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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Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 21
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is a future high first-round pick with top-three potential. He had a record-setting performance of domination against Wisconsin earlier this season. In the rematch, Wisconsin was consumed with not letting Young wreck the game, and they did a respectable job of keeping him in check.
The Badgers had a great game plan to neutralize Young, as they used a three-step drop and quick passing to not give Young time to get to the quarterback. Wisconsin also was much more effective running the ball, and that also held Young back for three quarters. Late in the fourth quarter, however, Young finally saw a single block on a deep drop, and he came inches away from a strip-sack. Young then had a tackle for a loss on a fourth-and-2 run by Jonathan Taylor to clinch the win for Ohio State.
As a pass rusher, Young has an innate ability to get after the quarterback. He has a quick first step with a nice get off that gets offensive tackles on their heels. Young has quickness around the edge and is able to close on the quarterback quickly. Young shows functional athleticism to sink his hips and dip under tackles to beat their blocks. He also is effective working to the inside as he has some strength to execute a rip move to the inside and also is able to knock tackles off balance with a hard shove and then cut to the inside to collapse the pocket. Young shows nice vision to keep his eyes on the quarterback, and that along with his athleticism allows him to redirect for chasing down scrambling signal callers. Young is a balanced pass rusher and should continue to improve as he gains experience. For the NFL, Young looks like a potential double-digit sack producer who is a No. 1 edge rusher for a defense to be built around.
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has been dominating teams to close out the 2019 season, but Dobbins had fumbles against Penn State and Michigan in November games, so it was important for Dobbins to show ball security in the Big Ten Championship. Not only was he able to do that versus Wisconsin, but Dobbins continued to show his durability with another heavy workload against a tough defense.
Dobbins ran for 172 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown, and that was after toting the ball 31 times a week earlier versus Michigan with 36 carries the game before that against Penn State. Dobbins' toughness is tremendous to handle 100 carries over a three-week span. On top of the heavy workload, Dobbins showed quickness to hit the hole, cutting ability to weave around defenders, and strength to finish his runs well. This tape will help him to be an early-round pick.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is a potential NFL starter, but Ohio State's defense put the clamps on Taylor and held him to 52 yards on 20 carries in the first meeting this season. This game was quickly better than the first meeting, as Taylor took a carry up the middle and burst down the field for a 45-yard touchdown after dodging an ankle tackle from Jeff Okudah.
Taylor continued to run well throughout the first half, and just before halftime, he exploded down the sideline using his stiff-arm to get free for a run just over 40 yards. Taylor had 135 yards on 13 carries at intermission and he was having his way with the Ohio State offense. In the second half, however, it was a completely different story, as Taylor had only 13 yards on seven rushes in the final two quarters.
Still, Taylor gave the NFL a good tape, showing his ability to be a starter at the professional level. He is a tough runner who can pick up yards after contact. He also has good vision, contact balance, cutting ability, and a burst to the hole with the ability to accelerate downfield. He looks like a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Clemson 62, Virginia 17
Clemson outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons looks like a future top-20 pick, and this tape will help that cause. Simmons had excellent pass coverage in the second quarter, running down the seam to help a teammate and break up a pass dropping in over the top. The next play, he fired to the line of scrimmage to make a tackle for a gain of two to set up a third-and-long. Simmons later picked off the Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins for a 22-yard return. Simmons dropped into zone, and Perkins didn't see him with Simmons making an easy catch on a ball that floated right to him.
Simmons was going sideline-to-sideline with his great speed and plus instincts to stay around the ball. He is a steady tackler with the size and physicality to handle NFL running backs. Simmons covered a ton of ground in zone coverage, showing the ability to play man and help on receivers. That is a phenomenal attribute for the NFL and makes Simmons very valuable in the passing-driven NFL as an outside linebacker that can cover like a safety
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins continued his superb finish to the season in the ACC Championship. On the Tigers' first drive, Higgins caught a pass in the flat and broke a tackle to coast into the end zone. Higgins was then well covered running across the end zone, but he used his size and length to shield the defensive back away from the ball to make a short touchdown catch. Higgins had a big catch to move adjust to a poor throw to get downfield and then he got open on a slant for an 11-yard touchdown. Higgins totaled nine receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns.
For the NFL, Higgins is a big wideout who has mismatch size with strong hands and quality route-running. Higgins has superb length and height that makes him a dangerous mismatch. Even when defensive backs run with him, he makes catches over them, using his height and long arms. Higgins was superb to close out this season. If Higgins runs well in the 40, he could really rise, but if he has an average 40 time, he should be in the day-two conversation.
Clemson safety Tanner Muse gave some proof as to why he is more of a day-three prospect, as he had some ugly plays against Virginia. Muse, in the early going, gave up a long reception downfield and missed a tackle in space. On the next drive, a slot receiver ran right by him to get open in the end zone for a score from about 20 yards out. Even though he has gotten some media hype, Muse has some limitations for the NFL, and this game gives proof to that.
LSU 37, Georgia 10
After the injury to Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, LSU's Joe Burrow has become the favorite to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, as has dominated the SEC this season. That continued in the conference's championship game, as Burrow led the Tigers to cruise over Georgia with Burrow having his way with one of the best defenses in college football.
Burrow led a scoring drive using his arm and his legs in the opening quarter. He caught a batted pass and took off on a run of more than 10 yards and then found a few open receivers. To end the scoring drive, he had all day to throw versus a three-man rush, and he eventually lofted in a pass to Ja'Marr Chase who was covered closely by Georgia safety J.R. Reed. Burrow's pass was well located for Chase to cradle the ball into his chest for a 23-yard score. Shortly later, Burrow threw a short touchdown pass to a wide open receiver as the Georgia secondary blew the coverage.
Burrow avoided a few sacks in the third quarter, running all around the backfield and then rolling out to loft in a completion deep downfield to Justin Jefferson. Jefferson added more yards to the reception for a 71-yard gain. To put the game away a few plays later, Burrow hit a quick slant for a short touchdown strike. After a Bulldogs turnover, Burrow found Jefferson wide open for a short touchdown to put LSU up by 31 entering the fourth quarter.
Throughout the game, Burrow used his feet to pick up some critical yards and conversions on the ground, as he was using his feet to dodge sacks while extending the time his receivers had to get open. Burrow finished completing 28-of-38 for 349 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. His decision-making and ball security were superb. He also ran for 41 critical yards.
This tape will help Burrow to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, as he dominated one of the best defenses in college football. Burrow has the ability to play in the NFL, as he has quality size with a strong enough arm, accuracy as a passer, and some functional mobility with an ability to pick up some critical yards on the ground. Burrow has had good decision-making and developed field vision to work through his progressions while reading defenses well. That could be seen against Georgia, as Burrow's decisions were superb. Burrow has been an excellent distributor of the ball with a loaded offense of playmakers. Team sources who have scouted Burrow in person say that he has some physical limitations. They say his arm strength and overall skill set is similar to that of Andy Dalton or Derek Carr. He also is a one-year wonder, as multiple team evaluators have pointed out, but regardless of all of that, his amazing season has him as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick next April.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm could join Burrow as a first-round quarterback prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft, and he has been an excellent game manager throughout his collegiate career. As a junior, Fromm has had some underwhelming games that haven't helped his draft stock, and this performance was not overly impressive. Fromm wasn't helped by his receivers, as they dropped some big completions and struggled to get open, but Fromm also had some misses and bad passes.
On the first play from scrimmage, Fromm laid out a deep ball down the middle of the field for a long gain, but the pass was dropped. Fromm placed it in beautifully, but his receiver couldn't hold on to what should have been a huge play for Georgia. Fromm had a few completions to lead a field goal drive and was in position for points just before halftime, but he had a poorly placed pass picked off by LSU cornerback Derek Stingley. Stingley was running stride-for-stride with a receiver down the sideline, and Fromm's pass was too short and underthrown to fall into the breadbasket of LSU's star freshman cornerback. It was a bad pass by Fromm that took away a scoring opportunity for Georgia.
Fromm made a clutch throw to convert a fourth-and-8 that got the ball inside the Tigers 20 midway through the third quarter, but the drive stalled to settle for a field goal. Fromm then threw an out route and made his pass too obvious with Stingley jumping the route for an interception.
Fromm eventually threw a short touchdown pass to an open receiver in garbage time. Fromm located the pass well for either a leaping score or incompletion. Fromm completed 20-of-42 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Fromm does not have a great skill set, but he is generally an accurate passer in the short to intermediate part of the field. He makes good decisions and manages the game well. In this game, Fromm's accuracy was off, but that hasn't always been the case. 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. Fromm has been a winner throughout his college career, which will also help. Thus, Fromm has a good shot to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if he declares.
LSU safety Grant Delpit is the favorite to be the first safety taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he had an eventful performance against Georgia. On the first play from scrimmage, Delpit had coverage in the deep part of the field, but allowed a receiver to get past him and open for a long gain. However, Delpit got lucky the pass was dropped. Delpit later came on a blitz and flew into the backfield to get a sack with a blistering hit on Fromm.
Delpit was called for a pass interference in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Delpit had to grab the tight end to prevent him getting open for a touchdown. It was a broken play to a degree that was tough for Delpit to defend.
Overall, Delpit was solid, but not overly impressive. He is a versatile safety who can contribute in coverage and is an asset defending the run. While he has the ability to play some free safety, he looks more natural being the eighth man in the box and playing zone coverage as a strong safety closer to the line of scrimmage.
Oklahoma 30, Baylor 23
With a vigorous comeback, Oklahoma beat Baylor in their first meeting without star receiver CeeDee Lamb. If the Sooners had been without Lamb in the Big 12 Championship, they probably would have lost, as Lamb came through with some huge plays to produce points for Oklahoma.
Lamb made his presence felt right away when he caught a quick out three yards past the line of scrimmage, but then Lamb showed his tremendous run-after-the-catch skills, spinning away from a tackler, accelerating past a few Bears defenders, spinning away from another tackle, and then charging inside the 10-yard line before being taken down. It was a 71-yard gain on a short pass and set up a rushing touchdown for Oklahoma. On the next drive, Lamb got open crossing the field in zone coverage, and Jalen Hurts lofted the ball in for a 26-yard gain.
Lamb got open on a wheel route for a gain of about 20, and he had another gain of close to 20 after sitting down in zone coverage to move the ball inside the 10-yard line. Lamb later got open on a crossing route for a gain of about 20 yards. Lamb totaled 173 yards on eight receptions in the Big 12 Championship.
Lamb has made the most of his opportunities this season to help his draft standing despite having a limited quarterback who struggles as a passer. 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. However, Lamb has lots of tape showing his good hands, route-running and phenomenal run-after-the-catch skills. Lamb looks like a top-25 pick entering the draft season.
Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray is a future first-round pick, and he had a mixed performance in the Big 12 Championship. Murray was around the ball, patrolling sideline-to-sideline and getting in on tackles to limit the Baylor rushing attack. Murray blasted Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer in the second quarter on a rollout pass. Murray showed his blazing speed and hunted down Brewer from the backside with a punishing hit into the turf that ended up knocking Brewer out of the game.
Murray, however, took a bad angle on a run by JaMychal Hasty to let him get to the sideline for a good gain. A few plays later, Murray read a play well to make an open-field tackle on a run by the Baylor quarterback, but he was shaken up on the play with an injured leg.
Murray returned to the field shortly later, but he didn't look like himself, as he was partially responsible for allowing an 81-yard touchdown. The running back leaked behind Murray down the middle seam and then ran by the Sooners secondary for a huge score. Murray looked hobbled running down the field, so perhaps he should not have been allowed to reenter the game.
Prior to that injury, Murray was doing a nice job in pass coverage in the middle of the field, covering a lot of ground in zone and picking up receivers that came into his area. He did a solid job of covering backs out of the backfield as well.
Some NFL team sources think Murray could be a Mike (middle) linebacker or a Will (weakside) linebacker. 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 to let him be a seek-and-destroy defender. Either way, the team evaluators were in agreement that Murray is a future first-rounder, and some think he could go top-10.
Oregon 37, Utah 15
The Utes have have a tough defense with a lot of day-three talent for the 2020 NFL Draft at each level of the Utah stop unit. Thus, they were a quality test for Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert used his legs and arm early on to move the ball on a touchdown drive to set the tone for the Ducks offense. Herbert lofted in a pretty pass downfield for a gain of about 45 yards, as he had a receiver streaking open. Later in the first half, Herbert found a receiver wide open in busted coverage for a 45-yard touchdown. Herbert then threw a bad pass to a well-covered receiver in the end zone, and he was fortunate that an interception wasn't caught. Herbert should have thrown the ball away, as there wasn't a window to complete a pass.
Herbert had a number of passes off the mark in the third quarter, and it was almost two full quarters between completions from Herbert. In the penultimate game of his collegiate career, Herbert completed 14-of-26 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. It was the running of C.J. Verdell that led Oregon to a win over Utah.
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, as he is a quiet individual, which is a problem for some teams that want a vocal leader at quarterback. This draft analyst also questions Herbert's ability to rise to the occasion in pressure-packed situations and lead his team to victory against tough opponents. Regardless of those concerns, Herbert looks like a lock for the top 10 next April.
Utah running back Zack Moss is a future pro contributor who could be a starting running back early in his NFL career. Moss has been the workhorse of the Utes' offense, and he put together another impressive performance in the Pac-12 Championship.
In the second quarter, Moss had a tremendous run that was very impressive. He started to his right with no hole open, but Moss used excellent vision to see space in the left side of the field open up. He was able to reverse field and then accelerate downfield for a gain of 42 yards. Moss then caught a pass in the flat and weaved his way downfield before bouncing off a tackler and maintaining his feet to get in the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown catch.
Moss churned out some tough yards all night, showing his excellent power to run through tackles and contact balance to maintain his feet while getting hit by defenders. Moss totaled 113 yards on 19 carrels with four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.
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 with 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.
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