In a week of major college football games one thing was made clear, Alabama is on a level of their own. They ran through LSU and won 29-0. Another thing that became clear in that game, Quinnen Williams needs to be in the conversation for the best prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Alabama interior defensive lineman was dominant. He’s been the best player in college football this season and every week watching him is a treat. We also saw a few other Alabama players help their stock, the heroics of Will Grier, and some big names make some big decisions for their future.
Tweet of the Week
In the biggest moment of the West Virginia season, Will Grier made magic happen. Throwing a perfect 33-yard TD to Gary Jennings with 16 seconds left and then running in for a 2pt conversion to beat Texas 42-41. There’s no denying Grier is a special college QB and that was a special win. West Virginia could even potentially make a college football playoff push.
But even in this great win and nice performance from Grier, it’s hard to buy into him being a top quarterback prospect. He just holds the ball so damn long and forces too many throws. Grier has arm talent, mobility, and makes some extremely accurate deep throws at times, but he’s not consistent enough. He needs to do more over the next few games and have a nice Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and Pro Day to elevate beyond a third-round quarterback.
In the News
It’s early in the NFL Draft process to be seeing guys declare for the draft or choose to return to school, but we got both recently. Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson, who tore his ACL in September, has officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Washington OT Trey Adams, who is missing this entire season with a back injury, is reportedly going to return to the Huskies for one more season. Both are interesting cases because both players are out for this season with injuries. Although, both made different decisions, both made the right decision given the circumstances.
This is some of what OU RB Rodney Anderson can do. He's got big burst for a bigger back. He would be RB1 in this class, but the injury history is scary. Will be a tough eval. pic.twitter.com/Ya8FJCnNSu
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) November 3, 2018
For Rodney Anderson, he would likely be the RB1 in this class if not for the torn ACL. On top of that Anderson has missed three of his past four seasons at Oklahoma with major injuries. Sure, returning to school and putting together a big season would help his draft stock, but it’s risky.
His medical evaluation will be massive, but at the end of the day it’s hard to see him sliding out of the third-round with his talent. Going back to OU would mean taking more hits and risking more injuries, for free. The shelf life of a running back is short and getting to the NFL ASAP is usually the right call.
As for Trey Adams, prior to this season he had a chance to be a first-round pick and one of the first offensive tackles off the board. Unfortunately, he never played a snap and this is after missing part of 2017 with a torn ACL. If Adams can get healthy and return to form in 2019 he could be the first offensive tackle drafted. His injury history isn’t great and a back injury is scary for a big man, but left tackles don’t grow on trees.
Star: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington (5-11, 182 pounds)
When people ask who the number one cornerback prospect in the country is, it’s an easy answer. Greedy Williams. But who’s number two? Soon enough everybody will be saying Washington’s Byron Murphy. In an interesting cornerback class, Murphy has separated himself from the pack this season. After a promising redshirt Freshman year in 2017 he’s taken his game to the next-level in 2018. Through 10 games he only has one interception, but has broken up 12 passes. He’s gone from a potential first-round pick to a likely top 15 pick in this class.
Put on Byron Murphy’s tape against Utah and prepare to be amazed. It’s literal teaching tape. What he does in zone coverage in that game is like a cheat code. He plays it perfectly throughout the game and his reaction time on underneath throws is elite. Murphy excels as a zone corner due to instincts and explosiveness. He does a terrific job of reading quarterbacks and reacting as soon as he sees something.
One thing to love about Murphy is he’s always fighting for the ball. When he sees a throw he attacks the ball and that’s why he breaks up so many passes. Ball skills are about more than interceptions; they’re about making a play on the ball to prevent a completion. Murphy does this at a high-level consistently.
With fluid hips and clean footwork Murphy is no slouch in man coverage. Despite being a smaller build, he’s an aggressive player. He has no issues using his hands in press coverage and has the athleticism to stick man-to-man downfield. If he can become more consistent in man coverage and with his press technique, he’ll be a star NFL corner. Another thing, there are times when Murphy comes up on a receiver or running back and gives them a devastating hit. That’s not something you see in most corners, but it’s something coaches and evaluators will love.
Pro Comparison: Tre’Davious White
Sleeper: Zack Moss, RB, Utah (5-10, 215 pounds)
Running backs have become one of the most polarizing positions in football. Should you take one in the first-round? No, probably not. There are just too many players that you can find outside of the first-round who can produce. We’ve had some strong running back classes as of late, but 2019 isn’t full of clear studs like the previous groups. Instead evaluators have to look a little harder for potential starters.
One of those potential starters is Utah’s Zack Moss. Moss has been one of the best running backs in the country this season. Through nine games he’s rushed for 1,092 yards (6.1 YPA) and 11 TDs. He didn’t have much hype entering the season, but now it’ll be hard to have him outside of the top five running backs in the class.
Moss is one of those running backs that will fight for every yard. He’s a bull on the field with bell-cow potential in the NFL. It’s hard to classify him as a certain type of back. From a pure running standpoint, he does everything well. The combination of power, quickness, and explosiveness standout. Having those traits scream NFL starting running back.
He can run between the tackles while breaking tackles, something a lot of running backs struggle with surprisingly. But he isn’t some oversized power back; he finishes runs with impressive burst. The quickness and decisiveness to hit a hole when it opens is key to his chunk running ability. Moss can pickup the tough yards, break one to the house, and chip away at a defense by consistently coming away with solid gains.
The passing game is where Moss needs to improve. He’s not an awful pass catcher or pass protector, he just needs more work. In 2017 he was used far more consistently in the passing game and has trustworthy hands and the YAC ability to do damage in space. He just isn’t asked to run routes, something that’s become more important in today’s NFL.
On the bright side he has the suddenness and explosiveness to become far better at it. Most college backs suck in pass pro and the most important thing is seeing a willingness when they’re asked to do it. Moss always gets involved, he’ll just need to be coached up on reading a defense and technique.
Pro Comparison: Aaron Jones
Overrated: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan (6-5, 283 pounds)
Entering the season Rashan Gary was billed as a top 10 talent, and maybe he is, but he hasn’t lived up to it this season at Michigan. A lot of Gary’s NFL evaluation is going to be based on projection. He’s a massive athletic defensive lineman with a lot of hype that he’s never quite lived up to. This season was supposed to be the year for Gary, but he’s battled injuries and teammate Chase Winovich has outplayed him when he’s been on the field. Gary has played in just six games this season and has put up just two sacks and 3.5 TFLs. If he turns pro, Gary is likely a mid to late-first-round pick and teams will be betting on his upside.
If Gary blows away the NFL Combine like some expect him to then he could end up being a high pick, but his tape just isn’t there yet. There are definitely things to like about Gary. He’s explosive, can rush the passer with power, uses his hands well, and has a nice motor. The framework is there for him to be a first-round pick, but he just hasn’t been a consistent playmaker.
If a team is willing to draft him and play it slow to develop him with his size and athleticism then he has tons of potential. Cameron Jordan’s rookie year, he wasn’t ready. But with time he became an All-Pro. He’s not a top 20 prospect, but in the right system with coaching he has the potential to be a highly productive player.
Pro Comparison: Cameron Jordan
Risers and Sliders
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
N'Keal Harry is an end zone magnet
- Over his last two games N’Keal Harry has been used consistently as a big downfield threat. He’s rewarded Arizona State with 13 receptions for 256 yards and 5 total TDs. After some misuse of him earlier in the season, Harry is starting to dominate. There are questions about his athleticism and ability to separate, but against Utah he caught 3 TDs on downfield plays. He’s a polarizing prospect. It’s hard to argue with his ability on 50/50 balls and his YAC production. In a deep wide receiver class, Harry is beginning to seal himself into the top 5.
The TE Class
- Before the season the TE class looked like it could be awful. There just aren’t many relevant Senior prospects. But now, it looks like it could be a strength of the 2019 NFL Draft. The underclassmen have been dominating defenses. Week 10 of this season could be crowned the week of the tight end. Kaden Smith, Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson, Irv Smith, Caleb Wilson, and Albert O all made big plays. Jace Sternberger, Dawson Knox, Isaac Nauta, and Zach Gentry all flashed their potential. If the underclassmen declare, this will be one of the best tight end classes of the decade.
Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama
- It’s not often a talented Alabama defender doesn’t get the hype he deserves. With a defense full of first-round talent, Christian Miller is being slept on some. Against LSU he showed his ability as a pass rusher with 1.5 sacks. His flying cross chop that resulted in a sack was one of the highlight plays of the game. Miller has shown he can play with heavy hands and a hot motor throughout this season. Depending on if he’s at the Senior Bowl and how he tests at the NFL Combine, Miller could be as high as fourth-round pick in a strong edge class.
Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
- In a running back class that is full of mysteries, Trayveon Williams balled out against Auburn and should be a top running back lock soon. Despite losing, Williams carried Texas A&M with 182 total yards and 3 TDs. He looked electric in space and on a screen pass he took for a score he was like a pinball. Williams has the traits to be a contributing back in today’s NFL. His elusiveness, quickness, and burst make him a big play threat who’s dangerous in an open offense. He has also improved as pass catcher this season, making him that much more valuable to the NFL.
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
- Every NFL teams wants to find linebackers who can make plays in coverage. They’re a necessity in today’s NFL, but they aren’t easy to find. Mack Wilson is one of the most gifted coverage linebackers in recent years. His explosiveness, coverage instincts, and ball-skills are freaky for a linebacker. The interception he made against LSU was jaw-dropping. He needs to improve as an attacking linebacker versus the run, but knowing he’s capable of making game changing plays in coverage makes him a first-round talent.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
- Pretty much any given week you can put a quarterback prospect in the sliders category, it’s a weak class. Unfortunately, Dwayne Haskins, one of the more promising prospects, has fallen back down to earth. Over the last few weeks Haskins flaws have been more consistent and he hasn’t been getting better as the season progresses. The issues were noticeable against Nebraska. Haskins threw a brutal interception where he locked in on his receiver and forced a throw despite heavy coverage. There’s definitely tools to like, but he just hasn’t been seeing the field well and his decision making has been iffy. Another year or two at Ohio State would be great for his development.
Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
- Kentucky’s reign was put to an end by Georgia. Benny Snell’s ineffectiveness was a large reason why. The Wildcats don’t have a great offense and when Snell isn’t rolling they struggle. Georgia did a good job bottling up and holding him to just 71 yards on 3.7 per attempt. Snell’s flaws were evident; he’s just not that great of an athlete. He didn’t look very explosive and wasn’t breaking tackles or chunk runs. It’s hard to justify drafting a guy like Snell before the fourth-round.
Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State
- Michigan’s offense rolled Penn State’s defense this week. Penn State couldn’t stop the run and struggled to produce a consistent pass rush. Shareef Miller had little to no impact in the game. His season hasn’t lived up to some of the hype he was receiving prior to the year. Against Michigan he couldn’t generate pressure and was locked down. Miller is a decent athlete, but he doesn’t use his hands well enough yet. He should return for his Senior season.
Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
- Right now Calvin Throckmorton is starting at left tackle for Oregon due to injury. Not only is Throckmorton not a left tackle in the NFL, but he’s going to have to kick inside to guard. He’s had a nice season for Oregon, but it’s clear he doesn’t have the footwork or athleticism to cut it at tackle. Against UCLA his technique wasn’t great and his pass set looked awkward. Throckmorton is a fine prospect but he shouldn’t be looked at as a tackle.
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
- Is Greedy Williams really sliding down the board? No, probably not. He’s a top 10 prospect. But it’s worth mentioning he had one of the worst games of his career against Alabama. Sophomore studs Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs were beating Williams fairly consistently. He struggled with Jeudy’s start-stop ability and with Ruggs’ speed. There was even a play where it appeared he wasn’t trying all that hard. Williams is a gifted player with every tool in the box needed to be a Pro Bowl cornerback, but this was a reminder that he does need work on his technique.
Game of the Week
#2 Clemson @ #17 Boston College
Everybody knows how much NFL talent Clemson has with their defense. They have the big names like Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, and Christian Wilkins. Well, Boston College has some dudes too. This is one of the most talented teams BC has had in years. Both the offense and the defense has NFL talent. Clemson is the clear favorite, but BC should put up a nice fight, especially with College Gameday being in Chestnut Hill.
There are a few key matchups in this one. Watching BC guard Chris Lindstrom against Lawrence and Wilkins will be a treat. Lawrence and Wilkins are the bigger names, but Lindstrom is the better player. He’s a potential first-round pick and seeing him move those guys in the run game will be big for his hype. Watching Trayvon Mullen cover Jeff Smith is quietly a big test for both. Mullen has tons of potential and Smith is a clean route runner. This could be a huge game for both of BC’s edge rushers Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray as they take on Mitch Hyatt.
|#2 Clemson||#17 Boston College|
|Hunter Renfrow, WR||Jeff Smith, WR|
|Mitch Hyatt, OT||Michael Walker, WR|
|Tavien Feaster, RB||Aaron Monteiro, OT|
|Clelin Ferrell, EDGE||Jon Baker, C|
|Christian Wilkins, IDL||Chris Lindstrom, OG|
|Dexter Lawrence, IDL||Tommy Sweeney, TE|
|Albert Huggins, IDL||Anthony Brown, QB|
|Austin Bryant, EDGE||Wyatt Ray, EDGE|
|Tre’ Lamar, LB||Ray Smith, IDL|
|Kendall Joseph, LB||Zach Allen, EDGE|
|Trayvon Mullen, CB||Taj-Amir Torres, CB|
|Mark Fields, CB||Will Harris, S|
|Tanner Muse, S||Lukas Denis, S|
|K’Von Wallace, S|
Top 10 TE Rankings
|4||Dawson Knox||Ole Miss|
|5||Irv Smith Jr.||Alabama|
|6||Jace Sternberger||Texas A&M|
|10||Mitchell Wilcox||South Florida|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
Watched some of freshman Asante Samuel JR early today. Now Bama freshman Patrick Surtain Jr putting his talents on display. 6’2” five star recruit, patient at the LOS. Nice little stab. Didn’t panic when WR had a half step. Got in phase, head around, knocks ball away. Not bad. 🧐 pic.twitter.com/jQiwzhrocT
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) November 4, 2018
- Does Alabama have any real holes? No probably not, but their weakest spot has been cornerback. Well, against LSU they got a big boost from Patrick Surtain Jr. son of NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain. Surtain Jr. flashed some big potential with his length and athleticism. He had a massive PBU against LSU, and with Trevon Diggs out he seems to be their best cornerback. Surtain Jr. might be just a Freshman, but the talent he has is evident. This is a guy to pay attention to going forward.
Super Sophomore: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
D’Andre Swift is a bad man! 💯
- We’re about to have another huge running back class in the 2020 NFL Draft and D’Andre Swift is leading the way. The class is full of studs like JK Dobbins, Travis Etienne, and AJ Dillon. But Swift has the purest running talent. He put on a show against Kentucky running for 156 yards and 2 TDs. Swift showed his ability bang inside as a runner and also explode on outside runs. His most impressive run might have been his short TD run where he showed his ability to keep speed while making a cut. The 2020 running back class is going to be insane.
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