I started out week two with the Sam Houston State Thursday night game, as I wanted to watch QB Jeremiah Briscoe. He operates a spread offense and there are the usual issues for a QB in that system – footwork can be a problem as he’s all arm getting the ball out quickly and going through progressions doesn’t happen as much as in the NFL. Most of his throws were the fastball, but he did show he can touch in passes, dropping in a nice “in the bucket” throw. His ball placement will need to improve to land him an NFL roster spot – even with open receivers, they often had to stop or adjust to the ball, rather than catching in stride – and in the league they would be considered bad throws. He threw an ugly INT – feeling pressure and just throwing it – and he does have that kind of aggressive mentality – he wants to make plays and backs his arm to do so. He didn’t wow me, so I wouldn’t say top 100 – but depending on the remainder of the class, we might see him drafted – especially if he can land an All-Star invitation and then play well.
It’s safe to say that Penn State RB Saquon Barkley is a top prospect. His power and acceleration are rare – plus he can catch. He needs to clean up his pass protection, but that’s the case with a lot of young backs. I’m not sure I’d risk exposing him to injury to kick returns though…
On the defensive side of the ball, I came away almost as impressed with Penn State safety Marcus Allen as I did Barkley. He missed a few plays with an injury, but he was on the field late in the game, so it thankfully was only a minor issue. He lined up as a single high, two deep and in the box safety, giving him a versatile skill set. He looked equally at home playing in zone deep as he did in the box. I loved his ability to diagnose the play quickly and then get downhill under control.
Arkansas C Frank Ragnow reminds me a bit of a Ryan Groy type. Ragnow is not the most natural flexible athlete in the world, and that gives him some issues as people get under him, or he waists bends and can get thrown to the ground. However, his base is solid and he finishes his blocks in the running game. He climbed to the second level well and several of his impressive blocks were rightly highlighted by the CBS crew. I’m not sure he’s a first round prospect, but he does look to be a top 100 talent.
As I watched Ohio State in week one, I zeroed in on the Oklahoma prospects. Most impressive was LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – he showed up rushing the passer and against the run. He’s only a listed 6’1″, so may not suit teams who like longer edge guys – but he can play. I loved how he set up the RT on two consecutive pass rushes – spinning inside on the first play, and then faking inside again before spinning outside to get a sack. His foot quickness looks elite, giving him the ability to beat blockers against the run. I saw his name on Great Blue North Draft Report’s list of prospects – so thanks to them for that list – better than the big boys.
Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown is not always pretty, but he gets the job done. Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard was giving RT Bobby Evans big problems – but Brown kept him quiet when he rushed from that side. He’s a little tall in his play and looks like balance might be an issue at times, but he gets his arms extended quickly and once he gets his hands on his man, he tends to win.
Clemson’s defense had an impressive night, but despite that Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway ran hard all night. He also did a nice job in pass protection, not something backs from this kind of scheme always get asked to do. Hopefully, he can avoid injuries as the season moves forward so he can show his talent. Should he declare early, his stock will likely be determined by the 40 time – 4.6+ might see him go later than you might think.
Auburn OG Braden Smith is a solid player, but while he does a nice job at the college level, the question for me is if he’s a good enough athlete. There’s some head ducking into contact and he got undressed by Wilkins one time. I’ll hold my water until I see his Combine numbers.
Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell is a redshirt sophomore, but if he continues to play like this, he’ll be justified in giving serious consideration to declaring early. He’s got a good get off and flashes of hand use, although I would like to see a little more sophistication when rushing the passer. He also showed heavy hands and an ability to hold up well against the run, so he’s not a one dimensional pass rusher.
Clemson DT Christian Wilkins is billed as a top prospect by many – he’s athletic enough that he was stood up at times, but it’s inside he’ll make his money as a pro. He didn’t win everything against Braden Smith, but his quickness looks “plus” and with another big year, he should be a first round pick.
The question with Washington State QB Luke Falk is his arm strength, or lack thereof. Some analysts will say you need to see a QB throw live to make a proper judgement, but you don’t need to see Falk live to know he doesn’t have a good arm. A deep post was underthrown, meaning the WR had to stop and wait – and it almost cost them a fumble. With Boise often dropping 8 in coverage, the lack of a top arm meant he didn’t want to try tight window throws – and therefore resorted to checking down more than Coach Leach wanted. That led to him sitting for a series, before injury sent him to the sidelines for the rest of the game. On the plus side, he showed he can sit in the pocket and get through progressions, not something you would expect from this offense – but his arm strength is a major limiting factor for him and as a result he could be a day three pick.
I came away impressed with Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. He was quiet in the first half, but was highly impressive as the game moved on. He has a nice frame and although I didn’t think a 4.3 burner, I would say he has good speed. I loved the deep TD he scored, he got on top of the CB and for the defender, it was either pass interference or give up a TD and the latter happened. I didn’t have him on my list to watch in the game, but he stood out, so I’ll be sure to watch out for him down the road.
Prospect of the Week: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – LB – Oklahoma – not the prototypical height for a 3-4 OLB, but he can play.