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Small School Scouting: Tanner Mordecai, Welcome to the DC Watch List

SMU junior QB Tanner Mordecai continued his tremendous season for the Mustangs in Thursday night’s blowout win over Tulane. He wasn’t on the Draft Countdown watch list before this week but we have now rectified this mistake.

I looked at the prospects in that game, as well, as, a prospect for FCS Merrimack College.

SMU MUSTANGS

Junior QB Tanner Mordecai continued his emergence as an NFL prospect this week. The Oklahoma transfer threw three touchdown passes against the Green Wave, bringing his season total to 29. He is currently leading the nation over Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe. Mordecai does a great job of getting to his second, third, and sometimes fourth reads quickly. He moves well in the pocket to buy himself time. Mordecai doesn’t have the biggest arm but he makes up for it with nice accuracy.

It is slightly concerning that the worst game Mordecai has had in 2021 was his one game against a Power 5 opponent. He struggled against TCU with three interceptions and it also was his only game with less than 300 yards passing. Compare that to his game against Tulane where he accounted for 461 yards of total offense and four TDs. I do not expect Mordecai to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. If he does, he likely will be an early day three selection. If Mordecai does stay, I think he will have a chance to be one of the top senior quarterbacks for the 2023 class

It is no secret that I am a big fan of senior WR Reggie Roberson Jr. Roberson makes the difficult catches look routine. He runs solid routes. Roberson’s big plays are down in 2021 and so are his overall numbers. This can be chalked up to a couple of factors. The Mustangs have more weapons for Tanner Mordecai to throw to and Roberson is still recovering from a devastating knee injury that eliminated most of his 2020 season. The injury is probably going to keep Roberson from being a Top 100 selection but I will probably still have him ranked there. Against Tulane, he caught three passes for 41 yards and a TD.

Another Oklahoma transfer, senior TE Grant Calcaterra continued his comeback tour with seven catches and 90 yards against Tulane. I expect there will be at least a dozen NFL teams who will disqualify Calcaterra on his medicals. He hasn’t played in over two years since he medically retired from football. Is he okay now? It certainly seems so but teams will have plenty of questions.

The leading receiver for the Ponies is actually 6’2” 199-pound senior Danny Gray. He has been the big play threat for SMU. Against Tulane, he caught eight of eleven targets for 140 yards.

TULANE GREEN WAVE

Tulane has two underclassmen linebackers that I think will one day grace NFL rosters. Junior Nick Anderson lacks ideal height (listed at 5’11”) but makes up for it with explosiveness and sure tackling. He notched 11 tackles and had one hurry. Redshirt sophomore Dorian Williams is a leader for the Green Wave defense. He logged seven tackles and had one PBU. I don’t expect either to enter this year’s draft.

It was a quiet night for senior DL Jeffery Johnson. Johnson had three tackles against SMU. I believe that he has a future as a situational interior pass rusher at the next level and potentially be a day three selection.

MERRIMACK WARRIORS

I took the opportunity to DVR the Merrimack game last weekend at Long Island University. The point was to see their senior corner, Darion McKenzie. McKenzie has the size and length you look for at 6’2” 200-pounds. He is thickly built. McKenzie plays with the physicality you would expect. He has decent speed but isn’t overly fast. I think McKenzie is probably best suited to be a big nickel corner or free safety. I assume he will be at one of the All-Star games after the season with a chance to prove himself against bigger competition.

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