Good morning New York Giants fans!
Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 5 of the college football season. We’re well into the meat of the 2022 season and we have a great slate of games today. There are games in each of today’s time slots that could have an impact on April’s draft.
We can assume Giants’ GM Joe Schoen will be on a trip somewhere today but we don’t know where — at least not as of this writing. However, Schoen has a solid choice of games to scout. There will be potentially important players going against good opponents all day long.
So why are we still messing around with the intro? Let’s get to the games.
(7) Kentucky at (14) Ole Miss
ESPN - Noon
Will Levis seems to be solidifying his status as one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft — Mel Kiper Jr. even has him ranked ahead of Alabama’s Bryce Young. Levis has long been linked to the Giants due to his similarities to Josh Allen, but the biggest questions around have come from his inexperience.
There’s still plenty of football yet to be played this season and we could see players like Hendon Hooker from Tennessee or NC State’s Devin Leary (more on him later) challenge Levis. However, the NFL and scouting community remains intrigued and that makes every game of his against a ranked opponent must-watch tape.
Of course, there are other players on the field besides Levis and we should probably be watching them too.
Players to watch
- Will Levis (QB)
- Tashawn Manning (OG)
- DeAndre Square (LB)
- Tyrell Aijan (S)
- Nick Broeker (G/T)
- Jonathan Mingo (WR)
- Cedric Johnson (EDGE)
- Troy Brown (LB)
- Otis Reese (S)
The schedule makers gifted us with three games in the afternoon slot between ranked opponents. There are good reasons to watch each of these games and some of the best players in the upcoming draft will be on the field. Because we have so many games, I’ll embrace brevity and not go into detail why anyone should watch any individual game. Personally, I’ll probably be flipping back and forth between each of them.
(2) Alabama at (20) Arkansas
CBS - 3:30 p.m.
Standard “Scouting Alabama” rules apply here. Keep an eye on Bryce Young and Will Anderson, as they’ll have the most overall impact on the draft board. But as always, just sit back and take note of whichever players leap off the field. Also take note of which Arkansas players show up. We always want to pay attention to players to elevate their game against the best competition.
(9) Oklahoma State at (16) Baylor
Fox - 3:30 p.m.
The Giants have always invested heavily in their defensive line and while we don’t know whether that will continue under Joe Schoen, it’s a fair bet that it might. Baylor might have the best interior defensive line in the conference and nose tackle Siaki Ika is definitely intriguing as a dancing elephant. The Giants might also pay attention dependable tight end Ben Sims, who’s reliable as both a receiver and blocker.
OK State has a well-built team with talent on both sides of the ball. QB Spencer Sanders could intrigue teams as a potential developmental player, and the Cowboys’ athletic offensive linemen could intrigue NFL teams that run blocking schemes that rely on movement. EDGE duo Brock Martin and Trace Ford offer intriguing options on the defensive side of the ball and could be important role players at the next level.
(22) Wake Forest at (23) Florida State
ESPN - 3:30 p.m.
I just talked about Wake Forest and QB Sam Hartman last week, and they rose to the occasion against Clemson, taking them all the way to a second OT. Hartman finished that game completing 20 of 29 passes (69 percent) for 337 yards and 6 touchdowns. Hartman is certainly still worth watching and he could be a riser throughout the draft process.
The other name to watch is Florida State defensive end Jared Verse. Verse is a transfer from SUNY Albany and was quickly becoming one of the most disruptive edge defenders in college football before suffering a knee injury against Louisville. As of this writing we don’t know whether Verse will be able to play, but his is definitely a name to know.
(10) NC State at (5) Clemson
ABC - 7:30 p.m.
This game could have huge implications for the College Football Playoffs and either one of these teams is a Playoff contender with a strong finish to the season.
I mentioned Devin Leary above and he is another under-the-radar quarterback who could rise over the remainder of the season and through the draft process. He’s smart, efficient, accurate, willing to challenge defenses, and able to throw on the move. While Leary lacks the physical traits of Anthony Richardson or Levis, he’s a poised passer who should set the NC State record for passing touchdowns last year. He’ll get a good test against a Clemson defense that boasts some of the best defenders in the upcoming draft.
Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei (pronounced “oo-ee-ANH-gah-leh-lay”) is looking to rebuild his draft stock after a miserable 2021 season. Uiagalelei flashed brightly in appearances in 2020 as Trevor Lawrence’s backup, but struggled with just about every facet of quarterback play as a starter. This year it seems his development is back on track and he’s playing like he was expected to a year ago. Uiagalelei has massive arm strength to go with prototypical size and athelticism for a modern quarterback. Considering his sophomore campaign, he might be better off returning for his senior season. However he could work his way back into the QB conversation if he continues to that he can play in rhythm and throw with timing, touch, anticipation, and accuracy.
Players to watch
- Devin Leary (QB)
- Devin Carter (WR)
- Thayer Thomas (WR)
- Grant Gibson (OC)
- Drake Thomas (LB)
- D.J. Uiagalelei (QB)
- Joseph Nagata (WR)
- Davis Allen (TE)
- Will Putnum (OG)
- Myles Murphy (EDGE)
- Bryan Bresee (iDL)
- Trenton Simpson (LB)