Another week of college football is in the books, so it’s time to take a look at 2014 NFL Draft prospects who helped their draft stocks with positive performances on Saturday.
Virginia Tech Hokies QB Logan Thomas
One of the most inconsistent draft prospects around, Logan Thomas either shines or completely implodes. Thankfully for Hokies fans, Thomas was an absolute beast this week and spearheaded VT’s big 42-24 upset over No. 11 Miami, as Thomas completed 25 of his 31 pass attempts for a whopping 366 yards. There were no brutal mistakes either, as Thomas threw no picks and just lofted the ball all over the place. Miami just couldn’t stop him, and it isn’t too often that Thomas misses just six passes. When he’s on and the deep ball is working, Thomas looks like one of the best quarterbacks in college football. But he is too inconsistent to come anywhere near a high draft pick, because he just looks awful when he’s not “on”. Games like this, though, show why a team will pick Thomas in the middle rounds, because he has the kind of upside that a few teams will fall in love with.
Alabama Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron
A.J. McCarron is a game manager, but he’s a darn good one. His style of quarterbacking is exactly the game manager type, and the worry is that game managers just don’t usually have much success in the NFL beyond being good career backups. That’s why McCarron isn’t worth taking in the first round, but he could be worth a second-round pick in the right system. By right system, I mean a hard-nosed rushing and defense team similar to Alabama. McCarron was called the most underrated player in college football by head coach Nick Saban, who isn’t one to sugarcoat things. He did everything well to lead his team to victory against the rival LSU Tigers, and McCarron can make some really sharp throws. He’s better than some people give him credit for being, and he went 14-20 with three TDs and no picks against a tough LSU defense. McCarron is the smartest quarterback in college football, and his draft stock certainly rose with yesterday’s excellent, clean performance.
Wisconsin Badgers LB Chris Borland
Chris Borland could be one of the steals of the 2014 NFL Draft, even if he isn’t star material. Whenever I watch Borland, I’m always impressed by all of the intangibles that he brings to the table, as well as his ability to get downhill against the run. He put forth a nice performance yesterday with 13 tackles and two sacks, and he would be a perfect fit for a 3-4 defense. Borland also knows how to blitz up the middle, and that’s an asset that defensive coordinators running the 3-4 would love to get out of Borland as an ILB. He’s not a great player, but Borland is one of the more underrated draft prospects.
Pittsburgh Panthers WR Devin Street
One of the best wide receivers in college football, Devin Street could be a special player at the next level. He does it all as a wide receiver, as he can move the chains or make big plays downfield. A dynamic playmaker for Pitt, Street is clearly this team’s best player on offense (and fellow WR Tyler Boyd is definitely and impressive frosh) and had a crucial role in the team’s upset win. Street caught four passes for 76 yards, with almost all of that yardage coming on a big 63-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to tie things up at 21 all. He also had a three-yard TD catch earlier in the game.
West Virginia Mountaineers RB Charles Sims
Although the Mountaineers lost 47-40 to the Texas Longhorns, Charles Sims can hang his head high after yesterday’s performance. The Mountaineers were forced to turn to Paul Millard, who threw two interceptions in a poor outing, following Clint Trickett’s early injury, so Sims was basically carrying the offense due to Millard’s struggles. He had to grind out every yard possible and finished with three of WVU’s five touchdowns, and the former Houston transfer is easily one of the top draft-eligible backs. He can do it all as a rusher, he can do it all as a back. Probably the best all-purpose back in this class, Sims has drawn loose comparisons to Matt Forte.
Penn State Nittany Lions DT Daquan Jones
Penn State suffered a disappointing loss to Minnesota, but Daquan Jones looked excellent in the losing effort. He continues to show off his amazing strength, and Jones already has 10.5 tackles for loss. He looks like the next great defensive player to come out of Penn State, and nobody should be sleeping on the 318 pounder’s ability to make an impact on future Sundays. He was pushing the pocket at a high rate yesterday and could use some more national attention.
North Carolina Tar Heels S Tre Boston
Tre Boston had himself a whale of a ballgame against the Virginia Cavaliers yesterday, as he helped UNC significantly in their 45-14 blowout win. He made two enormous plays in which he hit Zachary Swanson to prevent him from getting the first down and also stole the ball away from a UVA player for an interception (I believe that player was also Swanson). Boston is one of the premier safeties in college football, and he’s one to watch in the NFL Draft as a potential second-round pick. His ability to play corner and safety is intriguing for sure, and he’s an excellent playmaker.
Fresno State Bulldogs QB Derek Carr
If you can get over the fact that he’s the younger brother of QB bust David Carr, you’ll see that Derek Carr is one of the finest draft prospects at the quarterback position. I think he’ll be selected in the second round, because he has excellent intangibles and physical tools. He’s busy feasting on inferior competition, but his tape certainly checks out fine. In fact, he’s pulling ahead of San Jose State darling David Fales in most QB rankings, and Carr put forth another excellent display yesterday. Against an easy team in Wyoming, Carr let the floodgates out with four TDs, no picks, and 360 passing yards. It wasn’t his best performance, but all Carr needs to do at Fresno State is pile up the stats and wins against easy teams. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 16th in the nation, and I absolutely love what they are doing. Carr has as good of a live arm as any QB in this class, and he is honestly one of the most polished QBs in the league in terms of mechanics, knowledge, and leadership. Opponent’s competition is a very real question mark, but it’s one of Carr’s only question marks.
Topics: A.J. McCarron, Alabama Crimson Tide, Charles Sims, Chris Borland, Daquan Jones, Derek Carr, Devin Street, Football, Fresno State Bulldogs, Logan Thomas, NFL Draft, North Carolina Tar Heels, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Tre Boston, Virginia Tech Hokies, West Virginia Mountaineers, Wisconsin Badgers