JUSTIN HERBERT: QB
STATS: 20-26, 250 yards passing, 4 touchdowns
DRAFT STOCK: 4th Round
Justin Herbert had yet another stellar performance, despite the sub-par play of his receivers. Again, we saw dropped passes continue to plague the QB’s numbers. However, in the first two games of the season, Herbert has shown the maturity to move on to the next play and not let those miscues distract his mojo. He looks in total control of the offense and is prime to be a top player in college.
A key moment in the game came in the second quarter, when he was able to avoid a sack from two Portland State rushers barreling down on him, and flipping the ball to running back Tony Brooks-James for a nine-yard gain and a first down. That play kept the drive alive and it set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kano Dillon a few plays later.
Herbert has looked good through the first two weeks of the season, but he hasn’t been truly tested yet. Nothing should be pre-determined just yet. We must wait until his first test week four when the Ducks open up PAC-12 play against Stanford.
Up next for the Ducks will be San Jose State, and you can expect the exact same type of play you’ve seen so far. SJSU lost last week 31-0 against Washington State surrendering 544-total yards, 420 of them coming through the air. Look for Herbert to maintain a steady aerial attack and rip apart the Spartans secondary.
TONY BROOKS-JAMES: RB
STATS: 21 carries, 107 yards, 1 reception, 9 yards, 2 touchdowns
DRAFT STOCK: 5th Round
After just five carries in the season opener versus Bowling Green, Brooks-James’ workload spiked tremendously. Although he didn’t have any monster runs, 20 yards being his longest, he was able to showcase the ability to find the end zone when in the red zone.
He scored both his touchdowns from the one-yard line. It’s true that most of that praise should go to the offensive line because that proves they got a good push in those short-yardage plays, it’s still up to Brooks-James to show a keen eye for finding the holes and tremendous power and burst of speed to bust through for those holes for uber important one-yard runs.
Again, we will see more of the same from Brooks-James this week against SJSU. With a solid run defense, let’s see if Brooks-James can showcase the talent to turn the corner and break the 30-plus-yard touchdown runs his teammates and fans are waiting for.
He should have eclipsed the 150-yard mark Saturday versus the Vikings.
PENEI SEWELL: OG
DRAFT STOCK: Freshman
Sewell was a part of the offensive line group that allowed only one sack. All game long he portrayed a solid veteran leadership despite being a true freshman. He created running lanes by getting a strong push during rushing attempts and a secured pocket for Herbert to pass in. For a true freshman to step in as a reliable starter shows the talent and respect this young man has from his coaches and teammates.
There won’t be a physical challenge for him just yet against SJSU, yet these games are still extremely valuable because it’s allowing him to continue to gain NCAA D-I football experience before the PAC-12 season begins. Look for him to carry on his strong play and keep giving Herbert time to throw and all the RB’s holes to run through.
JORDAN SCOTT: DT
STATS: 4-tackles, 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss
DRAFT STOCK: Sophomore
Scott had a solid game, but he didn’t do anything extraordinary. At 6’1 329-lbs, Scott needs to get better at using his big frame to bottle up runs. Not to mention using his size to bullrush the quarterback and rack up more sacks. In two games, Scott is still holding a goose egg in the sack category. The best aspect is his tackling. When he gets his huge paws on a ball carrier, you can assure they’re going down.
This week against SJSU, Scott needs to work on being more of a bully and implement a bullrush. The more he can get into the backfield, the more dominant he’ll be because he’ll disrupt more plays.
JALEN JELKS: OLB
STATS: 6-tackles, 2 solo tackles, 1 sack,
DRAFT STOCK: 3rd Round
Jelks is a beast and continues to use his freak size, 6’6 245-lbs, and athleticism to wreak havoc whenever he’s on the field. He created match-up nightmares for the PSU offense by either lining up as a DE to rush the QB, or dropping back in pass coverage to defend tight ends and running backs. He finished the game with one sack, he was second on the team in total tackles (6) and even had a few deflections.
Jelks performance will be nothing different Saturday versus SJSU than it’s been in his first two games. I want to see him really use his speed more to get after the QB as a rusher. It is such a weapon coming off the edge that when he learns to harness it, he will be a force to be reckoned with. If he wants to have an “A-grade” in week three, then he must have more than one sack versus the Spartans.
TROY DYE: LB
STATS: 5 total tackles
DRAFT STOCK: 5th Round
Troy Dye had a pretty typical afternoon. As the middle linebacker, you’d like to see him lead the team in tackles, however, his numbers indicate that his teammates around him had a solid afternoon. So I’ll give him a pass for that.
He was, however, a key contributor in plugging up the running lanes that shut down the Vikings ground attack (66-yards rushing), not to mention holding his own in pass coverage situations. He was successful when having to drop back in coverage and that is going to go a long way when the Ducks get into the heart of their season.
SJSU does not pose any pass catching threats from their running backs that Dye would have to cover, so it will be another opportunity for him to practice his work on pass defense. He has proven he has the skills to tackle well and plug up running lanes, so Saturday will be just another game for him and his Ducks to hammer out the small details before their monster game against Stanford in two weeks.