The ACC’s Game of the Week is a Scout’s Must See

NFL Draft

This Week’s Game That is a Scout’s Must See Is?

This week Clemson takes on Florida State in a game that has high-stakes in the ACC championship race, the race for the NCAA Final Four and the NFL draft for 2016 and beyond. There are several reasons. First off let me stipulate that the two most intoxicating prospects aren’t even draft-eligible: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson it clear thatb he was just a tad sloppy in terms of protecting the ball earlier this season. In fact he was intercepted in five straight games, a total of seven times. But in his last 10 quarters he’s fixed that: 49-for-63, 77.8%, 755 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions, add to that 157 rushing yards on 24 carries and two TDs. He now has a streak of 63 consecutive attempts without an interception. Watson’s last interception was on his final throw of the first half Oct. 17th, to Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels . If he continues to play this way he’s likely a Heisman finalist and Clemson’s in the Final Four. Yet that’s all just a tease to NFL scouts, Watson’s a true sophomore and not even draft-eligible until 2017. In Tallahassee they have a truly special prospect in their defensive secondary. Many may assume I am referring to Jalen Ramsey, widely considered to be a top 50 prospect, I am actually speaking of true-freshman Derwin James. I truly believe that one day Derwin James will be seen as the top safety prospect in the country., but hands off him for at least a few drafts.  With all of that being said there are plenty of reasons the NFL will have plenty of scouts at this game.

On the Clemson side on offense the scouts will be watching:

Notes- OT Isaiah Battle, who played in 27 career games, started 11 contests last season, playing more snaps than any other player on the team chose to declare for the NFL supplemental draft, was taken in the 5th by the Rams, he was later cut and Battle was then signed to the Rams practice squad after clearing waivers.

WR Mike Williams, suffered a scary neck injury in the first week of the season, it’s likely he red-shirts and plays next year at Clemson, health permitting. Artavis Scott, the current leading WR at Clemson is just a sophomore and has some Antonio Brown-ish qualities, he’s one to watch.

WR, Charone Peake, is red-shirt senior, and much like his former teammate Martavis Bryant much more was expected when he came to Clemson, however with the injury to Williams, opponents trying to blanket Artavis Scott and Peake’s top-end speed, there is a sense he may yet break out.  He has been timed at 4.37 in spring conditioning and some claim he can dip into the high-4.2 range in the 40, even if he’s closer to 4.43, coming off of his knee injuries and at 6’2 ¼” 206 that’s not bad. Also Peake’s improved as a route-runner and has had fewer bad drops this year. Thus-far he has 19 catches for 273 yards and 3 scores. I think in the middle of day 3 of the 2016 NFL draft he hears his name called.

Clemson center Ryan Norton, early this season suffered a sprained a medial collateral ligament, but has returned and showed the kind of commitment that helped him to bench-press 640 pounds and earn a degree in history this past May. [Link to the weight-room video here] He is one of the team’s leaders and is fairly athletic, he’s a bit undersized at 6’2 ½” 288. I think he’s a 6th or 7th round guy who makes a team.

RB Wayne Gallman is just a red-shirt sophomore, he’s a productive and powerful one-cut runner, he lacks the 2nd gear that truly thrills scouts but he could be a Bilal Powell type of committee back in the future.

TE Jordan Leggett is 6’4” 249, he can black and gives you a little bit after the catch, I assume he stays in school and should, he needs to get stronger and improve as a route-runner.

On Defense:

DE Shaq Lawson is a red-shirt junior and is reportedly considering declaring, it’s assumed he will decide, in part based on what he hears from the NFL’s Draft Advisory Committee, he is powerful and has tallied 6.5 sacks this year. He does lack the electric 1st step quickness that defines most great pass-rushers, he’s more of a “the other guy” type of rusher, best-suited to play opposite of your #1 who draws the double-teams. He’s about 6’2 ¼” 277 and he has solid technique and had one of his best outings against left tackle Ronnie Stanley so he has some talent.

Jayron Kearse, S, Junior, at 6′ 2 ¾” 209 This is the nephew of former Florida and Titans star DE Jevon Kearse AKA “The Freak” he has some impressive length as well as bringing the pain in the secondary; there are legitimate questions about his coverage instincts.

CB Mackensie Alexander is just a red-shirt sophomore and like Lawson is reportedly considering declaring, he reminds me of VPI CB Brandon Flowers but I see him as faster and more fluid. If he declares he may be among the top 100 players selected.

For Florida State:

FSU is generally a football factory and in their sophomore RB Dalvin Cook they have a top 5 talent; he has 13 rushes of 20 yards, five of 50 yards, three of 70 yards and a long of 94, all of this despite fighting a slightly strained hamstring and tweaked left ankle.

PK Roberto Aguayo, Red-shirt junior: Maybe the best kicker in college football and like Janikowski may declare early and has a good chance to go in the 1st 3 rounds.

CB/S Jalen Ramsey has a great frame, his name even sounds athletic, he has some good tape, however since moving from FS to boundary CB he has struggled with staying in phase on quick players and sharp runners of routes, he excelled in the box and is a great blitzer, I still think safety is his best position. Ramsey is considered a sure thing to declare and could go in the 1st round.

FSU’s best defensive tackle is Nile Lawrence-Stample, a red-shirt senior size, agility and deceptive speed and he showed his toughness and courage last year playing with a torn pectoral muscle and he overcame a slight concussion earlier this year. At 6’0 ¾” 313 he has more power than Goldman last year but is not as quick. He’s likely an early day 3 prospect.

OLB Red-shirt Senior Terrance Smith, at 6’3 ¼” 233 he has a frame that is close to perfect for a NFL WLB, he can run, he’s solid in coverage and a dependable tackler, I have a 4th round grade on him currently.

I give Clemson the edge in both the game and the numbers selected in the 2016 draft, but FSU will be back in a big way in 2017 and beyond.

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