On Friday night at the Georgia Dome, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and his receivers went after highly-touted N.C. State cornerback David Amerson. The Vols' passing attack wasn't afraid to go after the kid who picked off 13 passes in 2011. They thought they could beat him. They were right.
Bray, along with the rest of Tennessee's passing attack, was outstanding on Friday night as the Vols cruised to a 35-21 victory in their first game. The Volunteers got the country's attention and will slowly begin to climb the polls if they continue that high level of play.
Seeing as how I wasn't able to catch the game live, I recorded it to watch later. Here are my notes on some of the top 2013 NFL Draft prospects from Friday's game.
Tyler Bray made a huge statement on Friday night. The junior quarterback displayed a gunslinger mentality that is refreshing to see from a young signal caller. His arm talent was evident on a number of throws, particularly his two touchdown passes. On numerous occasions I also saw him stand tall in the pocket, go through multiple reads and deliver a strike down the field. He always wants to make a play, which is fun to watch.
On the downside, there were a few throws that got away from Bray because of sloppy mechanics. He threw off of his back foot a couple of times and made some inaccurate throws. Those types of mistakes are very coachable, though. He will continue to improve in those areas with experience.
Da'Rick Rogers who? So much for the Vols' passing attack taking a step back. Patterson was incredible on Friday, showing off smooth routes and terrific speed. He embarrassed David Amerson early in the game, and blew by N.C. State's defense on a long touchdown run. He has reliable hands and is just a pure athlete. He'll be fun to watch as the year rolls on.
Justin Hunter was a bit overshadowed by Patterson's flashy performance, but the junior wideout was every bit as impressive. He had his speed and agility back after last season's devastating knee injury, and his hands were as solid as ever. Hunter runs such a variety of routes and gets open consistently, making life easy on Bray. His catch radius is another ridiculous trait. He's the best wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft class.
As a whole, Tennessee's offensive line was decent. They didn't get a consistent enough push off the line of scrimmage to get the running game going, but they pass blocked for Tyler Bray relatively well. This offensive line consists of a handful of NFL prospects, so they'll need to come together as a unit quickly.
For North Carolina State
David Amerson came into the game as everybody's favorite corner. After giving up two ugly, long touchdowns, Amerson's draft stock has definitely taken a hit. He doesn't have the short-area burst to make up for mistakes in coverage. Getting beat by Patterson was one thing, but Amerson also got beat badly by Zach Rogers. Amerson will have to be much better in coming weeks.
Quarterback Mike Glennon doesn't have a ton of talent around him on offense, but he did not look good on Friday. Throwing four interceptions is never beneficial for a quarterback's draft stock. Glennon's play was flat out ugly at times. He has a strong arm, but needs to stop locking onto one receiver and throwing the ball into coverage. He has a ton of work to do. Right now, he's a day three pick.