CFB Week 2 storylines, NFL kick off predictions

Florida @ Miami
Loucheiz Purifoy (CB, Florida) makes his debut after serving a suspension last week. He divides opinion among the draft community, but very few teams threw at him last year. He’s not a huge Seattle-type corner, but he’s an athlete who can stick. Stephen Morris (QB, Miami) will be trying to avoid Purifoy, but should have a long day against the Gators defense anyway. Some have touted Morris as a possible early pick in 2014. I think there’s next to no chance of that happening. He makes too many basic errors. If I’m going to be proven wrong, let’s see it against Florida.

Oregon @ Virginia
The Ducks got their pre-season game out of the way last week, but this won’t be much of a challenge either. I want to see Colt Lyerla (TE, Oregon) used more often. Despite his obvious physical talent, if he’s going to crack the first round he needs to show basic pass-catching qualities and production. Very few tight ends go in round one these days. Lyerla needs the chance to shine. I’m still trying to work out how De’Anthony Thomas (WR, Oregon) fits into the NFL. Now that he’s eligible, it’s time to really focus on his game. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB, Oregon) is another one to watch. And hey, Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) is eligible too, so why not?

South Carolina @ Georgia
Get ready for endless shots of Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina), constant commentary on every little thing he does and the wreaking stench of over-analysis. If he gets tired again, expect a whole heap of criticism. Clowney’s best football will come in the NFL. It’s inevitable he’ll have an impact here. I wouldn’t want to be Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia), who showed against Clemson he has a very limited NFL future (weak arm, no supreme accuracy to compensate). Damian Swann (CB, Georgia) also had a rough outing against the Tigers and purely for the sake of my ego, hopefully he rebounds after I built him up.

Texas @ BYU
I’m intrigued by this game. Mostly because yet again Texas appears set for a season of flattering to deceive. They do that so well these days. But it’s also a chance to get a first 2013 glimpse of Kyle Van Noy (DE, BYU). He just finds ways to impact a game and I want to compare his athleticism and speed to the athletes playing for the Longhorns. I’ll take a first look at Cody Hoffman (WR, BYU) tomorrow if he’s healthy. It’s also a chance to check on Jackson Jeffcoat (DE, Texas) — a player who kind of defines Texas football in recent years. Amazing upside, but so often disappoints.

Notre Dame @ Michigan
There’s a cluster of talent on defense to watch, such as Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame) and Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame). Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame) is also being tipped as a potential first round pick. I want to see how Devin Gardner (QB, Michigan) gets on against a good defense. He looked quite sharp against Central Michigan last week. But is he a capable passer, or is he just another athlete playing quarterback for the Wolverines? My main focus will be Nix, who looks every bit a future NFL nose tackle who can clog up the middle and make plays.

NFL predictions ahead of kick off weekend…

Team that will do better than expected… Cleveland Browns
Cleveland actually has a fair amount of talent, and now they have an excellent coaching staff. Rob Chudzinski was an inspired choice and the fact he added Norv Turner and Ray Horton as coordinators is almost unfair. Brandon Weeden isn’t elite, but he suites Turner’s offensive scheme perfectly. Horton will create pressure. They still need another draft or two to max out their potential, but it wouldn’t surprise me if in a year or so we’re faced with the bizarre prospect of Cleveland and Cincinnati being the two dominant teams in the AFC North.

Team who will struggle more than people expect… Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arians is a media darling for everything that happened in Indianapolis last year. And that’s fair enough. But let’s not forget two things. 1. He has his quarterbacks throw a ton, perhaps too much. 2. His quarterbacks get hit way too much. In Arizona, he has an ageing Carson Palmer to work with. An ageing Carson Palmer who is going to be destroyed unless Arians pulls off a miracle with that offensive line. The loss of Ray Horton as defensive coordinator will also be felt. And they also play in the toughest division in football. This’ll be a long year.

Break out player
Randall Cobb (WR, Green Bay) — Aaron Rodgers has lost Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, while Jordy Nelson can’t stay healthy. Cobb could become Rodgers’ go-to receiver this season and a star to boot.

Break wind player
Christian Ponder (QB, Minnesota) — He should’ve never been a first round pick, he regularly throws less than 100 yards in a game and consistently holds his team back. The Vikings are an average quarterback away from being a force. It’s just a shame their quarterback is way below average.

Random prediction
Oakland to go 0-16


  1. Kenny Sloth

    I’d been digging Aaron Murray these last two seasons, but upon rewatching some tape. The lack of arm strength is more than apparent.
    Poor Aaron Murray.

    I really like Tori Gurley, though. Could be a star in the NFL

    Thoughts of Lache Seastrunk of Baylor? He reminds me of Lynch, minus the elite lateral agility. Runs kind of high. And awkward. He seems to run with his shoulders cocked back. It’s weird.

    • Rob Staton

      There’s a lot of talent in CFB right now. In the next few years we’re going to see a return to top end elite talent in the top five.

      I like Seastrunk, great physical runner. If he can stay healthy he could be a first rounder.

  2. Bob Dole

    I have the feeling we are going to see De’Anthony Thomas in more of a standard hb role this year.

    • Rob Staton

      Very possible. I’m intrigued to see how St. Louis use Tavon Austin. His role, and his production, will have an impact on Thomas for sure.

  3. JeffS

    Thanks for this.

  4. MJ

    Rob – Any chance that Stephon Tuitt could be available in the latter part of R1?I think teams in the top half will be hesitant by his lack of explosion, but he seems like he could be a great fit for the Hawks as a base 5 technique or 3 Technique.

    I’m also curious to see if the Hawks would target a nickel CB higher in the draft (R2-3). I like Thurmond, but he strikes me as a much better outside guy. Lamarcus Joyner maybe? He’s very Antoine Winfield like.

    • Rob Staton

      I can see Tuitt falling a bit. I want to see him impact more games this year — he has played soft at times. I’m not convinced he fits Seattle’s scheme either way though. And I think we’ll always see this team targeting corner’s, but probably in the R4-6 region we’ve seen previously.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Seattle values explosivity (not a real word but I like it better than explosiveness) probably more than any other team in the league. Tuitt probably isn’t a target. And anyway, where would he fit on this team?
      5? Maybe? No, Tuitt’s probably not onn the radar.

      Louis Nix III could be a potential target, though. Looks like a potential Mebane replacement.

      • MJ

        They have shown to like length on the DL (Branch, McDaniel). I’m not viewing Tuitt as a true 4-3 DE, but rather a hybrid 3T, 5T. Outside of Jordan Hill, they really have not shown a preference to explosive interior guys, rather big bodies with length. Tuitt is 300+. If we were talking about a Leo or more traditional DE, then yes, he’s not the profile of an explosive edge rusher.

        I do agree about Nix, but I think he will be long gone. I watched him pretty close yesterday. He’s really talented. Not just a one dimensional run plugger.

        This will be a fun draft because I think there are a ton of possibilities (prospect & position wise.

        • Kenny Sloth

          Well. The thing is they do look for explosivity from their big guys. I don’t think he has the athleticism for 5-tech and I’m not sure if he’s got enough sand in his pants to play inside. Really doesnn’t appear to be a Seattle type.

          Nix could be the next Vince Wilfork, though.

      • Mark

        I thought Tuitt showed nice agility and awareness on the pick-six yesterday. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve. And hopefully he won’t put on too much weight, because then he’d be a round Tuitt…

  5. CHawk Talker Eric

    I know the competition isn’t top tier, but Bridgewater sure looks like the real deal.

  6. Colin

    I can’t see a team passing on Jadaveon Clowney for Bridgewater. Even in his supposed “bad” game last week, the guy was unbelievable. He’s every bit the once-in-a-generation player that the hype has generated.

    • Trudy Beekman

      He for sure is, but do you pass on say RGIII for Clowney if you need both? Bridgewater isn’t near as athletic, but there are no questions about his game to this point … he has it all.

      For my money if I’m Oakland drafting 1st, I go Bridgewater and build from there.

      • Colin

        RGIII? That’s irrelevent. He’s not in this draft class so the “what if” is pointless.

        If you are convinced 110% he can be a franchise QB, then you take him, but I’m not sure Oakland is ready for that. You’d be putting him in a bad situation with literally nothing to work with. With Clowney you are instantly upgrading that team and will have a cornerstone player.

        However, DE’s don’t win you games. But Oakland isn’t going to be winning in 2014 anyway so it’s a moot point.

  7. Stiz

    Lyerla was brutal today. At least 3 ugly drops. He has only caught something like 30 passes in his career (I’m too lazy to look it up) and I wonder if his hands are a little suspect?

    • Bob Dole

      I think he just had a bad day. The whole team looked a little slow out of the blocks. He definitely had some bad drops today though. Certainly something to monitor as the season goes on, but I suspect he’ll get it together.

    • Rob Staton

      He can’t get by on just great athletic qualities. I’ve not seen the game, but this performance sounds like a possible reality check.

      • Bob Dole

        I think it was a reality check for the entire oregon team. For both sides of the ball. They left a good 20-30 points on the field with poor execution and poor play calling. Lyerla’s game and drops reminded me of Chris Harpers in the 4th preseason game.

        • Miles

          Maybe we can get Coleman in the first round and pick up Lyerla as a fourth rounder then? It seems silly but players can drop a long way with a couple games like these.

          I guess an early draft prediction with an optimistic spin would be drafting Nix in the first round, Coleman second round and Lyerla fourth. Pipe dream?

          • Bob Dole

            I’d be really surprised even this early in the year for him to drop that much. He’s a very good inline blocker who happens to have good speed and really good athleticism for his size.

            I think Mark Helfrich is will be using both him and De’Anthony Thomas in more conventional ways, more often this year than Chip did. I think it will take time for both to adjust to more conventional roles and maybe Lyerla just takes a little longer to get the hang of it.

            Remember that a lot of his touches last year were as a read option running back even though he was the Ducks #1 TE.

          • Kenny Sloth

            Pipe dream, yo xD

    • Beanhawk

      Side note to take for what it’s worth re: Lyerla: I sat next to his grandmother at the UVA game yesterday. He had two broken fingers and just got the cast removed Friday before the game. Readjusting to catching the ball freely perhaps?

      • Trudy Beekman

        I’d call that some insider info for sure.

        He looked very good catching the ball in the games from last year so I’d be inclined to give him a pass.

      • Stiz

        Interesting. I’m not saying he actually has bad hands, just wondering if he does. I can’t remember him ever making a difficult catch. Everything is dump it to him in space or set up a TE screen and let him use his amazing athleticism. He will be interesting to follow this year. He fits the mold of a fun toy that the Hawks value for sure.

      • Kenny Sloth

        That’s a great piece of information. Thanks a lot!

      • Rob Staton

        If that’s true, it kind of justifies the drops.

        • Kenny Sloth

          And shows a degree of toughness that Seattle drools over.

          Would Lyerla be a replacement for Zach Miller? He’d be the closest thing to him as far as blocking goes. I mean. He has the skillset to be a Joker, but blocks like a Y.
          If we drafted him it would be Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson, and Lyerla.

          Seattle. Going against the grain with 4TE sets hahahah

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