Archive for November, 2010

Weekend preview & latest on Cam Newton

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

I’ve four games on the schedule this weekend:

Georgia vs Auburn

Nobody knows whether Cam Newton will feature in this game. Personally, I sincerely hope he does. As someone who conducts a draft blog and as a mere fan of college football, I just want to watch the best players perform. Whilst I appreciate the rules and regulations, Newton isn’t gaining any on-field advantage from allegations that money was sought for his registration.

I know penalties need to be severe to discourage this type of event reoccurring. However – I just wish there was a way of finding out the truth (not allegations) quickly and then arranging for money to be paid back with a subsequent heavy fine. I want to watch Newton, A.J. Green and Justin Houston fighting it out for their team and their draft stock. ESPN and Joe Schad have the latest (see video) but I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Newton will not participate tomorrow.

Penn State vs Ohio State

I regularly see Cameron Heyward in first round mock drafts. I also see him in the top ten picks an awful lot. I think he’s over rated. I can also appreciate why he may still be a high pick. Tyson Jackson went third overall (an obvious reach) in 2009. He had just seven sacks his last two years with LSU and one career interception. Heyward currently has eight sacks in 2009/10 and one career interception. Jackson was 290lbs and 6’5″. Heyward is 288lbs and 6’5″.

It’s another chance to watch Heyward, but I doubt my opinion will change much. I have him as a 2/3 round prospect. Who knows if he’ll go much higher.

Oklahoma State vs Texas

Justin Blackmon is intriguing. He leads the nation in receiving yards (1285) and touchdowns (15) despite recently missing a game for off the field circumstances. He reminds me a little bit of Michael Crabtree – both 6’1″ and around the 210lbs range. Both were ultra productive receivers in pass friendly offenses. The soft hands, YAC ability and body control are there. Neither is an elite deep threat.

Nobody is really talking about Blackmon (a redshirt sophomore) from a draft point of view. I’m not entirely sure what’ll happen with the QB situation at OKSU, but Brandon Weeden is a 27-year-old junior playing in college after his baseball career was cut short due to injury. Does that have any impact on his decision?

I expect the Cowboys to win this comfortably – Texas are a mess. It’s a good game to really test Blackmon though against a decent, if a little over rated secondary that misses Earl Thomas more than they thought. There’s no reason why Blackmon couldn’t be the third WR off the board next April.

South Carolina vs Florida

Speaking of talented receivers, SC have a great one in true sophomore Alshon Jeffery. He’s 230lbs, 6’3″ and likely to be a very high draft pick in 2012. He has 1034 yards and seven scores on the year so far.

Florida cornerback Jenoris Jenkins shone against Julio Jones, virtually shutting him down (which even Patrick Peterson failed to do). Jenkins also performed admirably against A.J. Green. He suffered however when inconsistent Terrance Toliver got the ball in space. His open field tackling is a big issue and takes away some of his great qualities as a cover corner.

Jeffery is another physical beast but is far more effective and a much harder worker than Toliver. Another shut down performance from Jenkins and we could be talking about top-ten range next April. Big game.

Kiper & McShay on Cam Newton

Friday, November 12th, 2010

How many times have the QB’s been sacked?

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Working on the prospect tracker earlier (see article below) I decided to look at how many times CFB quarterbacks have been sacked during the 2009 and 2010 season. The results were very interesting.

Andrew Luck has been sacked just nine times during the last two seasons. Incredible protection from the Stanford offensive line and a further sign as to how good that offense is functioning. But how many times have other prospects been sacked in the same time frame.

Jake Locker – 43

Ryan Mallett – 38

Blaine Gabbert – 24

Christian Ponder – 24

Matt Barkley – 30

Terrelle Pryor – 38

Cam Newton has only been with Auburn for one year – so far he’s been sacked 15 times in 2010.

It has to be said – that is a fantastic environment for Andrew Luck to perform. One of the knocks on Sam Bradford before his shoulder injury was that he didn’t face much pressure at Oklahoma. In the two years before his injury, he was sacked 23 times. The fact Luck has only been sacked nine times in nearly two full years of football is incredible. Compare that situation to Jake Locker – who has been sacked 43 times. It has to have an impact on how prospects perform.

Prospect tracker: Offensive focus

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

I’ve updated the Prospect Tracker for this week – you can find the latest stats on all the top 2011 draft prospects by selecting the logo in the title bar. I wanted to offer a few thoughts looking at the offense today. In my latest mock draft 21 of the 32 first round picks are defensive prospects – is there a lack of offensive talent this year?

Quarterbacks

There is one certain first round quarterback (Andrew Luck), two ‘unknowns’ (Jake Locker, Cam Newton) who should go in round one and a complete mystery in Ryan Mallett. No other quarterback prospects have a shot at going in round one.

Statistically Cam Newton continues to impress. A walk over win over Chattanooga helped pad out the stats a little. However, only Kellen Moore (192.4) has a better QB rating than Newton (182.8) in the entire country. Andrew Luck is 7th (163.4) and Ryan Mallett 9th (162.9).

Looking at the Prospect Tracker, we can see only Luck has a better completion rate – beating Newton by 0.6% (67.8% vs 67.2%). However, Newton is registering 10.33 yards per attempt – considerably higher than Luck (8.58), Jake Locker (6.8) and Blaine Gabbert (6.43). Only the cannon-armed Ryan Mallett comes close at 9.52.

Newton is considered a run-first quarterback by most, but he’s actually become more of a passing force recently. He has 526 yards in his last two games including six touchdowns. In that same period he’s rushed only 19 times for 69 yards and one touchdown. He has as many touchdowns as Mallett for the year (19) with only Andrew Luck scoring more (22).

It’s also a sign of Luck’s growing role in Stanford’s offense. He’s already completed 13 more passes than he did in the whole of 2009. He’s thrown for nine more TD’s and improved his completion percentage from 56.3% to 67.8%. He’s only been sacked three times this year, however, which emphasises the positive environment with which he’s surrounded. Stanford have given up nine sacks in two years. Jake Locker has been sacked 43 times in the same time frame. Ryan Mallett has been sacked 38 times and Cam Newton 15 times this year.

Running backs

You only have to look at the stats to see this is a poor year at the position. I’m a big fan of Mark Ingram, but his production has taken a big hit this year. He’s currently ranked 64th in the country for rushing – significantly down on his Heisman winning season in 2009.

LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter are #2 and #3 in the country and represent interesting change of pace options. However, both are in that 5’8″-5’9″ region and weigh under 200lbs, so their stock will be limited.

Ryan Williams – a legitimate option for round one before the season began – is reported to be ready to declare as a RS sophomore. This despite a year dogged by injury which has seen a dramatic decrease in production.

Demarco Murray will interest some teams for his ‘do-it-all’ ability, but he’s not going to be explosive or a work horse in the NFL. He’s the only RB listed who’s topped 200 receiving yards (358, 3 TD’s) and maintained production on the ground (832 yards, 13 TD’s).

Overall it’s a down year at the position with a lack of quality depth and only one legitimate first round option – Ingram.

Wide receivers

There’s a number of big name, well known WR’s but not much elite production on the year. A.J. Green’s excuse is that he missed four games to start the year. Since then, he’s caught up quickly and his 510 receiving yards isn’t far behind Julio Jones (758), Michael Floyd (728) and Jonathan Baldwin (546).

Prospects like Baldwin will, quite fairly, point to inconsistent QB play as an excuse for a drop in production. He’s listed in round one of the latest mock, but could’ve gone higher with better numbers. He’s on pace to score two less TD’s this year and over 300 less yards.

Floyd’s production has picked up in a recent defeat to Tulsa and a victory over Western Michigan (261 yards, 5 TD’s). However, he’s still running sloppy routes and body catching far too much. He doesn’t make the most of his size/speed combo and he’s been knicked up the last two years. I can’t put him in round one at the moment – he’s a solid second round pick with potential however.

The one to watch from this list is Justin Blackmon. His production continues to grow and he’s putting up Biletnikoff type numbers. 1258 receiving yards and 15 TD’s already – Blackmon has drawn comparisons to Michael Crabtree due to his production, soft hands and YAC ability. He’s a shade smaller than Crabtree and doesn’t have the same incredible wingspan, but he’s a fast riser at the moment and could push his way into the late first round.

Where’s Ryan Mallett?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Ryan Mallett doesn't feature in round one

I haven’t had Ryan Mallett in my mock drafts for a while. A few people have asked why, so it’s only fair to explain my thinking. After all – I’ve been very positive about Mallett in the past.   

The first thing I want to discuss is the overall improvement Mallett has made this year. That hasn’t been reported as well it perhaps should be. Coming into the 2010 CFB season people loved to talk about his inconsistency and his inability to win tough games on the road.   

Some of those concerns were legitimate. In 2009, he completed 56% of his passes. However – against tougher opposition he really struggled. In defeats to Florida, LSU and Ole Miss he averaged just a 41% completion rate. His numbers were significantly helped by big wins over Troy, Missouri State and Eastern Michigan. None of his seven regular season wins were on the road.   

That clearly played some part in Mallett’s decision not to declare for the 2010 draft. It was never revealed what feedback he received from the NFL draft committee and when asked about that experience Mallett wasn’t entirely forthcoming. The critics were sceptical about his prospects this year, but let’s look at his improvements:   

-Mallett has increased his pass completion percentage from 56% to 67% in 2010   

-His overall QB rating has improved from 152.5 last year to 162.9 in 2010   

Mallett led Arkansas to impressive wins on the road against Georgia, Texas A&M and South Carolina   

People who wanted Mallett to become a more accurate passer, continue to develop and win on the road should be satisfied by his achievements so far this year. It’s not a faultless performance – there are still concerns with his footwork, specifically how he plants his feet under pressure and sets to throw. His fourth quarter meltdown against Alabama prevented the opportunity to beat the #1 ranked team in the country at the time.   

However, Arkansas’ only other defeat came in a shoot-out against unbeaten Cam Newton and Auburn – a game Mallett left early after suffering a concussion. The ease in which Mallett helped knock off South Carolina last weekend was particularly impressive.   

It’s not difficult to see what positives Mallett brings to the table as a pro-QB. He has incredible arm strength – you may never see a better arm. His release point is high above his 6’7″ frame and he snaps the ball out as quickly as you’d hope. He’s not a statue like some might claim and he’s more than capable of moving around in the pocket – he just needs a little bit more composure and some basic tweaks in his footwork.   

His overall accuracy is fine although not elite. He’s got good enough touch on fades, he can fit the ball into some really tight windows with excellent velocity and of course he’s capable of making stunning deep throws for huge gains. He can make ‘all the throws’ as they say and I have no doubt what so ever that from a talent standpoint he can’t continue to put up eye catching numbers in the NFL.   

If you were to ask me for a grade on his on-the-field performance, I would say top-15 for sure. So why isn’t he in the mock draft?   

The issue I have is a little unspecific. Maybe it’s unfair? The old saying goes ‘there’s no smoke without fire’.   

On the 23rd September, Wes Bunting from the NFP tweeted the following:   

I talked to a scout the other day that said “I got stuff on Mallett that nobody knows about” there are a lot of concerns on him personally
 
A day earlier, Tony Pauline made the following remark in his TFY Podcast:
The feeling down in Arkansas is that he’s just a different type of person
 
Walter Cherepinksy regularly touted character issues with Mallett in his updated mock drafts, at one time suggesting the following:

Major character issues will eventually surface regarding Ryan Mallett. Let’s just say that he won’t be too focused when watching game film at the next level.   

Now it would be unfair for me to basically declare a red flag based on the comments of a few high-profile draft pundits. I’ve watched Mallett in games and in interviews and there is a petulant side to his character. In the Texas A&M victory, he was mouthing off to coaches and lashed out at an opponent. He sometimes loses focus in games. In his interviews, you don’t get the impression he’s ‘switched on’ like other top QB picks such as Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez.  He comes across a little immature.   

It will take more than that to send Mallett spiralling into a draft day fall. Having said that – teams will sit down with him at the combine and expect to see a guy who blows them away in meetings. I’m not sure that will happen and that’s when concerns might arise.   

Let’s look at the options and try to explain why I have him falling in my mock draft. It’s unlikely either way that he’ll be picked in the top 1-7, but what about after that?   

  • Arizona (9th overall) could do with a quarterback but are they likely to gamble on a first round QB with potential character issues after busting with Matt Leinart? I’m not sure.
  • Minnesota (10th overall) might consider a quarterback in R1 next year, but if the current coaching staff remain I expect Tavaris Jackson to probably start.
  • Seattle (12th overall) I have selecting Jake Locker.
  • Washington (13th overall) are a legitimate option, but might look at other areas of the team this early particularly if Donovan McNabb remains the starter.

After these four, I see only #24 Kansas City as potentially looking at QB, but they have won with Matt Cassel this year and don’t seem like a logical fit for Mallett based on scheme or character.   

If the character issues are enough to put off teams in the top-15 picks – where the gamble is much higher – then it’s not unrealistic that he could drop into round two. Although Mallett is a much better prospect overall than Jimmy Clausen, that is one of the reasons we saw the Notre Dame QB drop into round two last April.   

Eventually teams at the top of the second round will have to pay attention. I could see a logical home for Mallett in Buffalo or Cincinnati. Some of the teams who went elsewhere in round one would seriously consider Mallett at a reduced cost with less expectation (eg Washington or Arizona).   

In future mocks I may include Mallett in round one. As I’ve explained, I think the talent (if not the character) warrants that selection. However, it’s easy to see why he might suffer a slight fall next April.

Updated first round mock draft 11/09

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

We’re half way through the 2010 NFL season and it’s time for an updated mock draft. I’ve decided to award Carolina the #1 overall pick in this latest projection. My reasoning? Whilst Buffalo continue to lose (0-8) they’re getting closer and improving. Carolina are getting worse, with a rookie quarterback and a lame duck head coach. Looking at the schedules, Carolina may not win again. Buffalo are capable of two wins in my opinion.

To see the latest projection click here or select ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.

The Seahawks are now picking 12th overall instead of 21st. They’re tied for the division lead with St. Louis, but it’s difficult to project Seattle winning the division after a 74-10 implosion the past two weeks.

The pick however, remains the same.

I said last week that I wanted to go through different projections to review the possibilities the team had depending on where they select. Although the pick itself isn’t different – the position is (9 spots further up the board). I want to represent how I think the Seahawks position may not necessarily change depending on their draft position.

The team has many needs, but I maintain that none are greater than a long term investment at quarterback. If the front office and coaching staff see a QB they can build around – they have to take them. That remains the case if the team picks 30th overall or 10th.

I could’ve given the team Julio Jones instead – a tall receiver and an area the team has targeted for improvement (Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson). Janoris Jenkins is a talented cover corner with the size the team covets at the position. Justin Houston has ten sacks this year and fits the LEO position perfectly. Nick Fairley is flying up the boards after a dominant year for unbeaten Auburn.

All would’ve fit that 12th overall position, fit the team’s scheme and make sense it terms of the team’s needs. However, without that investment in the quarterback – it just seems irrelevant.

To throw you a theory – the Seahawks wouldn’t necessarily have to start aforementioned rookie QB in year one. This would offer the opportunity to keep building through two drafts, two free agency’s and at least one full season to provide a better environment for your rookie starter. The QB could then start with a year under his belt with a greater understanding of the playbook.

Delaying the inevitable and necessary investment in a QB will allow the team to build up other areas. However – eventually you’ll have to pull the trigger and the longer it’s left – the more likely it is that rookie will have to start. Some have coped admirably in that scenario (Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford) whilst many others have struggled.

It’s not about waiting for the ‘perfect’ quarterback. Inevitably every year people speculate on how the following draft will provide much greater options. If you see a quarterback with the potential to be good, there’s no reason to wait endlessly for the guy who has the potential to be great. You’ll only ever have a one-in-32 chance of drafting that prospect anyway.

Clearly the Seahawks need to keep improving both lines. They need playmakers on offense. But it all starts with the quarterback – and having that guy in place and not immediately rushed into the line-up can be a difference maker. Just ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – last in the NFL sacks, hopeless for the most part last year – but winning and competing in 2010.

Do you agree or disagree with the latest mock draft? Are you a fan of another team who can offer some advice on team needs or likely picks? Do you disagree with my opinion on Seattle’s need to draft a quarterback? Let me know in the comments section or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com

Halfway home – what’s the biggest need?

Monday, November 8th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago the Seahawks were 4-2, had just defeated a division rival and looked forward to games against Oakland and New York. Today, 77-points later, the team are at 4-4 and it’s a much different picture.

For the last two weeks I’ve had Seattle picking in the 20′s purely because that’s the ‘reward’ for winning the NFC West. The division winners will pick no higher than 21st overall. The simple fact is any of the four teams could be picking in the 20′s next year because of this and at the same time - the other three could be picking in the top 10-12.

It seems obvious to me that the last two games are more a reality check than anything else. This is a team being built on the run, collecting pieces for the longer journey. A few gems have been discovered so far – particularly Red Bryant pre-injury. Chris Clemons and Mike Williams have both surpassed expectations so far, even if production has gone missing the last two games.

However, there isn’t much depth and with a few injuries the exposure is there. This team can’t cope without so many missing pieces right now. The result has been the last two games, when formerly strong areas of the team (run defense, special teams) haven’t been able to carry other less successful parts.

This is the half way stage though at 4-4, so it’s time for a status check. How have needs changed in the eight games so far? (more…)

Luck looks the part and Saturday notes

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Andrew Luck impressed against Arizona

I’ve just finished watching the tape from last night’s Stanford vs Arizona game. Both teams were ranked in the top-15 coming into the game, but with home field advantage this always had the makings of a comfortable win for Andrew Luck and co.

So what about Luck?

Whilst he’s received almost universal fawning this season (including numerous ill-advised comparisons to Peyton Manning) I’ve voiced some concerns. Against UCLA earlier in the year he was erratic and inconsistent despite a blowout victory.

I watched last week’s game against Washington but it was difficult to judge. The game quickly went away from the Huskies and Stanford basically were sleep-walking to a huge win. Luck could’ve quarterbacked the game blindfolded.

Arizona are a better team than Washington although they struggled on both sides of the ball in this one. Only Oregon have found a way to outmaneouvre Stanford’s productive offense by putting on a big show themselves. That’s the only way to beat Stanford’s blend of run-pass-block.

Because he plays in such a perfect storm for a college quarterback, Luck just has to manage things well. People were getting carried away during the UCLA/Oregon games. This performance against Arizona was the first real evidence in my opinion of a guy ready to walk into the NFL.

In the first half Luck put on a masterclass. His accuracy was a lot more assured with none of the messy inconsistency we saw against the Bruins. He took two chances and missed on slightly risky throws, but overall was in complete control. Stanford came out passing and Luck executed to near perfection.

His footwork is already at the level you want from a NFL prospect. His throwing motion and release will need no work. On day one after he’s drafted, you can work on the playbook and feel confident in his technique. That was always the case though. Now he’s cutting out the erratic mistakes, he’s starting to play up to the reputation.

One thing he hasn’t got is a great deep ball. A long pass downfield floats dangerously similarly to Jimmy Clausen at times – and his deep velocity was a concern from day one last year. He doesn’t drive the ball, he places it with a lot of air. That was fine on a play-action 45-yard score in the first quarter, but his wide out put a great little move on the DB to get wide open. All Luck had to do was put the ball in his general area. He won’t always get that window at the next level.

That’s not to say he has a poor arm though. His velocity on short/medium throws is good, particularly when he needs to fit the ball into a tight window. A guy like Christian Ponder (who has a weak arm) can’t even get the right velocity on a WR screen. Luck doesn’t have the big deep ball, but he has a more than adequate arm.

In the second half things got a little sloppy with Stanford home and dry and there were some incompletions. However, when he’s needed to show up in his last three big games (Oregon, USC, Arizona) he’s thrown for over 280+ yards with a 7/2 TD-INT ratio.

When I grade Luck – the intanigbles and technique are all elite. He’s winning games on a good team. That’s all good for a first round grade. The issue that still remains for me is whilst he might ’grasp’ a pro-style offense and he might be a ‘great’ leader - I’m not sure he’s either physically good enough or that accurate to walk onto a really bad team and perform quickly.

He’s not got the pin-point accuracy of Sam Bradford or the physical tools of Matt Stafford. Bradford in particular has been a minor revelation for the Rams. Stafford hasn’t had the same victories – injuries won’t help – but he’s kick started the franchise in Detroit.

If I had to compare him to anyone, it’d probably be Matt Ryan. When the Falcons drafted Ryan 3rd overall, they went back into round one to get an offensive lineman (Sam Baker, USC). They made a big splash in free agency to get Michael Turner. They had receivers and a pass rusher already in place. They built the right environment for their QB to succeed quickly.

If Luck lands on a 49ers team or a Panthers team – I think he can have that level of success early. What he won’t be however – is the sole turning point where the light switches on. St. Louis have four wins right now because of the Bradford factor. Everything else is a one-win roster. Put Luck on Buffalo’s team in tough conditions and I’m thinking less Matt Ryan and potentially more Joey Harrington.

You could argue that’d be the case for any quarterback. Maybe so – but Bradford was good enough to walk onto any team and charge things up. Stafford, physically, would’ve coped in Buffalo. Luck is a different brand and Buffalo might appreciate that too – although they’ll be widely criticised if they do pick first next April and don’t take Luck – it might be best for all concerned.

***NOTES***

-Akeem Ayers (LB, UCLA) ended a run of three games without a big play by registering his fourth sack of the year in a 17-14 win over Oregon State. He is a potential LEO candidate, but I think you’d limit his playmaking ability. He’s better as a pure 4-3 OLB where you can truly use his instincts alongside the pass rushing.

-Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon State) doesn’t get talked about much in another loaded year at defensive tackle. He had two more sacks against UCLA, putting him at five for the year. His ability to get to the QB will compliment his stoutness against the run. He’ll go earlier than some project right now.

-Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa) failed to record a sack in beating Indiana 18-13. His lack of pure production is a concern after eleven sacks in 2009. Clayborn sees a lot of double teams and faces good lineman regularly, but he’s not going to find a home in the top-20 picks with three sacks for the year.

Week 10 review – Nevis impressive, Jones vs Peterson

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

It was Jones vs Peterson in Death Valley today

I’ve just finished watching Alabama @ LSU. It was billed as the Julio Jones vs Patrick Peterson contest, but another first round prospect stole the show. Drake Nevis (DT, LSU) is at #26 in my latest mock draft, but it might be time to re-consider that. He’s had a quiet few weeks after starting the season with four sacks in two games. He had a pair of sacks today, including a superb forced fumble on Greg McIlroy to seal the game for his team.

Nevis dominated the line of scrimmage, flashing the kind of athleticism and strength which will put him in the top-20 next April. Scouts might be slightly concerned about his consistency  but he stepped up against a big opponent in ‘Bama.

Stout against the run, he regularly took up two blockers creating space for others. He flashed a nice swim move and a burst to get leverage. He was regularly in the backfield to make a splash if not record the tackle. Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn) has received a lot of credit recently for some stunning display’s – but Nevis is right up there too.

So what about Jones vs Peterson? Personally, I think both come out of this well. Peterson gave up some receptions (something Jones didn’t manage in seven throws last year) but he restricted his ability to make the big play. However, with ‘Bama driving late on trying to get back into it – the receiver won out with a 9-yard slant TD. He got position and a step on the #1 CB prospect and McIlroy couldn’t miss. It flashed a better grasp of routes – a major improvement for Jones this year.

His hands are much improved overall but there was an ugly drop late in the game with ‘Bama in an impossible situation – that’s one aspect team’s will have to battle with.

Peterson gets some credit for keeping a lid on Jones overall and not allowing the big play. His stock will remain unchanged after this performance. However – Jones showed why he deserves to be a top-15 pick in my mock draft. Nine catches, 81-yards and a score despite shadowing from CFB’s best defensive back? Major draft credit there.

Every team will watch this tape when they do their evaluations. A team who can’t get at A.J. Green early but need a spark at receiver will consider Julio Jones.

***NOTES***

-Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson) had two more sacks today in an upset win over ranked NC State. That’s 12 sacks in nine games this year. He also blocked a field goal today. I’ve had him going first overall in my last two mocks. Believe it.

-Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State) missed OKSU’s last game through suspension after a DUI incident. He was back today showing why he should be in the Heisman talk. He had 13 more catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. He added a further score on a 69-yard rush. He doesn’t get talked about much, but he might be the best wide out available after A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

-A.J. Green (WR, Georgia) had six catches for Georgia in a blowout win over Idaho State. He scored two touchdowns and topped 100 yards (103) again. He is without doubt a rare talent at his position who should be a top five pick. Routes, speed, control, hands. He doesn’t have elite size, but otherwise he’s the full package.

-Cam Newton (QB, Auburn) put all the controversy behind him this weekend with another big game. For the second week in a row he was productive as a passer – albeit against weak opposition in Chattanooga. He completed 15/21 passing for 317 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed eight times for just 24 yards but a further score. Heisman winner.

I have Arizona/Stanford and Washington/Oregon to be broadcast tomorrow ready for viewing. I’ll have thoughts on those games – and more notes – on the blog tomorrow. If you’ve been watching a game or a specific prospect today let me know what in the comments section - who impressed or disappointed?

Weekend preview

Friday, November 5th, 2010

On my schedule this weekend are the following games:

Alabama vs LSU
Arkansas vs South Carolina
Arizona vs Stanford
Washington vs Oregon

The key match-up with regard to next April’s draft is Julio Jones (WR, Alabama) vs Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU) which I wrote about in a little more detail here.

It’s also another opportunity to see Ryan Mallett in a tough environment against good opposition. Mallett has made significant strides this year, but following Arkansas’ defeat to Alabama that hasn’t been discussed much. Character issues could keep Mallett out of the first round, but he’s improved enough to justify his decision not to declare for the 2010 draft.

Stanford should defeat Arizona despite only a two-place difference in the rankings. I had a chance to watch Andrew Luck in last week’s blow-out against Washington. He’s moved on from a slightly erratic performance against UCLA and is starting to look a lot more assured. I’ll be looking to see if that continues on Saturday.

Washington vs Oregon has the makings of a one-sided affair and the Huskies made the right decision to hold out Jake Locker. It does make the game a little less intriguing from a draft prospective, but LaMichael James (BR, Oregon) is back on the Heisman radar after news broke yesterday about an investigation involving Cam Newton. He could be a second-round pick if he opts to declare.

Are you watching a game this weekend? Let me know what you’re looking out for in the comments section or email rob@seahawksdraftblog.com