NFL Draft 2016: Early scouting notebook takes

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Sep 11, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes running back Devontae Booker (23) runs with the ball as Utah State Aggies safety Jontrell Rocquemore (27) attempts to make the tackle during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah won 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Players to watch for

Running Back Devontae Booker was critical to Utah’s win over in-state rival Utah State in a 24-14 battle. When Utah’s starting quarterback, Travis Wilson, went down with a shoulder injury, Booker became the main focus of Utah State’s defense.

Still, he ran for 120 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. His biggest impact on the game wasn’t when he got the ball but when he didn’t. Utah focused on Utah State’s focus on Booker by running several play-actions to Booker that allowed the offense to throw the ball deep. Booker is my eighth rated running back on my big board.

Ohio State’s playmaking wide receiver, Braxton Miller, has took college football by storm… again! As the former starting quarterback, Miller was expected to either transfer or stay and compete for the starting quarterback job with Cardale Jones and JT Barrett. Instead, Miller stayed and had a position switch to reciever and looks pretty good at it.

In his first game against Virginia Tech, he caught two passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, rushed six times for 62 yards and another score. Miller may not be the best reciever in the nation but he should receive the same attention the Jags’ Denard Robinson did as just a playmaker. No true position but just a player who needs to touch the ball often.

Norte Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is arguably the best defensive player in college football and one of the top players heading to next year’s draft. At 6’2, 240 pounds, he has the perfect size and instincts to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. For his size he is very good in coverage and understands the zone concepts well.

He has the ability to play either inside or outside linebacker which makes defensive coordinators love his versatility, but he’s best inside. In Norte Dame’s first game against Texas, the Fighting Irish manhandled the weak Texas team. Smith had a outstanding game with several tackles and one sack to the day and by being the most impact player of the game. No question Smith has top-5 talent and if nothing dramatic happens then he’ll be a lock as first round pick.

Spotlight player of the week: S Karl Joseph

West Virginia’s strong safety Karl Joseph had a outstanding game versus Georgia Southern last Saturday with eight tackles (seven solo) along with three interceptions. He’s arguably college football’s most physical player because no matter the size or speed of a player, he goes 110 percent full speed at them.

At 5’11 195 pounds, he isn’t going to impress many with his size but he makes up for it with incredible tenacity on contact. He’s OK in coverage but in West Virginia’s 3-3-5 defense, Joseph can pin his ears back and play down hill.

Pro comparison: New York Jets’ Calvin Pryor

Next: Falcons-Eagles: Full game coverage

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