Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon): They hype train is officially on a roll as Mariota dominated in his first full game of the year. Against a talented Washington defense, Mariota used his legs, arms and most importantly, his brain to cut through the Huskies and spearhead the dynamic Ducks offense in a big win. Mariota showed a great ability to drop the ball on a dime on deep passes and put the ball only where his receiver could get it in the intermediate game. In the pocket, Mariota moved around very well and stayed calm, cool and collected. When pressure did arrive, he used his speed and open field moves to embarrass Washington on the ground. As someone who follows Oregon closely, I can comfortably say Mariota had his best game this past weekend and he has firmly entrenched himself as top 5 QB prospect going forward.
Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina): In the eyes of many in the draft community, Clowney is the best prospect in the draft and a surefire top-2 pick. However, there has been way too much slander of Clowney, his ability and his work ethic. Let us get something straight, if the best defensive prospect in ten years risks his health by playing through bone spurs, which are incredibly painful, his work ethic and dedication should not be questioned. Some may point to a diminutive box score, but those should realize that offenses are game-planning around Clowney and he has neutered quite a few offenses this season with his mere presence. Against Arkansas, Clowney continued to cause the offense to run away from him and run quickly developing plays to hold back his pass rush. Despite the offense limiting itself in hopes of stopping Clowney, he still was able to make plays in the backfield and limited the run game. Don’t believe what you hear from ESPN and the like, Clowney is the defensive play in this draft.
Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M): Matthews is firmly established as the top tackle in this year’s draft in my eyes but this weekend he continued to show why he warrants such a high selection and how much better he is than the rest of this tackle class. Matthews and the rest of the Aggie line faced one of the best edge rushing duos in the country in CJ Johnson and freshman star, Robert Nkemdiche and the line needed to hold these two at bay in order to keep Johnny Football happy. Matthews is a smooth athlete with great technical prowess and he was able to hold the duo at bay regardless of who he faced. His ability to shut down a powerful rusher like Nkemdiche and a speed rusher like Johnson shows his versatility. Yes, Johnny left the pocket more than people would like to see, but that is just Johnny being Johnny.
Lache Seastrunke (RB, Baylor): As amazing and dynamic a back Seastrunke can be, he has issues with vision. This was evident against a surprisingly good defensive effort by Kansas State. Seastrunke was often caught behind the line and his indecisiveness led to a rather anemic rushing day from him. He has all the physical tools to be a great NFL back, but he needs to play smarter if he wants to warrant a high selection.
Anthony Johnson (DT, LSU): Like his nickname, “The Freak”, would suggest, Johnson has some mouth watering physical ability but none of that really matters if he can’t play the game. Johnson will often come out of no where and make the splash play, but that is it, he comes out of no where. He usually looks lost and is inconsistent in hand usage which gets him stonewalled a lot and that really showed against Florida. He may blow up the combine, but he is making no splashes on film.
Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson): I am a huge fan of Boyd as a prospect and as an individual and I believe his skill set and his character will warrant him a first round selection. However, he had a bad game against a middling defense. Yes, his stat line looks pretty good, but too often was he messing around in the pocket and too often did he overthrow his receivers. This is a reoccurring issue with Boyd and a lot of hit may have to do with the poor play of his offensive line. Regardless, protection will never be consistent in the NFL and he needs to learn how to work with pressure and keep his technique sound in the pocket.
Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Anthony Johnson Baylor Bears Football Clemson Tigers Football Jadeveon Clowney Jake Matthews Lache Seastrunk LSU Tigers Football Marcus Mariota Oregon Ducks Football South Carolina Gamecocks Football Tajh Boyd Texas A&M Aggies Football