Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson is having a phenomenal season for the Seminoles, and he continued his strong play versus Miami. The Hurricanes have a NFL prospect at left tackle in Zion Nelson, so this was a good game to evaluate both prospects for the next level.
While Johnson did not produce big plays in the first half, he was tough at the point of attack, held his ground versus the run and would get upfield in the pass rush. Nelson did well with Johnson's quickness and mobility, but Johnson's strength and physicality gave Nelson problems so far that Johnson found success pressuring the pocket with bull rushes.
In the third quarter, Johnson stayed home on a jet sweep and ripped down the ball-carrier for a tackle for a loss. A few plays later, Nelson had Johnson blocked initially, but Johnson shed the block to take down quarterback Tyler Van Dyke when Van Dyke scrambled forward.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson burned Nelson with speed around the edge, but Van Dykle dodged Johnson by climbing the pocket. Late in the fourth quarter on a critical third down, Johnson showed great effort and pursuit to fly to the flat and lay a hard tackle on the tight end to stop him a yard short of the first down. That forced a critical punt and gave the Seminoles a late shot at a comeback win.
Overall, Johnson played better than Nelson, but Florida State did move Johnson around a lot and had him face the right tackle for a lot of snaps. Johnson is a tough, physical and strong defensive end. He can set the edge and has a good rush package to get after the quarterback. The only things missing for Johnson are elite speed and explosiveness, but he is a well-rounded player who looks like a future pro starter.
Nelson needs more development for the NFL. He has quick feet, athleticism, and is nimble and fluid. He needs, however, to develop his technique to anchor and also must get stronger for the pros. The way he looked against Florida State, Nelson will get pushed around by pro defensive ends. If Nelson gets stronger as a senior, he could contend to become a starter for the NFL.
Miami is known as "tight end U," and last year, tight end Will Mallory flashed impressive ability behind Brevin Jordan. Mallory got off to a slow start this season, but he has played better in recent weeks as his freshman quarterback has grown more comfortable. Versus Florida State, Mallory was impressive. He did a nice job contributing as a blocker and came up with some clutch receptions that got the Hurricanes into the game after they fell behind 17-0.
Mallory made a very tough catch in traffic in the first half that showed great hands and helped move the chains on Miami's first scoring drive. Later before halftime, Mallory got open along the sideline and took off for a 45-yard gain to set up a Hurricanes score. Early in the fourth quarter, Mallory got open running to the flat for a four-yard touchdown reception that put Miami up 21-20.
For the NFL, Mallory has quality speed to go along with size, strength and athleticism. He could be a really good No. 2 tight end who develops into being a pro starter.
NFL evaluators will watch this tape frequently and repeatedly in the months to come because it features two quarterback prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft going head-to-head, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett and North Carolina's Sam Howell. Entering the season, Howell had more hype, but Pickett has played much better this season, and he is currently projected to go in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, while Howell should probably return for his senior year. Going back to school rather than entering the 2021 NFL Draft seems to have worked out for Pickett.
On the opening drive, Pickett made some precision passes to move the ball down the field, but the drive stalled out with a fourth-down incompletion. It was throw to the end zone that would have been tough for the receiver to control, especially with the traffic. Pittsburgh quickly got the ball back, however, and was only 20 yards away from the end zone. Pickett showed his mobility to roll out and threw a strike that converted a third down and set up a short rushing touchdown.
On the next drive, Pickett threw a beautiful deep ball along the sideline for a 44-yard gain to get the Panthers inside the five. He then tossed an easy score on third-and-goal. On the next drive, Pickett threw a beautiful deep ball down the middle of the field for a 42-yard gain. That pass saw Pickett overtake Alex Van Pelt as the Panthers' all-time leader in passing yards. That completion led to a field goal that put Pittsburgh up 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Following a few drives stalling out, Pickett made a perfect throw down the field for a 32-yard touchdown. It was perfectly placed, showing excellent accuracy in the middle of the end zone. Pickett used his legs to extend plays as well, and he had a handful of well-thrown passes dropped by his receivers.
While Pickett did not produce as many big plays in the second half, he led a few drives that resulted in missed field goals. Pittsburgh's bad luck continued midway through the fourth quarter with a tipped pass that was intercepted. Pickett's pass was behind his running back on a screen, and the back deflected the ball up for a floater that was easily picked off. That turnover led to the game-tying field goal that forced overtime. On the next drive, Pickett almost threw another interception with a late pass across the middle when the the route was nearly jumped.
Pickett theb threw a perfect strike on a slant for an 11-yard touchdown in overtime. He finished the day having completed 25-of-43 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. If it weren't for dropped passes, Pickett would have had an even bigger night.
While Pickett is not a freak athlete with running ability like a Lamar Jackson or Cam Newton, Pickett has some functional mobility and toughness as a runner, similar to Joe Burrow. Pickett does not have a cannon for an arm like a Josh Allen or Matthew Stafford, but he has a capable arm that can make all the throws, similar to Derek Carr. What Pickett has that really stands out is excellent accuracy. He also throws a very catchable arm, processes information quickly, makes good decisions, and has natural feel as a passer. Additionally, Pickett is a leader, hard worker, good teammate, and a competitor. Thus, he has the skill set to be a starter in the NFL. Pickett could end up being a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Howell started out this game slowly, but he kept fighting and brought his team back to force overtime. On his first drive of the game, Howell was late to react to a delayed blitz and came one yard short of a safety. That set the tone for the day, with Pittsburgh regularly overwhelming his blocking front and Howell failing to get the ball out quickly enough. That led to three sacks that produced three consecutive three-and-outs in the first quarter.
Tt was more of the same for North Carolina to open the second quarter. The pressure seemingly rattled Howell, who missed an easy completion for a first down with an uncharacteristic overthrow on a short slant route. On the next down, Howell held the ball too long when the blitz was bearing down and took another third-down sack. It took some time for Howell to get into a rhythm because of pass rush's disruption.
Midway through the second quarter, Howell found wide receiver Antoine Green wide open in busted coverage as he streaked downfield after the cornerback fell down, and Howell lofted in an easy pass for a 76-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, Howell threw a well-placed ball downfield for what should have been a 23-yard touchdown along the sideline, but the pass was dropped. Howell bounced back on the next play to toss a strike down the middle of the field for the score.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Howell laid out a deep ball that was hauled in by Josh Downs for 46 yards. On fourth-and-goal, Howell ran the ball in from a couple yards out to pull North Carolina within three points. Pickett's interception then spotted the Tarheels the game-tying score. In overtime, Howell was lucky that a would-be interception was dropped because the heavy rain was hurting his arm strength more than it was holding back Pickett. On the final play of the game, Howell threw a desperate Hail Mary that was intercepted. On the day, he completed 22-of-33 passes for 296 yards, two touchdowns passing and an interception. He also notched a rushing score.
Howell is a gritty quarterback who gas enough of an arm and demonstrates accuracy, ball placement, and some mobility. Some team sources have called Howell a less twitchy Baker Mayfield, and some scouts have said they feel Howell was being very overrated when he was receiving high first-round projections. The 2021 season has not been as good for Howell as 2020 or 2019, so he might help himself by returning for his senior year and entering the 2023 NFL Draft.
Last week, the Buckeyes played without star receiver Garrett Wilson, but the Buckeye got him back versus the upset specialists from Purdue, and Wilson shot down the Boilermakers' hopes in the first half of the game. Wilson absolutely dominated Purdue, which had no answer for Ohio State's explosive playmaker.
On the first drive of the game, Wilson moved the chains before getting wide open in the flat for a short catch. He then darted down the field for a 21-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, Wilson made a leaping touchdown grab over a defensive back, showing excellent body control. Later in the first half, Wilson showed his explosiveness and deep speed by taking a jet sweep for a 51-yard touchdown.
In the third quarter, Wilson caught a quick slant on a fourth down for a short catch, and with the ball in his hands, he made a great move to cut back the other direction and dart into the end zone with a 24-yard touchdown. Wilson ended up totaling 10 receptions for 126 receiving yards and three touchdowns, plus he ran for a 51-yard touchdown score.
This tape will help Wilson to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He displayed his game-breaking speed and electrifying playmaking ability. Wilson ran superb routes, showing suddenness in and out of his breaks. Along with being fast playmaker, Wilson had good body control to adjust to the ball. Obviously, he was phenomenal after the catch against Purdue. Wilson looks like a future first-round pick next April in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There was an excellent draft matchup in this game with Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis taking on Ohio State left tackle Nicolas Petit-Free. Overall, the Buckeyes line did a good job of limiting Karlaftis.
In the first quarter, Karlaftis cut to the inside of guard Thayer Munford, who opened up his gap for a long touchdown run for Ohio State. Shortly later, Karlaftis jumped offsides with a teammate, but Karlaftis had a horrible play in the second quarter. He was unblocked, but froze at the line due to a fake and Garrett Wilson ran right past him with the ball en route to a 51-yard touchdown. Conversely happening around the same time in Tallahassee, Florida State's Jermaine Johnson read the play correctly to stay home and make a tackle for a loss. It was virtually the same exact jet-sweep play, but Karlaftis blew his assignment.
Late in the second quarter, Karlaftis cut to the inside to get his eighth tackle for a loss in the season. In the third quarter, Karlaftis drew a questionable holding call that took away a long touchdown pass, but otherwise, Karlaftis was held his check. Karlaftis is a good pass rusher, but he needs to improve his run defense for the NFL. He will likely be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft if he skips his senior year.
Petit-Frere is a good athlete on the edge with quickness and agility. He is fast out of his stance, and has good knee bend and body lean. For the NFL, Petit-Frere needs to get stronger to be able to pack more of a punch at the point of attack. Overall, this tape should help Petit-Frere's draft grade.
Chris Olave had more buzz entering the season, but Wilson has passed him as the hotter prospect for the NFL. Versus Purdue, Olave played well, catching nine passes for 85 yards and a touchdown.
In the second quarter, Olave dropped an easy would-be touchdown. The ball was behind him, but it still bounced off his hands. In the third quarter, Olave got open for a long touchdown pass, but a holding penalty called it back. He found the end zone early in the fourth quarter from running a pretty route to get open for a short score.
For the NFL, Olave looks like a future starter who could be a low-end No. 1 receivers, but might be a fantastic No. 2 receiver. Olave does not have overwhelming size, and while he has good speed, he is not a pure burner. Olave is a well-rounded wideout who looks like a safe pick to be a quality pro.
There was an excellent draft matchup in this game with Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson taking on Penn State left tackle Rasheed Walker, and unfortunately for Walker, things were almost completely one sided given how much Hutchinson had his way with Walker. This tape only reinforces why Hutchinson is a future first-round pick, and it shows that Walker should return to school for his senior year rather than enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
On the second play of the game, Hutchinson dodged Walker and closed in a hurry to almost get a sack, but Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford broke the tackle. Hutchinson saw some extra attention over the day, but in the second quarter, Hutchinson used his speed to get upfield and his power to push through the right tackle to get a back side strip-sack of Clifford. In the third quarter, Hutchinson used a bull rush to go through Walker and notched his second sack of the game.
Hutchinson looks like a future top-20 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has good size, speed, and athleticism on the edge. With a quality first-step and a burst to close, Hutchinson presents speed off the edge and is constantly working upfield. Hutchinson is adept at using his developed hands and feet at the same time to shed blocks. He is adequate as a run defender, but he could stand to get better at defending downhill runs coming straight at him. That is the big area of improvement for Hutchinson entering the next level.
Walker had problems against Wisconsin to open the season. Versus Ohio State, he allowed two huge plays that ultimately resulted in points for the Buckeyes. And now he was embarrassed by Michigan. Walker has a good skill set with size, speed and athleticism, but his technique needs work. He lets his hands get too wide, and that leaves hum vulnerable to bull rushes. He also can be late to react to speed around the corner, which leaves him flat-footed. Walker would be in trouble if he would try to take on NFL edge rushers next year. He should definitely return to school to improve before heading to the 2023 NFL Draft.
Helped Hutchinson commanding a lot of attention, teammate David Ojabo has enjoyed a breakout season, entering this game with eight sacks. Ojabo continued his hot streak, having his way with the Penn State right tackle and making some big plays in the backfield. On the first drive of the game, Ojabo came completely unblocked to sack Clifford. Just before halftime, Ojabo added a strip-sack by using a rip move to get leverage on the right tackle and then hammering the arm of Clifford.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ojabo could stand to get stronger and add more weight to his frame to hold up as a run defender in the NFL. Ojabo was a backup in 2020 and on the scout team in 2019, so this is only his first year of extended playing time, and he has a ton of upside to improve as he gains experience. If Ojabo enters the 2022 NFL Draft, he could be an early-round pick. On the other hand, he could have high first-round potential for the 2023 NFL Draft if he returns to Michigan and continues to improve.
Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson has been one of the best wide receivers in college football this season. Last week versus Maryland, he totaled over 200 yards and three touchdowns. While Dotson was not as prolific against Michigan , he still showed special ability for the NFL.
At the end of the first quarter, Dotson got involved with a pair of receptions to get the Nittany Lions away from their end zone. In the third quarter, Dotson ran a beautiful corner post route to shake man coverage and get open for a reception of about 20 yards. Early in the fourth quarter, Dotson made a clutch leaping grab to convert a fourth down. A few plays later, Dotson made a fabulous hands catch on a slant, picking up about 15 yards and converting another fourth down. Dotson closed out the drive with a back-shoulder catch on the two-point conversion, which tied the game at 14 midway through the fourth quarter. Dotson totaled nine receptions for 61 yards against the Wolverines.
For the NFL, Dotson is a smaller speed receiver who will be a dangerous weapon out of the slot. He is a quick route-runner with suddenness and explosiveness out of his breaks. Dotson's speed and athleticism make him a weapon to generate separation and get open for his quarterback. While Dotson is lacking height, he is a competitor who shows impressive leaping ability to win contested catches. He also has strong hands to help him control the ball on acrobatic grabs. Dotson looks like a late first-round or early second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.