The NFL regular season gets going in a week, with the annual Thursday kickoff game. However, college football gets its first significant weekend of games going on Thursday. Cal-Hawaii was notable last week, but this week we get a full slate of games.
The return of college football also means NFL scouts and personnel executives will be out in force checking out prospects. NFL roster cuts are due on Saturday, so I imagine most general managers will stay close to home, but there will be plenty of NFL folks observing prospects.
Over the next four or so months, we’ll be keeping an eye on the games where 49ers scouts or other personnel folks are in attendance. This does not mean we can glean exactly what a team plans on doing, but it’s interesting to ponder some of the prospects they are watching.
Greg and Jake will be back this weekend with a look at some of the notable games on the schedule. In the meantime, I came across some news from Chase Goodbread. The NFL.com college writer will post each week which teams are going to some of the games. This week, he looked at USC-Alabama, Clemson Auburn, and Florida State-Ole Miss.
He confirmed that the 49ers will have someone at the Florida State-Ole Miss game. It does not mean they won’t have anybody at the other games, and obviously it does not mean QB DeShaun Watson, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, or others will not be on their radar. But for this week, they’ll be checking out the Seminoles and Rebels.
Goodbread listed out his three top players for each team as follows, and that is followed by Lance Zierlein’s matchup to watch. Will you all be watching any of these matchups?
Florida State: RB Dalvin Cook, DB Derwin James, DE DeMarcus Walker
Ole Miss: QB Chad Kelly, TE Evan Engram, DB Tony Conner).
Zierlein's matchup to watch: Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly vs. FSU S Derwin James. For whatever reason, Kelly simply doesn't get the love from the NFL scouting community that I think he deserves. Kelly has to show leadership qualities and maturity -- that is something that will take time. Against Florida State, he can continue to show off his strong arm while extending plays with his pocket elusiveness. Kelly will have to be on high alert because James is one of the most physically gifted safeties in the game. James has the speed and thump to run Kelly down and smash him if he gets outside of the pocket. James' range also allows him to close on throws that other safeties can't get to. In this matchup, scouts will want to see James play with improved instincts. I will give a small advantage to Kelly, who has three quality targets to throw to, which allows him a chance to keep the ball away from James.