Game of the Week Review: Michigan State vs. Iowa
In a week that was termed roadblock week, things went pretty well according to plan with no “Major” upsets.
Andrew Luck, head to head vs. Locker, Luck by far was the more impressive quarterback and looks like he may be able to step in next year and start in the NFL immediately as Sam Bradford has done this year. On the other hand, I am frankly getting tired of the Locker apologist’s. All I hear is he has not support, not talent around him, he has all the skills just not the players blah blah blah….. The guy simply does not win; he has looked inconsistent at the best of times this year and absolutely awful at other times. Yes, there are scouts who are still high on him but there were scouts that were high on Ryan Leaf and a hundred other quarterbacks the last 20 years. The only way I take Locker is if I have a proven QB ahead of him already and he is given time to develop and that goes for Mallet and Newton as well.
Roy Helu, 307 yards are you kidding me, wow! This guy has been moving up draft boards all year and I think has secured himself a second or third round grade. He has the size and enough speed to be a good backup in the NFL and while not be an elite player at the next level he will be a solid contributor for some team.
TCU vs. Utah, glad to see the Gameday crew is going to this game. This match is the biggest game of the year for each of these two teams. Based upon each team’s games with Air Force I think the edge will definitely be with TCU, but Utah being at home could prove to be an important factor. A side note, TCU is already ranked ahead of Boise State in the BCS standings and with Boise’s only real test left being when they go to #23 Nevada, I see it very difficult for Boise to make the BCS game unless TCU stumbles along the way.
Baylor, you have to give Art Briles and the Baylor program credit they have turned a program that was once a laughing stock into a legit top 25 program. With the win over Texas, the Bears are now 7-2 on the season, 4-1 in the Big 12 and matter in the Big 12. Realistically, I do not see them beating OSU or OU this year but 8-4 is still an excellent season.
Ricky Stanzi, Let me be the first to say that there is a lot to like about Stanzi. He is very poised, intelligent, makes good decisions and has pretty good mechanics. However, let me also say that I do not think he has an NFL caliber arm which would prevent me from drafting him. Looking at some of the throws he made against MSU, he should have had at least 3 picks, and not because of bad decisions but because he could just not get the ball down field, or get the ball to his receiver in time. Good player with a very noticeable physical limitation at this point.
The Ducks, Hey Jurrell Casey would you like to have those words back. The Ducks came into the Coliseum, put a beat down on the Trojans and the game was over before the 4th quarter had even started. I do not think there is a single defense in the country that can stop the Oregon offense and they play just enough defense to get the job done. Looking ahead, the Ducks have one game against a ranked opponent remaining, the #15th ranked Wildcats and that is in Eugene and the only other game of significance is when they go on the road to play the Beavers at the Civil War game. At this point I fully expect the Ducks to finish the Pac-I0 season undefeated with an invite to the BCS game, their opponent, who knows, but I am fairly certain the Ducks will be there.
Michigan State vs. Iowa
I can’t say I am surprised that this was a blowout. I did not see any way “Sporty”, was going to win this game after seeing them live against Northwestern. In my opinion, the Spartans have not looked good since they beat Wisconsin and can base their ranking mainly on having the easiest schedule in the conference, not having to play the Buckeyes. They got outplayed in every aspect of the game and are probably only the 4th best team in the conference behind OSU, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Adrian Clayborn – I came away from this game a little disappointed with Clayborn. The major knock on Clayborn from scouts is his first step and projected pass rush ability in the NFL. In my opinion that is an understatement. Of all the guys I have seen this year, he may have one of the worst first steps I have seen, and on nearly every play he was the very last one out of his stance. Remember too, this is not the pros and if he is a top 10 pick he should be dominating at nearly every aspect of the game and I am just not seeing that from him. Now, he does a ton of things well, very disciplined versus the run and the pass, does well anchoring on contact and plays with good leverage. He did excellent on edge containment, was never out of position and possesses a strong punch using his hands very well. For my money thought he just is not explosive enough to be a top 10 pick. I expect unless a team falls in love with him, he will go in the first round between picks 11 and 24.
Christian Ballard – I thought Ballard played a strong game and looks to be is a late first rounder. My favorite thing about Ballard is his consistent motor; he runs up and down the field on every play and is unyielding in his pursuit. At 6-4 298 he has a well built frame and appears to he could add some weight if necessary. Possesses a good first step and has long arms that he uses effectively to keep himself clean from blockers. Additionally he showcased the ability to slip blocks at the line of scrimmage and get up the field. Against the run, he exhibited good lateral quickness and balance throughout his movements and possessing stack and shed skill. Now he still needs to do a better job of maintaining his pad level as he will get high at times and will have to do a better job of anchoring on contact if he wants to be elite on the next level. I see potential in his game I do not think he makes it out of the first round.
Greg Jones – Jones played better than I expected to be honest. I had seen him against Northwestern and really was not impressed with him, but against Iowa I thought he played very well. My favorite thing about him about him is his instincts, vision and ability to find the ball, three things that a linebacker needs to have. As well, he exhibits skill at diagnosing plays, is always working his way towards the ball and showcases the ability to blitz when asked. However, I think he needs to do a better job while he is in space, as he does not tackle well in space nor does he demonstrate the ability to stack and shed, frequently getting taken out blockers. Jones also needs to do better in coverage as it appears running backs easily are able to get by him; Adam Robinson of Iowa did this on several occasions. Looks like middle to late second round or early third round guy. Nice player who lacks ideal size but may be able to start on the next level at some point.
Guys who impressed me
Adam Robinson – Decent size for a running back at 5-9 205, Robinson runs extremely hard, always moving his feet forward, possesses elite balance, and is really hard to bring down. Robinson also showcases excellent vision and instincts. While he is not the shiftiest of running backs and is not dominate in space, he does demonstrate the ability to make a defender miss as well as possessing decent speed. My main concern with Robinson is that with his running style he takes quite a pounding and I do not believe his shelf life in the NFL will be any longer than 5 years. I would definitely take a chance on him in the 3rd round or later as he is better than most of the backs I have see this year.
Mike Daniels – Was not going to discuss him, but my colleague Aaron Aloysius mentioned him to me. BTW, take a look at Aaron’s mock drafts and all of our mocks, some of the best I have seen. Back to Daniels, I thought he had the strongest game of any lineman on either side and was in the MSU backfield on numerous occasions. Daniels seems to really have a knack for shooting the gaps and being able to slip blocks. Now he does not possess an ideal frame at 6-1, 275 but appears to have a good motor and excellent in pursuit. I would not expect him to enter the draft this year as he is only a Junior and is not on a lot of radars right now but with the departure of Clayborn and Ballard this year he could emerge as an important piece for Iowa in 2011 and in the 2012 draft.
Guys who didn’t impress me
Kirk Cousins – I suspect he is better then what I saw from him on Saturday, but frankly he made absolutely terrible decisions. Clearly Coach Dantonio saw the same thing and Cousins was taken out less than half way through the 4th quarter. By that time though Cousins had already thrown 3 picks including one for a pick six and one that lead to a touchdown. In my opinion Cousins does not possess enough poise in the pocket and I do not believe he always trusts what he is doing, appearing to show a lack of confidence. Additionally, he shows only an average arm and really needs to work on the mental part of the game before he tries to move to the next level.