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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Oregon 56, USC 24
After throwing an interception early on against USC, Oregon's Justin Herbert cruised over the Trojans, providing another tape to help him be a high first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He completed 21-of-26 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, plus rusehd for another touchdown.
Late in the first quarter, Herbert threw an interception to set up the Trojans inside the Ducks' 20. Herbert and his receiver weren't on the same page, with the wideout stopping his route and Herbert thinking the reciever was going to continue running, which resulted in the ball floating to a defender. It wasn't clear which player was in the wrong, but after that turnover, Herbert was lights out for the rest of the night, rolling the Trojans.
Following the turnover, Herbert responded by leading a touchdown drive that ended with him running the ball in from about 10 yards out. It was a good decision by Herbert, who saw nothing open and dodged some tacklers to get into the end zone. In the third quarter, Herbert threw a fastball into a close window for a 15-yard scoring strike. Shortly later, he tossed a well located fade pass to the back corner of the end zone for a short scoring strike.
Herbert has a great skill set for the NFL with arm strength, size, mobility, and accuracy as a passer. Sources with pro teams question his leadership ability for the pros because he is a quiet individual and some teams want a vocal leader at quarterback. Regardless of that concern, Herbert looks like a lock for the top 10 next April in the 2020 NFL Draft.
USC senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. was limited by the Oregon defense to 37 yards on eight receptions. On the opening drive, Pittman had a few gains to move the chains for USC. Late in the first half, Pittman got open while running a dig route, and he used his size to bounce off a hard hit from the safety to fall into the end zone. Overall, this tape shows that Pittman is a potential mid-round pick. He is a big wideout with physicality and an ability to serve as a possessional receiver, but he has significant speed limitations that make him a mid-round talent.
USC left tackle Austin Jackson has become one of the top offensive line prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft this fall. His impressive play continued against Oregon, as he had a solid night in pass protection, doing a good job of neutralizing the edge rushers who he faced. There really was only one ugly play for Jackson, and even that wasn't really his fault. Late in the first half, Jackson had his edge rusher blocked as he headed off a speed rush, but as the quarterback stepped up in the pocket, the edge rusher peeled back toward the line of scrimmage to take Herbert down for a sack. It was more of a coverage, effort sack that really wasn't a bad play by Jackson.
Jackson looks like a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 305-pounder is a great athlete with quick feet and excellent agility. He is an easy mover with the ability to bend at the knee and play with good leverage. There are times when Jackson gets away with some things because he is so athletic, but he will need to work on technique for the NFL. He is raw from a fundamentals standpoint, but his skill set is that of a franchise left tackle.
Team sources say that Jackson is a good kid who will interview well in the leadup to the draft and also will work out well because of his excellent skill set. Earlier this year, Jackson was away from the USC program while donating bone marrow to his younger sister, and he has played extremely well since coming back to the Trojans. Don't be surprised if Jackson is a steady riser during the 2020 NFL Draft process.
Utah 33, Washington 28
The Utah defense is loaded with mid-round and day-three defensive talent for the NFL, so they would poise a good test for Washington quarterback Jacob Eason. Once again, Eason showed his powerful arm and big time skill set, but also revealed that he needs development for the NFL and should go back to school.
Eason beat good coverage early, firing a fastball by three Utah defenders to convert a third-and-long. Eason finished the drive when he found a wide-open receiver for a short touchdown pass after the cornerback fell down in coverage.
Eason had a poor play on the next possession. He had time in the pocket, but nothing was open downfield. Rather than throwing the ball away, Eason tried to run with the ball, but the lumbering quarterback was quickly chased down. Eason showed poor ball security while scrambling, as he fumbled the ball away while getting hit, and that set up the Utes inside the Washington 20-yard line. Eason bounced back to throw a 34-yard touchdown pass as he had a receiver get open with Utah corner stumbling to let the receiver run open.
Eason moved the ball into Utah territory in the third quarter, but then threw an interception where he didn't read the coverage well to turn the ball over inside the Utes 10-yard line. Eason threw into triple coverage and it was an easy leaping grab for the Utah defender.
Eason later had a receiver running down the seam with no defender between him and the defender, but Eason did not set his feet to throw the pass so the ball sailed too far incomplete. Eason then found his tight end Hunter Bryant running wide open in busted coverage for a 40-yard touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, Eason made a terrible decision throwing an easy pick-six across the field to Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Johnson was sitting on the route and easily undercut the wideout to pick off the ball and race down the sideline for the score. Eason, however, later made a superb play spinning away from a defensive end and then rolling out to make an accurate throw into a tight window downfield for a fourth-down conversion. Eason then took a bad sack when he could have stepped up in the pocket to avoid the edge rush, but he came back to throw a short touchdown pass. Eason finished 29-of-52 for 316 yards with four touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble.
There is no doubt that Eason has the arm talent 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. Sometimes, he fires a fastball that is hard for his receivers to secure. 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. Another thing he has to work on for the NFL is climbing the pocket as hedrifts back rather than stepping up to avoid edge rushers. Some team sources say that Eason is similar to Oregon's Justin 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 his transfer. 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 he performs in the pre-draft process.
Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson helped himself in this game. Johnson had tight coverage on receivers running the route to prevent separation. He tricked Eason into that huge pick-six that was a critical play in the Utes making a comeback. Johnson is a gritty defender who has some height, length, quickness, and athleticism. However, team sources are concerned about how thin Johnson is and that could lead to him having issues with size and strength of pro wideouts. As a result, Johnson is more of a second-day prospect.
There were some really interesting battles in the trenches as the Utah defensive line and Washington offensive line each possess multiple NFL talents. Washington has some good prospects on their offensive line, led by left tackle Trey Adams. Adams has a first-round skill set but he has had a lot of injuries in his collegiate career. Utah defensive end Bradley Anae would be a challenge for Adams and right tackle Jared Hilbers, as Anae could be a mid-round pick next April. Huskies center Nick Harris could become a pro starter and he will see a tough nose tackle in the Ute's Leki Fotu.
This turned out to be a draw in some ways. The Washington offensive line dominated the first half and the Utes defensive line came alive in the second half. Adams, Harris and Hilbers were rock solid protecting Eason, giving him clean pockets throughout the first two quarters. Hilbers was almost beaten for a sack in the third quarter, and that led to a drive-killing incompletion. In the fourth quarter, Anae shed a block from Adams and then hunted down Eason to hit him as he threw. Anae then once again almost got a sack, as he burned Adams with speed, but Eason was able to dodge him. The third time was the charm, as Anae used speed to get around Adams and sack Eason. However, Anae was stumbling down into the legs of Eason and he could have easily stepped up in the pocket to avoid Anae and help his left tackle.
Overall this tape is going to hurt Adams, as Anae really had his way with him in the second half of the game. Anae has some size issues for the NFL, and he would go higher if he were bigger, but this tape will help him to get third-round consideration.
Utah running back Zack Moss had an impressive performance to do a lot of the heavy lifting for the Utes offense. In the second quarter, Moss showed his receiving ability with a nice run after a check down and then he leaked out of the backfield for a touchdown catch. He stiff-armed a defender around the 5-yard line and powered into the end zone. Moss started to get rolling on the ground following halftime, showing his power to run through contact and finish runs by going forward. Moss used his power late on the goal line to score. He totaled 100 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown while making five catches for 41 yards and a score. Moss is a tough runner with starting potential. If the medical comes backs okay, Moss could be a day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Georgia 24, Florida 17
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is the consensus third-rated quarterback prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he has cruised over mostly easy competition this season while leading a comeback win over Notre Dame and having a terrible game against South Carolina in the Bulldogs upset loss. Fromm had a bounce-back performance against Florida, leading Georgia to a win over their rival, thanks to Fromm being superb on third downs in Jacksonville.
Fromm threw the ball accurately early and was excellent on third downs to move the chains. He had superb pass protection and waited patiently for targets to uncover. Fromm also rolled out and had a receiver running open in the back of the end zone, but Fromm threw off his back foot and did not set his feet to make an accurate throw. That caused a third-down incompletion in what could have been another touchdown for Georgia. Fromm threw a 51-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, as the Gators had busted coverage downfield leaving a receiver wide open. Fromm finished completing 20-of-30 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Fromm does not have a great NFL skill set, but he is an accurate passer who makes good decisions and manages the game well. Multiple team sources from different teams say that Fromm's arm strength is average at best. He also is not a dynamic athlete or running threat. However, scouts rave about his intangibles and intelligence, so while Fromm may not have elite physical traits, they think some evaluators and coaches will fall in love with him and the fact that Fromm has been a winner throughout his college career. Thus, Fromm has a good shot to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if he declares.
The reason Fromm was so good on third downs was because the Georgia offensive line was superb at giving him time to throw. Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas was seeing two future NFL edge rushers in Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, but Thomas all but shut them down in the pass rush. Thomas had some very nice plays with good blitz pickups to the outside, riding Greenard around the pocket to stop some speed rushes, and hitting some combo blocks in the run game to open holes in the ground game. Thomas almost got beaten for a sack by Greenard as a speed rush to the inside caught him by surprise, but aside from that play, Thomas was excellent. This tape will help him to be viewed as a franchise left tackle and a high first-round pick next April.
Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson has had a disappointing junior season, and that trend continued against Georgia. Henderson gave up a few receptions downfield in this game, as he had soft coverage allowing space for the receivers. Henderson allowed multiple third-and-long conversions by allowing too big of a cushion and not closing with aggression. Henderson got to handsy in the second quarter after he ran with receiver downfield and that drew a pass interference penalty.
Henderson has been an extremely finesse defender this season. He does not challenge receivers like he did in previous seasons and allows too many receptions from soft coverage. On top of that, Henderson is a terrible tackler. He seems to avoid contact and tackling unless he is forced to because no other defender is in position to make the tackle for him. Some team sources think that Henderson is protecting himself and trying not to get hurt. That could make sense, as he injured his knee in Week 2 breaking up a deep ball and that caused him to miss multiple games. Perhaps that injury scared Henderson, but the tape he is producing is hurting his draft stock.
Georgia running back D'Andre Swift is the favorite to the first running back drafted next April and showed his special ability against Florida. Swift showed it all on an impressive run right before halftime, as he broke a tackle from a linebacker in the hole and then bolted down the field weaving through defenders to get a gain of 30 yards. That run produced a field goal for Georgia. Swift then had a touchdown run that was called back by holding penalties. Swift ran for 86 yards on 25 carries but came up with clutch gains to help the Georgia offense. He also had one reception for 24 yards. On top of running well, Swift had some phenomenal blocks in blitz protection stone walling linebackers and giving his quarterback time to get rid of the ball. This tape will definitely help his grade.
Central Florida 44, Houston 29
Central Florida wide receiver Gabriel Davis has crated a buzz with some pro evaluators, as he ripped off some impressive games against Eastern Carolina, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Stanford. This game was not a prolific outing for Davis, as Houston sent some extra attention his direction, but that opened things up for Tre Nixon to have a huge day.
Davis got open running a go route down the field in the second quarter, and he made a superb leaping grab for 36 yards. Davis then was open in the end zone for an easy touchdown, but the ball was thrown late, and that let Houston defenders recover to break up the pass. Davis finished with three receptions for 46 yards taking on the Cougars.
Davis is a big possessional receiver who has mismatch size and is dangerous downfield. Using his size and leaping ability, he can win contested catches on jump balls or back-shoulder throws. Davis is a big receiver who has enough quickness to get by, but the speed question mark will have an impact on how high he goes in the draft. The 2020 NFL Draft is very strong at receiver, and Davis would probably be no worse than a second-day pick if he decides to skip his senior year.
Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones has impressed scouts this season to help his draft grade. Jones was making his 27th-consecutive start and was a midseason All-American. He continued to show his NFL form against Central Florida with a strong performance.
Jones showed good quickness and agility early to get close to the sideline to hit a block on a cornerback to help produce some extra yardage on a screen. Jones then had a pretty play, opening a cut-back lane with a bump block on the defensive end and then peeling back to the perimeter to hit another block that sprung a wide receiver for a 19-yard gain on an end around. That continued in the second half with Jones continually hitting blocks at the second level to spring his back for quality yardage.
Jones was was solid in pass protection throughout the afternoon, handling speed rushers using his feet to wall off the outside and handling strength counter moves to the inside. He showed a nice ability to hand speed or power rushers while keeping them from getting pressure on the quarterback. He allowed one pressure in the third quarter with an end using a swim move to the inside to get into the pocket, but Jones was able to push him into the turf to prevent a sack and let his quarterback escape around the left side to throw downfield.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Jones has good size with length, athleticism and agility. Jones is not overpowering, but he has some functional strength to manipulate and lean on defenders. There are some parts of his technique that Jones could work to improve on for the pros, as sometimes he can bend a little at the waist, and in the NFL, it will hurt him to be sloppy by bending at the waist rather than the knee.
Jones looks like he could be a second-day pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It might best for him to start out his career as a backup, but could eventually work his way into being a starting left tackle.
Wake Forest 44, N.C. State 10
N.C. State defensive tackle Larrell Murchison has helped himself this season, showing the ability to get after the quarterback as he entered November with seven sacks. Murchison was banged up against Wake Forest, but played through some issues that had him getting attention from the trainers. The score of the game kept him from going after the quarterback as the Demon Deacons were able to run out the clock after building a quick lead.
The Wolfpack moved Murchison around, having him play some five-technique defensive end in three-down linemen sets. That is not his best position, as he was more effective being a tackle who used his speed to shoot a gap to get behind the line of scrimmage. As a result, Murchison did not make many plays in this game, but he showed his quickness off the snap and the ability to get upfield.
Team sources say that Murchison is a spark plug defensive tackle to rotate into the game for a 4-3 defense. He could be a contributor as a situational pass rusher and may not have the size to be an every-down defender, but they say he is a solid player who disrupts. Murchison is said to be a good-character individual as well. Evaluators say that if Murchison tests well, he could rise, and currently they think he has a shot at going on the second-day of the draft or being a mid-round pick.
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