A few more prospects I want to talk about that I've watched since October 21, the last time I posted in this thread...
I still like Minnesota QB Adam Weber. I think he has the mental aptitude to play and process the pro game well. I think what will hurt him is the fact that he doesn't have a big arm or great size (6-1/220). But he's a guy that I think can be a like a Shaun Hill, that if he can sit and learn, and improve his arm strength has a chance to be a competent stopgap starter down the road.
I was impressed by QB Blaine Gabbert vs. Texas A&M. I think he'll have a tough time transitioning to a pro-style, dropback offense. But I liked his arm strength, accuracy, and anticipation. He was throwing his receivers open, which is a very rare trait to see in most college quarterbacks. I'm not sure he has the pocket awareness working all the time in the shotgun to transition easily to the next level. But if you give him a year to develop and learn, I think you might have a very good QB prospect on your hands down the road.
QB Jake Locker has been a disappointment to me. I still like his upside and intangibles to get better down the road. But he has not shown really any improvement in his game this season. He shows the flashes, but not consistent. His accuracy/touch is too erratic to consider him a top QB prospect. It's really going to come down to how high you are on his character. Because from what I've seen of him in 3 games so far this year, his actual playing level is on par with a mid-round pick. You just wonder if all he's going to be is a less-polished version of Jay Cutler. I think if he was to get with a Holmgren-esque coach, and get the coaching he needs, he'll be fine. Maybe not great, but good. But if he was to play in San Fran, he'd probably crash and burn.
USC RB Allen Bradford is a powerful runner, but doesn't have good quickness, lateral burst, or vision. Which basically makes him like Brandon Jacobs. Behind a good O-line, he'll be a productive player like Jacobs has been in New York. Behind an average or mediocre one, he'll be more like LenDale White.
I mentioned in the previous post that Noel Devine once reminded me of Warrick Dunn. Well, the one back that definitely lives up to that potential, or at least did vs. Washington is Jacquizz Rodgers. I think his combo of quickness, vision, footwork, and burst means that despite his lack of size, he'll find a way to be a productive NFL player. Now Dunn was a very good complementary runner for most of his career when he shared the load with guys like Mike Alstott and T.J. Duckett, and I think that's probably what Rodgers will be. But as we saw here in Atlanta, behind a zone-blocking line, Dunn made a very good feature back. And I think the same can potentially be said of Rodgers if he gets in the right situation. He's not for everybody though.
FB Stanley Havili impressed me with his physical blocking vs. Washington, much more so than in the previous USC game I saw. I've seen in the past that Havili is an effective receiver and runner, so he has a chance to be a return of the rare triple-headed fullback that we haven't seen in the league since Fred Beasley/Tony Richardson years ago.
WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) and Ronald Johnson (USC) are two receivers that impress me. I'm not super high on Floyd, because I think has a bit of the arrogance that Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate had last year, that I think he'll get a bit of culture shock once he leaves South Bend and gets to the pros. But he is a talented player that I think would be a premier No. 2 receiver like a Santonio Holmes/Greg Jennings, but also be capable of being a No. 1 down the road if asked to do so. What I like about Johnson is he's their go-to guy when they need a play. He's not very big, but makes plays, and while I think he'll probably be a bit more reliable as a No. 1 than Floyd at the next level, I'm not convinced he'll make as many plays due to his lack of ideal size (5-11/190).
One Louisville prospect I forgot to mention in my prevoius post is LT Byron Stingily, who is a sleeper. He's got good feet and is athletic. He needs to get bigger and stronger in the upper body, and improve his hand use/technique there, but he's a guy that I think that if he has time to develop he can be a Jermon Bushrod type as a long-term developmental left tackle.
Pitt has a nice underclass O-lineman in Lukas Nix, who started the year at RT, but moved to RG a few weeks back. He reminds me of Harvey Dahl because he has good mean streak. He's only a junior, but at this point I'm higher on his NFL future than I am on senior LT Jason Pinkston. Pinkston is a guy that I think will probably be a career backup in the pros, that will be a better guard than tackle. I like his potential as a run blocker, but he hasn't really developed a ton of polish in recent years.
Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan is a good DE prospect. But at this point, I don't think he's going to be any better a pass rusher than Chris Long. Now, of course I should note I was super high on Long when he came out, but at this point in his career, I've realized the error of my ways. He's still a good NFL player, but not the premier DE that I envisioned him to be. I think Kerrigan can be a very productive player if he plays across from another good pass rusher that can help funnel the QB to him to produce more sacks (like Adewale Ogunleye did in Miami when he played across from Jason Taylor), but overall he's probably a guy that will get 5-8 sacks a year. Good, but not great.
Pitt DE Jabaal Sheard continues to disappoint me as well. Sheard will usually make 1 or 2 nice plays per game, but disappears for the other 60 or so. He's got enough quickness off the edge to get a chance as a situational guy. But his motor is iffy at times, and he gets pushed around quite a bit on the line. Not surprising, given his size (6-3/255), but he's a tweener that I could see moving to OLB, but he's raw there. And if he bulks up too much as a DE, I think he'll lose a lot of that quickness, and it's not quite enough that I think he will be a true edge rusher in the pros.
A NT prospect that I'm really liking is Notre Dame's Ian Williams. I really like his motor. He isn't a great disruptor, but will make a few plays per game where he does get upfield and make a stop in the backfield. He's a guy that I'm not sure a team should draft thinking he'll be a major contributor right away. But he'll make a nice backup NT in either the 3-4 or 4-3 and eventually develop into a good starter in a few years as he improves his technique. Another is Hampton's Kenrick Ellis. He's another high motor player. He's massive. But I watched him play vs. South Carolina State, and he didn't quite dominate like I expected. But he plays hard which is very rare for a player his size (6-5/340). I think he's raw as an NT prospect and may not play a ton his first few years in the league, but 3 or so years down the road he could be a very good one. Another thing I liked was the fact that in the game vs. SCSU, he only missed two defensive snaps the entire game. In contrast, someone like Terrence Cody probably regularly missed 30+ during his final year at Alabama. I'm aware part of that is because Alabama had good players worth rotating, and Hampton doesn't, but it at least tells me his conditioning is probably not horrible to think he's going to have to lose 40 pounds just to be worth drafting.
Speaking of Hampton prospects, another sleeper worth watching maybe this DE/OLB Brandon Peguese. He plays fast and hard, and I wouldn't be totally surprised that if 2-3 years from now he's another James Harrison.
Oregon State DT Stephen Paea is a prospect I really like. He's super-athletic, plays multiple techniques, and makes plays all across Oregon State's defense. NFL Draft Scout lists him at 6-2/310, but he doesn't have any different a build than Jonathan Babineaux, who is 6-2/285. So if he's 310, he carries it very well. What I like about Paea is he has a very good motor, and at times he moves like a LB.
No one ever really discusses kickers and punters, but I'll mention a few that I like. Nebraska's Alex Henery is good enough to play in the pros as either a kicker or punter, although he's been a very reliable FG kicker over the years, which is where I think most teams will give him a chance since good kickers are hard to find. UCLA's Kai Forbath is another that I'm liking. Good leg, and accurate. Miami's Matt Bosher is another dual threat guy, that may not be the most polished in either, but his strong leg and ability to kick off makes him valuable. I also like Auburn's Wes Byrum, and Arkansas's Alex Tejada looks like he's a good enough kickoff guy to play that role solely in the pros. Florida P Chas Henry has a big-time leg, but not great accuracy. It's why I like Baylor's Derek Epperson a bit more. Henry also handles FGs, but he missed two vs. LSU which doesn't make me thrilled about his chances there. Rob Long (Syracuse) and Ryan Donahue (Iowa) also should be able to play in the NFL, although I'm not convinced they'll stick immediately. But it's making me soften my stance on not drafting kickers/punters, since there's at least 6 in this class I think are potentially worth a pick. Not to mention the two long snappers: Christian Yount (UCLA) and Andrew Schulze that also may be worthwhile picks as well.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.