After last weekend’s poor set of games, there are four very good matchups in college football today that will feature many future NFL players. A slight change this week – we’ve covered the future pros at Georgia, and we’ve covered the best future pros at Notre Dame … but there are still players to talk about at LSU and Oklahoma, their opponents, respectively. If you like the NFL, pay attention to this players today:
LSU at Georgia, 3:30 pm, CBS
LSU (last time, we wrote about two defenders; today it’s the offense):
Zach Mettenberger, QB, Senior: His history is well-chronicled – went to Georgia, got in trouble, Aaron Murray got the job, and Mettenberger transferred. Before the 6-foot-5 QB had started a game for LSU, he was being projected as a future pro. But he had a weak junior year – indecisive, slower than expected, just 58 percent completions, took 32 sacks – and the NFL was a non-topic. But this year, he looks much more polished – albeit against weaker competition. As the NFL shifts their focus toward faster QBs who can beat you in the pocket or out of it, Mettenberger will be a compelling player in 2014. With all the talk about the second tier of QBs who might enter next year’s draft – Manziel, Mariota – and sneak into the first round or go early in the second, what does one make of Mettenberger, who possesses a better arm than both, but is only a pocket passer?
Odell Beckham/Jarvis Landry, WRs, Juniors: Lumped both together because both are blowing up – and both can thank Mettenberger’s improvement. Beckham is the faster, flashier player (6-foot, 185) who is dazzling in open space. Landry has one of the best TD receptions of the 2013 season. Beckham is an athlete who can be used on special teams or anywhere on offense; Landry has six touchdowns already this season after just five last year. Both will be drafted if they leave after this season, probably anywhere from late 2nd to the 4th round.
Oklahoma at Notre Dame, 3:30 pm, NBC
Aaron Colvin, CB, Senior: One of the better cornerbacks in the senior class, he would have been drafted if he went pro last year. Returned and has a shot to be 1st team All-American. Only 6-foot, 180, but tough – cracked a molar in the West Virginia game, stayed on the field. (He did miss the next game.) Here’s tape from one of his best games from 2012, when he picked off a pass and had two sacks against Oklahoma State. Feels like a 2nd/3rd rounder right now.
Trey Millard, FB, Senior: We rarely highlight fullbacks because they’re increasingly getting marginalized in the pros, but at 6-2, 250, this battering ram will find his way onto an NFL roster.
Wisconsin at Ohio State, 8 pm, ABC
Melvin Gordon, RB, Junior: One could argue he’s had a better start to the season than every running back in the country except Todd Gurley of Georgia. Gordon, through four games, has put up Heisman caliber numbers (624 yards, 11.8 ypc, 7 TDs), and a win here (and a big game, of course) would at least vault him into the discussion (which is being dominated by QBs). Speed, good size (6-1, 205) and nobody drafts RBs early anymore, but he could have immense value in the 2nd round if this play keeps up.
James White, RB, Senior: Strange career. Rushed for 1,014 yards as a freshman and 14 touchdowns while averaging 6.7 ypc. Then Monte Ball got in the way, and after he graduated, White was supposed to be the focus once again. Now, Gordon has established himself as the man. White (5-10, 195) will make an NFL roster (mid/late round pick), and could one of those sleepers who just got trapped behind two stars, and his talent was never fully realized, despite having a very solid college career (barring injury, he’ll finish with over 3,500 yards and 35 TDs).
Bradley Roby, CB, Redshirt Junior: Best corner in the country had a rough offseason. Right now, he’s a first round lock. Teams aren’t throwing at him. Size (5-11, 190), speed (4.26, supposedly), total package.
Ryan Shazier, LB, Junior: One of the best LBs in the country, right now he probably best fits inside in a 3-4, or outside in a 4-3. Racked up 115 tackles starting every game as a true sophomore, and he’s poised to be a first team All-American this year. Very excited to see how he does against the Gordon/White combo. Might be one of the first LBs off the board if he enters the draft.