BearsIllustrated Roundtable 9/18

In this weeks segment of the BearsIllustrated.com Roundtable, the staff looks back at the first 3 weeks of the season and gives our surprise players on offense and defense. Join us inside the premium boards to discuss!

In this weeks segment of the BearsIllustrated.com Roundtable, the staff looks back at the first 3 weeks of the season and gives our surprise players on offense and defense. The team chooses someone other than KD Cannon on offense, as Cannon has just been superb. Join us inside the premium boards to discuss!

Tim Watkins - Publisher, BearsIllustrated.com

It is TD Cannon, by the way. I wonder if he has trademarked that yet? Back to the question though, the surprise player on offense to me has been Blake Muir, and not in a good way. I expected him to solidify the offensive line quite a bit, and really step up as a future star. He has not done that yet. Muir has struggled to get push in the running game, sometimes barely moving off of the line of scrimmage. He has also not been as fluid and capable of a pulling guard that I thought he would be. His pass blocking has been solid to good, but the Bears need to have more from their left guard in the running game.

Defensively, the biggest surprise has been Xavien Howard. He has been one of the best cornerbacks in college football this year. He has not been tested very much (heck, you could say that about most of the Baylor defenders), but the few tests that have come his way have been tremendous performances. He made one of the better defensive plays of the year for Baylor against Northwestern State on his interception, and his pass break ups against Buffalo were key to limiting that offense. He might be the best “ball in the air” corner the Bears have had since C.J. Wilson.

Kevin Barrera - Recruiting Analyst, BearsIllustrated.com

On offense: I'm going to agree with my colleague, Shehan, and choose Jay Lee. He has been excellent so far this year. He has shown diversity in his route running, and has been the mis-match that we all thought that he could be. He plays the come back route so well and uses his height and strength to gain yards after the catch. He has been a safe haven for QB Bryce Petty, and thats what has led to his excellent start early. His emergence will help take pressure off of Antwan Goodley. It's a scary thought, but Lee could emerge as one of the top 2 WR targets on this team this year. He had that talent, but as everyone has seen before, just had not put it together. Well he has so far, and this will only make the Bears much more potent and scary on offense.

On defense: I'm going with Aiavion Edwards. I thought at the beginning of the year that Edwards could be an important piece of this defense. As has been mentioned, replacing Eddie Lackey was going to be an extremely tall order, but Edwards has met it head on and shown great poise, while showing off his athleticism. Edwards is quick to the ball, is a great tackler, has great athleticism, and makes great decisions. It will be important to see if he can carry over this great start in to Big 12 play. I think he will, and it will lead to continued dominance of this years #ganggreen defense.

Shehan Jeyarajah - Contributor, BearsIllustrated.com

On offense: Jay Lee. The junior was expected to take a step forward during his fourth year in the program, and he has delivered so far. Lee has caught virtually every ball that has been thrown his way, and been an outstanding complement to the deep threat known as TD Cannon. Lee seems to show the consistency and poise to be an elite mid-range passing threat, but with the quickness to take it to the house himself. It remains to be seen how rotations will work once the receiving corps is fully healthy, but Lee will earn himself a spot in the rotation.

On defense: Taylor Young. If I told you a player on the team was tied for second in sacks and third in forced fumbles, would you guess it was a backup weakside linebacker? Sure, some of Young's production has been on the second team, but Young has showed us in limited opportunities why Phil Bennett called him a playmaker. Aiavion Edwards has been solid, but Young will be gunning for Edwards' job all season long. Having pressure from backups raises the level of competition, and Young will undoubtedly get on the field.

James Holloway - Contributor, BearsIllustrated.com

On offense: My pick for biggest surprise on Offense this year so far is someone that has only started one game, Seth Russell. While I knew that he was an athletic freak through things I've heard, the things I saw during games were not very impressive. He was careless with ball, lacked accuracy, and I questioned his arm strength. In his first action as Baylor's starting QB he excelled, all be it against Northwestern State, in all three categories. While he does not have the arm strength of Petty, he can still throw an accurate deep ball, as seen by his three TD throws to TD Cannon. A lot of people were worried about next year when he takes the reigns, some even calling for Chris Johnson to start over him, but those worries should be silenced or at least quieted.

On defense: My biggest surprise so far on Defense would have to be Aiavion Edwards. Replacing a player like Eddie Lackey is never easy, but so far Edwards hasn't been that noticeable of a decrease in skill. He has great lateral quickness, which shouldn't be that big of a surprise since he was a safety in high school, which is helpful with tackling on the outside. While his athleticism was never in question, his decision making was, but so far there haven't been too many made by the Sophomore. Hopefully once the Bears hit stiffer competition he is able to continue this level of play.


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