Scouting Series: Who to Watch

I’ve got a fresh list of prospects to watch this weekend. But first let’s look back at last week and see how the players I listed fared.

Jaylen Waddle from Alabama put on a show with 8 catches for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 targets.

Nick Bolton in that same game managed 7 tackles and recovered a fumble

Trey Smith got busy moving bodies en route to Tennessee rushing for 133 yards and securing the win.

Seth Williams exploded for 6 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams was a big play threat averaging over 18 yards per catch.

Florida vs. South Carolina

One of the premier weapons to watch in this game is TE Kyle Pitts. Pitts is the model for what teams want their TE to look like. The 6’6 240 lb monster caught 8 passes for 170 yards last week. The longest play going for 71 yards. Pitts is just a matchup nightmare with his height and speed. Pitts can line up as an inline TE taking on blocks or detached from the formation. Either way this is a guy you want with the ball in his hands.

Mississippi State vs. Arkansas

36/60 for 623 and 5 Touchdowns. No those aren’t video game numbers. That is the stat line put up by KJ Costello against LSU last week. The 6’5 225 senior QB showed off his arm strength, poise and ball placement in his first game. Costello is more of a throwback pocket passer types of yesteryear. But that is not at all a bad thing. Costello has shown he can stand tall in the pocket and place the football where only his guy can get it.

Consistency and eliminating mistakes will be key for Costello going forward. Although he had a monster game, Costello also threw 2 bad interceptions. One in particular turned into a pick six. On that play Costello threw the ball behind his receiver on a crossing route, and the LSU LB quickly undercut the route. Costello is a work in progress, but off to a good start. Below is just an example of his arm talent. Costello has no base whatsoever, but still was able to get the ball out to his guy on arm strength alone.

Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina State

The player to watch from this game is Pitt Safety Paris Ford. Ford is one the most versatile and aggressive Safeties in the country. In 2019 he led his team with 97 tackles and 3 interceptions. Ford is quick to click and close downhill and always meets the ball carrier with bad intentions. Although Ford is highly physical, he can’t be limited to just a box Safety role. In 2018 Ford was a reserve CB which shows he has the athletic profile to cover on the back end.

Pittsburgh utilizes Ford as a deep Safety as well as closer to the line of scrimmage and he excells in either role. It remains to be seen if Ford and his 190lb frame can continue his violent tackling style at the next level. Below is an example of the instincts and coverage ability that Paris Ford provides. He simply is reading the QB and makes a nice play on the ball.

Alabama vs. Texas A&M

The guy I’m keeping an eye on in this game is Alabama LT Alex Leatherwood. Watch out, the guy is a physical marvel. Standing at 6’6 and tipping the scales at 312, you’d think that Leatherwood was a big plodding mauler. Incorrect, Alex Leatherwood effortlessly moves in space matching any speed rush brought to him. Not only is the agility abundant with Leatherwood, but the strength is also there. Alex has all the tools to be a dominant LT at the next level.

Leatherwood has experience at RG as well as LT. Playing at LT in 2019 Leatherwood surrendered a mere 2 sacks and 3 hurries the entire season. Going forward I would like to see Leatherwood refine his hand placement. Against Michigan in 2019, Edge rushers Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson were able to get into Leatherwood’s chest and bullrush on a few snaps. Consistent hand placement eliminates rushers getting too close. Below you see Alex Leatherwood at his best. Firing out of his stance, using his long arms and totally controlling his defender.

Author: EJ

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