Indiana junior RB Tevin Coleman is an intriguing prospect who must answer questions about his pass protection and durability, write ESPN Insider's Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.
Muench and Weidl also considered Arizona State's D.J. Foster, Boise State Jay Ajayi and Pitt's James Conner to close out their list of the draft's highest risers, but they settled on Coleman at No. 10. "Listed at 6-1 and 210 pounds, Coleman runs upright yet he's strong enough to pick up yards after contact and he falls forward at the end of runs," they wrote. "He's not a breakaway threat, either, but he's quick enough to turn the corner and fast enough to break longer runs when he gets a seam. Although his ability to hold up in pass pro needs to be investigated further, he can produce after the catch. As well as he's played, Coleman needs to stay healthy. He missed the second quarter of the Missouri game with an injury and underwent knee surgery after missing three games at the end of last year." The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Coleman looks like Darren McFadden's doppelganger on the field, though he's more of a late-Day 2 or early-Day 3 prospect.
Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze announced that Anthony Alford will leave the football team and pursue a pro baseball career.
"We wish him the best. He’s a great kid," Freeze said in a statement. Alford isn't old, but his athletic career can already be considered winding. In 2012, coming out of high school, Alford was drafted in the third round of the MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was permitted to also play college football, and ended up starting five games as a true freshman quarterback with Southern Miss in 2012. Alford transferred to Ole Miss and moved to the defensive secondary in January 2013. He sat out last season due to transfer eligibility rules, but had appeared in all four games this fall. The curious timing of his decision hurts Ole Miss' depth in the defensive backfield.
Georgia junior DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins is "forceful, athletic and projects as a third round pick," writes TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.
"With all the available talent at the linebacker position on the Georgia roster, Jenkins is often the forgotten man yet he’s one of the better defensive prospects for the Bulldogs," Pauline wrote. "His play in the third quarter against Tennessee turned the tide of the game. Jenkins started early in the quarter with a drive killing sack then later forced quarterback Justin Worley to the sidelines with a ferocious hit. For the game Jenkins had 5 tackles and 2 tackles for loss to go along with his sack." Jenkins had 31 tackles -- eight for loss -- and five sacks as a true freshman, and increased his production to 45 tackles, 12 for loss and five sacks as the 'JACK linebacker in Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme last year.
ESPN Insider's Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are rethinking their "late-fourth, early fifth-round" preseason grade on Kentucky senior DE Za'Darius Smith.
"The Florida tape has us rethinking that grade already," the pair wrote. "He's shown improvement in two key areas starting with his instincts. He did a great job of locating the ball against the run and tracking the quarterback without losing contain as a pass-rusher against the Gators. The other aspect of his game is he appears to have made strides in his explosiveness. While he's never going to be an elite speed rusher coming off the edge, he looked quicker working inside and did a better job of transferring speed to power rushing the passer when he lined up inside. Add in his ability to get off blocks and the arrow is pointing up." The JUCO transfer collected 59 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, in his first try against SEC competition last year, and he's poised to easily surpass those numbers in 2014. TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline allocated the senior a preseason Round 4 grade.
Oklahoma redshirt sophomore QB Trevor Knight "is a good quarterback and getting better," writes ESPN's Todd McShay.
"While he might not be ready just yet to lead his team to a come-from-behind win in obvious passing situations, I think he will be by the end of the season," McShay wrote. "His touch and ball placement on the shorter, quick-hitting throws in this offense are essential to its success, he has flashed good ability as a downfield passer, and his intangibles are excellent." McShay believes Oklahoma has the best odds amongst College Football Playoff contenders of remaining undefeated.
Mississippi State senior DE Preston Smith's draft stock is up after he won SEC defensive lineman of the week honors three times across his first four games, notes ESPN Insider's Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.
In those four games, Smith has 14 tackles, five for loss, three sacks, three passes defended, a forced fumble and a pair of blocked kicks. "He's an excellent hand fighter with the length to keep blockers off his frame, and the upper-body strength to shed," Muench and Weidl wrote. "He more than held his own working against LSU OT La'el Collins, who graded out as a fringe first-round pick in the preseason. There is also a lot to like about Smith's ability to kick inside and rush the passer. LSU didn't have an answer for him when he lined up over the center. Finally, it's worth pointing out that he's blocked two field goal attempts this year." Muench and Weidl aren't the only two passing along glowing reports about Smith's NFL stock. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler wrote last week that Smith "is working his way up draft boards."
Former TCU redshirt sophomore DE Devonte Fields has just 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFLs through five games at Trinity Valley Community College.
Fields was dismissed from TCU after a series of off-field issues. We expected him to dominate at the JUCO level and then apply for the 2015 draft, but apparently that isn't Fields' plan. Firstly, he obviously isn't dominating. Secondly, Fields told Trinity Valley Community College head coach Brad Smiley earlier this month that he intends to play at the Division I level again. If he uses this season to get his life in order, Fields could return to big-time college football in 2015 with the opportunity to rebuild his draft stock, which as a true freshman was Round 1-caliber.
NC State redshirt junior Jacoby Brissett "has a lot of Ben Roethlisberger to his game in terms of his poise, pocket presence and how difficult he is for defenders to bring down," according to ESPN's Todd McShay.
"He needs to be quicker in getting from one progression to the next, but I think he sees the entire field well and has good vision as a runner," McShay wrote. The analyst reported that 11 NFL teams scouted Saturday's game against Florida State. Brissett starred in a losing effort, going 32-for-48 for 359 yards and three touchdowns. "He's just a junior and is still a work in progress, but I think he has the physical tools to one day develop into an NFL QB," McShay wrote. "His TD pass in the first half, in which he nearly had his helmet ripped off and then warded off another sack attempt along the right sideline, was one of the more impressive individual efforts I've seen in a long time."