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
By Charlie Campbell.
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Notre Dame 42, Florida State 26
Notre Dame left tackle Liam Eichenberg entered this game with a streak of having not allowed a sack for over a year. That almost ended late in the first quarter versus the Seminoles. Eichenberg got his weight over his toes lunging after a defender, but he dodged Eichenberg and chased Ian Book from the pocket, almost getting to him for a sack. Early in the second quarter, Eichenberg went into the locker room after getting poked in the eye, but he came back to the field after missing most of the quarter. Eichenberg was solid after that, handling the Florida State defenders without incident. He did react late to a blitz from small speed defender, but otherwise Eichenberg was dependable to not allow pressure.
Eichenberg looks like he possesses the ability to be an edge protector in the NFL. Eichenberg has enough quickness to glide with speed rushers and the size and strength to anchor. In the ground game, he is scraper who manipulates defenders and turns them away from getting in on tackles. Eichenberg is not a true bull in the ground game who will blast defensive lineman off the ball. He does have strong hands to sustain his blocks well and fights through the whistle. Overall, Eichenberg looks good, but he may not be an elite prospect who is a high first-rounder.
Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. has produced some big plays for his defense this season, and that continued against Notre Dame. On the first series of the game, Samuel was in position to pounce on a fumble for the Seminoles. Later in the first quarter, Samuel had tight coverage on a receiver downfield to force an incompletion. In the third quarter Samuel was running with a receiver down field, but the size issue came back to hurt him as the wideout was able to move him out the way, cutt to the inside and shield Samuel from the ball for a 38-yard catch. Samuel was flagged for pass interference on the same drive after the size issue caused him to hold the receiver to prevent him from getting good position for a back-shoulder catch. Notre Dame scored a short rushing touchdown on the next play.
Samuel is a solid slot corner candidate for the NFL. Being short makes for limitations that will provide size mismatch problems as a pro. Thus, Samuel should not line up on the outside. Because of his limitations, this analyst thinks that Samuel should go no higher than the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Florida State wide receiver Tamorrion Terry had a bit of a rough start to the 2020 season, but he flashed his special skill set against Notre Dame. Late in the first quarter, Terry used a slant-and-go to burn a cornerback while running vertically down the field, and he hauled in a 48-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, Terry should have had a two-point conversion, but he didn't hold the ball after taking a hit. It was a catch that Terry should have made.
Terry came back to make some other receptions to move the chains, using his quickness to get open and his size to shield defenders from the ball. Terry totaled 146 yards on nine receptions with a touchdown. Florida State's coaches said that Terry has been banged up all year but was starting to get healthier. That could explain his slow start, and why he looked better against Notre Dame. If Terry can finish out his career playing well and turn in good pre-draft workouts, he could be an early-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Clemson 42, Miami 17
Unless something shocking happens, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be the No .1-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This tape won't change anything for his status, and while it wasn't a flawless game on his part, he showed his toughness by taking a lot of hits but still producing points for his team.
Lawrence caught a break early in the first quarter when he threw a bad pass for an interception, but Miami was offsides on the play, which bailed out Lawrence. A few plays later, a throwback screen resulted in a touchdown from about 25 yards out. Early in the second quarter, Lawrence laid out a beautiful deep ball for a receiver, but the ball fell incomplete due to a drop on what should have been a 68-yard touchdown.
Lawrence was unfazed, lofting in a well-placed pass that beat good coverage and had perfect timing to drop in the ball before the safety could help over the top. That helped set up a rushing score, and late in the second quarter, Lawrence found an open tight end for an easy 11-yard scoring strike.
Lawrence took some big hits late in the third quarter, including a bone-rattlier to the midsection that had Lawrence come off the field with trainers. After missing one play, Lawrence came back into the game. Lawrence took a read option in a few plays later, and he took another hard hit on the play. Late in the fourth quarter, Lawrence threw a bullet down the seam for a touchdown pass from just over 20 yards.
Lawrence completed 29-of-41 passes against Miami for 292 yards with three touchdowns. He ran for 34 yards on eight carries as well. Overall, this game tape will only serve to confirm his lofty projection.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne could be the top running back prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft, and this game against Miami gave him another good tape against on one of the top opponents that he will see as senior. In the first quarter, Etienne caught slip screen and exploded downfield to convert a third-and-14. He finished the drive by taking a run up the middle, but finding no hole, he bounced around to the right side and scored from a couple of yards out, using his speed to dart away from tacklers. Late in the second quarter, Etienne made an impressive run of about 10 yards, spinning off a tackle and showing good contact balance and strength to keep his feet for more yards after contact.
Etienne put the game away with run up the middle that he then bounced outside to take off, scoring from 72 yards out. Shortly later, he had a great run on which he hurdled a defender and then stiff-armed a tackler to the turf before going down for a gain of over 20. It was a highlight-reel run that displayed his speed, athleticism, cutting ability, and improved physicality.
Etienne racked up 149 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns against Miami. He also caught eight passes for 73 yards. This game will definitely help Etienne's draft grade. He has been known as a lighting-fast big-play running back, but Etienne showed more strength and ability to pick up yards after contact against the Hurricanes.
Miami tight end Brevin Jordan has played well in 2020, showing mismatch receiving potential, but Clemson did a good job of limiting him, despite the fact that he is Miami's best weapon in the aerial attack. Jordan made a few catches to move the chains, but the Tigers kept him from producing any big plays downfield. In the third quarter, he had a dropped pass that was a difficult catch, but still one he should have made. Jordan was held to three catches for 31 yards, but this tape should not hurt his draft grade.
The Hurricanes were dealt a serious blow when star defensive end Gregory Rousseau decided to skip the 2020 season. Miami gave Rousseau's number to Jaelen Phillips, who has done a nice job of continuing the disruptive presence coming from No. 15. While Phillips has not recorded a sack, he has been a good run defender and has an interception this season. He continued his strong play with an impressive game against Clemson.
Early in the first quarter, Phillips got off a block to smother a running back for a loss of a yard. Phillips did a nice job after that, getting upfield using speed to get some pressure on Trevor Lawrence. In the third quarter while Phillips was tackling Lawrence from behind, safety Bubba Bolden came in with a hard hit to force a fumble that Miami recovered. Phillips was active and around the ball all night.
Team sources have said that Phillips has impressed them, and they believe the junior has upside. The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder has a good skill set and is a prospect to watch. This was a good tape that will help his draft grade.
Texas A&M 41, Florida 38
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond needed a good game after underwhelming against Arkansas and Alabama to open the season, and he was fortunate enough to take on a struggling Gators defense. On the first drive of the game, Mond stood tall in the face of a heavy pass rush and he threw a strike to his tight end Jalen Wydermyer to convert a third-and-long. On the next play, Mond laid out a beautiful deep ball for a 48-yard completion. It was a perfect pass with air underneath it that hit his receiver in stride. Mond finished the drive by throwing a bullet between two safeties to hit a slant for an 11-yard touchdown.
Mond threw some more strikes to move the ball down the field on the next drive, and he threw another score with a well-placed strike for a big receiver in the back of the end zone. Late in the fourth quarter with the Aggies down 38-31, Mond brought his team back by throwing a bomb to wide receiver Caleb Chapman for a 51-yard touchdown. Mond rolled to his right, and while threw the ball a little late, he placed it well enough for his big wideout to make the contested catch that tied the game. A Gators fumble later gifted a field goal that was the difference for the Aggies.
Mond finished completing 25-of-35 for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He has a strong arm, good size, and mobility, but he also has issues with accuracy, ball placement, and consistency. This tape will definitely help him, but he needs to play like this for the rest of the season in order to improve his draft grade.
Florida tight end Kyle Pitts has been one of the best players in the nation this season, which is not an exaggeration. This was his third straight phenomenal game in which he showcased his dynamic receiving ability.
Pitts helped moved the chains in the early going to put Florida in position for points. Midway through the first quarter, Pitts made a leaping touchdown grab from five yards out over two Aggie defenders. It was his seventh score of the season. He finished with five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
I've had Pitts in the first round of Charlie Campbell's 2021 NFL Mock Draft for a long time, and this game only gave more support to that projection. Pitts has good speed, excellent athleticism, route-running, hands, mismatch size, leaping ability and yards-after-the-catch skill. His performance against Texas A&M will help him to be a first-round pick, and Pitts could be playing his way into the top half of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was named for Texas A&M stadium Kyle Field, and while he didn't play as well in the Gators' third game, Trask was good enough to lead the Gators to a road win if it weren't for their leaky defense being incompetent. Trask is a potential early-round prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft and he got his senior year off to a great start with dominating performances against Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Trask opened this game by picking up where he left off, leading a scoring drive that culminated with Trask laying out a well-located pass for Pitts to make a leaping touchdown grab over two defenders. On the next drive, Pitts made an uncharacteristic bad decision when he got too greedy on a deep ball that fell incomplete when he had a back open underneath. However, Trask came back to fire a frozen rope to Kadarius Toney for a short touchdown to close out the drive.
Trask made a terrible pass in the third quarter, throwing a ball up grabs in the middle of the field off of his back foot. The ball floated like a punt into a crowd of three defenders for an interception, but a penalty bailed out Trask. It wasn't clear if Trask knew he had a free play, and if he did, then it was worth taking a deep shot, but it looked more like that wasn't clear considering it was a hands-to-the-face infraction. Trask took advantage of his good fortune though by lofting a beautiful 37-yard touchdown to Kadarius Toney.
With the Gators down 28-31, Trask led a field goal drive and then a touchdown drive to put Florida up 38-31. A touchdown drive by Texas A&M and then a fumble by a Florida running back gifted the win to the Aggies. Against the Aggies, Trask completed 23-of-32 passes for 312 yards with four touchdowns.
This season, Trask has illustrated that he definitely has pocket-passing ability for the NFL. He has been accurate with superb ball placement and has generally made good decisions as a passer. Trask displays impressive poise in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and not getting rattled by the pass rush. Helped by a powerful arm capable of making touch passes, Trask has put on display some natural passing ability in each contest. 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. The lack of mobility would not have been a huge negative some years ago, but teams are looking for more athletic quarterbacks these days, so Trask being a statue could cause some teams to grade him lower. Quarterbacks rise over the draft process, and Trask has that potential.
Florida senior wide receiver Kadarius Toney has been excellent this year, showing the big play ability that he flashed over previous seasons. Toney is phenomenal with the ball in his hands as he is an explosive runner who has a thick build that allows him to break tackles. In the third quarter, Toney ran a pretty corner post route to get open for a 37-yard touchdown. That play really illustrated Toney's route-running and the problems defensive backs have preventing separation when covering him. In the fourth quarter with the game tied at 31, Toney made two excellent receptions and runs after the catch to get the Gators to the goal line.
Versus Texas A&M, Toney caught seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. If Toney can stay healthy throughout 2020, he has a shot at being a first-round pick.
Oklahoma 53, Texas 45 (4OT)
The top prospect in this game was Texas left tackle Sam Cosmi, and he had a solid performance against the Longhorns' arch rival. Cosmi was not generating a lot of movement in the ground game, but he was rock solid at protecting Sam Ehlinger.
Team sources wanted to see Cosmi get heavier and stronger following his return to Texas, and those who have seen him in person this fall say that Cosmi looks to have added some good weight. That could be seen in his performance against the Sooners, as Cosmi anchored well against bull rushes. Cosmi still has room for improvement in that regard because he can get pushed back, but he has more strength to recover and hold up edge rushers long enough for his quarterback to get the ball out. In the ground game, Cosmi does not pack a serious punch and is not a drive blocker who is a bull at the point of attack. Continuing to add functional strength is something Cosmi needs to do.
For the NFL, there is a lot about Cosmi that translates to being an edge protector. He looks natural bending at the knee and is light on his feet. With his quickness and athleticism, Cosmi can play the typewriter with his feet to cut off the edge from speed rushers. Cosmi can have 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.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger disappointed a week ago against TCU, and that continued against Oklahoma. In the first quarter, Ehlinger got lucky after an interception was taken away by a penalty. Ehlinger made a few completions in the first half, but his feet were the best asset for his offense, as he took off on some key runs and scored late in the first half to tie the game at 17. Early in the fourth quarter, Ehlinger had a receiver running down the middle seam wide open for a 55-yard touchdown, but he missed the receiver with an inaccurate pass.
Ehlinger started to move the ball midway through the fourth quarter while down 31-17, but he heaved a poorly thrown pass up for grabs that was intercepted by Oklahoma. The pass was a bit underthrown, making it an easier catch for the defensive back. Ehlinger threw a short touchdown pass to narrow the Sooners' lead, and with less than 20 seconds, he threw a short touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver to force overtime. Ehlinger had an impressive 23-yard touchdown run in the second overtime, tieing the game at 45.
In the fourth overtime, Ehlinger was intercepted in the end zone when he terribly overthrew a receiver running an out route. A cornerback running with a receiver in the end zone came over to make an easy pick, clinching the win for the Sooners. Ehlinger completed 30-of-53 passes against Oklahoma for 287 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also picked up 112 yards and four rushing touchdowns over 23 carries. Even though Ehlinger didn't get the win, he battled his tail off in this game. Still,Ehlinger is really limited to being a college quarterback. Because of his limitations as a pocket passer, Ehlinger looks more like a mid-round or third-day pick who is a backup in the NFL.
Texas outside linebacker Joseph Ossai is a nice edge defender for the NFL, and he had a good performance against Oklahoma. In the second quarter, Ossai chased down a Sooner downfield and forced a fumble with a tackle from behind. OKssai got upfield and put pressure on the quarterback throughout the game, displaying a nice combination of speed with functional strength. Ossai is quick off the edge and shows an ability to get upfield. Team sources say that Ossai is not a good fit in a 4-3 and they see him as a 3-4 edge linebacker for the NFL.
Georgia 44, Tennessee 21
Georgia center Trey Hill was excellent against Auburn a week ago after having some bad snaps in the season opener. His bad habits, hoewver, reared up in the first minute of this game, as Hill air mailed a shotgun snap over the head of his quarterback and that turned into a Tennessee touchdown. After that snap, Hill settled in and blocked well for the Bulldogs. He made up for his bad snap in the third quarter when he hustled downfield to recover a fumble near midfield.
Hill is powerful at the point of attack and is able to generate movement from defensive linemen. He does an excellent job of hitting combo blocks to open up interior rushing lanes, and Georgia went behind Hill for a few short-yardage conversions. He 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 against Auburn and Tennessee, presenting an early-round skill set. Whether it is the 2021 or 2022 NFL Draft, Hill will be in the running for the top center of his draft class, but he does need to improve on the accuracy of his snaps.
Georgia cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes were coming off a superb game against Auburn, and overall, they stayed pretty consistent. Stokes had an interception in the third quarter on a terrible pass by the Tennessee quarterback. On the next possession, Stokes had good coverage on a go route down the field, running with the wideout and then turning around at the right time to break up the deep ball.
Late in the second quarter, Campbell gave up a touchdown of about 30 yards. He actually had pretty good coverage running with the receiver into the end zone, but the ball was perfectly located dropped in along the sideline where the receiver could make the catch and get one foot in bounds to get the score. There wasn't much else Campbell could have done on that play to prevent the reception. Overall this tape should help Stokes draft grade and won't have a big impact on Campbell.
Tennessee has two potential NFL offensive linemen in guard Trey Smith and right tackle Cade Mays. Last January, Mays was a starting offensive lineman for Georgia but he transferred to the Volunteers after the season. In this game, Smith was the more impressive and Mays gave proof that he is a better fit at guard. Smith is strong in the ground game and is able to get a push at the point of attack. He also has the feet, quickness, and athleticism to mirror speed rushers with the ability anchor against bull rushes. Overall, this tape will be solid for Smith and he looks like a starting guard in the NFL.
Mays was in trouble taking on the speed of the Georgia edge defenders. Throughout the game they were getting upfield on him and getting penetration into the pocket. In the third quarter Mays was burned by an undersized edge rusher who ran around him to get a strip-sack. Clearly, Mays does not have the quickness and athleticism to mirror speed rushers on the edge. Mays was better as a run blocker, but this game gave proof that he is a better fit at guard in the NFL.
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