NFL Draft Watch - Week 2 Football

NFL Draft Watch: Week 2

Week one was packed with excitement. It had some great games, upsets, amazing individual plays and surprises. One thing was certain though; this upcoming draft class will be loaded with talent.  Who has a chance to make a statement about their game translating into being a Sunday player this Saturday? This week will be a little murky, as no teams ranked in the top 25 will play each other this week, but there are still some good matchups and things you can look for.



Game to Watch: Florida at Texas A&M

When and Where to Watch: Saturday September 9th at 3:30 on ESPN

Who to Watch: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M, Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M, Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M,  Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M, Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida, Matt Elam, FS, Florida

What to Watch For: This game is loaded with talent and is Texas A&M’s first crack at a Southeastern Conference game. This matchup, in terms of NFL talent, is a battle of offense versus defense. When Texas A&M’s offense is on the field there are lots of talented players to watch. Florida’s defense also has a few key players to watch for on defense. Jake Matthews is a talented offensive tackle who has the size and strength to block anyone in the nation. NFL scouts will be looking to see if his footwork is improving, because they know he has the size to be a dominate tackle at the next level. Another key to look for at home, which is much easier to tell than footwork, is the Texas A&M protection. Do they slide the protection and make sure that Matthews is never isolated? Or have a running back help chip to protect the quarterback from his side. Although these strategies work well, NFL scouts will want to know if Matthews can handle the pressure of  being matched up one on one with a quality player. Because of the complexity of the NFL many tackles are forced to block players one on one. If Matthews get the chance to prove he can handle the added responsibly in college, it will certainly help his draft stock.

The Aggies also boast a pair of NFL quality receivers, Uzoma Nwahukwu and Ryan Swope. Because both are coming from an air it out, spread attack, NFL scouts don’t care about their stats. They will be looking to see if they can run crisp routes and have breakaway speed. Pay attention to see if either gets caught from behind often, or if they struggle to get open due to sloppy route running. NFL scouts want to see an explosion from the line of scrimmage through the route. The route needs to be crisp and fast. If either player shows breakaway speed, it is a major added bonus to their stock. To help prevent these receivers from scoring is the talented Florida safety, Matt Elam. Scouts will be watching him closely this game. The spread is a very difficult offensive scheme to stop. It will be very difficult on Elam as he will have to play fast and smart. There are many difficult route concepts and looks to think about on every play. It is a lot to digest for a safety. If Elam can prove he can handle the spread, his stock will be increased. Scouts will also pay attention to his ability to tackle and how hard he can hit. Safety is a changing position in the NFL and it is becoming more and more difficult to play it. They need to be able to cover freakishly athletic tightends and prevent the deep routes, while also being a hard hitter over the middle of the field and making plays close to the line of scrimmage against the run.

Sharrif Floyd, Florida’s nose tackle, will have a chance to show he can dominate the game from an interior position. He is facing quality linemen and will be an extremely important part of the Gators game plan. The best way to defend the spread is to get pressure, and pressure from up the middle is very dangerous. If he can generate some pressure and force some quick throws, NFL scouts will certainly take notice. For Texas A&M, linebacker Sean Porter is the man to watch. He is an explosive player who is a tackling machine. He has good size, but not great, so some consider him undersized to play outside backer at the next level. This gives him a chance to prove he can play against tough competition despite his size. Watch for Porter to be making plays all over the field for the Aggies.


Game to Watch: Purdue at Notre Dame

When and Where to Watch: Saturday September 9th at 3:30 on NBC

Who to Watch: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame, Kawann Short, DT, Purdue, Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

What to Watch For: The Boilermakers had an impressive week one win, displaying a relatively balanced attack, but doing the majority of the damage through the air. This week they face a much better defense, led by Manti Te’o. NFL scouts will have an eye on this game because Purdue is a Big Ten school, a conference known for big offensive lineman and pounding the rock. Te’o will be asked to answer the bell and make plays for Notre Dame. He needs to show he can play inside with the big boys on the interior of the line. Scouts will also look to see how well he moves and make sure he can play sideline to sideline. His coverage skills will also be tested, which in the pass happy NFL, is a must have for all linebackers. This game will give Te’o a chance to prove he is an every down linebacker at the next level and is the best in this class.

On offense for the Fighting Irish look for tight end Tyler Eifert. The senior reeled in four catches for 22 yards and a score in their week one blowout victory over Navy. This week he should have more of a chance to prove his ability. Scouts will continue to watch his run blocking to make sure he has what it takes to block at the next level, but what will impress them is his ability to run and catch the football. He is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, and this could be his chance to shine. Scouts will want to make sure that he is not just a red zone threat and can make plays all over the field on any down or distance, from any location on the field. Pay attention to see if he lines up on the line all the time or if they line him up in the slot as well. The more versatile he is, the better his draft stock will be.

Purdue has an underrated defense. They are very good at getting pressure and creating havoc which result in negative plays for the offense. The star of this unit is Kawann Short. He is a playmaker from the interior part of the line. He has intercepted passes, knocked them down, forced fumbles, made tackles for a loss and recorded sacks. He is a disruptive force and scouts will look closely at him against this high powered offense. They want to see that he has a motor that never runs out of gas. They will also look to see if he can handle playing against better competition and beat double teams. Scouts will also be interested to see how well he can rush the passer from different techniques and alignments because he very well could be a great fit at defensive end in a 3-4. To prove he can handle that, he will need to show that he can work off double teams and still make plays. He has a chance to make quite an impression this Saturday.


What to Watch For - Week 2