2021 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 15

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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USC 43, UCLA 38
  • USC left tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker could be a first- or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Vera-Tucker was a standout guard for the Trojans in 2019, and he has performed well this season as the left tackle replacement for Austin Jackson.

    Early in the second quarter while Vera-Tucker had a fast linebacker blocked, the interior offensive linemen allowed the pocket to collapse and Kedon Slovis rolled to his right. The linebacker went deep and around Vera-Tucker to chase down Slovis near the sideline for a sack. It really was not the fault of Vera-Tucker, as he gave his quarterback plenty of time to get the ball out. Aside from that play, Vera-Tucker was excellent at protecting Slovis. Vera-Tucker locked down his defenders and kept them from putting pressure on his signal-caller.

    In the ground game, Vera-Tucker is not a bull at the point of attack, but he is effective. He is more of a wall-off-and-position blocker who beats defenders to a spot to cover them up and keep them from making a tackle. Vera-Tucker does a nice job of scraping and keeping his hands fighting to sustain his blocks. It would help him to add strength if his frame isn’t maxed out. For a pro rushing offense, Vera-Tucker might fit best in a zone-blocking scheme.

    There is a lot to like about Vera-Tucker for pass protection in the NFL. He is an easy mover with athleticism, quickness and agility. Vera-Tucker can glide with speed rushers, showing an easy ability to play the typewriter with his feet. He is also a natural knee bender who maintains good leverage while avoiding bending at the waist. Vera-Tucker looks like a starting left tackle or guard in the NFL and is worthy of being a first or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • UCLA running back Demetric Felton has run well this year, producing steadily for the Bruins. Against USC, Felton ran well ripping off yards in chunks and serving as a nice check-down receiver. He showed good quickness to hit the second level and was dangerous in the open field. Felton totaled 90 yards on 21 carries and took five receptions for 47 yards.

    The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Felton is a nice change-of-pace and backup running back for the NFL. He could be a mid-round or third-day pick who is a solid rotational player and contributes to the passing game as an outlet receiver. Felton is similar to former Lions back Theo Riddick, so he could be a quality depth player.

    LSU 37, Florida 34
  • Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has had an excellent season for the Gators, producing big point totals on a weekly basis. Trask is a good pocket passer, but a limited athlete and LSU was able to exploit the lack of mobility at times in this upset loss.

    Trask started out his night by laying out a pretty pass to Kadarius Toney for a gain of 44 yards. In the first quarter, Trask scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, using his big size to power into the end zone from a yard out.

    Trask made a mistake early in the second quarter when he failed to spot a defender dropping underneath his receiver in coverage to try to pick off the pass. After intercepting the ball, the defendr ran down the field with a long pick-six to give the Tigers a lead. Shortly later, Trask laid out a beautiful deep ball to Trevon Grimes, dropping in the pass perfectly over the shoulder of Grimes to beat good coverage for a gain of 50 yards. The next play saw the pass deflected along the sideline and intercepted by LSU.

    Trask bounced back from the bad break to throw a perfectly located 19-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Copeland, leading him open in the end zone. Trask used his eyes to freeze the middle safety and ensure single coverage for Copeland along sideline. Just before halftime, Trask was strip-sacked, basically concluding the ugliest half of football that Trask has had this season.

    In the second half with Florida down by 10, Trask threw some beautiful deep balls to Copeland and Toney, putting those passes in perfect locatations. Copeland’s was knocked away, drawing a penalty, while Toney’s went for 49 yards. That set up Trask’s second rushing touchdown of the season, as he dove over the goal line on a quarterback draw.

    On the next drive, Trask fired a perfect strike down the deep middle of the field, hitting Copeland in stride for 40 yards. To end the drive, Trask threw a screen to Toney for a nine-yard touchdown pass to give Florida a 31-27 lead entering the fourth quarter.

    After LSU went up 34-31 early in the fourth quarter, Trask had three possessions go three-and-out before leading a field goal drive to tie the game. Trask was unable to come up with another scoring drive to tie or win the game. With only 23 seconds remaining, Trask completed a few passes to get the Gators in range for a 51-yard field goal, but their kicker missed it to give LSU the upset win.

    Trask completed 29-of-47 passes for 474 yards with two touchdowns passing, two touchdowns rushing and two interceptions. He showed what he has all year with excellent pocket passing, an accurate arm with good ball placement downfield, an ability to throw receivers open, and good field vision. His lack of mobility hurt when LSU sent blitzes in the red zone at times, but Trask played well enough for the Gators to win. Overall though, this tape will probably reinforce Trask being more of a second-day prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Kyle Pitts was held out against LSU due to injury, but Toney stepped up with a monster game for Florida. He was fabulous, running routes to create separation and showing his tremendous yards-after-the-catch ability. In the second quarter, Toney showed quickness in and out of breaks, and then fantastic balance to regain his feet after stumbling to rip off yards and dart by tacklers. In the fourth quarter, Toney showed his explosion with a 31-yard run on an end around and another completion set up a field goal for Florida. Toney totaled nine receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown, plus took three carries for 56 yards.

    Toney looks like a weapon akin to Curtis Samuel or Deebo Samuel for the NFL. Toney is an explosive and shifty receiver who creates separation and is phenomenal in the open field with the ball in his hands. Because he is not that big and has suffered some injuries over his football career, Toney will probably be a second-round pick, like both Samuels.

    North Carolina 62, Miami 26
  • North Carolina has a tandem of running backs who will be contributing on Sundays next year in Javonte Williams and Michael Carter. Both of them were phenomenal against Miami and showed why they are capable tailbacks for the NFL.

    In the first quarter, Williams showed his power and bulk near the end zone by pushing a carry through a few defenders while extending the ball over the goal line for a touchdown. Shortly later, Williams took a run at the 35, paused and then darted down the field, trucking over a tackler and then falling through a few other tacklers to get the Tar Heels into Miami territory. Williams finished the drive by scoring, untouched, from a yard out off the right side of the line.

    Midway through the first half, the Miami defense had a bust in gap integrity, which allowed Williams to explode down the field for a gain of 65 yards before getting caught from behind. In the third quarter, he continued to run over tacklers and pick up yards after contact thanks to his overwhelming power. Williams scored again in garbage time from a few yards out. He totaled 236 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns against the Hurricanes.

    For the NFL, Williams is an instinctive runner who has good bulk and power to pick up yards after contact. On top of his build and strength, Williams has vision that lets him find creases in defenses, and he fights hard for extra yardage. Passing-driven pro teams might prefer a running back who is shiftier and faster in the passing game, but Williams could be a power back who leads a ground-based offense as a workhorse runner. He could be a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft who ends up being a three-down starter and the engine of a power rushing offense.

  • Like Williams, Carter dominated the Hurricanes in prolific fashion. At the end of the first quarter, Carter exploded down the field for a 65-yard touchdown run. He dodged a defender at the hashes before veering to the sideline and racing away for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Carter juked two Miami tacklers on a 25-yard touchdown run. Carter continued to rip off yards in chunks, and the Miami defense was helpless to stop him. Carter totaled 308 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns.

    Carter is a smaller and shifty back who has some speed to rip off yards in chunks. He is a nightmare in the open field thanks to his quick feet and elusiveness to dodge tacklers. He also has some receiving ability and could be a nice fit in a passing offense. Carter could be a second-day pick who is a solid rotational back for the next level.

  • North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt could be a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he had a solid performance against Miami. In the first quarter, Surratt had a running back comedown hill and run through him, knocking him back and dragging him for a few yards. Late in the first quarter on a fourth-and-short, Surratt read the play well and fired into the hole to stuff the back for no gain. On the next possession, Surratt was spying the quarterback on a third-and-long and made a good open field tackle to get his defense off the field.

    Surratt has helped himself this season, plus has enjoyed a lot of media hype. He has shown progress in 2020, his second season as a linebacker, and he has a good skill set for the next level. Surratt has excellent size, speed and strength. He definitely has three-down starting potential, but he is also raw and needs development.

    Surratt has had problems with missed tackles this season, although that didn’t show against Miami. He needs to really improve his tackling fundamentals for taking on NFL backs. Surratt also will take some bad angles and overpursue on plays. Right now, his instincts are hit and miss. His ability to read his keys will need more work for the NFL. At this point, Surratt is a better athlete than football player, and as a result he is more of a prospect for Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Miami tight end Brevin Jordan could be a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he was one of the lone bright spots in this embarrassing loss for the Hurricanes. In the first quarter, Jordan missed a block in the ground game to allow a loss of seven on a run, but he played well after that. Jordan ran a nice route later in the first quarter, slanting to convert a second-and-10. In the third quarter, Jordan ran a great route with a jab step to the outside and then a slant to the middle. Jordan burned the defensive back to get open and then raced down the field for a 76-yard touchdown.

    Jordan made a nice play early in the fourth quarter, getting open in the middle of the field and ducking away from two tacklers to pick up another 10 yards. Jordan totaled 140 yards on six receptions with a touchdown against North Carolina.

    For the NFL, Jordan could be a nice receiving tight end similar to the Titans’ Jonnu Smith. Like Smith, Jordan is a smooth route-runner with quickness to separate. He also has a compact build that allows him to run through tackles and be tough for defensive backs to get on the ground. While Jordan will never be a devastating blocker, he can contribute some in the ground game and protect his quarterback. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Jordan could be a late second-round or early third-round pick.

    Iowa 28, Wisconsin 7
  • Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette might get lost in the shuffle of the 2021 NFL Draft’s deep receiver class, but he is a quality receiving weapon for the NFL, and he helped prove that with an excellent game against Wisconsin. It was a tight game outside of the score, and Smith-Marsette made some huge game-changing plays to lead the Hawkeyes to the win.

    In the third quarter, Smith-Marsette turned a defensive back around with a nice route, cutting back across the field to get open for a catch of 38 yards. It should have been a touchdown, but the ball was thrown too late, which forced Smith-Marsette to pull up and wait, allowing defensive backs to recover. To end the drive, he hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch on an end zone fade route for a 19-yard scoring strike.

    Smith-Marsette scored again a short time later, running a corner post to get wide open before showing off his explosive athleticism with a flip into the end zone on his 53-yard touchdown. Smith-Marsette totaled seven receptions for 140 yards with two touchdowns.

    This performance will really help Smith-Marsette, as he showed off good route-running skills, an ability to stretch defenses downfield, and soft hands to make a variety of catches. For the NFL, Smith-Marsette has the speed, build, and moves of a receiver who primarily works out of the slot. He has the ability to line up on the outside, but his shifty route-running and slim build could make him a better fit as a slot receiver in the mold of a Sterling Shepard or Dede Westbrook. Smith-Marsette could be a mid-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and end up being a nice value selection.

  • Iowa left tackle Alaric Jackson has been a steady blocker for the Hawkeyes over his career, and it was interesting that coming from a school known for producing good offensive linemen, Jackson played left tackle when Iowa had Tristan Wirfs on the right side. Against Wisconsin, Jackson had a solid game, but he also wasn’t facing any dangerous edge-rushing talent.

    The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Jackson has good size for the NFL. However, he has a tendency to bend at the waist at times and seems heavy-legged with feet that get stuck in the ground. Jackson does not look like he has the quickness, footwork, and athleticism to be a left tackle in the NFL. He could be better off moving to guard or right tackle.

    Georgia 49, Missouri 14
  • Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton has gotten some early-round projections, and this game was a good opportunity for Bolton to shine, as he was taking on a tough Georgia rushing offense. He did not stand out, however, and Georgia’s rushing attack was not clamped down by Bolton.

    Early in the first quarter, Bolton flowed to the ball on the goal line, but he missed the tackle as the back went through him for a few more yards to fall short of the end zone. Shortly later, Bolton had an interesting play where he took some false steps to his left, going around a block rather than taking it on, and that helped open a hole for a back to get to the second level. Bolton turned around and chased down the back from behind for the tackle, but overall, that was not a play that will help him with NFL evaluators. Later in the third quarter, Bolton had another missed tackle on a chunk run by Georgia.

    Bolton looks like a backup middle linebacker who could contribute on special teams at the next level. He might develop into a starter in time, but he lacks speed and explosion, and is just an average athlete. Some team sources have said they graded Bolton in the mid-rounds for the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes has played well the past few seasons, he continued to do so against Missouri. On the first drive of the game, Stokes was covering a receiver closely and caught a tipped pass, recording his fourth interception of the season and setting up the Georgia offense in Missouri territory.. Stokes was very good in coverage after that, playing his assignments and shadowing receivers. Stokes is a sleeper who could be a nice value pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

  • Some in the draft media have had high projections on Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis. He is a body at the point of attack who has strength with quality movement skills for such a big blocker. Davis made his presence felt in the early going against Missouri, creating some run stuffs at the line of scrimmage, including a nice play where he worked off a block and swallowed the running back at the line. Davis followed that up with some quality plays in the ground game.

    Some team sources believe Davis could be a potential mid-round pick if he enters the 2021 NFL Draft. They feel he is raw and has things he needs to work on. For the NFL, Davis might be a rotational nose tackle who gets pulled from the game in obvious passing situations. His best fit might come manning the middle in a 3-4 defense.

  • Georgia edge defender Azeez Ojulari has had a good season rushing the passer and causing disruption off the edge. He was active against Missouri, but did draw a pass interference penalty late in the first half that helped the Tigers extend a drive.

    Ojulari is a true outside linebacker for the next level, but he needs to get stronger. Ojulari is not a special athlete, but he has some ability to rush the quarterback. He should go back to the Bulldogs for 2021 to improve before going to the pros. If Ojulari gets stronger and develops, he could rise into the early rounds. If he enters the 2021 NFL Draft, some team sources think he could go late in the third round.


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