Along with the NFL season, the NCAA Football season approaches quick. As we all know the Rams have two first round draft picks in next years draft and will need to hit on those picks in order to keep moving along with the progression of this young team full of potential. We all know certain players that will be on some Christmas lists like Robert Woods (Wide Receiver, USC), Keenan Allen (Wide Receiver, Cal), D.J. Fluker (Offensive Tackle, Alabama), and Sean Porter (Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M) to name a few but lets steer away from them for this once. It is hard to say that a potential first round draft pick can fly under a radar because apparently they've been noticed or they wouldn't be projected that high, but lets look at players that aren't typically on the top of some brains when thinking about the upcoming draft.
Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma:
Why keep an on on him?
Stills had a great freshmen season where he caught 61 passes for 786 yards and five touchdowns. He showed improvement last season in which he caught the same amount of passes for 849 yards and 8 touchdowns and in this upcoming season there's no reason to believe he won't improve on those numbers either. He has shown that he can be a big play receiver in games like Texas Tech and Florida State, where his great game pulled the Sooners to a win on the road. As I stated above he does show big play ability and he has great hands. From what I've seen he is a good route runner and can create separation with his speed. He shows all the potential to be a number one receiver at the next level, just has to put it all together.
After his great game against Texas Tech he didn't have another 100 yard game, this is because Broyles expectantly went down with a season ending knee injury. After that Stills saw more double teams come his way. This season his biggest thing to prove will be that he can put up the numbers while being the number one guy.. He also doesn't have ideal size for being a number 1 receiver (6'0-6'2, depending on who you ask and what websites you look at) which is what you're looking for if you're going to spend a first round pick on a wide receiver.
Stills right now is a late first early second round type of receiver but could see a major boost in his stock if he puts up some great numbers this season. Stills being the undeniable number one receiver on the Sooners roster should see plenty opportunities to impress this season. Depending on how we do this season and how Quick does, if we're sitting in the middle of the first round or late, we trust that Quick can be our number 1 receiver, Stills could be outstanding lining up on the other side of him. Another upside, Oklahoma runs the same offense that Shotty will be installing this season.
Landry Jones to Kenny Stills for a 37-yard touchdown against Florida State [HD] (via BoomerKing85)
Marcus Lattimore, Running Back, South Carolina
Why keep an eye on him?
Lattimore exploded onto the college football scene when he ran for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2010, His encore didn't go as well as he would have liked when he was one the rushing leaders in 2011 through seven games. He tore ligaments in his left knee on a play against Mississippi State where he was blocking for a receiver. His totals for the season was 163 carries for 818 yards, that's 5.02 yards per carry by the way. Lattimore is undoubtedly the best running back coming into this upcoming season. He's a workhorse power back and is explosive up the middle. When he gets into the secondary he doesn't look to evade tacklers, he tries to run through them. Very tough and a headache to bring down with one guy. Breaks arm tackles like it's nothing. Has more agility than expected, great pad level and vision. He's also an above average receiving running back.
You could point to injuries be a concern but all signs point to him being ready by time the season gets here. The major thing to watch out for is will he be the same back that we've grown to love to watch. Another flaw is he doesn't have a second gear and won't break off long touchdown runs regularly.
Although Fisher and company might say Pead is Jackson's successor Marcus is a realistic possibility. I just don't think Pead can take the bruising of a 16 game schedule being the number 1 guy. Lattimore presents the potential and physicality to take the punishing of a NFL season. He would be the perfect successor to Jackson and could take over the helm when Jackson decides to retires or he takes his spot in a couple of seasons.
Marcus Lattimore - 2011 Season (via tmac20031)
Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia
Why keep an eye on him?
Going into this upcoming season Outside Linebacker is defiantly a top three concern to most Rams fans along with Wide Receiver and Offensive Line and Jones by many is regarded as the best going into this upcoming college football season. Last season, he was very productive and tied for 5th in the nation with 13.5 sacks. To go along with that he had 70 tackles with 19.5 for loss and two forced fumbles. His season best came in a game against the Florida Gators where he had 4 sacks. He is a great pass rusher off the edge He has great speed and agility which makes himself a nightmare for tackles to block.
He caught some by surprise in the SEC with how good he is but that won't be the case this season and he should get some extra blockers on him from opposing offenses. He should still produce but we should watch out for how good he does this season with the extra attention. Could add on some bulk which could make him an even better prospect as the draft rolls around.
Fisher and crew thought they could make our Outside Linebackers better or at least that's my take from them not getting one as high as some would have preferred, same went with Offensive Linemen. If they can get some progression from their Outside Linebackers this season I don't see them getting on high in next years draft. But if they suck it up again, it would clearly be a first round need. Jones is a top 10 talent if he produces like experts expect, I think Washington will win at most 4-5 games this year which gives us a top ten pick. If our guys don't cut it, he would be a great, explosive player for this defense.
Jarvis Jones vs Florida 2011 (via JPDraftJedi)
Those are just a few players you should check out this upcoming college season. Tell me what you think about the prospects below, which you're intruiged by and why. Also tell me some prospects that you're interested in seeing that's not on this list or most might not think about at first thought. As always thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed.