I’m going to be completely honest with everyone in saying that I am running out of players in the Big-12, SEC, and ACC to talk about. Thankfully next week our savior returns, the greatest football conference in the world: the Big Ten.
Until then we’ll have to look at some more guys from the lesser conferences, but before that let us catch up with our players from last week.
Joseph Ossai, LB, Texas
- Joseph Ossai was the only good player for an abysmal Texas defense last weekend. He stood out in a BIG way by posting 10 tackles, two tackles for loss with a half-sack and a forced fumble. He also had four QB pressures, one of which led to an interception. He was a game wrecker against an explosive Oklahoma offense and has looked that way all season. His stock is rising quickly.
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Last week I talked about the Patriots always having that two-gap role filled in their defense and Jordan Davis showed how well he could fit that role. Though he only ended the game with two tackles the more important statistic was Tennessee’s 39 rushing yards. They had nowhere to go all day and Jordan Davis was a big part of that.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- I’m sorry. I keep talking about wide receivers when we all know the Patriots are going to pass over them in the draft but I just can’t help myself. Last week we saw DeVonta Smith put up 13 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown, as well as a 14-yard rushing touchdown in Alabama’s 63-48 victory over Ole Miss. The Jets will probably draft him and screw it all up.
Now let’s get into it this week.
*Weekly Disclaimer* I am not predicting that the Patriots will draft any of these players, I am just connecting the dots on who could fit in or have ties to New England.
Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
- Matchup: @ South Carolina
- Gametime: 12 p.m. ET
- Network: ESPN
Let me ask everyone a quick question. Would you take a Great Value brand version of Tyreke Hill/Henry Ruggs III in the third round? If the answer is yes (it should be) then you will love this guy.
Anthony Schwartz is the fastest man in college football. He holds multiple american high school track records and is a real threat to break the NFL Scouting Combine’s 40-yard-dash record. He is a sharp route runner, using his speed to force defenders to give him a cushion, and can build off that as he has great ability to sink his hips to make breaks at the top of routes.
If you’ve watched college football in the past seven years then you know Gus Malzahn has no clue how to use his receivers. Schwartz has been used as a gadget guy at Auburn but his skill set fits what the Patriots like doing with their receivers. He has the tools to develop into a real slot threat in Josh McDaniels’ offense and maybe if the Patriots end up with him they will stop forcing N’Keal Harry to run end-arounds and bubble screens. A win-win for everyone.
Schwartz will have a great opportunity to play against some big physical corners in Israel Mukuamu, Jaycee Horn, and Jammie Robinson. If he can make plays against these guys he shouldn’t have a problem translating to the next level, if he can’t it may prove he needs more time to develop. This is the perfect week to watch Schwartz.
Riley Patterson, K, Memphis
- Matchup: vs. UCF
- Gametime: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Network: ABC
Damn right we got a kicker this week. Nick Folk is going to be 36 next month and we haven’t heard anything about Justin Rohrwasser since he lost the job coming out of training camp. So I’ve decided to give you guys a glimpse into my favorite college kicker, Riley Patterson.
Patterson was great last year as he went 23-25 last season with a long of 52 yards, but the most impressive thing about him has been his growth throughout his college career. Each year his field goal percentage has improved, going from 68 percent as a freshman to 92 percent last year. Another thing I’ve noticed about him is that he always seems to show up in the big moments, his three best games have all come in bowl games, never missing a kick.
We all know that trying to guess what the Patriots are going to do at the kicker position is a losing proposition but this week is a great opportunity to see what college football may have to offer.
Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
- Matchup: vs. Georgia
- Gametime: 8 p.m. ET
- Network: CBS
Christian Barmore is a behemoth. Standing 6’5” and weighing 310 pounds he is the perfect mold for an NFL defensive tackle. On the field he is as physical and quick as any defensive tackle in college football. He’s a classic two gap player who cannot be moved by most college guards and can slip through gaps to rush the quarterback very well. He also just happens to fit the mold of defensive tackles in New England.
The Patriots defensive line is built around the big boys in the middle. Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, Alan Branch, Vince Wilfork, and Richard Seymour are examples of players who play the role of anchor in the middle of the defense. We talked about it last week but the future of the guys they have is uncertain. Guy and Adam Butler are free agents and Beau Allen is nowhere to be found. The Patriots need to build up their depth on that line.
Barmore is interesting because he’s still working his way back from a knee injury and was never a guy who filled the stats sheet, but this week will allow him the chance to show what he’s worth. Georgia runs the ball, it’s just what they do, so Barmore will play a big role in Alabama’s defense this week.