2015 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 14

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2015 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2015 NFL Draft Stock page (link coming soon).

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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Florida State 24, Florida 19
  • Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is a future high first-round pick, and this season he has made a habit of comeback wins while bailing out his teammates. In this game, Winston created the deficit for the Seminoles, and his teammates were the ones who saved him from costing the team their shot at the college playoff.

    The game started poorly, as Winston threw a quick slant, and the pass led his receiver a little too much. Defensive back Jabari Gorman picked the pass off. The next drive had the same result, as Winston made an overthrow down the middle of the field. Freshman safety Quincy Wilson made an amazing diving catch for the interception. Winston threw his third pick at the end of the third quarter. He rolled out and misread the defense, as corner Byron Poole dropped into his throwing lane to snatch the pass inside the Seminole 10-yard line. Winston turned things around in the second quarter. He converted a few third downs including throwing Rashad Greene open when star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III had tight coverage. To finish the drive Winston had a well-placed pass to tight end Nick O�Leary for a 10-yard touchdown. The location was perfect for O�Leary to make a leaping grab against excellent coverage. On the next drive, Winston made a great play to move up in the pocket and find O�Leary downfield for 19 yards. To finish the drive, he went to O�Leary for a six-yard score.

    Winston once again made a bad pass in the third quarter. He didn�t see Poole sitting in coverage in the middle of the field, and Poole made an acrobatic interception to set up the Gators in Seminole territory.

    Winston finished 12-of-24 passes for 125 yards with two scores and four interceptions. It was the worst performance from Winston in his collegiate career. Normally, he has good field vision, but against Florida, he was not seeing the field well at all. He was playing a good defense, but he made mistakes that were very ugly, as he failed to see defenders sitting in the middle of routes. Winston�s off-the-field reports are going to hurt his draft stock, and this tape will do the same.

  • Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. is a potential first-round pick and was going against a Florida State offensive line that has had some problems in pass protection this season. In the first quarter, Fowler lined up offsides to give the Seminoles another crack at a third-down play. On the redo, Fowler fired through the line unblocked and had Winston in his hands, but he couldn�t bring down the big quarterback for the sack. The pressure still led to a third-down incompletion, but Fowler missed a sack he should have had.

    In the third quarter, Fowler used speed and strength to gain leverage on center Cameron Erving, and that caused a desperate Erving to hold him. That penalty took away a third-down conversion, and Fowler made a good hustle tackle on the next play to force a punt. Fowler drew another holding call that negated a 49-yard run by Florida State. He made coverage sack early in the fourth quarter that knocked the Seminoles out of field goal range.

    Overall, Fowler played a gritty game. He had some lowlights in run defense but also made some impact plays. This performance shouldn�t have a big impact on his draft stock but will confirm a first-round grade.

  • Florida State junior defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. could have been playing in his final collegiate home game, as he�s expected to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Florida State had Edwards in pass coverage on a tight end for some reason at the end of the first half, and that resulted in a back-shoulder touchdown pass for Florida. Edwards had a good pass rush in the third quarter that drew a holding call and it negated a 16-yard run.

    Late in the fourth quarter, Edwards made a clutch tackle on quarterback Treon Harris scrambling for yards, and on a third down, Edwards batted a pass. In the ground game, Edwards played a big role in keeping Florida from establishing any ground attack. This tape should help his draft grade.

    Ohio State 42, Michigan 28
  • Michigan needed a win in order to be bowl eligible. Thus, this was the last time to see wide receiver/tight end Devin Funchess. The junior got his day started on a bubble screen with a 5-yard gain. Later on the drive, Funchess ran a post down the middle of the field and Funchess caught the ball over defensive back Doran Grant for a 43-yard gain. Funchess didn�t get separation, but he used his size advantage to out-rebound the defender.

    On the next drive, Funchess made a nice catch as he fell and caught the ball just a foot off the ground. He juggled the next reception on a simple bubble screen. After a strong start, Ohio State did a better job of covering Funchess, but he still made some short receptions to move the chains. Funchess totaled 108 yards on seven catches.

    Funchess struggles to get separation from cornerbacks, but with his size, he�s open even when he�s covered. Funchess would be a better weapon as a tight end in the NFL. If he could gain weight and improve as a blocker, Funchess could end up becoming a three-down dynamic receiving tight end. Given that Funchess is a tweener, he probably would be a better value in the second round.

  • Ohio State senior defensive tackle Michael Bennett put his game on display in crystal-clear manner against rival Michigan. The undersized Bennett was getting moved around in the ground game, but was a dangerous defender in the pass rush.

    Bennett grabbed a runner a yard short of the end zone in the second quarter, but the back kept driving and was able to carry Bennett as he powered into the end zone. Bennett was getting pushed in the ground game, but he came back to shed a block and get a hit on the quarterback just after the ball was delivered. Later on the drive, Bennett came on a stunt with Joey Bosa, and Bennett was able to get to Gardner for the sack.

    Early in his NFL career, Bennett should probably be a rotational player who mainly sees his playing time in obvious passing situations.

  • Michigan inside linebacker Jake Ryan is sleeper prospect who could be a nice value pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Ryan made his presence felt when he dished out a hard hit on quarterback J.T. Barrett in the open field. A few plays later, Ryan chased down Barrett on a scramble to the flat and forced an incompletion on a third down. On a third-and-short, Ryan fired into the backfield to tackle the back for a loss. Barrett then juked Ryan on a touchdown run of about 20 yards.

    Ryan had a solid game, but needs to improve his pass coverage for the NFL. He could be a day-two pick or a mid-rounder in the 2015 NFL Draft.

    Stanford 31, UCLA 10
  • There was the potential for an excellent draft matchup with Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat taking on UCLA defensive end Owa Odighizuwa. Peat has the talent to be a high first-rounder, while Odighizuwa has had an excellent senior year to push himself into a potential day-two selection despite a career held back by injuries. Unfortunately, the two rarely went against each other, as UCLA typically sent Odighizuwa against the right tackle.

    Peat had a mixed game. He did an excellent job in pass protection for quarterback Kevin Hogan. Generally, Peat was solid in the ground game, but didn’t always get a real push. The bad part of the contest was some mental mistakes. In the early going, he had two hands-to-the-face penalties. One canceled out a 20-yard run, and the second Peat took away a 39-yard gain for Stanford. Peat later had a false start. Aside from the penalties, Peat played well. Odighizuwa, meanwhile, had a personal foul face mask in the first quarter and some run tackles, but he was quiet in the pass rush. After a strong senior year, it was disappointing that Odighizuwa didn’t play better against a Stanford line that has had some struggles aside from Peat.

  • UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is planning on skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, but in what could be the penultimate game of his college career, he wasn’t all that impressive.

    Early in the game, Hundley threw a touchdown when he wisely passed into a blitz to an open receiver on a quick slant. It was a good read by Hundley with a wide-open target. Hundley made another nice play later to scramble and keep his eyes downfield before making a short throw that moved the chains.

    In the first half Hundley had some lowlights as well. He missed a deep throw when his receiver had a step on the corner for a big play. Just before the half, Hundley had an ugly play. He avoided a sack in the pocket, and scrambled to the flat. Instead of throwing the ball away he took an unnecessary sack as a few defenders closed around him. It was completely avoidable; he could have thrown the pass out of bounds. He took an unnecessary hit and also opened up the potential for a strip-sack when he didn’t have to.

    In the second half, Hundley made a couple of nice throws from the pocket, but also had some poor reads with some inaccurate passes. Hundley injured his throwing hand and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter. That must have been impacting his accuracy issues.

    Hundley finished 17-of-32 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown. Sources with NFL teams have said that Hundley has been overrated, and they don’t view him as a first-round pick. This game against Stanford won’t change that. Hundley looks like a potential day-two selection.

  • Stanford cornerback Alex Carter had a solid performance against UCLA. Throughout the day, Carter had close coverage on his receivers and rarely allowed any separation. Carter had tight coverage early on a receiver downfield, and that helped force an incompletion. Hundley threw at Carter a number of times, but rarely did it result in any completions.

    It wasn’t all good for Carter, as he was flagged for lining up offsides. Carter also gave up a conversion on a third-and-10 although the receiver could have gotten away with a push-off, but Carter was called for a ticky-tack pass interference.

    Carter looks like an early-round pick who would fit well in a scheme that mixes in zone and man coverage.

  • UCLA linebacker Erik Kendricks became the Bruins all-time leader in tackles with another double digit total. Kendricks used his instincts to make a number of stops in the ground game. In the first quarter, Kendricks fired behind the line of scrimmage and made a tackle for a loss. Kendricks didn’t have any splash plays, but this was a solid tape for him.

  • Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson has been red hot in the final month of the season and closed out his collegiate career in impressive fashion. He had a three-sack game against Utah a few weeks ago and continued his strong play against UCLA.

    Throughout the game, Anderson was active in stuffing the run. Anderson charged into the backfield to make a tackle for a loss in the third quarter. Anderson later used his speed to fire by right guard Scott Quessenberry to chase down Hundley for a sack.

    Anderson’s strong finish to the season helps his bid to be a second-day pick. He would fit well as a defensive end in a 3-4 NFL defense – the same position he’s played in college.

  • Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery was out with a shoulder injury.

    Nebraska 37, Iowa 34 OT
  • I’ve been looking forward to this game since the start of the 2015 NFL Draft process, as it featured two potential top-10 picks going head-to-head with Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory taking on Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff. Scherff is extremely strong, and Gregory needs to show the ability to hold up in the ground game. On passing plays, the advantage switches to Gregory. Scherff has had some issues with fast edge rushers (see the Maryland game) and Gregory has elite speed. Unfortunately, the matchup didn’t happen, as Gregory didn’t play in the game because of a concussion and ankle injury.

    As a result, Scherff cruised against the backup and other Nebraska defensive ends. He opened holes in the ground game and hardly allowed any pressure on the quarterback. The one play where he came close to allowing a sack was when Scherff was beaten by a speedy spin move.

    In the run game, Scherff moved bodies at the point of attack. He showed nice quickness to the second level and agility to get in good position. Scherff’s questions to handle NFL speed rushers remain undetermined. Hopefully he attends to the Senior Bowl and draws a good rusher in his bowl game to provide more clarity. If Scherff’s short arms and feet don’t allow him to be a left tackle in the NFL, he could be a good guard or right tackle.

  • Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah was playing in one of his final college games. He has had a strong senior year to elevate his draft standing. Nebraska struggled to get the ball to Abdullah in the first half, as he had only five carries for eight yards.

    Abdullah couldn’t make an adjustment on a pass thrown behind him as he turned and tried it to tip it to himself, but it fell incomplete. It was a tough catch, but one you like to see an athletic back like Abdullah make. Abdullah made up for it a bit later, as he got open in the end zone and made a fantastic adjustment to a pass thrown behind him for a five-yard touchdown catch.

    In the third quarter, Abdullah lined up in the slot and got some separation with a little fake of the safety. After making the catch, Abdullah dived for the first-down yardage. Abdullah made a great run midway through the third. He ran through a tackle from a safety about 10 yards downfield and darted down the field for a 53-yard gain before getting wrestled to the ground around the 5-yard line. Abdullah followed it up with a run of about 15 after running through another tackle on a sweep.

    Abdullah finished with 106 yards on 13 carries. This was a solid tape for him that should serve to confirm a day-two grade.

  • Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis is a potential second-day pick, and he was active against Nebraska. Davis had a tackle for a loss early on, as the quarterback ran up towards the line of scrimmage and Davis swung him down for a loss of one. Davis then fought off a block with a spin move to hit Armstrong as he threw the ball. That sent the ball up in the air like a punt. An Iowa defender ran underneath it to pick it off and coast into the end zone from about 15 yards out.

    In the third quarter, Davis made a tackle for a loss after coming unblocked on a read option run. He followed it up by executing a stunt well and taking out two blockers to free up his teammate to get a nice pass rush.

    With Nebraska trying to get back into the game, Davis blocked a short field goal to give momentum back to Iowa. He followed it up with a nice rush on a stunt to force an incompletion. He made a number of run tackles and Davis led the way for shutting down the interior running game for the Cornhuskers.

    Overall, this was an impressive tape for Davis and one of his best games of the year. He was active in the pass rush and wasn’t just a run stuffer like he has been in some other outings. Davis looks like a good fit as a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense or a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. This tape should help him to be a day-two selection.


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