2021 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 5

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2021 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2021 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
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Georgia 27, Auburn 6
  • Georgia center Trey Hill is the only returning starter from last season’s star-studded offensive line that featured two first-round offensive tackles and a mid-rounder in guard Solomon Kindley, who won a starting spot immediately for the Dolphins. Some team sources have raved about Hill, and he gave proof of why he is held in high esteem against Auburn.

    Hill was powerful at the point of attack, dominating Auburn’s defensive linemen. He did an excellent job of hitting combo blocks to open up interior rushing lanes, and Georgia went behind Hill for a few short-yardage touchdown runs in the first half. Hill also was rock solid in pass protection, showing impressive quickness and agility for a big blocker. His size, strength and thick build allow him to anchor well in pass protection as well. Hill was very good for Georgia and showed an early-round skill set. Whether it is the 2021 NFL Draft or the 2022 NFL Draft, Hill will be in the running for the top center of his draft class.

  • Auburn wide receiver Seth Williams got his junior year off to a good start against Kentucky, but Georgia was able to shut him down via its talented secondary. The Tigers finally threw to Williams in the second quarter, but cornerback Tyson Campbell blanketed him coverage to force an incompletion. Campbell was too physical downfield with Williams, however, which led to a pass interference penalty. While the Bulldogs’ offense built a lead, Campbell and the secondary shutout Williams in the first half with blanket coverage.

    Early in the third quarter, Williams caught a short crossing route and then broke a tackle from Campbell to lunge ahead for a first-down conversion. A few plays later, Campbell was running stride-for-stride with Williams down the seam, but Williams made an excellent one-handed catch, trapping the ball against his body with Campbell draped all over him.

    Williams had two go routes down the sideline in the third quarter on which Campbell managed to slap the passes away. Williams could not separate, but Campbell was getting away with a fair amount of hand fighting and contact as they ran down the field. All night, Williams could not separate from Campbell, catching just three passes for 34 yards.

    This tape definitely will hurt Williams and help Campbell. It showed that the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Campbell can run with pro-caliber receivers and prevent separation. He has the height, length and quickness to prevent a good wideout from getting open. Conversly, Williams showed that while he has size, he is not a fast or twitchy receiver. This game made Williams look more like a second-day receiver and Campbell look like a potential first- or second-round pick.

    Alabama 52, Texas A&M 24
  • Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle could be a high first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he continued to illustrate his big-play ability, this time versus the Aggies. In the first half, Waddle used his speed to uncover for a few receptions to move the chains. Waddle ran a square in and post to get open deep downfield. He then raced past the corner and safety, streaking down the field. The ball dropped in to Waddle, who sped away for a 78-yard touchdown. He totaled 142 yards on five receptions with the score on the day.

    Multiple team sources compared Waddle to Kansas City Chiefs star receiver Tyreek Hill. Waddle’s explosive speed and game-changing ability have some evaluators believing he could go in the No. 10-15 range of the first round, and those scouts think Waddle is a better prospect than former Crimson Tide wideout Henry Ruggs. A few teams had Waddle lower, saying they felt that he needed to become more of a polished receiver and less of a gadget player, but one director of college scouting said Hill was not a polished route runner when he entered the NFL and the explosive gadget players are being utilized better by coaches than some similar prospects in the past. Sources from seven different teams said they thought Waddle would go in Round 1, with a few believing that Waddle would go as a top-16 pick next April.

  • Waddle should be joined in the first round by fellow Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith. In the early going against the Aggies, Smith put together a nifty run after the catch on a short crossing route that he turned into a 20-yard gain. Late in the first half, Smith made a leaping touchdown catch with an acrobatic grab in the back of the end zone. Smith totaled 63 yards on six receptions.

    Evaluators love Smith’s polished and well-rounded play. His refined route-running, reliable hands, yards-after-the-catch skills, and overall receiving ability have many calling Smith is a natural football player. Smith, however, is very thin-framed, and that has some grading him as more of a late first-round or early second-round pick. Smith is listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, and that weight is very undersized for the NFL. Even though some have Smith on the bubble between the first and second nights of the 2021 NFL Draft, the expectations of all seven sources are that Smith is more likely to be picked in the first round.

  • Alabama running back Najee Harris continued his strong start to the 2020 season. He had a short touchdown run in the first quarter, and in the second quarter, he made a good effort play, racing 50 yards down the field to track down a defensive lineman who was returning an interception. If Harris had not tripped up the returner, it would have been a touchdown, so Harris gave his team a chance to limit the turnover.

    Harris made a superb catch at short time later on a wheel route, hauling in a leaping grab with a defender close by him to set up a first-and-goal that he converted into a short another touchdown. Harris totaled 43 yards on 12 carries with two receptions for 26 yards. He looks like a potential second-day pick for the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond impressed against Alabama last year. He was a warrior who took a pounding, but constantly moved the chains with his arm and legs to produce points that kept the Aggies from getting blown out. This year, Mond did not play as well versus the Crimson Tide, plus he was hurt by his inexperienced receivers dropping some huge plays.

    Mond opened the day by driving the ball down the field, but the possession ended with the Aggies kicker missing the field goal after Mond had some quality throws that his young receivers were unable. That set the tone for the game. Late in the first quarter, Mond made a good read to check the ball down to an outlet receiver who took advantage of busted coverage to score from near midfield. After an interception by a teammate, Mond made an easy pass to a wide-open tight end for a touchdown from about 20 yards out.

    Mond threw a pick-six midway through the second quarter due to making a bad read and throwing a floater off his back foot to the sideline. The pass needed more velocity and to be targets toward the outside. In the second half, Mond made some impressive passes, firing some bullets downfield, but a lot of those came in garbage time.

    Mond completed 25-of-44 passes gainst Alabama, racking up 318 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Overall, this performance showed the streakiness and inconsistentcy issues that make Mond more of a mid-round backup for the next level. He has the strong arm, good size, and mobility needed, but he has issues with accuracy, ball placement, and consistency. If Mond grows into being a more consistent passer, he could be a mid-round steal because he has a lot of physical talent to work with.

    TCU 33, Texas 31
  • Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is a dual-threat quarterback with a strong build and running ability aking to what Tim Tebow had with Florida. Ehlinger led a comeback win versus Texas Tech a week ago, making some easy but clutch plays to top the Red Raiders in overtime. Against TCU, however, Ehlinger and Texas fell short.

    Ehlinger made a couple of pretty throws in the second quarter, including a nice throw over a cornerback that dropped in a completion for a a third-and-10 conversion. To finish the drive, Ehlinger climbed the pocket with pressure coming around him and then lofted in a well-placed ball for a receiver who got behind coverage for a touchdown of about 50 yards. Ehlinger also showed his dual-threat ability, taking off on a 36-yard run when nothing was open.

    Ehlinger was not on the same page as his receiver just a bit later, with Ehlinger obviously thinking the receiver was going to cut across the face of the defensive back, but the receiver continued running vertically and the pass floated right to a cornerback for an interception. Versus TCU, Ehlinger completed 17-of-36 passes for 236 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.

    Ehlinger has gotten off to a solid start to open 2020, but he needs to show more pocket-passing ability to rise as a senior. His field vision has to improve, and there are some pro-level passes he struggles to complete because his ball placement can be lacking. With how he has looked thus far in 2020 and over his collegiate career, Ehlinger looks more like a mid-round or third-day pick who is maxes out as an NFL backup.

  • The top prospect in this game was Texas left tackle Sam Cosmi, and he cruised over the TCU defensive linemen. Cosmi was steady in pass protection and efficient in the ground game. In returning for this year, team sources wanted to see Cosmi get heavier and stronger. Those sources who have seen Cosmi in person this fall say that he seems to have added some good weight. That gain could be seen in his performance against the Horned Frogs. Cosmi still has room for improvement in strength because he can get pushed back, but he has improved his power to recover and hold up edge rushers long enough for his quarterback to get the ball out.

    There is a lot about Cosmi that shoul translate to being an edge protector in the NFL. He looks natural in how he bends at the knee and is light on his feet. Thanks his quickness and athleticism, Cosmi can play the typewriter with his feet to cut off the edge from speed rushers. Cosmi has some issues with power rushes to the inside, so continuing to get stronger to anchor will be a point of improvement for him with his NFL coaching staff. Cosmi looks like a future starter at left tackle in the NFL, and he could be a Thursday night pick next April in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • TCU safeties Trevon Moerig and Ar’Darius Washington are future NFL competitors. They were generally pretty quiet in this game, which is not going to help either player. At the end of the first quarter, Moerig had an easy would-be interception float to him after the pass was tipped into the air, but he dropped the ball. A penalty would have taken away the turnover, but Moerig still should have caught that pass.

    Washington made a touchdown-saving tackle deep down the field at the end of the first quarter. He flew over from zone coverage to tackle the receiver after he had burned a cornerback. Also in the first quarter, Washington had man coverage on a receiver and broke up the pass, but Washington was flagged for a pass interference. It was a questionable call, but Washington had too much contact with the receiver.

    Early in the fourth quarter, a tight end crossed in front of Washington to get open for a touchdown. Washington reacted a hair late, and then his lack of size and length prevented him from getting the reach he needed to break up the pass. Overall, Washington looks like a second-day pick, and Moerig might go on Day 2 or end up as a mid-rounder – though it all depends on each how each of them plays the rest of the season.

    Florida 38, South Carolina 24
  • Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is a potential early-round prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft, and he got his senior year off to a great start with six touchdown passes against Ole Miss in the season opener. Trask picked up where he left off this week, Trask lighting up South Carolina for four touchdowns, an interception and 268 yards while completing 21-of-29 passes.

    In the first half, Trask showed off his phenomenal ball placement, throwing open receivers on back-shoulders passes and putting well-placed balls in the middle of the field. Trask used his tall receivers extremely well, locating his passes up where only they could make the catch and beat sound coverage from the South Carolina secondary. It wasn’t all good for Trask, who fumbled the ball away on a zone-read run, but aside from that play, he was nearly mistake free.

    Trask bounced back from his fumble to take off on a run of about 15 yards on an option play. While some scouts think Trask is a statue, that play will help make the case that Trask has some ability to move. He finished the drive by firing a strike on a slant for a four-yard touchdown to tight end Kyle Pitts.

    In the third quarter, Trask added an easy touchdown pass and then made a nice play on which he slid to his left in the pocket to avoid some rushers before tossing a perfectly placed pass to Kadarius Toney while taking a hard hit from a defensive lineman. Toney did the rest, exploding down the field for a 57-yard touchdown that opened up the blow out of South Carolina.

    Trask threw a couple of bad passes in the fourth quarter. On one, he put too much air underneath the pass, which allowed a cornerback to recover enough to nearly snag if for an interception. Toney fell down on a pass later on the drive, and that let South Carolina cornerback Israel Mukuamu make a diving interception.

    Overall, Trask showed pocket passing ability for the NFL. He was accurate, displaying superb ball placement, and generally made good decisions as a passer. Trask has impressive poise in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and not getting rattled by the pass rush. Trask has a powerful arm capable of making touch passes, and he used it put on display some natural passing ability. The big knock on Trask is that he is not a running threat, with some team evaluators feeling he is a statue in the pocket, but this tape is going to help Trask’s draft grade overall.

  • Pitts had his second straight game of pure domination. He made a chunk reception o the Gators’ first drive to move the chains, executing a back-shoulder play well. To end the drive, Pitts had a good block at the goal line to help seal the edge for his running back to get to the corner. Pitts is not an impressive or forceful blocker, but he earned a draw to tie up the defender and win the play for Florida. On the next drive, it was Pitts turn to benefit from a superb block on a short touchdown catch.

    Later in the second quarter, Pitts ran an excellent route with a jab step to the outside and then slanted to the inside of Israel Mukuamu to get open in the end zone. Pitts totaled four receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

    I’ve had Pitts in the first round of my 2021 NFL Mock Draft for a long time, and this game only bolstered that projection. Pitts has good speed, excellent athleticism, route-running, hands, and yards-after-the-catch skill. This tape will help him to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Like Trask and Pitts, Toney dominated the Ole Miss defense and had a breakout performance to open up his senior year. Versus South Carolina, Toney picked up where he left off, showing his game-breaking speed and ability to pick up yards after the catch. Toney was fabulous on a few short receptions, using his strength to break tackles and then his speed to dart downfield to get first-down yardage. Toney put the game out of reach in the third quarter with a 57-yard touchdown catch. He totaled 86 yards and a touchdown on six receptions for the afternoon.

    Toney has electric playmaking ability with explosive speed and a strong build. If he stays healthy as a senior, he could play his way into the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Toney, however, has suffered from durability issues in past years and is not a tall wide receiver. Thus, he may end up being more of a second-round pick, and his style of play is similar to former South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

  • South Carolina has a pair of NFL competitors at cornerback with Israel Mukuamu and Jaycee Horn. Against Florida, Horn was far more impressive, maintaining close coverage and was able to run with receivers. Mukuamu showed that he has issues with speed and stiffness, which were concerns entering the season. However, he does have great size and length, along with some ball skills as evidenced by his interception. In terms of coverage and running with future NFL receivers, this tape is going to hurt Mukuamu’s draft grade, as he struggled to run with Pitts and the Gator wideouts.


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