2016 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 13

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]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Florida State 27, Florida 2
  • Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey is one of the top defensive back prospects for the NFL. Sources said in the preseason they liked him more as a safety, and Ramsey has been a work in progress at corner. He was supposed to see a real test against Florida, as junior wide receiver Demarcus Robinson could be selected in the early-rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft and has the talent of a first-round pick. However, Robinson was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules. Gators freshman wide out Antonio Callaway could still be the toughest receiver that Ramsey has seen this year.

    Early in the first quarter, Ramsey got lucky as Callaway had him beaten down the sideline for a long touchdown. Callaway was wide open, but quarterback Treon Harris missed the throw short. It looks like Ramsey covered the wrong player, or just was flat-out burned. After that, it was a very quiet night for Ramsey, mainly because Harris was completely inept at passing the ball.

    Ramsey has played a weak ACC schedule of quarterbacks and receivers that haven’t been very helpful in evaluating him for the NFL. Hopefully his bowl game will provide a legit test to conclude his collegiate career.

  • Florida senior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard was questionable entering this game with a leg injury, but he played against Florida State and was his usual active self. In the second quarter, he darted by the right tackle to get a tackle for loss. He repeated that in the third quarter with another tackle for a loss. Late in the contest Bullard seemed to get worn down, but of the Florida defensive linemen, he was the most consistently disruptive.

    Bullard has had a tremendous season to lead the Gators defense and has impressed sources. His body type is a tweener defensive end/tackle, and that makes him a second-day pick who would fit a 4-3 defense. If Bullard were bigger and longer, he would be a first-rounder.

  • Florida junior safeties Marcus Maye and Keanu Neal are both future draft picks. Neal could be a second-day selection if he enters the draft, but he had an underwhelming game. He had a dumb late-hit penalty early on and followed that up by missing a tackle on Dalvin Cook to allow a first down. Maye played much better with three pass breakups and some clutch plays to get the Gators’ defense off the field. In this game, Maye showed his skills in pass coverage to help on receivers downfield and play the deep centerfield. He could be a second-day pick if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    Stanford 38, Notre Dame 36
  • The top prospect in this game was Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, and he was seeing a tough test with Stanford star sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey. Smith was up to the task as he played extremely well for the Fighting Irish.

    Throughout the night, Smith made a number of impressive tackles. He chased down quarterback Kevin Hogan in the open field, he worked through trash to limit a McCaffrey gain for two yards, and he stuffed a run for a gain of two. In the second quarter, Smith exploded into the backfield to get a tackle for a loss. Smith showed an impressive ability to get ball carriers to the ground and not allow his tackles to be broken. Smith later used his speed on a second-and-goal to get to the perimeter and push McCaffrey out of bounds before he got to the goal line.

    Smith put together another performance that illustrates why he is considered to be a future first-round pick. He has instincts, speed, tackling ability and versatility. Smith consistently produces good down and distances for his defense.

  • There was a good matchup in the trenches between Fighting Irish defensive tackle Sheldon Day going against Stanford guard Joshua Garnett. In the first quarter, Day had an excellent play where he shed a block from Garnett to make a tackle on McCaffrey. Day later had a smart and athletic sequence to get off Garnett, read the play, and loop to the outside to stuff Hogan for no gain. Throughout the night, Day was active and causing disruption. Garnett didn’t have an impressive game, but he wasn’t terrible either.

  • Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley was generally pretty good against Stanford. Stanley has size, but he lacks power to get movement in his punch off the snap. He could use more upper body strength for the NFL. Not only was he not pushing defensive linemen, on some plays, he had a hard time locking up linebackers despite his size advantage. He doesn’t have a mean streak or real tenacity in the ground game.

    As a pass protector, Stanley is much better. There was really only one snap that looked bad. In the first half, he was bull rushed into the quarterback, and that added to a play that resulted in a sack-fumble for Stanford. Stanley has quality feet, knee bend and quickness in his kick slide, but the added strength would help him to stop bull rushes.

    While Stanley is projected by many to be a top-10 pick, his talent level and play is more fitting in the middle or back half of the first round.

  • For Stanford, there’s the good Kevin Hogan and the bad Kevin Hogan; the question is which one will show up on game day. The good version of the Stanford senior quarterback came out to play against Notre Dame. He made some nice throws on the run, hit some deep balls to Devon Cajuste and Michael Rector, and made some clutch passes in the red zone to produce scores. He also hit a 26-yarder to Cajuste in the final seconds to set up the game-winning field goal one the final play of the game. Hogan was 17-of-21 for 269 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions against Notre Dame. This is a tape that will help Hogan to get a shot on a NFL roster.

    Alabama 29, Auburn 13
  • Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry has been the engine of the Crimson Tide offense. He got his game started with a 29-yard run where he broke a tackle a few yards past the line of scrimmage before bolting down the field. That set the tone for a typical game for Henry, as he did the heavy lifting to carry his team to a victory.

    Henry charged through tacklers all day, showing good vision and patience to picks his holes and the speed to accelerate. On his final carry of the game, Henry went off the right side and burst into the end zone from 25 yards out. Not surprisingly, head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin were apt to risk Henry’s health and run him into the ground. He totaled 46 carries for 271 yards with a touchdown. Henry is tall at 6-foot-3, and he runs high as a result. He isn’t an elusive runner, but with his power and speed, he can be a difference-maker feature back in the NFL. Henry also has shown blocking potential. He looks worthy of being a late first-round pick and at worst shouldn’t get out of the second round.

  • Alabama’s tremendous defense has been led by senior linebacker Reggie Ragland, junior defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, junior defensive end Jonathan Allen, and junior defensive tackle Jarran Reed. They have enjoyed excellent seasons for the Crimson Tide. All of them had solid performances against Auburn, but none in particular had a huge game. They all contributed to locking down Auburn’s offense. None of their draft grades should be harmed by this tape.

  • Auburn senior linebacker Cassanova McKinzy has had a quality season for the Tigers. He played well against Alabama, as he made a lot of tackles on Henry and showed some edge rushing with good blitzes off the edge. McKinzy could make it into the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft or be an early-round pick on the final day of the draft.

  • Auburn junior defensive end Carl Lawson also did well coming off the corner. Lawson has a lot of talent, but he has missed a lot of this season with injuries so it would make sense for him to return to Auburn next year.

    Michigan State 48, 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 needed to finish the year strong to help his draft grade, and he was facing perhaps the opponent he’s seen all season in Michigan State.

    On the first drive, Hackenberg had a couple of nice plays before overthrowing a deep ball into the end zone that was intercepted. It was an example of his poor accuracy and ball placement. On Penn State’s early possessions, Hackenberg moved the ball pretty well, but had a few passes off the mark with his trademark inaccuracy.

    Hackenberg had some poor plays against the blitz in the second quarter. On three blitzes, Hackenberg didn’t make quick throws into the blitz and instead took sacks against fronts that overwhelmed the number of blockers he had. He also had an interception dropped after throwing a pass to a double-covered receiver with a checkdown target wide open. Just before the half, Hackenberg made a clutch touchdown toss to the corner of the end zone to keep Penn State in the game.

    Hackenberg threw a well-placed pass on a slant for a touchdown to beat good coverage in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-goal. However, in garbage time, Hackenberg had a pass batted up that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

    Hackenberg completed 22-of-39 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. The positives are he has a good arm, toughness, and size, however he has a lot of flaws. He is very inaccurate, takes too many sacks, is prone to bad decisions, doesn’t handle the blitz well, and lacks mobility. There also are questions about Hackenberg as a negative presence in the locker room, lacking leadership skills. As a prospect, Hackenberg should grade as a mid-rounder.

  • There is no doubt that Michigan State senior quarterback Connor Cook is a better pro prospect than Hackenberg. Cook is excellent against the blitz and more accurate, and he makes better decisions. Cook had an impressive return to the lineup after missing last week’s win over Ohio State as well as the second half against Maryland after injuring his throwing shoulder.

    Cook started the game strong with some good throws to move the ball down the field. To finish the drive, he had a receiver wide open and Cook dropped in a 29-yard score.

    After halftime, Cook made some accurate throws to the sideline to convert a third down and hit his receiver for a 29-yard touchdown which was a superb play by wide receiver Aaron Burbridge. Shortly later, Cook made a nice touch pass to beat a blitz and convert a third down. That gain of about 15 set up a first-and-goal. To finish the drive, Cook made a pretty play-fake to draw the defense to an end around and found a wide open tight end for a six-yard score.

    Cook completed 19-of-26 passes for 248 yards with three scores. He showed improved accuracy over other games this year. Even with an injured shoulder, he threw the ball well downfield and made good decisions. An understated positive for Cook is how well he performs against the blitz. Cook isn’t an elite or rare quarterback prospect, but this tape will help him to grade out as a first or second-round pick.

    Ohio State 42, Michigan 13
  • Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott made headlines when he criticized the Buckeyes’ terrible play calling a week ago against Michigan State. Head coach Urban Meyer, as well as teammates like Joey Bosa, agreed the criticism was warranted. However, Elliott apologized for airing it in the media. Elliott announced that he would be entering the 2016 NFL Draft, and sources have said that Elliott is grading out as a first-round pick.

    After having his first few runs bottled up, Elliott took a carry around the left side of the line and exploded down the field for a 66-yard gain. That set up a touchdown run for J.T. Barrett. Later in the second quarter, Barrett and Braxton Miller had good gains to set up a short touchdown run for Elliott.

    In the third quarter, Elliott showed great balance as he tripped, but kept his feet before getting righted to break down the field for a 28-yard gain. He quickly added a 15-yarder after breaking a tackle from a linebacker. He later added a 9-yard touchdown run while finishing the carry well to get into the end zone. Throughout the game, he powered into the box for good gains.

    The way that Elliott ran over a tough Michigan defense was very impressive. The same Wolverines defense shutdown Utah running back Devontae Booker earlier this season, and Elliott displayed that he is at another level, as he ran for 214 yards on 30 carries with the three scores. Elliott showed his first-round skill set with speed, power, balance and vision. After a rough game a week ago, this was a nice bounce back performance for Elliott.

  • Ohio State junior defensive end Joey Bosa has been clear that he is a near lock to enter the 2016 NFL Draft. In the first half, Bosa won against single blocks to get hits on the quarterback just after the ball was thrown. He also had a nice rush from the inside to flush Jake Rudock out of the pocket. Bosa later dipped underneath the right tackle to get to Rudock’s ankles, while Adolphus Washington hit Rudock high to force a third-down incompletion.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Bosa shed a tackle with power and used his speed to close on Rudock for a sack. To put a cap on a superb game, he came unblocked to tip a pass and then caught the ball for an interception that he returned inside the 10-yard line.

    Like Elliott, Bosa had a nice bounce back performance after a game that underwhelmed against Michigan State. For the NFL, Bosa is a solid base end that can be a good run defender and contribute in the pass rush. This tape will help him to grade out as a top 10-pick.

  • Michigan junior tight end Jake Butt could be in the running to be one of the top tight end prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft if he decides to skip his senior year. He had a quality performance against Ohio State. In the second quarter, Butt went up over two defenders to make a tough reception in the middle of the field for a gain of about 20 to set up Michigan with a first-and-goal. Butt caught five passes for 54 yards. If he enters the draft, he looks like a day-two talent.

    Clemson 37, South Carolina 32
  • Clemson redshirt sophomore cornerback Mackensie Alexander was going against one of the best wide receivers he would see this year in South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper. Cooper is said to be entering the 2016 NFL Draft, and he could be a second-day pick. Junior safety Jayron Kearse was another NFL talent to help defend Cooper.

    In the early going, Alexander broke up a deep pass on a 50-50 play. He then got lucky that he wasn’t called for a penalty as he hugged a receiver and kept him from making a play on the ball. He would have been flagged in the NFL.

    Late in the second quarter, Cooper got some separation running a slant across the field, and that reception set up a first-and-goal. Kearse had tight coverage on Cooper in the end zone to force an incompletion. Cooper later got wide open in broken coverage as he caught a slant and exploded down the field for a 57-yard touchdown. Clemson left Cooper completely uncovered on the play. On the next possession, Cooper got lucky as he was clotheslined on an end around and fumbled the ball out of bounds.

    In the fourth quarter, Cooper ran a crossing route against Alexander, and the pass fell incomplete, but Alexander got away with a hold. Cooper totaled 86 yards on four receptions. For the most part, South Carolina avoided throwing at Alexander.

    Sources have said that they are grading Alexander as a mid-rounder if he comes out. In speaking with some agents close to the Clemson program, they said some scouts have said that Alexander is getting first-round grades. In this writer’s opinion, Alexander looks like a thickly built corner who would be best as a nickel competitor and more of a second-day or mid-round pick. Cooper should go in the same range as a slot receiver.

  • Clemson junior defensive end Carl Lawson has had a strong season to lead the Tigers’ defensive line, and he got off to a good start against South Carolina. In the first quarter, Lawson started well as he blew up a stretch run to set up a tackle for a loss. Lawson then got off a block from the tight end to sack the quarterback as he rolled out towards Lawson. In the second quarter, Lawson had a tackle for a loss after coming unblocked.

    Lawson was quiet for a lot of the second half. There were a few plays where South Carolina left tackle Brandon Shell got a push on Lawson in the ground game. Late in the fourth quarter, Lawson met his fellow defensive end at the quarterback to help get another sack for Clemson.

    Lawson is a tough defender who can get after the quarterback and hold his own in the ground game. Lawson (6-3, 270) has a quality skill set, but lacks length and explosion as an edge rusher. Sources have said they graded Lawson as a second-day pick, but some teams might feel he’s worthy of the first round.

    Iowa 28, Nebraska 20
  • Iowa junior cornerback Desmond King has been a ballhawk this season, as he entered the weekend leading the nation with eight interceptions. He was going to be challenged by one of the better Big 10 receivers in Jordan Westerkamp in a huge game for Iowa.

    King was suspended for the first quarter for a team violation. Early in the second quarter, King muffed a punt and Nebraska recovered around the Iowa 30-yard line. King then allowed a completion and the receiver took him for a ride for an additional eight yards and a first down. However, at the end of the first half, King was able to break up a jump ball intended for Westerkamp in the end zone.

    In the third quarter, King had a nice punt return of 26 yards. He had another 50-50 pass come his way. King slapped the ball out of the receiver’s hands, but it fell into the gut of the wideout on the ground for a fluky reception. Late in the fourth quarter, King dropped an easy interception that was thrown right to him. On the same drive, King allowed a reception to convert a fourth-and-8.

    Overall, this tape will be a bit of a letdown for King. He allowed some receptions and had some issues in tackling. King could definitely use more strength for the NFL, as there were multiple plays where he was carried by ball-carriers. King has instincts and generally is in good position, but this was not the performance of an elite shutdown corner.

  • Nebraska junior defensive tackle Maliek Collins is a future NFL player. The speedy tackle was active against Iowa. Throughout the game, he was getting the better of the Iowa interior blockers by firing his gap to get into the backfield. Collins was using his speed to dart by them and came close to a few sacks. In the second quarter, he bolted off the ball to get by the guard and tackle the running back for a loss of one. Collins came close to some big plays, but didn’t finish while causing some disruption.

    Some sources with teams really like Collins and were excited about him after studying former teammate Randy Gregory. Other sources feel that Collins is good, but not great. They think he is a solid prospect, but not special. Thus, it might be in Collins’ best interest to return for his senior year.

    Miami 29, Pittsburgh 24
  • Miami safety Deon Bush is an NFL prospect who was seeing a tough test with Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd. The Panthers use Boyd as a runner and receiver, so Bush was going to be challenged by Boyd in two phases.

    In the first quarter, Boyd got separation from Bush on a simple out route to move the chains for Pitt. Boyd took an end-around carry for a gain of 30 yards as he used his speed to accelerate to the second level. In the third quarter, Boyd ran a nice crossing route to make a leaping grab in the middle of the field before Bush planted him with a bone-rattling hit. The gain of about 15 would have been for a lot more if Bush hadn’t made the tackle, as he was the last defender before the open field. Boyd then ran a great route against Tracy Howard to get separation and Boyd made a leaping grab while tapping his toes before falling out of bounds to convert a fourth down.

    Late in the fourth quarter, Boyd flew past the corner and got open for a 36-yard gain. A safety pushed him and he couldn’t keep his feet from stumbling out of bounds inside the 10-yard line. That prevented a touchdown, but set up six for the Panthers. A few plays later, Boyd got open in the end zone but Nate Peterman missed the throw as it sailed out of bounds.

    Boyd totaled five receptions for 70 yards with three carries for 47 yards. This was a typical stat line and performance from Boyd this season. Pitt’s offensive limitations cause defenses to send extra attention to Boyd and that has kept him big games. Boyd is a quick, tough wideout who is a good route-runner with generally reliable hands. He looks like a Keenan Allen type for the NFL, and Boyd will probably be a day-two pick if he enters the 2016 NFL Draft.

    Bush had a decent game for Miami. He played the deep centerfield and did a good job of not letting plays get behind him. In the fourth quarter, Bush showed some coverage skills by covering a tight end closely, but the tight end used his size to shield Bush away to get a reception. Bush looks like a quality tackler and has the ability to cover some ground on the back end. He won’t be a high pick, but could end up being a quality selection.

    Arkansas 28, Missouri 3
  • There was a good battle in the trenches with Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola and left tackle Denver Kirkland taking on some talented Missouri defensive linemen. Junior tackle Josh Augusta and redshirt sophomore defensive end Charles Harris are tough defenders with Harris enjoying a breakout year. The Tigers have been a factory for NFL defensive line talent in recent years, and this duo is keeping up the tradition. However, it was the more experienced Arkansas duo that controlled this game.

    On the final play of the first quarter, Tretola paved the way for junior running back Alex Collins to charge into the end zone from a handful of yards out. Tretola then had a superb block to wrestle a defender away from Collins as he scored again. For his third touchdown of the first half, Collins scored from 25 yards out. He took a draw up the middle before bouncing to the outside and darting into the end zone.

    In the second half, Arkansas grinded out the clock. This wasn’t a game that illustrates what Harris and Augusta are built for. They both are quick penetrators and aren’t defenders to go against a downhill rushing attack like the kind that Arkansas employs. Augusta should have done a better job of holding his gap and not getting knocked off the ball on some plays. He did have a nice play where he got leverage on the right guard to slash into the backfield for a tackle for a loss. He should return for his senior year before going pro.

    Tretola played well in his final home game for Arkansas. He got movement at the point of attack and was solid in pass protection. With his power, Tretola looks like a bull-grading right guard in the NFL. Sometimes he extends over his toes too much, but that can be fixed with pro coaching. Tretola looks like a safe second-day pick who will develop into a quality pro lineman and potentially a long-time starter.

    Kirkland, meanwhile, allowed a sack in the first quarter after he allowed the defender to get upfield, was shoved back, and the end closed on quarterback Brandon Allen. That play was a good example of why Kirkland has to move to guard in the NFL. He doesn’t have the feet or quickness to play tackle. However, as a guard, he has the potential to be a nice run blocker who is reliable in pass protection. Kirkland isn’t as effective as Tretola and looks more like a mid-rounder.

  • Another excellent matchup for the NFL in this game was Collins going against senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers. Entering the final week of the regular season, Brothers was the nation’s leader in tackles with 140. Collins ran for 130 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns against Missouri. He was a tough runner and showed the ability power through tacklers. Collins is a good, but not great back for the pros. He looks like he could be a second-day pick if he enters the draft.

    Brothers got in on a lot of tackles, but he will need to add more strength for the next level. He could stand to get better at shedding blocks and the power would help his tackling. He is a fast defender with some instincts, but he should move to outside linebacker in a 4-3 as a pro.

  • Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry could be the first tight end selected if he enters the draft, but this game didn’t start well as he had a wet pass slip through his hands for an incompletion after taking a hit from Brothers. Henry totaled two receptions for 28 yards and did a nice job as a blocker. He bobbled the ball a few times as the game was played in wet conditions, and that is something he will need to work on for the NFL.

  • Missouri senior center Evan Boehm was playing in his final collegiate game as the Tigers probably failed to qualify for a bowl game. Boehm had some issues with powerful linemen against Arkansas. Boehm struggled with a nose tackle who was powering into the backfield. He almost allowed a sack despite double team help and was allowing steady pressure in the backfield. Boehm clearly needs to get stronger for the NFL and looks like a day-three prospect.


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