by Greg Doyle
Week four kicks off this afternoon with league games becoming more prevalent, as teams begin to reveal themselves as contenders or pretenders. This week, we’ll try to find some good games to spotlight but also focus on teams we haven’t looked at yet. Let’s take a look:
Northwestern at Ohio State (3:30 PM ESPN): We haven’t looked at either of these teams. This will be the Big-10 opener for both. Ohio State comes in 3-0 and is ranked 8th in the country. Northwestern was off to a nice 2-0 start before last week’s embarassing loss to Duke. Ohio State only starts two seniors so we’ll be looking at some younger players.
Northwestern T Dylan Thiry (#74): Thiry is a tall tackle at 6’8″ who mans the left side for the Wildcats. He has been a three year starter over there. He clearly needs to get stronger, but has the size and could be a late round project for some team. Reportedly has a good work ethic, so that could draw some interest from the Patriots.
Northwestern LB Adam Kadela (#43): Nothwestern’s leading tackler last year, he plays inside and has good size to possibly play in the NFL. Has been a smart player and a leader, but not really that athletic and doesn’t look as big as his listed size. Not good in coverage, but solid against the run.
Northwestern S Reggie McPherson (#27): Has started for most of his four years at Northwestern at the free safety spot. Has been productive and shows a good ability to get to the ball in coverage. Could be a late round pick with a big year.
Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston (#50): One of the best defensive ends in college football, he is a pure pass rusher. Was 2nd Team All Big-10 last year and a chance to be an All-American this season. Speed and good size. Played linebacker in high school, so possibly could convert there and be a Mike Vrabel/Willie McGinest type for the Patriots. Might come out, but only a junior.
Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis (#33): In the long line of excellent Ohio State linebackers, Laurinaitis may be the best. He was a first team All-American and the Nagurski Award winner as the nation’s best linebacker as a Sophomore! Only a junior this year. For those of you longing for the Patriots to find a young inside linebacker, here is your guy. He can do it all, tackle, blitz and get out in coverage (5 INTs last year). Just a complete player. Only a junior, but could be a top 10 pick if he comes out next draft.
Purdue at Minnesota (9:00 PM ESPN2): Another Big-10 matchup between the so far impressive Purdue Boilermakers and the slow starting Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Purdue WR Dorien Bryant (#9): One of the better prospects in the country at reciever, he reportedly runs a 4.24/40. Reminds me of Deion Branch, with his speed and slight size, and can play in the slot.
Purdue TE Dustin Keller (#28): A great pass-catching tight end who could be an h-back type in the NFL. Not great size and not much of a blocker, but can get downfield and catch. 69 career catches coming into this season.
Purdue LB Stanford Keglar (#59): An effective linebacker with excellent size who can get back into coverage. Size alone gives him a chance with the Patriots.
Purdue DE Cliff Avril (#32): A great sized defensive end with the tools to switch to outside linebacker. This would seem the prototypical type college defensive end who could make the switch to linebacker in a 3-4. I’ll predict the Patriots are very interested in this pass rusher and athlete.
Minnesota RB Amir Pinnix (#29): Good size and strength. Not the fastest guy in the world. Backed up Laurence Maroney and ran for over 1,300 yards as a starter last year. Not as good as Maroney, but can probably play in the NFL.
Others to Watch: Kentucky has warmed Kige Ramsey’s heart by getting off to an impressive 3-0 start. Behind the success is extremely talented QB Andre Woodson (#3) who may be the most talented quarterback in the country and has potential to be a very high draft pick. He has the arm, size and mobility that could make him a star in the NFL. Check him out as Kentucky visits Arkansas at 6:00 PM on ESPN2. Washington State QB Alex Brink is worth watching. Not blessed with a tremendous arm, this smart, accurate quarterback has a tall task ahead of him taking on #1 USC at 8:00 PM on ABC. A good showing here could really raise his stock. Arizona WR Anthony Johnson (#9) will join the rest of the Wildcats in taking on California on Versus at 6:00 PM. Johnson is a possession receiver with good size who could fit with the Patriots due to his sure hands should they lose some of their receivers next offseason.