Is Wilson a top prospect?
Virginia Tech Hokies running back David Wilson has filed his paperwork with the NFL Draft advisory committee according to the Washington Post.
This is a relatively weak class for running backs, at least at the top of the board, and I would be mildly surprised if Wilson chose to return to school. He is probably a 2nd or 3rd-round prospect, and would be in the mix to be the second running back off the board behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson.
However, I do wonder if it’s time to start being skeptical of running backs from Virginia Tech. Over the past 10 years or so Frank Beamer seems to turn every running back that comes through his program into a collegiate star, but none have produced consistently at the next level.
The most notable busts were Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs. Ryan Williams, a 2nd-round pick in 2011, was the latest to enter the pros but has missed the entire season due to injury.
It would be unfair to dismiss Wilson due to past Hokie failures, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. He only has one full year of experience, and hasn’t exactly been tested against the toughest defenses in the nation while playing in the ACC.
The Miami Herald is reporting that Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller is considering leaving after his redshirt-sophomore season to enter the NFL Draft, but only if he is projected to be a 1st-round pick.
Miller could be the 2nd RB off the board
This time of year players typically flat out deny any rumors about them bolting for the pro game, especially sophomores, so Miller’s admission that he’s weighing his options leads me to believe he’ll turn pro.
He won’t be a 1st-round lock, but this is a weak class for running backs and he will have an excellent chance to come off the board within the first 50 picks.
Running backs are fragile, and their stock can take a nose dive with one injury or one mediocre season, so Miller would be wise to capitalize on his recent success and enter the draft.
USC Trojans’ quarterback Matt Barkley has been rubbing people the wrong way since the beginning… literally.
Following his first collegiate game in 2009 against San Jose State, Barkley stated: “this is fun. This is easy. This is what I was made to do.” He followed that up by responding to a question about whether or not he found anything difficult about the game with this gem: “The run up the tunnel at halftime. That was brutal.”
Barkley probably got a talking to from Pete Carroll after that, and remained relatively quiet throughout the rest of his freshman and sophomore year, but he’s been back at this season. Read more
Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford
Luck stated before the season that his junior year would likely be his last in Palo Alto, and it’s a wise decision. He has very little to gain by sticking around, especially if his top offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin bolt for the NFL as well. Decision: Go
Barley's stock could soar in 2012
Matt Barkley – QB – USC
This is going to be a tough decision for Barkley. He could be the second quarterback off the board, but he could also experience a draft day fall. Landry Jones, Robert Griffin and Ryan Tannehill are also 1st-round possibilities who could leap-frog Barkley during the offseason. If he sticks around he could be the No. 1 pick in 2013.
Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
It will be tough for Claiborne’s stock to get any higher. If he sticks around for another year he may not even be the best draft-eligible cornerback on his own team in 2012 (Tyrann Mathieu will be a junior next year). This should be an easy decision for the potential top-five pick. Decision: Go
Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
It’s been a somewhat disappointing season for Jeffery, which normally means a player should stick around. But with South Carolina’s shaky quarterback play there’s no reason to believe 2012 will be any better. It’s time to move on. Decision: Go
Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson
This is a weak class for tight ends, and Allen may be tempted to leave as he will be considered the top prospect at the position by many. However, Clemson has taken major strides as a program this year and will enter 2012 as a dark-horse title contender. Allen could further boost his stock with another solid season as one of Tajh Boyd’s go-to weapons. Decision: Stay
The Colts now have a two-game lead in the Suck For Luck race, all but ensuring themselves a shot at drafting Peyton Manning’s eventual replacement. The only thing standing in their way could be Manning’s objection.
Apparently that won’t be an issue.
According to an AP report, Bill Polian stated “Peyton and I have spoken about [drafting his successor], and he’s OK with that.”
This has to come as a relief for Colts fans. They can now look forward to Manning’s return in 2012 (and possibly beyond) before he gives way to Luck. Few, if any, teams have ever had such a smooth transition planned out two to three years in advance. While this has been a rough year in Indy, there’s no reason to think they won’t reload and become contenders again for the next 10+ years with Luck at the helm.
Oregon’s defense shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to Andrew Luck but, given the Stanford Cardinal’s weak schedule, this is the one game of the regular season where all eyes will be on him.
Luck needs a strong performance in the biggest game of his career
Luck’s performance on Saturday night won’t shape the opinions of scouts, but it will impact public perception which can, on occasion, alter a player’s draft stock.
Players at the top of the draft board in November almost always start to fall once the draft process begins as people start looking for any reason to question their ability. Inevitably there will be some who over-think their evaluation of Luck (Phil Simms, I’m looking at you) and Luck can help himself by not giving them any reason to question his ability.
If Luck chokes in the biggest game Stanford has played in years (possibly ever) he will gain a reputation and some will claim that Oregon’s defense poked holes in his game.
This is a tough situation for Luck because he cannot exceed expectations. He either meets them, or he fails – at least in the eyes of the general public.
No matter what happens on Saturday, or over the course of the next five months, Luck will be at the top of my draft board, but a poor performance against the Ducks will certainly raise doubts in the minds of some.
When the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the LSU Tigers on Saturday there will be plenty of draft prospects to watch, but all eyes in the scouting community will be on Trent Richardson.
Richardson has already proven himself to be an elite college running back, but LSU represents the closest thing to an NFL defense he’ll face before meeting the real thing. He is a solid 1st-round prospect already, but his performance on Saturday could be the difference between a spot in the top 10 and falling into the latter half of the 1st-round.
Personally, I’m already convinced that Richardson is an elite prospect [he's currently No. 2 on my big board] but there are two things I’ll be looking for on Saturday: Read more
- Potential top-10 pick Jerel Worthy of Michigan State needs to keep his emotions in check. He wasn’t shy about sharing his hatred for Michigan this past week – which is fine – but he clearly let it effect his play on the field. Worthy played out of control at times, and was called for at least one penalty (jumping offside and knocking down a Michigan lineman in the process). This isn’t something that will effect his draft stock, but it is something coaches and GMs may want to discuss with him during his pre-draft interviews.
- Boom Herron had a big game for Ohio State in his return from his suspension. He’s probably a 3rd or 4th round prospect because he lacks the elite size and speed to really stand out, but I like his chances of contributing at the next level. He’s patient, has great vision and is a surprisingly tough runner between the tackles considering his size. He’s sort of a cross between Ahmad Bradshaw and Justin Forsett.
- Illinois junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus had a nice game against Ohio State. Mike Adams was his toughest test of the year, and Mercilus beat him a few times with a variety of moves. He’s quick off the snap, but also showed that he had the strength to fight past Adams even when he didn’t beat him off the snap.
- As for Adams, it was a fairly disappointing performance. He has as much talent as any lineman in this class, but he just looks too soft at times. He seems to lack the mean streak necessary to dominate. He was also called for a costly penalty late in the 4th quarter which helped keep Illinois in the game.
- We have to wait another year before Tyrann Matthieu is draft-eligible, but Morris Claiborne could come out this year and he is looking like a potential top-15 pick. He does a great job turning to play the ball, rather than strictly reacting to the receiver. He made another nice play today against Tennessee where he essentially became the receiver, and nearly returned the pick for a touchdown.
- Trent Richardson continues to improve his draft stock. If you missed his big run against Ole Miss check it out on youtube. He is every bit as good as Adrian Peterson was coming out of college and should be a top-10 lock.
And then there were three…
With the Vikings win over the Cardinals they fell from 4th to 9th and now appear to be a longshot to earn the No. 1 pick due to the fact that they currently own the most difficult strength of the schedule in the league.
The Colts and Rams, thanks to playing in two of the weakest divisions in football, remain the favorites.
The Dolphins are still in the mix, but will likely need to win the top pick outright due to their SOS. With the Patriots, Jets and Bills all looking like playoff contenders, the Dolphins figure to end the season with one of the more difficult schedules.
Tonight’s Bears-Lions game has no impact on the winless teams, but with a Lions victory the almighty Philadelphia Eagles would fall into a tie with the Jaguars for the 5th pick.
I’m intrigued by Robert Griffin and I’m starting to think he could sneak into the 1st round should he enter the draft this year.
Griffin is an elite athlete who compares favorably to Michael Vick in terms of his ability to run with the football. But to evaluate him, you have to take those plays out of the mix. His ability to run is nice, but without the ability to stand in the pocket and throw he can’t be considered an elite prospect.
At first glance all you notice about Griffin is the athleticism, but a closer look turns up some more traditional skills.
I went back and looked at his game against TCU – arguably the best defense he’s faced this season – to see how he performed in NFL-style plays. Basically what I was looking for was how he handled pressure and how he looked when standing in the pocket. Read more