When Geno Smith cracked the Big Board for the first time last week, the question was whether his exceptional performance early in the season against bad competition would fade once he started to face better talent. Well, so far, so good. His numbers against Texas weren't otherworldly, but he was typically efficient, and the accuracy was there. He faced pressure without panic, and again didn't throw an interception. He makes a big move up this week. Also, a very good pass-rusher from Texas A&M joins the Board for the first time.
As you read below, the scouting perspective will remain similar week to week, but I'll note performance and matchup highlights. Plus, here are my junior prospect rankings and my senior prospect rankings. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Jarvis Jones *
Limited at South Carolina, who avoided throwing at all costs. Jones is an explosive, relentless edge rusher who profiles as a 3-4 OLB. He has a quick first step and violent hands; he tackles well and closes fast. Solid against the run and can really cover. LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Brilliant against Utah, and his line would have been better minus drops. Barkley has limitations with physical skills, but he's very good across the board: ball placement, timing, use of his eyes, poise, leadership skills and experience. Great leader.
LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Barkevious Mingo *
So-so game at Florida; needs to play with greater leverage and take defenders on. Mingo started playing football late, as a high school junior, but his talent is significant. Uses length and a great first step to turn the corner. His pass-rush skills are good but could be diversified. Still learning concepts but reads the game well despite lack of experience.
LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD
Great start against USC, but faded some in terms of impact. Brings consistent, relentless effort. Demands double-teams and clogs up the middle of the field. A great sense for disrupting the run game, with power to bull rush. Quick off the ball, with great upper-body strength. Coaches rave.
LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD
Sam Montgomery *
Like Mingo, merely OK on Saturday at Florida. Before the season, he added size and could be considered a fit in almost any system given his range of skills. Athleticism and pass-rush skills are there, and he really holds up against the run. Max-effort player, natural athlete, instinctive rusher.
LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD