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.
Cliff Matthews, DE/OLB, South Carolina: "He's got a solid burst and above average athleticism, although he doesn't have the elite measurables that he had 50 pounds ago and won't wow people at the combine (he started at OLB as a 225-pound freshman). The athletic ability is there for Cliff to be an impact pass rusher, but he's probably a better fit on the strong side in a 3-4. Off the charts hustle and motor." -- kaisertown // "I just was not impressed with Matthews at all. I see the same thing you guys see re: athletic ability, upside, and especially motor, but I didn't see a lot of polish, and he was absolutely dominated at the point of attack defending the run. I don't see him as a legit 4-3 option despite his size; like kaiser says, he's a strong-side OLB. Good mid-round prospect worth developing, but he's got a ways to go if you ask me." -- BG
Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU: "Really struggled on the left side. His kick step was more like a back pedal, and he was consistently beat to the corner. Defensive ends could jolt him back on first impact more than you would like for somebody his size, but he's not the type of player you want to bull rush. I was also concerned with his natural awareness, as he didn't seem to know when Dalton was moving around in the pocket like the rest of the OL instinctively seemed to pick up on. TCU literally ran right on about 80% of their run plays, and a couple of the times they did run left, the back cut his run up the middle or to the right. Cannon did impress me with his athleticism moving forward and finding blockers in space. He dove at legs nicely to take out LBs he couldn't reach or he'd simply envelop any LB he could get his hands on and almost never failed to find a player. He looked more like a mid-round guard than an early round RT in this game." -- kaisertown (from Week 1)
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State: "Struggled to make throws under duress. Had trouble fitting the ball into windows. Something of a streak shooter. Creative on the move. Very, very disappointing performance - a not-so-great OU defense made him wholly irrelevant." -- BG
Jake Locker, QB, Washington: "He reminds me a lot of Jay Cutler in that he over-trusts his arm in certain situations. He did have happy feet on a couple drop backs. The play that really impressed me was his running touchdown. Reminded me of Steve Young, but he may be even quicker than Young. What I want to see out of him is continual improvement in his completion percentage and his decision making. He's made strides, but I want to see it continue. If it does, I have no problem placing him at the top spot for the draft." -- gatornation (from Week 1)
Cameron Heyward, DL, Ohio State: "Strong, powerful hands, long arms, jolts and controls blockers. Good leverage, though he has lapses. Can sometimes struggle to shed. Above average athlete with the motor to track down plays. Average pass rusher. Great frame, but at the ideal weight. Will never be a stat sheet filler, but will be a dominant NFL run defender for years as a 3-4 end. Just needs to perfect his technique." -- BG / "I'm assuming that Heyward is a good student of the game, as he was constantly the last Buckeye into his stance - he wasn't being lazy, as I noticed that he was looking at the Hurricane offense as opposed to looking like he was gassed. Dan Kadar and I talked about him a few days back, and we both question if he has a true position other than five technique. But he's ideal at that spot, and could be one of the few difference makers at that position, a la Richard Seymour." -- Der Jaeger
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State: "Vince Young clone. Pryor has so many areas that he could improve on: mechanics, proper ball velocity, short-range accuracy, footwork, etc. But the talent is there. Anything 10 yards or deeper, and Pryor is accurate, but often misjudges the velocity that he needs to put on the football. Many times he needs to gun the ball but simply floats it in. Major improvement in reading defenses and going to the right spot with the football, but he still needs a lot of work. Footwork is very inconsistent. Pryor is a good runner on designed runs, but when he scrambles and can run through a broken field, he's nearly impossible to bring down. And even with that, Pryor has improved, not running all the time, and even sometimes keeps his eyes downfield when he scrambles. He needs this year and next before he's in the NFL conversation, but marked improvement has been made." -- Der Jaeger
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: "Outstanding run blocker. Uses frame well and gives excellent effort. Hustles for his teammates. Has nice feet, can make defenders miss and set them up in space. Big, soft hands. Need to see him a bit more, but the talent is obviously there, and I like that he doesn't take plays off." -- BG
Don'ta Hightower, LB, Alabama: "Huge. Fantastic blitzer. Versatile; lines up as a down lineman to rush the passer on third downs. Good speed for a player his size. Not especially quick; this hurts him in coverage, where he is severely lacking. Thumper; can really lay the lumber. Need to see a lot more from him, but it's easy to see why scouts like his upside." -- BG
Week 3 Preview
Wondering which games you should be watching for your couch scouting purposes this fine Saturday? We've got you covered there, too.
Arkansas at Georgia: Noon Saturday, ESPN. If you have yet to see Arkansas junior quarterback Ryan Mallett play, today's the day. Mallett is a potential Top 10 overall pick should he decide to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.
Nebraska at Washington: 3:30 PM Saturday, ABC. If this game is preempted for Alabama at Duke, something blunt is likely to be driven through my TV screen. If this game is on, Locker is an obvious must-watch, as are two Nebraska prospects - cornerback Prince Amukamara and defensive tackle Jared Crick.
Baylor at TCU: 4:30 PM Saturday, Versus. Cannon is worth looking at again, and I'm curious to see Baylor nose guard Phil Taylor play, too. He's a big kid.
Mississippi State at LSU: 7 PM Saturday, ESPN. In a weak year for offensive tackle prospects, LSU's Joseph Barksdale has a chance to cement his status as the best tackle available. He's the only guy I'm watching in this one.