My how time flies. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were gearing up for what promised to be the best opening weekend of college football in recent memory.
Now, somehow, it’s already Week 7, and most teams have just five more games to play after today.
But we still have plenty of games today, including a couple matchups between top-10 teams. So let’s get to it.
Alabama (1) vs. Tennessee (9) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The Alabama Crimson Tide is once again just stacked with NFL talent. They have players who will be playing on Sunday at just about every level of their offense and defense, and could have as many as six first round picks this year — depending on which underclassmen declare for the draft. Just watch Alabama play and enjoy the show, you’ll be watching more than a few of these young men for a long time. For the Giants purposes, linebacker Ruben Foster — who some count as the best linebacker in the country — and defensive end Jon Allen are the players to watch.
On the Tennessee sideline, defensive end Derrick Barnett is probably the player to watch. He has impressive physical skills and a motor that never seems to wind down. Running back Jalen Hurd was held out of last week’s game against Texas A&M, but he’ll play against ‘Bama. Hurd is a massive running back at 6-foot-4 240, with rare athleticism for his size and plenty of experience running and receiving out of a spread offense.
Ohio State (2) vs. Wisconsin (8) - 8 p.m., ABC
Another “easy” team to scout, all you have to do is turn on Ohio State and you’ll see a team replete with NFL talent. The Giants have assembled a talented young secondary, and suddenly have some impressive depth at the safety position with Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe, and Andrew Adams. Malik Hooker, however could force them to consider drafting another defensive back highly. With great range and exceptional ball skills, scouts are comparing Hooker to Baltimore Raven great Ed Reed. Defensive end Sam Hubbard doesn’t get much press now, but he might be a name to keep an eye on come draft time. The former 6-5 safety has built himself into a true 265lb defensive end, but has kept much of the flexibility, agility, and athleticism he had as a defensive back. He shows good quickness and bend for a long player. He also uses that length well to keep blockers off his body.
Wisconsin doesn’t have a highly touted roster, though running back Corey Clemont might get more press in a less-loaded running back class. But they are a tough team that should give Ohio State’s talented prospects a good chance to show their ability. Wisconsin’s own prospects will have plenty of opportunities to make some noise of their own against the Buckeyes.
After dropping three straight games, the New York Giants have slipped to drafting 16th overall. As usual I’ll be drafting using the CBS Sports Big Board.
Round 1 - 16th Overall
Adam Bisnowaty (OT, Pittsburgh) - Yeah, according to the big board, this is about a full round of a reach. However, I want to finish off the Giants’ offensive line once and for all, and tackles have been over-drafted in the last five years or so. I believe that Bobby Hart’s future is either as a guard or a super sub, so the Giants need a right tackle Bisnowaty is a tough, hard-nosed player with great athleticism. Like Justin Pugh he is an athletic technician, but he can add strength.
Round 2 - 48th Overall
Sam Hubbard (DE, Ohio State) - Hubbard has actually been my “second choice” for several second rounds in past weeks, so this week he gets to be the pick. As I said above, he is a long, athletic former defensive back with good bend, quickness, strength, and hand usage. He should be able to step in and contribute immediately. Hubbard played behind Joey Bosa the last two years and has talked about how much he learned from the 2016 third overall pick. This is a strong defensive end class (among other positions), otherwise he could be a first rounder.
Round 3 - 80th Overall
Elijah Quals (DT, Washington) - Okay, I’m breaking my own rules here, but I need to talk about at least one Washington Husky. Its disappointing that Washington won’t be playing today, because they have very quickly become a hotbed of young talent. It’s tough to recognize it with them on the west coast, but they have a load of young talented players, and could be in the National Championship discussion as soon as this year. Defensive tackles not named “Damon Harrison” or “John Hankins” haven’t gotten much playing time for the Giants, but Quals is a DT in their mold. Stout at 6-1, 320, he possesses impressive movement skills for such a big player. Impressive enough that he is considered a 3-down tackle despite looking like a two-down nose tackle. He is stout at the point of attack but has the quickness and agility to get upfield and disrupt the play.
Round 4 - 112th Overall
Quin Blanding (S, Virginia) - I wanted to go with Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, but a season-ending shoulder injury knocked him off my board. Too bad, because his instincts and athleticism would be welcomed as the Giants’ WILL linebacker. Instead I’m going with Virginia’s Quin Blanding.
A 6-1, 205-pound tackling machine, Blanding was an immediate starter as a freshman. He finished second in the ACC in tackles both years (238 total tackles as a freshman and sophomore). He also has solid ball-skills and has been an all-around playmaker for the Cavaliers. The Giants don’t seem to NEED another young safety, but he is probably the best prospect on the board here, and the mix of talent and skills gives the defense a lot of options.
Well, who will you be watching Giants fans?