A couple notes before getting into my watch list for this week of college football:
- ESPN's Adam Schefter's mailbox from Monday suggested the Bills must take a franchise QB in the 2011 NFL Draft, options be damned (insider subscription). I was thinking what teams could take a QB under the radar, and I came up with two: the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots. Tony Romo's only 30 (which in Favreyears makes him pre-pubescent), but until breaking his collarbone, he had thrown just 11 TDs to 7 INTs. And this with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Roy Williams. Compare that Sam Bradford's 11-8 TD-INT ratio with his WR corps, and then tell me Dallas wouldn't be well served by taking a flyer on a mid-round QB. And as for the Pats, Tom Brady's having a solid season, no doubt. But at 33 with a knee that's been operated on and a Moss-less Patriot receiving corps, things are already trending downward. In the four games with Moss, Brady completed 69.67% of his passes; since moving Moss to the Vikes, Brady threw at a 60.19% rate. Adding Deion Branch stemmed the bleeding, but with the cornucopia of picks the Pats have amassed in the first two days of next year's draft, don't be too surprised if they take a top QB as well.
- If there's a matchup from this weekend that should intrigue Rams fans, it's probably that between Alabama WR Julio Jones and LSU CB Patrick Peterson, a matchup detailed by Todd McShay over at ESPN (insider...sorry). Last year, Peterson won the matchup handily. A similar matchup between Florida CB Janoris Jenkins and Georgia WR A.J. Green went to the defender last weekend in the Gators' 3-point win. Jones is healthy, unlike last year, and Peterson could be more fatigued with return duties. Here's my bottom line: if Peterson can keep Jones in check, I don't think it affects either's stock much. However, a big game from Jones brings him back into the conversation for the top WR prospect.
- Matt Hinton almost got it right over at Yahoo!'s Dr. Saturday: It's not that time is running out for Jake Locker. It's already run out. Sure, he showed some guts by facing Stanford with a cracked rib, an injury that will take him out of this weekend's contest between Washington and the undefeated offensive machine that is Oregon. But the bottom line is that if you were looking to see which QB prospect had the tools and intangibles you want in a franchise QB, you weren't overly impressed with Locker, especially when juxtaposed against Stanford QB Andrew Luck's systematic dismantling of Washington (which ironically featured Luck's best rushing day).
- Mississippi St. sophomore DE Nick Bell died from cancer Tuesday. I don't give a shit what you do or who you are; if you don't feel any compassion for him and the people who cared for and about him, then find something sharp and sprint into it.
- Arkansas WR Greg Childs, one of the better WR prospects from the 2012 class, is out for the year with a knee injury. Here's hoping for a strong return to the Razorbacks next year.
- Random note that doesn't have anything to do with prospects: the fact that TCU-Utah isn't being broadcast on national television is a pile of zombie shit. They're both in the top 5 in the BCS standings, because they're both undefeated and it's early November. Instead, ESPN is showing the Breeder's Cup and ESPN2 has a pair of games, one of which is Northwestern at Penn St. I'll say that again - Northwestern v. Penn St. trumps TCU-Utah in ESPNland. I feel like ESPN is farting up my nostrils while ESPN2 is kneeling on my shoulders.
For the watchlist, I went for some games that you probably weren't planning on watching this weekend, but after reading my watchlist, you and I know damn well you're still not going to watch most of them.
One you might catch is tonight's Battle of the Techies: Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech. Someone I think that isn't getting fair national attention is Georgia Tech's sophomore DE Izaan Cross. He's headed for a 3-4 DE spot, but for a guy who's just under 300 lbs., bro can move. Name points are a plus.
And I finally got around to adding Dante's favorite college QB: Houston's Case Keenum. Of course, Keenum's out for the season with an ACL tear, but he's applying for a 6th year. If it's declined, obviously, he'll have to head up to the NFL. For Rams fans, though, I'd point to two other Cougars (not the Courtney Cox type) in the mix tomorrow night against Central Florida: Sr. WR James Cleveland and Soph. OLB Phillip Steward. Cleveland's got a big frame that he uses well, especially in intermediate routes. I really like Steward though. He plays faster than his natural footspeed. And while he's not draft eligible this year, since he's a true sophomore, if you catch this game, try to pick him out when UCF has the ball. I think he's got a shot at being a 2nd round pick.
My post-Gameday Saturday morning pick is the Syracuse-Louisville game. I'll point out # players of note. From Syracuse, look for senior OLB Doug Hogue, junior DE Chandler Jones and sophomore WR Alec Lemon. On the Cardinals' side, junior OLB Dexter Heyman just doesn't make a lot of plays, but he's an athletic talent. Both teams feature future NFL running backs in Delone Carter and Bilal Powell. Louisville might be without Powell; he's coming back from a sprained knee and is a gametime decision. Check out Carter if you haven't seen him in action this year. He's a compact back who plays with a lot of power for being so short, and recognizes developing lanes really, really well. He could be a steal in the draft for a team that needs running back depth.
I'll just point out one guy from Saturday's Wake Forest-Boston College game: Wake's junior DE Kyle Wilber. He's got game, but he's so much smaller than some of the tackles he goes up against, and he doesn't have the speed to beat them around the edge. He does get off the line well though. Reminds me a bit of George Selvie, but doesn't have as many moves as Selvie did coming out of USF.
And in the late game, Missouri takes on Texas Tech. I'll let people parse the watchlist for possible Rams, but if you haven't seen Missouri's redshirt sophomore DE Aldon Smith, you should. He's got all the things you look for in a top DE prospect. I don't think he'll come out this year, but if he does, it certainly makes things interesting for teams that are looking for a complete DE.
Draft thoughts, names, future Mosses or sharp things to sprint into on your mind? Holler at me.