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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Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31
Full disclosure: I missed part of the third quarter as Directv had technical issues nationwide. Directv has been terrible over the past month. It used to be great, but since AT&T acquired it, the quality of Directv has declined dramatically.
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray had a quality outing, patrolling sideline-to-sideline, getting in on tackles, and limiting Baylor on the ground. In the first quarter, Murray made a superb open-field tackle, dodging a block from the running back and then ripping Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer to the turf. Murray had eight tackles and two for a loss in total, and he led the Oklahoma defense to shut down the Bears' ground attack when they were trying to bleed out the clock in the second half.
Murray also did a nice job in pass coverage in the middle of the field, covering a lot of ground in zone and picking up receivers who came into his area. He did an excellent job of handling running backs out of the backfield as well.
Some NFL team sources think Murray could be a Mike - middle - linebacker or a Will - weakside - linebacker at the next level. Other team evaluators think he is a Will linebacker who is a run-and-chase defender. They think he would be better not having to diagnose at the snap, freeing him up to be a seek-and-destroy defender. Either way, the team evaluators were in agreement Murray is a future first-rounder, and some think he could go as a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims is having a quality senior year, and he made some big plays against the Sooners. In the first quarter, Mims was running wide open in busted coverage, but the pass from Brewer bounced in front of him on what could have been a 78-yard touchdown. Shortly later, Mims ran by a freshman corner for a 30-yard touchdown catch. He added nine-yard touchdown catch before the half after running an out route to get open in the front corner of the end zone. In the fourth quarter with the game tied, Mims worked vertically downfield and drew a pass interference penalty. He finished the game with six receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Mims is a bigger receiver, but he could have speed issues in the NFL. Team sources say they are projecting him to being draft-able on the final day of the draft.
Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was held out of this game with a head injury he suffered a week ago against Iowa State.
Utah 49, UCLA 3
Full disclosure: I missed part of the first quarter and almost all of the second quarter due to Directv having technical issues nationwide. Directv has been terrible over the past month. It used to be great, but since AT&T acquired it, the quality of Directv has declined dramatically.
Utah running back Zack Moss produced a phenomenal tape for pro evaluators, making the case he could be a three-down starter with the ability to be a work horse for a pro offense. The only caveat to this performance is that UCLA's defense is dreadful and has struggled all year, so considering the competition dampers the enthusiasm slightly. Still, Moss dominated the Bruins.
In the first quarter, Moss converted a third-and-8, showing his quickness and feet in the open field. That set the tone for him on the ground, but he attacked the Bruins through the air as well. Just before halftime, Moss ran a slant to get open , burning a linebacker and then juking a safety in the open field to explode for a 50-yard gain. Moss ran for 127 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 73 yards.
As a runner, Moss showed quickness to hit the hole and accelerate to the second level. He powered through some tackles and picked up yards after contact with impressive lower body strength. He had vision and feel to work through the defense and dispplayed the versatility to contribute as a receiver. Like all college backs going to the NFL, Moss will need some tutelage in pass blocking, but he could be a lead back to run the ball and contribute as a receiver out of the backfield. He showed soft hands and ran good routes. This tape will help Moss to be a second-day pick.
UCLA running back Joshua Kelley could be a mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he was held in check by the tough Utah defense. Kelley ran for 78 yards on 19 carries. He also had one reception for 12 yards. The 5-foot-11, 219-pound Kelley is put together well and is a tough back who can be a North-South runner. This tape won't hurt his draft stock as Utah's defense was much tougher than UCLA's offensive line.
Utah defensive end Bradley Anae is a dangerous college pass-rusher and is having a good senior year, which continued against UCLA. In the first quarter, Anae got a sack with a fast rush to the inside between the left tackle and guard to chase down the quarterback. In the third quarter, Anae fired off the line to blow by the left tackle and get another sack. Team sources note 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.
Georgia 21, Auburn 14
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm continued his march to the SEC Championship and being a first-round pick by leading Georgia to a road win over Auburn. Fromm was his typical self, throwing the ball accurately, making good decisions, and reading the field well.
Fromm lofted in a perfect deep ball down the middle of the field for a 51-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Fromm then threw a second touchdown pass on a short check down right before halftime. Fromm followed that up by throwing an easy touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver. Fromm had a number of well-thrown passes dropped, which would explain his completion percentage, as he finished 13-of-28 for 110 yards with three touchdowns.
Fromm doesn't have a great 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 as 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 comes out.
There was a great draft matchup in the trenches with Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown going against the all-star Georgia offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Thomas and Brown could both go in the top 10 next April with left guard Solomon Kindley also having first-round potential.
They were battling each other hard in the first half with both players getting some victories. Brown was handled well by Georgia center Trey Hill on Fromm's long touchdown pass. However, Brown bounced back to bull rush through Kindley to bat down a pass after getting penetration into the backfield. He got off a block from Kindley to get a tackle in the hole. Brown later got off the blocks from the right guard and center to close up the hole to limit a gain to just a yard.
Thomas, meanwhile, was beaten for a sack by Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson in the opening quarter. Davidson got leverage into the chest of Thomas and bulled into the pocket before disengaging to chase down Fromm. Thomas came back to win pass protection blocks and opened some big holes in the ground game. Showing his quickness and athleticism, Thomas was getting to blocks on the second level and providing space for his backs to get to the secondary.
This game was not a dominant performance for Brown, Thomas or Kindley. They all battled each hard with some wins and losses. This trio will probably all be starting in the NFL next fall, as they are excellent talents with plug-and-play potential. During their rookie contracts, this trio could also be seeing each other at the NFL Pro Bowl.
Georgia running back D'Andre Swift is the favorite to be the first running back drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Swift was running hard early, but in the second quarter, he was stripped of the ball and was lucky a teammate recovered his fumble. After that, Swift was gashing the Auburn defense on many carries. Swift totaled 106 yards on 17 carries.
Swift ran well against a tough Auburn defense, showing his speed to get upfield quickly with excellent cutting and moves in the open field to dodge tacklers. Generally, Swift has had good ball security so as long as the fumbling doesn't rear up in the final games of the 2019 season, Swift shouldn't be hurt by this tape.
Clemson 52, Wake Forest 3
Clemson running back Travis Etienne continued his strong season by crushing over Wake Forest. Etienne went up the middle almost untouched for 10 yards in the opening quarter and then banged his way over the goal line for a 14-yard touchdown. Etienne ran for 121 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. He had his way with the Wake Forest defense.
Etienne is a speed back who has receiving ability to go along with being a dangerous runner. He may not have the size to be a three-down bell-cow back in the NFL, but Etienne could be a starter as part of a running back rotation that fits well in a passing offense. Etienne could be worthy of a second- or third-round pick.
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins helped win this game for the Tigers by halftime. Higgins finished the initial drive by getting open in the front of the end zone to use his big frame for a 14-yard touchdown. Higgins then used his tall frame and leaping ability to make a touchdown reception over two defensive backs for another 14-yard scoring snatch. After a Jamie Newman interception, Higgins struck again this time with a 30-yard touchdown. Higgins ran a nice route to the corner of the end zone before slashing back across the middle to get open for the score. That ended his game, as Higgins finished with four receptions for 64 yards and his three scores.
Higgins is a big wideout who has mismatch size with strong hands and quality route-running. If Higgins runs well in the 40, he could really rise.
Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman has created a buzz in the scouting community for being a pro prospect, but Newman was completely outgunned by Clemson. Newman showed some of his good skill set, but the Tigers defense was too talented to let Newman establish any kind of rhythm as his offensive line was incapable of blocking the Tigers defense and the Wake Forest receivers were completely smothered.
On Wake Forest's second possession Newman showed poor field vision as he starred down a receiver on the left sideline and that led to Clemson safety Tanner Muse undercutting the route to make a leaping interception. After that pick, Newman was under fire getting hammered by the blitz and not having any of his receivers get off coverage to get open. Newman then threw to a well-covered receiver downfield and the ball was up for grabs while being underthrown. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell made a leaping interception for Newman's second turnover of the half and essentially end this game before halftime.
Newman completed 6-of-14 passes for 41 yards with the two interceptions. Newman has a good arm with mobility and size, but he should return for his senior year to develop before going pro.
Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but that may have changed in this Pyrrhic victory over Mississippi State. Tagovailoa suffered what looks a very serious hip injury, which is a dangerous spot for a football player to get injured. His status was not known or revealed publicly by the end of the game, but needless to say, it will have a huge impact on his draft status and the 2020 NFL Draft class if it turns out to be a major injury.
The injury happened late in the second quarter with just three minutes until halftime and Alabama up 35-7. It looked like backup quarterback Mac Jones was going to come in the game, but head coach Nick Saban said Alabama wanted to practice their 2-minute offense with Tagovailoa prior to ending his day. Tagovailoa scrambled out of the pocket and was tackled from behind by two defenders. He went down hard with his helmet coming off and Tagovailoa was in a lot of pain, including a bloody nose to go with the painful hip. Tagovailoa couldn't put any weight on his right leg as trainers were going to help him limp off the field, but they brought the cart out to take him into the locker room. The initial report was a right hip injury with Tagovailoa going in for X-rays. Tagovailoa was eventually flown to the hospital.
Prior to the injury, Tagovailoa was playing well as one could expect. Tagovailoa threw a beautiful ball down the middle seam on the opening drive to Jerry Jeudy for 38 yards. Tagovailoa showed off his accuracy, dropping the ball in over the head of Mississippi State linebacker Erroll Thompson and in front of the deep safeties. That set up a short rushing touchdown for Najee Harris. After a Mississippi State interception, Tagovailoa quickly had a short checkdown touchdown pass too Harris. Tagovailoa then found a wide open Jaylen Waddle for a 35-yard touchdown. Tagovailoa was 14-of-18 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Even if Tagovailoa will be forced to miss part of his rookie season, he still looks like a lock to be a top-20 pick. A serious injury might cause teams to prefer another quarterback prospect like Oregon's Justin Herbert, but there are enough quarterback-needy teams in the NFL that will jump at the chance of landing him. Tagovailoa is a legitimate top-of-the-draft franchise-changing quarterback prospect. Thus, he will have plenty of teams still hoping to land him even if his rookie year is lost to injury.
This game turned out to be a bloodbath for Alabama, as their best interior defensive lineman went out as well. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis is an early-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he got hurt in the first quarter when he had a coverage sack, but it turned out to be a bad play as he had a facemark and suffered an injury on the play. He returned to the game shortly later, but Davis inured his left leg while putting a hit on the quarterback, and this time, he was helped off the field without putting any weight on his leg. He came back to the sideline in the second half but was on crutches with his foot and ankle in a boot.
Davis is a phenomenal run defender who can contribute a little bit in the pass rush, but is more of a lineman who occupies blockers and defends the run. He does not offer a lot of pass-rush ability for the NFL, but he could be a good nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4. In a 3-4, he also could play five-technique defensive end. If this injury is serious, it could push Davis lower into day two and really hurt his chances of being a first-round pick.
Alabama running back Najee Harris has been on a hot streak lately, and that continued against Mississippi State. Harris showed his speed to hit the hole and power to finish runs as controlled the ball for the Crimson Tide to put the game out of reach. Harris had three short rushing touchdowns in the first half to go along with his touchdown catch. Harris totaled 88 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns on the ground to go with three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.
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 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.
Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill could join Harris as a day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hill has ran hard this season, but the lack of passing attack has hurt the rushing looks he's had to work with. That continued against Alabama, as the Crimson Tide sold out to stop Hill, limiting him to 35 yards on 16 carries with three receptions for 21 yards.
Hill had a pretty play running a corner post out of the backfield in the early going, and he got open running towards the end zone. The pass was off the mark, but Hill made an excellent adjustment to reel in a diving reception just a few yards from the end zone. An accurate pass would have gone for a touchdown. A few plays later, Hill dived into the end zone.
Hill could be a three-down starter for the NFL, as he is a tough runner who has speed to hit the hole with quick feet to dodge tacklers and redirect through trash. Like all college backs, Hill will need some development in pass protection, but he has potential there and is a quality receiver out of the backfield. He could be a nice value pick for a team on the second day of the draft.
Mississippi State linebacker Erroll Thompson is a good college linebacker, but he has some limitations. He is a tough run defender who is a big linebacker with strength, tackling technique, and an ability to take on blocks. However, he has limitations in pass coverage, and this tape gave more proof of that. Thompson struggled to run with Najee Harris on routes out of the backfield, and he also was not natural in zone coverage in space. Prior to the NFL being a passing-driven league, Thompson could have been a staring inside linebacker, but now he looks limited to being a backup who plays two downs against run-heavy offenses.
TCU 33, Texas Tech 31
TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor is a dangerous big-play threat for the NFL. However, he has had a frustrating season, as the Horned Frogs have struggled to get him the ball, thanks to streaky quarterback play. Reagor played well in this contest, but once again, his output was limited by the inaccuracy of passes downfield.
Reagor showed a nice run after the catch on a bubble screen for 17 yards to start the game. Reagor then ran a deep post to get open for a 55-yard touchdown, as Reagor burned the cornerback to get wide open. In the third quarter, Reagor got wide open deep down the field for a long touchdown, but the pass was off the mark and fell incomplete on what would have been a 54-yard touchdown with an accurate pass. Reagor got open for a short touchdown reception racing across the field, but a penalty canceled it out.
Reagor totaled three receptions for 83 yards with a touchdown. He could be a DeSean Jackson-type deep threat that stretches defenses vertically and takes the top off the defense. Team sources say that Reagor has quality character and has not been a negative presence despite the struggles at quarterback this year. Even with smaller numbers this season, Reagor could be a first- or second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks has been enjoying an excellent season, and he entered this contest having already surpassed 100 tackles on the year. He made a few tackles in the early going and was showing his sideline-to-sideline speed with read-and-react skills. Brooks did a nice job of killing a run by the TCU quarterback by spying him and chasing him out of bounds near the line of scrimmage. Brooks, however, was knocked out of the game shortly later with an undisclosed injury and did not return.
Brooks has some debate as a prospect in speaking with different team evaluators. Some team sources see Brooks as a second-round pick, while others have him as a third- or fourth-rounder. Some think he is a true inside linebacker, while others think he is a Will (weakside) linebacker for the NFL. The ones that have him lower think Brooks is athletic and fast, but has average instincts and does not take on blocks well. Regardless, Brooks will probably be a day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if his injury isn't significant.
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