* Michigan SS Jordan Kovacs is one of my favorite CFB players. He’s a former walk-on with more heart than raw talent, but he’s developed into a good college player. Kovacs is 6-0, 202. He is a good run defender and is very comfortable playing in the box. Kovacs will take on lead blockers or jump right in a pile to help stuff a run. There is nothing finesse about his game. He needs to show the NFL that he can deal with WRs and has good enough cover skills if he hopes to play at the next level.
Kovacs had 8 total tackles, including a TFL, in the opening loss to Alabama. He played the run well. Kovacs is a good tackler. He goes low on his targets and puts them down decisively. Kovacs has 5 career sacks and is a good blitzer.
* I was not overly impressed with Bama RT D.J. Fluker in the Michigan game. He is an old school RT that loves to run block and is a “good enough” type of pass protector. Fluker was badly beaten by an inside move early in the game. He just doesn’t impress as an athlete. Teams that like big, physical RTs who are best suited to the run game will have interest in him. Fluker does play with good pad level. His footwork is okay, but he’s got a bad habit of freezing his feet when engaged with a defender and then he starts reaching. Not good.
* Oklahoma QB Landry Jones gets a lot of pub outside the draft community, but he’s not as good as the hype. People who study tape can see his limitations. You either want a guy who is really physically gifted or you want a very polished QB. Jones is neither. His arm is okay, but nothing special. I wasn’t impressed by his accuracy vs UTEP. There would be one good throw and another erratic one.
Jones made a point of getting in top shape during the offseason. His hope was to be more mobile. That element of his game was much improved. I didn’t like his pocket presence, but did like his ability to move around and buy time. The best throw of his that I saw came in the 2nd half when he was running to the right side and hit a WR along the sideline. It wasn’t a bullet, but was a good pass.
I don’t want to make too much of a sloppy season opener when a QB is getting used to new WRs, but I don’t think that is the start that Jones wanted. Went 21-36-222 with 2 TDs and no INTs.
I was impressed with LT Lane Johnson. He played RT last year, but has moved into Donald Stephenson’s old spot. Johnson lists at 6-7, 303. He’s got a slender, athletic build. Good pass blocker. They shuffled him around as the coaches looked at several players, but Johnson seemed to be the best LT to me. Johnson was a TE and DL back in 2010. You can see his natural athleticism.
* If you want to see the best pass catching/athletic TE in football, watch a Notre Dame game and check out Tyler Eifert. He was only 4-22 vs Navy, but one catch was a very impressive TD. Eifert make a leaping grab on 1st down, but one of his feet came down out of bounds. ND ran the exact same play with him split out wide on 2nd down and Eifert was able to get his feet down. Good hands. Great body control. Natural pass catcher. Big time NFL prospect.
* Auburn pass rusher Corey Lemonier lists at 6-4, 246. He played LDE and RDE vs Clemson. Also stood up on some plays. He had 8 tackles, including a pair of sacks, in the game vs Clemson on Saturday. Good burst. Good speed. Showed some power, but was too finesse. Needs to do more than just use speed moves. 3-4 teams have to love his potential as an OLB. He was okay dropping back and playing in space, but Corey is substantially better at flying off the edge and chasing the QB. Good motor.
* Clemson TE Brandon Ford is an interesting player to watch. He’s developed slowly over time and could be ready for a breakout Senior season. He had 5 catches for 51 yards in the opener. He only had 25 career catches prior to that game. Ford showed some promise as a blocker, which is important since he’s only 6-3, 240.
* Junior CB Dee Milliner was terrific for Alabama. He has good size at 6-1, 199. He broke up 4 passes and picked off one. He now has 5 career picks. Milliner was very physical with receivers, but my concern is if he’s too physical. Some college DBs are all over WRs and get away with it. They get to the NFL and struggle with tighter contact rules. Kareem Jackson was a stud CB at ‘Bama that was slow to adjust to the NFL.
* I’m a big fan of Va Tech QB Logan Thomas, but he got off to a rough start vs Ga Tech. Thomas didn’t look like an elite prospect at all. You could see his raw physical tools, but he didn’t look like a Senior QB with plenty of experience. Thomas needs to bounce back quickly if he wants to get in the mix to be highly picked. He has good size and a good arm. Thomas runs very well. He’s tough. I’ve been very impressed with him as a passer in the past. He was rough in the opener. In his defense, he was breaking in some new WRs and didn’t have great RBs to help him, but part of the point to being an elite prospect is that you make those around you better. Thomas needs to get going in a hurry.