This past week held a bunch of great games that featured lots of great games that featured great matchups between big time NFL prospects. A host of players were able to rise to the occasion of their games while some faltered in the spotlight, potentially dropping their stock for the time being.
Gabe Ikard (C, Oklahoma): Ikard’s name has always been mentioned among the better centers in the country, but rarely as the top dog. This week, Ikard turned in the best performance of his career in prime time against Notre Dame. Ikard was able to bully Louis Nix, someone previously thought of as one of the best nose tackles in the country, not allowing him to create pressure as a pass rusher and he pushed around Nix in the run game. Ikard flashed his mixture of strength and athletic ability as he got to the second level and really paved the way for the Oklahoma offense over a normally stout Irish defense. If Ikard can continue to perform like this, there is no reason not to rank him as the best center in the country.
Zach Mettenberger (QB, LSU): Frankly, Mettenberger has been on the rise all year, but this past week he really showed that he has arrived. Yes, LSU lost to Georgia, but Mettenberger was able to stand strong while the bullets were flying and was able to pull the trigger on big throws all game. He came into the year as a very polarizing prospect, but he has improved drastically from last year and has the arm to make all of the throws. The SEC will continue to test him, but he looks like first round material so far.
Chris Borland (LB, Wisconsin): Borland has been knocked on a regular basis because his size had limited him previously during his career. Against Ohio State however, Borland came to play. A microcosm of his great play all year, Borland came down hard in the run game and played solid coverage. However, his best trait, blitzing, has been showing all year and what he brings as a gadget pass rusher is incredibly valuable. Like many “small” linebackers before him, he needs to outplay his size to prove valuable to NFL teams and he is doing just that.
Brad Roby (CB, Ohio State): Before last weekend, most thought of Roby as the top cornerback in the NFL draft… Nope! While he is obviously talented, his inability to get in position caused him to get burned by Jarred Abbrederis all night. Now, Abbrederis is no slouch, but Roby was just not playing very good football. Roby is very gifted physically, but he needs to get his head in the game or stud players like Jason Verrett and Ifo Ekpre Olomu will pass him.
Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama): Oh, Cyrus, has there been a week he has not been hurting his draft stock? Each week, while looking solid as a run blocker, he has gotten whipped in pass protection. Yes, he was going up against a very solid Ole Miss pass rush, but for someone once considered a top-notch prospect, he needs to improve. At this point he does not even sit among the top 10 tackles in this class and may want to consider a position change at the next level.
David Fales (QB, SJSU): David Fales was one of my favorite quarterbacks during the offseason and I was incredibly high on him. Thus far, he has looked terrible in the new offense for the Spartans. He lacks the arm to make downfield throws and hasn’t been accurate in the intermediate game either. At this point, he has done little to prove himself better than a massively improving Aaron Murray. While there is still talent to work with, Fales’ ceiling looks lower and lower every week.
Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Alabama Crimson Tide Football Bradley Roby Chris Borland Cyrus Kouandjio David Fales Gabe Ikard LSU Tigers Football Ohio State Buckeyes Football Oklahoma Sooners Football San Jose State Spartans Football Wisconsin Badgers Football Zach Mettenberger