2016 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 4

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2016 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2016 NFL Draft Stock page (link coming soon).

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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UCLA 56, Arizona 30
  • Five days before kickoff, the best prospect in this game went out for the season. Bruins junior linebacker Myles Jack hurt his knee in practice, and the next time he suits up will probably be in the NFL. Fortunately for NFL evaluators, this game welcomed the return of Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright. He was a prolific tackling and sack machine (14.5) in 2014.

    Wright suffered a minor torn meniscus injury in the first game of the season and had surgery that sidelined him for the past two games. Wright returned to the field against UCLA but didn’t look as fluid or explosive as he was last season. He looked rusty, doing things like jumping offsides early on and missing multiple tackles on physical UCLA running back Paul Perkins.

    Overall, this wasn’t a good performance from Wright, but you have to cut him slack as he had the knee injury just three weeks earlier. Wright’s 2014 tape was that of a first-round pick, so it will be interesting to see if he can return to that form in the weeks go come.

  • UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark is tough at the point of attack. Clark had a strong outing against Arizona. He stuffed a number of runs throughout the game. In the first quarter, Clark worked off the left guard to get a coverage sack when Anu Solomon stepped up in the pocket. He added a tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter after penetrating the offensive line and swallowing up the back. This tape will definitely help Clark’s draft grade, as he showed a mix of being stout against the run with some ability to contribute to the pass rush.

  • UCLA’s offense controlled this game, and the offensive line was superb. Right tackle Caleb Benenoch and guard Alex Redmond were tremendous at opening holes for the Bruins’ back. Both players put together impressive tapes to help their draft stock.

    Ohio State 38, Western Michigan 12
  • The NFL is a quarterback driven league where the supply of good signal-callers isn’t anywhere close to meeting the demand. Thus, an elite physical talent like Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones is going to have a lot of teams willing to forgive some of his bad games and off-the-field maturity questions. Jones did his part to help rehab his draft stock against Western Michigan.

    On the Buckeyes’ first possession, Jones found wide receiver Michael Thomas (6-80) wide open for a 38-yard touchdown. He then lofted in an easy 37-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall, who was uncovered streaking down the field. In the second quarter, Jones made a money throw lofting in a perfect toss for 40 yards deep downfield. Jones saw a free blitzer coming but still stepped into the hit to drop in a beautiful pass. It was a money play for the NFL.

    Early in the third quarter, Jones threw a ball late up for grabs deep down the field and was fortunate it wasn’t intercepted. A few minutes later, the same scenario played out, but Jones had the ball picked off as he threw too short of his receiver rather leading the wideout to the back of the end zone when the cornerback was on his front hip. It was poor ball placement that caused the interception. There were some plays where Jones was holding onto the ball too long, but his receivers weren’t getting as open as one would expect with them going against Western Michigan.

    Jones finished completing 19-of-33 for 288 yards with two scores and a pick. Overall, this was an improvement over Jones performance in Week 3 and 2, but he still clearly needs more development for the NFL. This tape will help to keep Jones as the starter and a valued prospect for the NFL.

  • Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott showed his first-round skill set. He was impressive with his speed and ability to slash a defense. Elliott had a few highlight reel runs where he hurdled defenders, and in the third quarter, he had an easy touchdown run. Elliott showed excellent explosion, vision, and cutting ability on a number of runs. He also made a beautiful one-handed catch on a bullet from Jones for 19-yards. Elliott totaled 124 yards on 16 carries with a score. This tape was further evidence of him grading out as a first-rounder.

  • Ohio State superstar defensive end Joey Bosa was active but not dominant against Western Michigan. On the initial third down of the game, he beat the right tackle and buried the quarterback for an incompletion. Later in the second half, Bosa got going when he beat the right tackle to start a sack of the quarterback on a two-point conversion attempt in the second half. He had a number of run stuffs as well.

    Bosa had a quality game, but he wasn’t overwhelming. There were some one-on-ones that Bosa was blocked well by the left and right tackle. Bosa also saw some extra blocking attention. This tape won’t hurt his stock, but it didn’t look like a performance from a No. 1 overall pick.

  • Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington had an eventful game. In the second quarter, Washington showed his athleticism when he read and picked off a screen pass. He rumbled into the end zone from 20 yards out for a touchdown. Washington stuffed a number of other runs and had a good game against Western Michigan. Washington is playing like an early-rounder this season.

  • Western Michigan junior wide receiver Corey Davis has impressed NFL sources, and he has played well against top competition, including Week 1 against Michigan State. He got his game started by making a nice back-shoulder reception against Eli Apple to move the chains. The Broncos repeated that play on the next drive to get a first down. In the third quarter, Davis drew a pass interference in the end zone as Apple was all over him. Davis finished with six receptions for 42 yards. He didn’t dominate Ohio State, but he held his own. Davis looks like a potential day-two pick if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    Florida 28, Tennessee 27
  • Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is considered by many to be the top defensive back prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft. He opened this season with interceptions in his first two games despite an injury. Hargreaves has played banged up, and didn’t look quite the same against Tennessee.

    Hargreaves wasn’t beaten in coverage, so this tape won’t hurt him in that regard. However, he had a bad missed tackle on Josh Dobbs to allow a chunk gain in the first half. In the fourth quarter, Hargreaves tried to rip a fumble out and missed the tackle on Dobbs, and that allowed him to spring free on a gain of 28. Overall, this wasn’t a bad performance, but it won’t help Hargreaves in some areas.

  • Tennessee junior cornerback Cam Sutton is also a potential early-round pick, and he was going to see a challenge with Florida junior wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. Sutton allowed a couple of short receptions and a back-shoulder gain of 17 where he had tight coverage, but was beaten by good execution. In the fourth quarter, Sutton had blanket coverage on speedy wide out Antonio Callaway to force an incompletion. Florida favored targeting other defensive backs and avoided Sutton on their string of fourth-down completions that led its fourth quarter comeback win.

    Robinson has had a slow start to the season, as he’s been in the doghouse with the Gators coaches. He totaled six receptions for 48 yards with some nice plays, but he also had a bad drop in the fourth quarter. Robinson needs to clean up his off the field act in order to get featured in the offense more. If that doesn’t turn around soon, his draft stock will take a hit.

  • Florida defensive end/tackle Jonathan Bullard has played really well to start his senior year, and that continued against Tennessee. Early on, he stuffed a third-and-1 for a loss of one and then started a tackle for a loss shortly later. In the second quarter, Bullard fired between the right guard and right tackle to make a big tackle for a loss. Bullard then stayed home to tackle Dobbs on a quarterback draw for a loss of a few yards.

    Throughout the game, Bullard knifing into the backfield and disrupting plays. This was a really nice tape for him, and he looked like a second-day prospect in this performance.

  • Florida junior safety Keanu Neal is a hard-hitting strong safety. He had some hard tackles and blistering hits, but he didn’t wrap up Dobbs going for a knockout blow, and that allowed Dobbs to take off on a longer run. Neal has the talent to be an early-rounder but he needs to improve his tackling while showing the ability to cover.

    Oklahoma State 30, Texas 27
  • Oklahoma State has two pass-rushing defensive ends who are tough on opponents. Emmanuel Ogbah is a potential first-round pick and teammate Jimmy Bean isn’t as highly touted, but in the first three weeks of the season, each one had more than three sacks. They didn’t get that many opportunities against Texas, as the Cowboys dominated the time of possession. Bean in particular was silent.

    After being quiet for most of the game, Ogbah got going in the fourth quarter with some big plays to help the Cowboys snatch the victory. He beat the right tackle with a speed rush around the edge to get a sack. Shortly later, Ogbah shed a block and dropped the running back in the backfield for a loss of one. Ogbah came back to get in on a couple of sacks of the quarterback scrambling, although they may not be credited as sacks because of a running quarterback.

    Ogbah showed a nice burst off the snap and the strength to shed blocks. He saw a number of double teams and held his own while going against two blockers. Overall, this was a nice tape for him, and he looked like an early-rounder.

  • Texas doesn’t have the amount of pro talent that they used to, but that should change after Charlie Strong strings a few recruiting classes together. One of the few quality prospects for this draft is defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, and he was the star of this game from an NFL Draft perspective.

    Early in the second quarter, Ridgeway pushed his way by two blockers and was closing on the quarterback when the ball was fumbled. Ridgeway scooped up the ball and ran 34 yards for a touchdown.

    In the third quarter, Ridgeway split a double team from the right guard and center to start a sack of the quarterback. Ridgeway then spun off a guard and stuffed a back in the hole. A few plays later, Ridgeway had some pressure on a pick-six for Texas. In the fourth quarter, Ridgeway burned right by the guard to sack the quarterback. He stuffed two more runs later.

    The 6-foot-3, 314-pound Ridgeway was overwhelming the interior of the Cowboys’ line with his size and strength. He showed the ability to be a stout run defender and collapse the pocket in the pass rush. Ridgeway gave his draft stock a real jolt with this game, and this should help him to grade out in the top half.

    LSU 31, Syracuse 24
  • Last week, LSU had a statement game with a win over Auburn. Senior right tackle Vadal Alexander helped pave the way for superstar running back Leonard Fournette to run all over the navy Tigers. For the 2016 NFL Draft, Alexander is attempting to answer the question of right tackle or guard for his NFL future.

    In the second quarter in a third-and-long, Alexander was beaten by a speed rush for a strip-sack. Alexander’s feet looked stuck in cement as the end faked to the inside and then darted around the corner to get to the quarterback. Alexander came back to blast open a hole for Fournette take off on a long touchdown run in the third quarter. Throughout the second half, Alexander was solid in the pass game and contributed to the rush attack with some big blocks at the point of attack. Still, that sack was an ugly play for Alexander that will work against his draft grade.

    Alexander looks like an early-round prospect for the NFL. If he stays at right tackle, he is going to need some serious development to improve his ability to handle NFL speed rushers. He would probably be at his best – a shot at being special – if he played guard. Alexander could be a late first- or second-round pick if he continues to improve as a senior and follows it up with a strong Senior Bowl.

  • The player in this game who could be drafted the highest in the 2016 NFL Draft is LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White. The Tiger cover corner had an uneventful game in coverage. He allowed a couple of short receptions but had those receivers well covered to make immediate tackles. In Week 1, White showed that he needs to improve his ability to defend 50-50 passes against big receivers, and that flashed again when a tight end beat White on a contested catch.

    On a third-quarter punt return, White exploded down the middle of the field for a 69-yard touchdown. He made a few tacklers miss and used his speed to run away from the punt coverage team. Overall, this was a good tape from White that will help his chances of being a first-round pick.

  • LSU junior wide receiver Travin Dural doesn’t get a lot of opportunities, but he still manages to flash impressive ability for the next level. In the early going, Dural had a slightly overthrown pass hit off his fingertips for an incompletion deep down the field. Dural later got open running deep down the field to make a leaping catch for 51 yards. If the ball had been thrown on time and Dural didn’t have to stop and wait for the pass, it could have gone for a touchdown. It was Dural’s only reception of the game. Dural has early-round potential, but it can be hard to see when he plays in a running offense that doesn’t throw many passes his direction.

    South Carolina 31, Central Florida 14
  • It was a game of two halves for South Carolina junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. The Gamecock play-maker has dealt with poor quarterback play this season, but with a true freshman taking over at signal-caller, Cooper was able to play a better game after a rough start.

    In the second quarter, Cooper made a bad mistake on a punt return. He backed up to his 5-yard line and muffed the catch. The ball was recovered by Central Florida at the 2-yard line. Cooper should have let the ball go and roll into the end zone. That set up Central Florida to get their first score of the game. Late before the half, he had a touchdown reception go right through his hands.

    Cooper came back to make some big plays in the third quarter. He took a throw back pass and looked to throw downfield, but everything was well covered. Cooper reversed field and exploded to dodge a few defenders to dart into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown run. Shortly later, Cooper hauled in a 35-yard score. He beat the cornerback on a deep post and ran by the deep safety to make a leaping grab in the end zone.

    Cooper finished with four receptions for 69 yards and three carries for 27 yards. If Cooper enters the 2016 NFL Draft, he could be a mid-round selection who probably will go no lower than the fourth round and no higher than the second. He looks like a slot receiver for the NFL who can be dangerous in the open field and pick up yards after the catch.

  • South Carolina left tackle Brandon Shell wasn’t tested by UCF. Shell had a solid performance, but his feet looked slow and and he didn’t look all that agile on the edge. Shell was more natural at right tackle in 2014. For the NFL, right tackle or guard looks like Shell’s future home, and he could be a mid-rounder.


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