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 a potential first-round WR and a RB who could give his stock a big boost on Saturday.
The scoop: "I was probably too low on (Dante Pettis) coming into this season. He plays faster than I thought and his ability as a return man is going to push him up a full round." -- AFC area scout on the Washington WR
The skinny: I came away very impressed with Pettis this summer during my film work. I didn't know much about him going into my study, but I came away thinking Pettis was a more well-rounded target than former teammate and 2017 first-round pick John Ross when you factor in route running and hands.
Pettis has solid long speed and, as mentioned by the scout, is excelling as a punt returner (he's currently tied for the NCAA career punt-return-TDs record with eight). I'm not sure if Pettis will be able to be pushed up a round since he might be carrying a late-first-round grade with some teams already.
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The scoop: "One of the guys I really want to watch in (Saturday's Texas A&M vs. Alabama) game is Keith Ford. He's big and he runs with some pop. I want to see if he steps up to Alabama or if he shrinks because they can make some running backs tap out." -- NFC scouting director on the Aggies RB
The skinny: At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds (school measurements), Ford has prototypical NFL size for the running back position. In his three games against Power 5 competition this season (UCLA, Arkansas and South Carolina), Ford has 44 carries for 286 yards (6.5 average) and seven touchdowns. Obviously, Alabama will be a step up in competition, but the tape shows a player who gives as good as he gets when finishing his runs and he has enough burst to accelerate through rush lanes if the Aggies can open them for him.
Ford transferred to TAMU after being suspended for a violation of academic and team rules at Oklahoma in 2015 and it's unlikely he'll get a favorable review from the Oklahoma program when scouts ask about him. However, with his physical traits, Ford could climb up some draft boards if he has a strong showing against Alabama's talented defensive front.