Tag:Lawrence Wilson
Posted on: November 11, 2010 3:55 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2010 3:58 pm
 

Don't have NFL Network? Scout Pitt-UConn w/ me

As most football fans know, the slate of Thursday games on NFL Network begins later today with a potential Super Bowl preview between the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons. Each club is riding high at 6-2 and in first place in their respective divisions.

Those fans that don't have NFL Network, however, needn't be wanting for good football on this Veteran's Day holiday. ESPN is offering an key Big East conference matchup between first place Pittsburgh and Connecticut.

Pitt's underclassmen talent at wide receiver (Jon Baldwin ) and running back (Ray Graham, Dion Lewis ) will get much of the media attention, but for scouts the real focus in this game will lie along the Panthers' defensive line.

There is a possibility that reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Year Greg Romeus will make his way back onto the field for the first time since the season opener. The 6-5, 268 pound Romeus entered the season among the nation's top-rated defensive ends and a likely first round prospect, but a back injury and resulting surgery to correct a lower disk problem has kept him sidelined.

In his absence, Pitt has received stellar play from their "other" defensive ends. Scouts knew all about senior Jabaal Sheard , who had played well opposite Romeus in the past and has elevated his play since Romeus went down. Sheard, in fact, has emerged as one of the nation's best pass rushers. He leads the Big East with nine sacks and as Pitt head coach Dave Wannestadt noted recently, his tenacity is one of the characteristics that is boosting Sheard's stock with scouts.

"Jabaal Sheard is having a phenomenal year. You have to really appreciate what he is going through to get to the passer. He just keeps coming and coming. He's rushing the passer as good as any defensive end in the country. "

As I mentioned in a previous post detailing the news of Romeus' impending return , the Panthers don't have to force their star back onto the field early. Junior Brandon Lindsey has done a great job of replacing Romeus (eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss so far).

Pitt's talented defensive line is arguably the biggest reason why the Panthers sit atop the Big East.

Baldwin and, most notably, Lewis, haven't been as dominant this season as perhaps some had expected, but with turnover along the offensive line and at quarterback from last year, it simply has taken them a little while to get rolling. Lewis, who entered the year as the favorite to be the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, has actually been overtaken by the sophomore Graham, himself a future NFL prospect. The Pitt offense has been playing well recently, however.

One bright spot along the Pitt offensive line is left tackle Jason Pinkston , a potential top 75 prospect for the 2011 draft, whose pro future may lie inside at guard.

Connecticut entered the season as a trendy pick to win the Big East and offers some interesting Day Three talent at linebacker and running back. Outside linebacker Lawrence Wilson is the headlining prospect on a senior-laden group in the middle. Junior running back Jordan Todman has emerged as the next big play runner from Randy Edsall's offense. Todman is helped with the blocking by fullback Anthony Sherman , who quietly rates as one of the better all-around senior prospects at the position in the entire country.

As always, those who would like to scout "alongside" me can follow my thoughts on this game (as well as the Ravens-Falcons contest) on Twitter. Follow me there @RobRang.
Posted on: September 5, 2009 12:50 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2009 12:52 pm
 

Minnesota-Syracuse, Ohio State-Navy prospects

The first Saturday of the season and the morning begins with two interesting inter-conference matchups with plenty of potential NFL talent.

The key players to watch in the Minnesota-Syracuse game currently on ESPN is Gopher wide receiver Eric Decker and Orange defensive tackle Arther Jones and wideout Mike Williams

Jones, (#97) is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Despite missing some of the off-season conditioning due to a torn pectoral muscle, he enters the season as a legitimate first round prospect.

Despite the assertions of TV analysts, Minnesota WR Eric Decker (#7) is not currently viewed as a likely first round caliber prospect. He is, however, a valuable possession receiver with size (6-3, 215) and very good hands. He already has one long reception in this game and could be on the verge of a big season.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch, however, is Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams (#1). Williams was suspended last year due to academics, but scouts will quickly disregard that if he can prove his eye-popping athleticism remains. The 6-2, 215 pound receiver enters today's game with a streak of receiving touchdowns in 9 consecutive games... And with 32 seconds to go in the first quarter, he just extended that streak, catching much ballyhooed QB/PG Greg Paulus' first touchdown pass of his NCAA career.

On ESPN, a "slightly" less competitive game is being shown between Ohio State and Navy. Navy, as you might expect, doesn't offer much in terms of NFL prospects, though the Buckeyes more than make up for them.

Many of Ohio State's top prospects are underclassmen but their talented secondary is led by senior safety Anderson Russell (#21) and Kurt Coleman (#4). The Buckeyes seemingly always have talent along the defensive line and DE Lawrence Wilson (#87) has an opportunity for a breakout campaign after missing the second half of last year with a torn ACL. Playing opposite junior rising star Cameron Heyward (son of the late NFL standout Craig "Ironhead" Heyward). Versatile offensive lineman Jim Cordle (#64) is one to watch, as well.

 
 
 
 
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