Bowl Game Observations: Part Three


It’s that time of year when I turn my focus to the college bowl games to gain insight. I will do my best to find some draft eligible players that could improve your dynasty teams. This article intends to start conversations and encourage continued thought throughout the entire draft process. These are my observations based on the bowl games, unless otherwise indicated. There will be much more in-depth, thought-provoking discussions later in the offseason. I am listing these players alphabetically.

Aaron Donald, DT/NT PITT
Donald is a big, powerful fire hydrant of a man.  He is very explosive off the snap with quick feet and uses his strong trunk.  The defensive lineman has great leverage to push multiple members of the offensive line backwards and keep them away his body.  This caused the opposing quarterback a lot of pressure and opened up a lot of rushing lanes for the other defenders.  Bowling Green blocked Donald with at least two, and sometimes three, linemen.  The Pittsburgh coaches lined the young lineman up in the one, two, and five gaps trying to put him in the best places to cause havoc.  He does a good job getting his arms up to disrupt the passing lanes. The offensive line wore on him as the game went on and Donald showed a little too much of a fiery, mean streak.  When the game was on the line, this play maker used a swim move from the defensive end spot to sack the quarterback with less than a minute in the game to end the Falcons chances. If your league starts a DT spot, keep an eye on him as this Donald won’t get trumped.

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT MINN
Hageman is a converted tight end with athleticism that jumps off the screen.  He uses good leverage and forces his blockers to carry his weight wearing them down.  His quickness off the line gets him good initial pressure despite spending the majority of the time double teamed.  The defensive tackle plays the run and pass equally well, but could stand to get out of his stance a little lower.  The swim move and the bull rush are his pass rushing techniques that he is quite impressive using. Hageman is best suited to play a four man front.

Gator Hoskins, TE MARSH
He is not a traditional tight end even though he did line up beside the tackle as well as in the slot.  Unlike most tight ends, Hoskins ran deeper routes as he reminded me of Miami Dolphins’ Charles Clay with his athleticism.  The young tight end handles physical coverage well, but blocks more like a wide receiver, just getting in front of his man and leaning a bit.  Hoskins does a good job of pretending to block and then sneaks out for the pass.  The receiver catches the ball in stride, has a little wiggle to his game, and can carry defenders on his back when nearing the goal line.  In the red zone, he ran two quick half circle routes that both resulted in touchdowns.  Hoskins has a good catch radius as he skied above defenders to get a few passes and caught a couple more off his hip.  I came away very impressed.

Jordan Lynch, QB N-ILL
There is little chance that Lynch will play quarterback in the NFL, but I am not sure what his position should be outside of a gimmick player/fullback.  The young signal caller is best when he is bootlegging to his right as it cuts the field in half for him and he has a chance to set his feet before throwing.  Otherwise his passes tend to flutter beyond 15 yards down the field.  Lynch usually makes quick decisions about where to go with the ball, but does not sense backside pressure well.  In the two games scouted, I don’t believe I have seen him take a single snap from center.  As a read option quarterback, Lynch is less talented than Tim Tebow or Jake Locker, but perhaps he can succeed in the NFL if he isn’t married to the idea that he is strictly a quarterback.  When Lynch carries the ball, he has good foot quickness, breaks arm tackles, has strong leg drive and gets a bit squirmy in a pile.  He seems athletic enough to learn how to catch and block, but needs to prove to NFL teams he can.

Bishop Sankey, RB WASH
The young back has good leg drive and is a very smooth runner who seldomly gave defenders much to hit.  While he was more explosive running to the outside, Sankey was efficient with the ball in between the tackles and becomes the low man in short yardage situations.  His ability to take good angles and quick burst were on display on both of his rushing touchdowns as he opened up his hips and ran to daylight.  The young back has soft hands, uses good vision as he usually bounces away from his first hit. Sankey needs to do a better job picking up his feet near the line of scrimmage as he got caught up in the trash at times.  He would best fit in a West Coast offense.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE WASHjenkins
The young tight end did not get targeted much during the bowl game, but made the most of what he got.  He shows good body control, contorting to make a difficult sideline catch.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins (“ASJ”) tracks the ball well in the air, brings it down with his strong hands and had a knack of getting behind his coverage.  He lined up all over the formation: at traditional tight end, in the slot, out wide, and as a wing back where he was used as a lead blocker.  It took a lot of force to bring him down as he has a good center of gravity and power.  As far as effort goes, ASJ played hot and cold so he needs to be more consistent.  He is quite quick off the line as his best play was a short 16 yard post  pattern that he caught in the end zone.  The defensive back barely put a finger on him and ASJ was gone.  He will be an exciting player in the NFL.

Jerome Smith, RB CUSE
The 6′ 217 lbs. back plays bigger than his size as he looks all shoulders and no neck.  Smith runs close to the ground while lowering his shoulders to deliver punishment.  He possesses good balance, sinks his hips while galloping down the field, and he does not go down easily.  He is versatile as he has soft hands, steps up to take on pass rushers and lines up in the slot running a few tight end type pass patterns.  On one play he would look like a battering ram and then on the next, Smith would use his quick feet and bust out a jump-cut.  The young back looks like he could be a part of a RBBC situation at the next level, but I’m not sure he could become a starter in the NFL.

P.S BYU fans, I am writing about WR-Coleman and OLB-Van Noy in Part Four!

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