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NFL Draft Watch: North Carolina vs Clemson Tigers

The most important game for me today, as a guy who is most interested in the N.F.L. draft is the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Clemson Tigers. The Tar Heels are 5-2 (1-2 in the ACC) and the Tigers are 7-0 (4-0) in the A.C.C so it might not be the most important game as far as BCS Standings go or anything, but these teams are filled with N.F.L. prospects.

North Carolina Defense vs Clemson Offense

This mathcup is will I’ll be focusing on all day.

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Star DE Quinton Coples has had somewhat of a sluggish start to the season but had a nice game vs the Hurricanes . This year he’s faced a lot more double teams and his numbers are down. He still applies pressure on the quarterback, but is he showing enough to warrant a top 10 selection? Up to this point, I’d say no. He really needs to have some dominant games down the stretch here to secure his spot as the top 43 DE in college football.

Zach Brown has tremendous speed and is a very quality player, I’ll be interested to see if he ends up in coverage on the talented, and sizeable TE Dwayne Allen. Allen is pretty physical and if Brown is matched up on him throughout the game, I’ll be watching to see how he handles Allen. As for Allen he’s becoming the best two way TE prospect since Brandon Pettigrew, in my opinion. Before the season people were high on Michael Egnew out of Missouri, but he’s been a bit of a disappointment. Allen has a real shot of making it into the first round if he continues his stellar play.

LB Kevin Reddick, the 6’3 240 pound linebacker is having a breakout season. He is currently in Todd McShay’s top 32 prospects (#30 overall).  I haven’t watched Reddick enough and I’ll have to focus on him moving forward.

RB Andre Ellington out of Clemson, is a late 2nd day early third day prospect to me, but his athleticism could put him higher. He’s listed at 5-10 190, he’s a decent receiver out of the backfield (hand’s aren’t great, but makes some plays out of there) and has very good speed. What is a little troublesome is that each year his carries have gone up and his yards per carry have gone down.  He’s a committe running back in the N.F.L. (aren’t all running backs now). His stock could go up if he showcases he’s an even better athlete than people think at the combine.

North Carolina Offense vs Clemson Defense

The big player to watch on North Carolina’s offense is WR Dwight Jones. Jones is a big wide receiver who some are very high on (Russ Lande had him in his top 10 in one of his mock drafts). The Tar Heels have a put a lot of WR in the N.F.L. lately (Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, Greg Little are just to name three). He is more reminiscent of  Greg Little than of Brandon Tate, and has about the same draft stock.

On Clemson Defense there are two defensive linemen to watch who could potentially become first round picks in a down DL class.

Brandon Thompson is this year’s Corey Liuget. A guy who takes up a lot of space is strong and can fight through double teams. He also has a good motor. When I was watching him play vs Maryland he looked winded, but that’s an anamoly. He was on the field way too much in that game. I wouldn’t question his motor.

Andre Branch is a DE who also could get himself into the first round conversation this year if the rest of his year his big. He is very athletic and might have the most pass rushing potential of DE prospects in this draft class. Branch could get into the first round because he has the dreaded word potential, and because this DL class is down. Branch is listed at 6’5 270 pounds.


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Tags: Andre Branch Clemson Tigers College Football Dwayne Allen North Carolina Tar Heels Zach Brown

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