NFL Draft Prep: Watch LBs Mosley, Van Noy

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NFL Draft Prep: Watch LBs Mosley, Van Noy
October 29, 2013, 11:15 am
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C.J. Mosley (right) leads Alabama's No. 1 scoring defense. (USA Today Images)

That feeling of worry can’t be just me, right? You feel it, too? That palpable, deep-in-the-gut feeling that maybe this Chip Kelly experiment won’t work?

Granted, the last two games, the quarterback play has been Brad Goebel-esque. But I can’t help but worry that what’s happened here the last two weeks are cracks in a foundation that was built on gimmicks. For now, I’ll try to chalk it up to the poor efforts of Nick Foles, the injury to Mike Vick and a rookie quarterback who clearly isn’t ready. But Chip, a TD this week would be helpful.

With that as a happy forward, I present to you this week in college football. I went in with the idea of trying to watch positions other than quarterback, but given the Eagles' QB struggles, we’ll look at the one key game under center this week:

Alabama 45, Tennessee 10

Cyrus Kouandjio, LT, Alabama, 6-6/310
Kouandjio is a massive road-grader for the Tide, who again rolled up 204 yards on the ground to go with 275 through the air while mauling Tennessee. The Eagles spent their No. 4 pick in this year’s draft on right tackle Lane Johnson, so it’s doubtful they would spend a high pick on another tackle. But the junior from Maryland is a dominating force and was again on Saturday.

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama, 6-2/238
Mosley is the quarterback of a Tide defense that ranks tops nationally in scoring defense, despite allowing Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M to roll up 42 on them earlier this season. In fact, since that shootout win, the Tide defense has not allowed a single first-half point. Mosley is a big reason why. Against Arkansas, he finished with 10 tackles and this past week against the Vols, he again was disruptive. I watched Nick Saban call his number a few times on quarterback blitzes, and his size and speed helped force poor Tennessee's offense. The only time I’ve been unimpressed with Mosley is when he went face-to-face with Manziel as a spy and Johnny Football got the better of him. But Mosley is a very solid LB prospect.

BYU 37, Boise State 20

Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU, 6-3/245
Van Noy is making all kinds of noise for the Cougars' defense this season. Against the Broncos, the BYU defense forced four turnovers, including a fumble recovery by Van Noy. The Nevada native is quick, agile and an aggressive pass rusher. He holds the school record for defensive touchdowns with five. And his linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga recently said, “More people are aware of Kyle than they were of Ziggy [Ansah] at this time last year.” Ansah was the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft by the Lions.

Oregon 42, UCLA 14

Marcus Mariotta, QB, Oregon, 6-4/211
I was hoping to see fireworks on both sides in this game. Instead, I was treated to a defensive struggle (relatively speaking) through halftime (14-14 at the break). Mariotta and the Ducks blew the game wide open in the second half, but there were a few throws that were underwhelming early on. Mariotta underthrew at least three swing passes to RBs or TEs out of the backfield. And on a fourth down in the red zone in the second quarter, the redshirt sophomore decided to throw to the end zone but badly overthrew his target. His passing skills are his biggest question and against the toughest defense he has faced to date, Mariotta came up a little light.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA, 6-3/222
Not nearly as light as Brett Hundley, however. Mariotta’s counterpart did not have a good day throwing the football. That’s two straight weeks of suspect passing performances against solid defenses. I still believe in Hundley. His efforts throwing and running against the likes of Nebraska earlier this year were not a mirage. He just looks to me like a player who could use more snaps and more time in college.

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