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Week 8 college football watch list, game thread

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Week 8 of the college football season is upon us! We’ve got a game thread for you along with some prospects to keep an eye on.

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Indiana v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Greetings 49ers Faithful! Week 8 of the college football season is upon us, and after a heart-breaking loss against the Green Bay Packers, the reality of our draft positioning is becoming more apparent. Ideally, picking late in the draft in hopes of a successful season full of “W’s” determining the team’s draft fate is the positive outlook of a team on the rise. However, the direction of the team has some fans asking questions and although expectations have been shattered, we are entering the time of the season where a potentially high draft selection is creating some excitement amidst the sorrows of 49ers’ gameplay.

Therefore, we are back to divert our current 49ers season’s hopes in order to refocus on keeping our eyes towards the future of the team with our continued breakdown of college football’s weekly action - keeping our sights set on the 2019 NFL Draft.

Each week throughout the college season Josh Eccles, Alex Eisen, and Greg Valerio will break down a few college football games providing highlights and profiles of a few notable draft-eligible prospects you should pay attention to. This will help people build a list of names to know when we get into the offseason.

For this week, Josh, Alex, and Greg each picked two players to talk about. All prospects highlighted are featured today; nonetheless, feel free to drop in the prospects you are watching.

Josh Eccles

Darrell Taylor, EDGE, No. 19 - Tennessee Height 6’4” | Weight: 247 lbs No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, October 20th | CBS

Here’s a player who possesses the athleticism and potential necessary to make some moves up the draft board before next spring. On the season Darrell Taylor has accumulated a total of 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery (all 3 of his sacks came against a loss against the Georgia Bulldogs). Taylor is far and away Tennessee’s best prospect on either side of the ball and he faces his toughest test of the season against offensive tackle Jonah Williams and the rest of his Alabama Crimson Tide teammates.

Taylor has the size, length and physical demeanor to hold the point of attack. Recognizes blocking schemes and run concepts and goes on the attack. Good motor and pursuit. If things go well for him for the rest of the college football season and into draft season then he could very well provide value for a team selecting on day 2 of the NFL draft.

Tanner Farmer, G/C, No. 63 - Nebraska. Height 6’4” | Weight: 325 lbs Minnesota at Nebraska | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, October 20th | BIG 10 Network

Hopes were high before the beginning of the season for Cornhuskers fans, players, staff, administration, and so on. Early on those in Lincoln - like offensive lineman Tanner Farmer - had their sights set high (you can read more about that here, along with the idea that Farmer thinks he is able to lift 1,000 pounds). It remains to be seen if that’s true but one thing is for certain: Nebraska, having just thrown a ton of money at head coach Scott Frost, is desperate to notch their first win on the year.

Farmer has the fluidity across the line that will make him a valuable asset for teams at the next level. His best position is guard but has also shown effectiveness at center, a trait that bodes well for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. As things stand right now Farmer would prove to be a nice pick up on day 3 of the NFL draft - if I’m John Lynch I would keep my tabs on Farmer heading into the offseason.

Alex Eisen

Jonathan Abram, S, No. 38 - Mississippi State
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 200 Projected | 40: 4.41
No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU | 4:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday October 20th | ESPN

A leader and captain of the Bulldogs defense. Abram plays a physical brand of football. So far this season Abram has recorded 45 tackles with one interception. Abram is a hard hitting safety within the box, who finishes tackles quickly, while often preventing the opponent from gaining yards after a reception. Has demonstrated strong football instincts and anticipation, while making plays in coverage.

Abram is a versatile athlete and defensive playmaker with the ability to cover tight ends, receivers, as well as making plays inside the box and along the edge against running backs. At times, Abram is utilized in blitz packages, and has good initial burst and speed off the snap. I like Abram’s size and physical features, that go along with his natural blend of speed and strength. Abram is a fringe second round prospect at the moment with his arrow pointing up.

Kelvin Harmon, WR, No. 3 - N.C. State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 213 | Projected 40 Time: 4.55
No. 16 N.C. State at No. 3 Clemson | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, October 20th | ESPN

Harmon has a great combination of size and speed for the position. His height and strength gives him the ability to outbox defenders, especially in man to man coverage and one-to-one opportunities along the outside. A smooth runner who drives himself fluidity through his hips. Harmon has a developed route tree and puts himself in position to make plays. Has efficient breakaway speed, with the ability to stretch the field vertically.

Often wins at the point of the catch, and will create yards after the reception. Has had some issues with inconsistent hands and has been a culprit of drops. He will need to continue to clean up and improve this area of his game. Thanks to a developed route tree, he has received the attention of scouts and evaluators. If his hands can become as reliable as his route running, Harmon has the ability to rise early into the second day of the draft. At the moment Harmon is a fringe day two prospect who can slip into the early parts of day three.

Greg Valerio

Garrett Bradbury, C, No. 65 - NC State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 300
No. 16 NC State vs. No. 3 Clemson | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, October 20 | ESPN

A highly respected leader on and off the field, Garrett Bradbury commands a group of NC State offensive linemen known as the “Band of Brothers”, and according to Pro Football Focus, an offensive line unit ranked seventh in the nation (through Week 6). The former tight end is an athletic and smooth prospect with great agility and is lauded for his high football IQ. A technician on the field, Bradbury utilizes solid hand placement in concert with fluid and light feet exploding after the snap quickly anchoring with excellent lateral agility adjusting to movement maintaining balance (functional strength is a work in progress). He displays excellent movement and quickness excelling in pulling and reaching the second level quickly taking advantage of angles and displaying the athletic ability to swing his hips blocking in space.

The 49ers have shown improvement with their offensive line unit as the season progresses; nevertheless, it is a unit in need of consistency and depth. Along with Bradbury, two other NC State prospects to keep an eye on are OG Terronne Prescod (No. 70) and OT Tyler Jones (No. 53). Prescod is PFF’s highest-graded guard in the nation, and Jones is projected as an OG at the next level and a prospect I will feature bellow. Although Bradbury is recognized for his outstanding awareness and leadership commanding the offense line with precision and authority, all three are interior offensive linemen prospects suited to play in a zone blocking scheme.

Tyler Jones, OG, No. 53 - NC State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 306
No. 16 NC State vs. No. 3 Clemson | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, October 20 | ESPN

NCAA Football: South Carolina at North Carolina State
Tyler Jones
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Another member of the “Band of Brothers”, Tyler Jones is an underrated prospect that may not be highly touted as other prospects, but is a versatile offensive lineman well suited in a zone scheme. Although Jones lacks the ideal measurables at 6-foot-3-inches for his current left tackle position, he is a long-armed prospect that should not be underestimated. He displays the versatility to play both tackle and guard positions, and is an athletically gifted guard prospect with excellent explosion, fluidity, strength, and quickness.

Jones showcases explosion and impressive athleticism allowing him to move swiftly with fluidity winning with technique, agility, and leverage. He shows the ability to be technically sound and displays good physicality at the point of attack. He mirrors extremely well (impressive adjustments to movement) with great use of hands and lateral movements. Moreover, Jones excels quickly reaching the second level using blocking angles well in the run game and has a good heavy anchor with nimble feet in pass protection looking impressive moving on the edge in space. A utility prospect at the next level that can work his way into a starting position.