2016 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 12

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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Ole Miss 38, LSU 17
  • There was a lot of future NFL talent on display in this game. Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has been red hot in the second half of the year, and had a good matchup with another early-round talents at cornerback with Tre’Davious White. Both could be taken on Thursday night next April. This performance will help Treadwell’s chances of going in the top 32, and it’ll hurt White’s.

    Treadwell beat White on a comeback route in the second quarter, spinning away from White to get downfield for another dozen yards. White then drew a pass interference by holding Treadwell in the end zone on a fade pass. Just before the half, Treadwell leapt to catch a back-shoulder pass in front of White a few yards in front of the end zone. Treadwell used his size and power to bull through White and fall into the end zone for a score.

    In the third quarter, Treadwell beat White on a slant and another sideline pass where he fought through a tackle for a first down. Treadwell beat White to get open deep downfield for a potential long gain, but the pass was overthrown. White and LSU broke Treadwell’s streak of 100-yard games as he caught four passes for 58 yards, but Treadwell still impressed for the Rebels, and this will help solidify his first-round hopes.

    Earlier this season, White struggled with a big, physical receiver in Mississippi State’s De’Runnya Wilson. This was an opportunity to show he can handle that type of wideout, but once again, White had problems defending that type of target. He’s good at preventing separation, but has problems on 50-50 passes and challenging big wideouts or tackling them. This tape will just serve to reinforce that perceived weakness for White.

  • Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is highly hyped prospect who has a great athletic skill set but doesn’t produce much off of it. He was going against a good LSU offensive line led by right tackle Vadal Alexander, who was moved to left tackle for this game because of an injury to Jerald Hawkins. Alexander wasn’t bad at left tackle against Ole Miss, but he is a guard in the NFL.

    Nkemdiche was active in the first half. He used speed to the inside to beat Alexander and chase the quarterback out of the pocket. That repeated itself shortly later and Nkemdiche drew his second holding call of the game. He also assisted a couple of tackles in the ground game. In the fourth quarter, Nkemdiche came unblocked and batted a pass. Once again, however, Nkemdiche didn’t produce any sacks. He has only 1.5 this season and 5.5 over three seasons, so this game won’t fight the opinion from NFL sources that say Nkemdiche is not a natural pass rusher. Nkemdiche is a rare athlete and a disruptor, but once again, he didn’t finish a lot of plays.

  • Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil has been the top talent on my big board since the start of the 2016 draft process and he was seeing a good test with some LSU speed rushers. Overall, Tunsil had a solid performance with mostly good plays in the ground game and was rock solid in pass protection. He opened running lanes while showing his natural strength and quickness. Tunsil didn’t allow pass pressure and showed his superb feet to negate speed rushes. He had one false start, and that was the only blemish on another good tape.

  • Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram has had a quiet year, but he has put together some subtle good games, and this was one of them. He made a superb block to take out two defenders on a touchdown run from quarterback Chad Kelly. In the third quarter, Engram took a screen 36-yards for a touchdown and showed his speed to break downfield. He totaled 58 yards on five receptions with the score. Engram could be a nice value pick if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14
  • Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa is a highly hyped prospect who has enjoyed a good season as a run defender. However, his pass rush hasn’t been as impressive as the previous two years. Bosa entered this game with four sacks on the season and was going against a future NFL offensive lineman in Spartans left tackle Jack Conklin on some plays.

    This was actually a good tape from both Conklin and Bosa because Bosa mostly went against the right tackle. In the first half, Bosa had some excellent pass rushes around the right side. He came close to a few sacks and disrupted runs. However, he was making some mental mistakes – the biggest of which came in the fourth quarter when he jumped offsides for the third time in the game, but this one came on a fourth-and-8. Michigan State converted the fourth-and-3 and a few plays later tied the game at 14.

    Overall, this tape showed that Bosa is a solid base end who is a good run defender. He definitely offers some pass rush, but he isn’t a lethal edge-rushing prospect for the NFL. Bosa is worthy of going in the top half of the first round, but isn’t a top-three talent in an average draft class.

    Conklin had some issues in pass protection on some plays, but wasn’t beaten for sacks. Where he impressed was in the ground game. Conklin was hitting his blocks, getting some push, and keeping his defenders from stopping runs short. He would be better off moving to guard or right tackle in the NFL.

  • Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington had the best game of any defensive lineman on either team. He stuffed some runs and was consistently firing by guards. In the second quarter, Washington used speed to beat the guard for his fourth sack of the season. Washington is a fast interior defensive lineman who looks like a fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He doesn’t get a lot of attention but could be a nice value as a late first-rounder or second-rounder.

  • Ohio State junior running back Ezekiel Elliott had tears in his eyes to open the game because it was the final home contest of the year for the Buckeyes. Obviously, the meaning wasn’t lost on Elliott because he’s a near lock to enter the 2016 NFL Draft, so this was his final time playing in the Horseshoe. Elliott had gone over 100 yards in every game this year until Michigan State.

    Elliott ran hard, but the Spartan defense was selling out to stop the run and daring Ohio State to beat them through the air. Midway through the first half, Elliott took over on a short-field drive to lead the Buckeyes on a touchdown run. He finished the possession on fourth down by plunging into the end zone behind left tackle Taylor Decker. In the second half, Ohio State gave Elliott only two carries, and he finished with 33 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. That was the fault of Ohio State’s coaching. Elliott is a dynamic runner and NFL teams won’t hold this game against him.

  • There was a future NFL matchup with Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun going against Decker. Both have late first-round potential in the 2016 draft. Decker had a good game as a run blocker, and was decent as a pass blocker, but Decker is a better fit at right tackle in the NFL.

    Early on, Calhoun got in on a tackle for a loss and was getting upfield in the pass rush. Calhoun then almost had sack on a rollout by J.T. Barrett, but the broken tackle still set up Barrett to be sacked by a Spartan. He was part of a good team effort to limit the Ohio State offense, but Calhoun wasn’t overly impressive against Ohio State.

    Michigan 28, Penn State 16
  • Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been a much-maligned prospect this year after once being considered to be a future top-of-the-draft talent. Hackenberg needs to finish the year strong to help his draft grade, and he was facing one of the toughest defenses in the nation in this contest.

    In the first quarter, there was a series that was a microcosm of his past two seasons. He missed too high on a short easy throw in the middle of the field on first down. The next play, he held the ball just a bit too long with his weak offensive line missing blocks and was sacked. On third-and-long, Hackenberg made a brilliant throw over the head of a linebacker to fit in a pass to his tight end Kyle Carter down the seam, but Carter dropped the pass. That sequence was Hackenberg’s past two seasons in a nutshell.

    All day, Hackenberg made some nice passes that were dropped and also held onto the ball too long while being inaccurate on few throws. Just before the half, Hackenberg had a well-placed pass that led his receiver open against Wolverines cornerback Jabrill Peppers for a 25-yard touchdown. That score tied Hackenberg with Matt McGloin for the most touchdown passes in Penn State history.

    Hackenberg made some brilliant throws at the end of the third quarter. The first was a great pass to the sideline to covert a third-and-10, but dropped again by his receiver. He put it in a shoe box with touch. On fourth down, he converted throwing a frozen rope over a defender to his receiver to set up a first-and-goal. That drive settled for a field goal, but on the next possession, he ran for a few first downs, including a conversion on a third-and-14.

    Hackenberg fought in the second half to help keep his team in the game against a tough opponent. He flashed some of what made him an acclaimed prospect after his freshman season with some brilliant passes downfield showing arm strength and touch. Hackenberg also showed his flaws with taking sacks, throwing inaccurate passes, and making suspect decisions. He completed 13-of-31 passes for 138 yards with a touchdown while taking a pounding from the Michigan defensive line. This tape illustrates that Hackenberg is a project and not a first-rounder if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

  • If Michigan junior tight end Jake Butt enters the draft, he could contend to be the first tight end selected. Butt has blocking potential while being a receiving threat. Butt is tough to defend down the seam and along the sideline. He caught five passes for 66 yards with a touchdown. The 6-foot-6, 248-pound Butt could be a second-day pick if he declares for the NFL.

  • Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib has been the most productive pass rusher in college football this season. He entered this game with 15.5 sacks and has been an animal in the backfield. However, Nassib went out with an injury against Michigan. Penn State would not disclose the nature of his injury, and their defense wasn’t the same without him.

    Temple 31, Memphis 12
  • Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch has enjoyed a breakout year to become a prospect for the NFL. Lynch was seeing a tough Temple team that is led by a future NFL linebacker in Tyler Matakevich. Earlier this year, Matakevich had superb games against quarterback prospects from Penn State (Christian Hackenberg) and Cincinnati (Gunner Kiel).

    Memphis struggled to get into the end zone in the first half. Lynch led three field goal drives, including one in which he converted a third-and-7 with a money throw that beat a blitz. He made a few impressive passes that were dropped by his receivers. Early on, Lynch had a defender roll on the back of his legs while being tackled, and he didn’t look as mobile after that play. He also wasn’t pushing off as well on his throws with some passes falling far short of their target. Lynch held the ball too long on a number of occasions while the pocket was collapsing around him.

    Temple limited Lynch to completing 25-of-34 passes for only 156 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He didn’t look like himself with the mobility he normally shows, but aside from that, this was not an impressive tape from Lynch where he looked like a high first-round signal-caller.

  • Matakevich had an impressive performance against Memphis. He had a lot of tackles in the ground game while also taking receivers down in the flat. Matakevich forced a failed third-down play with a good pass rush. Matakevich is short on speed and athleticism for the NFL, but he has toughness with tackling ability and some instincts. Matakeivch would be best as a mid-round pick who would fit best as a two-down defender in the middle of a 3-4 defense.


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