2023 NFL Draft: College Game Recaps - Week 9

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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  • There was an excellent draft matchup in this game with Oklahoma offensive tackles Anton Harrison and Wayna Morris taking on Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV. While McDonald did not have a big statistical game, he was the most impressive of the three for the NFL.

    Throughout the first half, the Sooners kept McDonald in check by sending some double teams his direction while also balancing their attack with lots of rushing. In the third quarter, McDonald had an excellent rush, using his speed to get upfield and then a spin move to dart by Morris for a pressure that helped produce a sack for Iowa State. Shortly later, McDonald got off a block and joined a run tackle at the line of scrimmage.

    McDonald is a potential speed rusher for the NFL who could be capable of producing double-digit sacks. He has natural quarterback-hunting ability with speed off the ball and the ability to fire past blockers. McDonald displays pass-rushing moves assisted by rare athleticism to dodge blockers. However, McDonald is undersized and is not a good run defender. Hence, he might be more of a rotational player and designated pass rusher at the next level.

  • Both Harrison and Morris are good athletes with quickness and agility on the edge. However, they both lack strength and physicality. Each needs to grow stronger and block with more attitude to become a quality NFL starter.

  • Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims had an ugly game, dropping a few passes against Iowa State, including a potentially huge play downfield early in the day. He recorded only two catches for 16 yards despite seeing a lot of targets. Mims is not a big receiver and having sure hands is a necessity for him because he is not overly fast either. This was an ugly tape for Mims that made him look more like a late-rounder rather than a potential mid-round pick for the 2023 NFL Draft.

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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 had solid performance against Penn State. On the opening drive, Stroud converted a third-and-long by tossing a deep ball to Marvin Harrison Jr. The ball was a little underthrown, but Harrison made the adjustment to snatch the pass for a 37-yard gain. Penn State's defense did a nice job of tackling and rallying to the ball to limit Stroud in the first half. He made some nice passes in the 2-minute drill, but a strip-sack from a free rusher ended the drive deep in Penn State territory as time expired. Stroud did not identify the free rusher, double clutched on his throw, and did get the ball out quickly or make a move to dodge the blitzer in the pocket.

    In the fourth quarter, Stroud found a tight end wide open for an easy touchdown pass, and that play helped put Penn State away. Stroud made another superb throw to set up a first-and-goal at the two late in the fourth quarter, but then Stroud did not look at the play clock and took an unnecessary delay-of-game penalty. Stroud finished completing 26-of-33 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown.

    This tape is not going to really help for Stroud to be the first quarterback taken or the No. 1-overall pick next April in the 2023 NFL Draft, but it won't hurt him significantly. While he made some good passes, he did not dominate. Stroud is a strong-armed, accurate passer who has developed field vision. He has some limited mobility and is more of a pocket passer for the next level. Stroud is still on pace to be a high first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is in the running to be the top cornerbacks prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft, and he was taking on the toughest passing attack he will see all season with Stroud and the Ohio State wide receivers.

    Throughout the first half, Ohio State did not test Porter, but that changed midway through the second quarter. Porter tugged a receiver to keep him from pulling away, which resulted in a pass-interference penalty. Porter came back to fly over to the middle of the field to make a touchdown-saving tackle. Late in the fourth quarter, Penn State had too soft of coverage with too much cushion, which let Harrison get open on a slant for a critical first down. Porter drove hard to make a tackle, but he missed the diving ankle tackle on Harrison.

    Porter was quiet aside from those plays, but that was a good thing, as it reflected the nice job he was doing of covering his receivers, including really limiting Emeka Ebuka. Porter also ran well with Harrison in the plays they were matched against each other. Overall, this was a quality tape for Porter that shows he has No. 1 corner potential for the NFL.

  • Penn State wide receiver Parker Washington had superb game, completely having his way with a talented Buckeyes secondary. In second quarter, Washington caught a short screen pass, broke a tackle, and then exploded down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown. Just after halftime, Parker brought in a clutch third-down catch in traffic. He then got open on a deep crossing route on the next play to make a leaping grab for 27 yards. Early in the fourth quarter, Washington made a phenomenal diving catch with a defender draped all over him for a 26-yard gain. Washington totaled 11 receptions for 179 yards and a touchdown against the Buckeyes.

    Washington turned in an excellent game against Ohio State. He used his speed to generate separation, was explosive out of his breaks, and showed big-play ability to threaten a fast defense deep down the field. This was a great tape for Washington that will help his draft grade.

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  • If there were any "out of sight, out of mind" situation with Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, that was laid to rest with his return versus the Gators. Carter had been out for multiple games following a sprained MCL suffered on a dirty hit against Missouri. He had already been playing banged up since Georgia's Week 1 win over Oregon.

    Carter's first snap of the game was a third-and-long situation, and he darted past the guard to come close to a sack while flushing Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson out of the pocket. Carter had a fantastic play on a third down later in the second quarter, blasting through two blockers to blow up a run.

    The Bulldogs have used Carter very sparingly, but he showed why he is a special talent. Pro team sources think Carter is a better prospect than former teammates Jordan Davis and Devante Wyatt. Carter is faster and more athletic than either of them, plus offers more pass-rush potential. Even with the limited snaps, this tape will help Carter because it showed off his freaky skill set.

  • The media is still hyping up Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson as a first-round pick, but this game against Georgia gave further proof that he is an inaccurate passer who needs to improve drastically before going to pro. Aside from financial considerations, Richardson would be foolish to enter the 2023 NFL Draft because he needs a ton of development as a football player. Entering the draft too early could lead to Richardson going bust due to pro teams lacking patience, as they not favored with the developmental time that they used to have.

    Late in the first quarter, Richardson had big 6-foot-4 wideout Justin Shorter open for a third-and-long conversion, but Richardson missed too high with an inaccurate throw. Richardson later had another potential first-down completion that was thrown behind a receiver for another incompletion. A few plays later, he had a wideout totally open down the slot for what could have been an 80-yard touchdown, but Richardson did not put enough air underneath the ball, which flew past his target for an incompletion.

    Midway through the second quarter, Richardson threw a perfect deep ball to Shorter for a 40-yard gain. Kelee Ringo had tight coverage, but he jumped too soon and the pass dropped precisely into the breadbasket of Shorter. That was one of two first downs that the Florida offense generated in the first half.

    Richardson started playing better in the third quarter, but he missed a wide-open receiver in the end zone on an overthrow to a different open wideout in the end zone. Later in the third quarter, Richardson found Xzavier Henderson wide open along the sideline in busted coverage for a completion. Henderson raced the remaining 60 yards for a 78-yard touchdown. It was a good read by Richardson, and he finally saw the open receiver in the secondary. Richardson finished completing 18-of-37 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown.

    There is no doubt that Richardson has a tremendous skill set, including a cannon for an arm, size, toughness, and running ability. However, he needs to improve his accuracy and pocket-passing ability by leaps and bounds to become an NFL starter. His accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field is simply poor. Richardson throws too many fastballs and needs to take something off his ball to make it more catchable for his receivers. Richardson also does not read the field well and will not see open receivers. Along with his inconsistency, he has confidence issues and needs to become more poised. Richardson should return to Florida for 2023 and continue to develop before going pro. If he doesn't return to the Gators, he should transfer to another school; Richardson is not close to ready to play in NFL.

  • Gators linebacker Amari Burney had an impressive game that will help his draft grade. In the first half, Burney showed impressive pass-coverage ability, running stride-for-stride with star Georgia tight end Brock Bowers. Bowers and Georgia got lucky on one play when Burney had blanket coverage and tipped a pass while falling down, but Bowers was able to control the deflection and run for a long touchdown. The Bulldogs got lucky on the play, and Burney had excellent coverage on the play.

    In the third quarter, Burney helped get his team back in the game by producing two turnovers. The first one saw Burney rip the ball out of the hands of Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh, with Gators safety Trey Dean recovering the fumble. On the next drive, Burney made a phenomenal read, running with a back and then cutting inside the receiver to snatch the pass for an interception. Burney may not be an early-rounder for the 2023 NFL Draft, but this tape could help him to get second-day consideration.

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  • Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is the consensus third-rated quarterback prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft behind Ohio State's C.J. Stroud Alabama's Bryce Young. Levis struggled against Tennessee, completing 16-of-27 passes for 98 yards and three interceptions. This outing is continuing a bad trend from Levis in his less than impressive senior year.

    Levis was off a little in the first half against the Volunteers, but he was not playing terribly. He had some passes off the mark and came close to an interception, but had a few well-thrown deep balls, with his tight end catching one and a receiver dropping the other potential long completion.

    Late in the second quarter, things started going bad for Levis. He had a slant pass lands in the hands of his receiver, but a hard hit by the cornerback caused a deflection that was intercepted by the Volunteers. While that interception wasn't on Levis, he had some other dangerous passes that could easily been picked off fall incomplete, so the luck was pretty balanced. Levis had only 71 yards at the end of the first half, having completed 7-of-13 passes.

    Things got even worse for Levis in the second half, as he only added 27 more passing yards over the final two quarters. His tendency to hold onto the ball too long reared up, leading to him taking some sacks. Midway through the third quarter, Levis forced a pass to a well-covered receiver, and it was an easy interception for Tennessee. Kentucky's next possession saw the same result, with Levis forcing another throw and the cornerback was in better position to make a leaping interception. Levis threw the ball a little late, and that let the corner make the grab. Those two turnovers gifted 10 points to the Volunteers and essentially killed any comeback hopes for the Wildcats.

    Levis has an excellent skill set for the NFL with a cannon for an arm, good size, running ability, and toughness. However, he has major issues with interceptions and ball security. In many games this year, Levis has consistently had problems from holding the ball too long. Levis has a good shot to be a first-round pick this April in 2023 NFL Draft, but he needs development for the NFL.

  • Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt became program legends two weeks ago in the win over Alabama when they connected for five touchdown passes. Hooker and Hyatt continued their dominant connection versus Kentucky, hitting more scoring strikes.

    In the second minute of the game, Hooker found Hyatt wide open in busted coverage for a 55-yard touchdown. Hooker and Hyatt scored again with a 31-yard touchdown just before halftime. In the third quarter, Hooker took an option run into the end zone from eight yards out. Hooker finished completing 19-of-25 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns passing. He also had that one score on the ground.

    Hooker is very decisive as a passer, and he seems to know his scheme inside and out. Hooker looks like a potential second-day pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He demonstrates good size, athleticism, smarts, and work ethic. Hooker is going to need a lot of developmental time at the next level because he is coming from a college scheme that has not produced a lot of successful pro players. Hooker could start out as a backup and possibly develop into a NFL starter.

  • 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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