This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2020 NFL Draft Prospects
By Charlie Campbell.
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Georgia 23, Notre Dame 17
Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas is one of the top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he saw a very good test with three pass-rushers from Notre Dame with NFL potential in Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes. Thomas gave proof why he is a future top-10 pick by shutting down the Fighting Irish edge rushers. While he wasn't perfect on every snap, Thomas didn't allow a sack and was effective throughout the night.
There were a fews plays on which Thomas showed excellent recoverability. Okwara used speed to get upfield, but Thomas would use his length and strength to push Okwara deep outside of the pocket and keep the edge rusher from getting to Jake Fromm.
Throughout the game, Thomas came up with some key blocks that allowed the Bulldogs' offense to produce points. In the second quarter, Thomas fired into the middle to knock the Notre Dame middle linebacker back and open a lane for a short rushing touchdown from D'Andre Swift. In the third quarter, Thomas held strong and kept Okwara off his quarterback to give Fromm time to get the ball out on a few throws that produced a field goal drive for Georgia to take the lead.
This tape should only serve to confirm that Thomas belongs as top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and is a franchise left tackle for the NFL. He is a skilled pass protector with quickness, athleticism, size, technique and length. As a run blocker, Thomas is a good contributor and is more effective than many left tackles. If Thomas maintains this level of play, he should hear his name being one of the first ones announced in the 2020 NFL Draft.
In the early going, this game looked like it could hurt Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Fromm only had one incompletion on 12 attempts through two quarters, but had only 59 yards to show for it. However throughout his time in Athens, Fromm has consistency made critical throws in crunch time, and that trend continued to lead Georgia back for a win over a tough Notre Dame team.
Fromm started making some clutch throws in the third quarter, producing two field goal drives that put Georgia in the lead. Early in the fourth quarter, Fromm made two well-placed passes to drop the ball in to his receivers, including a back-shoulder throw for a 15-yard touchdown. Fromm completed 20-of-26 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown.
Fromm is an accurate quarterback that makes good decisions and is an efficient game-manager. He is a gritty signal-caller who seems to who at his best in crunch time. However, he does not have a first-round skill set for the NFL, in part because his arm strength is average at best. He is a little shorter than ideal as well, and while he has some mobility, he won't be a running threat in the pros. Fromm may not have a first-round skill set, but he has great intangibles and is a winner, so a team could easily fall in love and make him a Thursday night selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Georgia's D'Andre Swift is in the running to be the top running back prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and this game will help his cause, as he was effective while taking on a defense with a number of future NFL contributors.
In the second quarter, Swift got moving on a few carries and had a short rushing touchdown. In the third quarter, he started ripping off yards in chunks with some superb carries. One play saw him hurdle a tackler with a tremendous leap, and on the next play, he juked through defenders at the line to rip off another big carry. Swift totaled 98 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown. This tape will help him to be a first-round pick.
Some team sources have been raving about Georgia left guard Solomon Kindley as a future starter in the NFL, but this game went horribly for Kindley. Early on, he gave up leverage on a play and had to hold a defensive tackle to prevent a sack. That drew a penalty, but late in the first half, disaster struck when Kindley had his leg rolled up on from behind. He was having his upper body pushed back and his leg bent the wrong direction. He had to be helped off the field and was carted into the locker room. Kindley returned to the sideline on crutches. The injury looks serious and could have a huge impact on the draft standing for one of the top guard prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Fighting Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool is a massive wideout who presents a size mismatch, and while Claypool isn't a burner, he does have some quickness to be dangerous as a run-after-the-catch wideout. He made some possessional catches in this game and provided some clutch conversions for Notre Dame. Late in the fourth quarter, Claypool used his big body to block out a cornerback to make a short leaping touchdown reception. Claypool totaled 66 yards on six catches with the score, but this tape should help him as he competed well with Georgia.
Georgia safety J.R. Reed is an instinctive defender who uses those instincts to make up for not having an elite skill set. His intelligent play led him to breaking up three passes against Notre Dame, with some of them being critical plays that helped the Bulldogs get a win.
In the first half, Reed read a play extremely well off the snap to fire into the backfield and knock down a third-and-goal pass to the flat. In the third quarter, Reed read the eyes of Ian Book to jump a route, but Reed dropped an interception that would have been about a 30-yard pick-six had he held onto the ball. The third time was the charm for Reed, who came flying across the field to dart in front of receiver on the sideline for an interception. Reed was in zone coverage and did a good job of quickly reading the field to get in position to make the play. This tape could help Reed to end up getting second-day consideration from some teams.
Oregon 21, Stanford 6
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, as he is a physically gifted signal-caller who has nearly prototypical skill set. Herbert cruised over a reeling Stanford team and got a win over a conference rival that has given the Ducks problems in the past. While this was a good tape from Herbert, it doesn't really address the concerns about him but does confirm his strengths.
In the first quarter, Herbert threw a couple of strikes on long crossing routes, the second of which was a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open receiver. Midway through the second quarter, Herbert ripped the ball down the field. He was seeing the field extremely well and making good decisions, which included a well-placed underthrown pass to let his receiver break away from coverage to make a 16-yard touchdown catch in the front corner of the end zone.
Herbert put the game away in the fourth quarter with an excellent pump fake on a screen that got three defensive backs to bite and move forward. That let another receiver run by them to get wide open for a 24-yard touchdown. He finished completing 19-of-24 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
There is no doubt that Herbert has an excellent skill set with a powerful arm that can drive the ball and make every throw required in the NFL. He has good field vision to work through progressions and read coverage while knowing where to go with the ball. On top of size and arm talent, Herbert is a good athlete with the ability to make some plays with his feet. The only real flaw with Herbert is his passing in the face of a heavy rush. In past games, his accuracy and ability to move the ball got significantly hindered when he didn't have a clean pocket. When Herbert has a clean pocket, he's deadly and will rip up a defense. But in the NFL, a top quarterback remains effective even when throwing in the face of a rush.
It would also be good for Herbert to show that he can beat an elite team and push his team to a win. After falling short of doing that against Aubrun in the season opener, the best regular-season tests remaining for Herbert come against Washington and USC. Those will be important games for Herbert's evaluation when compared to other top quarterback prospects like Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.
Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo is one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, but this was a quiet game for Adebo. He had good coverage on receivers, and it seemed like Oregon planned on avoiding him while targeting the other Cardinal defensive backs. Adebo is big, quick, athletic and instinctive. He is very good at running the route and preventing separation. This tape won't help or hurt his draft grade.
Each week, it seems like the draft stock for Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello declines a little more. Costello struggled against Oregon and was unable to move the ball or produce points. In the first half, Costello hit the thumb of his right throwing hand while following through on a throw as an offensive lineman and defender came crashing into the path of his arm. The thumb bothered Costello and affected his passing the reset of the game. He was only 16-of-30 for 120 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception. Costello needs to turn things around quickly in order save his draft grade from going on a huge slide.
Auburn 28, Texas A&M 20
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown only played one series in Week 3 because of a lower body contusion, but he was back on the field against Texas A&M. Quickly, the future top-10 pick made his presence felt right way with a tackle for a loss on the first play from scrimmage for the Tigers defense. Brown then put a hard hit on Kellen Mond for a sack, as he bulled his way through the right guard and then pummeled Mond into the turf as he stepped up in the pocket. It was a superb rush from Brown showing his strength, quickness and ability to redirect to the quarterback.
Brown did a superb job of recognizing a screen being set up on the next series. He destroyed the play by blowing up the setup. He then almost picked the pass off, but knocked it incomplete. Brown came close to getting Auburn another turnover in the third quarter, as he bulled his way through the left tackle to to meet a teammate at Mond for a sack-fumble that was recovered by the Aggies.
This was an excellent tape from Brown, as he showed off his devastating talent. Brown has a freakish combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism. He is a load against the run and a capable interior pass rusher. Multiple team sources told me before the season that Brown would have gone ahead of Christian Wilkins and Ed Oliver if he had entered the 2019 NFL Draft, and this tape will help to reinforce that opinion.
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is a pro prospect, as he has the skill set of a starting quarterback in the NFL. Mond, however, has struggled with consistency as a passer and with his performance from week to week. This tape won't change that view, but Mond did show improvement with a strong finish after a slow start.
For much of the first half, Mond struggled, and the Aggies were losing at the point of attack to the Auburn defensive line. Mond had an early misdirection play rolling to his right and that set up a wheel route to the left sideline. He had a receiver running open for a 48-yard touchdown, but Mond overthrew the receiver on what should have been a score. It was not an easy deep ball to throw, but still a pass that an early-round quarterback prospect should make.
Late the third quarter, Mond started to get in more of a rhythm as a passer throwing some darts into some tight windows to move the ball. Mond finally got the Aggies in the end zone to begin the fourth quarter, as he threw a deep out to Quartney Davis and the shifty receiver dodged a tackler to dart into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, Mond made an impressive play with Derrick Brown bearing down on him to deliver a big hit. The quarterback stood tall and laid out a perfect 13-yard touchdown pass, leading his receiver to an opening in the back of the end zone. Mond finished completing 31-of-49 passes for 335 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Mond has a good skill set with a strong arm, athleticism, size and the ability to make all the throws needed. However, he needs to get more consistent with his accuracy and decision making. Team sources have told me that Mond is interested in coming out early, but he should return for his senior year to improve before going to the NFL. Mond has a much better change of being an early-round pick if he returns to school and continues to develop rather than entering the 2020 NFL Draft as an inconsistent and raw quarterback.
Wisconsin 35, Michigan 14
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor was seeing a Michigan defense that has some future NFL competitors on it, but Taylor showed that he is different caliber player as he dominated Wolverines even though he was banged up in this game. Taylor had his way from start to finish, trampling defenders as the Badgers blew out Michigan.
On the first drive of the game, Taylor showed his good vision on a run where he was initially bottled up but he saw an edge defender blow containment, and Taylor bounced the ball to the outside for a good gain. That helped set up Taylor's sixth rushing touchdown of the season later on the drive. Taylor then bounced a run around the left side to explode untouched downfield for a 72-yard touchdown to put the Badgers in firm control late in the first quarter.
Taylor, however, was limping shortly later and was taken into the locker room. After missing the second quarter, Taylor returned to the field and put the Wolverines away by setting up more points and eating up the clock. Taylor finished with 203 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
This tape will definitely help Taylor, as he completely owned Michigan. He was too strong, quick and deadly in the open field for their defense to contain. He didn't even need to use his deadly stiff arm. Taylor showed a complete skill set as a tailback. This tape will help Taylor to be a first- or second-round pick. We have Taylor going to the Steelers in the second round of our 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz is in the running to be the top draft-eligible center for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he was excellent against Michigan. Biadasz was handling one-on-ones in the passing game, showing a strong anchor to handle bull rushes and the strength to sustain his blocks through the whistle. In the ground game, he blasted open some holes with power and showed impressive quickness and athleticism to hit blocks in space. Michigan's defensive front seven had horrible gap integrity and were not much of a challenge for the Badgers, but this was another excellent tape to help Biadasz draft grade.
There isn't a lot to say about Michigan's draft prospects, as they really struggled versus Wisconsin until some late scores in garbage time narrowed the blowout that was shear domination when it mattered. Michigan safety Khaleke Hudson had an ugly outing versus Wisconsin. The Michigan safety really struggled with Taylor. He missed some tackles, was juked at the point of attack, and looked overmatched. This tape did not look like a performance of an early-round safety.
Michigan senior quarterback Shea Patterson really struggled when it mattered. He constantly had passes off the mark with poor accuracy. Patterson got flustered by the Badgers' offensive line, and could not get the offense in any rhythm. It wasn't all his fault as a tipped pass was intercepted, and the Wolverines were completely incapable of running the ball. Still, Patterson was benched for a while, but an injury to Dylan McCAffrey put Patterson back in the game. He moved the ball on some passes, but also had poor ball security and held the ball too long on a fumble that got the ball back for Wisconsin. Patterson finished 14-of-32 for 219 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Patterson looks like a late-round pick at best.
Florida 34, Tennessee 3
Florida edge rusher Jon Greenard has played very well in the first month of the college football season and that continued against Tennessee. Greenard batted down an early pass after breaking into the backfield to break up a pass to an open receiver in the end zone. He then used his speed to get upfield and quickly reacted to smack down a pass to the flat.
In the fourth quarter with the Volunteers trying to get back into the game, Greenard threw the right tackle off of him and then put a hard hit on the running back to strip the ball. The Gators recovered the loose ball to be set up near midfield.
Greenard is a fast edge rusher who is athletic, has some twitch, and shows good instincts. He also is a smart defender who does a superb job of reading keys to anticipate what the offense is trying to do. Greenard could end up being a nice day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
There could have been a good draft matchup in this game Gators cornerback C.J. Henderson taking on Tennessee wide receivers Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, but Henderson missed this game after suffering a leg injury in Week 2.
Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith has battled blood clots during his collegiate career, but has been on the field this season. Smith has moved around the line over his three seasons but taking on the Gators he was at left guard, which could be his best position. Unfortunately, Florida pass rusher Jabari Zuniga was out of this game with an injury. Zuniga is a defensive end for the NFL, but the Gators have him rush from the inside frequently, so it would have been great to see him go against Smith.
In the first quarter, Smith put the Volunteers in a bad down-and-distance situation with an unnecessary hands-to-the-face penalty. He blocked pretty well overall though and showed nice technique as a pass blocker. Smith bends at the knee and sets up well to handle one-on-one blocks. He is quick and athletic, and he has length to handle speed rushers. With strength and size, Smith also can anchor against bull rushes. If Smith has gotten over the blood clot issue, it might make more sense for him to return for his senior year to continue to improve and show that he is not a health risk for the NFL. Having healthy junior and senior years would be huge for his draft stock to take away concerns that he could have a limited or short NFL career.
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