2017 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 11

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2017 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2017 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
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Iowa 14, Michigan 13
  • There was a more highly hyped defensive back in this game, but Iowa cornerback Desmond King had the best performance. Early on, King had a personal foul penalty and was lucky he didn’t get a second one in the fourth quarter, but aside from those plays, he was very solid. In the third quarter, King was beaten on a flea-flicker by wide receiver Jehu Chesson on running deep down the field, but the timing of the play was off and that let King close to break up the pass. Shortly later, King got off a block and flew to the line of scrimmage to make an open-field tackle on a screen pass. King then made a nice play firing into the backfield on a perimeter run to get a tackle for a loss.

    King did well in coverage against Michigan’s receivers and was very good at contributing to the run defense. He isn’t the biggest or fastest cornerback, but King is a natural football player with instincts. This tape will help his draft grade.

  • Michigan safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers has gotten a ton of hype, but this was a quiet night for him, as the game went away from him largely. In the third quarter, Peppers took a bad angle to miss a tackle. He followed that up with a punt return of about 20 yards. He got in on some run tackles, but also was late getting over to help on a few rushing plays. This wasn’t an impressive tape from him defensively. Peppers has been overhyped, but he still could be a first-round pick.

  • Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis was impressive in pass coverage against the Hawkeyes. In the second quarter, Lewis flew over to the flat to get a tackle immediately after a catch that kept Iowa out of the end zone. Lewis wasn’t really tested by Iowa because he had sound coverage.

  • Michigan senior defensive end Chris Wormley flashed at times. Late in the first quarter, Wormley had a tackle for a loss after going unblocked on a jet sweep that went right to him. Wormley later had a good rush to the inside and almost sacked C.J. Beathard. He used power to work through a tight end and speed to close. It caused an intentional ground penalty on the quarterback. He was tough at the point of attack and had good gap integrity. This tape should help him to be an early-rounder.

  • Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson also showed well at the point of attack. In the early going of the game Johnson stuffed a few runs. In the second quarter he made a splash play getting off a block and firing into the backfield to get a tackle for a loss and a safety. Late before the half, he got off a block from Kyle Kalis and closed on the quarterback for a sack. Johnson remained active in the second half and was a real presence at the point of attack. Johnson should go on the second day of the draft in 2017 at the latest.

    USC 26, Washington 13
  • There was a few great draft matchups in this game with Washington cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Budda Baker taking on USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. After a hot start to the game, SMith-Schuster was silenced.

    On the first drive of the game, Smith-Schuster had an 18-yard reception on a crossing route. He then made a diving, 13-yard catch in zone coverage to convert a third down. Late in the second quarter, Smith-Schuster had a bad drop on a dig route. Baker then showed good discipline to tackle Smith-Schuster for a loss of four on a reverse.

    Overall, this tape probably won’t help Smith-Schuster as he totaled 41 yards on three receptions. He is a possession receiver with size for the NFL. He isn’t fast and isn’t overly big. Smith-Schuster is more in the Laquon Treadwell mold rather than a top-16 talent like Amari Cooper, Kevin White or Mike Evans.

  • Jones’ coverage was very good and USC avoided him all night. Everything they did was in the middle of the field, attacking the area behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties with crossing routes and slants. This tape should only serve to help Jones’ first-round grade because he was good in coverage all night and didn’t allow separation or receptions.

  • USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is an early-round talent who had the challenge of defending Washington speedster John Ross. On the first play of the game, Ross went in motion away from Jackson to catch a screen pass and dart downfield for a gain of over 20 yards. Ross then beat Jackson on a stop route for a gain of about 15 and a slant for 12.

    Later in the first quarter, Jackson came back to trick quarterback Jake Browning into throwing a deep ball while undercutting the receiver to make a leaping interception. In the third quarter, Ross ran a deep post, and Jackson hung close with him. They leapt for the ball and Jackson was able to knock it away for an incompletion. Jackson slipped in his backpedal to fall down on the very next play. That let Ross break wide open down the field to haul in a 70-yard touchdown.

    In the third quarter, Jackson helped out on offense, taking a pitch for a run of almost 10 yards to move the chains. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Jackson dropped in zone coverage and recognized where the ball was going. He drove hard in front of the receiver to make a diving interception. That pick basically clinched the win for the Trojans.

    Even though Jackson is a fast corner, he had some issues covering Ross and that illustrates that speed receivers can give him problems. Last year, Houston Texans wideout Will Fuller (Notre Dame) roasted Jackson. However, Jackson also showed good instincts and ball skills on his two interceptions. Thus this tape should have a positive lean for him, but it wasn’t a game of domination like his season opener against Alabama.

    Ross, meanwhile, totaled eight catches for 154 yards with a score. He did well against Jackson overall and the other Trojan defensive backs. If Ross (5-11, 190) were bigger, he would be a definite first-rounder. Even still, he could go in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 44
  • There were two quarterback prospects to watch in this game. There are sources from a few NFL teams that like Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes II, while others are skeptics. Oklahoma State was one of the better teams that Mahomes would see this season, so it was important that the junior came through with a quality performance.

    Early on, Mahomes had a zone-read touchdown run and a well-placed short pass for a score in the second quarter. He threw some other easy short touchdown passes to complete other drives in the first half. In the third quarter, Mahomes showed his strength and toughness on a run going through a few defenders to extend into the end zone for a score.

    Throughout the game, Mahomes had good ball security and was making smart decisions. He showed the ability to move his eyes and make reads while also using his mobility.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Mahomes threw a bad pass with a ball up grabs in a big crowd in the end zone. It was a bad decision by Mahomes, and he was lucky it fell incomplete. Mahomes later had an impressive play to scramble, keep his eyes downfield, and find an open receiver for a 20-yard gain on a third-and-16. He kept moving the ball and ran it close to the goal line to get Texas Tech a touchdown, but the Red Raiders missed the extra point.

    Mahomes finished completing 34-of-51 passes for 344 yards with three touchdowns. He ran for 33 yards on 15 carries with two more scores. For the NFL, Mahomes is going to need work on calling plays in the huddle, working under center, and his footwork on dropping back to pass. His college offense definitely sets back his development. However, Mahomes has a lot of good traits like a quality arm, mobility and toughness. If Mahomes enters the 2017 NFL Draft, he could be a second-day pick.

  • Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was very efficient to lead his team to a victory. He completed 20-of-28 passes for 395 yards with two touchdowns throwing and one rushing. Rudolph threw a number of nice passes with touch and accuracy downfield while playing a horrible Texas Tech defense.

    In the first quarter, Rudolph had a well-placed fade pass go incomplete because his receiver juggled the catch, but he ran a zone read into the end zone on the next snap. Rudolph later had a play where he showed poor field vision. He rolled out of the pocket and threw the ball away deep when he had a receiver wide open right in front of him about 15 yards downfield. However, Rudolph then hit James Washington in stride on a deep post for an 82-yard touchdown. It was a perfect throw from Rudolph to drop that pass down the bucket.

    Rudolph has nice size with an arm to deliver the ball downfield. He throws nice touch attempts and locates passes well. However, he is going to need a lot of work on his field vision for the NFL. Rudolph rarely works off his primary read and constantly stares down his first option. In the long term, Rudolph would be better off returning for his senior season and improving his field vision to work through progressions before going pro.

    Georgia 13, Auburn 7
  • Georgia running back Nick Chubb hasn’t looked the same since his knee injury, but he ran better against Auburn than he has since the season opener against North Carolina. He totaled 101 yards on 23 carries with a number of impressive runs.

    Chubb had an excellent start to the game, running with burst to the second level on a few carries. He also powered through Montravius Adams after getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage to get a gain of three or four when he should have had no gain on the play. He showed a nice burst on a run of about 20 yards in the third quarter.

    Chubb was faster to the hole and more decisive. He showed more of his power from 2015 and 2014 by running through contact while finishing his runs well. If Chubb can build on this and avoid injury, this will really help his draft stock heading into the offseason. If Chubb returns to his 2014 and 2015 form as he gets further away from his injury, he could be a steal in the 2017 NFL Draft.

  • Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams can be a feast-or-famine defender, and that was visible against Georgia. In the first half, Adams had a huge presence with a lot of disruption in the backfield. Adams then burst into the backfield to get a tackle for a loss. On the next play, he helped stuff a run for no gain. He later had a crushing hit on quarterback Jacob Eason, and then he fired into the backfield with a spin move on the right guard to get a sack of Eason. On the next possession, Adams came on a stunt to meet Carl Lawson at Eason for another sack.

    Adams was quiet in the second half. He was getting single blocked on some plays and just didn’t seem to have the gas to play four quarters. The lack of consistency has been the big issue throughout his collegiate career, and at times, Adams has displayed a disappointing motor. When Adams is playing well, he looks like a first-rounder. When he falls quiet, he looks like an undrafted free agent. As a result, Adams is more of a second-day pick even though he has the skill set to go higher.

  • Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson had a similar kind of performance. In the first half, he was putting a lot of pressure on Eason, but was quiet in the final two quarters. Lawson was in on two sacks in the second quarter, and the more impressive play saw Lawson use speed to power to beat the right tackle and get a sack. Lawson is a dangerous edge rusher who will have to improve his run defense for the NFL. He would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.

    Alabama 51, Mississippi State 3
  • Alabama senior edge rusher Tim Williams and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen continued their impressive seasons. On the initial third down of the game for the Crimson Tide defense, Williams got his unit off the field as he burned the left tackle with pure speed to get his eighth sack of the season. He added a tackle for a loss shortly later after coming unblocked on a zone-read run. In the fourth quarter, Allen had a pressure on the quarterback and that helped force a poor throw that was intercepted. Both players continue to produce a good tape every time they step on the field.

    Allen looks like a future top-five pick with his combination of strength, speed, and rare interior pass-rush skills. Williams still rotates out of the game a lot in running situations, but for the NFL, he should develop into a three-down starter. His best fit would be in a 3-4 defense as a rush linebacker.

  • Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson had a quality performance against Mississippi State. He was very good in the ground game, controlling his man and helping to open holes. In the first half, Robinson got out to the second level to help lead the way for a 67-yard touchdown run by ArDarius Stewart. Robinson later had a mental hiccup as he thought his guard had the block, but the defender split between them to get after Jalen Hurts. Other than that, Robinson performed well in protection.

    Some NFL teams think Robinson is a Ryan Clady/Russell Okung-type left tackle, but I agree with sources that view Robinson more in the Duane Brown mold. He doesn’t quite have Brown’s power in the ground game, and Robinson can have issues with speed and athleticism from edge rushers, like Brown. Some teams graded Robinson in the second round; others have him late first, and some have him top-20. But in a weak class of offensive tackles, Robinson will probably go in the top 20.

  • Sources have said they have given Alabama senior tight end O.J. Howard a late first-round grade, and this game will serve to confirm that high projection. Howard had a great cut block to spring ArDarius Stewart on his 67-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, Howard burned a safety on a vertical route running down the seam to get open for a touchdown, but he was overthrown by Jalen Hurts. Howard got open along the sideline for a gain of about 25 yards. He added a similar catch in the third quarter. Howard totaled six receptions for 77 yards. His blocking and route-running have improved. He looks like a future three-down starter in the NFL who could be a valuable receiving tight end.

    Florida 20, South Carolina 7
  • Florida junior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley continued his superb season against South Carolina. Throughout the game, he was bursting into the backfield to cause disruption. He had an impressive tackle for a loss where he pushed into the backfield before shedding the block and taking down the back. It happened in a hurry, as Brantley showed his tremendous explosion. Brantley is a three-technique defensive tackle for a 4-3 defense in the NFL. He looks like a lock for the first round with his interior rush and disruption skills. It wouldn’t surprise me if Brantley ends up being a top-20 pick.

  • Gators cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor are future first-round picks, but both of them had some ugly moments against South Carolina. In the second quarter, a tight end made a leaping grab over Tabor downfield for a good gain. Tabor then was beaten on a quick slant for a gain of about 15 yards. Tabor also didn’t impress in run support either. This tape won’t help his draft grade.

    Wilson had a number of ugly plays. Early on, he missed a tackle on a wide receiver screen to allow a big bust. Then, he had close coverage, but gave up a step on a slant for a completion. In the fourth quarter, a receiver got separation from Wilson on a dig, and he missed the tackle to allow another 10 yards after the catch and a first down. It was an ugly play by Wilson. Shortly later, Wilson missed another open-field tackle on a fourth-and-6 to allow a conversion. Wilson then was late to pick up a receiver in zone. He had poor vision watching the quarterback too long and letting the wideout get open. That led to a reception downfield and the wideout carried Wilson on his back for about 10 yards before finally going down after a gain of 47 yards.

    This tape will hurt Wilson’s draft stock in a competitive class of corners. It shows that he has tackling problems even though he is a big cornerback. He also had poor vision and reads in zone coverage.

  • Florida inside linebackers Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone didn’t play against South Carolina. Anzalone is out for the season with a broken arm, while Davis had an ankle injury hold him out of this contest. Gators safety Marcus Maye ended up being added to the list. In the first half, Maye went out of the game after his shoulder was hurt. Davis and Maye shouldn’t be impacted significantly by the injuries, but Anzalone will be. He has had major durability issues in college and will have a huge medical red flag on his draft stock.

  • South Carolina defensive end Darius English is a sleeper prospect who could be a nice gamble on the third day of the draft. Early on, he was in the backfield with pass pressure and getting in on some tackles for a loss. He later made a nice play with a tackle for a loss on a zone-read run. The very next play, English looped to the inside and recorded a sack of Austin Appleby.

    English has some good length to him on a lean frame. He would have to add a lot of weight for a 4-3 defense, but he could be a nice fit as a stand-up edge linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Sources have said they like English as a day-three pick who could be a solid depth player and perhaps a rotational rusher.


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