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2012 NFL Draft Prep: College Football Week One, Part One

Fooch's Note: In order to help better prepare 49ers fans for next spring's NFL Draft season, NN has decided to provide a bit more comprehensive college football coverage. Drew has been putting together Saturday open threads each week for the past couple seasons. This year we're adding a new level of detail as Drew and Jason (AB83Rules) will break down some of the performances from the previous weekend's games.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of player performances. Rather, the idea is to provide some details on a few players and create a forum for discussion on these and other players. Jason and Drew will each write a post during the week (Drew's post is coming tomorrow morning) breaking down some of the weekend's action with their thoughts on the draft status of the various players.

I realize college football is not everybody's cup of tea, but this is meant more as a way to prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft. College football fans can discuss the weekend as much as they want, but if you're not a big college football fan, this will at least provide an opportunity to learn a bit more about players you will hear even more about next spring.

Head after the jump to read what Jason has to say about a few of this weekend's performances.

First off, I am excited to be a part of the staff here. And be sure to check back each week for my feelings on each week of the college season.

As people know, the 49ers major weaknesses are CB, NT and potentially WR & FS if certain players don't pan out. And with that I would like to begin with looking at how a few players performed this past weekend.

Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd:

Despite the problems the Irish had at QB on Saturday in their 23-20 loss against unranked South Florida, Floyd shined. He came to play, and play he did. Floyd came up with 12 catches, for 154 yards, and 2 TD receptions. At 6'3, 224 lbs, Floyd is a mismatch for DBs trying to cover him. He has all the tools to become a terrific WR at the next level. His hands and instincts are phenomenal. He is the type of WR that will go up and get the tough catches. He is a perfect fit for going up and getting the ball in the end zone.

With his size, he should run in the 4.5 range at the combine in 2012. I know it is early to speak projections, but with a good year I can see him in the late first-round mix.

Notre Dame ILB Manti Te'o:

Now I know we have Bowman at ILB opposite Patrick Willis, but Te'o is worth watching. In case of a mishap or if Bowman simply does not have a good 2011 season, Te'o is a guy I will follow closely. Te'o is a big linebacker, standing 6'2 and weighing 255 lbs; he will be a force in the NFL. In the loss against South Florida, Te'o was all over the place recording 9 tackles, and a sack on a long third down play.

He helped the Irish allow only one offensive touchdown in the 23-20 loss. Come draft time he will hear his name called very early. Now the only way I can see Te'o in a 49ers uniform is if the 49ers have a bad year or, the 49ers decide to trade up from wherever they are picking. Make no doubt about it, Te'o will be a force in the NFL, and just imagine having Te'o and Willis at ILB for years to come.

LSU CB Morris Claiborne:

While he didn't have an Interception in the Tigers 40-27 victory over the Oregon Ducks, Claiborne was in on many plays. Claiborne is a 6'1 185 lbs CB. He had a total of 6 tackles in the win over Oregon. Claiborne is a ball hawk. He had 5 INTs as a sophomore in 2010. He also has return capabilities, so he should run a solid 40 at the combine.

At this point, I feel Claiborne would fit in nicely as one of the top CBs in 2012. I expect he will be a mid first round pick at the lowest come April 2012.

I hope you all enjoyed my look at 3 key players to look at during the 2011 college season. Check back each week as Drew and I look back at the top players of need for the 49ers going into the 2012 NFL Draft.