Draft Buzz: Linemen lead small-school prospects
The FCS regular season climaxes this week with several of college football's under-the-radar rivalries, including The Game (Yale at Harvard), The Florida Classic (Bethune-Cookman at Florida A&M), The Rivalry (Lehigh at Lafayette) and the Capital Cup (Richmond at William & Mary).
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Steve Muench's Stock Report
Up: Miami LB Colin McCarthy -- McCarthy recorded 15 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, in Miami's 35-10 win over Georgia Tech last week. He is a high-motor player who shows above-average closing speed as a pass-rusher and in pursuit. He has the burst to beat blockers to the spot and the balance to hold his own when offensive linemen aren't able to square up on him. There is room for improvement, though. While McCarthy can locate the ball quickly and deliver the big hit, his pursuit angles are inconsistent, and he can whiff when he doesn't take a sound angle. He can get better in those areas, and he has the frame and skill set to develop into a starting inside or strong side linebacker at the next level. We give him a mid-third-round grade at this point.
Down: Texas CB Aaron Williams* -- Williams allowed too much separation in a 33-16 loss to Oklahoma State last week. He made it too easy for Cowboys receivers to get inside leverage on him, and they had some success beating him to the inside. WR Isaiah Anderson beat him for a 25-yard catch on a deep-post route and WR Justin Blackmon burned Williams on post route for what would have been a touchdown had Blackmon not dropped the ball. Williams also got beaten by Blackmon for a 67-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He showed above-average, top-end speed and tracked the ball well on that play, but he appeared to lose his balance when the bigger and stronger Blackmon hesitated for a split-second to shield him from the ball. Williams is on the fringe of the first round at this point, and until he bulks up his 6-foot frame bigger receivers will give him some problems at the next level.
Kevin Weidl's Stock Report
Up: Auburn MLB
Video: Cam Newton's draft stock
Scouts Inc. Observations
Muench: Two of the top three guards on our board line up at offensive tackle in college, and there are various reasons we think they fit better inside. Miami's Orlando Franklin has the long arms and wide frame to ride edge-rushers past the pocket, but he lacks ideal initial quickness and lateral mobility for a tackle. He's quick and agile enough to hold up in one-on-one situations inside, where he played for most of his first three seasons, and he is a tough drive-blocker with a strong punch. Overall he sits atop our guard class and projects as a second-round pick right now. Inconsistent footwork is an issue for TCU's Marcus Cannon, who isn't agile enough to redirect against effective outside-in moves as a tackle in the NFL. However, he has a quick first step for a guard, and at 361 pounds he's big enough to engulf interior defensive linemen. Cannon projects as a third-round pick at this point.
Weidl: I watched Wisconsin's win at Iowa in person and came away impressed with the duo of Badgers LT Gabe Carimi and G John Moffitt, and the film of Wisconsin's beatdown of Indiana only reinforced my feeling that they are the most dominant offensive line combination in the country. Carimi has great size and has gotten stronger, and he is a tough overall player, who projects as a first-round pick at this point. Moffitt has stepped up his overall game in terms of run blocking and pass blocking and has moved from a late-round prospect into the middle rounds. Carimi and Moffitt are not on the same level as former Michigan G Steve Hutchinson and T Jeff Backus (Nos. 16 and 17 overall, 2001), but they are certainly the best duo in the nation and one of the biggest reasons some feel Wisconsin is the best one-loss team in the country.