This week in 7 & 5, I finally got to watch some players I had been waiting to get my eyes on. Some left me disappointed while others most certainly did not.
1 – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
If a brick wall could move, it would be Charles Cross. He showed a great anchor against the LSU pass rush. And if they got a little bit into him, Cross would just re-anchor and end all hope. When he gets his arms fully extended it was lights out. Cross also gets downfield blocking like he was a tight end. I think he could be a first-round talent when it is all said and done.
2 – George Karlaftis, DL, Purdue
Karlaftis has power at the point of attack and he consistently beat double teams. He had a strip sack in the first quarter. I think Karlaftis will be a scheme-diverse player in the NFL. Against Illinois, he finished with five solo tackles and the aforementioned sack and forced fumble.
3 – Jaylan Foster, S, South Carolina
Foster plays a perfect centerfield safety in the Gamecocks’ 4-2-5 defense. He recorded his fourth pick in four games this year. While Foster notched 12 tackles against Kentucky (four solos) you can see his hesitancy to get his nose dirty at times. In a safety class that lacks depth, I could see Foster rising up boards.
4 – Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Zappe has nice touch on his intermediate passes. He has a decent arm with a quick release. The only real issue I have with the Houston Baptist transfer is his lack of mobility. Zappe has had insane production the last two seasons. Against Indiana, Zappe completed 31/44 for 365 yards and three touchdowns. I also came away impressed with his former HBU now WKU teammate, wide receiver Jerreth Sterns. Sterns is a quick slot receiver with nice hands. He will end up being drafted late and playing for years in the NFL.
5 – Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State
Jayden Daniels is inconsistent as a passer but he does have a nice feel in the pocket. Daniels has the arm to make all of the throws that are required of him. He is also a ridiculously good athlete. Against Colorado, Daniels completed 18/25 for 236 yards. He also ran seven times for 75 yards and two scores.
6 – Deangelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky
I have been a huge fan of Deangelo Malone dating back to last season and was surprised when he returned to school. Malone is quick around the edge and has a variety of pass rush moves in his arsenal. Against Indiana, he beat the left tackle on an inside move for a sack and consistently harassed Michael Penix Jr. Malone finished the game against the Hoosiers with 9 tackles (two solos) and 1.5 sacks.
7 – Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana
Zappe didn’t do a whole lot of damage against Mullen on Saturday night. The junior corner had great coverage downfield, showing off his instincts. Mullen had apparently been struggling this season but since this is the only game of his I have ever watched; this is what I have to go by. Mullen had two tackles and three PBUs against the Hilltoppers.
1 – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
There is no doubt that Willis flashes with a huge arm and his tremendous athleticism. It’s his development in the pocket that worries me. Willis took several unnecessary sacks against Syracuse because he couldn’t make quick enough decisions. A team that could take the time to develop Willis may be rewarded for their troubles. I can’t commit to a first-round grade on him much less some of the QB1 chatter I have seen. Willis was 14/19 for 205 yards and three scores in the loss to the Orange. However, as I mentioned before, he was sacked six times.
2 – Xavier Gaines, TE, Marshall
First off, let me say that Xavier Gaines is a hell of a talent. I just don’t know where he projects to the NFL level. Marshall lists him as a tight end. Gaines is 6’3” 216-pounds. That isn’t going to fly for an NFL tight end or even an h-back. I don’t think Gaines has the speed to be a wide receiver at the next level. Maybe a team can carve out a role for him. Gaines runs great routes and has nice hands. I just can’t seem to figure out what role he can play. Against App State, Gaines caught five passes for 104 yards and a TD on six targets.
3 – Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
Kentucky gave Rodriguez the ball to finish off South Carolina and he did just that finishing with 144 yards rushing (26 carries). It was the fumbles earlier in the game that are an issue for me. They weren’t helmets on the ball or anything like that. They were just one-armed rip-outs. Rodriguez put the ball on the turf twice against the Gamecocks to go along with two fumbles earlier in the season. If you can’t keep possession of the football, it doesn’t matter how productive or explosive you are.
4 – Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
I don’t know if Kevin Harris is still struggling with his back injury or not. But I can tell you that he isn’t the same rusher that led the SEC in yards per game a year ago. Every once in a while, you get the flashes but you don’t get the whole explosion. Against UK, Harris had 12 carries for 38 yards and four catches for 13 yards.
5 – Jarek Broussard, RB, Colorado
Broussard looked like a player that could rise based on 2020 tape but after two games of viewing this season, I just don’t see it anymore. Against the Sun Devils, Broussard had 13 touches for 42 yards.