Every year without fail there is a senior that skyrockets up draft boards after failing to produce in the past. This lack of prior production is for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the player has made a position switch, or has been stuck behind a star player, recently transferred, or its simply the case that the light finally turned on. In the case of West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White, it is a combination of the latter two reasons. Formerly a junior college player, White transferred to West Virginia in January of 2013. It was not that he struggled in 2013 when he had 35 receptions for 507 yards and seven touchdowns. It’s just that he went from a potential late round selection to being an elite wide receiver prospect.
Against Baylor he made it quite clear that he is going to battle Amari Cooper to be the top wide receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft right down to the wire. White flat out dominated against the Bears on Saturday. While being tightly covered in the end zone on a fade route, he simply stuck out his right arm and pulled in the ball for a one-handed touchdown grab. That wasn’t the end though. He spent the whole game abusing the Baylor secondary, putting in one of the most dominant receiving performances of the 2014 season so far. He does not have elite speed but his rare catch radius allows him to make the grab regardless of the coverage. Furthermore, his speed and agility are very good. Throw in his impressive strength, good ability to separate, and a knack for gaining yards after the catch and you have an elite NFL Draft prospect.
Despite most of the scouting community sleeping on him, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett continues to perform at a high level. Of course, having Kevin White and Mario Alford at wide receiver definitely does not hurt. That said, having top receivers cannot make any quarterback show the accuracy Trickett has so far this season. He has a slight frame and will need to bulk up in order to better absorb hits in the NFL. However, he has a solid arm, good accuracy, and a high football IQ. He’s a coach’s son so football is a way of life for him. He does not seem to have quite enough on his fastball to be a good starter at the next level but should at the very least be a solid starter or a great backup. More evaluation will be required to determine his ultimate ceiling.
Once again Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty showed streaky accuracy along with holding onto the ball too long though he did make some impressive throws. Unlike many of the quarterbacks in this draft such as Marcus Mariota, Petty has to make a lot of tough throws into tight windows or down the field in Baylor’s spread offense. He has the arm to make all of them but must be more consistent with his accuracy. It is possible that he is still hurt so in his defense that could be the primary cause for his current streakiness. However, that does not account for the same issue that reared its ugly head for many games last year. Thus, it is most likely the case that it is more of a result of inconsistent spatial judgment than a current injury.
After missing all of the 2014 season so far recovering from surgery, Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker let college football know he’s still one of the best receivers in the country this past weekend. With his size, good speed, and very good catch radius, Parker is a potential number one receiver in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to play at that high of a level as he did Saturday for the remainder of the season since this is his first year playing without former quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards entered the 2014 season as a player that could move up as much as any player in the 2015 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he has been a big disappointment for much of the season. Blessed with a very explosive first step yet tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds, “Super Mario” has all the physical ability in the world and then some. Last year against Auburn in the National Championship Game, he made it very clear that he was more than a physical specimen. He absolutely dominated Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson all night.
That dominant level of play has not carried over to the 2014 season thus far though. Against Notre Dame this weekend was no different. He had very little impact on the game and did not even have a single quality rush until late in the game when Notre Dame was trying to get the go-ahead touchdown on the final drive. Nor was teammate Eddie Goldman, the supposed first round prospect at defensive tackle, any more impressive. If Mario’s motor matched his natural ability then he would be one of the premier talents in the 2015 NFL Draft but as long as it continues to run hot and cold then there’s no way he deserves to go higher than late in the second round.
This may be Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi’s first year starting at left tackle after playing on the right side of the ball in 2013, but he has made a very smooth transition. He’s even shown improved hand usage while pass blocking along with getting a better initial strike. His footwork as a pass blocker is off the charts so his handwork is the only part of his game keeping him from being an elite level pass blocker. It’s a good sign that he’s improved in this area from last year but he still has a ways to go to be at the level he is capable of reaching.
In contrast, Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat has not seemed to improve as a pass blocker from the 2013 season. While he has definitely improved his drive blocking from last year, his pass blocking technique has remained stagnant. He has good footwork but lacks the elite athleticism to block premier pass rushers. Furthermore, he will occasionally lunge allowing him to be beaten by counter moves. Since Peat does not have top notch athleticism, it is imperative that he has perfect technique in order to be successful at left tackle in the NFL.
Some quarterbacks put up gaudy numbers in college but that is all they do. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is a gritty competitor and simply seems to have that “it” factor. This was on display all night against the Florida State defense. Two weeks after leading an impressive game-winning comeback drive against Stanford, Golson nearly did it again against the Seminoles. In fact, technically he did complete the comeback but wide receiver C.J. Prosise practically started blocking Florida State safety Jalen Ramsey to allow wide receiver Corey Robinson to get open and receive a laser from Golson. This was an unnecessary penalty as Ramsey was out of position and would have unlikely been able to cover enough ground to break up the ball.
Anyway, Golson showed off his impressive arm on several deep balls as well as his ability to buy time in the pocket to extend the play while being chased by defenders. He showed consistent accuracy throughout the night, fitting balls into tight windows. While Jameis Winston struggled to deal with pressure in the first half, Golson looked like a seasoned veteran scrambling to extend plays and running when there was nobody open. On the final drive, he was especially masterful, extending several plays and seemingly willing his team down the field. Unfortunately, the drive ended on the aforementioned penalty but that did not erase the lights out game that Golson played.
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