Friday NFL Draft watch notes

Before the season, I wrote that Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones would be one of the breakout stars of college football in 2011. A knee injury has kept Jones out of the last five games, however, so he remains a deep NFL Draft sleeper. Jones is a player who has more than enough athleticism and uncanny length to be a star. He just needs to put it together on the field, stay healthy and string together some good games.

If Syracuse gets pressure on West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith tonight, it will be because of Jones. Smith has been a little inconsistent throwing the ball this season, but is coming off a 450-yard game against Connecticut. Smith is only a junior and really needs to come back for his senior season. He's currently only a late-round project quarterback.

 

The Mountaineers have a quality pass rusher of their own in Bruce Irvin. A likely 3-4 outside linebacker candidate, Irvin struggles quite a bit in the run game and easily gets overpowered when blockers get in his frame. As a pass rusher, though, he's got a good burst and can dip out wide to the outside. He has seven tackles for a loss this season and two and a half sacks.

The more I watch West Virginia Keith Tandy, the more I like him. He's a physical corner who can tackle. He has five pass breakups this season and two interceptions. He's a late-round option, but reminds me of Alterraun Verner of the Tennessee Titans.

If you're watching the Rutgers/Louisville game tonight, you'll be seeing little in terms of top draft-eligible talent. Obviously the player to key on is Scarlet Knights junior wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. The junior has 55 receptions for 555 yards and five touchdowns this season. That's an oddly consistent stat line,isn't it? Anyway, he's expected to enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

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