WHO CAUGHT MY EYE. Week 1A

By | September 6, 2017

#1 JERMAINE CARTER LB 6’0/235 MARYLAND CARTER returned to the Terps this past Spring with a slimmed down body and seriously improved speed in pads. He is a o-it-all LB who can blitz, drop in coverage and his coaches wisely use him in multiple locations and roles. He needs to improve his wrap-up tackling skills. Right now he tries to grab tackle too often, as opposed to wrapping up his target. But he can pressure the pocket. In the big upset win over Texas he was credited with 7 tackles, including 2 sacks, as well as 1 QBH. I’d look for him early on Day 3 of the Draft.

#1 SIMMIE COBBS WR 6’4/220 INDIANA JR …  IU shows little ability to run the ball right now, which let Ohio State dominate them in the second half. But COBBS was a key target for QB/LAGOW in the game. He’s clearly a big target, and he shows great length and catch radius, as well as dependable hands. He looks like a smart route runner, who locates the ball well in the air. He worked the sidelines all night long. He’s not a speed burner, but his long strides make it hard for DB to stay with him deep. COBBS had 11 catches for 149 yards and 1 TD against a VERY athletic BUCKEYES secondary. I see him as a Second Rounder for the next Draft assuming he comes out.

#52 MASON COLE OT 6’5/305 MICHIGAN COLE is a very good player, with nice size and serious pro potential. Last season he was the Wolverines OC, in a heavy senior laden OL group. He has moved to LT, and looked like a natural over there against a solid Florida D. He handled pass pro well, and really moved people out of the way in his run blocking. He is surely a potential starter somewhere in the OL for the NFL, and could also be counted on to play any/all 5 OL positions. I also think his measurables will have personnel people talking at the Combine. Looks like a First Rounder to me.

#13 JALEN DAVIS CB 5’10/185 UTAH STATE I am not going to proclaim that the Badgers won the game with Utah State because DAVIS was ejected on a questionable targeting call in the first half. But I will say they seriously missed his senior leadership and solid play out on the Corner for the remainder of the contest. He had a Sack and a PBU in the first quarter, when State took control of the game. He plays smart and tough. Being a tad small by NFL standard I would tend to say he ends up as a ‘slot-corner’, which is almost like a 5th starting position in today’s NFL. It may be late, but this guy should be drafted, albeit late.

#53 T.J. EDWARDS ILB 6’1/246 WISCONSIN JR EDWARDS led the BADGERS Defense in tackles in 2016, picking up the slack when JACK CICHY went down. So how did he open 2017 against Utah State? He was all over the field recording 7 tackles, 5 of them solo and recording 1 TFL. But surprisingly to me T.J. was constantly in on pass coverage plays over the middle of the field. He had a second quarter INT that was part of the energy boost that got UW on a roll. His great ball instincts led him to almost gathering another 2 picks in the second half. I would not have projected this previously, but he showed well enough in coverage to get the attention of pro scouts. He now has to be in the running to be considered a 3-down LB, especially in a 3-4 base scheme. EDWARDS has a serious chance to be considered in the Top 100 of the prospect lists, and get considered on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, if he keeps this kind of play up all season.

#59 TYQUAN LEWIS DE 6’4/265 OHIO STATE Despite what some folks seem to think, I don’t see LEWIS as an elite speed, edge-rusher. But he does seem to have a knack for shooting gaps and shedding blockers, quite often off an inside move. He is also more than willing and able to hold the edge against the run. LEWIS is smooth and athletic. He is also a reliable tackler once he gets his hands on his opponent. He is in a high quality DL rotation for the Buckeyes, which keeps him relatively rested late in games. His coaches seem to keep him out on the grass in critical stop situations. Doesn’t take a lot of false steps. He was credited with only 3 total tackles against IU, but 2 of those were sacks.

#68 MIKE McGLINCHEY LT 6’8/315 NOTRE DAME Many folks were surprised when McGlinchey ignored the NFL Draft and returned to college for 2017. He reminds me a bit of Nate Solder coming out of Colorado. He’s incredibly long and uses his arm length to great effect in pass pro. He also is reasonably flexible and agile on his feet for his length. He does a nice job mirroring pass rushers. He’s not as effective in run blocking, but gives it his best and can engulf a would be tackler. I was impressed with his initial hand punch against Temple. He’s in the top tier of this year’s OT prospects and could sneak into Round 1. But for now mark him down as a Round 2 prospect.

#91 DERRICK NNADI DT 6’1/312 FLORIDA STATE Like LEWIS above, NNADI isn’t flashy but he is clearly the anchor of the FSU DL. Against Big Boy football competition in Alabama he made 6 tackles , mostly from the Nose slot. Looked absolutely dominant inside against the run. Also gets some push into the backfield, pretty much right up the middle. Twice I saw him peel back into pass-pro when FSU came with LB blitzes up the middle. It wasn’t graceful, but he kept his feet and got almost 5-yards deep, clogging the dump-down passing lanes. Could probably be more of an impact player if rested more, but he’s too valuable to take out of the game for very long. I’d project him on the nose, but in a predominantly 4-3 scheme. He’s clearly a Top 100 prospect to me. Might make himself some money if he heads to the Senior Bowl next January.

#10 ANDRE SMITH IB 6’0/245 UNC JR SMITH is an old fashioned tackling machine who recorded 113 tackles in 2016. He has the ability to drop into pass coverage over the middle of the field. In the 1st Quarter against CAL he had a PBU that was almost a pick . In the 3rd Quarter he got an INT, which he returned 39 yards. At the end of the day he had 10 Tackles. He’s a sure tackler who tracks the ball very well. Also eyes the QB and is able to break on throws into his area of coverage. He’s instinctive and smart and despite his lack of height I’d take him in Round 3 if my team ran a 3-4 base scheme.

#19 JOHNNY TOWNSEND P 6’1/211 FLORIDA The elite Punter in the SEC is supposed to be Alabama’s J.K. Scott, but in this head to head match up it was TOWNSEND who dominated the punting game. He was called upon to punt 6 times vs. Alabama, and averaged 54.7 ypp. He has a strong leg and gets excellent hang time. He is also capable of angling the ball to either sideline. 27 of his 64 punts last season were downed inside the 20 yard line. SCOTT may be drafted first, but an NFL team needing a new, young punter should be looking Townsend’s way about Round 5 next Draft.

#25 AKRUM WADLEY RB 5’11/195 IOWA I’ll be anxious to see his 40-time at Combine. Very quick runner, with nice moves to avoid tacklers. Rushed 24 times for 116 yards against Wyoming as Iowa shortened the game with a heavy dose of the running game. He can get to the corner, but is not afraid to run between the tackles. He showed he could catch last season with 36 catches, but was not featured as a receiver in this game. Does not have the frame to carry a pro running game but could make an explosive second option behind a bigger feature back. I picture him as a 4th Rounder.