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Inside the War Room Week Eight

Inside the War Room Week Eight
In this week’s Inside the War Room I name our prospect of the week, talk about a top match-up this weekend in college football, name the top 10 performances from week seven, and much more.

Shutdown Secondary
One of the top pass defenses in college football belongs to the Stanford Cardinals. They are only allowing 138 yards per game, and have shut down some of the top passing offenses this season, including Washington State’s last Saturday. The Cardinals held the Cougars to only 292 passing yards, which is quite an accomplishment when you figure in this is the same offense that set an FBS record two weeks ago when they threw for 734 yards. This defense is led by one of the top safeties in college football, and our prospect of the week in S Jordan Richards.

Richards is one of the top safeties in college football and currently is my number two senior safety. He earns such a high ranking on my board partly due to his high intelligence. He currently carries a 3.42 GPA at one of the toughest schools in the country in Stanford. His intelligence carries over to the football field as well. He is able to call the Stanford defense, and also is smart enough to be in the correct position on a regular bases. He is excellent in pass coverage as well. He has recorded 23 pass breakups so far in his career, and also shows the ability to lineup vs. slot receivers and cover them one-on-one. He is capable of doing this due to his great technique, and overall quickness. One last area that stands out to me about Richards is his leadership ability. He is considered a team leader being named team captain this season, and his high school coach says he is one of the best leaders he has ever seen.

The biggest negative with Richards is his lack of ideal size. He is listed at 5-11 on the Stanford website, but I could see him coming in at 5-10 or even 5-9 at the NFL Combine. His lack of ideal size makes me question how physical he will be in the NFL, and is part of the reason I project him to free safety in the NFL. However, it is worth mentioning he has played well vs. the run at Stanford already recording 195 tackles in his career.

When looking at Richards he reminds me of a slightly less athletic Jimmie Ward, who went to the 49ers in the 2014 NFL Draft with the 30th pick. I doubt Richards goes as high since he is not the athlete Ward is, but I could see Richards going in the late second round or early part of round three in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Next Great Multidimensional Quarterback
This weekend we will see one of the top quarterback matchups of the season when Everett Golson of Notre Dame takes on Jameis Winston of Florida State. Both of these quarterbacks are mobile quarterbacks that have several questions surrounding them, but also have a lot of potential.

Golson is one of the fastest rising quarterback in college football after sitting out last season due to the fact he was suspended from Notre Dame since he cheated on a test. Golson has several promising traits as a pro prospect led by his great mobility, which allows him to be both a pass and running threat. He shows outstanding arm strength as well, and his arm will rank as one of the strongest arms in the draft if he decides to declare for the draft after this season. The biggest question surrounding him will be his lack of ideal size coming in at 6-1 200 pounds. However, I think his mobility will help him in this area since he can throw on the run, and will not be forced to be solely a pocket passer.  I would also like to see him improve his accuracy as he has only completed 63% of his passes, and can be a streaky passer at times.


The other outstanding quarterback in this game is last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Winston has a pro level arm, but unfortunately you have to question if he has a pro level head. He has made numerous mistakes while at Florida State which shows a lack of maturity. Despite his lack of decision making skills he will most likely be a high draft pick when he decides to declare for the draft. This is due to his outstanding arm strength which is capable of making all the throws just like Golson’s arm is capable of doing. One advantage he has over Golson is that he is already a pocket passer, who has the size to be a pocket passer in the NFL. I also really like his decision making ability skills on the football field. During his time at Florida State he has thrown 51 touchdowns, and only 15 interceptions. One area of his game I would like to see him improve on is his long delivery, which could lead to him taking a lot of hits in the NFL.

While Winston is the higher regarded prospect, according to most experts I would rather take Golson over Winston for a couple of reasons. The first reason I would rather have Golson is due to the fact I can get him later in the draft. I look for Winston to be a first round pick, and think Golson will be more of a second or third round selection. I also would take Golson over Winston due to his strong work ethic. While he was suspended, he worked extremely hard with quarterback coach George Whitfield to become a better quarterback. The last reason I would take Golson over Winston is due to the fact Golson has had to overcome adversity and came back stronger from it while Winston has been in a Florida State program that has done everything possible to cover up his mistakes.

Top 10 Performances from Week Seven
1. Devin Thomas WR Morningside

Thomas plays on the top offenses in NAIA football at Morningside. The Mustangs are averaging an eye-popping 71 points per game, and Thomas is one of the major threats on this offense. In his last game vs. Hastings he hauled in 8 passes for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. While I doubt he gets drafted I think he has a good shot of being brought into an NFL camp as a free agent.

2. Mike Nebrich QB Fordham
Nebrich is having one of the most outstanding seasons in FCS football. So far this season he has thrown for 1,738 yards 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In his latest game against vs. Penn he threw for 566 yards and six touchdowns. He may have an outside shot of getting drafted late in the 2015 NFL Draft.

3. Terrance Plummer MLB Central Florida
Plummer had a big game against BYU last week when he recorded 17 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and a fumble recovery. His efforts helped him earn National Defensive Player of the Week  by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

4. Zach Vigil MLB Utah State
Virgil is another outstanding linebacker that had a great game last week. In his game against Air Force, he recorded 22 tackles which is the highest tackle total of any FBS player this season. He also managed to record four tackles for loss, and half a sack.

5. Bryce Petty QB Baylor
Petty showed up big last weekend in the team’s shootout victory over TCU. He passed for 510 yards, and six touchdowns, including two touchdowns in the last seven minutes. While Petty has been able to put up impressive stats this season, I still have some concerns about him being a system quarterback and would not take him until the second round of the draft.

6.  Anthony Abenjoa QB Pittsburg State
Abenjoa is a small school quarterback that is flying under the radar. Last week vs. Emporia State he threw for 438 yards, and five touchdowns while completing 67% of his passes.

7. Phillip Dorsett WR Miami.
Dorsett showed his big play capabilities again last week vs. Cincinnati hauling in three passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He is one of the quickest players in college football, which is one of the reasons he averaged 48 yards per catch last week.

8. Tevin Coleman RB Indiana
Indiana’s Tevin Coleman is currently the FBS leading rusher, and he had another big game last week vs. Iowa when he rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns on only 15 carries. This gives Coleman 1,060 yards on the season with an average of 8.8 yards per run.

9. Duke Johnson RB Miami
One of my favorite running backs in college football is Duke Johnson of Miami. He is a powerful runner who has had some impressive games this season including one last week against Cincinnati, where he averaged 16 yards per rush on ten carries. If he can stay healthy I could see him sneaking into the late portion of round one.

10. Antwan Goodley WR Baylor
Goodley is another Baylor player who stood out in the team’s victory over TCU. He hauled in eight passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, which give him his second 100-yard performance in only three games. .

Honorable Mention
Melvin Gordon RB Wisconsin
Terrell Watson RB Azusa Pacific
Dak Prescott QB Mississippi State
Josh Harper WR Fresno State
Shaq Thompson OLB Washington
Zach Zenner RB South Dakota State
Rob Hollomon RB Central Connecticut State
Kevin White WR West Virginia
Tony Lippett WR Michigan State
Jamies Winston QB Florida State
Rakeem Cato QB Marshall
Jaxon Shipley WR Texas
Devin Mahina TE BYU
Cody Prewitt S Ole Miss
Preston Smith DE Mississippi State
Akeem Hunt RB Purdue

Ten Football Thoughts
1. I found it interesting that one of the top if not the top defensive player in the NFL J.J. Watt was only a two star recruit coming out of high school. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you are ranked going into your college or NFL career, but instead what you do once you’re there.

2. One of the top matchups in Division II football this weekend will be when Pittsburg State takes on Northwest Missouri State. Pitt State has several pro prospects in their secondary including my number one sleeper in CB De’Vante Bausby, and they also have a late round prospect in S Keeston Terry. Northwest Missouri State has won 21 straight games  and is averaging 240 passing yards per game so they will be able to challenge these pro prospects.

3. When looking at the struggles Alabama is having on offense this season the first thing that sticks out is their inability to rush the ball. In their game against Arkansas they were only able to run the ball for 66 yards, and averaged a very poor 2.1 yards per rush. They also tend to rely on WR Amari Cooper way to much, which puts them in a poor position when teams focus their attention on him. If Alabama is to make it to the final four they will need to establish the running game, and find more threats in the passing game.


 

4. One player that has had a poor senior season so far for the Tide is WR Christion Jones. He only has 6 receptions on the season, and is averaging  4.6 yards punt return. On the positive side, he is averaging 25.1 yards on kick returns, but if he want’s to get drafted he really needs to step up more in the passing game.

5. One player that has looked great so far is Washington DE Hau’oli Kikaha who is leading the nation in tackles for loss with 13, and sacks  with ten. If he can continue producing at this level he should be able to earn a solid second round grade, or even a late first round grade depending on what players declare for the draft.

6. One rookie that has done better than what I thought he would do is Jets TE Jace Amaro. He currently leads the Jets in receptions with 24 catches, and is second on the team in receiving yards. He is  outperforming the two tight ends I had ranked higher than him in Eric Ebron who only has 10 catches on the season, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins who only has 9 catches.

7. One rookie who is living up to the high expectations I had for him is Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr, who I had rated as the second best quarterback in the draft over higher draft picks in Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel. Carr has looked very impressive this season for a rookie, and there’s already talk that whoever takes the Oakland job next season is going to have to build the team around Carr.

8. It is nice to see the Cowboys winning with the traditional style of football of running the ball, and playing solid defense. The Cowboys currently lead the NFL in rushing by 11 yards per game, and also have the leading rusher in the NFL in DeMarco Murray, who has 785 yards on the season which is 243 more yards than the second leading rusher.

9. It sounds like a player who is strongly considering entering the draft is Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. He will graduate from Mississippi State this year, and according to Sports Illustrated if he is considered a first round pick he will definitely declare for the draft. I personally don’t see him going in the first round, and think it is more likely he will be drafted in the third round. With that being said I would not have a problem if he declares for the draft since he has already graduated.

10. My highlight in football last week had to happen last Friday when the team I coach on Newell-Fonda beat the number one team in the state of Iowa in class A by 39 points. This win had to rank as one of the top ten wins in my life, and now hopefully we can keep focused and keep winning.

Notes
Florida State WR Rashad Greene became the school’s all time leader in receptions. … Marshall QB Rakeem Cato tied Russell Wilson for most consecutive game with a touchdown pass doing it in 38 straight games. … Clemson DE Vic Beasley became school’s career sacks leader. … Georgia RB Todd Gurley practiced with the team this week despite being suspended. … Boise State WR Matt Miller will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. … Hawaii RB Joey Iosefa has been suspended for three games after being arrested for drunken driving. ..

Make sure you follow John Blair on Twitter @NFLDraftITWR

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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