Previously: 1 Avg. 1 per 4
In his first action of the season, Key played well with three tackles and a sack on limited snaps. He had other good pressures as well against Mississippi State. Key was held out against BYU and Chattanooga.
Key was one of the best players in college football in 2016. He recorded 56 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up on the year. Key is a dangerous pass-rusher with excellent speed and the ability to bend around the corner. Along with excellent physical skills, Key has worked to develop his pass-rushing moves and demonstrates good feel as a rusher. He flashed a ton of potential as a freshman for LSU, totaling 41 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, five sacks and one pass broken up. Some team sources think that Key (6-6, 260) is a much more developed rusher than Myles Garrett or Jadeveon Clowney were at the same age, but Key is not as powerful or explosive as either of them.
S, Florida State.
Previously: 2 Avg. 2 per 4
The Seminoles had their Week 2 game against Louisiana-Monroe canceled and their Week 3 game against Miami moved to October 7th because of Hurricane Irma. While James didn't have a flawless performance against Alabama in Week 1, it was good overall with six tackles and .5 sacks. James was healthy and able to display his great instincts and rare combination of great size, speed, physicality and versatility. He played dime linebacker, nickel corner, free safety and strong safety, doing everything a coach could ask of him. The Week 1 tape will be a net positive for James to end up being a high first-round pick.
There is no doubt that James (6-3, 211) is a freak athlete. He is a very fast defender with tremendous closing speed who flies around the football field and demonstrates good instincts. On top of being very fast, James is a big safety with height and strength. He will dish out some bone-rattling hits and is a good tackler on running backs in space. In pass coverage, James is a real asset. He can play the deep center field well, possessing the speed and instincts to be a true single-high safety. His coverage skills as a free safety are very impressive as he flies around the field to defend receivers running deep. James can get to the sideline in a blur, yet he also has the size to defend jump balls against big wideouts or tight ends. James is so big and fast that he also could serve as a press-man cornerback on big wide receivers. The versatility in his skill set makes him a real weapon in man coverage on tight ends and receiving backs as well. James also is a willing run defender as he will come downhill into the box to make tackles.
As a freshman, James recorded 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, four passes broken up two forced fumbles. He had 11 tackles and an interception in the early going of 2016 before a knee injury ended his season.
RB, Penn State.
Previously: 4 Avg. 3.8 per 4
Barkley ran for just 47 yards on 10 carries in Week 3, but caught four passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. He had a superb game against Pittsburgh with 14 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground with four receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. On the year, Barkley is averaging 8.1 yards per carry, which makes for 307 yards with three touchdowns. He has 11 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns as well.
Barkley is a stud running back prospect similar to Ezekiel Elliott coming out of Ohio State. The 5-foot-11, 223-pound Barkley was impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. As a sophomore, Barkley was superb averaging 5.5 yards per carry on the year for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also made 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.
There is a lot to like about Barkley as he has a superb skill set with quick feet and a burst to rip off chunk runs on any carry. He has good vision with quick feet and cutting ability to dart through small seams for positive yardage. For his height and build, Barkley has natural pad level and body lean, plus runs behind his pads. That makes him very tough for defenders to get a hold of. Barkley has a good burst and hits the hole in an instant. He has a fast first-step with explosion to accelerate to the second level downfield. For the passing-driven NFL, Barkley should fit well as a receiving back because he has soft hands and runs quality routes. He could be a nice check-down receiver as he is excellent in space and does well on screens as well. Barkley will need development in his blocking, but all college backs have a lot to learn for pass protection given the value of NFL quarterbacks and that fact that professional defenses field exotic blitz schemes.
Previously: 3 Avg. 3.3 per 4
Washington rolled Freno State 48-16 in Week 3. Adams showed some rust in Week 1 against Rutgers and wasn't as dominant as he had finished last season versus Alabama. Adams had a holding penalty along with a couple of other mistakes. Still, he showed his quick feet and agility. Adams is a smooth mover with length that makes it tough to get by him. He also plays with nice body lean and leverage that he uses to help sustain blocks. Adams will probably start overwhelming defenders in the weeks to come.
Sources have told me that entering the season, they saw Adams as one of the top three prospects for the NFL in the 2018 draft class. They think that 6-foot-7, 302-pounder could be a franchise left tackle. In pass protection, Adams shows serious athletic ability for a big-bodied offensive tackle. He is quick, agile and very athletic at playing in space. Adams uses his quick feet and length to neutralize speed rushes, displaying an impressive ability to get depth in his drop. He does a superb job of keeping his feet moving and is able to play the typewriter while gliding with edge rushers. As a run blocker, Adams can create a push at the point of attack. He is a true bull who controls defenders at the point of attack, yet he is still able to knock defenders back to open holes in their gaps. Adams' speed and athletic ability can be seen in the way he flies around the field in perimeter runs.
Previously: 6 Avg. 7.5 per 4
Fitzpatrick made six tackles against Colorado State in Week 3. To open the season, he was beaten for a jump ball in the end zone by Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate. The 6-foot-5 wideout jumped above Fitzpatrick to make the short touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. Otherwise, Fitzpatrick played well, covering receivers downfield, staying around the ball, and helping out his cornerbacks. Fitzpatrick has 13 tackles and a pass broken up in 2017.
In my opinion, Fitzpatrick (6-1, 203) is a prototypical free safety with size, speed, and excellent instincts who can roam as the the deep center fielder or can drop and cover in man, while still being able to tackle. Fitzpatrick was so good as a freshman that he forced his way onto the field, totaling 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns - on the year. In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Injuries at cornerback forced him to play there, although safety is his more natural and comfortable position. Fitzpatrick is a dangerous defender in the middle of he field. He is a smart defender with good instincts that put him in position to make plays.
Equanimeous St. Brown,
WR, Notre Dame.
Previously: 5 Avg. 5.5 per 4
Against Boston College, St. Brown got open throughout the game, but Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush was horrible. Wimbush's inaccuracy and struggles to pass the ball could end up wasting a special talent like St. Brown this season. In Week 1, Notre Dame rolled Temple 49-16 with St. Brown contributing four receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. St. Brown has seven receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown in 2017.
Notre Dame had a disappointing 2016 season with a lot of struggles on the defensive side of the ball. However, one of the bright spots for the team was the performance of St. Brown on offense. After only catching one pass as a freshman, the sophomore broke out in 2016 with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns.
St. Brown (6-4, 205) has big size with length and strength, which makes him really tough to cover and also difficult to tackle. He can run through tacklers with his power and has the quickness to bolt downfield in a hurry. On top of having great size, St. Brown is a fast receiver. He shows serious speed to get separation from cornerbacks and runs away from defenders in the open field. Most big receivers don't run as well as he does; St. Brown is fast to get downfield and can challenge a defense vertically.
Sources who did advance work on the 2018 class in the spring were really impressed and intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. They said they think St. Brown could be more talented than the three wideouts who went in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, but St. Brown gets fewer opportunities to show his skill.
Previously: 7 Avg. 6.8 per 4
Ridley had three receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown against Colorado State. Against Florida State in Week 1, Ridley totaled 45 yards on five receptions. He had 82 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown. He made a huge play in the second quarter, torching the Seminoles' secondary for a 53-yard touchdown. He also forced a defensive pass interference that prevented him from producing another long touchdown. So far this year, Ridley has 15 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Scouting sources say that, from a skill set perspective, Ridley is comparable to Amari Cooper in terms of the same strengths, weaknesses, and similar size. They feel that Ridley is suited for to make an instant impact in the NFL. Ridley has a lot of strengths to his game as he is a fast receiver who is very adept at creating separation. With his quick feet and sudden athleticism, Ridley is a very good route-runner. He has a second gear of explosion to break downfield and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder isn't overpowering with size, but does have some height and leaping ability, allowing him to make some contested catches over defensive backs.
In 2015, Ridley was phenomenal as a freshman with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns as the replacement for Cooper. As a sophomore, Ridley made 72 catches for 769 yards with seven touchdowns.
Previously: 8 Avg. 7 per 4
Versus Texas, Darnold was 28-of-49 for 397 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw some great passes against Stanford, displaying his accuracy, arm strength, vision, anticipation and touch. Darnold completed 21-of-26 passes for 316 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. In 2017, the redshirt sophomore has completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,002 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Darnold broke out in 2016, leading the Trojans to finish the year on a nine-game winning streak. The redshirt freshman completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions for the season.
Darnold looks like a future franchise quarterback for the NFL. First and foremost, he is an accurate passer from the pocket. He displayed nice ball placement and accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field in 2016. Darnold looks comfortable in the pocket, but also has the ability to move around to buy time. While he is not a running quarterback, the redshirt sophomore is functional enough to avoid sacks and will move around to help his offensive line and receivers. Darnold also has good size and surveys the field well. He has a strong enough arm to make the throws required and generally makes good decisions; he was very skilled at protecting the football to avoid turnovers last seasn. Darnold has also flashed some anticipation and timing to his throws with field vision to work through progressions. Darnold may not have elite size, athleticism, arm strength, or running ability, but he is a balanced player who does everything well.
WR, Texas A&M.
Previously: 9 Avg. 8.5 per 4
Kirk had three catches for 34 yards with one touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette. Against UCLA, he made four catches for 45 yards. Kirk also had a 37-yard kick return, plus a 43-yard punt return that was called back by a penalty. UCLA sent steady double coverage Kirk's direction. He is up to 14 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns so far this season.
A few years ago, scouting sources referred to Kirk as "Baby Beckham" because like Odell Beckham Jr., Kirk is a play-maker with rare speed and explosion. In 2015, Kirk caught 80 passes for 1,009 yards with seven touchdowns. He averaged averaged 24.4 yards per punt return, plus took two for touchdowns. Kirk totaled 83 receptions for 928 yards with nine touchdowns in 2016.
What team sources love about Kirk is his raw speed and explosiveness. He is very fast and a threat to take any touch into the end zone. Kirk is dynamic as a deep receiver to stretch the field vertically while providing a serious home-run weapon to his offense. His raw speed makes him a huge challenge for cornerbacks to run with him. To go along with speed, Kirk is shifty and elusive. That makes him a very dangerous threat with the ball in his hands. Sources say they love Kirk's yards-after-the-catch ability. They also love his competitiveness. While Kirk doesn't have height, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder is viewed as a potential No. 1 receiver for the NFL.
Previously: 10 Avg. 9.8 per 4
Payne had six tackles against Colorado State. He previously played well against Florida State, showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism. Payne made five tackles against the Seminoles. In 2017, Payne has 15 tackles and a pass batted.
Scouts who have looked ahead to the 2018 class have raved about Payne's potential. Coming from Alabama, it isn't a stretch, as Payne could take on the lead role for the Crimson Tide now that Jonathan Allen is in the NFL. Payne is a run plugger with a lot of potential to grow. He recorded 36 tackles with 3.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one pass broken up. What the stats don't illustrate is that Payne (6-2, 319) can be physically dominant. He dominated his one-on-ones last year when he was lining up over guards. Payne causes disruption and makes his teammates better. His contributions last year boosteded the sacks totals of Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson.
Previously: 11 Avg. 13.8 per 4
Rosen completed 34-of-56 passes for 463 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in a loss to Memphis. Both of his interceptions were bad decisions, and one was returned for a critical pick-six. A number of Rosen's other passes were near interceptions.
Rosen had a legendary Week 1 performance, leading one of the greatest comeback wins in college football history. UCLA was down 44-10 in the third quarter before Rosen led the Bruins back to a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M. On the evening, Rosen completed 35-of-58 passes for 491 yards with four touchdowns.
Of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen has the best mechanics and is most natural pocket passer. He throws a tremendous ball and can really spin it. Rosen's tight spiral helps him to get his passes through tight windows and beat good coverage. He has serious arm talent along with field vision and pocket presence. On the year, Rosen has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,283 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Rosen had an impressive debut as a freshman, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,670 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He only played in six games in 2016 before a shoulder injury ended his season. The sohomore completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions for his year.
Rosen can be an accurate passer who is willing to make tough throws into tight windows. He is able to throw receivers open with well-placed passes and shows the ability to be a rhythm passer. Rosen flashes good timing and anticipation, especially when he has a clean pocket. In terms of field vision, Rosen will work off his primary read, and he definitely needs to improve his vision for the NFL. Like all college players, there are things that Rosen can improve on. The junior could stand to get better with the consistency of his accuracy. One of the big problems for Rosen entering 2017 is that he has developed a reputation for having poor intangibles as a bad teammate and leader.
Previously: 12 Avg. 11.8 per 4
Thompson notched three tackles and one for a loss against Samford. Thus far in 2017, he has totaled 12 tackles with three for a loss.
Thompson really improved throughout the 2015 season, and he started to flash a special skill set before ending his year in superb fashion. The sophomore totaled 56 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and a pass broken up on the season.
One of the hardest things for an NFL defense to find is interior defensive linemen capable of being steady pass-rushers. Thompson is that rare kind of defender as he has a lot of ability to get after the quarterback. In the pass rush, he is a fast interior defender who routinely fires by guards to collapse the pocket. Thompson can bolt by guards, using his speed to loop around the line on stunts, and he will close on the quarterback in an instant. Thompson also has size and strength to hold his ground in run defense. He uses his power to shed blocks in the ground game and in the pass rush. Thompson (6-4, 295) could get better at holding his gap against downhill runs coming straight at him as a junior.
Previously: 13 Avg. 13.3 per 4
Against Louisville, Wilkins caused some disruption while making one tackle. He put together a strong game against Auburn with a handful of tackles and two sacks. In 2017, Wilkins has 12 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Wilkins played well for Clemson in 2016 as part of a tough defensive line that controlled the point of attack. The sophomore totaled 48 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and 10 passes batted on the year. He lined up at a variety of spots for the Tigers and showed real versatility up front. Naturally, Wilkins (6-4, 310) is a defensive tackle, but he played a lot of defensive end as a sophomore due to injuries. As a pass-rusher, Wilkins was able to get after the quarterback with pressure coming around the corner. He looked the most dangerous when lining up over guards and firing past them to cause disruption in the backfield. Wilkins was a solid run defender. He has a strong, thick lower body to hold his ground at the point of attack. He will have to guard against playing too high and stay on top of conditioning.
Previously: 14 Avg. 14.3 per 4
Marshall notched nine tackles against Texas, but had some struggles with the Longhorns' giant wide receiver Collin Johnson. Versus Stanford, Marshall made three tackles with three passes broken up. He has 18 tackles with four passes broken up on the year.
Marshall is sufficiently talented to have become a starter as a freshman in 2015. On the season, he recorded 67 tackles with eight passes broken up and three interceptions. Marshall was consistent as sophomore, totaling eight breakups, three interceptions and 51 tackles.
In terms of pass coverage, Marshall is a very good fit for the NFL. He has the size to battle big receivers with the ability to play a variety of techniques. Marshall has played a lot of press-man coverage and shows the skill to turn and run with receivers. He also has played off-man and zone coveragem showing nice flexibility with quick feet to be smooth in off-man situations. Marshall plays the ball extremely well and is adept to defend the 50-50 jump balls and back-shoulder throws that are en vogue in the NFL. Marshall also is an aggressive, hard-hitting run defender.
Dorance Armstrong Jr.,
Previously: 15 Avg. 13.8 per 4
Versus Ohio, Armstrong had 19 tackles. He totaled seven tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss against Central Michigan. In 2017, he has 10 tackles with two for a loss.
Armstrong put together some serious production in 2016 with 10 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, 56 tackles and three forced fumbles, ending up as a First-Team All-Big XII selection. One general manager told me that they think Armstrong is a stud and can't see him staying for his senior year in 2018. Armstrong (6-4, 241) is an extremely fast edge rusher who can burn tackles with his speed around the corner. With his lightning first-step, the junior gets up field and can bend around the corner. He closes on the quarterback in an instant and packs a punch when he gets there. Not only is Armstrong very quick, but he is athletic and agile with the ability to redirect in space. He is a special player who isn't stiff and can dip underneath tackles. Armstrong uses his hands and feet at the same time. He also shows nice instincts and feel as a pass-rusher. Armstrong needs to get stronger in run defense, develop more power to disengage from blocks, and continue to add/refine his pass-rushing moves.
Previously: 16 Avg. 15.8 per 4
Toliver had three tackles against Mississippi State and was solid in pass coverage. He didn't play in the season opener. Head coach Ed Orgeron wouldn't specify if it was an injury or suspension, but the strong suspicion is the latter. Orgeron said he wouldn't announce suspensions to avoid giving LSU's opponents a competitive advantage.
Toliver (6-2, 193) impressed as a freshman and sophomore. Considering the amount of talent the Tigers' secondary has produced, it is a serious statement that he played immediately at LSU. In 2015, Toliver totaled 35 tackles with five breakups and an interception. He recorded 21 tackles with one breakup across seven games in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 193-pounder is a big corner who can run. Team sources have said Toliver has a first-round skill set.
G, Notre Dame.
Previously: 19 Avg. 18.3 per 4
Nelson dominanted against Boston College. He was rock solid in pass protection, and destroyed defenders in the ground game. Nelson opened a ton of holes as the Fighting Irish had their quarterback and running back each run for over 200 yards. Notre Dame had seven rushing touchdowns in the game. Nelson even pushed around Boston College defensive end Harold Landry like a rag doll at one point. Previously, the Fighting Irish lost a close game to Georgia in Week 2 after rolling Temple in the season opener. Nelson and Mike McGlinchey have helped the Fighting Irish to have success running the ball despite loaded defensive fronts.
Sources told me last fall that Nelson (6-5, 329) was receiving first-round grades, and one national scout told WalterFootball.com that they think Nelson is a future Pro Bowler in the mold of Logan Mankins. I'm in complete agreement as Nelson is a fantastic prospect who is NFL-ready and well-rounded with a great skill set. In the ground game, Nelson is a pure bulldozer. He routinely uses his tremendous size and strength to push defensive linemen out of their gaps. Nelson can blast them off the ball and ride them around the field. He is very good in pass protection too. Nelson has quick feet and is able to mirror speed rushers. He gets his hands on defenders quickly and rides them around the pocket. Nelson also has a strong lower body to anchor against bull rushes. Additionally, he is smart about picking up blitzers with good instincts and feel. His pass protection is just as NFL-ready as his run blocking.
Previously: 17 Avg. 17 per 4
In Week 3 versus Oregon, Allen completed only 9-of-24 passes for 64 yards with an interception. He completed 22-of-32 passes the week before for 328 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions when taking on Gardner-Webb.
Against Iowa, Allen was running for his life all day. The Wyoming offensive line was dominated by the Hawkeyes, and Allen got no help from his supporting cast. He also made mistakes of his own accord, including two ugly interceptions, and there easily could have been at least one more interception that was dropped by Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell. Allen ended up completing 23-of-40 passes for 174 yards with two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Overall, Allen showed his big skill set with size, toughness, athleticism, and a strong arm. There were plays where he looked like a young Ben Roethlisberger. There were other plays where Allen showed bad decision-making and inaccuracy.
Allen will probably be a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his performance this season indicates that he could be a work in progress who will need some developmental time. His completion percentage and interception total from 2016 provide evidence for that assessment, too. Thus far this season, Allen has completed 56 percent of his passes for 566 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Allen was one of college football's breakout quarterbacks during the 2016 season. He put his great skill set on display as he led a potent offense. Allen completed 56 percent of his passes last season for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also ran for 523 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
Allen is dripping with physical talent. He has a cannon for an arm that can hurt teams downfield. Routinely, you see Allen roll out of the pocket to loft in a well-placed bomb downfield to his receivers. He throws a very good deep ball and is able to throw receivers open with his powerful arm. Throwing on the run is an asset for Allen as he uses his size and athletic ability to dodge pass-rushers to find more time to distribute the ball downfield. Along with his arm, Allen is dangerous with his feet as he combines big size to go with athletic ability. Some scouting scorches have compared him to Ben Roethlisberger coming out of Miami of Ohio.
Previously: 18 Avg. 19.3 per 4
Jackson was very inaccurate in the first half against Clemson, completing only 8-of-20 passes for 83 yards. In the second half though, he racked up garbage-time yards and completions against backups as Louisville lost 47-21. Jackson completed 21-of-42 passes against Clemson for 317 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Against North Carolina, Jackson completed 25-of-39 passes for 393 yards with three touchdowns through air, plus ran the ball 19 times for 132 yards and another three touchdowns. One pass was a phenomenal 75-yard touchdown strike after Jackson stepped out of a sack before throwing a perfect laser downfield to his receiver.
In 2017, Jackson has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,088 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. He has also taken 57 carries for 303 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Jackson set college football on fire in 2016 while winning the Heisman Trophy. The sophomore was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry.
Jackson has a lot of talent as a passer with a strong arm, an advanced intellect and the ability to burn teams downfield, plus he stands tough in the pocket. He also is a great runner. Jackson (6-3, 210) has added weight heading into his junior year, and his frame has been a concern. In 2017, Jackson needs to continue to improve his accuracy as a pocket passer. However, he has a rare skill set that could cause many evaluators to fall in love.
DE, N.C. State.
Previously: 20 Avg. 19.3 per 4
Chubb notched two tackles and .5 sacks versus Furman. Against Marshall, he had one sack, three tackles for a loss and seven tackles. Chubb has 14 tackles with 5.5 for a loss, 1.5 sack and one pass broken up on the year.
Chubb (6-4, 275) is a tough defender for the Wolfpack. In 2016, he had 58 tackles with 22 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one pass batted. As a sophomore in 2015, he collected 5.5 sacks.
Chubb has scheme flexibility along with a nice combination of size, speed, and instincts at the point of attack. While the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder is a thick and sturdy defensive lineman, you see nice flexibility from him to dip and get low through blocks. He isn't too stiff where he has an inability to bend. Chubb doesn't have elite bending ability, but is better than one might expect. For the passing-driven pro game, Chubb looks like a solid base end who would fit really well in a 4-3 defense.
Previously: 21 Avg. 20 per 4
Unfortunately, Williams is out indefinitely. Midway through the first half against USC, he went down with a torn knee meniscus and strained ligaments. Williams is having surgery, and it is unclear how long he will be out.
Williams had a moderately disappointing showing in the season opener against Maryland. He allowed a few pressures and had plays where he allowed defenders to gain leverage on him. Williams also caught two critical holding penalties in the fourth quarter, including one that negated a successful conversion of a fourth-and-14 situation.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Williams has the makings of a starting left tackle in the NFL. In pass protection, Williams is a good athlete with quickness on the edge. He has length with long arms and height to make it hard for edge rushers to get around him. Williams has quick feet, balance, and gets depth in his kick slide to neutralize edge rushers. Even though he wasn't overly powerful last year, he showed a nice ability to sustain his blocks in pass protection. Williams was excellent as a run blocker last year, using his quickness to fire to the second level to hit blocks to spring D'Onta Foreman for some long runs. Williams uses his athleticism to hit blocks in space and was superb at hitting blocks on linebackers to create lanes for Foreman. At the point of attack, Williams needed to get stronger to pack more of a punch and push defenders off the ball. A lack of strength was one of the only missing pieces from Williams' skill set in 2016. He is said to have done that leading up to his junior year, with reports indicating 12 more pounds of muscle and his weight reaching 315 pounds.
OT, Notre Dame.
Previously: 22 Avg. 21.8 per 4
McGlinchey blocked really well against Boston College. He won his few reps against Harold Landry, and McGlinchey was instrumental to the Fighting Irish having a tremendous day rushing the ball. They had two different players run for over 200 yards and racked up seven total rushing touchdowns. The Fighting Irish lost a tight game against Georgia in Week 2, but they rolled Temple in the season opener. McGlinchey blocked well versus the Bulldogs until the last play of the game for his offense when he was beaten for a strip sack. McGlinchey and Quention Nelson have helped the Fighting Irish to have success running the ball despite loaded defensive fronts.
McGlinchey could have been the closest thing to a franchise left tackle if he had entered the 2017 NFL Draft, but he decided to return for his senior year. McGlinchey isn't a rare athlete, but he is a tough, well-balanced blocker at the point of attack. In pass protection, McGlinchey looked like a natural at left tackle in his first year as a starter. He showed excellent feet to get depth in his kick slide and cut off speed rushers. He also displayed a nice ability to bend at the knee, and that in combination with his feet, kept him from having to reach after edge rushers. As a run blocker, McGlinchey can get movement at the point of attack. He flashes heavy hands to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes for his back. McGlinchey has strength to start out his NFL career at right tackle and be a plus run blocker. The one consistent problem McGlinchey has is a lot of false start penalties. In speaking with some NFL sources, they felt that issue was correctable.
Previously: 24 Avg. 23.8 per 4
TCU was able to shut down Sutton. A week earlier, Sutton partied "Al Bundy" style against North Texas with four touchdowns. He had eight receptions for 163 yards in the game. Thus far in 2017, Sutton has 11 catches for 185 yards with five touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is a dangerous receiver who could have been a first-round pick if he had entered the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2016, Sutton totaled 76 receptions for 1,246 yards - 16.5 yard average - with 10 touchdowns. He recorded 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions in 2015, making for an average of 17.6 yards per catch.
Sutton provides his quarterback with a big target who is very good at winning contested catches. Routinely, Sutton will sky over a defensive back to make a difficult catch. Similar to Mike Evans or Mike Williams, Sutton isn't a huge separation receiver but he is always a threat because, like them, he makes catches even with a corner right on him. With his ability to win 50-50 passes, Sutton is a tremendous red-zone weapon and should be an asset as a touchdown producer in the NFL.
Previously: 25 Avg. 24.8 per 4
Brown had one tackle in Virginia's victory over Connecticut. He was active against Indiana in Week 2, causing some disruption and notching a few tackles for a loss. He had six tackles with two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. In 2017, Brown has seven tackles with two for a loss.
Brown (6-4, 285) is an explosive defender off the snap and is at his best when he plays a three-technique, using speed to get upfield. He has a fantastic first-step with a great get-off for such a big defensive lineman, which makes him a problematic pass-rusher who is very adept at firing by blockers to penetrate into the backfield. Brown has disruptive speed at the point of attack that will cause havoc in the ground game or the the pass rush. He has active hands that he uses at the same time as his feet, which allows him to be a dangerous closer who can finish plays.
While Brown totaled six sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and 38 tackles in 2016, some teams wonder how long Brown will play football. In Brown, sources see motivational concerns and an on-the-field skill set that is potentially more tantalizing than consistent.
DE, Boston College.
Previously: 23 Avg. 23.5 per 4
Landry was a liability against the run against Notre Dame, recording only one tackle despite the Fighting Irish running for seven touchdowns with two players going over 200 yards rushing. On the vast majority of his plays, Landry went against a freshman right tackle, yet was ineffective. Landry also lost his few reps against Mike McGlinchey and got rag-dolled by Quenton Nelson. It was an ugly performance for Landry. Previously, Landry notched five tackles and a sack in a loss to Wake Forest. In 2017, the senior has 12 tackles with two tackles for a loss, one sack and two passes broken up.
Landry has been one of the top edge defenders in the ACC for the past couple of seasons. He started to make his presence felt as a sophomore when he contributed with 60 tackles and 4.5 sacks. As a junior, Landry took his game to another level with 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, four passes batted and 51 tackles.
In the pass rush, Landry (6-3, 250) shows some moves with a spin, cuts to the inside, and speed around the corner. If he adds some strength to do a rip move, that could be devastating with his speed to get upfield and his ability to dip underneath blockers. In the run game, Landry is going to have some issues in the NFL, becuase he lacks strength and length. One playoff general manager said they had Landry graded as a late first-or early second-round pick before he decided to return to Boston College.