Saturday preview

I have access to two games this weekend. This is what I’ll be keeping an eye on…

Georgia at Auburn

Mel Kiper has been giving Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson rave reviews. “He’s one of the elite left tackles, his star is rising, his arrow is up. He keeps moving up and up and up and he’ll have a decision to make at the end of the year. We’ll see what his decision is, but he’s a heck of a football player.” This is already a loaded tackle class, and that might impact Robinson’s decision to declare or not. But at a time when we’re looking at possible offensive linemen for Seattle, I’ll be checking out Robinson for the first time tomorrow.

Dee Ford has seven sacks for the year as an undersized pass rusher. He’s listed at 6-2 and 240lbs. Has he got the length to fit as a mid-round LEO? This’ll be my second chance to watch Ford and I’m interested to see how he performs in another big game. He had two sacks in a win against Texas A&M earlier this year and looked very sharp. He’s quick off the snap and has plenty of speed, but he’s also a little one-dimensional and relies on athleticism. He struggled a bit against the run in the A&M game — not surprising given his size.

Damian Swann entered the year as a cornerback I had a lot of interest in. He’s probably been one of the biggest disappointments so far. Having said that, Georgia’s defense has generally looked like a disorganised mess. We saw last year that he was a playmaker — and he’ll get a shot at the next level. But any hopes of going in the first round have long since disappeared.

Stanford vs USC

Marqise Lee says he’s 100% healthy after struggling with a knee problem. This hasn’t been the year he was hoping for. Apart from the injuries, an inconsistent quarterback situation and a coaching shambles — Lee hasn’t been quite as brilliant as previous seasons. He’s made out of character mistakes (drops) this year. But the fact is he’s still a terrific football player and a big time playmaker. Lee’s doesn’t have the size or speed of an ideal #1 receiver, but he’s good enough to be a stat-machine in the right offense and a true game-changer. Let’s see if he can repair his stock late in the year. If he falls into the late first, get ready.

I have some issues with Stanford linemen. They’re well coached. They’re technically very good. But more often than not they get extra tackle or tight end help. Players like David Yankey (left guard) constantly pull and move. David DeCastro was exactly the same. You won’t see a lot of that at the next level, not with the regularity we see at Stanford. And for that reason it’s hard to judge these guys. It’s pro-style in description, but it’s not really. How many NFL teams use 8-9 linemen in their formations with regularity? How many left guards pull on a high percentage of their snaps?

It doesn’t mean you write a player off, it just means you have to spend so much extra time working them out. Yankey earned rave reviews against Oregon and did, admittedly, look as good as I’ve seen him. So it’s time for another viewing.

Shayne Skov struggled last year after returning from injury. He looked like he was getting back to his best last week. Was it a one-off? Or is he back on the NFL map? I really want to see if he has the kind of athleticism to play for the Seahawks. Simply put, they don’t draft slow linebackers any more. And anyone who’s going to stick with this group better be able to move.

Trent Murphy kind of reaffirmed against Oregon that while he’s having a productive year (10 sacks), he’s perhaps a little limited in terms of next level talent. What is he exactly? A five technique in the 3-4? A power end?

One final note. During the draft last year I put up an advert in the sidebar selling Percy Harvin jerseys. It’s still there. Many of you bought items using the link (many thanks for that) — and in turn I received a percentage of each sale.

Yesterday I donated every penny I received from that advert to the Phillipines Aid effort. I’m not doing it for praise. I don’t want to see any in the comments section. I want to ask if you’d also consider donating using this link or this one.


  1. Attyla the Hawk

    Thanks for the reminder on Robinson. I’ve heard chatter surrounding him too. Will make sure I get that taped for analysis.

  2. Kyle

    Can we use this article as an open thread for any prospects in general that we are watching?

    • Rob Staton

      Yes absolutely.

  3. Tony D

    Salamat Rob 🙂

  4. Ralphy

    Are you watching Ok State vs Texas? Justin Gilbert?

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not watching any games right now — no access. I’ve got Georgia vs Auburn for later then Stanford vs USC.

      • Ralphy

        I keep trying to get you to say you like Gilbert but you just won’t give in and say it!

        • Rob Staton

          I’ve not seen a single Oklahoma State game this year.

          Is he better than Brandon Weeden 🙂

          • Ralphy

            Just returned an interception for a TD. He’s what the Hawks like. Former WR turned CB. Athletic enough to return kicks. Tall enough. A great addition to the Legion if we can’t afford to keep everyone.

            He may go in the same round Weeden did!

            • Kyle

              Stanley Jean-Baptiste from Nebraska is in the same mold as well and he’s 6-3. He started out the year on fire with an INT in each of his first 4 games, but none since. Of course INTs are not the way to judge a CB, but I really want to see more of him.

              • Ralphy

                Justin Gilbert with his second INT of the day.

                • Kyle

                  And now he’s on my watch list. 😛

    • CC

      Interesting – I was just coming here to comment on Gilbert. He just had a nice pick 6 – looked a bit Sherman like – looked quick. Only 6′ senior but talented kick returner as well. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against other guys at the end of the year.

  5. Kyle

    So far I’ve most of the first half of the UNC @ PITT game because I was really interested in seeing DT Aaron Donald (SR 6-0 285) for PITT, and he is impressive. He is consistently getting into the backfield consistently and has 2 TFL and a sack so far. His production over the last 3 years has also been fairly consistent as well

    2010 3.0/2.0
    2011 16.0/11.0
    2012 18.5/5.5
    2013 19.5/9.0 (so far)

    One player I would compare him to is Chris Jones out of Bowling Green (I absolutely LOVED this guy as a prospect last year) who was drafted in the 6th by the Texans but now plays for the Patriots and is having a really good year (5.0 sacks 7 TFL). He and Donald have similar size and production. Size may not be ideal, but you can’t ignore that kind of production.

    We’ll see what happens at the combine but the guy just looks the part.

    • Kyle

      Here’s some Aaron Donald highlights from the PITT @ GT game on 11/02/2013, and it was his best game of the year. Most of the other tape is from last year, and he is just relentless. So far, he’s my favorite DT prospect from this class.

    • Rob Staton

      I was never a big fan of Jones and I remain a little sceptical of his sustainability in the league. I see the comparison to Donald somewhat (although I think he is superior in most areas) and he won’t be an early pick. But you can’t argue with the production. I do see him being a mid round guy who might just find a way to work into a rotation and be effective somewhere.

    • Kyle

      Did I use the word “consistent” three times in two sentences? Ugh. I’m a living example of why proofreaders have consistent work.

  6. CC

    Auburn has a lot if speed on D – the ends are flying around the Georgia line. The offense seems to be playing fast as well and the line is pushing the Georgia guys off the line.

  7. Kyle

    If I can say something else, DeAnthony Thomas may be the fastest and most athletic player in the country, but I see almost nothing in his game that makes him an NFL player other than being a returner. Yes, he has world class speed but other than that, *shrug* , I don’t see it. Then again, he is almost EXACTLY the same size as Tavon Austin and he is faster, but I sure as hell would not have traded up to take Austin in that draft.

    If I were the GM for some random team, I would consider using (at most) a 4th rounder on Thomas to be a return specialist. Who knows, he might end up being the next Devin Hester.

    • Alex

      I have concerns about DeAnthony’s durability as a RB. When I looked at him in HS (very hyped prospect), I thought he would have been better at CB- the position he played on defense in HS- since he had amazing close out speed.

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