NFL Draft Watch - Week 3 Football

Tennessee College Football Quarterback Tyler Bray

NFL Draft Watch: Week 3

Week two did not disappoint. And many future stars impressed. Week three brings a new challenge and more exciting games, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.


Game to Watch: Florida at Tennessee

When and Where to Watch: Saturday September 15th at 6:00 PM on ESPN

Who to Watch:  QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee, WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee

What to Watch For: The resurgent Volunteers find themselves ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2008. They are led by a dangerous aerial assault which will keep the Gators defense on their heels all night. The assault is spearheaded by an ultra-talented passer, Tyler Bray, who has been on the NFL radar for some time. This is his first chance to show he has what it takes to beat another ranked team and that his stats are not inflated by playing weaker opponents. He has already faced some adversity, as the school’s top wide out, Da’rick Rogers, was suspended and then transferred from Tennessee. Rogers had a chance to be a first or second round selection in the upcoming draft, so his loss had a lasting and profound impact on this offense, particularly Tyler Bray. However through two weeks Bray has guided this offense brilliantly to the tune of 643 yards and six scores and the offense has not skipped a beat. Furthermore, his absence gives Justin Hunter, another talented wide receiver, the opportunity to step up and shine. On Saturday, when Tennessee drops back to pass, keep your eyes on Bray and Hunter. When you are looking at Bray, pay attention to his pocket presence because that is one area scouts will be watching. In other words, see if Bray gets rattled when pressure is in his face. Check to see if he tucks the ball and tries to run or if he throws the ball away instead of trying to step up and make a throw down the field. If he gets happy feet in the pocket, that is a major red flag for NFL teams, and Florida is a team that can apply pressure on the quarterback. If Bray shows toughness and stays in the pocket, absorbs the big hit and delivers a good throw, he will continue to climb NFL draft boards. Another key for Bray is the intermediate routes. These are some of the most difficult throws to make. They take an incredible amount of accuracy and arm strength, a rare combination. These routes are typically the difference between an NFL quality quarterback and a backup. Bray needs to prove he can make any throw on the field.

Justin Hunter is a very talented wide receiver and one that commands attention from the defensive backs on every play. Standing at an imposing 6’4 and weighing in at 200 pounds, Hunter has the ideal size to be a dominant number one receiver at the next level. Obviously NFL scouts are drooling over his size and speed combination, but it takes more than that to be an NFL caliber receiver. The big thing that scouts look for is route running. Does Hunter actually run good, crisp routes to get open? Or does he rely on his superior athleticism to get open? The reason that is a big deal is because in the NFL everyone has that superior athleticism, so route running is a must in order to create separation. Another part of Hunter’s game that you should watch out for is his effort. Make sure he looks like he is running at full speed on every play, run or pass.


Game to Watch: USC at Stanford

When and Where to Watch:  Saturday September 15th 7:00 on Fox

Who to Watch: USC QB Matt Barkley, USC WR Robert Woods

What to Watch For: Matt Barkley has already looked like a Heisman candidate and a future 1st overall selection, but playing on the road at Stanford will be his biggest test to date. The Cardinal have a solid defense, which will get after and challenge Barkley on every snap. Like Bray, check to see Barkley’s pocket presence. It should be even better than Bray’s, especially considering the starting experience that he has. Scouts will want to see Barkley step up in a hostile environment against a worthy opponent and shine. He needs to make the proper decisions and stand strong in the pocket. Watch for Barkley to make more veteran style moves, like stepping up late in the pocket before delivering a dart, or making a side step, all to buy that extra half second it takes to get off a throw. As the probable number one selection, he will be under more scrutiny than your average quarterback. Robert Woods has been impressive this season as well. On Saturday scouts will want to see him continue to get open and make great catches. Look to see if Woods has the toughness to go over the middle against some intimidating middle linebackers. Does he have the fight to go for the extra yards on a catch? That is a question that scouts will want to see answered as well. Another underrated area to pay attention to with Woods is how well he run blocks. This is a good indication of how physical and tough a player is. Woods and Barkley have a tough matchup, but one that they could really shine and prove they belong in first round in April.


Week 3 Football - What to Watch For