NFLDraftScout.com Prospect Notebook: Week 7
This week's notes include a look at how the QB draft market is shaping up, an emerging pass-rushing prospect, the end of a once-promising career in Miami, a future stud prospect in Clemson and other notable NFL Draft prospects.
PICK SIX: There are six NFL teams with just one win, but the New York Giants would seem to be the only franchise among them in the market for a quarterback. The 49ers (Garoppolo), Cardinals (Rosen), Colts (Luck), Falcons (Ryan) and Raiders (Carr) all have committed long-term money to the position or have selected a recent first-round signal-caller.
When the Giants bypassed the opportunity to select a future franchise quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in favor of Saquon Barkley during the 2018 NFL Draft, they received plenty of criticism, which has continued to linger due to the team's poor performance.
With the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles up next on a short week, the G-Men appear headed toward a 1-5 record and could get their chance to select Eli Manning's heir apparent after all.
Potential targets could include Oregon junior Justin Herbert (6-5, 225, 4.81, #10), Ohio State redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins (6-2, 214, 4.59, #7) and Missouri senior Drew Lock (6-3, 225, 4.89, #3) of Missouri.
NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW: Oklahoma State redshirt junior Jordan Brailford (6-3, 250, 4.74, #94) has emerged as one of the premier edge rusher prospects, recording a sack in four of his five games played. He leads the nation with eight sacks, despite being limited during the first few games of the season.
In fact, Brailford finally appears to be healthy for the first time in his career, after missing the entire 2016 season due to a shin injury and then having shoulder surgery prior to his sophomore campaign.
The Cowboys' versatile standout has been a high-energy player for aggressive defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and his 4-2-5 scheme. It has resulted in Brailford lining up at defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker, keeping opponents guessing where he might be coming from next.
Brailford blends great size and strength to generate push, which allows him to apply constant pressure on the quarterback. While fast, he can also bull rush with power or use one of his dip, rip or swim moves, as he also possesses great bend. His draft stock has risen significantly over the past month.
BUSTED, BRUISED & BROKEN: The once promising career of Miami playmaking wideout Ahmmon Richards (6-1, 190, 4.52, #83) has come to an abrupt end due to a disabling neck injury.
It's a sad final chapter for what once seemed to be a storybook career, as the speedster splashed onto the scene with a spectacular freshman season, flashing the burst to blow past any defense. Richards followed with a sophomore campaign that featured plenty of highlight-reel plays but also a variety of injuries.
The Florida native appeared in the Hurricanes' opener this year against LSU but left the game because of what was described as a knee injury. He had remained sidelined since. It is uncertain when the neck injury occurred, but the university stated they will honor his remaining scholarship, so Richards can finish school with his degree.
In three seasons at "The U," Richards totaled 74 receptions for 1,382 yards and six touchdowns in 22 games.
FUTURE WATCH: Clemson sophomore running back Travis Etienne (5-10, 200, 4.44, #9) has played like a man on a mission, carrying the Tigers through times of adversity this season and is now receiving Heisman consideration from the national media.
Over the past four games, Etienne has accumulated an impressive 654 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He has showcased breakaway speed, the ability to make defenders miss in the open field and gain valuable yards after initial contact.
This is one Tiger that Clemson should continue to feed, as Etienne is averaging a remarkable 9.2 yards per carry on the season. Whether it be a spin move, a stiff arm or an amazing cutback, the Louisiana native seems to find a way to make a play and is arguably the best future pro running back prospect in college football.
FSC WATCH: It was a win for the ages, as the Elon Phoenix traveled into James Madison to face the No. 2-ranked Dukes as 37.5-point underdogs and escaped with a 27-24 victory, making it the biggest upset of the college football season, according to Las Vegas.
While this headline has not received nearly the publicity it deserves, even more underappreciated is Elon agile left tackle Oli Udoh (6-6, 356, 5.20, #73), who has proven to be a dependable pass- and run-blocker as a four-year starter.
The senior has played a vital role in guiding the Phoenix to four consecutive wins, and he earned the respect of the scouting community with a strong showing against USF in the season opener, proving that he is more than capable of holding his own against the FBS level of play.
Keep an eye on Udoh once April rolls around, as he is an FCS prospect who could hear his name called on Day 3 of the draft. He possesses next-level strength (can squat over 600 pounds) and great athleticism for a man of his size, but he might have to play right tackle or possibly kick inside when he moves into the NFL.
ETC. Marshall junior QB Alex Thomson(6-4, 225, 4.70, #19) was working through some rust during his first start of the season against Tulsa, but the cannon-armed signal caller is a name worth noting. ... UMass senior WR Andy Isabella (5-10, 195, 4.55, #23) leads the nation with 839 receiving yards through seven games played and has drawn the interest of the postseason all-star circuit. ... Baylor WRJalen Hurd (6-3, 220, 4.57, #84) continues his fine play and projects as a Trey Burton-type H-back player at the next level. ... Houston junior DT Ed Oliver (6-2, 290, 4.92, #10) maintains his spot atop the NFLDraftScout.com Big Board due to performances like the one he had against Tulsa this past week, registering 13 tackles and constantly being a disruptive force in the backfield.
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