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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Georgia 27, Missouri 0
While Georgia cruised over Missouri, quarterback Jake Fromm did not have an impressive game versus the Tigers. After a hot start, Fromm struggled to complete passes and had a number of throws go off the mark, plus his receivers struggled to get separation.
On the first drive of the game, Fromm lofted in a perfect 32-yard pass to Lawrence Cager along the sideline to set up Georgia for points. A few plays later, Fromm hit George Pickens for the 25-yard touchdown. A little bit later however, Fromm did not read the field well, throwing incomplete to a covered receiver in the end zone and failing to see running back D'Andre Swift wide open by himself near the goal line. Fromm also overthrew an open receiver who was running into the end zone just before halftime, and in the second half, Fromm did not have much success through the air. He completed just 13-of-29 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Missouri tape illustrates some of the limitations Fromm has for the next level. His arm strength is just average at best, and he does not have special athleticism to be a dual-threat quarterback. Generally, Fromm is an accurate quarterback in the short to intermediate part of the field who is a smart signal-caller with good ball security and decision-making. As a pro, he is going to need a strong supporting cast around him, as his physical skill set is not dynamic enough to beat NFL defenses on its own. Fromm will need a good offensive line, a good running game and good receivers to be successful as a pro. Thus, Fromm could be more of a mid-to late first-round pick, although his physical traits are that of a second-day quarterback.
Georgia running back D'Andre Swift is the favorite to be the first running back selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he had a solid performance against Missouri. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Swift made two phenomenal cuts to explode down the field for a 47-yard gain. He finished the game with 83 yards over 12 carries. This season, Swift is proving he is worthy of being a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has been held back by quarterback play all season, and that continued versus Georgia. Starter Kelly Bryant has been a downgrade from Drew Lock, but Bryant was injured and out of this game and the backup quarterbacks were even worse. Okwuegbunam had 45 yards on four receptions and did not get to show his mismatch receiving skills for the NFL. With his decreased production and opportunities, Okwuegbunam could end up sliding to the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft even though he has special mismatch potential.
Wisconsin 24, Iowa 22
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor dominated another quality Big 10 opponent, as the Badgers standout continued his phenomenal junior year. Taylor churned out tough yards early as Iowa loaded the box and kept him from breaking any long runs. Taylor and the Badgers offensive line eventually wore down the Hawkeyes, and he produced some critical runs in the fourth quarter to put Iowa away.
Taylor had an excellent 36-yard run late where he used his phenomenal stiff arm and then spun to explode down the field. With just over two minutes remaining and the Badgers clinging to a lead needing to run out the clock, Taylor broke off a 42-yard following his blockers to put Iowa on ice. Taylor totaled 250 yards on 31 carries.
This was another tape that will help Taylor to be a second-day pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Taylor is a future workhorse back in the NFL with the ability to be a three-down starter. He is too strong, quick, and deadly in the open field for defenses to contain for four quarters when he gets decent blocking and quarterback play. Taylor has also showed more receiving ability than he has in previous seasons.
Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa is a potential first-round pick next April, and he had a solid performance. Epenesa battled tough in the ground game, holding his gap but not getting in on tackles. Epenesa got by the left tackle with speed and hit the quarterback for a sack-fumble that was recovered by Iowa at the Wisconsin 16. Epenesa had a few other good rushes where he got the better of the Badgers left tackle.
For the NFL, Epenesa has some stiffness as a pass rusher, and while he is quick for his size, he is not a speed burner off the edge. Epenesa could fit as a left end in a 4-3, but his best fit might be as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
LSU 46, Alabama 41
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the favorite to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tagovailoa played this game at least than 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury a few weeks ago.
Tagovailoa moved the ball down the field to start, but on third-and-goal, he was scrambling and flat out just dropped the ball while running and LSU recovered at the 8-yard line. Tagovailoa was taking a beating but he kept fighting to keep Alabama in the game. He hit Jerry Jeudy for 26 and then found DeVonta Smith streaking down the sideline with for a 64-yard touchdown. The ball was lofted in well to lead Smith down the field. The next possession saw Tagovailoa make a bad mistake just before halftime, as he stared down a receiver, and that led a linebacker to undercutting the pass for an interception.
Tagovailoa threw a perfect deep ball for Jeudy in the third quarter, but the star receiver dropped what should have been a 48-yard touchdown. Tagovailoa bounced back for a completion to Henry Ruggs for a third-and-long conversion, but then missed an open Jaylen Waddle on an overthrow for what should have been a touchdown. However, to finish that drive, Tagovailoa laid out a perfect back-shoulder throw to Najee Harris for a touchdown.
Tagovailoa converted a fourth-and-4 midway through the final frame by throwing a dart to beat tight coverage, and then finished the drive with a fourth-down touchdown toss to Jeudy. Tagovailoa later laid out a perfect deep ball to DeVonta Smith, and he hauled in the pass at the 50 and then coast down the field for an 85-yard touchdown. Tagovailoa completed 21-of-40 passes for 418 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.
Overall, this game won't hurt Tagovailoa's draft stock, as he battled hard while playing injured. He was impressive by repeatedly bringing his team back to produce points. Tagovailoa has the skill set to be a pro starter. He is an accurate passer with a quality arm and shows the ability to be effective with timing, precision and anticipation. He throws a good deep ball and is an aggressive passer. Tagovailoa should hear his name called quickly in the 2020 NFL Draft.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has become a hot pro prospect in his own right over the course of the 2019 season, and he kept his impressive play going on the road at Alabama. Burrow tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to open the game, as he located his ball well to let Ja'Marr Chase cut back in front of a cornerback to make a leaping catch for the score. The next drive saw Burrow throw a ball up grabs in a crowd downfield, and it was intercepted by Trevon Diggs. An Alabama penalty, however, canceled out the turnover.
Burrow found a receiver wide open in busted coverage for a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He then used his legs to pick up some good yardage to move inside the Alabama 35 on an ensuing possession. After an Alabama interception before the half, Burrow found another wide-open target in busted coverage for a touchdown pass.
Burrow had an interception in the third quarter when he was hit as he threw, but came back to make a beautiful play shaking off a sack and then scrambling to find a receiver downfield for a nice gain. Burrow later kept a zone read run for a big gain that set up LSU's game clinching touchdown. Burrow ended up completing 31-of-39 passes for 393 yards with three touchdowns. He also ran for 64 yards on 14 carries.
This game definitely helps Burrow's draft grade, as he carried his team to a win in a tough road environment against an excellent opponent. 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. Team sources 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 team evaluators had graded Burrow as a fourth-rounder a while back, but now see him rising and think that he could end up going somewhere on Day 2.
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the top receiver prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he had an eventful performance taking on LSU. Jeudy made a pretty hands catch early on a pass that was ankle high. Jeudy then ran a superb route to get separation from Kristian Fulton for a gain of 26 yards. Jeudy later got open running down the deep middle of the field, and Tagovailoa laid out a perfect deep ball, but Jeudy dropped what should have been a 48-yard touchdown. Jeudy dropped another touchdown later on a short slant, but then ran a good out route on the next play and held on to the ball for a scoring strike. Jeudy totaled five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.
While Jeudy had those two ugly drops, this tape should not change his draft stock. He is a phenomenal route runner who consistently generates separation for his quarterback. With his superb feet, athleticism and suddenness, cornerbacks have a very difficult time running with Jeudy. He would be a great fit in any NFL offense and especially a West Coast system. Jeudy is worthy of going in the top 10 next April.
One player who really helped himself in this clash of the titans was Alabama running back Najee Harris. To help get the Crimson Tide back into the game after falling behind by 20, Harris came alive in the third quarter, as he started ripping off yards in chunks, powering through tacklers and showing speed to get downfield. He had two big receptions with a screen run and then made a beautiful leaping back-shoulder reception for a touchdown. He powered through the Tigers defense on the next possession to rip off yards after contact and then had a short rushing touchdown to bring Alabama within six.
Harris finished with 146 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown and three receptions for 44 yards and a score. Harris is a big back who has some quickness and athleticism. Over the past few seasons, he has not run to his size and has looked to bounce too many carries to the outside rather than using his power to run behind his pads in a physical manner. Lately, and especially against LSU, Harris has been running aggressively downhill with decisiveness. This tape will really help his draft grade and definitely makes him look like a better pro prospect compared to how he performed at the beginning of the season.
Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs has a first-round skill set, and he was being challenged by Burrow and LSU's dynamic receivers. Diggs was running with speedster wide out Ja'Marr Chase down the sideline early on, but Chase made a superb adjustment to stop and cut inside of Diggs to make a leaping grab for a 33-yard touchdown. Diggs tried to make up for it later when he had a leaping interception, but an illegal substitution penalty canceled out Diggs' pick.
Diggs stumbled to let Chase get open for gain of about 20 in the second quarter. Diggs then had tight coverage on LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, but the big tight end made an incredible sideline reception that could have been ruled incomplete, as Moss stepped out of bounds, but the officials ruled he was pushed out of bounds and thus it wasn't illegal touching. Diggs had a nice goal-line tackle on the next play.
Diggs ran with Chase down the field along the sideline to prevent a deep completion in the fourth quarter. However, a couple plays later, a running back carries Diggs on his back for five yards to get a critical third-down conversion. Diggs later made a huge mistake going for a strip from a running back rather than making a tackle and that let the back shake free of Diggs to get into the end zone. Overall, this tape will won't help Diggs, as his tackling was a weakness and he had some shaky plays in coverage.
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney is a versatile defender who can cover, defend the run, and get after the quarterback. He was all over the field for the Crimson Tide, and minus a few plays, he was very good against LSU. He had good open-field tackle to start the game coming downhill in zone coverage, but then saw Justin Jefferson juke him in the open field. McKinney also blocked an extra point with a fast rush on special teams.
McKinney came on a blitz around the left side during the third quarter to hit Burrow as he threw, and Terrell Lewis caught the errant ball to set up the Alabama offense near midfield. McKinney later came on a run blitz to get a tackle for a loss, but then missed a tackle in the backfield to allow a touchdown run for LSU. McKinney later added another sack on a lightning fast blitz up the middle. However, at the end of the fourth quarter, McKinney made a mistake going for a strip rather than a tackle to prevent a first down.
This tape will help McKinney overall, as he showed versatility in coverage, run defense and blitzing skills. McKinney could be a versatile safety in the NFL who can play strong safety, free safety, and do a lot of different things for his defense.
Alabama left tackle Alex Leatherwood has the skill set of a first-round pick, but he showed against LSU that he should probably go back to school, as he had a rough outing taking on the Tigers' athletic defensive line. Edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson was giving Leatherwood problems with speed rushes around the corner. Leatherwood had to grab Chaisson's facemask to prevent a sack in the first half and was allowing some pressure on his quarterback.
While Leatherwood had some rough moments, he also had some good blocks keeping rushers from getting pressure. On the first play of the fourth quarter Leatherwood opened a big hole for Najee Harris on a fourth-and-1 to get a first down while setting up a first-and-goal. Shortly later, Leatherwood had Rashard Lawrence blocked for four or five seconds, but Tagovailoa held the ball too long and that let Lawrence eventually work free for a coverage sack.
Leatherwood has the skill set of a first-round pick, as he is quick, athletic and strong. He is also able to bend at the knee. However, he has some uneven moments and could stand to iron out some technique. Leatherwood should return to school to improve before going pro.
Minnesota 31, Penn State 26
Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson is potential day-two or mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he was seeing a tough defense in Penn State, led by cornerback John Reid. Johnson came to play, as he really stepped up to make some big plays to help the Gophers pull off the upset.
Johnson got open in zone, running a crossing route for a gain of 18 yards in the opening quarter. Johnson then scored a 38-yard touchdown. He didn't generate separation running a go route, but his hand slapping got enough space for the ball to drop in over the corner, and Johnson was able to pull away to trot into the end zone. Johnson later got open for a gain of about 25 yards along the sideline in zone, and after a hard hit, he fumbled the ball. Johnson, however, was able to pounce on the loose ball to keep a scoring drive alive for the Gophers. Johnson was held in check after that.
Johnson totaled 104 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is a polished receiver who has good hands, runs quality routes and has a decent skill set. Johnson may not have a defining trait with a lack of mismatch size or speed taking on NFL cornerbacks. Thus, he might be more of a mid-round pick to start out as a backup receiver who could potentially develop into a No. 2 or 3 receiver.
Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos is a first-round talent, but it was hard to see it in this game, as the Nittany Lions coaching staff did not let him get after the quarterback. They were moving Gross-Matos around, having him play some five technique and nose tackle, which kept him from producing big plays in the pass rush. Even when he was on the edge, Gross-Matos was in containment a fair amount. He did well in run defense, as he was tough at the point of attack, but this tape won't help his draft grade, as was quiet and not put in position to make plays by his coaches.
Florida 56, Vanderbilt 0
Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson is having a disappointing 2019 season, as he was coming off an ugly game versus Georgia after some underwhelming contests taking on LSU and Miami. Henderson was better against Vanderbilt, but came up short of a dominant performance.
Henderson made a tackle for a loss in the third quarter, as the receiver missed the block and Henderson showed some rare aggression and physicality to fire into the backfield to take down Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Henderson then couldn't adjust to make an interception as the ball was behind him and bounced off his hands.
Henderson has a good skill set with size, speed, and athleticism, but he has played a lot of soft coverage this season while showing poor tackling consistently. If Henderson played up to his skill set, he could be a top-20 pick, but based off this season, he might slip to Day 2. Henderson will likely enter the 2020 NFL Draft, but he might be better off returning for his senior year and playing better to have an improved chance of being a first-round pick in 2021.
Vanderbilt has a trio of skill position prospects for the NFL who have been held back by quarterback play all year. Tight end Jared Pinkney could be a second-day pick, but Vanderbilt has been terrible at getting him the ball this year, and that continued against Florida as Pinkney was shutout.
Wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb should have had a good game, as he got open for some big plays. Lipscomb later ran an excellent route to get wide open, streaking down the middle the field for what should have been about a 50-yard touchdown, but the ball was terribly overthrown. Lipscomb was held to one catch for four years.
After this frustrating season, Lipscomb is going to need a strong postseason with an impressive performance at an All-Star game, combine, and pro day to help make up for his decreased his production.
Some team sources really like Vanderbilt running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and he has been a tough runner this season showing the ability to run through contact. Vaughn had a 13-yard early in the game, but after that, the Gators shut him down as their defensive front dominated the Commodore offensive line. Vaughn finished with 28 yards on 15 carries with a 14-yard reception. Vaughn could be a mid-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft as a sleeper prospect who could be a good value pick.
Florida edge rusher Jon Greenard had a bounce-back game. Greenard had a red-hot start to the season before an injury slowed him down. Last week, however, he was shut down by the dominant Georgia offensive line, so Greenard needed to produce a good tape to help his draft grade. He had a good, early tackle for a loss and was using his speed to get upfield. Greenard fired off the corner in the third quarter to get close to the quarterback and scooped up a fumble and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. If Greenard can get hot down the stretch and end up with a good sack total, that could help him to crack the top-50 next April.
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