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Rising Tigers’ DT Bresee out for year … Things just keep going from bad-to-worse for Clemson. Not only did the Tigers pretty much play themselves out of any shot at a spot in this year’s CFP with a loss at NC State on Saturday, but they also lost star sophomore DT Bryan Bresee for the year after he tore an ACL agaisnt the Wolfback. Bresee, the top-rated recruit in the country in 2020, would not have been eligible for the upcoming draft, but he is one of the best young players in college football with the potential to be a top ten pick whenever he does opt to turn pro.
Jags, Jets still 1-2 in early draft order;but two less winless teams … Again, we won’t be posting a full, updated ‘if the draft were held today’ selection order for the opening round of the 2022 draft for another week or so, but if we did, Jacksonville and the NY Jets would have the first and second picks overall for the second year in a row. However, there is currently almost no statistical difference in the SOS records of the two teams so we really can’t say which of the two would actually pick first and which would be at #2 at this time. Meanwhile, Indianapolis would have the 3rd pick, followed by Detroit at #4 and the Giants at #5. The ranks of the league’s winless teams did thin out this weekend as both Minnesota and Atlanta got their first W’s of the year. The Vikings knocked off Seattle earlier this afternoon, while the Falcons won a battle of winless teams over the Giants with a walk-off game winning FG. That was the second week in a row that the Giants lost on a last-play FG. No team feels more suckered punch, though, than Detroit, which fell to 0-3 when Baltimore PK Justin Tucker kicked a league record 66-yard FG on the last play of the game to given the Ravens a 19-17 win. That came after the Ravens converted a 4th and 19 just to get the chance to make the kick.
Duck DE; top prospect; returns … sort of … Star Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, the consensus #1 prospect overall for the 2022 draft was hasn’t played since early in the team’s season opener because of a sprained ankle, was back in uniform for the Ducks’ 41-19 win over Arizona last evening, but didn’t actually play all that much. Thibodeaux, who did not start the game, appeared to be moving okay once he did make an appearance, but did not record any stats. The 3rd ranked Ducks play at Stanford this coming weekend so we’ll see if Thibodeaux plays more at that time.
Panthers win, lose versus Texans … Carolina has confirmed this morning that CB Jaycee Horn, whom the Panthers chose with the 8th pick overall in the first round of the 2021 draft, will miss much of the rest of the season after breaking a foot in last night’s win over Houston. Horn is expected to be out 2-3 months with the injury. In fact, it was a costly win for the surprisingly 3-0 Panthers who also lost star RB Christian McCaffery for an indefinite period with a strained hamstring.
Weekly prospects preview … After three really great weeks on the college football schedule, this weekend’s fare isn’t quite as good. Still there are two prominent games involving ranked at #7 Texas A&M plays at resurgent #16 Arkansas, while #12 Notre Dame and #18 Wisconsin split the difference and play (for the first time in almost 5 decades) in Chicago. And for the record, Texas A&M is actually the only team in the country with more than one player currently among the GBN’s top 10 prospects for the upcoming draft. Here’s a preview of who to watch in this weekend’s big games with an eye toward the 2022 draft.
Pigskin’s week three prospects review ... As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting a weekly review of prospects who caught his eye in the previous weekend’s college football action. Needless to say, he had plenty to chew on after another weekend of terrific games. Here’s Paul’s column for this week.
Jags, Jets still 1-2 … We’ve had several correspondents ask when we’ll be posting the weekly, updated selection order for the 2022 draft. Fact is it is still a little early to get a real trend line on team’s strength of schedule figure so we usually wait until after the 4th or 5th week of the schedule. However, for those who just can’t wait, we have run the numbers on the 7 still winless teams around the league, and based on that data ‘if the draft were held today’ Jacksonville and the NY Jets, who picked 1-2 at the 2021 draft, would be flipping for the 1st and second picks again this year. Detroit and Atlanta would be flipping for the 3rd-4th picks, while Minnesota and Indianapolis would be flipping for the 5-6 picks, with the Giants picking 7th.
Shifting QB draft sands?? … Granted, we are just three games into the current college season and there is a lot of football yet to be played, but there is a bit of a buzz around the NFL that more than one team, including several with early picks, are starting to rethink the top of their QB position rankings. The general consensus coming into the season, for example, was that Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell of North Carolina were the top QB prospects this year, with Rattler, in particular, very much in the debate for the top guy overall. However, neither has been particularly overwhelming to date. Rattler does have a very good 75% completion rate, but the OU offense through three games has been very inconsistent, especially in their two games against FBS teams. Meanwhile, Howell has also struggled at time’s at UNC where he has a somewhat pedestrian 63% completion figure and has thrown 4 picks in his three games. And while those guys maybe a little bit down, there appears to be something of a growing buzz for Malik Willis of Liberty and Nevada’s Carson Strong. Willis, in particular, is quite simply a great athlete – he’s on pace to run for over 1,000 yards this fall – who throws darts, although NFL teams still will want to know why he never could win the starter’s job at Auburn, where he originally signed. Meanwhile, Nevada’s Strong is a more classic pocket passer, who also features pretty close to elite arm talent. As we say, though, there is still a lot of football to be played before April 28th. Stay tuned!
Bears’ Fields gets first start as NFL QB landscape shifts … There will be some major changes in the NFL’s QB landscape this coming week. For starters, former Ohio State star Justin Fields, the 11th player selected at the 2021 draft, will get his first career start when Chicago plays at Cleveland in an early game on Sunday. Fields will ostensibly be getting the start because incumbent starter Andy Dalton is sidelined with a knee injury, and Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy has been adamant this week that Dalton will get the job back when he’s healthy, but in the past the tendency has been that first-round QBs stay in the line-up once they get there as long as they don’t implode on the job. For the record, Dalton did not suffer an ACL injury, but still could miss as many as 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile, Houston will also be starting a rookie when the Texans host Carolina in the Thursday night game tomorrow. Houston put veteran starter on IR Tyrod Taylor this week because of a hamstring injury suffered this past weekend which all means that he too will miss up to a month. Taylor will be replaced by rookie Davis Mills, the Texans third round pick at this year’s draft. Of course, the Texans do still have star QB Deshaun Watson, but the team indicated that he was not an option and that he will in fact remain inactive unless he’s traded while the courts and the league try and sort out his various legal issues after 22 women filed lawsuits alleging sexual assault or harassment. Miami, the one team still believed to be considering trading for Watson if the Texans were ever to lower their demands, will also have a new starter at QB when they play at La Vegas in a late Sunday afternoon game. Jacoby Brissett will replace Tua Tagaovailoa who is out after hurting his ribs in last Sunday’s dismal home shutout loss to Buffalo.
And one quick update on the college QB situation. Southern California’s Kedon Slovis, who has generally be considered to be one of the top 4-5 prospects at the position for the 2022, will reportedly get the start when the Trojans host Oregon State this weekend. There had been some peculation that Slovis could be replaced by freshman Jaxson Dart who outplayed him in last weekend’s comeback win at Washington State, but Dart is reportedly a little too banged up to play.
QB Brewer bolts Utes; Canes’ King dinged again … In something of a surprise, Utah QB Charlie Brewer, who started all three games for the Utes this fall, abruptly left the team after he was pulled from last weekend’s upset loss to San Diego State and then demoted. Brewer, of course, was a productive 4-year starter at Baylor who transferred to Utah to play his ‘free’ year of college football. Because he’s only played in three games to date this fall, Brewer can use his redshirt season to transfer elsewhere and play immediately in 2022. Meanwhile, Miami is awaiting word on the health of star QB D’Eriq King who is getting what is being referred to as a ‘second opinion’ on his throwing shoulder which he injured in the Canes’ disappointing home loss to Michigan State last weekend. King is being listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against FCS team Central Connecticut. In fact, King will likely sit out this weekend and get ready for Miami’s ACC opener against Virginia next week. King was an emerging star at Houston a couple of years back, but really hasn’t been the same since suffering a serious knee injury late in the 2018 season.
NFL to host international combine next month … The NFL announced earlier today that the league will hold a combine for 50 international athletes from 15 countries in London on October 12th. The event will be held at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium and will be modeled after the league’s regular combine usually held in Indianapolis at the end of February every year. Any foreign combine who meet some specific performance standards will then be invited to train in the U. S. for three months as part of the league’s pathway program. This actually isn’t the first such international venture as the NFL previously hosted combine-type events in Australia in 2018 and Germany in 2019. The NFL will also conduct a combine in Mexico later in October for athletes unable to travel to London because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Houston, we have a problem!!! … Speaking of an interesting QB situation, there’s a bit of a buzz around the NFL wondering if Miami might be willing to up its offer to Houston for embattled QB Deshaun Watson after Dolphins’ starter Tua Tagovailoa was injured in today’s loss to Buffalo. Tagovailoa hurt his ribs early in the contest and did not return. In fact, the Dolphins might have been tempted to call Houston even if Tagovailoa had not been hurt after they were embarrassed 35-0 by the Bills. For those that have not been following the story, the two teams have been playing a game of chicken regarding Watson with the Texans reportedly asking for as many as 3 first and 2 second round picks in exchange, while the Dolphins have reportedly said ‘too much, we’ll wait thank you!’ Of course, the Texans could claim they actually want more because Tyrod Taylor, their current starter with Watson sidelined while he faces over allegations of sexual assault, was also injured today in Houston’s 31-21 loss in Cleveland, although that injury is not believed to be serious.
QB controversy at USC??? … There is a potentially interesting QB situation evolving at Southern California after freshman Jaxson Dart replaced an injured Kedon Slovis and led the Trojans to an impressive 45-14 road win at Washington State on Saturday afternoon. Dart threw for almost 400 yards and 4 TDs to rally the Trojans from an early 14-0 deficit. Slovis has generally been considered to be one of the top 4-5 QB prospects for the 2022, but there are whispers out of the program that he is no lock to get the job back when he’s healthy again. That would be ironic as Slovis orginally got the start for the Trojans in 2019 when he replaced an injured JT Daniels and ultimately held onto the job. Daniels, of course, later transferred to Georgia. As we say, stay tuned!
Mahomes/Jackson matchup hilites Sunday NFL sched … Its game day in the NFL and folks around the league can’t wait for tonight’s featured matchup when Kansas City plays at Baltimore with the KO set for 8:20 PM ET on NBC. This is one of those games that could very well be a preview of the AFC championship game in January. Of course, it also features a head-to-head matchup between the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson of the Ravens, two of the most dynamic young QBs in the game. There’s also an interesting QB-duel shaping up at the other end of the standings when New England plays at the Jets in an early game. That one will be the first straight-up match-up between QBs taken in this year’s first round with the Patriots’ Mac Brown facing the Jets’ Zack Wilson. This game also has some draft implications as the loser drops to 0-2. In fact, this is one of only two games this weekend between 0-1 teams. The other is tomorrow night when Detroit plays at Green Bay. Have a great day!!
UCF QB out indefinitely … Central Florida confirmed this morning that star QB Dillon Gabriel, a dark-horse Heisman candidate, broke his clavicle on the final play of last night’s 42-35 loss to Louisville. The good news is that Gabriel will not require season-ending surgery, but there is no timetable for his return.
Weekly prospects preview … Somehow, we got through last weekend’s prospect preview with barely a mention of the SEC. Not so this week, though, as the conference gets down to league play with a bang with top-ranked, defending national champion Alabama playing at SEC East power Florida. Here’s a quick preview of who to watch in that game with an eye toward the 2022 draft. Plus, there’s a little bonus coverage of several top defensive prospects to check out in a couple of other games. Read more
Giants report: A little perspective … Don’t know about anyone else, but I was still tossing and turning when the sun came up this morning. What a frustrating, heart-breaking loss in Washington last. And it was so frustrating and heart-breaking loss because the game was won. So maybe a little perspective might be in order. Read more
Pigskin’s week two prospects review ... As he does every year, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette will be posting a weekly review of prospects who caught his eye in the previous weekend’s college football action. Needless to say, he had plenty to chew on after another weekend of terrific games. Here’s Paul’s column for this week.
Panthers cut PK; void trade with Giants … It hasn’t been a great week so far the NY Giants. Sunday, they suffered a rather dismal home loss to Denver. Then today, Carolina released PK Ryan Santoso, whom the Giants had traded to the Panthers for a conditional 7th round pick during the pre-season. The stipulation was Santoso would have to be on the active roster the first two games so that trade is now voided. The pick involved was actually a pick Carolina had received from Miami for OT Greg Little and will be higher of the #7s Miami received from New England and Tennessee in earlier deals.