It’s finally here! Kickoff is just hours away and you knew we couldn’t leave you hanging on this. When we started this site we promised ourselves and you the reader that this would be the most comprehensive and in-depth draft site on the net. If you’ve been with us since our launch earlier this summer you’ve seen us identify sleepers in every major conference, and ranked over 355 prospects for the 2012 draft along with 168 prospects for the 2013 draft. We are going to make good on our intent and this Week 1 preview is a further example of that.
We feel confident in saying that this Week 1 preview is the most comprehensive, in-depth, and detailed scouting preview you’ll find on the net. In this preview you will find 27 games previewed for 203 prospects. Nowhere else will you get that many names, each with a scouting blurb.
We feel its important to point out, that this isn’t a traditional article, this is written how we would take notes during a game or for our reports. The grammar isn’t perfect, the sentences aren’t complete but we wanted to give you the reader an idea of how the scouting process is really done. What it really looks like when teams sit down to go over players.
We hope you enjoy this first preview, because this is what we do best.
Murray State v. Louisville-This is not a game that we expect to be very close. Louisville should be able to move the ball with ease and work out any kinks their first teams offense may have before giving way to some younger players like stud QB Teddy Bridgewater. Prediction: Louisville
Prospects to Watch-
RB Mike Harris-5’10, 198
Compact back who runs hard between the tackles. Doesn’t have great top end speed but hits the hole hard and shows some burst.
WR Josh Bellamy-6’0, 205
Reliable hands and will be Will Stein’s top target. He does a good job running routes and flashing open.
TE Josh Chichester-6’9, 240
Big time target with good hands, and was profiled as one of our Senior Sleepers. Should be an effective target in the red-zone.
Temple v. Villanova-Many people may not realize just how big this game is to these two schools but there are some Temple fans who literally claim if given a choice between winning the MAC or beating Villanova they want to beat Villanova. Last year Temple took the game pretty handedly, and I’m not sure this year will be a much different. Prediction: Temple
Prospects to Watch-
DE Adrian Robinson-6’2, 245
Very good pass rusher with an effective first step. Uses his hands well but lacks the strength to consistently get off blocks once engaged.
TE Evan Rodriguez-6’3, 245
Strictly a receiving TE who has reliable hands and runs well. Has the versatility to line up inline or in the slot. Likely H-back in the NFL.
RB Bernard Pierce-6’0, 218*
Pierce is a terrifically balanced runner who gets skinny in the hole and runs with a lower center of gravity that lets him bounce off tacklers.
WR Norman White-6’3, 215
Big play down the field WR who has soft hands and does a good job of tracking the ball down the field. Doesn’t offer a ton of YAC ability but does run hard with the ball in his hands.
CB James Pitts-6’0, 185
Aggressive CB who we’d like to see get a bit more physical. Gets a good break on the ball and is effective when asked to cover in space.
North Texas v. FIU-Actually a far more interesting game then many are going to give it credit for. FIU is a team on the rise and have a number of exciting players to watch. North Texas is a team that is struggling to find an identity but has a star RB who can’t be overlooked. In the end we like FIU’s talent in this one. Prediction: FIU
Prospects to Watch-
RB Lance Dunbar-5’9, 203
Powerful downhill runner who uses his compact size and base to his advantage. Is tough to take down when he gets going but lacks the breakaway speed to be a game changing back.
WR T.Y. Hilton-5’10, 183
One of the most dangerous players in the nation when he has the ball in his hands. Has quick hips that allow him to change direction at a moment’s notice and has speed to burn in the open field. A very versatile and dangerous weapon.
DE Tourek Williams-6’4, 247*
Williams is a powerful DE who really explodes out of his stance off the snap. Doesn’t use his hands as well as he should and still needs to add more bulk to his body. Ideal 43 DE at the next level.
Mississippi State v. Memphis-This is the game to watch on Thursday night for draft analysts like me. Get a chance to see how good Mississippi State is and get a great look at a bunch of prospects. QB Chris Relf ended last year on a tear and we think he starts this year on a tear. Prediction: Mississippi State
Prospects to Watch-
RB Vick Ballard-5’11, 215
Came out of nowhere last year to take the SEC by storm putting up over 1,000 yards rushing. Runs hard and is able to break through arms tackles with relative ease.
OT James Carmon-6’7, 345
A converted DT who is trying to make the switch to LT. Has the size and length to play the position but questions exist about his footwork and ability to stay in front of speed rushers.
QB Chris Relf-6’4, 240
Really came on at the end of last season showing that potential that Bulldog fans have been waiting to see. A dual threat weapon who can beat you with his big arm or with his legs.
LB Brandon Maye-6’2, 235
A Clemson transfer who has reportedly struggled early in camp. Maye is a good wrap up tackler who flows to the ball well and shows good instincts.
DT Fletcher Cox-6’4, 300*
Big body in the middle who knows how to shoot gaps and pentrate. He has put on nearly 70 pounds since HS and it fits his frame very well.
CB Johnathan Banks-6’2, 180*
A big CB who showed last year he knows how to get his hands on the football. Banks does a good job using his length when going up for jump balls. Questions exist about his hip flexibility and transitions.
WR Chad Bumphis-5’10, 195*
A very dangerous dual threat weapon for the Bulldogs. Bumphis is the all-purpose player who will be used to catch, return, and run the football this season. He has good speed and even better agility.
DT Frank Trotter-6’2, 265
Trotter has a very good first step which allows him to attack the gaps with ferocity. He is a little light in the behind and will need to add some weight onto his frame.
DT Dontari Poe-6’5, 350*
On the other hand this man is not lacking any bulk at all, this mountains ability to take up space and eat up blockers is part of what makes Trotter so effective. Getting looks as a 34 NT.
WR Marcus Rucker-6’4, 180*
A lanky and athletic receiver who shows good hands and the ability to make catches out away from his body. He is a developing route runner who needs to work on his precision but has lots of room for growth.
OT Jordan Devey-6’7, 345*
A former marching band member turned OL, Devey has the size and strength to play the position but can he get up to speed on the technical skills?
Motana State v. Utah-The Bobcats are not a team to be over looked, they have a very powerful offense and love to move up and down the field. However the loss of RB Orenzo Davis (Academically Ineligible) may be too much for them to overcome. Utah starts off its inaugural Pac-12 season with a bang. Prediction: Utah
Prospects to Watch-
WR Elvis Akpla-6’1, 187
A sure handed target who will be McGhee’s most trusted receiver on the team. Does everything well but excels at only a few things.
RB Tray Robinson-6’1, 226*
Nebraska transfer who will add a little bang to the Bobcat rushing attack. Robinson is the kind of back who will run you over and just keep on chugging.
OT Tony Bergstrom-6’6, 315
Not the most athletic OT but a technician who neutralizes speed rushers with his punch and anchors against bull rushers.
TE Kendrick Moeai-6’5, 246*
The athletic Moeai will be a big part of the new emphasis that Co-OC Aaron Roderick has put on the TE’s this year. He has good hands and should be an effective weapon in the intermediate zone.
UNLV v. Wisconsin-This game shouldn’t be close after kickoff. Wisconsin is the far superior team and I expect we’ll only get to see Russell Wilson for about a half. Prediction: Wisconsin
Prospects to Watch-
WR Phillip Payne-6’3, 205
Payne was the team’s leading WR last year and will be leaned on heavily with a new QB starting and without his former WR partner starting opposite him.
OG Kevin Zeitler-6’4, 320
Monster of an OG who absolutely mauls his opposition into submission. We consider Zeitler to be a far superior prospect to John Moffitt.
WR Nick Toon-6’2, 215
Overshadowed due to Wisconsin’s power running attack but Toon is the kind of receiver every team needs. He has consistent hands, has a great feel for the coverage, and all he does is get open.
FS Aaron Henry-6’0, 210
A consistent and steady safety in the back, Henry can either make a play on the ball or deliver a blow to the receiver coming over the middle.
QB Russell Wilson-5’11, 198
The NC State transfer, Wilson may be one of the most creative escape artists we have at QB. He has a decent arm, but will he be able to conform his creativity to Wisconsin’s straight forward attack?
DE Louis Nzegwu-6’4, 248
One of our favorite sleeper prospects this year, we really think Nzegwu will make a 34 team very happy. Explosive athlete who uses his length well and really gets after the QB.
TE Jake Byrne-6’4, 262
May be relegated to more of a blocking role for Wisconsin but don’t be surprised if he becomes Wilson’s safety option. Sure handed who flashes a nice big target to his QB.
OT Ricky Wagner-6’6, 322*
Will take over for Carimi at the open tackle spot and the Badgers should only see minimal drop off. Strong and flexible Wagner is going to prove to be a beast to beat.
OC Peter Konz-6’5, 313*
Our #1 2013 OC in our preseason rankings, and he earned that ranking for the way he mauls and dominates his opponents. Exceptionally strong and has that nasty demeanor we love.
RB Montee Ball-5’11, 218*
This is the guy who made John Clay go from legit NFL prospect to backup RB. Ball is a power running back who has a second gear that he finds when he hits open air.
Kentucky v. Western Kentucky-A commonwealth battle that should be fun to watch, we really don’t know what Kentucky is going to be this year and you know the Hilltoppers would love nothing more than to knock off the Wildcats to start the season. In the end Kentucky’s speed and athletic ability will rule the day though. Prediction: Kentucky
Prospects to Watch-
LB Danny Trevathon-6’1, 223
An active LB who is all over the field and constantly around the ball. Shows off good range and proper technique when breaking down and making tackles.
CB Randall Burden-6’0, 175
A bigger CB who doesn’t use his size as effectively as he could. Locates the ball well out of the QB’s hands and isn’t afraid to take a shot at making a big play.
LB Ronnie Sneed-6’2, 233
Not quite as athletic or exciting as Trevathon but just a technically sound and a more instinctive LB. Fills holes well and reads play-action exceptionally well.
S Winston Guy-6’1, 215
Does a good job or reading QB’s eyes and is constantly in position to make plays in both the pass and run game.
OG Larry Watford-6’3, 329*
Overwhelms defenders at the POA with his size and power when run blocking and is tough to move when pass blocking. Not very athletic but he is tough to get by.
QB Morgan Newton-6’4, 235*
Will take over for Mike Hartline and look for Newton to make big plays happen. Has a huge arm to get the ball deep and has the legs to take off on the run.
RB Bobby Rainey-5’7, 196
Waterbug style RB who is constantly bouncing around and gaining yards for this offense. Runs with a slippery style that consistently allows him to get out of tackles and pick up extra yards.
St. Cloud State v. California (PA)-We are very interested to see how all of Cal’s transfer talent blends together early in the season. We know they are loaded but can they play together? St. Cloud isn’t going to be a push over but in the end Cal should take them down. Prediction: California (Pa.)
Prospects to Watch-
St. Cloud State:
OT Matt Theis-6’7, 300
Massive offensive line prospect who will need to bulk and add strength to make it on the next level. Uses his long arms effectively but needs to get full extension more consistently.
RB Edwin Gowins-5’10, 223
Stony Brook transfer who excels as a cutback runner. How a powerful lower body that he keeps on churning through contact and often falls forward.
WR Thomas Mayo-6’2, 184
An inter-D2 transfer as Mayo comes over from Concord. Mayo is an All-American at the D2 level. He has stick’em for hands and runs very good routes for this level.
S Erik Harris-6’2, 220
A big safety who looks natural in flowing to the ball. He reads the QB well and isn’t afraid to go up after a pass. Great NFL size, but may be limited athletically.
OG Rishaw Johnson-6’4, 310
A former Ole Miss transfer who we think will absolutely crush defenses this year. Has the size, strength, and athleticism you just don’t see from D2 offensive lineman.
WR Chedrick Cherry-5’11, 170
The somewhat forgotten WR on his own team, it would be a mistake to overlook the extremely quick Cherry. Good hands and great awareness are Cherry’s best attributes.
McMurry v. Stephen F. Austin-We really like what we’ve seen out of McMurry QB Jake Mullin the past couple of years and being able to watch him compete against players that are two levels above him in this game will be a great evaluation tool. Prediction: Stephen F. Austin
Prospects to Watch-
QB Jake Mullin-6’3, 225
A little bit of an older prospect, Mulling is considered a contender for D3 Player of the Year Honors and can go a long way towards that by beating up on a FCS defense.
Stephen F. Austin:
WR Cordell Roberson-6’2, 200*
The size WR of SFA’s dangerous duo, Roberson does an exceptional job tracking the ball deep down the field but is a bit of a long strider.
WR Gralyn Crawford-5’10, 175*
The quicker more electric version of the duo Crawford is a danger to score every time he touches the ball.
UC Davis v. Arizona State-Welcome to a tune-up game, Arizona State should be able to impose its will on UC Davis and work out any kinks in the game plan as they try and challenge for a Pac-12 title. Prediction: Arizona State
Prospects to Watch-
OT Robert Ayote-6’5, 295
Has good length and solid technique. Lacks elite level flexibility and can get caught waist bending and lunging at targets.
OC Garth Gerhart-6’1, 300
A bit of a compact OC prospect who plays with fantastic leverage and is very capable of getting to the 2nd level. Will need to add some bulk in order to handle taking on 34 NT’s in the NFL.
LB Vontaze Burfict-6’3, 243*
An absolute beast out there, Burfict flies all over the place and is this year’s Von Miller. He is so quick to get to the ball and delivers a blow every time he makes a tackle. Needs to get more disciplined as he was exposed v. Wisconsin last year by play action fakes.
Youngstown State v. Michigan State-The Penguins aren’t going to be much of a matchup for the Spartans, but it’s nice to see a local team getting a payday. Prediction: Michigan State
Prospects to Watch-
LB John Sasson-6’2, 248
A solid LB who tackles well and makes plays all over the field. He is limited athletically and his lack of range could be exposed. May need to be protected as an ILB in a 34 defense.
QB Kirk Cousins-6’2, 248
Our #2 2012 QB, we love the way Cousins spins the ball on his throws. His spiral is tight and he has more than enough arm to get the ball where it needs to be. Probably throws the most catchable ball of any QB.
FS Trenton Robertson-5’10, 195
A little undersized for the position but is fearless in getting after it. Doesn’t always deliver the big hit he lines up for but is a reliable tackler on the backline.
OG Joel Forman-6’4, 314
A solid OG who is a better run blocker than pass protector. Needs to get stronger and we would like to see him get after it a little more when looking to finish off his blocks.
TE Brian Lithicum-6’4, 243
The next great receiving TE, Lithicum is a big target with soft hands who can make the tough catch in traffic when asked. We aren’t sure if he has the speed to run an effective seam route.
WR Keshawn Martin-5’10, 188
Another one our favorite prospects, Martin is just an absolute joy to watch every time he gets his hands on the ball. A versatile weapon who the Spartans use in multiple ways.
DT Jerel Worthy-6’3, 305*
A dominant DT when he wants to be, Worthy shows off a good first step and the ability to split double teams. Our issue with Worthy is that we don’t see this ability on every play.
RB Edwin Baker-5’9, 210*
You can’t help but love the way Edwin Baker plays football. We all know he has size limitations but he runs like he’s 2 inches taller. His style is that of a bowling ball whose legs never stop moving.
CB Johnny Adams-5’11, 172*
An active and in your face CB who enjoys the physical aspects of the game. Will need to add some bulk in order to continue that style of play at the next level.
DE Tyler Hoover-6’7, 274*
Really blew our socks off v. Northwestern last year (Read Film Room Session), has great length and bulk as a potential 34 DE. Uses his long arms effectively to keep OT’s off his chest plate.
TCU v. Baylor-This is the game we are excited about, Baylor’s offense, and specifically Robert Griffin III, v. TCU’s defense. If Griffin is going to have a breakout year than this will be it and there will be no better place to start then against one of the toughest defenses in the country. Prediction: Baylor
Prospects to Watch-
LB Tank Carder-6’3, 237
An aggressive and downhill style LB/S hybrid in TCU’s 3-3-5 defense. Does a good job flowing to the ball and making plays. Not quite as instinctive as we would like him to be.
RB Matthew Tucker-6’1, 210*
A little bit more power to Ed Wesley’s speed is Tucker’s style of play. He is a between the tackles type of runner who gets North-South in a hurry.
LB Tanner Brock-6’3, 250*
An instinctive LB who is disciplined in his approach, he stays home on counters and misdirection plays and is routinely in position to make the play. Doesn’t have off the charts athleticism though.
OC Phillip Blake-6’2, 315
A solid starting OC who gets the job done on this Baylor offense. He’s not going to give up much ground to DT’s but he’s also not going to gain much either. Needs to get stronger in his lower body.
WR Kendall Wright-5’10, 190
A quick twitch athlete who has smooth hips and the ability to make you miss. Does a good job looking the ball in and securing the catch before heading up field.
DT Nicolas Jean-Bpatiste-6’2, 315
A big bodied NT prospect who needs to show more fire in the trenches if he wants to improve his stock. He doesn’t have the quickest first step but he can generate a good power rush out of his stance.
QB Robert Griffin III-6’2, 220*
A true playmaker at QB, Griffin has a rocket for an arm and runs like a gazelle. He still struggles at times to make the proper reads and creative defenses can confuse him with their blitz schemes.
Appalachian State v. Virginia Tech-Everything inside of us wants us to pick App State but we just can’t do it. They aren’t the same team they were before and their defense has too many question marks. Unless Logan Thomas has a complete meltdown VT will get its respect back from the FCS. Prediction: Virginia Tech
Prospects to Watch-
WR Brian Quick-6’5, 220
We see Quick as the most underrated WR in this draft, the scheme he is in doesn’t showcase his ability very well. He is a tall lanky WR who knows how to go up and get the ball.
RB Tavaris Cadet-6’1, 210
Been stuck down on the depth chart for a few years now, Cadet will finally get his time to shine. He is a good athlete and former QB who is a capable receiver out of the backfield and can make you miss.
TE Ben Jorden-6’2, 250
A very reliable TE who will be Presley’s check down all season long. He is a capable blocker who could be better if he learned to block with more leverage. A little short for a TE.
QB DeAndre Presley-5’11, 180
Presley’s game is his ability to run around and make you miss. Many compare him to his predecessor, Armanti Edwards, but Edwards had a huge arm that he was accurate with, Presley doesn’t have that.
CB Ed Gainey-5’11, 195
One of the few defensive leftovers from last year’s talented squad. Gainey will have to step up and become more of a playmaking presence this year. He has good size and speed for the CB position.
LB John Rizor-6’2, 245*
An athletic LB who is effective coming off a blitz. Tackles well and will be looked upon to step into DJ Smith’s leadership position.
OT Blake DeChristopher-6’5, 303
All-American caliber RT who is strong as an ox and has very good technique. Once DeChristopher gets his hands on you its all over. He’s also athletic enough to get out in front of screen passes.
WR Jarrett Boykin-6’2, 213
Boykin will become Logan Thomas’s big play WR this year as he will count on his veteran presence to help him out. A smooth route runner Boykin has shown over his career that he is a reliable receiver.
WR Danny Coale-6’0, 205
One of the quickest receivers in the country when it comes to getting in and out of his breaks. There is no wasted motion or false steps. He will be a successful NFL WR because of his route precision.
WR Marcus Davis-6’4, 231*
Former QB turned WR, we’ve been told by a few VT fans to watch this kid and what he’ll do the next two years. Great size and athletic ability he has already shown he can go up and get the ball.
CB Jayron Housley-5’11, 180*
An INT machine last year for the Hokies, Housley led the country in INT’s and seems to constantly be around the ball. He is a little thin but if he can add some weight and maintain his speed he will go high next April.
RB David Wilson-5’11, 195*
Another north-south style runner who can run either between the tackles or to the outside. He is very quick in his cuts and has the ability to make you miss. Not sure if he’s a feature back in the NFL.
QB Logan Thomas-6’6, 245**
No this is not Cam Newton v2.0, this is Logan Thomas, he’s got an arm like Cam’s but not quite the same physical style of running. Thomas gets a good easing in game but needs to prove he can make some NFL caliber throws on Saturday.
For a preview of South Florida v. Notre Dame please read Mike Loyko’s piece. Some other potential prospects to watch are-
WR AJ Love-6’4, 210
South Florida’s most dangerous weapon on Saturday, he will have a height advantage over every Irish CB he sees and considering how good he is in the air, we expect Daniels to target him.
RB Darrell Scott-6’1, 230*
A former #1 recruit who transferred from Colorado, Scott is looking to get his career back on track. He is a powerful back who can move the pile and churn out tough yards, also hits the hole very hard.
OC Braxton Cave-6’3, 302*
Cave took the job last year from veteran center Dan Wegner and did a heck of a job controlling the middle. Very balanced coming off the snap and tough to get good leverage on.
DE Ethan Johnson-6’4, 298*
Notre Dame’s most accomplished pass rusher last year, Johnson is relentless in his pursuit of the ball carrier. Shows good strength at the POA he does a good job holding his ground and taking up his blocker.
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore-6’4, 295*
Is going to be really be pushed this year by the addition of some hot shot freshman. Lewis-Moore needs to do more in an effort to get disengaged and into a position to make a play.
James Madison v. UNC-What JMU did last year to Virginia Tech was something nobody saw coming. The Dukes took advantage of VT being in a vulnerable state and went into Blacksburg and beat them. This year it’s not the same. UNC is a team who has been through the ringer and now they just want to hit something. Expect them to come out swinging for the fences. Prediction: UNC
Prospects to Watch-
LB Pat Williams 6’0, 220
An undersized pass rusher off the edge, Williams does a good job of getting through cleanly on his blitz. Due to his size he can be blocked rather easily by a RB or TE.
OC Roane Babington-6’2, 275
A dominant OC at the FCS level, Babington has good power and agility. He does a good job sealing off tackles to create big lanes for his RB. Also shows the athleticism to get into the 2nd level and locate the LB or DB.
DE DJ Bryant-6’3, 245
Not quite the pass rush threat of former DE Arthur Moats but a good rusher off the edge who has ideal size and just needs to add a little strength. Still needs to work on developing his pass rush moves.
DE Quinton Coples-6’6, 285
Our #1 DE and #1 player overall, there isn’t much about Coples game we don’t like. He has ideal size and length to be a DE in a 34 or 43 scheme and is athletic enough to get off blocks and rush the passer.
LB Zach Brown-6’2, 230
Any athleticism you may think Coples lacks, Brown more than makes up for. An absolute monster who is off the charts athletically. He flies around the football field and can deliver big hits. Needs to get more disciplined and work some on his tackling technique.
DT Tydreke Powell-6’3, 315
Powell is a guy we know many people were high on coming into UNC but so far he has not lived up to his billing. He has yet to really command a consistent DT and must show the ability to generate more push.
WR Dwight Jones-6’4, 225
Jones may have seen the biggest rise from our initial rankings to our latest Top 20 rankings. We had to go back and review his tape and we will admit, we missed the first time around. Smooth route runner who comes out of his breaks very well. He has a NFL body and hands that seem to pluck the ball out of the air.
FB Devon Ramsey-6’2, 250
Considered by us to be the premier FB in this year’s class, Ramsey just likes to hit people. He’s actually not a bad option to give the ball to for short yardage situations either.
RB Ryan Houston-6’2, 245
After redshirting last year Houston is back and looking to deliver more crushing blows with his powerful running style. He at times will run with too high a pad level.
CB Charles Brown-5’10, 205
Brown’s stock was sky high last summer before the UNC scandal dropped. When he lost much of his supporting cast his play dropped off. Blessed with good size and speed Brown must rebound this year.
DE Donte Paige-Moss-6’4, 260*
Considered by many to be this year’s Von Miller (along with Burfict), Paige-Moss is another off the charts athlete for this Tarheel defense. He excels at using his lightning quick first step to get past the OT and turn the corner on the QB.
LB Kevin Reddick-6’3, 240*
A tackling machine for the Tarheels, Reddick is the stabilizing force for a defense that is constantly in attack mode. Reddick is probably the best read and react LB they have.
Nebraska v. Chattanooga-Let us be clear, we don’t think this game will be that close but we are so excited to see what QB BJ Coleman can do v. this great defense. He was actually pretty good v. Auburn last year and if he can play in a similar fashion v. Nebraska, then everybody is going to know his name.
Prospects to Watch-
DT Jared Crick-6’6, 285
An absolute beast for Nebraska that we don’t feel is getting the love nationally he deserves. Versatile enough to play in any scheme and relentless in his pursuit.
CB Alonzo Dennard-5’10, 205
Dennard got a lot of attention last year due to Prince being opposite him and for that Dennard made a lot of people pay. He’ll need to continue to use his speed and instincts this year to make the same caliber of plays with fewer opportunities.
LB Lavonte David-6’1, 220
One of the most versatile and active LB’s we have watched from this past season. David is accomplished on both run defense and pass defense. Very good coming on the delayed blitz up the middle and delivering a blow to the QB.
WR Brandon Kinnie-6’3, 225
The Cornhuskers size WR may be given an even bigger role in with the conference switch. We like Kinne’s natural hands and ability to run routes across the middle of the field.
RB Rex Birkhead-5’11, 210*
Quicker than he is fast, Birkhead has the kind of moves that can make you miss. Really knows how to get skinny in the hole and is very effective taking the pitch off the option.
DE Cameron Meredith-6’4, 260*
A similar player to Crick in terms of his intensity and the way he plays the game. Meredith is powerful at the POA and has the ability to generate great power from his lower body.
QB BJ Coleman-6’5, 220
Considered by many to be the top small school QB prospect in this year’s draft. We really like the way Coleman scans the field and makes accurate reads. Does not appear to get rattled very easily.
DE Joshua Williams-6’3, 230*
Williams was a guy we loved as a freshman but fell off a bit as a sophomore. We need to see him relight that fire and really get after it this year. He has a good first step and a decent counter swim move to the inside.
Liberty v. NC State-Both teams are now down a key DT, but I’m not changing my prediction from what I said earlier in the week. Patrick Henry said it best when he said ‘Give Me Liberty’, but he can keep the whole death part. Prediction: Liberty
Prospects to Watch-
WR Chris Summers-6’4, 210
Summers is big target down the field who uses his size well to impose his will. He is excellent at going up after the ball and shows off impressive body control. He has soft hands which allow him to make tough catches out away from his body.
QB Mike Brown-5’10, 202
Decent QB with a decent arm, the reason to watch Brown though is for his athleticism as he will be a possible position switch player at the next level. Right now we see him as a likely slot WR who can make you miss.
S Brent Vinson-6’1, 185*
The Ex-Vol S will be the best defensive player on the field for Liberty (and possibly for either team). He shows off impressive range and reads the QB very well. Can get sucked in and set up by play action though.
LB Audie Cole-6’5, 239
Out goes Nate Irving, in comes Audie Cole. Cole has actually spent time at every LB position while at NC State and he’s been successful at them all. We think he fits best as a MLB in a 43 scheme where can manipulate the defense and fill gaps.
TE George Bryan-6’5, 265
A big TE who trends slightly back to the traditional TE role of a guy who can catch and block. Bryan has good hands and does a good job feeling for soft spots in zone coverage where he can sit down.
QB Mike Glennon-6’6, 225*
It’s all on Glennon now as Russell Wilson has headed north to Wisconsin. Glennon has great size, a good arm, and makes sound decisions. The question is can he elevate his game to that next level and become less game manager and more playmaker?
William & Mary v. Virginia-One of the most intriguing game on the slate this weekend, and another one of our FCS over FBS upset picks. We were on a podcast with Lambeuth Field last night talking about this game and we encourage everybody to take a listen for our full analysis. Prediction: William & Mary
Prospects to Watch-
William & Mary:
TE Alex Gottlieb-6’4, 255
One of the top small school TE prospects in the nation, Gottlieb shows good hands and versatility in his ability to line up inline or split out. Not a very good blocker, he will need a lot of work in this area.
QB Michael Paulus-6’3, 218
Former UNC transfer who is finally healthy and getting his chance to shine. Has a big time arm and really throws a pretty deep ball. Will need to be more accurate underneath though.
RB Jordan Grimes-5’10, 201
Considered by some to be the best runner in his conference (if not in all of FCS), Grimes is a grind it out type of back who only gets stronger as the defense gets more fatigued. He’ll chip you to death with 3 and 4 yard carries.
LB Jake Trantin-6’1, 235
After taking a year off to work out some family issues, Trantin is back and the Tribe are hoping he can return to All-American form. His game is based on his instincts as those help cover up some of his physical limitations.
DE Marcus Hyde-6’3, 242
Hyde has to step up this year and be the man that brings the heat on opposing QB’s consistently. Great size and good repertoire of moves should allow him to be a big time pass rusher.
CB BW Webb-5’11, 175*
Had an amazing freshman year and now teams are afraid to throw at him. Was an INT magnet in 2009 and does a great job providing blanket coverage all day. Will need to add some bulk onto his frame.
CB Chase Minnifield-6’0, 185
Our #2 CB in the draft, we love the way Minnifield gets after it and is willing to mix it up with opposing WR’s. Good cover corner who we think could become elite.
DE Cam Johnson-6’4, 264
One of our favorite prospects and it shows in our rankings (#3 DE), we think he is a great fit in a 34 and he has the athleticism to play both with his hand down or standing up.
OG Austin Pasztor-6’7, 320
A mountain of a man, Pasztor excels as a run blocker who paves the way. He is limited athletically but when you ask him to just block the man in front of him he is as good as anybody else.
Montana v. Tennessee-
Another game we don’t think is going to be all that close but that we are excited to see and to get a chance to evaluate CB Trumaine Johnson against top flight talent. Prediction: Tennessee
Prospects to Watch-
CB Trumaine Johnson-6’3, 210
We consider Trumaine to be the top small school prospect in the entire country. He combines his size with great ball skills and nullifies almost any possible size advantage an offense would have over him.
TE Kavario Middleton-6’5, 253
An athletic TE who could really stretch the field down the middle. Doesn’t offer much in terms of blocking and may have to compete for reps with Greg Hardy.
LB Caleb McSurdy-6’1, 252
Solid LB In the middle who flows well to the ball and does a good job of staying clean in traffic. Breaks down well when trying to make a tackle.
LB Jordan Tripp-6’4, 232*
An athletic option on the strong side, Tripp does a decent job of disengaging from blocks in order to make a play.
DE Malik Jackson-6’5, 265
A strong DE who really excels when asked to bull rush the OT. Terrific in run support as he can hold up against blocks and then make plays. Sneaky first step that you don’t see coming.
RB Tauren Poole-5’11, 213
Our #2 RB whose size and speed combo is something we love. Poole displays great vision in the open field, he sees cutback lanes and understands when the best time is to hit them.
OT Dallas Thomas-6’5, 295*
It has been quite a few years since there was a premier OT in Knoxville but Dallas Thomas has the makings of being one. Blessed with good length and athleticism he did well last year for the Vols. If he can add some weight and strength he’ll be a very good prospect in a year or two.
S Prentiss Waggner-6’2, 181*
A dynamic playmaker who is going to make Vols fans forget all about Janzen Jackson. Waggner has unbelievable range at his size and his recovery speed in second to none.
DT Montari Hughes-6’4, 327*
The big man in the middle who is looking to be the next big DT to come out of Rocky Top. He has the bulk and strength you want from a 34 zero tech NT but he has a bad tendency to get too high after contact.
Richmond v. Duke-The final pick of our FCS over FBS upsets. We think QB Aaron Corp is going to make a statement in this game and finally show the scouting community that he is a legitimate prospect. Prediction: Richmond
Prospects to Watch-
QB Aaron Corp-6’3, 210
Like another CAA QB (Mike Paulus) now is Aaron Corp’s time to shine. He’s finally healthy and after losing the QB job at USC two years ago he needs a bounce back year. An athletic QB who has more than enough arm, this could be the year Corp puts it all together.
WR Tre Gray-5’11, 180
Despite some very good competition, we think Tre Gray is the top WR in the CAA this season. Gray is a burner who has the speed to expose a defense and don’t let his size fool you. The Spiders will find a way to get the ball in this kid’s hands.
OT Richard Muldrow-6’7, 300
An absolutely massive man who should only get bigger with time. He has the kind of wingspan scouts drool for but his heavy feet have some wondering if he’s not better suited to move inside to OG.
LB Cooper Taylor-6’4, 220*
The former Georgia Tech S is going to kick down to LB in the Spiders scheme and we expect to see him around the ball a lot this season.
FB Kendall Gaskins-6’0, 210*
Already considered a sleeper for the 2013 draft, Gaskins is a solid lead blockers who offers some value as a ball carrier and receiver. He will need to add some bulk though to stick at FB at the next level.
SS Matt Daniels-6’0, 205
A stabilizing force in the defensive backfield, Daniels is relied on to provide support both in run defense and pass coverage. At this point he’s a better run defender than coverage guy.
WR Donovan Varner-5’8, 174
One of the most underrated WR’s in this class, Varner led the nation in catches last season and really knows how to utilize his smaller stature in an effort to hide from defenders.
WR Conner Vernon-6’0, 195*
Vernon is the ying to Varner’s yang. Vernon is used deeper down the field and has legitimate big play ability. His deep speed though is a concern as we project him forward.
QB Sean Renfree-6’5, 220*
Renfree is a tall, strong armed QB who knows how to sling the rock. He’s not your classic drop back passer though, he has surprising mobility for a man his size.
ECU v. South Carolina-This is an underrated game because many people are going to be looking past ECU and on to UGA next week. That would be a huge mistake as ECU has the talent to pull a big upset off. South Carolina should win this game, as long as they don’t get too cocky. Prediction: South Carolina
Prospects to Watch-
WR Lance Lewis-6’3, 212
If you didn’t watch last year’s ECU v. Tulsa match to open up the season you missed quite the show by Lance Lewis (6-105-2). Lewis used his size down the field, showed the ability to track the ball, to go alone with impressive hands.
CB Emmanuel Davis-5’11, 190
Part of a dynamic CB duo last year with Travis Simmons, Davis will need to show this year he can handle the show on his own. He’s not afraid to get physical and bump at the line.
QB Dominque Davis-6’3, 222
The BC transfer showed last year just how much skill he has, but needs to prove this year he can get it all under control and be successful at it.
DT Travian Robertson-6’4, 293
Everybody wants to talk about Devin Taylor and Jadaveon Clowney but the biggest beneficiary may be Robertson. With so much attention focused outside Robertson should be able to work 1 on 1 inside. He excels at utilizing his quick first step to shoot the gap.
OG Rokevious Watkins-6’4, 325
A strong and powerful OG who does one thing well and that’s moving defenders out of the way. He is a bit limited athletically but offers more than desired in run blocking.
S Antonio Allen-6’2, 205
A big safety prospect who runs well and shows off good ball skills. He should have plenty of opportunities to make plays with the pressure South Carolina should bring on the QB.
WR Alshon Jeffrey-6’4, 233*
The most dominant WR in college football, we think Jeffrey is a near lock for the Top 5 in the 2012 NFL draft. He is physically dominant, with speed, hands, and athleticism. Needs to become a little bit better of a blocker.
CB Stephen Gilmore-6’1, 189*
Tall, skinny CB who can run with any WR in the country. He transitions smoothly from his backpedal to his sprint. He will gamble a bit and is not as sound a tackler as we would like him to be.
DE Devin Taylor-6’7, 249*
One of the most physically dominating DE’s in college football, we can’t imagine the fear he strikes into opposing OT’s. We like him a 34 stand up OLB at the next level, using his first step and athleticism to give opposing QB’s nightmares.
For a preview of Boise State v. UGA please read Mike Loyko piece. Some other potential prospects in this game are-
WR Tyler Shoemaker-6’1, 213*
Shoemaker is going to become the #1 guy now for Boise State with the departure of Pettis and Young. He must show that he has the reliable hands like Pettis and the ability to get open like Young.
WR Tavarres King-6’1, 191*
AJ Green is gone and it’s time for this young man to step up. Decent size, and solid hands, UGA is going to need King to stop doing things well, and start doing them great.
CB Branden Smith-5’11, 175*
Speaking of players to step up, UGA fans have been waiting three years for Branden Smith to live up to the hype. This explosive playmaker needs to get better in coverage and show everybody why he’s worth talking about.
DT Jonathan Jenkins-6’5, 350*
Bama fans had Mount Cody, Georgia fans now have Bunker Hill. Jenkins comes to the dogs from the JUCO ranks and looks to be a big time fixture in the middle. He’ll be asked to occupy blockers and take up space as a key component in UGA’s 34 defense.
LB Cornelius Washington-6’4, 260
Replacing a pass rusher like Justin Houston is never easy but UGA coaches are confident that the athletic Washington is primed for the big time. We like his first step but it’s not elite, and we are not sold on his ability to utilize an inside counter move yet.
For a preview of the LSU v. Oregon game please read NEPD piece. Some other potential prospects in this game are-
TE DeAngelo Peterson-6’4, 243
With new QB Jarrett Lee installed and Russell Sheppard suspended, DeAngelo Peterson should look to see plenty of balls this week. He has solid hands and decent athleticism. Not the best blocker but he does give good effort.
DE Kendrick Adams-6’5, 255
One of the sleepers that we identified in our Sleeping Seniors series, the Tigers need Adams to step up and prove to be a pass rush threat this season. He has great length, explosive athleticism, but needs to get stronger at the POA.
CB Morris Clairborne-6’0, 175*
A solid cover corner who will be asked to replace Patrick Peterson this season. Clairborne isn’t quite to that level yet. He has good instincts and athletically he’s phenomenal but he’s a finesse style CB who struggles to press and is not the best tackler.
WR Rueben Randle-6’4, 207*
With Tolliver graduated and Sheppard suspended all eyes fall to Randle. A do everything WR who we like more than Tolliver. He has soft hands, runs great routes and works all three offensive zones. Has one of the most well developed route trees of any WR.
TE David Paulsen-6’4, 241
A big bodied athletic TE who is going to stretch the seam and add an element to this Oregon offense that they have lacked since Dickson. Paulsen is an effort blocker who needs to learn better technique but he’s a willing participant.
CB Anthony Gildon-6’1, 181
One of our Pac-12 Sleeping Seniors, Gildon has the size to be disruptive and will be counted very heavily while Cliff Harris is suspended. Needs to add some bulk to his frame but we really like his potential.
WR Lavasier Tuinei-6’5, 206
With Maehl goned to the NFL, it’s going to be up to Tuinei to become a go to guy for Thomas. He is a big target who uses his body well to box out defenders. He shows no fear in crossing the middle of the field on routes either.
RB Kenjon Balmer-5’11, 180*
A lightning quick athlete who attacks the line of scrimmage. Is a little undersized in the bulk department but we like his NFL potential more than James.
QB Darron Thomas-6’3, 212*
Very similar player to Dennis Dixon but we think Thomas has a better arm than Dixon and is further along as a QB. So dangerous in the open field, we really like Thomas’s NFL potential.
Oklahoma v. Tulsa-We may be the only site in the country that thinks Tulsa could give Oklahoma game but that’s how much confidence we have in QB GJ Kinne. We think this game could have become a shootout but the loss of WR Damaris Johnson makes that less likely. Prediction: Oklahoma
Prospects to Watch-
WR Ryan Broyles-5’11, 185
One of our favorite players this draft season, Broyles is so quick and agile in the open field that it’s hard to stop him at times. Has loose hips which allow him to cut on a dime with little effort and tends to always avoid the big hit.
CB Jamell Fleming-5’11, 191
A bit of an underrated CB who knows how to make a play on the ball. Tackles well and seems to have a smooth transition. We think his instincts leave a little to be desired as he seems late to make his break at times.
DE Frank Alexander-6’3, 259
Really want to see Alexander take over this year and become a premier pass rusher. Shows off a good first step but needs to utilize it more consistently. Doesn’t work hard enough once engaged to get off the block.
OT Donald Stephenson-6’5, 303
Taking over a LT this season, Stephenson has the length to play the position but questions exist about his strength and athleticism.
QB Landry Jones-6’4, 230*
We are not yet on the Landry Jones bandwagon. We see him as the #3 2013 QB as of right now. Jones has a good arm, makes good decisions but we don’t see him take over games like Bradford did.
QB GJ Kinne-6’2, 215
We like Kinne a lot more than other scouts and he’s probably the QB we’ve see the most of over the past year. We think his athletic ability is very good and he has a good NFL arm. He needs to streamline some mechanical issue in his delivery though.
OT Tyler Holmes-6’4, 305
Was actually drafted in the CFL draft but returned to school, we think Holmes has LT ability in the NFL. Good arm length that he likes to get extended into rushers. Will need to add some bulk as he struggles to anchor v. bull rush.
Marshall v. West Virginia-We really enjoy this rivalry game and we like that it’s always early in the season. We think the chance to watch two of the premier pass rushers in the country is going to be a real treat on Sunday. We like Dana Holgorsen and his high powered offense to prevail in this one. Prediction: West Virginia
Prospects to Watch-
DE Vinny Curry-6’5, 242
A dominant pass rusher who shows off a complete array of pass rush moves and is at times near impossible to block. Uses his size so well and explodes out of his stance. Could be a 34 OLB or 43 DE in the NFL.
WR Aaron Dobson-6’3, 203*
Big bodied possession WR who has sneaky speed. Displays strong hands but needs to run cleaner routes. Doesn’t get proper depth on his routes and can have his timing thrown off by press coverage.
TE Jamie Hatten-6’5, 238*
A receiving TE option who has the frame to fill out and become a better blocker. Really works the short zone well and has dependable hands. Good on 3rd and short off play action.
DE Bruce Irvin-6’3, 236
The most feared pass rusher in the Big East will be looking to make a statement in 2011. We project him as an outside backer in a 34. Very quick off the ball and uses his hands surprisingly well for a speed rusher.
DT Julian Miller-6’4, 259
Miller offers a little more power, but don’t be fooled he knows how to get after the pass rusher and does a great job of hitting the gaps hard to gain penetration. Likely a 43 end in the NFL.
CB Keith Tandy-5’10, 200
A little bit overlooked by some scouts, we like Tandy’s build and ball skills. He’s got good footwork and we think his transitions are very good. Deep speed may be a question though.
OT Don Barclay-6’4, 305
Barclay is going to have his hands full with Curry all night long, but he’s got the length to try and keep him at bay. Barclay’s footwork is good but it’s going to have to be great if he hopes to keep Curry from turning the corner.
QB Geno Smith-6’3, 214*
It’s a good thing Smith has wheels because he will likely need them on Sunday. He also has a great arm and an evil genius for a head coach in Dana Holgorsen. Smith’s ability to create plays out of thin air may be one of his best qualities.
SMU v. Texas A&M-Anybody who has read our stuff from before the creation of this site knows how much we like SMU and QB Kyle Padron. Texas A&M though has two of our top rated prospects in the 2012 class. This game could become a shoot-out but we are going to call for the upset as SMU seals its Big 12 invite. Prediction: SMU
Prospects to Watch-
OT Kelvin Beachum-6’3, 306
We were really disappointed in how Beachum started out last season. He looked slow and lacked an effective punch. He settled in as the year went on and returned to the All-Conference form we expect. May be a better suited RT in the NFL.
DE Taylor Thompson-6’6, 287
Pure 34 DE who has great length and uses great leverage to push the pocket and get off blocks. He’s not going to blow you away with athletic ability but he works hard and never gives up on a play.
DE Mangus Hunt-6’8, 298*
A former Olympic caliber shot-putte,r Hunt combines his size, strength, and freakish athletic ability into one impressive DE. He is still very raw and learning some technical skills but he is a ST asset and has blocked multiple kicks.
RB Zach Line-6’1, 230*
An extremely underrated runner who will be perfect for when Berman goes into his “rumblin’, stumblin’, bumblin’” bit on Countdown. Powerful lower body and he keeps his feet through contact.
QB Kyle Padron-6’4, 233*
We expected to see Kyle Padron take off as a sophomore but it didn’t happen. He has moments of brilliance and moments of ‘why did he just throw that?’ Has a huge arm and looks the part but can he master the mental side?
WR Darius Johnson-5’10, 175*
An electric playmaker with the ball in his hands. He has great speed and works very well on crossing routes when Padron can get him the ball with room to operate.
LB Taylor Reed-6’0, 221*
The sturdiest tackler on the team, Reed is instinctive and seems to know where the hole is going to be before the RB even does. Attacks the line of scrimmage and seems adapt at avoiding blockers.
LB Ja’Gared Davis-6’1, 220*
Remember this name, because you’re going to hear it a lot on Sunday night. An aggressive and attacking LB who uses a downhill style to get into the backfield and make plays.
WR Jeff Fuller-6’4, 215
After his bowl game v. Patrick Peterson everybody knows about Fuller. Great build and good speed for the position. He tracks the ball exceptionally well and shows the concentration to make the catch despite tight coverage.
CB Coryell Judie-5’11, 188
A solid cover corner who doesn’t mind sticking his nose into the run game and getting a little dirty. Really enjoy the way fights for positioning down the field.
RB Cyrus Gray-5’10, 198
Our #1 RB in the 2012 class, is a very patient runner he sees the field extremely well. He sets up his blocks so that he can pick up big chunks of yardage. Does a very good job of putting two hands on the football in high traffic areas.
QB Ryan Tannehill-6’4, 219
Our #1 RB is followed by our #1 QB. Tannehill has overcome a lot in his career and has shown great determination to get this far. Has a solid arm and good accuracy, we really like the way he spreads the ball around and gets multiple receivers involved.
LB Garrick Williams-6’2, 234
A very solid LB with good quickness and who reads plays very well. Can get sucked in by play fakes but for the most part stays home. Can also deliver a big hit when the opportunity presents itself.
DE Tony Jerrod-Eddie-6’5, 300
A solid 34 DE who holds up well at the POA and is strong enough to pull off a good bull rush. Tends to get a little high after contact but when he stays low he is a bull to try and block.
Miami v. Maryland-Miami has 8 players suspended for this game including just about every defensive playmaker they have. Danny O’Brien should have all the time in the world to make plays and Maryland should win this game over a badly wounded Miami team. Prediction: Maryland
Prospects to Watch-
DT Micanor Regis-6’3, 305
Will be interesting to see how Regis plays without Fortson next to him and if he is able to be as effective with more attention on him. A strong player who can push the pocket, needs to play with more leverage if he hopes to be more effective.
OG Brandon Washington-6’7, 320*
Dominant OG who has size to spare, he’ll need to take him game to the next level with Henderson out. He will be counted on to blast open holes for the running game and help anchor against some of the better DT’s in the country.
S Vaughn Telemaque-6’2, 200*
One of the few playmaking Canes that did not get hit a suspension, Telemaque will be without S partner Ray Ray Armstrong and the Miami pass rush should be anemic. He’ll need to show off his impressive range and prove that his recovery speed is top notch.
LB Kenny Tate-6’4, 220
He’s going to play LB this year but we like him better at FS. Great size, great speed, and can deliver some bone crushing hits. Not a Taylor Mays type player as Tate has some very good coverage skills as well.
CB Cameron Chism-5’11, 190
Going to be looked at this year to become a lock down CB, Chism has the speed and size you want in a CB, and he’s very smooth in and out of cuts. Needs to return to his 2009 form for 2011.
RB Davin Meggett-5’9, 215
Patient runner with a very good burst. We like the way he will use his height at times to hide behind bigger blockers and evade defenders. Ball security questions exist as well as what his role would be on the next level.