2016 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 11

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.
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Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34
  • Each team features a smaller speed receiver for the NFL in Baylor’s Corey Coleman and Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard. Coleman has been having the bigger season with record-setting production, but it was Shepard who had the bigger night.

    Shepard moved the chains on a number of receptions working the middle of the field and getting separation from the Baylor defensive backs. In the second quarter, Shepard ran a go route down the field and got separation with his speed. He made an excellent over-the-shoulder catch and extended for the pylon to score a 39-yard touchdown. He added another touchdown on a short quick slant in the third quarter.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Shepard got open for another chunk gain to set up Oklahoma in a first-and-goal. That set up Oklahoma to score the game-clinching touchdown. Shepard totaled 14 receptions for 177 yards and the two touchdowns. Baylor’s secondary is nothing special, but it still was impressive and showed Shepard’s talent to be a slot receiver in the NFL. This tape could help him to get second-day consideration.

    Shockingly, Coleman had a very quiet game against the Sooners. In the third quarter, Coleman had a 37-yard reception on a go route down the sideline, but that was his only highlight of the night. He totaled three receptions for 51 yards. Coleman looks more like a day-two pick rather than a Thursday night selection.

  • The Baylor Bears feature two future NFL defensive linemen in tackle Andrew Billings and end Shawn Oakman. Both played this game with injuries, and each one looked slowed down. They started the game strong, but wore down and seemed to aggravate their injuries.

    On the second play from scrimmage, Billings and Oakman cleaned up a coverage sack together. Oakman, however, was called for a personal foul shortly later after making a tackle out of bounds. Later in the first, Billings had an impressive play to get off two blocks and make a tackle for a loss of one.

    In the second quarter, Oakman drew a holding penalty, but on the next play, he fired into the backfield and allowed the running back to run right by him for a gain that should have gone for a loss.

    Oakman and Billings were quiet overall in the second half. Oakman missed a tackle in the backfield and failed to get much heat on the quarterback. That being said, Oakman and Billings were being held constantly, yet the refs weren’t calling it. Oklahoma’s game-clinching touchdown saw Oakman get tackled and Billings jersey pulled away from him, but the terrible officials didn’t flag the Sooners. Overall, this tape isn’t going to help the draft grades for Oakman or Billings.

  • Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez had missed a few games with a leg injury, but the junior returned to the lineup against Baylor. He had a mixed game with some bad plays like being pushed around on a touchdown run and then getting burned for a long touchdown that was dropped in the end zone by wide receiver Jay Lee. Sanchez was in the right spot at the right time to intercept a pass thrown behind a receiver. Sanchez is a gambler and needs to play more disciplined for the next level.

    Houston 35, Memphis 34
  • Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch has had a breakout year to become a prospect for the NFL. Lynch was seeing a tough Houston team that is led by a future NFL cornerback in William Jackson. Unfortunately, Jackson was out of this game with a knee injury. Lynch showed some good and bad things against Houston that illustrated he is a work in progress prospect.

    There were a few plays that gave examples of Lynch needing to improve his decision-making. Early on, he threw into double coverage and had the ball tipped incomplete on a third-and-13 that was about 10 yards short of the necessary yards. He was fortunate the pass wasn’t picked off, and it did not make sense to pull the trigger on that throw. In the fourth quarter, Lynch tried to thread a needle by a linebacker to a receiver running a slant, but the linebacker had the pass fire into his hands for an interception. That turnover was critical in Houston’s comeback victory.

    On the flip side, there were some good plays from Lynch as well. Midway through the first half, Lynch put a scoring drive together. He made a nice play to pump fake and take off on a 10-yard run and a first down. A few plays later, Lynch rolled out and lofted in a nice touch pass to a receiver for a 20-yard pickup. He then faked a read-option run before rolling out and finding a wide open tight end to lead him on short toss that he took for a 38-yard touchdown. Lynch had another easy touchdown pass on a slip screen that his running back took off on a 61-yard run. He showed off a strong arm, throwing some bullets to the flat as well.

    Memphis was leading all game until Houston took a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Lynch got the ball with 1:21 remaining and a timeout at his own 23. He completed two passes to cross the 50. A receiver made a good play to carry a corner for 10 yards, and after a few incompletions, Memphis missed on a 48-yard field goal attempt to lose the game. Lynch finished completing 20-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He ran for 37 yards on 14 carries.

    This game showed that Lynch needs a significant amount of development for the NFL as a pocket passer. He will have to develop his footwork, especially operating under center, which he never does. Lynch has the arm, size and athletic ability for the pro game. However, his field vision needs to improve, and he doesn’t seem to trust his eyes all the time, as he can hesitate to throw the ball into tight windows. That also leads to him holding the ball too long and running more than he could get away with in the NFL. Lynch has a good skill set, but he is going to need good coaching if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    Alabama 31, Mississippi State 6
  • Mississippi State senior quarterback Dak Prescott was going against a lot of future NFL talent in the Alabama front seven, and a week after that front held Leonard Fournette in check, they smothered Prescott. The stars of the defense for Alabama were defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and defensive end Jonathan Allen. They were beating the Bulldogs offensive line from start to finish.

    Last week, Robinson was tremendous against LSU, and that continued against the Bulldogs. On the first play from scrimmage, he beat the left guard to sack Prescott. Allen then shed the left tackle to get a coverage sack. Later in the second quarter, Robinson collapsed the pocket again and sacked Prescott.

    In the third quarter, the Bulldogs ran at Robinson, and it was laughable as it went nowhere. Allen added another coverage sack when Prescott scrambled forward, but a few plays later, Allen beat the left tackle cleanly and Allen slammed Prescott for a strip-sack that was recovered by Mississippi State.

    Allen and Robinson put on display their talents as defenders who are tough against the run and can get after the quarterback. Robinson looks like a future first-rounder, while Allen is really raising his stock with a huge season, as he now has nine sacks in 2015. This tape will help both player’s draft grade.

  • Prescott completed 23-of-44 passes for 303 yards with no touchdowns and one turnover. He had a mixed performance overall. On the final play of the first quarter, Prescott threw a beautiful deep ball to wide receiver Donald Gray for a gain of 54 yards. He had another chunk gain by hitting his receiver on the run on an intermediate crossing route. Prescott later tried to fit a pass into a tight window but the ball was poorly placed and it was intercepted, only his second of the season.

    Prescott needs work on his field vision, ball placement, and accuracy. He is more of a day-three pick who will be a developmental backup.

  • Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry continued his torrid season as he rolled over Mississippi State. Henry was excellent last week against LSU when he carried it 38 times for 210 yards. Despite the heavy work load, he looked even fresher this week. Mississippi State was stuffing the run early, but that changed as Henry eventually broke loose.

    Midway through the second quarter, Henry exploded to the second level and veered past a safety to break into the open field. Cornerbacks tried to track him down but Henry ran away from them with a 76-yard touchdown run. Henry later bounced a run to the outside and out-raced the secondary down the field again for a 65-yard touchdown run. It was insane how he took away the deep angle from the secondary, and Henry just used pure straight-line speed to take it the distance.

    Henry totaled 204 yards on 22 carries with those two scores. Henry looks safe as a future second-round pick, but with his performances in recent weeks one has to think that teams picking late in the first round are going to give him serious consideration if they have a need at running back.

    Pittsburgh 31, Duke 13
  • Duke safety Jeremy Cash is an NFL prospect, and he was seeing a tough test with Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd. Both could end up being chosen on the second day of the draft, and Boyd is perhaps the best receiver that Cash will see all season. The Panthers use Boyd as a runner and receiver, so Cash was going to be challenged by Boyd in two phases.

    To get the game started, Boyd had a reception of 22 yards on a nice corner route. Boyd then went high in the middle of the field to snatch a pass on a slant for a third-down conversion. Shortly later, he took a handoff out of the backfield on a sweep for a 16-yard gain. Those plays helped produce points for Pitt.

    In the third quarter, Boyd gashed the Duke defense on a Wildcat snap for run of over 25-yards, but Boyd fumbled the ball at the end of the run. Luckily for him, Pitt recovered the ball. However, Boyd didn’t record a single catch in the second half. He finished with 38 yards on three receptions along with eight carries for 79 yards.

    Overall, Boyd’s junior year is turning into an underwhelming season as a receiver. He has shown his burst and overall athletic ability, however Pitt’s quarterback issues have hurt him, and teams have sent extra attention to limit him as a receiver. This season makes Boyd look more like a second-day prospect for the NFL, and he should consider returning for his senior year if he wants a better shot at going in the first round.

  • Cash also had an underwhelming game. On a third down in the second quarter, Cash was in man coverage on Boyd and held him as Boyd tried to run his route, but Cash got away with the penalty.

    In the third quarter, Cash couldn’t get off a block from a tight end, and that allowed a lane for the back to break downfield for a run of 43 yards. Cash then was called for holding on Boyd as he ran into the end zone. It wasn’t as bad as the third-down play, but he definitely was holding Boyd on both instances, and that shows flaws in Cash’s coverage technique against a NFL talent at receiver. To end the drive, Cash was beaten by the tight end on an out route to catch a short touchdown pass.

    Cash had some tackles in run support, but overall this tape is going to hurt his draft grade as he had some poor plays in pass coverage. He had to hold Boyd to keep him from getting open on multiple occasions and he was beaten by a tight end for a touchdown. Pass coverage is the most important characteristic that NFL teams are looking for in safeties in the draft, and Cash is going to need some development as a pro.

    Florida 24, South Carolina 14
  • Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves is a favorite to be the first defensive back selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hargreaves had another good game against South Carolina while being challenged by a future NFL receiver in Pharoh Cooper. Along with Hargreaves, Cooper was seeing other future NFL defensive backs.

    Cooper was quiet for most of the game as the Gamecocks offense was completely inept for the first three quarters. In the fourth frame, Cooper had a reception inside the Florida 20, but Gators cornerback Jalen Tabor slapped the ball out of his hands. However, to finish the drive, Cooper threw a touchdown pass off of a flanker screen.

    On the next possession, Cooper got open running a post and streaked past cornerback Brian Poole and safety Marcus Maye for a 38-yard touchdown. It was an impressive play showing Cooper’s speed to get separation downfield. Cooper totaled three receptions for 44 yards against the Gators. He looks like a second-day pick if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    South Carolina didn’t throw at Hargreaves all game. He shut down whomever he was matched up against, and this was an easy Saturday for Hargreaves.

  • Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard has been one of the best top lineman in the SEC this season, and that continued against South Carolina. He stuffed a number of runs at the point of attack and showed the ability to hold his ground while also shedding blocks. Bullard also contributed to the pass rush. He had a few impressive snaps where he bull-rushed the right guard into quarterback. In the third quarter, Bullard bull rushed into the pocket and got in on a third down sack of the quarterback. He was a force at the point of attack and this tape will help Bullard to grade out as a second-day pick.

    Michigan State 24, Maryland 7
  • Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft. However, the senior has had accuracy issues, as he has shown the ability to make superb throws, but miss on some routine completions. Cook needs to show more accuracy and consistency in his final collegiate contests. Unfortunately for Cook, this game won’t ease the accuracy concerns.

    Cook took some hard hits in the first quarter against Maryland’s tough pass rush. On a nice 21-yard completion, Cook was buried on his right shoulder, and that knocked him out of the game for a time. He returned after a bit, and in the second quarter, Cook threw a pass up for grabs along the sideline near the end zone, and the cornerback out-jumped his receiver for an interception. Just before the half, Cook threw a perfect pass to the end zone for Aaron Burbridge, but he dropped the pass. At the half, Cook was only 6-for-20 for 77 yards with the interception.

    Cook was on the sideline in the second half and gave way to the backup as the Spartans protected their quarterback for Ohio State next week. Obviously, this tape won’t help Cook’s draft grade but considering he was injured, teams may not hold it against him heavily.

  • There was a really good draft matchup in this game with Maryland edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue taking on Spartans left tackle Jack Conklin. Ngakoue is one of the best pass-rushers in the nation, and Conklin has early-round potential for the NFL. Last year, Ngakoue gave Conklin some trouble, and that was the case again in the rematch.

    In the first quarter, Ngakoue beat Conklin for a sack as he used strength to knock Conklin’s hands off of him and then burst around the corner to sack the quarterback. Conklin also added a holding call to his negative plays. In the third quarter Ngakoue had a poor read on a read option run and that let his defense get gashed. In the fourth, Ngakoue bounced back, as he had a tackle for a loss on a read-option run.

    Ngakoue didn’t dominate, but he showed off his skill set. He was fast off the edge with an excellent first step off the snap. He has a burst to get upfield with the strength to shed blocks. With how Ngakoue has played the past two seasons, he has done very well against good competition, and he looks like a future early-rounder.

  • Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun had a quality performance. He got numerous hits on the quarterback. He also was in some run stops, including a near tackle for a loss on a third down, but Calhoun’s play led to a failed attempt. This tape wasn’t impressive, but Calhoun didn’t play poorly.


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