Each week I’ll be trying to provide you guys with a list of draft-eligible players that caught my eye over the weekend’s slate of college football games, oftentimes to the extent that I’ll add them or move them up my watch list. If you notice anyone that deserves mention on the list that I may have missed, be sure to let me know (@LedyardNFLDraft on Twitter).
1. Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
There’s a lot of chatter about Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence on the Clemson defensive line, but it was Bryant who finished the team’s 11-sack performance against Auburn with four sacks of his own, eclipsing his career total in a single game. At 6-4, 265 pounds, Bryant is stacked with muscle and certainly looks the part of a starting NFL defensive end. He showed better cornering skills than I expected to see against Auburn, and playing on a defensive line loaded with first round talent, Bryant has the chance to put up serious numbers in 1v1 situations this season.
2. Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma
Flowers is more than just a fullback, as the stocky skill player lined up in the slot, backfield, on the wing and in-line against Ohio State, finishing with seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps most impressive was the physical demeanor in the trenches that Flowers consistently displayed, kicking out defensive ends or cutting them with his 6-0, 240-pound muscle-bound frame. He has soft hands and more wiggle in the open field than you would expect, and obviously possesses the football smarts to play a ton of different roles from different alignments. Pure fullbacks may be a dying breed in the NFL, but Flowers can be a weapon, and I think there will be a place for a player like that on a couple rosters around the NFL.
3. Tracy Sprinkle, DT, Ohio State
Sprinkle missed last season with an injury, but the senior responded by dedicating himself to his recovery and eventually becoming captain of the Buckeyes defense. I haven’t seen enough of Sprinkle to have a strong opinion about him, especially as a pass rusher, and Ohio State’s defensive line rotation makes him tough to evaluate live. But what I did see of Sprinkle intrigued me. He’s 6-2, 293 pounds and moved explosively, playing with a nasty temperament and strong hand usage. The Buckeyes have so many draftable talents up front that sometimes a good player like Sprinkle can get lost in the shuffle, but he’s definitely on my watch list after seeing him make some impressive plays against Oklahoma.
4. Koron Crump, DE, Arizona State
Currently tied for second in the nation (first in Power 5) in sacks, Crump is an explosive, undersized pass rusher who has lined up all over Arizona State’s defensive front. He’s typically an edge player, but he’s also blitzed from an off-ball alignment, showing a deadly spin move and the athletic tools to evade blocks as a pass rusher. Crump might not be polished with his hands or pad level, but I can definitely see the raw athletic traits to attract NFL attention, especially if he maintains strong production. At 6-2, 220 pounds and fairly toned up already, it remains to be seen where Crump’s best spot will be at the next level.
5. Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
In a draft that looks like it will be loaded with premiere talent at the running back position, adding another to the fold almost feels overwhelming. But the 5-10, 220-pound Penny has rushed for 413 yards on 39 carries this season, averaging over ten yards a carry! He scored on a rushing, receiving and kickoff return touchdown against Arizona State last weekend, including a 95-yard rushing score that accounted for a good chunk of his 216 yards. Penny had over 1,000 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns last season as Donnel Pumphrey’s backup, while averaging well over seven yards per tote. San Diego State’s offensive line has some maulers on it, and when you combine that with Penny’s speed and power, it makes for one heck of a time for a defense. One other interesting note about Penny: he has six career kickoff returns for touchdowns, a Mountain West conference record.