With most Southeastern Conference schools playing FCS teams, the focus this week was spread around the nation. That, of course, meant more games to watch and players to check out. Here's a look at some players who helped themselves and some random draft notes.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Because Alabama's Chance Warmack is so good at guard, Cooper often goes overlooked. Cooper may not be as powerful as Warmack, but he could also be a top 20 pick. He's an athletic blocker who gets a good first step to beat defensive linemen. Cooper, an Outland Trophy finalist, held up nicely against a powerful Virginia defensive line on Saturday.
Patrick Omameh, G, Michigan
I wanted to tune into the Michigan/Iowa game to follow Wolverines left tackle Taylor Lewan (he played fine). But it was Omameh that stood out on the UM offensive line. Omameh isn't overly physical for a guard, but he's athletic and plays smart. His footwork against an active Iowa front four was sound. He may only be on the fringe of the NFL Draft radar, but don't be shocked if he makes an NFL roster next season.
Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Barr, a former running back, has come out of nowhere this season. He's a draft riser because of his speed and strength. Barr had a big sack on Matt Barkley late in the fourth quarter that forced USC try a field goal that ended up being blocked. Barr was routinely near the football on Saturday and has the look of a first-round pick.
Shayne Skov, MLB, Stanford
In Stanford's upset of Oregon, Skov showed why he should be considered almost as much as Manti Te'o. Oregon didn't break a lot of big running plays against Stanford because Skov was helping hold the line up front. It's true Skov can be the benefactor of attention going to outside linebacker Chase Thomas, but he's good at stepping up into the hole to make a big play.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
I've written about Archer here a time or two, but he's worth noting again. Kent State/Bowling Green was the best college football game of the weekend that no one watched. Had they watched, they would have seen Kent narrowly beat the Falcons for a berth in the Mid-American Conference title game. They would have seen Archer, one of the most exciting players in the nation. Archer has elite speed, which makes up for his general lack of size. Although he's just a junior, Archer may be wise to test the NFL after this season. (Side note: Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell should be on the fast track for a bigger job. He's quickly turned Kent around and runs an exciting defense)
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
Amerson has looked like he's been pressing this season to match his 13-interception sophomore year. Amerson too often gambles to make a play on the ball. It happened to him Saturday and he was easily beat by Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins on a double move. If he can get beat by that on occasion in college, he'll routinely get beaten by it in the NFL. Amerson is looking like a player who should return for his senior season.
More struggles for USC's Matt Barkley. At some point you have to wonder just how far in the draft he will drop.
John Simon of Ohio State had another big game with four sacks against Wisconsin. Despite that, I'm still not sure where he plays in the NFL. He could get overmatched if he stays at end, but he's not a fluid enough athlete to convert to a true linebacker. Whatever team drafts Simon will get a gutsy team leader, but they'll have to figure out a unique way to use him. The same can be said for Kent State defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix, who is only a junior.
Is Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones on the come back trail? In the past three games, he's thrown 12 touchdowns and completed more than 70 percent of his passes. Although those numbers have come against some bad defenses (Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia), Jones has looked mored composed in the pocket. He could be playing himself into the Senior Bowl, which will be critical for his draft standing.
The sky is the limit for Rutgers junior cornerback Logan Ryan. He again looked good this weekend and had an interception. After Alabama's Dee Milliner, Ryan is my second-rated junior cornerback.
Bowling Green tight end Alex Bayer is someone to remember going forward. The junior has nice hands and good size. He makes a lot of plays for the Falcons over the middle. It's unlikely he comes out after this season, so sound cool in front of your draft pals by talking about him for 2014.
On Saturday, we may have gotten a feel for what Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson can be in the NFL. Because of injury, he can't throw the ball. But that didn't stop him from getting on the field. Robinson ran for 98 yards lining up at both quarterback and running back. Most think Robinson is a wide receiver in the NFL. I think he's more of a combo player who should get as many rushes as receptions.
The Syracuse/Missouri game featured two solid tackle prospects in Justin Pugh of the Orange and Elvis Fisher of the Tigers. Neither stood out. Pugh is the better of the two, but neither player should get drafted especially high. They both look like reach blockers. Pugh is a little bit more athletic, but both had issue handling speed rushers.