The Hogs Haven community had to be one of the most educated group of people on the prospects in last year's draft. We all learned together, and I think it's fair to say that there was nowhere else on the internet with as many discussions (arguments) about late round draft picks and undrafted free agents. In an effort to continue to learn more about the NFL pipeline, Parks Smith and myself will highlight college games every Thursday this fall. We will have a pair of National games this week, and I'll be posting it with Parks out of town.
FBS Game of the Week: Arizona @ #9 Oklahoma State, 8:00 PM, Stillwater, Oklahoma Sept. 8th (tonight)
TV Listing: ESPN
Point Spread: Oklahoma State -14.5
Summary: This might not be a top 25 match-up but there is still plenty of reason to tune in or DVR it if you are planning on watching the Packers vs Saints tonight. Not only should Arizona make this a good game, but there are some serious draft implications in this game. Tonight a pair of draftable quarterbacks will be facing off, as well as a host of other quality players that could interest the Redskins. Both teams are pretty strong, but Oklahoma State is the better team, and has the advantage of playing at home. I think they will win this, but it will be closer than the spread. Prediction: 38-34, Cowboys
Players To Watch:
Quarterback Nick Foles (6'5", 240) is the leader of the Wildcats offense, and opened the season in a big way (against Northern Arizona) completing over 80% of his passes for over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Foles is a big quarterback with a good arm and accuracy. While he has had good seasons, he has yet to put together a really great year. This could be the year he does so, and if that is the case he will firm up his spot as a 2nd round QB (could end up a late 1st rounder). Wide Receiver Juron Criner (6'4", 215) would have been the 2nd prospect, but he is out with an illness. If you get the chance to watch Arizona later in the year he is well worth it as he could be a good 2nd-4th round receiver who is a big target.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden (6'4", 213) - If Weeden was 21-23, he'd be a first round pick going into this season, but Weeden played minor league baseball first, and is going to turn 28 in a month. While his older age makes him more of a mid-round pick, he is still an intriguing quarterback option. He's more mature and more apt to pickup things quickly than a younger quarterback. Weeden also is blessed with a very good arm, and had a breakout year last season. He struggled a bit in his week 1 matchup, throwing three interceptions, but it is way too soon to hit the panic button. If Weeden rights the ship, he's a solid mid-round QB selection. He might not be a 10 year QB solution, but he could be a 5 year option.
Offensive Tackle Levy Adcock (6'5", 322) - The reason why the Cowboys offense is so potent, has a lot to do with how dominate their offensive line is. Adcock won the starting RT job last season, but soon found himself making his way over to the left side. It didn't matter where Adcock played as he didn't allow a single sack all season, and was named the Cowboys top offensive lineman 5 times last year. Adcock is a borderline first round pick, but he could also fall to the 2nd round. If Jamaal Brown falters again this season, bringing in a bookend tackle makes sense.
FBS Game of the Week: #3 Alabama @ #23 Penn State, 3:30 Sept. 10th, Happy Valley, PA
TV Listing: ABC
Point Spread: Alabama -10
Summary: Alabama is pretty heavily favored in this game, and with good reason as they are a talented team, but this could have some upset potential. The Crimson Tide is replacing a good bit of their offensive talent, and might not be ready for a big time opponent. Although Alabama scored 40+ points in their week one win, their quarterbacks combined for 4 INT's and their top running back Trent Richardson averaged just 2.8 yards per carry (the team was better though), and that was against Kent State. Penn State is behind the Tide in terms of talent but they return more experience on offense, as well as a strong defense. Alabama will has the talent to stop their offense, but if the Penn State defense comes up with some big plays they could steal this game at home. I think Alabama wins, but won't cover the spread. Prediction: 24-17, Crimson Tide.
Players To Watch:
DT Josh Chapman (6'1", 310) - Chapman anchors the Tide's 3-4 defense at the nose tackle position and could be an interesting selection for the Skins next season. He excels at taking on two blockers and pushing the pocket. He hasn't taken his game to the next level where he breaks a lot of double teams, but he has flashed potential. He could give the Redskins another quality NT and allow Cofield more reps at DE.
DE/ILB Courtney Upshaw (6'2", 265). Upshaw does everything for the Tide and it is a little hard to say where he projects in the NFL. He could just be a traditional rush linebacker in the 3-4, but given his ability to shed blockers and instincts in the ground game he could be effective as a hybrid ILB, who plays with his hand down some and blitzes from the inside. Upshaw is a fantastic pass rusher and looks to be a top 50 pick.
Defensive tackle, Devon Still (6'5", 305) - Still looks to be an impact interior lineman (would play DE for the Skins) going forward and is expected to have a breakout year. In his bowl match-up against the Florida Gators, Still had 7 tackles including 3.5 for a loss. While right now he is probably more of a 4th to 5th round pick, he could move himself up to the 3rd round range. With Jarvis Jenkins returning from injury and Adam Carriker an impending free agent, adding someone like Still in the mid-rounds is a smart play for the Redskins.
Offensive guard Johnnie Troutman (6'4", 323). Troutman, became a full time starter last season, and became a key part of one of the best lines in college football. He's a tough offensive lineman, who excels at both run and pass blocking. He's not a star going forward and looks to be more of a late round pick, but there is some real potential there.