Happy Saturday, everybody!
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, but its time for Championship Saturday in college football. There are some big games this weekend, and we know the Giants will be at (arguably) the biggest, so lets get started.
Michigan at Ohio State (Noon, ABC)
These are two of the best recruited and best coached teams in the entire nation and both teams have NFL caliber talent at just about every position. Wherever your eyes happen to land on any given play, you’re likely to be watching a player who will play on Sundays. To keep this from being an entire essay on just these two teams, I’ll only mention names (there’s a LOT of them, and I’m probably missing some). Don’t worry, there will be scouting reports on all who declare in the coming months.
- Mason Cole (Center)
- Erik Magnuson (Right Tackle)
- Jake Butt
- Amara Darboh
- Jehu Chesson
- De’Veon Smith
- Taco Charlton (DE)
- Chris Wormley (DT)
- Ryan Glasgow (DT)
- Jabrill Peppers (plays LB, safety last year and in the NFL. Also plays offense and special teams)
- Jourdan Lewis
- Channing Stribling
- Pat Elfin
- Billy Price
- Curtis Samuel
- Tyquan Lewis
- Sam Hubbard
- Raekwon McMillan
- Gareon Conley
- Malik Hooker
Alabama vs. Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS)
Alabama is the prohibitive favorite to with the national championship (again), and predictably they are loaded with NFL talent on both sides of the ball. Leading the Tide is defensive lineman Jon Allen, who is stout and strong in the run game with the quickness and flexibility to be a menace as a pass rusher as well. Behind him is linebacker Rueben Foster, one of the most athletic and active linebackers in the country and a true “three down” ‘backer. Alongside him are rush linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. Behind THEM is corner Marlon Humphrey.
All of these players are potential first round picks.
Left Tackle Cam Robinson is also worth mentioning. He might be the top left tackle in the draft, but an offseason run-in with the law might have him off the Giants’ board. Also, tight end O.J. Howard is a divisive prospect. Some see his impressive blend of size and athleticism and rank him highly while others are unimpressed with his game on the field and knock him down for that.
On the Auburn side of the ball it’s all about edge rusher Carl Lawson, who has missed the better part of two years with a pair of injuries, but his burst off the ball and ability to bend the edge will get him attention. Inside it’s Montravious Adams, a disruptive defensive tackle who has flashed the ability to take the game over from the interior of the defense. And after a weekend that saw a record number of missed kicks, it might be worth it to pay attention to kicker Daniel Carlson who has been one of the best kickers in the country over the last two years and could actually declare early for the draft.
After winning their fifth straight and gaining some separation in the wild-card hunt, the New York Giants would be drafting 24th overall if the season ended today. As usual I’ll be using the CBS Sports Big Board to make my selections, and as usual, I’ll be limiting myself to players ranked within five spots of where the Giants are drafting. I will allow “reaches” of more than five, but they’ll be explained after the pick.
Round 1 - 24th Overall
Bucky Hodges (TE, Virginia Tech, 30th Overall) - Starting out with a perceived reach is the Giants’ way, right? They could use a real difference maker at tight end, and while they could count on growth from Will Tye and Jerell Adams, and re-sign Will Johnson, Hodges presents a serious height/weight/speed mismatch. He has the size to be a threat over the middle and in the red zone as well as the athleticism to stretch the seam and punish defenses. Hodges could be a “complete” tight end, but he will need to work on his blocking technique — though willingness doesn’t seem to be an issue, and size certainly isn’t at 6-foot-6, 250.
Round 2 - 56th Overall
Haason Reddick (OLB, Temple) - I really wanted to add an athletic linebacker in the first round to take the Giants’ defense over the top, but they are just too good to have a chance at Zach Cunningham (13th overall) or Reuben Foster (15th overall). So now I’m adding an under-the-radar EDGE player to give the Giants’ front seven the speed it needs. Reddick doesn’t get much national attention, but he could be the SPARQ monster the Giants lack up front. At 6’1”, 230 he is built like a WILL linebacker and will need to show that he can play in space at the next level, however his athleticism is intriguing. Ranked number six on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” Reddick reportedly runs a 4.47sec 40 yard dash, has a 36” vertical, 10’10” broad jump and a ridiculous 6.75s 3-cone drill.
This past year Reddick has 51 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 passes defensed. Over the last two years those numbers are: 97, 33, 13.5, 4, and 4.
Round 3 - 88th Overall
Dion Dawkins (OT, Temple, 91st overall) - This isn’t a great year for offensive tackles, but I do want to address the position. I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten to sitting down and watching him yet, but Dawkins is a good sized tackle at 6’5”, 325. There are some who believe that he has the athletic traits to stick at left tackle in the NFL, while there are others who think that he could benefit from a move to guard, so perhaps moving to right tackle across from Ereck Flowers would be the best move for him.
Round 4 - 120th Overall
Elijah Hood (RB, North Carolina, 110th overall) - Disclaimer: Okay, I’m breaking my own rule here a bit, but running backs tend to slip, and with players like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffery leading the class, other backs might get overshadowed.
Hood is a compact runner at 5’ 11”, 220 pounds, but he has some impressively sweet feet for a stouter running back. Hood shows good acceleration when he commits to a hole and has the burst to turn a good run into a home run. When it comes to the tough yardage he keeps his legs churning, running behind his pads through contact. In the passing game Hood seems to have reliable hands and is a willing and capable blocker in pass protection or on running plays for other players.
So Giants’ fans, what do you think? And who are you watching today?