This game had the potential for a really good draft matchup between Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks and Texas A&M cornerback Myles Jones. Jones missed a number of games with an injury to start this season, but he returned to the field for this contest. It didn't start well for Burks, who had a holding penalty that negated a long run. After that, however, Burks had his way with the Aggies defense.
Midway through the first quarter, Burks ran a go route down the sideline. He and Jones had some hand fighting, and Burks managed a late push for some separation to haul in a pass before racing away from Jones for an 85-yard touchdown. Later in the first half, he made a diving catch deep downfield, and it looked like it was another long gain, but Burks was questionably ruled out of bounds.
Shortly later, Burks made a phenomenal leaping one-handed catch for a chunk gain. He also drew a critical pass interference. Midway through the second half, Burks was shaken up and had to go to the locker room. That ended his game, but he had racked up six receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown.
Burks showed solid route-running, hands, and physicality with cornerbacks throughout the day. While Burks is not a burner like a Jaylen Waddle, DeSean Jackson or Will Fuller, he is a big wideout who has enough speed to generate some late separation. He is dangerous after the catch and has the size and the strength to out-position defensive backs. His 40 before the 2022 NFL Draft will be important, but Burks could be an A.J. Brown-caliber receiver prospect for the NFL.
Texas A&M has a few good prospects on offense for the NFL, but they are being held back by a bad backup quarterback play. Running back Isaiah Spiller is seeing stacked boxes with defenses daring the quarterback to beat them. Spiller has impressed this year as a receiver though, including a huge game-winning touchdown catch against Colorado. Spiller continued to be opportunistic versus the Razorbacks.
In the first quarter, Spiller caught a short dump-off near the line of scrimmage, broke a tackle, and then exploded down the field for a gain of 19 yards. Later on the drive, it looked like Spiller was going to be tackled for a loss, but he quickly darted back to the other side while dodging a defender to get a first down on a superb three-yard run. In the third quarter, Spiller got the Aggies back in the game when he found a hole up the middle, and he raced down the field for a 67-yard touchdown. Spiller totaled 95 yards on 12 carries and five receptions for 26 yards.
Spiller has good size and strength, enough quickness to hit the hole, and is functional as a receiver. He has three-down starting potential for the NFL and could get Day 2 consideration in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There were about 30 NFL scouts in attendance at the Syracuse dome to watch Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Willis typically goes faces an easy opponent, and while the Orange are not a good team stocked with future NFL talent, they at least play in a conference of a higher level of football. Hence, it would be interesting to see how Willis would perform against the Orange.
On the first drive of the game, Willis used his legs to convert a third-and-short, and he then escaped what looked like a definite sack to weave his way down the field for a gain of 25 yards. The Liberty offense was struggling around Willis in the first half. The offensive line was allowing steady pressure, receivers were dropping passes, and they were not doing well creating separation.
Late in the second quarter, Willis started to move the Flames, including throwing a rocket to the sideline for a first down and then lofting in a beautiful deep ball along the sideline for a gain of about 40 yards. That set up a first-and-goal that was turned into a short rushing touchdown.
In the third quarter, Willis made some nice passes, driving the ball to the sideline. Late in the third, he lofted a ball perfectly along the sideline for a touchdown from about 25 yards out.
Early in fourth quarter, Willis had a wide-open receiver, and he lofted in a perfect 33-yard touchdown pass. Later, Willis showed poor ball security while getting sacked. He was trying to do too much and should have eaten the play. Versus Syracuse, Willis completed 14-of-19 for 205 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, he had 49 yards on 17 carries. Willis made some good plays and showed that he is a true dual-threat quarterback.
Willis has a good skill set and talent to work with for the NFL. His dangerous mobility makes him a threat to make plays off schedule, and he is tough to sack. Willis really helps his offensive line with his escapability, and he is a tough runner. Willis also has a strong arm capable of firing the ball downfield. His deep ball in the second quarter was a very impressive throw that showed his strength, touch and placement.
As a passer, Willis needs development with his mechanics. He throws flatfooted at times, and his footwork can lead to inconsistency with placement. For his football development, it would make sense to go back to school and get better, but considering the 2022 NFL Draft is weak at quarterback, it could make sense for Willis to come out.
Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor was seeing some talented young receivers against Florida while also facing a tough rushing offense from the Gators. Taylor is a strong, physical corner, so this was a game that suited his style. Late in the first half, Taylor showed his hustle and ran to the sideline with a receiver being stood up. Taylor ripped the ball out and the Volunteers recovered to prevent a point scoring opportunity for the Gators.
After that, Taylor was sound in coverage preventing separation. He also flew around the field to make some open field tackles and cut down Gator ball carriers. Versus Florida, Taylor had six tackles with a forced fumble.
For the NFL, Taylor could fit as a solid No. 2 corner. He may lack the elite speed and fluidity to be a lock down No. 1, but he is a gritty defender with size, strength, and instincts. Taylor could be a second-day pick.
Florida defensive lineman Zachary Carter is having a good senior season that is helping his draft stock. After an impressive performance versus Alabama, Carter played well against Tennessee. In the second quarter Carter came up with a clutch third down sack on a phenomenal rush. Carter used speed to get upfield, rocked the left tackle with a strong left arm punch to knock him off balance, and then Carter chased down the quarterback for a sack. He added a few tackles in the ground game.
Carter (6-4, 285) is similar to former Gators defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard. They both are tweener defensive end/tackles. Bullard was drafted into the wrong scheme as a 3-4 defensive end and that led to him not panning out for the Bears. Both players have the weight of a defensive end and the height of a defensive tackle. Carter has some quickness, functional strength, and plays hard. Some area scouts have told me they think for the NFL his best fit would be to continue to add some weight and be a three technique tackle in a 4-3 defense. Carter could be a day-two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
This game had the potential for a good draft matchup with Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers taking on Missouri cornerback Akayleb Evans. Unfortunately, they didn't go against each other exclusively. They still both managed to flash their next-level talents.
Midway through the first quarter, Flowers got open in zone coverage and then darted down the field for another 20 yards to gain a total of 28 yards. Missouri sent double coverage to Flowers after that unless he was matched up against Evans.
In the third quarter, Evans had coverage running with Flowers on a go route down the sideline, and Evans was able to break up the pass while keeping Flowers from generating separation. Shortly later, Evans made a good tackle in run defense in the open field. It was an excellent series from Evans, displaying the speed to carry some verticals and then the size, strength, and willingness to tackle.
Both Flowers and Evans could be second-day talents for the 2022 NFL Draft. Evans might be a second-rounder who develops into being a starting outside corner. He is a well-rounded corner prospect entering the next level.
In overtime, Flowers got open for a 10-yard touchdown to haul in the game-winning score. He caught eight passes for 62 yards and a touchdown against Missouri. The 5-foot-10, 177-pounder is a slot receiver candidate for the next level to threaten defenses vertically downfield. Flowers is shifty receiver with deep speed and explosiveness, but his lack of size probably limits him to the slot. He could be a second-day pick who turns into a solid contributor in the NFL.
Boston College has a pair of future interior offensive linemen with pro potential in guard Zion Johnson and center Alec Lindstrom. Missouri meanwhile fields a quality defensive line for a college team, but the Tigers do not have any world beaters up front. Lindstrom and Johnson are similar players, and each one had a solid performance against Missouri.
Lindstrom and Johnson both are technically sounds blockers. They have advanced hand placement, they bend at the knee, and use their quickness and athleticism to beat defenders to spots. However both of them could use more strength for the NFL. They do not knock defensive linemen off the ball and are not bulls in the ground game. They fight, but they are not overwhelmingly strong. They could use develop in a pro strength program but might fit better in a zone scheme. Lindstrom and Johnson could be day-two or mid-round candidates in 2022.
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton entered the season as the consensus top safety prospect and a future first-round pick. Hamilton has only improved his draft stock since then, performing tremendously well and helping the Fighting Irish to tough wins over Florida State and Purdue. Hamilton snagged three interceptions in those games, made a lot of clutch tackles and flew around the field, showing off his phenomenal skill set of size, speed and athleticism. Taking on Wisconsin, Hamilton was seeing a potential Day 2 or mid-round pick in tight end in the Badgers' Jake Ferguson, and once again, Hamilton showed he is elite as he led a near shutout of Ferguson.
In the first quarter Hamilton had close coverage on a third down pass to Ferguson and the ball fell incomplete. Hamilton got away with a bit of a hold as he was a touch late getting over to Ferguson, but his coverage was sound enough to avoid penalty or a first down reception. Later on Ferguson had an 11-yard catch and that was it for the day. Hamilton kept making plays flying around the field and being around the ball. He had a touchdown saving tackle downfield in the third quarter and broke up a completion with a hard hit in the flat.
Hamilton has been tremendous this season and is dominating the competition. For the NFL, he is a well-rounded safety who can play free or strong safety, is able to handle some man coverage, and has ball skills. Hamilton could quickly become an impactful starter in the NFL. He looks like he is on track to be a pick in the top half of the first round next April in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ferguson did not make a big impact against Notre Dame, but he could be a mid-rounder next April. Ferguson looks like a potential No. 2 tight end for the NFL.