College Football Scouting - Return Specialists

College football is some of the best stuff on the tube come Saturdays, period. (although the NCAA has been running more and more weeknight games this year) I highly recommend watching the elite teams battle each other for rights to a BCS game. Some of these schools have become factories in their ability to churn out pro prospects.

It's never too early to start getting that draft board ready, and certainly the professional scouts at Chargers Park have been at it for weeks now. The Chargers might seem like a stacked team, but they are a franchise which builds through the draft; AJ Smith and crew are keeping tabs on the Chargers roster, but at the same time they are scouting college prospects to identify potential holes that can be filled, or positions that can be upgraded via the NFL draft.

One position on the Chargers roster which will be under the microscope all season long is the return specialist positions occupied by Darren Sproles and Michael Turner. While Turner is virtually guaranteed to depart San Diego via free agency, Darren Sproles is playing to keep his job on the Chargers. If he can't help the team consistently as a returner, the Chargers might bring someone in.

There are a few college players out there that could provide the Chargers with a spark on offense, but more importantly as a return man:

Desean Jackson, WR - 6'0" 170lbs

Easily one of the most exciting and explosive player in college football, Desean Jackson has been a big part of the Cal Golden Bears success this year. Jackson showed up with a huge game versus the strong Oregon Ducks football team with 11 catches for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. What is even more impressive is that all game long the Ducks kept a safety in over the top to double up on Jackson. Desean returns punts as well, and has 6 returns for touchdowns in his career. He reminds me of a Ted Ginn, Jr. with better lateral movement skills. Guaranteed to be a first round pick when he declares; he is a junior and can choose to remain in school if he wants, but if he stays healthy all year it would be a mistake not to declare for the draft.

Harry Douglas, WR - 5'11" 170lbs

Harry Douglas is an all-American wide receiver, who puts up some huge numbers in the high-powered Louisville system. He was QB Brian Brohm's go-to guy last year, and that trend will likely continue this for for the two seniors. Already through four games, Douglas has accounted for 40% of the team's passing offense. He missed this week's game against NC State, but the Cardinals were able to win without him. But of the four games that Douglas has played this year, he has two 100+ yard games and two 200+ yard games. An explosive athlete who is humble and soft-spoken, Harry Douglas is emerging as one of the top senior wide receiver prospects and could wind up being a first round pick.

Steve Slaton, RB - 5'10" 195lbs

Steve Slaton and fellow Quarterback Pat White combine to form the most dangerous backfield in college football. Slaton is a bit undersized by NFL standards to be an every down running back, but that wont stop him from being a top draft pick if he declares. Amazing with the ball in his hands, Slaton is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He'll remind people of a young Reggie Bush with his explosiveness and breakaway speed and great hands catching the ball out of the backfield. Slaton would be a great fit on an NFL team that would pair him with another running back in a two-back system with a good offensive line. On the Chargers, Slaton would be a dangerous third down back and would provide the team with a dynamic return man. Steve Slaton is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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September 28, 2007

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Chris said... Oct 1, 2007, 7:26:00 AM there?

No Chicken Little references in San Diego today. The sky HAS fallen!

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