Week 4 is here, and coming with it is the return of SEC football!
If you follow me on Twitter then you know that I am shameless in my love for all things Big Ten, but I would be lying to you if I said seeing Ed Orgeron’s heirloom tomato of a head on my TV this weekend isn’t going to get my juices flowing.
I am absolutely thrilled to watch SEC football today, and more importantly, SEC football players. For 14 straight years the SEC has led the way in terms of draft picks, so this week we will look exclusively at SEC players and teams.
Before we do so, how about an update from our players highlighted last week?
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame
- This was one a bit disappointing. The JOKer (baller nickname by the way) ended the game with 1 total tackle but there was a segment where Tony Dungy raved about him for a few minutes so that was nice. Moving on.
Tyler Vrabel, OT, Boston College
- On a more positive note, Tyler Vrabel was fantastic in his test against Chris Rumph Jr., one of the nations top pass rushers. The Eagles won the game 26-6 in what was a breakout game on the offensive side of the ball.
Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
- We like to save the best for last around here and Brevin Jordan was not just the best player listed last week, but the best player on the field in Miami’s matchup with Louisville. Jordan ended the game with 7 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in the Hurricanes 47-34 victory. Enjoy the highlights.
(Tutu Atwell, who we highlighted in week 2 also played well, posting eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.)
Now let’s get into this week’s players the New England Patriots and their fans should keep an eye on.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Matchup: @ Ole Miss
- Gametime: 12:00pm
- Network: ESPN
Kyle Pitts is the most complete tight end in the 2021 NFL Draft. The 6’6”, 240 lb tight end has become one of the premier tight end prospects in recent memory. He’s as smooth a route runner as you will see at the tight end position and uses his above average speed to create separation, he also has sure hands to go along with his route running ability. In the running game he’s extremely solid, reminding me a lot of former Patriot, Dwayne Allen. In the passing game he reminds me of someone you will see tomorrow, Darren Waller.
Like I said last week, passing up on a player this good would be a mistake, no matter what kind of draft capital you’ve already spent at the position. Come April, Pitts should be the first tight end off the board and if he’s there when New England makes its selection you can bet they will make him a Patriot.
Depending on how you look at it, the Patriots’ usage of their two rookies so far doesn’t scream confidence. Ryan Izzo, a third-year UDFA isn’t the long term answer, Devin Asiasi is healthy but hasn’t seen the ball, and Dalton Keene can’t even make it onto the field.
It is very early to make decisions on the future of the position but this matchup for Pitts is a great opportunity to showcase himself. Wake up and enjoy this one, because whether his fit with the Patriots makes sense to you or not, this is a special player worth watching.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
- Matchup: Mississippi State
- Gametime: 3:30pm
- Network: CBS
Jabril Cox is good at football. The grad transfer from North Dakota State has been one of the best linebackers in the country since he arrived in Fargo, posting 258 tackles, 32 tackles for loss and 14 sacks and six interceptions in 45 games. Now Ed Orgeron gets a turn at seeing what the 22-year-old can do.
The most intriguing thing about Cox is his ability to seemingly do it all. He’s long, athletic, explosive, and smart as hell. He’s another outside linebacker who has the ability to kick inside on early downs, a lot like rookies Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings. Stepping up the level of competition should prove vital to his development.
The Patriots are VERY thin at linebacker despite having drafted Uche and Jennings in April. Cox fits the mold of the type of player they value in the second level of their defense and should be available in the late second, early third round.
The matchup with Mississippi State will be fun to watch as Mike Leach, Mississippi State’s head coach, runs the Air Raid offense, so Cox should see plenty of time rushing the passer and in coverage.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Matchup: @ Mizzou
- Gametime: 7:00pm
- Network: ESPN
Expect to see a wide receiver in every blog moving forward. So far, Cam Newton is making it work with an old man, a slow-starting sophomore, and a bunch of UDFAs, but moving forward you’re going to need to surround him with more talent, and if he doesn’t return in 2022, you’re damn sure going to need to help out the next guy.
Jaylen Waddle is the perfect answer to New England’s problems as he’s the next man in a long line of stud receivers to come out of Alabama. Waddle is everything that the Patriots don’t have at receiver behind Julian Edelman, a burner who can create separation in a phone booth if need be. He’s made a name for himself in his early career as a deep threat, averaging 17 yards per catch and plays at his best when the play breaks down, being Tua Tagovailoa’s top target in the scramble drill. He also just so happens to be the best returner in college football.
Waddle fits the Patriots mold, has all of the tools that their current receiving corp lacks, and has the ability to contribute immediately. He’s a dream prospect of sorts for New England.
BONUS PLAYER: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Smith doesn’t have the same tools as Waddle but is a bit more refined in his offensive game. He’s about 165 lbs soaking wet but plays bigger than that. On field, he may be the most explosive player on the Alabama roster. There will be a competition throughout the year between these two to see who will be the second receiver taken off the board behind Ja’Marr Chase of LSU. I recommend following along all season.
That is it for Week 4. I am extremely excited to see what you think of these guys after you watch them play so follow along with me on Twitter @KeaganStiefel as I will be live tweeting all three games. Come and have some fun!