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Move The Sticks notebook: Lamar Jackson worthy of Vick's hype

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks NFL.com
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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 4 of the college football season, including:

» The biggest knock against CFB's top pass rusher.
» An NFL comp for one of CFB's top backs.
» Two matchups scouts can't miss on Saturday.

But first, we kick off this week's notebook with Brooks' take on the buzz surrounding the most exciting player in college football.

Mike Vick set off the Twitter-verse when he tweeted that Louisville QB Lamar Jackson was "five times better" than he was at Virginia Tech.

The thought of a young quarterback matching, let alone exceeding, the former Pro Bowler's electric playmaking skills is hard to fathom of those of us who witnessed Vick work his magic as a Hokie, but Jackson certainly makes a compelling case to be considered one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks that I've seen. Observers have been smitten by his unique combination of skills to attack the defense as a run-pass playmaker, and he has shown terrific poise and composure as the director of Bobby Petrino's offense. Most impressively, Jackson has shown dramatic improvement as a passer from the pocket. From his accuracy to his anticipation and timing, the sensational sophomore has become an efficient dart thrower as a passer.

As he continues to refine his footwork and throwing mechanics, Jackson has the potential to surpass Vick's feats as a collegian and force evaluators to consider him a legitimate franchise quarterback down the road. -- Bucky Brooks

Should there be questions about star pass rusher's effort? I was blown away by Myles Garrett's talent and overall athletic ability when I studied the Texas A&M star this summer. The only consistent knock I've heard about him is that he takes a few plays off during each game. I voiced this concern to a trusted personnel source and he brought up a great point. "Unless you watch these games live, you don't get an accurate feel for just how fast these plays get run. It's impossible for a defensive lineman to go all-out on every down. The ball is snapped too quickly for them to recover and give 100 percent effort every play. This is especially true for star players, because they rarely come off the field." I thought this was a good point that should be kept in mind when evaluating defensive linemen. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Scouts divided on QB: Washington State QB Luke Falk is one of the most polarizing players in the personnel community. There are scouts that love his size and arm talent while others believe he is simply a product of the Mike Leach system. I've yet to hear from anyone that is lukewarm (sorry for the pun) on his evaluation. I'm really looking forward to studying him and finding out which side of the fence I find fall on. -- Daniel Jeremiah

College Football 24/7 Hot Topics:

NFL comp for Oregon RB: Scouts frequently use player comparisons in discussing prospects to paint a picture for general managers and head coaches in meetings. By referencing a current player with similar physical dimensions or playing skills, scouts can help a decision maker project a prospect's long-term potential at the next level. Based on that premise, my ears perked up when an NFC scout told me that Oregon RB Royce Freeman has the tools to be a more effective workhorse than Jonathan Stewart as a pro. The Ducks' RB1 has comparable physical dimensions (Freeman is listed at 5-foot-11, 230 pounds; Stewart checks in at 5-10, 240), but the scout believes Freeman is a "bigger, badder dude" with the ball in his hands. In addition, he catches the ball well and could be a legitimate factor in the passing game. With teams looking for three-down backs capable of delivering splash plays as runners or receivers, Freeman's skills as a new-school workhorse set him apart from others at the position. -- Bucky Brooks

Scouts intrigued by WR with Hall of Fame connection: Whenever a player has bloodlines to a Pro Football Hall of Famer, he's certain to draw interest from NFL scouts hoping to find a player with the skills to excel in the "family business." Based on Texas A&M WR Ricky Seals-Jones' connection to his cousin, Eric Dickerson, evaluators were already taking an extended look at the 6-5, 225-pound pass-catcher to see if he can dominate on the outside. The former high school basketball standout has developed into a playmaker with the kind of size and athleticism to terrorize opponents in the red zone. In addition, Seals-Jones has flashed the strength and running skills to excel on "catch-and-run" concepts inside the numbers. The NFL is always searching for mismatch creators in the passing game. -- Bucky Brooks

Here's a player to remember -- South Florida RB Marlon Mack. I can't remember a time where we had so many top-shelf running backs in college football. Guys like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey are household names, but there are plenty of other talented runners across the country. Mack is one of them. He has excellent size, quickness and production. He's coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and he's off to a fast start this fall, averaging a robust 9.6 yards per carry (he's only played in 2 games, missing the Northern Illinois game due to injury). He will have a chance to really elevate his stock with NFL evaluators when South Florida squares off with Florida State this weekend. How does he measure up to Cook when they play on the same field? We'll find out. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Two must-see matchups for scouts in Week 4

Florida CB Teez Tabor vs. Tennessee WR Joshua Malone

Scouts love watching top prospects play against elite opponents because it gives evaluators a better feel for a player's NFL potential. That's why every team searching for a CB1 will keep an eye on this matchup to see if Tabor is a potential shutdown corner at the next level. The Gators star has the size (6-0, 199 pounds) that scouts covet at the position and flashes the movement skills to develop into a suffocating bump-and-run corner as a pro, but I'm curious to see how he tweaks his game to handle a big-bodied receiver with length (6-3, 200) and speed. If Tabor can show scouts that he can play press and use a backpedal to play from distance, he can dismiss questions about whether he can fit into any scheme. -- Bucky Brooks

Arkansas TE Jeremy Sprinkle vs. Texas A&M safety Justin Evans

This is a battle between two of the top players at the country at their respective positions. Sprinkle has NFL-starter ability. He has outstanding size and ball skills. He's also very willing and efficient as a run blocker. He was easy to notice while studying Hunter Henry (second-round pick of the Chargers) last spring. He's playing a bigger role in the offense this season and he's produced a TD in all three games in 2016. Evans is a very athletic safety and he's also one of the most physical run defenders in the SEC. He doesn't get a lot of hype in the media, but NFL scouts are in love with his play. This is a game that will be watched by evaluators leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft. -- Daniel Jeremiah

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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