The weekend has yet to begin and already there’s been a major reshuffling at the top of the college football rankings as well as some terrific performances from NFL prospects. Saturday’s schedule is loaded with top prospects facing off against one another. Here are five games scouts will be watching during week 11.
Can Ty Zimmerman slow down Jace Amaro?
Zimmerman is well thought of by NFL scouts and the senior was stamped as a last day pick entering the season. He’s a hard hitting safety who does a solid job diagnosing plays but in our opinion pass coverage is his weakness. Against Texas Tech his responsibility will be to stop the number one rated tight end by TFY Draft Insider, Jace Amaro. In nine games this season Amaro has put up mind boggling numbers for a tight end. His stats include 79 receptions for 1035 yards and 4 touchdowns. Last week against Oklahoma State he caught 15 passes for 174 yards. Amaro offers the size and strength necessary to be an in line blocker as well as the speed and pass catching skills to be a downfield threat. In my opinion he’s the only sure fire first round pick at the tight end position. Zimmerman’s task will be to try and slow down Amaro. It’s a major challenge for the Kansas State safety but scouts will watch to see how Zimmerman does against the pass happy offense of Texas Tech and their talented tight end.
Battle of the underachievers; Morgan Moses vs Kareem Martin
Entering the season many believed Moses and Martin came with top 100 potential. Some even predicted Martin was first round material. NFL scouts are of a different opinion and stamped both players with last day grades. Moses, the Virginia tackle, has tremendous size and a good degree of athleticism. He can be dominant at the line of scrimmage and also effective blocking in motion. Martin has been a terror at times for the North Carolina defense, disrupting the action as a pass rusher or in backside pursuit Neither prospect has been a consistent force or really elevated their games the past three years.
Can Kyle Van Noy Quiet the Critics?
Van Noy is a terrific college defender yet does not get much respect from NFL scouts. He entered the season with a fourth round grade and few scouts we’ve spoken with recently think he’ll go earlier than round three. The criticisms center around Van Noy’s size/speed numbers and questions as to where he will line up at the next level. Granted the game film tells a different story. Against Wisconsin the senior will once again be afforded the opportunity to prove he’s an every down linebacker. The Badgers offer a pair of ball carriers with contrasting styles and a lethal one-two punch with Melvin Gordon and James White. Then there’s underrated tight end Jacob Pedersen who has a sneaky way of making timely receptions. Van Noy’s ability to stop the run, shut down Pederson and avoid Wisconsin’s blockers would help improve his stock in the minds of those who doubt him.
Justin Britt vs Za’Darius Smith (The Veteran vs. The Newcomer)
Britt was highlighted on Monday as a Week Ten Riser. The senior tackle is smart, efficient and gets the most from his ability. Saturday he faces up and coming Za’Darius Smith, a junior college transfer that’s posted 5.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in the only eight games he’s played for Kentucky. Smith, whom sources say is considering entering next year’s draft, has the athletic advantage over Britt yet shows little in the way of consistency or polish in his game. Does Smith’s athleticism win out or will it be Britt’s savvy? Both have an opportunity to enhance their draft grade.
Cincinnati pass defense versus SMU
Since transferring to SMU from the University of Texas, quarterback Garrett Gilbert has found a second life. The senior passer has put together two solid seasons and is now receiving late round consideration from scouts. Gilbert cut down on his mistakes this season and shows a much better feel in the pocket. The match-up against Cincinnati represents the toughest test of the year for Gilbert. The Bearcats sit just below Louisville in the AAC in both pass defense and total defense. SMU does not have Louisville on the schedule this season. Earlier in the year when Gilbert faced off against big name competition he was terrible. He was sacked 5 times during the 18 point loss to Texas Tech and later tossed 4 interceptions against TCU. Gilbert needs a positive performance against Cincinnati to have any chance of affirming himself as a late round pick.