Last week, we did an all-offense edition of the grocery shopping series. I promised an all-defense version this week, but I snuck in one wide receiver. Sorry for lying. As long as you're checking out some college games today, here are some players to watch:
This is by far the premier game on the college football schedule this week, and it will feature a great matchup between Clemson DE Vic Beasley and Florida State LT Cameron Erving. Beasley leads the nation with 9 sacks.
Beasley is an explosive speed rusher, but is undersized. He lists at around 6'2 and anywhere between 225 and 235 pounds. Clemson primarily lines him up with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 DE, but there's no way he can play that spot at his size in the NFL, as opposing offensive linemen are able to move him with ease in the run game if they can get their hands on him. 3-4 OLB is probably a better fit, which would put him squarely on the Eagles' radar, one would think. Clemson does stand him up on occasion, but it's rare in the games of theirs that I've seen, which makes evaluation of how well he does in coverage difficult.
I am a huuuuge fan of Lamarcus Joyner.
He played safety in 2011 and 2012, and moved to CB (a lot of slot CB duties) in 2013. If you watch his games, you can see him pop big TEs like Tyler Eifert, or shed blocks and make physical tackles against Georgia Tech's run heavy option offense. He hits RBs and they move backwards.
At CB, you can watch him stay in the hip pockets of WRs, and look to make big plays once he gets the ball in his hands on INTs. He's also a very effective blitzer from the slot.
Oh, and he's a dangerous kick returner.
The issue… He's 5'8. Gahhhh. But take a look at his work:
The Eagles have been hesitant to put Brandon Boykin on the outside because they don't feel like they have anyone who can play in the slot. Joyner could either play some sort of safety / slot CB hybrid role, similar to the one Patrick Chung plays, but with speed. The issue with that would be that the Eagles would have two very vertically challenged DBs in their secondary. Chip Kelly has said he prefers big people, but Joyner's talent and versatility may trump that.
Jones has great size at 6'4, 232, and can run. Check out the 5:14 mark below, and watch him covering Sammy Watkins (a certain 1st round pick) in the slot. This is very impressive for a player his size:
He's only 5'10, but look at the season this dude is having:
He's averaging 10.5 catches for 157 yars and 2 TDs per game. Crazy. Cooks also played against Chip Kelly in 2012 and 2011.
Verrett had 6 INTs and 15 pass breakups in 2012. He's fast, is known for having great technique (which we all know Billy Davis loves if you've ever heard him speak), and he'll stick his nose in there and make tackles. Obviously, he has also shown that he can be a ballhawk.
Some people think he's the best defender in the Big 12, and is likely to be drafted in the first round. He'll have a good test today against Oklahoma State, who throws for over 300 passing yards per game.