Apologies I’ve been quiet for a few days. Saturday was a hectic day-job day, Sunday I was at the Bills vs Jaguars game and today I attended my uncle’s funeral. I managed to squeeze in some college football when I could, so here are some brief notes…
— The more I watch the more underwhelmed I am with this draft class. There’s depth at certain positions (QB, DT) but a lack of top-end quality. There’s a distinct lack of outside pass rush with blue-chip potential, I’m struggling to find dynamic players in the secondary and aside from Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr and Brock Bowers — it’s really difficult to identify top-10 prospects. Unless you pick right at the top of round one, this could be one of the worst draft’s in years to possess a high pick.
— This was a really poor week for quarterbacks. Kansas State’s Will Howard did not play well in a loss to Oklahoma State with some ugly turnovers. I’ve no idea what Quinn Ewers was doing with his first of two interceptions against Oklahoma. It was a totally careless, bizarre error. He hesitates on the throw, clearly doesn’t like the look and yet throws it anyway. Why? He remains erratic although he settled into the game and showed off easy arm strength (he can flick his wrist like a certain former Green Bay QB). Cam Ward threw a couple of interceptions. All three lost. I was particularly keen to see more of Howard and while there were some mitigating circumstances in his display, he still played poorly. I didn’t see Drake Maye or UNC this week and I’ve only watched highlights from Williams/USC. Spencer Rattler and Michael Penix Jr didn’t play.
— I don’t understand why LSU’s Maason Smith continues to be projected by some as a high pick. He looks cumbersome and awkward to me and LSU’s defense continues to toil. He was credited with a sack against Missouri but what actually happened was he grabbed the QB’s facemask and pulled him down to the turf. No flag was thrown in one of the worst decisions of the season. I also thought Ohio State duo Michael Hall Jr and Tyleik Williams played within themselves, as did Texas’ vaunted D-line. Howard Cross was typically active but stayed stuck on a few too many blocks against Louisville. A disappointing week.
— Let me chuck in a positive. I like the look of Missouri QB Brady Cook. He’s only a junior and could do with staying for his senior season, adding some size/power and playing more games. However, he has a good arm and can complete difficult passes. He’s a really useful athlete when he needs to move around or scramble. He’s shown poise and accuracy this season. At the weekend he, like the QB’s mentioned above, had a bad interception. He threw the ball straight to a DB when the read was never there, similar to Ewers’ first pick. He also had a desperate heave with 37 seconds remaining that led to a pick-six and a fumble in the game. However, he also suffered a number of dropped passes and Mizzou really shot themselves in the foot against LSU. They should’ve won. Cook is one to monitor for the future.
— The other big positive for me is the continued performance of Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton, who I wrote about last week. He’s so big and athletic — with the ability to get into position with ease and then use his physical tools to maximum effect. Every time I watch him I come away impressed and there’s no doubt in my mind he’s turning into this year’s Darnell Wright. Few people were talking about Wright during the season a year ago but his performances were so good at right tackle, he stood out a mile during games. He was eventually drafted 10th overall. Don’t be surprised if Guyton similarly goes a lot earlier than anyone is projecting.