1) Will Sutton: Another opportunity to shine. Sutton struggled at times against the maulers he faced during the Sun Devils victory over Wisconsin last Saturday. The assignment is just as tough this weekend as Arizona State has a major conference battle against Stanford. The Cardinal lines-up a dominant offensive line with potential second round choice David Yankey at one guard spot and underrated Kevin Danser at the other. In between the two is Khalil Wilkes, who moved to center this season after playing guard last year. We graded Wilkes as a potential 4th round pick in August. The Cardinal offensive line will key on Sutton, so lets see how he responds.
2) Daniel McCullers has the opportunity to reverse his downward trend. I’ve been down on McCullers the past few weeks, most recently listing him as a Slider in Monday’s column. I’m not the only one with this opinion. Two area scouts I spoke with told me despite his pre-season ranking (top 40 pick), they could see McCullers slipping into the late part of round three. The senior could right his ship this week when the Volunteers face Florida. The Gators interior duo of Jon Halapio and Jonotthan Harrison is likely to be the toughest competition McCullers faces this season.
3) How does Kurtis Drummond fare in his first national appearance of the season? Its rare people notice a safety but against Notre Dame’s balanced offense much is expected from Drummond. I graded the junior as a potential 2nd/3rd round pick in our Big 10 preview and to date he’s done nothing to disappoint. The Irish offer an offense averaging more than 300-yards per contest this season, beating opponents through the air and on the ground. This will be one of the betters tests for Drummond in 2013.
4) Can Zach Mettenberger exploit the worst pass defense in the SEC? One year ago, prior to the start of the 2012 season, there was talk of Mettenberger ranking as a potential first round pick despite never taking a game snap for LSU. He showed little in the way of consistency last season and struggled at times. So far so good this season as he’s been efficient in the early part of 2013. The Auburn Tigers, though improved in the standings, possess a porous pass defense. Mettenberger has yet to throw an interception this season and has completed 65% of his passes. He must now show he can elevate his game against a poor passing defense and prove to be a play maker rather than just a game manager.
5) Will Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas) breakout against Cornelius Lucas (Kansas State)? Jeffcoat, who missed most of the 2012 campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle last October, has been a bit slow out of the gate this year. He’s a dynamic athlete with great pass rushing potential. Despite being credited with three quarterback hurries Jeffcoat has not registered a sack during the two games he’s played thus far. Lucas, an enormous (6-feet, 8.5-inches and 320-pounds) college left tackle is graded as a last day selection by NFL scouts. Jeffcoat possesses the speed and quickness to exploit Lucas and harass the K-State offense but needs to step up quickly to have any chance of being a top 45 selection.