Tag:Missouri
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Texas RB Whitaker tears up knee; NCAA career over

The 2011 season has been the second consecutive rough one for Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns.

Unfortunately, one of the team's few bright spots this season has now been lost, as well.

Senior running back Fozzy Whitaker tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee during the Longhorns' 17-5 loss to Missouri, Saturday.

The injury and subsequent surgery to repair the ligaments will officially end the NCAA career for Whitaker.

The 5-10, 202 pound Whitaker had struggled with injuries throughout much of his career at Texas. When healthy, however, he had demonstrated the lateral agility and straight-line speed that every NFL scout is looking for in a running back and kick returner.

Though his senior season was cut short, Whitaker may have already shown enough to intrigue scouts. He posted 955 all-purpose yards this season for the Longhorns and led the team with nine rushing touchdowns. He showed an ability to make big plays at critical moments for Texas, including returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and achieving the same feat the week after against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. No player in Texas history had previously scored on 100 yard+ kickoff returns in consecutive games.

Largely due to Whitaker's durability questions, he is currently rated as the No. 23 running back in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
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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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: October 21, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Eight

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. Wisconsin Interior OL at Michigan State DT *Jerel Worthy
8:00 pm, ESPN

It is not surprising that a Big Ten conference battle features some of the top offensive line prospects in the country. Worthy (#99/6-3/310/5.04) has the initial quickness and power to earn first round grades should be enter the draft early, but he'll have a tough time beating Badgers' mobile but strong junior center Peter Konz (#66/6-5/315/5.16), tough RG Kevin Zeitler (#70/6-4/318/5.26), and stout redshirt sophomore LG Travis Frederick (6-4/330/5.27). If he manages to get through that near half-ton wall of future NFL linemen off the snap with consistent hand usage, and proves capable of chasing down Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson or junior RB Montee Ball outside the box, his draft stock will spike.

2. Wisconsin WR Nick Toon at Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams
8:00 pm, ESPN

This prime-time affair also features some very good match-ups on the outside, with a potential first round pick in Toon (#1/6-2/220/4.52) taking on Adams (#5/5-11/175/4.42) when the Badgers have the ball. Toon missed last week's blowout of Indiana with a foot injury, but is expected to be healthy enough to run by and shield Adams from the ball on vertical routes. Adams is not contact-shy, so look for him to challenge Toon on jump balls and 50/50 situations. He can't peek into the backfield, though, because of Wilson's ability to find Toon downfield on bootlegs off stretch plays to the left.

Don't change the channel when likely top 75 pick MSU QB Kirk Cousins is throwing the ball around, either. He'll look for thick WR B.J. Cunningham (#3/6-2/216/4.59) and quick, elusive Keshawn Martin (#82/5-10/190/4.44) and try to avoid Wisconsin's diminutive-but feisty Antonio Fenelus (#26/5-8/190/4.49) and junior Marcus Cromartie (#14/6-0/182/4.52). Cunningham and Martin troubles holding onto the ball in the wind last week vs. Michigan, so they'll need to do better to beat the Badgers.

3. Oklahoma State LT Levy Adcock at Missouri DE *Brad Madison
12:00 pm, FX

Adcock (#73/6-5/322/5.23) has successfully switched from right to left tackle, though his body type and movement will probably keep him on the strong side of the formation in the NFL. He faces yet another tough test, however, in Madison (#57/6-4/265/4.76), a junior pass rusher who plays with power but needs to impress scouts with hustle after his initial movement because Adcock is strong enough to withstand his bullish moves. OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden generally gets rid of the ball quickly but is not very mobile so Madison may have a chance to reach him if he uses his hands to disengage from Adcock.

4. Texas A&M Outside Linebackers vs. Iowa State LT Kelechi Osemele
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Massive Cylcones left tackle Osemele (#72/6-5/347/5.40) has the wide body and strong hands to take care of the Aggies' big five-techniques, but bigger challenges may come when needing to stop quick pass rushers in junior Sean Porter (#10/6-2/230/4.62) and budding star sophomore Damontre Moore coming off the edge. If Osemele (pronounced oh-sem-AH-lee) can latch onto Porter and Moore and escort them around the pocket, as well as sustain the block so they don't bring down quarterback Steele Jantz on secondary rushes, scouts may be forced to admit that he possesses more athleticism than they previously believed.

5. North Carolina DTs *Sylvester Williams/Tydreke Powell at Clemson RG Antoine McClain
12:00 pm, ESPN

The Tars' Heels talented defensive ends received most of the pub heading into the season, but Williams (#92/6-3/320/5.19) and Powell (#91/6-3/310/5.22) are trying to make their own names with their play. Williams is the more intriguing prospect, with his combination of size and agility sometimes stunning scouts. Powell was a highly-recruited prospect, but hasn't found the ball often enough to be a big playmaker. Both tackles will challenge the agility of McClain (#74/6-5/335/5.34), who can control defenders with long arms and strong hands but also overextend off the snap and be out-quicked in pass protection.

6. Utah OTs John Cullen/Tony Bergstrom at California DEs Ernest Owusu/Trevor Guyton
7:00 pm, Comcast Sports - Bay Area 

Utah's tackles aren't big names in the national college football consciousness, but scouts believe they will both contribute at the next level. Cullen (#77/6-4/300/5.23) mans the left side of the line and Bergstrom (#70/6-5/315/5.29) the right. Cal's two starting five-technique ends aren't as hyped as past first-round picks Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan, but Guyton (#92/6-3/280/4.86) packs a punch for Bergstrom to handle on the strong side while Owusu (#95/6-4/270/4.87) provides more of a combination of strength and quickness for which Cullen must prepare.

7. Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe vs. South Florida LG Jeremiah Warren
12:00 pm, SNY/MASN/ESPN3.com

Wolfe (#95/6-5/300/5.16) has been using his length and agility to swim past guards and centers with enough regularity to rank in the top ten in tackles for loss (12.5) and the top 20 in sacks (five). Warren (#55/6-3/330/5.34) may be his toughest opponent yet this year, however, because he is trying to prove to NFL folks that he is difficult to move yet still has enough athleticism to redirect Wolfe away from quarterback B.J. Daniels. Wolfe's challenge will be to hold his ground when Warren comes off the ball hard in the run game, as the team wants to ride junior Colorado transfer running back Darrell Scott as often as possible.

8. Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller at Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Neither Fuller (#8/6-3/220/4.52) nor Johnson (#23/5-10/202/4.49) has made as many plays as scouts expected they would when reviewing their junior tape over the summer. But Johnson has 20 tackles over the past two weeks and Fuller appeared a bit healthier (five catches for 71 yards) in the Aggies' win over Baylor last Saturday. Even though Johnson gives up height to Fuller on the outside, he can prove to scouts he can fight for 50/50 balls and wrestle down larger receivers after the catch. Fuller, on the other hand, must not only shed Johnson and show more agility and acceleration with the ball in his hands to be considered a second-round prospect.

9. Utah DE Derrick Shelby at California LT Mitchell Schwartz
7:00 pm, Comcast Sports - Bay Area

Shelby (#90/6-3/271/4.86) was the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after making seven tackles, 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fourth-quarter interception that he returned 21 yards for the game-clinching touchdown against Pitt last week. Schwartz (#72/6-5/318/5.36), however, is one of the most underappreciated tackles in this year's class due to his agility, length, and strength as a pass protector on the left side (whether left-handed junior Zach Maynard or righty sophomore Allan Bridgford is the quarterback).

10. Tulsa LT Tyler Holmes at Rice DE Scott Solomon
7:00 pm, FSN

Before the higher-profile USC-Notre Dame and Wisconsin-Michigan State games begin Saturday night, check out Rice's high-motor Solomon (#35/6-3/270/4.79) against All-Conference USA left tackle Holmes (#78/6-4/302/5.29). Neither has the size or athleticism to hear their names called in the first five rounds of the draft, but impressive performances in a game shown across the country could earn them an invitation to a January all-star game -- which gives them a chance to show their stuff in front of NFL scouts.

Honorable Mention 

Oklahoma State C Grant Garner (#74/6-2/292/5.36) at Missouri DT Dominique Hamilton (#90/6-5/305/5.24)
12:00 pm, FX

Arkansas DE Jake Bequette (#91/6-5/271/4.62) at Ole Miss RT *Bobby Massie (#79/6-6/325/5.17
12:21 pm, SEC Network

Wake Forest CB *Kenny Okoro (#6/6-0/190/4.49) at Duke WRs Donovan Varner (#26/5-8/175/4.53), *Conner Vernon (#2/6-1/195/4.53)
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

North Carolina State WR T.J. Graham (#6/5-11/180/4.36) at Virginia CB Chase Minnifield (#13/6-0/185/4.49)
3:30 pm, ESPNU

Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard (#15/5-10/205/4.49) at Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight (#6/6-1/212/4.54)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Auburn OT A.J. Greene (#77/6-5/298/5.18)/ OT Brandon Mosley (#75/6-5/305/5.22) at LSU DE Kendrick Adams (#94/6-5/255/4.87)
3:30 pm, CBS

Texas A&M CBs Coryell Judie (#5/5-11/190/4.48), Terrence Frederick (#7/5-10/187/4.52) at Iowa State WR Darius Reynolds (#7/6-1/208/4.54)
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Penn State DE Jack Crawford (#81/6-5/273/4.79) at Northwestern LT Al Netter (#75/6-4/310/5.26)
7:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Tennessee DE/DT Malik Jackson (#97/6-5/270/4.82) at Alabama C William Vlachos (#73/6-1/295/5.25)
7:15 pm, ESPN2

USC DTs DaJohn Harris (#98/6-4/310/5.16) and Christian Tupou (#44/6-2/300/5.06) at Notre Dame RG Trevor Robinson (#78/6-5/312/5.27)
7:30 pm, NBC

Washington CB *Desmond Trufant (#6/6-0/185/4.49) at Stanford WR Chris Owusu (#81/6-0/200/4.48)/ WR Griff Whalen (#17/6-0/187)
8:00 pm, ABC

 

--Contributed by Senior Analyst Chad Reuter  Follow him on Twitter at @ChadReuter
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:16 am
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Seven

Mano-a-Mano, Week Seven

Although this week may not have a true blockbuster match-up, there are plenty of good scouting opportunities that NFL teams can use to evaluate potential draft picks.

If you want to see what scouts see, take a look at these memorable ten one-on-one 2012 NFL Draft prospect 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, 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.

South Carolina WR *Alshon Jeffery at Mississippi State CB *Johnthan Banks
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

NFL teams looking for a difference-making receiver in the top five of this year's draft are spending a lot of time evaluating Jeffery, who seems likely to enter the draft a season early. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Jeffery faces possibly his toughest task of the year when he lines up against Banks outside in Starkville. Banks has the height (listed at 6-1) and ball skills (11 interceptions in three years) to be competitive in jump-ball situations if aware enough to turn with Jeffery downfield. Jeffery does line up in the slot on occasion, so it will be interesting to see if MSU coaches shadow him with Banks or trust their other corners to make plays against the All-American candidate.

Miami LT *Brandon Washington at North Carolina Defensive Ends
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com

Miami's stud lineman has moved from guard to right tackle to left tackle this season, and so far has graded out well in each spot. He'll be facing three excellent UNC ends today, however, in top senior Quinton Coples, junior Donte Paige-Moss, and sophomore Kareem Martin. All three ends have NFL size and will get to quarterbacks and ballcarriers with strong hands or by running through unprepared linemen. Coples and Paige-Moss have only combined for 3.5 sacks this year, however, as they've not been able to consistently turn the corner to get to passers' blind sides. They will all have a tough task to beat the 6-foot-4, 320-pound (at least) Washington off the edge, as his size belies the agility that scouts love in their linemen.

Michigan C David Molk at Michigan State DT *Jerel Worthy
12:00 pm, ESPN

At 6-foot-2, 288 pounds, some NFL offensive coordinators will consider him too small to play in their system. But anchoring proficiently against Worthy in one-on-one situations, and showing scouts he has enough arm length to redirect the Spartans' three-technique outside the pocket or running lane can help his cause. Worthy, on the other hand, needs to prove to NFL general managers that he can win a hand battle at the line of scrimmage with a technically-sound pivot man like Molk.

Baylor WR Kendall Wright at Texas A&M CBs Coryell Judie/Terrence Frederick
12:00 pm, FX

The Bears do a nice job moving Wright, who ranks in the top four in the FBS in both receptions and receiving yards, around to get him the best match-up possible. A&M has two solid corners, however, in Judie and Frederick. Judie has similar size to Wright on the outside, and has the speed and hands to knock away passes thrown in their direction. Frederick typically plays inside, and he also is willing to mix it up with Wright down the field -- but he needs to prove he has the agility to stay with Baylor's star receiver.

Iowa State LT Kelechi Osemele at Missouri DEs *Brad Madison
2:00 pm, TBA

Osemele is a 6-foot-5, 350-pound behemoth at left tackle, but faces a strong challenge in hustling and strong junior Brad Madison. Madison caught the eyes of scouts last year while aiding Aldon Smith pass the rusher, but most of his production (six tackles for loss and three sacks) came against lesser competition. He'll need to step it up against Osemele, whose strong hands and long arms simply do not let go of his man once engaged. Missouri's other starting defensive end, Jacquies Smith, is not related to Aldon but his build is quite similar. Though not as explosive to the Niners' first round selection, Smith would also test Osemele's ability to hold the edge if moved to the weak side during the game.

Alabama Defensive Ends at Ole Miss OTs *Bobby Massie/Bradley Sowell
6:00 pm, ESPN2

The Crimson Tide have one of the deepest front lines in college football, and scouts are interested to see how two intriguing offensive tackle prospects in Sowell and Massie can handle the oncoming pressure. Sowell's svelte 6-foot-7 build gives him the length to handle rushers like 'Bama's versatile end/linebacker Courtney Upshaw, but he needs to prove he has the anchor and overall athleticism to stand up to bull rushes and take blitzers around the edge. Massie also has NFL size (6-6, 325) and length on the right side, but his agility will be tested with 'Bama bringing junior hybrid Dont'a Hightower after junior quarterback Randall Mackey.

Ohio State LT Mike Adams/RT J.B. Shugarts at Illinois DE *Whitney Mercilus
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Mercilus leads the country with 8.5 sacks, including three against Indiana last weekend. His job gets a bit tougher lining up across from Ohio State's pair of tackles, as long 6-foot-8 LT Mike Adams had a successful return from suspension against Nebraska and Shugarts is a battle-tested veteran on the right side. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mercilus isn't as fluid as many edge rushers, and Illini coaches will want him to contain Buckeyes' freshman quarterback Braxton Miller instead of opening running lanes. But even if he doesn't rack up sacks, disengaging from either OSU tackle to make plays against the run (or a scrambling Miller) will move Mercilus up draft boards across the NFL.

Utah OTs Joe Cullen/Tony Bergstrom at Pittsburgh DE/OLB Brandon Lindsey
12:00 pm, ESPNU 

New Pittsburgh head coach uses Lindsey as a defensive end in the 3-3-5 defense, which does not exactly show scouts what the 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior would do as an edge rusher at the next level. Rutgers prevented Lindsey from making a single tackle last week because he simply lacks the bulk to take on bigger linemen on an every-down basis from the five-technique spot. But he could redeem himself with a strong performance against two Utah tackles on NFL teams' radars by using his violent hands and closing speed outside. He'll most often line up against Bergstrom on the strong side, who has an athletic build for a right tackle but is both tough to run through and run around. Cullen is not the biggest left tackle but always seems to prevent rushers like Lindsey from turning the corner with strong footwork. Good reps vs. Lindsey in that role would help Cullen earn draftable grades from more teams.

Miami CB *Brandon McGee at North Carolina WR Dwight Jones
12:30 pm, ACC Network/ESPN3.com 

The Hurricanes will probably throw three or four different corners against Jones Saturday afternoon, but McGee has the potential to be a top prospect because of his fair size (6-0, 190) and sub 4.4-speed. Jones presents a tough ask for any of the 'Canes defensive backs, however, because while not possessing great speed, his NFL-sized body (6-4, 225), strong hands, and long strides on vertical routes make him difficult to stay with downfield. Louisville's smaller defenders discovered last week that he's also difficult to bring down once he makes the catch. UNC's highly-touted redshirt sophomore QB Bryn Renner can also find juniors Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd if Jones isn't available, however, so McGee and seniors Mike Williams and Lee Chambers won't be able to take a play off.

Oklahoma DE *Ronnell Lewis at Kansas RT *Tanner Hawkinson
9:15 pm, ESPN2

Two of the more underappreciated players in the country will butt heads throughout this afternoon's Big 12 contest in Lawrence. Lewis is a bit shorter than most NFL teams prefer when looking for a 4-3 defensive end, but some teams don't mind having 6-foot-2 ends if they play with leverage and can get under the pads of taller lineman as a rusher. The Sooners also stand him up at times, and scouts like the way he moves in coverage and rushes the quarterback as a 3-4 linebacker. Hawkinson flies under the radar playing for a poor Jayhawks' squad, but could prove to scouts he is a legitimate top 100 prospect if displaying the toughness and agility to hold off Lewis and any other Sooner end that Bob Stoops brings off the strong side.

 

Honorable Mention 

Michigan DEs Craig Roh/Ryan Van Bergen vs. Michigan State LG Joel Foreman
Michigan WR Junior Hemingway at Michigan State CB *Johnny Adams
Michigan CBs Troy Woolfolk/*J.T. Floyd vs. Michigan State WRs B.J. Cunningham/Keshawn Martin
12:00 pm, ESPN

Virginia Tech OTs Andrew Lanier/Blake DeChristopher at Wake Forest DE/OLB Kyle Wilber 
6:30 pm, ESPN3.com

Toledo CB Desmond Marrow at Bowling Green WR Kamar Jorden
12:00 pm, ESPN3.com

Utah DT *Dave Kruger at Pittsburgh RG Lucas Nix
12:00 pm, ESPNU

Baylor C Phillip Blake at Texas A&M DT Eddie Brown
12:00 pm, FX

Purdue DT *Kawann Short at Penn State LG Johnnie Troutman
12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

South Carolina DT Travian Robertson at Mississippi State C Quinton Saulsberry
12:21 pm, SEC Network/ESPN3.com

Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson at Missouri WRs Jerrell Jackson/Wes Kemp
2:00 pm, TBA

UNLV WR Phillip Payne at Wyoming CB Tashuan Gipson
2:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

Florida State CBs *Xavier Rhodes at Duke WR *Conner Vernon
3:00 pm, FSN

USF LG Jeremiah Warren at Connecticut DT Kendall Reyes
3:30 pm, SNY/MASN/ESPN3.com

Oklahoma State RT Levy Adcock at Texas DE *Alex Okafor
Oklahoma State C Grant Garner at Texas DT Kheeston Randall
3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN

Colorado OG Ryan Miller at Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu
3:30 pm, RSNW

LSU RT *Alex Hurst at Tennessee DE/DT Malik Jackson
3:30 pm, CBS

Boise State DEs Shea McClellin/Tyrone Crawford at Colorado State OT Paul Madsen
6:00 pm, MTN

Northwestern CB Jordan Mabin at Iowa WR Marvin McNutt
Northwestern DE Vincent Browne at Iowa LT *Riley Reiff/Markus Zusevics
7:00 pm, Big 10 Network


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

Posted on: September 23, 2011 10:23 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 10:25 pm
 

Mano-a-Mano, Week Four

In addition to the five players NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang mentioned in his weekly preview, you may want take a look at these nine  one-on-one 2012 NFL Draft prospect match-ups (plus a few more receiving honorable mention) while perusing this weekend's slate of college football games.

Because players move around based on different formations, 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.

1. Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward at South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery, 7:00 pm, ESPN2

Hayward faces the same size issue every 5-foot-10, 185-pound college corner does when lining up across from the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Jeffery. But if South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia underthrows or stares down Jeffery while Hayward is in off-coverage (two things Garcia is prone to do), Vandy's next NFL zone/nickel corner will add to his total of ten career interceptions.

2. Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon at Texas A&M Coryell Judie, 3:30 pm, ABC/ESPN2

Although Blackmon doesn't have quite the same size advantage over Judie that Jeffery has over Hayward, Blackmon's thick build, strong hands, and tough running make him no less a threat. Judie and A&M's other senior corner, Terrence Frederick, won't back down and Judie has the ball skills to make Cowboys' 28 year-old passer, Brandon Weeden, rue any poor throws. Hopefully Judie, Frederick, and their coaches watched how Weeden and Blackmon tore apart Nebraska's strong secondary last year with verticals when they did not challenge him physically.

3. Georgia LT Cordy Glenn at Ole Miss DE Kentrell Lockett/Wayne Dorsey, 11:00 am, SEC Network

Another week, another test for Glenn, a 6-foot-5, 350-pound behemoth who is trying to prove to scouts he can stay at tackle in the NFL. He seems to be improving in his lateral agility when protecting sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray's blind side, but Ole Miss' senior DE duo of Lockett and Dorsey won't give him any favors with their length and tenacity on the edge. Dorsey already has two sacks this year, and though Lockett doesn't have a tackle for loss yet, he's slowly working his way back from a knee injury that caused him miss the 2010 season.

4. Florida Atlantic DE Kevin Cyrille at Auburn RT Brandon Mosley, 7:00 pm, Fox Sports South

This could be a break-out game for Cyrille, a 6-4, 275-pound strong-side end, has not receiver a lot of pub as of yet. His production isn't remarkable (6 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack), but he has the NFL body and armspan to test Mosley -- whose move to left tackle was scrapped after the opener.

5. Virginia Tech RT Blake DeChristopher at Marshall DE Vinny Curry, 3:30 pm CBS Sports Network

Scouts know all about Curry, the pre-season favorite for Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors. His strength at the point of attack and hustle allow him to chase quarterbacks and corral running backs before they get into the open field. DeChristopher could use a strong performance against Curry whether Marshall's star lines up at five-technique (where he could play in the NFL with a few more pounds) or outside. Curry doesn't have the elite speed off the edge to turn the corner, but DeChristopher must cut off the inside lane to prevent Curry from bulling past him to reach big sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas.

6. LSU RT Alex Hurst at West Virginia DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, 8:00 pm, ABC

Watching the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Irvin take on a massive right tackle like the junior Hurst (6-6, 340) is almost laughable, but that's the job WVU coaches have given him in their 3-3-5 alignment. He has one sack on the year but three TFLs, and is playing a more well-rounded game. Hurst's athleticism will be tested, as well Irvin's stamina and hustle as the game wears on.

7. Louisiana-Lafayette CB Dwight Bentley at Florida International WR T.Y. Hilton, 6:00 pm, ESPN3.com

Two Sun Belt players? Absolutely. Hilton got himself on the national radar with a huge game against Louisville two weeks ago (seven catches, 201 yards with 74, 83-yard TDs). Bentley had three pass break-ups against Oklahoma State in 2010 then picked off OSU twice in this year's season opener. Both are destined to play inside at the next level as sub 5-11, 185-pounders, but expect them to be two of the three or four SBC players likely to be drafted this year.

8. South Dakota LT Tom Compton at Wisconsin DE Louis Nzegwu, 3:30 pm, Big Ten Network

Nzegwu hasn't stood out quite as much as some thought going into the year, but he still has two sacks for the Badgers. Compton's one of the top small-school prospects in this class, but the 6-foot-5, 320-pound must prove he can handle FBS speed to be a mid-round prospect. 

9. Missouri TE Michael Egnew at Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis, 8:00 pm, FX

Egnew has just six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in three games, a far cry from the 29 for 257 in the first three games of the 2010 season. He'll need to separate from Lewis and any other linebackers or defensive back the Sooners put on him to get targeted more regularly by sophomore quarterback James Franklin.

Honorable Mention

Kansas State ILB Arthur Brown at Miami RBs Lamar Miller/Mike James, 3:30 pm ESPNU
LSU WR Rueben Randle at West Virginia CB Keith Tandy, 8:00 pm, ABC
Cal Poly CB Asa Jackson at Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish, TBA
Florida RB Chris Rainey at Kentucky LB Danny Trevathan, 7:00 pm, ESPN


--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter, follow Chad on Twitter @ChadReuter   

Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:28 pm
 

Arizona Cardinals Draft Preview

Arizona Cardinals 2010 record: 5-11, fourth place NFC West

2011 draft rundown - Eight total picks (round): 5 (1); 38 (2); 69 (3); 103 (4); 136 (5); 171 (6); 184 (7); 249 (7)

Top needs:   

Outside linebacker: Last year's starters, Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, will be 34 by the time the season is scheduled to start. Haggans could return, but Porter, whose salary is due to increase to $5.75 million probably is gone. Von Miller would be a nice replacement. With Daryl Washington and O'Brien Schofield, the Cardinals would have three young, promising linebackers. Brooks Reed from the University of Arizona would make sense in the second round. He's bigger and would be a good fit on the left side.

Quarterback: It's the top priority this offseason, but the Cardinals would prefer to address it through free agency or trade. Those options obviously aren't available to them, but they will be at some point, if the 2011 season is to be played. In John Skelton, the Cardinals already have a young quarterback. But there are some intriguing quarterbacks in this draft. Whisenhunt likes smart, tough gym-rat type of guys. Andy Dalton of Texas Christian falls into that category, as does Washington's Jake Locker. Both likely will be gone by the second round, however.

Inside linebacker: Gerald Hayes, the starter for the past five seasons, probably will be released at some point. The Cardinals don't have a big, inside linebacker on the roster, and could use a physical presence. Illinois' Martez Wilson would make sense in the second round. The starting two inside linebackers, Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington, weigh between 230 pounds and 240 pounds.

Guard: The starting guards, Alan Faneca and Deuce Lutui, are not under contract, and there are no young players behind them. Cannon is huge, 6-5, 358, and the Cardinals love to have large, road-grader type guys inside. Cannon has the size to play tackle, too, which is attractive.


First-round focus  5th overall -- The general consensus among league insiders is that the Cardinals would much rather land their next starting quarterback via free agency or trade, rather than invest in a rookie. Despite this notion, Arizona could have a hard time passing up Missouri's Blaine Gabbert -- rated by many as the top quarterback of this class -- if he were available to them at No. 5. With several attractive would-be free agents potentially available, the Cardinals could elect to look at other positions of need, however. Chief among them is pass rusher. The Cardinals feature two aging outside linebackers in Clark Haggans and Joey Porter and could be in prime position to nab the top pass rusher of the draft in Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller. The Cardinals kept close eye on the former Aggie throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl and could certainly use his speed off the edge. Arizona is so needy at the position that some theorize the club would "reach" for North Carolina's Robert Quinn should Miller already be gone. Perhaps a safer move would be to stick to the best player available strategy. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson wouldn't fill as big of a need, but could present a big play threat opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Similarly, if Georgia wideout A.J. Green were to still be available, he would provide the Cardinals with a vertical threat to help Larry Fitzgerald. With two receivers of that quality, veteran quarterbacks would likely be lining up at the door to play in Arizona, especially considering that the Cardinals play in the very winnable NFC West division.

Five names on Cardinals' board:   
OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
WR A.J. Green, Georgia
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com