2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 12

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2018 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2018 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

USC 28, UCLA 23
  • This was the first and last collegiate battle for UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen taking on USC quarterback Sam Darnold. When these two go head-to-head in the future, it will be as starting quarterbacks for NFL teams, as both are first-round talents. While there is a lot of widespread talk in the NFL and national media that Darnold could return to USC, that isn’t the case with Rosen, and them both going back to school seems like an extreme long shot. Of the two, Darnold’s team got the win, but of the two signal-callers, Rosen showcased that he has more arm talent for the NFL.

    Early in the first quarter, Rosen threw a perfect deep ball for a gain of about 50 yards, but it was called back on a penalty. He threw another great pass on a deep ball down the field that was dropped in precisely for a 41-yard gain. He threw a perfect dime on an out route and then a well-placed back-shoulder throw for a touchdown. On another pass, he ripped the ball to a receiver on a slant to hit him in stride for a gain of about 25. Throughout the first half, Rosen was throwing strikes and ripping the ball through the USC secondary.

    At the end of the second quarter, Rosen was stripped of the ball as he was being sacked. Rosen held onto the ball too long on the play as the pocket was collapsing around him.

    Rosen made another mistake in the red zone early in the third quarter. He tried to look a safety off, but the Trojan stayed disciplined, and then Rosen made a mistake to pull the trigger and throw the ball into coverage for an interception. However, Rosen made up for it when he found a receiver wide open for a 9-yard touchdown. Rosen had a few well-thrown passes that were dropped by receivers. Late in the fourth quarter, Rosen lofted in a beautiful 27-yard touchdown pass, leading his receiver to the back corner of the end zone with perfectly accurate pass.

    Rosen ended up completing 32-of-52 for 421 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Throughout the night, Rosen made some beautiful throws with impressive accuracy. The ball just explodes out of his hand with super tight spirals. He made a number of precise throws to hit receivers on the run. Rosen was throwing some frozen ropes showing field vision to work through his progressions and good mechanics in the pocket. Rosen has some things he can improve for the NFL, including his anticipation, field vision and footwork. However, this game tape will help Rosen to be a high first-rounder.

  • Darnold had a solid, although not very impressive performance against UCLA. He was efficient with some splash plays and some mistakes. In the first half, Darnold really did well throwing on the run and buying time to get completions down the field. He did that on a number of plays including a rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

    In the second quarter, Darnold was scrambling forward and fumbled the ball while getting tackled. Upon review, Darnold was ruled to be down, but it did illustrate some of the fumbling problems he’s had this season. Later to end the possession, USC went for a fourth-and-8. Darnold tried to fit a pass to a receiver between two defenders, but the ball sailed over his target for an interception. He came back to make a beautiful throw to a receiver along the sideline, getting a good gain while killing the clock out of bounds.

    Darnold made some good throws in the second half to help produce a couple of touchdown passes. He showed good accuracy and anticipation on a few throws. Darnold finished completing 17-of-28 for 264 yards with zero touchdowns passing, one interception, and one touchdown rushing.

    Overall, Darnold could benefit from another year in college football. His decision-making and ball security are the biggest areas for him to improve. He needs to get more consistent as a pocket passer, working through his progressions. Darnold has a quality, but not outstanding skill set, and if he enters the draft, he will be a first-rounder.

    Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 24
  • Ole Miss cornerback Ken Webster could be one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, and he was seeing a potential matchup against a future NFL wide receiver in Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk. Unfortunately, they rarely lined up against each other, as Kirk was mainly going against other cornerbacks.

    In the first quarter, Kirk made a leaping grab for 16 yards. Kirk then got open for a 24-yard completion to set up a Texas A&M touchdown. In the third quarter, Kirk had a nice hands catch, reaching out from his body to haul the ball in before his momentum took him out of bounds.

    Kirk ended up totaling 77 yards on five receptions. He showed the speed and shiftiness to get separation in his route-running. For the NFL, Kirk would be a good fit as a slot receiver. He is a real competitor who is a gritty player. He’ll also should contribute as a returner. He could be a nice fit in the second round and end up being a similar-style receiver to the Giants’ Sterling Shepard.

  • Webster had a quiet game against Texas A&M. In the second quarter, Webster had too big of a cushion and that allowed a slant of about 15 yards. Webster later had tight coverage to make an instant tackle on a 5-yard reception. In the fourth quarter, Webster was challenged downfield, but had close coverage to force an incompletion. The Aggies threw at other receivers, as Webster was solid in coverage. This tape shouldn’t cause a change on his draft stock.

    Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3
  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will get drafted next April, and he continued his impressive senior season with how he played against Kansas. On the negative side, Mayfield did not conduct himself in respectable fashion.

    In the first quarter, Mayfield made an excellent play on a fourth down. He was chased out of the pocket by Kansas edge rusher Dorance Armstrong, and at the last second, he found a wide-open target for a short completion to get first-down yardage, but the run after the catch turned it into a 34-yard touchdown. Mayfield did an excellent job of keeping his eyes up, looking at receivers while scrambling.

    Mayfield threw a ball off the mark in the second quarter and was fortunate that a Kansas safety dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands. He came back to throw a screen for a touchdown.

    In the third quarter, Mayfield got a receiver open on a pump fake and lofted in a 34-yard pass. It was a little underthrown and released a little late. That kept it from being a touchdown. On the next play, he rolled to his right and threw a short touchdown pass to Mark Andrews. However, after the touchdown pass, Mayfield glared and shouted trash talk across the field at Kansas in a classless display. ESPN said they had profanities and gestures they wouldn’t show, but NFL evaluators will know about all of that, and it won’t reflect well on Mayfield.

    Mayfield competed 20-of-30 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He is a gritty player who has an “it” factor to his play. He has a strong enough arm for the NFL and can throw the ball accurately while working through his progressions. Mayfield also has mobility and can extend plays with his feet or hurt defenses on the ground. He is undersized for the NFL with just average arm strength. He can have issues reading defenses. One big area for improvement for Mayfield is his footwork, as he gets happy feet in the pocket. One college scouting director told me that Mayfield’s feet are terrible.

    In speaking with one NFL general manager, they said they liked Mayfield and had a fourth-round grade on him. Their team always grades quarterbacks hard, and they like how Mayfield has played this year. Other teams have told me they are grading Mayfield on the second day of the draft. Quarterbacks rise during the lead up to the draft, and Mayfield could end up being a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

  • Armstrong has had a frustrating season, as he has seen teams rip his defense while sending double teams his direction constantly and having plays go away from him. The Jayhawks are easy to beat while taking Armstrong out of the game. However, Armstrong had the rare opportunity to go against some single blocks in this game, as the Sooners feel good enough about their offensive line that they didn’t think they needed to double team Armstrong every play. As a result, Armstrong played well with a multi-sack effort.

    In the first quarter, Armstrong got a coverage sack, chasing down Mayfield as he scrambled. Armstrong looped to the inside on a stunt, bounced off two blockers, and then used his speed to run down Mayfield. Shortly later, Armstrong flowed down the line to make a tackle in run support. Armstrong then added his second sack of the game as he used his speed to fire into the backfield, and the right guard had no chance to stop Armstrong, as the guard was supposed to pull and hit Armstrong.

    Overall, Armstrong helped himself with how he played against Oklahoma. This game illustrates what he is capable of when he doesn’t have constant double teams going his direction. Armstrong has excellent speed and athleticism off the edge. He’s definitely an early-round talent who goes under the radar, and he could be a difference maker as a pro edge rusher.

    Georgia 42, Kentucky 13
  • In the early portion of the season, sources told me that Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was a future first- or second-round pick. He is a dangerous edge rusher and a good-pursuit run defender, and has some pass coverage skills. He made his presence felt early in the first quarter. Allen made a nice play to drop underneath a short crossing route for an interception. Allen did well getting depth in his drop and showed nice hands to snatch the pass out of the air.

    After that play, it was a rough game for Allen as the Bulldogs’ tough ground attack had success running at Allen. Georgia left tackle Isaiah Wynn moved him around the field on numerous plays, and Allen had a hard time getting off his blocks. Allen also had Nick Chubb run through a tackle attempt in the backfield, as Allen went too high on the powerful back. On a short touchdown run, Allen was blocked out of the play by tight end Jeb Blazevich. Wynn then rode Allen out of the play to get Chubb to the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown run.

    This tape will be a mixed result for Allen. On the positive side, he showed nice skills in pass coverage. Conversely, Georgia ran at him repeatedly with Allen really struggling to get off blocks. Allen needs to get stronger to tackle and get off blocks. In the NFL, he might fit best as a hybrid inside and outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

  • Georgia left tackle Isaiah Wynn had an excellent tape. He was good in the ground game, pushing defenders around the point of attack. Wynn has nice strength to get movement and blocks hard through the whistle. He also showed some nice quickness and athleticism in pass protection, including an impressive play to negate a speed rush from Allen. Wynn has some quickness, athleticism, and bending skills in pass protection. If Wynn were three inches taller, he would be a top-16 pick. But being short and lacking length makes him more of a second-day pick. Wynn could be an overachiever who stays at left tackle, or is a good guard or center in the NFL.

  • This was the last home game for Georgia’s dynamic running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. They went out in style, as both players were excellent against Kentucky.

    In the first quarter, Chubb showed nice vision and patience to wait for a hole to open up and then dart into the end zone with a short touchdown run. Chubb later broke a tackle from Allen in the backfield to escape down the left side for a gain of 21 yards. Early in the four quarter, Wynn rode Allen down the field to let Chubb break down the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown run. Chubb totaled 151 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns.

    Michel, meanwhile, took a run off right tackle and exploded down the field for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He was virtually untouched, using his speed to run away from defenders. In the third quarter, Michel ran for a short touchdown run. Michel then added a short touchdown run on a direct snap going up the middle of the Kentucky defense while powering into the end zone. Michel had 87 yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns.

    Both Michel and Chubb are future starters in the NFL. They have size, strength and quickness to hit the hole. Chubb is more dynamic as a runner, while Michel has more versatility as a blocker and receiver. Both are likely to be selected in the first couple of rounds of the draft.

    Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10
  • Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst is a fast gap-shooting lineman who can cause a lot of disruption behind the line of scrimmage with his outstanding speed and burst off the ball. However, Hurst weighs in the 270s and is very undersized for the NFL. His ability to hold up against the run would be put to the test taking on the steady rushing attack of the Wisconsin Badgers.

    There were plays where Hurst struggled to disengage from run blocks. Hurst is definitely at his best using speed to get upfield rather than holding his ground against downhill runs.

    At the end of the first half, Hurst made a nice play to fight off some blockers and take a back down for a tackle after a minor gain. Hurst later pushed off the left guard and exploded down the pocket to almost sack the Badger quarterback, but his pressure forced the quarterback to scramble into a sack.

    Overall, this tape will confirm the issues for Hurst. He is an undersized defensive tackle who only really fits as a 4-3 three-technique defensive tackle. He could start out his NFL career as a situational pass-rusher while he gets stronger to defend the run and potentially be a three-down starter. A question will be if Hurst has the frame to add weight for the NFL. In the 2018 NFL Draft, Hurst looks like a second-day pick.

  • Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli is a potential three down starter for the NFL. Fumagalli showed some real toughness last week, playing through a broken nose against Iowa and was back on the field against Michigan.

    Early on, he made his presence felt, as he made a nice, contested catch. After another short reception, he followed it up by finding a soft spot in zone to get his offense away from their own goal line. Those receptions went for 38 yards, and unfortunately, Wisconsin didn’t get Fumagalli another catch. He did show some blocking skills against the Wolverines. Overall, this tape should help to confirm Fumagalli as a potential second-day pick who could be a quality NFL contributor.

    Texas 28, West Virginia 14
  • Texas left tackle Connor Williams was back on the field for the first time since Week 3. Williams injured a knee with a torn meniscus, sprained MCL and PCL against USC. It was good for Williams to get back on the field this season, but his play against West Virginia was not impressive. ESPN’s uninformed play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins was saying Williams is a high first-rounder, but Mowins is utterly clueless about how teams are grading Williams. This game won’t change those grades.

    On one of the first plays of the game, a defensive tackle was able to get leverage and push Williams about four yards into the backfield and almost came up with a tackle for a loss. Throughout the game, Williams showed some decent feet and athleticism, but his lack of strength could be seen regularly.

    Williams allowed defensive linemen to get leverage and push him into the backfield. That forced his quarterback out of the pocket on some plays. He also had terrible awareness on one play as he literally blocked nobody and just looked straight ahead while a blitzer beat a running back right next to him on his left. For a left tackle not to look to his left for edge rushers is a terrible mental mistake. In the fourth quarter, Williams had a good run block, opening a hole as he pushed a defender in the back into a scrum to get a hole open behind him. However, on the next play, an edge rusher used speed to run around the corner and chase the quarterback out of the pocket for a third-down incompletion.

    The lack of strength also could be seen in Williams bending at the waist to try to get more power on pushing pass-rushers, but waist bending is bad technique that will get exploited by NFL pass-rushers. Williams should really return for his senior year to get better before making the jump to the NFL.

    While Williams has received a lot of first-round hype, he was struggling before his injury, and sources from multiple teams said they gave Williams a mid-round grade. The main issue that sources say is hurting Williams (6-6, 290) is a lack of strength. One AFC team in need of tackle help said they gave him a late third-round, early fourth-round grade. A NFC general manager said he thought Williams was a fourth-rounder after watching him in person early in the year. That general manager said Williams was overhyped and clearly needs to spend a lot of time in the weight room for the NFL.

    Team sources and those around the Texas program say that Williams is hoping to return to the field and produce some good tape this season. He knows that his tape from early in the year wasn’t impressive, and he wants to try to generate some good tape before the season ends. If he does that, sources say he would be inclined toward entering the draft. If he re-injures the knee or plays poorly, Williams will probably return to Texas next season. A lot hangs in the balance for Williams in the final weeks of the season, and he needs some big games to change the grades he’s received from NFL teams this fall. This tape shouldn’t lead him to think of entering the draft.

  • West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has turned himself into a pro prospect during his first season for the Mountaineers. Things didn’t go well for him against Texas though. Midway through the first quarter, Grier made a nice ball fake to help get receiver David Sills open down the sideline for a 36-yard gain. The drive ended with Grier getting a short rushing touchdown, but it was ruled that Grier fumbled the ball while falling into the pylon and it ended being changed to a touchback for Texas. To make matters worse on the play, Grier injured his hand on the play and was taken out of the game.

    Grier has made the right decision to return to school next year (check out our 2018 NFL Draft Underclassmen Tracker here.) He’s started fewer than 20 games in his collegiate career. He could stand to improve his footwork and decision-making. Those could improve was he gains more experience.

  • Texas’ DeShon Elliott has had a breakout year and has been of the top safeties in college football. His excellent play continued against West Virginia. In the first quarter, Elliott made a good tackle on a wide receiver screen. He then had a back push through Elliott for about five yards, as Elliott went too high on his tackle rather than getting low and wrapping up the ball-carrier. Aside from that play, Elliott was rock solid. Throughout the game, Elliott was doing well in coverage downfield helping to cover up wideouts and prevent separation.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Elliott made two superb plays. On a second down, he snuffed out a wide receiver screen to break up a pass. Then, on fourth down, he flew over from the middle of the field to a wideout wide open along the sideline in the end zone. Elliott made a leaping pass breakup to save a touchdown and get the ball back for his offense. Those plays showed Elliott’s instincts, deep center-field coverage skills, and the physical skills to make plays. Sources say that Elliott has graded out on the second day of the draft, and this tape will help to confirm that top-100 status.


    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12