It’s time for Fall chaos in the world of College Football. We are starting down the home stretch of the season and teams are wearing down, in most cases. Therefore, we are seeing multiple top ranked teams bite the dust with upset losses. This past weekend, unbeaten Michigan State lost to Purdue, and the magic glass slipper was shattered. Florida was soundly thrashed by South Carolina and fired their D-C and OL Coaches. Minnesota was upset by lowly Illinois. Alabama barely got by mediocre LSU, 20-14, under lame duck HC ED ORGERON. Wake Forest, like Michigan State, dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten with a loss at UNC. Oklahoma moved to 10-0, after somehow NOT being in the NCAA Top 4 initial poll last week. I only see 4 legit FBS teams still remaining unbeaten now:
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO 10-0
Then I see 10 teams with only one loss. With the slim chances of either Cincinnati or UTSA getting a final 4 nod from the nominating committee any time soon, it means that we will likely go into Conference Championships with some serious positioning to still be determined for the Bowl Game schedules.
But for now, let’s take a hard look at some NFL Draft Prospects who stood out to me in last weeks games.
#9 JORDAN BATTLE SS Alabama 6’1/210 And the pro production machine that is Alabama, under the SABAN regime, continues to pump out a seemingly unending supply of Top 100 Draftees, with the Defense leading the way. It should be the same again in 2022, and if BATTLE declares, he is likely to be in the Top 3 Safety position draftees, Round 3 at the latest. Another nice sized, well coached, and of course athletic player that leads by example and should be able to handle pro offenses whether playing in-the-box or back deep. He showed on several occasions against LSU that he has the speed and ball skills to cover well downfield. His ball skills are evidenced by his 2 INT’s so far this season. He is also a dependable tackler as he reads the run and brings an attack mode at RB’s looking for open spaces. He ended the contest with LSU having earned credit for 9 tackles, 4 of them solo. I look for him somewhere between Picks 40-90.
#7 ROMEO DOUBS WR Nevada 6’2/200 Much of the attention that gets focused on NEVADA this year centers around QB CARSON STRONG, who probably has the highest arm talent in the potential 2022 Draft class at his position. But it has to be mentioned that he has a high quality receiving group to throw to, with DOUBS chief amongst them. DOUBS looks even taller than his listed height when I have watched him in MWC action. DOUBS has dependable hands and contends well on 50/50 balls. The Wolf Pack upped their record to 7-2 with a solid win (27-24) over San Jose State, and DOUBS did his part with 6 receptions, for 78 yards and 1 TD. He is not the fastest wideout around, but he runs well and gets decent separation. As expected, a new group of wideouts has emerged this season, but DOUBS has held his ground and is currently holding serve (so to speak) in my Top 100 as a late 3rd Round prospect. He has the look of a complimentary No. 3 receiver for an NFL team.
#7 SAM HOWELL QB UNC 6’1/220 I have started to thumbnail HOWELL on several occasions and backed off each time as I scribbled observations into my Scouts Notebook. This guy is a top notch college QB, who is equally adept at running or throwing the ball. His arm is a bit above average and his passing stats confirm that. However, I doubt that a receiver progression in his mind contained more than 2 serious looks. He’s a tough, beefy kid that would just as soon (if not prefer) to tuck the ball and head upfield. And it works quite often because he is a tough runner to bring down. He bounces from tackler to tackler like a RB trying to capture those important yards-after-contact. And he is often quite successful in those efforts. He and the Tar Heels have struggled a bit this season. They currently sit at 5-4 after knocking off WAKE in an exciting comeback win engineered by HOWELL and RB/TY CHANDLER. He went 16/26- 61.5%- 216 yards, and 1 TD. He also ran 21 times for 104 yards and 2 TD’s. Very productive day and a W. He is a slightly smaller TEBOW with better passing skills. However, for all of the praise, and the fact that he lost his top 4 skill position players to the NFL last Spring in the Draft, I cannot for the life of me figure out how his game translates to the NFL. And that is what this is all about for me. He’s realistically not LAMAR JACKSON or MICHAEL VICK with his speed and athleticism. I’d encourage him to return to UNC for the 2022 season, and enjoy it while he can. I would tell my team to take him off the prospect list.
#23 ROGER McCREARY CB Auburn 6’/190 It gets harder week by week to get a clear, extended look at his ball skills because teams have learned to stay away from him. I caught several glimpses of his work thanks to some detailed TV coverage in the loss to Texas A&M. He has the size, speed and field awareness to stay with most receivers based on his skillset. But he also shows very good recovery speed as well. He will help in run defense when needed, but belongs back in coverage, not being asked to zone blitz. He recorded 7 TFL in 2020, which gives you an idea of how he plays against the run. I would expect some “top of the group” test scores if he works out in the next Combine. The long and short of this is that this man is in the Top 5 CB group for the next Draft, and barring something unforeseen, his name will be called in Round 1. His play reminds me of an NFL standout named DARRELLE REVIS. Welcome to McCREARY island boys and girls.
#8 JOHN METCHIE WR Alabama 6’/195 While most folks marvel at the explosiveness of Ohio State transfer JAMESON WILLIAMS as the deep threat of the ‘Bama receiving corps this season, METCHIE has reinforced my opinion that he will make a very solid pro receiver in the mold of a possession type, move-the-chains receivers. He gets separation and can add yards after the catch. He also runs very precise routes and establishes rapport with his QB. With WILLIAMS loosening up the LSU D by using his speed to stretch the secondary, METCHIE recorded 9 receptions for 73 yards and 1 TD. METCHIE had 55 catches for the Tide last season, taking over as the No. 2 target after WADDLE was injured with a broken ankle. He has continued to provide steady production, and that will not go unnoticed in Draft Rooms next April if he leaves school for the pro dollars.
#8 JALEN PITRE DB Baylor 6’0/195 IMO, PITRE is another example of a good football player that has taken advantage of a coaching change at his school, rather than transfer, and is now considered a legit NFL prospect. Defensive guru DAVE ARANDA, his new Head Coach, as of the crazy Covid 2020 season, has PITRE starting in the STAR position, which allows him a lot of discretion to move around and make more plays. And he is just the kind of guy to take advantage of that flexibility, both mentally and athletically. And he does everything and anything needed from him. Last season, he led the team in tackles with 60 in 9 games. He compiled a stat sheet that included 10.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and 2 INT’s. He’s doing more of the same, and more, this season. BAYLOR now sits at 7-2, with a showdown on the schedule this weekend against Oklahoma. PITRE played a big part in keeping the disappointing loss to TCU last weekend a nail biter until the end. His stat sheet read 6 Tackles, 3 TFL, 3 PBU’s, 1 FF, and 1 FR. He was everywhere, doing everything. I am thinking he could be used in the NFL anywhere and everywhere in a pro secondary, depending upon down and distance. A Senior Bowl appearance and some expected solid numbers at the Combine could get this guy into a Day Two Draft position.
#76 BERNHARD RAIMANN OT Central Michigan 6’7/300 I have now watched RAIMANN in action two straight games, including Wednesday night. Quite frankly, I think there is too much of a love-fest underway for a good player with large potential, but who is far from a finished NFL prospect. He is athletic and strong, but his feet get tangled up when a speed rusher leans low. His hand use is adequate, but should have more power than it shows. I loved some of the second level blocks he executed in the run game though. I am assuming that because of limited football exposure as a youth in Austria, it would explain his lack of anticipation at times as to where blitzes are coming from. In essence, I am not done with final prospect rankings by a long shot, but as of now, I am NOT ready to put him in my Top 100 list. I would say he’s an early Day 3 guy that will need several years of tutelage at the pro level from a veteran OL coach. He looks more like SPENCER BROWN coming out of N. Iowa last year than I thought he would, and will need much work to see the field in game action.
#5 JAQUARII ROBERSON WR Wake Forest 6’1/182 This game was my first detailed watch of ROBERSON, although he has certainly flashed in several WAKE watches I have had this season. I luv him for his good hands, route running and competitiveness. I think he’s a bit slower than you’d like for his size, but he is not afraid to fight for the ball. He makes some nice, contested grabs in every game for the Demon Deacons. Against UNC, he finished the game with 7 receptions for 111 yards and 2 TD’s. I think he has that Receiver 2/3 look to him. He led the team in catches last season, recording 62 in only 9 games due to Covid cancellations. I should add that he shows some nice after the catch runs in the open field. May post a very solid Vertical at the Combine, which he uses nicely along the sidelines. Early Day 3, with a solid pro future ahead, IMO.
#4 NICK SCIBA K Wake Forest 5’9/190 Don’t get too excited here folks. I am NOT going to tell you that this young man is in my Top 100. But I do think he is draftable, especially when I see the number of NFL teams working on their 3rd or 4th Kicker already in the 2021 season. This is his 4th season of play with Wake, which means he will be included in the 2022 NFL Draft eligible list, and would have to request his name be withdrawn from said list if he wishes to use the Covid Waiver option. In 2020, SCIBA was 14/17 on FG’s, going 7/8 between 40-49 yards. He is 5/5 from that range so far this season. His accuracy, for under 50-yards, is over 90% this season. He does not handle kick-offs most of the time and isn’t likely to win a lot of games with last second heroics of 50+-yard attempts. But his overall accuracy is pro level. He might get drafted late, but will certainly be on an NFL Training Camp roster in 2022 unless he withdraws his name from Draft consideration.
#61 DOHNOVAN WEST OC Arizona State 6’3/315 The OC position in the 2022 Draft is not one of the stronger position groups, like it was last year. But the top end of the list is better than many folks are presenting it to be. Mr. WEST and his hard work have captured my fancy. I think he clearly has the potential to earn an NFL starting job in time. He is a strong guy that pushes defenders around in the run game, and holds his ground against big, burly DT’s in pass pro. I saw him blocking well downfield in the Sun Devils run game countless times in the game with USC. He is an absolute bully with strong arms and the overall upper body strength to move defenders aside and away from his RB, Mr. WHITE. If he declares, I think he will be waiting til Day 3 to hear his name called in Vegas, but he will go to somebody’s Training Camp and make a helluva run at a starting job. I also don’t see why he couldn’t be groomed to play OG if needed. He is a solid athlete on the IOL, for a big man.
#3 RACHAAD WHITE RB Arizona State 6’2/205 After missing a couple of games to injury, both of which the Sun Devils struggled offensively in, a healthy and rested WHITE was the workhorse in a 31-16 victory over Southern Cal, in a tougher/closer game than that score might indicate. Like a true NFL N0.1 RB, WHITE seemed to overpower a tired out, but gritty TROJAN defense in the 4th Quarter. In the game, WHITE carried the ball 28 times, for 202 yards and 3 TD’s. Two of his TD runs covered 47 and 50 yards respectively. The latter clinched the victory late in the 4th Quarter. He uses his eyes well, combined with some patience, to find the seams created by his blockers, and explodes through those openings. He shows very good contact balance unless wrapped up by the defender. WHITE has soft hands and showed he can catch the ball, primarily out in the flat. I would not exactly call him a speedster, but once he hits top gear, with long-legged strides, he is tough to catch from behind, as indicated by those two long TD runs. He’s not a pure “power runner”, but he will take the ball inside and get what is blocked in short yardage carries. This performance secured a Top 100 slot for WHITE on my board. Someone should get at least a RB rotation addition to their roster by taking him on Day 2. I think his 40-time and 3-cone work at the Combine may go a long way in determining whether it’s Round 2 or 3.
SHAWN SHIVERS #8 Auburn RB 5’7/190 Plays a back-up role to BIGSBY, but shows versatility as a receiver, return man and RB. Size makes him a situational prospect.
ZACH TOM #50 Wake Forest OT/G 6’5/305 Is holding down the LT slot for Wake right now, but does not have the foot speed or length to stay there as a pro. Look for him to move back inside to an IOL.
JORDAN TUCKER #74 UNC OT 6’6/335 A mountain of a man who moves pretty well for his size. Could be drafted late.
ANDREW VORHEES #72 Southern Cal OG/T 65’/320 I do NOT understand why so little luv for this versatile, effective blocker. He has switched multiple times between OG & OT spots to fill whatever need his team had. I watched him carefully in the ASU loss and he blocked effectively all night long.
That’s it for now. Plenty more prospects to watch. Enjoy and remember… the last 3-4 weeks of the regular 2021 college football season is now underway.