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: I've stubbornly kept Tannehill among my Top 32 prospects because he possesses all of the physical characteristics I look for in a developmental quarterback -- namely size, arm strength, accuracy, mobility and toughness. Though few of the Aggies' second-half collapses this season can be directly attributed to poor play from Tannehill, the fact that he is the quarterback -- and presumably the leader -- of a team that has gone through such rough stretches is concerning. Last year Tannehill enjoyed a bit of a breakout performance against the Sooners. The Aggies certainly won't catch the Sooners napping this time around. If Tannehill can demonstrate the mental toughness to go into Norman and beat the Sooners, he'll exorcise plenty of the demons haunting his game this season. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised by ABC.
CB Quenton Washington, South Florida: I typically highlight Top 100 prospects in this Prospects to Watch post, but I've seen enough of Washington to view him as a sleeper who could surprise at the next level. Washington has been hampered by a knee injury this season, but has demonstrated the speed and burst to the ball that every team is looking for. He'll have his toughest challenge of the season this week against Rutgers' junior Mohammed Sanu, one of the elite wideouts in the country. This is the type of contest that Washington will have to perform well in if he is to have any chance at improving his stock during the regular season. This game begins at 7 pm ET and will be broadcast by ESPN3.
WR Joe Adams, Arkansas: NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks Adams as a 5th-6th round pick, but this is largely based off of preseason tape in which Greg Childs appeared to be the Razorbacks' elite wideout. With Childs nursing a sore knee throughout much of this season, Adams has emerged as the team's playmaker. At 5-11, 190 pounds, some have compared Adams to former Florida Gator standout Percy Harvin due to each player's extraordinary agility and 4.3 speed. Adams will have a tough test Saturday against a talented South Carolina secondary. Should his strong senior campaign continue, he could be looking at a Top 100 pick -- or perhaps even significantly higher than that... This game begins at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN.
TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA: NFL teams are looking at the second consecutive weak senior crop of tight ends, which could convince a few underclassmen to consider leaving early. One of them who might is Bruins' junior Fauria, the nephew of former NFL tight end Christian Fauria. Like his uncle, Joseph is an athletic pass-catcher. He also possesses rare size (6-8, 252). I expect most of the television hype to focus on ASU's talented underclassmen, but don't forget about Fauria. The last time the Bruins featured a tight end with this combination of size and receiving skills, the Jaguars made Marcedes Lewis a first round pick. This game begins at 7:30 pm ET and will be televised by Versus.
CB 'Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama: Simply put, this is the biggest regular season game in recent memory. As such, there has been more analysis of this game than some BCS Championship showdowns of the past. While there are plenty of prospects to focus on in this contest, I believe the ultimate winner of the this game will come down to which star performs better in one key matchup -- Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick againt LSU wideout Rueben Randle. The Tigers will likely struggle to run the ball on Alabama, considering their size and experience up front and the hostile environment. The one area in which LSU might be able to hurt the Crimson Tide is with a big play in the passing game. Kirkpatrick has a great deal of talent, but can get caught peeking in the backfield. If he has the game I think he can, Alabama rolls. This game begins at 8:00 ET and will be televised by CBS.