Sammy Watkins is incredibly smooth as a receiver. The one thing that stood out for Alshon Jeffrey that Watkins has is the way he attacks the ball with his hands instead of waiting for it to come to him. Jeffrey has been so good that some people view him as the Bears true #1 receiver. I'm not quite ready to go there with him, but Watkins might be Jeffrey with more athleticism. He's just an incredibly reliable target.
Tajh Boyd, on the other hand, is just fine. He greatly benefits from the weapons around him, and he seems to lack a great feel for things. Last week, he lost the ball on a corner blitz when he was naturally rolling away from that blitz. This week, he failed to handle pressure repeatedly. He loses track of what is around him when he feels pressure, and he only survives on pure athleticism, which will not work at the next level.
AJ McCarron, and everyone on Alabama, drives me crazy, because there is just so much talent on that team that they can completely outclass opponents. How much credit does McCarron deserve? As I'm typing this, Christion Jones just took an end around for five yards; unsatisfied, he completely reversed field, and ended up picking up an additional 15. McCarron places his balls really well, but his receivers get so open that he really doesn't need to rocket anything in there.
From what I've seen, I would compare him to Andy Dalton, where he has the skillset to be competent at the next level. An interesting question is whether Andy Dalton was a good pick for the Bengals. He's good enough to guide them to the playoffs with the help of the best receiver in the league, a good offensive line, and a very good defense. I'm really not sure if that's a compliment or an insult. He's not Blaine Gabbert, which is good, but is their ceiling with a guy like him at QB a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs?
Anthony Barr is baffling me. He always takes advantage of mistakes, but it seems like he only makes plays off of mistakes. He's got a great speed rush, so if the offensive line doesn't get a good kick out in their initial set, he will blow right by them. I can't tell if his speed is so great that he makes people look like they have terrible technique or if his speed just kills terrible technique. He also has a great engine, and he does just keep moving and finding a way to make plays. I could see him being a lot like Aldon Smith, who is a guy I totally whiffed on. Before the draft, I'm going to try to watch tape from both guys to see if I am missing something on prospects like this.
Marcus Mariota is one guy who I have been waiting to study. I'm still not nearly as high on him as others seem to be. The first thing that leaps out is that he is an incredible athlete. His down field throws left a lot to be desired. In the second quarter, he completed a deep out, but he under threw it and it almost gave the defensive back a play on the ball. They turned the ball over on downs when he badly overthrew a receiver in the end zone. Too often, he just tries to fire the ball in there, but he has the ability to put touch on the ball. His touchdown pass in the game was a really nice ball that he made look very easy. He does do a good job of going through his reads. He doesn't panic and does a good job of setting and throwing. Oregon has a great offense, and that makes things easy on Mariota. Right now, I see him as a rich man's Kaepernick, so he definitely has first round value. Seeing how he handles pressure will provide a better idea of how high in the first round he should go.
Brett Hundley is just not impressive. I saw major issues when I watched him against Nebraska, and I continue to have the same concerns. The good about Hundley is obvious. He's athletic, and he has good arm strength. The most brutal part of his game was a terrible throw inside the red zone that led to an easy pick from Oregon. Hundley's touchdown pass before the end of the half was a nice ball, but that is where he succeeds. It was a throw over the middle where he was able to go to his first read. He recognized the blitz and knew that if his receiver was able to break inside the cornerback that it was just going to be a pitch and catch at that point. He also doesn't have a great feel inside the pocket as sometimes he panics when it is not necessary and other times he does not notice a defender nearby. The endzone camera would help on this, but he seemed to lock into receivers at times and fail completely on going through his progressions before trying to run. He zeroes in on a guy, which gives the safety a chance to break on routes, so instead of waiting for a receiver to get open, he telegraphs it so much that the coverage can adjust to his eyes. This is the reason he got picked off at the beginning of the fourth quarter, because the man in coverage was able to break on the pass before he even threw it. I don't hate him as a prospect, but I do think he could use another year, possibly two, in college to refine his game. If he came out this year, a team would really be gambling on a lot of different things coming together for him to work out at the next level.
DeAnthony Thomas is a guy who is dangerous in space, and I think if he is utilized correctly, he can be an impact player, but he's far more Darren Sproles than Warrick Dunn. I just don't see an every down back in him, and he has to be in a system that is designed for success.
I was digging Jordan Zumwalt, as there was a drive where he was basically trying to murder everyone on Oregon. He was always around the ball, and that guy is a player.
I love Brandin Cooks. I was only able to catch the oregon State-Stanford game at the bar, but that dude is a player. Very elusive and very good routes, finds holes in the defense and is a great asset for a quarterback.