Week 5 of the college football schedule does not include games of national prominence, yet several contests on the slate will impact conference standings. There are also several prospects who have a big opportunity to impress scouts from the start of the day. Every Saturday, Pro Football Network has you covered from Noon till Midnight ET with updates on all the big moments from gameday.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the PFN Draft Insiders Podcast with myself and Andy Herman, we give you the latest inside information from around the NFL and also preview today’s slate of games. In addition, be sure to check out the latest from PFN regarding the 2020 NFL Draft.
You’ll notice initials at the end of every update. TP is myself (Tony Pauline), MV is Matt Valdovinos, and AJ is AJ Schulte.
Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard was lighting up box scores all season long with his blazing speed and playmaking ability but had a career day against Kansas State with 303 total scrimmage yards and a touchdown. I wrote about how he was on pace for the Big 12 record books and he currently has 938 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. We’re five weeks into the season and Hubbard is a legit NFL prospect at running back that deserves to be mentioned in the upper tier at his position in college football. AJ
I keep circling a few Sun Belt playmakers to keep my eye on: Georgia Southern’s CB duo of Kindle Vildor and Monquavion Brinson as well as App State WR, Jalen Virgil. I think Vildor is a Senior Bowl candidate at cornerback and has held his own against top wide receiver prospects like Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson. Virgil has a ton of speed but is still searching for that breakout performance that I’m unsure will happen in the App State offense. AJ
Houston Cougars left tackle Josh Jones has continued to play himself onto NFL radars. Jones has good size, length, and has really quick footwork in pass protection. He looks like a developmental tackle prospect to keep an eye on as the draft season picks up. AJ
I continue to like Nevada CB Daniel Brown‘s game. He had 3 interceptions coming into tonight’s game and has been sticky in coverage. He had 2 interceptions against Purdue, including the interception to set up the game-winning field goal. Right now, he would be a Day 3 pick but definitely is a name to continue to monitor. AJ
The Hawaii-Nevada matchup boasts two play-makers at the wide receiver position in Hawaii’s Cedric Byrd II and Nevada’s Elijah Cooks. Byrd is a shorter player at 5’9 and 175 lbs, but he’s sure-handed and a lightning-quick route-runner. Byrd already has two touchdowns so far tonight, giving him eight on the season. Elijah Cooks is on the opposite end of the spectrum at 6’4 and 215 lbs and has “Moss’d” several defensive backs, including the Purdue defense during the upset at the beginning of the college football season. AJ
Jordan Love has struggled early on this season. Outbreaking routes have been his bane, which shouldn’t be the case, considering his arm talent and mechanics. When other quarterbacks like Jacob Eason and Joe Burrow have risen up this season, Love has fallen. I would not be surprised if he decides to bet on himself and declare this season for the NFL Draft, despite his struggles. AJ
I continue to be impressed with the defensive talent in the Pac 12. Utah LB Francis Bernard has really shined so far this season and he looks like he could be a high pick in the NFL Draft. Utah DT Leki Fotu has also been a wrecking crew all season long upfront. Those two are a formidable duo for the Utes. AJ
I never expected Nebraska to put up much of a fight against Ohio State, but I never expected the Cornhuskers to get their doors blown off by the Buckeyes the way they did. It’s tough to really scout prospects when games are determined early on.
NU defensive end Carlos Davis has played reasonably well despite being on the losing side of things. He’s an athletic lineman who projects well as a three-technique tackle, yet has shown some playmaking skill in the Cornhuskers three-man line.
I’m relatively impressed with both South Carolina running backs this evening.
Each could slide into the late rounds of the draft and find homes as short-yardage ball carriers at the next level.
Another South Carolina that’s played well this evening is linebacker T.J. Brunson. A smallish run-and-chase linebacker, Brunson is consistently around the action making positive plays and at the same time, remains disciplined and does not make mental errors on the field.
Brunson has posted 5 tackles and 1 PBU midway through the third quarter. TP
Liberty receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, features in Friday’s “IND Prospect of the Week” article, did not disappoint against New Mexico. He finished the game with 6 receptions, 144 receiving yards (24-yard average), and 1 TD.
To repeat what I stated yesterday, I would expect Gandy-Golden to receive an invitation to the Senior Bowl, or at least the Shrine Game, as well as the NFL Combine. His 40-time at the Combine and/or Pro Day workouts will go a long way determining where he ends up in the draft. TP
Despite posting just a single tackle during the first half of the Kentucky-South Carolina game, you cannot help but be impressed with the athleticism, movement skills, and quickness displayed by Gamecock defensive tackle, Javon Kinlaw.
He easily moves about the field, and on several occasions, showed good speed moving his 300-pound frame laterally, pursuing the action to the flanks. TP
In many ways, I introduced UCF receiver Gabe Davis to many who were not familiar with him over the summer when I graded him as the top NFL prospect from the American Athletic Conference and stamped him as a second-round prospect.
Yet, despite my pre-season accolades, Davis continues to impress me every week.
The most recent is his first-half performance against UConn, which includes 5 catches for 119 yards and 3 TD’s- at halftime!!!
Granted the defense UConn fields is not much better than the unit many top high schools around the nation put on the field every Friday. Yet, the playmaking ability of Davis and the way he fights on every down are just very impressive. TP
Portland State tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, a Week 1 riser, continues to impress next-level decision-makers. During tonight’s victory over Idaho State, Taumoepeau finished with 7 receptions for 104 yards. That’s 19 receptions, 319 yards, and 2 TD in four games.
Taumopeau came into the season with middle-round grades and I fully expect to see him participate in the Senior Bowl next January. TP
Arkansas State and Troy have a barn burner of a game going on down in Alabama. The game is tied at halftime, 31-31.
Keep a close eye on ASU receiver Omar Bayless. Graded as a street free agent by scouts, all Bayless does is catch passes and produce. In four games this season, he’s caught 26 passes for 476 yards with 6 TDs. Seven of those receptions came against Georgia. He’s already caught 8 passes for 198 yards with 1 TD in tonight game.
Speed is the biggest question mark when scouts breakdown Bayless’ game, but he’s a solid pass catcher who could line up as a fifth receiver on Sunday. TP
I’m watching Derrick Brown ragdoll and annihilate the Mississippi State offensive line despite lining up all over the place.
He pushed center Darryl Williams, a potential middle-round pick, into the backfield, dominated right tackle Greg Eiland when moved to end and once again penetrated past Williams, disrupting the action in the Bulldogs backfield.
I am amazed more people don’t have Brown graded as a potential top-10 pick when looking at his skill set, which is all-encompassing. TP
Ten minutes into the first quarter and Tylan Wallace of Oklahoma State already has 4 receptions for 64 yards against a solid Kansas State defense and secondary.
Wallace is a terrific route runner and a fundamentally sound pass catcher. If he enters the draft, his forty-time will dictate whether or not he slides into the second day. TP
One match-up I am really looking forward to as the evening games kick off is Logan Stenberg of Kentucky against Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina.
Not many speak about Kinlaw, yet scouts graded him as was one of the highest-rated senior defensive linemen in the nation coming into the season. He’s an athletic 300-plus pounder with outstanding quickness and movement skills.
Stenberg, a week three riser, is one of the most dominant small area blockers in the country. He’s a devastating force that blocks with a nasty attitude.
Can Stenberg handle the athleticism and agility of Kinlaw? Can Kinlaw show any ability to get of Stenberg’s blocks once he gets locked up at the point?
Tonight should answer both questions. TP
Myles Bryant has put together an excellent game for the Washington Huskies. Similarly to former Husky Budda Baker, Bryant is an undersized defensive back who does it all for the defense. He plays single high, nickel, dime linebacker, and even rushes off the edge. Bryant will be a good piece on an NFL defense. Especially in an era that values versatility and speed over all else. MV
Towson QB Tom Flacco has gotten some draft buzz this college football season. While I haven’t watched his film yet, he has struggled against this Florida defense. He has led his team to zero points and has tossed two interceptions. That being said, the talent difference between these two teams is massive and it’s unfair to assume Flacco could do much.
Flacco could be a Senior Bowl invite, and that would be his time to show what he can do. MV
Michael Pittman finally gets his. After a dominant game last week against BYU, Pittman was neutralized for a majority of this game. But just now, he finally created separation and got into the end zone, displaying his soft hands on an over-the-shoulder throw.
Pittman has excellent size and hand strength, but I question if he can win in the middle of the field. He’s excellent when moving vertical, and dominates Pac-12 receivers on 50/50 balls. However, he needs to prove he can win in other ways before I crown him a top receiver in this class. MV
Notre Dame EDGE Julian Okwara has had an excellent game thus far. He’s tallied two sacks and a forced fumble. He needs to continue with his strong presence if Notre Dame is going to pull this game out. MV
Alabama WR Devonta Smith has dominated the Ole Miss Rebels today. His stat line at the half is 8-221-4. Because everyone focuses on Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, Smith flies under the radar. Let it be known, Devonta Smith deserves your attention. He’s going to be a very good player on Sundays. MV
USC has done a good job neutralizing Washington’s deep passing attack. However, Jacob Eason has done a good job of taking what the defense has given him. We know he has the elite arm strength. How can he do when the defense is forcing him to go underneath? So far, he’s been efficient, and he’s put his team in a good position. Eason has been excellent for a majority of the college football season, and he’s comfortably in my QB1 conversation. MV
Hunter Bryant is a tight end that too many people are sleeping on. He’s an athletic pass catcher that splits the seam to create miss-matches in the secondary. I like his hands and feel he’ll be a good move tight end at the next level. TP
I would be remiss, if not a total fool, not mentioning the play of Chaz Surratt.
Since transferring from quarterback, a position he played for one game last season, to linebacker this year, Surratt has been playing lights out football. He’s incredibly athletic and shows great instincts.
With the first half about to end, Surratt already has 6 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack and has broken up a pass. His only bump in the road this year was the Tar Heel loss to Appalachian State a week ago. TP
The hit by Myles Dorn which jarred the ball free and gave UNC possession in Clemson territory shows why scouts are excited about his upside.
He’s an explosive defensive back with decent size and a great burst, but as mentioned earlier, there’s just too much inconsistency in his game. TP
Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams just threw a crushing block which enabled running back Richard Newton to move into the end zone for a score. During my weekly appearance on the Journey to the Draft podcast on PhiladelphiaEagles.com, I spoke at length about Adams with host Fran Duffy, offering the latest word on the offensive tackle inside the league.
Scouts have been happy the way Adams has performed and played during the first month of the season, but to a man, they all say medical exams at the Combine will have the ultimate say as to where the offensive tackle lands in the draft.
I’m told the knee injury from 2017 and the back injury which forced him to the sidelines in 2018 looms large, but there are also a number of other injuries, not yet documented or reported in the media, which have to be checked and could be troublesome for Adams. TP
Entering the college football season, Finke was stamped as a late-round pick (I gave him a sixth-round grade) as he’s a little short, but incredibly quick and sure-handed.
Think of Finke as the 2019 version of Hunter Renfrow. TP
There are several match-ups in the secondary to keep an eye on when the 3:30 games kick-off.
Some grade Bryce Hall as a top-45 pick while I agree with scouts and feel he’s a third-round prospect. I gave Chase Claypool a late-round grade coming into the season but will have to rethink that, as he’s really elevated his game and is playing well this year.
The other game features the high-octane receivers of Clemson against North Carolina Tar Heels safety Myles Dorn.
Dorn is another prospect who receives mixed opinions, as he’s an explosive athlete with average instincts and average intensity. At the top of his game, he plays like a second-day prospect. Yet all too often, Dorn looks like a mediocre late-round prospect on the field. TP
Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore has dominated Texas Tech all game. He forced a fumble after chasing down TTU QB Jett Duffey. Gallimore has eye-popping athletic ability and will be a riser on draft boards this year. MV
Miami of Ohio junior safety Mike Brown is well regarded in the college football scouting community and has really elevated his play this season.
He’s a solid run defender with next-level size and his ball skills have shown a lot of improvement this year. Brown has done a much better job with his awareness and ability to locate the ball.
Thus far today he’s already picked off two passes, bringing one back for a touchdown, as the Redhawks have built a 13-point lead over Buffalo.
Zack Baun of Wisconsin is an athletic and instinctive linebacker, yet he’s out of place on the outside in the Badgers 3-4 alignment. He’s consistently washed from the action standing over the tackle. When allowed to play in space and chase the action, he displays a lot of ability and good pursuit speed.
He’s more your traditional weakside linebacker in a 4-3 alignment, but will also get consideration on the inside of a 3-4 scheme.
I graded Baun as a sixth-round prospect over the summer.
There you see the best part of Paddy Fisher‘s game; the ability to read and diagnose then scrape laterally to the ball handler and make the play.
I think Fisher will be a solid middle-round pick but don’t believe he’s worth a top-90 pick, to this point at least.
You have to be impressed with Jalen Hurts. Granted, the Texas Tech defense is not good. However, he’s making good decisions, his accuracy has improved and Hurts has really progressed as a passer. He’s also showed himself to be a leader on the field and is taking full advantage of his opportunity at Oklahoma.
There were some who laughed at his next-level potential, but scouts did stamp Hurts as a fifth-round prospect before the college football season, and I think he’s improved on that.
McTelvin Agim is an underrated defensive tackle prospect who will be a late-round steal. He’s quick, relatively athletic, occupies blockers on the inside or gets down the line and outside the box to make plays.
Agim is showing all these aspects today against Texas A&M. He needs to add a bit of bulk to his frame and power in his game, but he comes with an upside. TP
Bellamy is a quick, elusive ball handler that’s lightning-fast and very dangerous if given the slightest bit of open space. In four games this season, he’s averaging 7.2 yards per carry and has six touchdowns. Today, against Central Michigan, he’s posted six carries for 41 yards with one touchdown as the second quarter began.
He needs to improve his pass-catching skills and become more than a dump-off option. If Bellamy adds returns skills to his arsenal, he will be more appealing to teams next April in the NFL Draft.
I grade Bellamy as an UDFA, but some college football scouts have stamped him as a sixth-round prospect. TP
Jalen Reagor is such a playmaker when the ball is in his hands.
The junior just returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown and nobody laid a hand on him. Entering the season, I stamped Reagor as a third-round prospect. However, I have no doubt he could move into the draft’s initial 45 picks.
He’ll be a terrific slot receiver/return specialist on Sunday. TP
There are many in the college football scouting community who like Texas Tech Jordyn Brooks and grade him as a middle-round choice, but I disagree. I’ve not seen much development in his game the past two years and he seems to have leveled off since his sophomore campaign.
He’s too one dimensional as a two-down, run defender and needs to complete his game. TP
You could see some of my concerns in Fisher’s game on that first drive, as he was obliterated at the point of attack by a block which sealed open the hole for Taylor, who pranced into the end zone. TP
Arizona State handed Cal their first loss of the season last night during a college football game attended by 15 NFL teams. Among them were the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Teams were not impressed with Cal safety Ashtyn Davis who, despite receiving a second-round grade from scouts before the season, is a prospect I deem more of an athlete than a football player. A league insider who was at the game told me he feels Davis is significantly overrated and needs a lot of work on his ball skills.
The news is also not good for Cal quarterback Chase Garbers, a Week 4 riser, who left the game in the second quarter with an injury. Those on hand tell me they believe Garbers may have broken his collarbone which, if true, would mean an end to his season.
While the stats were not great, scouts on hand did come away impressed with ASU receiver Brandon Aiyuk. His fluid style, ability to separate through routes and soft hands are very appealing.
Coming into the season, I stamped Aiyuk as a fifth-round prospect, a full round higher than scouts. TP
The challenge for Northwestern linebackers Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher will be to do what no one has accomplished yet this season, slow down Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor ran roughshod over Michigan a week ago and will look to do the same against Northwestern.
A second college football game with conference implications kicks off at noon, as Texas Tech will try and stop or at least slow down Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. No one has been able to stop the Alabama transfer yet this season.
Another Big 12 college football game at Noon features Kansas visiting TCU, a contest which will have several next-level tackles on the field.
Lucas Niang of TCU is a potential second-day prospect while Hakeem Adeniji of Kansas is moving into the middle rounds. Also, keep a close eye on Anthony McKinney, the Horned Frogs other tackle, who could slide into the late rounds.