Georgia 51, Kentucky 13
A week ago, Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers came up with some huge plays to help his team pull out a narrow win over Auburn. Bowers maintained his hot play against the Kentucky Wildcats, dominating their defense. To open his night started, Bowers got wide open for a 25-yard third-down conversion. Midway through the second quarter, Bowers was left wide open in busted coverage and rumbled for a gain of 49 yards, with 28 of those coming after the catch. He then added a 21-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Bowers finished the evening with seven receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Thus far in the 2023 season, Bowers has done nothing but confirm the first-round projections for the 2024 NFL Draft. While he is a touch undersized for the NFL, he is a dynamic receiving weapon with excellent run-after-the-catch skills. Bowers uses his speed to get open, finds soft spots in zone, and has superb hands. Bowers also is a tough blocker who really fights and gives outstanding effort as a blocker. Bowers looks worthy of going as top-20 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter has played really well this year, and that continued against Kentucky. Lassiter had a deep pass breakup and came close to an interception, but only didn’t due to a superb play by the Kentucky receiver to knock the pass away. Lassiter has good size and quickness, is a smooth mover and plays with discipline. He looks like a corner who might end up going as high as mid-first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and should be safely off the board in Round 2 at the worst.
Kentucky running back Ray Davis entered this game as the SEC’s leading rusher after demolishing Florida a week earlier. Dominating the rebuilding Gators was one thing, but running over a defense like Georgia would be very impressive Davis’ part. He had some good runs to start the game, but Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary really struggled with his accuracy, which resulted in a number of drives that were unsustainable. The Bulldogs sold out to stop the run as well, which largely put the clamps on Davis. In the third quarter, Davis had a superb run on a 26-yard screen for a touchdown. He finished the game with 59 yards over 15 carries. He also had two catches for 36 yards and that score.
Davis is a physical downhill runner with a burst to hit the hole and the strength to pick up yards after contact. He could end up being a nice mid-round value pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Alabama 26, Texas A&M 20
Texas A&M guard Layden Robinson was impressive against Alabama. Robinson is in the running to be one of the top guard prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft, and he gave proof versus the Crimson Tide. Robinson was rock solid in both phases, doing his job to protect quarterback Max Johnson and opening holes in the ground game. The Aggies went behind Robinson for a critical short-yardage touchdown in the second quarter. Overall, Robinson’s performance will help his grade for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Team sources from around the NFL have been impressed with the Robinson’s play this season. They have said he looks like a potential starting right guard for the next level. Additionally, they not that while Robinson has some athletic limitations, he is strong and is a people mover at the point of attack. He is tough, nasty, and power right guard for the pros. Robinson could face limitations on some of the wide zone-run plays used in the NFL because he lacks foot quickness and overall athletic ability. He still has a violent playing style and demeanor, however. Robinson could be a second-day prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Two wide receivers, Alabama’s Jermaine Burton and Texas A&M’s Ainias Smith, helped themselves in this game. Burton carried the Crimson Tide offense, while Smith had some big plays for the Aggies. Smith had a long punt return in the first half with a superb run. He also made some nice plays on offense in what could have been a bigger game for Smith, who generated separation from the Alabama defensive backs. Burton (9-197-2) was a red-zone and vertical weapon who showed strong hands on back-shoulder and over-the-shoulder catches. However in the fourth quarter, Burton made a huge mistake, losing a fumble that the Aggies recovered at the Alabama 29-yard line. Late in the contest, Smith (4-88) got the Aggies back in the game with a tremendous run after the catch, breaking two tackles en route to a 37-yard reception that set up a first-and-goal. Overall, the tape of this content will help the draft grades of both Burton and Smith.
Alabama right tackle J.C. Latham was seeing some good young talent with the Texas A&M defensive line, and he had an impressive performance. The Crimson Tide had some early struggles in the game, but it wasn’t the fault of Latham. Early in the second quarter, Latham was part of Alabama giving up a sack. He was focused on the edge rushers, but the Aggies ran a trick on which those players backed off while a defensive tackle slipped underneath Latham to get a sack. The sack was more the fault of the Alabama guard, but Latham was too late to adjust to the tactic utilized by Texas A&M. In the third quarter, Latham made some superb blocks in pass protection, showing tremendous ability to sustain and prevent second efforts. In the fourth quarter, Latham terribly missed picking up a blitzer off the edge when his defensive end veered to the inside. That decision helped result in the Aggies sacking the Crimson Tide quarterback.
The 6-foot-6, 326-pound Latham has a good skill set and a ton of upside. He did not give up a sack in 2022 and allowed very few pressures while manning right tackle. There is no doubt that Latham is a powerful prospect with the ability to generate movement at the point of attack. He makes winning blocks look easy, aided by his serious strength and an ability to sustain. However, Latham is more of a right tackle than a left tackle for the NFL given his feet and movement skills.
Oklahoma 34, Texas 30
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers was surgical in Week 2 when the Longhorns went on the road and abused Alabama. Ewers has faced adversity in his college career, and this rivalry game tested his ability to bounce back once again.
On the second play from scrimmage, Ewers forced a pass to a well-recovered receiver and Oklahoma cornerback Gentry Williams stepped in front of the ball for an interception. Five minutes into the game, Ewers threw a pass a bit high for his tight end Ja’Taviom Sanders. Sanders stretched out and juggled the ball, but a hit from an Oklahoma defender caused a deflection that was caught by the Sooners for another interception.
Midway through the first half, Ewers had a good drive that utilized his talented receivers Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy. Ewers capped the drive by dodging a rusher and rolling out before finding a backup tight end wide open in busted coverage for a touchdown pass from about 20 yards out. Shortly later, Ewers found Worthy wide open in the deep middle of the field, lofting in a 39-yard pass. Worthy had to hold up for the pass, which if it had been thrown sooner, could have gone for a touchdown. Texas settled for a game-tying field goal just before the half.
Midway through the third quarter, Ewers took off on a run and took a hard hit that jarred the ball loose. Gentry Williams scooped up the loose ball to take away a scoring opportunity from the Longhorns. Ewers came back to lead a field goal drive. Early in the fourth quarter, Ewers made a great read, seeing a safety creep up before tossing the ball down the seam to set up a first-and-goal. The Sooners achieved a fourth-and-goal stop, but Ewers following up by making some throws to help set up a tying touchdown run from Jonathon Brooks. Ewers completed 31-of-37 passes against Oklahoma for 346 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Overall, this was a mixed tape from Ewers. Along with three turnovers, he had a lot of passes miss high and his accuracy was off. Team sources say Ewers has gifted arm talent, good makeup, advanced football I.Q., and will be ready for the next level thanks to his college system and the coaching at Texas. Those sources stated they feel Ewers has really turned the corner in terms of experience and maturity, so his intangibles could help him in the interview process during the leadup to the 2024 NFL Draft. Ewers has a shot at being a riser for the 2024 NFL Draft, but if he wants to be a first-round pick, he should consider returning to school instead and continue to improve before going pro via the 2025 NFL Draft.
Texas nose tackle T’Vondre Sweat is an early-round prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft, and he showed why against Oklahoma. Midway through the first quarter, Sweat made a highlight-reel play by bull rushing the guard straight back into the quarterback, despite using only one arm, and then shedding the blocker before pounding the quarterback into the turf. Sweat forced an incompletion, and the Sooners were fortunate that Sweat didn’t notch a sack. Two plays later, Sweat leapt high into the air to deflect a pass that led to a failed third down for Oklahoma.
Sweat had his way with the Sooners guards throughout the first quarter, consistently rolling them back in the pocket. In the middle portion of the game, Sweat fell quiet in terms of splash plays, but he was still doing a nice job of generating interior push and plugging up interior running lanes. In the fourth quarter, the 362-pound Sweat showed superb strength and quickness to get off a double-team block and then swallow up the running back for no gain.
Overall, this performance is going to help Sweat for the 2024 NFL Draft. He showed overwhelming size, strength, and shocking quickness and athleticism for a heavy nose tackle. This tape showed that Sweat is not just a nose tackle to plug up running lanes; he also is able to power his way through guards in the pass rush to collapse the interior. Sweat’s performance against the Sooners is going to help him to be a first- or second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Oklahoma right tackle Tyler Guyton is an early-round prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft, and he was very good against a talented Longhorns defensive line. The Texas edge rushers made their presence felt in Texas’ win over Alabama, but Guyton shut down his blockers in this edition of the Red River Rivalry. In the third quarter, Guyton showed his strength at the goal line, riding his defender five yards backward and pushing him far away from the play. In the fourth quarter, Guyton moved his edge rusher out of the play, which opened up a huge lane through which his quarterback took off on a 44-yard run.
The 6-foot-7, 328-pound Guyton showed he is an athletic freak with a special combination of size, speed, length and athleticism. He uses his big size and length to make it tough for defenders to run around him, as he has long arms that tie up defenders, plus has excellent ability to sustain his blocks. Guyton is also a smooth mover in space, showing quickness to fire out of his stance and engage defenders. Aside from a false start in the second quarter, Guyton was dominant versus Texas. Multiple NFL team sources have told WalterFootball.com that Guyton has first-round potential, but needs to be more consistent. Guyton displayed consistency against the Longhorns, which will help his grade for the 2024 NFL Draft.