Last week, we unveiled a new series in which we take a look at 2010 NFL Draft prospects (and, really, just college football players in general) in an effort to keep tabs on the ebbs and flows of prospects' draft stock. You can see our efforts from Week 1 of college football at this link.
Week 2 has been in the books for a few days, but as you can imagine, we've been busy covering the team this blog exists to cover - the Buffalo Bills. Before we turn our full attentions to the Bills' next game, we thought we'd sneak in our thoughts from this past weekend's college action. Our three up and three down for this week is after the jump.
THREE UP - Three players whose stock is climbing after strong starts to their seasons
#1 - Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. Clausen is a big-name prospect simply because of the position he plays, the institution at which he plays, and the coach for whom he plays. Forgot about Notre Dame's disappointing loss to Michigan, too. Clausen has been excellent. The third-year junior is completing two of three passes, averaging nearly 11 yards per attempt, and has tossed seven touchdowns to zero interceptions in two games this season. He's got an NFL build (6'3", 223 pounds) and a live arm. What we remain concerned about is the amount of talent around him, and how much that buttresses his statistical output. For now, we think he's nearly as talented as all of the big-name quarterbacks you hear so much about. He needs more polish.
#2 - Georgia WR A.J. Green. I really like this kid. The 21-year-old sophomore emerged as a deep threat for Matthew Stafford in 2008, and he's still producing despite being the focal point of the Bulldogs' passing attack, led by a new quarterback. He's 6'4" with great speed, and is therefore one of the nation's elite deep threats. He can play, and his six-catch, 86-yard, one-touchdown performance in a close victory over South Carolina proved his playmaking ability. He has the look of a high-round draft pick with elite potential.
#3 - Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan. I'll use kaisertown's words for this guy, because kaiser got the closest look at him: "The junior DE had 3 sacks and 10 tackles and was unstoppable. He lined up on the left side all night, effortlessly beating the Clemson RT to the corner to get pressure on what felt like every pass attempt. He didn't show a variety of moves, but he didn't have to. He was dominating with speed around the edge or pure strength while rushing inside. He was great in pursuit in the run game, racking up tackles all over the field, and it's far from easy to catch C.J. Spiller. He had one tackle in the backfield as a run defender, and it was an impressive one. He stayed absurdly low to the ground and got his hands up into the stomach of the RT while his body was literally no higher than the RT's waist. It was almost too much leverage, as he pushed his blocker into the backfield easily disengaged and was perfectly positioned to put a shoulder into the thighs of the RB."
THREE DOWN - Pretty much the opposite. These guys saw their stocks dip for various reasons.
#1 - Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant. There is absolutely zero doubt that Bryant is one of the elite players in the nation. He is immensely talented, explosive, and a game-changing threat any time he lays hands on the ball. But in Oklahoma State's ridiculous loss to Houston, Bryant sort of disappeared against a lesser foe. Sure, he had an outstanding punt return for a score at a key moment, but his five catches for 85 yards were not of the impressive variety. You'd like to see him come up bigger in clutch situations on the offensive side of the ball. This was a game that Bryant should have dominated, but he didn't. We put Bryant here with the understanding that in no way is he suddenly anything other than a Top 10 talent. We'd just like to see more.
#2 - Notre Dame OT Sam Young. Young is considered a top-end tackle prospect with Day One potential. He's hyped, again, because of the school he plays at, but kaisertown once again was not impressed: "I watched the Notre Dame vs Michigan game and Sam Young is not a left tackle. He actually doesn't even play LT for Notre Dame. I wasn't at all impressed with him. He could be a good RT in the NFL, but in a draft that is stacked with offensive tackles, I don't think that Young has a chance to go anywhere near the first round. I think he's more of an Andrew Whitworth type than somebody like Kareem McKenzie or David Stewart."
#3 - Troy DE Brandon Lang. Lang, a 3-4 pass-rushing prospect out of underrated Troy, admittedly wasn't going to do much as Troy was spanked by No. 1 Florida, 56-3. But sireric explains it best: "One down I might say could be Brandon Lang from Troy. He totally disappeared, and didn't look like the guy they hyped in the pre-game." I tend to agree - Lang was a complete non-factor, and in a big game against the best team in the nation, you'd like to see at least something from the player that supposedly carries a team's defense. Lang has a lot of potential, but we were disappointed by his effort against Florida.