Good morning New York Giants fans!
Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 6 of the 2023 college football season. Last week (in large part due to which teams had bye weeks) we took a look at some of the offensive and defensive skill position players. This week we’re turning to the trenches and looking at players offensive and defensive linemen (for the most part).
There are going to be a lot of great blockers and pass rushers on the field today, so let’s get into it.
Maason Smith, iDL, LSU
Missouri (21) vs. LSU (23), ESPN, noon
Smith missed the entire 2022 season due to a torn ACL (suffered while celebrating a play early in September). But he’s back healthy now and is a disruptive force on the LSU defensive line. Smith is 6-foot-5, 300 pounds and combines explosive athleticism with considerable power, as well as the versatility to play as a defensive end or interior defensive lineman.
Smith could appeal to the Giants if they let Leonard Williams and A’Shawn Robinson walk after the 2023 season.
There are a bunch of intriguing players in this game, with LSU WR Malik Nabers standing out as one of the top receivers in the country. Giants fans will also want to pay attention to LSU guard Miles Frazier and Missouri T/G Javon Foster.
Donovan Jackson, OG, Ohio State
Ohio State (4) vs. Maryland, FOX, noon
OSU is stacked, as always, and wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka are the main attractions on offense.
But I want to turn our attention to their left guard. Jackson is lean for an interior offensive lineman at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, with great athleticism and flexibility. He can mirror and match interior rushers, climb to the second level, get out and space and block, or stay ahead of the play as a puller.
He still needs to get more consistent with his technique, but Jackson has all the tools to be a good (and versatile) guard in the NFL.
Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
Last week I said that I wanted to talk about Verse, but FSU was on a bye week.
Verse has emerged as one of the top edge defenders in college football after not getting any FBS offers as an undersized high school tight end. The Florida native started his college career at SUNY Albany, but transferred back home prior to the 2022 season. He has the potential to be a dominant defender at the NFL level with an explosive first step, good bend, and already has a strong technical grounding.
At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds (listed), Verse is big enough to play with power, but also has the tools to win with speed. There should be quite a few good pass rushers in the 2024 draft, so Verse’s ultimate draft position will be fluid. But he should still make an NFL defense better, regardless of where he’s drafted in the first round.
And while we’re at it, we should also pay attention to FSU WRs Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson. Both players are massive targets (6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and 6-foot-7, 237 pounds, respectively), and have been two of the best receivers in college football.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Georgia (1) vs. Kentucky (20) - ESPN, 7 p.m.
Georgia is once again well-stocked with talent on both sides of the ball. I would rather have concentrated on Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims in this game, but he’s out with an ankle injury suffered back in September. So we’ll just have to make due with their most dynamic offensive player.
Brock Bowers has been one of Georgia’s best offensive players since his true freshman season, an impressive feat for a tight end. Or perhaps that should be “tight end”, because at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Bowers has (borderline) tight end size, but he is an offensive weapon first and foremost. He not only has impressive athletic traits, but he has great ball skills and contested catch ability, as well as YAC potential. While he has enough size to be an option blocking on the back side of plays, if you’re asking him to block, you’re squandering offensive potential.
I don’t wanna hear it. If you’re disqualifying Brock Bowers as an option for the #Bears in Round 1 just because he’s a TE, you’re crazy.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) September 30, 2023
He’s a special athlete with elite ball skills and rare YAC ability. Genuinely has All-Pro potential in the pros. pic.twitter.com/fFOz1fLR28
Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona
USC (9) vs. Arizona, ESPN, 10:30 p.m.
Morgan probably would have been drafted pretty highly last year, but he returned to school after a late-season ACL injury.
Morgan (6-foot-5, 330 pounds) should be a Top-50 prospect when all’s said and done, and he should have the positional versatility to play tackle or guard at the NFL level. He’s a technically savvy blocker with good feet and plenty of strength to anchor against most opponents. Injuries are a concern for him, and that could be what knocks him down to Day 2, but he’s a good prospect when healthy.
Arizona LT Jordan Morgan isn't always mentioned with the top OT names in the 2024 draft but he absolutely should be. He has everything you want in a franchise LT. Size (6047v, 306v), length (34" arms), ++ athleticism and strong anchor. pic.twitter.com/SB89sadYli— Chicago Football Connection (@CFCBears) October 5, 2023
Of course, all eyes will continue to be on USC quarterback Caleb Williams, but Morgan is definitely worth watching when Williams is on the sideline.