2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 9

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.
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Oklahoma State 38, Texas 35
  • Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill is a dynamic player whom the Cowboys have not utilized completely during the 2018 season. They made it a point to get Hill the ball consistently against Texas. Even though the Longhorns made it a point to stop Hill, he churned out 92 yards on 23 carries with three receptions for 14 yards. Hill ran well even though he did not get a lot of good rush lanes to break downfield.

    There is no doubt that Hill is a natural runner and is very talented. Perhaps the best trait that sets Hill apart is first-step quickness and the burst to get to the second level of the defense. On top of his speed, Hill has good feet with cutting ability to zig zag through the defense. Hill has good knee bend and runs behind his pads to help him finish runs well by falling forward. With patience and vision, Hill lets holes develop before darting downfield. On top of his running ability, Hill is a nice outlet receiver who runs quality routes and makes catches with his hands. As a pro, he could be a rotational and complementary back similar to the Bengals’ Gio Bernard. Hill looks worthy to be a second- or third-round pick.

  • Texas wide receivers Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey could be chosen in the early rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. They have been key players in the Longhorns entering this game with a 6-1 record and the favorites to win the Big 12. However, Oklahoma State did a good job of defending them. Johnson and Humphrey were held in check in the opening half as Oklahoma State’s offense controlled the ball and kept the Longhorn receives from making any big plays.

    The big wideouts did some damage in the second half, however. Johnson finally made a big play downfield in the third quarter for a long reception as he beat the corner downfield for a long gain, but the reception was called back on a holding penalty. Johnson then bounced back and got open on a deep slant downfield for 27 yards. Humphrey had a 34-yard reception and ended up leading Texas with four catches for 69 yards. Johnson had five for 65.

    If you could take the best qualities from each receiver and combine them, you would have a first-round pick. Humphrey is a gritty receiver who is a dangerous run-after-the-catch player. He is a fighter with some junkyard dog in him, as he will run through tackles and get physical with cornerbacks. However, Humphrey is slow for the NFL. He can’t run at all and will really struggle to separate from pro cornerbacks.

    At 6-foot-6, Johnson has mismatch size but does not play as big as he should. He doesn’t bully corners or do as well as one would expect at leaping to high point the ball over receivers. Johnson has some quickness and he can sink his hips better than one would expect for such a big receiver. He has issues tracking the ball and playing it in the air, but Johnson has some impressive movement skills for a big wideout.

    Johnson could be a second- or third-round pick. Humphrey has off-the-field issues that will hurt him, and that, combined with his limitations as a player probably put him in the third through fifth round.

    Kentucky 15, Missouri 14
  • Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen is one of the top defensive prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. He is a dynamic pass rusher and a good run defender, and he has impressed in pass coverage this season. The Wildcats needed Allen to have a big game against Missouri as they were taking on an early-round quarterback prospect in Drew Lock. Allen came up huge for Kentucky to pull off upsets over Florida, Mississippi State, and South Carolina. The Wildcats would need a repeat of that performance to get a road win.

    Allen was quiet in the first half. In the third quarter, however, Allen started to make some nice getting a few tackles in the ground game. He made a nice play to fight off a block near the goal line to get a run stuff. Allen then looped up the middle rushing Lock and then he strip sacked Lock on a third down. Allen followed that up by making a nice open-field tackle in pass coverage coming over in zone to rip down the receiver before he got first-down yardage.

    Allen used a rip move early in the fourth quarter to beat the right tackle and got another strip-sack that once again was recovered by Missouri. Allen then rushed against the left tackle, but recognized a screen being set up and he chased down the back downfield to get a third down tackle that got his defense off the field.

    This was another tape that illustrated that Allen is a first-round talent. He is a dangerous quarterback hunter off the edge that has strength and instincts to defend the run. Allen also has can contribute in pass coverage. In the NFL, Allen would be a great fit as a linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

  • Lock had an underwhelming game against Kentucky. He had some good plays showing his athletic ability to roll out and throw on the run. While Lock can be inconsistent, he showed his powerful arm by making some impressive throws. Lock was more of a game manager in this game. He had poor ball security while getting sacked by Allen in the third quarter, and he fumbled the ball. Lock was fortunate that a teammate pounced on the loose ball. The second strip-sack from Allen was not poor ball security by Lock as he was reaching back to throw when he got hit.

    Lock missed on some third downs and was unable to get into any real rhythm as a passer. He was 15-of-27 for 165 yards with zero touchdowns and no interceptions. This tape made Lock look more like a second-day pick rather than a first-rounder.

    Georgia 36, Florida 17
  • At the Largest Cocktail Party in the World, the top NFL prospect in this game had a quiet outing. Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker could be a top-20 pick next April, but he went untested as Florida targeted other cornerbacks while also running the ball a lot. Even though Florida didn’t throw the ball his direction, Baker had sound coverage as he ran with the Gators receivers and kept them from gaining separation. Florida tested Baker deep downfield in the fourth quarter, and he had good coverage to force an incompletion. This tape will only serve to confirm Baker as a top-20 pick next April.

  • Florida has some NFL talent in their front seven led by edge rusher Jachai Polite. The Bulldogs did a good job of blocking Polite and keeping him from wrecking the pocket. That attention helped open things up for defensive end Jabari Zuniga to have a huge game. Zuniga had multiple tackles for a loss, including a few in goal-line situations where he crashed around the line and ripped down the back for a loss. Zuniga made some huge tackles to prevent touchdowns for Georgia and force field goals. Polite came close to a few sacks and made a tackle for a loss on a two-point conversion attempt. This tape will help Zuniga’s draft grade and should not help or hurt Polite.

  • One of the breakout players for Florida this year has been inside linebacker Vosean Joseph. He had a huge performance to help the Gators upset LSU, and he has been a dynamic defender with a lot of splash plays for the Gators. Joseph started with an ugly play with a missed tackle on Elijah Holyfield, but then Joseph came back with a huge sack on a lighting fast blitz up the middle to take down Jake Fromm on a second-and-goal play. Joseph made a few tackles in the ground game and helped Florida produce some goal-line stands. If Joseph enters the 2019 NFL Draft, he could be a second-day pick. Returning for his senior year to get better and stronger would be wise for his development as a football player.

    Clemson 59, Florida State 10
  • The Clemson defensive line is comprised of future NFL starters, and they dominated a terrible Florida State offensive line to help the Tigers blow out the Seminoles in Tallahassee. All four of the of the Clemson linemen were impressive and won their blocks routinely. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, tackle Dexter Lawrence and tackle Christian Wilkins could all be first-round picks next April while end Austin Bryant has day-two potential.

    Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is a powerful defender in a big body with surprising quickness and athleticism. Lawrence had an excellent first half, stuffing runs and putting some pressure on quarterback Deondre Francois. Lawrence had a few tackles in the ground game to keep his defense in good down-and-distance situations. Lawrence bull rushed his blocker straight back into Francois to hit him as he threw with Christian Wilkins and that led to a floating duck of a pass that was intercepted in the second quarter.

    Wilkins, meanwhile, came on a speed rush and hit Francois as he threw to force an interception. Wilkins then used a speed rush to dart by the Florida State center and get a hit on Francois to force a third down incompletion.

    Throughout the first half, the Clemson defensive ends were giving the Florida State tackles all they could handle. They were constantly blowing past them with speed as their first-step quickness allowed them to get upfield before the Seminoles were even out of their stance. Ferrell beat the left tackle with a speed rush to hit Francois as he threw and force an incompletion in the opening quarter. Bryant, meanwhile, was getting into the pocket and putting pressure on Francois.

    Overall, this game will only serve to confirm the draft grades for the Clemson defensive linemen. They dominated the Florida State offensive line, as they should, and did not play down to the lesser competition.

  • Florida State has a future NFL edge rusher of its own with junior Brian Burns. He was a challenge for Clemson senior left tackle Mitch Hyatt. While the Seminoles got blown out, Burns was constantly beating Hyatt, and the Tigers’ left tackle was fortunate that his ugly game did not bite his team.

    Late in the second quarter, Burns flew around Hyatt and hit Trevor Lawrence as he threw to almost get a strip-sack. Hyatt was called for holding on the play, and that was all he could do to keep Burns from sacking the quarterback. Burns was getting the better of Hyatt all afternoon with speed around the corner.

    Hyatt has not developed over the past few years. He struggles with speed and also gets pushed around by strong defenders. He could end up being a mid-round pick, but if wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up not translating to the NFL. He reminds me of Broncos bust Ty Sambrailo.

    Burns, meanwhile, is a dangerous speed rusher, but he is tall and skinny. He needs to gain weight and get stronger for the NFL. He should return for his senior year to develop his body before going pro.

    Northwestern 31, Wisconsin 17
  • Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was making his 47th-straight start for the Wildcats. He almost led Northwestern to a fourth-quarter comeback road win at Wisconsin last year. Thorson’s supporting cast came up short in helping him knock off the Badgers, but it was still an impressive performance as Thorson made some great throws to almost lead his overmatched team to a win over a more-talent opponent in a tough road environment. This year, however, Thorson and Northwestern outplayed Wisconsin from start to finish with a convincing win in Evanston.

    The game did not start well as Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly leapt high to tip a pass that was intercepted on the deflection. It was not a good decision by Thorson, as he threw into traffic and did not move his eyes as Connelly was watching where Thorson was looking to get into the passing lane. Thorson came back to move the ball down the field using his arm and three consecutive quarterback sneaks to convert a first down and then power into the end zone.

    Thorson lofted in a beautiful 32-yard pass over the helmet and shoulder of a defender to beat tight coverage with a well-placed pass. On a third-and-goal, Thorson made a great play from about the 6-yard line. Thorson dropped back to pass, could not find anyone open, avoided a sack by breaking a tackle, and then darted up field while juking a defender and then diving over the goal line. It was a gritty and clutch play by Thorson for his second rushing touchdown. Thorson then rolled out and threw a deep ball down the field that was intercepted as the Badgers’ safety out jumped the Northwestern receiver on the 50-50 ball. That interception was effectively a punt.

    Thorson had a mixed showing in the third quarter. He underthrew a deep ball for 27 yards, and a better pass could have been a touchdown. Thorson then made some excellent throws to expand the Wildcat lead. Thorson made a big-time throw, lofting in a 24-yard touchdown over the Badgers safety to his receiver in the back of the end zone. Shortly later, Thorson converted a third down with a 27-yard run that set up a field goal. Thorson later had a bad play where a linebacker dropped into coverage, and Thorson did not see him. That led to a leaping interception.

    Thorson completed 17-of-30 passes for 172 yards with one touchdown passing, two rushing, and three interceptions. He was more accurate than the numbers indicate, as he had numerous passes dropped by his wideouts. His receivers lack speed, and that leads to extremely tight windows that Thorson has to constantly throw into. Thorson has had to be on the money over the years because his receivers consistently struggle to get separation, so Thorson routinely has to beat tight coverage with his ball placement. He also showed some ability to move and pick up yards on the ground while still not being 100 percent as a runner after his ACL injury from the bowl game of last year.

    There is no doubt that Thorson has the skill set of an NFL starting quarterback with big size, a strong arm, pocket presence, field vision to work through progressions, and some athleticism to use his feet. Sources have told me that his character is off the charts. He is a team leader who can speak to all segments of the locker room. He’s also smart with a good football I.Q and a ton of experience from college. Thorson could rise in pre-draft meetings. However, this tape was an uneven performance that made Thorson look more like a day-two prospect rather than first-rounder.

  • Wisconsin right tackle David Edwards has had a disappointing season after getting a lot of preseason hype. Edwards was beaten repeatedly in Badgers losses to BYU and Michigan. While this was another loss for Wisconsin, Edwards had a better performance.

    Wisconsin went behind Edwards in the opening quarter to get a short rushing touchdown, as Edwards pushed his defender back to help open a hole for his back. Edwards was getting a push on his defenders in the ground game, but the rest of the team was struggling. Wisconsin’s offense never got into any rhythm as their new starting quarterback had a hard time completing passes while running back Jonathan Taylor had two fumbles and the quarterback chipped in a fumble as well.

    Edwards was beaten for a sack and a hit a on the quarterback in the fourth quarter. The defender used power to rock Edwards off balance to get upfield and then adjusted to rip down the quarterback. Edwards then allowed him to get to the quarterback again, but a defender got there before Edwards end could get a sack on consecutive plays.

    Edwards would fit best as an NFL right tackle. He is too stiff and does not have quick enough feet to be a left tackle. At 6-foot-7, Edwards also can have issues with playing too high. That lets defenders get underneath his pads to have success on a bull rush. That was clear in the BYU game as Edwards was getting bull rushed into the quarterback repeatedly. While Edwards has received first-round hype, he looks more like a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.


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