This week marks the end of the first half of the NFL season. It also marks the start of the final quarter of college football's regular season.
Powerhouse programs Ohio State, LSU, and Alabama are off this week, but there are still interesting games -- and prospects -- to watch.
Games To Watch
Oklahoma St. at Texas Tech (ESPN, 3:30) - These are two schools that don't get talked about much, but this could be a fun game to watch if you like offense. Texas Tech runs the high-speed spread offense that is taking over college football, the Air Raid in particular, and they run it better than most. For all the attention that West Virginia, Baylor, and Oregon -- rightfully -- get for their prolific offenses, Texas Tech is right there with them. The Red Raiders' have the 3rd ranked offense in the nation, averaging 599 yards and 46.6 points per game.
Even though they don't really play defense in the Big 12, the prospect to watch in this game is Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah. The red-shirt junior defensive end is a prospect who could be very interesting to the Giants. He has the prototypical size the Giants love at 6-4, 275, with long arms and a "Grown Man" body. Ogbah generally relies on his power and physicality to bully offensive linemen, but he does have surprising fluidity for his size and build. He finished his sophomore season with 17.0 tackles for a loss and 11.0 sacks.
Georgia vs Florida (CBS, 3:30) - For those of you who aren't fans of Big 12 football, we have an offering from the SEC that might be more to your tastes. And if you don't particularly care for teams and conferences... We've gotten word that the New York Giants have credentialed scouts at this game, so we should probably make sure to pay attention to it.
Both of these teams were in the running to win the SEC and punch their tickets to the college football playoffs, but it didn't work out that way. Georgia suffered a tough loss to Alabama, then lost their star running back, Nick Chubb to a knee injury.
-- Aside: If I were a high school running back, I think I would stay as far away from Georgia as I can get --
The Gators were looking like a potential front runners for the conference, then their quarterback was suspended for PEDs.
But drama aside, there are still plenty of talented prospects on both of these teams.
The top prospect in the game is Florida corner Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves might just be the top corner in the 2016 draft, and combines speed, quickness, fluidity, high football IQ, and physicality into a terrific package. He is adept in press as well as off coverages, and is a willing run defender. The only real knocks on him are his size. At 5-11, 199 pounds, he is smaller than is fashionable in the NFL.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard could also intrigue, though his NFL future is likely as a 3-technique or as a defensive end in an odd front.
Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson should also grab attention. He is raw as a route runner, but that is balanced by explosive ability with the ball in his hands.
On the Georgia sideline, the top prospect is Leonard Floyd. In the past Floyd was just one of the best pass rushers in the SEC. This year he has matured into a true 3-down linebacker who can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and play the run. He is a bit light at 235, but he has impressive length at 6-4.
The Bulldog's other outside linebacker, Jordan Jenkins, is a terror of a pass rusher. He is a bit of a "tweener" but should fit nicely as a SAM linebacker in a 43 Under front or as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
With the 20th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants Select...
Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama
Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. Jerry Reese hates linebackers, would never pick one in the 1st... But that being said, with Beason a potential cap casualty, Unga's age, and Spags' defense, getting a young, high upside, 3-down linebacker from a sophisticated defense is a smart move.
Ragland has "Giants" size at 6-2, 252 pounds, the athleticism to play in space, great power coming down hill, and is a leader on the Alabama defense. This might not be nearly as sexy a pick as a pass rusher, corner, or wide receiver, but Ragland would fit well in the Giants' defense alongside Devon Kennard and once again in front of Landon Collins.
I normally like to make selections that you can watch later in the day, but since Alabama isn't playing: