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Tag:LSU
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:34 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:36 pm
 

Disappointing 40 times could hurt top receivers

Several of the more highly regarded wide receivers of the 2012 draft may see their stock slip after running signficantly slower than expected Sunday at the Scouting Combine. 

Baylor wideout Kendall Wright, who some regard as the draft's top talent at the position due to his ability to make the big play, clocked in at just 4.61 seconds, according to NFL.com. Wright had been projected to run in the 4.4s or better.

Wright was far from the only highly regarded receiver to produce a disappointing time in the 40-yard dash, however. LSU's Rueben Randle (4.55), Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu (4.67) and Arkansas' Joe Adams (4.55) also could force scouts to go back to the tape after running slower than anticipated.
   
These results come on the heels of a disappointing workout from NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated receiver, Oklahoma State junior Justin Blackmon. Blackmon elected not to run at the Combine citing a tight hamstring. He did perform in the positional drills, however, but appeared hesitant to run and cut with the aggression that characterized his spectacular career with the Cowboys.  

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm
 

Panthers plan private visit with LSU DT Brockers

Typically NFL teams wait until after the Combine and Pro Day workouts to schedule private visits with potential draft picks.

The Carolina Panthers, however, have already invited LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers to visit their facility March 8, according to the redshirt sophomore's agent.

Albert Elias of Elias Sports Management announced the proposed meeting via his Twitter account.

Listed by LSU at 6-6, 306 pounds pounds, Brockers ranks among the elite talents in what has shaped up to be a strong defensive tackle class. Brockers is currently second among defensive tackles on NFLDraftScout.com's board (behind Penn State's Devon Still) and is our No. 13 overall rated prospect. He's among six defensive tackles NFLDraftScout.com currently projects as potential first round prospects -- the highest total from any position in the 2012 draft. I'm even higher on Brockers than my peers, ranking him 10th overall on my Big Board.

The Panthers finished 25th in the NFL last season by allowing an average of 130.8 rushing yards per game. Worse, they finished 30th in the league by allowing 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2011. Clearly, improving their run defense will be a priority for Carolina. Dane Brugler and I certainly think the fit in Carolina would be a good one. Each of us currently project the Panthers to select Brockers with their first round pick.   

Starting all 13 games in 2011, Brockers registered 54 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss. Though he only posted two sacks in 2011, some scouts believe LSU's speedy edge rushers simply got to the quarterback before Brockers could and that he'll ultimately prove an effective interior pass rusher in the NFL. Brockers also registered three passes broken up, an interception, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal attempt by Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Brockers only emerged as a full-time starter for the Tigers this past season but teams are enamored with his upside. He shows surprising flexibility for a man of his size, proving able to push interior linemen back with good power and pad level. Brockers, who signed with LSU as a very highly regarded defensive prospect, is a good athlete capable of chasing down ball-carriers. He is also blessed with long arms which help him break free from blocks quickly and present obstacles that quarterbacks and kickers have to avoid with the football. Scouts believe Brockers is just scratching the surface of his potential as he became increasingly effective as the season went on and was arguably the best player on the field in the national championship game.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:45 pm
 

LSU DT Brockers joining Claiborne, Shepard in NFL

Earlier today the LSU Tigers announced that junior cornerback Morris Claiborne would be heading off to the NFL.

A little later, another junior -- wideout Russell Shepard -- made the surprising decision to join him.

Les Miles' chances at the Tigers winning the SEC again in 2012 was made significantly more difficult with the news that yet another LSU player is finishing his collegiate career early and heading off to the pros.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Michael Brockers is also making the jump. He told the assembled media during his press conference Thursday that he'd received feedback that he'd be a late first round to early second round pick.

"I heard my progression and my physical build would put me high in the draft," Brockers said. "You only get this opportunity once, so I wanted to take advantage of it."

"I was focused on winning a national championship," Brockers said. "After the game was over, we lost and it was a nasty taste in my mouth, but I can move on from that and focus on the future…It was a family decision. We came together and we thought about the pros and cons about every situation. We just thought about every detail and this is the conclusion we came up with."

Brockers signed with LSU as a 250 pound defensive end. He's grown into a 6-6, 306 pound monster for the Tigers and earned Second Team All-SEC pick in 2011, recording 54 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and blocked a field goal against Alabama in Monday's BCS Championship loss.

Brockers' strength and length make him an ideal candidate to return to defensive end for a 3-4 club. His power, quickness and growing frame are sure to intrigue 4-3 teams, as well. It is this versatility and Brockers' obvious upside that had him rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 defensive tackle in the class of 2014. Though he'll be joining a talented group of defensive linemen in the 2012 draft and certainly could have improved his stock with two more years of collegiate eligibility, don't think NFL scouts will mourn his decision to enter the league early. Brockers, after all, was as impressive as any LSU Tiger in the BCS Championship game (seven tackles, tackle for loss, blocked kick) and appears to be just scratching the surface of his significant potential.
Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:58 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Virginia Tech loses cornerback Hosley to NFL

A year after leading the NCAA with nine interceptions, Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley is taking his ball-hawking skills to the NFL.

Hosley made the announcement following Virginia Tech's overtime loss to Michigan Tuesday night in the Sugar Bowl. 

According to Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post, Hosley had hinted that Tuesday's game might be his last as a Hokie. When Hosley was given a second round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee it made his decision to leave early. 

"It's gonna be tough walking away but I got to do what I got to do, Hosley said. "I think I handled my business pretty well."

After his nation-leading nine interceptions in 2010, the 5-10, 172 pound Hosley struggled with injuries a bit this year. He was limited by a hamstring injury and suffered a concussion in the ACC Championship game. Despite the injuries and opponents often ignoring his side of the field, Hosley still led the Hokies with three interceptions this season and nearly had two more against Michigan's Denard Robinson last night. 

On the first play it was initially ruled that Hosley intercepted the pass. After looking at the replay, however, the play was overturned and Michigan was rewarded the ball. Later, Hosley did snatch a high pass from Robinson for an interception. He was flagged for pass interference on the play, however, negating the pick. 

Hosley has terrific quickness, speed and ball skills. His lack of size, however, is certainly a detriment. Recognizing this, Hosley was more aggressive this season in run support, registering a career-high 59 tackles. 

Hosley was given a late first round, early second round grade by NFLDraftScout.com prior to news of his early departure from Virginia Tech. He was rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 underclassmen cornerback, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:54 am
 

Five Prospects to Watch -- Championship Weekend

Each weekend 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 Case Keenum, Houston: Considering that the Houston Cougars are the only other FBS team other than No. 1 ranked LSU to have finished the regular season undefeated, I understand the pressure to rank them highly. That said, there are a host of teams currently ranked inside the top 20 that I'd pick to beat Houston, currently ranked No. 6. The biggest reason for Houston's success this season has been the stellar play of Keenum and this explosive offense. At 6-1, 210 pounds Keenum lacks prototypical size for the NFL and scouts question whether his arm strength and accuracy is exaggerated in an offense that relies so much on timing and short to intermediate routes. Keenum has faced one defense this season that ranks in the top 50 in stopping the pass, so his NCAA-leading 4,726 yards may be a mirage -- at least when it comes to the NFL. Still, his production and toughness are undeniable. A strong performance against an athletic and physical Southern Miss defense could help Keenum get an opportunity in a big-time all-star game. This game begins at noon ET and will be televised by ABC.

QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor*:  The fact that RGIII has shot up to No. 15 in my latest Big Board tells you that I am on board with his projection to the NFL. That said, Griffin will be facing a tough test against the Longhorns, who boast the top pass defense in the Big 12. Texas put a damper on Texas A&M Ryan Tannehill's stock last week. Can they do the same to Griffin this time? The matchup is especially interesting considering that Griffin may still be feeling some of the lingering effects of a concussion suffered last week against Texas Tech. A big game here could vault Griffin even higher up scouts' draft boards and make him an obvious finalist for the Heisman Trophy. This game begins at 3:30 pm ET and will be broadcast by ABC.

TE Orson Charles, Georgia*: At 6-3, 242 pounds Charles doesn't possess the traditional size scouts are looking for at tight end. However, his agility, speed and reliable hands make him one of the country's most dangerous receivers at the position and he's a much stouter blocker than you might expect. I've ranked him as the top tight end in the country for much of the season, though strong play by Stanford senior Coby Fleener and a couple of other underclassmen make the position one of the year's most competitive. LSU is in the position they are largely due to their extraordinary collection of talent in their defensive backfield. They haven't faced many combinations of quarterback (Aaron Murray) and receiver talent as what Georgia brings. If Georgia is to pull off the upset, Charles will have to have a strong game. This game begins at 4:00 pm ET and will be televised by CBS. 

DE Andre Branch, Clemson: At 6-4, 270 pounds Branch has the size to remain at defensive end in the NFL, but what could really boost his stock is the fact that he appears to have the athleticism to translate to 3-4 outside linebacker, as well. Branch's teammate, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, has generated most of the hype this season, but it is Branch who has enjoyed the better year. Branch leads the ACC in both tackles for loss (16) and sacks (10.5). He'll be facing an exciting young quarterback in Logan Thomas, who at 6-6, 254 pounds is nearly as big as Branch and also athletic enough to avoid him. A strong game by Branch in this game and I'll have a tough time continuing to keep him out of my top 32. This game begins at 8:00 pm ET and will be televised by ESPN. 

DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State*:  Due to Michigan State's improbable comeback Hail Mary victory against Wisconsin earlier in the year, this game is one of the most intriguing of Championship Weekend. Despite the fact that Worthy enjoyed a solid performance in Round One (three tackles, including a tackle for loss), he wasn't dominant. Two factors may make him considerably more so in the rematch. For one, Worthy will be fortified by the return of sophomore defensive end William Gholston, who was suspended for the first game against Wisconsin. Secondly, Worthy likely won't have to play against Peter Konz, the Badgers' center who isn't expected to play due to an ankle injury. Worthy has first round talent, but his inconsistency troubles me. If he isn't a factor throughout this game, the junior could slip out of my top 32 prospects. This game begins at 8:17 pm ET and will be televised by FOX.


Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:35 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Conference Championship Week

This weekend's slate of college football games brings more quality than quantity, as conference championship games limit the number of potential match-ups for the final edition of "Mano-a-Mano."

There are still plenty of individual battles for scouts to watch -- they're just all occurring in a few contests. That's why the ACC, SEC, Big 10 championship games, as well as the de facto Big 12 CG in Stillwater Saturday night, dominate this week's list.

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. Oklahoma CB *Demontre Hurst (#6/5-9/182/4.46)/Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54) at Oklahoma State WR *Justin Blackmon (#81/6-1/215/4.54)
8:00 pm, ABC

The Sooners' pass defense needs to live up to its potential against the Cowboys' wide-open attack led by Blackmon and senior QB Brandon Weeden (#3/6-4/218/4.92). Hurst and Fleming are willing to challenge receivers like Blackmon at the line of scrimmage, but they will probably play off more often than not to try and stay with him on deep routes. They'll also need to close on crosses when in man, though, which is easier said than done. Look for Weeden to make a quick throw if his All-American receiver gets a lot of cushion, and for the 28 year-old signal caller to test the Sooners' corners ability to play the jump ball against the taller Blackmon in the end zone. Weeden need only ask Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill, who threw three interceptions and had five passes broken up by the Sooners' secondary four weeks ago, about Hurst and Fleming's ability to take away receivers on the outside.

2. Georgia CB Brandon Boykin (#2/5-10/183/4.44)/*Branden Smith (#1/5-11/176/4.39) vs. LSU WR *Rueben Randle (#2/6-3/208/4.57)
4:00 pm, CBS

The top-ranked Tigers are far down the list among FBS schools in passing offense (#100), but that doesn't mean they are bereft of receiver talent. Randle has had four 100-yard games this season, including his nine catch, 134-yard effort against Arkansas last weekend. He wouldn't beat Boykin or Smith in a foot race, but his crisp routes and superior size could allow him to separate downfield if the corners get too aggressive jumping short patterns. Georgia's small but tough defenders could make plays, however, if LSU QB Jordan Jefferson stares down Randle or fellow junior Russell Shepard as his first read. The time they've been given on offense (Boykin at WR, Smith RB) and Boykin's return ability also shows they can break off big runs (or score) after the interception.

3. Wisconsin RG Kevin Zeitler (#70/6-4/318/5.26)/C *Peter Konz (#66/6-5/315/5.16) vs. Michigan DT *Jerel Worthy (#99/6-3/310/5.04)
8:00 pm, FOX

Worthy started off the teams' October matchup hot, penetrating through graps to blow up plays, but wasn't much of a factor as the game wore on as the strong top 75 value Zeitler, potential first round pick Konz and stout future pro redshirt sophomore LG Travis Frederick kept him under control. If Konz can't go because of his high ankle sprain, then Frederick slides to center again and another redshirt sophomore, Ryan Groy, steps in to take on Worthy. The junior defensive tackle flashes great talent, but if he is unable to make plays in the backfield due to average flexibility and lacks the stamina to chase ball-carriers in the fourth quarter, teams will not grade him as a first-round prospect.

4. Clemson CB Coty Sensabaugh (#15/6-0/185/4.56) vs. Virginia Tech WR Jarrett Boykin (#81/6-2/218/4.64)/Danny Coale (#19/6-0/200/4.43)
8:00 pm, ESPN

Tech mostly relies on ACC Player of the Year RB David Wilson (a probable top 50 pick if he declares as a junior) but 6-foot-6 athletic redshirt sophomore Logan Thomas has the arm to move the ball through the air to Boykin, Coale, and other young receivers. Sensabaugh is another lean, tough Clemson corner in the mold of Crezdon Butler; he'll challenge the bigger Boykin while they run down the sideline and is a secure enough tackler to bring down Coale in the intermediate zone.

5. Georgia OLB *Jarvis Jones (#29/6-2/247/4.74) vs. LSU *Chris Faulk (#76/6-6/325)/*Alex Hurst (#72/6-6/340/5.22)
4:00 pm, CBS

The SEC title game doesn't necessarily have a ton of senior prospects like the other conference battles on Saturday night, but a few underclassmen will enter this year's draft or their performance in this game will influence teams' thoughts about them going into next season. Jones is a USC transfer who is displaying the playmaking chops (ranks in the top ten nationally with 19.5 TFL, 13.5 sacks) to earn top 40 grades as a redshirt sophomore. Both LSU tackles also have pro aspirations, however, with Faulk and Hurst both mountain-men on the edges but sometimes lacking the lateral agility and recovery speed to handle elite rushers like Jones -- who will likely line up on both sides of the line in this game to use his closing speed and hustle to chase QB Jordan Jefferson. If Jones proves himself able to get off blocks to stop runs outside, scouts will like his skill set even more.

6. Wisconsin WR Nick Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52) vs. Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams (#5/5-11/175/4.42)/FS Trenton Robinson (#39/5-10/195/4.46)
8:00 pm, Fox

Adams and Robinson, along with sophomore Isaiah Lewis, shut down Toon fairly well in the teams' first game. The son of 1985 first round pick Al Toon only connected with Russell Wilson twice for 58 yards in East Lansing, and Robinson intercepted a pass that went over the senior receiver's head down the middle because he hadn't turned his head to see Wilson's throw. Adams' aggressive nature makes him susceptible to the big play, however, and Toon capable of getting inside his man to take the skinny or post for a touchdown -- so Robinson will need to use his corner-like speed and ball skills again to ensure Wilson-to-Toon isn't a deadly combination.

7. Clemson DEs Andre Branch (#40/6-4/260/4.77)/*Malliciah Goodman (#97/6-4/278/4.67) vs. Virginia Tech LT Andrew Lanier (#72/6-5/306/4.87)/RT Blake DeChristopher (#62/6-4/312/5.10)
8:00 pm, ESPN

DeChristopher earned the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy for his work on the right side this season. The four-year starter joins Lanier in facing NFL-caliber defensive ends including Branch and Goodman. Branch does not turn the corner as fluidly as scouts would like, but he anchors against the run to keep David Wilson from getting the sideline -- something Goodman will also have to do consistently to funnel plays to the Hokies' linebackers and prevent DeChristopher from sealing the edge for his junior running back. Branch may also work in space a bit, as well as rush QB Logan Thomas from a stand-up position; he's shown enough of these things in recent weeks to intrigue scouts looking at him as 3-4 linebacker.

8. Georgia LT Cordy Glenn (#71/6-5/348/5.28) vs. LSU DE Kendrick Adams (#94/6-5/255/4.87)
4:00 pm, CBS

Glenn moved from left guard to left tackle for this season and after a slow start has settled into the position. His bend and lateral movement have been questioned by scouts, however, and those aspects of his game will be challenged by Adams and the Tigers' sophomore studs Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery -- both of whom have eight sacks this season. Adams does not have the elite speed of Mingo and is not as athletic as Montgomery, but could earn respect from NFL teams by beating Glenn and senior RT Justin Anderson (#79/6-5/342/5.36) off the edge with his workmanlike effort.

9. Clemson DT Brandon Thompson (#98/6-2/310/5.04)/Rennie Moore (#94/6-3/268/4.83) vs. Virginia Tech RG Jaymes Brooks (#68/6-2/308/5.05)/LG Greg Nosal (#75/6-5/298/5.27)
8:00 pm, ESPN

Clemson not only presents problems for offensive lines on the edge with Branch and Goodman, but also inside with Thompson and Moore. Thompson is a wide-body nose guard with active hands and quick feet for his size. He doesn't make plays in the backfield as regularly as the kniving Moore, whose relatively slight frame belies his toughness inside. But the stout Brooks and athletic Nosal match up well vs. Thompson and Moore. Brooks also has nice mobility to go along with his squat build, giving him the versatility to earn high grades from NFL teams using different types of blocking schemes.

10. Wisconsin CB Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49)/*Marcus Cromartie (#14/6-0/182/4.52) vs. Michigan State WR Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44)/B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59)
8:00 pm, Fox

Fenelus and Cromartie limited the elusive Martin to just 41 yards on five receptions in their first match-up, as both have the speed and tackling ability to wrestle him down or take him out of bounds before he gets a head of steam. Cunningham caught six balls for 107 yards and a score in October, with a 35-yard score that he actually caught among linebackers inside before turning on the jets to run the last 25 yards into the end zone. And Martin's biggest play was actually a 34-yard touchdown run on a double-reverse. So not only will Fenelus and Cromartie need to play well to contain these two receivers, but all 11 Wisconsin defenders.

Honorable mention

Iowa State WR Darius Reynolds (#7/6-1/208/4.54) at Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58)
12:30 pm, FSN

Wyoming DE Gabe Knapton (#52/6-3/252/4.79) at Colorado State OT Paul Madsen (#76/6-4/310/5.26)
2:00 pm, Mountain

UNLV WR Phillip Payne (#4/6-3/205/4.62) at TCU CB Greg McCoy (#7/5-10/182/4.43)
2:30 pm, Versus

Texas LG David Snow (#78/6-4/295/5.28) at Baylor DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (#90/6-2/335/5.06)
3:30 pm, ABC

Wisconsin DT Patrick Butrym (#95/6-3/285/5.14) vs. Michigan State LG Joel Foreman (#67/6-4/315/5.43)
8:00 pm, Fox

Fresno State WR Devon Wylie (#7/5-10/185/4.38) at San Diego State CB Larry Parker (#29/5-11/170)
Fresno State OT Bryce Harris (#70/6-6/300/5.27) at San Diego State OLB Miles Burris (#9/6-2/235/4.73)
8:00 pm, CBS Sports Network


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

Posted on: November 5, 2011 11:43 am
 

Mano-a-mano, Week Ten

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. LSU Back Seven at Alabama RB *Trent Richardson (#3/5-11/224/4.52)
8:00 pm, CBS

If the talented Alabama offensive line and LSU defensive line negate each other in the run game on Saturday night, this year's "Game of the Millenium" could be determined by whether Heisman hopeful Richardson can defeat Tigers' linebackers at the second level. Thick weak side 'backer Ryan Baker (#22/6-0/236/4.77), fast Sam LB Stefoin Francois (#23/6-1/223/4.58), and inside guys former strong safety Karnell Hatcher (#37/6-1/223/4.64) and solid sophomore Kevin Minter, must keep their feet and wrap securely if they want to bring down Richardson before he turns a three-yard plow into a 10 or 20-yard gain. But let's face it -- few college defenders can chop down Richardson on first contact because of his thick frame, natural aggression and constantly-churning legs. That means the Tigers must swarm to the ball, with strong safety Brandon Taylor (#18/5-11/195/4.57), sophomores nickel corner Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu and leading tackler free safety Eric Reid helping out the linebackers to stop the Alabama run game.

2. North Carolina Defensive Ends Quinton Coples (#90/6-6/285/4.76)/*Donte Paige-Moss (#98/6-4/260/4.67) at North Carolina State OT *R.J. Mattes (#79/6-6/305/5.19)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

North Carolina's defensive line is among the deepest -- and hyped -- in the country. Coples has the size/length to start on three or four-man fronts in the NFL, while Paige-Moss has the size and athleticism that made former Tar Heels DE Robert Quinn a top 15 pick last April. They've combined for just 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in nine games (7.5, 4.5 for Coples), however, after putting up 29 and 17 (15.5, 10 for Coples) last season. Facing an All-ACC candidate in Mattes is not an easy way to increase that production; the redshirt junior left tackle is looking to prove his overall athleticism to scouts after showing strength and tenacity while starting at right guard and right tackle in his first two seasons on the field (though a torn ACL cost him the last four games of 2009).

3. Texas A&M CBs Coryell Judie (#5/5-11/190/4.48)/Terrence Frederick (#7/5-10/187/4.52) at Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles (#85/5-10/188/4.52)Texas A&M WRs Jeff Fuller (#8/6-3/220/4.52)/*Uzoma Nwachukwu (#7/6-0/195/4.42) at Oklahoma CBs Jamell Fleming (#32/5-11/192/4.54)/*Demontre Hurst (#6/5-9/182/4.46)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

This week's version of "Luck vs. Barkley" is A&M's athletic and strong-armed QB Ryan Tannehill (#17/6-4/222/4.65) against Oklahoma's junior pocket passer QB Landry Jones (#12/6-4/230/4.74). Scouts for teams needing a quarterback could use this game as a tie-breaker of sorts for the second or third spot in their rankings.

But NFL teams with a young passer already on the roster will be checking out this game, as well,since both Big 12 squads have legitimate NFL prospects at cornerback and receiver. Judie's hamstring has been a problem this year, and he'll need to be healthy to handle Broyles' crisp routes and elusiveness after the catch. The NCAA's all-time leader in receptions will also face stiff competition from Frederick, an ascending talent who gives no quarter to receivers of any size. When Tannehill is leading A&M's offense, he'll look for Fuller to use his size advantage and Nwachukwu his speed against Sooners corners Fleming and Hurst -- both of whom can take advantage of sideline and comeback throws Tannehill leaves too far inside.

4. South Carolina CB *Stephon Gilmore (#5/6-1/193/4.52) at Arkansas Receivers
7:15 pm, ESPN

Gilmore will be able to show NFL teams all of his skills no matter which of the Razorbacks' gaggle of receivers he may be facing Saturday night. He has the size and attitude to handle big receivers junior Cobi Hamilton (#11/6-3/209/4.57) and Greg Childs (#85/6-3/217/4.56) -- who has struggled coming back from last season's knee injury -- at the line of scrimmage or down the sideline. But scouts will be more interested to see if Gilmore can also handle the straight-line speed and quickness Jarius Wright (#4/5-10/180/4.34) and Joe Adams (#3/5-11/190/4.38) if in trail coverage or trying to chase them down after the catch in zone.

5. Missouri Defensive Tackle at Baylor C Philip Blake (#74/6-2/320/5.26)
7:00 pm, FSN

Danny Watkins took a circuitous route to NFL first round draft status, growing up in Canada, playing his first football in junior college before starting at left tackle for Baylor. Blake won't be selected that high and has played football for some time, but was also born in Canada and is advanced in age for a future rookie (Watkins turns 27 years old Sunday, Blake turns 26 later this month). He'll need to use his wide body and long arms to handle Missouri's trio of pro DT prospects: long and strong Dominique Hamilton (#90/6-5/305/5.24), athletic junior Sheldon Richardson (#34/6-3/290/4.86) and active DT Terrell Resonno (#93/6-3/295/5.08). The Bears have another big body up front, RG Robert T. Griffin (#79/6-6/330/5.38), who protects the team's athletic playmaking quarterback Robert Griffin III (who was actually born in Japan, where his father served for the U.S. Military). And no, that's not a typo -- the mammoth guard and unrelated 6-2, 220 pound quarterback have the same name.

6. Oregon Cornerbacks at Washington WR Jermaine Kearse (#15/6-1/208/4.50)
10:30 pm, FSN

The Huskies are one of college football's best stories that doesn't get talked about nearly enough. Washington fans can tell you that Kearse isn't the most consistent receiver in terms of his hands or physicality, but is a threat down the sideline to elude defenders after the catch when his game is on. Oregon's secondary has scoured by scouts for prospects over the years, but the 2011 group is a bit different. Three of the top four cornerbacks on the depth chart for this game are freshmen, and senior CB Anthony Gildon (#18/6-0/182/4.57) is erratic in his discipline outside. The wild card is junior CB Cliff Harris (#13/5-11/168/4.49), who packs a punch in press coverage that belies his wiry build, and also has the ball skills to knock away or intercept passes and had four punt returns for TDs in 2010. He may not play in this game, however, if unable to get out of head coach Chip Kelly's dog house because of an excessive speeding citation this summer and another traffic stop two weeks ago.

7. Michigan DEs *Craig Roh (#88/6-4/269/4.76)/Ryan Van Bergen (#53/6-6/288/4.84) at Iowa OTs *Riley Reiff (#77/6-6/300/4.94)/Markus Zusevics (#56/6-5/300/5.08)
12:00 pm, ESPN

Even though the Hawkeyes are coming off a brutal loss to Minnesota and the Maize-and-Blue is on top of the Legends Division of the Big Ten, Iowa still has games against the three teams tied atop the division in the Wolverines, Michigan State and Nebraska. To win any of those games, including Saturday's match-up, the team's two tackles must protect junior QB James Vanderberg. Reiff will face Roh (pronounced Row) on the weak side of the line on most plays; the more athletic pair should have good battles as Reiff tries to cut off Roh trying to use his length to turn the corner and anchors against the junior's relentless aggression. Van Bergen won't test the lateral movement of Zusevics (ZOOZ-uh-vicks) as much as the two-year starter's ability to hold his ground as the high-motor end attempts to push him into the pocket  a part of the somewhat lean right tackle's game in which he does not always excel. Both tackles will also have to seal their men inside or outside in order for bruising sophomore RB Marcus Coker (252 yards vs. Minnesota last week) to move the ball against an improved Michigan defense (ranks 35th in the FBS in total defense, ranked 110th after the 2010 season).

8. Purdue DT *Kawann Short (#93/6-3/310/5.22) at Wisconsin Interior Offensive Line
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Short was the Big 10 Co-Defensive Player of the Week against Illinois two weeks ago (3.5 TFL, 2 sacks), and played well in a loss to Michigan going up against senior center David Molk. This weekend, however, he really gets a chance to show NFL scouts he is a legitimate top 75 pick by taking on future pro starters junior C Peter Konz (#66/6-5/315/5.16), RG Kevin Zeitler (#70/6-4/318/5.26) and redshirt sophomore LG Travis Frederick (#72/6-4/330/5.27). Michigan State's Jerel Worthy found a bit of success against this group a couple of weeks ago, but was also redirected out of plays when unable to use his hands to disengage. Short will have to be more consistently quick off the snap to pressure QB Russell Wilson and agile/strong enough to maintain his gap discipline against the Wisconsin running game to be considered an elite prospect this year or next.

9. Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (#3/6-3/224/4.54) at Wake Forest CB *Kenny Okoro (#6/6-0/190/4.49)
8:00 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Floyd's talents are well-known, as he's used his NFL size and strong hands to rank in the top 20 nationally in receptions and receiving yards per game. The Irish have not always fed him as often as they should, as Pittsburgh and USC kept him under 30 yards on four catches. Okoro's an under-the-radar talent at corner with good size, speed and aggressiveness for the position. A big game against Floyd could draw the notice of scouts looking forward to the 2013 draft.

10. Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54) at Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams (#5/5-11/175/4.42)- Junior
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

McKnight has been an underappreciated talent playing for a lowly Gophers squad, but last week's big win over Iowa gave him and junior QB MarQueis Gray (#5/6-4/240/4.56) a bit of a boost with scouts. Adams' competitive nature allows him to test McKnight's ability to get off press coverage and separate from/make plays against NFL-caliber corners downfield. In a deep senior receiver class, Minnesota's leading pass-catcher needs to have a big game against a good corner like Adams to get drafted come April.

Honorable Mention:

Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward (#19/5-11/188/4.53) at Florida WR Deonte Thompson (#6/5-11/200/4.44)
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

Virginia WR Kris Burd (#18/6-0/200/4.53) at Maryland CB Cameron Chism (#22/5-10/190/4.52)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

Wyoming CB Tashuan Gipson (#4/6-0/203/4.57) at TCU WRs Antoine Hicks (#13/6-2/212/4.57)/*Josh Boyce (5-11/203/4.54)
2:00 pm, MTN

Northwestern LT Al Netter (#75/6-4/310/5.26) at Nebraska DE *Cameron Meredith (#34/6-4/260/4.79)- Junior
3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

Cincinnati WR WR D.J. Woods (#3/6-0/182/4.49) at Pittsburgh CB Antwuan Reed (#22/5-10/190/4.54)
Cincinnati LT Alex Hoffman (#59/6-6/298/5.28) at Pittsburgh DE Brandon Lindsey (#7/6-2/250/4.68)
7:00 pm, ESPNU

Houston OLB Sammy Brown (#8/6-2/240/4.67) at UAB LT Matt McCants (#71/6-6/295/5.26)
7:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

Arizona State DE Jamaar Jarrett (#92/6-5/262/4.90) at UCLA RT Mike Harris (#65/6-5/326/5.32)
Arizona State WRs Gerell Robinson (#8/6-3/222/4.58)/Mike Willie (#1/6-2/212/4.59) at UCLA CB *Aaron Hester (#21/6-1/206/4.49)
7:30 pm, Versus

Kansas State CB David Garrett (#27/5-8/175/4.58) at Oklahoma State WR *Justin Blackmon (#81/6-1/215/4.54)
8:00 pm, ABC/ESPN2

LSU CB *Morris Claiborne (#17/6-0/185/4.45) at Alabama WR Marquis Maze (#4/5-8/184/4.49)
LSU WR *Rueben Randle (#2/6-3/208/4.57) at Alabama CB *Dre Kirkpatrick (#21/6-2/192/4.49)
LSU RT *Alex Hurst (#72/6-6/340/5.22) at Alabama DE/OLB *Dont'a Hightower (#30/6-4/260/4.74)
8:00 pm, CBS

Louisiana Tech CB Terry Carter (#28/5-10/190/4.43) at Fresno State WR Devon Wylie (#7/5-10/185/4.38)
10:30 pm, ESPNU

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

Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:13 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 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.

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