by Greg Doyle
Some really good games on the docket today. We can’t preview all of them, but there are some exciting games so you may want to commit a few hours today or tonight to some great college football. Let’s take a look at some potential NFL draft picks in a few key games.
Wake Forest at Florida State (7:00 PM EST ESPN2)
Florida State didn’t exactly open with the iron this year, starting with Western Carolina and Chattanooga the first two games. They outscored them by a combined 115 to 7. But they’ll be tested here by a tough, well-coached Wake Forest team. Should be a fun ACC game to watch.
Arnoux has NFL size at 6’1″ 245. Was Wake’s third leading tackler as a junior and showed ability to play all downs and get out in coverage as well. Has a knack for big plays, as Uconn found out in last year’s bowl game as Arnoux made several huge plays to stymie Connecticut drives. Wake’s coach Jim Grobe has said Arnoux may be their best defensive player. A smart, productive player with size to play inside and coverage ability to play outside and who also has a knack for big plays? Sounds like a potential Patriot to me. Also has good speed having been clocked at 4.6/40. Though right now he isn’t talented enough physically to be anything but a later round pick, if he can play special teams he’ll be on an NFL roster. And with a good combine could move into the mid-rounds. Definitely a sleeper and underrated player.
A more heralded player who is a potential All-American corner. Right now projects as a first round choice. A bit undersized at 5’9″ but is physical, fast and with pure athletic ability. Blankets receivers in coverage and college receivers generally can’t get much separation from him. Really impressive how he sticks his head in against the run and also can make big plays in coverage. Has 15 career interceptions. Looks quicker than everyone else. Has returned kicks and played special teams well, including blocking kicks. Probably second to Malcolm Jenkins as the second best senior corner in next year’s draft.
A tall 6’6″ receiver who is deadly around the red zone. Has 25 career touchdowns!! His size helps, but doesn’t seem to ever go across the middle. Needs to get tougher and hasn’t played special teams. His height and size make him a unique weapon, but you’d like to see him fight for position more rather than just outjumping corners. A weapon, but doesn’t seem to have the quickness or toughness the Patriots look for in their receivers.
A back-up safety but one who gets significant playing time. Solid player, just plays rover behind the extremely talented junior Myron Rolle. Lawson gets on the field and shows up on special teams. A former walk-on, this hard working player earned a scholarship last year at FSU. Solid build to play safety and some versatility. Almost certainly won’t be drafted, but could earn a look in camp as he has some potential. Good special teams player who may be a candidate for a practice squad to help him further develop.
Georgia at Arizona State (8:00 PM EST ABC)
This is a good game. A classic offense versus defense matchup. Georgia survived a tough SEC battle last week against South Carolina. Meanwhile, Arizona State was upset by UNLV and lost a lot of respect in the polls there. They’ll be fired up to rebound against a highly ranked opponent tonight at home.
Massaquoi is easily Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford’s favorite target. Tall but not thickly-built receiver with good hands and good, but not great, speed. Has made some big catches and generally good hands, despite an occasional drop in his career. At 6’2″ has made a habit of going up to get high balls around the end zone and sidelines over defenders. His production is mildly disappointing in terms of yards and catches. Reputation is he is a good worker and should be a first day pick, so the Patriots could have some interest. Here is a video of Massaquoi torching Auburn last year.
Chandler is a very big 6’6″ 263 lb tight end who looks the part. He had a decent junior year, his first as a starter, but hasn’t seemed to put it all together yet. Despite being very talented and possessing NFL size, he hasn’t dominated either catching or blocking yet and has been pedestrian in three games so far this year. It’s not his work ethic as he has won team awards for hard work at Georgia. Does need to get stronger. Chandler is a mid-round choice right now with the ability to be an NFL tight end, but his average speed probably relegates him to never being a big receiving threat. His height and size act as an advantage and the Patriots perhaps could consider him late as a second tight end type.
Georgia DT Corvey Irvin (#90)
The Patriots had pretty good luck this decade with one Georgia defensive tackle in Richard Seymour. Jeff Owens is another powerful guy with a lot of pre-season hype, being projected to be a top NFL pick. But he got hurt in the first game and is lost for the season, which opens an opportunity for the unheralded Irvin. Irvin wasn’t even projected to be a starter for Georgia, but will now get increased reps with Owens out. Despite his limited career playing time, was named captain this year by teammates and was Georgia’s most improved defensive tackle in spring practice. Went to Junior College for two years so this is his only his second year of major college football. Will be raw coming out of college, but his 292 lb. frame makes him ideal for the Patriots 3-4 defense and he is a hard worker with potential, and now an opportunity. Could be a late round pick for a 2-gap team.
Carpenter is a big, strong-armed and accurate QB who has put up gaudy numbers at ASU. Has a great completion percentage and TD-INT ratio. Has started 34 straight games for the Sun Devils. Very accurate when he has time. The knock on him is he is not a leader and has gotten rattled under pressure. Some compare him in that way to David Carr, talented but easy to knock off his game. If that proves true this year, and this game is a big test, that would likely scare the Patriots away. Here is a video of Carpenter rushing a throw and missing a wide open receiver, a good example of the down side of the strong-armed, talented Carpenter.
Another JUCO player who really had an outstanding debut in major college football last year. This year he is on some pre-season All-America lists at free safety. A nice-sized safety with good speed and ball skills. He picked off 6 passes last year and already has 1 this year. Right now, doesn’t have the years playing to be considered a top safety in the draft, but that could change as this year goes on. A really good athlete with the speed to play centerfield, cover man-to-man and hit in the box will most certainly interest the Patriots. Also, he is considered a smart player. Here he is in this video making a play.
Other Players To Watch
Iowa visits Pittsburgh at noon tomorrow on ESPN2. Iowa’s Andy Brodell is an exciting wide receiver/punt returner coming back from injury. Has been injured off and on, but this is a hard-working, smart, good-sized player who can also burn and is a great punt returner. Broke open Iowa’s win last week against Iowa State with a huge late punt return in the 4th quarter for a TD. With Bill Belichick’s ties to Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, this talented, versatile sleeper who can win games for you in many ways could be someone on their radar when others would overlook him. Here are some highlights of him. Tell me you can watch that and not love his game.