Happy Saturday, New York Giants fans!
It's once again College Football Day, and if you're wondering what to watch, I've got your back. This week's slate of games features some solid match-ups, so let's get to it.
Games To Watch
In previous weeks I have been picking out four games that are worth paying attention to. But this week, word has come out that the Giants of New York have have credentialed scouts at a pair of games, so I want to focus on those.
Clemson (6) at Miami (Noon, ABC) - This game could very well be a matchup between the top two quarterbacks of the 2017 draft. Clemson's Dashaun Watson is an intriguing talent with good football IQ, a strong arm, and the athleticism to burn a defense that leaves him an opening. Miami's Brad Kaaya is the reigning ACC Rookie of The Year. Kaaya is a prototypical pocket passer who's accuracy and arm strength let him threaten every level of the defense. But while the Giants' scouts might be taking notes on Watson and Kaaya should either use their full eligibility and potentially be an heir to Eli, the primary draws here are likely Clemson DE Shaq Lawson and Miami FS Deon Bush.
With the Giants in desperate need for pressure from their front 4, they will be paying close attention to edge defenders, and Lawson has the tools to be a good one. He is a tad undersized from the Giants' perspective, listed at 6'3" to the Giants' preferred 6-foot-4 to 6-6, but at 270 he has plenty of power to hold up against the run. Lawson also has the quickness and agility to be a "complete" defensive end who can rush the passer as well as defend the run.
Deon Bush is a DB who very much fits the Giants' mold. He has the size the Giants like in their defenders at 6-1, 205, and the versatility they love, playing all over the Hurricanes' defense. Bush has been used close to the line of scrimmage in coverage and run support, as a blitzer, and as a center-fielding safety. He is athletic, physical, has a knack for making plays, and is a willing special-teamer.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (7 p.m., ESPN) - This game is all about the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately for all involved, Myles Garrett is a sophomore. That means that while the NFL scouts can add to their notebooks on him, they won't be of use until next year. For the rest of college football, that means that they have to deal with him for another year.
However defensive tackle -- and athletic freak extrordinaire -- Robert Nkemdiche IS draft eligible. The younger Nkemdiche carries his 300 pounds absurdly well across his 6-4 frame. No human should be that heavy and still be allowed to have the adjective "chiseled" used about them with a straight face. Robert Nkemdiche's draft stock is all over the place right now. Some look at his rare physical tools and see a lock for a top-five pick, while others look at his pedestrian production and see him slipping down draft boards. Elsewhere on the Ole Miss roster is Laremey Tunsil, who is in the conversation for top offensive tackle in the country. Tunsil has prototypical physical traits and is an athletic bully. He has missed time the last two years with an injury and then serving a seven game suspension to start the 2015 season. However if he is able to hold up against the Aggies' pass rush, it will go a long way to rehabilitating his draft stock. Ole Miss also boasts Laquon Treadwell, a big-bodied wide receiver in the mold of Dez Bryant. Treadwell might be the best receiver in the country and has a great blend of size, athleticism, power, body control, and competitiveness.
With the 20th selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select ...
Based on our Power Rankings, the Giants would be picking 20th overall if the season ended today. So with that in mind, I'm looking at ...
Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor) -- Looking at the Giants' roster and needs right now, defensive end is at the top of my list. They could also use a wide receiver, but I like Pharaoh Cooper or Travin Dural in the second round. The Giants need an elite athlete at defensive end who can scare offenses and help create opportunities for other defenders. The monstrous Oakman certainly provides that at a lean 6-8, 280 pounds. While pad level will always be an issue for Oakman given his size, he has length that just can't be taught, and combines it with surprising athleticism and flexibility.
HOWEVER, this pick is heavily dependent on how he interviews. Despite notching 27 tackles for a loss, 14.0 sacks, and five forced fumbles over his last 18 games, Oakman is still believed to be just scratching the surface of his talent. Given his physical and athletic tools, he should be dominating almost every offensive tackle he goes up against. GMs will need to find out if he isn't reaching his potential thanks to Baylor's coaching, or if his work ethic is lacking. If Oakman proves to have a work ethic as impressive as his physique, he would be well worth the risk at 20th overall. His upside could potentially rival JJ Watt's.
If his work ethic isn't what it could -- should -- be, I'd look at a safer option, such as Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah or Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun. While neither has Oakman's staggering potential, both are more pro-ready.