NFL Draft: Marvin Wilson has emerged as a dominating force

    Week 4 in the ACC saw some repeat performances of excellence from previously featured draft prospects. Here's a look at the stars who accelerated their stock.

    While the teams in the ACC aren’t credible outside of the Clemson Tigers and Virginia Cavaliers, the conference is full of legitimate NFL draft prospects. Florida State’s Marvin Wilson, one of my Week 3: ACC Draft Stars, has continued great play with an even more dominant performance in Week 4. Clemson safety K’Von Wallace had another alluring game, which included an interception he returned for a 66-yard touchdown. We will dig into Wilson more, and the other top-performing ACC NFL draft prospects that stood out in a bit. 

    First, let’s ask ourselves what has happened to the ACC? The fourth week of the college football season cemented the notion that the ACC is far from the conference it once was. Outside of the Clemson Tigers mentioned earlier and Virginia Cavaliers, I am not sure there is a competent team in the conference. This week alone we saw the North Carolina Tar Heels lose at home against Appalachian State. Also, we saw a Miami Hurricanes team that had promise barely pull off a win against Central Michigan. Just astonishingly bad on all levels. 

    Now, onto the good.

    Week 4: ACC Draft Stars

    Marvin Wilson, Defensive tackle, Florida State

    We have our first repeat offender, as Marvin Wilson finds himself as one of the “ACC Draft Stars” for the second week in a row. Wilson’s performance against Louisville was brilliant. He racked up a mind-blowing 10 tackles, 2 sacks, 3.5 tackles for a loss and even recovered a fumble. His play led him to be named the ACC Player of the Week for his position by multiple media outlets.

    Congrats to the #ACCFootball Players of the Week! ?

    — ACC Football (@ACCFootball) September 23, 2019

    Wilson has been the best defensive player in college football so far this early 2019 season. He has exhibited the ability to dominate and disrupt the line of scrimmage consistently. In terms of his NFL draft prospects, if he continues his play at this level, he could find himself as a top-20 selection. 

    Charles Snowden, Linebacker, Virginia

    Another player that had an exquisite performance in Week 4 of the college football season was Virginia linebacker, Charles Snowden. Snowden, the ACC Player of the Week for his position, was an absolute menace last Saturday. He accounted for 15 tackles, 2 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss. He also exhibited his versatility as a pass-rusher. Snowden’s pressure in the second half of the game against Old Dominion led to an interception returned for a touchdown by fellow linebacker Zane Zandler

    Snowden applied the pressure and Zandler gets the Pick Six!!!!!!!!

    — NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 22, 2019

    While Snowden has been solid in 2019, this performance was needed to elevate his status as a 2020 NFL draft prospect. NFL scouts will already love his size, as he stands 6’7″, built tall and lean. Snowden is a linebacker I have kept my eye on as a player to watch. He is far from a finished product. However, it would be no surprise to see him as a top-100 selection should he declare for the 2020 NFL draft.

    Alton Robinson, Edge, Syracuse

    In the first three games of the NCAA football season, Alton Robinson was a nonfactor. He needed a strong performance to keep his status as a legitimate NFL draft prospect, and he delivered in Week 4. Robinson wracked up 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss. Equally as impressive as demonstrating that he is a legitimate pass-rusher, Robinson showcased his ability to play against the run. 

    For a deeper dive into Alton Robinson, give my colleague Felix Davila’s article a gander, as he does a great job in illustrating the rise of the gifted Syracuse pass-rusher. I’ve seen many early mock drafts have Robinson listed as a top-50 draft selection. At this time, however, that is a bit ambitious to me. 

    Week 5: Key Prospect Matchup

    Bryce Hall, Cornerback, Virginia (6’1″, 200 pounds) vs. Chase Claypool, Wide Receiver Notre Dame (6’4″, 230 pounds)

    Typically, I try to keep these match-ups as a battle between ACC draft prospects. However, the slate of games didn’t give many options. I decided to pivot to an exciting match-up between Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall and Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool

    Per Pro Football Network draft guru Tony Pauline, Hall entered 2019 with a third-round grade from scouts. An active senior season could have him rapidly climbing draft boards. Hall looks the part, as he has excellent size and length. One of his best traits is his advanced ball skills. It is worth noting; Hall has been a starting cornerback for the Cavaliers for all four seasons he has played, so his experience is a significant plus.

    Hall faces a tough challenge in Claypool, who has towering size, standing over 6’4″ tall and weighing over 230 pounds. While he has been inconsistent, Claypool has flashed dominate number-one receiver qualities. He is big, physical, and possesses deceiving speed. 

    The beauty of this match-up is that NFL scouts will get a glimpse to see how Hall will hold up against receivers that possess larger NFL size. 

    Predicted Winner: Bryce Hall, Cornerback, Virginia

    2020 NFL Draft – ACC Big Board

    Below, I have updated my “ACC-only” 2020 NFL draft big board. A few quick hits.

    -Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt makes his debut on the list. The redshirt sophomore has hauled in 30 catches for 484 yards and 5 touchdowns thus far in 2019. Should he declare, he would be a very intriguing 2020 NFL draft prospect. 

    -Florida State running back Cam Akers continues to rise the board after another standout performance in Week 4. Akers had 112 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns against the Louisville Cardinals. His draft status is soaring as he continues producing as an upper-echelon running back. 

    -Boston College running back A.J. Dillon elevates his ranking with a strong performance against Rutgers. Dillon ran for 150 yards and 2 scores, displaying high power and balance while doing so. He is a robust evaluation as a draft prospect since there will be concerns with his speed during the draft process.

    Rank Player Position School Year
    1 Travis Etienne RB Clemson JR
    2 Isaiah Simmons LB Clemson JR
    3 Tee Higgins WR Clemson JR
    4 Marvin Wilson DT Florida State JR
    5 A.J. Terrell CB Clemson JR
    6 Hamsah Nasirildeen Safety Florida State JR
    7 Cam Akers RB Florida State JR
    8 Bryce Hall CB Virginia SR
    9 Sage Surratt WR Wake Forest rSO
    10 Shaq Quarterman LB Miami SR
    11 Alton Robinson Edge Syracuse SR
    12 Jonathan Garvin Edge Miami JR
    13 Mekhi Becton OT Louisville JR
    14 A.J. Dillon RB Boston College SR
    15 Stanford Samuels III CB Florida State JR
    16 K’Von Wallace Safety Clemson SR
    17 Charles Snowden LB Virginia JR
    18 Myles Dorn Safety UNC SR
    19 Reggie Floyd Safety Virginia Tech SR
    20 John Simpson OL Clemson SR
    21 Levonta Taylor CB Florida State SR
    22 Michael Pinckney LB Miami SR
    23 Larrell Murchison DT North Carolina State SR
    24 Essang Bassey CB Wake Forest SR
    25 Trajan Bandy CB Miami JR


    Neal Driscoll is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him @NealDriscoll on Twitter.

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