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Draft Watch, Week 6: Rebels making noise


How much can you make of one win for a draft prospect, no matter how momentous it is for the school's program?

That's the question surrounding Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace this week after he led the Rebels to their most significant win in 45 years, knocking off a No. 1 ranked Alabama team that looked unstoppable in September but collapsed under the weight of its own miscues and an offense that awoke after halftime.

His 18-for-31, three-touchdown, no-interception day against a defense that could see up to seven players drafted offered a stellar answer to the questions of consistency that have lingered about his draft prospects.

A week earlier against Memphis, he turned over the football three times via two interceptions and a fumble. It was the kind of performance that evoked memories of his first season with the Rebels, when he threw 17 interceptions.

But there are long-range signs of improvement. His completion percentage rose from 63.9 to 64.8 last year, and is at 68.5 this season. His average per attempt is the highest it has been, and he is on pace to have by far the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of his college years.

Whoever drafts Wallace has work to do. He has little experience taking snaps under center, and his elongated delivery needs refinement. There are also questions as to how much of his play is due to the quality of his receivers, although Wallace does well at firing the football through narrow windows.

But flawed quarterbacks in need of development and polish still get drafted, often as high as the second day. And a quarterback with above-average arm strength and the requisite size (6-foot-4, 217 pounds), mobility and ability to rise to the occasion will get noticed.

But beyond Wallace, the Rebels have other senior prospects who will be discussed at the Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine and beyond:

CB Senquez Golson: It was the 5-foot-9, 180-pound cornerback who got his foot down in the end zone to preserve the Rebels' upset. Golson outdueled Alabama tight end O.J. Howard for the football -- not too shabby, considering that Golson gives up nine inches and 60 pounds to Howard. It should be no surprise that Golson is athletic enough to face tight ends as well as bigger receivers; the Red Sox made him an eighth-round pick in the 2011 MLB draft. Golson's size bellows "slot cornerback," but he has the fearless confidence and toughness to play outside in the NFL, as well.

FS Cody Prewitt: The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder has one thing in common with Wallace: he is prone to mistakes that are borne out of aggression. Sometimes Prewitt can get caught out of position. But he has good straight-line speed and better agility and change of direction. I expect him to flourish in the short shuttle and the three-cone drill at the Combine. He is active and covers a lot of ground, and could find himself as a Day 2 pick. DE C.J. Johnson:At 237 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame, he's an outside linebacker in the pros -- and a pass-rush specialist. For now, he's a weak-side defensive end who generates pressure, but needs to turn that into quarterback hits and sacks; he has just one of each so far this season.


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