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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LSU 42, Clemson 25
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a near lock to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and his performance against Clemson should help to cement that status. After a slow start, Burrow came alive to lead the Tigers offense to a national championship and an undefeated season. It was a fairytale ending to Burrow's Cinderella story and Heisman season.
Clemson's defense did a nice job of keeping Burrow from getting settled on the first three drives, as they pressured him into some incompletions and blanketed the receivers to keep them from breaking fee. Late in the first quarter, however, Burrow found his star receiver Ja'Marr Chase getting open with some late separation from A.J. Terrell to haul in a 52-yard touchdown. Burrow had good ball location to let Chase run under it for the score.
Burrow used his legs for a gain of nearly 20 yards on the next drive, and while that possession stalled, Burrow used his feet to score on a third-and-goal later in the second quarter. Just before halftime, Burrow took off on a critical run of 29 yards to get near the 5-yard line. He then found tight end Thaddeus Moss was wide open for a short touchdown. After a slow start, Burrow ripped off four touchdowns to put LSU up 28-17 at halftime.
Burrow was fortunate to have a pass off the mark get dropped by a Clemson defender for what should have been an interception in the third quarter, but Burrow bounced back to throw another short touchdown pass to Moss. Burrow then had a beautiful play scrambling up in the pocket and then lofting in a dump off over a defender to lead his receiver for a big gain. The next play, Burrow had a well placed deep ball into the end zone dropped by Chase, but early in the fourth quarter, Burrow threw a jump ball up for grabs and his receiver Terrace Marshall rewarded him by pulling it in for the score. Burrow finished completing 31-of-49 passes for 463 yards with five touchdowns and running for 58 yards on 14 carries with a score.
Burrow has shown that he 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 Clemson as Burrow's decisions were very good. He didn't miss many open receivers and had good placement on the vast majority of his passes.
Burrow was a superb distributor of the ball in 2019 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 a 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 this April and winning the National Championship will serve to confirm that.
Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell has received some second-round grades from some team evaluators, and this tape gives proof of why Terrell is not a first-round pick, as he was absolutely torched by LSU. Terrell got away with a bit of a hold to slow up Ja'Marr Chase on the opening drive, and that helped produced some tight coverage that led to an incompletion. Terrell then had blanket coverage on a pass downfield and used his length to slap the pass away for an incompletion to force a punt. After that, Chase dominated Terrell in embarrassing fashion.
Just before the second quarter, Chase pushed free of Terrell deep down the field for a 52-yard touchdown. Chase did it again to Terrell on a 56-yard gain down the sideline, and Terrell was fortunate he got Chase to the ground. Chase later ran by Terrell again to get open for a short touchdown. After faking a block, Chase juked Terrell to get open down the sideline again for a big completion. Chase caught nine passes for 221 yards and two scores with the vast majority of that yardage coming at the expense of Terrell.
While Terrell is big, he has some stiffness and the vertical speed of Chase was too much for Terrell to run with downfield. This tape is definitely going to hurt his draft grade during the spring as it illustrates some serious weaknesses for Terrell.
Terrell was not the only cover corner to hurt his draft grade in this contest, as Clemson really picked on LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton. On the second play from scrimmage, Fulton was beaten by Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross at the line of scrimmage as he swam over Fulton and cut to the inside to get open over the top for a gain of 35 yards. Fulton bounced back to have tight coverage on Tee Higgins, as he ran a deep route downfield. Higgins then got a step on Fulton running vertically and Fulton was flagged for a pass interference, as he held Higgins to keep him from breaking away.
Minutes later, Fulton had a good open field tackle in zone on a third down to keep Clemson from getting a first down, but he allowed Ross to get open on a comeback route and then had Higgins flat out run him over around the six-yard line before Higgins darted into the end zone. Fulton later had an interception after interfering with Justyn Ross, and the officials correctly called the penalty.
This tape reminded me of Fulton's performance against Texas early in the 2019 season. Fulton does a nice job of running with receivers and keeping close coverage, but he struggles to finish as wideouts get late separation or pull away from him at the end of routes. Fulton has tendency to get too physical and he could have pass interference penalty issues in the NFL. Fulton could be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but multiple team sources told me they graded him in the second round and this tape will serve to validate that grade and hurt his chances of being a Thursday night pick.
Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons is a future first-round pick, and he played well to finish off his tremendous 2019 season. Simmons came off the edge unblocked on the second drive, and he started a tackle for a loss on a running play. Two plays later, Simmons fired up the middle of a blitz to get a pressure that forced an incompletion. Simmons then had tight coverage on a back out of the field to force an incompletion. In the third quarter, Simmons used his speed to get around the left side and take Burrow down for a sack. Simmons is a heat-seeking missile to fly around the football field with rare coverage skills for a linebacker. This tape will help him to go in the top-20 next April.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne was probably playing in his final collegiate game, as he will be an early-round selection in the 2020 draft. In the third quarter, Etienne had a few tough runs up the middle including a 3-yard touchdown where he pushed through the arms of defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence. He totaled 78 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Etienne has a chance at going in the first round but is more likely to be a second-round pick. Etienne is speed slashing back for the NFL that is well suited to passing offense.
LSU safety Grant Delpit is in the running to be the first safety drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, but this tape was mixed. On the first drive of the game, Delpit helped get his defense off the field with a sack coming on a delayed blitz. Delpit, however, had a face mask penalty that helped Clemson get across midfield. Delpit then drove down hard to dish out a blistering hit on Higgins, but the big Clemson wideout held onto the ball. A few plays later, Delpit missed a tackle on a run up the middle by Travis Etienne. Delpit then basically put the game away with a forced fumble on a hard tackle of Trevor Lawrence that was recovered by Derek Stingley to clinch the championship victory for LSU. While Delpit has gotten a lot of media hype, his junior season was not as good as his sophomore year. Thus, Delpit will need to test well in the lead up to the draft.
Oregon 28, Wisconsin 27
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert could be a high first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but his Rose Bowl performance won't help his chances of being of the first 10 selections, as he really struggled as a passer. Herbert made some clutch runs, but overall this was a disappointing performance for the NFL.
On the first drive, Herbert showed his arm strength and accuracy, throwing well to the sideline and down the middle of the field. He ended the drive by running the ball into the end zone on a zone-read run. On the next possession, Herbert tried to throw a short quick slant, but a Badgers linebacker made a leaping interception. Shortly later, Herbert did a poor job in the pocket of feeling the rush and failed to notice his running back had a tough one-on-one block. Herbert had time to get rid of the ball, but he held on too long and took a sack.
Hebert added a second rushing touchdown in the second quarter from a few yards out, but for a lot of the middle portion of the game, Oregon struggled to string drives together as Wisconsin's dynamic blitzing defense had Herbert off rhythm and unable to settled into any passing groove. Early in the fourth quarter, Herbert took another disastrous sack on a roll out on a third-and-2. Nothing was open, and Herbert had to throw the ball away as the Ducks were in Wisconsin territory to go for it on fourth down, but Herbert held onto the ball too long, taking the sack, which forced an Oregon punt.
Herbert caught a break when Wisconsin fumbled the ball away, and on the next play, Herbert took off around the right side for a 30-yard touchdown run. Herbert finished completing 14-of-20 passes for 138 yards with an interception. He ran for three scores and 29 yards.
This Rose Bowl tape will hurt Herbert with pro evaluators. They will see him holding the ball too long repeatedly and taking bad sacks. He was rattled by the Badgers' blitzing defense and did not see the field well. Herbert has the skill set of a No. 1-overall pick, but his passing ability is not of the same caliber.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is a potential first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and this loss was a sour note for the end of Taylor's collegiate career. In the first quarter, Taylor dropped a pass in the flat, but then started ripping off some good runs to the second level, showing his speed to hit the hole. He used tremendous patience on a short-yardage run as there was no hole, but he paused and used his vision to notice a crease to the right to dive ahead for the first down. Later on the drive, he used his patience and vision again to bounce a run to the outside for a gain of almost 20 yards.
In the second quarter, Oregon linebacker Troy Dye was able to get his arm into the chest of Taylor while he was being stuffed in a pile, successfully ripping the ball away for a fumble that the Ducks recovered. It was Taylor's 18th fumble of his collegiate career - with 15 of them being recovered by the opposition, according to ESPN.
In the third quarter, Taylor made a superb catch on a pass that was underthrown, and he caught it at thigh height while reaching behind him before accelerating downfield for a gain of 34 yards. Taylor totaled 94 yards on 21 carries and had two receptions for 43 yards.
Overall, Taylor should not be hurt significantly by this tape even though he had a fumble. He is getting a first-round grade from a lot of teams in the league and is in the running to be the first running back selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Alabama 35, Michigan 16
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is still held in high regard despite the Crimson Tide spreading the ball around more in 2019. The attention that Jeudy demanded, allowed for other wideouts to have breakout years while Jeudy stayed a steady contributor. In what was probably his final college game, Jeudy put on a show for pro evaluators, dominating Michigan as the best player on the field from start to finish.
On Alabama's first possession, Jeudy used his game-changing speed to burn the Michigan secondary on a deep post to get wide open for an 85-yard touchdown. Later in the first quarter, Jeudy got open in zone and used his run-after-the-catch skills to create more positive yardage for a gain of about 20 yards. He made a key conversion early in the fourth quarter after running a good route to get wide open for a first down. On the very next play, Jeudy ran a deep cross and made the catch before turning upfield for a gain of 58 yards.
This tape will help Jeudy to be a top-five pick, and he looks like a lock for the top-10 choices. Jeudy looks like a future NFL No. 1 wide receiver who could have Pro Bowl potential. He is a home run hitter and point producer who is a coverage nightmare for defenses. The first attribute that jumps out about Jeudy is speed. He is a fast wideout who is a game breaker. Beyond his fast first-step, Jeudy has a second gear to accelerate down the field and stretch defenses over the top. He can run by double coverage and score from anywhere on the field. After the catch, Jeudy is excellent. He is very elusive in the open field with phenomenal feet to dodge tacklers, stop/start, and cut through the secondary. Jeudy's yards-after-the-catch skills in combination with his speed make him very dangerous to turn a short reception into a long gain. Team sources have raved about Jeudy's route-runningm and while his hands aren't tremendous, he is steady. Jeudy is a game changer who could make a big difference for his NFL team as soon as his rookie season.
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has generated some media hype, but has not developed into a prospect for the top half of 2020 NFL Draft. In the early going of this bowl, Patterson had a number of passes off the mark, including overthrows when struggling to fit the ball into some tight windows. He also was lucky not to have thrown an interception when he tossed a ball up for grabs, with Alabama cornerback Josh Jobe being denied the pick thanks to a good play made by the Wolverines receiver. Later on, Patterson wasn't so lucky, as Jobe snatched an interception - as did Shyheim Carter. Patterson completed only 17-of-37 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Patterson has a skill set with a strong arm and mobility, but he looks like a third-day prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft who should be a third-string competitor to see if he can improve enough to be considered a backup. Patterson's field vision and composure need a lot of work, as he often gets flustered when his first read is covered. Patterson has to improve going through his progressions and finding his receivers aside from the first read. Along with those issues, Patterson needs to improve his accuracy significantly. He has a long ways to go for the pros.
Alabama running back Najee Harris finished his excellent close to the season by running for 136 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns against the Wolverines. In the second quarter, Harris made an impressive run that saw him leap over the goal line while taking a hit in the air. He churned out tough yards going through contact and pounding the Michigan defense.
For the NFL, Harris is a big back who has some quickness and athleticism. He had not run to his size over the past few seasons, looking to bounce too many carries to the outside rather than using his power to run behind his pads in a physical manner. In the second half of 2019, especially against LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and now Michigan, Harris aggressively ran 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.
Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown was playing in his final college game before likely being a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Brown didn't have to play in this game, but he wanted to join his teammates one last time, and as usual, he was impressive.
The Tigers seemed to be protecting Brown, as they were rotating him out of game consistently in the early going, but as the game progressed, he took on more snaps. When he was in the game, Minnesota was steadily sending double teams to Brown, but he had some nice plays to hold his ground and create some easy tackles for his teammates. At the end of the first quarter, Brown burst through the line to get a third-down pressure that helped force an incompletion.
In the second quarter on a third-and-goal at the one, Brown powered through the line to get into the backfield and blow up the play to force a fourth-and-goal. He made a similar play in the third quarter where he bulled his blocker into the backfield and then spun around to make the tackle.
Brown has a freakish combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism. He is a load against the run and a capable interior pass-rusher. Multiple team sources told me before the season that Brown would have gone ahead of Christian Wilkins and Ed Oliver if he had entered the 2019 NFL Draft, and this tape will help to reinforce that opinion.
Minnesota senior wide receiver Tyler Johnson was playing in his final college game, and he was impressive while playing against one of the best defenses he faced all year. In the first quarter, Johnson had a gain of 17 yards after getting open in zone coverage. Later in the first quarter, Johnson got open for another 17 yards on a crossing route to get separation versus man coverage. That moved the ball inside the 20-yard line and set up a Gophers touchdown on the next play.
In the second quarter, Johnson ran a post in the middle of the field on which he climbed the ladder to make a leaping catch for 29 yards with defenders closing down on him. It was a courageous and impressive catch from Johnson. To end the drive, he caught a slant to to set up and first-and-goal and then made a leaping one-handed touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to give Minnesota a 24-17 halftime lead.
Johnson had a 40-yard reception called back on a holding penalty in the third quarter. However early in the fourth quarter, there were no flags to deny him, as Johnson torched a cornerback on a deep post route to get wide open deep down the field. The ball was lofted in, and Johnson sprinted into the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown.
On the next possession, Johnson had another good gain on a crossing route, showing his yards-after-the-catch ability. Johnson was the Gophers MVP in their huge upset over the Tigers, totaling 204 yards on 12 receptions and two touchdowns. This tape will definitely help Johnson's draft grade as he dominated the Auburn secondary.
For the NFL, Johnson is not a speed demon or a twitchy stop-start receiver. But he is a tough wideout who runs good routes, has solid natural hands, is dangerous after the catch, and very tough. Johnson has good size and enough quickness to contribute. He could be a solid possessional and No. 2 receiver. Johnson looks safe to be selected on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Clemson 29, Ohio State 23
Even though Ohio State shut down the rushing attack, Clemson running back Travis Etienne was the prospect who helped himself the most in this semifinal grudge match by coming through with two huge plays as a receiver that made the difference in his team returning to the National Championship.
Etienne scored a nifty touchdown run in the second quarter, breaking a tackle by safety Jordan Fuller in the flat, darting past a few defenders, and then banging over the goal line after absorbing a hit from Jeff Okudah. In the third quarter, Etienne caught a screen pass and exploded down the field for a 53-yard touchdown. With less than two minutes remaining, Etienne snuck behind the line and got open for a dump-off pass. He exploded down the middle of the field after making the catch, scoring a 34-yard touchdown that gave Clemson the win. Etienne ran for 36 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, but as a receiver, he was dynamic, making three receptions for 98 yards and two scores.
The passing-driven NFL will love seeing what Etienne can do in space with his natural receiving skills and ability to turn a check down into a game-changing play. Even though he is not big and powerful, Etienne could get late first-round consideration in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is a future high first-round pick with top-three potential, but Clemson did a solid job of keeping him from wrecking the game. The Tigers sent double teams his direction, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence seemed very cognizant of Young and concentrated on keeping plays away from him while getting the ball out in a timely fashion.
In the second quarter, Young joined defensive back Shaun Wade to deliver a blistering hit on Lawrence for a sack. Young beat the double team on that play, pushing through the right tackle and running back to get to the quarterback. In the third quarter, Young did a text book job of defending a zone-read run by Lawrence, forcing Lawrence back to the inside to the rest of defense to keep the play to a short gain. Shortly later, Young used his speed to fly around the corner, and that forced Lawrence to step up into the pocket, where he was sacked.
While the semi-final was not a prolific performance from Young, it won't change his draft status and he should go as a top-three choice next April. Where he goes in those picks depends on the quarterback selections and/or trades at the top of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has dominated teams to close out the 2019 season. In the Big Ten Championship versus Wisconsin, Dobbins had 33 carries with a touchdown, and that was after toting the ball 31 times a week earlier versus Michigan and taking 36 carries against Penn State in the previous game. Dobbins' toughness is tremendous to handle 100 carries over a 3-week span. While he didn't carry the ball as much versus Clemson, Dobbins still ran hard and was impressive.
Dobbins took off on a 68-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. It was a zone-read run where Dobbins cut back up the middle and was virtually untouched down the field. Shortly later, Dobbins exploded again, taking a run around the right side and then slashing back across the field for a 64-yard run. It wasn't all good for Dobbins, as he couldn't hold on for a diving five-yard touchdown catch, and then shortly later, Dobbins dropped a screen pass that would have gone for a touchdown as well.
Versus Clemson, Dobbins ran for 174 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown while catching six passes for 47 yards. On top of being able to handle a heavy work load, Dobbins showed quickness to hit the hole, cutting ability to weave around defenders, and strength to finish his runs well. This tape will help his draft grade overall.
Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons looks like a top-16 pick next April, and he showed why with a huge turnover to help propel the Tigers to their comeback victory. In the third quarter while lined up as a deep free safety, Simmons followed Ohio State quarterback Justin Field's eyes to fly to the sideline. Simmons jumped the route and picked off the pass, making an excellent hands catch. Later in the fourth quarter, Simmons made a shoestring tackle Dobbins to prevent a long run when Dobbins had a lot of open field ahead of him.
With the NFL being a passing-driven league, defenses need linebackers who are capable of contributing to pass coverage. Simmons is that kind of linebacker, as he is a true asset to handle passing attacks while also being a good run defender in the middle of the field. While he has the size of a linebacker, Simmons has the cover skills of a safety and does some very unique things in pass coverage.
Simmons is the best pass-coverage linebacker for the 2020 NFL Draft. He is a quick linebacker who covers a lot of ground in zone coverage while also showing the ability to run down the middle seam. Simmons has shown great speed to run with slot receivers downfield this season, and it is incredible how he can run stride-for-stride with those wideouts.
Simmons should be a nice asset in the NFL to cover tight ends running vertically down the middle of the field or running backs leaking out of the backfield, plus he also should be a good defender to help with receivers crossing the middle of the field. Simmons won't hesitate to get physical and can be a hard-hitting enforcer in the middle of the field. On top of being able to cover up receivers, Simmons has good ball skills for a linebacker and an ability to take the ball away. He is smart and instinctive to get in throwing lanes and disrupt passes. Simmons' pass coverage is his best trait, and he should be an asset in coverage quickly in his NFL career. His performance against Ohio State gives more proof of that.
Ohio State cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette were challenged by some talented Clemson receivers. Both of them had some good plays and lowlights. Okudah played well overall, making a hard tackle on the edge early in the first quarter and tackling big wideout Justyn Moss to limit a short slant. In the third and fourth quarters, Okudah broke up a few passes with hard hits, using his length and size to smack the ball out. However, in the fourth quarter, Tee Higgins got open versus Okudah running across the end zone for a two-point conversion. This tape shouldn't change Okudah's top-10 status.
Arnette started the night with a good tackle in space on Moss. In the first quarter, Arnette got away with a bit of a hold on a third down, and that forced a third-down incompletion, but he was smothering the receiver. Late in the second quarter, Arnette had close coverage on the sideline against the 6-foot-4 Moss, and Arnette masterfully turned around and was able to use his size to slap away the pass.
At the beginning of the second half, Arnette was called for a pass interference for holding and pulling on Tee Higgins. Arnette is a very aggressive corner who really challenges receivers, but he might draw some penalties in the NFL due to his physicality. Arnette has early-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft, but off-the-field issues are going to make a big impact on where he goes.
LSU 63, Oklahoma 28
After the injury to Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, LSU's Joe Burrow became the favorite to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, as has dominated the SEC this season, and that continued in the opening round of the college football playoff. Burrow only needed two quarters to put this game away, as he dominated the Sooners Big 12 defense.
To start the game, Burrow took advantage of a short field hitting a couple of passes, including a slant to Justin Jefferson for a 19-yard touchdown. Burrow then used his feet to buy some time and then receiver Terrance Marshall broke off his route to get open for a short scoring pass.
On the next drive, Burrow made a risky throw lofting a ball downfield, but Marshall made a great adjustment to haul in the pass. Burrow was fortunate on the throw and it was well placed to drop in over the head of a cornerback. To finish the drive he lofted in an easy touchdown pass to Jefferson as he had a great one-on-one matchup with a safety.
Early in the second quarter Burrow scored again with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson that was under thrown, but once again well located to let Jefferson adjust to the ball as the cornerback's back was turned away from the pass. Burrow added another touchdown pass of 62 yards, as tight end Thaddeus Moss got wide open in busted coverage. The Sooners defense continued that trend blowing coverage downfield for another deep completion and then on a short touchdown toss to Marshall. At halftime Burrow had thrown for seven touchdowns and 403 yards in a video game-like performance for the LSU offense.
Burrow had a goal line rushing touchdown in the third quarter, though Burrow had an uncharacteristic mistake in the fourth quarter, as he was holding the ball loose while scrambling. He then fumbled the ball while getting tackled. Shortly after that LSU pulled their starters. Burrow finished completing 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards with seven touchdowns.
This tape will help Burrow to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, as he dominated one of the best teams 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. This season, Burrow has had good decision-making and developed field vision to work through his progressions while reading defenses well. That could be seen against Oklahoma as Burrow's decisions were superb. He didn't miss open receivers and even had good placement on under thrown passes.
This year, Burrow has been a superb 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 a 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.
This tape will definitely help Jefferson's draft grade as he had his way with the Oklahoma secondary. On LSU's opening possession Jefferson caught a slant and then powered through tackle from a few yards out to reach ball over the goal line for a 19-yard touchdown. After a dropped pass, Jefferson caught another touchdown pass running straight by a safety to get open for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Early in the second quarter Jefferson had his third touchdown adjusting well to a pass along his back shoulder to make a touchdown reception just over from 40 yards out. After an Oklahoma interception, Jefferson caught his fourth touchdown adjusting to an under thrown pass with the cornerback having his back to the ball. Jefferson hauled it in and then backpedaled into the end zone.
Jefferson totaled 14 receptions for 227 yards and four touchdowns. He overwhelmed the Sooners secondary with his size, quickness, body positioning and late hands. The 2020 NFL Draft is absolutely loaded with wide receivers, so Jefferson may not be a first-round pick, but this tape improves his chances of going on Thursday night and at the very least should help him to be a more secure second-round pick.
Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had the potential for a good matchup with LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton. Lamb looks like a future top-20 pick while Fulton could be a first- or second-round pick. Midway through the first quarter, Lamb ran a go route down the sideline and made a tremendous adjustment to haul in a 51-yard reception that set up a short touchdown run.
After that, both future pros had some ugly lowlights. In the second quarter, Fulton was beat for a touchdown in the end zone and had to interfere with the receiver to prevent the score. Fulton was called for the penalty. Lamb later got open running a post down the field but dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands. If Lamb caught the ball it would have been a 75-yard touchdown. Overall this tape should not significantly hurt or help either player.
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. But Lamb has lots of tape showing superb route-running, solid hands, and phenomenal run after the catch skills. Lamb looks like a top-25 pick entering the draft season.
LSU safety Grant Delpit is the favorite to be the first safety drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he had a quiet game overall as the LSU offense dominated the time of possession. On the second play from scrimmage, Delpit fought through a block from a back to start a tackle for a loss. Delpit later spied on Jalen Hurts on a roll out and Delpit was able to breakup the pass jumping into the throwing lane. Delpit did a solid job in coverage and helped to keep the Sooners passing attack in check.
For the NFL, Delpit is a versatile safety that 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 linebacker Kenneth Murray is a future first-round pick but this tape does not help Murray. LSU torched the Sooners secondary to blow out Oklahoma and the kept Murray from showing his special talent. He had some issues with cramps in the first half while getting a few pressures on Burrow. Murray made some stops in the ground game while showing the ability run the quarterback as a blitzer.
For the NFL, some team sources think that Murray could be a Mike (middle) linebacker or a Will (weakside) linebacker. Other team evaluators think he is a Will linebacker that 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.
Iowa 49, USC 24
This game featured one of the top matchups of NFL draft talent in this year's bowl slate with Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa taking on USC left tackle Austin Jackson. Jackson showed his good skill set, but that he is also raw and needing development as Epenesa got the better of him. Epenesa continued his hot streak to close out his junior year and this tape will definitely help his draft grade.
In the second quarter Jackson got way too wide on a step to the outside and then Epenesa darted to the inside to get his 10th sack of the season.
It looked like their was a missed assignment on the USC left guard as Jackson seemed to think that the guard was supposed to cut off the inside gap but the guard moved towards the center after the snap. A few plays later Jackson sealed a block on the edge to let his back run for a critical first down on a third down to set up a Trojans touchdown. Jackson came back to win blocks against Epenesa stopping speed and bull rushes.
In the third quarter Epenesa used his speed to run around Jackson and he hit Kedon Slovis as he reached back to throw. Jackson fell on the fumble, but the strip-sack from Epenesa knocked Slovis out of the game which was a huge blow for the Trojans as Iowa pulled away taking on the backup quarterback. Late in the third quarter Epenesa was able to flush the quarterback out of the pocket before Jackson was able to stop Epenesa's penetration. In the fourth quarter Epenesa got in on a coverage sack as he pushed Jackson upfield and then disengaged to get in on the tackle with two teammates.
Against USC, Epenesa totaled four tackles with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. This was an excellent tape for Epenesa showing his ability to get after the quarterback while taking on a future starting NFL offensive tackle. Epenesa showed quickness to get upfield with functional strength to shed blocks. With a sturdy build, Epenesa is tough to move in the ground game as he maintains his gap integrity while contributing to tackles on backs. On top of an excellent game against USC, Epenesa was superb in other games to close out the 2019 season. This performance will help Epenesa to get top-20 consideration next April.
Overall, Jackson showed his first-round skill set but had some ugly plays against Epenesa. This tape could hurt Jackson in where he is placed compared to other first-round tackle prospects like Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Alabama's Alex Leatherwood, and Iowa's Tristan Wirfs. This game shouldn't hurt him to the point of dropping him out of the first round as teams know that he is somewhat raw while needing development.
Evaluators say the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Jackson 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 where Jackson gets away with some mistakes because he is so athletic, and he will need to work on technique for the NFL. That could be seen versus Iowa as their were plays where Epenesa used strength to shed Jackson and the USC tackle could have had better hand placement to make it more difficult for Iowa's star defensive end. Jackson also set up too far to the outside and inside at times letting Epenesa get after the quarterback.
Jackson 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 that will interview well in the lead up to the draft, and also will work out well because of his excellent skill set. Earlier this year Jackson took a leave from the program in order to donate bone morrow to his younger sister, and he has played extremely well since coming back to the Trojans.
Numerous scouts have told me they think this is going to be a strong offensive line draft which has many evaluators excited after some lean years in the middle portion of this decade. They feel there could be some players that rise throughout the process and they expect Jackson to be one of those prospects that has his name called on the opening night of the draft.
Jackson wasn't the only first round offensive lineman in this game as Iowa right tackle Tristan Wirfs could be a first-round pick next April. Wirfs had a quality but not flawless performance to close out his junior year, and perhaps his college career.
In the first quarter Wirfs did a superb job of getting downfield showing his quickness and athleticism to get a block on a cornerback about 20 yards downfield to let his running back coast into the end zone. Shortly later Wirfs allowed some pressure with a defender using speed to get upfield. In the fourth quarter Wirfs allowed a looping defensive tackle get in on a pressure of Nate Stanley and that resulted in a sack. Wirfs was slow to react to the game that the USC defensive line executed. Aside from a few bad plays, Wirfs was very effective against Trojans getting movement in the ground game while being steady to protect Nate Stanley.
Overall, Wirfs has a good skill set with size, strength, athleticism, and quickness. He is a strong run blocker that sustains his blocks well. With his speed and agility, Wirfs is very good in space to get in position and hit blocks in the open field. In the pass rush he has the ability take on speed rushers and the strength to anchor against power. Wirfs has the ability to bend at the knee and he sets up well. There are a few places where Wirfs could improve his technique and as a result he is probably more of a candidate to go in the back half of the first round rather than top 16. If Wirfs returns to Iowa and improves as a senior, he could be a potential top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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