Since the return of David Cutcliffe as coordinator, the Tennessee Volunteer
offense has been on high
octane. After a disappointing sophomore campaign Erik Ainge is
once establishing himself as one of the top quarterback prospects for the
future. Ainge, who looked brilliant as a freshman, is back to prior form
this year as a junior completing almost 70% of his passes and averaging just more than
275-yards passing per game.
The beneficiaries of this have been a pair of
receivers, Robert Meachem and Jayson Swain.
A talented but inconsistent
pass catcher, Meachem returned with renewed work ethic this season and the
junior is developing a complete game. Possessing terrific size while
offering game-breaking speed, (Meachem has averaged 21.4-yards on 27 receptions
this season) he now grades as a top seven player at the receiver position.
Swain came into the season graded as a free
agent prospect but the senior has changed that perception. Becoming much more
a part of the offense, Swain has five touchdown receptions this year which is one more
combined total the previous three seasons. At 6'1"/205lbs and a legitimate
4.50-seconds in the forty, Swain will now be given consideration in the early part of the
Arron Sears has also been a silent killer up
front on the offensive line. A dominant force as a pass protector and run
blocker, Sears has elevated his game and could sneak into the draft's initial 40
selections. Whether teams leave him at left tackle or move Sears into
guard is another argument altogether.
Keep an eye on BYU passer John Beck.
The strong-armed quarterback who possesses terrific deep accuracy is on fire this
season. Averaging 321-yards passing in five games this year, Beck is also
completing 68% of his throws. Though he lacks classic pocket-passer height
standing a shade under 6-feet-2-inches, Beck will be knocking on the door of the
draft's first day next April.
Another player on the rise is Ohio State's Doug Datish. The former offensive tackle replaced Nick Mangold at center this
season and has taken well to the new position. Datish has been dominant
and could end up as the first center drafted in April.
As is the case every year as players rise up
draft boards others have fallen.
More was expected from Nebraska's Adam Carriker
than has been delivered thus far. The big defensive end has had minimal
impact as a pass rusher, recording one sack to date. His grade is starting
to slip and Carriker must pick-up the pace during the second half of the season.
James Finley of Oregon has been a huge disappointment
this season. Finley, who was expected to replace Demetrius Williams as the
Ducks number one receiver, has fallen way short of expectations. Coming
into the season with anywhere from a mid-to-late round grade, Finley presently
sits with five receptions this season.