Like we did last year, we will take an in-depth look at some of the most talked-about NFL draft prospects from each week. Below, NFL Draft expert Matt Richner recaps Week 10 and looks ahead to Week 11. As the season progresses, we will highlight prospects who are rising up the draft boards along with others who are starting to fall off the radar due to their poor performances.
Player of the Week: Michael Dyer (Louisville, RB):
With a less than traditional path during his college football years thus far, Michael Dyer has just started to show scouts what made him one of the most talked about freshman in college football history. As a member of the 2010 Auburn team that won the national championship, Dyer was the game's MVP and looked to be on his way to a storybook career. In almost a blink of an eye he quickly fell out a favor. Dyer was kicked off the team at Auburn and transferred to Arkansas State, but never played in a game and eventually transferred to Louisville. He has battled injuries during the past couple of seasons and is just now starting to get himself into his old form last seen in the national championship game four years ago.
There is no denying Dyer's talent. With a compact build at 5'9” and 215 pounds and lighting quick speed, he has the incredible ability to make one cut and get up field faster than most running backs in college football. He rarely goes down on initial contact and looks to move the pile, always moving his legs and staying low to take on contact.
With over 20 NFL teams sending representatives to scout the players in the game against Florida State last week, Dyer just might be the one everyone went back and reported on. He had 28 carries for 132 yards, an average of 4.7 YPC, and 3 TDs. Unofficially he had 10 broken tackles and amassed 74 yards-after-contact with an average of 2.6 YPC.
While smaller backs have a tendency to bounce runs to the outside, Dyer is the opposite as he looks to hide amongst the wash in-between the tackles. Of his 28 runs, 19 were designed in-between the tackles.
While he probably won't be a day one or day two draft pick, there is no denying that he could add tremendous value to an NFL roster. With most teams running a two-back system in the NFL, Dyer can add a dimension of speed and be a quality change of pace running back.
While his off-field behavior will be a major red flag, teams will also be curious about Dyer's ability to be a receiver out of the backfield. He only has seven career receptions and had one drop against FSU last week. Teams will want to see improvement in this area of his game to be a third down back in the NFL.
Rashad Greene (WR, Florida State):
On a roster filled with first and second round talent at almost every position, the consistent Rashad Greene could be the most NFL-ready of them all. Greene is on pace to become FSU's all-time leading receiver in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. At 6'0” and 190 pounds, Greene doesn't offer the physically imposing size of a Calvin Johnson. What he does offer is some of the best route running abilities in college football and a set of hands that rarely drop a pass.
Greene is without a doubt Jameis Winston's number one target and a player he looks to in critical situations. Last week against Louisville, Greene had a quality game; nothing spectacular in terms of his statistical production, six catches for 58 yards, a 9.6 YPC average. It was Greene's ability to come up with the critical catch on third downs to move the chains that helped propel FSU to victory.
Third down is where most quality receivers earn their money. For his career on third downs, Greene has 54 receptions for 887 yards, 5 TDs and 47 first downs. On third down receptions, he has a first down conversion rate of 87%. His ability to stay calm and consistently produce during critical moments of a game will serve him well once he makes the jump to the NFL.
While he doesn't possess top tier breakaway speed, Greene is able to gain separation with his physical style at the line of scrimmage and his route running abilities. He understands the down and distance and looks to find the soft spot in the zone to sit down and make the receptions.
Greene won't flash at the combine and might not be a true number one wide receiver in the NFL, but he can be a quality number two wideout who also plays special teams. With all the talent at FSU, Greene is without a doubt the most consistent and someone who I think could have the most long term success in the NFL.
DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville):
A man amongst boys is what it looked like for DeVante Parker looked like against almost every defensive back for FSU last week. Parker physically outmuscled, outplayed and dominated every defender that stepped in his path. In only his second game since returning from an injury sustained in training camp, Parker was still battling some rust but showed no signs of anything less than being the top wide receiver in college football.
Florida State rolled out a defensive game plan that brought multiple defenders to Parker's side and, in some cases, he saw triple coverage. Even with three defenders Parker still was able to produce, finishing the game with eight receptions for 214 yards, a 26.8 YPC average. With his foot still healing from injury, Parker was able to pick up 49 yards after the catch last week.
While he plays in a typical spread offense, Parker's receptions come on deep downfield throws versus typical spreads that look to throw bubble or smoke screen routes to their wide receivers. Parker was targeted 13 times against FSU and his average distance of targeted pass was 16.8 yards past the line of scrimmage.
At 6'3 and 211 pounds, Parker has the frame and size to physically outmuscle smaller defensive backs. Using his size, he is almost always open, no matter if he is covered by one, two or three defensive backs. He is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and can outmuscle and push around most defensive backs, while linebackers and safeties lack the speed to stay with him on deep passes. When healthy, Parker has the speed to run by most defensive backs. It was reported that his 40-yard dash time last spring was 4.3 seconds.
A physical run-blocker, Parker can seal an edge and allow his tailback to get around the corner and up the field. Most receivers coming into the NFL don't know how to run block and are not willing to come down into the box.
While he is still playing himself into shape and overcoming an injury, Parker is most likely to make the jump to the NFL after this season. With a handful of games left, he still has time to prove to scouts why he is the best wide receiver prospect in college football.
A.J. Cann (OG, South Carolina):
A three-year starter at left guard for the Gamecocks, Cann is the top offensive guard prospect in college football. At 6'4” and 313 lbs, Cann can purely outmuscle, outman and outplay his opponent. He had no trouble holding his ground against Tennessee, which has the 54th ranked overall defense in the country.
With over 45 career starts, Cann has been one of the few consistent producers for South Carolina during the past few seasons. Possessing a big frame, he displays a great deal of athleticism and power along with quality technique. He understands his assignments, calling out stunts and blitzes and has the power to knock down a defender with one punch.
Cann allowed zero quarterback pressures, hits or sacks throughout the game. He had five knockdowns and there was a total of 22 rush attempts either to his side or where he was the lead blocker. This resulted in a gain of 105 total yards, with an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Cann is tremendously athletic for his size and can quickly pull out and get to the second level. His surprising quickness and speed eliminates interior speed rushers.
A first round talent, Cann is best suited for a man blocking scheme in the NFL. While I don't think he will be a top-10 pick, he could jump up into the discussion of a top-20 overall pick.
We have seen a rise in interior offensive linemen going in the first round. This year's draft class doesn't have a lot of depth at the guard position. Cann will most likely be the first guard selected in next year's NFL Draft.
Who to Watch This Week:
Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA):
With a subpar performance against Arizona last week, Hundley will need to be at his best against a Washington defense that is ranked. Scouts will be watching to see if Hundley challenges defensive back Marcus Peters, who is a possible NFL Draft first rounder. The Huskies have one of the best ball-hawking defenses in college football with eight defensive touchdowns. Hundley will most likely be under consistent pressure throughout the game. Scouts will be watching to see if Hundley keeps his eyes down the field or ooks to run when his first read isn't there. Hundley hasn't progressed as much as scouts would have liked this season, but he can improve on that opinion with a big game this weekend.
Reese Dismukes (C, Auburn):
While scouting centers might not be everyone's favorite activity, you won't find a better prospect to watch at the position than Reese Dismukes. While quarterback Nick Marshall and the rest of the skill position players on the Auburn offense receive the glory, Dismukes and the rest of the offensive line do all the heavy lifting required to make that offense run efficiently. Dismukes is the unquestioned leader on the offensive line. He has the responsibility to call out the protection scheme and make the changes at the line of scrimmage. Against Texas A&M this weekend, Dismukes will have his hands full with the multiple blitz packages the Aggies will surely throw at him. A smart player with a tremendous amount of experience, Dismukes is one the best center prospects and could have his name called as either a late first or early second round selection in next year's NFL Draft.
Jeff Heuerman (TE, Ohio State):
In most cases, a player who only has recorded nine receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown would not jump out on most people's radar. Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman is one of the best blocking tight ends in the country and he will be tested early and often when the Buckeyes go up to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. At 6'5” and 255 pounds, Heuerman has the size to take on smaller defensives ends and has eliminated an opponent's best pass rusher during a few games this season. With a young inexperienced quarterback, Heuerman has had limited opportunities to showcase his receiving abilities. Look for the Buckeyes to utilize his size and speed in the red zone against a tough Michigan State defense.