College football has officially returned. After months of missing it and fantasizing about it, Week 0 happened and even if it did disappoint… it was still football. We got some ACC vs SEC action when Florida took down Miami 24-20 and then for the realest of committed fans we watched as Hawaii upset Arizona 45-38. It wasn’t great football, but it was the perfect tune-up for the official return of college football this week. Heck, we get five straight days of college football. Life is perfect. With the return of college football brings 2020 NFL Draft hype. It’s the best time of the year. Instant overreactions to NFL Draft prospects every Saturday. It also brings the return of the in-season Armchair Scout column, so gear up for another great year of college football and NFL Draft talk!
Tweet of the Week
Filed to ESPN: Andrew Luck has informed the Colts he is retiring from the NFL, per source. There will be a press conference Sunday to make it official, but Luck is mentally worn down, and now checking out.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 25, 2019
The football world was shocked Saturday night when news broke abruptly that Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl QB Andrew Luck was planning to announce his retirement at just 29. The former first overall pick out of Stanford has dealt with a ton of injuries and just wasn’t in it anymore both physically and mentally. This will surely affect the Colts season; they were the AFC South favorite. But how will it affect their approach in the upcoming NFL Draft? What’s GM Chris Ballard’s best plan of action?
Current QB Jacoby Brissett will now be their starter and he’s not a bad option. It’s a contract year for Brissett so he essentially has the 2019 season to prove to Ballard and the Colts that he’s their guy. With Frank Reich calling the plays, a great offensive line, and an improved group of offensive weapons, Brissett is in a strong situation to succeed. He’s a big and strong-armed pocket passer known for his great leadership abilities and knack for making wow throws. Brissett just needs to be a more consistent player from snap-to-snap and game-to-game. It’s hard to argue that there are more than 30 QBs in the league better than Brissett.
Even if Brissett proves he can succeed in this offense, the Colts will still be looking at QBs in the 2020 NFL Draft. If they struggle, then that puts them in the Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert sweepstakes. They could end up in the middle of the pack and be looking at Utah State’s Jordan Love as well, all three passers would be a nice fit in Reich’s creative offense. If they manage to win the AFC South a potential scenario could be drafting a developmental QB in 2020 and franchise tagging Brissett to see if he’s for real, then if he’s not for real they could be looking for a QB in 2021. The Colts have already drafted the three best QB prospects of all-time in John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Luck. Imagine if they get the next one with Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
In the News
There was some terrible news out of Tuscaloosa this week when it broke that Alabama’s Preseason All-American LB Dylan Moses tore his ACL. Moses was considered by many to be the best LB prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft and will now miss the entire 2019 season with the injury. Depending on the extent of the injury Moses could still end up a first-round pick come April. He has six months until the NFL Scouting Combine and eight months until the NFL Draft. That gives him plenty of time to rehab and be ready for the 2020 NFL season.
Alabama LB Dylan Moses (#32) is excellent at keeping his shoulders square and remaining patient when attacking downhill vs. the run.
Is it worth turning pro for Moses after this injury? Well, on his sophomore tape he showed the promise of a future top 15 pick and if he’s fully recovered from the injury it would be hard to see him falling out of the top 50. Former Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith had a far more catastrophic injury in a bowl game and still only fell to the 34th pick despite the Cowboys knowing he’d miss his rookie season. Moses has the explosiveness, physicality, range, and instincts to be a Pro Bowl LB in the NFL. He’s the perfect MIKE LB for today’s game. The best option for Moses might be declaring for the NFL Draft now and beginning his preparation.
Star: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Get ready for the 2020 NFL Draft if you love wide receivers. It has a chance to be one of the best of the century and could rival the 2014 class. The guy leading the way right now as the consensus WR1 and the top player on some draftniks big board is Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy has had NFL hype since showing up on Alabama’s campus and flashing potential as a reserve during his freshman season. Last season as a sophomore he took over as the Crimson Tide’s go-to weapon and he was unstoppable. Jeudy finished the season with 68 receptions for 1,315 yards (19.3 AVG), and 14 TDs. He even won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best WR in college football.
Jerry Jeudy. If you look carefully, you can see him throw the mailbox flag up as he runs out of frame. Like Randy Moss and shit. pic.twitter.com/s5yzHoKDKl
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) July 11, 2019
What Jeudy brings to the football field should perfectly transition into early NFL success. Jeudy isn’t just an athlete playing receiver, he’s a technician with rare movement skills. The quickest way to make plays in the NFL as a WR is to be a master route runner. Jeudy is just that with elite foot speed, pacing, and lateral quickness that allows him to lose just about any defender. He’s also experienced at running the full route tree, a rarity in today’s college football. Not only can he win with his route running, but Jeudy has big-time juice. He’s an explosive athlete that can separate with flat-out elite athleticism.
Jerry Jeudy has rare YAC ability. Looks like Odell Beckham Jr. with the ball in his hands. Alabama has a special one and the WR1 in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/hzb0pjP4mf
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 10, 2019
The two most impressive pieces of Jeudy’s game though are his strong hands and his dominance after the catch. He catches pretty much anything put anywhere near him. Jeudy might not be the biggest WR, but his body control, catch radius, and hands allow him to win contested catches consistently. Now, to get to the most exciting part of his game, his YAC ability. Jeudy is like a running back in the open field with his contact balance, ability to cut on a dime, and silky movement skills. He’s already NFL-ready and a top-five prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Sleeper: Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota
It’s no secret the Big Ten is full of top pass rusher talent in the 2020 NFL Draft. Everybody knows the names of Chase Young, AJ Epenesa, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Kenny Willekes, but what about Carter Coughlin? The Minnesota edge rusher hasn’t had the same draft hype as the other Big Ten talents. It won’t be long until his name is consistently mentioned as a top 100 prospect. Coughlin has been one of the most productive 3-4 outside linebackers in the country for the Golden Gophers. He’s racked up 85 tackles, 26.5 TFLs, and 16 sacks in the last two seasons. As a senior, he should explode onto the NFL Draft scene.
Coughlin is perfect for a 3-4 edge role in the NFL. He’s not quite big enough to be a true base defensive end at 6-3, 245 pounds, but he makes up for it with impressive athleticism in space. Coughlin fits the 3-4 due to his ability to drop and be productive in coverage when asked to in his assignment. As a pass rusher, he’s got enough explosiveness to give offensive linemen issues with just his athleticism, but it’s not what he relies on. Coughlin is strong with his hand use and it’s improving as he adds more pass rush moves to his repertoire. He’s apparently even trying to add the cross chop to his arsenal, a move he learned from Aaron Donald at Von Miller’s pass rush summit, per The Athletic.
Is Coughlin a prototype edge rusher? No, but in the right system, his combo of athleticism, bend, hand use, and effort will make him a productive NFL edge. He has a similar skill set to Pittsburgh Steeler’s Pro Bowler TJ Watt, who was perfectly cast as an outside linebacker in their 3-4. As Coughlin develops more moves and adds more strength at the point of attack as a senior his name will begin to buzz. This is a future NFL starter.
Overrated: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
There’s always going to be way-too-early NFL mock draft’s that throw former big high school recruits names into the first-round. From there the buzz begins to grow since everybody knows them from the recruiting process and they’re likely at a big school and now they’re being touted as a first-round talent. This happens a lot whether the player has good tape or bad. Somewhere between the good and bad tape is Walker Little’s tape. The Stanford left tackle was the top overall recruit in the 2017 class and started as a freshman and sophomore. Little isn’t bad, but he’s not a first-round talent… yet.
There’s no denying Little has franchise left tackle size, athleticism, and physicality, but right now there are far too many flaws in his technique. He’s constantly exposed in pass protection for playing too high and lunging forward. Little needs to learn to rely on his footwork, hand placement, and anchor while playing with better leverage. The run game is the place to get excited with him. He’s strong at the point of attack and a people mover thanks to his size and power. Right now Little looks like a developmental tackle prospect, not the guy you take in the first-round. He has the tools to get there, but his development will be key this season with consistency and technique.
Risers and Sliders
Jabari Zuniga/Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
- It was way too hard to pick between Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard for the top spot on the list so why not both? Zuniga is the known commodity while Greenard burst onto the scene and now has everybody’s attention. The edge-rushing duo combined for 12 tackles, 5 TFLs, and 3 sacks. The NFL scouting world isn’t surprised by Zuniga’s game, he could have gone pro after his junior season. His ability to win with violent hands and leverage was on display all night. The man is NFL-ready. Greenard on the other hand is a Louisville transfer who was highly productive in 2017 for the Cardinals, but missed all of 2018 with a wrist injury before transferring. Entering the game Greenard was listed as a co-starter but should be the Gators starting BUCK after this performance.
Jabari Zuniga has had a monster night. The most impressive player on the field tonight puts an exclamation point on his performance with a huge sack to bring up a do or die 4th down for the ‘Canes. pic.twitter.com/pQqjWWwUnw
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValenciaPFN) August 25, 2019
Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
- The biggest surprise of Week 0 was the performance from Florida redshirt sophomore LB Ventrell Miller. Miller was listed as a co-starter at one of the Gators two off-ball LB spots entering the game, but his dominance likely locked the starting gig up going forward. Miller was all over the place showing explosiveness and aggression. He also showed off a knack for blitz timing, an underrated ability for an off-ball LB to possess. Miller was all over the stat sheet finishing with 6 tackles, 2 sacks, and a PBU. He’s young and raw, but this is a guy to watch going forward.
Trajan Bandy, CB, Miami
- Despite losing to Florida, Miami’s defense played a good football game. They held the Gators to just 304 total yards and forced four turnovers. Their star defender of the night was definitely CB Trajan Bandy. Bandy is undersized but makes up for it with feistiness and balls skills. On multiple occasions, Bandy swallowed up screens and underneath routes to keep gains minimal. Some of the hits he made were like hit sticks on Madden. He also had no issue matching up with bigger WRs and his physicality was on display. He projects to be a starting nickel in the NFL.
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami
- It was a tough night for the Miami Hurricanes offense. They only mustered up 301 total yards and 20 points. What should help ease the pain though is the performance of junior RB DeeJay Dallas. Dallas accounted for 132 total yards and a score on 16 touches. The vast majority of explosive plays came from him and he showed impressive contact balance and burst. Dallas exploded for a 50-yard TD run on a wildcat play where leg drive and effort allowed for him to run through multiple defenders. Dallas is one of the most underrated RB prospects in the country.
Love this run form DeeJay Dallas vs Florida in Week 0. Was the best offensive player for Miami and showed great contact balance + explosiveness all night. pic.twitter.com/dWGulojv1x
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 28, 2019
Cedric Byrd, WR, Hawaii
- After a slow start, Hawaii’s top WR Cedric Byrd couldn’t be stopped. Byrd was eating up the Arizona secondary and finished with 14 receptions for 224 yards and 4 TDs. Huge numbers for the undersized slot. Byrd has become a master route runner in the run and shoot and has great chemistry with QB Cole McDonald. His ability to separate DB vs the Wildcats will have NFL attention. Dominating a Power 5 opponent like that as a small school prospect is always massive for the resume.
Feleipe Franks, QB, Florida
- After putting up some big numbers last season there were some high hopes for Feleipe Franks this season. Well, those hopes quickly turned into doubts vs Miami. Yes, Florida won the game, but their offense looked rough and a lot of the issues fall on Franks. He was shaky in the pocket and clearly still lacks poise. On multiple occasions, he panicked under pressure and forced throws. Franks ended up throwing two interceptions and one of his TD passes came on a screen that Kadarius Toney took 66 yards to the house. Franks has a long way to go to even be considered an NFL prospect.
Jeff Thomas, WR, Miami
- After a bizarre situation last season that saw Jeff Thomas get kicked off Miami then announce he planned to transfer to Illinois just to eventually return to Miami after a coaching change, there was a lot of hype for him this season. He’s arguably the most talented pass catcher in the ACC. Against Florida, though Thomas was kept relatively quiet with just 2 receptions for 28 yards and added 16 more yards on an end-around. To make matters worse he also muffed a punt. If Thomas wants to keep his draft stock up with his off-field questions already hurting it, he’ll need to show up in Miami’s big games.
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
- It wasn’t a bad game for CJ Henderson in coverage. The potential first-round pick looked smooth per usual and did a great job showing off his athletic skills. Henderson’s big issue was tackling vs Miami. It’s been a recurring issue on his tape and as a junior, he’ll need to show his willingness. Greedy Williams slid to the second-round in the 2019 NFL Draft for similar issues. Henderson missed multiple tackles and showed no improvements from last season.
If I am coordinating offense against Florida's defense, I want to challenge CB CJ Henderson (No. 1) to make tackles. Some ugly reps last night. pic.twitter.com/L8jpKW1588
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) August 25, 2019
Shaq Quarterman, LB, Miami
- In similar fashion to Henderson, Shaq Quarterman played like he did last season and that’s not good enough. Quarterman is a physical enforcer at middle linebacker and great at making plays between the tackles with his physicality and toughness. The issue was his struggles in coverage and his tendency to bite on play-action. Multiple times Quarterman was exposed on play-action passes allowing Florida to take advantage. He also showed that he still struggles to match up with tight ends and running backs in space. In today’s NFL a linebacker needs to be able to cover.
Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii
- There won’t be many QBs more polarizing than Cole McDonald this season. McDonald and Hawaii pulled off the upset over Khalil Tate and Arizona. He even threw for 4 TDs and had 399 total yards. The issue was awful interceptions. McDonald threw one INT that was so ugly he got benched late in the game by head coach Nick Rolovich. At times McDonald was operating the run and shoot to perfection, but he’s too much of an untrustworthy gunslinger right now. The physical tools are there with him and the NFL will love that but forcing throws into clearly heavy traffic that frequently is scary.
Game of the Week
#11 Oregon vs #16 Auburn (at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
The must-watch no matter what even if you’re the best man in a wedding game of the college football season for Week 1 is Oregon vs Auburn in Jerry’s World. This is a massive game both for the College Football Playoffs and for the 2020 NFL Draft. Seeing Oregon QB Justin Herbert, a consensus top two QB prospect, taking on an Auburn defense littered with future NFL players is huge for the evaluation process. We need to see Herbert step it up on the biggest stage and show improved consistency this year. It’s also one hell of a battle in the trenches with Oregon bringing four NFL prospects on their O-line vs potential first-round Auburn IDL Derrick Brown and friends. This game will get the juices flowing for college football and NFL fans.
|#11 Oregon||#16 Auburn|
|Justin Herbert, QB||Derrick Brown, IDL|
|Shane Lemieux, OG||Prince Tega Wanogho, OT|
|Troy Dye, LB||Nick Coe, EDGE|
|Jake Hanson, C||Jack Driscoll, OT|
|Calvin Throckmorton, OL||Javaris Davis, CB|
|Jordon Scott, NT||Marlon Davidson, EDGE|
|Thomas Graham Jr., CB||Daniel Thomas, S|
|Juwan Johnson, WR||Jeremiah Dinson, S|
|Deommodore Lenoir, CB||JaTarvious Whitlow, RB|
|Jacob Breeland, TE||Marquel Harrell, OG|
|CJ Verdell, RB|
|Brady Aiello, OT|
|Dallas Warmack, OG|
Top Prospect in Every Conference
|SEC||Grant Delpit, S||LSU|
|ACC||Bryce Hall, CB||Virginia|
|Big Ten||AJ Epenesa, EDGE||Iowa|
|Big 12||CeeDee Lamb, WR||Oklahoma|
|Pac-12||Justin Herbert, QB||Oregon|
|AAC||D’Eriq King, QB||Houston|
|MWC||Jordan Love, QB||Utah State|
|MAC||Kevin McGill, CB||Eastern Michigan|
|CUSA||Amik Robertson, NB||LA Tech|
|Sun Belt||Kndle Vildor, CB||Georgia Southern|
|Independent||Liam Eichenberg, OT||Notre Dame|
|FCS||James Robinson, RB||Illinois State|
|Div-II||Kyle Dugger, S||Lenoir-Rhyne|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
- Week 0 had its fair share of pass rush. Florida ended up with 10 sacks, Miami’s offensive line was ruined. For the Hurricanes they struggled to find consistent pass rush despite having a talented group. Their one sack came from redshirt freshman Gregory Rousseau. Rousseau isn’t a starter, but he flashed when he was on the field. His size and athleticism were evident. Rousseau is 6-6, 260 pounds with some get off. Despite only playing on a rotation he ended up with a sack and a TFL. He was disruptive when on the field. Miami has a DEEP edge rusher group.
Super Sophomore: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
- Miami redshirt freshman starting QB Jarren Williams struggled in his debut. The Dan Enos offense tried to keep it simple with him getting the ball out fast to playmakers in space. One of those playmakers was TE Brevin Jordan. Jordan, along with DeeJay Dallas, was one of the few offensive brights spots for the Hurricanes. He showed off his athleticism repeatedly on his way to 5 receptions for 88 yards and a score. Even the touchdown was all him making the play as he hauled in a tipped ball. At 6-3, 245 pounds, Jordan is a freaky athlete and looks like the next great TE to come out of Miami.
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