The Panhandle – Florida & Florida State
The amount of skill in the secondary for these two schools is nothing short of tremendous. The Gators’ Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy are both first round talents who both could slip due to the amount of overall cornerback talent in this Draft, but that’s unlikely. Further, Florida’s nickel back, Jaylen Watkins could be one of the sleepers next spring because of his position on their current depth chart. Another Gator corner to keep tabs on is junior cornerback Cody Riggs who left last year early with a broken foot. A relatively unknown commodity, Riggs might be a late round steal if he can show productivity this year.
Dec 1, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Robert Godhigh (25) with the ball as Florida State Seminoles defensive back Karlos Williams (9) defends. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 21-15 to win the ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile the Seminoles also have robust secondary based in their two safeties, Terrence Brooks and Karlos Williams. Williams is a converted linebacker who will be taking over the safety position from Lamarcus Joyner, another name to watch. Cincinnati could look to upgrade its ‘Williams’ at strong safety if that venture falls flat, or they could draft any one of these corners if ‘The Kirkpatrick Project’ doesn’t start to bear fruit.
Another mirrored parallel to these two teams are dominate offensive lines. The Gators have a pair of tackles in junior Chaz Green and sophomore Tyler Moore, but both play more as road-graders than next-level players at this point; one or neither could come out for the Draft because of this year’s relative talent at the position. On the other hand, Florida State offensive tackle, Cameron Erving is an under-the-radar player with great size and raw ability. So is their multi-dimensional center Bryan Stork, currently ranked 4th overall at his position by cbssports.com.
Outside the downfield, Florida’s Dominque Easley is a fast, disruptive defensive end who may slide because faux-injury concerns. Nonetheless, he led the team in sacks last year. Also, don’t lose track of outside linebacker Christian Jones. Productive year or not, Jones has ‘Mike Zimmer’ written all over him.
Another Shade of Orange – Tennessee
August 31, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers offensive linesman Antonio Richardson (74) celebrates in the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the Georgia Dome. Tennessee beat NC State 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
The name that springs to mind with the Vols the past few years has been Tyler Bray, but it’s important to realize the youth and skill that was on that line in front of him. While left tackle Antonio Richardson gets deservedly high praise and should go in the late first round or early second round, don’t lose track of right tackle JuWaun James. He has started all 37 games of his collegiate career at right tackle and helped Tennessee to allow only 18 sacks (1.5 per game) last season. Two other keys to that line were guard Zach Fulton and center Jarvis Stone, both draft eligible names. If Bengals want to upgrade or add depth on the offensive line, all of these players are solid choices who could pop up depending on how they want to spend their picks.