- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
The longer I do this, the more I realize I can't be married to the idea of what a player at a certain position is supposed to look like in terms of dimensions. We knew there were questions about Russell Wilson's height, and pretty good ones given the almost nonexistent sample size of really short quarterbacks. Because of that, it's fair to ask those questions. It's fair to say that Wilson would be another test case of what height truly means at the position. But once you balance his results against the challenges he faces because of the height -- and he would admit there are distinct challenges -- you try to recalibrate your perceptions.
A couple of new guys on the Big Board this week represent some change in thinking as it pertains to the way the game is played. Ryan Shazier, a linebacker from Ohio State, might be undersized by traditional standards, but he's a player for the current era because of his versatility. Players like Shazier are important to have around as well to chase new-breed tight ends like Eric Ebron, who's also on the board this week. One trend can start another. The key is to try to keep up.
As always, scouting reports remain similar week to week, with updates on matchups. Asterisks denote juniors; two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores.
Jadeveon Clowney *
I said UCF would be a dangerous game for the Gamecocks, and it certainly was. It was also another game in which Clowney didn't have a tackle for loss and faced relentless double-teams. It's the price of being a marked man. Clowney combines exceptional strength and quickness as well as strong hands to quickly shed blocks. He's not just an edge-rusher looking to quickly turn the corner, as he beats tackles inside effortlessly. He can occasionally play a little high, which allows teams to run at him, but he has improved there and is nowhere near a liability.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 1 | PLAYER CARD
Teddy Bridgewater *
The Cardinals face Temple this week, what should be another easy win. Bridgewater looks as comfortable as he should be against what he's seen so far, typically with the time to scan the whole field. When he sees a target he has a quick release, plenty of arm strength and good ball placement. I really like how he calibrates his throws, not using too much arm when he doesn't need to.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 2 | PLAYER CARD
The Bruins are back on this week after a bye. So far, Barr has been consistently disruptive and is causing problems for offenses. A former fullback, he has a powerful lower half and has a long frame and reach. Had 13.5 sacks last year and could have left for the NFL, but if he's able to grow with another year of seasoning at the position, it's only going to make him a more attractive talent.
PREVIOUS RANK: No. 4 | PLAYER CARD