CFB 24/7  

 

Move The Sticks notebook: Michigan Men could be talk of draft

Print
  • By Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks NFL.com
More Columns >

Editor's note: NFL.com analysts and former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks of the Move The Sticks Podcast share some of their scouting notes on prospects heading into Week 3 of the college football season, including:

» Week 3 will tell us a lot about the hottest player in the game.
» A relatively unknown Pac-12 CB should be squarely on the radar of NFL evaluators.
» Two matchups scouts can't miss on Saturday.

But first, we kick off this week's notebook with Brooks' look at why scouts are buzzing about two Michigan players.

Scouts are flocking to Ann Arbor to see two of the best pass-catchers in the country.

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

TE Jake Butt and WR Jehu Chesson are arguably the best players at their respective positions and their early season play has validated that opinion. Butt, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound senior, is the most complete tight end in the 2017 class, exhibiting outstanding hands, route-running ability and blocking skills. He is a throwback at the position, yet he also flashes the movement skills to be a factor from a variety of alignments as a pro. Butt has become a bigger factor in the red zone this season (three touchdowns in two games) and he has an ice-box frame that makes him impossible to get around when he posts up in the end zone. With teams desperately searching for true tight ends at the next level, he has piqued the interests of scouts as a potential game changer at the position.

Chesson rarely commands headlines as a top WR prospect, but he might be the best route runner in the class. He displays exceptional balance, body control and savvy route running on the perimeter. Most impressively, Chesson will use a variety of stems and releases to create separation from defenders at the top of the route. With the 6-3, 203-pounder also displaying strong hands and exceptional ball skills, he is an ideal WR1 for an offense searching for a chain mover. If he can answer questions about his long speed, Chesson could sneak into the conversation as the top prospect at the position by the end of the process. -- Bucky Brooks

My biggest question for this week -- is Lamar Jackson for real? Can the Louisville QB duplicate his early season success against a very talented Florida State defense on Saturday? I've seen the highlights and they've been spectacular. Jackson has thrown incredible deep balls, created explosive runs and even hurdled an approaching tackler. However, the level of competition this season (Charlotte, Syracuse) has been poor. I haven't done much tape work on Jackson (he won't be draft-eligible in 2017) but there is already a lot of excitement about his potential in personnel circles. I can't wait to see how he performs against the No. 2 team in the country. -- Daniel Jeremiah

The Florida defense is loaded with talent. CB Teez Tabor and LB Jarrad Davis get most of the attention, but keep an eye on LB Alex Anzalone. He has ideal size, quickness and instincts. I studied his play against Kentucky last week and he had some impressive moments. He exploded through the line of scrimmage for a sack on the very first play from scrimmage. He is rangy and athletic in pass coverage, too. One area where he needs to improve is his ability to get off blocks. He attacks and thuds up blockers but he will get stuck on occasion. Overall, he's a very solid player on one of the most talented defenses in the country. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Is Davis Webb a system quarterback or a legitimate franchise quarterback? That's the question scouts must answer after watching Davis ring up big numbers in Sonny Dykes' "Bear Raid" offense. Webb has notched a pair of games with 400-plus yards for the Bears, but he has thrown 54 and 72 passes in each game, respectively. Thus, he strikes some scouts as another "run-and-shoot" gunslinger with gaudy production and a limited game. Considering Jared Goff's current struggles transitioning to the NFL game, Webb needs a standout performance against Texas on Saturday to silence some of the critics hedging their bets on his long-term potential. -- Bucky Brooks

Scouts are buzzing about Washington CB Sidney Jones. The Huskies' CB1 toils in relative anonymity in the Pacific Northwest, but scouts are already touting him as one of the elites at the position. I had an NFC scout call Jones the "real deal" after recently making a school visit. When I've studied Jones on tape, I've been impressed with his competitiveness, athleticism and technical skills. He can play nose to nose in press coverage or use a backpedal to shadow receivers from distance. Most impressively, he is an alpha dog on the edge, exhibiting a feistiness that will make him an ideal CB1 prospect to play against big-bodied receivers on the edges. Jones neutralized USC WR JuJu Schuster-Smith in their matchup a season ago, and his standout performance cemented his status as an up-and-comer. If he continues to build on the skills that he's displayed as a young player, there isn't any reason why he couldn't be the top corner in college football when it's all said and done. -- Bucky Brooks

Illinois edge rusher Dawuane Smoot is a name that keeps coming up in my discussions with NFL scouts. I was told he was a top-50 player in the upcoming draft class. I went back and studied his play last week against North Carolina. It was a very up-and-down performance. He produced a safety (he was unblocked) and several pressures but he was also tossed around at the point of attack. I need to do a lot more work on him this fall but he is generating some real excitement in personnel circles. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Two must-see matchups for scouts in Week 3

Ole Miss WR Damore'ea Stringfellow vs. Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey

Stringfellow caught my eye in the season opener against Florida State. He is a big, physical pass-catcher who has sneaky top speed. I attended the Alabama-USC game in Week 1 and watched Humphrey contain JuJu Smith-Schuster. He has the size and strength to re-route wideouts at the line of scrimmage and he has the speed to stay in the pocket on downfield throws. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Oklahoma RBs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon vs. Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan

The 2017 running back class could be loaded with players commanding big grades from scouts. Perine and Mixon are two of the more intriguing players at the position. Perine is the classic sledgehammer who's ideally suited to grind it out between the tackles on an assortment of power-based runs. He runs with power and toughness, but also displays surprising balance and vision for a big back (5-10, 235). Perine tests the courage of defenders in the hole and his physicality sets the tone for a rugged offense.

Mixon has a spectacular set of skills as a dynamic weapon in the backfield. He has the speed, burst and wiggle to create headaches on the edges as a runner-receiver. The 6-1, 226-pound redshirt sophomore is not only a big play waiting to happen, but he is a difference maker capable of making an impact with few touches.

McMillan is an impact defender with the size, speed and instincts to wreak havoc all over the field. He is one of the few defenders capable of making plays as a sideline-to-sideline playmaker or as a thumper in the hole. Against Oklahoma, we will get a chance to see him show all of his skills against a talented set of backs that will get a variety of touches on the perimeter. If McMillan holds his own in this contest, he could see his value soar in the scouting community. -- Bucky Brooks

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop