Well, Army almost beat Oklahoma, Oregon blew a game they had a 99% chance of winning, and Kentucky is a football school now? College football is a crazy and beautifully perfect sport. The excitement never ends but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the 2019 NFL Draft prospects who caught my eye this week. We found QB1, Saquon Barkley’s been replaced, and my overall quarterback rankings have been updated!
Tweet of the Week
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about DK Metcalf here and it probably won’t be the last. Metcalf’s one handed touchdown catch against Kent State took Twitter by storm. His ability to make such a spectacular catch look routine is complete lunacy. On the play Metcalf glides by the Kent State defender with such ease and nonchalantly sticks out his left handle to pluck the ball for the score.
Ole Miss has all the talent at wide receiver in the world and Metcalf is the freakiest one. He’s looking like he’ll end up as the top WR in the draft class with his performance this season. Currently Metcalf is on pace to finish with 54 receptions for 1,104 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 20.4 yards per reception. The size, athleticism, release, route running, and strong hands have locked him into the first-round.
In the News
The official word on Nick Bosa from Urban Meyer is he’ll be out a few weeks. But according to Bosa’s father he’ll be out until at least November, if not longer. Bosa won’t be reevaluated after having surgery for a core muscle injury until November. By that point Ohio State will have just four games left in their regular season, albeit huge games. They take on Michigan State and Michigan in two of them. The question then arises. Why should Bosa risk returning to Ohio State rather than getting ready for the 2019 NFL Draft? It sounds like best case scenario is he’ll be ready for the November 10th showdown with the Spartans. If he’s not ready by then and Ohio State isn’t in position to make the College Football Playoff, what would be the point of him playing?
It might be just September, but Nick Bosa has already done enough and shown enough on tape to justify being the number one pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The only reason he wouldn’t be would be if a team is looking for their franchise quarterback aka Justin Herbert. I know passionate college football fans won’t like to hear this but playing in a bowl game that means nothing isn’t worth it for Bosa. Playing for a College Football National Championship might be worth it but he has nothing more to prove on the field. His return is likely going to be dependent on if Ohio State is competing for it all, and if not, he should begin prepping for the NFL.
Star: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6, 233 pounds)
Well it took longer than I expected, but it seems the world has figured out Justin Herbert is QB1 for the 2019 NFL Draft. I’ve had Herbert there from the start because of his physical tools but against Stanford he showed his entire game has taken a step forward. Herbert made NFL level throws throughout the game and was nearly perfect. Oregon lost but it wasn’t on him. This is the guy NFL franchise should be looking at. He’s head and shoulders above the other quarterback prospects.
Herbert’s physical tools will be the first thing NFL teams should get excited about. He is well over the height threshold, bulked up over the summer, and rumor has it, he has massive hands. The arm talent is real too. Herbert has well above-average arm strength and can really rip it. The velocity he is able to put on the ball helps him make tight window throws that most college quarterbacks aren’t capable of.
With that arm he also brings impressive athleticism to the position. When plays breakdown he can consistently buy time with his legs. A lot of college quarterbacks with his movement skills will look to run when under pressure, but Herbert keeps his eyes downfield and always remains a passer until there’s no other option. He can make throws on the move and across his body that some current NFL quarterbacks can’t pull off.
Justin Herbert throws so well on the move. Always keeps his eyes downfield, accuracy stays on point, and has so much velocity that the ball doesn't lose anything when making tough throws across his body. pic.twitter.com/D4d1GNezfn
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 25, 2018
What Herbert did in the Stanford game was impressive and his improved accuracy is the biggest takeaway. Throughout the game Herbert made pinpoint accurate throws to seemingly covered wide receivers, throws he’ll need to make in the NFL. It’s worth noting Stanford’s two starting cornerbacks are likely future NFL players (Alijah Holder and Paulson Abedo).
On multiple occasions his throws were perfectly on time to the point where if they were a fraction of a second later, they would have fallen incomplete. He put the ball where only his players could make a play on it. It was one of the most impressive games you’ll find from a college quarterback from an accuracy standpoint. Even when under pressure Herbert is able to stay poised, hold strong in the pocket, and make accurate throws.
This is a perfect throw from Justin Herbert. Put's it over the nickels head and to the outside to keep it away from the safety. Throws it to where only his guy can make the play. This is QB1. pic.twitter.com/Eo0SZm3UXf
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 25, 2018
The arm talent, accuracy, and poise are all there for Herbert. The mechanics are too. Herbert has clean footwork that rarely gets muddy. He never has an issue with dead feet and keeps his footwork tight. When on the move he keeps his hips square and never loses torque in his throws. That’s why his velocity stays consistent when moving, he makes sure to engage his lower body and not throw only with his arm.
As for his throwing motion it’s compact enough and he has a high tight release. The ball gets out quickly when it needs to and that keeps everything on time. Herbert is able to play from the pocket, on the move, and keep everything on schedule while playing within the structure of the offense. He currently has a higher grade from me than 2018 first-round quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen.
Pro Comparison: Carson Wentz
Sleeper: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas (6-0, 195 pounds)
Back to back good plays by Texas Longhorn corner backs.
The first one SR Kris Boyd does a great job playing the sluggo. Solid pedal.. great feet… turns into the receiver to play THROUGH him and make a play on the ball. Good stuff by Boyd pic.twitter.com/42tRpp2fo1
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) September 22, 2018
At the top of this cornerback class, LSU’s Greedy Williams stands alone. That means there’s a battle behind him for who could be the next cornerback off the board. The sleeper of the next tier is Texas corner Kris Boyd. Boyd is a third year starter for the Texas defense and would have been drafted had he declared for the 2018 NFL Draft. Boyd doesn’t blow anyone away with his interception numbers but he’s a well built, technically sound corner with a “never give up” type of mentality.
Kris Boyd sits on the route, jumps it, easy interception, and almost scores. Texas has a legitimate NFL talent in their secondary again. pic.twitter.com/0e2PlUOgpn
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) June 28, 2018
Although he isn’t the greatest athlete at corner, Boyd has the technique and aggressiveness NFL teams look for. His ability in man coverage is what stands out. Boyd has quick and tight footwork that allows him to mirror receivers. He also makes up for his lack of athleticism with impressive press technique.
With strong hands, a low center of gravity, and good balance, Boyd is able to disrupt receivers and throw them off their routes. Often when Boyd looks beat he’ll play through the ball and end up disrupting the catch. Over his last 16 games Boyd has broken up 21 passes. Even without interceptions he has shown the ball skills to break up passes. Teams looking for an aggressive, tough, press man corner will love what they see in Boyd.
Pro Comparison: Vontae Davis
Overrated: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State (6-1, 208 pounds)
Every year freaky athletes at receiver shoot up draft boards because of their athletic testing. A guy who seems poised to have that happen is Parris Campbell. Ohio State’s playmaking receiver is dynamic with the ball in his hands, there’s no denying that. But too often Campbell makes big mistakes. He drops passes in big situations or fumbles on a key drive. There’s a role for a guy like him in the NFL, but seeing his name pop up as a top receiver prospects is surprising.
Plays like this are why Ohio State WR Paris Campbell is interesting. Super athletic, awesome with the ball in his hands, has Percy Harvin/Cordarrelle Patterson in his game. The issue is drops. Needs to be more consistent with his hands. pic.twitter.com/ThlzZcK2Us
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) June 20, 2018
Campbell has poor hands and the drops are too frequent to put complete trust in him as a go to receiver. He also isn’t that great of a route runner and usually relies on his size and speed to win, something that is tough to consistently do in the NFL. In traffic Campbell isn’t trustworthy to come down with the ball and struggles to adjust when the pass isn’t put on him perfectly. The positives are his YAC ability, his elite explosiveness, and his ability to separate. He can be a big time return man and complementary offensive player in the right situation, but he’s a day three prospect.
Pro Comparison: Cordarrelle Patterson
Risers and Sliders
Isaiah Buggs, IDL, Alabama
- Everybody knows Raekwon Davis, the Alabama defensive lineman with top 10 potential. Well Isaiah Buggs is pretty dang good himself. After playing part-time last year with Davis, Da’Ron Payne, and Da’Shawn Hand, Buggs has blossomed as a full-time starter. Against Texas A&M Buggs picked up seven tackles and three sacks showcasing his great motor, power, and leverage. He’s not a dominant athlete but the strength and technique he brings to the table are impressive. Buggs has played himself into late first-round talk.
Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
- Surprisingly the Big Ten lacks high-end running back prospects this year. Michigan’s Karan Higdon has been the most noteworthy prospect, until now. Saquon Barkley’s replacement is the real deal. Miles Sanders carried Penn State in their win over Illinois with 200 yards on the ground and three scores. Sanders showed nice contact balance, burst, and footwork. He’s officially on the radar.
D’Andre Walker, EDGE, Georgia
- Georgia has a lot of defensive studs, but nobody played better than D’Andre Walker versus Missouri. He was the Bulldogs only consistent pass rusher and got after Drew Lock. Unlike previous Georgia pass rushers (Leonard Floyd and Lorenzo Carter), Walker isn’t a long freaky athlete. Walker is more of a violent hard worker on the edge. He won with strong hands, power, and his motor against Missouri while picking up two sacks.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
This isn’t even a route, it’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside legitimately just posting up in the end zone.
- Remember when Bryce Love was getting all the Stanford offensive hype? Yeah, well, it’s the JJ Arcega-Whiteside show now. JJAW has been one of the best receivers in the country this season and Stanford’s best overall draft prospect. In four games JJAW already has 408 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging an insane 24 yards per reception. His size, separation, body control, and hands make him a red zone freak. Against Oregon he was like a power forward just posting up in the end zone and pulling in rebounds.
David Sills V, WR, West Virginia
- There was a time David Sills was a 13-year-old quarterback prospect committed to Lane Kiffin at USC. Fast-forward eight years and Sills is catching touchdowns from Will Grier. West Virginia’s vaunted passing attack is helped by Sills. His size, route running, and consistent hands make him Grier’s safety net and favorite target. Against Kansas State Sills was a beast with his release beating DBs with ease on his way to three touchdowns.
Trevon Hill, EDGE, Virginia Tech
Florida State's O-line is awful, but Virginia Tech pass rusher Trevon Hill is good. Explosive get off, attacks the OTs outside shoulder, uses the rip, gets his hips around, and has the flexibility to dip under and get the sack. pic.twitter.com/yAsXMYueix
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 17, 2018
- Despite being one of the few Hokies who looked good in the Old Dominion upset win over Virginia Tech, Trevon Hill is a major slider. The day after the loss he was kicked off the team by head coach Justin Fuente for, “not upholding the high standards that we have for our student-athletes at Virginia Tech.” Hill was rising up draft boards this year after a strong performance against Florida State. In three games Hill racked up 3.5 sacks after posting 5.5 last season.
Jaylen Smith, WR, Louisville
- With Lamar Jackson the last few years Jaylen Smith put up big numbers for Louisville. Without Jackson, Smith and Louisville have taken a tumble. Smith’s lack of production is killer for his stock. On tape I found a guy who wasn’t very clean with routes and had a tendency to drop passes. He won because of his size, athleticism, and Lamar Jackson being a stud. So far this year Smith has just eight catches and only caught two balls versus Virginia this past Saturday.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
- It didn’t start too bad for Drew Lock against Georgia. He was making smart decisions, getting the ball out quickly, and showing impressive arm strength. Then as Missouri fell behind Lock got sloppy. Too often he would stare down receivers from the start of the play, telegraphing where he was going. Lock also continued his trend of stopping his feet complete in the pocket, something I call having dead feet. This isn’t the QB1 for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
- Emanuel Hall’s struggles against Georgia weren’t all his fault, he was playing injured. On the other hand he hurt his team far more than he helped. Hall was completely erased by Deandre Baker in this game and had no impact. It’s not great for his stock because Hall needs to show that he’s more than a deep threat in the right system with a big armed quarterback. On tape Hall hasn’t shown much route running ability and drops too many passes.
- As of right now the safety class isn’t looking that good for the 2019 NFL Draft. Alabama’s Junior safety Deionte Thompson is a complete stud, but after him the class drops off. Senior’s such as Jaquan Johnson, Juan Thornhill, and Lukas Denis look more like day two guys. Delvon Randall, D’Cota Dixon, and Jah’Shawn Johnson flash but don’t look like complete players. Taylor Rapp, Brandon Jones, and JR Reed are intriguing but none have first-round tape. Deionte Thompson looks like the only first-round safety as of now.
Game of the Week
#4 Ohio State @ #9 Penn State
The battle of undefeated Big Ten schools is here. Ohio State is going into Happy Valley to fight for first place in the Big Ten East and it will be a treat for NFL scouts. Even without Nick Bosa there are plenty of players to pay attention to in this game.
The biggest thing to watch for will be potential first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins in his toughest game yet. Haskins going on the road and performing well against a top 10 team will continue to help his stock trend in the right direction. A fun prospect versus prospect matchup will be Ohio State super athlete WR Parris Campbell (discussed above) against potential first-round Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye. These are two of the best athletes in the Big Ten going head-to-head in prime time.
On the other side of the ball this will be a major test for Penn State WR Juwan Johnson who has been struggling with drops this season. Likely taking on Ohio State’s speedster CB Kendall Sheffield, it will be huge for Johnson to prove his size and movement skills are a mismatch. Also watch for Penn State RB Miles Sanders playing against one of the countries best defensive lines.
|#4 Ohio State||#9 Penn State|
|Dwayne Haskins, QB||Trace McSorley, QB|
|Mike Weber, RB||Miles Sanders, RB|
|Parris Campbell, WR||Juwan Johnson, WR|
|Michael Jordan, C||Ryan Bates, OT|
|Isaiah Prince, OT||Steven Gonzalez, OG|
|Dre’Mont Jones, IDL||Connor McGovern, OG|
|Robert Landers, IDL||Shareef Miller, EDGE|
|Malik Harrison, LB||Amani Oruwariye, CB|
|Tuf Borland, LB|
|Kendall Sheffield, CB|
|Damon Arnette, CB|
|Jordan Fuller, S|
|2||Brian Lewerke||Michigan State|
|4||Easton Stick||North Dakota State|
|5||Dwayne Haskins||Ohio State|
|9||Will Grier||West Virginia|
|T-10||Deondre Francois||Florida State|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Caden Sterns, S, Texas
Does Texas beat TCU without freshman safety Caden Sterns? First INT saved a TD, and this one swung momentum entirely in the Horns favor. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/Zhfcm29U4d
— Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) September 23, 2018
Is Texas back? Probably not, but they continue to produce NFL talent on the backend of their defense. With Holton Hill and DeShon Elliott hitting the NFL after last season, and Kris Boyd and Brandon Jones likely hitting after this season, they’re in good hands with Caden Sterns. The frosh safety was all over the field against TCU. He showed fantastic range playing deep safety and made two beautiful interceptions. Sterns combination of size, ball skills, and athleticism have him making plays already. He currently leads the Longhorns with three interceptions on the season.
Super Sophomore: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
If both Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, that quarterback class will be loads of fun. In Georgia’s 43-29 win over Missouri, Fromm outplayed supposed top quarterback prospect Drew Lock. Although he doesn’t have the mouth-watering physical attributes scouts fall in love with, Fromm has real NFL tools. Against Missouri Fromm showed far more NFL-ready ability going through his progressions quickly, making smart decisions, and playing with consistent accuracy. Even the interception wasn’t his fault. Fromm already throws one of the best back shoulder balls in college football. His mental makeup, accuracy, and decision making make him a potential top QB prospect in the future.
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