The NFL loves athletic prototypes. They have a whole event dedicated to prospects showing off just how freakishly athletic they are in gym shorts and t-shirts. Prospects who don’t meet certain athletic thresholds are taken off most team’s draft boards, for better or for worse. The players to watch during this week of college football action meet or exceed the various athletic prototypes for their position.
Keep your eyes on
Troy Fumagalli, tight end (Wisconsin)
Along with Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, Fumagalli came into this season ranked among the top tight ends in the college football. Unlike Gesicki however, he clearly has been working on becoming a complete tight end by improving his blocking. He gained extra weight to help in that endeavor. The results have been somewhat positive, although he’s missed some time due to a leg injury. He has a tough task ahead of him this week though as he’ll be facing Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell in coverage, a good test for both players.
Other players to watch
Cedrick Wilson, wide receiver (Boise State)
Wilson has been getting some love from #drafttwitter recently as an underrated receiver who should be getting more press. The senior wideout is a big target (6’3”) and has been putting up consistent numbers all season, even against strong pass defenses like Wyoming and Virginia. Boise’s opponent this week, Colorado State, sports a high-powered offense and Wilson is sure to see a ton of targets in the hope of keeping up with them.
Jamarco Jones, offensive tackle (Ohio State)
Ohio State’s offensive line has been pretty stellar this year. Most observers credit center Billy Price but ask Ohio State players and they say Jamarco Jones deserves a lot of the credit. Evidence was provided last week when Jones left the game against Iowa with injury tied at 17 a piece. Ohio State offense couldn’t get anything going from that point forwards and eventually lost the game 55-24. No. 12 Michigan State presents just as difficult and assignment for the Senior tackle.
Mike White, quarterback (Western Kentucky)
White was one of several dark horse prospects at the quarterback position. His numbers in 2016 were eye-opening but have been down this year as he has been plagued by a lack of protection and offensive talent around him. The pressure will be on him to perform as his opportunities to impress are shrinking, and this week he’s facing a good defense in Marshall. This week may be a sink or swim moment for him.
Tim Settle, defensive tackle (Virginia Tech)
Defensive tackles who can stop the run are a dime a dozen in football. Players that can affect the passing game as well as the running game are much more difficult to find. Settle might be one of those players. Despite sporting a 328-pound frame he manages to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks so successfully that he is ranked number 10 on Pro Football Focus’ Pass Rush Productivity stat. Although Settle is only a sophomore, if he is highly enough rated he may leave school for the NFL.
Kemoko Turay, defensive end (Rutgers)
Rutgers is in the middle of a mediocre season, but Turay is reason enough to watch them take on Penn State this week. The senior defensive end is by all accounts an athletic freak at the position. According to NFL.com, he “runs the 40 in the 4.6s and has a vertical jump reputed to be around 40 inches and a broad jump of a bit more than 10 feet.” Turay is raw and has been in the middle of a down year, but by all accounts he should jump off the screen.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive back (Alabama)
Fitzpatrick is an athletic, versatile weapon for the Alabama defense. A former cornerback, he’s able to line up anywhere in the secondary whilst bringing a hard-hitting mentality. Mississippi State, and their huge quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, loves to run the ball and take calculated deep shots, so expect to see Fitzpatrick all over the field in pass coverage and in run support. Although he’s been nursing a hamstring injury, it looks like he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game.