NFL Draft Watch Week 11
Last week was one of the most exciting weeks of college football. We had an opportunity to watch two of the nation's top defenses go toe to toe for a sixty minute dogfight as well as the high octane offenses of the Trojans and Ducks racing one another in an epic track meet. This week features some great ranked match ups and upset formulas, making this another exciting week of collegiate football.
Game to Watch: Mississippi State at LSU
When and Where to Watch: Saturday November 10, 7:00 on ESPN
Who to Watch: Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks
What to Watch for: LSU finds themselves on the draft watch for the second consecutive week, and rightfully so. However, it would be boring to always follow the same group of players. In this week's breakdown we will take a look at the Tigers opponent and a highly talented, but grossly underrated prospect in Bulldogs corner, Johnthan Banks. This is a great opportunity for Banks to not only get on the radar of college football fans, but to prove to the NFL he is worthy of being a first round selection. I believe Banks has the potential to land in the top 20, or even 15. Banks has gobs of talent, tremendous speed, great instincts, fluid hips, and outstanding ball skills. He also has excellent height, but the biggest knock on him is his lack of a football build, weighing just 185 pounds. He will have a chance at the combine to show how strong he is during the bench press competition and has the opportunity to build muscle before the combine weigh in, however playing a physical LSU team could go a long way in erasing doubts that he doesn't have the strength to play at the next level.
When watching Banks, if you want to be impressed, see how he blankets wide receivers and breaks on the ball. He will make life tough for the Tigers passing attack come Saturday. However, if you want to evaluate him as a pro prospect, pay close attention to him in the running game and what he does after a catch is made. Scouts will need to see physicality out of Banks, which he has proven on a weekly basis. The question here is if he can do it versus a top ranked team that has athletes with size, speed, and strength. See if Banks can get off a stalk block quickly, then close and make a solid tackle on the ball carrier. The closer he makes plays to the line of scrimmage, the better his stock will be. Despite what many people feel, LSU has skill players on offense who are dangerous. Look for Banks to take that away from them and cement himself as one of the best corners in this year’s draft.
Game to Watch: Arkansas at South Carolina
When and Where to Watch: Saturday November 10,12:00 on CBS
Who to Watch: Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
What to Watch for: The Razorbacks are having a disappointing 2012 campaign and the road does not get any easier facing a strong South Carolina squad on the road. However, Wilson will have his chance to prove he can be an elite signal caller in the NFL. The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee in their last outing, but were shredded through the air by Tyler Bray, another elite level collegiate quarterback. Bray is actually one of the main competitors with Wilson behind Geno Smith and Matt Barkley for the top quarterback selections. Wilson has the ideal size scouts look for in a quarterback. Wilson has proven to make great decisions and put up gaudy numbers when surrounded with other talent. There is a question about his ability to be a leader due to some comments he made about his teammates during a press conference. You can be sure he will be drilled about that during the interview process at the combine. Good thing Saturdays are all about playing football and how you perform. Scouts will want to see Wilson shred South Carolina, just as Bray did, with his decision making and accuracy. When watching Wilson pay attention to how accurate he is.
There are few to zero questions about his arm strength and it is accuracy is what separates quarterbacks from one another. Scouts will give Wilson a grade based on his overall accuracy, short range, (0-7 yards) intermediate, (8-15) and deep (16 +) accuracy, therefore pay close attention to all of his throws and the accuracy at every level. Another area to pay attention to is his decision making. Does Wilson find the open man? Does he check down too often? Not enough? Does he force the ball? Will he throw the ball away when he should? These are all questions that need to be answered, and something to look for as you watch the game develop. The last thing to grade Wilson on is his ability to extend a play. First, is he able to do so? If he does, what happens when he does? Will he make a downfield throw or take off and run? Does he force the ball after he extended the play trying to make a good play even better? Scouts will want to see that Wilson can extend the play and then make a good decision with the football, throwing the ball downfield if he has an open man, or tucking and running, rather than forcing a throw if no one is open. Wilson has tremendous talent which he will showcase Saturday afternoon. His every snap will be judged and each one is critical as he fights for a spot in a crowded position come April.