Who Caught My Eye Week 8

By | October 26, 2016

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