2020 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 8

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 page.

By Charlie Campbell.
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Penn State 28, Michigan 21
  • Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos is a potential first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but Michigan was able to hold him in check in this game. The Wolverines sent some double teams his direction and had backs chipping him and were moving plays away from him. Gross-Matos did make his presence felt with some nice plays at times. In the first quarter, he got off his block to get a third-down tackle near the line of scrimmage. At the end of the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-goal, Gross-Matos came close to a sack after burning the left tackle with a speed rush. Shea Patterson was able to evade Gross-Matos, but the pressure helped disrupt the timing of the play.

    This tape won’t hurt or help Gross-Matos. If he decides to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, Gross-Matos looks like a first-rounder with the ability to fit a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Staying as a 4-3 base end could be his best fit.

  • Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson could get selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, and this tape will probably do more negative than positive for his grade. Taking on Penn State, Patterson showed that he can be an inconsistent passer, completing 24-of-41 for 276 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception. He ran for 34 yards and a score on the ground as well. Patterson made some accurate throws when he was in rhythm and used his legs to make some things happen. But he was streaky and showed that needs a lot of work for the NFL.

    Patterson revealed some bad habits against Penn State. There were plays where he had a clean pocket, but he would get frantic and rattled by a rush that wasn’t there. There was one play on which he made a jump pass when he had a clean pocket, and it would have been an easy completion if he had just thrown the checkdown with his feet set. On the next play, Patterson threw a terrible pass right to a defender on an attempted screen. Patterson’s field vision and composure need a lot of work as he often gets flustered when his first read is covered.

    Patterson has a skill set with a strong arm and mobility, but he looks like a third-day prospect who should be a third-string developmental backup to see if he can improve enough to be considered a backup. He has a long way to go.

    Washington State 41, Colorado 10
  • Colorado quarterback Steven Montez has a pro skill set, but he has been very inconsistent this season. He had a disastrous performance against on Oregon in the previous game with four interceptions, so he needed to bounce back against Washington State. Montez did have the luxury of having future first-round wideout Laviska Shenault in the lineup and said to be healthier than he had been in many weeks. Unfortunately for Montez’s draft stock, he continued to struggle with an ugly performance versus the Cougars.

    In the first quarter, Montez made a terrible play, rolling to his left and staring down his receiver on a deep crossing route. That led a defensive back to undercut the throw for an easy interception. On top of the poor decision, Montez did not set his feet and drifted, showing bad footwork on the play.

    Montez continued to be off, making some ugly passes. He was throwing too high, passing off his back foot, taking a sack when he could have got rid of the ball, and had an interception dropped after staring down a receiver with a poorly underthrown pass. Midway through the second quarter, Montez threw another interception after rolling out as he just threw the ball up for grabs into a crowd of players. It was an easy interception in the end zone for Washington State and took away points from the Buffaloes. It was an awful decision by Montez with his team already down 21-3.

    Montez continued to struggle in the third quarter, and the sideline reporter for ESPN said Montez was also trash talking with the Washington State fans. That is serious lack of composure and something pro evaluators will hate. Before the fourth quarter was half over, Colorado benched Montez for the backup quarterback. The backup was promptly injured, but rather than putting Montez back in the game, Colorado inserted the third-string quarterback. Montez finished completing 16-of-30 passes for 129 yards and two interceptions.

    Montez has a good skill set with arm strength, size, and some athleticism. But he has terrible fundamentals. His footwork was awful against Washington State, and that led to him being very inaccurate. On top of that, he showed poor field vision, staring down receivers and making a plethora of bad decisions. This tape looked nothing like a quarterback who gets selected on the first two days of the draft.

  • Shenault caught four passes for 46 yards, but he was held back by his inaccurate quarterback. In the third quarter, Sheanult got open running a go route down the field for what could have been a 40-yard touchdown, but the pass was slightly overthrown and it bounced off Shenault’s finger tips. Later in the same quarter, Shenault took a wild-cat carry and juked his way into the end zone from six yards out. With injuries and inconsistent play from Montez, Shenault is not having a big season of production, but there are plenty of team sources that are high on him, so he shouldn’t see a big impact on his draft stock.

  • With Shenault being banged up this year, another Colorado wide receiver has taken advantage of the opportunity for more targets and has helped his draft stock. That player is senior wideout Tony Brown, and team sources have said Brown has been a riser with how he has played this season. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has shown nice hands and the ability to challenge defenses downfield. Team sources say they see Brown potentially grading out as a fifth-rounder, and he could continue to rise if he works out well leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft.

    Oregon 35, Washington 31
  • This rivalry game featured two quarterbacks who will be starting in the NFL with Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington’s Jacob Eason. Both of them have cannon for arms with good size. Herbert is a little more polished, as he has a lot more experience than Eason, and that showed with the Ducks getting a tough road win in Washington.

    Herbert threw some early bullets to move the ball through the Washington secondary. He was showing off his accuracy and powerful arm to rip the ball downfield. Herbert laced a 12-yard strike to his tight end for the score, finishing the drive. It was a great read, as he froze the linebacker with play-action and fit in a perfect strike before the safety could close. It extended his touchdown pass streak to 35 straight games.

    Herbert continued to move the ball, but had a terrible overthrow of a tight end who was wide open deep downfield in a pass that Herbert needs to make. He had another touchdown pass right before halftime on a wide receiver screen, and another screen worked for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter. Herbert made some good throws to set up scores for his offense and get a tough road win. He completed 24-of-28 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns.

    There is no doubt that Herbert has an excellent skill set with a powerful arm. He can drive the ball and make every throw required in the NFL. For the most part, he has good accuracy that is above average, but would not be considered great. With lots of experience reading coverage, Hebert 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 questions with Herbert are can he push his team to a win in a big game against a good opponent. This performance helped him in that regard. There are some other questions. He is a quiet player and does not have the vocal leadership skills that some pro teams want. They wonder if Herbert can lead an NFL huddle. His instincts seem off at times as well, so Herbert has a great skill set but in some ways leaves some evaluators wanting a little more.

  • Eason has had buzz as a future pro prospect going back to his freshman season at Georgia. This year, he has played well for the Huskies, and he continued that versus rival Oregon.

    Eason dropped back on a play-action in the second quarter and fit in a well-placed ball to drop into his receiver for a 48-yard touchdown. Eason threw some beauties to move the ball down the field late in the first half, including a back-shoulder throw on the far sideline for 27 yards to set up a short wide receiver screen for a touchdown.

    Eason picked up where he left off in the third quarter, moving the ball down the field before throwing a short pass that turned into a 33-yard touchdown. Oregon’s offense controlled the ball and kept Eason on the sideline for some long stretches in the second half, as they made a comeback to take the lead.

    ason had one final chance to get Washington the win, and he threw some nice passes to move the ball down the field late in regulation. However, he hesitated to get rid of a pass when he had free rushers closing, and that led him taking a costly sack. Eason came back to throw a rope down the middle of the field for 15 yards on third down, but on fourth-and-3, his pass had too much mustard on it and the ball flew incomplete. A pass interference should have been called, but Eason needs to throw a more catchable ball and not rip a fastball in a close window. Eason finished completing 23-of-30 passes for 289 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Eason has the skill set to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He is a tall, strong, and gifted signal caller with pocket presence. There is no doubt that Eason has a cannon for a right arm with the ability to make all the throws in the NFL. He generally has above-average accuracy and can beat good coverage with the strength of his arm or the placement of his passes. He could stand to put more touch on some passes and throw a more catchable ball. It would also help him to continue to work on reading defenses, working through progressions, and speeding up his process. Eason also does not offer mobility or running threat ability for the pro game. Some team sources say that Eason is similar to Herbert in that he has a lot of physical tools but also is not that instinctive a passer.

    It sounds like Eason intends on skipping his senior year to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, but Eason missed the 2017 and 2018 seasons with injury and transferring. He should go back to school and develop before entering the pros. If he did that, he could be a top-10 pick in 2021, but if he comes out after this season, he might be more of a mid-to-late first-rounder, and it isn’t out of the question for him to slide, depending on how the pre-draft process goes.

    LSU 36, Mississippi State 13
  • LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has been a rising prospect, as he has led the Tigers to possessing an excellent offense this season. His strong play continued with him lighting up the Mississippi State defense on the road. The Bulldogs started the game pretty well, keeping Burrow from the end zone and forcing field goals, but then the Tigers got hot to overwhelm the Bulldogs.

    Burrow found a wide-open receiver in busted coverage for a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He then hit Ja’Marr Chase running open into the end zone for a short touchdown pass. To open the third quarter, Burrow had some rough plays, as he threw a pass downfield and was lucky that his receiver broke up an interception for Cameron Dantzler. The next play, Dantzler sacked Burrow and forced a fumble that Burrow was fortunate LSU recovered. Burrow recovered, throwing another touchdown, as Mississippi State had busted coverage. Burrow finished completing 25-of-32 passes for 327 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Burrow has the ability to play in the NFL, as he has quality size with a strong-enough arm and some accuracy as a passer. In speaking to team sources, they say that Burrow is a rising prospect with his strong play as a senior. However, they feel that Burrow has some skill set limitations, and as a result, they see him more topping out as a day-two prospect similar to Andy Dalton or Derek Carr. Some had graded Burrow as a fourth-rounder awhile back but see him rising and think that he could end up going somewhere in day two.

  • This game featured a good draft matchup with Mississippi State cornerback Cameron Dantzler seeing two potential first-round wide receivers in Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Dantzler did pretty well, running with receivers and maintaining quality coverage. Dantzler had excellent coverage in the third quarter with a receiver running along the deep sideline. Dantzler had the ball for an interception, but the receiver broke up the play. Dantzler then immediately came on a cornerback blitz and got a strip-sack of Burrow. However, the rest of the Bulldogs secondary struggled and couldn’t contain the Tigers pass attack. This was a solid tape from Dantzler and will help his draft grade.

    Jefferson continued his strong season with eight catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He has an early-round skill set but could slide in a talented wide receiver class with depth.

    Florida 38, South Carolina 27
  • This game featured a good draft matchup with Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson taking on South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards. In the first minute of the game, Edwards ran a stutter and go route slashing down the middle of the field. Henderson had good coverage running with him stride-for-stride, but Edwards boxed out Henderson and made a reception over him. Edwards later got slightly open against Henderson on a dig, but Henderson made the tackle right after the reception.

    Edwards had a step running down the sideline on Marco Wilson just prior to halftime, but the pass was overthrown in what could have been a touchdown from midfield. Henderson was in good position downfield following intermission, but dropped an interception. Florida gave up a 26-yard touchdown run on the very next play, so it was a painful drop by Henderson.

    Later in the third quarter, Henderson came back to get a sack on a blind side cornerback blitz, and that helped the Gators force South Carolina to settle for a field goal when they were close to the end zone. Henderson made a surprisingly good tackle in run support in the fourth frame.

    Henderson had a better performance than a week ago against LSU as he showed better tackling and physical play than he did a week ago. With size and speed, Henderson has a first-round skill set and has good cover corner potential with the NFL with the ability to start early in his career. If he would just consistently be a better tackler and a more physical defender, he could be a top-20 pick and No. 1 corner in the NFL.

    Edwards totaled 78 yards on seven receptions. He looks like could be a nice day-two or mid-round pick who could develop into a quality No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL.

  • South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is having a superb season and that continued versus Florida. Kinlaw blew through the center to start a tackle for no gain on an early second-and-short. Kinlaw then came close to a sack beating a one-on-one with power and speed to almost sack Kyle Trask, but his pressure forced an incompletion that helped lead to a punt.

    Kinlaw blew through the left guard to start the third quarter to get a pressure on Trask that forced a terrible pass that was intercepted. Shortly later, he had a third-down tackle for no gain to force a Gators punt.

    Kinlaw was seeing steady double teams throughout the game that kept him from some splash plays, but the extra attention that Kinlaw drew helped free up his teammates to make some plays before Florida pulled away.

    Kinlaw is a tall, thick, and good-looking athlete. He has passed the eyeball test, so one can see some special ability as Kinlaw really fires off the ball. He is quick to close and has strength to fight off blockers. Kinlaw (6-6, 310) looks like a first-round pick next April.

  • Florida has two early-round edge rushers in Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, but both were out of this game with ankle injuries.

    Clemson 45, Louisville 10
  • The top prospect in this game was Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. He is having an excellent season to vault him into being a potential top-20 pick. In no surprise, Simmons was all over the field against Louisville.

    Simmons made a good read early to see a stretch run getting set up, and he flew into the backfield to get a 6-yard tackle for a loss. Simmons then hit a receiver from the backside to smack the ball out and get his defense off the field with a third-down incompletion. Simmons then had another good decision late in the opening half to come on a delay to sack the scrambling quarterback on third down. Simmons added a bunch of tackles in run support and was always around the ball.

    Simmons is a top-20 pick, as he can do everything on the field. He is a sideline-to-sideline run defender who is fast and physical. He also covers well in pass coverage while being able to contribute to the pass rush as a dangerous blitzer. This tape is going to help Simmons’ cause.

  • Louisville left tackle Mekhi Becton is an early-round prospect. He had a good performance against Clemson. Becton had some excellent early blocks, including a highlight-reel play where he moved off the edge to hit an edge rusher and knock him onto the turf and then punished him with a vicious pancake. Becton later made a poor read doubling the defensive tackle on a bootleg play rather than taking the defenders that were the most dangerous with some edge rushers running free to cause a third-down incompletion that resulted in settling for a field goal rather a pass for the first-down yardage or end zone.

    Becton is a giant blocker who is similar to Cordy Glenn. While Becton (6-7,330) is huge, he is a good athlete for his size and moves pretty well in space. Becton has quick feet for a big blocker and also shows the ability to bend at the knee and not be a waist bender reaching after edge rushers.

    Becton does a nice job in the ground game of sustaining his blocks. Even though he is massive, Becton is not an overpowering bull. He makes it tough for defenders to get free with his size, as he turns and manipulates them. In pass protection, he needs to improve his hand placement as he can get too wide and let defenders get their hands in chest. That can make Becton have problems with bull rushes. Becton has talent, but it might best for him to return for his senior year and redistribute some weight with added strength and improved technique before going pro.

  • Clemson running back Travis Etienne has had a bit of an up-and-down season with a fumble in the opener prior to ripping off 200 yards on Georgia Tech. Etienne had an ugly game against North Carolina with issues in ball security and blocking, but has also played well, including rolling over Florida State recently. Etienne continued his strong play helping Clemson to hold off Louisville.

    Etienne got his game started with a run up the middle of 48 yards, showing his speed to burst down field. He had a 49-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the game away for Clemson. Etienne broke a tackle at the second level, ran through another arm tackle, and then exploded down the field for the score. Etienne limped off the field a bit later, but the injury did not look serious. Etienne totaled 192 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 35 yards.

    Etienne looks like he could be a second-day pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is quick slashing runner who has good vision, quick feet and receiving ability. He is a constant threat to break off long runs. However, he is smaller, and that makes him more of a day-two pick rather than a first-rounder.


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