People like to make a big deal about completion percentage. And they should, to the extent that you know the kinds of throws a quarterback is making. And while some may point to Robert Griffin III completing an astonishing 80.3 percent of passes this year as evidence of a dramatic jump in his accuracy, I'd point out something else: accuracy was never a big issue. After all, last year Griffin was at 67.0 percent, and was well above 60 percent for his career headed into this year. What has changed is an improved delivery, and the demonstration that he can throw the deep ball accurately. In some college offenses, short passing completely dominates, and the stats can tell you close to nothing. You really have to go through a lot of tape and see what kinds of throws a kid can make. For Griffin, even the stats back it up: his YPA has jumped to 10.70. He was never higher than 7.83 going into 2011.
Combine Griffin's overall growth with his brilliant athleticism, leadership and smarts and you have a prospect on the rise. He makes his first Big Board appearance this week, and is a guy on the radar of NFL scouts. He now has some showcase games to back it up. Read on and let me know who you think should be higher. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Andrew Luck *
A great year so far, but even he is probably dying for a challenge. Schedule really light thus far. He's the total package. Arm strength, size, smarts, demeanor. A safe bet to be No. 1 overall.
LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Sack totals aren't piling up, but the blocking attention is, and they're off to a good start. He's a gifted pass-rusher suited to be a pure 4-3 defensive end at the next level.
LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Matt Kalil *
Kalil has the size, athleticism, footwork and bloodlines. He projects as a blindside tackle. Unfortunately, beyond him, the USC offensive line has looked really inexperienced so far this season; still manages to look good.
LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD
Landry Jones *
Great showcase game in Dallas. Jones has been a big numbers producer, but I like the way he's battled in some tough games so far in 2011. He has good size and a strong arm and has fantastic accuracy.
LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD
Justin Blackmon *
Huge games await for Blackmon, a better prospect than recent OSU star Dez Bryant. Versatile and explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills; breaks tackles. Exceptional work ethic; keeps getting better.
LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD