FUTURE STARS: THE BEST DRAFT PROSPECTS TO DISCOVER – WEEK 8

FUTURE STARS: THE BEST DRAFT PROSPECTS TO DISCOVER – WEEK 8
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Week 8 in the College Football season is a momentous one. The Big 10 conference joins the college football party, with plenty of Future Stars on offer.

Future Stars brings you the 2021 NFL Draft Prospects you should keep your eye on each and every week throughout the college season and into next year’s Draft.

Week 8 sees 4 games televised in the UK on BT Sport 3 and BT Sport ESPN.

You can watch NC State at North Carolina (17:00 UK time), Alabama at Tennessee (20:30) and Michigan at Minnesota (00:00) all are available on BT Sport ESPN.

You can also watch Cincinnati at SMU (01:00*) on BT Sport 3.

*TV Scheduling may show 02:00 as don’t forget the clocks go back overnight if you are in the UK and Ireland. 

Here are your Future Stars in week 8. 

FUTURE STARS

CHAZZ SURRATT – LB – NORTH CAROLINA

Chazz Surratt features in Future Statrs
North Carolina Linebacker Chazz Surratt. Image Credit: AP Photo/Ben McKeown

Chazz Surratt’s story is a crazy one. Surratt is a former quarterback who played 9 games under centre for North Carolina. He was then one of 13 players to be suspended for selling team issued shoes in 2018 which was then followed by a wrist injury.

Surratt is on record as saying he thought that was his football career over before making the decision with his coaches to switch to the defensive side of the ball. 

If you aren’t already intrigued by Surratt you should be. He has transitioned to the position incredibly. Surratt has fantastic speed for the position, which means he will be able to play sideline to sideline on every down. 

As you would expect from a former quarterback, his movement, agility and maneuverability are excellent. On top of this, Surratt is extremely versatile. You could line him up anywhere in coverage and he will do a job.

Surratt rapidly covers ground, meaning he has no problem getting after the quarterback either. He plays the game with incredible urgency and applies football knowledge you don’t often see at the position. 

Surratt still has some work to do on his tackling technique. On film he has missed some tackles and you see Surratt misread some coverages which will happen when new to a position. But, the way he can recover this with his speed is really nice.

Of course, Surratt is still learning the position, he is still progressing as a prospect and expanding his game. Teams will love what they see and he is a talent they will be looking to snatch up. 

For his lack of playtime, it’s nuts how good Surratt is! With more experience Surratt is a quality prospect.

TANNER MORGAN – QB – MINNESOTA

Morgan had a breakout year in 2019.  As a redshirt sophomore he set all sorts of school records. 

Morgan is an accurate quarterback who understands his game. He has a really nice touch. He has good anticipation and field vision, even if he does force some balls at times.

Morgan controls his offence nicely and, more often that not, makes good decisions. Yes, all college quarterbacks make the odd bad decision, but with weapons like Rashod Bateman on the outside it’s understandable why he feels confident in taking a shot. 

Despite having positive traits, Morgan hasn’t proved he has the arm strength to have scouts screaming from the rooftops. The more force he tries to put behind this throw the more inaccurate he becomes. Morgan can force the ball into tight windows at times, even into windows that aren’t there, leading to turnovers.

Whether Morgan has the ceiling to be a top prospect remains to be seen. Some will question Morgans appearance in Future Stars, but by cleaning up certain parts of his game, a team will take a chance on him. He is a solid and composed quarterback who has good traits that will have some teams thinking. 

CADE MAYS – OG – TENNESSEE

Tennessee Offensive Lineman Cade Mays. Image Credit: utsports.com

Tennessee have put together a good offensive line and Cade Mays is at the heart of it. 

Mays played 14 games for Georgia last season before being granted a transfer portal to Tennessee. Mays has family history with the Volunteers. He is from Knoxville, Tennessee while his brother has been signed by the Volunteers and his dad played and captained them in 1994. 

Mays is really good at creating space with his short movement in the run game. He is always in control during both run blocking and pass protection. He is consistent across both. His agility and movement are good and he creates good angles to attack opposing defenders and uses this to his advantage.

Mays could do with working on his ability to get lower in his stance at the line of scrimmage. He needs to be able to control his body more. He can stand up at times handing over any advantage over to the defender instantly. It renders him top heavy. 

Mays works best in short space and isn’t as much of an athlete as those above him on draft boards. A lack of flexibility and quick footwork means he can get stuck at times. These have seen him fall behind some draft prospects such as Wyatt Davis and his now teammate Trey Smith, who has already featured in Future Stars.

The offensive lineman is still a quality prospect and there is no doubt has the potential to be a day 1 starter in the NFL. If he can show some better athleticism he will be in the discussion to be one of the first interior lineman taken. 

DEVONTA SMITH – WR – ALABAMA

Devonta Smith is doing the business this season! Our summer scouting had him as WR5 in this class. It’s not that he is an average player, far from it, it’s that there are so many good receivers that he is competing with. But, in 2020 Smith is doing everything he can to push and has had a really strong start to the season. 

There is no doubting Smith is a polished receiver. He is sudden and energetic off the line of scrimmage. He has the ability to make defenders miss, but also to maintain the distance and separation he has created.

Smith is excellent when contesting in traffic. He is able to keep his hand out in front and has a lovely soft catching mechanism. The reason he is so good in traffic is because he can maintain his balance when surrounded by opposing defenders and when being tackled.

The questions Smith will have to answer throughout the draft prospect are about his size. He stands at 6’1” and 175 Lbs. He is stick thin and has a lanky look to him. It means Smith has a lack of strength to his game and it shows at times. 

Despite his soft hands and how good he is at catching in traffic, he can still be a little inconsistent at the catch point if the ball is tightly contested and the lack of strength doesn’t help him. He prefers to get separation at the line of scrimmage and maintain it throughout the play.  

Smith isn’t an explosive player who is going to create magical moments in every game. But, he will slot straight in as a productive and steady receiver in the NFL.

KWITY PAYE – DE – MICHIGAN

Michigan Defensive End Kwity Paye. Image Credit: ROGER_HART/Michigan Photography

Michigan has two great prospects at the defensive end position. Both Aidan Hutchinson and Kwity Paye will have strong NFL careers. 

Paye is a freak athlete. A big one at that. At 6’3” and 277 Lbs ,Paye is a solid blocker and pursuter off the edge. Playing more in the mold of a defensive end rather and an all out edge rusher, Paye has the ability to compete with double teams and brings traits that you normally see on the interior to the defensive end position.

Paye has good versatility. He could line up all over the line of scrimmage and even play inside if needed. Paye is a bull rusher off the edge who relies on his power to beat his opponents. He is an excellent pocket pusher who can get after the quarterback. He does have a good instant burst and probably has more athleticism than some will give him credit for. 

As his size would suggest, Paye isn’t and overly bendy prospect. He doesn’t explode up the levels and can get lost as a pass rusher on occasion. He has to win outright and instantly otherwise he will lose out to longer offensive lineman. As stated Paye is more of a bull rusher and he doesn’t extend his arms to get after his opponent.

In the right environment Paye will be a Future Star. He could thrive by slotting into a gritty defence who love run stuffing. Already getting 1st round attention Paye is one to keep our eye on. 

Which Future Stars will you have your eye on this week? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards and @Owain_Jones_ 

Feature Image Credit: rolltide.com

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