Who Caught My Eye Week 12

By | November 22, 2016

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.