Prospect Watch: Week 7


I posed this question to my buddies over the past few weeks (mostly Jets fans), ” Could there be another player in sports that can either help or hurt his team as much as Mark Sanchez does?” Before I could even finish asking that more names jumped into my head. Romo, Manning (Eli), well Peyton (Manning) as well but just because his not being under center has crippled the Colts. Contemplating the question more, I wonder if this a new trend in NFL QB-ing. Taking the time to think about it, I came up with the conclusion that in the past (I am in my late, late 20’s so my “football life” starts with Marino) QBs were either A. Good (John Elway, Dan Marino) or B. Bad ( Jeff George, Bubby Brister). Then as the mid-90’s came to be the “game managers” came to be (Trent Dilfer, Vinny Testaverde). Now in days, you have a smorgasbord of good, bad, game managers and the newly named “Romo Coaster” guys (heard Bill Simmons and Kenny Mayne use the phase Romo Coaster). Just a thought of yet another way the NFL game is evolving.

After 2 weeks away, the Prospect Watch returns. Although perception can always change, it is starting to become clear which players are elite and which players might slip (more details coming next week):

Matt Barkley (QB, USC): Barkley’s report is becoming redundant. His yards per attempt was down to a season low 5.6 (that is Brady Quinn bad) against Cal and that includes his first pass of the day going for 39 yards. Barkley finished the day 19 for 35, with 195 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. He was inaccurate on his short passes (normally is adequate on short passes) while his arm strength is starting to remind me of Brett Favre’s arm in that Wranglers commercial in which Favre is throwing to uncoordinated actors (just watch the type of throws he makes and you will understand).

Trent Richardson (RB, ‘Bama): Richardson continues to present himself as one of the best players in college football and one of the better RB prospects in recent memory.  He could buck the trend of not drafting a RB early in the draft (McFadden went 4th overall in 2008, Moreno went 12th in 2009, Spiller went 9th in 2010) with more days like Saturday. Richardson had 183 yards on 17 carries and, as usual, broke a long run (76 yards) while piling up 4 TDs. He also caught 2 passes for 30 yards. With his rushing, receiving and pass blocking abilities he might make it hard for a early pick team (Rams, Browns, Broncos, Colts, Jags all come to mind) to pass up if he declares of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Justin Blackmon (WR, OK State): On Saturday, Blackmon drew plenty of attention from the Texas D, receiving plenty of double coverages and safties shading to his side. Regardless, he still managed 7 receptions, 74 yards and a TD. Blackmon continues to do a great job using his hands catching the ball (does not use his body). He did, however, appear to have problems getting separation from Texas DBs. Overall, NFL teams have to be drooling over his physical abilities, contributions in getting down field to block and continuous reports of having a “great” work ethic.

Zach Brown (LB, UNC): I did not get to see this game but Brown finished the day with only 4 tackles in a loss to “The U.” A far cry from his game against Louisville last week in which he had 11 tackles and a INT.

Cliff Harris (CB, Oregon): Harris is finally starting to show how dangerous he can be with the ball in his hands. He had a 23 yards punt return and a 50 yard return after an INT in a 41-27 win against 18th ranked ASU. On the negative side, Harris is still 5’11” and is not getting any taller. It is becoming common for taller receivers to out jump him on fades or deep routes. Combine that with his lackadaisical (at times) cover skills and unwillingness to take on tackles and it might be awhile before a NFL team calls his name to take on the headache (character issues) he might bring along.