NFL Draft Watch - Week 5 Football

Tennessee College Football Tyler Bray

NFL Draft Watch - Week 5

With the debacle of the replacement referees at the NFL level, college football is starting to take front stage to many football fans. This week’s slate of games features some epic clashes and that will entertain all fans. NFL scouts will be watching games closely this week, as always. So who should we be keeping a keen on eye this week?


Game to Watch: Wisconsin at Nebraska   

When and Where to Watch: Saturday September 29th, at 8 P.M on ABC.

Who to Watch For: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, Nebraska DT Baker Steinkuhler 

What to Watch For: Wisconsin has struggled mightily so far this year in all facets of the game, but most notably on offense. Many people think that Ball should have bolted for the NFL when he had the chance after a record shattering 2011 campaign. This offseason he ran into some bad luck, being the victim of a heinous assault that left him battered and concussed. Then last week he suffered a second concussion. That is enough to start raising some questions with NFL scouts. Teams will be hesitant to spend even a relatively high draft choice, like a third round, if there are concussion or injury concerns. To make matters worse for Ball he has not been overly impressive during his action. He has rushed for just 360 yards on 93 attempts, a minuscule 3.9 average. Of course there are other factors at play this year, such as how great the offensive line was last year, and their poor play thus far this season. But Ball needs to make a statement in this game, not only coming off a concussion, but also against a tough and physical Nebraska defense. Ball has lots of positives that will certainly get him drafted. On Saturday watch for Ball’s balance, which may be the best in the nation. He never goes down easy. He is able to shift, spin, and juke while maintaining his balance. He has been a workhorse at Wisconsin, which also helps his NFL case. When Ball gets his carries on Saturday pay attention to his pad level. Typical running backs in the NFL who run high or almost straight up, have short careers in the NFL. Ball usually does a great job staying low, in part due to his tremendous balance. Ball’s speed and vision will also put up to the test Saturday. The NFL is all about speed, so if Ball gets caught from behind often that will impact his draft stock negatively.  Although Ball has put up gaudy numbers during his collegiate career, believe it or not, the NFL could care less about stats. They will want to see Ball’s balance, vision, catching, blocks, and speed on display this week. A solid game for Ball should help cement his draft stock in the second round.

Hoping to stop Ball is Nebraska nose tackle Baker Steinkuhler. He is a massive player, standing six feet five inches tall and weighing in at 290 pounds. He is a physical force but will be going against one of the biggest offensive lines in the nation. This test will see if Steinkuhler just uses his size and strength to overwhelm smaller players, or if he has technique. Pay attention to see if he can penetrate the Wisconsin line and disrupt the running and passing game. On third downs keep an eye out for him because the NFL has put a premium on pass rushers. If he gets a good push and can collapse the pocket on a consistent basis his draft stock will sky rocket. He has the size and speed combination the NFL is looking for and this is his first chance to prove he can do his job against people who are his size or bigger.


Game to Watch: Tennessee at Georgia

When and Where to Watch: Saturday September 29th   at 3:30 on CBS

Who to Watch: Tennessee QB Tyler Bray, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones

What to Watch For: Tyler Bray had his chance to make a good impression to scouts a few weeks ago against Florida. He failed to do so. Now he gets a second change against a menacing Georgia Bulldog defense. They are very athletic, aggressive, and physical and could pose several problems for Tennessee. This season Bray has beat up on weak defenses but struggled against Florida, whose defense isn’t at the same level that Georgia’s is at. Scouts will once again be looking to see if Bray can bounce back. Look out to see if he can stay in the pocket and take that big hit to deliver a throw, or if he gets the jitters and takes off. If he is able to hang in there and take some big shots from the Bulldogs defense and make some good throws scouts will be impressed. They know chances are that the Tennessee offensive line will be overwhelmed and won’t be expecting a great statistical performance from Bray. They will be more worried about his decision making. Look to see if Bray is making check downs instead of forcing the ball into coverage down the field, or if he knows when to throw the ball away and when to try to scramble. The Bulldogs defense will be after him all game long so Bray should have lots of opportunities to show off his ability. Scouts will also be looking to see if Bray can pick up on the blitzes and make the correct “hot read”, which is where he recognizes the blitz and throws a quick pass to part of the defense that is vacated or weak because of the extra pass rushers. Scouts will want to see an improvement from the Florida game, where he completed just 50 percent of his 44 passing attempts. Bray needs to prove he can complete a high percentage of passes against a high caliber defense to be a top draft selection. This won’t be his only opportunity as he plays in a great conference, but it will be one that scouts watch closely.

Tasked with the job to slow down Bray and the talented Volunteer offense is Georgia defensive end Jarvis Jones. He is a pass rushing specialist who wants to live in the backfield on Saturday. He will be chasing down a great quarterback who has a quick release, making sacks difficult to come by. Although sacks are the key stat that everyone looks at, scouts will also be checking to see if he applies pressure and could put hits on the quarterback. That is almost as good as a sack as it disrupts timing and slows down offenses. Of course no one is questioning Jones ability to get to the quarterback so scouts will also want to see how he holds up against the run and in pass coverage. He does have an interception to his credit and two pass deflections this season, but how he holds up against a great offensive team remains to be seen.  Scouts want to see that he is at least competent dropping into zone coverage and can play physical against the run. He is a tackling machine, but because of his freakish athletic ability he is difficult to block. Scouts will be paying keen attention to when he does get blocked and to see how good his ability to shed the blocks are, because at the next level he will be blocked consistently. Jones needs to continue to prove he has an everlasting motor and could play himself into the top 10 of the first round.


Week 5 Football - What to Watch For