Battles on the Big Board

LSU's defensive ends and A&M's tackles are about to face off; who will win?

Originally Published: October 17, 2012
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Texas A & M O-line Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty ImagesNo man shall pass! Bookended by tackles Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel, the A&M O-line is legit.

You rarely get to see true one-on-one, prospect-on-prospect battles in the trenches like the ones you'll see this weekend when LSU and Texas A&M square off. LSU's pair of talented defensive ends, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, will go against Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, the best offensive tackle tandem in the country. It's one of those dream matchups from a scouting standpoint. Who performs best will be taken into account next week when these rankings are adjusted.

As you read below, the scouting perspective will remain similar week to week, but I'll note performance and matchup highlights. Plus, here are my junior prospect rankings and my senior prospect rankings. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.


1
Jarvis Jones *
AGE: 23
DOB: 10/13/89
HT: 6-3
WT: 241
POS: OLB
Tkl 36
Sack 5.5
Int 1

Jones is coming off a bye, and should be well-rested for Kentucky. He's an explosive, disciplined, relentless edge rusher who profiles as a 3-4 OLB. He has a quick first step and violent hands; he tackles well and closes fast. Solid against the run and can really cover.

LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD

2
Matt Barkley
AGE: 22
DOB: 9/8/90
HT: 6-2
WT: 224
POS: QB
Comp 121
Att 193
Pct 62.7
Yds 1,475
TD 16
Int 6

Diminished totals this year, but Barkley hasn't done much to diminish his stock. He has limitations with physical skills, but he's very good across the board: ball placement, timing, use of his eyes, poise, leadership skills and experience. Great leader.

LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD

3
Star Lotulelei
AGE: 22
DOB: 12/20/89
HT: 6-4
WT: 325
POS: DT
Tkl 24
Sack 2.0
Int 0

Makes a clear impact every week. Brings consistent, relentless effort. Demands double-teams and clogs the middle of the field. A great sense for disrupting the run game, with power to bull-rush. Quick off the ball, with great upper-body strength. Coaches rave.

LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD

4
Barkevious Mingo *
AGE: 22
DOB: 10/4/90
HT: 6-5
WT: 242
POS: DE
Tkl 20
Sack 2.0
Int 0

Leverage has been an issue for me, but Mingo is so gifted athletically he finds a way. Mingo started playing football late, as a high school junior, but the talent is significant. Uses length and a great first step to turn the corner. His pass-rush skills are good but could be diversified. Still learning concepts but reads the game well despite lack of experience.

LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD

5
Sam Montgomery *
AGE: 21
DOB: 5/25/90
HT: 6-4
WT: 260
POS: DE
Tkl 21
Sack 4.0
Int 0

Leading the team in sacks and TFL, he's been the most productive. He added size and is looking more comfortable now; he's also now a fit in almost any system, given his range of skills. Athleticism and pass-rush skills are there, and he really holds up against the run. Max-effort player, natural athlete, instinctive rusher.

LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst