Sunday, January 5, 2014

GoDaddy Bowl Preview: Ball St vs. Arkansas St

One of just three January bowl games without a ranked team, the GoDaddy Bowl between Ball State and Arkansas State still has some intrigue as far as NFL prospects go. While Ball State senior quarterback Keith Wenning is the only player from either team invited to an All-Star game, Arkansas State quarterback Adam Kennedy is ranked higher on our board. Both are unlikely to be drafted but could get a chance in free agency.

A player that does have a chance to be drafted is Arkansas State defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers, who we rank as a 6th round prospect. Ball State is favored by 9 points in what has the potential to be a shootout thanks to Wenning matching up with a poor Arkansas State pass defense and the Red Wolves’ strong rushing attack going against an equally bad Ball State run defense.

Read the rest at Optimum Scouting

Wrapping Up the 2013 Rookies: Who Were the Best Value Picks?

The NFL teams that get the most from their drafts are the ones that consistently find impact players after the first two rounds, where players cost far less and aren’t expected to contribute as much initially. Chris Tripodi breaks down his top 10 value picks of the 2013 NFL Draft to close out the regular season, a list that won’t include any of last April’s top 62 picks.

Keenan Allen (WR-SD, Round 3, Pick 76)

Allen fell into the third round thanks to a lingering knee injury and as a result, the Chargers got the steal of the draft and a player that has been crucial to their playoff run. With Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd injured early in the season to nobody’s surprise, Allen was the lone constant of the San Diego receivers this season. Eddie Royal quickly fizzled after a sizzling start and Vincent Brown proved that he’s not a capable NFL starter. Allen’s reliability played a huge part in a resurgent season from Philip Rivers, making the veteran glad the rookie receiver from Cal decided against quitting football early this season.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Fiesta Bowl Preview: UCF vs. Baylor

Led by junior quarterback Blake Bortles, AAC champion Central Florida will head to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Bryce Petty and Big 12 champion Baylor. Bortles has been on our radar since early September and after an excellent season, the hype train has caught up to him enough that he is being discussed as a potential top 10 pick if he enters the NFL Draft.

Petty is a good prospect in his own right, but has already announced he will return to school for his senior season after just one year as the starter in Waco. With the exception of Bortles the top NFL prospects in this game belong to the Bears, who can very well place three players in the top 100 in May.  

(JR) Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (#5), 6’4, 230

There seems to be a consensus top 4 among quarterback prospects this year that includes Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel. I’m on record as saying Bortles should stay in school but with Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley returning to school among others, he may be wise to strike while the iron is hot if he can be a top 10 pick. Bortles has the arm to make every NFL throw and shows good accuracy on the move, even rolling to his left. His strength against the pass rush inside the pocket is reminiscent of Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger and Bortles certainly fits the physical prototype of an NFL quarterback. His mechanics are questionable at times which affects his accuracy and he needs to make better decisions against the blitz, but Bortles has the physical tools to be a good NFL starter as long as he takes to professional coaching.

Read the rest at Optimum Scouting