Every Saturday during the college football season, we'll have an open thread for readers of Buffalo Rumblings to discuss college football games. The thread is open to any and all collegiate discussions, but the posts themselves will emphasize draft prospects. This is, after all, a Buffalo Bills blog.
This is the exact template we'll be using for the rest of the season. Our plan at the moment is to discuss a few players per week - strengths, weaknesses, previous week's performance notes - and then preview the upcoming week. We hope it becomes a valuable resource for you.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington: "Locker's going to be a tough assessment if he keeps having games like the BYU game. All of his upside was present: good size, big arm, great runner, great intangibles. His pocket presence improved. His footwork was good, and his release is every bit as fast as last season, with almost no wasted motion. His footwork and mechanics looked much improved, as he shifted weight properly most of the time, and most of his movement in the pocket was needed to buy time. I watched Locker more than five times read the defense and move onto second and third receivers, correctly going through his progressions in Steve Sarkisian's offense. His accuracy and decision making is where I'm stumped (for now)." -- Der Jaeger
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State: "Everything that I see from a technical aspect is spot on. Good footwork, good release, solid shifting his weight from his back foot to his front foot. His arm mechanics are solid and the release point is good. He reads the field well, and I watched him progress to his second and third receivers a few times." -- Der Jaeger // "Has Bradford-like accuracy. Game is very smooth. Jimbo Fisher's offense makes life easy on him. Curious about ball velocity, throwing into tight windows against tough secondaries. Great start to the season, though." -- Brian Galliford
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State: "Still the best DL in college football. Robert Quinn of UNC (if he gets on the field) may be a better athlete and get drafted higher, but Heyward's a beast." -- Der Jaeger // "Dominated in Week 1. Physically, it's all there. Curious to see how he performs against higher-caliber opponents. Ideal as a five-tech." -- Brian Galliford
Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State: "I like his teammate, Titus Young, just a hair better. But Pettis was dominant against Virginia Tech in hostile territory, hauling in six passes for 73 yards, with two scores - including the game-winner - while also blocking a punt. He's got nice feet, and his ability to make defenders miss after the catch is solid for a player his size (6'3", 201). Benefits from playing with Kellen Moore, but he's got nice outside potential in the league. Would be a nightmare in the slot. Curious to see how he times pre-draft." -- Brian Galliford
Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida: "Just one of a few stud cornerback prospects out there. Really, really good athlete with the requisite quickness, footwork and turn-and-run ability to be elite. Makes plays look easy, has nice hands, and can be pretty physical. Needs to reel himself in a little bit - took a bad penalty against Miami (OH). Definitely a first-round prospect, and possibly a very high one at that." -- Brian Galliford
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame: "Rudolph is one of the best TEs I've seen in a while. His talent set lies somewhere between Dallas Clark and Jason Witten. I'd say Brandon Pettigrew is a good comparison. Rudolph's not as fluid a route runner as Clark, but he's a better option to flex than an in-line blocker like Witten. And I'd say he's more fluid that Witten as well. Rudolph is well built for a 6'6" TE, and did an effective job run blocking, even against tough defenders like Ryan Kerrigan. As a receiver, he's too big for safeties and too fast for most linebackers. I don't think he's got the straight line speed to stretch the seam like Clark or Antonio Gates, but inside 15 yards, he runs crisp routes, separates, catches everything, and doesn't body catch. If he declares, he should see similar interest as Pettigrew in 2009." -- Der Jaeger
Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh: "Has some big time talent. Early prediction: he comes out as a junior and goes in the first round." -- Der Jaeger // "Light on his feet. Nice balance. Not especially powerful or aggressive. Not as big a factor as you'd like him to be." -- Brian Galliford
Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh: "Greg Romeus, unless I missed some plays, seemed invisible to me, and was the last guy off the line of scrimmage almost every play." -- Der Jaeger // "Did not display the natural athleticism to play 3-4 OLB against Utah. Did not stand out in any way. Looks the part. Solid run defender. Much more natural fit in a 4-3." -- Brian Galliford
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: "Kerrigan was the most impressive player I watched all day. He wears 94, and his game should remind Bills fans of Aaron Schobel. Kerrigan's game is speed and relentlessness off the left edge. His rip and dip moves are very good, though he's going to need to learn some counter moves to be effective in the NFL. He's big, and he doesn't look too overly pumped up or like he's carrying too much weight. Kerrigan looked very fluid with good change of direction ability, though he was caught in some counters and traps being too aggressive a few times. Kerrigan's a legit game changer and someone that requires some sort of double team every play. It remains to be seen if he can play OLB in the NFL; the combine position drills will be telling for Kerrigan. At a minimum, he looks like a solid 4-3 DE that could play OLB, and I'm putting a late first round / early second round grade on him for now." -- Der Jaeger
Charles Clay, FB/TE, Tulsa: "Charles Clay is a total stud. Tulsa employs a spread offense, so nobody has a clue if Clay can run block in a traditional FB role, but he can certainly do everything else a FB or even a TE or WR would be asked to do. I thought he had the softest hands of any player on the field and the ball just sticks to him. He's a great athlete for somebody his size, but he is built a little bit like a 'tweener where he is thick through the middle like a TE, but his arms are a little on the long and skinny side like a WR. Lining up in the slot like a Dallas Clark might be the best role for him, but he could be a traditional H-Back, line up as an in-line TE (where he might struggle as a run blocker some, but wouldn't be terrible) or maybe even play a traditional FB role. He's a weapon for any offense smart enough to use him. Clay isn't a jack of all trades, but master of none like Dorin Dickerson was last year; he has the receiving skills to be a Pro Bowl type of player and the athleticism and effort to go along with it." -- kaisertown
Week 2 Preview
Wondering which games you should be watching for your couch scouting purposes this fine Saturday? We've got you covered there, too.
Georgia at South Carolina: Noon Saturday, ESPN2. It's such a bummer that Georgia wideout A.J. Green will miss this game (along with two more), because I honestly believe that he will be a serious consideration for Buddy Nix next April should the Bills be picking high enough. While we wait for Green to hit the field, I'll be keeping an eye on two Georgia prospects: tackle Clint Boling and end DeMarcus Dobbs. Georgia has a ton of solid underclassmen, too, including sophomores Cornelius Washington and Baccari Rambo (what a great name). On Steve Spurrier's side, tight end Weslye Saunders, outside linebacker Cliff Matthews, tackle Jarriel King and defensive tackle Travian Robertson are worth charting.
Florida State at Oklahoma: 3:30 PM Saturday, ABC. Clearly, Christian Ponder will be the focal point here; a nice performance on the road in hostile territory against a quality opponent will go a very, very long way in boosting his draft stock. Keep an eye on guard Rodney Hudson and end Markus White, too. Oklahoma has a lot of intriguing prospects, with end Jeremy Beal, tackle Cory Brandon, linebacker Travis Lewis and defensive tackle Adrian Taylor worthy of your attention.
Miami (FL) at Ohio State: 3:40 PM Saturday, ESPN. This should be a really fun game to watch. Two of the nation's best defensive linemen - the aforementioned Heyward and Miami's Allen Bailey - are featured in this one. There are tons of pro prospects to watch, so DVR this one. On Miami's side, receiver Leonard Hankerson and cornerback Brandon Harris are good-looking prospects. On Ohio State's side: guard Justin Boren, cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence, and, of course, quarterback Terrelle Pryor are players to watch.
Penn State at Alabama: 7:00 PM Saturday, ESPN. Mark Ingram won't be on the field for this one, but his understudy, Trent Richardson, is a ton of fun to watch. More 'Bama prospects to monitor: linebacker Don'ta Hightower, receiver Julio Jones, end Luther Davis and sophomore cornerback B.J. Scott. On Penn State's side, keep an eye on center Stefen Wisniewski, linebacker Nate Stupar (brother of Jonathan), end Eric Lattimore and pass rusher Jack Crawford. Hopefully, Penn State can keep this one entertaining for a little while, but they're a pretty young team.
Stanford at UCLA: 10:30 PM Saturday, ESPN. There's only one good reason to tune into this one, and that's to watch Andrew Luck. Sure, you might want to take a look at Jonathan Martin, Tom Keiser or Delano Howard. You might even be intrigued with UCLA prospects like Akeem Ayers, Rahim Moore, Micah Kia and Kai Forbath, but face it: if you're watching this game, it's to see Stanford's quarterback.