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NCAA Football

NFL Draft: Prospect Preview – Pitt vs. Cincinnati

Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0)

It’s the first game of the season for the Bearcats, and unlike Pitt we don’t have any Week 1 tape for reference.

The top two senior prospects reside on the defensive side of the ball, with SS Drew Frey and DE Walter Stewart. Frey is a late round prospect who has a nice blend of size and instincts. He’s very athletic and solid against the run with ability to defend the pass, evident by his 8 pass break up a season ago.

DE Walter Stewart is an intriguing prospect and could be soaring up the draft boards with a solid season. The former LB finished only second to last year’s teammate, and current Denver Bronco Derek Wolfe in sacks with 6. He’s very relentless off the edge and shows a quick step off the snap of the ball.

On offense it’s worth keeping an eye on the massive 6’9 Sean Hooey at RT. He only played in 7 games last season due to injury, but he’s definitely worth watching.

WR Kenbreel Thompkins is also a name to remember.

Pittsburgh Panthers (0-1)

RB Ray Graham had a sub-par showing in a loss to FCS Youngstown State last weekend. With a game against an inferior team he had a real shot at padding his stats, but only finished with 71 yards on 14 carries.

He was questionable to play in the first place, and then Head Coach admitted to not giving him enough carries. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for him tonight against a much better defense.

The Panthers have a couple of pass catcher s worth watching in TE Hubie Graham and WR Mike Shanahan. For Shanahan it’s his size that will be appealing for scouts. At 6’5 225 he has potential to develop into a nice redzone target. He caught 6 balls for 54 yards last week.

Graham finished with38 yards receiving last week on 4 catches. The former WR at Illinois has decent speed to him, but at this point is nothing more than a developmental at TE in the NFL.

OG Chris Jacobson has potential to be a mid-round prospect at the next level, but must prove he’s healthy enough to pay a full season. Jacobson had a season ending knee injury to his right knee in 2007, then last season after starting three games, Jacobson missed the remainder of the year due to an injury to his left knee.

Jacobson is the best guard in the Big East, and could develop into a solid pro prospect.

The Panthers FS Jared Holley will be the best prospect on the field tonight. Holley probably wouldn’t test well, and doesn’t have the look of an NFL caliber FS, but the two time All-Big East selection does have some game. Holley is very consistent and reliable for the Panthers. He’s a leader on the field, and is always around the ball. He looks fluid when in coverage and does a good job seeing and diagnosing plays.

Last week he finished with 6 total tackles in the loss. One area of improvement I want to see is his ability to be more consistent in run support.

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Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports

Follow him on Twitter @JeremyCabler and @RantSports