2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 11

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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Clemson 27, Boston College 7
  • This game was loaded with future NFL defensive lineman, with four who will probably end up being first-round picks. While the Clemson front has received a ton of media praise as they justly deserve, the most impressive player in this game was Boston College defensive end Zach Allen. He was a force at the point of attack and made some big plays for his defense with a lot of disruption in the backfield. Throughout the game, he made some good run fills while getting in on a number of tackles in the ground game.

    Allen had two good rushes late in the opening quarter, with one being negated as he jumped offsides, but a few plays later, he burned the right tackle with speed to cause an incompletion while also drawing a holding penalty. Allen later made a great play to leap and bat a pass. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence caught the deflection and then Allen ripped him down for a loss of nine yards on the play. Allen then used speed to fire by the right tackle to the inside. He bounced off the right guard, and he got his hand up in the air to bat down a third-down pass. Allen came close to a few sacks with pressures and none of the Clemson offensive linemen were able to sustain blocks on him.

    This was a phenomenal tape from Allen. He showed so much for NFL teams to fall in love with. He is quick at the point of attack with a burst out of his stance. He can use speed around the edge or to the inside to fly by blockers with functional strength to shed blocks. Allen has a thick build and is very sound in run defense to hold his ground while being able to make tackles outside of his gap. On top of his excellent skill set, Allen has a tremendous motor and gives relentless effort. This tape made him look like a worthy top-10 pick next April.

  • Clemson’s trio of future first-round picks on the defensive line all played well and made their presence felt. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins started the game fast with some splash plays. Wilkins had a superb first-quarter pass rush with a fast burst on a stunt looping around the right tackle before closing on the quarterback in a hurry. Wilkins then got a tackle for loss on a scrambling quarterback on a busted play. He put some hard hits on the quarterback to rough up Boston College’s starter.

    Nose tackle Dexter Lawrence put his great skill set on display using his big size and surprising speed to get the better of the Boston College offensive line. Lawrence split a double team at the very end of the opening quarter to make a tackle for no gain on a third-and-1. Lawrence later bull rushed through the center and knocked him flat on his butt before taking down the running back for a loss of a yard.

    Defensive end Clelin Ferrell was quiet in the early going, but then he helped the Tigers close out the game. Ferrell had a run tackle and a pass pressure to force an incompletion just prior to halftime. Ferrell later came on a stunt to the inside and dipped low to drag down the quarterback by his ankles for a sack.

    All three of these defensive lineman should be selected on the opening night of the 2019 NFL Draft. It could be that all three go in the top 20. Lawrence and Wilkins might slip into the 20s, but all three are excellent prospects who should be very good NFL defensive linemen.

    Georgia 27, Auburn 10
  • Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown is one of the top prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft, and this was a frustrating game for him. He was disruptive, showing the ability to beat some double teams and fire into the backfield using his burst. However, he was being held constantly and the officials did a terrible job of seeing it. It was obvious throughout the game, including a horrible play in the fourth quarter where an exasperated Brown was stunned an obvious hold wasn’t called.

    In another instance, Brown was spying on quarterback Jake Fromm on a third-and-goal in the second quarter. After fighting off a double team, Brown swallowed up Fromm for a tackle to force a field goal for Georgia. He made some other run stuffs and knifed into the backfield on other plays. This tape won’t hurt or help Brown’s draft grade.

  • Last year, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a red hot finish to the 2017 season while leading the Tigers to wins over Georgia and Alabama to get into the SEC Championship. Stidham has not played at the same level this year, and as a result, he has looked more like a day-two or mid-round pick rather than a first-rounder. That trend continued versus Georgia, as Stidham completed 24-of-36 passes for 163 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Stidham missed some easy throws and also struggled to maintain possessions. He should return for his senior year to improve before going pro.

  • Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker is one of the reasons why Stidham struggled to put points on the scoreboard. He had good coverage for the majority of this game, and was rock solid at preventing any big plays for Auburn through the air.

    There were a few lowlights for Baker against Auburn. In the first quarter, Baker made a tackle on a screen, but he was flagged for a horse collar. Baker was then beaten on a dig route for a gain of about 15 yards. Baker got lucky in the third quarter, as he fell down in coverage to leave his receiver wide open, but Stidham had a poor throw fall incomplete. Baker was later flagged for a pass interference that could have been a non-call, and later on the drive he was whistled again but the ball was ruled to be uncatchable, so it was a negated.

    Baker is one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. He is a gritty and physical corner who could be a starter quickly in his NFL career. One major point of improvement for Baker will be to grab less at the pro level. Baker can be a bit too physical at times, and he could have issues with getting flagged for holds and pass interference penalties. Baker looks like a safe first-rounder heading into the final games of his collegiate career.

  • Auburn’s Jamel Dean is another cornerback who could go in the early rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. Dean has battled through the season while playing with a cast on his hand earlier in the year. He got this game started by making a nice tackle in space on a the perimeter. Dean later came up with a huge play to help prevent points for Georgia. He had tight coverage on a short inside route and made a nice play to out-fight the receiver for the ball. That interception occurred at the Auburn 19-yard line with the Tigers down by 10, so it was a clutch play to help Auburn.

    This tape should help Dean’s draft grade. He may not have the speed to run well enough to be a first-round pick, but he could be a good second-day selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Northwestern 14, Iowa 10
  • Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was making his 49th-straight start for the Wildcats. With a win and a Purdue loss, Northwestern would clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship. Minnesota helped out the Wildcats as they blew out Purdue, and Thorson was able to do enough to help lead Northwestern to their first appearance in the Big 10 title game.

    Thorson threw an excellent deep ball deep down the field to lead his receiver open for an early touchdown, but the pass was a dropped. A pro receiver would have had more speed to get in better position to make the catch. However, a Northwestern penalty would have taken the play away even if Thorson’s receiver made the catch. Throughout the first half, Thorson struggled as his receivers were incapable of generating any separation, while his offensive line was getting overwhelmed by Iowa’s big defensive front. Thorson took a few sacks where he needed to get rid of the ball, but his teammates were giving him nothing to work with. He was only 5-of-10 for 41 yards at halftime.

    Things got worse at the start of the third quarter, as Thorson was picked off. He threw a short pass off the mark and it fell into the arms of a defender. Thorson then had a deflected pass picked off. It was a bad decision by Thorson, as he threw the ball into traffic with a crowd of defenders and two receivers. He looked like he was playing tight and pressing, but after that interception, Thorson rallied.

    Thorson made a brilliant throw in the fourth quarter with perfect ball placement to let his receiver in the end zone. The big wideout Bennett Skowronek made a diving grab past blanket coverage. It was a 32-yard strike that put Northwestern up 14-10 with nine-and-a-half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The lead held, and Northwestern celebrated their divisional championship. Thorson finished 15-of-30 for 122 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

    Thorson played better than the numbers illustrate. He showed his strong arm with some accurate throws and well-placed passes that were dropped. Thorson has played some good defenses tough in losing outcomes to Notre Dame and Michigan. Overall though, this tape should not help Thorson’s draft grade, and he could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant is one of the top draft eligible prospects at his position for the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Hawkeyes coaching staff did not get much out of Fant, as he only had one reception for zero yards. There were plays were Fant got open downfield, but quarterback Nate Stanley did not see him or pull the trigger to get his talented tight end the ball. Fant is a talented player, and if he enters the 2019 NFL Draft, he could be a second-day pick.

    Alabama 24, Mississippi State 0
  • Weeks ago in the Hot Press, WalterFootball.com was the first outlet to report that NFL teams were projecting Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams as a high first-round pick. Since then, Williams has been on fire, as he wrecked Missouri and dominated LSU last week to lead the suffocating Crimson Tide defense. It was more of the same in this game, as Williams was superb while going up against a future starting center in the NFL with the Bulldogs Elgton Jenkins.

    Williams added to his impressive sack total with his fifth of the year late in the opening quarter. Williams used strength to shed the block of Jenkins, ripping up with his arms and then using speed to chase down Nick Fitzgerald for the sack. Williams later had a tackle for a loss with a ridiculous display of quickness as he swam around Jenkins and fired into the backfield to rip down the back. Williams was so fast that he almost blew up the hand-off. Williams did not play much longer, as Alabama pulled its starters partway through the second half.

    There is no doubt that Williams is a freak athlete. He is extremely fast off the snap with the ability to fire his gap and close on the quarterback in a hurry. He has functional strength to bull rush through blockers, or grab them and toss them aside. On top of his great skill set, Williams shows impressive technique with his hand placement and variety in pass-rushing moves. With a sawed-off body, Williams has natural pad level and leverage.

    According to NFL sources, Williams is grading out higher than Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Auburn’s Derrick Brown, teammate Raekwon Davis, Mississippi State’s Jeff Simmons, and the Clemson duo of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. None of those players have a tape from this season as impressive as how Williams dominated LSU last week. This performance should help him to be one of the first players drafted next April, and it could make him a strong contender to go No. 1 overall depending on how the team needs and quarterback prospects shake out.

  • This was a rough game for Jenkins, as he had his problems blocking Williams. Jenkins, however, had some wins as well. In the second quarter, Jenkins had a good block on Williams to tie him up and that helped let his back find an opening for a 38-yard run. Jenkins showed athleticism to get to the second level and did well on some combo blocks. This tape illustrates why Jenkins is more of a second-day prospect rather than a first-rounder considering how he struggled to block Williams in one-on-one situations.

  • Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat has first-round potential next April, and he had a solid game against Alabama. Sweat came around the right side of the line to get a tackle for a loss on a third down that got his defense off the field in the second quarter. Sweat later cut to the inside of the right tackle and started a sack to help get his defense off the field. He had some pressures in the second half, but Alabama pulled away to run the ball and kill the clock. Sweat needs to get stronger for the NFL, but he could be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.

    Ohio State 26, Michigan State 6
  • Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones has been enjoying an excellent season. That continued versus the Spartans, as Jones came up with a huge play to help lead his team to a road win. In the fourth quarter, Jones recovered a fumble in the end zone to get Ohio State a critical touchdown. Jones made other tackles chasing down ball carriers and also put pressure on the quarterback with his speed collapse the pocket.

    Jones would fit best as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 NFL defense. Jones is a fast and athletic defender who can fire his gap and cause havoc in the backfield. It would help him to get stronger for the NFL, as he can have issues when runs come downhill straight at him. Jones gets covered up some and can have problems shedding blocks on those plays.

    Jones has become a consistent pass rusher this season, and it is hard for NFL teams to find interior tackles who are capable of rushing the passer with consistency. Jones fits that need and thus he should be in high demand next April. With this impressive season, Jones could end up being a top-20 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Michigan State edge defender Kenny Willekes is a player who has gone under the radar but has had a breakout season. Willekes was a terror off the edge in the opening half, getting multiple sacks and providing some critical pressures on third downs to get his defense off the field. He used a swim move and cut to the inside on Ohio State right tackle Isaiah Prince to force a third0down throw-away. He used speed to chase down Dwayne Haskins for two sacks before halftime, and that pushed him to eight sacks on the year. Willekes was not as active in the second half, but Ohio State was sending some extra attention his direction in the form of chips from backs.

    Willekes looks like more of a 3-4 outside linebacker candidate for the NFL. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 260-pounds but looks smaller than that. Coming off the edge, Willekes has some quickness with active hands and the ability use his hands and feet at the same time. It would help Willekes if he returns for his senior year to get stronger for the NFL. Willekes might have second-day potential in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Ohio State right tackle Isaiah Prince struggled with Willekes, and this game illustrated why Prince is a mid-rounder at best. He does not have the feet and awareness to be a left tackle candidate in the NFL. Prince is better as a run blocker than pass protector, but moving inside to guard might be a good idea for Prince in the NFL. This tape made him look more like a day three pick rather than having a day two potential.

  • Ohio State cornerback Kendall Sheffield is known as being one of the fastest players in college football, but this game gave evidence that Sheffield does not play up to his timed speed. Some pedestrian Michigan State receivers were getting separation from Sheffield, and if the Spartans had more consistency at quarterback, they really could have produced picking on Sheffield.

    Sheffield gave up chunk completions on comeback routes and slants to the intermediate part of the field, and he was gave up a leaping reception on a 50-50 ball downfield. Sheffield does not look like an outside corner for the NFL, as size gives him problems. He would be a better fit as a slot corner, but he is going to have to improve on running the route to prevent separation as NFL slot receivers will give Sheffield problems with their route-running. This tape made Sheffield look more like a mid-rounder rather than an early-round pick.

    Texas A&M 38, Ole Miss 24
  • Ole Miss wide out A.J. Brown is the consensus top wide receiver prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. Brown made some critical plays against the Aggies to help keep the Rebels in this game.

    Brown caught an intermediate crossing route in the second quarter and turned upfield to get 39 yards before he was wrestled down. Brown later made a big play to help get his team back in the game, as Brown was covered closely but used his size to make a catch with the defender all over him for a gain of about 40 yards. Brown had six catches for 127 yards.

    Brown could fit best as a Z (flanker) receiver in the NFL. He does not look like a burner who will roast defenses downfield with speed. Thus, Brown is not the caliber of a Julio Jones, A.J. Green or DeAndre Hopkins. Brown is more of a possessional receiver to work the short to intermediate part of the field and hurt defenses with his run-after-the-catch skills. This tape will only serve to confirm Brown as a first-round pick.

  • Ole Miss wide receiver Damarkus Lodge is also a possessional wideout, and he has day-two potential for the 2019 NFL Draft. On the first play of the second quarter, Lodge caught a pass in the flat and spun towards the sideline to break down the field for a 44-yard touchdown. Lodge then made a superb play. On a 50-50 pass, Lodge used his size and strong hands to make a tough catch over the defender with the corner’s hands grabbing at the ball. It went for 51 yards, and Lodge eclipsed 100 in the first half. He totaled 122 yards on six receptions with the score. Lodge could be a nice second- or third-round pick with the potential to be a solid No. 2 receiver in the NFL.

  • Ole Miss left tackle Greg Little is the top tackle prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. Little had an easy game against the Aggies. Texas A&M did not have an edge rusher to test Little, as he cruised over their edge defenders. Little showed his athleticism and quick feet to mirror speed rushes. He kept all of them from getting near the quarterback. Little has more problems with strong bull rushes and cuts to the inside. In the ground game, Little is not a bull, but he is quick to get to spots but he does not pack a punch and struggles to sustain.

    Little has to get stronger for the NFL. He has the potential to dominate, but he has to become more consistent and get stronger to be a true franchise left tackle. Still, he will be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and the top-rated offensive line prospect.

  • Texas A&M center Erik McCoy has had an excellent season, and that continued versus Ole Miss, as he was making his 36th-straight start. McCoy was very effective in the ground game, hitting blocks at the line of scrimmage and at the second level. He played a big part in the Aggies having a huge performance on the ground.

    McCoy has strong hands and is able to control defenders when he latches on them. He has decent feel and awareness, plus he is athletic for a center. McCoy is not a powerful pile mover and does not generate a lot of movement in the run game, but he can sustain blocks and manipulate defenders. McCoy would fit best as a center in the NFL, but he has enough size to move to guard. If he becomes a starter at guard, he should definitely add more strength for taking on pro defensive tackles one-on-one. Scouts tell me that he is getting second-round grades, and they see him as having plug-and-play starting potential in the NFL.

  • Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams has had a big season for the Aggies, and that continued as he rolled over the Rebels. He had a huge game-clinching 46-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Jones ripped off 228 yards on 31 carries with a touchdown.

    Williams is a smaller back with some running instincts, but with his skill set, he is more of a late-rounder and potential backup in the NFL.


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