Tag:Matt Barkley
Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:14 am
 

Source: OT Matt Kalil "set to return" to USC

Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is "set to return" for his senior season according to a source close to the situation.

Kalil, 6-6 and 295 pounds, just finished his second season as the Trojans' starting left tackle. He earned First Team All Pac-12 honors and is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 3 overall prospect in the country. Though his older brother, Ryan, returned for his senior campaign at USC prior to the center being drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Carolina Panthers, most expected Matt to leave early.

A high-ranking NFL scout confirmed that he'd also heard Kalil was "definitely leaning towards returning" and that the decision surprised he and his scouting peers, as well.

"If he does indeed return, it would be a bit surprising. He's the top offensive tackle in the country. The senior class [at offensive tackle] is a weak group. At worst, he'd be looking at a top ten pick. That fact alone would send most guys into the draft."

Kalil's remarkable combination of size and athleticism had kept the Dallas Cowboys' 2011 first round pick Tyron Smith playing on the right side during his career with the Trojans. That didn't keep Jerry Jones and his staff from selecting Smith with the No. 9 overall pick. Smith, incidentally, has performed well this season as the Cowboys' starting right tackle.

Kalil has long been projected to enter the 2012 draft. Chad Reuter and I have each projected him as a potential top five pick in our current first round mock drafts.

Should Kalil return, it could set off of chain reaction pushing other talented USC underclassmen -- including quarterback Matt Barkley -- to shun the NFL and return for their senior seasons. The Trojans' bowl ban ends this year. Considering the talent this team has potentially coming back, a return to national title contention would appear possible.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:51 pm
 

Bowl bans may push USC/Miami youngsters to NFL

With many of the FBS teams finishing up their seasons last weekend, the march to the NFL draft in April is taking a turn onto a new road -- the early pathway to the pros.

Each year there are dozens of underclassmen who petition the NFL Advisory Committee for the grades that will help them determine whether they should leave school early for a chance at NFL riches or return to school for another year.

Generally speaking, most underclassmen wait until after the bowl games to make these requests.

Bowl bans for USC and Miami, however, mean that their underclassmen could be all the more vulnerable to the pressures placed by family, friends and prospective agents. While players all over the country are busy preparing for their final game or anxiously waiting to hear what bowl their team has been invited to play in, the likes of Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil and Lamar Miller (among others) may get convinced that the extra time could give them an advantage in preparation time for the Combine and other workouts.

Typically, once a few prospects begin to declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft, the floodgates open. Usually some of the first names to make it official are players who announce their thoughts immediately following a bowl game.

This year, some of the biggest names potentially available in 2012 could have made their intentions known long before the first bowl game kicks off.

Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Five Prospects I'll Be Scouting Closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL. 

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks. 

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here. 

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

DT Kendall Reyes, Connecticut: Reyes wasn't a highly touted prospect when signing with UCONN, but has built himself into a legitimate top 100 prospect. Experienced inside and out, teams running the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, alike, will be interested in acquiring his services. Reyes will have his hands full against a much improved Louisville team, but with a strong showing the senior could secure a spot on one of the premier all-star game rosters. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN.

DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State:  The afore-mentioned Reyes is underrated in some circles. Few outside of the SEC know much about Cox, a 6-4, 295 pound junior who has been running the conference ragged. Cox, you may be surprised to learn, has earned the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times this season. Arkansas generally does a great job of protecting the quarterback, but Tyler Wilson will certainly have to keep his eyes open for this Bulldog.  This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be broadcast by CBS.

OT Mike Adams, Ohio State: When Adams, Terrelle Pryor and three other Buckeyes were suspended over "Tattoo-gate" last season, I made the argument that the man whose stock might be impacted the least was Adams. The reasoning behind it was simple -- Adams was the best prospect of the group. The 6-6, 320 pounder has proven to be worth the hype thus far in his abbreviated senior campaign, though he'll get a tough test Saturday against a very talented Penn State defensive line. Adams is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior at the position and, quite frankly, the only senior tackle I've seen this year that I've given a first round grade.  This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN/ABC. 

QB Matt Barkley, Southern Cal: A week after the Oregon Ducks' talented (albeit young) secondary shut down the presumptive No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal offense, Barkley and the Trojans will get their chance. The Ducks contained Luck in large part due to the fact that Stanford was missing their top speed threat on the outside, senior wideout Chris Owusu. Barkley could be without his star receiver, Robert Woods in this contest, as the sophomore is battling nagging shoulder and ankle injuries. Barkley is blessed to have better weapons on the outside to help shoulder the possible loss of Woods, but this matchup nonetheless poses quite a challenge for my No. 2 rated prospect overall.  This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ABC. 

QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor: Possessing quick feet and a strong, accurate arm, RGIII has been dazzling, at times, this season. He is fortunate to have one of the more criminally underrated wideouts in the country in senior Kendall Wright, an explosive playmaker that some scouts have compared to DeSean Jackson. This combination has been enough to beat the also-rans on Baylor's schedule, but with the Sooners coming to town Saturday night, Griffin will need to be able to spread the ball around to have much of a chance. Griffin has steadily maintained that he's likely to return to Baylor next season, but a strong performance against a team as talented as Oklahoma could create such a buzz that he'd have to explore his potential NFL options sooner than maybe even he expects.  This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by ESPN.



Posted on: October 28, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State:  Of the second tier quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class, Cousins remains one of my favorites. He doesn't possess an elite arm and, as such, could be challenged in this matchup against a Nebraska defense that features one of the better press corners in Alfonzo Dennard. Representatives from the Senior Bowl have made it known that Cousins is among the quarterbacks vying for an invitation. With the rest of the games on the 6-1 Spartans' schedule very winnable, a strong performance in this game could not only put MSU in position for a big time bowl game, it could give Cousins a chance to impress scouts in Mobile. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN.

DT Jaye Howard, Florida:  Howard isn't flashy, but is quietly having a career year for the Gators. In fact, Howard has already surpassed his previous career high of 29 tackles with 33 so far this season, including 2.5 for loss. Georgia's monstrous redshirt sophomore Kwame Geathers will get more of the hype entering this game and deserves it... I'm more interested, however, to see if Howard is able to make some plays despite facing a talented Georgia offensive line, including Bulldogs' center Ben Jones -- who some believe is the elite senior in the country at his position. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by CBS.

ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State: The Kansas State Wildcats are one of the better stories so far this season, but I do not believe they have the talent to compete with an Oklahoma team that must be smarting after their upset loss last week against Texas Tech. One of the few Wildcats that has flashed NFL-caliber talent this season is junior linebacker, Arthur Brown, a transfer from Miami. At 6-1, 225, Brown lacks the bulk most teams are looking for at inside linebacker, but his athleticism and closing speed could intrigue 4-3 teams looking for a weakside prospect. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.

DE Andre Branch, Clemson: Many believe that Tech's triple option offense will present Clemson with their biggest regular season challenge to a potential berth in a BCS bowl game. (I'd argue South Carolina could have something to say about that.) For the Tigers to slow down the Yellow Jackets, Clemson's defensive ends will have to show remarkable discipline. This hasn't always been a strength for Branch and the rest of the Clemson defensive line, which typically are asked to pin their ears back and rush the quarterback. At 6-4, 260 pounds Branch has enough athleticism to chase ball-carriers wide. This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ABC.

QB Matt Barkley, USC: There are many out there who believe Barkley is simply a game-manager blessed to have a great deal of talent around him. I am not among them. In fact, I rate the USC junior signal-caller behind only Andrew Luck as the elite prospect potentially available for the 2012 draft. As such, I'm excited to see what Barkley will do in the heavily anticipated showdown against Luck and an underrated Cardinal defense Saturday night. Barkley doesn't possess a monster arm nor the great size that traditionally result in a top five pick. I've been consistently impressed with his poise in a collapsing pocket, however, as well as his leadership as well as his short to intermediate accuracy. Most importantly, I like his footwork and accuracy when rolling out and in play-action -- staples of the pro game. This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by ABC.


Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Kalil vs. Cal DEs reason enough to watch tonight

Besides the fact that tonight's game between USC and California is an intriguing Pac-12 showdown, there are also plenty of NFL prospects to keep an eye on.

I expect the hype to center around USC quarterback Matt Barkley and it probably should. He's my No. 3 overall rated prospect potentially available for the 2012 draft, having shown improvement in his junior season in his decision-making and accuracy on the deep ball -- two areas I previously was concerned about.

The showdown I'll be focusing a great deal of attention on, however, lies up front in the trenches with USC left tackle Matt Kalil, also a junior, lining up against Cal's talented duo of defensive ends, Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu.

Guyton played second fiddle to New Orleans' first round pick Cameron Jordan last season, only starting four of the 11 games in which he played. Despite this fact, he finished third on the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (4.5). He did this despite playing defensive end in the 3-4, which typically places its outside linebackers in position to make plays behind the line of scrimmage but not the defensive linemen.

At 6-3, 280 pounds Guyton lacks the classic size and arm length most NFL teams prefer for 3-4 defensive ends, though scouts for some teams running odd man fronts still like him. His burst and strength, however, could make him a nice middle round option for 4-3 clubs looking for a three-technique defensive tackle or for a strongside defensive end. As such, the versatile defender currently ranks 10th on NFLDraftScout.com's list of 2012 defensive ends. 

Owusu started nine games last season (playing in all 12 contests) but wasn't very impressive statistically-speaking. However, a strong performance thus far this season has him moving up draft boards. The 6-5, 270 pound Owusu currently leads Cal in tackles for loss (4.5) and sacks (2.5) and has a forced fumble to his credit, as well. Considering his size potential and "breakout" season thus far, he could surprise as the higher of the two Cal defenders selected if he can continue his early success.

The Cal defenders will, of course, have a tough task playing against Kalil. The younger brother of former USC standout and current Carolina Panthers' center Ryan Kalil, Matt was the reason why USC elected to keep Tyron Smith playing at right tackle over his career. At 6-7, 295 pounds Matt has prototypical size and eases off the snap quickly. I've been impressed with his athleticism and physicality before, but both elements of his game will be tested tonight against Cal's unique pair of defensive ends. Perhaps even more intriguing will be how Kalil handles the blitzes Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast (formerly the defensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals) throws at him.

Tonight's game will begin at 9:00 pm Eastern and will be televised by ESPN.

 
Posted on: October 1, 2011 9:20 am
 

Five prospects I'll be scouting closely Saturday

Each Friday I list my "Five prospects" that I'll be focusing on for the upcoming weekend. In reality, I'm focusing on dozens of prospects each week, but the players listed below are playing in high profile games and against the caliber of competition that I believe provides us with an opportunity to truly assess how a collegiate player might fare when asked to make the huge jump to the NFL.

Typically I focus on senior prospects in this space. However, with it becoming more and more obvious as to which underclassmen are considering the jump to the pros, I'll be incorporating a few more juniors and redshirt sophomores in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it also leads to the player being featured in Draft Slant , NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com's weekly NFL Draft preview. In each PDF issue of Draft Slant Senior Analyst Chad Reuter breaks down six more players in Filmroom Notes, updates our Top 64 prospects overall and offers extensive previews of the next week's action. Here is the link to this week's issue of Draft Slant. Or for the entire season click this link . Looking for a specific week? Download past issues from the past three years here.

Without any further adieu, here are the five prospects, as well as the cable provider and time you can expect to see them.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M: This is the second consecutive week that I listed Tannehill as part of this series. Last week, it was a tale of two halves for the senior quarterback and his Aggies. In the first half against Oklahoma State, Tannehill looked every bit like the first round quarterback (and A&M the top ten team) I expected. Everything fell apart in the second half, however, as Tannehill threw three interceptions at home and the Cowboys came back for the big conference win. I am not ready to give up on Tannehill quite yet, especially when two of his three interceptions appeared to be the result of poorly executed route-running. With one loss already on their record, Texas A&M must win the rest to have a chance at the type of season they were hoping for. Arkansas, like Oklahoma State, relies more on their own offense rather than a stifling defense to win games. They are athletic, however, and playing at home. They're also smarting after their own conference loss (to Alabama). The mental toughness or weakness that Tannehill demonstrates in this game will go a long way in determining whether scouts believe he has the leadership skills necessary to be the face of an NFL franchise.  This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN.

CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech: 
After leading the entire country last year with nine interceptions, junior cornerback Jayron Hosley has picked up right where he left off, snaring two picks already this season. This week he'll be asked to help shut down a Clemson offense that has been equally impressive. Clemson's sophomore quarterback Tahj Boyd and freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins earned All-ACC quarterback and receiver honors for their play after each of the past two games. Boyd leads the ACC in total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Watkins has caught 14 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns... in just the past two games. Hosley possesses the quick feet, balance and speed to put an end to the Tigers' offense fireworks but will need to play with greater consistency than he has throughout much of his young career. A strong performance in this game could push Hosley onto my Top 32 Big(ger) Board.  This game begins at 6:00 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama: Not surprisingly, there are a host of future NFL players that I and pro scouts will be focusing on in this key SEC showdown between Alabama and Florida. One could make the argument that Hightower, while one of the best, also is facing the toughest task this week as he'll be asked to slow down the Gators' speedy due of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, each of whom rank in the top ten in the SEC in rushing. Demps has been particularly explosive, averaging a stunning 9.4 yards per carry. Hightower is beginning to play with the same speed and explosiveness that was evident early in his career before a major knee injury suffered two years ago robbed him of some of his playmaking abilities. Big enough that some teams envision him as a future defensive end, the 6-4, 260 pound Hightower certainly has the bulk teams want, but his agility and open-field tackling skills will be put to the test in this one. With so much NFL talent on the field, this is the game I am most looking forward to scouting, Saturday.  This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by CBS.

WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin: As impressive as the talent level is in the Alabama-Florida game, there certainly isn't much of a dropoff in this first squaring off of Wisconsin and Nebraska as members of the Big Ten. Some believe this game will be replayed in a few months as each team looks poised to make a run to the Big Ten championship game. If that is to be the case, I cannot wait for the individual battle that is going to take place between Toon and Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, my top-rated senior cornerback in the country. Nick, the son of former New York Jets' great Al Toon, is blessed with a similar combination of size, speed and playmaking ability as his father but has been racked with inconsistency throughout his career. Dennard is finally healthy after missing the first three games with a muscle strain. In terms of one on one battles, it doesn't get any better than this... This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ABC. 

SS Tony Dye, UCLA: Like many a UCLA Bruin before him, Dye entered his senior season rated by many scouts among the better safety prospects in the country. However, with Rahim Moore leaving early for the NFL (second round pick by Denver), Dye hasn't yet been able to step up his level of play. The lights likely won't get much better this season for Dye than they will Saturday night against Andrew Luck. With a strong performance in this one, Dye can help his own slipping stock and perhaps give the Bruins a chance against the most well-rounded offense in the country. This game begins at 10:30 pm ET and will be televised by FOX Sports.

p.s. At the request of some diehard draft fans, I'm also including the QBs to watch this weekend. They are:

Matt Barkley, USC hosting Nick Foles, Arizona. 3:30 pm ET on Fox Sports.*
Kyle Cousins, Michigan State visiting Ohio State. 3:30 pm ET on ABC/ESPN

*As well as Tannehill, mentioned above.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Playoffs?! Without Peyton, Colts could be in Luck

Yesterday former Colts head coach Tony Dungy made waves with the proclamation that his former team might miss the playoffs if they don't get quarterback Peyton Manning back this season.

In response to Dungy's prediction I'll go back even further in Colts history to another former head coach -- Jim Mora -- whose famous "Playoffs!? I just hope we can win a game" rant may once again be applicable.

Clearly, the Colts are a talented team. Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark -- we're talking about three consistent Pro Bowl caliber players right off the bat, but let's be clear, Wayne and Clark are significantly more successful players based on the relationship they've forged with Manning. Freeney might be the league's best pass rusher, but with teams not needing 40+ points to keep up with the Manning-led offense, opponents can (and likely will) run the ball down his throat.

Putting it more bluntly, without Manning, the Colts are the worst team in the AFC South division.

Again, to be fair, no football team is based on just one player. Furthermore, I do believe in the talent and experience of Kerry Collins is enough to see the Colts winning a few games. But you take a look at their schedule and tell me that they're going to win enough games to be competing for the playoffs for long should Manning not make it back onto the field soon.

All of this potentially shapes up for an interesting dilemma for Bill Polian and the Colts. Should Manning not recover in time to keep Indianapolis within a realistic shot of the playoffs, what would the incentive be to hurry the futue Hall of Famer back? Especially given the extreme value a high first round pick could have in 2012, when several highly touted young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill (among others) could be available. 

The Colts have already admitted that they have no idea when Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. One could extend that thinking further to: The Colts have no idea IF Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. Manning, after all, is 35 and nerve damage injuries are impossible to predict.

Should Manning return early in the season (and I'd like to think that all of us -- perhaps other than rival defensive coordinators -- are indeed hoping this is the case), Indianapolis could find themselves in playoff contention and picking in the 20s as they have throughout virtually all of Manning's career.

Should he not return this season, however, the Colts could be in position to pick (or trade the rights to pick) one of the top young quarterbacks coming down the pike.

Playoffs?! Are you kidding, me?! Playoffs?!
Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 7:59 pm
 

Washington State QB Tuel breaks clavicle

Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel broke his left clavicle during his only series against Idaho State, Saturday.

The Cougars' star had been unable to start the game due to a stomach virus, but entered the midway through the first quarter.

Bud Withers of The Seattle Times described the scene:
Tuel threw only two passes on his drive for a field goal, but it may have been a scramble that cost him the collarbone. On a 2nd-and-6 play at the Idaho State 10, he looked for a quick shot over the middle, didn't see anything and ran to his right. He was flipped down at the right sideline, but got up quickly and didn't appear to be hurt.
Stopped for no gain on the play, Tuel then threw a four-yard flip to Rickey Galvin before a WSU field goal made it 17-0.

Tuel, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 6 rated quarterback for the 2013 draft, entered the season as a favorite breakout candidate for many. The 6-3, 223 pound junior completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,780 yards and 18 touchdowns playing behind a porous offensive line. He plays in a spread offense, but has the mobility to handle the conversion to a pro-style offense. Tuel has the arm strength to make every NFL throw and shows great touch on deep balls. Perhaps most intriguing, Tuel has played well when pitted against top competition. I scouted Washington State against Stanford (Andrew Luck), USC (Matt Barkley) and Washington (Jake Locker) and left feeling that Tuel had made some of the best passes in each contest.

Until more tests are run, the length of time that Tuel will be sidelined isn't known. Withers offered a "rough guess" of 6-8 weeks, citing the normal timetable of most similar injuries. 

The injury is a cruel one for the Cougars. Their head coach, Paul Wulff, is 5-32 in his first three seasons and is widely rumored to need a successful fourth season to avoid losing his job. Though the improvements in this team haven't yet translated into victories, Wulff and his staff inherited a pretty bare cabinet of talent and have rebuilt the program into one entering this season with quiet confidence that a bowl game was possible.

Even with the loss of their best player, the Cougars improved depth was obvious in their rout of Idaho State. (WSU ahead 61-20 in third quarter as of 7:45 pm ET). If there is a silver lining for Washington State, it is that they start their conference schedule against UCLA and Colorado, potentially two of the more winnable Pac-12 games.  


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com