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We are two weeks into the 2023 college football season, and players are starting to emerge.
In the latest episode of the “Draft Season” podcast, analyst Tony Pauline discussed the early buzz around college football, highlighting the programs and players that have stood out so far.
“There are several great programs we can discuss but perhaps none bigger right now than Texas,” Pauline said. “Texas has the talent on the roster to basically run roughshod over the Big 12, and then make a run at the college football championship, and if they don’t then it was a complete failure in coaching. I had full confidence that Texas was going to win. Aside from Quinn Ewers, there is a lot of NFL talent there in Texas, Javian Sanders the tight end, Adonai Mitchell the Georgia transfer who I think has first round written all over him, Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, these guys are first- or second-round talents.”
While the Longhorns look to build off their early season momentum, a few other programs such as TCU, BYU, and Georgia have showcased early draft talent.
“TCU has had some good DBs come into the league lately. Josh Newton, the cornerback, I’m sure we’re going to be seeing him at the Senior Bowl. He’s big, he’s talented, he’s got outstanding ball skills. Another a guy to keep an eye on is Bud Clark, a junior cornerback. He’s a little bit bigger, not as polished as Josh Newton, but a guy who’s got a lot of upside. And they’ve got two offensive linemen, Brandon Coleman, the tackle who I believe projects as a third-round pick, and Andrew Coker, who’s a Day 3 pick – a big strong right tackle on the offensive line, a guy who’s going to get drafted. I have him right now as a Day 3 pick, but if he continues to play well and does well in the postseason at either the Shrine Bowl or the Senior Bowl, I think his draft stock will take off.
“BYU has some guys to keep a watch on. Kingsley Suamataia, who moved from right tackle to left tackle, big athletic guy showed terrific pass protection skills at right tackle. You know the draft is left tackle-needy, so if Suamataia really elevates his game, he’s going to go very early in the first round. Micha Harper a terrific prototypical free safety good ball skills, a little bit short but has excellent sideline to sideline range, and keep an eye on the name Ben Bywater, the middle linebacker, a guy who’s all over the place making plays specifically against the run. I’m told that he’s going to test off the charts. He’s going to run in the 4.4s. I have him right now as a fifth-round pick. He’s a guy at 240 pounds if he tests as well as expected, and he’s a guy who’s a good player. He can move into the second day of the draft.”
“Georgia like always has another wave of talented players coming up on both sides of the ball. Obviously, Brock Bowers, I mean here’s a guy who really since his true freshman season has been a dynamic impactful tight end for the program and just seems to get better and better and better. I mean he’s a big guy. He literally looks like a 230-235 pound receiver the way he gets down the field, the way he’s able to make big plays, the way he wins out for the contested catch in a crowd. He’s expected to run in the 4.4s or 4.5s depending on his weight, but he is a clear top 15 pick.”
In addition to these notable programs. Pauline highlighted prospects from other Power 5 conferences such as the ACC and Big 10.
“The ACC is always going to have some great players especially from Clemson. Barrett Carter right now, is a name to watch, he’s got great instincts, he’s a guy that will rush up the field if you need him to rush the passer, he’s outstanding in coverage, shows great sideline to sideline range, great pursuit he really is an outstanding three down linebacker. I have him as a second-round pick, but I could see him absolutely ending up the first round. Ruke Orhorhoro and Tyler Davis are two other guys I like and a great tandem. Orhorhoro is a little bit smaller, he’s a guy who does a better job occupying gaps, but he’s also very athletic, where Tyler Davis is more of a one-gap defensive tackle, a three-technique. If you needed that sort of guy, he’s put on some weight he’s very explosive.”
“When it comes to the Big Ten, Ohio State is the team to mention. Ohio State has the best top-end talent. When you look at them, the first name to mention is Marvin Harrison Jr. Emeka Egbuka, the other receiver, is great as well. The two defensive linemen Michael Hall Jr., a very explosive guy, and J. T. Tuimoloau, both are great. These are all guys first-round maybe, early second-round choices, but of course Harrison is the guy everyone will talk about. He is tall, lanky, long arms, big hands, great bloodlines, catches the ball well. Egbuka is a great receiver but he takes a back seat to Harrison. Denzel Burke, the cornerback, he has a lot of upside, they got two good linebackers there in Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg, and Donavan Jackson the offensive lineman keep an eye on him I have Jackson as a third-round pick. He is a mobile zone-blocking type of lineman with a lot of upside.”
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