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NFL Perspective: Top College Peformers in Week 1

By Steve Silverman


While college football kicks off and teams start jockeying for position so they can earn a spot in the playoffs at the end of the year, the NFL is keeping close tabs on the sport.

Scouts are watching all of the players who are eligible for the draft next year, and they take notes on these players throughout the season. While it may seem that teams are more interested in a draft prospect’s performance at the Scouting Combine or in individual workouts in the offseason, it’s their performance in games that makes the biggest difference.

Each week, we will let you know how some of those expected to go high in the draft performed in on-field competition. Many fans think that early-season performances often get forgotten by the scouts, but a stellar performance early in the season can open the eyes of key decision-makers throughout the NFL.


OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M — The Aggies were supposed to be in trouble when they opened the season at South Carolina, but they rolled to a 52-28 victory. The offense performed consistently from start to finish, and the key was the outstanding performance of the offensive line. Ogbuehi is considered to be a high first-round draft choice at this point, and he more than met the expectations of NFL scouts who are watching him. He had a dominant game against shell-shocked South Carolina.

RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska — It was a brilliant start to the season for Abdullah, who projects as a second-round draft choice as the season begins. He ran for a career-best 232 yards in the Cornhuskers’ 55-7 victory against Florida Atlantic, and he now has a career total of 3,209 yards. Abdullah, 5-9 and 195 yards, has excellent quickness and can avoid big hits with his excellent make-you-miss moves.

RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama — The power running attack has been a big part of Alabama’s success under Nick Saban, and that should once again be the case this year. Yeldon, 6-2 and 218 pounds, helped the Crimson Tide find a way to get past stubborn West Virginia as he ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Yeldon was clearly not at his best against the Mountaineers, but he still flashed his talent and made big plays when Alabama needed them.

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA — The Bruins have been touted as one of this year’s glamour teams and are supposed to have a puncher’s chance of working their way into the four-team National Championship playoff at the season’s conclusion. It didn’t look like it in the 28-20 victory at Virginia in the season opener. Most of the credit should go to a defense that returned three turnovers for scores in the second quarter. Hundley is supposed to be a Heisman Trophy candidate and is the third-rated quarterback in the nation behind Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Hundley completed 20-of-33 for 242 yards, and looked ordinary throughout the majority of the game.

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State — The Spartans basically had a walkover in their season-opening 45-7 victory against Jacksonville State. Calhoun flexed his mightly muscles with a solid performance. He had two solo tackles and a sack resulting in a 23-yard loss. He was also credited with a quarterback hurry. Calhoun has superior quickness at 6-4 and 257 pounds, and he projects to be a first-round draft pick next spring.

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