NFL sources have shared with WalterFootball.com that they like the pass-rushing ability of Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, but they have concerns with his run defense and his strength for that phase. His problems can especially be seen in handling downhill runs coming straight at him, so performing well against Michigan State was an opportunity for Karlaftis to show he's improving. The Spartans have one of the toughest rushing attacks in the nation, led by breakout star Kenneth Walker III. While Karlaftis was not a liability for the Boilermakers, he was not impressive versus the Spartans.
In the second quarter, Karlaftis used speed to get by the left tackle and forced the quarterback to step up into a sack. In the fourth quarter, Karlaftis blew contentment on an option run, which opened up a big hole for a quarterback option. Michigan State sent some double-team attention to Karlaftis and did a good job of keeping him in check. He achieved some pressures, but he was not a game-changing factor.
In the ground game, Karlaftis did show the strength to stack, shed, and pursue to make the tackle. He struggles to get off blocks as a run defender and is not a force who is tough to move at the point of attack. He really lives to rush the passer. For the NFL, Karlaftis is going to need development as a run defender and to get stronger at the point of attack.
Walker has been on fire this season and was coming off a five-touchdown game versus Michigan. While he ran well against Purdue, this outing was not as perfect for Walker compared to recent weeks. At the beginning of the first quarter, Walker was hit from behind and fumbled the ball away. On the replay, it looked like Walker's knee was down, but the officials stuck with the ruling on the field.
Walker came back to rip off a 29-yard run early in the second quarter, breaking a tackle at the second level and keeping his feet. He also showed his cutting ability and burst on a 14-yard touchdown run that converted a fourth-and-2. Walker added a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter, displaying his cutting ability and vision. Walker recorded 136 yards and the touchdown over 22 carries, plus caught two passes for 20 yards.
Versus Purdue, Walker showed the strength to break tackles and pick up yards after contact. His vision for finding small holes and cutback lanes is terrific. Walker looks like a potential three-down starter in the NFL with natural running ability. He does not have overwhelming strength or the speed to be a first- or second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But if Walker lands with a good team, he could be a good pro starter and a nice value as a Day 2 pick.
Texas A&M has had inconsistent young quarterback play this year, but the constant for the offense has been good play out of running back Isaiah Spiller and the offensive line led by future NFL starter Kenyon Green. The duo once again came through with a rock-solid performance to lead the Aggies to another conference win.
Early in the first quarter, Green tied up and moved his defender to open a big hole for Spiller to gash Auburn up the middle. That set the tone for the day, with Green manhandling Tigers defensive linemen, pushing them out of their gaps and constantly opening holes from the left guard spot. In the third quarter, Green had a false start, but he made up for it when he opened up a big hole versus a run blitz to spring Spiller for a gain of about 25 yards to get the Aggies out of the shadow of their end zone.
All day, Green packed a punch, sustained his blocks with strength, and moved defenders the direction he wanted them to go. He was also rock solid in pass protection. This was a superb tape from Green, who was absolutely dominant versus Auburn.
Spiller ran for 112 yards on 21 carries despite playing with a lower leg injury. He looks like a future three-down starter for the NFL thanks to being a tough runner with strength and receiving ability. If Spiller were faster, he would be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Teams have some speed concerns with Spiller, so he is projected to Day 2.
Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer could be the top tight end prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft, and he has been hurt by the Aggies' struggling passing attack this season. While Wydermyer wasn't awful, this was a disappointing game for him with some lost opportunities.
On the opening drive of the game, Wydermyer made a short catch after cutting open, but he then dropped a pass with open grass ahead of him. Wydermyer made up for it a few plays later with a reception of almost 30 yards after running a good route to get open. Early in the second quarter, Wydermyer had another drop, but this was a bad pass from the quarterback, who had fired an unnecessary fastball before Wydermyer was even turned around, so the pass got there too quickly for Wydermyer to adjust. Wydermyer totaled five receptions for 53 yards against Auburn.
Wydermyer looks like a future three-down starter for the next level. He has good size and strength to be a blocker while showing athleticism and impressive route running. Wydermyer lacks elite speed and explosion, but he has mismatch ability as a passing weapon, with his route running being well developed for the next level. Wydermyer could be a solid and safe second-day pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Texas A&M has two edge defenders who will play in the NFL next year in Michael Clemons and Tyree Johnson. Both of them came up with huge plays to help shut down the Auburn offense. On the first drive of the game, Johnson kept fighting with a second effort to get a coverage sack that forced a punt, and he added another sack later in the game. Those marked his sixth and seventh sacks over the last four games. In the fourth quarter, Clemons scooped up fumble and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
Team sources say they think Clemons could be a third-round pick who develops into being a solid NFL starter. Johnson has some size limitations, but he could be a mid-rounder who serves as a solid rotational defender.
Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary had another good tape, blanketing receivers and limiting the players that he went against. At the beginning of the second quarter, McCreary was tested deep downfield, but he had blanket coverage to force an incompletion. In the fourth quarter, McCreary was rewarded for hustling downfield in run defense and was able to pounce on a fumble to save his defense inside the Auburn 10-yard line. Throughout the game, McCreary ran the route and prevented separation to help hold the Texas A&M passing offense in check. If McCreary were bigger, he could be a first-round pick, but given his lack of height and size, he could end up being a Day 2 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral is the consensus top quarterback prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft, and he was taking on a lesser caliber of competition against Liberty. As expected, it was an easy game for Corral, with the Rebels' ground attack helping build a lead, allowing him to coast as a game manager.
Late in the first quarter, Corral threw a pass a little late, but he dropped in the ball for a 52-yard gain. The late pass, however, allowed his receiver to take a big shot from the safety. That drive led to a field goal, and then Corral came back to drop in a beautiful deep ball along the sideline to set up a short rushing touchdown. Late in the second quarter, Corrall found a wide-open receiver, hitting him on the run and letting him dart down the field for a 40-yard touchdown. Corral completed 20-of-27 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown versus Liberty.
For Corral, this game was a carbon copy from a week earlier in Ole Miss' win over LSU. This tape won't hurt Corral, but it won't create feelings of love. He showed his quality arm, mobility, field vision, and patience. It was a game-manager performance, but that is not a bad thing for Corral because there are plenty of tapes of him being an aggressive gunslinger. This outing shows teams Corral can be patient and support the ground game to lead his team to a win. Corral looks like a future first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is a potential first-round pick for the 2022 NFL Draft and is one of the top quarterback prospects. He typically rolls over easy competition, so an SEC opponent would be a good test for Willis.
On his first play from scrimmage, Willis showed one of his weaknesses when he appeared blinded in the pocket and took a sack. That set the tone for the Ole Miss defensive line to dominate the Liberty blocking front, recording seven sacks in the first half. The constant pressure kept Willis from finding his rhythm as a passer. Late in the second quarter, Willis threw a terrible pass to the sideline. He stared down the receiver, allowing the safety to read Willis' eyes to undercut the route.
In the third quarter, Willis threw a beautiful deep ball that was ruled out of bounds, and he used his legs on two impressive runs to set up a first-and-goal that he finished with an option run. He continued to move the ball using his arm and legs to attempt a comeback. Willis, however, often held the ball too long, taking a few sacks that essentially killed Liberty's comeback hopes. Late in the fourth quarter, Willis threw a desperate pass to the end zone that was intercepted, although it was essentially a Hail Mary. Willis completed 16-of-25 passes for 173 yards and three interceptions. He also took 27 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.
While Willis struggled against Ole Miss, it wasn't all his fault because his offensive line was dominated. Willis did show off his powerful arm, throwing some absolute bullets with serious velocity and big-league arm strength. Willis also used his mobility and ran with the ball at times, illustrating his dual-threat skill for the next level. For the NFL, Willis has a good skill set, but he needs major development in field vision, seeing the field, working through his progressions, and manipulating coverage with his eyes. Willis belongs on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft, but a team could fall in love with his skill set and take him in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ole Miss defensive end Sam Williams dominated the Liberty offensive line, racking up multiple sacks in the first half. He used his speed to run around the left tackle to get a sack, and Williams repeated that again later in the first half. In the fourth quarter, Williams chased down Willis for a strip-sack, but Williams had to be helped off the field after injuring his left hip. Williams set the school' single-season sack record on that play, reaching 10.5 sacks thus far in 2021. Versus Liberty, Williams recorded eight tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble.
Williams has first-round traits such as size, speed and athleticism. He would be a first- or second-round pick, but off-the-field issues are going to cause him to slide, according to team sources. If Williams can mature and become a professional, he could be a steal from the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft or later.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is the favorite to the No. 1-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and his performance against the Washington Huskies was just one more gametape that will help him achieve that status. Thibodeaux was facing a quality offensive lineman in Washington left tackle Jaxon Kirkland, but Thibodeaux continued his impressive final season at Oregon.
In the first quarter on a third-and-3, Thibodeaux read a play well to make a stop short to force fourth-and-1. Shortly later, Thibodeaux dropped into coverage, and he did a nice job of covering a receiver to occupy a throwing lane, which helped to lead to an easy interception for a teammate.
At the start of the third quarter, Thibodeaux worked upfield against Kirkland before spinning back toward the line of scrimmage to join a teammate for a sack. Late in the game, Thibodeaux came close to a sack with a powerful rush up the middle to blow up the pocket. Oregon was moving him around to try to make it hard to send double teams, but when Thibodeaux was on the edge, the Huskies would slide blocking his direction. Even with the extra blocking, Thibodeaux made an impact in the pass rush and put steady pressure on the quarterback. Thibodeaux also achieved a push in the ground game, pushing tackles backward in the pocket. This was a good tape from Oregon's superstar rusher.
For the NFL, Thibodeaux looks like a Khalil Mack-type pass rusher. Thibodeaux is explosive, twitchy, physical, shocks opponents with his power, and has a burst to close. This game showed Thibodeaux has a very good get-off, firing off the ball despite playing on an ankle that has bothered him all season. Thibodeaux is worthy of going high in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and should go as one of the first three picks next April.
A year ago, Jameson Williams was mostly on the bench for Ohio State, but now he is soaring as one of the top wide receiver prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. LSU managed to shut down the Alabama ground offense over the weekend, Williams carried the Crimson Tide offense with 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. Without his huge game, Alabama probably would have lost.
Early in the third quarter, Williams showed his game-breaking speed by running a deep post route and getting wide open for Bryce Young to hit him on the run. Williams coasted into the end zone for the 58-yard touchdown. Midway through the fourth quarter, Williams juked a corner after a short catch, and he darted for a first down that was huge in helping Alabama to run the clock out.
The 6-foot-2, 189-pound Williams has quality height and explosive speed alongside suddenness and a burst that catches defensive backs by surprise. He has put himself in contention to be a late first-round or early second-round pick to be a 2022 NFL Draft.
This game was a good test for Crimson Tide left tackle Evan Neal because Tigers sophomore speed rusher B.J. Ojulari has been one of the best quarterback hunters in the SEC this season. Overall, Neal stepped up with a quality outing. Late in the second quarter, Neal moved his defender to open space at the goal line for running back Brian Robinson to dive into the end zone from a few yards out.
Similar to how the team played against Florida, Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien helped Neal with some of the blocking schemes the offense called and quick passes. Neal often blocked to the inside with some others helping off the left side. Neal did make some nice blocks on Ojulari, using his size and length to force Ojulari to take longer to get around him.
Neal is a monster of a tackle who has received a ton of media hype. Some NFL scouts, however, think his massive size leads to him not having left tackle feet and he would be a better fit on the right side in the NFL. Regardless, Neal looks like a top-16 pick next April.
While this is a lost year for the LSU program with the coaching staff getting fired, some players have continued to play hard and show they have NFL talent. Leading among them is linebacker Damone Clark. No. 18 entered the game as the nation's leader in tackles per game, and he was coming off a 19-tackle game versus Ole Miss. Clark continued his impressive season versus Alabama.
In the second quarter on a third-and-short, Clark fired through the line to get a tackle for no gain and force a fourth down that was stopped. Shortly later before the half, Clark made an excellent goal-line tackle, wrapping up and bringing down Brian Robinson short of the end zone. Clark did a phenomenal job of shutting down the Alabama ground offense and was a big reason that Robinson was held to only 18 yards on 13 carries.
Clark is fast, instinctive and athletic, plus reads his keys well to get in position to make tackles. Right now, Clark looks like a second-round or early third-round pick, at the lowest, in the 2022 NFL Draft.