2021 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 14

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.
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Alabama 55, LSU 17
  • All season, Alabama’s combination of quarterback Mac Jones to wide receiver Devonta Smith has dominated the competition, and LSU was no match for this duo, as they single-handedly blew out the Tigers by halftime. Jones fired some quick passes all evening, tossing completions to Smith and John Metchie early on to move the ball inside the LSU 20. Najee Harris closed out that drive by scoring from a few yards out.

    Late in the first quarter, Jones tossed one of the easiest touchdown passes he will ever throw, as LSU blew the coverage and left an entire side of the field open – giving Alabama an easy 24-yard scoring strike. In the second quarter, Smith got wide open for the deep ball and Jones lofted in a 65-yard touchdown to him.

    On the next Alabama possession, Smith raced away from man coverage to get open for another long touchdown. He hauled in the pass at the 30 and sprinted into the end zone for a 61-yard score. Smith continued to show his run-after-the-catch skills with a short reception that he turned down the field for a gain of 48.

    Smith continued to put up a highlight-reel performance, including just before halftime when he ran a tremendous route and made a leaping one-handed touchdown reception in the back of the end zone. Jones and Smith played into the second half, but the Crimson Tide pulled its starters after a short time. Smith totaled eight receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns against LSU.

    Smith is dynamic wideout who could be a deadly weapon in the NFL and has the potential to serve as a No. 1 wide receiver. Smith has the speed to get vertical, is superb after the catch with moves in the open field, runs fabulous routes to create separation, is very sudden in and out of his breaks, high points the ball well, and has excellent hands. If Smith were not so thinly built, he would be a top-10 pick, but even with his lean frame, Smith looks like a first-round pick for the 2021 NFL Draft. This tape could help Smith to receive top-20 consideration.

  • Jones cruised against LSU, completing 20-of-28 passes for 385 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was an easy game for Jones because the Tigers had terrible pass coverage downfield. They screwed up zone, and their cornerbacks blew man coverage. Still, Jones threw the ball accurately with timing and placement to let his receivers make big plays. He has adequate arm strength for the NFL. Some teams have him graded in the second round, and others have him in the mid-rounds, so Jones has a wide range of where he could go in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • The passing game wasn’t the only dominant phase for the Crimson Tide, as their ground attack rolled over LSU – Najee Harris took 21 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He powered through tackles and showed his good quickness, vision, knee bend, and cutting ability. Harris looks like a future three-down starter and second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • This game had a good battle in the trenches with Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore taking on LSU guards Ed Ingram and Chasen Hines, and all of them had some impressive moments. When Alabama ran a stunt in the second quarter, Barmore raced by the right tackle to slap the ball out of the hands of the quarterback as he stepped up in the pocket. Barmore is a dangerous pass rusher with first-round ability, but he needs to improve as a run defender for the NFL. He would have to go back to school if his football development were the top priority, but he probably will enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

    In the second quarter, Ingram made a phenomenal play on a run to the perimeter. He pushed his defender back and glided to get out in front of the back. Ingram then showed excellent vision to peel back and hit another block on a defender who had an angle on the back. That let the runner explode down the field for a 54-yard touchdown. Ingram is a tough run blocker with good mobility and quickness to pull or get downfield. He could be a starting guard in the NFL.

    Hines is a heavy blocker and generated a good push in the ground game and displayed the strength to fight at the point of attack. In pass protection, he has good knee bend for a heavy guard, but he should drop some weight for the NFL because he gets in trouble when his mass gets over his toes. In the second quarter, Hines almost gave up a sack when Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses used his speed to run by Hines, but the LSU quarterback dodged Moses to bail out his right guard. Hines could be a fit as a power right guard in the NFL.

    Clemson 45, Virginia Tech 10
  • Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence did not bring his A-game against Virginia Tech, but despite not firing on all cylinders, he did enough to help his squad cruise over the Hokies.

    On his first drive of the game, Lawrence side stepped pressure and climbed the pocket before hitting tight end Braden Galloway, who was wide open in busted coverage about 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. Galloway then exploded down the field for a gain of 49 yards to set up a Clemson field goal.

    On the next drive though, Lawrence tossed a rare ill-advised pass, lofting the ball into deep coverage where three defenders were surrounding one receiver. Luckily for Lawrence, the dangerous pass was batted to fall incomplete. Shortly later, Lawrence scored his fifth rushing touchdown, taking a zone-read run into the end zone from 17 yards out. Lawrence used his good speed to get to the perimeter and dart downfield.

    Midway through the first quarter, Lawrence had the pass rush closing in on him and didn’t see a corner who had broken from off-man coverage and was slipping to cover the underneath route. Lawrence’s pass went right to the defensive back, but the ball was dropped.

    A similar play occurred midway through the third quarter when a cornerback slipped underneath a receiver crossing the back middle of the end zone, but Lawrence had this pass intercepted. Virginia Tech turned the ball over right back though, and a few plays after the interception, Lawrence used his athleticism to run the ball into the end zone for a seven-yard score, charging through two tacklers to get across the goal line. It was an impressive illustration of power from a quarterback to get pay dirt.

    In the fourth quarter, Lawrence threw a perfect deep ball but had wide receiver Cornell Powell drop the pass. A penalty would have taken the touchdown away anyway, but it still was a beautiful throw from the star quarterback. A few plays later, Virginia Tech wasn’t so lucky, as Lawrence lofted in another beautiful deep ball with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Powell. It was basically the same play, with Powell running a go route on the sideline, and Lawrence made the Hokies pay for single coverage with the scoring strike.

    Lawrence finished completing 12-of-22 passes for 195 yards with a touchdown and an interception. It wasn’t his best game, but he still illustrated his great skill set, powerful arm, deep ball accuracy, mobility, athleticism, size, quickness, and playmaking ability. Lawrence is a virtual lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Florida 31, Tennessee 19
  • Full disclosure: I was unable to see the first half of the first quarter because CBS and Directv are incompetent and are intent on giving customers more reasons to cut the cord. CBS was blacked out, causing the game to not record as scheduled, and after the Oklahoma State versus TCU game went long, half of the first quarter of this game had already been played when I realized the recording was screwed up and had to use an app to watch the game.

  • Florida quarterback Kyle Trask continues his rewrite of record books, as he has dominated the SEC this season. What makes Trask’s tremendous year even more impressive is that he has only faced conference opponents, which makes for some of the toughest competition short of the NFL. There have been zero non-conference cupcakes on the Florida’s 2020 schedule, but Trask is throwing touchdown passes at a greater rate than Joe Burrow did a year ago in his dream season with LSU.

    Trask showed the NFL his strengths and weaknesses in the first half. He fired some frozen ropes to convert multiple third-and-longs, displaying good field vision, ball placement, and decision making. He lofted in a long touchdown pass on a wheel route that was called back by a penalty, and he had a deep ball dropped by Trevon Grimes. But Trask shrugged off those mistakes to consistently move the ball. He threw short touchdown passes to Grimes and Kadarius Toney, led a field goal drive and led another drive that ended in a missed field goal. Trask also showed his lack of mobility on a few plays, including taking a bad third-down sack in field goal range when he should have thrown it away, and his lack of mobility kept him from extending that play.

    After halftime, Trask found his tight end Pitts for 42 yards. Trask then he fired a short touchdown pass to Grimes, fitting a fastball into a narrow window for the points. Trask threw a few well-located passes to Pitts to move the ball down the field and then made a nice play by scrambling to his right before throwing a frozen rope to the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Trask finished completing 35-of-49 passes for 433 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Trask is showing this season that he has the pocket-passing ability to be a starter in the NFL. Trask is an accurate passer who makes good decisions and regularly shows off excellent ball placement. With his precision and efficiency, Trask can be utterly deadly passing from the pocket. Given quality protection, Trask will carve a defense up. He has has very good pocket awareness, and some of that has developed by default because he does have not the option to take off like a running quarterback. That immobility was illustrated somewhat against Tennessee, and it is a real limitation for him in the NFL. Three directors of college scouting and a national scout texted me that Trask is a better pocket passer than Justin Fields and there is no doubt about it. The lack of mobility hurts Trask for today’s NFL, but he could still end up being a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Tennessee was able to keep Gators star tight end Kyle Pitts quiet to the tune of two receptions for 30 yards in the first half, but was only able to do it by holding him. At the line and downfield, Pitts was constantly grabbed by defenders, but the officials make the calls.

    At the start of the third quarter, Pitts ran an out route to get open and then he exploded down the field to add another 25 yards for a gain of 42. Later on, Pitts made some acrobatic catches and moved the Gators into position to put the game away. He totaled 128 yards on seven receptions, and even with uncalled penalties, he was too dynamic for Tennessee to stop.

    Pitts is worthy of being a top-16 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he is a better tight end prospect than recent first-rounders like T.J. Hockenson, O.J. Howard or Eric Ebron. Pitts is a more natural receiver than any of that trio of top-20 picks. With his height, speed, route-running, hands and athleticism, Pitts is a matchup nightmare. He could be one of the most dynamic receiving weapons to enter the NFL over the past decade.

  • Gators wideouts Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes continued their impressive seasons. Toney hauled in eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, plus impressed as a blocker, helping Grimes to score on a short screen. Grimes caught six passes for 55 yards with two touchdowns, but did have a deep ball knocked out his hands on a reception that a big wide-out like him should have hold onto. Because of his injury history, the explosive Toney is probably more of a second-round pick, while Grimes could also get selected on the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft given his mismatch size for the next level.

    TCU 29, Oklahoma State 22
  • There was a trio of NFL defensive backs in this game with Oklahoma State cornerback Rodarius Williams and TCU safeties Ar’Darius Washington and Trevon Moerig. Surprisingly, none of them stood out in this contest. Of the three, Williams will probably be the first one drafted next April, as he is potentially a high second-round pick.

    Williams did well before a lapse in coverage in the second quarter. He was running with receiver Quentin Johnson deep downfield and did not allow separation, but Johnson got better position to wall off Williams for a leaping grab. After breaking a tackle from Williams, Johnson picked up some more yards before Williams and defender took him down after a gain of 58 yards.

    This was the 48th start for Williams, but he almost didn’t make it as a foot sprain caused him to sit out a lot of practice this week. Williams went to the sideline midway through the third quarter and missed some series, with the foot seeming to bother him.

    After that lapse, Williams was solid for Oklahoma State, but he went largely untested. Williams is a quick, athletic corner with quality size for the next level. He does a really nice job of running the route to prevent separation, and as a result, he has allowed very few receptions this year. Overall, this tape won’t hurt his grade significantly.

  • The TCU safety tandem was seeing one of the top wideouts in the Big XII with Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace, and the Horned Frogs secondary did a solid job of keeping Wallace in check for awhile, but eventually Wallace made a game-changing play to give the Cowboys the lead in the second half.

    In the second quarter, Wallace ran a deep route down the sideline, but he generated zero separation and the pass was broken up. He came back to run a nice route on a comeback route for a gain of 15 yards. In the third quarter, Wallace added another nice hands catch to move the chains on a third down. Later, he ran a post and got wide open for a 22-yard touchdown, but the quarterback missed the throw.

    At the end of the third quarter, Wallace faced man coverage on a wheel route out of the slot. Wallace and the outside receiver passed each other while the TCU corners tried to switch receivers, but that switch allowed Wallace to race away down the sideline and get open for a 55-yard touchdown. Wallace, however, appeared to get injured on that score, sitting out the rest of the game. It appeared his right knee was bothering him, which is the same side on which he tore an ACL last year. Against TCU, Wallace caught seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

    The 6-foot, 190-pound Wallace is a well-rounded wide out who plays bigger than his listed size. He runs solid routes and shows the ability to pick up yards after the catch. However, he lacks a mismatch trait for the NFL, lacking particular speed or size. He won’t present a dangerous size or speed mismatch problem for defenses. Thus, Wallace could be more of a second-day prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft and end up being a solid No. 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL.

  • Moehrig was the more impressive of the TCU safeties and played better against Oklahoma State. In the second quarter, Washington missed a tackle in the open field, getting juked by a tight end, and Moerig saved the touchdown by pushing him out of bounds in the red zone. In the third quarter, Moehrig made a nice play when he fired to the line of scrimmage to rip down a wide receiver on a screen for no gain. Shortly later, Moehrig closed on a receiver running a crossing route and delivered a hard hit that forced a third-down incompletion.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Moehrig had outstanding coverage while running with a receiver downfield and made a leaping breakup in front of the end zone to protect the TCU lead. A pass was tipped later on the same drive, and Moehrig made a phenomenal one-handed catch in the back of the end zone for the interception. He reached and tipped the ball up before controlling it, making a huge pick for TCU.

    Moehrig has strong safety potential for the next level and shows ability to cover as well. He could be a solid second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and looks similar to Grant Delpit, except Moehrig is a better tackler than Delpit. Team sources told WalterFootball.com they graded Moehrig in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Ohio State 52, Michigan State 12
  • Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was back on the field after a multi-week delay since his ugly game against Indiana, and he produced a nice bounce-back performance versus the Spartans.

    Midway through the first quarter, Fields led a nice drive, taking some short completions and using his feet to pick up yards, including a two-yard touchdown run. Shortly later, Fields showed his athleticism on a zone-read run, juking a defender at the line of scrimmage and then exploding down the field for a gain of 44 yards. Not long afterward, Fields rolled to his right to find Garrett Wilson wide open along the sideline, and Fields fired a fastball through a window of defenders to his Wilson. Wilson cruised the remaining 12 yards for a 28-yard touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Fields added another short rushing touchdown.

    Fields lofted in a beautiful touch pass in the second half to Chris Olave deep down the field, but Olave’s over-the-shoulder one-handed attempt was unsuccessful – it was still an excellent throw by Fields. Another play that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet but will impress pro evaluators was when Fields raced down the field on a long run by running back Trey Sermon. Near the end zone, the Buckeyes quarterback made a critical block on a defensive back to allow Sermon to dart into the end zone. It was a tremendous effort play that few quarterbacks are willing to make. That display of attitude, motor, and fight is not lost on his teammates or pro evaluators.

    Fields’ problems with pocket awareness showed up in the fourth quarter when he failed to get the ball out despite having time while the pass rush was closing in on him, and he ended up taking a sack. Fields bounced back by lofting in a beautiful deep ball to Chris Olave for a 41-yard touchdown. The pass was perfect, leading Olave into the end zone and dropping in just over the cornerback to his receiver. Fields finished completing 17-of-24 tases for 199 yards with two touchdowns passing, plus took 13 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

    Fields is worthy of going high in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. There is no doubt that he has an excellent skill set with size, arm strength, and athleticism. Fields is an accurate passer who locates his passes well, placing them in position for his receiver to make the reception and pick up yards after the catch. Fields has a quality arm and can push the ball vertically, but he does not fire fastballs unnecessarily, instead throwing a a very catchable ball. Thanks to good feel as a passer, Fields lofts in touch passes and does not throw flat passes. He is an aggressive quarterback who challenges defenses downfield, but he could stand to take more check downs.

    As a runner, Fields reminds me of Deshaun Watson. He is very shifty with quick feet and is very elusive. Fields will juke and dodge defenders in embarrassing fashion and shows a burst to accelerate into space. On top of his feet and quickness, Fields has a sturdy build that lets him utilized his strength to create a push in short-yardage situations. In the NFL, Fields won’t be a runner like Lamar Jackson, but his mobility could make him look more like Watson or Pat Mahomes.

    All players need development, and Fields is not immune from that. He has flaws that need work – first and foremost would be pocket awareness. He can freeze when the rush is bearing down on him, and he needs to work on making the quick check-down throw out of that play to avoid a negative yards situation. Improving his pocket awareness and field vision are not surprising issues, as Fields will enter the NFL having basically started only 1.5 seasons of college football. Having a patient approach would benefit Fields, but he is definitely worthy of being a top-five pick next April.

  • Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith entered this game having a quiet 2020 season, but he put together an impressive performance against Michigan State. In the second quarter, Smith had an impressive speed rush around the right tackle to hunt down the quarterback for a sack. Smith came close to another sack after halftime, firing past a pulling guard, but the quarterback broke free from his hands. The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Smith has a good skill set with speed, athleticism, and active hands. He could be a prospect who rises over the final games if he continues to play like this and get after the quarterback.


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