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Which draft prospects to watch today?
Good morning New York Giants fans and happy Saturday!
Welcome to week three of the 2020 college football season. We have a good selection games to watch today, including a rare (for this time of year) match-up of ranked opponents in the primetime slot. We also have a good selection draft prospects to watch today, including some top prospects who could help the Giants in 2021.
So without further ado, lets get to the games!
Pittsburgh (25) vs. Syracuse
12 p.m. – ACC Network
This game might not be available to everybody, but if you have it it could certainly be worth a watch. The most interesting player — at least to me, from a draft perspective — won’t be on the field today. That’s because Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19. Twyman, however, is an incredibly exciting lineman who emerged with 10.5 sacks last year as a red-shirt sophomore. At 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, the comparisons between Twyman and 6-foot-1, 285 pound former Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald are too natural to not happen, so get ready to read them this spring.
The combination of Twyman and red-shirt senior EDGE Patrick Jones II could have made for one of the more dynamic duos in college football. Jones II is a long (6-foot-5, 260 pound) and fluid pass rusher with a good get-off to beat blockers off the line. He also has the kind of discipline and technique we should expect from a defender coached by Pat Narduzzi.
There is also a pair of talented safeties in this game. Pittsburgh’s red-shirt junior safety Paris Ford is athletic, rangy, and versatile. He has the trigger and physicality to play downhill, close to the line of scrimmage as well as the range and coverage ability to be a deep safety in a Cover 1 or Cover 3 look.
Junior Syracuse safety Andre Cisco might be the best ballhawk in college football. He has lead the ACC in interceptions in each of the last two seasons (the first of which was his true freshman season), and entered the 2020 season as the FBS leader in interceptions with 12 — a total to which he’s already added. Cisco has fantastic instincts, ball skills, and hands to slam receiving windows shut and take the ball away, as well as the feet and hips to be sticky in coverage. Cisco will have to work on his tackling, which is definitely the weak spot in his game, but if he gets his technique and angles figured out, he has the size (6-foot, 205) to be a versatile piece.
Notre Dame (7) vs. South Florida
2:30 p.m. – USA
Notre Dame has a pair of players who could be of interest to the Giants.
The first is Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who is going to challenge draft evaluators throughout the process. “Old School Football Guys” will likely balk at his listed size of 6-foot-2, 216 pounds and and slot Owusu-Koramoah into a box safety role at the NFL. That, however, overlooks the incredible versatility that Owusu-Koramoah brings to a defense. He will likely be the next in a line of space defenders that defy traditional classification, like Telvin Smith, Derwin James, Kyle Duggar, and Jeremy Chinn. That versatility, athleticism, and range gives a defense the ability to adapt and match up with a variety of offensive packages and concepts.
On the offensive side of the ball is OT Liam Eichenberg. Eichenberg is a bit of an interesting prospect who has the length and build scouts look for at the offensive tackle position. He’s a good athlete as well, with good range and foot speed blocking in the open field. However, he seems a bit limited in his lateral movements and can struggle with speed off of the edge. He looks to be at his best blocking downhill in power schemes and limited by his lateral agility in zone schemes. Some NFL teams could look at Eichenberg as a candidate to transition to the interior, depending on their scheme.
Louisville (18) vs. Miami (17)
7:30 p.m. – ABC
This is the marquee game on today’s schedule, at least on paper. It’s rare to get a matchup between highly ranked teams this early in the calendar.
As with the game between Pittsburgh and Syracuse, this game will be missing a highly ranked prospect as EDGE Gregory Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season. However, there’s another EDGE worth paying attention to at the Univeristy of Miami. Quincy Roche is a transfer who spent the previous three years at Temple, where he was a disruptive force for the Owls’ defense. Roche had 39.5 tackles for a loss and 26 sacks over the last three years and has already added one to each tally in 2020. He might even appeal more than Rousseau to the Giants, too. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Roche is an explosive, agile, fluid, and athletic rusher who can play from a variety of alignments and positions. He is undersized compared to the classic positional archetypes, but Roche has good length to go with functional strength, technique, leverage, and competitive toughness.
Considering the Giants needs when it comes to depth in the defensive secondary, they should also keep an eye on Miami cornerback Al Blades Jr. A long, lean corner at 6-foot-1, 186 pounds, Blades Jr. has a lot of attributes to draw scouts eyes. His length is an obvious trait defenses like to see, but he has enough fluidity to mirror routes and play man coverage at the NFL level. Blades Jr. also has good physicality and is a willing tackler in run support or in space. He might be a depth player early in his career, but his traits could help him seize the opportunity to rise up the depth chart when it presents itself.
On the offensive side of the ball is tight end Brevin Jordan. Jordan is listed at tight end, but will likely be a hybrid match-up nightmare at the NFL level. He is a dynamic athlete with the ability to be truly explosive after the catch as a receiver. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, he’s a bit undersized compared to the traditional tight end archetype, but that also gives him the versatility to line up all over the offensive formation, and he could line up anywhere from wide receiver to fullback at the NFL level. He has the traits to contribute as a blocker at the NFL level but needs to work on his technique and consistency.
Louisville has some playmakers to be aware of as well. The first is wide receiver Chatarius Atwell, who lead the ACC in receiving touchdowns last year as a sophomore. Atwell will likely be considered too undersized for some teams at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, but he is a twitchy speed-demon of a playmaker. Offenses will likely have to protect Atwell from contact by lining him up as a slot receiver or flanker, but his speed makes him a threat to blow the top off a defense on any play, whether he’s getting the ball behind the line of scrimmage on jet motion or 30-yards down the field on a Go route.
Finally we come to running back Javian Hawkins, who might not declare for the 2020 draft, but is an electric player. Hawkins is a red-shirt sophomore, but after exploding onto the scene with 1,525 yards and 9 touchdowns as a red-shirt freshman in 2019 and starting the 2020 season with a 110 yard, 1 touchdown performance. Like Atwell, Hawkins is undersized (5-foot-9, 195 pounds) and shouldn’t be used between the tackles, but he is explosively athletic and is a threat to score any time he has the ball in the open field. Offensive coordinators might need to manufacture touches for him, but with 100-yard games against the likes of Notre Dame and Clemson as a freshman, he has the ability to make even the best defenses pay for losing track of him.