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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Alabama 59, Ole Miss 31
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the favorite to be the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he lit up the Ole Miss Rebels. Tagovailoa had some beautiful throws and tremendous plays that showed why he is so special, but also had some painful overthrows for missed opportunities, so it wasn't a perfect performance.
On the first drive of the game, Tagovailoa threw a strike on a slant to Devonta Smith, who exploded down the field for a 74-yard touchdown after a missed tackle. Early in the second quarter, Tagovailoa threw some accurate strikes to move the ball down the field and finished the drive by running for a touchdown after rolling out and finding nothing open. He kept moving the ball, throwing a well-placed 46-yard pass to Smith to set up a field goal.
Midway through the second quarter, Tagovailoa made a play that NFL evaluators will love after seeing a free blitzer coming at him off the edge. Tagovailoa dodged the defender in the pocket, rolled out a bit to his left, and threw a strike to star receiver Jerry Jeudy for a gain of about 20 yards. Two plays later, Tagovailoa had a receiver running wide open into the end zone, but Tagovailoa overthrew him on what should have been a 25-yard touchdown. It didn't matter however, as he hit Smith on a short crossing route on the very next play and Smith ran through the Ole Miss defense for a touchdown.
Later, Tagovailoa had Henry Ruggs wide open for a long potential touchdown and overthrew him. Once again, a short pass to Smith led to a score, as he took a screen to the house from 22 yards out that was assisted by a great block by Jerry Jeudy. Just before the half, Tagovailoa laid out a beautiful pass for a 33-yard touchdown on a a perfect throw into a tight window with the ball dropping in over the head of the cornerback for the score. Early in the third quarter, Smith got a step running along the sideline, and Tagovailoa dropped in the pass for a score from about 25 yards out. He finished completing 26-of-36 passes for 418 yards with six touchdowns passing and one rushing.
Tagovailoa is an aggressive passer who doesn't hesitate to challenge defenses downfield. He throws a very good deep ball, showing a quality arm and an ability to place his passes well downfield. He may not have an elite cannon, but his arm looks good enough. In the pocket, Tagovailoa shows patience and doesn't panic when his first read is covered. With his presence and feel, Tagovailoa has the ability to function in a vertical passing offense. He is generally accurate, but if he continues to miss some throws of open wideouts downfield, that will be something that teams are going to work on improving for the NFL. Overall, this tape will help Tagovailoa to be a high first-round pick.
Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith was the real star of this game, destroying the Ole Miss secondary with a record-setting afternoon. He totaled 11 receptions for 274 yards with five touchdowns. Smith beat the Rebels with speed, route-running, and superb ball skills. He showed run-after-the-catch skills and the ability to get yards after contact and dodge defenders. He was superb with his body control along the sideline, adjusting to passes and staying in bounds as a runner. Team sources say that of the trio of Alabama receiver prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft, Smith (6-1, 175) could have the best hands and is the most consistent down-in-and-down-out. This was a huge performance from Smith that will definitely help his draft grade.
While Jerry Jeudy did not have a huge stat line with eight catches for 84 yards, this tape will help him because he ran good routes to get open and also was impressive as a blocker. Jeudy showed a willingness to get after defenders, and he made some key blocks to help Smith on his touchdown receptions. This tape will help Jeudy's draft stock as well.
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Trevon Diggs are both potential first-rounders who could contend to be the top prospects at their positions, and they had good performances against Ole Miss. Diggs had blanket coverage on his receivers, and McKinney was superb in zone coverage downfield, picking up wideouts to prevent some big plays downfield while making some open-field tackles. However in the fourth quarter, McKinney lost a 50-50 pass to Ole Miss wide receiver Jonathan Mingo for a touchdown. It was a tough matchup for McKinney, and he had tight coverage, but Mingo made the reception over him. Otherwise it was a good tape from McKinney.
McKinney also contributed to the ground game with some tackles, while Diggs had a long kickoff return. After a shaky game against South Carolina few weeks ago, both McKinney and Diggs had quality rebound performances taking on the Rebels.
Auburn 56, Mississippi State 23
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown has been playing at a high level this season, and that continued against Mississippi State. Brown was constantly causing disruption behind the line of scrimmage, using his excellent combination of power and speed to get into the backfield. The Bulldogs were holding him often, but Brown still managed to make his presence felt. Brown came close to a third-down sack in the second quarter, as he whipped the left guard with strength and closed on the quarterback in a hurry to plant him into the turf with violence. It caused an incompletion and punt for Mississippi State.
Brown had other run stuffs and a number of pass pressures throughout the night. He also showed an excellent motor without taking plays off. Brown is only serving to confirm his top-10 projection and grade that he earned last year before deciding to return for his senior year.
Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill had a mixed game against Auburn. He ran the ball hard with some impressive runs, going through contact and showing a burst. Hill showed his explosive ability in the second quarter, as he leapt over a tackler for an additional gain of a few yards and Hill added an 18-yard reception looping out of the backfield with a nice run after the catch. However, in the third quarter, Hill had a poor effort in pass protection to totally whiff on a linebacker that sacked his quarterback. Hill totaled 45 yards on 17 carries with 21 yards receiving on two receptions. Hill looks a potential second-day pick.
Mississippi State wide receiver Stephen Guidry has an excellent skill set, and it will be interesting to see if he can start playing up to it during the 2019 season after a slow start. Guidry came across the middle to make a superb leaping grab with defenders closing in around him in the opening quarter, but Guidry failed to maintain the ball when he hit the ground. Guidry was then running wide open for a 45-yard touchdown, but the pass was horribly overthrown. However shortly later, Guidry got open in the end zone and used his big frame to box out a defender for a 9-yard touchdown. That was Guidry's only catch, but this tape was an improvement compared to some earlier performances this year, especially against Kansas State. Guidry has lot of upside and could be a sleeper who turns into a steal.
Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler did not get targeted much by Auburn, but when they did go after him he had a lowlight. Dantzler was beaten on a 50-50 pass in the third quarter by Auburn's Seth Williams as he hauled in a 32-yard touchdown reception over Dantzler. Dantzler did not time a jump well, and the ball flew by him into the receiver for the score.
In speaking with team sources, they feel that Dantzler is more of a second-day talent. They don't see him being a first-rounder, given his speed, agility, and athleticism. This tape will help to verify that opinion.
Mississippi State linebacker Erroll Thompson had a rough night, as he early on he got cleaned out on a touchdown run and then was ejected from the game with a targeting penalty at the end of the first half.
Washington 28, USC 14
Washington quarterback Jacob Eason has become a hot prospect, as he has played very well for the Huskies to open the 2019 season. Taking on the 21st-ranked USC Trojans, Eason did not have a great game, but he avoided mistakes and made enough throws to support the ground game and defense that led the Huskies to a home win.
Eason made some good throws in the opening half, but the USC defense did a nice job of not letting the Huskies get into any rhythm and Eason had fewer than 100 yards at intermission. His first throw of the third quarter added almost a third of his yardage, as Eason executed a play-action well to find his tight end wide open down the seam for a gain of 34 yards. That set up a field goal, and on the next drive, Eason threw a perfect deep ball, but his receiver dropped the pass when he landed. The rest of the second half was similar to the quiet passing of the first half. Eason finished completing 16-of-26 passes for 180 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Overall, this tape should not hurt or help Eason significantly. He was efficient and showed off his live arm with some accurate passes, but he was not a deadly passer who dominated the competition. Considering Eason did not play in 2018 or 2017, it might be in his best interest to return to Washington for his senior year to get better before going pro.
The Washington offensive line has three pro prospects in left tackle Trey Adams, center Nick Harris, and right tackle Jared Hilbers. That group all had good games, as they opened holes at the point of attack and allowed the Huskies rushing attack to total almost 200 yards on USC. Adams was good in pass protection, shielding the blind side of Eason consistently. He was called for a suspect holding call in the third quarter, as Eason ran scrambled to his left and Adams did not let go quick enough when the defender turned away to chase after Eason.
This trio should all play on Sundays. Adams could be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, depending on how teams feel about his medical history. Harris could sneak into Day 2, but become a starter, and Hilbers also could be a mid-rounder.
USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. played well against Huskies, but the Trojans' struggling quarterback limited what Pittman could do. Pittman got involved with a pair of second-quarter receptions that set up a first-and-goal for USC. Pittman later helped get the Trojans back in the game with a 44-yard touchdown. He ran a go route, and Washington's freshman safety blew the help over the top to let Pittman get open for the easy score.
Pittman (6-4, 220) is a big receiver who could be a possessional wideout in the NFL. He may not be fast enough to be an early-round pick, but he could get mid-round consideration.
Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 16
Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb flashes the ability to be a first-round pick even though Oklahoma is not getting him the ball as well as they did with Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield at quarterback. ESPN, FOX, and the other media are gushing about quarterback Jalen Hurts, but he still has issues as a passer that limit the amount of opportunities for receivers like Lamb. Taking on Texas Tech, Lamb finally got more than a few targets, and he made the most of them with a huge performance.
Hurts found Lamb open about 20 yards downfield in the second quarter, as he ran a slant into an open area in zone coverage. After Lamb made a leaping catch, he spun away from three defenders and exploded down the field to run away from defenders for a 71-yard touchdown. Lamb then ran a corner post and adjusted well to haul in a 13-yard touchdown pass along the sideline.
Lamb caught his third touchdown right after halftime. He ran a deep crossing route and showed his strength, as he broke a tackle from a safety to get free downfield. Lamb sprinted away for a 65-yard touchdown. Oklahoma pulled Lamb shortly later, as they emptied the bench. Lamb finished with six catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Lamb is making the most of his opportunities this season even though Oklahoma is not getting him the ball as much as they did last year. The 2020 NFL Draft looks like a strong class of receivers, and team sources say that Lamb is not one to blaze an ultra-fast 40. Thus, having lots of tape showing his positive traits is important. Taking on Texas Tech, Lamb showed good route-running, quickness to run away in the open field, strength to shed tackles, and quality hands. Lamb looks like a first-rounder right now and this tape will help his draft grade.
Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks has impressed some team evaluators this season, and he showed some talent against Oklahoma. While the Red Raiders were rolled by the Sooners, Brooks was flying around the field and showed speed to cover a lot of ground.
Brooks looped around the inside of the offensive line to explode into the pocket in the second quarter, but Hurts was able to juke Brooks to avoid the sack. Brooks later had another excellent blitz, looping around the left side, and this time, Brooks was able to trip up Hurts to force a third-down incompletion.
Brooks is a fast linebacker who is put together well. He has quality instincts and does a nice job of reading his keys to stay around the ball. He could be a good fit as a Will or Mike linebacker in the NFL. If Brooks continues this level of play throughout the 2019 season, he could be a day two prospect next April.
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray is having a strong season for the Sooners and looks like a future NFL starter. Murray showed his speed in the opening quarter, rushing off the edge and running around the left tackle to get a sack. Murray then followed a play well to stuff back for no gain on a third-and-1 carry. Murray did a good job of defending the run and covered a lot of ground in zone coverage in the middle of the field. This was a quality tape from Murray that should serve to confirm his early-round status.
TCU 51, Kansas 14
Horned Frogs wide receiver Jalen Reagor has had slow start to the 2019 season, but he changed that with some electric plays taking on Kansas. TCU threw deep for Reagor in the first quarter, but the ball was underthrown and Reagor did a nice job of turning into a defensive back and break up an interception, as the ball dropped into the cornerback rather than going over the top for Reagor.
Reagor muffed a punt later in the opening quarter, but he stayed composed to pick up the ball and break a tackle before exploding down the field and returning it 73 yards for a touchdown. It was Reagor's first punt return touchdown of his career. While it was a great return, dropping the catch leaves a sour taste in the eyes of pro evaluators.
Reagor's next return was 31 yards, as he dodged tacklers and set up blocks to get the ball to midfield. Offensively, he only had one reception that went for 15 yards on a quick pass to the flat, but Reagor showed his speed and run after the catch skills on that play.
For the NFL, Reagor is a speed demon who is a true home-run hitter with mismatch speed. The ultra-fast Reagor can take the top off of a defense and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Reagor is a true speed demon who is similar to DeSean Jackson, Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown, or Will Fuller. Reagor uses his speed to create separation and shows a nice ability to track the ball downfield. For a speed receiver who lacks size, he looks comfortable with defenders around him and does not seem to get afraid of hits coming his direction. Even though he isn't a big receiver, he does a nice job of positioning himself to make contested catches. Team sources say that Reagor has no clue how to run a route and will need to be coached up on that. Reagor has above-average hands for a smaller speed receiver, but he has some drops once in awhile.
Overall, this tape will be a net positive for Reagor, as it shows he has big ability on offense and special teams. His added value as a punt returner will help his draft grade.
Kansas offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji is a potential second-day pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he had a solid performance against TCU. Adeniji did a good job in pass protection, showing quick feet to play the typewriter and cut off the edge from speed rushers. Adeniji has good knee bend ability and is athletic to avoid waist bending. He was solid in the ground game, but not overwhelming.
Adeniji is a skilled pass protector who has some athleticism and movement skills. Team sources say he is a good athlete with quick feet, but is shorter than ideal for a left tackle. There are some 6-foot-3 left tackles in the NFL with Dion Dawkins and Kelvin Beachum, but most teams move blockers with Adeniji's build inside to guard. He could stand to get stronger if he moves inside to guard for the NFL, and he would be a good fit in a zone blocking system. This was a solid tape from Adeniji overall.
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