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.