CFB Saturday notes: QB’s continue to impress

— There are so many bad quarterbacks in college football at the moment it’s hard to work out how Maryland managed to land Tua Tagovailoa’s brother via transfer. Taulia has been absolutely superb the last two weeks and looks the part of a pro prospect for the future. He’s mobile, accurate, throws well on the run, doesn’t take unnecessary chances and can make plays at every level. He’s also elevating Maryland way beyond expectations. In a 35-19 win against Penn State he threw three touchdowns and 282 yards was on point.

— No quarterback has elevated his stock more than BYU’s Zach Wilson so far, however. Some players just have a X-factor. They look in control, skilful, the clear best player on the field. That’s Wilson week after week this season. The 51-17 win against Boise State was another masterclass. He has a lot of what teams look for — creativity and improv skills, the ability to throw from difficult angles on the run, enough speed to make gains on the ground and he’s highly accurate. He’s not a big, physical player and that gives some pause. He might have a lot of similar traits to Justin Herbert but he doesn’t have the arm or the size. That does matter and he’ll need to get stronger. He doesn’t have that ‘flick of the wrist’ fastball that Kyler Murray had on a more diminutive frame. Even so, he has looked fantastic this year.

— Sometimes you can boost your stock when you have to leave a game through injury. Kyle Pitts was hammered on an illegal hit that led to concussion symptoms against Georgia. Without him, the Florida offense just didn’t look the same (even though they won comfortably). He had two catches for 59 yards and a touchdown but you have to know where he is at all times. He’s not going to come into the NFL and be a George Kittle style complete tight end. He’s more of a moveable chess piece. Yet a team with a young quarterback who needs an ideal #2 to pair with a dynamic outside receiver should target Pitts early in the first round.

— Going back to Penn State, one of the biggest disappointments so far is not being able to see running back Journey Brown. The team released a statement saying he’s out with an undisclosed illness. He posted a video suggesting he might be back at some point this season but it’s unclear. Based on his 2019 film he was a player I was desperate to see more of. He’s reportedly up to 216lbs which is in Seattle’s range. He jumped a 40-inch vertical at SPARQ so he’s incredibly explosive. He’s been timed at a 4.29 in the forty and you do see that speed on the field. He is lightning fast and his acceleration is incredible. He has superb change of direction skills and delivers sudden, ankle-breaking cuts to avoid tacklers. He also fights through contact and is a surprisingly good goal-line runner. He looked like a potential second round pick based on what he showed last year. Look out for updates on his status moving forward. Penn State badly miss him and others (Micah Parsons etc).

— Pittsburgh pass rusher Patrick Jones is a leader, he’s incredibly quick off the edge, he has versatility and range, he has a repertoire and it’s hard to take any mock draft seriously that doesn’t have him listed as a high pick. He was superb again in a big win against Florida State. He was firing up his team mates in pre-game. He’s pretty much the exact type of player the Seahawks need.

— I’m watching the first quarter of Clemson vs Notre Dame tonight then the rest in the morning. The player I’m most interested in is left guard Aaron Banks. Every time I’ve watched Notre Dame so far he’s been the player who stands out. If you’re a fan of the Damien Lewis pick (who isn’t) then Banks could deliver a guard pairing with major long term potential. With Ethan Pocic still only 25-years-old, the idea of a blossoming young interior O-line is enticing. Notre Dame scored on a 65-yard touchdown run to start the game. Banks opened the initial gap before delivering a nice second-level effort. He’s a big, mean, athletic blocker with the size Seattle loves at left guard. He also switches out to play left tackle for some snaps.

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  1. CaptainJack

    One thing is for certain: the pac 12 is now the biggest laughing stock of college football and it’s not even close

    • Rob Staton

      A conference that is, to be honest, total rubbish.

      • charlietheunicorn

        I think it is how it is being run, more than the actual teams. Larry Scott was brought in to help stand up a PAC12 network…. which has more or less fell flat on its face. Inability to secure quality rights for broadcasts (radio, TV, internet) have been abysmal. Under his tenure, it has been totally unacceptable for a top tier conference to be run this way….. he needs to be held accountable after this season (or lack of one and confusion from the top down).

        • Rob Staton

          Sure, Larry Scott is a joke show.

          But the product itself is just awful. The quality isn’t there. There’s no reason for a non PAC-12 supporting football fan to watch it. It has the vibe of a soft, powder-puff league with no big name coaches, very few big name future NFL stars and very little to get excited about in terms of storyline and rivalries.

      • CaptainJack

        Larry Scott is a unmitigated disaster. Oregon is a legit team. The rest of the conference is dreck.

    • Big Mike

      As much as I’m no fan of Urban Meyer and USC, I was very much hoping he’d be hired by them as had been rumored. Instead they settle for another year of Clay Helton. Really felt like Meyer would be dominating the conference in a couple years forcing the rest of the schools to get serious about competing.

      Larry Scott is a steaming pile of excrement.

  2. charlietheunicorn

    I dreamed of Zach Wilson coming to Seattle to be a padawan learner to RW….. won’t happen now. He has been stellar and there is NO WAY he flies under any teams radar needing a starting QB. No arguing, the dude has been productive. I really want to see what he can do in the NFL.

    • Scot04

      We don’t have the picks this year to have the luxury of taking him even he were available to us in the late 2nd round. I was hoping for lamar in with our 1st round pick to learn behind Wilson in 2018 draft. I think eventually they need to think about it though, just not this year.

  3. CaptainJack

    Wow… Been watching Dorian Thompson Robinson for several years and remarkably little improvement. The Kelly era at UCLA has been dreadful.

  4. AlaskaHawk

    The Clemson / Notre Dame game is turning out to be a thriller. Looking like overtime!!!!!

    • AlaskaHawk

      I like the receivers on both teams. Clemson’s Powell has had a good game. Scoring the first TD of overtime.

    • Big Mike

      Highly entertaining game.

  5. Starhawk29

    Patrick Jones is a stud, every bit of him looks like a Seahawks DE. Cinncinati RB Doaks also looked very seahawky. Stocky build, good burst, very physical. Anyone have an opinion on Desmond Ridder? Seems raw but has a decent arm and a lot of confidence.

  6. MarkinSeattle

    Notre Dame has two good TE’s in Myers and Tremble. Myers is a true frosh, is mobile and has a lot of polish for his age. Tremble is a good blocker and can pop back as an old time fullback.

    Hamilton is a stud at safety as well.

  7. Lukas

    I was watching the Gators game last night. Do you think Pitts is capable of running go routes and lining up on the outside in the NFL like he did last night? Or is he going to be more of a traditional tight end?

  8. Rob Staton

    Clemson vs Notre Dame — very entertaining and a good contest. However, I really hope the end result doesn’t dump out Trevor Lawrence and the legit Tigers just so we get to see Notre Dame blown out by Alabama or Ohio State again in the playoffs.

    • Henry Taylor

      In all likely hood they’ll meet again in the ACC championship with Lawrence back. So unless they lose again, in which case Notre Dame will deserve their spot, Clemson will get in.

    • Trevor

      I agree Rob it was a good game but personally I think if Lawrence plays it would have been a typical ND blowout loss. The idea of ND being in the CFB playoff again makes me want to throw up.

      • MarkinSeattle

        Clemson’s five star QB threw for 29-44 for 434 yards and 2 Pass TD’s, 1 Rush TD,0 INT’s. How much could Lawrence have improved on those numbers? ND also ran for more than 200 yards on this Clemson D, while ND completely shut down Clemson’s running game, holding Etienne to 28 yards on 18 carries, and 34 yards total on the ground.

        ND played great yesterday, Clemson also played well and ND cane came out on top. Unlike previous years, ND looks legit even if they don’t have the top end talent of Bama, Clemson and OSU.

  9. PreFightDonut

    Got a project tackle for you to look at. Joshua Ball LT Marshall. Once a big recruit at Florida State, the guy is MASSIVE. 6’8″ 309 lbs. Flashed big time against Curtis Weaver of Boise last year. Marshall has him splitting time both last year and this year ( I have zero idea why).

    Again maybe character red flags coming from the Florida State stuff but could be a huge steal in the late rounds.

    Today on a screen:

  10. Trevor

    You have been on him since the start Rob and I agree Zach Wilson is a real baller and I love the vibe he gives off as a leader. For me he is much more like a Drew Brees than and Russ or Kyler Murray. Russ and Murray have incredible arms and velocity. Wilson seems more like Brees in that he is mobile enough to move around in the pocket to find passing lanes and then can make all the throws from different angles. Combine and pre-draft workouts will be huge for him.

    Wilson may not win the Heisman but outside of Trevor Lawerence I can’t think of a guy more valuable to his team.

  11. Rob Staton

    Add JJ Watt to the list of players who will be available in the off-season:

    Seahawks will probably bring back O’Brien Schofield instead though.

    • Rob Staton

      And some of the issues facing teams like the Saints, that we’ve been talking about for weeks, now getting national media attention:

    • Trevor

      The Hawks bringing in Watt for 2-3 years to finish his career trying to get an SB reminds me a little of when GB brought in Reggie White to get them over the hump. If the Hawks can add a guy like Watt, Dunlap has something in the tank and Taylor gets healthy then the DL would be fixed for 2021.

      Not sure how a Watt deal would work or if his medical issues check out but I would love to see him in a Hawks uni.

      • Rohan Raman

        Can’t imagine JJ’s preferred destination is anywhere but the Steelers. Assuming they have the cap space and the picks, they have the best pitch. Play with your brothers to win a Super Bowl.

        • Rob Staton

          Sounds ideal but the Steelers are currently $30m over the projected cap for 2021.

  12. Trevor

    One of the great things about the Dunlap trade is that he is not a one year rental. If he can come in and show he still has some juice it would be huge for next year as well.

    With only a 2nd round pick as the roster stands I hope they target one of the following positions.

    DT – With Reed likely on the way out they definitely need a 3 Tech with some pass rush potential. These type of guys are often there in the 2nd round. A guy like Alim McNeil from NC St whom Rob has profiled already would be ideal.

    LG – As Rob mentioned in this article the idea of getting a quality young LG to team with Lewis and Pocic is really exciting. There will be some good options at the end of Rd #2. Like Rob I think a guy like Aaron Banks would be a perfect long term solution as he is great in the run game and solid in Pass Pro. The ND OL prospects all seem to be well coached which I like as well.

    RB- I know the idea of using our only early pick on an RB will make some fans cringe but look at how different this offense looks when Carson is not in the lineup. If they are not willing to sign Carson long term because of injuries. Finding a young stud RB at the end of Rd#2 has to be a consideration given the way the Hawks offense is structured. I really like Javonte Williams from North Carolina and Kylin Hill from Miss St. Anxious to see how they test at combine.

    WR – I know the Hawks have Locket and Metcalf but once again this draft is stocked at WR and there will be some starting quality options at the end of RD #2. If the Hawks are truly switching to a pass first option then maybe adding one more elite weapon might be the best option. My favourites who could be there in Rd #2 are Anthony Schwartz (Auburn), Sage Surrat (Wake Forrest), Ronald Moore (Purdue), Tramor Terry (FSU), Reggie Roberson (SMU) and finally Justyn Ross (Clemson). Of that group my two favorite are Surrat and Ross however I am not sure either guy will run in the 4.4s which we know is a must for the Hawks.

    CB- If the Hawks don’t sign Griffin or Dunbar to a long term deal then CB is a huge hole on the roster. The Hawks don’t take CB’s early but may need to if they have to find a starter. Personally I hope they can sign Dunbar to play outside and Reed to play the slot then bring in their normal 5th round DB to develop being Flowers next year. But if not then a guy like Caleb Farley or Shawn Wade would be a dream pick but they are likely long gone so a guy like Tyson Campbell (Georgia) has the measureables the Hawks look for. That is why I hope they go the veteran route and draft a developmental guy later.

    Personally I think a penetrating DT like Mcneil should be the target as reed just has not shown much as a pass rusher and a dominant LG would be a great pick. The Hawks need to get better in the trenches on both sides of the ball. But if they don’t sign Carson, Griffin or Dunbar then RB or CB may become a need that has to be addressed.

    One thing is for sure with such limited draft capital draft season won’t be as much fun this year making a Hawks SB run all the more important.

    • Rob Staton

      In the second round I want them to go after the best, most physically impressive player at any position.

      Learn from the Metcalf and Clark picks in that range. Go for special qualities. If we’re only going to pick once in the first three rounds, lets try and hit a home run.

      That means they have to settle their needs in FA though which they often seem loathe to do. Don’t really have much choice this year though.

      • Trevor

        Agree 100% Rob.

        I tend to think a guy like McNeil, Banks or Williams might fall into that category.

        That is why the idea of CEH and Claypool with the first two picks last year seemed like such a great option.

        Rob on a seperate note have you identified any ultra athletic developmental OT prospects?

        • Rob Staton

          There are some with athletic potential such as Obinna Eze but we need testing to confirm.

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