Tag:Stanford
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:19 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:48 pm
 

Stanford OG DeCastro heading to NFL

Fans of the Stanford Cardinal will not only have to endure life without Andrew Luck next season, they'll also be losing junior right guard David DeCastro, considered by many to be the elite interior lineman in the country.

NFLDraftScout.com has learned that DeCastro will leave Stanford after this season and head to the NFL.

All of the Stanford players have been asked to put off dealing with agents until after Stanford meets Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2, but a source tells me that DeCastro "is definitely coming out. It isn't a matter of if, but when."

DeCastro redshirted in 2008 and has since started three consecutive seasons at right guard for the Cardinal, earning honorable mention all-conference accolades in 2009 and first-team honors both years since. The 6-5, 312 pound DeCastro was the only Stanford player to make the AP's First Team All-American team. Andrew Luck was relegated to the second team. It was behind his crushing blocks at both the first and second level that helped Stanford average 207.9 yards per game on the ground this year.

NFL teams hate to spend first round picks on interior linemen but that is precisely the grade I am giving DeCastro. He's higher on ny Big Board rankings than I've ever had a guard at this point in the year. He's also sitting firmly in the middle of my first round mock draft and is rated the No. 10 rated prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's overall player rankings.

DeCastro is joing a rare fraternity of interior linemen leaving early to the NFL. There were no early entrants among interior linemen in the draft last year. There have only been three underclassmen offensive linemen to have been drafted since 2008. Pittsburgh took Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida in 2010. The Chiefs and 49ers tooks Branden Albert and Chilo Richal, respectively, in 2008.

DeCastro and Luck may ultimately be joined by another Cardinal defection as junior left tackle Jonathan Martin is also thought to be likely to leave school early. Martin, along with Southern California's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Reilly Reiff, is considered one of a three-headed monster of junior offensive tackles who each could wind up as top 20 picks come April.

DeCastro and the rest of the No. 4 rated Stanford Cardinal will take on No. 3 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl January 2.




Posted on: November 29, 2011 5:54 pm
 

Miami OL Washington returning for senior year

The "open season" date for agents to begin recruiting underclassmen as possible early entrants into the 2012 NFL draft is Thursday, December 1st.

At least one possible top 50 pick isn't waiting that long to announce that the agents might as well not even bother; he's returning for his senior season.

Miami offensive lineman Brandon Washington, a 6-4, 330 pound junior with high level starting experience at left tackle and left guard, told beat writers that he's coming back.

"Yes, I'm going to be here," Washington said emphatically, adding "because I see the change in the program, I see the change in the kids and I see how everybody's buying in."

Washington hadn't received the national attention of a David DeCastro (Stanford) or a Cordy Glenn (Georgia), but like these two men, he was being projected as a possible first round pick. Washington claims that he may not even submit his name for a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee because he is so firm with his decision. He cited the fact that in returning to school, he'd be on pace to graduate -- an accomplishment that no one in his family had previously been able to do.

Though Washington played well outside at tackle, most project him back inside at guard in the NFL. Washington has a short, stock build. He is surprisingly light on his feet and plays with intensity and physicality. The feeling among scouts is that Washington could play outside at the next level, but he could become a Pro Bowl caliber guard.

While a loss for NFL teams needing help up front, the decision is a coup for Al Golden's Hurricanes. Washington will return as Miami's most experienced offensive lineman. An All-ACC pick as a sophomore at guard, Washington was moved outside to left tackle to replace Seantrel Henderson, who went down to a back injury. Considering the skill-position talent usually brewing at Miami, having two NFL-caliber offensive linemen in Henderson and Washinton next season could be just the boost this team needs after a year rocked by scandal and disappointing results on the field.

Washington is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 guard for the 2013 draft. The only man rated higher is DeCastro, who soon will have his own decision to make.

Posted on: November 26, 2011 11:15 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.

RB Dan "Boon" Herron, Ohio State: Herron appeared poised to enter this season as one of the Big Ten's few superstars at the skill positions. After all, he'd shown an NFL-caliber combination of size, power and speed and had already rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 29 touchdowns on the ground. Suspended for the first five games of the season due to Tattoo-Gate, however, this has been a lost year for the senior, who enters the annual showdown with Michigan having only rushed for 556 yards and two touchdowns this season. Michigan has a solid run defense and know the Buckeyes are going to try to control the clock to keep Denard Robinson off the field. Other than a senior all-star game, this may be Herron's best chance this season to impress scouts. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ABC.

ILB Audie Cole, North Carolina State:  For all of the talk this season about underclassmen inside linebackers Manti Te'o, Luke Kuechly and Vontaze Burfict (among others), Cole is quietly earning top 75 grades from some scouts. Big (6-4, 239) and athletic enough to move back to outside linebacker, Cole is viewed as one of the more versatile linebackers in a relatively weak senior class. He's getting plenty of Senior Bowl buzz and should perform well in his final home game against a Maryland team that features the run. This game begins at 12:30 pm ET and will be broadcast by ESPN3.

ILB Donta Hightower, Alabama: As you can tell from my Top 32 "Big Board," of the so-called elite Alabama defenders, I'm lowest on Hightower. In terms of their ability to play in the NFL I rank the top draft-eligible Crimson Tide defenders as Dre' Kirkpatrick, Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron over Hightower, a 6-4, 260 pound redshirt junior. Hightower is clearly more explosive this year than last as he further heals from the torn ACL that ended his 2009 season prematurely, but still doesn't have the lateral agility and straight-line speed most teams operating out of 4-3 are going to be looking for at linebacker. A move to defensive end is possible. Teams operating out of the 3-4 will certainly like Hightower's bulk and explosive hitting in their scheme, however. I'm curious to see Hightower have to defend in the open field, something I expect an Auburn team currently averaging 183.5 yards on the ground to force him to do. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by CBS. 

TE Coby Fleener, Stanford: All of the hype in this contest is going to revolve around Andrew Luck and the possibility that this is his last game in Palo Alto -- as it should. We all know Luck is a terrific prospect, so I'm going to focus my attention elsewhere, including with Luck's senior tight end, Fleener, who despite being rated by most scouts as the top senior tight end in the country virtually all season long, he's received very little national attention. One can certainly understand why the scouts love him. While not a legitimate in-line blocker at the next level, the 6-6, 245 pound Fleener has rare speed and soft hands and is averaging a guady 19.7 yards per catch. Fleener will be matched up much of this game against another legitimate NFL prospect in Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, so this should be a battle worth keeping an eye on. This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ABC. 

DE Devin Taylor, South Carolina: In reality, I could have listed several of the Gamecocks' and Tigers' defensive linemen in this game as this is definitely the area scouts will be closely watching in this game. Without a doubt, in terms of pure talent, this game features the best collection of defensive line talent of the day. At 6-6, 260 pounds the redshirt junior Taylor has as much physical upside as any of them, though he's not the same consistent difference-maker as his senior teammate Melvin Ingram. I'll be spending a lot of time watching the Clemson defensive line, as well, as end Andre Branch and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (both seniors) are each capable of taking this game over, themselves.  This game begins at 7:45 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN2.


Posted on: November 23, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:52 pm
 

Report: Luck is indeed leaving Stanford early


   It'll be a happy Thanksgiving for a few general managers likely to be perched at the top of next year's NFL draft.

   Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft according to a Yahoo Sports report, which cites two sources in saying Luck won't be back for a fourth and final college season.

   The redshirt junior, considered the No. 1 overall prospect since the start of the 2010 season, surprised most when he decided after the Cardinal won the Orange Bowl to return for his redshirt junior season in 2011 to finalize his degree in architectural engineering. The Charlotte Observer reported in January that Luck, not Cam Newton of Auburn, was the Panthers' top-ranked prospect. When Luck returned, Newton was the No. 1 overall pick and has put up gaudy statistics starting since Week 1.

   Luck has started since his freshman season and given head coach Jim Harbaugh, who recruited him to Palo Alto, moved on to the 49ers, some saw Luck as a sure bet to follow him to the pros.

   Harbaugh said Luck is the anti-franchise quarterback in that he doesn't follow any "social expectations in his life." As one example, Harbaugh said some of Luck's closest ties outside of the Stanford locker room were with intellectual professors.

     On the field, Luck has been portrayed as the total package at a position considered the most important to winning in the NFL.  He's expected to be a Heisman Trophy finalist and will leave Stanford with a number of passing records and marks for wins, including many that previously belonged to Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

   NFLDraftScout.com projects Luck as one of three or possibly four quarterbacks who will be first-round picks in 2012
, assuming multiple juniors, including Luck and Southern California's Matt Barkley, opt to leave school early.

   He's been scouted heavily by the Indianapolis Colts, who at 0-10 are the most likely team to hold the No. 1 overall pick. All other NFL teams have at least two victories.

   The Colts' situation could be interesting from many angles. Luck received direct counsel from injured All-Pro Peyton Manning, who played all four years of his eligibility at Tennessee, when weighing his draft-vs.-Stanford decision in January. Manning wants to return to the Colts next season. But he's had three neck surgeries and his health status is very much unknown.

   Indianapolis, which signed Manning to a five-year, $90 million contract in July, can release Manning in March and avoid the final four years of his contract. That would clear the path for luck, a player management and owner Jim Irsay said has to be considered if indeed Indianapolis drafts at the top spot in April.

   Vice chairman Bill Polian, who built his previous teams around quarterbacks -- Jim Kelly in Buffalo, Kerry Collins in Carolina and Manning with the Colts -- has scouted Luck on multiple occasions in person. Polian and Manning said they've discussed the scenario, but have not shared what factors will dictate the direction the team takes in March and April.

Jeff Reynolds,
NFLDraftScout.com



Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:40 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week 12

In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.
"*" Denotes an underclassman

1. Virginia DE Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76) at Florida State LT Zebrie Sanders (#77/6-5/307/5.25)
Virginia LT *Oday Aboushi (#72/6-6/310/5.20) at Florida DE *Brandon Jenkins (#49/6-3/265/4.69)
7:30 pm, ESPN2

Whether the Cavaliers or Seminoles have the ball, NFL scouts get to see a good pass rush prospect testing the resolve of a quality left tackle. Sanders has the athletic look of a blind-side protector, and has played well since moving over from the right side after four-year starter Andrew Datko decided to end his season to have shoulder surgery. Johnson brings a constant upfield push, which Sanders has the lateral agility and anchor to handle despite that svelte build. This means Johnson must use some counter moves against Sanders instead of relying solely on his up-and-under move to win the edge.

When the teams switch sides, Jenkins will be looking to convince scouts he's worth a top 40 pick by consistently turn the corner against the long, lean Aboushi. His production (7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) has dropped from 2010 (21.5, 13.5) but he's still smooth off the line and capable of tracking down Virginia QB Michael Rocco if the Cavs' junior left tackle cannot prove he has NFL-caliber anchor, bend, and the quick feet to mirror in pass protection.

2. Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (#4/6-1/195/4.53) at Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54)
4:00 pm, NBC

Fletcher intercepted his first pass of the season last week against North Carolina State (after picking up five in 2010), but gets his toughest test of the year in Floyd. Neither prospect will be among the fastest in their groups at the Combine, but Floyd's quick cuts will test Fletcher's ability to transition and drive short routes to prevent completions or limit yards after the catch. Scouts will also look to see if Fletcher has the recovery speed to handle double-moves from Floyd, or if he's best off moving to safety in the NFL to utilize his length and ball skills with the play in front of him.

3. Cal DEs Trevor Guyton (#92/6-3/280/4.86)/Ernest Owusu (#95/6-4/270/4.87) at Stanford LT *Jonathan Martin (#55/6-6/305/5.29)/RG *David DeCastro (#52/6-5/312/5.22)
Cal LT Mitchell Schwartz (#72/6-5/318/5.36) at Stanford DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76)
10:15 pm, ESPN

Right now Cal is best known in NFL circles for producing a defending Super Bowl champion and 2011 MVP candidate in Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But they've also had defensive linemen go in the first round in the last two drafts: Tyson Alualu (Jacksonville, 2010) and Cameron Jordan (New Orleans, 2011). And though Guyton and Owusu are not likely to be top 50 picks, they will give Stanford's top 20 prospects Martin and DeCastro all they can handle. Guyton has 9.5 tackles for loss despite playing mostly inside, but DeCastro's strength and footwork make him very difficult to beat. Owusu plays a lot like another current Packer, Jarius Wynn, with length, power, and impressive agility for a 3-4 end. Stanford's junior left tackle Martin plays with the wide base and nasty attitude to stop Owusu's advances, but he'll also have to keep his feet moving and hands active after initial contact to protect quarterback Andrew Luck -- while keeping an eye on Cal linebackers like senior Mychal Kendricks coming off the edge.

And like the Virginia/Florida State contest, this year's Big Game also features a good LT/DE scouting opportunity when the Bears are on offense. A four-year starter at left and right tackle for Cal, Schwartz's size is what scouts love -- but he is a bit more nimble than you would expect looking at his tall, long frame. Thomas can test that agility with a strong upfield-to-inside lane move, and will try to get his hands on Schwartz's numbers off the snap to see what sort of pass set and anchor the big man possesses.

4. Penn State DT Devon Still (#71/6-4/310/5.06) at Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Scouts expected Still to step up his game as a senior after a strong outing against Florida in last year's Outback Bowl (3.5 TFLs). He has not disappointed, using his elite combination and size and athleticism to rank sixth in the country with 16.5 tackles for loss. The tall, sturdy Brewster must help sophomore guards with Still and active junior DT Jordan Hill whenever possible, though both will undoubtedly line up in the B-gap to penetrate into the backfield before senior RB Dan "Boom" Herron even gets the handoff (which Still has been known to do) and while freshman QB Braxton Miller drops back to pass. Scouts won't just be looking at Still's highlight plays, though -- he needs to put forth play-to-play effort and keep his pads low enough to prevent Brewster and others from standing him up off the snap.

5. Oklahoma CBs Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54)/*Demontre Hurst (#6/5-9/182/4.46) at Baylor WR Kendall Wright (#1/5-10/190/4.42)8:00 pm, ABC

Robert Griffin III faces his toughest test of the season in a Sooners defense that, though far from stout, has playmakers on the outside like Hurst and Fleming that can challenge receivers. Wright doesn't have the size advantage here, but will attempt to help his quarterback move the ball through the air with his quickness and savvy in routes and strong hands. Hurst and Fleming aren't easy to shake off the line of scrimmage or after the catch on short throws, though their aggressive games can be used against them. But if Griffin and Wright can connect on timing routes and the occasional extended play in order to keep up with the yardage likely to be put up by Oklahoma junior QB Landry Jones, they will only increase the respect scouts already feel for their skills.

6. Southern Cal DE *Nick Perry (#8/6-3/250/4.59) at Oregon LT Darrion Weems (#74/6-5/302/5.40)
8:00 pm, ABC

Most of the hype surrounding the third major Pac-12 showdown in the last four weeks involves juniors USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oregon running back LaMichael James. But Weems' play against Stanford's defensive line last week did not escape scouts, and he'll get another chance to impress them against Perry -- who had his own big game with 2.5 sacks against Washington last Saturday. Weems must prove his agility to prevent Perry from forcing quarterback Darron Thomas into hurried decisions, as well as continue to show his strength and knowledge of blocking angles when walling off any Trojans defender in his path so James and the Ducks' other speedy backs have room to run.

7. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Michigan WR Junior Hemingway (#21/6-1/222/4.54)/*Roy Roundtree (#12/6-0/178/4.43)
12:00 pm, ESPN

If Michigan threw the ball more often (and more efficiently), this would be a higher-ranked matchup. And when Wolverines quarterback junior Denard Robinson and sophomore Devin Gardner do put it up, they'll probably try to stay away from Dennard. But scouts will have interest any time these talented players get their chance to prove themselves. Hemingway and Roundtree are legitimate NFL prospects, however, even if their statistics aren't among the NCAA leaders. Hemingway averages nearly 20 yards a catch with strong hands and physical play, and he'll most likely partake in hand-play with Dennard on the outside more often than will the wiry, quick Roundtree. Scouts appreciate that Dennard has five pass break-ups over the past three games, but would like to see him intercept his first pass of the year after he picked off four in 2010.

8. Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe (#95/6-5/300/5.16) at Rutgers OG Desmond Wynn (#70/6-5/295/5.14)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Cincinnati lost their starting quarterback, Zach Collaros, in the team's loss to West Virginia last weekend so the Bearcats' defense will need to step up to re-start the team's winning ways. Wolfe ranks seventh in the FBS with 14.5 tackles for loss and 15th in sacks with seven. Though not an elite athlete, he uses hustles and length to work past most college guards and even lines up at defensive end at times. Wynn, however, has the athleticism to cut off Wolfe's kniving moves inside and the strength to handle bull rushes from any of the UC defenders. So although this battle of mid-round prospects may not rank high on the "sexy meter", it will be worth a look for scouts and NFL draft fans.

9. Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) at Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins (#8/6-0/190/4.49)
3:30 pm, ESPN2 

Illinois' four-game losing streak has not made scouts sour on Jenkins' talent. He can snatch the ball from the air with his hands and make plays on shallow crosses and deep posts from the outside, even if his average size makes him more inclined to play in the slot at the next level. Fenelus' size is below-average, but his physicality at the line and downfield are not. He'll fight with Jenkins for deep balls, but will also have to prove to scouts he can make plays in trail coverage over the middle if they are to overlook his short stature.

10. Furman ILB Kadarron Anderson (#46/6-0/235/4.78) at Florida RBs Chris Rainey (#1/5-8/175/4.36)/Jeff Demps (#28/5-8/191/4.26)
Furman CB Ryan Steed (#1/5-11/190/4.52) at Florida WR Deonte Thompson (#6/5-11/200/4.44)
1:00 pm, ESPN3.com

Because the SEC schedules conference contests in early-to-mid September, Football Championship Subdivision (the former Division 1AA) foes get their chance at "the big boys" in November. The final score of this game may not be competitive, but NFL scouts hope two of the top senior prospects from the FCS will be. Steed has interceptions in four straight games, and although the Gators do not have an elite outside receiver prospect the speed and experience of Thompson could test him. Anderson ranks 11th in the FCS in tackles (11/game), but his ability to get off the blocks of Florida linemen and handle the elite speed of Rainey and Demps in the open field could go a long way in his final draft grade.

Honorable Mention

Cincinnati OT Alex Hoffman (#59/6-6/298/5.28) at Rutgers DE Manny Abreu (#51/6-2/260/4.76)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardrick (#50/6-7/320/5.32)/RT Marcel Jones (#78/6-6/320/5.29) at Michigan DEs *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54) at Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin (#26/5-10/180/4.57)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Maryland DTs *A.J. Francis (#96/6-4/295)/*Joe Vellano (#72/6-2/285) at Wake Forest LG Joe Looney (#78/6-3/320/5.02)
3:00 pm, FSN 

SMU LT Kelvin Beachum (#70/6-3/306/5.52) at Houston OLB Sammy Brown (#8/6-2/240/4.67)
3:30 pm, FSN

Miami (Fla.) WRs Travis Benjamin (#3/5-10/175/4.36)/*Tommy Streeter (#8/6-4/215/4.62) at South Florida CB Quenton Washington (#2/5-10/195/4.50)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks (#13/6-1/185/4.52) at Arkansas WRs *Cobi Hamilton (#11/6-3/209/4.57)/Greg Childs (#85/6-3/217/4.56)/Jarius Wright (#4/5-10/180/4.34)/Joe Adams (#3/5-11/190/4.38)
3:30 pm, CBS

Clemson DE Andre Branch (#40/6-4/260/4.77) at North Carolina State LT *R.J. Mattes (#79/6-6/305/5.19)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Washington CB *Desmond Trufant (#6/6-0/185/4.49) at Oregon State WR *Markus Wheaton (#2/6-0/178/4.47)/James Rodgers (#1/5-07/188/4.48)
3:30 pm, Fox Sports Pacific

Wisconsin RT Josh Oglesby (#67/6-7/330/5.38) at Illinois DE *Whitney Mercilus (#85/6-4/265/4.68)
Wisconsin DE Louis Nzegwu (#93/6-4/255/4.76) at Illinois OT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26)
Wisconsin WR Nick Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52) at Illinois CB Tavon Wilson (#3/6-0/205/4.54)
3:30 pm, ESPN2

Miami (Fla.) DT Micanor Regis (#54/6-2/305/5.20) at South Florida LG Jeremiah Warren (#55/6-3/330/5.34)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Louisiana Tech CB Terry Carter (#28/5-10/190/4.43) at Nevada WR Rishard Matthews (#15/6-1/215/4.54)
4:00 pm, TBA

Central Florida CB *Josh Robinson (#20/5-10/192/4.47) at East Carolina WR Lance Lewis (#1/6-1/209/4.50) -- if Lewis' right foot is healthy
7:00 pm, FSN

Virginia WR Kris Burd (#18/6-0/200/4.53) at Florida State CBs Mike Harris (#1/5-10/195/4.52)/*Greg Reid (#5/5-8/186/4.48)
7:30 pm, ESPN2

Boise State LT Nate Potter (#73/6-6/298/5.18) at San Diego State OLB Miles Burris (#9/6-2/235/4.73)
Boise State WR Tyler Shoemaker (#89/6-1/212/4.50) at San Diego State CB Larry Parker (#29/5-11/170)
8:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

Southern Cal DT DaJohn Harris (#98/6-4/310/5.16)/Christian Tupou (#44/6-2/300/5.06) at Oregon LG *Carson York (#77/6-5/292/5.20)/RG Mark Asper (#79/6-7/325/5.30)
8:00 pm, ABC


--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter    Follow him on Twitter @ChadReuter  

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: November 12, 2011 11:45 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week 11

Mano-a-Mano, Week Eleven

In addition to the prospects Senior Analyst Rob Rang wrote about in his "five players to watch" blog post, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one match-ups (plus a slew of honorable mention selections) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations and what coaches see as favorable match-ups, these prospects won't go against each other on every snap. Scouts will pay attention when they do, however, because they rely on a player's film against top competition to determine their readiness for the NFL.

All times Eastern.
"*" Denotes an underclassman.

1. Alabama LG *Chance Warmack (#65/6-3/320/5.32) at Mississippi State DT *Fletcher Cox (#94/6-4/295/4.96)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Cox is this year's junior defensive tackle from the SEC climbing up draft boards with a break-out season (nine tackles for loss, four sacks). Though not as big or dominant as Nick Fairley or other elite tackles coming out of the conference, Cox has the length, athleticism, and power to be a top 40 pick -- especially if he performs well against Warmack, a thick, strong but mobile guard who will be an early-round pick whether he leaves school after this season or sticks around Tuscaloosa one more year.

2. Miami LT *Brandon Washington (#72/6-4/320/5.36) at Florida State DE *Brandon Jenkins (#49/6-3/265/4.69)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Jenkins had a big sophomore season in 2010 (21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks) but hasn't matched those numbers in 2011 (6.5, 3.5). He still has the quickness off the snap and long arms to beat tackles in obvious pass rush situations, however, so the lateral movement and stamina of Washington will be tested. Jenkins will also need to hold his ground vs. Miami's widebody tackle (who may move back to guard in the NFL) in the run game to prevent redshirt sophomore Lamar Miller and junior Mike James from giving the Hurricanes balance.

3. Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Penn State WR Derek Moye (#6/6-4/210/4.54)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Once the pre-game discussion about Penn State's Sandusky Scandal dies down with the opening kickoff, two teams will try to win what seems like an unimportant game. When healthy, Moye is a big help to a Penn State offense needing both playmakers and balance (55th-ranked run game in FBS, 88th-ranked passing attack). Moye missed two games in October with a left foot injury, but came back vs. Illinois (2 catches, 29 yards) and had a bye week to heal heading into this highly-anticipated matchup for scouts. His 6-4 frame puts him a head above Dennard downfield, but the Huskers' corner has proven again and again his ability to negate receivers at the line of scrimmage with strong press coverage and climb the ladder to knock away sideline passes headed for a taller target.

4. Texas DE *Alex Okafor (#80/6-4/260/4.62) at Missouri RT Dan Hoch (#77/6-6/320/5.43)
12:00 pm, FX

Hoch is a sturdy three-year starter at right tackle who earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2010 and is a big part of why the Tigers rank tenth in the FBS in total offense. The big-bodied lineman faces a strong foe in Okafor, who has really come on during conference play using his strength and length on the edge to rack up seven tackles for loss and five sacks in the past five games. Showing he can turn the corner and take advantage of the inside lanes against the wide splits of the Missouri offensive line would be a nice feather in his cap.

5. Michigan State WR B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)/Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44) at Iowa CB Shaun Prater (#28/5-10/185/4.49)/*Micah Hyde (#18/6-1/185/4.53)
12:00 pm, ESPN2

Despite Iowa's inconsistencies, they put themselves in great spot to win the Legends division of the Big Ten with a win over an equally maddening Spartans team. Cunningham's play is a microcosm of Sparty's offense, following up a zero-catch performance against Nebraska with a three-reception, 104-yard game against Minnesota last Saturday. His thick build and downfield playmaking ability complements the underneath routes and quick screens that senior quarterback Kirk Cousins (who also fights his own battle against up-and-down play) throws to Martin. Neither of Iowa's corners are physically intimidating, but both can make plays using their length and tenacity if Cousins is late on his throws or Cunningham/Martin can't separate during the route.

6. Alabama-Birmingham LT Matt McCants (#71/6-6/295/5.26) at Memphis DT *Dontari Poe (#74/6-5/350/5.36)
4:15 pm, Comcast Sports South

Though McCants plays left tackle and Poe is listed at nose tackle on the Tigers' depth chart, scouts won't be surprised if these two of Conference USA's three potential top 100 picks (with Marshall DE Vinny Curry) meet up a few times Saturday afternoon. Memphis Co-DC Mike DuBose likes to move Poe around in three and four-man fronts, using him even outside either tackle at 6-5, 350 pounds because of his surprising agility and capability turning the corner at that size. The lean McCants would help his draft stock if he could anchor against the mammoth defender whether helping his guard inside or preventing Poe from reaching sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry.

7. Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw (#41/6-2/265/4.76) at Mississippi State LT James Carmon (#77/6-7/330/5.43)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Mississippi State has a mammoth left tackle in Carmon, who is still learning the position after playing defensive line in 2010 and for two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (under DL coach and former MSU DT Dorsett Davis). He'll need to study up quick when Upshaw is lined up across from him, as Bama's top pass rusher threatens Carmon's somewhat stilted kick-slide with explosiveness and strong hands. NFL scouts love big linemen with good feet, and Carmon has similar athleticism to his past defensive linemen who switched to the other side of the ball. But he'll need to show more bend and be on top of his technique to keep Upshaw from chasing quarterback tandem senior Chris Relf and redshirt sophomore Tyler Russell.

8. Oregon LT Darrion Weems (#74/6-5/302/5.40) at Stanford DE/OLB *Chase Thomas (#44/6-4/240/4.76
8:00 pm, ABC

Weems leads an offensive line overshadowed by the Ducks' great talent at running back (juniors LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, freshman De'Anthony Thomas, as if you didn't know). This group of athletic positional blockers must be physical against a Stanford front line that plays with attitude and intelligence. Thomas' bull rush and relentless hustle towards the quarterback gives scouts a chance to see if Weems is strong and fluid enough an athlete to handle NFL defensive ends.

9. Wake Forest LG Joe Looney (#78/6-3/320/5.02)/RG Michael Hoag (#75/6-6/305) at Clemson DTs Brandon Thompson (#98/6-2/310/5.04)/Rennie Moore (#94/6-3/268/4.83)
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Looney is an under-the-radar guard prospect with enough size and athleticism to earn starter grades from NFL teams, but for the second time in three weeks he and Hoag faces a very strong interior defensive line (North Carolina's *Sylvester Williams, Tydreke Powell on October 29th). Thompson has a strong, wide build to push Looney into quarterback Tanner Price and the strong hands and active feet to rip off blocks to chase down plays outside the box. Moore's lack of size isn't troubling to the Tigers' defensive staff because he can handle his gap responsibilities as well as penetrate into the backfield to disrupt plays.

10. Maryland CB Cameron Chism (#22/5-10/190/4.52) at Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54)
7:30 pm, NBC

Chism and his Terrapins teammates started with a bang when they took down Miami; his six tackles, forced fumble, and pick-six were a major factor in the team's 32-24 win. Since then, however, Maryland is 1-7, with the win coming over FCS in-state foe Towson. Chism has two other interceptions since the opener, including another score vs. Clemson, and hopes he can once again come up big in a quasi-home game at Washington D.C.'s FedEx Field when the nation tunes in on NBC Saturday night. He possesses the determined attitude on the outside to handle a big-bodied, strong-handed short, intermediate, and deep ball threat like Floyd. Notre Dame's leading receiver hasn't always been great, either, this season; USC limited him to 28 yards three weeks ago and he only managed 44 yards on five receptions against Wake Forest last weekend. But he's shown scouts over the past four years he can step up his game when Irish quarterbacks consistently deliver the ball his way.

 

Honorable Mention 

Nebraska LT Jermarcus Hardrick (#50/6-7/320/5.32)/RT Marcel Jones (#78/6-6/320/5.29) at Penn State DEs Jack Crawford (#81/6-5/273/4.79)/ Eric Latimore (#56/6-5/277/4.86)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Rice DE Scott Solomon (#35/6-3/270/4.79) at Northwestern LT Al Netter (#75/6-4/310/5.26)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Texas DT Kheeston Randall (#91/6-5/305/5.07) at Missouri C Jayson Palmgren (#71/6-2/305/5.30)
Texas LG David Snow (#78/6-4/295/5.28) at Missouri DTs Dominique Hamilton (#90/6-5/305/5.24)/*Sheldon Richardson (#34/6-3/290/4.86)/Terrell Resonno (#93/6-3/295/5.08)
12:00 pm, FX

Ohio State C Michael Brewster (#50/6-4/305/5.17) at Purdue DT *Kawann Short (#93/6-3/310/5.22)
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

West Virginia CB Keith Tandy (#8/5-10/199/4.54) at Cincinnati WR D.J. Woods (#3/6-0/182/4.49)
12:00 pm, ABC

Michigan State LG Joel Foreman (#67/6-4/315/5.43) at Iowa DT Mike Daniels (#93/6-0/280/4.84)
12:00 pm, ESPN2

North Carolina State WR T.J. Graham (#6/5-11/180/4.36) at Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher (#4/6-1/195/4.53)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

Duke LT Kyle Hill (#79/6-6/292/5.21) at Virginia DE/OLB Cam Johnson (#56/6-3/270/4.76)
Duke WR Donovan Varner (#26/5-8/175/4.53)/*Conner Vernon (#2/6-1/195/4.53) at Virginia Tech CB Chase Minnifield (#13/6-0/185/4.49)
3:00 pm, FSN

Michigan DE *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84) at Illinois OT Jeff Allen (#71/6-4/315/5.26)
Michigan WR Junior Hemingway (#21/6-1/222/4.54) at Illinois CB Tavon Wilson (#3/6-0/205/4.54)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Auburn LT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)/RT Brandon Mosley (#75/6-5/305/5.22) at Georgia DT DeAngelo Tyson (#94/6-2/306/5.02)
3:30 pm, CBS

Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu (#74/6-3/337/5.22) at Southern Cal C *Khaled Holmes (#78/6-3/310/5.17)
3:30 pm, FX

Miami DE Marcus Robinson (#56/6-1/255/4.63) at Florida State OT Zebrie Sanders (#77/6-5/307/5.25)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Texas A&M WRs Jeff Fuller (#8/6-3/220/4.52)/*Uzoma Nwachukwu (#7/6-0/195/4.42)/*Ryan Swope (#25/6-0/206/4.53) at Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58)
3:30 pm, ABC

Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

UCLA CB *Aaron Hester (#21/6-1/206/4.49) at Utah WR *DeVonte Christopher (#10/6-1/200/4.62)
6:30 pm, FCSC

Alabama WR Marquis Maze (#4/5-8/184/4.49) at Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks (#13/6-1/185/4.52)
7:45 pm, ESPN

Louisiana Tech DE Matt Broha (#91/6-4/255/4.87) at Ole Miss RT *Bobby Massie (#79/6-6/325/5.17)
7:30 pm, Comcast/ESPN3.com

Oregon CBs Anthony Gildon (#18/6-0/182/4.57)/*Cliff Harris (#13/5-11/168/4.49/if not suspended) at Stanford WR Griff Whalen (#17/6-0/187)
8:00 pm, ABC

Hawaii WR Royce Pollard (#81/6-0/175/4.62) at Nevada CB Isaiah Frey (#28/5-11/190/4.52)
10:15 pm, ESPNU


--Contributed by Senior Analyst Chad Reuter    Follow him on Twitter  @ChadReuter  

Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:45 am
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