One of the items that has truly caught my eye is an event that transitions from the Fall Football season to NFL Draft season. And the kick-start event that signifies the annual transition is the beginning of invitations and acceptances by college football players to the annual Jan/Feb All-Star games. The prime events around which this all centers are:
REESES SENIOR BOWL
EAST/WEST SHRINE BOWL
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL
There are other/lesser events that also feature Pro prospects but these 3, in the order in which they appear above, are the main games. And the Senior Bowl is currently sending out invitations to their 2023 Game, as well as receiving acceptances from the first wave of invites. I encourage you true Draftniks out there to slide on over to the Senior Bowl website and/or their Twitter account. What has really pushed the envelope for the significance of the Senior Bowl is the fact that the Executive Director of the game, JIM. NAGY, is a certified former NFL veteran scout (18 years), who took over the reigns of the Senior Bowl after the departure of Phil Savage, in June of 2018. Just head on over to your favorite Internet search engine and search for these entities and you can post their websites in your favorites list or follow them on Twitter, for however long that exists. See below for details.
The Senior Bowl has already announced player acceptances for 39 players, of whom I consider 4 to be almost sure-fire First Rounders in the next NFL Draft. Best free source out there, IMO, is for you to follow Mr. Nagy on Twitter. The game’s website is Twitter@ SENIORBOWL, while Nagy’s Twitter handle is @JIMNAGY_SB. The games website address is seniorbowl.com
Especially on his Twitter account NAGY gives opinions and takes, on many of the prospects, especially on College Saturday Game Days in-season. Some of the best “free” Draft stuff you will find.
OK, OK … here are those 4 potential first round players, IMO today. Alphabetical for now of course.
JAELYN DUNCAN OT Maryland
SIAKI IKA NT Baylor
RASHEE RICE WR SMU
TYREE WILSON DE/OB Texas Tech
Moving along here I also wanted to answer some questions that have shown up in my email & twitter accounts.
1) Will JIMBO FISHER be fired after this season, as his team struggles to reach the .500 mark?
Not a chance, even in oil rich Texas. His buyout is astronomical in millions of dollars. But it is also a fact that in the past 3 years his recruiting classes have been 6th/2020, 8th/2021, 1st/2022. The talent is on board to be a Top 10 team. But injuries and slow developing players have hindered things. And there is talk that Jimbo needs be the Head Coach and hire a legit OC, who even calls the plays. Stay tuned for changes and watch out in 2023 for the Aggies.
2) How much better is the 2023 Draft QB group going to be compared to this years?
Not much better I fear, contrary to bold pre-season projections. If BRYCE YOUNG & C.J. STROUD both come out they are likely to both be Top 10 Draftees. But there are holes in both their games. For YOUNG it’s his physically fit, but slight frame. For STROUD it is wild streaks as a passer, as well as being a slow starter in the First Quarter of games.
TYLER VAN DYKE has missed more games with injury than he has played in. He needed this year to hone his skills and hasn’t played enough to do so. He should go back to the Hurricanes program for another season. WILL LEVIS is not an elite QB prospect to my eyes. He has an OK arm, but is NOT great at reading defenses, which only gets harder in the NFL. Early Day 3 Pick to me.
HENDON HOOKER is gonna turn 25 before the next NFL season starts. He’s a good athlete, with a big arm, but it took him quite a while to emerge. Does he still have much, if any, upside? Round 3 look to me, but someone will reach, and maybe regret it. ANTHONY RICHARDSON, Florida, is in his first full season as a QB 1. He still has a lot to learn and needs his 2023 season to be in Gainesville. Upside: Huge; Developmental Need: Also Huge.
And that’s about it for QB’s in the Top 100 players for me.
3) What the hell is wrong with the RAIDERS this season? Is it McDaniels proving, again, that he’s not an NFL Head Coach? Is CARR washed up or injured?
OK, I have strong opinions on this and I think they start at the very top with MARK DAVIS. It truly appears to me that he wanted to distance himself as far as possible from JON GRUDEN, and by association, from MIKE MAYOCK, Gruden’s choice to work with as GM. I believe he gave new G.M. Dave Ziegler directions to get rid of as many of the Gruden-era player acquisitions as he could from the roster. This being a roster, by the way, that went to the Play-Offs last season with a 10-7 record. Most of those wins came under RICH BISACCIA, who took over when Gruden was fired, and who now coaches Special Teams for the PACKERS. I printed up a Raiders roster this morning (Thursday). Of the players on the 53-man roster, 30 of them are new Raiders players this season, overall 11 of 16 current Practice Squad players are new, and 6 of 12 on the injured list are new Raiders, meaning in a total of 81 players under contract in Vegas, 47 are new to that locker room. Please wear your name tags in the locker room and on the practice field fellas. Other than DAVANTE ADAMS, most of the incoming talent is not as good as the guys whose jobs they took on the roster. The NFL is not the NBA, one superstar (ADAMS) cannot have the impact as one superstar (DURANT) on a team. Less is not more in this case. Less talent means less Wins. Purging the MAYOCK/GRUDEN player acquisitions was like cutting off your nose to spite your face. In most instances they got rid of people for 10 cents on the dollar. This crew is in big trouble with a shabby roster overall. And with the highest average ticket prices in the NFL, the honeymoon with the ticket buying public in Vegas could be almost over already.
What is the deal with the Panthers and their QB issues? Is next year’s starting QB possibly on their roster somewhere, or will they be drafting a QB with their growing list of Draft Selections?
This one is from a friend of mine who lives in North Carolina. And he is a mixed up mess of questions and frustration over his team down in Charlotte. I have the same questions on my mind every time I read or hear about the Panthers. And the one question I cannot seem to get a straight answer to is whatever happened to their Round 3 QB selection in the 2022 Draft named MATT CORRAL? Remember him anybody? Early in the 2021 College Football season, he was considered one of the top QB prospects in the country. He got hurt in Training Camp this past Summer and I have not heard or read his name in print any time since. Is he washed up already in Panthers QB planning? I have heard on numerous occasions that neither DARNOLD nor MAYFIELD will be on the Panthers roster by January 2023. But I would have thought that CORRAL’s name specifically would have come up by now from someone in the Panthers organization. But I have NOT, and none of my Draftnik friends have info to clarify his status. All I can tell you is that he is still on the Panthers official roster sheets, on the Injured list. As Yul Brynner said in the movie, The King & I, way back when, ’tis a puzzlement’.
I was very much impressed last weekend with a couple of 2023 Draft prospects, who came up big in last weekend’s must have Wins. The teams were Alabama & Tennessee, who were both coming off Conference losses to LSU & Georgia respectively. It seemed imperative that they both rebound for wins this past Saturday… and they did.
‘Bama won a fiercely contested game with a 1-Loss Ole Miss team with big time help coming from their defense, which made multiple stops to hold off the Rebels. And the leader of the D was DL BYRON YOUNG, a serious Day 2 prospect. YOUNG was dominant along the line-of-scrimmage and in the backfield. His stat line for the big W was; 11 Tackles- 6 solo-1 Forced Fumble- 2 QBH’s- 2 Sacks- 1 PBU. That is one helluva stat line for the 6’3/292 lb. veteran.
Tennessee used their Offense to overwhelm the Missouri Tigers, who had to face an angry Vols team in Knoxville. And the leader of that O was their Heisman Candidate HENDON HOOKER, who was almost hapless against the Georgia Defense the week before. In a game where HC JOSH HEUPEL unfortunately let his team run up the score, 66-24, HOOKER’s stat line was; 25/35- 71.4%- 355 yards- 3 TD’s, while also running for 50 yards and another TD. Seemingly, that should put HOOKER back in the Heisman race.
We have some big games this weekend, as Colin has already written about in these posts. Enjoy folks. Really only 2 weeks left to the regular season for most teams, then on to Conference Championship matchups. My Top 4, btw, remains GEORGIA, MICHIGAN, OHIO STATE, TCU, in that order.