This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2020 NFL Draft Prospects
have performed. Or look at the 2020 NFL Draft Stock
By Charlie Campbell.
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USC 45, Stanford 20
There was a good draft matchup in this game with Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo taking on USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. They didn't go against each other much, and both players were impressive with quality performances.
Adebo broke up a pass in the first quarter when he was able to slap the ball out of a receiver's hand at the last second after getting spun around adjusting to the route. Early in the third quarter, Adebo made a superb play, trailing a receiver downfield and then showing great technique to undercut the wideout and smack the ball away. Adebo did a superb job of avoiding contact and playing the ball. On the next drive, he flew over from his man to make a tackle on a wideout downfield. A few plays later, Pittman made a pretty 31-yard catch, snatching the pass over the helmet of a Stanford corner to set up a USC touchdown. Shortly later, Pittman ran a good route on slant to convert a fourth-and-1.
Adebo finished with four tackles and two passes broken up. This was another phenomenal tape from Adebo showing his great ball skills, his abilities to run with speed receivers downfield and defend big wideouts on 50-50 passes, and his willingness to tackle. This game will help Adebo to be a top-20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Pittman finished with 82 yards on six receptions. He is put together well with quality instincts and strength. He may not have top-end speed and could end up being more of a second-day pick to be a No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL.
LSU 45, Texas 38
This game could be considered a coming-out party for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Tigers signal-caller flashed potential last year as a first-year starter, but had some accuracy and consistency issues. Burrow looks vastly improved this year, and that became evident when he led LSU to a rough road victory in Texas.
Burrow caught fire in the second quarter and put LSU in a commanding place. He had two touchdowns to junior wideout Justin Jefferson and was moving the ball at will before the half. Burrow continued to pass well in the second half, including a great play to close out the win. On a third-and-17 late in the fourth quarter, Burrow climbed the pocket as blitzers closed in. He hit Jefferson in stride on a crossing route, allowing Jefferson to turn upfield and sprint down the field for a 61-yard touchdown. It was a tremendous play showing Burrow's poise, accuracy and intelligence. He followed it up with a scramble and ad lib to get the two-point conversion.
Burrow ended up completing 31-of-39 passes for 471 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. This was a phenomenal tape from Burrow. He made some phenomenal throws, locating passes into tight windows along the sideline, firing fastballs to beat coverage in the middle of the field, showing touch throws, anticipating where receivers would come free, and throwing them open. Burrow had the look of an early-round prospect, and if he stays consistent to this throughout his senior year, he could end up being first-rounder.
One could consider this a coming-out party for Jefferson as well. The 6-foot-3, 192-pounder had his way with the Longhorns' secondary while showing natural hands, quickness, smooth route-running, and strong hands. He totaled nine receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns taking on the Longhorns. This was a great tape that will help Jefferson's draft grade tremendously.
LSU safety Grant Delpit is one of the top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, but it was a rough night for him, including some issues with cramping that caused him to miss some snaps. On the first third down of the game, Delpit came downhill in a blur, covering about 15 yards to make an open-field tackle to snuff out a wide receiver screen for no gain on a third-and-2. In the third quarter on a similar play, Delpit surprisingly missed the tackle, allowing the receiver to shake him and get downfield. Overall, this tape should not hurt or help Delpit's draft grade.
There was a good draft matchup with Texas senior wide receiver Collin Johnson taking on LSU senior cornerback Kristian Fulton. They both had their share of wins, but neither one was overly impressive.
In the second quarter, Fulton made a terrible play while trying to undercut a pass that sailed over his hands to his receiver. The wideout turned downfield and coasted into the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown. Fulton came back to break up a pass on a quick slant. In the third quarter, Fulton ran with Johnson to have blanket coverage downfield and an inaccurate pass by Sam Ehlinger led to an incompletion. Shortly later, Johnson got the better of Fulton with a dig route for a gain of about 15 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Fulton got too handsy with a receiver downfield and was flagged for pass interference. In the final minutes, a wideout got the better of Fulton on a jump ball for a long gain. Fulton does a good job of running with receivers and preventing separation, but he needs to improve his discipline and also could stand to do a better job of defending the ball on 50-50 plays. This tape looked more like something out of a second0day pick rather than a true first-rounder.
Johnson is a giant receiver, but he is a finesse player. In the second quarter, Johnson had a shot at a long reception, but a freshman cornerback from LSU wrestled the ball away from him. It could have been ruled an interception, but it went as an incompletion. Johnson ended up catching three passes for 49 yards, but if he had been more physical and aggressive, it could have been a bigger performance.
With his height and weight, Johnson could bully defensive backs physically, but he plays softly. For a big wideout, Johnson does not compete well on 50-50 passes, doing a poor job of leaping and high-pointing the football. In fact, Johnson often stays on the ground as if he is incapable of jumping for the ball. Johnson has no fight in him and struggles to get off press coverage. He has ability, but looks more like a second-day pick because he is not a play-maker enough to warrant a first-round pick.
Colorado 34, Nebraska 31
Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault and quarterback Steven Montez are early-round prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. Shenault played pretty well, but saw a lot of double teams and was held in check. Montez struggled in the first half before catching fire late in the third quarter to help Colorado rip off 31 points after getting shut out for two-and-a-half quarters.
The Buffs really struggled to sustain drives in the first half. Montez completed some short passes, but he took some drive-killing sacks. They were some terrible plays, as he had time to throw but didn't get the ball out. While Nebraska had good coverage downfield, Montez needed to throw passes away rather than take losses that put Colorado in bad down-and-distance and field-position situations.
Late in the third quarter, Montez finally put a drive together and Colorado got some points for the first time. That drive seemed to wake up the Buffs, as their next possession made it a one-score game. Montez executed a flea flicker, and the Nebraska defense bit on the fake to let a receiver get wide open deep downfield. Montez hit the wideout, and he raced down the field another 60 yards for a 97-yard touchdown.
Colorado had one final chance late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Montez made some nice passes to move the ball. With less than a minute remaining, Montez made a great throw lofting in a fade pass to the back corner of the end zone to help throw open his wideout. Tony Brown hauled in the 26-yard touchdown to tied the game at 31 and get the Buffalos set up for an overtime win.
Montez finished completing 28-of-41 passes for 375 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Montez has a quality arm and can fire some accurate passes when given time to throw. He has things to work on for the NFL with upgrading decision making, getting faster at making progressions, and improving his footwork mechanics. Overall, this tape should help Montez to show he can lead his team to a comeback win.
Shenault, meanwhile, seemed to be favoring his shoulder through a lot of this game, and that is concerning after he had surgery on the shoulder last offseason. In the first half, Shenault saw some double teams but he managed to make a few receptions in the short part of the field. He showed his special ability with some yards after the catch including turning a 2-yard reception into a 12-yard gain after breaking few tackles. Shenault was held to 31 yards on five receptions.
Clemson 24, Texas A&M 10
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has a pro skill set, and he was building a buzz in the scouting community. Unfortunately, that was before Mond had this ugly performance against Clemson. Mond was rattled and overwhelmed for most of the game, showing bad mechanics leading to inaccurate passes. This game showed that Mond should return for his senior year rather than enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
Mond had a receiver get separation on a linebacker running vertically downfield on the second play from scrimmage, but Mond overthrew him incomplete on what could have been a 75-yard touchdown had Mond been more accurate. There was nothing but green ahead of the wideout with no safety help downfield. That was the best look Mond had all game, and the Aggies never really recovered from that missed opportunity. Throughout the first half, Mond was inaccurate, as he was consistently throwing high and overshooting receivers. It got worse for Mond on a designed run when he fumbled the ball away after taking a hard hit.
Mond made a few nice throws in the fourth quarter to move the ball inside the 20, but once again pressure caused him to make a bad pass as he released off his back foot while taking a hit. The ball floated into a crowd of defenders near the goal line for an easy interception. That turnover basically killed any hopes of a comeback for the Aggies. Mond finished completing 24-of-42 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His scoring pass in the final seconds of the game was insignificant.
Mond really needs to work on his feet for the NFL. When he gets his feet set and in rhythm, he can deliver strikes with a strong arm. However, he is too inconsistent with his feet and mechanics which leads to him being inaccurate and having passes with poor ball placement. On top of his feet, Mond needs to work on his composure and decision making. He was getting rattled by pressure and throwing some risky passes while also missing some open receivers. Mond has the skill set of a starting quarterback in the NFL with a powerful arm, size and some athletic ability. However, he needs development and should return for his senior year rather than enter the 2020 NFL Draft, unless he is massively improved the rest of this season.
This game had the potential for a good draft matchups with Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell taking on Texas A&M wideout Quartney Davis. However, Mond's struggles really kept Davis from getting in any rhythm. Davis also hurt his cause when he allowed a few passes to go through his hands in what should have been catches.
Late in the second quarter, Terrell came on a cornerback blitz and dished out a rattling hit on Mond to join some teammates for a sack. Terrell gave up a reception of about 10 yards on a comeback route, but Terrell was sounds in coverage throughout the game. This tape should help his draft grade as showed some variety in coverage and a skill set to cover.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne ran for more than 200 yards against Georgia Tech to open the season, but the Aggies defense did a nice job of limiting Etienne, as he totaled 53 yards on 16 carries with four receptions for 52 yards. In the first half, Etienne set up his team for some points a 27-yard gain on a screen pass showing his speed to rip through the defense once he got in space. Etienne is a fast running back, but he may not have the size and strength to be a bell cow back in the NFL.
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins had a great start to the season against Georgia Tech, but was relatively quiet taking on Texas A&M. Higgins made some intermediate receptions in the first half before making a pretty 29-yard catch reaching behind him and to snatch the ball away from two defenders closing in around him. It was a superb play by Higgins, but was his final catch of the game, as he totaled 70 yards on four catches.
Ohio State 42, Cincinnati 0
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is considered a future first-round pick with top-10 potential, and he showed why with a dominant performance against Cincinnati. Young came up with an early third-down rush using a rip move to get under the left tackle and upfield. Some of his teammates got to the quarterback first, flushing him up in the pocket, but Young cleaned it up chasing down the signal-caller for a sack. Young then made a big play on special teams, knifing by the right side of the line and blocking a short field goal.
Just before halftime, Young dropped an interception off a deflected pass, and if he had held on it probably would have been a touchdown return, However, Young started running before securing the ball. Young later added another sack using speed to get upfield and dipping under the left tackle to get to the quarterback. With the Buckeyes blowing out Cincinnati, Ohio State was able to pull their starters in the second half.
This tape will help Young to be a high first-rounder, as he showed the ability to get after the quarterback with speed and some variety in moves. He had the strength to fight through blocks, and was instinctive to track down ball carriers. Young looks like a future pick in the top half of the first round.
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins had an easy game to dominate Cincinnati. Dobbins was running well early, including a short touchdown run in the second quarter. Dobbins then showed his speed, running untouched on a zone read run off the left side for a 60-yard touchdown. Dobbins totaled 141 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. He showed speed, strength, vision and big play ability. This tape will help his draft grade.
Ohio State has two future NFL competitors at cornerback with Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette. They both have good skill sets, but their play is of different caliber, as Okudah looks like a future first-rounder, while Arnette looks like a mid-round pick.
Okudah made an impressive play in the first quarter, flying downhill to make a tackle in space to keep a potential nice gain to one yard. A few plays later, Okudah made a tackle a yard short of a first down after West Virginia completed a slant in front of him in off-man coverage. Okudah had blanket coverage throughout the game, and Cincinnati barely threw his direction. Okudah is fast athletic, big and physical. He is a tough player and willing tackler. If Okudah can show more ball skills as a junior, he has high first-round potential.
Arnette had a good tackle in run support in the early going, but in the second half, he gave up a reception deep downfield. Arnette did a terrible job of playing the ball and allowing the reception. He has good size and speed, but Arnette needs work to improve his coverage technique. Lacking in fundamentals could cause Arnette to be a backup and special-teams player in the NFL.
Missouri 38, West Virginia 7
Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could have been a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he decided to return to the Tigers for his redshirt junior year. That may have been a good decision, as Okwuegbunam looks like a more complete player than he was a year ago. Once again, he showed he is a dynamic receiver, but his blocking looks mildly improved compared to where it was a year ago.
Okwuegbunam made his presence felt early, making a pretty over-the-shoulder catch for a 25-yard touchdown. Okwuegbunam tracked the ball well and showed nice footwork to get a foot down and then stretched over the goal line before getting pushed out of bounds. On the next Missouri possession, Okwuegbunam had some decent blocks helping the Tigers score a rushing touchdown. He tied up his linebacker pretty well on one play, and then he basically tackled a safety on the perimeter, and that helped produce a 10-yard rushing touchdown for Larry Rountree.
Okwuegbunam ran nice route late in the opening half to get separation from the safety, as he jabbed towards the corner and then cut back to the middle to get open for a 16-yard touchdown. Those were Okwuegbunam's only two receptions, totaling 42 yards. He showed his mismatch receiving skills with size, quickness, athleticism and natural receiving talent.
Okwuegbunam is not going to blow away NFL evaluators as a blocker. However, he showed more desire and fight against West Virginia than he did a lot of last season. If Okwuegbunam continues to improve as a blocker, he should be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
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