The college football regular season is over halfway done and after a week that saw four top eight teams go down, there’s a lot to talk about. The best player in the country declared for the draft, the best receiver in the country is out for the season, and a bunch of players rose and slid down the draft board. It may not officially be draft season yet but every week matters for draftniks.
Tweet of the Week
Breaking: Nick Bosa will withdraw from Ohio State in order to focus on rehabbing his core injury and training ahead of the NFL draft. pic.twitter.com/u539rZG4qF
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 16, 2018
It’s not too big of a surprise to see Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa decide to withdraw from school and start working towards the NFL. He was likely not going to be fully healthy if he decided to play again this season with his abdominal injury. The right decision has been made by Bosa. Why risk further injury when you’ve already put enough on tape to justify being selected 1st overall in the 2019 NFL Draft? Anybody who says anything like, “Bosa quit on his team” has no idea what they’re talking about. Nick Bosa sits atop my 2019 NFL Draft Big Board and I don’t see anyway that’ll change.
In the News
The worst news of the weekend comes out of Oxford, Mississippi. Ole Miss star wideout DK Metcalf is going to miss the rest of the season with a neck injury sustained in the Arkansas game. This puts Metcalf in an interesting situation, get ready for the NFL and go pro? Or rehab and come back stronger for the Rebels? Metcalf is still a young player, just a redshirt Sophomore, but he’s pretty much the consensus top WR prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. On top of that Ole Miss could be losing all of DaMarkus Lodge, AJ Brown, Greg Little, Javon Patterson, Sean Rawlings, Dawson Knox, Jordan Ta’amu, and Scottie Phillips from their offense to the NFL this year. That’s a lot of talent gone and could make next season a lot harder on Metcalf.
Although Metcalf could in theory improve his draft stock by returning to Ole Miss and destroying every cornerback in college football, it’s difficult to take that risk. His height-weight-speed ability puts his stock through the roof. Not only is he the best wide receiver prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, but his ceiling is absurdly high. This is a guy who reminds people of Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. He’s a freak of nature and a potential top 10 pick. The neck injury isn’t great, but Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke said, “long-term, he’s going to be fine.” The biggest question is Metcalf’s timetable for return, if he goes pro hopefully he’ll be ready for the NFL Combine or at least his Pro Day.
Star: Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama (6-4, 295 pounds)
There was a time when Quinnen Williams was the third guy to talk about on the Alabama defensive line. That feels like ages ago. Raekwon Davis is a stud and Isaiah Buggs is going to be one heck of an NFL player, but Quinnen Williams is the best of the bunch. Nobody has risen up the draft board like Williams this season but taking over games and destroying offensive lines will do that for you. Now more than ever NFL teams need interior defensive linemen who can rush the passer just as well as they can stop the run and that’s what Williams brings to the table. As just a redshirt Sophomore, Williams ceiling is so high and he’s already taking over games for Alabama. He might be the best player on the best team in the country. This interior defensive line class is stacked.
With Alabama having Davis and Buggs, they’ve played Williams primarily as a 0 and 1-Tech which isn’t necessarily where you’d expect him. Having played in there though, Williams has shown he can play everything from 5-Tech to 0-Tech. His strength and leverage allow him to dominate in the nose tackle role despite not being just a space eater. When lined up in the nose role, Williams frequently makes plays with power. He can walk back most the interior linemen in the country, which is absurd. With the power and leverage, he also brings heavy violent hands. He’s constantly making plays in different ways. Williams has the bull rush, the club/swim, the push and pull, the chop-club, I think you get the point. He’s not a one trick pony he uses all kinds of power moves.
Williams isn’t just a power player though, he’s impressively nimble for his size. His favorite move might be the arm over which takes quickness with your hands and feet. He also uses the quick swim at times to take advantage of his hand speed. With his get off he’s also able to shoot gaps and win with his overall athleticism. Williams makes plays with his motor and athleticism from the backside, he can do pretty much everything. The size-athleticism-skill combo he has is rare especially with his versatility. Don’t be surprised if Quinnen Williams puts his name up there with Ed Oliver for the IDL1 spot.
Pro Comparison: Ndamukong Suh
Sleeper: Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan (6-3, 255 pounds)
Michigan has the 2nd best defense in all of college football this season and the heart and soul of it is EDGE Chase Winovich. He might not be the biggest name, the best prospect, or the freakiest athlete, but he’s their leader. The motor, the energy, and the trash talk are what make Winovich so fun. But he’s more than a great college football player. Winovich has put himself on the 2019 NFL Draft map and elevated his stock to a potential top 100 player.
Chase Winovich was the best player on Michigan's defense vs Notre Dame. Consistently applying pressure with heavy hand use. Love his motor. His rip move is STRONG (seen here). pic.twitter.com/l2zd7mrqdg
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 7, 2018
Winovich isn’t going to blow away scouts with his athletic testing, his explosion off the line, or his bend around the edge. He will impress them with his non-stop motor, his ability as a run defender, and his heavy hands. There are few players on the edge in college football who have a rip move as violent as Winovich’s. It’s his favorite move to beat a tackle and it’s hard to stop. Facing this guy for four quarters is exhausting; it’s a street fight with Winovich. He might not be a double digit sack guy in the NFL, but Chase Winovich is a guy every NFL coach is going to want on their defensive line.
Pro Comparison: Chris Long
Overrated: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia (6-2, 214 pounds)
Calling Will Grier overrated needs context. He’s overrated if you call him a first-round quarterback. He is not that despite some hype to be taken that early. There’s no denying Grier’s productivity at West Virginia nor his fun playing style but watching multiple games between last year and this year, the same problems arise. Grier doesn’t play well in structure. A lot of his best plays come when he’s running around and chucking balls deep. That’s not something that works consistently in the NFL. When playing from the pocket and attacking shallow to intermediate areas his ball placement just isn’t consistent and neither are his mechanics. For him to end up a first-round pick he’ll need to cleanup his game the rest of the season, light up the Senior Bowl, and look great at the combine and his Pro Day.
Will Grier makes some insane plays. He's very inconsistent, but the improv ability and arm talent are going to have NFL teams interested. pic.twitter.com/6iq7XU7ey2
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 1, 2018
Despite not thinking Grier is a first-round QB, there’s obviously a lot of good in his game. This season he has cleaned up his deep accuracy, played with more poise and less of a wild man approach, and there’s no denying his arm talent. At the end of the day, Grier looks more like a third-round pick who can develop and maybe become a starter down the road. He’s got NFL arm talent, poise under pressure, and he’s a tough leader.
Pro Comparison: CJ Beathard
Risers and Sliders
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
- Some people were still questioning Justin Herbert as QB1 in the 2019 NFL Draft entering the Washington game. The knock was he had never won a big game. Well he took down #7 Washington and their secondary full of future NFL talent. It wasn’t his best game in the world, throwing for just 202 yards, two touchdowns, and completing 56% of his passes. But he pulled out the win, made some impressive plays, and has Oregon’s offense rolling despite not a lot of big time talent at the skill spots. Herbert has all the physical tools NFL teams want and his ball placement/accuracy has been spectacular this year. If he declares for the NFL Draft, and it’s a big if, he’ll be the most coveted quarterback.
David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
- Iowa State pulled off an upset over #6 West Virginia this week and David Montgomery was a huge reason why. He returned after missing the previous game with an injury and did vintage David Montgomery things. He ended up running for 189 yards with a score and has his name buzzing as the potential RB1 in the draft. With Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson out with a torn ACL, it’s between Montgomery and Alabama’s Damien Harris for the top RB spot. The elite contact balance, instincts, physicality, and patience that Montgomery shows every week could lock him into RB1 soon.
TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
- Of course everybody knows about Iowa tight end Noah Fant, he’s the consensus TE1 in the draft class, but running mate TJ Hockenson isn’t too shabby himself. Hockenson put up 107 yards and 2 TDs on just 4 catches against Indiana. Hockenson showed great ability to track and high point the ball in the red zone. He was also a monster after the catch showing explosiveness and tackle breaking ability. The best part is he’s a ferocious blocker too. He already reminds me of George Kittle. Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger deserves a shout out too, this tight end class is sick.
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Many have tried, none in the past two years have succeeded. Receivers covered by 18 forget what touchdowns are. The best CB in the country is Deandre Baker and it isn’t close. pic.twitter.com/SzxLTNiWvl
— blakejmorgan (@blakejmorgann) October 15, 2018
- Even though Georgia was upset by LSU, cornerback Deandre Baker helped his stock. Entering the season Baker was considered a top cornerback prospect, but there were questions about his athleticism. So far this year, Baker has been terrific. He was shutting down the LSU wide receivers with his great technique and physicality. With clean footwork and his aggressiveness, Baker is going to be one of the best press-man cover corners in this draft.
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
- Washington might have lost, but Ben Burr-Kirven is winning this season. The undersized linebacker is a tackling machine. He picked up 19 tackles against Oregon and now has 93 through just seven games. Those numbers are insane. Burr-Kirven is all over the field every week playing with reckless abandon. Being just 6-0, 221 pounds isn’t ideal, but the NFL has come around on undersized athletic linebackers and Burr-Kirven looks NFL worthy. This could be the next Matt Milano.
Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
- It’s not great that Jarrett Stidham has been #1 on the sliders list two weeks in a row. Wins aren’t a quarterback stat, but when you’re a team with theoretical top 10 talent and you’re losing to Tennessee at home, it’s a bad look. Yet again Stidham was a mess. He panics under pressure and looks nowhere near NFL-ready. The arm talent is what people like but it’s not going to make up for all of his other issues. At this rate, Stidham should return to Auburn because he’s not even worth a Day 2 pick.
Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
SPARTY GETS IT DONE!
- This one is tough. Amani Oruwariye is a big and twitchy cornerback with first-round potential, but he’s been struggling lately. Despite a few PBU’s against Michigan State, Felton Davis was giving him tons of problems. Davis isn’t a great athlete but he was beating Oruwariye frequently. Worst of all, Oruwariye gave up the game-winning touchdown to Davis with 19 seconds left. He just couldn’t locate the ball on the play. The tools are there for Oruwariye; he just needs to play more technically sound and start finding the ball.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, DB, Florida
- Does any player in the country carry a bigger name while caring less about football than Chauncey Gardner-Johnson? This guy just puts in zero effort at times. Early against Vanderbilt, he didn’t even try to stop Ke’Shawn Vaughn on a huge touchdown. He picks and chooses when he wants to try and that won’t fly in the NFL. Heck, just go to Jon Ledyard’s Twitter feed and find all the videos of Gardner-Johnson putting no effort into tackling. This dude ain’t it.
Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
- Ohio State struggled with Minnesota. They were losing for most of the first half and didn’t really pull away until the fourth quarter. Some of that had to do with the Golden Gophers applying pressure on Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. A lot of that pressure was due to Isaiah Prince. Prince is a mammoth right tackle, but he’s just so lost in pass pro every week. To make matters worse, he gets called on way too many penalties. Can’t trust an offensive tackle who can’t pass block in today’s NFL.
Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
- The slide of Paddy Fisher is dependent on what you thought of him entering the season. Based off of his 2017 tape I thought he could take a step forward this season and be the third best linebacker in the draft class. He just hasn’t taken that step. This season Fisher has too often struggled with missed tackles. Against Nebraska this past week he missed an easy tackle in the hole. He has the instincts, size, and athleticism, but he just isn’t taking over games like I expected him to this season.
Game of the Week
#16 NC State @ #3 Clemson
The last three times these two teams have met has been a whole heap of fun. NC State turning into a top 25 school with tons of NFL prospects has made this battle huge for NFL scouts. Obviously, Clemson is stacked every year with future NFL players, but NC State has been great for NFL talent during the Dave Doeren era. The game is extra interesting since both teams remain undefeated.
The best prospect versus prospect battles in this game will come in the trenches. Everybody knows about the stacked Clemson defensive line. Clelin Ferrell is a top 15 prospect, Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins could both be late-first-round picks, and Austin Bryant is an interesting Day 3 pass rusher. Well, NC State actually has an impressive O-line. Garrett Bradbury and Terronne Prescod have been quietly rising up draft boards. Watching those two take on the Clemson interior defensive line will be a blast.
This is also a huge test for Ryan Finley who some consider a top quarterback prospect. I’m not one of those people. Seeing him against this stacked defense will be interesting. Pass catchers Kelvin Harmon, Jakobi Meyers, and Hunter Renfrow should catch a lot of eyes in this game too. Linebackers Kendall Joseph and Germaine Pratt are two of the best athletes at the position in the draft.
|#16 NC State||#3 Clemson|
|Kelvin Harmon, WR||Hunter Renfrow, WR|
|Jakobi Meyers, WR||Mitch Hyatt, OT|
|Stephen Louis, WR||Clelin Ferrell, EDGE|
|Tyler Jones, OT||Christian Wilkins, IDL|
|Terronne Prescod, OG||Dexter Lawrence, IDL|
|Garrett Bradbury, C||Austin Bryant, EDGE|
|Ryan Finley, QB||Tre’ Lamar, LB|
|Reggie Gallaspy II, RB||Kendall Joseph, LB|
|Darian Roseboro, DL||Tanner Muse, S|
|Eurndraus Bryant, NT||K’Von Wallace, S|
|Germaine Pratt, LB||Trayvon Mullen, CB|
Top 10 RB Rankings
*Excluding Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson (torn ACL)
|1||David Montgomery||Iowa State|
|7||Trayveon Williams||Texas A&M|
|9||Justice Hill||Oklahoma State|
|10||Miles Sanders||Penn State|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
OH MY GOODNESS! Iowa State’s offense keeps balling out as Brock Purdy and his WR core keep pulling off amazing plays!
- It’s rare to see a true freshman quarterback who wasn’t a high recruit takedown a top 10 team in college football. But that’s exactly what Iowa State’s Brock Purdy did this week. In just his second start he beat #6 West Virginia in one of the biggest upsets of the week. Purdy showed impressive poise for a Freshman. Multiple times he hung in the pocket until the last possible second before unleashing a big pass. He ended up throwing for 254 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and completing 72% of his passes in the game. With Matt Campbell in charge, Purdy could be a name we’ll be looking at down the road as he develops.
Super Sophomore: Jordon Scott, IDL, Oregon
Clinic Tape: Jordon Scott (@Fat_Mac34) using violent hands, strength & great balance to dispose of the down block. Works flat down the LOS to tackle Love! #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/jOG4Ri6E6m
— DLineVids (@DLineVids) September 23, 2018
- Oregon is generally known for their offense, especially with QB1 Justin Herbert running the show, but they have a stout defense. With a few draft prospects on defense, Sophomore Jordon Scott is the guy who sticks out most. The nose tackle is a stocky 6-1, 329 pounds, but an impressive athlete for his size. In Oregon’s big win over Washington, Scott was anchoring the defensive line. He helped hold Myles Gaskin to just 69 yards rushing. Scott had three tackles and a TFL but was for more impactful than the numbers. He’s going to be a hot prospect entering the 2019 season.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.