NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko
This weekend’s slate of college football games is the best one yet, featuring several highly anticipated conference matchups.
Here are the NFL prospects I will be watching and evaluating during their games and on film.
Alabama vs. Florida
Keep in mind that we will watch each team multiple times this season, so if a prospect isn’t scouted in this report we will eventually get to them before the season’s end.
#4 S Mark Barron, Alabama- One of the top safety prospects for the 2012 NFL draft. Barron has good size and instincts. Aggressive in the run game and projects as an “in the box” safety at the next level
#89 TE Michael Williams, Alabama (JR) – Williams is a player who I am super high on. He is flying under the radar because he’s the best blocking TE in college football rather than a receiver. Williams however has been used more in the passing game more this year and has produced. He is a player that is rising up draft boards.
#21 CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (JR) – Kirkpatrick is the best pro prospect at cornerback and it’s not close this year. His 6’2” frame will allow him to match up with big receivers and his agility and athleticism for his size is world class. He will be a top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
#37 S Robert Lester, Alabama (JR) – Lester is the ball hawking safety in the ‘Bama secondary. He had a huge sophomore year and has surpassed Barron as the superior pro safety prospect. His elite ball skills and instincts allow him to fly all over the field intercepting passes. High football IQ
#30 LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama (JR) – Hightower is a big, strong, run stuffing MLB. He is a better athlete than people think. He should be a first-second round pick when he decides to enter the draft.
#99 DT Josh Chapman, Alabama – Chapman anchors the middle of the defensive line. He is built like a house with an enormous lower half. He is able to move between playing the nose in a 3-4 and tackle in the 4-3. Chapman has worked his way into the first two rounds of the upcoming draft.
*I will be watching many of Florida’s prospects, however many of them are ineligible for this year’s draft. I will have a breakdown on a few of them, especially the ones who project to be high picks in 2013. Some of the players I will be watching are:
#73 DT Sharrif Floyd, #7 DE/OLB Ronald Powell, #2 DT Dominique Easley, #3 LB Jelani Jenkins
Virginia Tech vs. Clemson-
#4 RB David Wilson- Wilson is an explosive runner who took over for the injured Ryan Williams last year and has never looked back. He’s a threat to break a big play every time he touches the ball.
#20 CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (JR) – Hosley is a big play maker and ball-hawking corner, who led all of college football with 9 interceptions last year. Hosley’s ability to be physical be active in run coverage make him very attractive to coaches in the NFL.
#83 TE Dwayne Allen, Clemson (JR) – Allen is a big, athletic tight end who has moved to the head of the class. He’s the complete package as he is a matchup nightmare, but also able to stay in as an inline blocker. Most likely will be the first TE selected if he declared after his junior season.
#40 DE Andre Branch, Clemson- Every year it seems like Clemson is producing an NFL prospect at the DE position, and Branch is the next one. At 6’5” 260 pounds, Branch is more of an edge rusher and sub package rusher at the next level. I want to see how he holds up against stronger more physical offensive linemen.
#98 DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson – Thompson is a physical, explosive and at times unblockable interior lineman. He uses his strength to overpower and shed offensive lineman. Not technically sound yet, but it will come. He has wreaked havoc all year which has really elevated his stock.