Welcome to debut of Scouting The Nation, an exclusive report from the NFL Draft Bible scouting department that brings you the latest NFL Draft buzz and breaking news. Be sure to check back every Monday for our exclusive updates and follow us @NFLDraftBible
PITT GUNSLINGER NO LONGER UNDER THE RADAR
One of the more under heralded senior signal-callers is Pitt quarterback KENNY PICKETT [6016/225], who steered the Panthers to victory over Syracuse with an efficient game. The team co-captain was surgical, converting several key third downs, while also showcasing the arm strength to make big throws downfield. Praised for his leadership and intangibles, his style of play doesn’t always show up in the box score but it’s the subtle things that he is able to do that will make scouts want to go to bat for him when draft season rolls around.
LATEST LOUISIANA BACK ALL THE RAGE
The Rajun Cajuns came away victorious once again in what was a spicy matchup against Georgia State, as running back ELIJAH MITCHELL [5112/221] rushed for 164 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime, after setting up the go-ahead score with a 53-yard scamper. Mitchell also had a 59-yard touchdown run during the game, showcasing his long speed and averaging over 10 yards per carry on the day. A two-star recruit coming out of high school, the rugged, tough, downhill runner is used to being slept on but he has quietly emerged as one of the top senior running back prospects in the nation. He looks to follow in the footsteps of former teammate Raymond Calais Jr. (Rams), who was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
MOUNTAINEERS RECEIVER CLIMBING UP DRAFT BOARDS
APPALACHIAN STATE senior wide receiver/return man JALEN VIRGIL [6006/205] had just three catches for 34 yards but it included an acrobatic touchdown, which is a staple of his skill set. There are few players in all of college football who have the pure speed that he does, having timed sub-4.30 in the 40-yard dash, 10.32 in the 100-meters, a 40″ vertical jump, nearly an 11-foot broad jump and can bench press in excess of 400 pounds! He’s been a highlight reel machine, averaging over 16 yards per catch and has the type of game-breaking speed to move himself into the mid-to-late rounds of the draft by turning heads at next year’s NFL Combine.
MUSTANG WIDE OUT OFF TO THE RACES OUT OF THE GATE
SMU senior wide receiver REGGIE ROBERSON JR. [5112/200] has three touchdown receptions in a pair of early season victories. He was their most productive receiver in the win over North Texas, grabbing nine passes for 103 yards and two scores and owns a pair of 800-plus yard campaigns under his belt, averaging over 17 yards per catch for his career. Roberson Jr. transferred from West Virginia and also doubles as a solid returner. A foot injury against Houston late in 2019, likely cost him 1,000-yard season. He currently carries a later round grade but with a productive season and sub-4.50 40-times he could move into mid-round consideration.
AIR JORDAN LEAPS DEFENDER; STATES CASE AS RD1 PROSPECT
MIAMI, FL junior tight end BREVIN JORDAN [6026/245] continues to move up the ranks at his position due to his combination of size, speed and play-making ability in the middle of the field. Leading ‘The U’ with seven catches for 120 yards and touchdown against Louisville, Jordan showcased his athletic ability by hurdling defenders on one catch. He has been timed in the 4.7-range in the forty-yard dash at nearly 250 pounds. The current state of tight ends in the NFL leads to a number of quality comparisons to his style of game and could push Jordan into first round consideration. He also owns NFL bloodlines, as his father, Darrell, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1990 after a stellar career as a linebacker at Northern Arizona.
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WEIGHT CONCERNS SURROUNDING LSU PROSPECT CONSIDERING TO OPT BACK IN
LSU RS sophomore defensive tackle TYLER SHELVIN [6016/346] has continued to keep his options open with speculation he could re-join the Tigers rather than sit out the season, especially since he has not yet officially signed with an agent. Those around the program believe his family and others close to him have been sharing advice to return to the team, so that he can be back on a daily schedule and training regimen. With so many of the right people that have aided in him ascending towards being one of college football’s top nose tackles, one of the main concerns with his decision to sit out due to Covid concerns is that Shelvin came on campus as a freshman at 380-385 pounds. Under Coach Ed Orgeron and their trainers, he had gotten down over 25 pounds and that would be a primary concern of NFL scouts should his conditioning and weight fluctuate again before the NFL Combine. With his improved conditioning and ability to eat up double teams, he was likely looking at a solid second round grade coming into this season.
BOOGIE BASHING THE COMPETITION
WAKE FOREST senior defensive end CARLOS BASHAM JR. [6036/275] was very active in their loss to NC State with five tackles and now has a sacks in each of his first two contests, with 17.5 sacks for his career. The Virginia native is pound-for-pound one of the strongest and most explosive defenders in the country. Able to bench over 400 pounds, ‘Boogie’ also hits 36″ on the vertical and ran an eye-opening 4.20 range short shuttle for team officials. He has strong hands, a good variety of moves at the college level, can manhandle smaller opponents and is used as a situational pass rusher at a variety of positions. One area that could hurt Basham is that he’s not going to be one of the top testers in the 40-yard dash but keep a close eye on his 10-yard split and how well he moves through the positional and bag drills at both his post-season all-star game and the NFL Combine.
AGGIES LOSE LINEBACKER OVER FEAR OF COVID-19, SOCIAL INJUSTICE
TEXAS A&M junior linebacker ANTHONY HINES III [6021/226] has opted out of the college football season due to a combination of Covid-19 concerns and the current atmosphere of social injustice issues. While it is possible he could return next season it seems more likely that he’ll end up in next year’s NFL Draft. Hines III finished second on the team with 73 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss as a RS sophomore. He can also run very well for his size, having tested in the 4.6-range in the past. While he waits to determine his on-field future, one thing that he has been staying busy with is creating his own music and posting it on various on-line platforms. The loss of Hines III will be a big one to overcome, as he was expected to be a breakout performer on the field and provide some much-needed veteran leadership on that side of the ball and within his position group.
CAPTAIN CONSISTENCY KEEPS CARDINALS CLOSE
A four-year starter and team captain, Louisville middle linebacker DORIAN ETHERIDGE [6016/230] has been a staple of excellence for the Cardinals. His efforts in prime time against the Miami Hurricanes didn’t go unnoticed, as he demonstrated his sideline-to-sideline prowess with seven tackles, including one and a half tackles for loss. Praised for his smarts and intelligence by the coaching staff, Etheridge possesses the type of raw athleticism, along with consistency that could make him an appealing developmental prospect at the next level.
NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW: ZAVEN COLLINS
Hats off to the Tulsa defense, who held the mighty Oklahoma State offense (which scored 30 or more points in eight games a season ago), to just 13 points and nearly pulled off the upset. Linebacker ZAVEN COLLINS [6032/256] led the way with six tackles (four tackles for loss), as the former high school quarterback, spent a lot of time getting after them on Saturday, finishing with three sacks. The versatility of Collins was on full display, as he lined up on the line, back in the second level and did a satisfactory job in coverage. Remember the name, as he has a pro career in his future, with the size and length to be an ideal SAM backer at the next level. His ascent up draft boards could very well land him in the top 100 overall selections.
Not to be overlooked on the Golden Hurricane defense are lengthy cornerbacks ALLIE GREEN [6030/215] and AKAYLEB EVANS [6015/188], who boast next level size and physicality as press man corners. Green, a three-year starter, made several big plays including a tackle for loss and key interception. Evans paired with Green to hold the Cowboys receivers at bay for the most part, keeping TYLAN WALLACE [5116/185] under 100 yards receiving, an accomplishment in itself and grabbing the attention of our scouting staff. Keep an eye on this squad, as all of these players stand a good chance to continue to enhance their pro prospects.
HURRICANES KICKER LANDS ON NFL RADAR
MIAMI, FL senior kicker JOSE BORREGALES [5096/205] came through with a perfect game on Saturday night, converting all nine of his attempts, including four field goals. He’s now five-for-five on the season and also tied a school-record versus Louisville with a 57-yard field goal. A transfer from FIU who beat the Hurricanes with a game-winning field goal, Borregales has nailed kicks of over 50 yards in each of the past three seasons; for his career he’s now 55-for-71. He has several more games on the schedule that could provide big kick opportunities, so he’s positioning himself to be seen as a late round to PFA type specialist.