Week three on the college schedule was another Saturday which resulted in a major disruption at the top of the national rankings. It was also a weekend in which a pair of small conference offensive linemen and a trio of defensive backs impressed NFL scouts. Here are the Risers and Sliders for week three.
Brandon Facyson/CB/Virginia Tech: I grade Facyson as a top five cornerback as well as a potential first round pick and he look every bit the shutdown corner on Saturday when the Hokies smoked Boston College. The junior finished with 4 tackles and broke up 3 passes, displaying great ball and cover skills. His ability in man-to-man coverage was outstanding as Facyson stopped opponents down the flanks while also making several terrific plays on crossing patterns. During Facyson’s freshman season in 2013 when the Hokie defensive backfield included Kyle and Kendall Fuller, first and third round picks respectively, many scouts felt Facyson was the top pro-prospect from the group. I would expect the junior to enter the draft once the season is complete.
Jamal Adams/S/LSU: Adams set the tone early for LSU during the Tigers victory over Mississippi State and he ended the game with a team leading 9 tackles. His run stopping skills helped hold the Bulldogs to under 60 yards rushing on the day. Forceful and best making plays up the field, I still feel his cover skills are suspect but Adams would thrive as a strong safety or in a zone system.
Obi Melifonwu/S/UConn: Saturday was a defensive battle between UConn and Virginia though some would argue it was a match-up between two awful offenses. Regardless it was another solid performance for senior safety Obi Melifonwu who led the Huskies with 11 tackles, giving him 25 in three games. The senior safety goes 220-pounds and plays with solid instincts and awareness. Some scouts question his physicality but in many ways Melifonwu reminds me of a poor man’s Su’a Cravens; a solid last day pick that could line up at strong safety or potentially as a one gap linebacker.
Dion Dawkins/T/Temple: The Owls played catch-up against Penn State from the get-go but Dawkins looked solid none the less. Except for one poor penalty which resulted in a score being nullified, Dawkins displayed a lot of athleticism, footwork and next level skill. He looked terrific in pass protection, easily sliding off the edge to shut down pass rushers. While Dawkins needs to improve his run blocking strength he looked like the second day pick most scouts stamped him to be.
Taylor Moton/OL/Western Michigan: WMU is 3-0 this season including a pair of convincing wins over Big Ten teams in which their offense controlled the game. During the victory over Illinois on Saturday the Broncos pounded a talented Illini defense for 287-yards on the ground and Moton, the teams top offensive lineman, handled opponents all game. The big bodied lineman blocks with terrific knee bend, power and intensity. He’s a dominant run blocker but lacks footwork and lateral range which is the reason many, including myself, rate him at guard versus the right tackle position he plays in college. I would expect Moton to receive an invitation to the Shrine Game and possibly the Senior Bowl then go on and be a steal in the later (5th) rounds of the draft.
James Washington/WR/Oklahoma State: The Pittsburgh defense Oklahoma State faced on Saturday leaves a lot to be desired but I can’t be dismissive of the 9 catch, 296-yard, 2-TD performance by Washington. The junior was dominant and could not be stopped from the get-go. He made several difficult catches with defenders draped on him, displayed better than advertised speed and generally looked like an overall receiver stud. Many I’ve spoken with expect Washington to enter the draft if he continues this pace.
Sleeper Prospect- Bobby Baker/S/Georgia State: Scouts graded Baker as a marginal street free agent in large part due to a lack of speed yet the tape tells a different story. Though not the fastest defensive back Baker has excellent size (6-feet/2-inches and 200-pounds) and shows a complete game on film. In three games this season he’s accumulated 23 tackles (including 11 during the loss to Wisconsin on Saturday) as well as a team leading 3 pass break-ups. Baker is a disciplined safety who plays within the system and does a terrific job covering the slot receiver when called upon. Though it may be a long way off keep an eye on Baker’s pro-day results then remember his name next summer for the team that brings him into camp.
Small School- King Frazier/RB/North Dakota State: The defeat of the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City at the hands of NDSU was the biggest shocker of the weekend. The Bison offense posted 231-yards rushing against a Hawkeye defense which fields as many as four top 100 prospects. Frazier led the way with 99-yards on 16 carries (6.2-yd average) with 1 score and the senior answered the call any time he touched the ball. Dismissed by scouts entering the season, Frazier is a nice size ball carrier (5-feet/10-inches, 210-pounds) who grinds it out on the inside and has enough foot quickness to make defenders miss in the open field. Though not much of a pass catcher, Frazier has enough power, size and skill to make a Sunday roster as a fourth running back.
Charles Walker/DL/Oklahoma: There’s an opinion in some circles that Walker projects as a top 60 choice but its an opinion I never bought into. He’s somewhat explosive but Walker is also a defensive lineman with a very inconsistent game. During the loss to Ohio State when he faced off against a pair of NFL prospects on the Buckeyes line, Walker finished the contest with just 1 tackle which gives him a total of 5 in three games this season. Walker does not stand out in any single aspect to justify a top 90 selection.
DJ Dowdy/TE/Cincinnati: I scratched my head when informed Dowdy received a mid-round grade from scouts. After watching the film I eventually stamped him as a marginal last round pick largely due to his computer numbers. Three games into the season Dowdy has failed to meet expectations and has totaled just one reception in 2016.