NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
All hail Amari Cooper. Granted the Tennessee pass defense isn’t exactly the 2001 Patriots, but nonetheless the star junior receiver caught 9 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. He ran crisp routes, snatched the ball out of the air, and boy can he run after the catch. A night to remember for Cooper.
SEC Spotlight: I’ve been a fan of Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson for some time now, and I think he’s finally getting some of the recognition he deserves. Against a good Kentucky front 7 Robinson ran for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns, including two of the most impressive runs I’ve seen all year. He shows great balance, vision, and eye discipline consistently. He averaged over 8.5 yards per carry; that should say it all.
Auburn hung on at home, barely, to beat a tough South Carolina team. Auburn’s two standout receivers D’haquille Williams and Sammie Coates weren’t much of a factor, but RB Cameron Artis-Payne picked up the slack and led the Tigers to a tough home win.
In the game of the night, LSU hung on at home and beat undefeated Ole Miss. QB Bo Wallace completing less than half of his passes. LSU had a 3 headed attack at RB going all night, led by standout freshmen Leonard Fournette. 2015 NFL Draft prospects Terrence McGee and Kenny Hilliard had 12 carries a piece, pitching in quality performances. And after all, it looks like we haven’t seen the last of Todd Gurley in a Georgia uniform. The star running back will be eligible to play again November 15.
Other impressions: My projected 2015 #1 overall pick Marcus Mariota had yet another quality performance against Cal last weekend. He was effective with his arm and his legs, totaling over 350 yards and 5 touchdowns. And everyone talks about Connor Cook when it comes to Michigan State, but what about their running back Jeremy Langford? He was the star of the show Saturday for the Spartans against rival Michigan, toting the rock 35 times for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns.
#7 TCU vs #20 West Virginia 3:30 ABC
The high flying TCU offense heads into Morgantown in a huge Big 12 game. TCU is currently leading the country with just over 50 points per game. In their last 3 games, all against legitimate conference foes (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech) TCU is averaging just shy of 62 points per game. Wowza. All of a sudden there is Heisman talk in Fort Worth over QB Trevone Boykin. Boykin tossed over 400 yards and 7 touchdowns last week with 0 interceptions. West Virginia has been impressive in their own right this year. Their only 2 losses were to (at the time) #2 Alabama and #4 Oklahoma. The last time a top 10 team came into Morgantown (#4 Baylor) WVU came away with the win. I don’t think history will repeat itself. Whatever the over is in this game, take it. WVU will score a bunch of points Saturday afternoon, but I expect TCU to score just a few more. Horned Frogs by a touchdown.
West Virginia Prospects
WR Kevin White: Has anyone’s draft stock sky rocketed like Kevin White? He is my third ranked receiver on my personal board, and he could very easily be a top 15 pick come spring time. at 6’3 210, White is a bigger receiver with a big catch radius. He’s been over 100 yards every game this year except for one…impressive.
S Karl Joseph: A borderline 2-3rd round pick in my opinion at the moment. A tough, hard nose physical football player with some scheme flexibility. Any Safety prospect in the 2-5 round area is a prospect Patriots fans should pay close attention too.
RB Dreamius Smith, DE Shaquille Riddick, OG Mark Glowinski
QB Trevone Boykin: Everyone loves the gaudy stats, I love the touchdown to interception ratio. 7 touchdowns to every 1 interception in an offense that has Boykin constantly throwing is a very good number. He is a junior, but I fully expect him to be back for his senior year and potentially be a 2016 draft prospect.
S Sam Carter: Shows good athleticism and very good ball skills on film. He has struggled at times this year but has proven to be a playmaker. With yet another solid QB on the schedule, let’s see how the Horned Frogs secondary holds up.
DT Chucky Hunter: Big body who moves like a smaller linebacker… I think he has a very high ceiling and I have him as a 3rd round DT right now.
Other prospects: QB Trevone Boykin, DT Davion Pearson
#3 Auburn vs #4 Ole Miss 7:00 ESPN
A team lucky to survive at home against a team who lost a heart breaker on the road. Major SEC Championship and college football implications on the line as Auburn rolls into Oxford. Last week Auburn RB Cameron Artis-Payne bailed the Tigers out with a solid, bell cow like performance with 167 yards and a touchdown. Ole Miss had one of the most heartbreaking losses I’ve ever seen last week. At Tiger Stadium, at night, against a team who simply can’t execute the concept of a forward pass, the Rebels marched down the field to tie and send the game into overtime in the final seconds. After struggling all game, Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace led a gutty drive which looked to be the savior of the perfect season. Not so fast. Slow to send the kicking unit onto the field, Ole Miss suffered a devastating delay of game penalty knocking the Rebs’ out of field goal range. The Hail Mary attempt failed, and the Rebs’ lost a gut wrenching 10-7 game. Can they put that behind them? I don’t think so. I love the Landshark’ defense of Ole Miss, in fact I think it is the best defensive unit in the country. However that offense just can’t be counted on. I pick Auburn to win a dog fight, and stay alive in the SEC West.
Ole Miss Prospects
FS Cody Prewitt: Every week I watch Prewitt the more I like him. I will be publishing a full 32 team mock once the college season ends, and Prewitt is a guy who definitely is in play for the Patriots towards the end of the first round.
OT Laremy Tunsil*: Potential 2016 #1 overall pick. I think he’s already a top 2-3 OT in college, by the time the season is over he may be a better prospect then 2015 top prospects Andrus Peat or La’el Collins.
WR Laquon Treadwell*: He’s been held under 100 yards now by four straight SEC opponents. Ole Miss needs to figure out a way to get their dynamic playmaker involved.
QB Bo Wallace: Massively struggled until the final drive Saturday night. I won’t kill him for it though, the ‘Death Valley at night’ mantra is a real thing. He should put up numbers vs Auburn Saturday.
Other prospects: DE C.J. Johnson, SS Serderius Bryant, CB Senquez Golson & DE Robert Nkemdiche*
RB Cameron Artis-Payne: For a league filled with talented running backs, I love how guys like Artis-Payne and MSU’s Josh Robinson are starting to garner all of the talk. I expect a heavy workload for Artis-Payne once again Saturday.
WR D’haquille Williams: Great athlete for his size (6’2 215 lbs). The problem with Williams is he’s either been dynamic (6/108 yards/2 TDS vs MSU, 8/110/1 vs Kansas State, 9/154/1 TD vs Arkansas) or invisible (3/34/0 vs South Carolina, 2/28/0 vs LSU). I want to see more consistently from the entire Auburn pass game, but particularly from Williams.
WR Sammie Coates: 4 catches for 36 yards COMBINED the last 2 weeks in big time SEC games at Mississippi State and South Carolina. Need more from a guy who’s being talked about as a first round prospect. I know Auburn is a running team with a running QB, but come on now guys.
Other prospects: C Reese Dismukes, DT Gabe Wright, S Robenson Therezie, OLB Cassanova McKinzy, RB Corey Grant, TE C.J. Uzomah, QB Nick Marshall
Arkansas vs #1 Mississippi State 7:15 ESPN2
At first glance one would assume the Arkansas Razorbacks, who have yet to record their first SEC win this season, will get blown out by the cowbells and this game won’t be that interesting to watch. However, I think you should think again. Arkansas has two really talented running backs in JR. Jonathan Williams and one of my favorite 2016 NFL Draft prospects Alex Collins. In their last 3 SEC games (#6 Texas A&M, #7 Alabama, #10 Georgia) the Razorbacks lost all three by a combined 18 points. I’m interested to watch one of my fastest rising prospects, Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson. He’s averaging an astounding 7.3 yards per carry and has 10 touchdowns. I look for Dak Prescott to continue his winning ways, and I expect the Bulldogs to roll. I will be paying particularly close attention to Benardrick McKinney. I will be previewing a ‘Potential Patriots’ section in my articles in the coming weeks (based on need, draft position, ect) and I think McKinney is a strong candidate. Arkansas has a great offensive line that can just bully people. Should be a great match up to watch.
OLB Benardrick McKinney: Auburn was able to keep McKinney in check with their unique play calling and game plan. At other times this year he’s been dominant. Some see him as a 3rd round pick, some see him as a top 20 pick. He’s a very interesting prospect to watch, and I think this Arkansas matchup should be very telling for better or for worse.
RB Josh Robinson: Arguably the run of the year last week against Kentucky. In his last 4 SEC games, Robinson has rushed for 599 yards and 7 touchdowns. Not too bad.
QB Dak Prescott: Leader of the Heisman race, fastest rising QB prospect, and the QB of the #1 ranked team in the country. Life is good to be Dak right now. Kentucky made Dak uncomfortable at times, but all in all he stayed in there and made the throws he needed to make in a much contested game.
Other prospects: WR Jameon Lewis, CB Jamerson Love, Justin Cox, TE/FB/ATH Malcolm Johnson
DE/OLB Trey Flowers: Solid edge rusher, great length, but sometimes doesn’t have the impact on the game as I think he could. Still room to grow and a high ceiling here.. I currently have him as a late third round pick.
RB Jonathan Williams: Big, physical back. Just over 6 feet and 225 pounds, Williams is a downhill runner who should see plenty of carries this week. I thought he ran exceptionally well vs Alabama. The stats won’t show it, but Williams was impressive in that game and I think he’s a legitimate prospect as well as the much talked about Alex Collins.
RB Alex Collins*: Potential high 2016 draft pick here. Runs with great fluidity and vision for such a young player. Ran for over 1000 last year and certainly looks like he’ll pass that with ease in his sophomore campaign.
After 9 weeks let’s see where we stand in a mock draft setting. No trades.
And with the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select:
I’ll say Mariota..but this isn’t an ideal situation. They like Derek Carr, and was a high selection last year. However odds are there will be a new GM (coach already fired), and coaches and GM’s like to win..or lose.. with their guys.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars :USC DL Leonard Williams. Jags probably trade down here, but Williams would be a great addition to Gus Bradley’s defense.
3) New York Jets: FSU QB Jameis Winston. After last week one thing is abundantly clear: The Jets do not have a franchise QB on the roster. In this scenario Jameis is a no-brainer. All the kid does is win…and get in trouble… but he wins (something the Jets could use at the moment).
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stanford OT Andrus Peat. Passed on Taylor Lewan for the flashy pick in Mike Evans…can’t do that again this year with that O-line in shambles. Peat is the easy pick here.
5) Washington Redskins: Nebraska DE/OLB Randy Gregory. Was an animal last week vs Rutgers on defense and blocked a field goal as well. Kerrigan will enter his final year of his contract in 2015 and the injury prone Brian Orakpo is an impending free agent as well. Gregory has the potential to be a monster at the next level with his frame, but he is very raw and has the potential to be a Dion Jordan kind of flop pick in the top 5 as well.
6) Tennessee Titans: Missouri DE/OLB Shane Ray. Thought about Gurley here… and I actually think the Titans would too. Young QB, why not add a beast of a man to pair with Sankey going forward? Here’s why: that defense is terrible and Shane Ray is a stud. Ray is scheme flexible and should be a force from day 1.
7) Atlanta Falcons: Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. He’s been a beast this year for the Gators. We saw it last week vs Detroit, the defense can’t get any pressure on the QB when they need it. Collins, Cooper, Gurley all were considered, Fowler makes the most sense.
8) Minnesota Vikings: Georgia RB Todd Gurley. No I am not crazy.. I actually believe Gurley is good enough to make Vikings’ fans forget about Adrian Peterson and his off field issues. Even with the suspension he’s still my number 1 overall prospect.
9) Chicago Bears: Alabama S Landon Collins. Collins is the pick because quite frankly, he’s the best defensive back on the board. The draft strategy should be that simple for the Bears. He
10) New York Giants: Alabama WR Amari Cooper. I know I know, they just drafted a WR last year high. I get that. But Cooper is just too talented to keep falling. I could argue he will be a better WR at this time next year then Victor Cruz. The Giants have a lot of holes, and in reality they probably look to trade down here or add some secondary or linebacker help. But Cooper is by far the best player available. Go ahead G-Men. Trade Randle for a meaningless pick, draft the flashy name and make some Giants fans happy on draft day. He reminds me of a smaller, slightly less talented AJ Green.