WHO CAUGHT MY EYE Week 4

By | September 27, 2016

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