Week seven on the college schedule saw a number of top twelve teams go down to defeat and drop down rankings. It was also a weekend the media focused on Jadeveon Clowney only to miss a tremendous performance by his teammate, one of the fastest rising offensive tackle prospects in the nation.
Corey Robinson/T/South Carolina: We’ve mentioned Robinson several times throughout the season and the junior never fails to impress us. His most recent outing against Arkansas was noteworthy. Robinson did his part to blank the Razorbacks pass rushing duo of Chris Smith and Trey Flowers. Neither player recorded a sack, tackle for loss or quarterback hurry. Robinson, a former defensive lineman, has tremendous size and displays consistent improvement in all areas of the tackle position. If he enters the draft don’t be surprised if Robinson slides into the late part of round one.
Luther Maddy/DT/Virginia Tech: Maddy is one half of the Hokie’s explosive interior defensive line along with Derrick Hopkins, a week three riser. Like his teammate Maddy is quick, athletic and possesses the ability to make plays in every direction of the field. During the win over Pittsburgh the junior collected 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss as well as breaking up a pass during the game’s critical moment when the Panthers were trying to claw back. Grading as a top 100 pick, Maddy offers the movement skills to line-up as a three technique tackle and will also get consideration as a one-gap defensive end in a three man line.
Michael Sam/DE-OLB/Missouri: Its tough to make the claim that a player who registered just one assisted tackle on Saturday is rising up draft boards. That’s exactly the case for Sam who made his presence felt all game long during Missouri’s upset victory over Georgia. He continually penetrated the line of scrimmage, breaking the rhythm of quarterback Aaron Murray and forcing the signal caller to throw before he was ready. He’s a speed rusher with awful measurables but a non-stop motor. In many ways he offers the style and substance of Elvis Dumervil and like the Pro-Bowl pass rusher, Sam has enough ability to succeed at the next level.
Jarvis Landry/WR/LSU: Landry’s numbers against Florida, 4 receptions with 58-yards and no touchdowns, were not earth shattering. But watching the game and considering the competition he faced, it was a very good performance. What stands out most is the polished game Landry possesses and the way he fights to come away with the catch. On a number of throws he was forced to battle Florida defensive backs or expose himself to fierce hits in order to make the reception. More times than not Landry came away with the ball. This season Landry has shown himself to be a reliable receiver with a nose for the end zone. If he enters the draft Landry is sure to be a second day selection.
Calvin Pryor/S/Louisville: Conventional wisdom had senior safety Hakeem Smith, stamped by scouts as a potential seventh round pick, as the Cardinals top secondary prospect entering the season. That opinion quickly changed as Smith is being outplayed by his teammate, junior Calvin Pryor. Louisville’s victory over Rutgers was a microcosm of the season as Pryor lead the defense with 14 tackles, intercepted 1 pass and for the most part, played smart football. For the season Pryor has a team leading 5 pass defenses and sits second on the defense with 36 tackles. Pryor is developing a complete game and will get consideration in the middle rounds, or possibly earlier, when he enters the draft.
Cody Booth/T/Temple: Its been a tough season for the Temple Owls as the team’s record reads 0-6. One player drawing praise from scouts during this terrible stretch is Cody Booth, who moved from tight end to left tackle this season. Booth has taken well to his new position, blocking with proper fundamentals and showing natural skill in pass protection. He could slide into the late rounds if he continues his impressive play. At the very least Booth is a developmental prospect at guard or tackle and should find his way onto a practice squad.
Durell Eskridge/S/Syracuse: Just a red-shirt sophomore, Eskridge has jumped on the scouting radar after taking his game to another level this season. Six games into the 2013 campaign Eskridge leads the Orange with 41 tackles and 2 interceptions. Thirteen of those tackles and one interception came in the win over North Carolina State this weekend as Eskridge continues to display himself to be a complete player at the safety position. He possesses next level size as well as the athleticism to mature into a top 75 pick in the future.
Donte Rumph/DT/Kentucky: Rumph continues to disappoint scouts and to date has done little to prove he’s anything other than a free agent prospect. He wasted an opportunity against Alabama on Saturday and was a non-factor throughout the game. Rumph looked overweight, out of shape and was continually handled at the point of attack. He’s done little to prove he’s anything other than a size prospect.
Mycal Swaim/S/Eastern Michigan: Army rolled up 50 points on EMU thanks in part to 516-yards on the ground with running back Terry Baggett accounting for 304 of those yards. Swaim is most certainly not to blame for the fiasco but the 6-foot, 3-inch pound safety never made his presence felt, finishing the game with four solo tackles. Graded as a free agent prospect, scouts hoped Swaim would show progress on the field this season yet his development as a senior has been slow.
Notes: As posted earlier on twitter, league sources told me they believe former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla “won’t be drafted and will struggle to make it in the NFL.” Much of this revolves around his behavior and, as we noted during last weeks podcast, many consider Lyerla a “high maintenance” personality. I’m told the Oregon coaching staff tried to work with Lyerla and despite numerous chances the junior tight end was often late for meetings and was not a responsible individual. There’s a lot that needs to be played out but the overriding factor is Lyerla’s football skills are not good enough to overcome pressing character issues.
Staying on the topic of University of Oregon, I’ve stated my concerns over where De’Anthony Thomas will line up at the next level due to his size. That’s not an issue for NFL scouts based on conversations last week. I’m told they view Thomas in the mold of Tavon Austin; a game change and offensive weapon. They love the fact Thomas can score from any point on the field when the ball’s in his hands. Where will he line up at the next level? Several people tell me there will be no defined position rather creative offensive coordinators will design plays for Thomas as a running back, slot receiver and reverse runner.
Join Jon Dove & Tony Pauline for the TFY Draft Insider podcast tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9PM. We’ll have breakdowns of last weeks games, preview for the coming weekend and more breaking news on the junior signal callers and running backs!