Three and Out


Here is the latest addition in our weekly conversation with NFL Mocks lead editor, Jesse Bartolis.  Now that we are approaching the halfway point in the college football season I asked Jesse about some prospects that have surprised him as well as some other football related topics.  Check out or conversation below.

WTFP: Andrew Luck is the unanimous number one pick in the 2012 draft.  He is being referred to as a “generational talent” and being compared with Peyton Manning.  Do you think he has the talent to live up to the hype at the next level? And is he the best quarterback prospect you have ever seen?  If not, where does he rank and who would you compare him to?

JB: The answer to all of those question is yes. I haven’t been scouting forever so I can’t go back that far, but what else could you ask for in Andrew Luck. He has a very good arm, can make all the throws, he reads progressions and makes smart decisions he,s mobile can throw on the run and has the football intelligence to be able to handle more responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, which is important in the N.F.L.

The key factor here is “can he live up to the hype” he can, BUT he’ll be much better of if he ends up in an organization that has a solid core and general manager than if he ends up somewhere (like the Bengals) that has historically been full of turmoil and bad front offices.

He’s very good though…so good that fans and media might start to accuse teams of tanking the final month of the season to get Luck.

WTFP: As someone who follows college prospects very closely I am sure you have watched Alabama play and all of the up and coming talent they have assembled on their roster.  Some people are even going as far as to stay that they might have the greatest college defense of all time- talent wise.  With all of the hype behind the Crimson Tide right now can you provide our readers with the players on that team who you think have first round potential for 2012?

JB: Yes, sir I will do that. I think most talented defense of all time is hyperbole, but they are talented.  You’re right that most of the first round prospects on Alabama are on defense, but they also have two players on offense who could end up in the first round of the N.F.L. draft.

T-D.J. Fluker is a redshirt sophomore who is a very talented prospect who could go as high as the top 15 if he declares for the 2012 N.F.L. Draft
Everyone knows about running back Trent Richardson. He’s very talented, the best RB prospect for the 2012 NFL draft (not the nation. I like Marcus Lattimore more), and is likely a first round pick.

On defense is where the Crimson Tide really shine.

The best of the bunch is Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick a very talented cornerback prospect who has some inconsistent tape, but has all the tools to succeed in the N.F.L.

A 34 OLB prospect on Alabama is Courtney Upshaw who is probably the best or second best (brandon Jenkins) 34 OLB prospect in this weak OLB draft. Upshaw is a talented pass rusher, who can lay some big hits. He’s almost a lock to be a first round pick unless some other OLB prospects really emerge.  He’s not great in coverage, but at his best he could be a Lamaar Woodley type player.

Then the tide have two linebackers who are also high draft picks, though I’m not sure either is going in the first round in Robert Lester and Mark Barron.

Barron is a missile in run support and will be a quality SS in the N.F.L.

Lester is a bit more of a ball hawk and is the better prospect he has a better shot at making into the first round and is likely the first safety drafted in the 2012 NFL draft.

Nico Johnson is a linebacker prospect for the Crimson tide who is more likely to end up in the second round than he is the first.

WTFP: After Andrew Luck who do you have ranked higher as a quarterback prospect, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones or someone else? Also, is there a quarterback prospect who could sneak into the first half of the first draft on draft night who people aren’t currently talking about?

JB: I have Matt Barkley ahead of Landry Jones. I was a bit put off with Jones performance vs FSU where he looked skittish, but he has bounced back nicely.

A few weeks ago I could have said Robert Griffin III, but everyone is talking about him now. Ryan Lindsey the QB out of San Diego State was another QB sleeper prospect, but he hasn’t been as good as he was last year so I doubt he makes the case for being selected high. Ryan Tannenhill, E.J. Manuel, and nick Foles were all players that had some buzz about them at some point or another, but haven’t really shined.

I think it’s four QB as of now. Luck, barkley, Jones, and Griffin III. I don’t see any other at this time.