d project him right now as a 2nd Rounder, 3rd at the worst.

TYLER CATALINA/OT/GEORGIA 6’5/305 #72 This young man has taken full advantage of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule. He played most of his career at Rhode Island and stepped right into the starting job for the Bulldogs at the critical LT spot, where he has done an admirable job protecting the blind side for true frosh QB JACOB EASON. I am not convinced too many NFL teams would see him at LT as a pro, but from what I have seen this guy looks fundamentally sound enough to play in the NFL. He’s a bit slow afoot, but is tough and smart. It’s not an easy chore to move up a full level of competition from Rhode Island to the SEC. I think he will get drafted in a later round and make an NFL roster next year. Hope to see him in Mobile come January.

NICK CHUBB/RB/GEORGIA 5’10/228 #27 JR After an all-everything frosh year when he ran for 1500 yards at 7.1ypc, CHUBB has been a victim of the injury bug. He missed most of the 2015 season. He has been nicked a bit this year and probably has been playing at 85%, at best, when healthy. But he is a load, with a great combination of power, quickness and field vision. Against Auburn in the Dawgs upset victory CHUBB carried 23 times for 101 yards. To put it bluntly, he is a load to tackle. But now he must decide whether to come back for his senior season, hope to be healthy and post huge numbers, and be drafted very high, or come out early and hope to be drafted on potential, not his past two injury-marred seasons. I think he could still be drafted by the 3rd Round if he can pass medical muster at the Combine. He is a potential feature back when fully healthy.

KENNY GOLLADAY/WR/N ILLINOIS 6’4/213 #19 It’s more than just a bit challenging as a receiver to maintain your poise and productivity when you are working with your 3rd different QB on the year. But because of injury that is what GOLLADAY has had to work through this season. And work through it he has. Through 10 games he has caught 79 passes for 1029 yards and 8TD. He’s a long, big boned guy who can work the sidelines as well as the middle of the field. He displays good hands and can abuse some of the smaller CB who try to cover him with some significant yardage after the catch. He has learned to use his size to good advantage. In a back and forth contest against Toledo, played in White Sox park, GOLLADAY grabbed 14 balls for 143 yards and 1 TD. His TD catch was a 2nd Quarter reception of a jump ball that he took away from defenders. One of his attributes on display in this contest was his FBI to sit down in gaps in the Toledo Zone D. I fully expect him to be drafted in the 4th or 5th Round if he can post some decent numbers at the Combine. He’s not a speedster, but he should make a nice No. 4 wideout, who can play some Special Teams because of his size.

ADOREE’ JACKSON/CB/RS/SOUTHERN CAL 5’11/185 #2 JR In watching JACKSON play this Fall scouts have been able to watch him concentrate primarily on his defensive skills. He is so fast and athletic that in previous seasons the coaching staff used him on Offense as a receiver. But the Trojans receiving corps is deep and talented this year, so JACKSON has been limited in his offensive touches. What better venue to assess his skills than the big showdown last Saturday against undefeated WASHINGTON, in Seattle? The answer is none, and show up big time he did. In the 2nd Quarter JACKSON won a jump ball throw and recorded his 1st INT of the game, to stop a Huskies drive. In the 3rd Quarter he displayed major vertical to break up another jump ball throw near the sideline. Finally, with 4:10 left he jumped a pattern over the middle for a second INT which pretty much sewed up the W. Let it also be noted that he had 3 tackles, and indeed is almost fearless in run support off the corner. Unless he is hopelessly in luv with campus life at USC, I do not see how he doesn’t declare to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Then I expect him to lock up a first round grade with some big time numbers during workouts at the Combine. Likely to be the first CB taken. And I forgot to mention he is a TD threat almost every time he touches the ball on kick-offs or especially Punt Returns. He also a team Captain with that big C on his jersey.

HAROLD LANDRY/DE/ER/BOSTON COLLEGE 6’3/245 #7 JR It can be painful at times to watch B.C. in action these days, with at best a pop gun offensive attack. But it should also be noted that they are stout on Defense, at least until they are worn down from too much time on the field. And watching that D brings us to their star defender in LANDRY. Right now he’s in a fight to lead D1/FBS players in sacks for the season. He came into the FSU game with 9 sacks and was off and running harassing QB/DEONDRE FRANCOIS right from the start. And it’s not an easy task to corral the elusive FRANCOIS. But in the second quarter LANDRY got his mojo on. Late in that quarter he got sack #10 on the season. Then a short time later he got a strip/sack for No. 11. He is primarily an edge rusher, but he shows some inside spin moves to present a change of pace to frustrated blockers. He also pursues the ball from sideline to sideline. For the game he had 6 Tackles, including 4 TFL and the 2 sacks. He’s playing with his hand on the ground most of the time right now, but he certainly looks to me to have the athleticism to have a shot at OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He’s not tall at 6’3, but he has long legs and arms. If those arms and hands measure well at the Combine, he might have a shot for a late 1st Round selection. A DC like WADE PHILLIPS, could find multiple ways to max out this young man’s athleticism and motor. Assuming the NFL is his ultimate goal right now, the time might never be better than now for him to come out and get on with his NFL career, given the stats he’s compiling this season.

KeVONN MABON/WR/BALL STATE 6’1/219 #16 In case you are too tuned into the Power 5 Conferences, I just want to mention that an awful lot of solid prospects for both the NFL and CFL come out of the MAC every year. In this weeks thumbnails I have two actual senior wideouts, who I think both have a strong chance to make NFL rosters next season as No. 4 wideouts and Special Teams contributors. MABON is languishing in anonymity a bit this season because of coaching staff changes and the adjustments that come with that. But he presses on and uses his nice size, reliable hands and route running IQ to help his QB and team each and every week. The Cardinals are struggling just to avoid a 10-Loss season this year, but MABON is helping their Offense put up points and keep them in games. Last week I watched their game with Eastern Michigan a former MAC doormat, which is going bowling this season. MABON looks like a RB with or without the ball. He gets a lot of Yards after Catch/contact because he runs like a RB as well. He caught 12 balls against EMU, for 149 yards and 2 TD. For the season he has 67 catches, for 794 yards & those 2 TD. With 2 games to go he is likely to hold most of his school’s receiving records. I would expect to see MABON at the Shrine venue. He’s fighting for a slot in the 2017 NFL Draft, albeit in the last couple of Rounds most likely. He could have a solid back-up option in the CFL if need be.

RAEKWON McMILLAN/ILB/OHIO STATE 6’3/240 #5 JR The talent lode at Ohio State is as good as any team in FBS football, in most cases better. And McMILLAN is the leader of the Buckeyes retooled Defense. Keep in mind that 7 players from the 2015 Buckeye Defense are in the NFL this season. But it was RAEKWON, with 119 tackles, that led last year’s unit in stops. He’s at it again this year, but what I have been impressed with most in watching him this season is his leadership on the field, and his ability to drop into pass coverage in the intermediate region of the D. Against Maryland last Saturday he once again had a double digit tackle day with 10 Tackles, 2 TFL & 1 Sack. In the first quarter he came zooming from the middle of the defensive formation with penetration and pursuit to take down the Terps QB for a TFL. This young man can do it all and combines excellent athleticism, with a very high FBI. Just talk to his coaches about that. Sorry Buckeyes fans but I do not see how he does not come out for the NFL Draft. He has nothing left to prove on the field, or in the locker room for Buckeyes nation. Look for him to be a first rounder if he does.

DARREUS ROGERS/WR/SOUTHERN CAL 6’1/215 #1 Previously in this article I mentioned that the Trojan coaches have been able to significantly reduce the offensive snaps for ADOREE’ JACKSON because of the improved quality of their WR group. ROGERS would be one of the prime players within that group. RODGERS caught 28 balls for the Trojans last season, and after 10 Games this year already has 44 receptions, including 3 TD. That may not sound like a lot of receptions, but please remember he’s playing second fiddle to a potential 1st Rounder by the name of JUJU. ROGERS is a strong, physical guy who wins most of his hand fights for the ball, and is not easily knocked off of his routes by defenders. He has shown good hands and the ability to get open for his new QB. Despite getting knocked around a bit late in the contest with the Huskies, he caught 6 balls for 84 yards and one important TD. When opponents put too much attention into stopping JUJU, ROGERS has made them pay this year. I expect to see him at the SHRINE/NFLPA or SENIOR BOWL come January, and project him as early as a potential Round 4 Draft Pick.

TRAVIS RUDOLPH/WR/FLORIDA STATE 6’1/190 #15 JR RUDOLPH was the Seminoles leading returning pass catcher, with 59 grabs in 2015. He is not a speedster, and at times he appears to have trouble positioning himself to make the catch on throws that are slightly off target. But he gets separation on a regular basis and will go over the middle, and work the sidelines to great effect. But questions linger about his ability to get separation against top level defenders. Overall, I would classify him as a sure handed, possession receiver who could be a No. 3/4 wideout as a pro. He and RS Frosh QB FRANCOIS don’t always seem to be in sync, especially when the pocket breaks down. Against BC he had a typically productive, if unspectacular, performance with 6 catches for 81 yards and 1 TD. His best play of the game was his 3rd Quarter, 20-yard TD catch, where most of the yardage was RAC down a crowded sideline. His footwork before and after the catch may be his most impressive work. Through 10 games this season he has 44 catches for 680 yards and 5 TD. He’s a good guy who warmed some hearts for his effort to befriend a young boy with Autism during a school visit early this season. I don’t think he’ll be a Top 100 prospect if he comes out early for the Draft, but I doubt he waits beyond Round 4 unless he runs a very slow 40-time at the Combine.

MITCH TRUBISKY/QB/UNC 6’3/220 #10 JR TRUBISKY has emerged as a top level college QB this season after being a back-up his first few seasons for UNC. He has nice size for a potential pro QB. He has climbed the prospect ladder with his work for the 7-3 Tar Heels. Both KIPER & McSHAY have recently proclaimed him the top QB prospect for the 2017 Draft if he declares. As Coach Lee would say, ‘Not so fast my friends.’ I like his work, but see plenty of room for improvement. To some degree he may have ascended to the top of the list due to disappointment in some other QB prospects. But as he showed, even in a loss to Duke, he has some very positive attributes to his game already. He went 24/33- 72.7%- 297 yards- 3 TD- 2 INT in that Loss. His OL really let him down, especially late, but he seems slow to feel pocket pressure and as a result gets caught in a pile as the pocket collapses. He has enough athleticism to escape, but doesn’t seem to feel the urgency to escape soon enough. He is also not real sophisticated yet in timing with his receivers, even tho he has a pretty good group to throw to. He does tend to throw too many balls up for grabs. He surely has good pro potential, but he will need some learning time with a clipboard before being thrown to the wolves in the NFL. Does he stay at UNC and learn more under HC FEDORA another year, or take his game to the NFL and wait for his time like JARED GOFF has this season with the RAMS? He surely has late Round One potential in my eyes.

Cheers

Pigskin

Who Caught My Eye Week 9

RODNEY ADAMS/WR/SOUTH FLORIDA 6’1/190 #87 This guy doesn’t put up huge catch numbers because he plays in an Offense where the QB is their best run option. So passing plays quickly turn into running plays when QB/FLOWERS takes off. But when you watch him for a whole game, as I did against NAVY his size and smooth running style make me think he has large upside for the pro game. Because the team runs so much he has become a very solid downfield blocker for his QB and fellow receivers. Against NAVY he caught 7 balls for 54 yards. He is also known his hurdling ability when tacklers go too low to tackle him. Even tho a reverse that he took for 35 yards was called back on a holding call, his speed and elusiveness was in plain view for all to see. He should make a nice local addition for the Shrine Game, and may raise some eyebrows at the Combine. THis man could develop into a more productive pro than he has been as a collegian.

JAMES CONNER/RB/PITT 6’2/230 JR #24 Everyone in the world of football knows the story of CONNER’s battle with cancer that caused him to miss the almost the entire 2015 season, as well as knee issues. He was declared cancer-free this past May and he has returned to the field with a vengeance. He’s a bit lighter than previously, but he still runs strong and hard, perhaps just a bit faster. He has a knack for finding openings to run through and has very good balance, thus gaining considerable yards after contact. He also looks to improved as a receiver since his return, which only enhances his value for the pro game. In an exciting game last Thursday against VA TECH, CONNER was a big weapon for the Panthers. For the evening he rushed 19 times for 141 yards and 3 TD. There will be medical concerns to get past relative to his cancer history, but at the very least I would expect some NFL team to take him in the 4th Round at the latest, if he continues his current efforts. I clearly expect him to declare for the 2017 Draft, having lost a full year in 2015. His background makes him a clear potential locker room leader at any level of play.

RASUL DOUGLAS/CB/WEST VIRGINIA 6’2/208 #13 I do not recall seeing DOUGLAS’ name on any early prospect lists last summer. But this incredibly gifted athlete has really looked solid this season for the Mountaineers. His size catches your eye first. Than watching him fly around the field and breaking up throws in coverage really impresses. Against Oklahoma State he had at least 3 PBU that I made note of. And he’s not hesitant to lay the lumber on potential receivers. He has recorded 3 INT through the first 7 games of the 2016 season. He seems to have great ball awareness, looking more like the receiver than the defender on some of QB/RUDOLPH’s throws last weekend. I am thinking that he will get invited to either the Senior Bowl or Shrine venue come January. I also hope he’s at the Combine, because he looks like the kind of athlete who could simply blow that venue up. Consider him a rising senior prospect.

ISIAH FORD/WR/VA TECH 6’2/190 JR #1 From what I have seen of FORD in 4 Tech games I have watched this season, this guy should be one of the top underclassmen wideouts to declare for the 2017 Draft and supplement a mediocre senior group at WR. FORD really showed what he’s made up in the close win over PITT. FORD grabbed 75 balls in 2015 and that was with mediocre QB play overall. Enter JC QB JEROD EVANS, with superior athletic skill and a big time arm for 2016. Even though EVANS spread the ball around vs. PITT, FORD was clearly his favorite target, with 10 CATCHES for 143 yards and 1 TD. FORD also also gained 26 yards on a reverse play. FORD has the speed to get deep and the size and strength to win contested throws. He shows acrobatic ability in wrestling away the ball from defenders on some of those lofted throws. He shows very good hands as well. With his 4th Quarter TD catch FORD became Tech’s career D catch leader with 23. Here’s betting he’ll get a few more in their final 4 games, plus Bowling work. THat combination of a high FBI, speed and athleticism could make him a First Round candidate next April if he comes out.

NATE GERRY/SS/NEBRASKA 5’2/220 #25 This savvy vet is a big hitter, with some basic cover skills. He’s been the leader of the Huskers’ both on Defense and Special Teams for several seasons. He’s a prime example of what is referred to as an in-the-box S. He led the team in tackles with 79 during the 2015 season. Despite a close loss to the Badgers last Saturday to end the team’s unbeaten streak, GERRY did his part with 7 tackles as well as 2 big INT. What he lacks in elite athleticism, he makes up for with FBI, hustle and high energy effort. What kind of pro he might be is a bit up in the air, but he will be drafted on Day 3, and will be tough for some team not to keep on their roster. What you see is what you get from GERRY, though in today’s NFL he may have to curb some of his launch-tackle propensity.

DORIAN JOHNSON/OG/PITT 6’5/300 #53 I have actually been keeping an eye peeled on the work of PITT OT/ADAM BISNOWATY. I still think ADAM is a legit prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft, by the middle of the 1st Quarter my eyes were glued to JOHNSON lat week. What an exceptional looking athlete for an interior OL. He shows excellent footwork and is smooth in his movement, almost as if he’s skating around the field. Incredibly quick off the snap and into the second level for downfield blocking assignments. They used him constantly to pull out for wide plays away from his side of the field. And he had no difficulty getting to his block. He also shows great balance to stay on his feet and ready for more contact. He executed a n almost perfect seal block to open a huge hole for JAMES CONNER to score through in the 3rd Quarter. He is functionally strong but does not overpower DL opponents. His best pro fit by far should be in a precision passing attack, which will give him the best chance to utilize his athleticism. THis is clearly a Top 100 prospect.

NOBLE NWACHUKWU/DE/WEST VIRGINIA 6’2/275 #97 The 6-1 Mountaineers are having a really good season in great part because their Defense has stepped up and kept most of their games from being weekly shootouts. The 37 points they gave up last week is the exception to their pattern this season, and it cost them their first loss. The leader up front on D this year has been NWACHUKWU, who is their veteran leader and is working on a 3-year starting streak. He may be much better suited for an NFL 4-3 defensive scheme than his current 3-4 role. He is a bit light, but his quickness and speed are his best weapons. He provides some pass rush and will pursue from sideline to sideline. He’s one of those guys who just has a nose for the football, and can complete the play when he gets to it. He does have some pass-rush ability and might crack double figure sack totals for the 2016 season. Some tea,ms might see him as a solid OLB prospect with the loss of a few pounds. He should be a solid Pick for some team by Round 4 or 5 next April. Looking forward to seeing more of him in action at All-STar venues in January.

TYLER ORLOSKY/OC/WEST VIRGINIA 6’4/295 #65 ORLOSKY is about to log his 40th collegiate start, and right now he’s in consideration as one of the Top 4 OC prospects for the 2017 Draft. He fits in the category of flexible, athletic pivot men. He has good functional strength, but is not the blocky muscle man that PAT ELFEIN is at Ohio State. ORLOSKY relies on athleticism, especially foot quickness, and technique to get the job done. Against Oklahoma State he had his hands full with a group of 300 LB.+ interior DL, led by top prospect VINCENT TAYLOR (see below). But despite a few pocket collapses he more than held his own. His size could be an issue at the pro level, especially against those burly Nose Tackles, but I would concur with other Draftniks that he is also likely to start for a decade as a pro. especially for a team that features a precision passing offensive scheme. I’d look for him in Round 3 next April, unless he comes up short at the Combine.

VINCENT TAYLOR/DT/OKLAHOMA STATE 6’3/310 #96 JR In most scouting circles, TAYLOR was considered a solid starter who would use the 2016 season to set himself up for a big year in 2017, in a push for elevated Draft status in 2018. Instead TAYLOR has exploded this season to be a dominant force at the line of scrimmage for the Cowboys. I have watched 3 Okie State games this Fall and TAYLOR has been a major force in every one of them. He refuses to stay blocked and also has shown good quickness for his size and body frame. He has been elite at collapsing opponent passing pockets, and some of that pressure has actually come when he has looped to the outside. He is adept at using his hands and arm strength to push around blockers, at times actually walking them back into their own QB. To add to his value he’s shown a propensity to pressure and/or block some place kicks. I’ve heard some talk of him playing the Nose at the next level, but I think he’s best suited for a base 4-3 scheme, with enough quickness to even play DE in Red Zone situations. To me he’s clearly a Top 100 draftee if he declares to come out early.

DeMARCUS WALKER/DE/FLORIDA STATE 6’3/275 #44 I disagree with those who see WALKER as a big time impact defender with First Round potential. I have watched 4 FSU games this season, including the Loss to Clemson last weekend and I have come away with a ton of respect for WALKER as a hard working, high energy player. He may lead the Seminoles D in snaps played if he keeps up his current pace. Against Clemson he was out on the field til the final whistle blew, but couldn’t quite disrupt QB/WATSON enough back in that pocket. He should also post double-digit sacks on the season, but I would not classify him as an elite pass rusher. He has been playing both inside and out this year along their DL. Despite trying hard, it’s not hard for him to get caught up in the trash when working inside at 275 lbs.. He shows some nice spin move action on the edge, but often doesn’t have the speed or quickness to get to the QB before the ball is released. It looks to me like he is not truly explosive off the snap. WALKER could play for my team, but I’m not drafting him any earlier than Round 3.

JAMES WASHINGTON/WR/OKLAHOMA STATE 6’0/205 #28 JR Another of the talented Junior wideouts that the NFL will be counting on to enter the 2017 Draft and boost the skill position talent pool. He’s the best all-around wideout at Oklahoma State since a guy named DEZ BRYANT, IMO. He has nice size and good speed. If he shows that his speed is elite at the Combine he could have a shot at Round 1 next April. Under HC Mike Gundy the Cowboys spread the ball around and try to balance the passing attack with a solid running game. Therefore you don’t see many games when WASHINGTON catches 15 balls. But he usually ends up as the teams top guy. Last week in the game with West Virginia, WASHINGTON caught 6 balls for 117 yards and 0 TD. He can catch in traffic or he can blow by the secondary and get deep. He had a 2nd quarter drop, which was almost a shock given his reliable hands. He is also not afraid to work the middle and take the hits if that is what the defense is giving. His speed and balance aid him in gaining yards-after-catch. In 2015 he caught 53 balls and averaged over 20-ypc. He’ll surpass that catch total this year, though his average per catch will drop a bit.

Who Caught My Eye Week 8

RYAN ANDERSON/ER/LB/ALABAMA #22 6’2/253 Much of what I have to say about ANDERSON as a prospect is similar to what I have said previously about TIM WILLIAMS his Alabama teammate. His two biggest attributes are ball pursuit and pass-rush pressure both of which he does with extreme speed and energy for a guy his size. I’m still not sure whether he has potential to stand up in a 3-4 scheme as an OLB, or will need to be a 4-3 scheme pass rush specialist. Either way I see him as a 3rd Rounder for next year’s Draft. He’s incredibly explosive at the snap of the ball. He was just too quick, and at times too strong, for an average A&M OL to handle. His stats for the game were 4 Tackles, 3TFL, 1 FF & 1 QBH. But he was a constant irritant who had to be accounted for on every snap. He has a thick, strong body which inflicts pain and damage when he gets to the ball. He’d be a feature defender on a team with less talent. In comparison to WILLIAMS, I think Anderson is actually a bit more productive in college, but does not have the athletic skills package that WILLIAMS brings to the field. Here’s hoping he shows up for the Senior Bowl in January, because I’d luv to see how a pro coaching staff would work with him.

LEONARD FOURNETTE/RB/LSU #7 6’1/235 JR Any time FOURNETTE is healthy (and he wasn’t even 100% vs. Ole Miss) he’s going to get a ton of yards and your attention. He’s a big bulldozing back, who also accelerates to speedster status once into a secondary. Ole Miss is one of the worst teams in D1 at stopping the run, and it made for a bad match-up for them against FOURNETTE. A solid LSU OL opened some major holes which FOURNETTE used to great advantage rushing only 16 times, while gaining 284 yards and scoring 3 TD. His TD runs measured 59, 76 & 78 yards. He can break tackles and has a nice stiff-arm. Now for the bad news… he is not the prototypical RB for today’s NFL, where maybe 6-8 teams are looking for a power running game practitioner. He can catch dump-off screen throws, but that’s about it as a receiver. He reminds me of HERSCHEL WALKER, in that he’s basically a straight line runner who must have interior holes to run through. He does not have the cutting ability of an ADRIAN PETERSON. I project he’ll go in Round 1, but most fans are going to be surprised when it’s not in the Top 10 Picks. But this was a great game effort on his part coming back from that early season ankle injury last weekend.

KEON HATCHER/WR/ARKANSAS #4 6’2/218 HATCHER missed most of the 2015 season and was a bit under the radar getting back on the field this year for the Razorbacks. He has steadily gotten back into his groove and is once again a key weapon for the team. His game is running good patterns and shielding defenders from the ball to make catches. Can get you some YAC, but is not a true deep threat. He shows better than average catching ability. Despite the team getting spanked by Auburn HATCHER did his part to keep the Arkansas offense moving, with 7 catches for 81 yards. I am projecting that he will generate interest from some NFL teams for Rounds 4/5 next April, and will have a solid chance to emerge as a No. 3/4 wideout, with a chance to really make his mark on Special Teams because of his size and athleticism. His Draft stock is rising right now with NFL Personnel people.

O.J. HOWARD/TE/ALABAMA #88 6’6/245 Seems like HOWARD has been at Alabama for about a decade, but it has only been 4 years. He’s been a contributor since his frosh season and has improved every season. He is a now a very solid blocker and makes a receiving target who is hard to miss at 6’6. He gets used sporadically as a receiving target in the ‘Bama offense, depending upon the opponent and type of game underway. He may go several weeks in a row with only 1-2 catches per, and then be a major target, like last week against A&M. He was looked to often last weekend and responded, as he usually does, with 8 catches for 70 yards and a TD. He’s a bit stiff so doesn’t gain a lot after the catch, but he shows reliable hands and looks to have a high FBI. Should make an excellent Red Zone performer as a pro, with solid blocking ability and a long frame, with a very large receiving radius. Probably the best all-around TE prospect for the 2017 Draft. He reminds me of BUBBA FRANKS, and could be a late First Rounder.

JALEEL JOHNSON/DT/IOWA #67 6’4/310 I had no intention of thumb-nailing JALEEL, when I grabbed my notebook for this showdown with Wisconsin. I respect JOHNSON, but had not regarded him as anything special going into this contest with UW. But by halftime it was clear he might be the best performer out on the field on this day. His forte’ is anchoring the middle of the Hawkeyes DL, whether in a 3-4 as the Nose, or 4-3 alignment. He shows very good strength and balance. He stays low and plays with very good leverage. But he also can beat his blocker and great penetration to the opponents side of the line of scrimmage. He shows exceptional strength, that compares with some DT I have watched that weigh 10-20 lbs. more than him. In an amazing display for an interior lineman he recorded sacks on 2 consecutive plays late in the 3rd Quarter against the Badgers. For the game he recorded 4 tackles, including those 2 sacks. But he did much more all day long helping to hold RB/CLEMENTS to under 3-yds per carry, except for one long run in the 4th Quarter. He looks like a Top 100 player to my eyes after watching him carefully in this game.

GUNNER KIEL/QB/CINCINNATI #11 6’4/215 The forgotten man. The JEFF GEORGE of his generation. Both statements might apply handily to this former 5-star Notre Dame recruit. He has bounced around and though he had a nice season in 2015 for Cincy, when not injured, he ended up in HC TUBERVILLE’s dog house this off-season. He was demoted to 3rd string and told to straighten up his attitude as a teammate and competitor. Word is he complied and when the two guys ahead of him went down Coach Tubs put him back out on the field a couple of weeks ago. Last week against East Carolina KEIL got the start and acquitted himself well in a Cincinnati victory. KEIL went 23/40- 58%- 348 yards- 4 YTD- 0 INT. That’s quite a solid performance, especially when you consider that the Bearcats Offense is challenged by a completely rebuilt WR corps this season, with their top 3 guys from 2015 in the NFL. The next question is whether or not KEIL keeps the starting job when others get healthy. Most folks will tell you that his arm is not his issue, it’s his head. With the urgency of need for NFL level QB I still have to believe some NFL team will have him on their roster next Summer, unless he implodes during the interview process next Spring. I’d like to see the Shrine Game send him an invite.

DESMOND KING/DB/IOWA #14 5’11/203 IOWA has had a very solid track record of sending DB to the NFL during the FERENTZ coaching regime. KING looked like one of their best ever in 2015 when he racked up 8 INT along with 13 PBU. He also posted 72 tackles. Many were surprised when he elected to return to school for a senior campaign. Another season doesn’t always add to a player’s value however. Especially relative to INT, which are often the residue just of luck as they are of hard work. Through half of this season his numbers are down to 1 INT and his draft stock is drifting, if not falling. He’s a good all around player who can do it all out on the grass, including serving as a very good Return Specialist. But I have a bad feeling from watching him again last week against Wisconsin, that his forty-time at Indy is going to have many teams talking about him as a S. Nothing wrong with that, but it won’t get him drafted and paid at the highest level. He had a nice game with a whopping 12 tackles, and a fumble recovery in the loss to the Badgers. But he was beaten on several occasions in coverage, including two by Badger TEs who out-quicked him for big plays. To be blunt I don’t think he’s a much better athlete than MICAH HYDE, another ex-Hawkeye playing in sub-packages for the Packers. I will label him a 2nd/3rd Rounder with his best NFL starting opportunity to be as a FS.

SAM ROGERS/FB/VIRGINIA TECH #45 5’10/228 ROGERS chances of actually being drafted next Spring are realistically not much better than 50/50. But he deserves to be thumb-nailed because of all the little things he can do for a team, and what a nice upgrade he could be for some team in the bottom quarter of their roster. TECH had a key game at home last week against Miami. The team needed to bounce back from an upset loss at Syracuse. They did so, and ROGERS was a big part of that victory. He looked exactly like the Swiss Army knife we’ve come to expect him to be. He was his usual strong presence on Special Teams, but a much bigger part of the Offense than he is most weeks. ROGERS caught two balls in this one and in the 2nd Quarter he took a short toss and zigged and zagged his way to a 52-yard gain getting the ball inside the Miami 10-yard line. In the 3rd Quarter he actually threw a pass for a 13-yard TD. He caught another pass later in the game and was his usual self, doing the ordinary things like blocking from scrimmage and covering punts on Special Teams. He looks like a solid addition to some NFL roster, and might get an invite to an All-Star game. We’ll get an idea how serious his Draft chances are when we see if he’s invited to the Combine.

SHAAN WASHINGTON/OLB/TEXAS A&M #33 6’3/235 I’ve watched A&M, and SEAN WASHINGTON, 3 times in the past month. And I cannot believe the guy isn’t more of a household name on Prospect watch lists. After all, it’s not like he came from nowhere, after notching 81 tackles in 2015 and has been seeing regular reps since his true freshman season in College Station. Through 7 games this season he leads the team in tackles with 56. He has nice size for an OLB spot in the pro game, and should grade out pretty nicely with his drill numbers at the Combine. He runs smoothly and covers a lot of ground. He timed some nice blitzes to pressure QB/HURTS a few times. He also shows good mobility in back-pedaling into position to defend the shallow middle of the field against the pass. I thought he as all over the field against ‘Bama, and sure enough he led the team with 11 tackles, including 1/2 TFL and 1 QBH. We won’t dwell on the fact that he committed a roughing the passer foul in the 3rd Quarter with hands to HURTS face. To add one more aspect to his value and versatility he also excels on Special Teams coverage units. He made an outstanding open field tackle on a punt return early in the 4th Quarter. In summation he does an awful lot of little things to help his team every game. If he’s not a Top 100 prospect he certainly should he highly sought after guy in Round 4, when the final day of the draft rolls around.

DAVIS WEBB/QB/CAL #7 6’5/225 WEBB sat the bench at Texas Tech once PAT MAHOMES got to campus. No shame in that though. After seemingly stating his intention to attend multiple schools as a graduate transfer, he ended up at CAL taking over for JARED GOFF in Sonny Dykes wide open attack offense. And he hasn’t missed a beat, putting up GOFF kind of numbers. Last week he guided CAL to a 52-49 victory over Oregon as they upped their record to 4-3 in what was labeled a big rebuilding year without GOFF, the first pick in the NFL Draft by the RAMS. Against the Ducks WEBB was 42/61- 69%- 325 yards- 5 TD- 0 INT. The tall, big handed WEBB has been quite the gunslinger for the Golden Bears all season. Yes, a lot of his throws could be classified as dink and dunk, but he has also shown nice touch on some long throws and seems to be reading the field quite effectively in choosing his targets. He’s also doing all this in light of the fact that when GOFF left town so did CAL’s 6 top receivers from last season. WEBB seems to be doing a fine job nurturing a whole mess of young, inexperienced receivers. He looks to be in control of the huddle (when they have one) and interacts quite a bit with his teammates on the sidelines. He seems to have been a very quick study in mastering DYKES’ offensive scheme. I have to think that he’s a legit pro prospect, albeit a few rounds later than GOFF. Hoping to see WEBB at a Star Game come January.

Pigskin

WHO CAUGHT MY EYE Week 7

DALVIN COOK/RB/FLORIDA STATE #4 5’11/206 JR May be the most explosive RB prospect in college football. Has great burst to and through the hole. Once under way he shows excellent balance powered by legs that never stop moving. Has good strength for his size. Despite a bad drop on a screen pass in the 1st Quarter, he normally catches well out of the backfield and gains lots of yards after the catch. He fumbled twice against Wake which is unusual for him. He also missed some 3rd Quarter time after taking a hit to the sternum. But he came back strong in the 4th quarter to finish the day with 115 rushing yards on 25 carries, and 1 reception for 11 more yards. He had a string earlier with 2 games of over 200 total yards rom scrimmage. He gets nicked up a bit in part because of his hard charging running style. Assuming he comes out early, before he’s running on bald tires, I would expect him to the first RB selected next April in the Draft.

MATTHEW DAYES/RB/NC STATE #21 5’9/203 DAYES really impressed as the game with Clemson progressed. He was a big time rushing factor in the second half of the game. He showed great burst to and thru holes at the line-of-scrimmage. He also showed very good field vision, and quick cut ability once into open space. He looked to me like he had very good acceleration ability. He gained a lot of yard-after-contact in this contest. He also looks to be a decent pass catching option. He is an effective and wiling blocker when held in for pass pro. He was able to pick up several blitzing defenders to buy his QB time during key drives. After splitting time a bit in the first half he was the bell cow in second half action. He finished the game with 106 yards on 22 carries, including a TD. He may be a tad short, but he packs a solid 203 lbs. on his frame. He’s far from an elite prospect, but he could be a solid late round pick who provides a tough back-up RB option. I would also project him to be a solid Special Teams contributor.

PAT ELFEIN/OC/OHIO STATE #65 6’3/300 This guy reminds me a lot of former Buckeye, and present Packers OC COREY LINSLEY, who started in his Rookie season as a pro. ELFEIN played OG earlier in his career, which can only work to his advantage in the eyes of NFL Personnel people. IF he can’t earn a starting job right away he could back up all 3 Interior OL slots. He’s functionally strong, and has a high FBI. He should be able to make line calls right away at the pro level. Watching him in action against the Badgers last weekend he stood out for his consistency and bulldog approach to life in the trenches. He stays on his feet and seems to move around effectively to respond to blitzes or stunts taking place around him. He really helped diminish pocket pressure from the interior of the Badgers DL. What you see is what you get with ELFEIN, and he looks like a starter at the pro level to me.

TREY GRIFFEY/WR/ARIZONA #5 6’3/209 Despite the fact that Southern Cal pounded Arizona into submission, I wanted to watch GRIFFEY in action. And yes he is the son of MLB great, KEN GRIFFEY. But I can’t tell you what his real prospects are for the NFL, because the Wildcats use him as a decoy most of the time. He looked totally out of place and at times didn’t even run his routes out when the play went away from him. He’s a pretty looking athlete in a uniform and pads. Let it also be said that Arizona is hurting at QB this season. They completed a whopping 11 throws against USC. It’s guys like this that Practice Squads were created for. It should be noted that he caught only 11 balls in 2015, but averaged 25.8 yards per catch. His best scenario right now is to get invited to the Combine out of curiosity and post some eye catching numbers based on his athleticism. Can’t say much more about him, but if you are a strong believer in the athletic gene pool, like I am, then you gotta wonder what his upside really is.

MARQUEL LEE/LB/WAKE FOREST #8 6’3/240 In the Wake game against Florida State I got my first real chance to watch LEE carefully from a prospect perspective. I like his full sized body, with a strong base anchor. He’s not a speedster but he runs well and has a knack for finding the ball. He wears that Captain’s “C” on his chest which appeals to me. Particularly in the first half he seemed to “spying” DALVIN COOK and was effective overall. He was the cause of COOK’s 3rd Quarter fumble when he parlayed a blitz into a TFL and the fumble. He’s a full sized dude, in pads. I saw him leave the field twice, banged up. But in both instances he returned to action fairly soon. My biggest question is his playing speed. At times he looked a bit heavy legged. His best spot may be inside in a 3-4 base scheme. I sure hope he gets invited to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. His work there in practice and then the game could answer a few more questions for me. Right now I would project him as a Round 4-5 player.

DONNEL PUMPHREY/RB/RS/SA NDIEG STATE #19 5’9/180 It’s a bit of a challenge trying to project his exact fit for the NFL. Surprisingly for his size, he gets a lot of tough yardage between the tackles. He has a knack for making himself “skinny” when he sees a crease from his blockers and sliding forward for some extra yards. He’s not a pure speedster, but has quickness and very good balance. He’s breaking career rushing records set by a guy named MARSHALL FAULK, who tore things up for the AZTECS a couple of decades ago. He seems to see the field well and cut into empty areas. Call him the ‘Artful Dodger’ if you will. In a tougher than expected Win over Fresno State PUMPHREY carried 38 time for 220 yards and 2 TD. I can’t see him handling that big of a load as a pro, but rather be a jack of all trades ala DARREN SPROLES. He might last into Draft Saturday, but should be a great offensive tool for an NFL team. If you haven’t seen him play yet because he’s usually on late at night, set your recording device sometime soon and watch him in action. It’s a treat, trust me.

DeSHAUN WATSON/QB/CLEMSON #4 6’2/215 JR Many people felt he would be the top QB prospect in college football this season. He still may be, but IMO the star has dimmed a bit. In his defense the Clemson OL is mediocre (at best) and their running game is erratic depending in great part upon the health of RB/WAYNE GALLMAN. Gallman was injured in the first half of the game against NC State leaving WATSON with his plate full to lead the team in both run and pass Offense for the majority of the game. Overall, he did well passing for 35/48- 73%- 347 yards- TD, He did throw 1 pick that turned into a Pick-6. He also used his considerable running skills to score another TD. He still has some issues getting through his progressions and finding anyone past his second read. But that can be somewhat attributed to a lack of pass protection in the pocket. He’s incredibly slippery when he does run with the ball. At the end of the first half he showed how good he can be, when he went 8/9 for 84-yards and a TD in the Tigers final drive of the half.. His accuracy is a bit inconsistent. He sometimes follows a pinpoint rocket throw with a two hopper on the next throw. Overall, I would say he’s a great athlete, and a solid team leader. If he comes out early (which I think he should) he will have a high ceiling for growth, but if pushed into a starting role right away I worry about bad habits not getting corrected. By the way his stats above do not include OT, because I consider those numbers to be artificial.

DALVIN TOMLINSON/DT/ALABAMA #54 6’4/307 This guy has been a contributor for the past couple years for the Tide, but got lost in all the pub deservedly heaped on JARRAN REED & A’SHAWN ROBINSON. This season he has become the star down lineman of the Tide Defense. He can play anywhere along the DL and looks to be scheme diverse to me. Like REED the previous 2 seasons, DALVIN’s combo of strength and mobility surprise me at times. More active than you might expect from his body type. He was stout against Tennessee and spent a lot of time penetrating into the Vols backfield to disrupt the pocket and/or wrap up a RB. Keeps his feet very well and pursues relentlessly. He also stays on the field, playing a lot of snaps. He showed very good hand use to move VOL blockers and get to the ball. This guy is climbing on my prospect list.

CHAD WHEELER/OT/SOUTHERN CAL #72 6’6/300 When healthy a very athletic LT who is skilled at both pass pro and run blocking in the Trojans pro-style Offense. He moves his feet with agility and mirrors defenders very nicely. Really looked good keeping Arizona defenders away from his QB last weekend. He shows a solid hand punch, but could clearly use more overall body bulk and muscle for a pro career. In the Trojans 3rd possession of the game WHEELER recognized a blitzer and moved off his DE block to pick up said blitzer, with a solid block. Looked to me like he prevented a sack on that one. He’s basically a finesse player which is OK for many NFL offenses these days. If he finishes the season healthy I could see him taken on Day 2 of the 2017 Draft. Giants RT ZACH BANNER gets more pub because of his size, but WHEELER is more NFL ready.

DRAVIOUS WRIGHT/S/NC STATE #8 5’10/208 This tough, aggressive player plays a hybrid secondary role for the Wolfpack which should translate to a S role in the NFL. With the game against Clemson tied in the 3rd Quarter, WRIGHT ripped the ball away from the RB at the 1-yard line and recovered the fumble to foil the Clemson scoring opportunity. He showed physicality in run support and was a major force on coverage units in Special Teams work. He’s not a ball hawk, but shows some basically sound cover skills. He’s an energetic, hard hitting player, who could add toughness to the team who gets him next Spring. I really think he may get a shot playing in say the Shrine Game and find himself late-draftable if he posts solid Combine numbers. I was not initially watching him, but he literally caught my eye because of his play against Clemson.

Cheers Pigskin

WHO CAUGHT MY EYE Weeks 5 & 6

Now that Hurricane Matthew has ended his unwelcome visit to Florida I am getting back on track and giving you 2 weeks of thumbnails in one column. I have indicated in each instance what game performance I am referring to.

BEN BOULWARE/ILB/CLEMSON #10 5’11/235 Another example of a less than ideal athlete who is too hard core of a ‘baller to be ignored. Just look at the tape from Clemson’s big W over Louisville. If you don’t have time to watch let me tell you his stat line for that game. 18, yes 18, Tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU, Fumble recovery. I don’t care what size he is he can play for my team any day. He makes up for a lack of height and foot speed with a very high FBI and unbelievable energy level. He is also tough as nails and hurts people with his hard hits. Gotta be a great locker room influence as well. I’d draft him in Round 4 without hesitation.

EVAN ENGRAM/TE/H-B/OLE MISS #17 6’3/227 It’s still not clearly defined where his game will translate to as a pro, from a positional perspective. But it is clear that he is a smart, hard working player who is a good athlete. He’s not really fast enough to be a full-time WR, and not big enough to be an inline TE. But he can flat out catch, and gain extra yards. He’s a very good leaper and will win most high-point battles for catches. He has been CHAD KELLY’s go-to guy the past two seasons. Despite team losses he has come up big in the Rebels two biggest contests of the season so far. He had 9 catch games against both Florida State and Alabama. In today’s pass happy NFL there will be a spot for him in multiple roles on Offense. He may be athletic enough to really impress at the Combine and push his stock upward.

JORDAN EVANS/LB/OKLAHOMA #26 6’2/233 EVen though it wasn’t pretty at times the victory last week over Texas might just serve as a springboard to a more successful second half of the season for the 3-2 Sooners. One of their leaders on D is EVANS, who can do it all. He may play inside or outside in the pros depending upon base schemes/ But his biggest potential pro attribute is that he is effective at dropping into coverage. He is also active as a zone blitzer and spends a good deal of time on opponents’ side of the line of scrimmage. Against Texas EVANS was credited with 10 tackles, 1 1/2TFL & 1/2 sack. He appears to be a smart player with multiple skills. He was the team’s leading returning tackler with 83 in 2015. Given his athleticism he should make an interesting project for some NFL team next year, with immediate dividends yielded on Special Teams units. Looks mid-Round draftable to me.

JON HECK/OT/UNC #71 6’7/300 Notes from game action vs. VA Tech. Son of former NFLer ANDY HECK. JON is not quite the athlete his dad was, but has been a solid starter for Tar Heels since his frosh year. He has good size and excellent length, but looks like a RT to me, which is his college position. He is agile, but not terribly quick afoot. He shows fairly active hand and arm use in pass pro and shows good quickness off the snap. Can get to second level blocks quickly in run game. Let’s call him a good prospect, with lots of useful playing experience at high level of competition. IMO, he looks very similar to JOHN THEUS out of UGA last year, who did make the 49’ers roster this year. I’d plug him somewhere between Rounds 4 & 5.

JOHN JOHNSON/FS/BOSTON COLLEGE #9 6’0/200 THis guy looks to me to be almost the spitting image of JASON SIMMONS, who was drafted coming out of BC this past April. He plays the run and pass equally well, and never gives up on a play. He had 63 tackles and 3 INT in 2015 for the Eagles. He put up a valiant effort in a beat down by Clemson last week with 4 tackles and a fumble recovery. But the BC D kept them in the game into the 2nd half, when their hapless Offense sputtered, then completely shut down. I expect more of the same from BC on the second half of the season, so to some extent JOHNSON’s pro prospects may be decided at the Combine and All-STar games come January. A former CB, JOHNSON serves as the squad’s defensive signal caller from his S spot.

SAMAJE PERINE/RB/OKLAHOMA JR #32 5’10/235 PERINE was a revelation as a true freshman with over 1300 rushing yards. He topped the 1300-yard mark again as a soph. Behind a mediocre OL this season he has come on strong after a modest start. In the big win over Texas last Saturday he carried the Sooners on his broad shoulders with 214 yards on 35 carries, 6.1 ypc, and 2 very important TDs. The front seven of the Longhorns is a talented group to post those numbers against. He reminds me quite a bit of Jerome Bettis as a tough inside runner, who often dishes out more punishment than he takes. He runs through, and occasionally around defenders, showing good balance to pick up those yards after contact. He also shows good initial burst to and through creases in the Defense. Gets dinged up because of his style of running, but usually bounces back after a bit of rest and medical attention on the sidelines. Expect him to come out for the 2017 Draft, and be very attractive to an NFL team that likes a power running game. Looks like a Round 2 guy to me.

CAM ROBINSON/OT/ALABAMA JR #74 6’6/325 May just be the best overall OT in college football who is Draft eligible in 2017. He has monster size and decent mobility to go with it. He really does remind me of D.J. FLUKER, when he was at Alabama. He is a good pass protector, but will probably have some issues with the elite speed rushers in the NFL. Once he gets rolling secondary defenders look for a place to hide. Early in the Arkansas game he pulled all the way from LT to block on the right side of the formation. He got there before the RB although he was off-balance when he attempted to execute a block on the LB. Spent a little more time on the ground than I want from my elite LT. I jotted down a note at one point as he missed a second level block despite getting to his man. A play later though he shot off the snap of the ball and executed a devastating seal block on a LB. The talent is clearly there and he should start for a long time as a pro. If ‘Bama wins another national title expect him to start making big bucks as a pro by leaving school a year early. A sure thing 1st Rounder.

JORDAN STERNS/S/OKLAHOMA STATE #13 6’0/200 There seems to be a shortage of elite S prospects for most Drafts, and I think a big part of the reason or that is that so much is expected of today’s S. STRENS looks to have all the tools to excel as a pro. In 2015 he was credited with 108 tackles and 2 INT. He covers a lot of ground and has good ball skills, in addition to be a heavy hitting tackler. He was one of the big play stars against Texas 2 weeks ago. In the 3rd Quarter he had a red zone INT at the Cowboys 15 yard line to end a Longhorns drive. Later in the 3rd Q, he diagnosed the play and had a TFL to foil a Texas 2-point conversion attempt. He is a solid team leader, on and off the field. Looks to have a very high FBI. On my Big Board he’s a Top 100 senior prospect, who we should see in detail at the Senior Bowl.

CORDREA TANKERSLEY/CB/CLEMSON #25 6’1/200 I have mixed emotions about this player short term, but he has the ability to start in the NFL with extra coaching. In games against both Louisville and B.C. he could have been called for multiple PI and holding penalties because he’s grabby and not as subtle about it as he thinks he is. I expect him to have the same penalty issues early in his pro career as TRAE WAYNES, who seems to be improving in his technique this year. He has nice size and likes to throw himself around the field and be physical. He is willing in run support, and also plays Special Teams coverage units. He also has shown some ball skills and is able to locate the ball for INT on a regular basis. He had 5 Picks and 9 PBU in 2015. He surely should end up a Top 100 prospect for the 2017 Draft.

JAHAD THOMAS/RB/RS/TEMPLE #5 5’10/188 Certainly he’s a bit small to be your No. 1 RB option at the pro level, but he can do so many things that he should make a nice change of pace guy for today’s NFL. He is fast (though not a blazer) and strong for his size. He rushed for over 1200 yards and 17 TD last season, as well as catching 22 balls. To illustrate his versatility and productivity let’s go back to Temple’s battle with Memphis. He rushed for 37 yards and caught 6 balls for 121 yards. One of those catches as a 61 yard catch and run TD. He also had a 37 yard Punt Return in that contest. He has that explosive, jitter-bug running style with the ball in his hands. Lots of tacklers are left grasping at air when he gets in the open field. There will be no interest in him from teams who want their RB group to all be over 200 lbs., but plenty of teams will luv his versatility. We should see him in Mobile or St Pete come January.

NOEL THOMAS/WR/UCONN #5 6’1/200 Some players fly under the radar primarily because of the team they play for. NOEL may fit that scenario as UCONN struggles to achieve competitive respectability. This past weekend they had a solid upset win over Cincinnati. The Huskies have had a solid defense pretty much since their entry into D1 football. Bt scoring has often been a challenge. THOMAS has emerged as a legit prospect after a 54 catch season in 2015. This year he has actually led the nation in catches for a few weeks. He rang the bell again last weekend with 9 catches for 135 yards and 1 TD. His long gain was 62 yards. He’s not a burner, but has good size and reliable hands. He runs solid patterns and gets yards after the catch if the throw is placed properly. He is also not afraid to work the middle and will make catches in a crowd. He’s also considered a fiery competitor. I like what I see in him and though I doubt he cracks the Top 100 as a prospect he surely in draftable, likely in the middle rounds.

GREG WARD/QB/HOUSTON #1 5’11/185 Here we go again, with a superior athlete, who is a natural born leader, but has very questionable size for the NFL. WARD has a very high FBI and displays pretty good throwing accuracy. But I do NOT see him as the next RUSSELL WILSON in the NFL.He’s about 20 lbs. lighter than WILSON and doesn’t seem to have 10″+ hands. I’ve watched 5 Houston games this season and he has starred in each one. Against a tough UCONN D two weeks ago he was superlative in all aspects of play. He passed for 389 yards and 3 TD, on 32/38, 84% completion percentage. When he needed he tucked the ball and scooted 12 times or 65 yards and another TD. THat’s what he does just about every week. He was even playing in that contest with an injured throwing arm that required training staff attention between every Houston possession. He has WILSON speed and elusiveness to keep plays alive. He’s gonna be tough for teams to pass on. I’d say expect middle rounds as a multi-purpose athlete for some creative offensive team. IMO, he could star in the CFL as a QB. I’d advise you to watch a Cougars game soon and catch this guy in action. You’ll likely be impressed.

JAMAAL WILLIAMS/RB/BYU #21 6’2/220 Expectations were high when WILLIAMS signed on with BYU, but injuries and personal issues derailed his past two seasons. He’s back for a senior year and is displaying the running ability experts always felt he had. He has an excellent combination of size and speed, actually reminding me a bit of ARIAN FOSTER in those regards. He rang the bell in a high scoring shootout with MAC Conference power TOLEDO. In that game he carried the ball for 286 yards and 5 TD. He ran through, around and past defenders all game long. He combines good field vision with quick cut and explosion through defenses. Just to prove it was no fluke he came back last week against Michigan State with 30 carries for 163 yards and 2 TD. With injuries to guys like FOURNETTE & McCAFFREY the door is wide open for WILLIAMS to post big numbers for the balance of the season and boost his Draft stock.

TIM WILLIAMS/OLB/ALABAMA #56 6’4/237 I am a sucker for full sized, athletic athletes in football uniforms. Mark me down for a man-crush on WILLIAMs. He does not ring the bell with big stat numbers, in great part because of the talent level of his teammates. There are only so many tackles to go around folks. But watching him in action as ‘Bama rolled over a solid Arkansas team was pure delight. WILLIAMS was a highlight reel star in the contest. He owned a couple of possessions in the 2nd Quarter. First he parlayed a fumble into a scoop and score on his part from 25 yards out. He also showed speed, and a great inside spin move to sack QB/AUSTIN ALLEN in that quarter as well. He also added a QBH in that quarter. This guy is likely to blow up the Combine and hopefully will show his wares in Mobile as well. Looks like a First Rounder to me. He can do it all!

That’s a wrap for my post-hurricane coverage. I hope to get back into a normal schedule this weekend.

Pigskin

WHO CAUGHT MY EYE Week 4

KENDELL BECKWITH/ILB/LSU #52 6’3/247 Another tackling machine from the LSU program, but in this case he’s a full sized ILB. Second leading tackler on the 2015 team, 2nd to NFL draftee DEION JONES. He looks to be well on his way to leading the team in tackles this season. He was all over the field in the loss to Auburn, ending up with a dozen tackles. He plays sideline to sideline, but is especially adept at meeting runners at the line-of-scrimmage. Is a big hitter similar IMO to REGGIE RAGLAND, formerly Alabama. For his size, he has good range to cover the middle of the field on shallow throws. He should also rattle some bones at the pro level on Special Teams. Like JONES, I would expect him to be a possible 2nd Rounder.

BREON BORDERS/CB/DUKE #31 6’0/175 Unfortunately the first thing you notice about BORDERS is his slight build. But when you watch him in action he plays a solid full game, including tackling in run support as well as out in the open field. He has cover skills that fit a zone scheme quite well. In the big DUKE “upset” of Notre Dame he played his usual all-around game. He was in on 5 Tackles, forced a fumble (which he recovered) and had 3 pass break-ups. He might be a late round draft pick, but if not he will be a highly sought after URFA. And my guess is he will be a tough late cut for some team next Training Camp/Preseason.

BRYAN COX/DE/FLORIDA #94 6’3/269 He is indeed the son of former NFL star of the same name. He has a mean streak in him and is tough as nails. He left the game against Tennessee with a leg issue, but later returned to action. He’s not a strict speed edge-rusher, but has some serious pass rush skills. He had 3.5 sacks and 6 QBH last season, playing in a very deep DL rotation, and looks to be poised to improve on those numbers with additional playing time in 2016. Even though he is slightly short of ideal size to hold the edge he uses his strength and toughness to hold up against the run. He must be blocked at the snap or will find his way to the ball. A good all around DE for an NFL 4-3 scheme. Likely to be a rotational player. I like his toughness and effort, and of course his genes.

ZAY JONES/WR/EAST CAROLINA #7 6’1/197 Seems hard to believe that a guy who finished 2015 with 98 receptions could be under the radar, but JONES seems to be to many folks. He clearly has the speed to go deep. He is a very good target, with exceptional ball skills and good hands. He will catch dump off throws all day long and stretch the catch into first downs with his elusive run after the catch ability. Early in the VA TECH game he had a beautiful one-handed grab, battling a defender along the sideline. The play went for 34-yards but was called back by a holding penalty against the ECU OL. High FBI, which showed when he turned defender on a poor 3rd quarter throw, and prevented an INT. On the day he caught 10 balls, for 115 yards. ECU looks like a .500 team this year, which will cost JONES some exposure, but watch for him at the Senior Bowl and Combine.
His versatile game reminds me a lot of a bit bigger STARLING SHARPE when he was in college.

TODD KELLY/FS/TENNESSEE #24 5’11/208 I realize that KELLY is only a junior and I was not excited about him as a prospect until I watched the VOLS break their losing streak to Florida last weekend. He’s the best all-around S I have seen on the field for Tennessee since a guy named ERIC BERRY played there. He was all over the field against the Gators with 5 tackles, but seemed to be around the ball on almost every play. He also grabbed himself an INT, and of course he was the guy who covered a FLA onside kick to pretty much wrap up the game with 4:17 remaining. He is also known as a team leader out on the field of playas well as being a locker room leader and very high character guy. He is currently wearing #24 as his uniform number in tribute to a Tennessee HS player who was gunned down protecting several teem girls during gang violence. In his spare time he has attended several games to watch that player’s younger brother perform. This is a man before his time and if he comes out early at the end of this season I’d certainly be scouting him heavily.

GEORGE KITTLE/TE/IOWA #46 6’4/246 Full sized, multi-skill TE are not the vogue in college football these days. Many teams are more likely to insert an extra OL into their goal line offense than a solid TE. KITLE fits into that scenario as a prospect IMO. Other than lacking true downfield speed, he blocks well and has good hands. He also shows the ability to run through and over DB once he catches the ball. But the Hawkeyes just don’t feature their TE slot very often. He had 2 catches for 56 yards in the Hawkeyes squeaker 14-7 win over Rutgers. I think KITTLE has a chance to emerge as a solid player at the NFL level. Now that Iowa’s top wideout, MATT VANDEBERG, is out for the season they may be forced to go to KITTLE more often. If so watch for him to step it up and excel. I am looking forward to watching him ply his wares at the Senior Bowl in January.

JORDAN LEGGETT/TE/CLEMSON #16 6’5/255 The TE is not used as a target a lot in the Clemson Offense, but LEGGETT shows enough athleticism to make me think he may have a better career as a productive TE in the NFL than he has during his career in college. He runs well and has reliable hands. He’s a willing blocker and should get better. He seems to glide around the field as a receiver. We were told that he would targeted more in the game against GA TECH, but after a fast start the team went back to it’s WR group most of the time. LEGGETT finished the day with 4 catches, for 31 yards and a first quarter TD. He’s the team’s best TE since DWAYNE ALLEN, and to my eyes has the potential to be more of a receiving threat in the NFL.

GREG PYKE/OG/GEORGIA #73 6’6/315 PYKE has moved outside to OT this season, after settling in at OG last season. He’s holding his own out there but his limited mobility and choppy footwork are clearly best suited inside and that is how NFL Personnel people will judge him. He’s a strong guy and a hard worker. Playing in the UGA Offense means he’s used to both run and pass blocking and will likely not miss a beat going to an NFL team. Since he is not expected to win an NFL starting job right away his position versatility may make him a valuable multiple position back-up. In the loss to Ole Miss he left the game with a leg injury. Luckily for the Bulldogs he sucked it up and was back on the field holding his own in the second half. There are a good number of former GEORGIA OL in the NFL and I expect PYKE to rank as a solid mid-rounder for next April’s Draft.

SETH RUSSELL/QB/BAYLOR #17 6’3/220 RUSSELL is off to a solid start in leading the Bears to a 4-0 mark this September. He’s coming back off a chipped bone in his neck that caused him to lose most of the 2015 season. But he shows no ill effects from the injury so far this season. He’s a stout guy, built along the lines of MATTHEW STAFFORD. He doesn’t have STAFFORD’s cannon arm, but he can throw a decent deep ball. He reads the field well and has the mobility to extend plays outside the pocket. He can also take off and run the ball when receivers are covered or the pocket collapses behind a relatively inexperienced OL. Flying a bit under the radar this season Baylor has piled up some hefty point totals and a heady QB is a big part of that. After a lightning/game delay RUSSELL pretty much carved up a solid Oklahoma State defense. He passed for 387 yards, going 18/28, 64%, 3 TD and 1 INT. He also tucked the ball under his arm 10 times and rushed for 65 yards. He’s a very different player and athlete, but I think he’s every bit as much of a pro prospect as BRYCE PETTY was, who he replaced at QB for the Bears.

DAN SKIPPER/OT/ARKANSAS #70 6’10/319 I have watched Arkansas in 3 of their first 4 games. And even though really long, tall OT are not all the vogue at the pro level this former basketballer has good mobility and can run a bit. He’s handling things well at LT, but I could see him out at RT as a pro. He’s never going to be able to play at a low pad level, but for his height he does pretty well. He also uses his long arms well to ward off defenders. He keeps his feet under his pads in pass pro and moves more like a guy 6’6. SKIPPER brings a bonus skill to his game on Special Teams. He has developed a knack for using his length to block kicks. He is on the verge of setting an NCAA record with a handful of additional blocks in the remainder of this season. In essence, I have watched him play consistently well this year, and I think he is a valid mid-round prospect.

RYAN SWITZER/WR/RS/NORTH CAROLINA #3 5’10/185 This guy has been busting returns since he showed up on campus as a frosh. He started the game against PITT with a 54-yard Punt Return, which unfortunately was negated by penalty. But on this day his big contributions came as a receiver, a role in which he has improved his skills every season. He was the star of the late game drive that netted UNC a shootout victory. For the whole game he pulled in 16 catches, for 208 yards and a TD. He has the quickness to get open from the slot, but he also has the pure speed to take the top off of the secondary, which guys like EDELMAN & WELKER have never had. He’s about the same size now as he was coming into college, but most NFL teams have at least one smaller guy on their to balance out their receiving corps. Watch for SWITZER to wrap up a mid-round draft spot when he blazes his 40-time at the Combine next February.

Pigskin

Who Caught My Eye Week 3

Once again some rather surprising results came rolling in off the scoreboard wire this week in College Football. Notre Dame & Oklahoma can be crossed off your Top 10 list for this season. And when was the last time that all 3 service academies were undefeated thru Week 3? Now let’s get on to some player evaluation thumb-nails.

KAREEM ARE/OG/FLORIDA STATE #72 6’6/333 ARE played up to his pre-game hype even in a blow-out loss to Louisville. He is agile on his feet enough to handle himself in pass pro, and has good vision and awareness. On multiple occasions when the OT slid out to pick up a blitzer AYERS was alert and quick enough to slide over and pick up the DE who the LT let go. He also looked good pushing the line of scrimmage on run plays and getting to second level blocks with relative ease. ARE does NOT pop up out of his stance, keeping good pad level most of the time and looks like a natural knee bender. If he can’t win a starting slot right away in the NFL I’m thinking he might be able to serve as a multi-purpose backup all along the OL. Similar in that regard to former teammate CAM ERVING, now with the BROWNS.

ZACH BANNER/OT/SOUTHERN CAL #73 6’9/370 #73 Larger than life (almost) but more amazingly a true athlete. He played in the USC basketball program as a freshman. But he’s all football now, starting at RT, and carrying the Captain’s C on his jersey. My first notes refer to him as a giant, with good athleticism. He has super long arms, of course, and uses them well to re-direct defenders. He’s adequate in pass pro cause he can move his feet like he was only 6’6. He stays on his feet and is solid in getting seal blocks in the run game. He does not have the foot speed to dance with edge rushers, but as he showed against Stanford he keeps them to the outside and pushes them back, forcing them to go around and past his QB before getting a shot at him in the pocket. He’s the most mobile really big man since I saw FLUKER from Alabama. Would luv to see him in Mobile next January under pro coaching for a full week. MIght sneak into Round 3 in the 2017 Draft.

COREY DAVIS/WR/WESTERN MICHIGAN #84 6’3/205 DAVIS uses his length and speed, as well as marvelous catching ability to really stretch the field for the Chippewas offense. Against Illinois he was the deep threat to balance out their attack. On deep routes he locates the ball coming over the top very well and looks smooth bringing the ball into his extended hands in full stride. Against Illinois he caught 4 balls for 97 yards. He is also dangerous running out-routes and works the sidelines as his best friends. He’s not really skilled at routes over the middle, but the deep threat aspect of his game more than makes up for that. He has the potential to stretch the field for an NFL offense just like JORDY NELSON has done for AARON RODGERS in Green Bay. At the very least I see him in Round 2. DAVIS has home run potential and that has great value in a League filled with quick possession receivers.

CHAD KELLY/QB/OLE MISS #10 6’2/225 JUst like in their opener against FSU Ole Miss started strong against Alabama but could not hold up long term. But don’t blame the versatile, gritty KELLY who reminds me more than a bit of his uncle JIM KELLY. He has an above average arm and is tough as nails, never hesitating to take off on the run if the pocket collapses and/or his receivers are covered. He is reasonably accurate, but has a tendency to force some throws into traffic. He is very effective throwing the deep ball so that his receivers can either run under them or out-leap defenders on jump balls. He has some nice weapons to throw to, but his guys drop more than a few catchable throws. In the loss to Alabama KELLY WAS 26/41- 63.4%- 421 YARDS- 3 TD- 1 INT. He also scrambled and rushed his way to 48 yards net after sack losses. I might note I think he is often the victim of poor play calling by his co-OC’s, which obviously cuts into his productivity. I am not on the First Round bandwagon, but if he doesn’t implode under stress I could see him as a 2nd Round Draftee. Please show up for the Senior Bowl CHAD.

WES LUNT/QB/ILLINOIS #12 6’5/225 Seems like the NCAA is full of TX TECH and OKLA ST transfer QB, starting for other teams as seniors. This is LUNT’s second season at the helm for the Illini, but I believe he is on his 4th OC of his college career. So in essence much of what he learned last season is irrelevant to 2016. He’s a tall rangy guy with a decent arm and some nice touch on his throws. He’s not great at extending plays and not a running threat. He looked way too willing to resort to safe dump-off throws against WMU, but then again his OL is not top notch this season, and his receivers dropped more than a few decent throws downfield. His game stats ended up at; 29/42- 69%- 312 yards- 1 INT- 1 TD. My wrap-up comment of LUNT would be that he is not an exciting prospect, but he could be the NATE SUDFELD project of 2017 for some NFL team. Could be one of the QB prospect group at the Shrine Game next January.

TAYLOR MOTON/OL/WESTERN MICHIGAN #72 6’5/328 I started watching the WMU/Illinois game with the name of Illini DE/DAWUANE SMOOT written down on my scouting note pad. But by the second quarter it was clear that SMOOT was being handled almost every snap whether in the run game or passing attack. He overpowered SMOOT and pushed him away from the ball and his QB. This basically continued all game. His arms look long and he seems to pack a wallop with his initial hand punch. I wrote down MOTON’s number and his size numbers. It looks to me like he will likely have to switch inside to OG for the NFL game. He is reasonably mobile for his size but I am pretty sure NFL level speed-rushers would eat him up with their quickness and speed moves in pass-pro. Inside most of his shortcomings will be mitigated because of the smaller area he has to function in.

JAMES QUICK/WR/LOUISVILLE #17 6’1/180 He is not elite, nor is he a burner. But he has good hands and runs some nice routes. He uses the sidelines well as an ally against CB coverage and can get you Yards After Catch. He also shows better concentration on the ball than many of today’s wideouts. In the 2nd Quarter he made a marvelous catch on a ball deflected by the CB, which he cradled into his body well downfield. It was highlight type stuff. He may be the most consistently productive receiver in this wide open Cardinals offense. He finished the whipping of FSU with 7 catches for 122 yards. The way this team is functioning right now I expect he will keep up his current catch rate and come close to 100 receptions for the season. He might crack the Top 100 list for next year’s Draft, and should make a solid No. 3 wideout on an NFL depth chart.

STEVEN TAYLOR/LB/HOUSTON #41 6’1/225 There are plenty of tackling machines in college football and coming off 92 stops last season TAYLOR is the team leader of the Cougars D. But he shows much more to his game than just getting to the ball carrier. After battling back and forth against Cincinnati last Thursday TAYLOR helped break the game wide open. Early in the 4th Quarter he broke on a thrown ball and returned it 74 yards for a Pick-6. For the game he totaled 9 Tackles, 2 TFL & 2 Sacks. Even mentioning all of those specifics he means even more to his D than his stats. He is disruptive on delayed blitzes. His savvy and instincts are surely superior to those around them. I would also expect that he would be an immediate contributor on Special Teams for his pro team. He is clearly a player who forces us to look past his marginal height/weight numbers.In the pass-heavy NFL TAYLOR looks like a LB who could stay on the field for most passing downs. See you in Mobile Mr. Taylor.

MIKE TYSON/DB/CINCINNATI #5 6’2/206 TYSON was one of the main reasons I grabbed my notebook out last Thursday night to watch CINCY/HOUSTON. Seems like I missed his performance in Week 2 when he had 3 INT against Purdue. Now I’d be among the first to sat many INT are the residue of effort and good luck, perhaps in equal measure. But 3 at once from a guy who wasn’t on my watch list? I liked what I saw from TYSON. He’s a nice looking, long athlete who runs well. He also looks to have a high FBI based on his constantly being around the ball. He should be a nice addition on Special Teams units in the NFL and with much of weekly game time featuring 6 or more DB I can see him playing in some sub-packages. He had several PBU against Houston as well as a couple of nice open field tackles. He might be a late round Draft selection if he continues to display multiple skills for the rest of the season.

JORDAN WESTERKAMP/WR/NEBRASKA #1 6’0/200 I am often amazed at sports fans who decry athletes who transfer out of football programs as traitors and mercenaries. WESTERKAMP is an example of a kid who stayed put and has seen his playing time diminish even though his skills have not. He’s not an elite athlete, but like ALEX ERICKSON/WR/UW, who cracked the BENGALS roster this year, he is good at a lot of things and willing to do the dirty work. His play against Oregon exemplifies his type of player. Despite diminished snaps he hauled in 3 catches last Saturday, with 2 of them being TD grabs. Other receivers were struggling to get separation and failing to make tough catches, but still he stood watching way too much. He is a willing blocker and I am sure could be an enthusiastic and productive Special Teamer as a pro. After 65 catches last season it would seem he has earned more reps on the grass, but does not pout or sulk. I hope he somehow gets playing time back and is able to further display his potential value to a pro team.

Ta-Ta for now.

PIGSKIN

Who Caught My Eye Week 2

JONATHAN ALLEN/DE #93 6’3/294 ALABAMA The Crimson Tide looks like a serious contender for a national title once again after 2 convincing victories to open the year. And their Defense will be expected to carry the bulk of the load as usual as a new QB is broken in … again. Now here is the real surprise, despite losing two top DL to the 2016 Draft (REED/ROBINSON) their most productive front man may be back in ALLEN. ALLEN is more likely to be taken high in Round 1 this time around, because among other things he is a solid pass-rush threat. Against WKU & USC he put in his typical all-around game efforts. His stat sheet for 2 games reads 7 T, 3 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 PBU, 3 QBH, 1 blocked FG. On a seriously talented overall defensive unit those numbers are most impressive. This guy can do it all, including setting the edge against the run. Expect him to be in consideration for a Top 10 Draft slot next April.

ALEX ANZALONE/LB #34 6’3/244 FLORIDA His college resume’ is not very long, due in large part to losing most of his 2015 season to injury. But talk to his teammates and coaches and the long haired (ala CLAY MATTHEWS) is a serious athlete and smart defensive leader for the Gators. The team lost a host of talented defenders to graduation last of-season so they were counting on a healthy ANZALONE to help lead their D. LB-mate JARRAD DAVIS gets the bigger stats and more attention, but his team understands his value. He can shoot gaps to pressure opposing Offenses on their side of the ball, is an effective edge blitzer and seems comfortable out in space providing pass coverage. He may not pile up huge stats this season, but if he stays healthy he is going to show well on game tape for NFL scouts. Smart, athletic defenders are all the rage for today’s NFL and he may fit the bill. His play against Kentucky gives me reason to believe that he is a man worth watching this season.

A.J. JEFFERSON/DE/LB #47 6’3/277 MISSISSIPPI STATE The kind of versatile multi-dimensional defender that the majority of NFL DC are looking for in the pass happy League. JEFFERSON can rush the passer, stop the run and drop into shallow coverage a bit. He has long arms and uses them very effectively to shed blockers and clear his way to the ball. He is also good at swiping at the ball as the QB cocks his arm to throw. He does play under control and carries out his assignments in their scheme. Was very disruptive against South Carolina spending a lot of the evening on their side of the line-of-scrimmage. He had a sack and 1.5 TFL early in the first quarter to set the tone for the Bulldogs D. From that point on the Gamecocks ran away from him or tried to double team block him. His versatility should play nicely on tape for NFL scouts.

BROOKS ELLIS/ILB #51 6’2/248 ARKANSAS ELLIS led the Razorbacks in tackles in 2015 with 102. But he’s more than just a tackling machine thumper, which you might have noticed if you watched carefully in the upset win over TCU. I counted 3 TFL for ELLIS, who really has a knack for finding the ball coming out of the opposing QB’s hand. His signature play in this contest was a first half Pick 6, where he jumped a route and took it to the house with a 47-yard return. But he also had his usual productive day with 13 total tackles, including 3 TFL. Mark him down as very athletic and versatile, and a solid candidate especially as an ILB in a 3-4 base scheme at the next level.

AMBA ETTA-TAWO/WR #7 6’2/204 SYRACUSE The football program at Syracuse is in a major rebuilding and reshaping mode under new HC DION BABERS. And even though the future is a few more recruiting classes away (at best) BABERS has not been bashful about accepting transfers to his football team. ETTA-TAWO was in a rebuilding Maryland program and decided it was time for a change of scenery. Looks like a great career move because AMBA is showing he is a legit college WR who may have NFL in his future. LOUISVILLE took it to the ‘Cuse, but ETTA-TAWO was not to be stopped. He used his size, strength and speed to haul in 7 balls for 104 yards, and 2 TD. His long catch of the night was good for 47 yards. He has shown good hands and nice route running. After 2 games he’s well on pace for over 100 catches on the season. Keep an eye on this guy this Fall.

JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS/LB/SS 6’5/230 LOUISVILLE This is not likely to be a big stats year for this incredible athlete, as he basically transitions himself form a S to a versatile, cover LB. His size and athleticism should impress pro defensive coaches with his ability to cover the plethora of receivers running all over the field in today’s pass-happy NFL. He looked confused at times against Syracuse, but he was also around the football a lot for the evening. He may labor through the position transition this season, but when we get to post-season Star Games and the NFL Combine watch out for him to explode in the numbers game and be climbing up prospect charts rapidly.

FRED ROSS/WR #8 6’2/207 MISSISSIPPI STATE ROSS is not an elite player, but he is the backbone and steadiest receiver that State has right now. Despite not being a burner, or a jitter bug, he is a very effective Punt Returner. He had several PR of over 10-yards, and averaged 9.3 ypr against the Gamecocks. In the bounce back win over South Carolina ROSS caught 6 balls for 56 yards and a TD. ROSS is a steady player with reliable hands and lots of intangibles. He also threw one pass and completed it for a TD. The quiet team leader will most surely be drafted next April and should find himself a job as a team’s No. 3/4 WR option. And given his can-do attitude he’s sure to contribute on Special Teams in multiple roles.

COOPER RUSH/QB #10 6’3/227 CENTRAL MICHIGAN Last year a non-D1 QB by the name of CARSON WENTZ was the hot prospect for the NFL Draft. He turned out so well that the EAGLES traded away SAM BRADFORD and started WENTZ riding him to a W in Week 1. EVen though the refs screwed up the end of their game big time RUSH, led the Chippewas to a big upset Win over Okie State on the road. So why can’t RUSH emerge as the non-Power 5 darling for this season? The nice sized senior had a huge day passing 30/42- 361 yards- 4 TD. He’s a mobile guy, who though not a runner, can keep the play alive and roll the pocket as needed. The past two seasons he has demonstrated consistent accuracy completing 64% & 66% of his throws respectively. The team is poised to make a run for the MAC title which would also help boost RUSH’s stock. Watching RUSH stand up to a hostile crowd in Oklahoma, also impressed me. He has earned respect as a top 6 QB prospect for the 2017 Draft.

JEREMY SPRINKLE/TE #83 6’6/255 ARKANSAS A very impressive athlete, who can block and catch. He is a smooth runner with the ball in his hands and reminds me a bit of ANTONIO GATES as a receiver, but more like MARCEDES LEWIS overall. Either way that makes him a serious prospect for next year’s Draft. His size provides a very large target area for his QB. HUNTER HENRY was a 2nd Round NFL Pick last April, and SPRINKLE may not go that high, but he’s an even better inline TE prospect overall. I look for him to double his 27 catches from last season. It should also be noted that his size makes him a valuable red zone weapon. 6 of his 29 catches last season went for a TD. In the big upset of TCU SPRINKLE had his usual day with 3 catches for 58 yards and 1 TD, plus some serious inline blocking all game long. Not great, but he contributes like that on a weekly basis to serve as a cornerstone to their offense. It should also be remembered that HC Bielema spreads the ball around and likes to run a lot.

CARLOS WATKINS/DT #94 6’3/305 CLEMSON A likely candidate for Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft. He plays even bigger than his solid 300 Lb.+ frame. The real surprise is how agile and quick he is on his feet. He plays on the Nose for the Tigers, but looks like he would fit even better into a 4-3 base set scheme at the pro level. He has good range and does get penetration into opponents’ backfields. He’s anchoring a Clemson Defensive Line that lost 3 starters to the NFL in LAWSON, READER & DODD. As the senior leader he is being counted on to lead a talented, but young group of new starters all around him. And as the Offense struggles it is WATKINS and the D that has the Tigers sitting at 2-0. He is not the sure thing that LAWSON was last year as an elite edge pass-rusher, but he does provide pocket pressure right up the middle. Even mobile QB like he has faced the first two weeks of the season ave trouble eluding him in the pocket. He should have a shot to be a first rounder in the 2017 Draft.

Who Caught My Eye Week 1 College Football

#4 CHDOBE AWUZIE/CB COLORADO 6’0/205 Might be the best senior prospect that hardly anyone knows about. He has excellent speed and agility for his size and hits like a ton as a sure tackler. His stats from 2015 give you idea how versatile his skill set is. He had 84 tackles, 4 sacks, 8 TFL, 2 INT & 4 QBH for the 2015 Buffaloes. AWUZIE owned the 2nd Quarter of the game with Colorado State as he posted a TFL and an INT. Guys his size who can handle work on the Corner are hard to come by. He’s also a team leader and great locker room guy. With COlorado poised to have a winning record this season AWUZIE should finally get the recognition he deserves.

#93 PAUL BOYETTE/NT TEXAS 6’3/314 Guys who play on the Nose don’t get big ink and pub, but they can make or break a team’s defensive scheme. BOYETTE is a savvy senior who has the wide body and wide base needed to plug up the middle of the DL and keep blockers off the LB group. In the big win over Notre Dame he also showed that he has the ability to penetrate and collapse the pocket from the inside, which QBs dread. In the opener he reminded me a lot of JARRAN REED, the past two seasons for Alabama.

#6 COREY CLEMENT/RB WISCONSIN 5’11/214 2015 was pretty much a nightmare season for CLEMENT who parlayed injury and discipline issues into a non-season. Instead of pouting he worked his ass off this Spring determined to return for a 1000-yard plus season. He split time in the opening game upset of LSU, but was clearly the best Badgers RB. He carried 21 times for 86 yards and 1 TD. He is a strong runner, with good vision and patience to/through the hole. He also shows the ability to stay upright and gain yardage after contact. He is good enough at his best to in the running for a prospect rating atop the senior RB group. Good start against a tough opposing D.

#47 TY CUMMINGS/PK HOUSTON 6’0/185 CUMMINGS had a solid 2015 season every kick he made for the Cougars, including 8/8 on FGs. He got off to a fast start in the opener going 4/4 on FG, including a long of 47 yards. He was also 2/2 on XP, which runs his perfect streak into the new season. He has a strong, but not booming leg. His potential Draft value will also hinge on his leg strength in the kick-off job. STay tuned.

#33 KEVIN DAVIS/ILB COLORADO STATE 6’3/240 DAVIS is a very active, tackling machine who leads the Colorado State D. He had 101 tackles in the 2015 season and looks capable of that again this season. He flew around the field in vain against Colorado. He’s a solid blitz weapon and carries his size nicely. He looks to also be able to provide some short field pass coverage ability, in part because of a high FBI which gets him in the vicinity of the ball a lot. Reads and tackles well out in open space. He seems to diagnose running plays well and often gets a hit on the opponents side of the line of scrimmage. I like the looks of this guy as a solid Day 3 draftee next APril.

#67 DAN FEENEY/OG INDIANA 6’4/310 On most lists I have seen this pre-season FEENEY has pretty much been the no. 1 OG Prospect on every one of them. I saw nothing in the opening win over Florida International to dispute that elite ranking. FIU had a good sized DL group, which tested FEENEY at times, but the bulk of the IU running game went behind his blocks on that side of he OL FEENEY plays with very good pad level and has decent quickness off the snap. He gets to second level blocks with ease. He is also good at seal blocks. He won’t be a First Rounder like JOSH GARNETT this year, but Top 100 for certain and likely Round 2.

#10 DeSHAWN HALL/DE/LB TEXAS A&M 6’6/260 MYLES GARRETT gets all the pub and blocking attention on the other end of the Aggies DL, but HALL is a force to be reckoned with and has interesting pro potential. Can he gain 10-15 pounds and be a full-time DE in a 4-3 base scheme, or can he learn to play standing up as a blitz OLB option? He had 7 sacks last season playing second fiddle to GARRETT. But if you watched A&M beat UCLA in OT, then you probably noticed HALL in on or around a lot of action. He put several hits on QB/ROSEN for UCLA. He does not hesitate to stick his nose in the pile when the play comes his way, and pursues to the other side of the field as well.

#13 SEFO LIUFAU/QB COLORADO 6’4/230 It gets harder and harder to find a legit senior QB Prospect with so many skill guys leaving college early for the NFL.LIUFAU is certainly an NFL long shot, but he’s an interesting project prospect. Yes that’s a new phrase I will be using each week; project prospect. LIUFAU is the nephew of the Throwing Samoan JACK THOMPSON. His size and mobility get your attention. He can also spin the ball thought his accuracy is somewhat erratic. Despite being under pressure most of the night he finished 24/34, 71%, 318 yards & 1 TD. He also ran 14 times for another 66 yards. Chances are he does NOT get drafted, but ends up in an NFL Camp next summer if he can play at this level all year. He does have back injury history which may be of concern. After a couple of hits in this game he looked to be stiff and sore. The CFL may also be an option for him.

#5 CHRIS McCAFFREY/RB STANFORD 6’0/201 A top Heisman candidate with NFL genes in his blood, McCAFFREY is Stanford’s top offensive weapon, and HC DAVID SHAW is not hesitant to give him the ball. His biggest impact play of the game was a 96-yard Punt Return which was negated by penalty, but it was impressive to say the least. He did score 2 TD, both on running plays. For the game he had 22 carries for 126 yards, caught 7 balls for 40 yards, and had 44 return yards. Add it all up and in a relatively quiet performance he still ended up with 210 Total Yards and 2 scores. Stay tuned he will ramp that up against some softer Pac 12 defenses in the next few months.

#87 JONNU SMITH/TE FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 6’3/232 Not much doubt that SMITH is the best all-around athlete on the FIU team. He’s a bit small for an NFL inline TE role, but as a hybrid H-B/Slot receiver and second TE he may be enough of a weapon to make an NFL receiver corps. Against IU, SMITH had 8 catches for 83 yards. He also dropped a couple of throws, which is a bit concerning. He showed himself to be tough to bring down in the open field or in traffic. He might be draftable, and we’ll have to see how the season plays out. Whether drafted or not he will most certainly be in an NFL Training Camp next summer.

#11 DEDE WESTBROOK/WR OKLAHOMA 6’0/170 His frame is a bit slight, but his speed and explosion make him very dangerous whenever he touches the ball. He missed a TD throw on a razzle-dazzle play, but overall caught 8 balls for 70 yards. He’s a big play receiver who could put up some big numbers as MAYFIELD’s favorite target in 2016. He’s likely a third day prospect because his size will dictate a limited number of touches as a pro.

#18 TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE/CB LSU 5’11/191 One of the big coups for LES MILES this off-season was WHITE being among those juniors not to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. He certainly would have been a Top 100 Prospect had he come out early. UW doesn’t have much of a passing attack so WHITE’s chances to shine were limited, but he staked his work was all over the 3rd Quarter with an INT, which he returned for a TD. Shortly thereafter he jumped on a Badger fumble to get his Offense in position to put away the game. It didn’t happen, but you can’t blame WHITE for not doing his part. 2017 should present a strong CB group to choose from, and I expect WHITE will be very near the top of that list.

#7 MIKE WILLIAMS/WR CLEMSON 6’4/220 The Clemson offense was far from explosive and wide open against the tough Auburn D, but WILLIAMS was exceptional. He torched the Auburn secondary ending the night with 9 catches, for 174 yards. He dropped one ball that might have been a TD for him, but otherwise his night was outstanding. He missed almost all of the 2015 season when he lost a fight with a goal past and broke a bone in his neck. He’s somewhere between SAMMY WATKINS & DEANDRE HOPKINS in talent and style of play. But he’s a lot bigger than either of them. He and QB/WATSON should be a tough duo to stop once they establish a chemistry between themselves. Welcome back to the big time MIKE WILLIAMS!

Back at you next week.

Pigskin

Who Caught My Eye Week 6

GERONIMO ALLISON/WR/ILLINOIS 6’4/200 #4
Much like his Apache Chief namesake, who kept the US/Mexican cavalries chasing him around, opposing secondaries spend a lot of time on gameday trying to keep this wily WR under control. The JC transfer caught 41 balls last season for the ILLINI, and already has 40 catches through 6 games in 2015. He has a long, almost stick-figure physique that can hopefully fill out a bit for the pro game. His long arms and sure hands provide a very large target area for his QB WES LUNT. He is also dangerous after the catch. He averaged almost 15 yards per reception last season. Against a solid, vet IOWA secondary ALLISON pulled in 8 catches for a whopping 148 yards and 1 TD. That’s an impressive 18.5 ypc. The Illini own a solid 4-2 record with ALLISON being a big part of their Offensive production. He looks draftable to me. Could make some noise at an All-STar venue.

JUSTIN BURRIS/CB/NC STATE 6’1/207 #11
BURRIS is another example of a guy who plays football smart and hard. He may look average at best in his underwear, if he even gets a Combine invite next Feb, but he knows how to play football. If he’s deemed fast/quick enough to play CB at the pro level his size will be very attractive to scouts. He’s not a ball-hawk, but is physical in coverage and a solid tackler. He is now up to 35 career starts in the tough ACC. He was flagged for a second quarter PI vs VA TECH, but I thought it should have been a no-call when I watched the replay. He looks to me like a solid player who could be a sub-package defender, with enough size and physicality to stand out on Special Teams units. Watch this guy as a priority URFA type.

TRAVIS FEENEY/OLB/WASHINGTON 6’4/225 #41
Another solid performer who many fans East of the Rockies don’t know about. FEENEY broke into the starting line-up in 2013 as a redshirt frosh for the Huskies. The long/lean athletic player recorded a solid 60 tackles last season and is carrying on his work in 2015. He was very active against the Trojans. He made several Special Teams tackles last week which prompted me to look up his profile, only to find out he was voted the Huskies Special Teams player of the year in 2014. Seemed like I saw him somewhere near USC return men on just about every Punt. He runs very well and pursues the ball from scrimmage. Shows some ability to drop into pass coverage, both short and deep. In today’s NFL his pass coverage skills will allow him to stay on the field for passing downs. He recorded 3 PBU and 2 INT in 2014. Not much of a pass rusher at this point in his career. Watch for his name to climb up a lot of prospect charts in the next two months.

DEVON JOHNSON/RB/MARSHALL 6’1/243 #47
JOHNSON is finally rounding back into form after some early season injuries. He’s built like a FB and started out as a TE at Marshall. But last season behind a veteran OL he ran for over 1700 yards and 17 TD. Against an improved S. MISS Defense he gained 82 yards on 22 carries, including 1 TD. He breaks a lot of tackles on interior runs and can straight-line motor once he gets some momentum going for him. Defenders in the secondary find him hard to get off his feet and don’t relish tackling him. JOHNSON should have a shot in the NFL for a team that still uses a FB and/or a 1-Back set at times. He will need to polish up his blocking skills and embrace Special Teams work. He could also make a dangerous and versatile Red Zone weapon. He still has TE hands and can catch better than many true FB. Late draftable perhaps.

TRE MADDEN/RB/SOUTHERN CAL 6’1/225 #23
Despite the coaching mess in SoCal this guy is bouncing back very nicely from a lost 2014 season because of a severe turf toe injury. He looks healthy now and is using his slashing one-cut running style to accelerate through some decent holes and push the ball into the secondary. He’s sharing time with 2 talented underclassmen in the typical 3-deep RB talent for the Trojans. In the tough loss to Washington MADDEN stood out with 120 yards gained on 17 carries (7.05 ypc) and a TD. He also caught a screen pass, which he has shown a talent for in the past. He’s not a long ball threat, but will burst though holes and break a few tackles for multiple 10-15 yard gains. Though he has nice size he has a tendency to get nicked up a bit. If he doesn’t get caught up in a team collapse with the coaching changes he should work his way into a draftable position if he stays healthy.

BRAXTON MILLER/WR/OHIO STATE 6’2/215 #1
Two shoulder injuries/surgeries ended the QBing career of this 2-time Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year. But from a pro prospect standpoint the resultant switch to WR may have been a blessing in disguise. The position switch is still a work in progress, but based on his play to date the long term potential is exciting. HC MEYER still uses MILLER in multiple exotic ways on a limited basis, but he is turning into an exciting, explosive weapon as a true receiver. Against the TERPS, MILLER ended the day with 5 catches for 70 yards and a TD. The highlight of his day came on a 2nd Quarter scoring drive during which he made a nice leaping catch for a key third down conversion and then got open for a 33 yard TD catch. His route running is still developing, but he has the look of a game breaking option as a wideout. Look for MILLER to continue this progress and crack the Top 100 prospect list as a A WR.

DADI NICOLAS/DE/ER/VIRGINIA TECH 6’4/235 #90
The TECH coaching staff is upset with NICHOLAS and his practice & playing habits in 2015. And I can clearly see why. This guy has what we used to call senior-itis. It’s a self induced affliction, whereby established performers go through the motions in their final season. On the positive side this affliction usually goes away with time. NICHOLAS is a long armed, long legged Edge Rusher who probably has not much value to a team beyond that skill set. Right now he is not hustling to the ball and looks like he’s looking for a flag to grab rather than tackling anyone. He as credited with an amazing 35 QB Hurries in 2014, but showed almost nothing to my eyes in the W over NC State. He hardly looks like he weighs even his program listed 235 lbs. And his frame does not look like it can accommodate a serious bulk-up. He is going to have to show an awful lot in the second half of the season, and an All-Star venue to claim a Top 100 prospect ranking. I’d be considering taking him off my Draft Board if I were an NFL Scout.

REGGIE RAGLAND/ILB/ALABAMA 6’2/252 #18
I am going to try to contain myself here, but every ‘BAMA game I watch I find myself saying “WOW!” a couple of times to something this guy does. He’s as athletic as C.J. MOSLEY, but a lot bigger and more physical. He’s a throwback to the thumpers like BUTKUS and NITSCHKE. In today’s NFL I think he has the pro potential of BRIAN URLACHER, but already has the size while in college. He had 95 tackles in 2014 on a Defense led by LANDON COLLINS/S (with over 100 tackles) now blowing people up for the GIANTS. When RAGLAND tackles people they often go flying. ARKANSAS has a lot of very large players, but he blew them all up with regularity. Even a shoulder stinger only kept him off the field for a few plays. In the 4th Quarter he was 20 yards downfield breaking up a throw to a TE. He had multiple break-ups to Backs and TE coming short over the middle of the field. When he makes an open field tackle it looks like an explosion. This man is the real deal, and I cannot imagine an NFL team with a 4-3 scheme not wanting this player early in Round 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft. He should also make an impact Inside in a 3-4 pro scheme as well.

BRIAN RANDOLPH/S/TENNESSEE 6’0/209 #37
There are so many demands on the S position in the NFL these days that many folks complain annually about the lack of S prospects. RANDOLPH, and his effort against UGA, is a good example of why I think those complaints are off base. RANDOLPH does his best work in the box, supporting the run and attacking the pocket. He had 88 tackles in 2014. But he is also adept at zone coverage in passing situations. He flashed into the screen several times following the ball in the air. My biggest criticism of his play vs UGA was overrunning and missing tackles in the open field on several occasions early on. But conversely, he made multiple solid form tackles in space later in the game. It was RANDOLPH who flashed into the picture near the goal line, to go high and bat away the final pass of the day intended for MALCOLM MITCHELL and seal the win for the VOLS. I am guessing he will post some nice effort and numbers at an All-Star venue and the Combine. He looks to me like a Round 4 prospect for the 2016 Draft.

JOHN THEUS/OT/GEORGIA 6’6/313 #71
THEUS has been starting since his frosh season and is currently one of the best all-around OT in the SEC. He moves well for a big guy and can push defenders around. He uses his hands and arms well to control his blocks and sustain them. He gets to second level blocking assignments smoothly and also shows agile feet and balance in his pass pro back-pedal. THEUS seems to be get a quick jump out of his stance at the snap of the ball. He put in a solid effort, with positive results against the VOLS. He is not elite, but should get interest as early as Round 2, Top 100 for sure. Reminds me of former Bulldog JON STINCHCOMB, who went on to a solid pro career after his time at UGA.

MICHAEL THOMAS/WR/SOUTHERN MISS 6’1/186 #88
This guy looks a lot longer than his listed 6’1 height would seem to indicate. It would be nice if he could add a few pounds for the pro game, but he has the moves and the hands to play pro ball already. He is also dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands. Against an always tough Marshall D he hauled in 7 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD. Though not a blazer he can stretch a defense. He works the sideline well and can high-point throws. He will have a long journey to get drafted but should make an All-Star roster, perhaps the SHRINE or NFLPA. He has a chance to easily eclipse his team leading 41 catches from 2014 now that he has a good throwing QB slinging the ball around. Do not confuse this THOMAS with the other guy at Ohio State, but don’t overlook him either.

Bowl Action Prospects Review Part 2

I still have at least a dozen Bowl Games recorded so you can count on several more prospect reports over the next few weeks until I head over to St. Pete to watch Shrine action. Here are a bakers dozen additional prospects Who Caught My Eye.

MICKEY BAUCUS/T/ARIZONA/6’7/305 #68
BAUCUS recorded his 52nd career start in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise. Many of them have been at LT, but I would guess his NFL audition will come on the right side. He’s not really agile enough to protect a QB blindside. But his long arms and legs serve him well in his drops into pass pro. He could use more strength, both upper and lower, for the next level. He uses his experience to work defenders who are more athletic than him. I see him being of value about Round 5/6. He’ll probably have to develop into a starter to hang on in the NFL, because his length could be a liability in any attempt to back-up Interior OL spots. He’s a Shrine Game roster name right now, which could tell us a lot more about his actual pro potential.

STEFON DIGGS/WR/MARYLAND/6’0/195 #1
DIGGS is a solid Top 100 player, who missed some time with injury and suspension this past season. He was the ring leader in the ‘no handshake gambit’ with Penn State. He has to learn the difference between spirit and just acting like a punk. If he doesn’t grow up he’ll be a real pain for some NFL franchise, though not for long despite his talent. DIGGS could make a nice No. 2 WR in the NFL. Coming back from both to play in the Bowl loss DIGGS had an impressive game with 10 catches for 138 yards, but no TD. He’s a nice blend of speed and quickness, who can really pile up yards after catch. He also shows dependable hands. I believe that interviews at the Combine will be vital in his Draft evaluation. I expect him to go in Round 3 despite the present attitude baggage.

ERICK DRAGAN/SS/OREGON/5’11/210 #4
DRAGAN was a Special Teams ace and back-up DB until his senior season. And boy did he step up when his name was called to start at FS this past year. He had a big INT in the trouncing of FSU last week. He is also an aggressive tackler, who can lay the wood. He also specializes at going for the strip on receivers after the catch. His stats for the 2014 season were quite impressive. In 14 games DRAGAN had 90 tackles, 2.5 TFL & 2 FF. He also piled up 7 INT to lead the Ducks. I think he goes in Round 4/5 and is an instant contributor in sub-packages and on Special Teams. But I also see this natural football player as an NFL starting S, not very far down the road.

PAUL DAWSON/LB/TCU/6’1/230 #47
The former Juco star was voted the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for his work in 2013. He’s an exceptional athlete who is likely to post some impressive agility and speed numbers at Indy. He broke into the Big 12 with 91 tackles in 2013, then followed it up this season with 136. But he’s not just a tackling machine, as he proved this season. In his tackle total were 20 TFL and 6 sacks. But he also dropped off into coverage to record 9 PD, including 4 INT. He looked every bit the part in the TCU stomping of Ole Miss, flowing to the ball and directing his teammates into their proper spots. He is clearly a big time prospect who should be in every Top 100 prospect list. I doubt his lack of ideal size is going to be any kind of hindrance going forward. Now how can he not be scheduled to appear in either the Shrine or Senior games?!

TAIWAN JONES/ILB/MICHIGAN STATE/6’2/252 #34
JONES was the man to slide over from the outside to replace MAX BULLOUGH after recording 67 stops last season. So how did he respond to the move? He was second on the team with 60 tackles in 14 games and was 2nd Team All Big 10 at MLB. He recorded 6 tackles in the big Bowl win over Baylor including 1.5 TFL. He is also more than adequate at dropping into middle field coverage for his size. But his forte is as a thumper who intimidates runners between the tackles. He is scheduled to play for the West squad in the SHRINE Game. Given his versatility I think it is safe to assume he would be of interest to both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes. Practicing and playing well at the Shrine venue will almost as important as posting some decent numbers in drills at the Combine and/or his pro day. This kind of full sized tough guy appeals to me greatly as a Saturday Draft Pick next May.

MALCOME KENNEDY/WR/TEXAS A&M/6’0/205 #84
Johnny Manziel throwing to MIKE EVANS in 2013 were so dominant that KENNEDY was almost a forgotten piece of the Aggies Offense. But he did catch 60 balls in support to those two guys. This season he took the field in 11 of the Aggies 14 games and caught 53 balls for 611 yds & 6TD. In the Bowl victory over WVU he totaled 7 catches for 82 yards and 2 TD. He is a versatile guy, who was called upon to run the ball multiple times this past year on reverses, to good advantage. He’s not super fast and will need to post a decent 40-time this post-season. He has reliable hands and good overall size. Again he looks to me like a 3rd Day Draftee who can earn a spot at the bottom of an NFL WR group. He should be useful on Special Teams as well. He’s s scheduled to compete in the Medal of Honor Game this weekend.

JARRON REED/DL/ALABAMA/6’4/315 #90
2014 was this JUco transfer’s first season of D1 action. Despite that word has been floating around that he is thinking of going pro. So I watched him diligently in the Sugar Bowl contest. And my response is, WOW! This is a full sized man who is ready to go pro. He was double team blocked on almost every play, pass or run. And he barely budged an inch off the line of scrimmage on run defense. REED stays on his feet and pursues the ball. He uses his hands well to move blockers and disengage from them. Of all the Alabama DL, I think he played the most snaps by far. He even has a knack for disrupting opposing QB passing windows. In ‘Bama’s 12 games he totaled 55 T, 6.5 TFL, 1 Sack and 5 PD. Remember folks that’s in primarily a 3-4 scheme. He played most of his downs at DE, but slid inside on certain sub-packages. He’s ready to move on for Sunday action and should be gone early in Round 2. I’m not convinced he’ll put up crazy work-out numbers to propel him into Round 1, but he has all the tools to play well in the NFL and soon.

BUD SASSER/WR/MISSOURI/6’2/210 #21
It seems like there are always a dozen or more teams in the NFL looking for WR depth once the regular season starts and injuries begin to mount. SASSER may not be an impact player at the next level, but he looks to me to have all the tools to be a solid No. 4 receiving option. He has good size, good hands, runs tight patterns and has enough speed to get open. Critical for SASSER’s draft ranking will be his 40-time at the Combine or his Pro Day. He is not a speedster, but runs with a nice smooth striding style and will fight for the ball with DB. In the MIzzou Bowl win over Minnesota he had 7 catches for 68 yards and 1 TD. He really stepped up as a senior overall with a total of 77 balls for 1003 yards and 12 TD in 14 total games. For the life of me, I cannot understand why he is not listed on an All-Star Game roster at this point. I’d be happy to snag him with a Round 4/5 Pick. He will play in the NFL.

BO WALLACE/QB/OLE MISS/6’4/205 #14
To be truthful I did not intend to profile WALLACE, but I have gotten multiple e-mails asking about him so here we go. WALLACE seems to have two personalities on the football field; Bad Bo/Good Bo. The good side could play in the NFL, but when he’s bad it just gets ugly. He’s just not a great athlete, but all too often he ties to do great things. His arm is average and his mechanics poor. He has running instincts from the pocket, but generally is too slow to produce what he tries to accomplish. And he can get carless with the ball, from an INT and fumbling perspective. TCU was way too much for the entire Ole Miss team and BO took the brunt of criticism for their bad offensive display. For the 2014 season WALLACE completed 60.1% of his throws, for 3194 yards and 22 TD. But he also threw 14 INT. When asked at the half of the Bowl blowout if he had thought of taking WALLACE out of the lineup at some point HC FREEZE correctly pointed out that WALLACE had meant too much to the program to suffer that fate. I agree with those sentiments, but cannot say I see him as being draftable as a potential NFL QB.

TONY WASHINGTON/OLB/OREGON/6’3/245 #91
IN the Oregon D WASHINGTON has been playing a DE spot, even though he only puts his hand on the ground part of the time. For NFL proposes he’s an interesting OLB prospect, with nice size and above average athleticism at that size. He looks to me like a good fit on the outside for either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. He had a solid junior season, as a full-time starter, with 60 tackles, which included 7.5 sacks. In case you missed it during the game WASHINGTON was the good looking athlete who scooped up the WINSTON, falling backwards fumble, and ran a smooth 58-yard sprint for a TD that pretty much sealed FSU’s fate. For the 2014 season WASHINGTON appeared in 14 games, had 53 tackles, including 11 TFL & 6 sacks. He also had 3 FF and 2 PD. TONY is also scheduled to appear at Shrine Week in St.Pete, and it looks like he will work out primarily as a LB, not a DE. That could go a long way toward defining how high he may go in the 2015 Draft. He should post some excellent numbers at the Combine. He’s looking more and more to me, like a Top 100 prospect come Draft time.

JERMAINE WHITEHEAD/S/AUBURN/5’11/200 #35
Let’s start by saying that WHITEHEAD is going to have some ‘splainin’ to do in the NFL interview process at the Combine and/or his Pro Day. He missed a big chunk of the 2014 season because of issues with his position coach. But he got back onto the field near the end of the season and demonstrated that he has pro potential. He was all over the field in the Loss to UW, and even had an INT to show for his day’s work. He’s aggressive, but not out of control patrolling large areas of the secondary. He’s a tough guy, who hits big for his size. Right now his overall coverage skills are marginal so he will have to learn how to accept coaching criticism. But he does locate the ball with regularity. In 9 games he had 36 tackles and 6 INT. His bad boy act this Fall will no doubt hurt his Draft status, but unless he implodes in interviews he should be a Day 3 Pick, who will initially have to earn a roster spot with his Special Teams play.

KARLOS WILLIAMS/RB/FLORIDA STATE/6’1/210 #9
The former S is not a natural open field runner. He has limited moves and can dodge a few tackles, but is more likely to run through people than around them. He looks to have a very good burst if his blockers create a good sized hole that he can locate quickly. His NFL value is clearly in his versatility as a solid athlete, who will do whatever is asked of him in a team setting. His pass-pro ability is improving with time at his new position. He has enough power to be valuable in short yardage situations. Right now he’s a poor man’s ANDRE WILLIAMS/R/GIANTS. But he shows better hands than ANDRE as a receiver. The Seminoles younger RB got the spotlight, but perhaps a bit more of WILLIAMS could have been a very good thing for the team against Oregon. KARLOS rushed 12 times for 80 yards and 1 TD. He also caught 5 balls for another 59 yards. He clearly has the temperament to play any Special Teams role an NFL assigns him. WILLIAMS could make a very nice mid-Round (4-5) addition to a team needing another option in their running attack ala the STEELERS.

MAXX WILLIAMS/TE/MINNESOTA/6’4/255 #88
As often happens in life, timing can be everything. MAXX, and his emergence this season as a Gopher TE, comes in a year when the NFL Draft TE group is mediocre, at best. Thus a wise move on his part to announce he’s going pro. He showed both his power and athleticism in the Bowl loss to Missouri. WILLIAMS caught 7 passes for 98 yards and a TD. He’s not a big time deep threat, but he’s got enough athleticism to gain yards after the catch. He likes to hurdle defenders right now, and tho that looks impressive, he won’t like the price he’ll pay for doing that in the NFL. He’s also an adequate blocker, who will be expected to improve under pro coaching. He’s a true TE, not a big WR, and reminds me of the recent Stanford TE prospects like FLEENER & ERTZ. He also has good genes, with his dad, BRIAN, having been a Round 1 Pick by the GIANTS back in 1979. Look for him to be the 1st TE taken in May, probably in Round 2.

Who Caught My Eye in Bowl Action

‘BUCK’ ALLEN RB SOUTHERN CAL JR 6’1/215 #37 vs Nebraska/Holiday Bowl …  It seems hard to believe in this day and age that any college players fly under the perverbial radar just because they play most of their games when folks East of the Mississippi River are in bed. But how else do we explain the seeming indifference to BUCK ALLEN of the Trojans. He led the Pac-12 in rushing with 1337 yards at a clip of 5.3-yd/carry. He also caught 40 balls for another 442 yards in 2014. And he did all that in a RB rotation. Then along comes Nebraska in Bowl action and he gains 152 yds on 26 carries, scoring 2 TD. He’d have topped 200 yards had the game not developed into a pass-happy shootout. The only thing he lacks, IMO, is blazing speed, but he sure isn’t slow. He pushes the pile forward and has that high knee action running style that enables him to “take away” a leg from tacklers. Quite often he emerges from a “scrum” and continues on downfield for more yards. The more I watch this smooth runner the more he reminds me of MARCUS ALLEN, once he stopped being a blocking FB. If ALLEN comes out for the 2015 Draft I have him on my Round 2 hot list.

A.J. CANN OG SOUTH CAROLINA SR 6’4/318 #50 vs Miami/Independence Bowl
He’s been starting for 4 years now and I’m not sure there is a more dependable OG in the country. He shows good patience and confidence in pass-pro and looked in total control of the left side of the OL vs. MIami. He is agile for his size and was often downfield for 2nd & 3rd level blocks, before the RB had cleared the line-of-scrimmage. He looks to me like a solid 10-year NFL starter, but I doubt he’ll go before late Round 2, more likely Round 3. It looks to me, watching game action, like he covers a lot of ground compensating for less than mobile LT COREY ROBINSON. The Gamecocks also take some of the widest splits in college football, somewhat compounding what you are actually viewing in technique.

MIKE DAVIS RB SOUTH CAROLINA JR 5’9/215 #28 vs Miami, Independence Bowl
I think DAVIS got the bum’s rush from the Carolina coaching staff this past season. He started the year on limited duty because of rib and shoulder issues, and the staff decided he needed to be in the lineup every week despite being banged up. So it is up for debate as to when, if ever, DAVIS was fully healthy until Bowl time. Then they basically accused him of “dogging” it. He dogged it so bad, that he played in all 13 games and rushed for 982 yards @ 4.93ypc. He also found time to catch another 32 balls for 368 yards. He totaled 11 YD for the year. In their Bowl Win over Miami DAVIS was kept on the bench on 3 short yardage plays in the 4th quarter and without him others managed to gain -1 yards on 3 plays, turning the ball over on downs. I can clearly see why DAVIS has already declared his intentions to leave SPURRIER’s domain and go pro. If healthy, he’ll show well at the Combine and should still salvage a spot on Draft Friday. He’s a hard driving, quick cut runner, who can catch the ball. DAVIS seems like serious NFL timber to me.

TITUS DAVIS WR CENTRAL MICHIGAN SR 6’2/190 #84 vs WKU, Bahamas Bowl
It’s always tough when a prospect gets hurt in their final go round as a collegian. And that is what happened to DAVIS. DAVIS missed time around mid-season with leg issues, luckily nothing serious long term. He still played in 10 games (tho not 100%) and caught 60 balls, at 16.4 ypc, including 13 for TD. He really looked the part of an NFL prospect in his Bahamas Bowl appearance with 6 catches for 142 yards and 4 TD. He’s not a blazing speed guy, but is quick enough to get open and gains yards after catch with a smooth striding running style. DAVIS is also not an easy tackle for defenders once he has the ball secured. He’s just a bit taller, but DAVIS pro potential reminds me of former MAC star WR GREG JENNINGS, who played over @ WMU. DAVIS is currently scheduled to participate in Shrine week activities. If he impresses there he could be climbing into the Top 100 prospect list pending Combine numbers. Watch for him to be a riser in the coming months.

PHILLIP DORSETT WR MIAMI SR 5’10/195 #4 vs S. Carolina, Independence
Some NFL teams are going to have to determine why he disappears from the MIami offense for big chunks of time. Is his Frosh QB hesitant to let it rip deep, or is DORSETT guilty of not reading the coverages correctly to adjust his routes. There seems to be too much head shaking at the end of plays from both he and his QB for my taste. But what cannot be disputed is his pure speed and long ball ability. He had 5 catches for 45 yards and 1 TD in this game. On the regular season he caught only 36 balls, but averaged 24.2 yards per catch and scored 10 receiving TDs. Somehow he needed to be a bigger part of that Offense. He shows good hands and is a willing/adequate downfield blocker. Can an NFL scout identify DORSETT’s deficiencies and determine if they are correctable? His big play ability says 3rd Round, but the question marks say Day 3. He will be in Mobile for Senior Bowl week.

RANNELL HALL WR UCF SR 6’1/195 #6 vs N C State, St Pete Bowl
HALL is a gifted athlete, who has shown well in multiple skill areas during his college career. As a true freshman he was the CUSA 1st Team KR. He caught 57 passes in 2013 from BLAKE BORTLES. He has better than average speed and soft hands. When injuries struck this past Fall HALL stepped up as a part time RB. In the Bowl Loss to NC State HALL caught 7 passes for 78 yards, and once again saw time in the backfield with 3 rushes for 2 yards. The real point here is that we have a talented athlete and willing football participant who is all-in for his team. As the Draft heads down to the final 2 Rounds next May one of the things teams will be looking for is guys to improve the bottom 3rd of their roster. A versatile, team first guy like HALL should get some attention at that point. He should be able to help himself through the Combine interview process, assuming he gets to Indy.

MARCUS HARDISON DL ARIZONA STATE SR 6’4/300 #1 vs Duke, Sun Bowl
HARDISON, a JC recruit, got some attention for his work in 2013 when he stepped into a rotational situation on the Sun Devils DL. His combination of size and athleticism caught some eyes within the program. He has a large, thick frame, while being able to run a bit. He showed what his game is about with a great hustling, productive effort in the team’s Bowl Win over Duke. HARDISON was credited with being in on 13 tackles, including 1 TFL. That 13 tackle total was second most on the ASU D. Those are not the kind of numbers one expects from a 3-4 DE! For the full 13 game schedule HARDISON produced 15 TFL, 10 sacks, 2 INT & 3 FF. This guy could be geared up for a very big climb up prospect lists in preparation for the 2015 Draft. Lots of NFL 3-4 scheme defenses are looking for productive, athletic big guys.

KALEB JOHNSON OG RUTGERS SR 6’4/305 #72 vs UNC, Quick Lane Bowl
JOHNSON started some games at OT as a frosh, but has been planted solidly at LG for the past 3 years. He’s not flashy, but he’s tailor made for the NFL game. He’s thick, but still is able to move to the second level. He opened some huge holes on the left side as Rutgers pounded the ball thru and over the UNC D. Because Rutgers runs a pro style Offense JOHNSON has ably demonstrated that he is above average in pass-pro as well. He played in relative obscurity at Rutgers, but he looks solid and polished as a prospect to me. I doubt he will go before Round 4, but he has starter potential at the next level IMO.

TAYLOR KELLY QB ARIZONA STATE SR 6’2/210 #10 vs DUKE, Sun Bowl
As we get down to the nitty gritty of picking apart NFL prospects for the Draft, names fly up and down the ranking charts almost daily. KELLY has never been placed in any kind of elite QB prospect list. But by the same token a productive, starting college QB with decent size qualifications can’t be overlooked. And KELLY keeps showing up big for the Sun Devils. When healthy, he has been the Sun Devils starting QB for the past 3 seasons. Back and forth in the 2014 lineup, he still played in 10 games completing 59.4% of his throws and posting a solid TD/INT ratio at 22/5. His arm is average, but he might pick up a bit of throwing steam with some throwing technique clean up under a QB guru. He had a large day of it against Duke in a shoot-out win going 24/34 – 240 yards – 2 TD – 0 INT. He currently appears as having accepted a game invite for the SHRINE Game. He’s a natural leader and a savvy passer. At worst he could settle in as a solid career back-up at the pro level. But maybe he can be more than that in time.

TOMMY SHULER WR Marshall SR 5’7/198 #1 vs N Illinois, Boca Raton Bowl
I would be the first guy to admit that there is limited room in the NFL for receivers who are 5’7. But SHULER has a very think, muscular body and will fight for the ball with bigger defenders. He also has very good hands. I am anxious to see his hand size come the Combine. He is quicker than fast, but gets open, especially over the middle. He and his QB/CATO worked the middle against NIU all day with SHULER ending up with 18 catches for 185 yards and 1 TD, in the Boca Raton Bowl. He has great hand/eye coordination and can work the sideline as well. My guess would be that he could provide some help on several Special Teams units as needed, as he is a tough kid. Some good team, looking for receiver depth and with an extra Pick or two, should take a flyer on this guy in Round 6/7 in May.

J.R. TAVAII OLB Southern Cal SR 6’2/250 #58 vs Nebraska, Holiday Bowl
Coming into the 2014 season TAVAII was a part time player whose primary skill was the highly valued ability to rush the QB. But he lost almost 20 lbs., and became a full-time OLB in the Trojans 3-4 defensive scheme. And his play in their Bowl win showed just how far he has come. He flew all over the field and laid some pretty vicious hits on people. He also showed that he is learning to play in reverse when needed in coverage situations. His progress this past season was impressive. I am also guessing that his athleticism will allow him to post some attention grabbing Combine numbers. I currently will put him in that category of a player who may have an even more productive pro career than his college body of work. A winning NFL team looking for a high upside project could steal TAVAII early on Draft Saturday.

Weekly Prospects Review – December 16th, 2014

We are not far at all from the Bowl Season, but lack of college game action this past Saturday made me hungry for more. So I dug into my game recording archives and unused game notes to conjure up a few more 2015 Draft prospect thumbnails for your perusal.

DAVID ANDREWS/OC/GEORGIA #61 6’2/295 … It takes more than a big heart and football smarts to play in the NFL. But having those two qualities can often overcome less than ideal athleticism and size. ANDREWS will try to prove that last sentence over the next year. HC/MARK RICHT called ANDREWS the leader of his football team when asked last Fall about the hustling, heady senior. He played as a true freshman and started  full-time the last 3 seasons. He never stops hustling and does have enough quickness to get off of the ball and complete his assignments. He’s also the kind of relentless player who drives those he’s blocking crazy. Every UGA game I watched this past season featured some important blocks coming from the OC slot. I also saw a guy challenging and encouraging teammates to play harder in tight spots on the sidelines and between snaps. He’s going to have some issues against 3-4 schemes where he may be overpowered by a big NT at the next level. But in combo blocks, he’ll get the job done. He’s as pumped up and big as he can probably get, but he’ll get the most out of his body. I’m not even sure if he gets drafted, but once in an NFL training Camp and on a roster he will be hard to cut. Think of guys like SCOTT WELLS & JEFF SATURDAY.

KENNY BELL/WR/NEBRASKA #80 6’1/185 .. Let’s make it clear that KENNY BELL is not a star WR. He catches 3-4 balls per game and some of them are clutch catches for his team. He has better than average speed and decent hands. He will make some acrobatic high-point catches. But on the other hand he’ll drop some he should catch and he will miss playing time in short batches with dings and nicks some others might play with. His game in the season ending win over Iowa was pretty typical of what he has brought to the Huskers during his 4 years in Lincoln. He caught 3 balls for 53 yards and 2 TD. For those of you a bit math-challenged that’s over 17 yds per catch. In fact as a senior he averaged 17.9 yards per reception overall. He has frustrated me at times with his failure to make some plays, but usually sometime later in the game he will redeem himself. I am surprised that his name has not appeared on an All-Star game roster yet. He has enough talent and playing experience to warrant being drafted any time from Round 5 on. He could make a roster as a No. 3 or 4 NFL receiver.

TYELER DAVISON/DT/FRESNO STATE #92 6’2/309 … To say that the 2014 season was a struggle for the Bulldogs, minus DEREK CARR, would be an understatement. But the team rallied in the second half of the season and actually earned a Mountain West Championship date with Boise. DAVISON has struck me as a high motor, high energy player whenever I have watched Fresno State the past two seasons. He’s a strong player, with good quickness, but lacks bulk and I seriously doubt he will be adding any significant weight to his frame. Therefore, I am projecting his best NFL fit as a 4-3 DT. He’ll be very popular with NFL defensive coaches like ROD MARINELLI in Dallas. He can create havoc in the pocket with his quickness and tenacity. But he does understand his responsibilities and plays under control despite his high motor.  In the WAC Championship game he was credited with only 2 tackles, but 1 was a Sack & the other was a TFL. On the season he had 58 total tackles, including 12.5TFL & 8 Sacks. He created 2 FF and recovered 1. I’m still waiting for this high energy guy’s name to appear on an All-Star roster. I remember S/ERIC WEDDLE being a Senior Bowl favorite a few years back because of his energy and enthusiasm, both on and off the field. I watch DAVISON play and am reminded of WEDDLE. Trying to project him into a draft slot is a bit difficult, but I suspect he will put up some solid workout numbers at the Combine and/or his Pro Day. Assuming a large number of underclassmen declarations again this January I could see DAVISON slipping into Round 4 and being quite the bargain for an NFL defense.

KURTIS DRUMMOND/S/MICHIGAN STATE #27 6’1/200DRUMMOND  has been a productive player throughout his Spartan career. I show him now with 34 career starts. In watching about 7 of the MSU 2014 games I jotted his name down multiple times as a possible profile, but found I did not have many notes on his play at the end of the game. So I went back to make sure he had not regressed as a senior in his play. My analysis right now is that he is still a Top 100 prospect who cut down on his gambling and played a more controlled/refined game this past season. And yet for the season his stats were still very impressive in total. He led the Spartans in total tackles with 65, which seems low until you consider how many quality athletes had to split up those tackle opportunities for Sparty. He still managed to find his way to 4 INT for the season as well as 15 PBU. He’s consistently productive as a back-line defender in the secondary. His tackling is solid and to the delight of HC DANTONIO he can be described as assignment sure. He can come up and play effectively in-the-box, but is even more comfortable in a deep zone coverage setting. I don’t see him as a swashbuckling ball hawk but a solid all-around leader of the secondary. Mark him down as a MORGAN BURNETT type pro prospect. I am delighted to point out that he too is currently listed as a Senior Bowl participant.

ELI HAROLD/DE/LB/VIRGINIA #7 6’3/245The CAVS defense played at a high level most of the 2014 season, enough so that the team came very close to being Bowl eligible, despite a fairly anemic offense. I watched the team play 4 times and was very impressed with the individual talent on display in their defense. HAROLD was a serious force in providing pressure on opposing QB from his DE slot. On the season he recorded 54 total tackles which included 14.5TFL/7 sacks. He looks to be a flexible athlete who just may be able to make the transition to standing up as an OLB in a 3-4 NFL scheme. Indeed, they dropped HAROLD into coverage at times and he recorded an INT as well as several PBU. He has good ball awareness and pursues from sideline to sideline. He’s a hard tackler who forced 1 fumble and recovered 2 others on the season. He reminds me a bit of MELVIN INGRAM a few years back at South Carolina, in the sense that his athleticism may allow an NFL defense to move him around so that he may be more than just a long down, pass rushing threat. He’s got enough going for him to make me think he’ll have a chance to be a Friday draftee if his workout numbers look good from the Combine.

DEZMIN LEWIS/WR/CENTRAL ARKANSAS #5 6’4/210 … All-Star action is a great opportunity to more closely eyeball some of the nations top small school pro prospects. LEWIS, who is listed as attending the Senior Bowl in January, is a good example of such a player. He has a golden chance to jump up and get League-wide attention in Mobile. In the season opener CENTRAL was supposed to play patsy for TEXAS TECH, but ended up surprising the Red Raiders and only losing by a TD, at 35-42. The tall, rangy, physically impressive LEWIS was a big part of the CAU offense with 7 catches for 105 yards. LEWIS displayed good hands and excellent ball skills. He high pointed several throws and also worked the sideline effectively. He showed good, if not great, speed and the ability to screen defenders off the ball allowing him to make the catch. Like my experience with several other small school wideouts over the years, he also showed a willingness and ability to block effectively, which is an NFL must on most teams. Clearly, I have a very limited body of work to scrutinize right now, but this guy looks like the real deal. He will be a focal point for me in Mobile and looks initially to have early Saturday draft potential. Think ALSHON JEFFERY in style of play.

MARCUS PETERS/CB/WASHINGTON #21 6’0/200 … You can bet your bottom dollar that PETERS will officially declare for the 2015 Draft as soon as he can. He has been dismissed from the Huskies program for a series of scuffles with the first year coaching staff of Chris Petersen. The new boss isn’t aways the same as the old boss, but this is cause for concern for scouts. PETERS  managed to make it through 8 games of the 12 game season before being sent packing. So of course this sets up the situation where his interview work with teams over the next 4-5 months will be a major factor in his Draft evaluation. On the field he looks like a solid NFL CB prospect. He has good size and appears to have the quickness and body control to play at the pro level. He looks most comfortable in press/man-cover situations, but sees the ball well and reacts in zone coverage as well. He is solid in run support, but picks his spots. In game film of him against HAWAII I saw him playing fairly deep (10-15 yards) zone coverage until he sniffed out a screen pass, at which point he “flew” up to tackle the receiver behind the line of scrimmage. PETERS also shows some potential as a zone blitzer off the edge. He’s physical with receivers, but isn’t penalty prone. He also shows good hands to fight for possession of the ball. Through his 8 games with the Huskies this past season, he had 30 tackles, 4TFL, 3 INT and 10 PD. He had 5INT during the 2013 season. I’ve seen him ranked as a potential first rounder and can’t say I totally disagree. But his off-the-field issues will raise some serious red flags, at least with some segment of the NFL personnel department community. Let’s project him right now as Round 2/3.

LYNDEN TRAIL/DE/LB/NORFOLK STATE #7 6’6/260 … The 5th year senior has been getting a reasonable amount of hype recently as a serious small-school prospect. He has already accepted an invite to play in the Senior Bowl this coming January. So I looked up some film of him in this years game with Bethune-Cookman. Quite frankly, I did not see anything to get excited about. I had to blink twice to make sure the tape was not in slow motion on some plays. He has played primarily with his hand down, and clearly that will not work for his prospects as a pro. He is very long, but also very lean. Other than a speed, outside rush he was handled repeatedly at the line of scrimmage by blockers. He looked far from enthusiastic about getting to the ball to make tackles. I would like to tell you that he’s in need of some serious pro coaching and this was an off day for him. But I can’t say either with any certainly right now. I am hoping that he opens my eyes with his work in Mobile. We can always use another talented prospect to feed the pro game. But right now I’m on record as saying I ddi not see anything against BCU to justify some of the recent buzz about him.

DEMIEN WILSON/ILB/MINNESOTA #5 6’2/240 … I have all the respect in the world for HC/JERRY KILL at Minnesota. But folks he isn’t winning there simply by confusing opponents with smoke and mirrors. He has some quality players in that program and LB/WILSON is one of those. What I don’t understand is the seeming lack of luv that WILSON and his play amongst NFL scouts. I rarely see his name on any prospect lists nor do I hear his name in conversations. Yet in watching multiple Gophers games last Fall his play was hard to miss. The first thing I noticed was that he seemed fast for his size and never stopped running. He looked like a guy who would run 5 miles chasing the ball before the game was over. Some of his hits were ferocious and he did not hesitate to stick his head into any tackling pile. He looked to be a smart player who has a feel for the flow of game. He ended the year 3rd in the Big 10 in total tackles with 111. Included were 10.5 TFL/4 sacks. He proved he could drop into short middle coverage with 1 INT & 3 PBU. He is cousin to Gophers RB DAVID COBB. He looks best suited to play on the Inside in a 3-4 NFL scheme, and looks like a natural for every Special Teams unit on his team. Clearly a Saturday draftee to me and unless he runs incredibly slowly in shorts at his Pro Day I see him in about Round 5/6. Might look good in a PACKERS uniform IMO.

Weekly Prospects Review – December 10th, 2014

SAM ARNESON/TE/WISCONSIN #49 6’4/250 … This just in… the Badgers have an NFL TE prospect for the next NFL Draft. Well, that shouldn’t be a bulletin in light of names like DANIELS, GRAHAM, KENDRICKS, etc. But it is news of a sort because ARNESON is a true inline, blocking TE, who can catch the ball in his spare time. ARNESON didn’t set the world on fire this year statistically with 27 catches for 354 yards and 4 TD, but please consider the QBs delivering the ball. For an NFL team looking for a solid TE in a weak year at the position ARNESON should have real value in the closing rounds of the May Draft. His style of play and overall abilities may compare favorably to Seattle’s LUKE WILLSON. I am a bit dismayed to not find his name on an All-STar roster list yet!

JAMES CASTLEMAN/DT/OKLAHOMA STATE #91 6’2/300 … In the newest collegiate dictionary it might as well feature a picture of CASTLEMAN right next to the word ‘workmanlike’. Just like ARNESON above he’s not an elite prospect by any measure. But for an NFL team running a 4-3 defensive scheme that lacks depth and wants a lunch pail toting warrior to add depth to their interior DL rotation CASTLEMAN might just be their man. He was the rock/foundation of the Cowboys D from his DT spot. In 12 games he totaled 42 tackles, including 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks and 3 QBH. He also managed to get an INT and blocked 3 kicks on special teams. He’s a vocal leader and high energy guy as well. He goes out and does his job week-in and week-out. It might be hard to vote him as defensive player of the week in any one game, but the body of his work indicates a plugger who will give high effort and get results. I’m eager to see him at the Shrine venue in January.

SPENCER DRANGO/OT/BAYLOR #58 6’5/315 … Some folks are a bit wary of Baylor OL because of the pass-happy scheme they are perceived to employ. But they also run he ball a lot, and DRANGO (whose name just cries out to play for a Texas pro team) has the length and footwork to block effectively in any type attack. He may not knock people out of their stance with his hand punch, but he mirrors quite well in pass-pro and can get after it in the running game. He stays on his feet and can get around to pull or downfield for second level blocks. DRANGO also looks to be very aware of the action around him and will leave his assignment block to help out further down field. He’s probably the best OL prospect Baylor has produced during the BRILES regime. Medical at Indy will be important because a back injury that cost him time.His overall work was impressive as usual against a tough K-State defense last Saturday. He’s a very good athlete with big upside, who excites most scouts. It really helps him to have played in a team that required him to be proficient in both run and pass blocking. Not a whole lot of pass rush pressure comes through the LT spot on QB/PETTY. Looks like a probable 2nd Rounder, with a chance at late Round 1.

JAKE FISHER/OT/OREGON #75 6’6/295 … The Ducks, especially MARCUS MARIOTA, really got on a roll when FISHER got back into the starting line-up around mid-season after losing time to injury. The tall, long one is another example of what I consider to be the NFL LT of the present/future. A long, athletic player who weighs a bit over 300 lbs. (which FISHER will after in an NFL training regimen) and who relies more on footwork and quickness than brute strength. Athleticism has become more important than bulk at most OT spots around the League. FISHER reminds me a lot of ANTHONY CASTONZO coming out of BC. He has been a part of the hi-tech Oregon offense since his true freshman season and has been a starter since his sophomore campaign. I have seen his name all over the place on prospect ranking charts, but suspect that he is moving up most charts as we head for the bowl season. Right now he is listed as having accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, which would be a smart move for him since actual NFL coaches preside over that venue. A good showing in Mobile and some athletic numbers at the Combine could propel FISHER solidly into late Round 1 draft status.

AUSTIN HILL/WR/ARIZONA #29 6’2/210 … Back in 2012, when HILL was a soph. he blew things up with 81 catches for 1364 yards and 11 TD. He looked to be a big name star ascending until he blew out a knee (ACL) and was lost for the entire 2013 season. He came back this season and improved physically over time, as was to be expected. He ended the season with 45 catches for 605 yards and 4 TD. He is not a speedster, but has good hands and can really rack up yards after catch with strength and some elusiveness. His biggest test this post season is likely to be how he looks at the Shrine Game and his medical reports in Indy. He’s borderline Top 100, and likely to get pushed out when the flood of juniors starts. There wasn’t much chance to get a good look at him in the big Loss to Oregon as the Wildcats Offense struggled mightily and even changed their QB mid-game. He caught 3 balls for 19 yards, which reflects a lot more on his team than him personally. He is a player whose off-season numbers will mean a lot to his draft ranking.

CHRISTION JONES/WR/RS/ALABAMA #22 5’11/190 … JONES is considered to be one of the top all-around speed threats on the SEC. His speed and quickness combine to make him a weapon as a Punt returner, Kick returner and a Wide Receiver. As a marked man coming off an exceptional 2013 season, his numbers in 2014 as a returner were a step back as teams kicked away from him whenever possible. In 2013 he averaged 14 yds per punt return and 28,7 yds per kick return, in addition to 36 catches. In 2014 BLAKE SIMS only had eyes for AMARI COOPER in the passing game, to the tune of over 100 catches. As a result JONES catch total slipped to 19 and only 1 TD this season. But my guess is he will get some prospect luster back when he puts up some impressive speed and quickness numbers at the Combine and/or his Pro Day. He made some big plays against Missouri in the SEC Championship Game and has perhaps 2 more big games to display his wares. Some pro team could get a late round value in JONES come May.

JOSUE MATIAS/OG/FLORIDA STATE #70 6’6/330 … There is very little extra praise to throw around when your entire OL is All-Conference, except for the 5-Star true frosh that you can’t keep off the field. But trust me when I say NFL Personnel people are well aware of his ability. Playing in a high powered pro style offense for the Seminoles works to his advantage of course. Has been a starter since his true sophomore season, never red shirting. MATIAS is certainly not the quickest OL in the country, but his length helps him offset some initial quickness off the ball. He can be a real road grader in the run game due to his mental makeup and his bull strength. Although it’s a very subjective stat MATIAS is generally acknowledged as the leading pancake blocker on the FSU line. Was recently named second team All-ACC. MATIAS, like most interior OL toils in relative obscurity most of the time but will get 3rd or 4th Round attention next May when the NFL Draft rolls around.

JOEY MBU/DT/HOUSTON #92 6’3/315 …. Unless you are a real draftnik or college football fan you may not have heard of MBU, who has toiled away in the often ignored American Athletic Conference. But he has been on NFL scouting radar since a solid junior season in 2013. He has an incredibly thick, strong middle body from his knees to his lower chest. He neutralizes the line-of-scrimmage as an immovable object for the Cougars. He can get a bit of push at times, but he looks to be limited somewhat from what appear to be relatively short arms. We’ll see when those arms and hands get measured at the Senior Bowl venue which he has indicated he will attend. MBU gives good effort but is limited in his pursuit ability because of girth and short, stout legs. I don’t see MBU as a true NT despite his build. For 2014 his personal stats are quite interesting: 12G – 31T – 4.5TFL – 2.5 Sacks – 1 INT – 4 PBU – 1 QBH. His stats confirm that he is well aware of what the QB is doing in the pocket and though not an elite inside pass-rush threat gets his arms/hands up to obscure QB sight/throwing lanes.

QUAYSHAWN NEALY/LB/GEORGIA TECH #54 6’1/235 … NEALY has been an every down LB for Tech since his RS Freshman year. He has over 40 starts to his credit. Has improve his tackle totals every season topping out with 90 in 2014. He’s always around the ball and can pressure the pocket. This season he was credited with 8 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 INT and 3 forced fumbles. He works hard, but is assignment sure per his coaches. In Tech’s big overtime win over Georgia NEALY chipped in with 9 tackles, 1 forced fumble & 1 PBU. He is not an elite pro prospect because he’s not special in any specific skill area. But he contributes in so many ways that he should add value to the bottom third of an NFL roster immediately. I have little doubt after watching TECH in action 5 times this year that he can be a Special Teams contributor right away and work into some sub-packages from scrimmage. His size will limit him somewhat in the NFL, but his versatility and accountability should work to his advantage. Look for him around Round 5/6.

QUINTEN ROLLINS/CB/MIAMI (O) #2 6’0/205 … It was a real task to watch a MIami (O) football game this year as he team stumbled it’s way to another big losing season at 2-10, after going winless in 2013. But it was worth it to watch the senior sensation who decided to play football this season after an illustrious basketball career as a defensive force to be reckoned with. ROLLINS blew things up in his college football debut. Playing at CB through 11 games he had 66 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 FF, 14 PD and 5 INT. To say he was a revelation to NFL personnel people would be an understatement. His ball-hawking ability is not quite as surprising as his willingness to stick his nose into the action in run support. Luckily for all of us he was invited to the Senior Bowl, by popular NFL pro scout demand, and will be on display, under pro coaching in Mobile. He’s already not a sleeper any more by any measure, but the chance to see him in practice and game action against the football big boys in Mobile is just what everyone wants to see. The buzz over ROLLINS is tremendous in scouting circles right now. Trying to figure out how high he has to be taken by teams who really want him is now the question that begs scrutiny. Remember this name when Senior Bowl Week rolls around in January.

DEVIN SMITH/WR/OHIO STATE #9 6’0/200 … In 2013 a guy named COREY BROWN emerged as the Buckeyes most productive WR. By and large NFL scouts missed on his breakout year and he went undrafted. He made the PANTHERS this fall as an URFA. Meet DEVIN SMITH, who despite the Ohio State QB shuffle this season jumped from 44 catches and 8 TD as second fiddle to BROWN in 2013 to being the team’s deadly, big play WR in 2014. His reception total dropped to 30 catches this season, but he took those catches to an average of 26.6 yards per catch, and 11 TD. His work last Saturday night in the blowout over Wisconsin was typical of his fine season. He caught 4 passes, but for 137 yards and 3 TD. I’m most eager to see his 40-time at the Combine. He may make a great NFL wideout/No. 3 receiver to stretch the field in an NFL offense. I’d also like to see him get a shot as a Kick Returner at the next level as well. He might sneak into Round 3 for the right team, but I’d guess R4/5 would be his most likely draft spot. No matter what, he has the smooth speed to transition easily into an NFL Offense. He helped beat the stuffing out of the Badgers secondary, but PACKERS fans probably wouldn’t mind seeing this guy help Aaron Rodgers stretch the field next season in Lambeau. I’m still waiting for an All-Star tilt to sign him up.

TERRY WILLIAMS/NT/EAST CAROLINA #54 6’0/350 … I would be the first guy to admit that this bowling ball needs to shed about 20-30 lbs., depending upon what he really weighs currently. But I would also tell you after watching him in 3 ECU games this past Fall, he is a productive/destructive force in the middle of their 3-4 DL. I would also tell you that he is high energy and despite playing over weight, he hustles and finishes plays more often than many of his teammates. He’s built low to the ground with a massive base and does not get knocked off of his feet. He plugs the middle and then pushes blockers into the pocket or ball carrier. He can be neutralized, but very seldom pushed off his spot. You might expect him to disappear in the 4th quarter from fatigue, but his play looks the same to me no matter what time in the game you focus on him. WILLIAMS seems to take/get no more blows on the sideline than his line mates. He more than held his own against UCF in the season finale for ECU. It’s getting late in the process, but I would still like to see him in action at a post-season All-Star game. I think he’s pretty similar to NT/BRANDON WILLIAMS who wowed us at the Senior Bowl in 2013 with his strength and girth,sub-packages and now anchors the DL in Baltimore. If he can find an agent who will send him to a performance camp in January, we might really see something from this young man at around 330 lbs. or so at his Pro Day. Might be draftable in Round 7 for a 3-4 team, more likely

Weekly Prospects Review – December 2nd, 2014

KAELIN CLAY/RS/WR/UTAH #8 5’10/190 … CLAY first caught my eye earlier in the season after Utah had beaten Michigan & UCLA to get my attention as a team. The JC recruit was busting things open with some swerving/curling return work against Oregon State and USC. Most recently, with the season ending injury to DRES ANDERSON, the team’s No. 1 receiver, CLAY has gotten reps as a wideout and used his speed and quickness to get open and pile up some yards after catch. Players with his explosiveness are in high demand in today’s NFL. His return work and skill set that fits the model of a slot receiver is attractive. He should pop some eyeballs during speed and agility drills at the Combine, or his Pro Day for the UTES. For the season CLAY returned 19 punts for an average of 17.7-ypr and 3 TD. He stepped up big time as a receiver in the finale @ Colorado. He caught 10 balls, for 88 yards and 2 TD. His progress from JC to starting WR and PR man should be enough to have caught the eyes of many personnel people. I have to believe that he now has an excellent chance to be drafted, albeit in a later round.

SAMMIE COATES/WR/AUBURN #18 6’2/210 … I watched COATES several times back in September and saw a supremely talented athlete who was trying get by on speed alone. His ability to locate and catch the ball was average, at best. In the past month I have been impressed with the progress he has made as a receiver. He can still take the top end off a defense because of his speed. He’s a smooth runner, who has that extra gear. And now he’s finding the ball in the air sooner and adjusting to it to make the catch. This has helped increase the target area he presents to his QB tremendously. He burned ALABAMA deep 4 times in the Iron Bowl. He caught 5 balls, for 206 yards. That’s a spiffy 41-yards per catch. COATES pulled in two deep balls for TDs of 34 & 68 yards. He just blew past ‘Bama defenders in the secondary. It should also be noted that Auburn has several other top receivers for QB/MARSHALL, meaning a few less targets for COATES. He looks and plays bigger than his size numbers and I think he’ll post a very fast 40-time for his length at the Combine. I have been converted to a believer in 3 months time. COATES has improved markedly this season. This guy is a potential First Rounder next May and should exit Auburn to go pro.

DANTE’ FOWLER/DE/OLB/FLORIDA #6 6’3/260 … FOWLER is what I consider a “flash player”. He will be a non-factor for a quarter at a time and then make 2-3 plays in the next quarter. Since his main skill is as a pass rusher that scenario may be acceptable to some NFL teams in their attempt to pressure opposing QB. He did get moved around the defensive formation for the Gators, even standing up at times and dropping into pass coverage. He certainly is not relentless in his play all the time to my eyes. He paces himself a bit more than NFL coaches will like. His best value may come as a situational player who is told to go all out for a few plays them rested. He needs to tighten up his tackling fundamentals. He will get overpowered and neutralized too often on running plays. He certainly had some impact on WINSTON of FSU in the pocket on Saturday, but was not a consistently dominant player. The key with FOWLER will be his willingness to work harder and accept coaching as a pro. NFL teams will likely have to make up their minds on FOWLER in the coming months, because I doubt he goes back to Gainesville for a new coaching regime. A good team that can play him in spots could ratIonalize taking him in Rounds 2/3, but a team looking for full-time starters could be in for frustration with FOWLER. He has potential, but productivity means a lot more in the NFL than potential.

KEVIN HOGAN/QB/STANFORD #8 6’4/230 … If you look at game tape and/or stats for HOGAN in the upset win over UCLA you can see why he is considered a solid NFL prospect by many. In a game controlled by the Stanford D and a solid running attack HOGAN was solid in completing 16/19, 84%, 234 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT. That is what HOGAN is capable of when the game is under control and he doesn’t have to win it on his own. But what has concerned me the past two years is his inability to win the big one with the pressure on his right arm and head. His 2014 campaign has been his personal best, but the team around him has lost way too many close ones. For the full 12 game 2014 season he was 218/332 – 65.6% – 2603 yds, 17 TD – 8 INT. He is also a decent running option if the pocket breaks down. But watching him from week to week has been very frustrating for me. Barring a QB-whisperer miracle as a pro, at his best HOGAN looks like the next ANDY DALTON. And based on most of DALTON’s big game performances that is not a compliment. He has the option to return to school for another year, but I’m not sure what more he can learn under SHAW’s coaching staff and that style of play. If a pro career is his next step in life then he might as well come out and get to Mobile to work with a pro coaching staff. I wouldn’t be drafting him any sooner than Round 4 though.

JIMMIE HUNT/WR/MISSOURI #88 6’0/215 … People have been underestimating the talent on this Mizzou team since they entered the SEC. But if you peruse some NFL rosters you will find the Tigers well represented in the HC/Pinkel years. With some creative wrinkles the PINKEL regime has created an Offense that can throw and run with equal effectiveness. Each year they seem to have multiple prospects at WR & RB, and 2014 is no exception. HUNT appeals to me the most in the current group based on his consistent play and his explosiveness and strength to the ball. In their showdown with resurgent Arkansas, HUNT did his part with 5 catches for 61 yards and a TD. He’s a husky looking guy who surprises defenders with his speed and quickness. For the season HUNT averaged 15.6 yds/catch to lead the team. He was banged up for several games, but stayed on the field for the most part and played the decoy role. He is also a solid blocking presence. He will probably need to prove to NFL personnel people that he has sub 4.5-speed in the 40 to get drafted. If he can’t do that I suspect he will be an URFA, but will compete had for a roster spot next summer. He is a guy who could greatly benefit from All-Star Game exposure at any venue.

ARIE KOUANDJIO/OG/ALABAMA #77 6’5/315 … With his brother graduated and on the BILLS roster, ARIE has become the leader of the ‘Bama OL. He played well against Auburn and drew attention and praise from MUSBURGER/PALMER during their telecast of the Iron Bowl. ARIE is huge, but has decent, though limited, mobility for his size. It takes him a while to get that body moving, but he is really hard get past or around for defenders. Some of that is due to very long and strong arms, which he uses effectively without holding his opponents in the trenches. Stays on his feet and is smart in response to stunts and loops by defenders. He can get to second level blocks, if he gets a good jump at the snap. ARIE is experienced enough to keep his head on a swivel and see what is going on around him. He’s best in a short area, so OG suits him well. For my taste, this guy is underrated by many and has a good chance to start in the NFL, perhaps right away for a needy team. If he can show some decent movement at the Combine he could crack into Round 3 of the May Draft.

JEREMY LANGFORD/RB/MICHIGAN STATE #33 6’0/205 … Say hello to one of college footballs most consistent runners who just isn’t flashy enough to grab headlines with guys like Yeldon, Gordon & Gurley around. The former DB just finished off the 2014 season with his 9th straight 100+ yard rushing game against a gritty Penn State defense. For the season he carried the ball 249 times for 1360 yards and 19 TD. That’s a solid 5.5ypc average. He’s also a decent receiver though he’s seldom used in that role by HC DANTONIO. He’s been Mr. Reliable for the Spartans gaining 1422 yards as a junior. But he’s not a speedster, nor is he a bulldozer. Those two details concern pro scouts. But he runs with excellent balance and seems to see the whole field enabling him to avoid some tacklers in the open field. LANGFORD has average speed but very good quickness to get through the hole. His jump-cut is impressive and most of the time he has just enough speed to turn the corner. He’s a strong runner for his size and will punish DB who try to tackle him. He may not break many 30 yard runs, but he can churn out some 15-20 yarders with regularity. He reminds me of JOE RANDLE from OKlahoma State, who runs as a back-up right now for the Cowboys. If a run on RB (excuse the pun) should occur early in the 2015 Draft, LANGFORD could find himself in the Top 100. If he’s faster and more explosive at the Combine than we all think right now he could solidify a Round 3 grade. He’s currently committed to the Senior Bowl.

SHAQUILLE MASON/OG/GERGIA TECH #70 6’1/310 … MASON is an excellent run blocker, as you might expect at Tech, with better than average athleticism. He fires off the ball and can get to second level blocks in a heart beat. He’s built low to the ground and plays there much of the time. With his quickness and strength he rocks defenders with his initial hit. Stays on his feet and gets good leverage because of his low pad level. He will need work on his pass-pro which he seldom uses in Paul Johnson’s system. But given his overall ability and smarts it should not take long for him to become adequate at protecting his QB from an inside pass-rush as a pro. I think he will be the exception to the recent trend of Tech OL not working out at the NFL level. As long as he goes to a power running scheme, or as close as there is to that in today’s NFL, he should have a chance to win a starting OG position in a couple of seasons. He will be limited to the interior exclusively because of his lack of height & length. That could well mean he only gets a few years to prove himself, because he’s not going to be a multiple position game day back-up. I look for him in Round 4-6 n May.

DAMIAN SWANN/CB/GEORGIA #5 5’11/180 .. SWANN is a smart, experienced DB with decent athleticism and good instincts. He’s been a 3-year starter on a talented UGA defensive unit. He showed his value in the OT Loss to Tech on Saturday. He scored a defensive TD against Tech when he scooped up a fumble at his own team’s 1 yard line and scampered 99-yards for a TD. At the time it totally flipped the field for his defense which was on its heels. Though recording only 3 INT in 2014 he is around the ball a lot and breaks up a lot of would be catches. SWANN had 8 PBU in 2013. He is also not hesitant to join the fray in run support. This season he ranked 4th overall in tackles for the Bulldogs with 62. SWANN also looks to have some potential value as a pro in a zone blitz role. In 2014 he racked up 4.5 TFL and 2 sacks. At the least he should have the potential to provide an NFL team with a slot position cover man, as well as other sub packages and Special Teams play. Early in his UGA career he returned punts part time. He is scheduled to play in the SHRINE Game in January. He has a chance to go s early as Round 3, but given the expected glut on underclassmen likely to declare he could end up being an early Saturday selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. I really like this guys attitude and hard/smart play.

ANTHONY TELFER/TE/SOUTHERN CAL #82 6’4/250 … In a big year for the TE class TELFER would likely end up as an URFA. But this year anyone needing a good young TE is going to have to dig deep in the prospect depth charts. What makes TELFER interesting is that he is a good athlete, who can and will block in addition to running patterns. I’ve seen him do some nice receiving work on the sidelines, which isn’t normally a strong suit for true inline TE. His day’s work in the blowout win against Notre Dame was 3 catches, for 28 yards and a TD. He is a long target with good, not great hands, as a receiver. He is also a willing, effective blocker both in the running game and downfield for the wideouts and runners. What you see on tape is probably what you’ll get in Training Camp from this guy. If he can post some solid numbers at the Combine, and play effectively in an All-Star game he might get drafted late next May.

JAMES VAUGHTERS/DE/OLB/STANFORD #9 6’2/255 … This superior athlete, with that highly coveted pass rush ability is drawing attention and curiosity as he technically enters the Draft process without an NFL position. He’s listed as playing the “RUSH” slot for the Stanford D. He plays at times with his hand down, but most often standing up. But much of the time when standing up he is on the line of scrimmage and ready to penetrate into the backfield. He was a significant player in Stanford’s big win over UCLA. He held the edge well on his side of the field and brought some pressure to bear on HUNDLEY on several occasions. Playing part time and in a specific role VAUGHTERS played in all 12 games in 2013 recording 46 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 3 QBH & 3 PBU. Clearly he has good all around athleticism, but he’s too small to play full time as a DE. His best pro slot would appear to be in a 3-4 scheme as a stand-up OLB. So now NFL personnel people must evaluate his ability to play some of his time in reverse. We know what he can do going forward and it is promising. I would expect him to get drafted unless he falls on his face at his Pro Day, but right now I can see him going anywhere between the 4th and 7th Round. It certainly would help to classify him as a pro prospect if he were to get a roster slot at the Shrine venue.

JAKE WATERS/QB/KANSAS STATE #15 6’1/210 .. Even if JAMEIS WNSTON & MARCUS MARIOTA enter the 2015 Draft the quality QB group for the 2015 Draft is pretty thin. So that has had me scrambling to find some project QB prospects to draft late and compete for back-up spots in NFL Training Camps. The light just went on in my head this past weekend that even though I have touted WATERS for the CFL, he may be able to give the NFL an initial whirl. His size is less than ideal, but there are lots of back-ups in the League who are smaller than him. His arm is at least average, as is his accuracy. A good QB coach might be able to help clean up some of his technique flaws and thus improve his overall throwing. He has good mobility, as evidenced by his 440 yards and 8 TD rushing in 11 games this season. It wasn’t his toughest test, but his numbers were quite good against Kansas last weekend, and Kansas has not been a patsy the second half of this season. WATERS passed for 21/27 – 78% – 294 yds – 4 TD – 0 INT. What I like best about WATERS is that he is a fierce Competitor, notice that capitol C. The JC rank graduate is the consummate leader and controls a huddle and locker room. I think some NFL team with a thin QB group has to take a long look at this guy in Round 6/7 next May. Here’s hoping he’s at the Shrine or NFLPA venue next month.

Weekly Prospects Review – November 26th, 2014

VICTOR BEASLEY/OLB/CLEMSON #3 6’2/225 .. Like most, I have been watching BEASLEY in action for 3 seasons now. And I am still wondering exactly how he fits into the NFL game. And let’s not beat around the bush here, he’s too small to play any other way than standing up as a LB. I will bet dollars to doughnuts that when the Combine rolls around he’s going to be 6’2 and under 230 lbs., no matter what they do at his performance camp. He spends much of the game in the opponents backfield as evidenced by his 2014 stats thru 11 games: 15.5 TFL, 9.0 sacks. But overall he’s 10th on his team with only 24 total tackles. That does not make an elite player in my estimation. He’s elite at playing in the opponents backfield, but that does not make him an overall pro prospect. He’s known as a high character young man around the Clemson campus and that should count for something in this day and age of high scrutiny for bad actors in athletics. He should make a great passing down rusher and a special teams coverage ace, but I’m not drafting him until Round 2. His best chance for Round 1 is for a good team, in need of more pass rush, to grab him late in the round.

TEVIN COLEMAN/RB/INDIANA #6 6’0/210 … If you’re not impressed with the work of COLEMAN amid the glamour of new NCAA rushing records every week then you can’t see the forest thru the trees. His IU team is down to about their 6th string QB because of injuries and transfers, and it isn’t pretty most Saturdays for they’re passing attack. So opposing defenses realize they are going to get heavy doses of COLEMAN running the ball. And despite any real element of surprise the best IU RB since ANTHONY THOMPSON is still piling up yardage and moving the sticks for the Hoosiers. Last Saturday, against the hearty Ohio State defense he carried the ball 27 times for 228 yards and 3 TD, as IU gave the Buckeyes a big scare. He’s a slashing runner with good burst and excellent balance. He also sees the field well and can cut back for extra yards. Doesn’t have GORDON speed, but scored on a 90-yard run against the Buckeyes, so he’s clearly not just a grinder. He’s now up to 1906 yards rushing at an average of 7.9 ypc. With his final game coming up against Purdue look for him to crack that coveted 2000-yard mark. By the way COLEMAN’s 7.9-ypc is not that far behind the speedy Badger MELVIN GORDON who is at 8.3-ypc. Expect COLEMAN to enter the 2015 Draft and be a 2nd Round Pick.

GARRETT GRAYSON/QB/COLORDAO STATE #18 6’2/220 … As a senior who has blossomed under the direction of new HC JIM McELWAIN (3rd year), GRAYSON is still an unknown to most fans east of the Mississippi River. But out west he’s a polished team leader who has the Rams sitting at 10-1 heading into their finale at Air Force. He led the Rams to a 58-20 pounding of New Mexico Saturday passing for 23/29 – 79.3% – 389 yards – 3 TD – 0 INT. I’ve watched CSU play 3 times this year and GRAYSON reminds me of a young AARON RODGERS. He has quick feet and can run if needed. He has a quick compact delivery and the ball comes out of his hand quickly. He throws a catchable ball and has touch when needed. He can move the pocket and extend plays with his legs, though not a real scrambler. At times he seems a bit slow to identify blitzes and react to them. He has enough arm to make all the throws and throws an accurate deep ball. Like a RODGERS he’ll need a couple of years learning and adapting to the pro game, but the potential and tools are all there. But buyer beware, guys who develop like RODGERS did are few and far between. Because of the value of QBs I would expect him to have a solid chance to go in the Top 100 ala GARRAPOLO last year. Expect to see him in Mobile or St. Pete trying to make that lasting late impression on NFL personnel people to get into a Friday draft slot. I wouldn’t take a chance until Round 4 at this point in time.

ISIAH MYERS/WR/WASHINGTON STATE #88 6’0/185 … In the Mike Leach system of Offense you can never have too many good receivers. If a player has natural receiving talent his system and the coaches will bring out the best in a WR. MYERS is a good example of that as he has emerged, since LEACH took over the program and installed his offensive scheme, as a legit pro prospect with his development and steady play for the Cougars. He showed some flashes of talent in 2013, but this season he has really emerged. He’s a quick guy who runs good, sharp patterns. He shows dependable hands and is able to run consistently for yardage after the catch. With a game to go – the Cougars play Wasington to conclude the season this coming weekend – MYERS has 82 catches for 1017 yards and 13 TD. He caught my eye a while ago when I watched the Cougars play in an attempt to get a read on their other top receiver VINCE MAYLE. MYERS looks like the real deal and could be a very valuable Saturday draftee.

CAMERON ERVING/T/C/FLORIDA STATE #75 6’6/305 … It speaks high volume of a pre-season All-American, in his senior year, who is willing to change positions 3/4 way through the season for the betterment of the team. That was what FLEMING did when he switched this November from the NFL prestigious LT slot to OC because of injuries at OC and the emergence of Frosh OT Roderick Johnson. I don’t think most scouts will be looking at him as a potential NFL OC so let’s hope he finds his way to Mobile for Senior Bowl action to clarify his position status in front of NFL personnel and under pro level coaching. He’s doing just fine at his new position with a few hiccups of course. He’s a long athlete who’s game is more finesse than brute strength. He moves his feet well and is adept at pass pro especially. I have notes from early in the year that I did not see him as an elite LT prospect and might expect him to find his first pro home at RT. His work will bear watching in the post season. I currently have him as a 2nd Rounder, mid to late.

NICK PERRY/S/ALABAMA #27 6’1/210 … Almost every week while watching college game action I am pleasantly surprised by the play of someone who wasn’t on my watch list for that game. The big showdown between ‘BAMA & MISS STATE opened my eyes, again, to PERRY. He went into 2013 as a starter, got hurt in September, and was gone for the remainder of the year. As often happens at BAMA, Nick Saban plugged in another 5-Star recruit and on they went. Well, PERRY came back with a vengeance and has been holding down his old job admirably this season. I think he had a better all-around game than COLLINS in the showdown with State. He has nice size and above average athleticism. He also plays smart with a high energy level. He’s very aggressive in his run support and has solid cover skills. Best of all he seems to see he entire field quite well. He helped the Crimson Tide get off to a solid start with a first quarter INT of PRESCOTT. PERRY is 4th on the Bama D in tackles through 11 games with 58. He seems to play like a guy with FBI, which is what all NFL teams want in their deep spots in the secondary. Hopefully, everyone is watching him and we a get a good look at him at an All-Star venue. This guy looks draftable to me with his current level of play. Nice comeback from injury Mr. PERRY.

DENZEL PERRYMAN/LB/MIAMI #52 6’0/230 … Without question PERRYMAN is the best LB prospect at ‘The U’ since RAY LEWIS played there almost 2 decades ago. People worry about his size, but that was also a concern with LEWIS coming out of college a bit short and lightweight for many folks’ taste. He’s a smart player, who still makes a ton of tackles, but is much more assignment sure today than he was 3 years ago. He delivers the big blow and can intimidate lesser opponents. I’ve watched Miami play 5 times this season and can honestly say that if the entire DL played with his attitude and effort DENZEL would have bigger numbers and Miami a couple more W’s for the season. In the disappointing loss to Virginia last Saturday PERRYMAN did all he could to propel his team to victory. He notched 15 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF, and I think he clearly forced a second fumble early in the game that HC AL GOLDEN failed to throw the appeal flag on. He goes into the final game of the season needing only 4 tackles to hit 100 again for this year. Clearly, his lack of ideal size seems to be keeping from being touted as a First Rounder for next May. But he’s got to be a Top 100 guy for a team that needs a tackling machine, with a high rev motor… well, like RAY LEWIS. There I have said it. See you in Mobile come January DENZEL.

DAK PRESCOTT/QB/MISSISSIPPI STATE #15 6’2/230 … Just as with DAK’s idol TIM TEBOW some years back, I am not here to denigrate his accomplishments on the college football field, but to project what I think he can/will do at the pro level. DAK please stay in school and see if DAN MULLENS and his staff can refine your mechanics and your decision making a bit next season! In the big showdown game with Alabama two weeks ago we got a good view of some of the challenges PRESCOTT will face adapting to the NFL game. He has a good, not great arm, and good not great running ability. He’s a team leader, but clearly needs to improve in reading defenses and seeing the entire field. Right now much of Prescott’s game revolves around making plays in the middle of the field. He throws a lot over the middle and runs between the tackles much of the time. Neither of those things is highly desirable in the NFL with bigger, faster bodies running around every game trying to hurt the QB. Many of DAK’s teammates were over matched against the Crimson Tide leaving him with more than ever to do on his own. But the stats don’t lie and though he did enough to keep his team competitive until the end he left a bit to be desired overall. For the game PRESCOTT passed for 27/48 – 56% – 290 yards – 2 TD – 3 INT. He also carried 22 times for another 82 yards. I do not see him as an elite pro prospect right now, and wouldn’t draft him until Round 3, at best. His style of play is not going to fit the NFL game and his athleticism is not elite. He’s a cross between TEBOW and GENO SMITH right now.

JAKE RYAN/LB/MICHIGAN #47 6’3/235 … RYAN has been a star for the Wolverines defense since HC HOKE arrived in Ann Arbor. He was plugged in as a starter as a redshirt frosh. He’s been a smart player and a tackling machine ever since. He lost half of the 2013 season to an ACL tear to his left knee. He is still wearing a sizable brace on that knee, but it looks like with every passing week that he’s past that injury. We’re still waiting for the Wolverines to have a big W on the year, but RYAN’S body of work speaks for itself. Through 11 games he has recorded 104 tackles, 13 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF & 3 PBU. RYAN fits that old LB cliche’ of being mobile and hostile. He runs that Michigan D. The biggest question about him now is likely to be his best positional and scheme fit as a pro. In a 4-3 scheme he’s got to play outside, and probably on the strong side since he’s not a big pass-rush threat. In a 3-4 he’s likely to fit best inside if he has a beefy partner in there to work with ala ex-Wolverine LARRY FOOTE. He’s already accepted an invite to play in the Shrine Game where coaches will work him at multiple spots in practice. His medical check and performance numbers at the Combine will be critical to his Draft status. If he checks out well, he should go late in the 3rd Round.

SHAQUILLE RIDDICK/DE/WEST VIRGINIA #4 6’6/245 … This player who left small school Gardner Webb under the NCAA graduate student transfer rule looks to have made a solid decision to show his wares for a year at the top level of college football. I can’t wait to see his arm and hand measurements in Mobile in January. His main talent is using that long lean body and natural pas-rush ability to pressure and sack QBs. And as we all know that is a highly sought after quality in today’s NFL. Now the bad news, relatively speaking, I’m not convinced he’ll ever be able to add much weight and I fear he’s too long to stand up at OLB and function on a regular basis. So that probably leaves us with the likely option of a situational pass rusher and possible kick blocker on Special Teams. Through 11 games in D1 his numbers clearly indicate his potential, but also his challenge to step it up a level. In 11 games he has 24 tackles, 9 TFL & 6 sacks. I think he’s really been hindered at WVU because he’s basically playing DE in a 3-4 DL set up. That puts him in a vulnerable spot trying to play the run game. His best bet is likely to come in a base 4-3 scheme with a big strong DT beside him. RIDDICK may be very similar in style and potential to WILLIE YOUNG/DE, now with DA BEARS. He’s a Day 3 guy that some NFL team will have to be patient and work very hard with before they see any tangible results out on the field.

BRANDON SCHERFF/OT/G/IOWA #68 6’5/320 … Please read what I write next carefully, because it is neither meant as a slight to SCHERFF or a knock of HC KIRK FERENTZ. What you see today of an Iowa senior prospect is what you will get next year in Training Camp. Just like DBs for Saban at Alabama, FERENTZ specialty is coaching up his OL in the NFL style of play. And based on that I say that SCHERFF is a First Rounder, but not Top 10, and is just as likely to start at the pro level as an OG as an OT. He is very large framed and carries his weight well. He’s stronger right now that BULAGA was coming out a few years ago. I also think he’s legit in his size and strength compared to GALLERY who was pumped up way back when. He has decent feet and stays off the ground most of he time. He probably makes a solid RT, like BULAGA, but might make a dominant OG at the NFL level. His hand punch is strong, but I want to see his arm length at the Combine. He moves his feet well, but is clearly better going ahead than backwards. In essence what I am saying is in drafting him some team gets an instant starter, but not likely an elite OT. I should also say I like his mental and physical toughness. I saw him limp off the field several times this season, only to return a possession or two later. Mark him down as Round 1 from my viewing, but not an elite athlete/player. Hope to see him up close in Mobile in January.

WESTLEE TONGA/TE/UTAH #80 6’4/250 … As UTAH emerged as a solid team this fall TONGA also came through as a top all-around senior TE prospect. He’s a big, long target with natural strength and dependable hands. He can get downfield and make some grabs. He also will run through tackles after the catch. He’s a solid, willing inline blocker who can stay on the field for 3 downs. In the UTES loss to Arizona TONGA had a day not unlike most of his solid season. He caught 4 balls, for 68 yards and 1 TD. He plays the game smart and hard, and could also help out on special teams as needed, particularly as a return team blocker. He has just enough athleticism to go with his size to make a solid 2nd/3rd string NFL TE. Plus NFL teams will really like his energy and high effort style of play. I look for him to get drafted around the 5th or 6th Round.

TRAE WAYNES/CB/MICHIGAN STATE #15 6’1/185 … I decided to go back to the Ohio State loss, in which the Buckeyes seemed to pretty much score at will against the vaunted Spartan Defense, to eyeball WAYNES. It was hard to some degree to get a read on WAYNES because the Buckeyes kept so far away from him that he was out of camera range much of the night. But I kept watching, especially other views from replay and will report the following to you… WAYNES is ultra-confident in his ability to lock down his man. He was in the receivers face within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage almost every play. He has that long limbed, flexible Spider Man body with extra long arms. He isn’t afraid to tackle, but at his size he wisely picks his spots and isn’t going to jump in a pile for effect. I doubt that his man was targeted more three times all night. Any time the Spartans coaches moved him to the other side of the field the Buckeyes took the play the other way Most of his numbers for this season are modest, but I’m telling you it’s because opponents just stay away from him. 11 games played, 34 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT & 6 PBU. I think he’s a better NFL press-cover Corner than DENNARD last year. A team that plays mostly zone will be wasting a lot of talent if they draft him. If he comes out I do not see how he gets out of Round 1. He could also blow up the Combine with his arm and hand measurements and his speed and leg explosion. DEION SANDERS has to be in luv with this guy of he’s watched him play much.

Weekly Prospects Review – November 20th, 2014

NELSON AGHOLOR/WR/SOUTHERN CAL #15 6’0/185 … AGHOLOR emerged last season as he grabbed the top receiver spot on the team because of multiple injuries to Marqise Lee. He’s stepped it up another notch this season, and most folks feel he’ll go pro at the end of this, his junior year. The Trojans knew last week that they would need offensive production to beat CAL. AGHOLOR, helped CODY KESSLER get the team off to a fast start with 8 catches, for 120 yards and a TD, in the first quarter. He finished the day with 16 catches for 216 yards and 2 TD. He is also a dangerous threat as a Punt Returner, and teams now try to kick away from him even if it costs them yardage on their punting averages. In 2013 he averaged 19.1-yards per punt return. His end of year numbers are going to be big and I would expect him to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Because he’s not huge or a speed burner I expect Round 2 to be his home. But he should become a highly productive No. 2 receiver fro some team in the League. And don’t forget those punt return skills.

MICHAEL BENNETT/WR/GEORGIA #82 6’3/205 … This long, lean receiver is leading the Bulldogs in receptions in 2014. And he’s been about the only receiver to stay healthy so far this season for the team. He’s a solid route runner with reliable hands who can outstretch most defenders for high and/or wide throws. His length should make him a solid option once his team gets into the red zone. In games where the UGA running game is clicking passing the ball is an afterthought so 2014 receiving stats are down given the work this year of CHUBB & GURLEY. In that running attack he is a willing and effective blocker which the NFL demands of its wideouts. I would expect it to be nip and tuck whether he gets drafted or not once 100 underclassmen declare. But he should put up a solid fight for an NFL roster sot in a Training Camp. Finding some spots for him on Special Teams will be huge.

LANDON COLLINS/FS/ALABAMA #26 6’1/215 … On a team full of 5-star recruits COLLINS has been getting mucho attention for the Crimson Tide since he burst onto the scene as a true freshman. He’s your prototype in-the-box, dish out the punishment tackling machine. He has adequate coverage ability, but that is not his forte. He pursues the ball and dishes out tackling punishment on a regular basis. His NFL key to greatness will lie in his ability to accept pro coaching and improve in his cover skills, especially down the field. That’s likely to happen because he is a superior athlete and highly coachable per the ‘Bama staff. He seems to have a nose for the ball and comes flying out of nowhere on some of his hits. He reminds of former OKlahoma All-America Safety ROY WILLIAMS, who had a solid NFL career, but never quite picked up his game in coverage. He should be the first S taken in the 2015 NFL Draft assuming he comes out early. He’s more of an impact player than former teammate HA HA CLINTON-DIX, but doesn’t bring Ha Ha’s cover skills to the field of play. He is a definite first rounder.

ERECK FLOWERS/OT/MIAMI #74 6’6/320 … May be the most aggressive, physical OT I have watched this fall. He has a mean streak and is tough as nails. Is back playing only two weeks after a surgical procedure. He will play hurt, and make defenders wish he didn’t. He’s good in pass-pro and just buries people on running plays. You’ll see him running way downfield looking for a second or third level block. He spent a lot of the night against FSU stoning MARIO EDWARDS at the line of scrimmage, and that is man’s work. There is some serious question as to whether FLOWERS is coming out or not, but my sense is that I’m not the only person who sees him as a First Rounder already. Why stick around for a more serious injury to bite him during another year at the U. I think there will be multiple first round OL taken again next May, but I can’t think of any who are better all-around players than FLOWERS. His rare combination of size and athleticism is very hard to find at such an important position as LOT.

MELVIN GORDON/RB/WISCONSIN #25 6’1/215 … I’ve been watching game tape on GORDON for the past few weeks getting ready to do a thumb nail in this space. And then in the Big 10 West showdown game with Nebraska he blows things up with an effort for the ages. He broke TOMLINSON’s single game rushing total with 408 yards and 4 TD, on only 25 carries. He sat out the entire 4th Quarter as the Badgers buried the Huskers. Most impressive to me was his average of 16.32 yards per carry, which is also a new NCAA single game record. He has speed, quickness, burst and incredible field vision to find openings. And once he finds an open space to run to he is not going to be caught from behind! What should also impress NFL scouts is the fact that he has worked his butt off in the weight room and with conditioning work, to go from a skinny speedster, to a ripped runner who breaks tackles and drives the pile forward on most carries. Badger coaches gush about his positive attitude and work ethic. He should finish the season with around 2500 yards assuming a Big 10 Championship game and major BOWL for the Badgers. He looks to me like he’ll be the most likely RB in the 2015 NFL Draft to end the two year drought of no First Round RB draftees. Sorry Badgers fans, he has to go pro after his work this season. It is his destiny.

JARVIS HARRISON/G/T/TEXAS A&M #51 6’4/325 … It has been an up and down ride this season for the Aggies in the post-Manziel era. They got off to a quick start, then stumbled badly, and recently look to have regained their momentum. HARRISON has been a surprising factor in their recent rebound. Injuries & performance have caused them to shakeup their OL, which included a shift of top prospect CEDRIC OGBUEHI from LT back to his RT slot. To replace him HARRISON was moved outside from LG to LT, and the result has been a significant upgrade of the overall OL unit. HARRISON was a late 3rd Day Draft prospect inside at OG. But his solid play at the critical LT slot is causing NFL personnel people to stand up and take notice. He moves his feet well and displays good hand use. He’s plenty strong and has been surprisingly effective in pass pro. He’s not a Top 100 guy, but given his current play and apparent versatility I think he’s pushed himself solidly into middle round consideration. It would be nice to see him work in an All-Star venue in January. The Combine will also be an important showcase for him. His stock is clearly rising and his timing is excellent.

ROB HAVENSTEIN/OT/WISCONSIN #78 6’8/327 … There has been a discernible pattern established over the past 20 years that UW is one of the great running teams in D1 football. Having great RB, patience with the run game, and having less than stellar QB for the most art all contribute greatly to that trend. But let’s not forget the guys along the OL who are opening holes for all these runners. The Badgers have a huge OL group again this year but no elite prospects. But if you watch game film carefully you will see several players capable of playing at the next level for a small number of NFL teams that still feature the power running game, like San DIego, Baltimore, Washington, Buffalo. Meet someone’s next RT in Mr. HAVENSTEIN. He’s a huge, towering man with decent footwork and a great work ethic. He’s also a smart looking football player when you watch him on tape. He looks like the next in line of a recent group of Badgers who are not elite but can play at the NFL level (CARIMI/WAGNER/KONZ). HAVENSTEIN also shows flashes of leadership in his play and attitude, always helping up his runners after the tackle and being in the celebration group after a score. He’s not going to blow up the Combine, but in an All-Star venue he’ll impress with his hard work and FBI, IMO. At last count ROB was up to 38 career starts for the Badgers. He was selected 2nd Team All-Big 10 last year. He looks like a solid pick for the right NFL team in Rounds 4/5.

BRETT HUNDLEY/QB/UCLA #17 6’3/227 … Early this season the UCLA Offense struggled mightily to move the ball and score with any consistency. But watching the tape from their week 11 game against Washington I saw an offense that was clicking on all cylinders and the biggest contributor was HUNDLEY. I think some of the change is that the young players around HUNDLEY have improved over the course of the season. But HUNDLEY himself looks much more confident and efficient now than back in September. He’s a solid passer with an above average arm and he delivers a highly catchable ball. He has the ability to put touch on his throws when needed, as opposed to a lot of young guys who break receivers fingers on 10 yard fastball throws. He also looks like a QB who now has enough confidence in his OL to work through his progressions and spread the ball around the field. He seems to be reading defenses well right now. He still poses a serious running threat because of his athleticism, but is looking to throw the ball first instead of just taking off. He’s made major progress this season and I highly endorse his early entry into the NFL Draft. I’m not convinced he’s an elite Pick, but I don’t see how he escapes Round 1 in May. His numbers for the Washington game in a big UCLA road win: 29/36 – 80.5% – 302 yards- 2 TD – 0 INT, and he ran for 2 more TD. By the way he is completing over 70% of his throws on the season.

ERIC LEFELD/OT/CINCINNATI #71 6’6/310 … The Bearcats Offense continues to be explosive this year under HC TOMMY TUBERVILLE with an explosive passing attack, in addition to a solid running game. And much of that success starts with the senior anchor of that OL, ERIC LEFED. The tall, long LEFELD is the most experienced and versatile performer in that unit. He demonstrates excellent footwork and excels in pass pro. He uses his long arms well to punch and hold off pass rushers. LEFELD displays good balance and stays on his feet. He doesn’t bury defenders in the run game, but does control them well with his hand/arm work. It might also help if he could bend that long frame a bit more to bring down his pad level. Natural knee bender in pass-pro.He could use a bit more sand in his pants to drive defenders in the run game, but he is effective and gets to second level blocks well. He’s been a starter since his freshman year and has been an All-Conference performer each of the past two seasons, Big East in 2012, AAC in 2013. I would expect him to make it 3 years in a row in 2013. He played very effectively in the big home win over East Carolina in which his offense scored 54 points to win. And mark my words the ECU Defense has some serious pro prospects. I expect LEFELD to be an early Saturday draftee, with a chance to start in the NFL in a couple years.

STEVEN NELSON/CB/OREGON STATE #2 5’10/195 … This JC transfer has stepped in from the get-go for the Beavers and been one of the most dependable defenders in the Pac 12. He has good quickness and solid ball awareness. He also falls into that category of being relatively small, but not afraid at all to provide run support from his CB slot. He had 8 PBU and 6 INT last season. He’s been even better in his second season as a starter. Last week in the big win over Arizona State he was credited with 10 tackles and 3 PBU. My hunch is that he will slide right into an NFL secondary as a sub-package defender as a Rookie and will win a starting job soon thereafter. NELSON has only 2 INT this season, but that is due in part because opponents find it easier to pick on other Beaver DB and leave NELSON alone. It should also be noted that he has still chipped in with 55 tackles through 10 games this year. Based on what I have seen of him he’s knocking on the door as a Top 100 prospect.

LOUIS TRINCA-PASAT/DT/IOWA #90 6’3/290 vs. Northwestern … What you see is what you get in most Iowa products of the FERENTZ coaching regime. TRINCA-PASAT has saved his best work for last in his Hawkeye career. He is more noticeable and making more plays as a senior. The Northwestern game marked his 33rd straight start at Iowa. He’s basically a stout short area guy who plays with good functional strength and mobility. This year he has shown more penetration as a senior. He looks to me like a guy who could play effectively inside in a 4-3 scheme, or at DE in a 3-4 set. The Chicago native raised his play another notch against his hometown Northwestern team. He had 5 tackles against the Wildcats and 3 of them were sacks. He was chosen as the Week 10 Senior Bowl senior of the week on defense for that game effort. And he just accepted an invite to play in that game. He’s been a great sidekick for CARL DAVIS/DT, who I profiled earlier in the season, and who also will be in Mobile in January. TRINCA-PASAT has elevated his status this season from URFA to late round draftee in my opinion.

BROOKS WILLIAMS/OLB/EAST CAROLINA #48 6’1/230 … Got another sleeper for you here in a guy who had only started 2 games coming into his senior season. He’s made his way from invited walk-on to a starter. He’s been a star on Special Teams the past two seasons. His combination of strength and speed is uncanny. The coaching staff feels he’s one of their most productive players right now. That’s saying a lot on a very talented and competitive team. He brings some pass-rush from multiple slots and is improving greatly in his pass coverage responsibilities. I’m not sure if he’s going to get much action in the post-season or not. I could see him deserving a spot in the NFLPA Game. He may not be at the Combine, but he could post some impressive numbers at his Pro Day. He’s very active and chases the ball without losing track of his assignments within the defensive scheme. Despite all the scoring in the game with Cincinnati there was some defense being played and one of the most noticeable guys was indeed Mr. Williams.

Weekly Prospects Review – November 13th, 2014

BRETT BOYKO/OT/UNLV #69 6’7/310 vs. Utah State … Guys with his size, who seem to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time have a tendency to get more than a passing glance from NFL personnel people. BOYKO indeed looks the part of an NFL prospect. And at times he plays like one. He is long in every sense of the word, which is good for an OT. And he shows good balance and decent feet. He looks a bit awkward and unsure at back pedaling into pass-pro, but that is likely fixable with NFL level coaching and training. In fact work on conditioning and strengthening his body core might also be a project to undertake at he next level. Right now he looks soft and flabby in his gut. He was often matched up against UTAH STATE DE/LARSEN, who is also a decent prospect, and overall played him to a draw. He tends to stand up straight at the snap, but that’s pretty common with guys his height. I like the fact that he stayed on his feet and got to some second level blocks against the Aggies. BOYKO has a solid chance to be drafted, but I doubt it will be much before Round 6/7. I would also project that he may need a year on a Practice Squad before sticking on an actual NFL roster. But that could be difficult to do without another team putting in a claim for him. We really need to see tis guy at an All-Star venue, likely NFLPA or Shrine.

ALVIN “BUD” DUPREE/OLB/KENTUCKY #2 6’4/267 vs. Miss State … The first problem associated with my watching DUPREE, was the fact that I had heard & read a bit of hype about him earlier. I confess he did not live up to expectations in my notes. First off, he still looks skinny to me, and I cannot imagine how he could possibly weigh the 265-or so number he’s currently listed at. I also see no chance at all for him to play with his hand down, other than 3rd and very long. He is fluid in his movement and gets around from sideline to sideline. But much to my chagrin, I felt I saw a guy who had no taste for contact. He tended to circle the action. I also saw him attempt multiple “arm tackles” that the RB just tore through. He looked to want no part of JOSH ROBINSON. They moved him around the defensive formation and a couple of times he used his speed/quickness to break into the backfield to create pass rush pressure. Overall, I was not terribly impressed with his play. On the team’s website they show him with 53 tackles, 8.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks through 10 games. From what I saw vs. Miss State he must have put up most of those stats against the lesser teams on their schedule. For me he is going to need to show up in Mobile and really play hard and tough for me to get excited about him as a prospect. I also want to see his real height/weight numbers at the Combine. I don’t see him as a Top 100 player right now, never mind “creeping” into Round One.

B.J. LARSEN/DE/UTAH STATE #99 6’5/275 vs. UNLV … LARSEN plays predominantly in a 3-4 scheme for the Aggies, and that suits his size and talents well. I would imagine he could add another 10-15 lbs. in an NFL training regimen. He uses his long arms well to shed blockers and obstruct throwing lanes for opposing QB. I watched him two weeks in a row against Colorado State and UNLV. He looked equally effective against two of the best LT in the COnference in SAMBRAILO & BOYKO. He can cover some ground and lays with good balance. He has some shock to his initial push and I would imagine he could improve that aspect of his game at the pro level. Though not a speed/edge pass rusher if his secondary gets good initial coverage downfield he ends up in the QB’s face fairly often. His numbers on he season are quite good for a 3-4 DE. In 10 games he has 26 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks & 1 INT. He has a solid chance to be drafted and earn himself a spot on an NFL roster in a DL rotation.

NICK O’LEARY/TE/FLORIDA STATE #35 6’3/245 vs. Louisville … O’LEARY plays a position that is not of a huge part of the FSU passing attack. But NICK has forced the coaching staff to find ways to get him the ball with a degree of regularity. He’s a sure handed receiver and a very smart football player. He often breaks off the called patterns to provide relief when QB/WINSTON is scrambling in a collapsing pocket. His work in the big game inLouisville was a good example of his value to his team. He pulled down 6 catches for 76 yards and 1 TD. He’s a willing, effective blocker but does not have the size to play inline a lot at the pro level. Though not a speedster he has enough speed and route running skill to get separation from LB and some S. I would expect his best pro fit to come primarily in an H-Back role, ala AARON HERNANDEZ. I would expect another onslaught of underclassmen to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft, which will likely push O’LEARY out of the Top 100. But look for JACK NICKLAUS’ grandson to be a very popular pick come Round 4.

BRYCE PETTY/QB/BAYLOR #14 6’3/230 vs. Oklahoma …. Since the first time I saw this hulking all-american boy I’ve been stuck on the image of L’IL ABNER from Dog Patch, USA. That has nothing to do with his QBing ability and pro potential, which has very large upside I believe. Remember that he’s been playing since week two of the season with two cracked vertebrae in his back. That’s no small deal my friends. But he’s worked his way into a comfort zone and his game is pretty much back to normal. His stats are off and part of that has his willingness to throw balls away rather than force them into coverage or scramble around, which he does quite well when fully healthy. He certainly came up huge last weekend in the thumping given to OKlahoma in Norman. He was masterful at taking what the normally tough Sooners Defense gave him, which was big cushion on his wideouts, thus allowing him to throw a lot of short/quick passes and let receivers run after the catch. He finished the day 32/42, 76%, 387 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. He has an NFL arm and good mobility when healthy. He has some mechanics to clean up, but most QB do coming out of college. I think he has starting potential in the NFL and should be drafted by Round 2 next May. Initially, he needs to sit and learn for a year or two. Then you have an NFL ready starter in my estimation. Are you paying attention JONES BOYS?!

PRESTON SMITH/DE/MISSISSIPPI STATE #91 6’6/267 vs. Kentucky … SMITH has been a solid performer and quiet team leader for several years now. Because his school has gone undefeated this year so far, he is now getting some serious notice. He’s a long player, with good mobility. He has average strength and reasonable speed. He’s not a huge pass rush presence, but he’s steady and productive. He moves around a bit in the Bulldogs Defense and even drops into pass coverage with some regularity. In that role he has 2 INT & 3 PBU. And he does not look lost out in space. His best spot in the NFL would seem to be at LDE in a 4-3 scheme. He should be able to produce matched up against most of the League’s RT. If he could get a bit stronger and throw off blockers more often he could be a fulltime starter as a pro. There’s a lot of defensive talent for State to use on game day, and DC GEOFF COLLINS substitutes freely, so no one is getting 100 tackles on this defensive unit. But if you look at SMITH thru 9 games you get the picture of how versatile he is. He has 32 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 7 sacks, 14 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles. Just for good measure he has used his agility and length to block 2 kicks this year. Glamorous he is not, but he gets results and leads by example. My guess is NFL types would like to see him pump up to about 280 lbs. He may never make a Pro Bowl, but could be a solid starter for some NFL team in a couple of years. Mark him down as Round 2 if he shows well at the Senior Bowl and Combine. No matter what he should be Top 100 timber.

NICK VIGIL/OLB/RB/UTAH STATE #41 6’2/230 vs. Colorado State … I”m not really convinced VIGIL is a draftable prospect, but every time I watch Utah State play he makes a favorable impression on me. He has average size and average athleticism, but clearly an oversized heart and maximum desire. He is now in he position of starting on both sides of the ball for the Aggies. His primary position is OLB, with a minor in Special Teams, but he is now the starting RB as well. He’s the older VIGIL brother on the team. He is truly a do it all guy as evidenced by his stats thru the 9 games he’s played in. On Defense he has recorded 78 tackles, 11 TFL, 5.5 sacks with 1 INT. On Offense he has carried the ball 33 times for 118 yards and 2 TD. He’s a tough hombre and a versatile, talented player. He plays tough and smart on every down. As per NFL Coach Speak a guy with his attitude and ability/willingness to fill multiple roles can really improve the bottom third of a roster, and provide valuable game day depth. It may be late, but some team with a handful of 7th Round Compensatory Picks would be crazy not to draft him and then risk the heavy competition that is likely to come if he’s an URFA.

MARK WEISMAN/FB/IOWA #45 6’0/240 vs. Northwestern … This former Air Force Academy frosh has served the old fashioned Big 10/NFL featured FB running game well. For those of you young ones, back in the day the NFL was ruled by FB who carried the ball more than the HB; JIM BROWN, JIM TAYLOR, JOE PERRY, RICK CASARES, LARRY CSONKA were all FB who led their teams and the League in rushing. Obviously in today’s NFL the FB is a dying breed in wide open offenses. But for a team looking for a good blocking FB, who can run a bit, catch a ball or two and excel on Special Teams please watch tape of WEISMAN in action. Against Northwestern WEISMAN rushed for 94 yards and 3 TD. For his Iowa career WEISMAN now has over 2300 rushing yards and has scored 30 rushing TD. I’d hazard a guess that he will not be drafted, but some NFL team that truly understands the value of a hard nosed FB, especially in the red zone should be burning up the phone lines after the Draft looking to add him to their Training Camp roster.

LEONARD WILLIAMS/DT/SOUTHERN CAL #94 6’5/290 vs. Utah … WILLIAMS is a monster talent, in a monster body. He looks even bigger than his listed size as he plies his wares at the collegiate level. Although he possesses quickness and speed for his size he’s not an edge pass rusher. His value is holding the line-of-scrimmage and generating inside pocket pressure. He plays DE in a 3-4 scheme right now for USC, but I could also see him at DT in a 4-3 scheme as a pro. He uses his long arms to push and pull opponents around. There are times when I felt he pushed into the pocket so quickly and aggressively that he failed to keep track of the ball and ran right past the ball carrier, but to some degree that’s nit-picking. He might be well served to work a bit on strengthening his initial hand punch a bit, to keep blockers off his body a bit more. His foot quickness is good in a short area for his size. He’s not a quick twitch athlete like a JJ WATT, so teams should not be expecting that from him. He also has a tendency to end up on the ground too often, most likely because he gets off-balance from playing so fast and out of control. But the long and short of it is that he was built to play pro football and should be an impactful interior DL. His functional strength and quickness to the ball remind me of some of MERLIN OLSEN. He is clearly an elite, First Round talent if he comes out early for the 2015 Draft. Expect him to do so!

GABE WRIGHT/DT/AUBURN #90 6’3/290 vs. Texas A&M … A few years ago I remember seeing this young buck named WRIGHT running around the field for the Tigers, who looked like he could develop into an impact presence on the interior of their defensive line. Now I watch WRIGHT and he looks like a decent rotation system DT with nothing special to his game. He’s neither gotten bigger nor stronger over time. He flashes some athleticism, but not on a regular basis. He’s basically become just another guy. Through nine games, in a successful 7-2 season, WRIGHT has totaled only 16 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 Sack & 8 QBH. He’s not even n the Auburn top 10 for tackles. He’s not a super quick athlete, and his size/strength is average at best. That’s not a winning combination especially for a potential pro career. He seems to work hard, but the results just don’t come at a level that cries out of pro potential. It is clear to me that WRIGHT is going to need a good All-Star outing and then a Combine that at least puts his numbers in the middle of the DT group if he is to be drafted. He’ll be in an NFL Training Camp next summer but at this pace it could be as an URFA. By the way I have watched 4 Auburn games this fall and he looked about the same in each one… nothing to write home about.

Weekly Prospects Review – October 29th, 2014

DARRYL BALDWIN/RT/OHIO STATE #76 6’6/310
Whether a professional scout, or an amateur, like myself, it’s important to always be on the lookout for late blossoming talent. BALDWIN appears to be just that for the Buckeyes. He came into the program as a DT back at the end of the Tressel era. He red-shirted, then played for a season as a back-up DT. He spent the past two years converting to OT under the MEYER regime at LT. He now finds himself ensconced at RT as the starter for his final year as a Buckeye. The first thing you notice is that he passes the eye test as a full sized, in-shape player, who shows some athleticism. He appears to have long arms and uses them fairly well for a relative newcomer at OT. Against Penn State, he demonstrated mobile feet and the ability to get off the snap quickly. He also did well getting to second level blocks. He stays on the man he is blocking until the end of the play. The weak spot in his game will be pass pro, but that can be improved in a couple of years by a veteran OL Coach at the pro level. I doubt I’d be looking at drafting him unless I really needed an OT project to develop and had a couple of Supplemental 7th Round picks in my pocket. This is he kind of guy the SEA HAWKS bring in for OL COACH TOM CABLE to develop. I would hazard a guess that he could be a priority URFA, with multiple suitors, the day after the Draft concludes.

MALCOLM BROWN/DT/TEXAS* #90 6’4/320
This big underclassman shows more than enough talent to warrant late First Round Draft attention. His initial quickness, at his size, is well suited for 4-3 NFL scheme. He is NOT necessarily suited for the Nose in a 3-4 scheme. He comes off the snap quickly, but can stand up too straight, too quickly at times. He clearly showed more energy and better results in the first half against K-State, but that was to be expected. There is not a lot of quality depth along the DL for the Longhorns right now, so the good big guys played a lot of snaps. Combine that with a pretty inept Texas Offense that wasn’t on the field a whole lot and it makes for a tiring scenario for al the big uglies in the Texas D. IMO, big guys need a few possessions off if they are expected to chase all game. I do not think he’s out of shape. He also shows good strength in holding his own against inside run plays. He pursues well, but isn’t catching anyone along the sideline unless the DB delay things on the corner. I’d like to see him develop more of a shock hand punch rather than getting tied up dancing with the OL, which I felt he did a bit too often. I would expect him to come out early as the transition to a Charlie Strong roster hits high gear in 2015.

FRANK CLARK/DE/MICHIGAN #57 6’2/270
CLARK could have great appeal starting about Round 3 of the DRAFT, for a team that uses multiple defensive schemes (most of today’s NFL) and is looking for a player who can disrupt the pocket. He had a very solid game against Michigan State last Saturday. He’s getting lost in the shuffle somewhat of the poor season that the Wolverines find themselves struggling through because of a pathetic and ineffective Offense. But his effort, productivity and ability to pressure the QB all fit today’s NFL priority list. In 2013 he had 4.5 Sacks, 7.5 TFL & 7 QB hurries. Against the Spartans last weekend he was one of the Wolverines standout players who helped harass CONNOR COOK/QB into a relatively mediocre performance. CLARK may not be stout enough to hold up full-time at DE in the NFL, and not quite fast enough to stand up in a 3-4 scheme all the time. But he has a chance to be a multi-purpose defender, ala ex-Wolverine BRANDON GRAHAM, who though not a full time player, fills multiple roles for the NFL Eagles. This guy would be really interesting to watch under NFL coaching for Senior Bowl week. Depending upon how many elite underclassmen declare for the 2015 NFL Draft CLARK could rank near the bottom of my Top 100 prospect list.

CONNOR COOK/QB/MICHIGAN STATE * #18 6’4/220
COOK is a potential First Round QB prospect, but not if he comes out after this season. He still needs work on his mechanics and his reading of defenses. He has an above average arm and good mobility. He can extend plays with his footwork and gain yards when things break down. But he needs another year to improve his overall play ala KIRK COUSINS not that long ago. He is in fact, more athletic than COUSINS from what I have seen of him. He had a typically solid game against arch rival MIchigan last Saturday passing for 12/22 – 227 yards – 1 TD – 0 INT. It was not a performance that cried out for being a first round draftee, however. His stats suffer a bit from being in a run first, ball control Offense for HC DANTONIO, and that will not change if he returns to school. Right now he plays fast enough to look good against Big 10 competition, but is not close to what he’ll need to do against NFL defenses. Hopefully, we will get to scout him again next season in Spartan green. Stay in school CONNOR… for your own sake.

QUANDRE DIGGS/CB/TEXAS #6 5’10/205
This 3-year starter for the Longhorns makes a most interesting prospect for the NFL. He has good ball instincts and is normally a sure tackler, though I saw him whiff a couple of times against Kansas State out in space. But he’s not incredibly fast or quick, which causes him to lose contact with some receivers fairly early on deep routes. He loves to play in the box and is very productive in helping to stop the run. DIGGS plays hard and tough. He finds the ball, if the play is in front of him, and will pick off a few throws each season. Because of his speed limitations he likes to get a bump on receivers early. I think his NFL future might eventually be as a S, not a corner. His compact size and tackling ability could make him a slower version of another ex-Longhorn EARL THOMAS. He should make a solid Special Teamer and at least a sub-package defender from the get-go. Because of his coverage limitations I do not see him as a Top 100 prospect once underclassmen enter into the mix.

RANDALL EVANS/CB/KANSAS STATE #15 6’0/190
Like most guys on the K-State roster EVANS is not what I would consider an elite athlete. He’s also not going to be a ball-hawking INT machine in the NFL. But he’s a good sized, press cover guy who likes to bump at the line and knock receivers off their patterns. In today’s NFL game of QB/receiver offensive timing, legal disruption is a very useful tool. EVANS is also a very aggressive tackler, who can take people down out in the open field. He’s a savvy vet, who can locate the ball and react to it in he air. His lack of super speed and/or quickness keep him from being an elite CB prospect, but he has enough speed to press-cover and then recover to continue coverage downfield. He is also used effectively in some zone blitz situations for the Wildcats. He was credited with 1 sack, 2 TFL, 2 INT and 12 PBU in 2013 in 11 starts. He’s lost some playing time to a talented Juco this season, which may allow him to sneak under the radar to some astute pro personnel department. As a 3rd Day draftee he certainly looks to have enough ability and want-to, to work his way into sub-packages, handle multiple Special Teams roles and start a few games in injury situations. He looks like a very solid potential invitee to Shrine action in January.

RANDY GREGORY/DE/NEBRASKA* #4 6’6/240
Seeing that I have a lot of URFA prospects mentioned in this week’s feature I thought I’d best give you a thumbnail on one of the elite prospects for the 2015 DRAFT. He will still have a year of eligibility beyond 2014, but I will be shocked if he does not throw his hat/helmet into the 2015 Draft ring. GREGORY is an elite pass-rush specialist. In fact he reminds me a lot of ALDON SMITH/MIzzou who’s a 49’ers pass-rushing star when he’s not suspended. I will not speak to the off-field issues in that equation, but I think out on the grass it’s a legit comparison. Against Rutgers he was clearly schemed for in blocking assignments. On some obvious passing downs he was combo blocked by the LT, TE & FB. But at times Rutgers LT KEITH LUMPKIN more than held his own in man-on-man blocking. GREGORY had a decent game with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH and he used his huge wingspan to block a Field Goal attempt. He was moved around a bit from side to side in the Huskers formation, and played some downs standing up somewhat like a 3-4 ILB. I am a bit concerned that GREGORY almost looks skinny right now compared to last season. I don’t know if he has lost weight to be quicker,especially standing up, but at the point of attack right now he’s almost a non-factor. I’d like to know what he weighs, and why. But right now I am a bit concerned that he’s sacrificed too much strength to gain added quickness. He’ll want a combo of both to play at the pro level and be a constant factor. But he has that length and quickness, which includes some natural pass-rush moves, that could make him a difference maker in the NFL. He is Top 10 Draft material.

JEFF HEUERMAN/TE/OHIO STATE #5 6’5/255
After watching the Buckeyes in 4 games this season I feel confident in saying HUERMAN is another player whose numbers are a circumstance of the system he plays in. The TE is not featured a whole lot right now at Ohio State and he is sharing snaps with a quality underclassman, who was a MEYER recruit. But watching him in action I think he may the best all-around TE that they have had in a while athletically in Columbus. He doesn’t look quite as big as his listed numbers, but he is a solid blocker both inline and especially on the move, or downfield. Against Penn State I think he was only targeted 4 times, catching 3 of them for a paltry 19 yards and 1 TD. He makes a great safety valve option for BARRETT as he grows as a QB. He looks to have dependable hands and moves fluidly. I don’t see a Top 100 spot for him as a prospect, but he should be draftable as long as he tests out in the middle of the TE class at the Combine. May make a better pro than a college player overall.

MIKE HULL/ILB/PENN STATE #43 6’0/230
You see HULL’s name on the Penn Sate roster and you think legacy player and a nice collegian. Then you wonder what he’s going to do for his real life’s work. But, if you actually watch him play, like in the Ohio State game, you see this year’s Big 10 version of CHRIS BORLAND. Well, he’s not as strong or athletic as BORLAND, but the point is all he does is compete and make lots of tackles. He recorded 19 tackles against Ohio State, including 2.5 TFL, and also picked off a pass that set up the Nittany Lions for a score. Hull plays with his head and his heart, and the results are impressive. Remember an undersized LB names LARRY IZZO, who played a long time in the League mostly on Special Teams, but surprisingly well in some starting assignments while taking over for injured starters? After watching HULL against he Buckeyes I see the same kind of player/competitor as IZZO. He finds a way to succeed. Like several other players in this week’s thumbnails I’m not projecting him to be drafted next May. But I will add that once into an NFL Training Camp he will be a tough player to cut. He could easily improve the bottom 10 of more than a few NFL rosters immediately. Was named Senior Bowl defensive player of the week for his effort against Ohio State.

J.J. WORTON/WR/PR/UCF #9 6’2/210
The bottom line first, is that WORTON is not real likely to be drafted next May. He’s a good, not elite athlete without any superior skills. But he looks to me like an excellent URFA for Training Camp with some team that has a battle brewing for a No. 5 WR and versatile Special Teams performer. He does a lot of the little things well and actually has made some very big plays for UCF the past couple of years. He’s an excellent Punt catcher, who can weave his way through traffic and improve a team’s field position with his return. He has shown excellent hands as a receiver. They are still showing highlight films that include is catch last season of the acrobatic, game saving TD catch against UCONN. Last Saturday he had a typical day at work with his lunch pail. He played on just about every Special Teams unit and had 4 catches, for 42 yards and 1 TD against Temple. He was also very conspicuous with his downfield blocking for his fellow receivers and runners. I am hoping he’s a local invite to the Shrine Game so he can show his versatility in All-Star action.

JAY AJAYI/RB/BOISE STATE #27 6’0/215 You can’t get a clear read on his talent just by looking at the stat sheet. BOISE has a history of alternating their RB so the cupboard is never bare from one season to the next. It is highly likely though that he will post numbers this year to match his outstanding 2013 season, when he gained 1425 yards rushing, including 18 TD. Through 7 games this year he’s already at 867 yards and 8 TD. In the Fresno game the D was keying on him from the start. He patiently loosened them up by catching 4 passes and blocking well in pass pro. As the game progressed he wore down the entire defense finishing the night with 30 carries for 158 yards and 2 TD. He’s a power runner who breaks tackles and will move the chains on 3rd and short, but he also shows speed when a big opening appears. He looks to me to have excellent pro potential and at 250 carries a year he needs to give serious thought to 2015 Draft entry before the tread gets worn down too far and he ends up injured his senior year in school. NFL teams will particularly love his nose for the end zone. A definite Top 100 prospect on my list.

TREY DePRIEST/ILB/ALABAMA #33 6’2/250 For some reason DePRIEST isn’t impressing most scouts and I don’t get it. He’s certainly no better than a 3rd Rounder, but he looks the part to me of a 3-4 scheme ILB. He’s savvy and finds the ball well. He can shock & shed blockers with his strong hands. He has solid tackling technique and takes good angles to the ball most of the time. Given his size and functional strength, he is a punishing tackler who takes a toll on his opponents. He was ‘Bama’s 3rd leading tackler in 2013. I also happen to think he’s better than adequate at dropping into pass coverage over he middle for his size. The game with A&M marked his 46th career game played at ‘BAMA. That’s the most for any defender on their current roster. TREY is also strong in pursuit of the ball, ranging all the way to the boundary. Right now I consider him to be under-appreciated for his hard work and results, much like a guy named HAWK who plays inside in the PACKERS defense. If he’s not TOP 100 then he surely becomes a Day 3 priority pick.

ANTWAN GOODLEY/WR/BAYLOR #5 5’11/225 I’ve been waiting over a month for this guy to get his quad healthy and jump back into the Baylor receiving rotation. He’s back now and looking strong. He’s a unique body type for a wideout. But his thickness does not preventing him from running good patterns and getting in and out of his breaks quickly. He’s a solid hands catcher. He has good long speed and is a solid deep ball threat, not just a possession catch guy. In the upset Loss to WVU he was PETTY’s most dependable receiver with 9 catches for 132 yards and a TD. There were too many dropped balls on PETTY passes, but not by GOODLEY. I was not impressed however, with some of the 4th quarter barking GOODLEY aimed at PETTY. He seemed oblivious to the pocket pressure being exerted on PETTY and was clearly bitching about lack of balls thrown his way, and seeming misreads on his patterns. He needs to be more supportive of his QB in those situations. At times, with his size and catching ability he reminds me of ANQUAN BOLDIN. If he finishes the season strong he has a solid chance to go by Round 3 next May.

GENEO GRISSOM/OLB/E/OKLAHOMA #85 6’4/255/ The Sooners went down to defeat for the second time this season due to mistakes on both sides of he ball. But their PK was the true goat this weekend. That being said GRISSOM was part of an athletic but underachieving Defense that displays a lack of big play ability and intensity. GRISSOM is a prime example of that syndrome. He’s a great looking physical specimen, who plays standing up most of he time, but he puts his hand on the ground and slides inside on 3rd and long. He’s usually around the action, but unless executing an outside pass-rush I don’t see any sense of urgency to his play. I also don’t think he wants to throw his body around to get to the ball. He plays in spurts and gets caught up in the traffic way too much. He had 2 consecutive sacks to end the first half, but then just ran around the rest of the game. Given his physical numbers he just doesn’t seem to make many plays. He should shine in his shorts at the Combine, but he’s going to have to get tougher and more consistent to the ball on the field. He should be a Top 100 prospect based on his look, but his overall play doesn’t deliver the goods.

ANTHONY HARRIS/FS/VIRGINIA #8 6’1/190 Virginia has been one of the biggest surprises in the country this year. Expected to be a bottom feeder in the ACC, again, the team is 4-3 (with a tough schedule), which doubles its win total from 2013.The surge has primarily been led by stout defensive work. And the best player on that D is HARRIS. He led the nation with 8 INT last season, while racking up 80 tackles. His INT count is only at 1 so far, but through 7 games he’s already been credited with 65 total tackles. He flew all over the field in the tight loss to DUKE, recording 14 tackles for the game, as well as 1 PBU and 1 QBH. Despite being under 200 lbs. he gives receivers and runners cause for pause with his violent hits. He even dings himself at times with the speed and violence of his tackles. He has great field vision and ball awareness. His energy and effort are relentless. His size and style of play remind me of… wait for it… ED REED. He may not be a First Rounder next May, but he should be. He would upgrade half the secondaries in the NFL the first time he walked out onto the field. I luv me some ANTHONY HARRIS and look forward to watching him up close and personal in Mobile next January.

MARCUS MURPHY/RB/RS/MISSOURI #6 5’9/195 Now that I have freed up my mind from its “little guy” complex I present another short guy who is dynamite in a bottle. Get the ball into his hands 15 times a game, or more, and he will be a difference maker for your team. And after watching him 4 times this season I don’t even care what he runs for a 40-time at the COMBINE. His work this past weekend against Florida in the Swamp was the perfect example of how this explosive playmaker can change a game for his team. MURPHY began the game by taking the opening kick-off 96 yards for a TD. He rushed the ball only 8 times for a paltry 23 yards, but did score another TD. THen he capped off his days work with an 82-yard Punt Return for a TD. The Mizzou Offense was almost as bad as the Gators, but MURPHY’s work made it look like a landslide offensive performance. I have very little doubt that MURPHY will be just as effective as a pro with his multi-dimensional skill work. Any solid NFL team looking for a playmaker would be silly not to draft this guy. The only question is how early in the DRAFT?

CODY RIGGS/CB/PR/NOTRE DAME #2 5’9/185 This feisty, athletic little CB has been a big part of the fine start to the Domers’ season. His number one asset is his change of direction ability, which is key for a Corner, especially in the pro game. His speed is good, his quickness exceptional. He’s also pretty aggressive in support of the run defense for his size. RIGGS had his moments at FSU, and held up well overall. He shows some nice shake and bake in the Punt Return game, and is dependable at fielding punts. I don’t see a guy who strikes me as an NFL starting CB. But I do think he will make a good Nickel Back and play a serious role on Special Teams. With those return skills and his tackling ability he should be able to play on all Special Teams units. Mark him down as a late Round PIck, 5-7.

DERRON SMITH/FS/FRESNO STATE #13 5’11/200 This hard hitting, ball hawking FS is considered to be among the top S prospects for 2015. His 2103 season cemented him as such. He’s not putting up the numbers, especially in Picks this year, but as many talent evaluators like to say most INT are as much luck as skill. His all-around skills are what attract scouts. He is just as happy to play in the box against the run as he is to drop into coverage. He’s a solid tackler who displays good form and energy. Against Boise I thought he took some poor angles to the ball and missed a few tackles. But no one is perfect. He runs sideline to sideline and shows good ability to find the ball and pursue. In a tight game he made a big 3rd down TFL late in the 2nd Quarter to keep Boise from tacking on a late score. EVerything about his play is better than average and when you roll that into a neat package it makes him a potential NFL starter, with solid Special Teams potential.

P.J. WILLIAMS/CB/FLORIDA STATE #26 6’0/200 An awful lot of folks have this guy marked down as an elite NFL CB prospect. I am not sold yet. He is a supremely talented athlete with the size and speed you look for. And overall he had solid coverage on Notre Dame receivers Saturday night. He has super confidence in his own ability which is critical in the make-up of a shut down Corner. He also demonstrated to my eyes that he will make tackles downfield. My biggest criticism of his play against ND was his propensity to get rubbed off of his man on crossing plays, at which point he stopped hard pursuit and watched the play from 10-20 yards away. Big gains resulted several times when he failed to fight his way through the picks and pursue in an attempt to catch up with his man. That won’t fly at the next level. His desire needs to catch up with his physical skills. I began noticing RONALD DARBY out on the field with his more aggressive style of play in the second half, and less of PJ. He might be best served to return for his senior season and work on his toughness and desire to finish every play even when beaten. Especially if he fancies himself as a First Rounder.

T.J. YELDON/RB/ALABAMA #4 6’1/220 After relatively disappointing NFL results for ‘Bama RB like INGRAM & RICHARDSON this century the football world seems almost indifferent to the exploits of YELDON. Yet after watching him closely this year in 4 games, he looks like the brightest RB prospect since a guy named ALEXANDER left the Crimson Tide for a strong NFL career. And YELDON is clearly faster than ALEXANDER. My notes indicate that his patience and vision in picking his holes is exceptional. I also believe that he has excellent balance and shakes free of anything but a full contact tackle attempt. He is strong enough to move the pile at the end of runs if needed. Although not a pure speedster, he is a long striding, smooth runner with little wasted motion. EVen though he shares carries in the ‘Bama backfield he gets max results in his limited touches. As Alabama absolutely dominated TEXAS A&M this past Saturday YELDON romped for 114 yards and 1 TD on only 13 touches. They don’t throw much to him, but he seems to have soft hands and moves naturally out in space. For his size I am surprised at his jump-cut and explosion ability. Assuming he comes out for the 2015 DRAFT I see him in a small group of elite backs that will be hard to pass on for the entire first round.

Weekly Prospects Review – October 15th, 2014

MICHAEL BENNETT/DT/OHIO STATE #63 6’2/290 To be totally honest I do not see how some people have his guy in their First Round Draft projections. He is likely to be pretty scheme limited because of his size, or lack thereof. In the Buckeyes impressive win over Maryland I saw him get lost in the wash as an undersized guy, just as often as I saw him use his speed and quickness to impact a play. He will need to go to a pro system like the SEA HAWKS where speed and quickness are most important at almost all the defensive spots on their roster. In fact, I see him being a very similar pro to his namesake with the SEA HAWKS. If he gets moved around and unleashed most of the time to rush the passer he can be a big-time playmaker at the next level. But even a mediocre Terps OL stymied him at the line-of-scrimmage more times than not especially against the run. For my money he’s 2nd Round material for about less than half the NFL teams, at best.

ANDRE DEBOSE/RS/ATH/FLORIDA #4 6’0/190 I’d still have to admit that it is very unlikely DEBOSE gets drafted next May, but he’s likely to post a sub 4.4/40 at the COMBINE (if invited) or his Pro Day. And that alone will get attention in NFL Personnel Departments. He’s been injured more than he has been healthy in college. He’s also not defined what actual position from scrimmage he might play, but his explosiveness as a return man is elite. He has blazing speed, good field vision and good balance. Sound like a guy named HESTER a bit?! While trying to help the Gators beat LSU without much of a contribution from their Offense, DEBOSE got a crack at 2 Punt returns and took them 62 & 53 yards respectively. The longer one he took to the house for a TD. His speed and elusiveness will make some NFL team want to spend some time trying to find him playing time from scrimmage for him. I’d say that if he stays healthy this entire season and blows up his workouts some NFL team will be highly tempted to take a 7th Round flyer on him. If AL DAVIS were still alive DEBOSE would go in the first 3 Rounds.

TREY FLOWERS/DE/ARKANSAS #86 6’4/267 FLOWERS is a very different player from CHRIS SMITH who went to the JAGUARS this past Draft as a speed pass-rush specialist. FLOWERS does not have the burst into the pocket that SMITH possesses. But he’s a better all-around player. His game situation awareness is highly praised by his coaches. He will try to stand and fight against the run, but needs a SAM-LB supporting him. ARKANSAS almost got the Crimson Tide last weekend and FLOWERS stats give clear indication as to what kind of player he is. For the game he was credited with 8 tackles, including 3 TFL and 1 sack. He also had 1 PBU. He gives his team that kind of effort and productivity week in and week out. For an NFL team that feels he can be a solid fit for their defensive scheme I’d expect him to be a 3rd Rounder. He should also be pretty impressive with his football smarts in interview situations.

DAVID HELTON/LB/DUKE #47 6’4/230 HELTON is typical of a lot of today’s college athletes. They do a lot of good things out on the field of play, and are significantly better than the average player of 10+ years ago. But when you add up the total of their parts it is still unlikely they can count on a pro sports career as being in their future. HELTON is a long framed player who reacts well to the ball. But he’s not an impact guy because he’s a tick too slow and not strong enough to throw people around. But how do you ignore a guy who had 133 tackles in 2013? He was all over the field again in the big road win at GA TECH. He was credited with 4 tackles against Tech, though he was around the ball constantly. Once again however, he had no impact plays. It is his lack of Sacks, TFL, FF & INT that makes him just another guy in the big picture of things. His hustle and smarts could win him a Special Teams job for a while in the pro game.He’s also an academic All-America. I think he goes to an NFL Training Camp next summer (if he wants to), but just don’t see him getting drafted in May.

DUKE JOHNSON/RB/MIAMI #8 5’9/205 JOHNSON is a special player in a lot of ways. He’s a leader by example and is also not afraid to make his voice heard on the sideline. Most of his noise is from his contention that he’s a difference maker and needs the ball in his hands more. I can’t argue with that. He’s quick in and out of moves and can turn on the jets when he gets out in wide open spaces. When in doubt he will attempt to run through and over defenders. THE DUKE has good balance and runs with low pad level, always driving forward to finish the play. He’ll pound between the tackles but has enough speed to get to the corner. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of catches on his resume’ he is a dependable receiver. Against Cincinnati he carried the ball 10 times for 162 yards and 2 TD. His long run in that stat was an 80-yarder. He also caught 4 balls out of the backfield. He’s a decent blocker in pass pro and should improve under NFL coaching. He’s a Top 100 player in my mind, but he’ll need to go to a team with a coaching staff that can handle his fiery temperament, without it becoming a distraction to his team. He’s going to leave MIami as their all-time total yardage leader because in addition to his running acumen he also has return skills that often get lost at MIami with all of its speedster receivers returning most of the time. I project that he will come out early and get drafted in Round 3, which will just place another big ship on his shoulders.

VINCE MAYLE/WR/WASHINGTON STATE #1 6’3/220 This former Juco player has played a key role in the Leach-led resurgence of Wazoo football. Even if they don’t win many games they are now scaring opponents, especially with their offense. MAYLE is a sure handed, big bodied receiver who doesn’t lose many possession battles with defenders. He has above average speed and dependable hands. I don’t actually see him as the perfect fit for this kind of run & gun Offense. He’s better served for the pro power game ala SAN DIEGO, where he will be targeted more often. He’s not afraid to come across the middle and seems to really track the ball well once it is in the air. Against the tough and physical STANFORD Defense last weekend he tallied 6 catches for 78 yards and 1TD. He’s a really solid athlete with a long, smooth stride to his deep patterns. He can gain some extra yards after the catch because he will break tackles of smaller defenders. Because of those qualities he has more big play potential than his speed might indicate. He also looks like he has some serious potential as a Kick Returner at the next level. Post season play in All-Star venues will help establish his final draft status, but I’m liking this guy as an even more productive pro than collegian.

TYRONE MONTGOMERY/WR/RS/STANFORD #7 6’2/215After watching this talented young athlete perform well again against Washington State I am still trying to project just how well his game is going to translate to the NFL. He’s a jack of all trades and master of most as a collegian. He’s always leading his team in total yards gained. In addition to catching the ball he runs a few reverses and even handles their “wildcat” package at times. He’s also a prolific Kick Returner (30.3 yards per return in 2013) who has added Punt Returns to his workload this season. Against Washington State he caught 7 balls for 72 yards. He returned 3 punts for an average of 21 yards per and added 70 yards more on 3 Kick Returns. He’s got a long. lean body and I am guessing his hands are above average in size watching him hand snatch the ball, especially along the sidelines. And yet I am not sold that he will be an elite pro. He is smooth and glides around with long strides. He also seems to see the whole field and picks his openings well, whether running patterns or on returns. But I don’t see any burst or third gear to his game. He falls somewhere in between TIM BROWN and LARRY FITZGERALD when I watch him in action. His numbers indicate a First Round talent, but something concerns me about that seeming lack of explosion. Somehow my mind is saying a very good No. 2 WR for some NFL team, but not an elite receiver.

ANDRUS PEAT/OT/STANFORD #70 6’67/310 An awful lot of folks have PEAT projected to be a TOP 10 prospect. And in today’s NFL everyone is always looking for elite pass protectors. But I am going to temper my enthusiasm for this big guy just a bit. Round 1; yes. Top 10; not for my taste. He’s long and athletic, with agile footwork and good balance. He needs some serious weight room work at the NFL level. He pushes defenders around with his long arms and quickness, but does not dominate and pancake. He’s good in his back-peddle, but can be susceptible to both strong and fast pass-rushers. He does not dominate the line-of-scrimmage in goal line and short yardage situations. He reminds me greatly of another top Stanford OT named BOB WHITFIELD. As a pro WHITFIELD was sound and functional, but not All-World. That is what PEAT looks like to me right now. He will start for 10-years in the NFL but may not get to many Pro Bowls. This may sound crazy given his size, but he’s more of a finesse player than a dominant presence right now.

TERRANCE PLUMMER/ILB/UCF #41 6’1/240 With the departure of BLAKE BORTLES/QB to the NFL, the UCF Offense has wilted this season. Consequently, more and more has been asked of the Knight’s defense to win ball games. The team is a bit talent deprived in its front seven, with the big exception of PLUMMER. He led the team in tackles in 2013 with 110. His demonically possessed style of play this year may allow him to eclipse that mark by season’s end. This past Thursday night UCF held off BYU for a 31-24 OT home victory. And the Tasmanian Devil leading the D was PLUMMER, who had to leave the game in OT with cramping in the still 80-degree plus Florida night. PLUMMER filled up the stats sheet and notebooks of scouts watching the contest. His game total were as follows: 17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass break-up. The rumor that he sold popcorn at halftime is urban legend. He will likely test out in the middle of the pack in a Combine setting, but he gets a lot done on-the-grass in games. Count on him to earn his keep on Special Teams alone at least for the start of his pro career. He should be draftable Rounds 5-7 and should really help improve the bottom dozen on some NFL roster going forward.

CODY PREWITT/S/OLE MISS #25 6’2/215 Now that the Rebels are proving to be the real deal with wins over ‘Bama & A&M, the accolades are rolling in for some of their leading players. As an NFL prospect for 2015 PREWITT is probably their No.1 guy. He appears to have the size and athleticism to fight for an NFL starting job. He’s also showing some savvy and maturity this season. In the big road win in College Station his 1st-half 75-yard pick-6 seemed to be the play that convinced his teammates that they could control the game and not get caught up in an offensive shootout with the Aggies. Typical of the all-around steady work he’s been doing he was also credited with 7 tackles for his evening’s work. His lack of elite speed keeps him from being a top prospect, but his size and ability to tackle in space give him a solid shot to be an early Special Teams standout and sub-package contributor. I think his Combine numbers will determine whether he’s a 3rd or 4th Rounder come May.

JAXON SHIPLEY/WR/RS/TEXAS #8 6’1/195 Clearly, anything JAXON does will be compared to his older brother Jordan, who was productive as a Longhorn, and had a decent turn on NFL depth charts. But from watching him play, I believe that JAXON has better speed and quickness than his brother and a better chance to be a productive receiver in the NFL. He has not been blessed with an exceptional QB at Texas because of injury issues to DAVID ASH, primarily concussions. But he runs his patterns sharply and gets open regularly, based on a nice combination of quickness and good route running. As the LONGHORNS gave Oklahoma all they could handle last Saturday JAXON caught 9 balls for 115 yards, though failing to make it into the end zone. He also returned 2 punts for an average of 22.5 yards. He might want to gain another 10 lbs. for the pro game, but that should not adversely affect his decent, not great, speed greatly. He works the entire field and has very dependable hands. The sidelines are among his best friends on game day. He won’t make many Top 100 prospect lists, but I see a guy who could go in Round 4 and in a couple of seasons be a No. 3/4 NFL WR and steady Special Teams contributor.

LAKEN TOMLINSON/OG/DUKE #77 6’3/320 Sometimes it’s hard to break a mental stereotype of what kind of prospects come out of certain colleges. It hasn’t been often in my 50+ years of watching college football that a really good big guy comes out of the Duke football program. Watching TOMLINSON forces me to adjust that perception. Has a chance to start over 50 games as a Blue Devil. Was first team All-ACC in 20134. He has the wide base and natural knee bend that NFL OL coaches are looking for. He’s not an elite athlete, but he’s not just another big guy either. He moves well whether backing into pass pro or firing out to pull and/or get a second level block. Were he a bit taller and longer he has he feet to give it a try at OT, but why mess with a good thing?! TOMLINSON plays smart and hard. He also does a nice job of staying on his feet and off the ground most of the time. Maybe you could wish for a little bit more aggressive player, but he’s certainly not a softie. Most NFL teams will find it appealing that he played in an offense that required both run blocking and NFL style pass pro. He’s currently working on getting himself into a Friday Draft slot next May.