2019 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Bowls

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 44, Alabama 16
  • Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins ended his college career in style with a good performance against Alabama. Wilkins caused lots of disruption and put some pressure on the quarterback. To help clinch the win and end any hopes of a Crimson Tide comeback.

    Wilkins made a superb play in the early fourth quarter, submarining into the backfield on a third-and-goal to get a tackle for a loss. Wilkins then used his speed to fire between the center and right guard while using his power to churn through them and then chase down Jalen Hurts for a sack.

    This tape will help Wilkins to get selected in the middle to late portion of the first round. He fought through some double teams, held his ground against the run, and got after the quarterback. Wilkins looks a good fit as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense.

  • 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, and that continued in the national championship.

    Williams flew by a guard early on and was tripped to draw a big penalty for Alabama. Williams then used his incredible first-step quickness to fire the gap and swallow up a running back in the backfield for a loss. After making a few run tackles, Williams powered through a double team to get a tackle for a loss.

    Williams played well overall, using his speed and power to get upfield with disruption behind the line of scrimmmage, but eventually he and the Alabama defense wore down. This tape should not hurt or help Williams. He looks poised to be one of the first players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Alabama safety Deionte Thompson started out this season playing like a first-round pick, but his play really struggled down the stretch. Aside from not playing well to close out the regular season, Thompson was used and abused in the playoff with ugly games against Oklahoma and now Clemson.

    Thompson made a terrible play early on, failing to move his eyes to see a receiver running straight down the middle of the field. That allowed a wideout to get open deep down the field for a 62-yard gain. Thompson was the last line of defense and made the cardinal sin of letting a receiver get behind him because of poor instincts and vision. The next play, a Clemson running back powered through a tackle attempt by Thompson and got into the end zone on a rushing touchdown. Thompson was later juked in the open field and lost his footing as freshman receiver Justyn Ross broke downfield for a 74-yard touchdown.

    Thompson looked like a future first-rounder early in the season, but over the back half of the year and the postseason, he looks like a mid-round pick who should go back to school rather than going pro.

  • One of the top draft matchups in this game was Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams taking on Clemson defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant. Williams and Ferrell are future first-rounders while Bryant could be selected on Day 2.

    Ferrell bull rushed through Williams early on and tossed him to the side before getting a hit on the quarterback. Williams had Ferrell stopped on some pass rushes, but Williams also got away with some holding that wasn’t called. On fourth-and-goal early in the fourth quarter, Ferrell got to the sideline to rip down Tua Tagovailoa for a loss.

    Williams had some wins against Ferrell, and overall they each had some impressive plays. This tape should not hurt or help either one significantly.

    Ohio State 28, Washington 23
  • Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has had a quality season to put himself in play for the NFL, and he was coming off his best game of the year against Michigan while taking on one of the best defenses in the nation. Haskins was taking on another good defense in Washington, as the Huskies are loaded with NFL talent.

    Haskins made a nice play in the first quarter to move safety JoJo McIntosh with his eyes to help open up his wide out Parris Campbell in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. By looking toward the sideline, McIntosh creeped a few steps that direction and Campbell got open down the seam behind him for the score. Haskins then hit a receiver open in zone coverage for a 19-yard touchdown as he found a soft spot. Haskins then threw a short touchdown pass prior to halftime for his final passing touchdown of the game.

    Washington did a better job of defending Haskins in the second half. He had some passes that were not located well, and his timing was off on a few third-down attempts. Still, he protected the football well and led his team to a Rose Bowl victory. Haskins completed 25-of-37 passes for 251 yards and 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 in other games, everything was just a little bit off with Haskins. 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 Michigan and somewhat against Washington. Haskins should return to Ohio State in 2019 to bolster his overall play before going to the NFL, but he is likely to declare, as he could be first quarterback selected in a weak quarterback class. As a first-year starter, it is understandable that Haskins needs development and playing time, but there is no doubt that he has a lot of upside to grow.

  • Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell was taking on a secondary loaded with NFL talent. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Byron Murphy is their best NFL prospect, but the rest of the secondary could be drafted as well. Safety Taylor Rapp is likely to be a second-round pick if he declares for the 2019 NFL Draft. Cornerback Jordan Miller and safety JoJo McIntosh also could play on Sundays. The secondary is well coached by defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, a former NFL defensive back coach.

    Campbell caught 11 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown versus a good secondary. This was a good tape for Campbell, as he showed improved hands over some other games this year. Campbell was finding the soft spot in zone and made some quality hands catches. Washington defended the deep part of the field and forced a lot of underneath throws. This performance could help his evaluation as he showed some skill to move the chains as a possession receiver aside from only being a big-play threat.

    For the NFL, Campbell is an explosive receiver that has the ability to score on any touch. He will challenge NFL secondaries over the top and stretch the field. With excellent speed to go along with a put-together frame, Campbell is a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver as he turns into a running back with impressive feet, agility, and vision as a runner. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Campbell could be a first- or second-round pick.

  • Washington running back Myles Gaskin had a strong showing in his final collegiate game. Taking on a talented defense, Gaskin ripped off 121 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. Gaskin showed nice quickness, athleticism, and vision with his ability to weave through trash to pick up yards for his offense. Gaskin showed some nice strength in the fourth quarter to push through a defender and fall over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown.

    Gaskin would fit as a platoon back in the NFL who could also can contribute in the passing game. He probably does not have size to be a feature back who handles a big workload of carries. Gaskin could be similar to Gio Bernard as a solid contributor. Gaskin could be a second-day pick.

    Kentucky 27, Penn State 24
  • Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was playing in his final collegiate game and used this opportunity to produce one more excellent tape, showing why he is a high first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Allen went unblocked up the middle in the opening quarter, thanks to a breakdown in communication. Initially, quarterback Trace McSorley was able to juke Allen, but the athletic linebacker redirected to chase down McSorley for a third-down sack. Allen added another sack shortly later, looping up the middle and shedding a left guard to chase down McSorley for another sack. Allen left the game with a finger injury in the fourth quarter, but he got tapped up and returned to the field. Allen used his speed to run by the left tackle to get a sack of McSorley shortly later.

    Allen is dynamic edge defender for the NFL. He is a fast edge rusher with natural feel to go along with a dynamite first step. He closes in an instant with good athleticism to bend around the edge or dodge blockers. Allen has developed more functional strength to take on and shed blocks. As a senior, Allen also showed an improved ability to drop into pass coverage, as he had some huge pass breakups to lead Kentucky to a win over Florida early in the season. Allen is a quality run defender as well. He would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. In a 4-3, he can rush off the edge and play outside linebacker. Allen is deserving of being a top-10 pick.

  • Kentucky running back Benny Snell was playing in his final game for the Wildcats and gave NFL evaluators another tape that illustrates he can be a feature back in the NFL. Snell darted up the middle on his first carry of the game before breaking a tackle and getting downfield for a gain of almost 20. Aside from that play, Snell did not have a big first half, as the Wildcats did not get him the ball enough. However, that changed in the second half.

    Snell ripped off a run of 32 yards in the third quarter, as he went around the left side, broke a tackle along the sideline and exploded down the field before hurdling a tackler. Snell had a 2-yard rushing touchdown to finish the drive, using his speed to get to the corner. Snell later added a 12-yard touchdown that made him Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher. Snell used his powerful legs and strong build to power through a few tackles that picked up critical first downs for Kentucky near the end of regulation. Snell totaled 144 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.

    Snell could use some development as a blocker and receiver, but he has three-down starting potential. He has quickness, power, vision, balance and cutting ability. Snell is similar to Ray Rice during his good years with the Baltimore Ravens. Snell could be an excellent value as a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
  • Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons was playing in his final collegiate game, and he had an excellent outing to help his draft grade.

    On this first play of the game, Simmons fired by the right guard to get into the backfield to get a tackle for a loss. Simmons then combined with a teammate to get a sack. He shed his blocker with a swim and used his speed to charge down the pocket. Simmons later spun off a block to take down a back for no gain. Simmons then got in on a sack. He bull rushed through the right guard before shedding him and chasing down the quarterback for a sack.

    Simmons got upfield late in the third quarter, fought off a block, and then chased towards the flat to rip down a running back for a tackle for a loss. The next play, Simmons joined with Montez Sweat for a hit on Nate Stanley to force a third-down incompletion.

    Simmons has been one of the best tackles in the SEC this season and is among the conference’s leaders in tackles. Considering there are other star tackles like Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Alabama’s Raekwon Davis, and a good pair in LSU, that is really saying something for Simmons. He is quick at the point of attack with a fast first step and impressive athleticism. Simmons has functional strength and holds his ground as a run defender. He offers a lot of versatility for the NFL to be a five-technique end in a 3-4 or be a three-technique penetrator in a 4-3. Simmons is worthy of a top-20 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat could be a mid to late first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Sweat came off the right side of the line unblocked in the third quarter and chased down the quarterback for a sack with Johnathan Abram. Sweat then joined Simmons to get in on a tackle for a loss. Sweat went through the right tackle in the fourth quarter to join Simmons to force a third-down incompletion.

    For the NFL, Sweat would fit best in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder can get covered up in the ground game and could have problems holding his ground versus pro offensive tackles. Sweat is best using his speed, functional strength, and pass rushing moves to rush the quarterback. A five-technique end would help protect him in the ground game. Sweat could be worthy of a mid-to-late first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram could be the first safety drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft as a possible top-20 pick. However, Abram had a disappointing game, as he allowed a huge play for Iowa. While he had some ugly moments, Abram also made a lot of nice plays to help his defense.

    Abram read an early screen and shed a block to rip down the back for a loss of six yards. Abram then had a few lowlights that started with a missed tackle. Abram had a terrible play in the second quarter as well. He was playing slot cornerback in man coverage with no help over the top. Off the snap, he took his eyes off the slot receiver and bit on a play-action taking a few steps toward the line of scrimmage. Receiver Nick Easley raced over the top and caught the pass to run straight down the field. Abram almost caught him from behind showing good speed but he ran out of field as Easley scored from 75 yards out. That mistake ended up being a massive as it was a huge play that led to Iowa getting the Outback Bowl win.

    In the third quarter Abram bounced back by combining with teammate Montez Sweat to get a sack. A little bit later Abram was coming over in coverage downfield and Abram ran into the receiver along the sideline to draw a pass interference. Abram then ran to the sideline and rocked a receiver out of bounds a yard short of a first down to set up a fourth-and-1. In the fourth quarter, Abram flew to the flat to make a hard open field tackle on Easley to get his defense off the field on a third down. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson ran quick out route to get a step on Abram, and he turned downfield for a gain of 22 yards before Abram could wrestle him to the ground.

    Abram is a physical safety who is a tough tackler and good run defender. He can serve as the eighth man in the box and help to limit opposing teams’ rushing attacks. What makes Abram the top safety prospect is his pass-coverage ability. He is fast and athletic in the open field with good instincts. Abram has the ability to cover slot receiver and tight ends in man coverage. He also can play the deep free safety with the speed to cover a lot of ground downfield.

  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant elected not to play in the game as he prepares for the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34
  • 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, impressed against Georgia in the SEC Championship, and now had a quality performance against Oklahoma.

    Williams was not as prolific against the Sooners as he was in previous games from a statistical perspective, but he routinely was getting penetration into the backfield and causing disruption. He started numerous tackles for a loss for his teammates and had a number of pressures on the quarterback including some vicious hits of Tyler Murray. Overall, this tape will only serve to confirm that Williams is an elite prospect, and he will be one of the first players off the board next April.

    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.

    Sources say 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.

  • Alabama running backs Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs could be this year’s version of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, teammates who play the same position and are both drafted in the late first or early second round. They gave proof of that as they got the better of Oklahoma.

    Jacobs was phenomenal against the Sooners. He ripped off 98 yards on the ground and caught four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. He had a 27-yard score, showing everything pro evaluators need to see. He was fluid in the open field to get open, accelerate downfield with speed, and then run over a safety at the 5-yard line before walking into the end zone. It was a superb play. This tape will help Jacobs to be a late first- or second-round pick.

    Harris was active on the first drive catching a pass in the flat and darting downfield for 10 yards. He had a fumble but was ruled down, and then he powered into the end zone from a yard out. He added another short rushing score later. Harris totaled two catches for 25 yards with 13 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns. This tape will help his draft grade overall.

  • The prospect who really hurt himself in this game was Alabama junior safety Deionte Thompson. He had a bad second half of the year and a rough performance against Georgia. He was even worse against Oklahoma.

    Thompson should have had an early interception, but reacted late to break on a ball, and that let the pass get by him. He later dropped an easy interception on a ball thrown up for grabs. Thompson then had deep coverage and let a receiver run straight by him to get open for a 49-yard touchdown.

    Thompson looked like a future first-rounder early in the season, but over the back half of the year and the postseason, he’s looked like a mid-round pick who should go back to school rather than going pro.

  • Oklahoma right tackle Cody Ford is the Sooners’ top prospect, and he had a solid game against Alabama. WalterFootball.com was first to report many months ago that Ford was drawing rave reviews from NFL evaluators, and they thought he could be the best interior offensive line prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    While Ford plays right tackle for the Sooners, sources say that he is a guard for the NFL, but he could be a late first-round or early second-round pick. Taking on Alabama, he was rock solid in pass protection while being effective in the ground game.

    Ford looks like the top interior offensive lineman in this draft class. He is 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. In the 2019 NFL Draft, I think Ford is worthy of going in the 20s and could be one of the better guards in the league during his pro career.

    Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3
  • The star-studded Clemson defensive line was without one of their potential first-round picks, as defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was suspended because of a failed drug test. With Lawrence out, the rest of the Clemson defense picked up the slack and slammed the door on the overmatched Notre Dame offense.

    Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell was the star of the defensive linemen, as he helped the Tigers build their unsurmountable lead. Ferrell stripped the football from quarterback Ian Book on a scramble early in the first quarter, and Ferrell recovered the fumble. Ferrell later went through a tight end by knocking him off balance and then ran by him to sack Book. Ferrell added a tackle for a loss by knifing to the inside to rip down the back. From there, Ferrell had other pressures before being rotated out of the game in the second half.

    This is another tape that will help Ferrell to go in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferrell has improved his strength and is a much more stout defender in the ground game than he was last year. As a pass rusher, Ferrell has quickness, athleticism, length and functional strength. Multiple team sources feel that Ferrell is a mid-to-late first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Clemson senior defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had a quiet game, as Notre Dame sent the interior double teams to Wilkins with Lawrence out, but Wilkins did well to hold his ground and help free up teammates to attack the Notre Dame offensive players. This tape should not hurt or help Wilkins significantly.

  • Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery is a first-round talent who has size, speed and athleticism. However, there are a number of factors that are hurting Tillery’s draft grade, including inconsistent play and off-the-field concerns. This final game of his collegiate career was a bit of a microcosm for Tillery.

    In the early going, Tillery was playing well as he stuffed some runs and had a few good pass rushes early in the game. Tillery then got penetration to block an extra point, but just before halftime Tillery had an idiotic penalty as he delivered a crushing hit on Trevor Lawrence long after he let go of a pass and that changed a Clemson field goal attempt from around 50 yards to 35. After that, Tillery disappeared and seemed checked out.

    If Tillery did not have off the field concerns, he probably would be a first-round pick. However even sources that like Tillery as a player are very critical of his character. Thus, he could slide in the 2019 NFL Draft.

  • Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be analyzed when he’s eligible for an upcoming draft. However, he can be found atop Walt’s new 2021 NFL Mock Draft, which was posted today.

    Florida 41, Michigan 15
  • The top prospect on either team is Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary, but he decided to skip this game as he prepares for the 2019 NFL Draft. Still, this game featured some good 3-4 outside linebacker prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft, led by Florida’s Jachai Polite. Sources from NFL teams and the Florida program told WalterFootball.com that Polite intends to enter the draft and skip his senior year, so this was his last chance to produce a tape that helps his draft grade. Polite stayed consistent with his impressive junior year and had his way with the Michigan offensive line.

    Polite flew around the corner in the second quarter to get a third-down strip-sack of Patterson that ended up forcing a field goal for Michigan. Polite lost track of the ball and turned the wrong direction as he could easily have a fumble recovery. Still, it was a great rush showing his lightning speed and athleticism to turn the corner. Just before the half, Polite ducked under the inside of the right tackle to start a tackle for a loss. He had some other good pass rushes as well, and the Michigan tackles could not handle his speed off the edge.

    Polite has the skill set to be a top-16 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Polite is very fast off the edge with a nose for the quarterback. He could work on polishing up more moves, but Polite has double-digit sack potential with his speed and agility. Polite is a solid run defender and that is surprising considering he is short and a bit light. As a pro, Polite would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. While he is worthy of going in the top half of the first round, Polite might slide some as some team sources have concerns about his make-up.

  • Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he had a quiet performance in his final collegiate game. Winovich was practically shut out in the first half. Winovich started to make his presence felt in the third quarter, including coming around the corner to get a tackle for a loss. Winovich later fought through the outside shoulder of the right guard to get a sack and that was the highlight of the day for Winovich.

    Winovich is having surgery to repair an injury after this game, so that could knock him out of All-Star games and perhaps other workouts like the combine and pro day. He had a strong senior year showing a great motor with some quickness and instincts off the edge. Winovich would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He should not be a lead pass rusher for a team, but could be a good complementary rusher on the other side. In the second or third round, Winovich could be a solid selection.

  • Florida junior cornerback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has announced that he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft and he had a superb final game for the Gators. It was probably the best game off is collegiate career.

    He made a few good tackles early on, but in the second half of the game, Garnder-Johnson produced some massive plays to lead his team to a win. With Florida protecting a three-point lead, Gardner-Johnson came up with a huge play, picking off Shea Patterson near the end zone. Grander-Johnson lined up as a slot corner, but he backed into free safety zone coverage to undercut a throw when the receiver slanted away from him. After picking it off inside the 5-yard line, he returned it across midfield to set up the Gators in superb field position. Gardner-Johnson later caught a deflected pass and he returned it 30 yards for a pick-six.

    Gardner-Johnson could be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He can play slot cornerback and safety. Gardner-Johnson is not a stud corner, but he could be a starter who ends up being a quality pro.

  • Some teams have Florida junior right tackle Jawaan Taylor as their highest graded offensive line prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. He illustrated why against Michigan, as he shut down their edge defenders. Taylor was excellent in pass protection and opened holes in the ground game. Taylor tricked his defender to let him get upfield and then rocking him back to open a rushing lane for Lamichael Perine to rip off a chunk run in the second quarter. Taylor then locked his man up and opened up a hole for Feleipe Franks to take off on a 30-yard touchdown run.

    Taylor has an excellent skill set with size, athleticism, and quickness. He needs to improve his consistency from play-to-play, but Taylor is a good player with a lot of upside. If he enters the 2019 NFL Draft, he probably will go in the top 16.


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