I love the unpredictability of college football. Who anticipated Nebraska being a top-10 team at this point in the season? Christian McCaffrey isn't even being discussed in the Heisman conversation. I didn't see that one coming. NFL evaluators have spent the past 2 months studying tape and visiting college programs. What has surprised them so far this season? I reached out to five NFL personnel executives to see which player's performance in the first half of the season has surprised them the most. Here are their answers.
Executive 1: Florida LB Alex Anzalone
"I knew the other linebacker at Florida (Jarrad Davis) was a stud but I didn't know much about Anzalone. He's really good. He isn't a physical take-on guy, but he flies around and makes a ton of plays."
Executive 2: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
"I didn't realize how good Mixon was until I really studied him. He has every tool you look for at the position. He's a very dynamic player."
Executive 3: Miami WR Stacy Coley
"Coley has been a pleasant surprise. He's gotten better as a route runner and he's become a more consistent player overall. There is still room for improvement but I wouldn't be surprised to see him rise through the process."
Executive 4: Cal WR Chad Hansen
"I love how he waited his turn and then stepped up when his opportunity arrived. He really put himself on the map with his play this year."
Executive 5: Cal QB Davis Webb
"I didn't have high expectations for Webb. I thought he would be just a system type guy, considering where he came from. After studying him, I was shocked. He's really good. He's bigger than (Jared) Goff and he has a much better arm. He makes some rare throws."
Summary: That's one vote apiece for Anzalone, Mixon, Coley, Hansen and Webb.
Conclusion: This is a very interesting mix of players. I've seen the two Cal players on TV but I've yet to study their tape. There is legitimate buzz for both guys in the scouting community. I've studied Mixon and Anzalone and both guys are outstanding talents. They are three-down players. Coley is a player I haven't heard much about. I look forward to digging into this tape and finding out what he brings to the table.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.