Sun Belt Preview

Sun Belt Preview
We begin our season preview series with an examination of the Sun Belt, including the prolific offensive beauty of Arkansas State QB Justice Hansen.
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Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline gives Maryland redshirt junior DL Byron Cowart a seventh-round grade coming into the 2018 season.

Cowart transferred to Maryland in December as a former five-star recruit who has battled injuries throughout his college career. When healthy, however, he showed moments of what made him so highly regarded as a prep player. "Cowart is a nice-sized [6'4/270] defensive lineman who can stop the run or rush the passer but must do so on a consistent basis," Pauline writes. Expectations are understandably at a minimum, but keep an eye on the former LSU defender. He's capable of breaking out if he can stay on the field.
Jul 16 - 4:51 PM

TCU HC Gary Patterson told reporters at Big 12 Media Days that sophomore QB Shawn Robinson "probably" has the edge to win the starting quarterback job.

It's tough to imagine someone else taking snaps when the season starts for the Horned Frogs, but, if Patterson isn't being coy (he's probably being coy), the job is still up for grabs. Incoming freshman Justin Rogers could get Robinson a run later on in the year, but you have to think that the player with experience -- and not bereft of talent, at all -- has the advantage to start the season. The only other quarterback on the TCU roster who has thrown a pass is Michael Collins.
Jul 16 - 4:42 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein lists Louisiana Tech redshirt junior DE Jaylon Ferguson seventh on his list of the top defensive lineman to watch in 2018.

Ferguson is the first "small school" player on this list, and he has a chance to be one of the first Group of Five player drafted regardless of position if he lives up to the hype. "At 6-foot-5 and 259 pounds, he has plus length that he combines with bouncy feet to beat offensive tackles on either their outside or inside shoulders as a pass rusher," Zierlein writes. "Ferguson has experience as a stand-up rusher, as well, and appears to have the athletic ability to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme at the next level." The level of competition will scare teams, but in terms of pure talent and production, it might be tough to be what Ferguson brings to the table.
Source: NFL.com
Jul 16 - 4:27 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline writes that he's higher on Minnesota senior CB Antonio Shenault than the industry.

Pauline gives Shenault a seventh-round grade coming into the 2018 season, so the industry must view the senior cornerback as a priority free agent, at best. " Shenault is a feisty corner with good balls skills as well as instincts," writes Pauline. "The senior does not reach 5-foot-10 for the tape, which will hurt his draft stock." Shenault could be a nickel corner at the next level, but he'll have to excel in that regard -- and special teams -- in order to be drafted in 2019.
Jul 16 - 4:19 PM

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports that UAB sophomore RB Spencer Brown squatted 600 pounds this summer.

Brown (6'0/235) was one of the most impressive freshman in the country last year, rushing for 1,3329 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. He's a bruising tailback; and on top of that impressive squat total he also benched 365 pounds and power cleaned 345. As Feldman notes, 66 percent of Brown's yardage last year came after contact. if UAB opens more holes for the tailback, he could be in for an even bigger year in 2018.
Jul 16 - 3:55 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline believes that Michigan State redshirt junior T Cole Chewins will be a right tackle at the next level.

Pauline calls Chewins a "tall, hulking tackle" (6'8/288) that fits better on the right side than on the left when he'll face NFL lineman. "He plays with great quickness and blocks with leverage, Pauline writes. "Chewins still needs a bit of work on his game but comes with a large upside." Chewins has two years left to prove he can stay on the left side, but he has a high floor because of that attributes Pauline mentions.
Jul 16 - 3:14 PM

Oklahoma HC Kyler Murray told reporters at Big 12 Media Day that Oklahoma redshirt junior Kyler Murray is still battling for the starting quarterback job.

"Kyler’s not the quarterback yet," Riley said when asked how the offense will change with Riley at the position following the departure of Baker Mayfield. "There’s a really good competition going on and Kyler’s gonna have to fight like crazy to win this job." Sure there is, Lincoln. Sure there is. Assuming Murray does win the job -- because he's going to -- he'll only have one year as the starter, as he's off to join the Oakland Athletics. We'll be curious to see what kind of numbers he can put up with his speed and one of the best supporting casts in all of the sport.
Jul 16 - 2:59 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline believes that Maryland junior S Antoine Brooks Jr. offers the size and physicality to play in the NFL.

He grades Brooks Jr. as a sixth-round prospect, and it sounds like that grade could go up as this season -- and potentially the next one -- progresses. "He’s a terrific run defender who is also effective on the blitz," writes Pauline. "Brooks needs to improve his ball skills but would be effective as a traditional strong safety and could also line up in a zone system." Maryland is probably going to have a rough year in the Big Ten, but there's NFL-caliber players here, including Brooks Jr.
Jul 16 - 2:44 PM
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