Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Examining OU's draft stock after FSU win
By ESPN.com staff
Oklahoma played on college football's biggest stage Saturday night, a prime-time network broadcast in a top 5 road matchup.
Those are always the most scrutinized games of the week, but our scouts were impressed with what they saw from Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, despite a modest stat line.
Kevin Weidl took a look, and says Jones' two interceptions highlight two knocks on his stock.
The first, which came late in the first quarter when Jones' arm was hit and the ball deflected into the arms of a Seminoles defender, highlighted his lack of ideal mobility. Jones is a big, sturdy prospect, but he doesn't move that well within the pocket and he has to feel the rush better in order to step up and avoid defenders.
And the second?
The second pick Jones threw, which came in the third quarter, was the result of a poor decision. Oklahoma ran a wheel route to the sideline and Jones failed to see safety help coming over the top, giving he safety the ability to come from the middle of the field to make a play on the ball. The turnover didn't really hurt, but Jones has to be more aware of the coverage in that situation.
There were mistakes, but the biggest takeaway of the night was Jones growing maturity, bouncing back from earlier mistakes to make huge plays late in the game when momentum had swung. Earlier in his career, Jones didn't show the ability to make those. He's clearly grown.
After the Seminoles tied it early in the fourth quarter on a 56-yard touchdown pass, Jones took the field and calmly marched the Sooners 83 yards in eight plays, retaking the lead on a 37-yard scoring pass to Kenny Stills.
Jones was 5-of-6 on the drive, including a 22-yard completion to Ryan Broyles on third-and-12 that set the stage for the pass to Stills. His size is an asset and if Jones continues to show poise, he will go a long way toward cementing himself as a top-10 prospect.
Jones, who is currently No. 6 on Mel Kiper's Big Board, wasn't the only Sooner who caught scouts' eyes. Broyles isn't listed on Kiper's list of top-25 prospects, but despite playing with an illness, he impressed Weidl, too.
The more I watch Broyles, the more impressed I am with his overall game. He's not the fastest or most explosive receiver, but Broyles is a smooth route-runner, knows how to tempo his routes, gets out of breaks well and catches everything with his hands.
As we see more and more NFL teams spreading the field with multiple-WR sets, the stock of a player such as Broyles goes up.
Weidl grades Broyles as an early third-rounder (seems low in my opinion, but understandable considering his physical limitations) but says he may move into the second round by season's end.