2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 4

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2019 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2019 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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Stanford 38, Oregon 31
  • Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is in the running to be the top quarterback prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft – Walt has him fourth overall to the Giants in his 2019 NFL Mock Draft – and he was seeing his first quality opponent of the 2018 season. Herbert showed why he is a potential first-round pick, as he has an excellent skill set with a powerful arm, good size, and running ability with deceptive speed. For the NFL, there is no doubt that Herbert has the skill set of a starting pro quarterback, and this performance against Stanford will help Herbert to be chosen early come April.

    Throughout the night, Herbert made several big plays for the Ducks. On his first play from scrimmage, Herbert took off on a 14-yard run and that set the tone. A few plays later, Herbert found a receiver wide open downfield and lofted in a well placed pass for a 53-yard completion that set up a short rushing touchdown for the Ducks. Herbert then threw a dart to the sideline and found his tight end for a 7-yard touchdown. It was excellent anticipation by Herbert, as he threw the pass before the tight end even made his break, and the pass led his target open to the corner of the end zone.

    To start the third quarter, Herbert made a great throw over a safety and between other defenders for 21 yards. He then made a mistake as he took a bad sack and Stanford’s offense got the Cardinal back in the game. Midway through the fourth quarter, Herbert led a drive that should have won the game. The critical play was a fourth-and-1 when Herbert rolled out and then threw a perfect dart for a conversion that led to a short touchdown run. Fumbles from Oregon backs killed the Ducks and gave the game to Stanford. In overtime, Herbert had a pass batted up in the air and it was picked off by Stanford to clinch the amazing comeback from the Cardinal. Herbert finished completing 26-of-33 passes for 346 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 35 yards.

    Herbert really played an impressive game. He showed a dynamic skill set and looked like a NFL starting quarterback. With a big arm and athleticism, Herbert had his way with a tough defense. As a passer, he threw some lasers into tight windows to beat good coverage. Herbert showed impressive anticipation to throw before his receivers made their break and lead them open with good ball placement. Through regulation, Herbert was a very accurate passer, as he had only had three incompletions heading into overtime. Herbert played well enough to lead his team to a victory, but his teammates’ fumbles were back breakers.

    There are definitely some things that Herbert needs to work on for the NFL. First of all, he has to move his eyes more and get more adept at working through progressions. He can lock onto primary targets or sides of the field. Herbert does show the ability to move his eyes and scan through targets, but he needs to do it more consistently. Herbert also has to speed up his clock as he took some sacks from holding onto the ball far too long. As he gains experience, those issues can be improved, but his skill set is something that can’t be coached. This tape could help Herbert to be a high first-round pick.

  • Stanford running back Bryce Love has had a mixed start to the year. After getting contained in Week 1, Love ran well against USC in Week 2 to lead Stanford to a win over the Trojans. He was held out in Week 3 versus UC-Davis, and came back to fight hard for every yard against an Oregon defense that was selling out to stop him.

    In the early going, Love had some tough runs, and he had to make a moves on a few plays just to get across the line of scrimmage. He showed the ability to run through a few tackles and did a nice job of running behind his pads. In the third quarter Love came up with a clutch 22-yard touchdown run bolting downfield and erasing an angle with his great speed to get into the end zone. That score was pivotal in Stanford’s comeback win. Love totaled 89 yards on 19 carries with one reception for nine yards. This was a solid performance from Love that should help him to go in the first couple of rounds next April.

    Kentucky 28, Mississippi State 7
  • Taking on a defense loaded with NFL talent, Bennie Snell ran all over the Bulldogs and led Kentucky offensively to a huge upset. Snell partied like Al Bundy with four touchdowns in the game and illustrated that he is a bell-cow back with three-down starting potential for the pro game.

    In the early going, Snell was running well with a trio of runs that went over 10-plus yards. He had a 22-yard run and then a 14-yard scamper where he dodged tacklers and went through defenders with speed to the second level. Mississippi State then hunkered down to limit Snell and Kentucky rotated in the backup to manage Snell’s touches, but just before halftime, Snell powered his way into the end zone to tie the game at seven.

    That repeated in the third quarter with Snell getting another goal-line touchdown. To put the game away, Snell took a run off the left side and exploded down the field for a 36-yard touchdown. To ice the game with four minutes remaining, Snell took off on a 23-yard touchdown, powering through two defenders including hard-hitting safety Johnathan Abram to fall to dive over the goal line.

    Snell ran for 165 yards on 25 carries with the four touchdowns. He showed a lot of great natural running ability. He had vision and cutting ability to weave through the defense. He has speed to hit the hole while accelerating to the second level, and power to run through to tackles with the ability to get yards after contact. This tape will help Snell to be an early-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen came up huge to lead the Wildcats to an upset over Florida a few weeks ago and he repeated that performance against 14th-ranked Mississippi State. He was all over the field and dominated the Mississippi State offensive line. Allen showed his speed, athleticism and instincts to have a huge presence.

    In the first quarter, Allen burned the right tackle with a speed rush. Allen should have drawn a holding penalty, but the officials missed the call. Still, Allen’s pressure forced a third-down incompletion to get his defense off the field. Allen later came close to a sack and forced Fitzgerald into a third-down incompletion.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Allen had a clutch tackle for a 4-yard loss on a quarterback run as Allen flew around the line to chase down Fitzgerald. Allen drew a holding penalty on the next play, and he then used a speed rush to burn the left tackle and rip down Fitzgerald for a sack. Mississippi State sent double teams his direction, but his pressure helped lead to an interception that put the game firmly in control for Kentucky. Late in the fourth quarter, he got in on a fourth down tackle to help get the ball back for the Wildcats.

    Allen has been superb this season. He is stronger in run defense, and that also translates to him doing a better job of fighting off blocks in the pass rush. His motor is better than it was a year ago, and Allen is showing versatility to also make plays in pass coverage. If Allen continues this level of play the rest of the season, he could be a top-20 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons could be one of the best prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he had a good performance against Kentucky. In the first quarter, Simmons stuffed a run for no gain and drew a holding penalty to negate a good run from Bennie Snell. He then chased the quarterback out of the pocket to ruin a pass play. Later in the fourth quarter, Simmons pushed off two blockers to rip down Snell for a loss.

    For the NFL, Simmons would be a great fit as a three technique in a 4-3 defense. He has lightning-fast first step and is the first player off the ball. He has functional strength to bounce off blockers and is fast to close down the pocket. This tape will only serve to confirm that Simmons belongs in the top 20 next April.

  • Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat has been the most consistent sack producer in the SEC going back to last year. That continued as he showed his natural nose for the quarterback against Kentucky.

    Early in the first quarter, Sweat had a tackle for no gain, reading a RPO well to take down the running quarterback. Sweat then got upfield against the right tackle and then pulled down the quarterback with a teammate for another sack. In the fourth quarter, Sweat led the way for the pocket to collapse and get another sack for Mississippi State.

    Sweat could be a fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He is quick defender off the edge with good length, but at 240 pounds, he has to get stronger to be a three-down defender. Sweat might start out his career as a rotational pass rusher while he builds himself up. Adding more power in the upper body with more weight to anchor while improving his run defense technique would make Sweat a more complete player. With his speed, length, athleticism, and a nose for the quarterback, Sweat still should be an early-round pick next April because he is a very good pass rusher.

    Alabama 45, Texas A&M 23
  • Alabama recruits so many five-star freak athletes that they rarely ever dip into the JUCO ranks. However, an odd player will be too good to pass on, and the Crimson Tide will play anyone who helps them win, even if they repeatedly fail drug tests like former star edge rusher Tim Williams. Well, Isaiah Buggs was the exception to their JUCO policy, and he is emerging as an early-round talent for the NFL. Buggs was the most impressive draft eligible player on the field in this game.

    Buggs is a strong nose tackle who stuffs a lot of runs at the point of attack, but versus the Aggies, Buggs got after the quarterback with a career day rushing the passer. Early on in the first quarter, Buggs got after the quarterback and put him down hard to set the tone for his excellent performance. Buggs later used a swim move to beat the left guard for his second sack of the game. Buggs then bull rushed through the right guard to get his third sack of the game, although it was shared with a teammate. In the fourth quarter, Buggs lined up against the left tackle bull rushed upfield, and he then pushed the tackle to the inside and sacked Kellen Mond as he stepped up in the pocket. Buggs was showing a serious combination of size, speed and leverage.

    While Buggs is a strong defender at the point of attack, he has sneaky athleticism with a burst to close on the quarterback. If Buggs has a few more games like this in 2018, he could end up being a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Texas A&M center Erik McCoy could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he was seeing the best competition he will face all season. Thus this was a good game to gauge McCoy, as he was battling defensive lineman who will be early-round picks and starters on Sundays.

    At the end of the first quarter, McCoy opened a hole for Trayveon Williams by pulling around the left side to seal the edge with a superb block on Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson. After a bad shotgun snap, McCoy came back to make some nice blocks including handling Raekwon Davis in a one-on-one in pass protection. McCoy showed a good ability to anchor and stand up a bull rush from Davis.

    Thus far in 2018, McCoy has played well for Texas A&M. Depending on the team that drafts him, he could be a plug-and-play starter, but it would be ideal for him to be a backup and get stronger before being a starter. McCoy has strong hands and is able to control defenders when he latches on them. He has decent feel, awareness and athleticism. In the ground game, McCoy is not a powerful pile mover and he does not generate a lot of movement in the run game. Hence, he should add more functional strength for the NFL. McCoy looks like a future starting center in the NFL, and this tape should help evaluators to view him in that light.

  • Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis also played well. Davis was showing some nice, early plays in the pass rush. He pressured Mond on the first possession, and shortly later, Davis forced a throw-away from Mond by chasing him out of the pocket. In the third quarter, Davis had some good plays in run defense and also used a swim move to get through the right guard for a hit on Mond just as he threw. Davis’ day was done early and he was subbed out at the start of the fourth quarter. This was a solid tape from Davis that will help him to be a first-round pick.

  • Crimson Tide senior running back Damien Harris is a jack-of-all-trades player. He contributes as a runner, receiver and blocker. This game was evidence of that, as he made big plays to help Alabama roll over Texas A&M. Just before halftime, Harris came up with a huge play on swing route. He caught the pass and broke a tackle to break down the field for a 52-yard gain. Harris later ripped off a 35-yard burst around the right side. Harris totaled 52 yards on seven carries with two receptions for 48 yards. Even though Harris did not get a big work load, this tape will help his draft grade as he showed his versatility along with the size and speed to rip off chunk gains.

    Georgia 43, Missouri 29
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft, and he had a great test with the Georgia defense. Lock made some good throws in the second quarter while under pressure to lead Missouri down the field for a game-tying touchdown. However, Lock threw a short pass that bounced off his receiver’s hands and flew to a Georgia linebacker for an interception that as almost returned for a touchdown. That pick was a horrible play by the wideout and not Lock’s fault. The next turnover, however, was Lock’s fault as he fumbled the ball away while getting sacked.

    In the third quarter, Lock made a great pass with a defensive end in his face and threw a dime deep along the sideline for a back-shoulder reception that put his team well into Georgia territory. It was a phenomenal throw showing serious arm strength. That pass helped set up a short rushing touchdown, and Lock threw a laser up high to his tight end Albert Okwuegbunam between two defenders for a two-point conversion. That score had Missouri down 33-22 entering the fourth quarter.

    Lock completed 23-of-48 passes for 221 yards with an interception. He ran for 22 yards on five carries with a score. Lock was a better passer than the numbers indicate, as he was victimized by a ton of dropped passes. He showed some mobility and athleticism to pick up yards on the ground and scramble around to avoid some sacks.

    Lock showed that he has special arm talent in this game. With his rifle, he threw some great throws to beat tight coverage with the strength of his arm, as he was able to fire passes by defenders. Overall, Lock’s accuracy was sound, and it looked improved over where he was last year. He saw the field pretty well and showed intelligence in knowing where his checkdown and other options were when he needed to get rid of the ball. There definitely were a lot of positive moments for him.

    Conversely, Lock has a quiet personality like Eli Manning and some in the NFL want their quarterback to be a loud vocal leader. For those evaluators and coaches, this tape won’t help Lock because he was quiet and emotionless on the sideline with defeated body language. He did not try to rally his team and amp them up when things went against them. Lock did not motivate his team or push them to play above their talent level against a better football team. Hence, this tape will hurt Lock with some scouts and coaches. Others won’t mind that Lock has a subdued personality, and they will like how Lock threw the ball.

  • Receiver Emmanuel Hall was a non-factor in this game, as he was dealing with a groin injury. Missouri was using him as a decoy, but Hall was sapped of the speed that makes him a special player. As a result, Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker had an easy day in coverage as a result.

  • Missouri redshirt sophomore tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could be the top tight end prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. In the first quarter, Okwuegbunam was stood up after a short reception and while the officials should have blown the whistle as he was getting pushed backward, Okwuegbunam was stripped of the football. Georgia scooped up the loose ball to return it for a touchdown on a play that should have been whistled dead. Okwuegbunam came back to get open on a dig route to move the chains. That set the tone as he played really well, running good routes and using his size to his advantage.

    In the second half, Okwuegbunam made two fantastic receptions using his size to make contested catches over defenders. Okwuegbunam was Missouri’s leading receiver with nine receptions for 81 yards. This tape will help Okwuegbunam to be an early-round pick in his draft class.

  • Missouri defensive tackle Terry Beckner had a quality showing. He made tackles in run support and was tough to move at the point of attack. In the second quarter, Beckner made a very nice play to bounce off his block and lop around the right side to rip down a back for no gain. Just before the half, Beckner bulled his way into the backfield to get in on a tackle for a loss on a fourth-and-1.

    This was a quality tape from Beckner as he was tough at the point of attack. He showed the strength to get off blocks with the speed and athleticism to close on ball carriers. Beckner looked like day-two or mid-round pick in this game.

    Michigan 56, Nebraska 10
  • Michigan defensive linemen Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary figured to be tested by Scott Frost’s Nebraska offense, but they weren’t in this game that long, as the Wolverines quickly blew out the Cornhuskers.

    On the first play from scrimmage, Winovich was unblocked and made a tackle in run support. Winovich then used strength to shed the right tackle and then darted to the inside to get a sack of the quarterback. That was the highlight of the day for him. This tape will help Winovich, as he showed his speed at the point of attack with a fast first step and a burst to close. He has functional strength with a tenacious style of play. Winovich could be a first-rounder next April.

    Gary is a freak athlete, and it would be surprising if he wasn’t a first-round pick, as he has a top-10 skill set. Gary took down a running back for a loss of three in the opening quarter. Shortly later, Gary flew into the quarterback after blasting the left tackle back with power and then cutting to the inside to bury the signal caller. This was a good tape from Gary while he was in the game.

  • Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson has shown some improvement after a rough Week 1 performance against Notre Dame. Nebraska posed little challenge as Patterson 15-of-22 for 120 yards with a touchdown. Unless Patterson gets red hot in the second half of the season, he probably should go back to Michigan and get better before going pro.

    USC 39, Washington State 36
  • There was the potential for a good draft matchup in this game with USC edge rusher Porter Gustin taking on Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard. Unfortunately, Gustin went against the right tackle. Of the two players, Dillard was the more impressive of the two in this game.

    Dillard was rock solid in pass protection and effective at protecting his quarterback from start to finish. On the edge, Dillard is a good athlete with quick feet to get depth in his drop. He is adept at heading off speed rushers and keeping them from getting turned to the quarterback. Dillard plays with good leverage, as he is a knee bender and does not bend at the waist. There were a few plays where Dillard allowed rushers to get speed upfield, but he showed nice recoverability to push the rushers deep and around the pocket to protect his tackle.

    In the ground game, Dillard is not a bull who will knock defensive linemen off the ball. He is not a force at the point of attack who will push a defensive end out of his gap. However he is quick to engage defenders and shows some ability to latch onto them to sustain his block with some manipulation of them. For the NFL, Dillard should get stronger to be a more balanced blocker.

    With Dillard’s quickness and athleticism, he could be a starting left tackle in the NFL. He probably won’t ever be a forceful run blocker, but the NFL is a pass-driven league so he does not have to be a bull in the ground game to be a valuable starter. Dillard could be a real asset in a pass-first offense as a blind-side protector who helps to neutralize speed rushers. Dillard has second-day draft potential.

  • Gustin totaled four tackles with a sack against Washington State. In the third quarter, Gustin got his sack on pure hustle. He was blocked by the right tackle, but when the quarterback scrambled upfield toward the right side, Gustin turned around to chase him down and trip him up for a sack. Gustin contributed a few tackles in the ground game, but this was an underwhelming performance.

  • USC safety Marvel Tell entered the season as one of the top safety prospects, but he had some quiet and underwhelming games in the early going. Washington State’s pass-happy offense was an opportunity for Tell to make some big plays in the passing game, but he did not make the most of it, as Tell was disappointing aside from one pass break-up.

    Early in the first quarter, Tell charged down hard in zone coverage to hit a receiver and break up a pass. Tell then had a running back run through his tackle close to the end zone and the Cougar back got into the end zone for six. Tell later badly missed a tackle in the hole at the second level to allow a back an extra 10 yards. Throughout the second half, Tell was quiet and did not make any plays in pass coverage.

    In previous games, Tell had some missed tackles and missed assignments. Tell is off to a very slow and disappointing start to the 2018 season. He is going to need to start making plays, or his draft grade is going to really suffer.


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