Miami’s Stephen Morris vs. Florida’s Secondary
This year’s quarterback class is getting a ton of hype, but truth is this group isn’t nearly as talented as some think. Stephen Morris is among the group that sits in the middle of my quarterback rankings. He has an opportunity this weekend against a tough Florida secondary to improve his stock.
Morris needs to show that he can produce more game-changing plays and avoid mistakes. Improving his anticipation will be something I keep an eye on throughout this game.
Georgia’s Aaron Murray vs. South Carolina
Aaron Murray’s draft stock is a highly debated topic mainly because of his questionable arm strength. His supporters tend to point to his leadership ability, winning record and sound decision making. However, opening the season with back-to-back losses could hurt that argument.
This weekend’s game against South Carolina will be a great test for Murray. I’ve been critical about his inability to make sound decisions in the face of pressure. Murray can expect a ton of pressure from a South Carolina defensive front that features Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton.
A poor performance against South Carolina could be the start of a major drop in Murray’s draft stock. It’ll be tough to sell a quarterback who lacks great arm strength, struggles to deal with pressure and opens his Senior season unable to secure wins against top-level competition.
BYU’s Cody Hoffman vs. Texas’ Secondary
Cody Hoffman’s best attribute is his size which will play an important role this weekend against Texas. The Longhorns feature two undersized cornerbacks in Carrington Bynum and Quandre Diggs. Hoffman needs to show he can dominate smaller defensive backs if he hopes to maintain his high draft stock.
This game is equally important for both Bynum and Diggs as they have a chance to show scouts they can matchup against bigger offensive players.
Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt vs. Michigan
Stephon Tuitt gets a lot of hype on a very talented Notre Dame defense. However, his play isn’t as dominate as the media attention would suggest. Despite his good size and natural strength, Tuitt tends to play with too much finesse.
He’ll need to show that he’s developed as a pass-rusher if he hopes to make some noise against Michigan. The Wolverines’ offensive line features Taylor Lewan who currently sits atop my rankings as the No. 1 offensive tackle available for the 2014 draft.
Lewan is both a physical and savvy blocker who’ll neutralize Tuitt if he plays the same way he did most of last season.
South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney vs. Georgia and the Media
Media attention can both be a blessing and curse for a highly-touted prospect. Jadeveon Clowney saw this past weekend just how it could negatively impact his draft stock. The ESPN cameras focused on Clowney most of the game—including shots of him gasping for air.
Clowney’s camp has said that he was battling flu-like symptoms which impacted his stamina. However, it raised some question marks for those of us who saw him take plays off last season. Clowney is still an elite prospect, but when being discussed as a potential No. 1 pick every part of his game will be heavily scrutinized.
Luckily, he has an opportunity this weekend against Georgia to show he put in work this offseason. The Bulldogs have running back Todd Gurley who is a punishing runner. Clowney needs to show he’s a well rounded-player as he attempts to help shut down Gurley.
Jon Dove has been covering the NFL Draft for the past several years at sites that include Mocking the Draft and Bleacher Report as well as presently writing for EDraft.com. He can also be found on twitter @Jon_Dove42