2023 NFL Draft: College Game Recaps - Week 6

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2023 NFL Draft Prospects have performed.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

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  • Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is in the running to be the top quarterback prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft, and he gave reinforced that perception with his absolutely dominant performance on the road at Michigan State. On the first possession, Stroud lofted in a pass for a 19-yard touchdown to Marvin Harrison Jr., who made a leaping grab over a defensive back for the score. It was a nice throw by Stroud becuase the pressure kept him from stepping into the pass, yet he used his arm to loft the ball in flat-footed.

    However on the next possession, Stroud had a miscommunication with his receiver. The wideout ran vertically when Stroud thought he was going to stop his route. That resulted in an easy interception to Charles Brantley, who then coasted down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown.

    Quickly, Stroud took the lead by finding wide receiver Emeka Egbuka running wide-open down the field in busted coverage for a 69-yard touchdown. Two Spartan defenders covered the same receiver and forgot to cover Egbuka, helping gift Stroud the easiest long touchdown he could ever hope for.

    At the start of the second quarter, Stroud found wide receiver Julian Fleming running open down the seam. Stroud then lofted in a strike to lead Flemming on a 51-yard touchdown.

    Shortly later on a third-and-long, Stroud had to short arm a pass, but once again, lofted in a beauty for Harrison to convert for the Buckeyes. Even though this one wasn't a touchdown, it was perhaps Stroud's best throw of the day; it was sheer perfection. Just before the half, Stroud hit Harrison on the run for another touchdown, as Harrison ran a deep slant and was able to charge into the end zone. At halftime, Stroud had completed 15-of-18 passes for 285 yard, four touchdowns and the miscommunication pick-six, which was the only blemish from pure dominance.

    In the third quarter, Stroud did another back-shoulder throw to Harrison for a 19-yard touchdown. Stroud also rolled out to toss a two-yard score to his tight end.

    Stroud was phenomenal against the Spartans, completing 21-of-26 passes for 361 yards, six touchdowns and an interception. He threw the ball accurately with excellent placement to beat tight coverage. On top of his accuracy, Stroud did a nice job of hitting his receivers on the run to lead them for yards after the catch. Stroud showed developed field vision to work through his progressions and read coverage. This game was impressive because he threw into a lot of tight windows and made some brilliant passes. In other games, Stroud's receivers were so wide open that he had easy passes, but versus the Spartans, Stroud burned the defense even when it played tight coverage. This tape is going to help Stroud to be a high first-round pick next April in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed was impressive despite his team getting blown out. In the second quarter, Reed made a pretty falling reception that demonstrated excellent adjustment to haul in the pass for a 24-yard gain. To finish that drive, Michigan State went back to the matchup, and Reed made a superb adjustment to haul in an 18-yard touchdown on a back-shoulder throw. Reed finished catching four passes for 67 yards and the score.

    While Reed is not the biggest of receivers, he is a shifty route runner with quickness. Reed also is a super competitor who wins on 50-50 balls that he shouldn't. In that regard, he is reminiscent of what Jahan Dotson did for Penn State. On top of Reed's receiving ability, he is a dangerous returner, so he offers added value on special teams. Reed could be a dangerous slot receiver at the next level and might be a third- or fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft who ends up being an excellent value.

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  • Tennessee defensive end Byron Young has impressed some pro evaluators the season, and he continued his strong senior year with a good performance against LSU. Early in the second quarter, Young helped clean up a scrambling Jayden Daniels for a sack with a teammate. Young lined up at defensive tackle over the left guard and looped around the right guard on a stunt to get free for an effort sack. At the end of the second quarter, Young logged his second sack after the left tackle was slow to react off the snap, which let Young fire past him to take down Daniels and get the ball back for the Volunteers just before halftime.

    Early in the third quarter, Daniels notched his third sack of the game with a stunt up the middle, and he collapsed the pocket in a blur. While it was Young's third sack, the official scorer may have him at two or 2.5 because teammates joined him at the quarterback.

    Young is quick, agile, and has active hands. He is fluid at the point of attack, showing the ability to dodge blockers with impressive closing speed. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Young has some size limitations for the NFL, and he might best in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker. Young could get second-day consideration in the 2023 NFL Draft and should end up no lower than a mid-round pick.

  • LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte is considered to be one of the top receiver prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, but Boutte had an ugly performance against Florida State to open the season and has yet to produce a big game in 2022. To get things started against Tennessee, Boutte dropped a pass that went through his hands. LSU did not get the ball to Boutte until garbage time, when he caught a short touchdown pass and made a few other short receptions. He totaled 33 yards on six receptions. Pro team sources like Boutte's skill set, but his lack of production midway through the season is alarming. If that doesn't get turned around in the back half of the year, Boutte will eventually slide.

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  • Texas running back Bijan Robinson is one of the best prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, and he provided more evidence of that in helping the Longhorns to blow out their arch rival Sooners. Midway through the first quarter, Robinson showed his power to break a tackle a few yards in front of the end zone and then bolt into the end zone to give Texas an early lead. Early in the second quarter, Robinson made a ridiculous catch, leaping in the air and twisting his body against his momentum to make a juggling catch for a third-down conversion. It was an unbelievable adjustment for a thickly built power running back.

    In the third quarter, Robinson continued to run well through the Oklahoma defense and had an easy 11-yard touchdown. He finished with 22 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns plus had two receptions for 15 yards. This was another good tape from Robinson that showed his phenomenal skill set with size, speed and versatility. Robinson is a top-10 talent, but he might go lower in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft because of the downgrading of running backs by pro teams.

  • Oklahoma offensive tackles Anton Harrison and Wanya Morris have early-round skill sets for the 2023 NFL Draft, but this tape won't help either's draft grade. Neither was winning at the point of attack in the ground game or in pass protection. At the end of the first quarter, Harrison was embarrassed by a defensive tackle, who rolled him into the backfield and saw his running back tackled by his assigned defender for a loss on a fourth-and-short run. It was an ugly play by Harrison that illustrated a lack of strength and physicality. In the fourth quarter, Morris got pushed backward and lost his balance, letting his defender get free to record a sack.

    Both Harrison and Morris have good quickness, athleticism and agility. However, they are finesse blockers and must get stronger, tougher and more physical for the NFL.

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  • Bulldogs defensive end Nolan Smith has taken over as their featured edge rusher this season and is a solid college player. He was active against Auburn, putting pressure on the quarterback and showing the speed to get upfield and the active hands to fight with blockers while moving upfield. On a third down, Smith fired into the backfield to notch a tackle for a loss and get his defense off the field. Smith came close to a few sacks as well, but Robby Ashford was able to move in the pocket to dodge him.

    Smith plays hard and shows some developed strength with quickness. He could be on the bubble of the first and second round of the 2023 NFL Draft because he is a bit undersized and lacks length. Smith can have issues getting off blockers when they get a hold of him. Hence, Smith might be more of an early Round 2-caliber player like former teammate Azeez Ojulari.

  • Georgia was without nose tackle Jalen Carter, who suffered an MCL sprain versus Missouri. Some feel that it was a dirty hit because Carter was being engaged high and low with a blocker diving at his knee. If the knee injury lingers and restricts Carter the rest of this season and through the draft process, it could cause him to slide in the 2023 NFL Draft and have teams put a medical red flag on him.

  • Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh had an easy game, totaling 37 yards with a touchdown on eight carries. He also caught four passes for 13 yards. Early in the second quarter, McIntosh had a short touchdown run around the left side, shedding a tackler and keeping his feet to dart into the end zone. McIntosh should be able to stay fresh over the season because the Bulldogs rotate their fleet of talented backs. He could be a second-day pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it would help him to produce some big games over the back half of the year.

  • Tigers outside linebacker Derick Hall was active against Georgia, running to the ball and getting in on some tackles. However, Hall did not make a big impact in the pass rush or produce splash plays, and the Auburn defense was getting gashed. To make the day even worse, Hall left the game with an injury midway through the second half.

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  • BYU quarterback Jaren Hall is an early-round prospect, but he hurt his future draft grade with his performance in Las Vegas against Notre Dame. Hall was out of sorts in the first half with the Fighting Irish defense houndinf him in the pocket while he was also off on his throws. On the first play from scrimmage, Hall threw a terrible pass deep down the field. He could not step into the throw solidly, and the pass floated short to a defensive back. Hall bounced back later in the first quarter with a nice run on an option to get a first down for BYU, and Hall soon threw an easy, clutch touchdown on fourth-and-goal. Hall got lucky a bit later with a dropped interception after he and his receiver were not on the same page. The wideout sat down on the route, but Hall thought he would run an out, so that could have been Hall's mistake or the receiver's.

    Later in the second quarter. Hall was passing from his own end zone and held the ball a bit long with pressure coming quickly. While the sack came from behind him, Hall needs to get the ball out faster when passing from the end zone and avoid taking a safety. At halftime, Hall was only 3-of-8 for 12 yards passing.

    Hall finally hit a big throw midway through the third quarter, finding a wide-open receiver, Kody Epps, down the seam. Hall laid out a deep ball to connect with Epps, who then raced into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown. On the next drive, Hall held the ball too long and took a bad sack when he could have thrown the ball away while scrambling. Hall rebounded some with some good option plays and had a perfectly thrown pass for a third-down conversion get dropped.

    With the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter, Hall slid in the pocket and threw a strike to Epps in the middle of the field for a gain of 27 yards. However, the Notre Dame defense stopped a fourth-and-1 for a loss on a terrible play call by BYU. Hall finished the day having completed 9-of-17 for 120 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

    Overall, this tape will hurt Hall's draft grade. His interception and safety were painful plays that helped produce points for Notre Dame. Hall looked more like a second-day prospect in this game rather than a first-rounder for the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer had a record-setting night versus the Cougars, surpassing Tyler Eifert for the most career receptions by a tight end in Fighting Irish history. Mayer played well and had his way with the BYU defense.

    On Notre Dame's first drive, Mayer caught a few short passes to help move the chains into Cougars territory. Early in the second quarter, Mayer went down the seam and made a leaping grab for a touchdown from about 25 yards out. Mayer had a few other receptions to help move the chains and put Notre Dame in position for more points.

    In the third quarter, Mayer got open on an out route to convert a third-and-long, and then to finish the driv,e he ran a corner route across the field and hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch for a 20-yard touchdown. Not long afterward, Mayer came up short while trying to make a catch on an out route, and the ball bounced off his hands. It was a difficult attempt and not a bad drop. Mayer ended up totaling 11 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

    This tape will help Mayer's draft grade as he was a dynamic receiver who demonstrated good route-running, athleticism, and natural feel as a receiver. Mayer needs to improve his blocking for the next leve, but he looks like a future three-down starter who should go before the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

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  • A week ago, Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young left the game with a strained shoulder injury, and he was a game-time decision against Texas A&M. While Young suited up, that appeared to be a decoy because redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe got the start for the Crimson Tide and remained in the game even though he struggled with three first-half turnovers. How long Young's shoulder strain will keep him out is a mystery, and Nick Saban will definitely not be forthcoming. Missing significant time could hurt Young with NFL teams because he is very undersized, which comes with concerns about his ability to hold up physically at the next level.

  • After Young was injured against the Razorbacks, Alabama turned to star running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who helped the Crimson Tide finish them off. Gibbs was clutch once again versus the Aggies and showed that he is a future pro starter worthy of being a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    In the first quarter versus Texas A&M, Gibbs made some nifty cuts to dodge tacklers and explode downfield for a run of about 30 yards. Midway through the second quarter, he took a run behind the left side and a huge hole opened up that let him explode down the field for a gain of 37 yards. Gibbs ended up turning 21 carries into 154 yards and caught three balls for 13 yards.

    For the NFL, Gibbs looks like a future three-down starter. He is put together well with a serious burst to accelerate to the second level. On top of his speed, Gibbs is a tough runner who shows excellent cutting ability to weave through the defense. Gibbs is a good receiver and will be an asset in the passing game.

  • Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson is the favorite to be the first non-quarterback taken in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and he played well against the Aggies. Throughout the first half, Anderson pressured and harassed the quarterback. Anderson provided a big presence in the backfield even though he did not produce a huge stat line. In the second quarter, Anderson achieved a critical pressure on the quarterback that forced a throw away on first-and-goal.

    Early in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-short, Anderson had a clutch pressure and hit on the quarterback to create an incompletion. A little while later, Anderson read an option play perfectly to notch a tackle for a loss. Overall, this tape will help Anderson to maintain his high status for the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Texas A&M has two very good defensive backs for the 2023 NFL Draft with cornerback/safety Antonio Johnson and cornerback Jaylon Jones. Both of them were quiet against Alabama. The Crimson Tide struggled to get the ball to their receivers with Milroe at quarterback, while Jones had sound coverage. Late in the second quarter, Jones flew to the ball and was in position to recover a fumble. If his teammate hadn't tripped him, Jones could have returned it for a touchdown. In the early going, Johnson had an excellent run fill to put Alabama in a third-and-long. Johnson contributed some other good tackles in run support. This tape won't hurt or help either of them significantly.

  • Other Weeks:

    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 1
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 2
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 3
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 4
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 5
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 6
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 7
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 8
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 9
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 10
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 11
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 12
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 13
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Conference Championships
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - College Playoffs
    2023 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - National Championship Game


    2023 NFL Mock Draft - March 21

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 19

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 17

    NFL Picks - Feb. 14

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7


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