Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big East Maxwell Watch List

ESPN's Big East Blog has released the names on the Maxwell and Bednarik Watch Lists from the conference. Let's take a look at the Maxwell.

Zach Collaros (QB, Cincinnati): He has the talent to be one of the more versatile QB's in the conference, if not the country. Took a bit of a step back in 2010 due to losing a ton of talent around him, including his three best receivers (two to injury, one to NFL). He also struggled to pin down the new offense that Butch Jones installed at Cincinnati. Look for a bounce-back year for the big signal-caller.
2010 Stats: 2,902 Yards, 26 TD, 14 INT
Made-up Odds: 100-1

Isaiah Pead (RB, Cincinnati): Coming off a solid year for the Bearcats. Pead rushed for over a 1,000 yards, while averaging a whopping 6.6 yards-per-carry. Touchdown numbers were a little low, so that number will have to improve. Expect Pead to put up even better total yards this season, and maybe a bigger role in the passing game.
2010 Stats: 1,219 Total Yards, 7 TD's, 6.6 YPC
Made-Up Odds: 200-1

Ray Graham (RB, Pitt): Took full advantage of his opportunity last season, rushing for over 900 yards in split duty. Graham averaged over six yards a touch, while totaling 10 touchdowns. He will now be the feature back, and could once again put up huge yards if he has the space. Expect teams to load the box, considering Pitt doesn't have a strong passing game.
2010 Stats: 1,135 Total Yards, 10 TD, 6.2 YPC
Made-Up Odds: 125-1

Geno Smith (QB, WVU): Many are calling for him to have a superior year, especially if he's able to pick up Dana Holrogsen's passer-friendly system. He had a breakout year in 2010, showing solid accuracy and great poise under pressure. There are durability questions, but so far has managed to be on the field when it matters. Geno will also have handle a lot of high expectations for the Mountaineers this year.
2010 Stats: 2,763 Yards, 24 TD, 7 INT
Made-up Odds: 75-1

Here is the full list courtesy of the National Football Post. We will take a look at the Bednarik Watch List tomorrow.

Rookie Training Camp Forecast

With more good news coming from the NFL/NFLPA talks, it seems like the right time to start thinking about WVU's newest pro class. Here's a closer look at some of the men trying to make the NFL in 2011.

Brandon Hogan (CB, 4th Round, Carolina):
He wasn't just drafted for depth, Carolina believes this kid can make it. Hogan has very good instincts, but size may keep him from ever being outstanding. Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn will probably be the starting tandem, with Richard Marshall on the way out. Expect Hogan to be on Nickle and Dime coverage in year one, with the possibility of becoming an everyday starter in the future.

Robert Sands (FS, 5th Round, Cincinnati): He could be a steal, he could be a bust, or he could be worth a fifth round pick. Sure, you could say that about any draft pick, but many believed Sands had first or second round potential. Others believed his size(6'5", 221) isn't ideal for the Free Safety position in the NFL. He is going to have to prove it isn't an issue. His tackling, and blitzing is solid, but will need to improve his coverage. Expect Sands to be in the mix for a backup roll at FS, and could be on Special Teams Patrol as well.

J.T. Thomas (OLB, 6th Round, Chicago): Well, he's already won the Chicago fans with his awesome gesture earlier this year. However, it will take a lot more to win over the coaches. He's not the biggest or fastest, but shows good leadership and field sense. He will be asked to roll on special teams right away, and will challenge for a backup spot on the outside. Though Nick Roach and Brian Iwuh are both free agents, so anything is possible.

Chris Neild (DT, 7th Round, Washington): One of the most respected Mountaineers to come out, Neild is simply solid. He won't wow anyone with stats. He won't make highlight reels. He is just going to take up a ton of space, and allow the outside to open up. It will be an uphill battle to make Washington. The position is loaded, but who knows with Albert Haynesworth trolling around. Expect Neild to get picked up quickly if let go by Washington.


Noel Devine (RB): Injuries slowed Devine down in his senior year, but don't expect him to disappear. He will need to find the best situation, and show he can get it done in special teams, as well as the offense. If Devine can stay healthy he will get an opportunity to show how explosive he can be.

Jock Sanders (WR): He has return specialist written all over him. But, can he also play the slot in the NFL? At 5'7" it may be tough, but Sanders will try to prove size doesn't mater. He has the talent to play the position, but will he be durable enough? That will be Jock's biggest question mark.

Scooter Berry (DT): Five years ago he was a college fullback. He will most likely head to an NFL camp as a Nose Tackle. He has a lot riding against him, but has shown the ability to continue to adapt. Don't count this kid out yet.