2022 NFL Draft: 3 underrated prospects to watch after Week 2

09/15/2021
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It’s been an impressive two weeks for some teams across college football. For other teams, not so much. For example, take Florida State with a win less record and a bad home loss to Jacksonville State during week two. It certainly feels like we’ve seen this from the Seminoles a time or two over the last decade regardless of what hot commodity of a coach they bring in.

Speaking of new coaches, USC fired Clay Helton and that’s sparked speculation of Urban Meyer leaving Jacksonville or the Trojans plucking Luke Fickell from Cincinnati.

Beyond the coaching changes or speculation for a new one, how about some upsets? Maybe it’s not really an upset as it’s not our faults that certain teams get ranked far too high to start the season because they’re overrated every single season. Take Texas being ranked 15th in the country and then getting molly-whopped by Arkansas. Remember when Sam Ehlinger said they were back?

I guess not.

After getting spanked by Alabama, the Hurricanes of Miami, Florida had a closer game than expected with App State. They were ranked in the top-15 to start the season and now have to play a Michigan State football team playing some of their best football we’ve seen in the last two or three seasons. We’ll see how that plays out for the 24th ranked team in the country.

Back on the upsets, did anyone predict the Oregon Ducks to beat Ohio State? I now I didn’t. I figured the loss of Kayvon Thibodeaux would have been too much to overcome on the defensive side of the football. However, props to the Ducks offense for hanging in there and not turning the ball over. They were impressive and are now the 4th ranked team in the country. Let’s jump into three prospects to watch after two weeks of the college football season!

C.J. Verdell, RB, Oregon 

Staying on topic with the Oregon Ducks, let’s talk about their running back C.J. Verdell. In some way, Verdell fell off the map in 2020 due to the Ducks only playing 5 games. However, people forget about the masterful performance from Verdell in 2019 against Utah to seal the Pac-12 Championship. He went off for 208 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

That some running back we saw then came back to life on Saturday against Ohio State. Beyond just the 161 rushing yards and two touchdowns, he also added 3 receptions for 34 yards and a score. With consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons to start his career with the Ducks, he’s on pace to match or top those numbers from two seasons ago.

Much of his success is due to his short-area quickness but also his burst through some of the slightest openings he’s given. Keep in mind that he runs much bigger than his listed frame of 5-8 and 210 pounds. If you think you can drag him down with an arm tackle, think again. Verdell has always been a good running back and is a prospect with plenty of intriguing traits to get excited about. In case you forgot about him, he made it clear to remember his name for the 2022 NFL Draft after week two.

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Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame

My colleague and co-host on the Cover 1 Draft Podcast, Damian Parson has been hyping this man up for weeks. With a good and consistent showing against Florida State in week one, I was intrigued. However, after what I saw in week two against Toledo, I’m ready to buy in.

I get that it’s Toledo but did you not see the closing minutes of the game? Jack Coan dislocated his finger, went to the sideline and got his finger popped into place and threw the game-winning touchdown.

You love to see the toughness because he will need it when he plays some of the physical defenses on the Notre Dame schedule. After Purdue, Coan has to lead the Irish against Wisconsin, Cincinnati and on the road at Virginia Tech.

I wouldn’t say that Coan is going to dethrone any quarterbacks to be at the top of the 2022 NFL Draft class but he’s got some intriguing tools to operate an offense and manage football games. Through two games he has thrown for over 600 yards and has completed 69.1% of his passes. Again, he can manage football games, puts some nice touch on his throws and operates well within the structure of his offense.

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Trelon Smith, RB, Arkansas

As I mentioned on the Cover 1 Draft Podcast last week, Arkansas was destined to beat Texas. One of the key reasons that I said was due to their defense. Led by captain and former walk-on, Grant Morgan, the Razorbacks have an intriguing defense with tons of talent. From Morgan to his partner in crime, Bumper Pool and a stud for a safety in Jalen Catalon.

The defense forced Texas to go 4-for-13 on 3rd down and held them to only 256 total yards on offense. That being said, they needed their offense to capitalize on the opportunities given to them. Before I go any further, let’s give credit where credit is due and that’s to the Razorbacks offensive line. They dismantled the Texas defensive front and created rushing lanes for a rushing yardage total of 333 yards on 47 rushing attempts and 4 rushing touchdowns. That being said, the running back that capitalized the most of those opportunities was Trelon Smith.

In a relatively deep running back group for the 2022 NFL Draft, Smith is an intriguing player to keep tabs on. He finished with 75 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown against Texas and he showcased his ability to cut and run through arm tackles consistently. Listed at 5-9 and 190 pounds, Smith has some wiggle to his game and shows the lower body flexibility to change direction with ease. Despite splitting time in the backfield, Smith makes the most of all of his opportunities and should be someone that continues to flash as the season progresses. Keep tabs on him as the season moves along and as we move towards the 2022 NFL Draft.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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