2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 14

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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Ohio State 45, Northwestern 24
  • Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins could be a first-round pick if he enters the 2019 NFL Draft. Haskins is a redshirt sophomore, so he is draft eligible. He is a raw quarterback who needs a lot of development and lacks experience, but the NFL is desperate for franchise quarterbacks, and signal-callers with a good physical skill set are able to rise in the lead up to the draft. If Haskins enters the draft and rises into the first round, this tape in the Big 10 Championship will help that cause.

    Haskins ripped the ball down the field in the opening quarter, finding his receivers open in zone coverage. Haskins finished the drive by using his strength to shed a sack in the pocket and scrambled around before finding a receiver open in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.

    Haskins had a terrible overthrow in the second frame that was an easy interception for Montre Hartage. It looked like Haskins was not on the same page with his receiver. Haskins bounced back to loft in a perfectly thrown 42-yard touchdown. Haskins later made a pretty throw for about a 30-yard touchdown, leading his receiver open in the middle of the end zone. Haskins then threw an excellent deep ball to completely change the momentum in the game early in the fourth quarter, as Northwestern was scratching their back. That got the Buckeyes in position for the game-clinching points. A few plays later, he scrambled and threw a short touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver. Haskins was 34-of-41 for 499 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.

    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 in other games, everything was just a little bit off. His decision-making was not consistent, and he made 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. However, all those points to address looked improved against Northwestern and Michigan compared to where they were earlier this season. 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 a lot of upside to grow.

  • Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was making his 52nd-career start, the most starts by any quarterback in the history of the Big Ten, and this game was a microcosm of the past two years for Thorson. He made some great throws showing arm strength and accuracy, yet he also had some critical mistakes that severely hurt his team. As is always the case, Thorson has no room for error because his supporting cast stinks. His wide receivers are awful and utterly incapable of creating any separation, while his offensive line was pathetic, as Thorson was under constant duress from the Buckeyes’ talented defensive line. Thorson has the skill set and make up of a potential franchise quarterback, but playing for Northwestern could have hurt his development, and he would be a higher-rated prospect if he had played at a school with some talent around him.

    Northwestern had a slow start to the game on its early possessions, but Thorson made a nice play in the second quarter, working through through his progressions and then throwing a strike to lead his tight end to convert a third down. Thorson aired out a 50-50 pass two plays later, however, that was overthrown and picked off by Ohio State in the end zone. That pass being off the mark hurt the Wildcats, taking away a scoring opportunity.

    Thorson made some good throws and decisions to move the ball down the field in the third quarter. He used his feet to get into the end zone from 18 yards out. Thorson continued to throw accurately and move the chains on the next possession. He tossed a short touchdown pass to end that drive and cut the lead to three midway through the second half.

    Thorson, however, had his arm hit as he threw on the next possession, and the pass bounced off the helmet of his center before flipping into the air. The ball was picked off in some bad luck for Thorson and Northwestern. He came back to make a couple of beautiful passes, but as Ohio State put up points, the pass rush was able to tee off on Thorson.

    Thorson completed 26-of-43 passes for 265 yards with a touchdown passing, one rushing, and two interceptions. He could be a second-day pick and a future starting quarterback in the NFL. He has good size, a strong arm, high intelligence, accuracy and leadership skills. Thorson could use some pro coaching to work some kinks out of his game, but he could be a sleeper prospect who ends up being a steal. Going to the right team is going to have a massive impact on if Thorson pans out as a pro.

    Clemson 42, Pitt 10
  • The star-studded Clemson defensive line had its way with Pitt in the ACC Championship. Clemson dominated the time of possession as Pitt was unable to maintain control of the ball because the Tigers defense kept quickly producing punts. Pitt’s offensive line was devoid of NFL talent, so this was not a great game to evaluate the Clemson defenders as they easily had their way with the blocking unit. Of their trio of potential first-rounders, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence had the most impressive game.

    On the first possession for the Pitt offense, Lawrence helped wreck it and get the ball back for his offense. Lawrence joined Isaiah Simmons to get a tackle for a loss on second day, as Lawrence bulled through his blocker to start a sack that got his defense off the field. Lawrence later bulled through the line to get another tackle for a loss in run defense.

    Lawrence is a versatile interior defender for a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He could be a solid pick in the back half of the first round.

    Meanwhile, defensive end Clelin Ferrell had a good performance, as he was constantly getting upfield with disruption in the ground game and putting pressure on the quarterback. Ferrell did a nice job of breaking down in space in the second quarter to stop a read-option quarterback run for a loss of a few yards. It was an impressive play showing Ferrell’s agility and change of direction skills. This tape will help Ferrell to be a first-round pick.

    Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins made his presence felt quickly. Wilkins caught a fumble in air during the opening quarter and rumbled for more than 20 yards to set up Clemson at the Pitt 3-yard line. Wilkins later worked through the center and used his speed to get a tackle for a loss. Wilkins also got some pressure in the pass rush. With his speed and athleticism, Wilkins would be a good fit as a three technique tackle in a 4-3 defense.

  • Clemson linebacker Tre Lamar was another reason why Pitt struggled to sustain drives. Lamar was all over the field, making tackles in the tackle box, shutting down plays in the flat, and causing problems in the backfield with some excellent blitzes.

    Lamar flew over to the flat to get a tackle for a loss on a pass to the flat in the opening quarter. Lamar then had some nice plays to get the ball back for his offense. He stuffed a quarterback read-option run for no gain and then powered through an offensive lineman on a blitz up the middle to get a sack and force a punt. He was flying into the hole routinely and preventing Pitt from establishing a ground game.

    Lamar has the ability to be a three-down NFL starter. He has size, speed and athleticism. He will need more work on dropping in coverage, but he has the skill set to do it. If Lamar enters the 2019 NFL Draft, he could be a good second-round pick.

  • Pitt running back/fullback Qadree Ollison could be playing on Sunday’s next year, and he represented himself well against Clemson even though he was overmatched.

    Ollison ripped off a 21-yard run in the first quarter, showing a good burst up the middle with strength and balance to fight through a tackle while getting another five yards before being taken down. Ollison then had a nice run going around the right side in the second quarter. He stiff-armed linebacker Isaiah Simmons before breaking downfield and running along the sideline to get to the 2-yard line on a gain over 20 yards. Ollison ended the drive by leaping over Wilkins to extend the ball over the goal line for his 11th rushing touchdown this season.

    Ollison totaled 56 yards on 13 carries with the score. He could be a nice day-three pick who might be able to stick on a roster as a hybrid fullback/power tailback and special teams contributor in the NFL.

    Alabama 35, Georgia 28
  • Early in the 2018 season, 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, dominated LSU, pummeled Mississippi State’s NFL interior line, overwhelmed Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and now impressed against Georgia in the SEC Championship.

    Williams used an early rip move to get leverage on the right guard, and Williams used his speed to charge down the pocket for a sack on Jake Fromm. Williams put Fromm into the turf with some violence for an 11-yard loss that got the Alabama defense off the field. Williams then stuffed a few runs. He showed nice effort to tackle Fromm from behind. After Williams had a speed rush to collapse the pocket, he peeled back to track down Fromm at the line of scrimmage to keep him from scrambling for positive yards.

    With Williams off to a hot start, Georgia made it its mission to limit Williams, as he was seeing a lot of double teams and even some triple teams on some pass rushes. As a result, Williams was held in check for a lot of the second half, but he still managed to get a key tackle for a loss after beating two blockers to take down the back for negative yardage. That play helped set up a favorable down-and-distance that got the ball back for his offense and the game winning scoring drive.

    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.

    In speaking with 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 tape that is as impressive as what Williams did on a string of Saturdays in the back half of this season. This performance should add to his resume to be one of the first players drafted next April, and it should help to make him a strong contender to go No. 1 overall depending on how the team needs and quarterback prospects shake out.

  • Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker could be the first cornerback selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he had a solid performance against Alabama. When the Crimson Tide worked themselves back into the game, they attacked other defenders. Baker came over to make a tackle in zone late in the opening quarter, but he had to leave the game with a leg injury but returned a few plays later. Baker later had an interception float right to him, but he dropped the ball as he tried to make the catch while getting his feet in bounds. Overall, this tape should not hurt or help Baker significantly.

  • Alabama’s Deionte Thompson is the top safety prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. Some in the media have Thompson as a top-10 pick, but in speaking with team sources, they felt he was more of a mid-to-late first-rounder. Thompson gave proof of the lower projection, as he had a disappointing game against Georgia. He had a painful missed tackle and took a bad angle in the opening half. Thompson later had an ugly play blowing man coverage on a tight end. Thompson was caught peaking into the backfield, and that let the tight end dart by him to get open for a short reception that he broke downfield for a 55-yard gain.

    Thompson had bad timing to perhaps have his worst game of the year, but considering his overall body of work, this tape shouldn’t hurt him significantly.

  • Georgia linebacker D’Andre Walker was all over the field. Walker came unblocked in the first quarter and joined a teammate for a sack. Walker then worked off of Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams to get a sack, but a face mask penalty on Walker bailed out Williams. Walker had leaping pass breakup in the third quarter and then shortly later had a forced fumble on Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy when tackling Jeudy from behind. Walker later came around the right tackle to force an incompletion with a hit on the quarterback.

    This was an excellent tape from Walker, as he had a huge disruptive presence. Walker had success against Williams and the other Alabama offensive linemen, getting pressure on the quarterback. He showed speed and active hands off the edge. Walker also made a number of run tackles. This was a very good tape from Walker showing his versatility and instincts.

  • Some in the media have Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams as a high first-round pick, but NFL teams don’t hold him in that high of regard. That was reaffirmed against Georgia, as Williams had some problems in pass protection and was not getting a push in the ground game. To make matters worse, Williams committed the cardinal sin of getting his starting quarterback injured.

    Williams got pushed back into the pocket in the fourth quarter, and as a result of Williams giving up that space was that he stepped on the ankle of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and injured his quarterback. The next play, Williams got no push in the ground game and that led Georgia getting a tackle for a loss.

    This tape won’t help Williams’ draft grade as he had problems in pass protection while not being impressive in the ground game. Williams is not an NFL left tackle. In speaking to team sources, they think that he should be a right tackle or guard similar to Zack Martin when he was coming out of Notre Dame. Some team sources have told me they graded Williams as a late first-round pick.

    Oklahoma 39, Texas 27
  • The best NFL draft prospect in the Big 12 Championship was Oklahoma right tackle Cody Ford. WalterFootball.com was first to report many months ago that Ford was drawing rave reviews from NFL evaluators, as they thought he could be the best interior offensive line prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. While he plays right tackle for the Sooners, sources say that Ford is a guard for the NFL, but he could be a late first-round or early second-round pick. Taking on Texas for the second time this season, Ford dominated the Longhorn defenders with ease. He was rock solid in pass protection while opening holes in the ground game.

    Ford pulled to the left side in the first quarter and made the key block on a linebacker to open a hole that led to a run that brought the ball to the goal line. Ford then showed some excellent recoverability as his feet got tangled with an edge rusher and he dropped to a knee, but he continued to block the defender using his arms to tie up the edge rusher to prevent him from getting pressure on Kyler Murray. Ford had some phenomenal blocks in the ground game and pass protection later in the second half. There were some plays where Ford was just nasty. He blocked the defender into the turf and continued to pummel him while on the ground. That kind of attitude and tenacity is going to create a lot of loving admirers from Ford with NFL offensive line coaches next spring.

    Ford looks like the top interior offensive lineman in this draft class. He is a thick blocker with good bulk for the next level. Scouts who have been through Oklahoma say that Ford is an outstanding athlete for his size. He has good knee bend with quick feet and excellent size. Ford has the skill set to handle fast interior rushers with the size to take on the heavy powerful tackles. Ford does a nice job of keeping his feet moving and his hands engaged to sustain his blocks. I think Ford is worthy of going in the 20s of the 2019 NFL Draft and could be one of the better guards in the league during his pro career.

  • This game had three excellent wide receiver prospects in Oklahoma’s Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and the Texas duo of Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Brown is the speedster who is a threat to score on any reception, while Johnson and Humphrey have mismatch size to make catches over defenders while also being dangerous after the catch runners. All three of them had impressive moments in this conference championship version of the Red River Rivalry, but Johnson was the one who had the biggest statistical performance. While Johnson played pretty well overall, he showed that he needs some technique work for the NFL as he won’t have the privilege of seeing short Big 12 cornerbacks on Sundays.

    On the first drive of the game, Johnson used his size to make a 50-50 catch over a 5-foo-10 cornerback for a 32-yard gain. Johnson then got wide open running down the middle of the field for what should have been a 41-yard touchdown, but Sam Ehlinger overthrew the pass for an incompletion.

    Johnson made a catch downfield for a good gain in the second quarter, and he got away with a push-off to make a reception of about 20 yards. Johnson then caught a quick out, the cornerback took a terrible angle to allow Johnson to turn toward the sideline and dart downfield for a gain of 23 yards. Those two catches set up another short rushing touchdown for Texas. Johnson later pushed off a cornerback to get in position for a 40-yard touchdown catch, but he did not control the ball as he landed on the ground. This time the officials got it right by calling Johnson for the push off.

    Johnson moved the chains with a few receptions in the third quarter and then to finish the drive he made a catch over his head in the corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, Johnson dropped a touchdown pass on a 50-50 ball. Johnson did not have much of a jump to high point or use his body to block off the defender.

    Johnson totaled 167 yards on six receptions with a touchdown. Even though Johnson is 6-foot-6, scouts have told me that he is not as good as he should be on 50-50 jump balls, and this game gave evidence for that. On his 32-yard gain in the first quarter, Johnson missed timed his jump to not high point the football. Johnson then pushed a cornerback away when he should have got in position to box out the corner while making a leaping grab over the short defender. This season, Johnson has showed poor timing on when he jumps to high point the ball, and bad technique for setting himself up with positioning to box out defenders. That leads to him going for push-offs when he really shouldn’t need to do that.

    With his size and quickness, the tools are there for Johnson to be a contributor as a pro. Perhaps a good NFL wide receiver coach can fix these issues and coach Johnson up to being able to take advantage of his God-given mismatch skills. With Johnson not having great speed and these problems in technique, he is more of a second-day talent for the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • This conference championship could prove costly to Marquise Brown’s draft standing, as he exited the game with an injury that looked significant. In the first quarter, Brown got open for a deep touchdown but he dropped the pass. Brown then ran a deep post and Brown made a leaping grab but was unable to maintain control of the ball throughout the catch to let a 46-yard gain slip through his grasp. Brown later had a nice run on a slip screen, but he suffered a leg injury and came out of the game. He tried to walk off the injury, but eventually was carted into the locker room. Brown recorded five reception for 54 yards.

    Sources feel that Brown is similar to T.Y. Hilton or Will Fuller. Brown catches the ball better than Fuller with more yards-after-the-catch skills than the Texans speedster, but Fuller is a better route runner than Brown. Brown is not as good of a make-you-miss receiver as the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. Brown also is very undersized, and as a result teams think he is more likely to get selected on day two. If his injury is significant, he should consider returning to Oklahoma next season.

  • Texas wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey has been the Longhorns’ leading receiver this year even though Johnson gets more hype and had the bigger game in the conference championship. Humphrey was solid and showed his skill as a possessional receiver.

    In the first quarter, Humphrey got wide open in busted coverage for what should have been a 41-yard touchdown, but Ehlinger overthrew the pass. After making some short receptions, Humphrey drew a pass interference in the third quarter that helped move the ball inside the Oklahoma 20. Humphrey later caught a 5-yard touchdown as Humphrey got separation from a linebacker running a quick out from the slot. Late in the fourth quarter Humphrey showed his run after the catch skills by returning a kickoff for a touchdown but it was called back on a holding penalty. Humphrey totaled 51 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown.

    Humphrey is a gritty receiver who is dangerous for yards after the catch. He is a fighter with some junkyard dog in him who 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. Team sources tell me that Humphrey has some serious off-the-field concerns and that could cause him to slide.

  • Texas cornerback Kris Boyd is a pro prospect who has had some ups and downs this season. That trend continued with an inconsistent performance against the Sooners. The first quarter was really rough for Boyd as he had three penalties. It started with a face mask and pass interference, and the next interference came when Boyd was beaten deep for a touchdown but he ran into Marquse Brown to prevent a reception and draw the flag. Boyd then came back to smack the ball out of Brown’s hands in the end zone on a fade route. It was a good throw and Brown had the ball in hands, but Boyd used his strength to knock it out. In the second half, Boyd had his hands full and used a lot of contract with Sooner receivers to prevent separation. Given his inconsistent play, Boyd looks like a day-three prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft.


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