2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 12

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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Vanderbilt 36, Ole Miss 29
  • Ole Miss wideout A.J. Brown is the consensus top wide receiver prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, and he was seeing a quality cornerback prospect in Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams. When Williams wasn’t matching up against Brown, he was seeing another talented wide out in Damarkus Lodge. The combination of Brown and Lodge were the best receivers Williams would take on this year, so this was an important tape for his draft grade. Oddly enough, all three players had impressive games.

    On the first play from scrimmage, Brown got open on a crossing route for a gain of 17 yards. Brown would eclipse 100 yards early in the second frame with an 84-yard touchdown. Brown caught a short 5-yard out pass and spun away from the cornerback. He ran down the sideline and slashed across the field to break away from the defense for the score. Throughout the game, Brown was finding space in the short to intermediate part of the field to move the chains. He totaled 212 yards on nine receptions with a touchdown. This tape should only serve to confirm Brown as a first-round pick.

  • Lodge played well with nine receptions for 117 yards with a score. In the fourth quarter, Lodge made a highlight-reel touchdown catch, jumping over Williams to make an amazing play on the ball while tapping his toes before falling out of bounds. Williams had good coverage on the play, but Lodge beat him with a phenomenal catch. Lodge is a big possession receiver for the NFL, and he could be a day-two pick who ends up being a solid No. 2 receiver. Lodge would go best working with a speed receiver like an Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr.

  • Ole Miss threw at Williams on Saturday night, but it ended up coming back to bite them overall. Williams showed a nice ability to run with Brown and Lodge. While he game up some receptions, they did not burn Williams as he was right next to them with close coverage. After Lodge got the better of good coverage from Williams on the leaping touchdown catch, Williams had tight coverage on Brown on a comeback route. While Brown made the catch, Williams made the tackle immediately and that is the kind of coverage NFL defensive back coaches like to see as it helps to get defenses off the field on third downs.

    A couple plays after that comeback route completion to Brown, Williams came through with a game-saving play. A pass was thrown up for grabs in the end zone with two receivers in the area. Williams used his size and length to make a leaping grab in the end zone for an interception. That play ended up being critical toward forcing overtime. That was Williams’ fourth interception of the season.

    In overtime, Williams made the play of the night against Lodge. Williams made a diving pass break-up on fourth down in the front of the end zone to clinch the win for Vanderbilt.

    NFL sources we’ve spoken to are intrigued by Williams. Some have said they graded Williams in the third or fourth round. The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Williams has excellent size to match up with big receivers and showed some impressive quickness to break on the ball while running with the Rebels big receivers. Williams is not a quick-twitch explosive corner, but in a Seahawks style press man defense, Williams would be a great fit. If he enters the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams could be a riser and I could easily see him being a third-round pick.

    Clemson 35, Duke 6
  • This was an important game for Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones has received some first-round hype, and WalterFootball.com reported last summer that some scouts were high on him. Clemson was the best competition that Jones was seeing all year, so it was interesting to see if he could rise to the occasion and compete with elite talent that will be playing on Sundays. Overall, Jones held his own and battled hard, but clearly was overmatched. With his offensive line, Jones was bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    Jones was 24-of-43 for 158 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He played better than the numbers illustrate. Jones was under siege by the Clemson elite defensive line the entire night. Jones showed good ball security despite the pressure and hung tough in the pocket. Jones was often forced scramble away from the rush, but did a nice job of keeping his eyes up and downfield despite the chaos around him. Jones threw the ball accurately and with good zip illustrating a quality arm.

    Like all college quarterbacks, Jones has points of improvement for the NFL. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder needs to shorten his delivery. That will help him to be effective in the faster game with smaller windows of time to complete passes. It would also help him to mitigate time for pass rushers to get to him. If Jones enters the 2019 NFL Draft, he could be a first-round pick, but some team sources have said they think it is more likely that Jones returns for his senior year. Jones could benefit from another year with head coach David Cutcliffe, the coaching mentor to Peyton Manning.

  • Clemson’s elite defensive line dominated at the point of attack. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell had an excellent game putting constant pressure on Jones. None of the Duke offensive linemen could contain Ferrell or defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

    Ferrell made a phenomenal play late in the opening quarter. He pressured Jones out of the pocket, and after seeing that he would not be able chase him down, Ferrell backed up toward the line of scrimmage and got in position to read Jones’ eyes. Ferrell saw Jones line up to throw and timed his jump perfectly to bat down the pass incomplete. It was superb play of awareness by Ferrell to realize he wasn’t getting a sack and was wise enough to redirect to get in position to still make a stop for his defense. Ferrell joined Christian Wilkins to get a tackle for a loss on the very next play. He pushed a tight end into the backfield and then turned back to the middle to get in on the tackle.

    Ferrell came off the edge and caused Jones to scramble out of the pocket a bit later. Ferrell kept chasing and after Jones dodged a couple of defenders, He dived and took down Jones for a sack. Ferrell later used strength to rock the left tackle off balance and then sped to the outside to rip down Jones for another sack. Ferrell came close to another sack with a rush to the inside on the next play.

    This tape will help Ferrell to grade out as a first-round pick. He has improved his run defense this year and may not have as much speed and explosion as he did in 2017, but Ferrell is a more well-rounded player now. He has strength to shed blocks, speed to close, size, length and good instincts. Ferrell could be a nice value in the mid-to-late portion of the first round.

  • Wilkins was superb as well. Wilkins used speed and power to charge into the backfield to get in on a tackle for a loss in the opening quarter. Wilkins then got a sack of Jones as he pushed the right tackle to the outside, cut back to the inside, and then chased down Jones. That was a phenomenal rush by Wilkins, showing his versatility to beat an edge blocker. Wilkins later got a push through a double team and was able to bat down a third-down pass. Wilkins also got another sack shedding the block of the center and charging down the pocket for the sack.

    This tape will help Wilkins to go in the first round, as he showed his versatility to rush the passer from a variety of spots. Wilkins is quick, athletic and agile, and he plays with tenacity. He could be one of the safer players on the opening night of the draft.

    Notre Dame 36, Syracuse 3
  • Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery could be an early-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He had a red hot start to the season before falling silent in recent weeks. In games against Northwestern among others, Tillery looked checked out like he was protecting himself. Taking on the 12th-ranked team in the nation seemed to motivate Tillery, as he was more active and disruptive versus the Orange Men.

    In the early going, Tillery showed some his quickness with a fast interior rush that almost produced a sack. Tillery later burst through the line to help get in on a tackle for a loss. Overall, Tillery had good gap integrity in the ground game, holding his ground and preventing holes. This tape should help Tillery, as he looked more like a late first- or early second-rounder.

  • Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love is having a fine season to help put himself in contention to be an early-round pick. In the second quarter, Love broke hard on a short pass in the flat to make a physical form tackle. Love was then beaten for a long touchdown, but the pass was underthrown, and that let Love close on the receiver to break up the pass. This tape should help Love, as he had good coverage on the Syracuse receivers.

  • Syracuse wide receiver Jamel Custis was a backup prior to his senior year, but he has made the most of the opportunity of playing time in his final year as he has produced some big games, including 168 yards against Western Michigan and 162 versus North Carolina. Unfortunately for Custis, his hot streak came to an end, as he was held to only one reception for 10 yards against Notre Dame.

    Custis has 45 receptions for 772 yards and five touchdowns this season. The 6-foot-5, 213-pound Custis has good size for the NFL, and if he runs well in the lead up to the draft, he could become a hot prospect.

    Florida State 22, Boston College 21
  • This game had a few future NFL defensive linemen led by Boston College defensive end Zach Allen. Allen was phenomenal as a junior and could have been a first-round pick, but he decided to return to Boston College. Allen has played well as a senior while also seeing extra blocking attention. This was another good tape from Allen, as he ate up a weak set of tackles from Florida State.

    In the opening half, Allen kept Florida State from getting on the scoreboard first with a blocked field goal. Allen then had a quick get-off, getting upfield on the right tackle and turning the corner to get after quarterback Deondre Francois. He almost had a sack, but Francois stepped up in the pocket. However, the pressure helped produce a third-down incompletion. Allen later showed poor awareness by not staying home on a reverse, as he overpursued going across the field. But he bounced back to make a good read on a throw-back pass to get in on a big tackle for a loss.

    Just after halftime, Allen used power to push through the right tackle slapping down the arms and then using speed to close for the sack. Promptly, the right tackle jumped early trying to block Allen on a third-and-long. Allen showed his instincts on the next play to time his jump and bat down the pass to get his defense off the field. Allen then chased down a scrambling Francois just past the line of scrimmage to force another punt. In the fourth quarter, Allen slammed Francois into the turf with a clothes line across the chest.

    Overall, this was a superb tape from Allen. He showed the speed to get upfield with a quick first step that was faster than the offensive linemen. He illustrated his strength to shed blocks and being able to anchor against runs. Allen put on display good instincts and a non-stop motor. Allen is worthy of being a top-20 pick next April.

  • Florida State defensive end Brian Burns could also be an early-round pick if he enters the 2019 NFL Draft. Burns had a critical pass rush in the opening quarter with a speed rush to the inside that forced a third-down incompletion. Burns later went unblocked around the corner to get a tackle for a loss. Late in the third quarter, Burns used speed to run by a tight end off the left side and cut to the inside to chase down the quarterback for a sack.

    This was a good tape from Burns, as he was active with a lot of pressure in the backfield. Team sources have told me that the skinny Burns should return to Florida State to get stronger before going to the NFL. Thus, if Burns does enter the draft, his pro team is going to need to be patient with his development. Burns could fit best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

  • There was a NFL matchup in the trenches with Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom taking on Florida State defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas. Lindstrom had a good performance, as he was rock solid in the ground game while also opening holes for star running back A.J. Dillion. Lindstrom plays with good leverage and shows some heavy hands to manipulate defenders. Lindstrom looks well put together, and he also shows some quickness to the second level and looks more athletic than one would think with the eye ball test. On a few runs, Lindstrom looked quick and agile, pulling around the tackle to hit blocks in space. Lindstrom uses his hands well in the pass rush with good placement and uses his hands to sustain his block.

    Lindstrom reminds me of Cody Whitehair at Kansas State with his body type and style of play. I think Lindstrom could end up being a second-round pick who becomes a plug-and-play starter.

    Ohio State 52, Maryland 51
  • Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has received some rave reviews from some in the media with some draft analysts projecting him to be a first-round pick. Haskins helped himself against Maryland by helping to lead Ohio State to a comeback win albeit in an uneven performance from Haskins.

    Haskins had a bad play in the second quarter, not seeing a linebacker drop into coverage in the middle of the field, and Haskins got lucky that the defender dropped an interception. Haskins then threw a 61-yard touchdown, but it actually was not a good throw by Haskins, as he fired the ball late and it was underthrown. His receiver had to pull up to wait for the ball to get to him and then was able to run away from a few defenders over 20 yards to get into the end zone. NFL defensive backs will close much faster, and it would have been incomplete, or the wideout would have been tackled.

    Haskins threw a pick-six to start the third quarter. Haskins did not move his eyes and threw to a receiver who was guarded closely by three defenders. The pass was tipped by one defender and grabbed by another with a short return into the end zone.

    Haskins, however, played his best football in the fourth quarter. He used his strong arm to throw a dart along the sideline for a big gain. That set up a short rushing touchdown for Haskins. He added a short quick pass touchdown, and then he tied the game with a perfectly thrown fade pass. Haskins then had a short rushing touchdown in overtime. He finished completing 28-of-38 passes for 405 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Haskins ran for 59 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns.

    The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder has a quality arm with the potential to be a pocket passer who hurts defenses. He has talent, but everything is just a little bit off with Haskins. His decision making is not consistent, and he makes some bad plays with ball security. Haskins’ field vision needs to improve, and he has to get faster at working through progressions. His footwork needs improvement, and his ball placement can be off. He had some big opportunities fall incomplete because of ball placement. Haskins should return to Ohio State in 2019 to improve his overall play before going to the NFL. As a first-year starter, that is understandable, and Haskins has upside to grow.

  • Maryland guard/tackle Derwin Gray could be a mid-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Gray has a big body with some athleticism and quickness. He had a quality game against Ohio State, helping the Terps to total 339 yards rushing with five touchdowns on the ground. Maryland moved Gray around from the left and right side, but he played a lot of left tackle against Ohio State. Gray needs to add more functional strength in the NFL. He has a big body, but is not a road grader or blocker who can knock defenders off the ball. Gray could be a mid-round pick that develops into being a starter.

    TCU 16, Baylor 9
  • TCU edge defender Ben Banogu could be a mid-round prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. He had a solid performance against Baylor to help his draft grade. Banogu read a run and darted towards the middle of the line to punch out the football as he ran into the running back on the first play of the game. A Horned Frog teammate recovered the loose ball, so Banogu set up his team for a great start versus the Bears. From there, Banogu was showing nice run defense in pursuit as he chased down backs out of his gap to make tackles. He had five tackles by halftime.

    Banogu had a clutch tackle on the perimeter in the third quarter as the Baylor receiver had open grass ahead, but Banogu kept the play to a short gain to save his defense from giving up a big gain. Banogu then flew by the right tackle with a speed rush to get a sack.

    Banogu looks like a third- or fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He is a good athlete with a long linear body who passes the eye ball test. He has big arms and could add more weight for the NFL. Banogu has some speed to go with his athleticism and some natural ability to get after the quarterback. Banogu is extremely soft as a run defender. He is OK in pursuit, but he really struggles with downhill runs coming straight at him. As a result, Banogu is a prospect with developmental starter potential and those guys end up going in the third or fourth round. In speaking to some team sources, Banogu received a fourth-round grade but they would not be shocked if he went in the back half of the third.

  • Across from Banogu is another TCU edge rusher who could play on Sundays, and that is L.J. Collier. He had some nice plays against Baylor and was an impressive run defender. Collier had some pass pressures as well, but he needs to improve his pass rush consistency.

    In speaking to team sources, they feel that Collier has some late-round developmental potential. They really like his run defense skills as he is strong and plays hard. He has an aggressive mentality and really beats up offensive linemen. Earlier this year, they said that his tape against Kansas State was very impressive. What makes Collier a late-rounder is a terrible, soft body that needs a lot of development for the NFL. Evaluators feel that he could be a backup left defensive end to battle right tackles in the NFL if he is able to grow as a player and improve his body.

  • Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd could be a third-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Hurd had a solid showing versus TCU. Hurd caught a short dig route in the second quarter and than weaved his way down the field for 31 yards. Hurd then got open running across the field on a crossing route to move the chains. He later added another reception to get the Bears a first down. He totaled 68 yards on four receptions.

    It was a shocking and curious decision when Hurd dropped out of Tennessee. With the Volunteers, he was a power back that ran over tacklers and showed some real talent for the NFL. During the fall of the Butch Jones tenure, Hurd left the program because he wanted to switch to wide receiver. Hurd has the height at 6-foot-4, and he transformed his body for his new position to compete at Baylor.

    While Hurd is not an elite receiver, NFL sources say that he is draftable as a wideout and could be a mid-round pick. They say he is a big receiver who can’t separate but he has mismatch size. Hurd has made it known that he does not want to play running back and receiver, but in the moment, he will take carries if the team needed it. However, Hurd has lost a ton of weight and is lean in his upper body, so NFL evaluators feel it doesn’t make sense to give him carries because the power he had at Tennessee is gone. Still, Hurd has done better than many expected at wide receiver and he could go in the middle portion of the 2019 NFL Draft.


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