September is pretty much over, and that marks a change in the scouting process. The first month of the college football season is largely spent on a more macro level, gathering rougher evaluations of many players and deciding which players merit deeper inspection. Scouts are looking at returning players coming off injuries, higher-profile returnees to gauge relative improvement and development, and seeing which underclassmen stand out. Most area scouts have a preseason watch list, and after four weeks they go back and modify that list, or rather have it modified by the various scouting directors and GMs. More in-depth scouting of targeted individuals really starts now. Here are my various observations on the first month of the college season as it relates to the NFL draft: -- The WR crop looks strong, but every guy has some warts. Julio Jones of Alabama is my top guy, but it doesn't always look like he's going full tilt. I know one scout that knows him well and he thinks Jones doesn't really love football all that much, he lacks passion for the game. That's scary, and it?s reflected in his inexplicable drops. Georgia?s A.J. Green is arguably just as talented but he's got off-field baggage. Jones is more physical with longer speed and more in the line of Hakeem Nicks or Braylon Edwards, bigger receivers that are bigger downfield threats. Green has more of a TJ Houshmandzadeh or Greg Jennings feel to him, though he?s taller than both. He really needs to add some base strength and clean up his feet out of breaks, but his hands are great and he?s excellent with the ball in the air. It will be interesting to see how the rest of his season with a ?lost? Georgia squad plays out, because his character will be under heavy scrutiny after his suspension. Pittsburgh?s Jon Baldwin is a Dez Bryant clone physically, but his routes are not sharp and he lacks quickness. I worry about his ability to get separation in the NFL, but he?s answered my questions about his hands even with a bad game against a good Miami secondary. Notre Dame?s Michael Floyd has got such great size and hands, but he lacks explosiveness. He reminds me somewhat of Roy Williams (when Roy is on his ?A? game), a physical 1a option that needs to be paired with a shiftier speedster in order to be real effective. Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma is an intriguing slot guy, a waterbug with exceptional quickness and sharpness to his routes. But Broyles really lacks strength at under 180 pounds and doesn?t appear to have the frame to add much more, which brings up durability questions and makes me wonder if he will be able to block or get free against jams. DeVier Posey of Ohio State is the best blocker of any wideout, a sure-handed receiver that knows all the little tricks, but he is not a great athlete (relatively speaking of course). He reminds me of Golden Tate, who went in the late 2nd round and is the third wideout in Seattle for the next 5 years. A couple under-the-radar guys that have shown me something: DeAndre Brown from Southern Miss and Leonard Hankerson from Miami. Hankerson is the only senior on this list and he's only in school because he hasn't been able to stay healthy long enough to show his potential. -- Most preseason offensive line rankings featured Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin and Orlando Franklin of Miami at or near the top of the tackle class. Both have played their way backwards from what I?ve seen so far. Carimi has been outplayed by junior teammate Josh Oglesby so far and just doesn?t have the athleticism to handle speedier outside rushers. He?s not as aggressive as I expected either, allowing the defender to dictate the action too often and not providing a great charge to the second level in run blocking. Franklin was manhandled by Cam Heyward (the most impressive DL I?ve seen this year) in the Ohio State game, but what concerns me is how Heyward bull rushed the giant Franklin consistently. For a converted guard I expect more base strength, but Franklin has poor pad level and winds up before extending his arms. He fared better against an overmatched Pittsburgh DL, but undersized Jabaal Sheard still won many battles against Franklin, using quickness and false steps to befuddle him. Sheard is quickly moving up draft boards in his own right and could wind up in the late first round if he keeps showing up in backfields with frequency. On the flip side, two SEC tackles now top my positional ranking. Demarcus Love of Arkansas and Derek Sherrod of Mississippi State have both been quite impressive and (at this point) seem worthy of top 10 consideration. Love gets excellent leverage and knows what to do once he gets the advantage, driving his legs and keeping his arms extended with great strength. I was impressed at how quickly he can set up on outside rushers, and he has the athleticism to make recovery blocks if he doesn?t get the upper hand initially. I find that a very desirable and underappreciated trait, because every tackle is going to get beat at times. He probably fits better on the right side, where his apparent surliness is more of a desired trait. Sherrod jumps off MSU game tape, in part because the rest of the line is awful but mainly because of his consistent ability to absolutely erase his man from the play. His mirror skills are exceptional and he?s very light on his feet, but don?t take that to mean he lacks strength. I would like to see him add another 5-10 pounds but his technique is strong enough that it?s not critical. He?s perfect for a zone blocking scheme and should be an above-average pass blocker right away at the next level. -- Last year?s safety class was incredibly deep, which has apparently thinned the herd to the point of making any early draft-worthy safety an endangered species. UCLA junior Rahim Moore is the cream of the crop, the best playmaker and a great athlete with natural coverage instincts. He showed his range and instincts in the stunning upset of Texas and he plays with both poise and swagger. He has some Louis Delmas to him. Fellow junior Robert Sands of West Virginia isn?t as fast but is a better hitter, a legit clock cleaner. He?s a natural centerfielder with great ball skills, though he gambles and freelances too much for certain schemes. Both are late first/early second round prospects at this point. The top seniors are: DeAndre McDaniel from Clemson, a strong safety with great size but some troubling off-field baggage that struggles changing direction and finding the right spot to help in coverage, much in the mold of the undersized-LB-playing-safety group exemplified by Roy Williams; Alabama?s Mark Barron, who is generally good in coverage and versatile a la Antrell Rolle, but like Rolle he is a lazy tackler with poor technique and will bite on play action; Florida?s Ahmad Black is a natural leader and has a great football IQ, but he?s badly undersized at 5?9? and hasn?t been a playmaker, which is the en vogue trait for free safeties right now. He might be a better NFL inside CB than safety; Oklahoma?s Quinton Carter flashes greatness at times but he?s a lightweight (6?1?, 188 pounds) that lacks quickness. He?ll fit in nicely with a team that values reliability over dynamic production, and his upside appears tapped out. North Carolina?s Deunta Williams, perhaps the only Tar Heel defender without personal baggage, has fallen in my eyes with too many missed tackles and real tightness in his hips. A couple of middle-round, non-BCS prospects I?ve liked so far: Duke Ihenacho of San Jose State, a real thumper with decent range but very raw coverage and diagnostic skills, and Shiloh Keo of Idaho, who shows good range and great aggressiveness in run support but is very hit/miss in coverage. Both have the chance to develop into NFL starters if they can absorb coaching and improve technique. Ihenacho reminds me of a poor man?s Bernard Pollard. -- This appears to be the year of the power running back, as the top prospects include (in order) Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas, Ryan Williams, Mikel Leshoure, and Demarco Murray. That makes the smaller speed backs at more of a premium. The top two in that category are Oklahoma State senior Kendall Hunter and West Virginia senior Noel Devine. I prefer Devine, who is probably the quickest back in this class and has better vision. He has added a few pounds of bulk but it hasn?t impacted his quickness. His intriguing (some would say troubling) back story will make the interviewing process critical for Devine. Hunter has some injury flags but has exceptional balance and always runs north/south, a pleasant surprise for a smaller back. Louisville junior Victor Anderson has added the dimension of return man to his game impressively and appears fully recovered and unaffected by shoulder surgery. He?s got the best long speed of the group and is a great receiver, reminiscent of a lighter Chester Taylor. He?s got some diva to him and tends to be streaky, however.