NFL Draft

What We Learned In College Football Championship Week

Who’s Up?

Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson:  Wilkins was arguably the best player on the field Saturday night for the Tigers. Wilkins dominated down the stretch last season and Clemson hopes that he has two more big games ahead of him this year. People the size of Wilkins just are not supposed to move as well as Christian does. He has the ability and versatility to play anywhere across the defensive line. There are a lot of players with off-field concerns going into the draft but Wilkins is not one of them. Wilkins is a coach’s dream in and out of the huddle. Big number 42 had seven tackles, half a sack, one and half tackles for loss, and two passes blocked at the line Saturday in Clemson’s convincing win against the U.

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia:  Smith couldn’t have picked a better day to have his best game of the season. Roquan was a difference maker Saturday and made plays in every phase of the game on defense. Smith ends the game with 13 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and two QB hurries. Oh, and one SEC Championship MVP award. There are probably four draft-eligible linebackers that have a legitimate claim to be the first of the position off the board this spring. Smith is certainly one of those guys and now gets the match-up against Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield that everyone in the country will tune in for.


I See You

Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State:  It has been a somewhat disappointing season for Campbell. Injuries and inconsistent play have kept Campbell out of the gameplan most weeks on offense. Campbell only had one catch on Saturday but it was a big one. Campbell snagged a short dump off, set his block up, and took it to the house for 57 yards by blowing by everyone at a crucial time of the game. Campbell is an electric player with the ball in his hands and it would not surprise me if he has a bigger role in Ohio State’s bowl game this year.


Who’s Down?

Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford:

Meeks has risen up very quickly on draft boards across the country. I have seen several mock drafts slotting him in the first two rounds as of late. To be honest, I have watched Meeks on a couple of occasions this year and I am not sure that the player matches the hype at this point. Meeks struggled Friday night on the biggest stage against USC. If Meeks declares for the draft he is going to need to have a big bowl game followed by a strong combine.

What We Learned In College Football Week 13

Who’s Up?

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame:  It did not seem any more likely than a flip of a coin rather St. Brown was going to play or not going into Saturday as he was recovering from a concussion. Well, St. Brown played and he produced his best game of the season. The bulk of his yardage came on a 75 yard touchdown that saw Equanimeous do most of his work after the catch down the left sideline. St. Brown has the size, the speed, and the ability to get open that NFL teams will like. St. Brown hasn’t been as productive as I would have expected this season. It will be interesting to see if St. Brown decides to declare for the draft or go back to South Bend for his senior season.


I See You

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn:  Stidham is very hard QB to evaluate when you consider the offense that Auburn runs. Auburn wants to beat you running the ball and they want to create mismatches across the field using motion. With that said, when Stidham stands in the pocket he looks like a true NFL QB. He has a very strong and accurate arm and plays within the system well. He only has four interceptions on the year so he also does a nice job protecting the football. I would expect Stidham to return to Auburn next season and it will be interesting to see if they tailor the offense around his talents more next year.


Who is The Winner of The Main Event?

Maurice Hurst vs. Billy Price  Saturday Film Session Week 13

While neither Hurst nor Price played poorly, neither senior dominated this game like they both have in other games this year either. It was also disappointing that Hurst only lined up directly over Price on rare occasions Saturday.

Price is freakishly strong at the point of attack. He also gets to the second level as well as any center in college football. Ohio State often has Price pull and trap on their power run plays to take advantage of Billy’s athleticism. Ohio State had a hard time at least early on winning the line of scrimmage against a very strong Michigan defensive front. Price did his part, however, and seemed to connect on all of the blocks you would expect him to. There were a few uncharacteristic mistakes that Price made on the day. The first two errors were unforced and will drive a coach nuts. The first play was a bad snap on 3rd down forcing OSU to punt. The second unforced mistake also came on third down as Price was called for a false start backing the Buckeyes offense up even more. The third mistake I noticed happened during the course of a play. Price was late getting to Rashan Gary on an inside stunt. Price got caught helping his LG and ended up missing Gary coming right up the middle.

Hurst has dominated in nearly every game he has played this season to date. Mo very often wins because he is the first player off the snap. While Hurst had several plays where he was able to penetrate due to this initial burst it wasn’t as consistent as we have been accustomed to this year. Hurst made a couple of nice plays during the game although he wasn’t able to affect the game as directly as Michigan probably hoped that he would. There were a couple of instances where it looked as though Ohio State took advantage of his aggressiveness (not sure if it was by design or not) by running through his gap after he had already been escorted in the backfield. It will be interesting to see what system Hurst will be placed into as a NFL defensive lineman as he seems to have the ability to play in even or odd fronts.

Neither player, in my opinion, did a lot to improve their draft projection for this spring but I do need to pick a winner. I will give Price the win by a narrow margin on the grounds that he helped lead Ohio State to the win and helped them transition unexpectedly to a freshmen QB mid-game. I am already looking forward to next year’s edition of Ohio State vs Michigan and grading out Nick Bosa vs Rashan Gary.

2018 NFL Mock Draft 11/22/17

Celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends, your family, some great food, and with the first 2018 mock draft of the year. I think we all know what assumptions do to both of us, right? Well, here are a few assumptions that were made (none of these assumptions will be true) while projecting who your favorite team might draft:

  • The teams are slotted in the order that they would be in if the season ended today
  • There will be not be any front office or head coaching changes made prior to the draft
  • There will not be any trades that have not already been made in the first round
  • Every player that is draft eligible will declare for the draft 

1) Cleveland Browns (0-10)

Saquan Barkley, Penn State RB

2) San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, DB

3) New York Giants (2-8)

Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB

4) Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

Bradley Chubb, NC State, DE

5) Denver Broncos (3-7)

Sam Darnold, USC, QB

6) Chicago Bears (3-7)

Courtland Sutton, SMU, WR

7) Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB

8) Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame, OG

9) New York Jets (4-6)

Arden Key, LSU, Edge Def

10) Oakland Raiders (4-6)

Roquan Smith, Georgia, LB

11) Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

Derwin James, Florida State, S

12) Cleveland Browns via Houston trade (0-10)

Calvin Ridley, Alabama, WR

13) Miami Dolphins (4-6)

Christian Wilkins, Clemson, DT

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)

Harold Landry, Boston College, DE

15) Washington Redskins (4-6)

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB

16) Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, OT

17) Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Rashaan Evans, Alabama, LB

18) Green Bay Packers (5-5)

Ronald Jones, USC, RB

19) Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Connor Williams, Texas, OT

20) Detroit Lions (6-4)

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson, DE

21) Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Derrius Guice, LSU, RB

22) Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

Ronnie Harrison, Alabama, S

23) Tennessee Titans (6-4)

Austin Bryant, Clemson, DE

24) Carolina Panthers (7-3)

Denzel Ward, Ohio State, CB

25) Buffalo Bills via trade with Kansas City (5-5)

Maurice Hurst, Michigan, DT

26)  Los Angeles Rams (6-4)

Joshua Jackson, Iowa, CB

27) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, QB

28) New Orleans Saints (8-2)

Kendall Joseph, Clemson, LB

29) Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Orlando Brown, Oklahoma, OT

30) New England Patriots (8-2)

Sam Hubbard, Ohio State, Edge Def

31) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

Josh Allen, Wyoming, QB

32) Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

James Washington, Oklahoma State, WR

Saturday Film Session Week 13

While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.

Main Event

# 73 Maurice Hurst, Michigan, DL

VS

#54 Billy Price, Ohio State, C


Undercard Matchups


#66 Harrison Phillips, Stanford, DL

VS

#56 Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame, OG


#3 Jake Browning, Washington, QB

VS

#4 Luke Falk, Washington St, QB

What We Learned In College Football Week 12

Who’s Up?

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech:  There is no question that Virginia Tech and Pitt Pittsburgh are both having disappointing seasons on the whole. With that said there was certainly a lot of NFL talent on the field Saturday. One player that has gone under the radar this season is Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds. Tremaine is a big young man with good length at 6’5 and 250 pounds. Edmunds is a guy that is stout against the run and can also contribute in coverage when called upon. Edmunds had a nice day with seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack. I don’t know if Edmunds will declare for the draft or if he is a top 50 guy or not but he is someone I am going to keep an eye on.


Who’s Down?

Azeem Victor, LB, Washington:  What a disappointment Azeem’s senior season has been. Victor made a lot of pre-season All-American lists (including my own found here 2017 Preseason All-American Team). Azeem did not make my pre-season top 50 but he didn’t miss the list by a lot either. Then the season started. Victor was suspended for the opener for failing a drug test, lost his starting spot in October, got switched to DE where he saw limited snaps, and has now been suspended indefinitely from a DUI arrest last weekend. It would be hard to envision, at this point, that a NFL team will use a draft pick on Victor.


I See You

Deon Cain, WR, Clemson:  No offense to The Citadel, but I don’t think I will ever add any player whose opponent was The Citadel on this list again. With that said I was fairly critical of Deon Cain last week for his performance against Florida State and for his season on the whole. Deon had himself a big game catching five passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. When Cain is in a groove he has first round talent.

Saquan Barkley, RB, Penn State:  I like Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Bryce Love, etc, I really do. The best back in the country and the best NFL prospect is and has been all season, however, Saquan Barkley. Barkley had a couple of down weeks and everyone was trying to question his spot at the top. Barkley bounced back with a monster game on Saturday against Nebraska.


Who is The Winner of The Main Event?

Josh Rosen vs Sam Darnold  Saturday Film Session Week 12

Josh Rosen made a lot of money Saturday night. He was the best QB in the Coliseum and he has cemented himself as the number one QB prospect in the 2018 class. For me, it is no longer close.

Rosen hit big passes on all levels of the defense Saturday night. His deep ball is right up there with Matt Ryan from his Boston College days. He has enough zip on those 10-15 yard routes to split the CB and S. He seems to put the right weight on the short slants and screens and more importantly hits his guy in stride. Rosen has better feet in the pocket than I have to this point given him credit for. His release and delivery are what coaches dream of. Rosen controlled the game and the pace as well Saturday as I have seen a college QB do so all season. Josh has a very impressive command of the huddle and looks like a Manning at the line of scrimmage calling audibles when necessary. Rosen threw for over 400 yards and had three touchdowns on the night. It could have been closer to 500 had it not been for some unfortunate drops and an early penalty called back on a big play.

Rosen wasn’t perfect on the night. He turned the ball over twice at crucial stages of the game. Ball security will become even more important at the next level and this is an area that he needs improvement. Rosen also had several passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Perhaps that should be more of a compliment to the USC defenders getting their hands up rather than anything else though.

While this wasn’t Darnold’s worst game of his career it was far from his best. I don’t know if it is Darnold trying to tinker with his mechanics this season, if it is a lack of confidence, or something else but it appears to me that Sam has less velocity on his throws than he had last season. He seems to put some air under balls that should be thrown on a rope. While the pass still gets completed, very often at least, it just slows down the play development and negates opportunity for run after the catch. While arm strength is not elite I do believe it is NFL passable. What doesn’t meet NFL marks right now is Sam’s decision making and game-awareness. The turnovers have been bad this year. Darold threw another interception Saturday night and had the grass been cut a little lower might not have gotten his knee down before fumbling on a crucial 3rd down play as well. Darnold also seems to struggle to process to his second and third reads at times. The play that drives me wild, however, is the play that ended the first half. USC found themselves with a few ticks of the clock left in FG range. Darold dodged a sack but instead of throwing the ball away to secure a FG attempt he kept running downfield before getting tackled in-bounds as time expired.

Darnold is a very talented QB. He does things to avoid pressure that very few humans on earth can do. Some QBs escape the pocket to run. Sam escapes the pocket and keeps his eyes down field as well as anyone. He throws on the run whether he is forced to his left or his right. One play found Darnold rolling to his left to find a UCLA end setting the edge. Darnold somehow gets the ball to the other side of the field to save the play. Not many players have the poise and ability to find the open man in that scenario. Darnold has the size, athleticism charisma, and poise that NFL teams covet.

Darnold is definitely in my opinion an early first round guy, if he still decides to come out this year. It may be difficult to expect him to come in and lead an NFL team year one, however, as he has some areas that he needs to grow. With Josh come some character concerns that each team will have to discuss and evaluate for themselves. Rosen, as a passer is NFL ready and I think he can be a good one.

Saturday Film Session Week 12

While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.

Main Event

#14 Sam Darnold, USC, QB

VS

#3 Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB


Undercard Matchups


#9 Bradley Chubb, NC State, Edge

VS

#53 Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest, Edge


#2 Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas, Edge

VS

#31 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma, Edge

What We Learned in College Football Week 11

Who’s Up?

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama:  I don’t know if any of this year’ class fits the modern definition of an alpha-number one NFL WR. I do believe that there are several 1-A type guys, and Calvin Ridley might be the best of them. Ridley has been extremely productive only when he has needed to be in Tuscaloosa. Alabama rarely slings the ball across the yard in the same way that the rest of college football is transitioning to. Ridley is very sure handed and is one of the better route runners in college football. Ridley had a monster game Saturday at Mississippi State recording 171 yards on five catches. The Tide needed every single one of those yards to keep their undefeated season alive.

Bradley Chubb:  After, to my reporting at least, playing a very average game against Clemson the week before Chubb came to play Saturday. He was easily the best player on the field against Boston College. Bradley is a big physical guy that is a true three down player. Chubb had 8 tackles on the game including 2.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. He also became the new sack king at NC State surpassing Mario Williams.


Who’s Down?

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia:  Nick, like his cousin Bradley, hit a career milestone Saturday. Chubb became the fourth all-time SEC leader in rushing yards. Who did he pass? Someone by the name of Bo Jackson. That was about the only good news on the day for Chubb and his Bulldog teammates. The offense couldn’t get going consistently and Georgia got down big fast. Chubb ended the day with 11 carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. Chubb is having a nice rebound year but really can’t afford to have any more bad games down the stretch to keep his stock in the top 50.

Auden Tate, WR, Florida State:  I know Tate is banged up so I am not going to give it to him too harshly for this week. The passing game was struggling for most of the game and the lack of success mostly falls on freshmen QB James Blackman’s shoulders. There were two plays that Tate could have, and considering his talent and size, should have made for Blackman on Saturday though. The first play that comes to mind was down the right sideline. It was more or less a jump ball. Tate is going to win just about every jump ball at 6’5. He was able to get both hands on it but wasn’t able to squeeze the ball to give the Seminoles a spark. The second play that comes to mind is one where Tate just simply has to make. Tate beat the coverage badly breaking towards the sidelines. Once again, Auden got both hands on the ball, but just couldn’t clutch it in. The play almost certainly goes for a touchdown if he snags it.


I See You

Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa:  Iowa’s offense totaled 66 yards of net offense on Saturday and scored exactly zero points. Jackson, totaled 95 yards on two pick sixes and was responsible for the team’s only two scores. You may never find a stat crazier than that. Jackson, before this game even, has been a playmaker for the Hawkeyes. Jackson has now recorded an impressive seven interceptions on the year. Jackson has great hands and a knack for the football. Josh has nice size and will begin to enter second and maybe even first round projections.


Who is The Winner of The Main Event?

Deon Cain vs Tarvarus McFadden  Saturday Film Session Week 11

Deon Cain has been one of the more frustrating prospects to watch this season. There is no question that Cain has the talent to compete with the other WR prospects that are on  top of the board this year. Deon is capable of getting open at winning at every level of the defense. He showed a lot of pop in certain situations last season in a reduced role by capitalizing on big plays for the national champions. The consistency with Cain has been very frustrating this year. His hands haven’t seemed as sure as I was expecting this season. This game was about as exact of a microcosm of Cain’s season as one could have. Cain ends the game with four catches for only 17 yards. To be fair these four catches included a couple of key first down grabs. Cain dropped what would have been a huge pass that probably would have put the game away right then and there. He ran a nice route to get past McFadden down the left sideline, used his hands well to swat McFadden off his stride, and then let the ball go right through his hands.

McFadden came into the season as my number one CB prospect. While he is still in that conversation, at this point, he certainly hasn’t solidified that spot like some other prospects at different positions have. He has good length, athleticism, and is capable of playing physical at the line. After recording eight interceptions last season for the Seminoles, McFadden still hasn’t forced a turnover yet this season. He also seems to play off in coverage more than he did last year, at least in the games that I have watched him. McFadden, like Cain, wasn’t very good or bad in this outing. Clemson struggled to throw the ball Saturday but it more or less seemed to be growing pains from Clemson QB Kelly Bryant rather than the coverage Florida State played. McFadden was strong when screens were thrown to his side. He displayed good technique tackling and excellent closing speed.

The two players lined up one on one several times during Saturday’s contest. The only major play that happened between the two, however, was the aforementioned fourth quarter throw where Cain beat McFadden pretty badly…only to drop the ball. I don’t really want to declare either player the winner but if I had to I guess I will go with McFadden. Cain is in a difficult spot. While I think another year of seasoning at Clemson could be good for him, he has younger talent breathing down his neck and could easily play less snaps next year if he came back. I expect both players to enter the draft this off-season.