Week 5 NFL Prospects
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May the real Brett Hundley please stand up? Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde player. Earlier this year against Virginia, Hundley was showing some of the same bad habits he had last year, such as holding onto the ball too long and taking off without going through his entire progression. Admittedly, his accuracy seemed to be improved. However, nobody expected Hundley to show pinpoint accuracy and proper read progression while getting rid of the ball quickly against Arizona State. He established a nice rhythm in the second quarter. He showed poise by not getting rattled by the Sun Devil’s big early lead and turned the tables for the Bruins with a 10-point halftime lead. Hundley did not play as spectacularly as the box score might suggest, but still played at a high level. His receivers got a boatload of yards after the catch. Although that does not deny the fact he showed pinpoint accuracy, poise in the pocket and most importantly an inner time clock and the confidence to go through his progressions before leaving the pocket. Brett Hundley is a huge talent that could end up as a high first round draft pick with a big junior season. With tests against USC, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon, Hundley will have ample opportunities to prove himself against talented defenses. He’s a player that has not gotten much help on offense in the past, so I will definitely be going back to look at the tape to further analyze his read progression from earlier this year.
Jaelen Strong once again showed why he is the most overrated prospect in college football. He has suspect hands and almost always drops at least a few passes a game. Nor does he make up for this weakness with blazing speed or agility. In fact, he is below average in both of the aforementioned attributes. Combine that with below average route running ability that causes him to struggle to gain separation. He does bring very good size and a good catching radius. Unfortunately for him, his severe limitations in every other attribute will substantially limit his ability to produce in the NFL. Against UCLA, he made a nice back shoulder grab; something he is adept at making. However, like usual he dropped two passes while also failing to win a jump ball that resulted in an interception. The “big wide receiver” is the new trend in the NFL, and this need for big receivers along with having good statistics have led to him being extremely overrated. His statistics are very misleading since he receives a ton of targets each game and is not nearly as productive as he should be with so many opportunities.
Replacing Chris Borland at inside linebacker and the heart and soul of Wisconsin’s stingy defense was supposed to be harder than this. Former Arrowhead star Derek Landisch may not be Borland, but his play has been a lot closer than many would have anticipated. His run fitting is superb and he reads offenses like most people would a book. He is not an elite athlete but is definitely good by pro standards. He has spent a lot of time in opponents’ backfield this year and that did not change against South Florida. He was extremely active and spent much of the day in the backfield. He even added an interception with a solid return for good measure. Throughout his career he has been stuck behind Chris Borland so he has not been able to earn the playing time he deserves. Last year he spent much of the season splitting time with Ethan Armstrong at inside linebacker next to Chris Borland in their new 3-4 defensive alignment. He has quickly become the heart and soul of the Badger defense this year. Right now I view him as the most underrated senior prospect in college football. In fact, if he continues his stellar play then I will be moving him up even further in my rankings.
Cameron Erving was very disappointing to me. He has all the physical tools to be a top offensive tackle prospect, but just has not progressed as much as I had hoped he would since last year. His occasional struggles stem from an inconsistent initial hand strike while not consistently using good handwork to keep the pass rusher away from him. The fact that he does not seem to have improved in this area since last year is very concerning. Nobody wants to see a player that has reached their peak while at the college level. There is still a lot to like about Cameron Erving, but I will definitely be watching to see if he can improve his hand usage as the season goes on.
Rashad Greene has been Mr. Dependable for Jameis Winston the past two years. Kelvin Benjamin may have received more press clippings than Greene, but when Winston needed a play, he would look for Greene. After Florida State fell behind early against the Wolf Pack, Winston looked for Greene several times to move the chains. Greene may never be an elite wide receiver in the NFL, but he should always be a good, reliable option that every team needs. He reminds me a lot of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver and very well may have a similar career in the NFL.