This new section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2012 NFL Draft Prospects have performed.
By Charlie Campbell.
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Baylor 49, Iowa State 26
There were a few good pro prospects who made the Baylor vs. Iowa State game worth watching. The most famous among them was Baylor junior quarterback Robert Griffin III. He has been one of the breakout stars of college football this season, and has established himself as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.
Statistically, it was not as big a game for Griffin, who has produced throughout the 2011 season, but he played a very well and led his team to a victory. Against Iowa State, Griffin showed a lot of his dynamic skill set. He made lots of plays with his feet, scrambling away from pass pressure and running the ball to pick up some first downs and critical yards that extended drives. In the game, he ran for 107 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown.
Griffin was his normal, accurate self throwing passes. He did not go downfield as much as he has in past weeks, but showed good patience to take what the defense was giving him and move the ball down the field with short and intermediate passes. Iowa State guarded the deep part of the field throughout the game.
Griffin completed 22-of-30 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown, plus did not throw an interception. While he will need to continue to develop his footwork for the NFL, he does an excellent job of throwing on the run and while moving in the pocket. Griffin showed a strong arm to fire the ball into receivers in condensed areas on short slants and crosses. He definitely has good accuracy to all parts of the field and can make all the throws. Griffin looks like he would be a very good fit running a West Coast offense in the NFL.
Another reason why Griffin would fit that scheme well is his intelligence. While he is a phenomenal athlete, his intelligence, which leads to his fabulous decision-making, is highly underrated. Thus far in 2011, he has completed 80 percent of his passes (114/142) for 1,520 yards with 19 touchdowns and one interception. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback is skyrocketing up draft boards. At this time, he could be a fringe first or second-round pick.
However, one thing that was revealed during the broadcast was that Griffin has openly talked about returning for his senior season. He already has graduated with his bachelor�s degree is working to finish a master�s degree this school year. Next year, Griffin wants to start working towards a law degree. He is known to be a different kind of collegiate athlete. Griffin is engaged, and does not sound like he is chasing the money or fame of the NFL. It appears that he is inclined to remain in school just like Stanford’s Andrew Luck decided after last year. Griffin and Luck, sound very similar in their personalities. All the clues right now point to him being a prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft.
The other fringe first-round pick in this game was Iowa State senior left tackle Kelechi Osemele. The mammoth offensive tackle had a rock-solid game against Baylor. He stonewalled every pass rusher who came his way and showed very good athleticism to move laterally quickly and pick up edge blitzers.
Osemele showed what he can do for a running game when he sprung his running back for a 76-yard touchdown run in the second half. Iowa State went behind Osemele and the left guard where a big hole was opened up. The back sprinted down the field for the score.
The 6-foot-6, 347-pounder is a powerful blocker. He knocks defenders to the ground, and is a load at the line of scrimmage. Osemele has quick feet and mirrors defenders extremely well. That might cause some teams to consider keeping him at left tackle, but his best fit would probably be at right tackle or guard. He should be a high second-round pick.
Baylor senior running back Terrance Ganaway had a very good game against Iowa State. It wasn’t that hard for him since he had gaping holes to run through. Ganaway had a fumble early in the game when Baylor was about to score, but rebounded and controlled the game for Baylor. He powered his way downfield all night.
Against Iowa State, Ganaway ran for 200 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns. He is a North-South runner who is a big load to bring down. Ganaway had a few short touchdown runs, and he looks like a good candidate to be a short-yardage back in the NFL. For the season, Ganaway has averaged 6.1 yards per carry with a total of 536 yards and six touchdowns. He sees good fronts to run against as teams are worried about Griffin burning them deep.
The 6-foot, 240-pound Ganaway could be viewed as a fullback by some teams. However, the 2012 draft does not have a lot of prospects who fit as power backs. That could help push up Ganaway’s stock. Right now, he looks like an early pick on the third day of the draft. If Ganaway runs a fast 40-yard dash at the combine, his stock could push into the second day of the draft.
A teammate who is also an early pick on the third day of the draft right now is Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright. He has been putting up massive numbers this season as Griffin’s top receiver. Against Iowa State, Wright was prevented from breaking away a deep reception due to the defensive front from the Cyclones.
However, he worked the short and intermediate part of the field well. Wright caught a 15-yard touchdown pass on an out route where he dove by a few defenders to get into the end zone. Of note, he did have a bad drop in the game.
Wright was injured early in the third quarter with a knee contusion, but returned to the field. He finished the game with eight receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Wright has 48 receptions for 690 yards and eight touchdowns. He is an explosive downfield threat who could be a good slot receiver in the NFL. Wright is listed at 5-foot-10, 190-pounds, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Baylor is being generous in those measurements. The size concerns are the major drawback for Wright and that is what holds him in the third day of the draft right now.
Boise State 57, Fresno State 7
The game between Boise State and Fresno State featured a few good pro prospects, including three defensive linemen who should get drafted next April. Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin and defensive tackle Billy Winn have helped their status with good starts to the 2011 season. Fresno State defensive tackle Logan Harrell will also get selected next April. Blowout games aren’t the best for evaluating talent because starters can get pulled early, and game plans are changed to favor either running or passing. Despite the lopsided score, there were some quality conclusions provided in the game, especially regarding Harrell.
Harrell had a strong showing against one of the better opponents he will see all season. To get the game started, Harrell busted into the backfield to make a tackle for a loss. He penetrated off the snap of the ball and was in position to make a big tackle. A little bit later, Harrell notched another tackle for a loss. On this play he ran over a guard, knocking him to the ground. With the guard on his knees, Harrell blasted him with his forearms, flattening the guard, en route to grabbing the running back a yard short of the first-down marker.
Harrell showed a good motor to make a tackle on a screen pass just before halftime. He was knocked to the ground by the guard, but he got up and ran across the line to tackle the receiver a couple yards downfield. Harrell was strong along the line of scrimmage and was a tough run defender. He had some plays where he pushed the pocket, but simply wasn’t getting much help from his teammates as Boise State was able to move the ball at will.
For the game, Harrell finished with eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. It is questionable that he wasn�t credited with two tackles for a loss, having made both of those plays on his own. Harrell has proven to be a good pass rusher to this point in college, but his strong run defense against Boise State really helps his draft stock. At 6-foot-2, 275-pounds Harrell is undersized, but he showed some real fight and physicality at the line of scrimmage. As a pro, he would fit best as a left defensive end in a 4-3 defense who can move inside to rush on passing downs. He entered the game as a third-day pick, but should get consideration for the third round after this strong performance.
McClellin was active and showed some of his skill set but did not record a tackle or a sack against Fresno State. He got some pressure on the quarterback, and it was interesting to see how Boise State moved him around a lot in their front seven. They had him line up as a standup rush linebacker and behind the line as an inside linebacker. McClellin (6-3, 255) could interest some 3-4 teams that are looking for a big pass rushing outside linebacker.
He did have a near sack coming as the left defensive end on one play. He started out by pushing towards the interior of the pocket before shedding his block to cut upfield at quarterback Derek Carr. McClellin blasted Carr, but the quarterback got rid of the ball just before he was hit. This game shouldn’t impact McClellin’s draft stock, and he looks like a second or third-round pick at this time.
Winn played well against Fresno State. In the first half, Winn had a sack-fumble but was not credited with one by the official scorer. On the play, he burst into the pocket, and Carr stepped up to avoid him. Quickly, Winn turned around and tackled Carr from behind with the ball being fumbled away. For some inexplicable reason, Winn was not credited with a sack or a forced fumble by the NCAA scorer.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder looks like he would be a very good fit as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. Winn looks like a solid second-round pick right now. He is strong at the point of attack and a disruptive player off the snap.
Another potential second-rounder from the Broncos is left tackle Nate Potter. He coasted to an easy game, blocking for quarterback Kellen Moore. Potter shut down every pass rusher who he went against and opened up holes in the ground game for running back Doug Martin. Potter’s draft stock is stable.
The senior Martin had a quality game with 94 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries. Outside of Harrell playing Martin tough, the rest of the Fresno State defense wasn’t up to the challenge of containing him. He had big holes to run through and also caught three passes for 14 yards. Martin (5-9, 208) is a little undersized but is a quality running back who could go early on the third day of the draft.
Moore also had an easy game throwing the ball, completing 23-of-31 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. He is an excellent collegiate quarterback. It will be interesting to see if Moore checks in smaller than his listed measurements of 6-foot, 191 pounds. The lefty quarterback has the size issues to overcome, but he could be a third-day draft pick and potential backup quarterback in the NFL.
Texas A&M 45, Texas Tech 40
There were a few pro prospects featured in the game between Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Red Raiders guard Lonnie Edwards entered the game as mid-round pick. He played very against Texas A&M. The 6-foot-4, 322-pound Edwards is a physical run blocker and a quality pass blocker. The interior defensive linemen of Texas A&M are not star players, so Edwards did not get a huge test, but he played very well. Edwards opened up big holes in the ground game and did not allow pass pressure.
One Aggies defender who did get some pass pressure in the game was outside linebacker Sean Porter. He entered the game with 5.5 sacks and was doing a good job of helping to fill the void left by star edge rusher Von Miller. Porter recorded a strip sack in the first quarter to help let his team establish a lead and control over the game.
Porter had a great tackle on a screen pass, and was applying consistent pressure on the quarterback. He has fabulous speed around the edge and his agility to drop his shoulder and hips to turn the corner and get pointed at the quarterback is excellent. If Porter were to enter the draft early, this year he could be a second-day pick. He would probably be better off gaining some weight and returning for his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Porter looks like a good fit in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker, if he can add some weight.
Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill had some critical mistakes in the Aggies� losses, plus his turnovers helped Arkansas and Oklahoma State make big comebacks in the second half to steal wins away.
Against the Red Raiders, it looked like the Texas A&M coaching staff decided to make things simpler for Tannehill. He attempted fewer passes and was attempting safer throws. One thing that impacted the game plan in that direction was wide receiver Jeff Fuller leaving the game due to a concussion.
Tannehill (6-4, 219) had one fumble as he scrambled, but luckily for him it was recovered by a teammate. He did not throw an interception and did a good job of managing the game. Tannehill helped lead the Aggies to a lot of points. He ran for a 10-yard touchdown on a bootleg. Tannehill took a nice shot from a defender as he crossed the goal line which was a good play by the former wide receiver.
The senior signal caller threw a nice touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter in the face of some pressure. He did a good job of setting his feet after scrambling and making the short throw from a different angle to complete the pass.
In the game Tannehill was 16-of-26 for 185 yards and one touchdown. He ran for two touchdowns in the game with one coming on a quarterback keeper at the goal line. Tannehill looks like a second-day pick right now. Others rate him higher, but he hasn’t even played a full season as a starting quarterback and will need a good amount of developmental time at the pro level.
Texas A&M was able to lean on senior running back Cyrus Gray for a good game. He ran the ball extremely well, churning out some critical yards for the Aggies. In the second quarter, Gray had an impressive touchdown run up the middle of the Texas Tech defense. He showed good vision to cut to the outside slightly and set up his blocks to spring him into the end zone. Gray ran well all game with 118 yards on 21 carries.
The back has had some quiet stretches this season, and part of that is him sharing the running load with junior tailback Christine Michael. Gray needed this game against Texas Tech, and it should keep his stock in the second day of the draft.
After going over 200 yards against Arkansas, Michael did not get the ball as much against the Red Raiders. He did have a 17-yard touchdown run up where he ran untouched up the middle of the Texas Tech defense. Michael should return for his senior season when he will be the lead back. If he comes out, he could be a third or fourth-rounder.
Nebraska 34, Ohio State 27
The matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska featured a good draft matchup in the trenches. Buckeyes center Mike Brewster is the top center in the 2012 draft class right now, while Nebraska has a projected first-round pick in defensive tackle Jared Crick. Lining up next to Crick is junior Baker Steinkuhler, a potential mid-rounder.
Brewster outplayed both players and kept them quiet throughout the game. He opened up running lanes in blocks against both players. Brewster also shut them down in pass rush. At times, Nebraska moved Crick to the outside and he didn’t get much pass pressure there. The Nebraska defensive line teamed up for a coverage sack in the fourth quarter, but otherwise they were kept quiet. Crick maybe still dealing with an injury that caused him to miss a game a couple of weeks ago. His stock is sliding right now.
Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams returned for his first game since his suspension. He played well and without incident. Adams looks like a second-round pick who would be a better fit at right tackle in the NFL.
Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David had a big game for Nebraska. It didn’t start out too well, as he overpursued one run that led to a cut back and a 63-yard touchdown run from running back Carlos Hyde.
After that, David made his presence felt and provided a game-changing play that grabbed the momentum and jump-started Nebraska’s comeback win. In the third quarter, he stripped the ball away from quarterback Braxton Miller. As the quarterback was falling to the ground on his back, David hit Miller and ripped the ball out of his hands. That set up a touchdown and Nebraska didn’t look back.
Early in the fourth quarter, David has a good tackle for a loss on a sweep. He flew down the line and into the backfield to tackle Hyde. David came close to a sack on a blitz, but the ball was thrown away. It looks likely that David will be a second-day pick, but he is a really good player who could be a steal after the first round.
The player who could be drafted first on Nebraska’s defense is cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. He had good coverage in the game and went largely untested. Dennard is a likely first-round pick.
Virginia Tech 38, Miami 35
Virginia Tech has been a factory for NFL defensive backs and has two prospects for the early rounds in the 2012 NFL Draft. Cornerback Jayron Hosley entered the game as a mid to late first-round pick, while safety Eddie Whitley looks like a second-day pick.
Both players had some struggles against Miami. Hosley was beaten for a touchdown on jump-ball pass intended for wide receiver Tommy Streeter. The 6-foot-5 wide out used his height advantage over the 5-foot-10 cornerback to leap and catch the jump ball for a touchdown.
On the next possession for Miami, Hosley was taken for a ride by Miami running back Lamar Miller. Hosley grabbed Miller around the side, but Miller kept running for about 20 yards with Hosley hanging on. It took a few teammates helping out to get Miller to the ground.
On a critical play in the game, with Miami down 28-31 and facing a second-and-goal at the Virginia Tech 30-yard line, Miller broke off a run behind the right side of the line. Hosley came up and had the opportunity to engage Miller in the hole, but Hosley took a terrible angle and ran into one of his own teammates and a Miami blocker to get knocked out of the play. It looked like Hosley was looking to get blocked rather than try and take on the hard-charging Miller. The Hurricanes back cruised into the end zone as Hosley was really the last defender who had a shot at tackling him.
After a very good game against Clemson a week ago, Hosley had a disappointing performance against Miami. His run defense was weak, and he struggled with a big receiver. Hosley is still a first-round candidate, but it could be very late in the round after this game.
Whitley did not have much of a presence. He had a good hit on a dump-off pass but was otherwise pretty quiet. Whitley looks like he is not a cross-over safety who can play both strong and free safety. Many NFL teams have their safeties interchangeable where the free and strong safety can switch assignments just before the snap. Whitley looks like he would struggle in the NFL with what many consider to be the typical strong safety duties in run support and hitting ability. Whitley looks like a better fit as a rangy safety who can play centerfield and help cornerbacks keep plays in front of them.
Whitley does not get off blocks well, and he will definitely have to work on that at the next level. Whitley entered the game as a potential third-rounder, after this performance his stock could slide into the third day of the draft.
The two most impressive players in the game were Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech running back David Wilson. The junior Wilson entered the game seventh in the nation in rushing. The red-shirt sophomore Miller was just behind Wilson as eighth in the nation in rushing. Both players ran well and showed the skill set to be NFL starters.
Wilson had a highlight-reel run, bowling over a defender. He was brought toward the ground head first, but his head was on the defender. Wilson rolled over and landed on his feet without ever touching the ground. He powered his way downfield for some more yards.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Wilson has good balance and vision. He runs hard and has a good burst to attack the line of scrimmage and accelerate into the secondary. Wilson runs with good body lean and finishes his runs well. Against Miami, Wilson ran for 128 yards on 23 carries. If he declares for the 2012 draft, Wilson looks like a second-day pick curently. He might be better off returning for his senior season.
Miller (5-11, 210) has game breaking speed to go along with quality size. His quickness allows him to negate angles from defenders and consistently breaks runs into the secondary. He has been the Hurricanes� most consistent player and has carried their offense this season.
The 30-yard touchdown run came at a critical time when his team needed a play and Miller stepped up. In the game, he ran for 166 yards on 18 carries. Like Wilson, Miller would probably be a second-day pick. His speed could push his stock up to become a second-rounder.
Miami safety Ray Ray Armstrong was playing his first game of the season after being suspended for the first four games. He was pretty quiet, but was called for a pass interference penalty. Armstrong needs to get his football legs under him. He entered the season as a second-rounder and this first game back wasn’t a good gauge for his true abilities.
Hurricanes linebacker Sean Spence entered as a third or fourth-rounder, but he did not standout. Spence�s (6-0, 225) size is a real concern. He can easily get blocked out of plays and knocked out of his gap. There were a few plays where Spence got rocked. At one point, he made a good read and snuffed out a screen pass immediately after the ball was caught. Spence really needs to work on his ability to get off blocks and it would help if he added some strength. Spence is better value in the fourth quarter. Some teams might consider him as a safety.
LSU 41, Florida 11
There was a lot of talent for the 2013 and 2014 draft in the game between LSU and Florida. Both teams don’t have a lot of draft-eligible talent, and with LSU blowing out Florida it wasn’t the best of games to see the prospects tested.
LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle had a big game against the Gators� young secondary. He caught his fourth touchdown of the season on the first possession for the LSU offense. Randle ran a go route down the middle of the field and quarterback Jarrett Lee laid out a perfect pass that hit him in stride for a 46-yard score. It was his only reception in the first half.
In the second half, Randle caught three passes for 81 yards with a 57 yard reception. The 6-foot-4, 207-pounder is putting together a quality season and looks like a mid-rounder. He could be a possession receiver in the NFL.
For the second straight game, Gators running back Chris Rainey was held in check by a fast defense. The game was better for him than his stats indicate. Rainey had a 25-yard run called back because of a personal foul penalty after the play. He had another run between 20-30 yards called back on another penalty away from his run. Rainey finished with 52 yards on 13 carries.
The highest-rated prospect in the game was LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. He has been putting together an excellent season that has seen his stock climbing into the middle of the first round. He didn’t get tested much by Florida as their freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett was making the first start of his collegiate career. Claiborne has good coverage on wide receiver Deonte Thompson at times.
However, Claiborne was beat by wide receiver Andre DeBose for a 68-yard touchdown. DeBose ran a go route along the sideline. Claiborne was running with him, and tried to push DeBose out of bounds, but he kept his feet and stayed running while Claiborne lost his footing. DeBose made a nice catch and streaked into the end zone for the score.
A week ago DeBose beat Alabama star cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for a 65-yard touchdown reception. In consecutive weeks, DeBose beat perhaps the top two cornerbacks in the 2012 draft class.
That one play shouldn’t hurt Claiborne’s stock, but it will be interesting to see how he does with speed receivers for the remainder of the season. If he struggles with smaller speed receivers, that could be big hit to Claiborne’s stock.
Oklahoma 55, Texas 10
The rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas featured a lot of talent for the 2012 NFL Draft. The highest rated among them is Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. He is considered to be a high first-round pick. His top target, wide receiver Ryan Broyles, looks like a potential second-rounder. Oklahoma’s defense features linebacker Travis Lewis, and defensive ends Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander. Lewis and Lewis look like potential first- or second-round picks. Alexander has his stock on the rise and entered the game as a second-day pick.
Texas has a young offense, but they have three potential draft picks on defense. Defensive tackle Kheeston Randle, linebacker Keenan Robinson and linebacker Emmanuel Acho are all potential second-day picks.
To start the game, Jones threw a 12-yard out to Broyles. The quick wide receiver broke down the sideline and raced downfield before being pushed out of bounds. The gain went for 40 yards, and set Oklahoma up for a field goal. Later in the first quarter, they hooked for a nice touchdown pass that was brought back on an illegal shift penalty.
Jones tossed a nice 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills. It was a well-thrown ball where Stills ran by a few defenders to get open running towards the back of the end zone. On the next drive, Jones converted a third-and-25 to wide receiver Jaz Reynolds that set up a first-and-goal. Jones lofted a beautiful pass that dropped into Reynolds for the gain.
On third-and-goal, Jones hit Broyles for a touchdown. Broyles ran a comeback route and was open in the front of the end zone.
Jones led another touchdown drive in the final minute before halftime. Jones completed a number of passes to move the ball down the field. Broyles caught two passes for 45 yards including a 36-yarder down the middle of the filed on a post route. Jones capped it with a short touchdown pass to Stills.
At halftime, Jones completed 23-of-35 passes for 305 yards with three touchdowns. Broyles had five receptions for 98 yards and one score.
In the second half, Jones went into game-management mode as the Sooners were blowing out Texas. He finished the contest 31-of-50 for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Broyles caught a few more passes and concluded with nine catches for 122 yards and a score. It was a good game for both prospects.
Jones has had some struggles away from his home field, and this dominant performance at a neutral site should help ease those concerns. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Jones showed a strong arm and accuracy. He is a natural pocket passer who does a good job of surveying the field and reading the defense. Jones also has good footwork entering the NFL. He will need some more work there, but he has a good start with how he sets his feet and delivers the ball. He should become some team’s franchise quarterback.
The player who helped his draft stock the most in the game was Alexander. He entered the season as a third-day pick, but he has started the season very strong. A few weeks ago, he won his matchup against Florida State left tackle Andrew Datko, a first-round candidate. After that strong performance, Alexander sent his stock into the second day. Against Texas, Alexander couldn’t be blocked.
To get his game started, Alexander recorded a sack when he came unblocked on a play in the first quarter. There was a missed assignment and Alexander notched the easy sack.
Alexander got his second sack when some blitzing linebackers allowed him to be matched up on running back Fozzy Whittaker. He pushed the running back aside.
Early in the third quarter, Alexander got to the quarterback again. Travis Lewis came on an interior blitz that forced quarterback Case McCoy to scramble in the pocket. Alexander closed on the quarterback and sprung the ball loose as he whipped the signal-caller to the ground. The fumble was recovered and returned for a touchdown.
Alexander had some nice plays in run defense as well. He played the entire game, and late in the fourth quarter he went high on the quarterback and was called for a personal foul penalty. On the next play, Alexander busted into the backfield and tackled the ball carrier a few yards behind the line of scrimmage.
On the final offensive play of the game for Texas, Alexander got in on another sack. He and another defender brought down the quarterback. Depending on how the scorers judge the plays, Alexander should finish with either three or four sacks in the game and five or six tackles for a loss. Alexander made the case to move into the second round immediately.
Travis Lewis made a couple of good tackles in pass coverage. On the same possession, Lewis was run over by Whittaker. In the open field he went straight through a Lewis tackle and ran downfield while Lewis was on the ground. Lewis had some good blitzes, and other than that play with Whittaker, Lewis played a good game.
Ronnell Lewis was quiet for most of the game. In the third quarter, he made a big tackle for a loss. On an end around, Lewis blasted into the backfield and wrestled Jaxson Shipley for a loss of close to 10 yards. Ronnell Lewis entered the tilt as Oklahoma’s leading tackler.
A little bit later, Lewis tracked down quarterback Daniel Ash and sacked him. The ball came out, but the fumble was recovered by Texas. The physical Lewis is a tweener between a linebacker and defensive end. He may be best as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but this game helped his stock, and he looks like a late first or early second-rounder.
The Texas defenders did a good job in run support throughout, but had no big plays in pass defense. Randle had some decent interior rushes. This game will be detriment for all of their draft stocks.
North Carolina 14, Louisville 7
North Carolina has a lot of pro talent, but they were pretty quiet in the game against Louisville. Defensive end Quinton Coples got a lot of extra attention with double teams, but he was active with some pressures and played tough against the run. Some are starting to knock Coples as he entered the game with 2.5 sacks in five games, but Coples has disrupted the game more than his stats indicate. He still looks like a high first-round pick.
Linebacker Zach Brown also has first-round talent. Brown had an active game for North Carolina. Early on, Brown had a good blitz but missed a sack due to a nice scramble by the quarterback. The frustrations continued for Brown. On an A-gap blitz, he lost his footing and skidded offsides for a penalty.
Brown rebounded to end a promising Louisville drive with an interception. The Cardinals drove deep into North Carolina territory. Brown dropped into zone coverage and did a good job of following the flow of the play. Brown read the eyes of the quarterback and stepped in front of the intended to receiver to make a nice hands catch.
Brown got a god hit on the quarterback on a third-down scramble to force a pass being thrown away and a field goal attempt from Louisville. Brown was a leader in North Carolina holding Louisville to only seven points. He kept his stock as a mid to late first-rounder with his quality game against the Cardinals.
Senior wide receiver Dwight Jones had a quality game. He made some good catches in the short to intermediate part of the field to extend drives. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Jones used his size and strength to make the game-winning catch for North Carolina.
Jones ran a go route and was wide open deep down the field. The ball was underthrown, and that allowed a few defenders to close around him. He caught the ball just outside the 10-yard line. He broke a few tackles and wrestled free from the grasp of one defender. Jones powered his way free to run into the end zone for a 43-yard score.
Jones caught four passes for 91 yards and that score. On a weekly basis, Jones is showing that his draft stock is underrated, and at worst, he should be a second-round pick.
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