Top Prospect Game of the Week
Florida Gators vs LSU Tigers
With the SEC vs FCS challenge taking place this weekend we are robbed of some quality games and even some good battles between top prospects. However not all is lost and because of Hurricane Matthew and the work of both schools this game was pushed back to this weekend. The game has big importance largely because Florida is leading the SEC East while LSU head coach is trying to win his way to the permanent role. But as it relates to us and doing some Saturday scouting the true match ups will be when LSU has the football. Sure the Tigers are loaded with top prospects on the defensive side they’ll be going against a struggling Gators offense that doesn’t have a single player that will be drafted in the 2017 draft. Instead we’ll focus all of our attention to when LSU has the ball.
RB Leonard Fournette vs LB Jarrad Davis
Stopping Fournette will be the main goal for the Gator defense. Under normal circumstances we’d see LSU line up in closed sets and plenty of runs between the tackles. However since Les Miles has been fired, interim head coach Ed Orgeron has tried to open up the LSU offense as much as he can giving more three receiver sets, but Fournette is still running primarily through the tackles. That will put the onus on middle linebacker Jarrad Davis to make tackles on the powerful Fournette in more one on one situations. Davis has the ability to fill holes and make plays at the edge, but his quickness and ability to adjust will be on display trying to bring down the big Tiger back. What could stand out in this situation is the absence of strong safety Marcus Maye who broke his arm and is out the rest of the season. Maye was thriving this year and his absence coming down in run support could really affect the Gators.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 27, 2016
Center Ethan Pocic vs DT Caleb Brantley
While I could have easily added defensive tackle Caleb Brantley to the group trying to slow down running back Leonard Fournette, his battle with top rated center Ethan Pocic will be his main concern. Brantley uses an above average burst to try and get penetration and disrupt in the backfield. Pocic’s main goal will to be stay in front of Brantley can move him so Fournette and Guice and get up field in their rushing attack. Pocic is a large center standing 6’6 but has good movement skills that allow him to stay in front of quicker defenders. Pocic’s size does hurt him when he’s match up with smaller tackle that can get leverage on him. With Brantley standing at only 6’2 who can hold the point of attack could help clog up running lanes and make it difficult for the Tiger running backs to find open space. While Pocic is the clear top center in the class, Brantley is still looking to move up the leader boards and this game is likely the first one scouts and teams will watch.
Wide Receivers Travin Dural and Malachi Dupree vs Cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson
While Fournette and the running game is the Tigers main offensive focus, if they’re going to win they need quarterback Danny Etling to get the ball to their playmakers on the outside. LSU has two talented receivers in Dural and Dupree who are both run and catch receivers who win with their speed and athletic ability. But they’ll have to deal with two talented Florida cornerbacks that are getting a lot of attention in the draft world. While many are aware of and high on Jalen Tabor his teammate Quincy Wilson might be getting more attention as the season progresses. Tabor has good quickness and can stick with receivers in and out of breaks but his long speed could get exploited in this match up. Wilson is a bigger corner who at 6’1 213 can get physical with receivers to reroute them and throw off timing. If Florida can lock up man to man with their two corners that would allow them to devote more to the box and we could see the Gators defense shut the Tigers down.
Individual Match Ups to Watch
Ohio State C Pat Elflein vs Michigan State DT Malik McDowell
With McDowell being a potential top ten pick and Elflein is in a battle with Ethan Pocic to be the top rated center in the class this should be a fun battle to watch. McDowell isn’t your typical nose tackle but he does see most of his snaps inside at the one technique and will be going against Elflein most of the game. McDowell is a physical freak at 6’6 300lbs using speed and power to dominate offensive lineman. It will be anxious to see how Elflein does against McDowell’s quickness and burst as he’s not a great athlete but is at his best when he can get his hands on defenders and use his strong upper body to drive and steer defenders into a position to seal them off. While we all know that McDowell will go high, this will likely be the first tape teams put in to see Elflein.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) September 20, 2016
Indiana RG Dan Feeney vs Michigan DT Ryan Glasglow
Continuing the trend of big ten interior line match ups we’ll see one of the best guard prospects in this class go against a very stout lane clogger in Glasglow. Feeney is a light footed guard that is able to move laterally to cut off defenders and seal them in the run game while stay in front during pass protection. Feeney will have no issue with that against Glasglow but what we’ll be able to see is whether he can hold the point of attack and anchor in against a very strong defensive tackle. There is no quit in Glasglow and he uses his size and strength to physically dominate guards either filling up lanes or his patient grab and pull technique rushing the passer.
Alabama LT Cam Robinson vs Chattanooga DE Keionta Davis
While this weekend is the SEC vs FCS challenge it’s not cakewalk for Cam Robinson as he may go down as the most tested left tackle prospect in recent years. Whether it’s Myles Garrett, Derek Barnett, Marquise Haynes, Arden Key or Deatrich Wise he’s faced some of the top edge rushers in this class. This week he’s facing off against one of the best FCS pass rushers in Chattanooga’s Keionta Davis who may not be well known but will get the opportunity to get his name out there after this game. Despite the 6’4 260 frame Davis is an explosive pass rusher using burst and speed to really test offensive tackles. Robinson has not been a lock down tackle this year so don’t be surprised when Davis gets to Jalen Hurts on a few occasions.
USC OT’s Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner vs UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley
One of the hottest names in the draft world right now is Takkarist McKinely who has been rising up draft boards and even gotten some first round love from national draft writers. McKinley isn’t the biggest edge prospect coming in at 6’2 250 but he uses his speed to really test offensive tackle’s ability to get depth. He’ll have his hands full as USC has two draftable tackles. While Zach Banner was getting the most attention left tackle Chad Wheeler is the more talented player. Wheeler moves laterally and will give McKinley fits, so doesn’t be surprised if we see him move to the left side where against the heavy footed Zach Banner.