Sorry for the quiet summer here at ScoutsNotebook. That’s behind us now and a new college season has begun. Hooray!!!
* The big game was Georgia at Clemson and that featured some big talent. Tigers QB Tajh Boyd had an impressive game. He was 18-30-270. Boyd threw for 3 TDs and no INTs. Boyd looked faster and more athletic than previous years. He had a reputation for being a bit overweight early in his career, but looked good on Saturday. Clemson ran several designed run plays with him, even some between the tackles.
Boyd made one sensational pass when he hit a RB for a TD. The player was tightly covered. Boyd put the ball in a spot where his guy could get to the ball, but not the defender. That was absolutely an NFL throw. The thing that makes Brady and Manning so special is that they can throw to a player that is tightly covered and still get the ball in there for the catch.
Boyd has a strong arm and can be incredibly accurate. He made smart decisions and showed good pocket presence. If he’s able to play like this all year, he could be a very high pick.
* Boyd’s teammate of note is WR Sammy Watkins. He was sensational in 2011. Watkins was the best Freshman WR I’ve ever seen and arguably the best overall Freshman player I’ve ever seen. He was special. Things didn’t go so well in 2012. There was a suspension early in the year and Watkins never was the same dominant player.
I wondered which guy we’d see this season. Luckily the answer is…the good one. Watkins was 6-127-1. He had a 77-yard TD that was spectacular. Boyd hit him with a quick throw in traffic. Watkins snatched it with his hands. He then spun and went upfield. He hit a defender with his shoulder and knocked the guy away. Watkins then used a great burst to fly up the field for the score. That play showed hands, toughness, speed and strength. That was an NFL play. If Watkins character checks out, he’ll be a very high pick. Great talent.
Watkins did have a couple of drops in the game. He did muff a punt. I expect some early season sloppiness, but we’ll have to watch and see if those issues persist or go away.
* Univ. of Buffalo LB Khalil Mack had a tremendous game vs Ohio State. Mack lacks ideal size at 6-3, 245. He might remind you of Jarvis Jones, the Georgia LB from last year. Jones had a great year in 2012, but slipped in the draft, partly due to awkward size. Most teams prefer 3-4 OLBs to go 260 pounds or so.
Mack had 2.5 sacks and a pick-six in the game. The INT came when he got into the passing lane on a WR screen. Mack showed great awareness and good hands. He snatched the ball and then took off for the endzone. As to Mack’s pass rushing, he was most effective with power moves. Mack was able to drive the OT backward, shed him and then get to the QB. That’s impressive, but seeing a dynamic burst up the field would have been better.
Mack will generate a lot of 1st round talk due to having the great game, but it won’t surprise me at all to see him in the 2nd round.
* Penn State WR Allen Robinson was forced to sit out the 1st half of the game vs Syracuse. The minute he stepped on the field, things changed. In the 2nd half, Robinson was 7-133-1. He has great RAC ability. Robinson caught one short pass and started to move through traffic. An OL was in front of him and Robinson knocked the guy out of his way. That showed the kind of strength that Robinson has. It also showed how hard he plays. Robinson isn’t out there tip-toeing around. He goes full speed. I think he could be a high pick next May, if he comes out.
* Western Kentucky MLB Andrew Jackson is a tough guy. He lists at 6-1, 257 and he’s got a thick, powerful build. If he gets to a runner between the tackles, there is a good chance the guy is going down. Jackson had 8 tackles (5 solo) and a TFL in WKU’s win over Kentucky. Jackson had a couple of highlight plays in the game where he got runners down with big hits. When he explodes through his targets, it is all over.
Jackson has limited range and athletic ability, but teams that want a big run stuffer at ILB will like him.
* Speaking of ILBs, I watched a bit of Ryan Shazier from Ohio State. He reminds me a bit of Daryl Washington. Shazier lists at 6-2, 230. That’s not big at all. But he plays bigger than that. He will play inside runs. He is very good in coverage. He’s just a smart, instinctive LB that makes plays. Shazier did leave the game with cramps for a bit.
* I’m not worried about Jadeveon Clowney. His hype was over the top. Great player. Great prospect. But also human.
* Washington QB Keith Price caught my eye against Boise State. Price was inconsistent last year and wisely chose to return to school. He looked very good in the opener. More games like that and he’ll get an NFL job.
* LSU is just a factory for DL, especially DTs.
* Florida DL Dominique Easley explodes off the ball. He was highly disruptive in the opener.