* Let’s start by talking about UNC LB Zach Brown. He is an athlete playing LB. Really good space player, but his LB skills are less than ideal. Against Louisville he was in on 11 tackles. Only 4 were solo. He did pick off a pass in the game. He read the eyes of the QB and got into the passing lane, then made a nice catch. Brown’s tackling in the game was sloppy. There were times when he wrapped up and made good stops. There were other plays when he did a lot of reaching and grabbing. He plays too fast at times. There was a play where he blitzed off the edge and was unblocked. Should have been an easy sack, but he was a bit out of control and the QB put a move on Brown and made him miss. Brown does have 2 sacks this year so he can be an effective pass rusher. Brown looks like a WLB. He is best out in space and playing on the run. I didn’t get a good feel for his ability to shed blocks and play in traffic, but from what I saw that didn’t look like something he was very good at.
* Oklahoma pass rusher Frank Alexander had 3 sacks vs Texas. He played DE, DT, and sometimes rushed like an upright LB. I didn’t see the kind of athleticism NFL pass rushers need. On one of the sacks he rushed from DT and wasn’t blocked by a lineman. A RB stepped up to get him, but basically whiffed and Alexander had a gift sack. Good college player, but he reminds me of recent OU pass rushers who are productive, but lack the speed, quickness to make it in the NFL.
Ryan Broyles has a similar situation on the offensive side. He is going to finish his career as the all time leaving FBS receiver. Broyles does amazing things in terms of production. He runs crisp routes. He has a great feel for how to get open. Problem is that he lacks the speed/size numbers to be a top receiver prospect. Might remind you of former USC wideout Steve Smith. Could be a great slot receiver, but I’m not sure he’s meant to be a starter. Made one great catch vs Texas. On 3rd/goal he went up the field and got into the endzone. Turned to look for the ball. Went down to his knees and made the catch. Did a great job of working the sideline, but not stepping out and making sure that he did catch the ball in the endzone and not at the 6-inch line. Really smart player. Great awareness. Outstanding body control. Was 9-122-1 in the game.
What about QB Landry Jones? He’s only a Junior and I would probably advise him to stay in school. There is nothing great or compelling about Jones as a prospect. Very good college player, but worlds different from Sam Bradford. Sam was a gifted athlete. He had a quick release and uncanny accuracy. He ran one of the greatest offenses in the history of college football. He was a great QB. Jones is good. Landry played well in the Texas game, going 31-50-367. He had 3 TDs and no picks. Landry passes the physical tests. He’s big enough. Has a strong enough arm. Has some athletic ability. Jones’ big selling point isn’t anything physical. He is a very smart QB. There was a 3rd/25 play in the Texas game. Jones adjusted his protection prior to the snap. He then had time to hit a WR down the sideline for a gain of 27 and a 1st down. Jones does a masterful job of running OU’s no-huddle offense. He gets the team to the line quickly, but then makes good adjustments if they’re needed. Bob Stoops is very proud of the fact that OU runs such a high tempo, aggressive offense, but has so few penalties and/or bad plays. Landry Jones is the key to that.
LB Travis Lewis is the spiritual and emotional leader for OU. Very good player as well. Goes about 6’2, 230. Very good athlete, but can be a physical player. One issue…pad level. Plays too high at times. That’s not good when tackling RBs. Fozzy Whitaker ran right over him when Lewis wasn’t in great position.
* Nebraska LB Lavonte David had a big game in the Huskers comeback win over Ohio State. David was in on 13 tackles. He had a TFL and FF. The TFL came on a run play to the outside. Nebraska strung out the play and David flowed outside. When he finally had a clear path, he exploded up the field and nailed the RB. Showed good closing speed on that play. Good patience as well. Had he just attacked at the snap, he’d have gotten caught up in trash. The FF was arguably the most critical play in the game. Ohio State was in control. Runner got caught in a scrum and David ripped the ball out as the runner was going to the ground. NU recovered and that play ignited the comeback. David is a WLB prospect. Really needs to play off the ball. Runs well. Good tackler. Playmaker. Leads NU in tackles and TFLs. Tied for team lead in INTs. “Only” second in sacks. What a bum, huh?
* Arkansas WR Jarius Wright had a much quieter day this week after destroying Texas A&M, but still was 5-76. He showed off a good skill set in the game. He caught a fade pass for a TD. Showed good hands, vertical on the play. Ran by a CB for a deep ball, showing off his speed. Isn’t huge, but he’s fast, has good hands, and runs good routes.
Fellow WR Joe Adams had a quiet day as a pass catcher, just going 6-49. He did have one highlight play. Arkansas was backed up at their own 8-yard line. Adams lined up at tailback, took a hand-off, and went to his left. He got to the sideline and then just exploded. He ran for a 92-yard TD. He pulled away from defenders as he flew down the sideline. Dangerous player when he’s got the ball in his hands. 3 career PRs for TDs. 2 rushing TDs.