Saturday NFL Draft watch notes
Find a separate LSU/Alabama preview from Matthew Fairburn right here.
Auburn at Tennessee, noon (ET), ESPN
- Where's the love for Auburn's Dee Ford?
For all the attention someone like Vic Beasley of Clemson gets, maybe some of it should go to Ford. Like Beasley, Ford doesn't have ideal NFL size at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, but he's quick off the snap. He has seven sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss on the season, and is a big reason why Auburn is one of college football's surprise teams this season. Ford can really make a name for himself today against Tennessee, which features two draftable tackles in Antonio Richardson and Ju'Wuan James.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Baylor's Cyril Richardson looked like a star against Oklahoma Thursday. On the same day, Stanford's David Yankey showed he can get out on the move on pulls. The top of the guard class is talented when you throw in Jackson and UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo. Jackson and Richardson are fairly similar in that they're powerhouse blockers who are hard to move at the line of scrimmage. With Richardson playing so well, Jackson has to keep pace.
Texas at West Virginia, 7 p.m., Fox
- Is West Virginia's Charles Sims a lead running back in the NFL?
Overshadowed on a bad West Virginia team this season, Sims is once again proving he's a good all-around back. On the season, he has 754 rushing yards to go along with 30 receptions for 300 yards. NFL teams will be hard-pressed to find a better receiving running back than Sims. But does that ability equate to being a lead running back in the NFL? Sims has the size at 6-foot and 213 pounds, and he can get physical on occasion. The issue could be pure speed. Sims' longest run on the season is 39 yards and he can get caught from behind. He needs to show against the Longhorns, which if nothing else have speed on defense, that he can break a big gain.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m., ABC
- What kind of player is Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald?
Donald is the national leader in tackles for loss per game (2.4) and has 19.5 on the season. He's third nationally in sacks per game at 1.1. But he's just around 6-foot-1 and 270 pounds. Teams will have to weigh production and effort against optimum size and skills. As a pro, Donald may be best in a scheme where he's not an every down player and is used in specific situational to shoot gaps.
UCLA at Arizona, 10 p.m., ESPN
- Where does Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey rank among running back prospects?
There's a fair argument that can be made between Baylor's Lache Seastrunk, Washington's Bishop Sankey, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Carey as to who should be at the top of running back rankings. In regard to speed, Carey would only be behind Seastrunk. As a physical runner, he'd only be ahead of Seastrunk. Carey has 1,072 yards rushing this season, averaging 5.75 yards per carry. But he's capable of breaking a big run at any moment. He's also capable of handling a full load with 30 or more rushing in attempts in four games this season.
Fresno State at Wyoming, 10:15 p.m., ESPN2
- Is the most under-the-radar quarterback in the country in this game?
This question isn't in reference to Fresno State's Derek Carr. He's a widely talked about prospect. NFL scouts will be keenly watching Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith. The 6-foot-3, 206-pound junior put up nearly 400 yards on Nebraska to start the season and will likely have to do so today to keep pace with Carr – both on the scoreboard and as a draft prospect. While he may not have Carr's pure arm strength, Smith throws a clean football. Wide receiver Robert Herron can open a defense up over the top, so look for Smith to target him often.
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