Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. This week, NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein shares some of what NFL folks are saying about two of the top prospects in the country -- LSU RB Derrius Guice and Washington DT Vita Vea.
Note: Click through the tabs above to see Sources Tell Us from previous weeks.
The scoop: LSU's Derrius Guice had become the forgotten man at running back in the first half of the season when so much attention was focused on the outstanding play of Penn State's Saquon Barkley. However, Barkley cooled off just as Guice started to heat up over the past few weeks. Scouts haven't cooled on Guice's NFL potential at all despite his quiet first half of the season, and one scout believes Guice is about to "get 'em talking again" with his next two games (at Tennessee, vs. Texas A&M).
The skinny: I struggled this summer when deciding which running back to rank No. 1 at the position between Barkley and Guice. Both players have great size and are exceptionally talented, so I went back and forth until ultimately settling on Guice. There's no doubt the pendulum swung in the other direction with Barkley's impressive start, but Guice is doing a good job of reminding us about what he can do.
It appears that Penn State head coach James Franklin is limiting the wear and tear on Barkley down the stretch (averaging 16 touches in the past two games), but Barkley's production has been very poor by the star RB's standards in the past 3 weeks (averaging 2.9 yards per carry).
Guice, on the other hand, appears to be healthy again after dealing with a nagging left leg injury earlier in the season. He hung 276 rushing yards on Ole Miss, 147 on Arkansas and is expected to load up the stat sheet against both Tennessee and Texas A&M.
The Barkley vs. Guice debate could be more interesting than some might expect if both decide to enter the draft after the season.
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The scoop: "I wouldn't be surprised if people were all over the place on Vita Vea. I think he's going to be a really good NFL player but he is still really raw and hasn't learned to recognize blocking schemes. I see his problems as correctable. I'll have a high grade on him." -- NFC scout on the Washington DT
The skinny: When I studied Vea this summer, I wrote in my notes that he didn't seem to recognize when down blocks were coming and didn't have his hands in the ready position to fight back against them. This continues to be a problem for him this season and leads to some inconsistency.
I can see why the scout would believe opinions on Vea could be varied since there will be those who believe he's a two-down player. Vea has great size and enormous potential as a run-stuffer. I also see a player who can be disruptive as a pass rusher, so I'm in the camp that believes he'll get coached up and become a good NFL run-plugger/pocket-pusher who can keep linebackers clean.