Week 6 on the NCAA college football schedule will see teams and top-rated NFL prospects tested, and in some instances, for the first time this season. There are some great head-to-head matchups between next-level prospects throughout the day, and PFN will again have you covered from Noon until Midnight, ET.
Keep up with stories and analysis from the PFN Draft crew daily here at PFN, and be sure to check out the PFN Draft Insiders Podcast with myself and Andy Herman, where we provide the latest inside information from around the NFL and preview today’s action.
Jacob Eason has been up-and-down tonight against Stanford. He started off the night hot, leading Washington down the field for their only touchdown, but his play has quickly tapered off so far. While I won’t be covering this game on the blog all night, I can safely say that Eason has to show more consistency against top defenses throughout the rest of the season before he declares for the NFL Draft. His streaky level of play is frustrating given his talent as a thrower. AJ
SMU wide receiver James Proche will be on an NFL roster next season. He’s been dominant this season and carved up Tulsa to the tune of 11 catches, 153 yards, and 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner. He and fellow star wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr. have helped SMU start 6-0 for the first time since Eric Dickerson’s senior season in 1982. Sonny Dykes has the Mustangs offense humming this season. Fellow draft analyst at PFN, Matt Valdovinos, broke down this dynamic duo earlier this season. AJ
I’ve been very impressed by Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams so far this season. After severe injuries the last two seasons, Adams is searching for a rebound season this year to prove he can stay healthy and so far he’s had it. With Tony Pauline reporting earlier that Georgia tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson are leaning towards declaring, this looks like one deep offensive tackle group. AJ
I’m glad Tony Pauline highlighted Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson earlier. I’ve been a fan of his game for some time now. I love his first step and length as an edge rusher. He’s still developing his game as an overall pass rusher, but the flashes are intriguing. He played lights out against Wyoming earlier this season. A potential developmental edge rusher in this NFL Draft class. AJ
Earlier today, we watched Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown wreak havoc on the Florida Gators all game long. Brown is a freak athlete with incredible power, length, and motor. While he isn’t on the level of Quinnen Williams from last year, Brown is a top five talent in this NFL Draft class in my opinion. He headlines a deep and talented class of interior defensive linemen. AJ
In regards to the Herbert update earlier, I wrote after the Auburn game about the issues that Oregon has had play-calling and their stifling of Herbert’s talent here. Well over 1/5th of his passes this season have been screens and I would wager close to half are behind or within 5-10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Very rarely is Herbert allowed to throw the ball freely. Difficult scheme to produce with when you don’t have the weapons of other programs like Alabama or Oklahoma.
Speaking of Oklahoma, what a turnaround for the Oklahoma defense so far. While they have a stiff test against Texas next week (their biggest test of the season), their NFL Draft prospects have gotten off to a hot start on that side of the ball. Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore has turned the traits into production and has turned into a wrecking ball upfront for the Sooners. Linebacker Kenneth Murray has become an enforcer as well in the run game. Murray projects well as a SAM linebacker at the next level while Gallimore should play 3-technique next year. Both should be top-75 selections, depending on their performances this season and in the off-season. AJ
In other games today, a small-school sleeper I’ve started taking notice of is Arkansas State wide receiver Omar Bayless. Listed at 6’3 207 lbs, Bayless is a contested-catch phenom with hands like glue. His catches are highlight-reel level and he currently leads the country in receiving yards. He has demonstrated good yards after the catch ability but his separation skills are still to be determined. It will be interesting to see his Combine numbers, but I could see Bayless as an early Day 3 selection. AJ
This Oregon-Cal game has been frustrating to watch, especially for fans of Oregon QB Justin Herbert. It’s rather clear he has been frustrated tonight by the play calling (as he should be). Before the earlier Oregon field goal, Herbert was seen arguing with his coach about going for it on 4th down at the Cal 10 but was overruled. The talent level of Herbert isn’t matching up with the results. AJ
Considering Oregon tight end Jacob Breeland was graded as a street free agent by scouts entering the season, he’s made a meteoric rise up draft boards. Right now, he grades in the top half dozen seniors at the tight end position.
Camryn Bynum is having a nice game tonight and proving worthy of the third-round grade I game him before the season. The Cal cornerback is a feisty cover man with solid ball skills. His true size/speed numbers will be a difference maker in the junior’s final draft grade.
You can just see and feel what a great edge rusher Chase Young is; such a terrific first step off the snap, speed up the field and balance as well as body control as he bends. Young has also shown some impressive inside moves throughout the game, beating offensive guards to penetrate behind the line.
It will be interesting to see what his actual height/weight turn out to be come combine time as he looks a little thin, which may precipitate a move to OLB.
The talented Michigan State defensive line, which controlled the first quarter, has pretty much been handled by the Buckeye offensive line since the start of the second quarter- which has been the difference in this game.
The MSU defensive line, which has three draftable prospects, has yet to register a sack or quarterback pressure.
Keep an eye on defensive end Trevis Gipson of Tulsa.
He’s very rough around the edges but flashes ability and comes with an upside. Coming into the contest against SMU this evening, Gipson had 6.5 TFL’s and 3 sacks to his credit during the teams four games. He’s added one of each tonight.
Gipson is a long, athletic defensive end that offers athleticism, growth potential and a nice degree of upside. He was graded as a UDFA by scouts before the season but the late rounds are not out of the question.
Darrell Taylor of Tennessee has shown flashes as to why some scouts gave him a first round grade coming into the season. When firing on all cylinders he’s a difference make that forces the action.
The senior is a terrific athlete who plays with solid fundamentals- when he plays. My criticism of Taylor coming into the season was his streaky play and the way he disappears for stretches. Such is the case tonight as Taylor has 2 tackles, 1 PBU and 1 TFL midway through the third quarter.
It still boggles my mind scouts graded Michigan State receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. as a UDFA before the season (I stamped him as a 5th round prospect). I think he’ll be a terrific fourth or fifth receiver that also returns punts on Sunday.
We are just three games into the Ivy League season yet scouts are already raving about a potential sleeper quarterback from the conference.
Princeton signal caller Kevin Davidson was not mentioned by scouts entering the season and for good reason- he was the back up quarterback last year. This year Davidson has taken the reigns of the offense and has scouts talking.
In Princeton’s three games Davidson has completed 74.2% of his throws for 993 yards with 10 TD’s and just a single INT. He possesses the size (6-foot-3-inches and 220 pounds) as well as the arm strength to play at the next level.
If Davidson continues at this pace I expect to see him in the post season at either the Shrine or NFLPA games. TP
The first quarter just ended but credit to Cal safety Ashtyn Davis, who has made several terrific plays against the pass and run thus far. Davis was criticized by several scouts who attended the Arizona State game as looking for the big play rather than playing sound, disciplined football.
Davis seems he wants to make sure that criticism is short lived. TP
I continue to be impressed with Oregon tight end Jake Breeland, a prospect who I mentioned scouts missed on coming into the season. He’s been just about the only prospect that’s owned Evan Weaver of Cal, though it’s still early in the game.
First, Breeland beat Weaver down the seam for a reception, then he did a great job on consecutive running plays washing Weaver from the action with terrific blocks. TP
Want to watch one of the better nose tackle prospects few are talking about? Watch junior Jordon Scott of Oregon this evening as the Ducks take on Cal.
I mentioned Scott during my summer preview, as he’s a natural nose tackle with great quickness, power and girth. He also looks like he could comfortably fit into a jersey with triple digits on it.TP
As you can see from the prospect board below, I believe Arnette has first-round potential. He’s a terrific combination of size, ball skills, and upside. TP
The draft board for PFN is taking shape. Here’s a sneak preview of the top ten signal callers:
|1st||4.13||Jordan Love||Utah State||3Jr|
I’ve fawned over Joe Bachie since this summer – he’s one of the most intellectually complete linebackers who will be available for the 2020 draft. That said, I also really like his teammate Antjuan Simmons – one of those safety-sized defenders who play linebacker. TP
The featured game this evening is the Big 10 contest between Michigan State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes have rolled over every opponent they’ve played this season but the schedule has been filled with JV-type teams.
The Spartans will be their toughest test to date.
There’s a ton of NFL talent on the field and some great match-ups to keep an eye on. Here’s the prospect board for tonight’s game: TP
Michigan State vs Ohio State
|4.25||1st||Chase Young||Ohio State||DE||2||3Jr|
|4.04||1st||Jeffery Okudah||Ohio State||CB||1||3Jr|
|4.03||1st||J.K. Dobbins||Ohio State||RB||2||3Jr|
|3.95||1-2||Damon Arnette||Ohio State||CB||3||5Sr|
|3.92||2nd||Malik Harrison||Ohio State||OLB||39||4Sr|
|3.74||3rd||Joe Bachie||Michigan State||ILB||35||4Sr|
|3.74||3rd||Matt Allen||Michigan State||C||64||4Jr|
|3.69||3rd||Baron Browning||Ohio State||ILB||5||3Jr|
|3.65||3rd||Thayer Munford||Ohio State||T||75||3Jr|
|3.62||3rd||Shaun Wade||Ohio State||CB||24||3So|
|3.62||3rd||Tuf Borland||Ohio State||ILB||32||4Jr|
|3.55||4th||Pete Werner||Ohio State||OLB||20||3Jr|
|3.54||5th||K.J. Hill||Ohio State||WR||14||4Sr|
|3.48||5th||Austin Mack||Ohio State||WR||11||4Sr|
|3.44||5th||Raequan Williams||Michigan State||DT||99||4Jr|
|3.43||5th||Kevin Jarvis||Michigan State||G||75||3Jr|
|3.41||5th||Darrell Stewart Jr.||Michigan State||WR||25||5Sr|
|3.39||5-6||Naquan Jones||Michigan State||DT||93||4Jr|
|3.38||6th||Kenny Willekes||Michigan State||DE||48||5Sr|
|3.38||6th||Luke Farrell||Ohio State||TE||89||4Jr|
|3.37||6th||Jordan Reid||Michigan State||T||55||3Jr|
|3.36||6th||Cody White||Michigan State||WR||7||3Jr|
|3.36||6th||Jordan Fuller||Ohio State||S||4||4Sr|
|3.35||6th||Brian Lewerke||Michigan State||QB||14||5Sr|
|3.35||6th||Matt Dotson||Michigan State||TE||89||3Jr|
|3.34||6th||David Dowell||Michigan State||S||6||5Sr|
|3.33||6th||Antjuan Simmons||Michigan State||OLB||34||3Jr|
|3.32||6th||Josiah Scott||Michigan State||CB||22||3Jr|
|3.31||6th||Davon Hamilton||Ohio State||DT||53||5Sr|
|3.22||FA||Jonah Jackson||Ohio State||G||73||5Sr|
|3.22||FA||Jacub Panasiuk||Michigan State||DT||96||3Jr|
|3.20||FA||Jonathon Cooper||Ohio State||DE||18||5Sr|
|3.19||FA||Robert Landers||Ohio State||DT||67||5Sr|
|3.10||FA||Binjimen Victor||Ohio State||WR||9||4Sr|
|3.00||FA||Jashon Cornell||Ohio State||DE||9||5Sr|
|3.00||FA||Brendon White||Ohio State||S||25||3Jr|
|2.99||FA||Tyler Higby||Michigan State||G||70||5Sr|
|2.98||FA||Cole Chewins||Michigan State||T||61||5Sr|
|2.64||FA||Rashod Berry||Ohio State||TE||13||5Sr|
Arizona QB Khalil Tate has shredded the Colorado defense both through the air and on the ground. Tate is a very exciting prospect, and I believe he’s better than some think. Tate has the arm talent to be a quarterback at the next level, and his athletic ability is off the charts. He needs seasoning, but Tate is a legit QB prospect in my eyes. He’s likely going to be top ten at his position on my board.
Lamical Perine came into the season with some believing that he could be as high as a top 5 running back in this class. He’s largely disappointed to this point, but that 70+ yard run could be what kick starts his season. Perine showed his vision, contact balance, power, and breakaway speed on that touchdown.
Auburn running back JaTarvious “Boobie” Whitlow has impressed me every time I’ve seen him play. He reminds me a lot of former Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson. A well rounded game, Whitlow has the tools that translate to the next level. He should be a productive NFL player. His ceiling will determine his draft stock. Right now he looks more like an early down back than franchise difference maker.
The Florida EDGE defender that gets the most attention is Jabari Zuniga, and rightfully so because he’s an excellent player. However Zuniga has been injured for parts of the season. Stepping up as been Jonathan Greenard, a Louisville transfer. Greenard has shown good burst and a hot motor. This season he’s accumulated 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. Greenard might not be the same level prospect as Zuniga, but he should hear his name called in April. He’s currently graded as a early day 3 prospect on my board.
While I might not be as high on Derrick Brown as Tony and other draft analyst, I cannot deny the pure disruption he causes. His strength at the point of attack, and athleticism for his size are both excellent. While I may not have him as a top 5 player, he is my #1 ranked IDL and a top 20 player.
Florida’s C.J. Henderson may be the best pure cover cornerback in college football. His awareness of where the ball is at all times is astounding. However, questions about his motor and willingness to tackle are major concerns. Until Henderson can prove to be a consistent tackler, or at least consistently willing, he won’t earn a first round grade from me. MV
Virginia Tech is thumping Miami 28-0 as the first half closes out, in large part due to Hurricane turnovers. The Hokies don’t have much next-level talent, especially compared to recent years, yet once again their top prospect is a cornerback- redshirt sophomore Caleb Farley.
Farley has excellent size and developing ball skills. I gave him a 4th round grade before the season and thus far Farley has two interceptions in the first half.
Javaris Davis is another Auburn cornerback with next-level ability.
I’ve graded Davis as draftable since his sophomore season and even though he lacks the height teams want at the position, his head for the game, aggressive style, and ball skills project well at the next level as a dime back who can line up in zone or over the slot receiver.
You just saw the beauty of Derrick Brown and why I presently grade the Auburn defensive lineman as one of the top five players who will be available in next year’s draft, regardless of position. He’s the type of player opponents must game plan around and double team as he demolishes one-on-one blocking.
He causes confusion even if his playmaking does not show up on the stats sheet, as we just saw.
The edge pressure was applied by Marlon Davidson but the quarterback could not step up in the pocket to avoid the pressure as Brown had collapsed the pocket and there was no room to escape.
Oh yeh- then he recovered the fumble and rumbled into Florida territory.
I graded Noah Igbinoghene as a 4th round prospect before the season as he’s a feisty corner with solid ball skills. And while I would like to see him improve his consistency, Igbinoghene has made several nice plays during the early going of the Florida game and I feel he can line up on the flanks or over the slot receiver.
There’s been some upheaval and cause for mild concern over the way the offensive tackle position may be shaping up in April in 2020. First was the injury to Walker Little of Stanford who suffered a season-ending injury then the breaking news here on PFN that Tristan Wirfs of Iowa is leaning towards returning to school for his senior season.
Now for some good news.
Thomas presently grades as the second-best tackle on my board and a first-round pick. Wilson is fifth rated on my list and a potential late first-round pick.
If you were with us during the Notre Dame – Georgia game you’ll remember Wilson’s insertion into the game despite a bad ankle during the second half instantaneously turned the momentum in favor of the Bulldogs.
He’s a bit different in that he’s not a mauler like McKivitz but an agile, athletic blocker effective in pass protection as well as on the second level.
This bout of ranked teams between Michigan and Iowa has been very underwhelming. Both quarterbacks have failed to elevate their play, and they’ve both failed to look like NFL passers. Nathan Stanley has the physical tools and career production to be a day 3 pick, but Shea Patterson lacks both. Disappointing day from the two seniors. MV
Another good play by Geno Stone, this time against the pass. Stone has decent ball skills, not outstanding, but enough to be a disruptive force and not giveaway receptions.
Junior safety Geno Stone of Iowa continues to play solid football. The junior, who I graded as a sixth-round prospect, lacks great computer numbers yet he’s a terrific run defender who can line up in a zone system at the next level.
Joe Burrow of LSU is having another efficient game, albeit against an inferior defense.
While some already anointed Burrow as a first-round pick, those I’ve spoken with feel, at present time, believe his ceiling is round two and floor is the fourth round for the signal-caller. Most look at Burrow as a “developmental type” who needs a bit of work before he’s NFL ready.
The schedule gets progressively tougher the next four games as LSU faces Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn then Alabama, which will be one big challenge after another for Burrow.
I’ve mentioned my fondness for Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz on several occasions. I also have Michigan State center Matt Allen highly rated.
League insiders tell me a third center from the Big 10, Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, is getting a lot of love inside the NCAA college football scouting community. Scouts presently grade Ruiz as a second-day selection. Entering the season, I stamped the junior with a fourth-round grade.
That second down throw by Love was a beautiful pass, but the result was due to the marginal skill players surrounding him. No real speed at receiver. Love makes the passes Nate Stanley does not.
I’m listening to the announcers on FOX talk about a lot of “great passes” by Nate Stanley. However, I see a lot of open receivers, who have a step or more on opponents, needing to stop or slow up then compete for contested passes which should be easy long completions.
Granted the game is a blow out in favor of Penn State, but you can’t help be impressed with Nittany Lions pass rusher Yetur Gross-Matos.
Graded as my top PSU prospect entering the season and a potential late first-round pick, his athleticism, movement skills and ability to get pressure up the field is very attractive to NFL scouts.
Jordan Love followed up what was a terrific pass with a terrible throw. Under throwing the receiver in that situation is unforgivable. Love has played relatively well thus far, but just gave away a huge opportunity for the Aggies.
While I’m not overly impressed with Stanley, I could not feel any different about the Hawkeyes tackle.
Tristan Wirfs is a great combination of size, athleticism and power. His explosion at the point, ability to engulf defenders (as he’s done to Josh Uche today) as well as his agility and ability to adjust or redirect to defenders blocking in motion is off the charts.
Alaric Jackson also looks good upon returning from injury. He’s a solid pass protector who just needs to get a little stronger as a run blocker.
While some grade Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley as a third-round prospect, I fail to see the allure outside the eyeball test and have stamped him as a sixth-round prospect.
For all his physical gifts and occasional highlight-reel passes, all too often Stanley misses wide-open receivers or forces the ball into double and sometimes triple coverage, as we just saw on that interception, which costs him.
Utah State defense is doing a good job early against LSU.
The Aggies have two draftable linebackers on the depth chart. Junior David Woodward is a complete three-down defender who is very effective in space, I presently grade him as a potential third-rounder.
The other is Tipa Galea’i, a 3-4 OLB type who gets a lot of pressure up the field and shows a good degree of athleticism in his game. I presently grade Galea’i as a sixth-round prospect.
During the 2017 NCAA college football season, Gary thrived and Hudson struggle, which continued the following season. Hudson made the smart choice and returned for his senior season. Entering 2019 with third-round grades, he’s playing incredibly well and starting to show the impact and explosion of his freshman season.
Hudson is a linebacker with safety size (5-feet-11-inches and 222 pounds) who could jump into the second round of April’s draft.
The day begins with some great matchups and includes players that have recently made news here at PFN. There are two NCAA college football games at noon which NFL scouts will have a close eye on.
I previewed the Utah State vs. LSU contest on Friday, noting what a huge opportunity and challenge the game presents for Jordan Love. The signal-caller is facing an NFL-caliber secondary fielded by the Tigers, which contains two first-round prospects and another second-day selection.
There’s a lot at stake for Love.
The other Noon game to keep an eye on has Iowa facing Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The matchup to watch here features Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who, as I reported several weeks ago on the blog, is leaning toward returning for his senior season. Wirfs takes on Michigan edge rusher Josh Uche.
Uche, graded as a third-round prospect, has struggled during the first month of the season which has been characteristic of the Wolverines.