Luke Falk, QB
School: Washington State | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 223 lbs
Half the league sent scouts to the USC vs. Washington State matchup. The Scouts had their eyes on a number of prospects including Falk but presumably, most were there to see how Darnold performed. As is the case with most of his season Darnold was just meh this game but Falk took the opportunity to shine. Falk effectively and efficiently picked apart the USC defense and helped lead the Cougars to an upset win. The “year of the QB” hasn't quite lived up to the hype regarding the top guys yet. This is an opportunity for second-tier guys like Falk to really make their move up the draft board.
Huge game tonight for WSU QB Luke Falk. A lot of NFL eyes will be watching, mostly to see Darnold, can Falk steal the spotlight? #USCvsWSU— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 29, 2017
Coming into the game:— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 30, 2017
Sam Darnold: 7 turnover-worthy plays, 7 INTs
Luke Falk: 7 turnover-worthy plays, 1 INT
Darnold bad luck, Falk good
First play of the game Luke Falk showing he can hit tight windows. pic.twitter.com/1db17efeld— JustWinBaby (@Future_NFL_GM) September 30, 2017
Pressure played a big role in this QB matchup last night.— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 30, 2017
Falk: 4-of-9, 1 TD, 58 yds
Darnold: 2-of-9, 1 INT, 24 yds pic.twitter.com/Ktpr6ugdqL
Braden Smith, OG
School: Auburn | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-6 / 303 lbs
Smith is one of the best guards in the country right now. He has really improved his leverage and use of power this season and is more consistently moving his opposition off the LOS. Smith primarily plays right guard but has also played right tackle last year and can line up as an extra TE as well. Braden has been praised by his coaches specifically regarding his athleticism and strength. See this from Rotoworld:
Auburn senior T Braden Smith's 33-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-9 broad jump both would have led all offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine this year.
Not only that, but Smith can run a 4.95 40-yard dash, do a 600-pound squat, and do a 495-pound bench press at 6-foot-6, 303 pounds. His teammates call him "Drago," "The Terminator" and "The Hulk." Said strength coach Ryan Russell: "The most impressive thing to me is his mobility in his ankle(s) and his hips. Normally a guy his size who is that strong and powerful will be stiff and has trouble moving efficiently. Braden's movement efficiency is incredibly smooth and is something you don't see too often with a guy that size."
Braden is off to a hot start and I would categorize him as a phone booth type right now. I’ll be looking for improved technique throughout the season but he has the elite level physical tools.
Really nice help from Auburn OG 71 Braden Smith results in 53 yard pass from Stidham to Davis. pic.twitter.com/wh5HeZkIBz— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 2, 2017
Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson is the top guy if he declares. In the senior class, I like UTEP's Will Hernandez and Auburn's Braden Smith.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 2, 2017
Nice movement near the goal one here from Braden Smith & Chandler Cox. pic.twitter.com/PoaYPxCqHu— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 25, 2017
Cam Phillips, WR
School: Virginia Tech | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 202 lbs
Phillips nearly made the article last week but I wanted to wait and see how he faired against top competition this past week when Virginia Tech took on Clemson. Though it was a losing effort by a dominant Clemson team Phillips was still the clear go-to option for freshman Josh Jackson. Phillips finished the game with 7 receptions for 70+ yards. Phillips thinks he’s the best receiver in college football and I think he’s pretty good but I’ll be looking for more consistency out of him and more big-time plays from him to solidify that claim.
Cam Phillips doesn't shy away from question about if he's one of best WRs in country: "I feel like I'm the best WR in the country." #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 26, 2017
Austin Bryant, DE
School: Clemson | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 265 lbs
I could have picked just about any draft eligible player from the Clemson defense to highlight after their performance against Virginia Tech but I wanted to highlight Bryant based on the sheer ridiculousness of his performance Saturday night. Bryant started off the year considered by some to be on the low end of what Clemson had to offer on their DL that features Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, and Dexter Lawrence. Well, now it's week 5 of the season and he’s probably considered the best of what Clemson has to offer. Bryant is a prime candidate to be a pure rush end in a 4-3 at the next level as his speed and strength off the edge are clear. He’s off to a hot start and already has 7 tackles for loss on the season in addition to 5 sacks and now an INT.
#Clemson LDE Austin Bryant #7 is showing an impressive blend of athleticism and instincts tonight. Having a great season thus far.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 1, 2017
Austin Bryant blew that play open pic.twitter.com/nfjsJZX2D2— ClemsonEditz (@ClemsonEditz_) October 1, 2017
Duke Ejiofor, DE
School: Wake Forest | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 275 lbs
Wake Forest blew a chance to take care of a Florida State team on its heels with a bad offensive line and a freshman QB. The defense for the Demon Deacons played well for most of the game until it came time to seal the deal. Leading the way was Ejiofor who despite the loss had a nice individual performance. Ejiofor is a disruptor and has lived in the backfield for the first few games of the season. He now has 10.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks on the year. I’d like to see him rush the passer a bit more effectively but you can complain about what he’s able to do in run defense.
Duke Ejiofor got his 3rd sack of the year—20th of his career. He's now 3rd in program history behind Mike McCrary (30) & Calvin Pace (29).— Les Johns (@Les_Johns) October 1, 2017
Duke Ejiofor not getting sacks at a high rate but #2 in TFL. Bradley Chubb #1. Hercules Mata'afa #5.— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) October 1, 2017
Uchenna Nwosu, LB
School: USC | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 240 lbs
Nwosu is USC’s best defensive player and one of the best LB/EDGE prospects in the country right now. He plays all over the field and is exceptional in his recognition. He already has 8 passes defended marked up on his stat sheet for the year but the manner in which he’s gotten them is whats so impressive. Nwosu reads the QB’s eyes and can knock passes down at the LOS and is athletic enough to drop back into space in coverage and knock them down there as well. He also has a bit of pass rushing skill to boot. His development is going to be fun to watch the rest of the year.
USC's Uchenna Nwosu leads the nation's edge defenders with his ridiculous 22 total QB pressures already this season. pic.twitter.com/OYuLqV0RS8— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 25, 2017
He's not there yet, but Uchenna Nwosu is getting close to being the best college football player ever to come out of Narbonne.— Michael Castillo (@MichaelCastFS) September 30, 2017