NFL Draft notes - early college open thread

In 'Tober when the leaves doth redden

and summer leaves with haste,

I dream of winning the lottery

and pooping on Craig James' face.

- 3k

  Ah, October. A time for poetry and football. Lovely, no?

  So it is that we find ourselves now in the thick of interconference conflict. For this week's watchlist, the schedule today opens with Michigan-Michigan St., a Big Ten battle that was solidified in 1953 when MSU joined the conference. Just a week ago, the Rams sent scouts to the Michigan-Northwestern game, an offensive outpouring that saw Michigan win their sixth straight to open the season.

  On the Michigan side, there's plenty of mid- and late round talent. DT Mike Martin, C David Molk and WRs Junior Hemingway and Roy Roundtree are all potential Rams selections. And what for Denard Robinson? He's athletic as you could imagine, but when he throws the ball, I get a little urpy.

  The Spartans have a couple prospects who look to be day one or early day two selections. WR B.J. Cunningham has a big frame (6'2", 215 lbs.) and a big production rate to match. He could be a day 3 sleeper that, in the right system, could have an impact as a rookie. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State's chunky DT, has a great NFL frame. He hasn't put it all together yet, so I'm eager to see how he plays against a decent interior line today. He's plenty strong, but he's got to get better and working laterally when engaged.

  Indiana-Wisconsin is on ESPN2, and if you would like to see an offensive line make fools of men, this is the game for you. The Wisconsin line is stacked with future NFLers - C Peter Konz, G Kevin Zeitler, G Travis Frederick. Indiana lost to North Texas. I shall say no more.

  Maybe the most intriguing team to watch is South Carolina; they're on the SEC Network today up against Mississippi St. Yes, you already know about Alshon Jeffery, but if you're looking for a cornerback, there aren't many better than Stephon Gilmore. He ranked 2nd and 6th on my and buckeye's big board, respectively. What makes this one interesting is that Stephen Garcia, longtime boozing Gamecocks quarterback, has been dismissed from the team after a final boozing. With Connor Shaw now officially the starting QB, South Carolina is on track toward a special 2012 season. But what of this year? They've got a legitimate shot at the SEC East. But what interests me as a draftnik is the specter of a big 2012.

  Would it be enough to convince Alshon to stay another year? The prospect of going into the season with an experienced Connor Shaw, a wonderful RB in Marcus Lattimore and a gamechanging young DE in Jadaveon Clowney - the Gamecocks have the firepower to be an SEC power next year. It sure would be strange if Stephen Garcia's dismissal indirectly convinces Alshon to avoid the dangling dollars of the NFL.

  So drop off your observations throughout the early slate right here. I'll update the watchlist in a bit to add a certain Big Ten game that a certain TST author might be interested in. Certainly. So keep it here, and hit it up with some football.

(UPDATE: The watchlist now includes Ohio St.-Illinois.)

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