Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech: There is no question that Virginia Tech and Pitt Pittsburgh are both having disappointing seasons on the whole. With that said there was certainly a lot of NFL talent on the field Saturday. One player that has gone under the radar this season is Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds. Tremaine is a big young man with good length at 6’5 and 250 pounds. Edmunds is a guy that is stout against the run and can also contribute in coverage when called upon. Edmunds had a nice day with seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack. I don’t know if Edmunds will declare for the draft or if he is a top 50 guy or not but he is someone I am going to keep an eye on.
Azeem Victor, LB, Washington: What a disappointment Azeem’s senior season has been. Victor made a lot of pre-season All-American lists (including my own found here 2017 Preseason All-American Team). Azeem did not make my pre-season top 50 but he didn’t miss the list by a lot either. Then the season started. Victor was suspended for the opener for failing a drug test, lost his starting spot in October, got switched to DE where he saw limited snaps, and has now been suspended indefinitely from a DUI arrest last weekend. It would be hard to envision, at this point, that a NFL team will use a draft pick on Victor.
I See You
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson: No offense to The Citadel, but I don’t think I will ever add any player whose opponent was The Citadel on this list again. With that said I was fairly critical of Deon Cain last week for his performance against Florida State and for his season on the whole. Deon had himself a big game catching five passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. When Cain is in a groove he has first round talent.
Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State: I like Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Bryce Love, etc, I really do. The best back in the country and the best NFL prospect is and has been all season, however, Saquan Barkley. Barkley had a couple of down weeks and everyone was trying to question his spot at the top. Barkley bounced back with a monster game on Saturday against Nebraska.
Who is The Winner of The Main Event?
Josh Rosen vs Sam Darnold Saturday Film Session Week 12
Josh Rosen made a lot of money Saturday night. He was the best QB in the Coliseum and he has cemented himself as the number one QB prospect in the 2018 class. For me, it is no longer close.
Rosen hit big passes on all levels of the defense Saturday night. His deep ball is right up there with Matt Ryan from his Boston College days. He has enough zip on those 10-15 yard routes to split the CB and S. He seems to put the right weight on the short slants and screens and more importantly hits his guy in stride. Rosen has better feet in the pocket than I have to this point given him credit for. His release and delivery are what coaches dream of. Rosen controlled the game and the pace as well Saturday as I have seen a college QB do so all season. Josh has a very impressive command of the huddle and looks like a Manning at the line of scrimmage calling audibles when necessary. Rosen threw for over 400 yards and had three touchdowns on the night. It could have been closer to 500 had it not been for some unfortunate drops and an early penalty called back on a big play.
Rosen wasn’t perfect on the night. He turned the ball over twice at crucial stages of the game. Ball security will become even more important at the next level and this is an area that he needs improvement. Rosen also had several passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Perhaps that should be more of a compliment to the USC defenders getting their hands up rather than anything else though.
While this wasn’t Darnold’s worst game of his career it was far from his best. I don’t know if it is Darnold trying to tinker with his mechanics this season, if it is a lack of confidence, or something else but it appears to me that Sam has less velocity on his throws than he had last season. He seems to put some air under balls that should be thrown on a rope. While the pass still gets completed, very often at least, it just slows down the play development and negates opportunity for run after the catch. While arm strength is not elite I do believe it is NFL passable. What doesn’t meet NFL marks right now is Sam’s decision making and game-awareness. The turnovers have been bad this year. Darold threw another interception Saturday night and had the grass been cut a little lower might not have gotten his knee down before fumbling on a crucial 3rd down play as well. Darnold also seems to struggle to process to his second and third reads at times. The play that drives me wild, however, is the play that ended the first half. USC found themselves with a few ticks of the clock left in FG range. Darold dodged a sack but instead of throwing the ball away to secure a FG attempt he kept running downfield before getting tackled in-bounds as time expired.
Darnold is a very talented QB. He does things to avoid pressure that very few humans on earth can do. Some QBs escape the pocket to run. Sam escapes the pocket and keeps his eyes down field as well as anyone. He throws on the run whether he is forced to his left or his right. One play found Darnold rolling to his left to find a UCLA end setting the edge. Darnold somehow gets the ball to the other side of the field to save the play. Not many players have the poise and ability to find the open man in that scenario. Darnold has the size, athleticism charisma, and poise that NFL teams covet.
Darnold is definitely in my opinion an early first round guy, if he still decides to come out this year. It may be difficult to expect him to come in and lead an NFL team year one, however, as he has some areas that he needs to grow. With Josh come some character concerns that each team will have to discuss and evaluate for themselves. Rosen, as a passer is NFL ready and I think he can be a good one.