by Tommy Lawlor , http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com
* Two of the top QB prospects for April are Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker. They had far different games on Saturday. Mallett led Arkansas to a 31-24 win over Georgia. Ryan had good numbers (21-33-380-3) and played really well. He led the go-ahead drive late in the game. He did get lucky with the winning TD pass, but that’s due to giving his guys a chance to make plays. Mallett made a good throw on an intermediate route out to the left. UGA defenders got sloppy and WR Greg Childs ran 40 yards for the score. Mallet played well throughout the game. He had a great ball fake on a play-actin pass that led to a long TD. Mallett was good on the game-winning drive. Made smart reads, good throws.
Jake Locker lived out a nightmare. He was 4 of 20 for 71 yards. Those numbers are correct. He was picked twice, but did have one long TD throw. Nebraska played good defense, but Locker wasn’t destroyed the way that Colt McCoy was last year when he faced the Huskers. Nebraska only had one sack. They kept regular pressure on Locker, but not to the point that he should have been 4 of 20. That is abysmal. Or worse.
A game like this doesn’t ruin his draft value. I do think it kills his chance to be #1 overall. Can you hand $50M to a guy that can’t handle Nebraska? He still can easily be a 1st round player if he bounces back and plays well. Jake can’t afford other hiccups without sliding.
* Alabama got back a pair of elite Juniors on Saturday. Mark Ingram looked great. Hard to believe he was coming off a knee injury, even if just a lesser one. He had 9 carries for 154 yards and 2 TDs. Welcome back.
Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus returned from a 2-game suspension. He had a TFL on a Duke end around. Dareus slung the runner down. It wasn’t dirty at all, but you could tell he’d been ready to hit an opposing player for a while.
* Nevada TE Virgil Green is an interesting player. He lists at 6’5, 240. That’s probably about right. He’s got a lean, athletic build. He caught 2 passes in the win over Cal, but also can be a solid blocker. He had an excellent block on a TD run. Green sealed his defender and sustained the block. Good technique and effort.
* Clemson FS DeAndre McDaniel had a great game at Auburn. He had 5 solo tackles, a TFL, and an INT. The pick was great. McDaniel skied for the ball and plucked it up high. You hear about catching the ball at its highest point, but this was that and more. Really impressive. Great vertical, ball skills. McDaniel also had a couple of big hits in the game. Lit up WR after catch. Physical hit on RB between the tackles. McDaniel added a key tackle on a KO that stopped a long return from maybe going all the way. His TFL came on an end around. McDaniel played the best game by a Senior Safety that I’ve seen this year. I still think Mark Barron of Alabama is better overall, but he’s only a Junior. Both guys can really play. Fun to watch.
* Auburn DT Nick Fairley is only a Junior, but he has stood out in each Auburn game this year. Fairley had 3 TFLs against Clemson. The roster lists him at 6’5, 298. Fairley is athletic and strong. Very good player. I want to see him keep up this level of play all year.
* Florida C Mike Pouncey continues to struggle with shotgun snaps. Don’t write him off yet. Dallas Cowboy Andre Gurode had that issue, but has since made some Pro Bowls. Pouncey is a good player.
* Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas is a player I need to study closely. He is a workhorse runner (34-181 on Saturday). Thomas is over 220 pounds and runs up to his size. My hesitation with him is that I’ve never been impressed with his feet. Straight-line power runners can be important in a certain role, but you’ve got to be nimble to be good in today’s NFL.
* South Carolina dismissed suspended TE Weslye Saunders from the team. That’s not a good sign. It doesn’t send a good signal to NFL teams that he was let go like that when other players at other schools involved in the agent situation are biding time until their suspensions are over or officially set.
* Houston QB Case Keenum suffered a concussion last week and then tore his ACL vs UCLA this week. Ugh. He’s done for the year and maybe his college career. The only question is whether the NCAA would give him another season. Keenum would likely not get picked as is. He’d be wise to play another season. I also think he’d be very well served to play in an all star game in a conventional offense.