College football week 1 observations

September 2nd, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Firstly, a note on my current situation. For the last five years I’ve had access in the UK to college football. I was able to watch as many as 6-7 games per week. That has now changed. As things stand I have zero access to college football unless I’m willing to pay an extra monthly sum, which I don’t intend to.

The new broadcaster currently has no plans to feature CBS games like they did in the past. which means no SEC teams/games unless they’re on ESPN/ABC. I’m not paying more money for a weaker service — as a point of principle if nothing else.

Another option is to purchase an expensive ESPN College Pass account. Again, that wouldn’t include the CBS games. And with a baby on the way this month, times are tight in the Staton household.

This is going to create a major challenge going into the 2014 draft. I don’t think we provide the best analysis, or the most accurate. I don’t think I have any kind of great insight or ‘eye for talent’, at least no more so than any other college football fan. But we do work our asses off and have been able to watch a ton of games to form opinions — whether they prove to be informed or not over time.

Thanks to the Draft Breakdown guys, we get a lot of great access to tape on Youtube. They really do a fantastic job and have helped educate thousands of people who all share a passion for the draft. However, it’s impossible to watch multiple players without seeing a game in its entirety. You miss the hidden gem who just catches your eye, or the player that screams ‘Seahawks’ purely due to his physical characteristics. We only get access to the players they painstakingly target for our enjoyment.

So this year is going to be a challenge, no doubt about it. I’d ask you guys to stick with us for now until I can come up with a solution. There are ways to watch certain games (I won’t spell it out) and I managed to catch two, albeit in the worst possible quality, on Saturday. So here’s my thoughts…

Georgia @ Clemson
Here’s a name to watch right off the bat — Vic Beasley (DE, Clemson). He’s listed at 6-3 and 225lbs but on tape he looks bigger than that — more like 245lbs. And he’s lightning fast. Possibly the quickest edge rusher in college football since Bruce Irvin. Beasley had two sacks against the Bulldogs, including one where he just exploded off the ball and rounded the edge like a track athlete. If he can stay healthy, he’s one to put on your radar. Last year he had eight sacks in seven games. He’s off to a great start in 2013. He’s a Seahawks-type prospect. A potential LEO or SAM linebacker type.

Sammy Watkins also had a big game. Last year he lived in the shadow of DeAndre Hopkins (it was supposed to be the other way round) but there’s no doubting who will be Tajh Boyd’s #1 target this year, especially after a disappointing showing by Martavis Bryant. Watkins flashed elite speed on a long touchdown score in the first quarter. After breaking a weak arm tackle, he outran Georgia’s defense for the score. Not many players will do that this year. If his character checks out, the sky’s the limit for Watkins in next years draft.

In the battle of the two quarterbacks — one guy looked like he had a NFL future (Boyd), the other looked like he’d be lucky to get drafted (Aaron Murray). Boyd has the mobility, arm strength, mechanics and improvisation skills to get a lot of teams interested. He wasn’t as sharp in this game as he was against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but he’s carved up big yardage and multiple scores against two SEC powerhouses in back-to-back games. There’s no reason why he can’t be a first or second round pick. Murray struggled to have anything like the same impact. He’s physically weaker than Boyd, not the same kind of athlete and isn’t brilliantly accurate. He’s a solid college quarterback but nothing more. I’ve seen enough in three years to feel like he’ll never start at the next level. So unless you’re the type of person who spends big on a backup you never want to start, does he get drafted?

Alabama vs Virginia Tech
This was a great chance for Logan Thomas to show he meant business. Last year was a mess. For me, he took his eye off the ball. Looked too far ahead. His team drifted into mediocrity and he couldn’t drag them out of it. He went from a first round projection to oblivion in the space of a season. I’m not really sure what I think after this game. For starters, Virginia Tech are a million miles behind Alabama when it comes to overall talent. A.J. McCarron has everything — pass protection, an elite receiver, a brilliant running back. What does Thomas have? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

His first interception was all down to one of the all-time laziest efforts you’ll see by a receiver. There were a few drops. They couldn’t sustain a drive if their lives depended on it. The play calling was a little odd (a Virginia Tech speciality in recent years). And at no point did Alabama come under any pressure. For those reasons I’m willing to give Thomas a pass, even if he wasn’t able to make the kind of statement performance needed to put him back on the draft map. At the same time, even small school quarterbacks in Bama’s patsy games manage better stat lines than Thomas’ paltry 5/26 passing, 59 yards and zero touchdowns. He’s lost some weight and still has the complete skill set teams are looking for. But this wasn’t the start he hoped for.

Elsewhere, VT’s true freshman cornerback Kyle Fuller is a star in the making. I haven’t seen a defensive back cover Amari Cooper as well as Fuller did in this game — and it was his first start. Sensational. Defensive end James Gayle also shone despite failing to trouble the stat sheet. Linebacker Tariq Edwards also had a nice game. A.J. McCarron will get his chance in the NFL but it’s hard to project much more than a third round grade for his skill set. He’s mobile but not exactly what you’d call an athlete. He doesn’t have the big arm and he tends to stare down receivers. But he also has the occasional play that gets you out of your seat. You can see his game tape below.

32 Responses to “College football week 1 observations”

  1. Colin says:

    McCarron is Matt Flynn with a little more creativity and size. Nothing terribly special, but I’m sure he will make a fine career out of being a backup in the NFL.

    It was terribly fun to watch UW take BSU down a couple of notches.

    After hearing how Jadaveon Clowney “loafed” and some of the press made it sound like he was crap, I was blown away at the tape. If that is a “bad” game for him, he is worth every bit of hype that’s been generated. Missed 2 sacks by mere inches and was just a hellmaker in run defense. Bar none the #1 pick.

    Johnny Manziel played a meaningless half of football and proceeded to make sure he did his part in acting like a jackass. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s getting old. Blowing off his HC like he did- that’s another story. He is rapidly stockpiling negatives it seems.

  2. Mark says:

    Sling Player mate.

    Just need someone willing to hook you up over here. I can’t, but can strongly suggest you look into it. I personally know someone in the service overseas that uses it to watch, record, and playback TV at home with it and is more than happy with the results.

    As far as I know only broadband is required on both sides.

    Love your work, hope it can still happen.

    Mark

    • Mark says:

      Reading my last I wasn’t clear.

      You need a sling player hooked into either a cable box output, or sat box output in the market you want to view. THEN broadband on both sides….

      Mark

  3. Colin says:

    On a good note, Pete said Cliff Avril ran really well today and he was pretty stoked to see what he could do on Wednesday.

  4. John_s says:

    Firstrowsports.eu or vipboxonline.eu will give you access to games online for free

  5. Trudy Beekman says:

    I thought Alabama’s line looked noticeably worse this year. Kouandjio looked like just a slightly more athletic DJ Fluker but without hands that are as heavy once he locked on. I saw a lot of lunging and grabbing, and he also got blown by a few times. Not seeing the elite LT I thought I’d see, more like a Rd 1-2 guy but I also thought Fluker was a Rd 2 guy so who knows.

    Also watched Anthony Steen at RG. Physically limited technician like Barrett Jones. Amazing in pass pro and does an incredible job keeping guys off him while keeping his head on a swivel to pick up stunts. Doesn’t quite have the speed to be dominant in wide-zone plays, and lacks the upper body strength to keep them locked up or to be called a road grader. Would guess he goes Rd 4-5 because of the position and the lack of notoriety that Barrett enjoyed with a similar skillset.

    It seemed to me that McCarron was CONSTANTLY pressured in this game, taking 4 sacks and escaping a bunch more. Yeldon only went for 4.4 a carry, down from 6.3 last year and I can’t name a single Tech defender other than their 2 corners. I was trying to key in on any Tech DL that were consistently beating Bama, but I couldn’t pinpoint just one … it was coming from inside and out. I know they usually do a good job replacing them, but I think losing the 3 guys they did is going to have a bigger impact than people think.

  6. Big Balls Pete says:

    Hey Rob,

    Very sorry to hear of your troubles. You provide a valuable service that would be sorely missed. I suggest a kickstarter for the additional funds. I know many of us grateful 12s would contribute to keep the great analysis coming.

    • Steeeve says:

      A Kickstarter fund is really easy to set up and you wouldn’t have to put a PayPal/donate thing on the actual site — just one post to let us know it’s there and you’d reach your target rather quickly.

  7. Nolan says:

    How much is the espn pass ? I’d be willing to chip in a little I’m sure others would as well… I read every word you print.

    • Tomahawk says:

      Yes, I’d chip in as well.

      Rob, congrats on the little one on the way. That’s great news!

    • A. Simmons says:

      Couldn’t hurt to toss up something for contributions. This is the main site for Seahawks draft analysis I believe.

      • Carl says:

        Agreed with the above posters, post a little blurb here, so people can paypal you some cash, Maybe check with Danny and see if you can post in on Field Gulls as well, and I am sure you can afford the cable package and a baby beast mode jersey for the little one.

        • Hawkspur says:

          I’m in. There are so many players I discovered on here who didn’t seem to get any press until months after you guys had written about them (Irvin, Carpenter, Brandon Coleman to name but a few). Is there any way of getting SEC over here as well?

  8. Trudy Beekman says:

    http://draftbreakdown.com/video/khalil-mack-vs-ohio-state-2013/

    http://draftbreakdown.com/video/khalil-mack-vs-kent-state-2012/

    Khalil Mack was a guy I was hoping would maybe slide to the end of Round 1 after seeing his Kent State tape last year so the Hawks could add him to our LEO/SAM stable, but I think it’s time to start talking about him as a Top 10 guy. He is the perfect 3-4 OLB Prospect and looked absolutely effortless against both of Ohio State’s tackles. Great off the edge, incredible power for a 6’3″ 250 lb guy when bull-rushing, and he knows how to mix the two for maximum effect. Flying all over the field, sacks, picks, dropping into coverage … this kid is so far my big man-crush for the 2014 draft.

  9. Rob Staton says:

    I really appreciate all the offers to donate guys – however – I’m determined to search for alternatives that don’t include anyone having to do that. For five years this site has been free and independent and I intend to keep it that way. But it means a lot that some of you have offered to do this, really it does. Thank you.

    • oz says:

      Congratulations on your family addition (soon to be). Keep us posted on your finding’s.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      Rob,

      I fully appreciate your desire to keep this site free and independent. But if you’ll allow me the observation, my understanding of “free” includes having the freedom to choose to contribute financially to keep something going that means very much to me. Contributions would be 100% voluntary and anonymous to other SDBers (except you), so there shouldn’t be any pressure for anyone to give if they don’t want to (or can’t afford to). As for remaining independent, I feel confident in speaking for my fellow SDBers in saying that none of us would expect to have any kind of administrative or editorial input beyond our current ability to comment to, and discuss with each other, the articles you (and Kip) post here.

      This blog, and the vast amount of work you put into it, means A LOT to many of us, myself included. I mean that sincerely, and I would be honored to participate in this site that way. If you aren’t able to find an alternative way to watch college football games, I implore you to consider allowing your grateful audience to demonstrate our collective support and appreciation.

  10. Phil says:

    Rob – maybe it’s time to remind all of us that if we buy from NFLshop.com using the link at seahawksdraftblog.com, this puts a twopence — or maybe even a shilling — in the Staton family’s college fund.

    By the way – my wife and I never snagged the Russell Wilson autographs on those Seahawk jerseys we bought. RW showed up a day early for the William & Mary football camp and when we drove by the W&M stadium to plan our strategy for the following day, he was already on the field with about 300 kids! We didn’t have the jerseys with us, but we did manage to get his autograph on a glossy 8×10 photo. Maybe we can get our jerseys autographed in Charlotte — we will be there for the opener! Go ‘hawks!

  11. Miles says:

    Hey Rob. Did you see the Huskies game Saturday? If so, which UW players stuck out to you the most. And, besides ASJ and Keith Price, are there any Husky players who you think will be coveted in the draft?

    Also, what did you think of Keith Price’s performance overall?

    The two guys that stuck out the most for me were Jaydon Mickens (WR) and Marcus Peters (CB). Neither will be in the draft this year as they are sophomores but they were really impressive. You can see Mickens’ performance on the stat sheet, but Peters was excellent too. Not to mention, he seems to be kind of in the mold of a physical man-to-man corner, the kind Pete likes.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I did not see it unfortunately Miles. ASJ is the guy who really intrigues me at Washington, but I’m also a fan of Bishop Sankey. Not that I think he’s going to be a high pick or anything, but I like his style.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      Hey Miles, I was able to watch the game down here in LA and I was impressed with WR Kasen Williams (#2). I thought he made some nice catches and ran some crisp routes. Also, at 6-2 212lbs, he’s an interesting prospect, much in the mold of Jermaine Kearse.

      On defense, I thought Shaq Thompson looked solid.

      • Miles says:

        Thanks for your observations. Yeah Kasen Williams seems like he could develop into a stud. I think he’s a player that will force everyone to keep their eye on him, and if he has a great season this year he could declare for the draft early as opposed to getting used to a new quarterback at UW next year.

  12. glor says:

    I’d be willing to hook up a sling player to my service if other folks were willing to chip in for the sling player it’s self. Likewise if someone else wanted to host it, I’d be willing to chip in towards to purchase.

    let us know!

  13. ivotuk says:

    How much does that espn pass cost? I was trying to look it up but it said the player isn’t available in my area, Fairbanks, Alaska? wth…

    Thanks for your hard work Rob, it is much appreciated. :)

    • Rob Staton says:

      It might be purely for overseas fans of college football fans, in the same way NFL gamepass is for fans outside of the states. It’s about £20 a month, so about $31.