College football brought the goods in week one. From high quality bouts to incredible comebacks, it did not disappoint. There is a lot to take from this past week. However, instead of looking at it from a college standpoint, we are going to start the draft process early this year. Here we will look at some of the top prospects each week and dissect a little bit of their game.
Who Stood Out At Quarterback In Week One?
Many expected the quarterbacks to come out and dominate right away. However, that isn’t something we saw this past weekend. The top three (Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen) all came out flat in their debut. But, one of the three turned it around in the second half. Josh Rosen led UCLA to one of the greatest comebacks ever with 35 unanswered points to top Texas A&M 45-44.
Before we get into analysis, let’s check their stat lines for week one.
Darnold: 23-33, 289 yards, zero TDs, two INTs
Allen: 23-40, 174 yards, zero TDs, two INTs
Rosen: 35-59, 491 yards, four TDs, zero INTs
Now, before everyone goes crazy, stat lines certainly can be misleading. For example, if you re-watch the UCLA game, you’ll see two of Rosen’s touchdown passes that probably should have been picked off. One of those went through the defensive back’s hands, and the other was lobbed rolling to his left. In the NFL, players will take advantage of errant throws.
Not every takeaway was negative from these games. Rosen actually looked really good in the intermediate part of the field on Sunday, and he read the defense extremely well. The fourth down pass to the running back was an excellent job reading the blitz and taking what was there. The fake spike that followed was a well placed ball.
Darnold and Allen also had their moments. Sure, Darnold’s throwing motion is odd, but he has real good touch down the field. Allen certainly has the arm and footwork to succeed in the NFL.
This is just one game. We have plenty to go in the season before making a definitive guess on these guys.
The Running Backs Are Indeed Loaded
I wrote an article for cover32 back in the summer about this running back class. They didn’t disappoint in week one. Saquon Barkley is capable of a home run every time he touches the ball, and he’s extremely dangerous in the passing game. Derrius Guice is still right there with Barkley. He can run between the tackles, but he has the lateral quickness to make defenders miss. Ronald Jones is another player with serious potential. He’s a real tough guy to catch in the open field.
Florida State Is Pipeline Challenger This Season
We are used to Alabama being in the spotlight when it comes to the draft, but Florida State may just surpass them this season. They have a loaded team, and it was saddening to hear about Deondre Francois. But, this team has a chance to stake its claim as the NFL pipeline this season. On defense, first rounders are everywhere. Derwin James looks the part after one game back from injury. Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden is a tall and rangy. Their front, with Josh Sweat and Derrick Nnadi, is one of the best in football. That group alone puts them right in the thick of things.
Five Players You’ll Hear More About
During the season, players will emerge and receive chatter in the smaller circles. These are players who could make major strides by draft day. A few times this year, we will have those names for you. Let’s take a look at five you’ll hear about a lot this season.
1. Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
Northwestern isn’t usually known for high profile players, but in a loaded quarterback class, Thorson will be talked about. He has the poise in the pocket and an NFL arm to complement that.
2. Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR, Indiana
Cobbs is on another level at receiver. The Ohio State secondary couldn’t stop him early on. He is big and physical to win by high pointing the ball, and he has the strength to get yards after the catch.
3. Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
One of two of Kevin White’s brothers on West Virginia, Kyzir White is a name to watch this season. White played very well near the line of scrimmage all game long. Tackling safeties are essential to defenses.
4. Ty Isaac, RB, Michigan
It’s been a long time coming for Ty Isaac. He originally went to USC before transferring to Michigan, and he made a statement on Saturday. He had 11 carries for 114 yards, and is pretty quick for his size.
5. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Already in some first round mocks, Harrison’s stock will only grow as the season goes on. He is extremely physical around the line of scrimmage, and has the instincts to play on the back end. He looks a lot like Landon Collins.
Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and NFL Draft for The Sports Guys. Make sure you check him out at cover32.com as well. Follow him @JSchyvinck13.