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CFB watch list for week 8 / 2011 NFL Draft open thread (OLB edition)

When Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis tells the sun to go down, it goes down.
When Oklahoma OLB Travis Lewis tells the sun to go down, it goes down.

  My watch list for week 8 is available now, but it doesn't do justice to college football as a whole.    We're in full conference battle to the death mode in college football now.  While that means great things for the SEC and Big East in that every game is winnable (or losable depending on how you're looking at it, with your glass half empty self), it can produce some pretty weak games for the other major conferences.  If only we had the powerhouse matchup of Temple at Buffalo all day, every day...

  At least the college week starts off well.  UCLA takes on Oregon three hours from now in a game that offers some notable prospects.  I'll single out two for Rams fans: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers and Oregon RB LaMichael James.  Ayers is pretty well known among our LA-based TSTers, and for good reason.  He's a stupidly talented athlete who can play the pass very well and has the size and power to contend in run defense.  My only concern is his first step.  His instincts aren't nearly as sharp as, say, James Laurinaitis, but his speed and strength bail him out at the college level.  He'll need some tutelage to refine those instincts to make the most out of his ridiculous physical gifts, because at the NFL level, the better RBs only need a step.  I've got him as a certain first rounder though, as I think that tutelage will come.  As for James, a Texas HS prospect who I almost got to see in person out in Texarkana way back when, he'll be draft-eligible as a redshirt sophomore.  If you're looking for an opposite style from Steven Jackson, James is practically the perfect example.  Tiny, fast, quick, shifty - he can do it all.  And even though he's still in his second year, he played lights out as a freshman, so there's plenty of tape.  I'd like to see him more involved in the passing game, but that's more on Oregon's playcalling than a deficiency in his game.  As to whether he'll come out, I haven't heard anything.  I do know that the #1 team in the polls, but the #2 team in the BCS standings, has a replacement for James out of Texas: Lache Seastrunk.  Does that matter at all?  I dunno.  Food for thought.  Although if he does come out, he'd be the youngest looking NFLer ever of all time period.

  Early on Saturday, you can get a look at another redshirt sophomore who I think could help the Rams: Michigan St. DT Jerel Worthy.  His undefeated Michigan St. Spartans take on Northwestern Saturday at noon ET.  He's quick for his size, but I'd love to see him get more work.  I know Michigan St.'s playing for now, but damnit I'm a NFL fan.  Show me the prospectery!

  I've got Auburn-LSU and Missouri-Oklahoma (BCS #1) on the list as well.  I know there are plenty of Akeem Ayers fans out there, but Oklahoma has a great 4-3 OLB prospect in Travis Lewis.  Personally, if I could choose between Ayers and Lewis for the Rams, I take Lewis in a heartbeat.

  The night game, a Pac-10 clash between Arizona and Washington, has one of my favorite under the radar OLB prospects: Huskie OLB Mason Foster.  He's not a great athlete and is suspect in pass coverage, but  I really like him in run defense and aiding the pass rush.  Arizona QB Nick Foles will be out with a knee injury, so if you're up Saturday night, see if Foster plays a part in keeping backup Wildcats (the mascot, not the formation) QB Matt Scott from leading 'Zona to another big win.

  Draft thoughts?  College football thoughts?  Any thoughts?  Besides those, perv...  Holler.