In classic college football fashion what looked like a bad slate of games ended up being extremely entertaining in Week 5. The nationally televised games were mainly blowouts but in the most fun kind of way. It’s hard to not enjoy a top 10 team doing whatever they want to an unranked opponent, Clemson should try it out sometime. Clemson almost losing to North Carolina if not for an awful Phil Longo two-point attempt was the most entertaining game of the day. Other than that seeing Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma take care of business as usual with dominant QB play was a good time. Seeing Wisconsin and Notre Dame avoid letdown losses and Penn State and Auburn destroy conference opponents spiced things up. Of course, who could forget the Pac-12 eating itself, a weekly tradition. Anyhow, it was a great week for 2020 NFL Draft prospects.
Tweet of the Week
There are now officially SEVEN quarterbacks being discussed as potential first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. The most QBs ever taken in the first-round is six back in 1983. 1983 is widely considered the greatest QB draft of all-time thanks to John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. In the history of the NFL Draft, which began in 1937 there have only been three times five or more QBs have been selected, ’83, 1999, and 2018. The odds that 2020 actually has seven passers go seems pretty slim. The evaluation process has only just begun so it’s hard to assume all seven are going to stay where they are/some of them may not even declare for the draft. Either way, the QB class is clearly shaping up to be an impressive one.
Before the season we all knew Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, and Jake Fromm were considered potential first-round picks. The emergence of Jacob Eason, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts have been huge. All three have taken major strides as passers and all three are former transfers, all hail the transfer portal. At the very least there’s a good chance five QBs go in the first-round come April. It’s too far away to call all seven locks, hell it’s too far away to call even three of them locks, but it’s going to be a fun ride with this group. This might even end up the best crop of QBs the Senior Bowl has had in Mobile, Alabama.
In the News
The biggest news in the NCAA this week had nothing to do with any on-field performances and everything to do with progression in the world of college athletics. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act allowing for NCAA athletes in the state of California to profit off their likeness. These athletes will be permitted to hire agents and make money through things such as endorsements. The act will go into place in 2023. Does this really hurt college football like some coaches and athletic directors say? No, all it does is help the players make some money for committing their time and bodies to a program. It won’t hurt the “competitive balance” of college football like Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said, the Cornhuskers lost to Ohio State 48-7, this act won’t be their issue. This is positive.
With California taking the big leap first other states are starting to look into signing their own Fair Pay to Play Act for their college athletes. Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Nevada look like they might be the next few states to join California. A handful of college football coaches have already come out in support of it, and why wouldn’t they? They know better than anybody what kind of commitment college athletics is and how big of a cash cow they are for the schools. Anybody opposing the act is either greedy, uninformed, or cares way too much about the idea of amateurism in college athletics.
Star: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
People are going to get sick of this being said, but the 2020 NFL Draft has a chance to be rare for the WR class. Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs have received much of the early attention and rightfully so they’ve been destroying everybody Alabama faces. Those two are joined by CeeDee Lamb as the elite WR talents in the class and despite being overshadowed by them and the revival of Jalen Hurts, Lamb is a star. Last season he was the most talented WR at OU even with Hollywood Brown, the Ravens first-round pick, across from him. Now in his third year as a Sooner Lamb is the best prospect on a team full of them.
CeeDee Lamb now has a hat trick. Making it look too easy. Lamb doesn’t get the same hype as some of the other top WRs but he’s right there with them. pic.twitter.com/uodjNXe1Jn
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 28, 2019
In his last 18 games, Lamb has put up 81 receptions for 1,572 and 17 TDs. There’s maybe no player in the country with better hands than him and certainly, nobody has better body control. Lamb is a human highlight reel with his elite ability to win contested-catch balls. He’s not the biggest guy (6-1, 192) or the most explosive athlete, but he doesn’t need to be to dominate. The hands and body control are elite, but the route running is what allows him to thrive. Lamb is one of the best route runners in the class and can consistently create separation on all levels because of how nuanced and crisp he is in his movements. As long as he tests well, there’s really no holes in his game. He’s even the best blocking WR in the class.
Lamb might not have the same hype as Jeudy and Ruggs right now, but this is a top 10 prospect. It might sound crazy to say, but his game has a lot of similarities to DeAndre Hopkins. The elite body control, unbelievably strong hands, and ability to play through traffic are reminiscent of Hopkins. Lamb is a WR1 in the NFL
Sleeper: Joe Reed, WR, Virginia
There are already so many sleeper WR prospects because of the top-end talent. Just like the 2019 NFL Draft, teams will be able to get consistent contributors at WR on Day 3 of the draft. One of those future contributors is Virginia WR, Joe Reed. Reed is an interesting study. He’s Virginia’s best playmaker and they do a good job of using him as a chess piece. He’ll lineup out wide, in the slot, even play some running back, and he’s arguably the best kick returner in the nation. This season he’s seen a major uptick in touches as the dude of their offense. A guy like Reed is a perfect Day 3 prospect for today’s NFL.
It’s going to be a big year for Virginia football and one of their most underrated 2020 NFL Draft prospects is WR Joe Reed. Great athlete with big play ability. pic.twitter.com/EhbHWamDQx
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 20, 2019
In five games this season Reed has 688 total yards and 5 TDs. Virginia isn’t afraid to make him the focal point even if he’s not a typical WR. Reed is thick (6-1, 215) and plays like an RB after the catch. It’s the best thing about his game. He will always pick up extra yards and can be a home run threat anytime the ball is in his hands. The best way to take advantage of his skills is by using him in any way possible. Let him catch passes out of the backfield, throw him screens on the outside, and run jet sweeps/pop passes to him from the slot. Reed is an improving route runner and has come a long way as a true WR, but his game at the next-level suits a specific role. Think Cordarrelle Patterson.
Virginia WR Joe Reed reminds me some of Cordarrelle Patterson. Elite KR who is at his best with the ball in his hands. They even use him at RB sometimes. pic.twitter.com/JQtUPbjprO
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 20, 2019
Reed shouldn’t be forced into a regular role in the NFL. A smart offensive mind is going to see his atypical style and put him in a role where he can succeed. Reed is a square peg so don’t try to fit him in the round hole.
Overrated: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
There’s going to be a lot of conversations about Tee Higgins. He’s a polarizing WR prospect in a class full of them. There are going to be some people who say he’s a top 10 talent and some that say he’s a Day 2 pick. He’s not on the level of Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs, and he’s got a ways to go to be considered a lock as a top-five WR in the class. He makes some wow plays, but he’s inconsistent and not yet a complete receiver. Higgins is off to a hot start this season and that’s where some of the overhyping is coming from in the media. In five games he has 22 receptions for 505 yards and 2 TDs, big numbers.
Higgins is a big-bodied contested-catch expert. Many of his biggest plays come in contested catch situations where he does a great job high pointing and playing through contact. The issue with Higgins is his rawness as a route runner and overall separation ability. The vast majority of his targets are downfield contested catches or back-shoulder throws. He’s rarely asked to run many routes and he doesn’t have the best lateral agility. It’s hard to take a WR in the top-end of the draft in today’s game who isn’t an elite athlete nor a technically sound route runner.
Overall, Higgins is a nice prospect. The type of guy you take on Day 2 and develop into a WR2 option. He’s good, but he’s just not this Mike Evans level top 10 pick some are touting him as this season. Higgins is a lot like Kenny Golladay, a guy with loads of talent who can develop into that high-level WR2 or low-level WR1.
Risers and Sliders
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- It feels like every week there’s at least one Alabama prospect rising up the 2020 NFL Draft boards. Once again it’s the Crimson Tide’s other, other, other? Wide receiver, DeVonta Smith. Smith is often the last of their top pass catchers to get mentioned, but he terrorized Ole Miss. With Henry Ruggs battling an injury and Jerry Jeudy seeing heavy coverage, Smith was the go-to guy for Tua Tagovailoa. Smith stepped up and put on a show with 11 receptions for 274 yards and 5 TDs. Yes, FIVE TOUCHDOWNS. He might not be the same elite WR prospect as Ruggs and Jeudy, but Smith looks like a clear Day 2 guy who can step right in as a Z or slot with his strong hands, crisp routes, and explosive athleticism.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
- We entered the 2019 season with a handful of talented CBs battling for the top spot. The runaway winner thus far has been Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah. The biggest question surrounding Okudah heading into the year was his ball skills, he hadn’t intercepted any passes in his first two seasons as a Buckeye. Against Nebraska, he ended those questions by intercepting two passes, including one where he was laying on the ground. With three INTs on the season, nobody is worried about his ball skills anymore. Okudah is a gifted athlete with the instincts and fluidity needed to be successful early in his NFL career. He’ll join the long line of first-round CBs from Ohio State.
Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
- The Oklahoma offense gets the vast majority of the attention each week and rightfully so, Jalen Hurts has them humming. This isn’t the same old pushover Sooners defense though; they have legit NFL talent. It starts with nose tackle Neville Gallimore. The Canadian has had an impressive start to the season and was an absolute load against Texas Tech. He’s a perfect example as to why box score scouting doesn’t work. He had just 3 tackles in the game, but he controlled the line of scrimmage and kept Jett Duffey under constant pressure. Gallimore’s athleticism is scary for a man of his size and he pairs it with power. He’s developed more pass rush moves this season and looks more and more like a potential top 60 pick.
Canadian stud Neville Gallimore is giving the Texas Tech O-line hell. Beats the center with a quick swipe and then powers through the RB. pic.twitter.com/oCWEVxEuOv
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 28, 2019
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
- In such a deep and talented WR class there will be guys overshadowed until later in the process. Isaiah Hodgins is one of those guys. He’s having a season that could put him into the top 10 conversation at his position and he’s just not getting the publicity because he’s stuck playing in Corvallis. In Oregon State’s loss to Stanford, Hodgins put on a show and gave top CB prospect Paulson Adebo all he could handle. He finished with 10 receptions for 162 yards and a score. Hodgins has the size and route-running ability that will get NFL scouts excited. Even in a deep class, he should be a Day 2 pick. His complete game will translate to early NFL success.
Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
- After a slow start to the season, one sack in three games, Julian Okwara’s name was starting to fade in a deep EDGE class. He responded with a dominant performance against Virginia. Okwara had 3 sacks, two of which were strips, and helped shut down Bryce Perkins in the second half. The Virginia OTs just couldn’t handle his speed and bend around the edge. Okwara is going to need to continue to have big games to keep his name in the top 50 conversation, but this was hugely promising for his stock. The NFL is going to love his first-step explosiveness and overall athleticism even if he does lack some size and strength.
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
- The 2019 college football season has seen multiple QBs emerge as potential first-round picks. Right now there are seven guys who could be taken on Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, an insane number. One of those guys is Jordan Love, but he has struggled the most out of the top QBs this season. It was another up and down game for Love against Colorado State in Week 5. He matched the weather with a sloppy performance throwing two interceptions in the 34-24 win. Through four games this season he now has five interceptions, but he can still bounce back. The Aggies biggest game of the season takes place in Week 6 against LSU. If Love can flash the physical tools scouts adore and play a strong game, then his stock should be buzzing once again.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
- It’s going to be rare to see a guy like Travis Etienne as a slider, but that’s what happens when Clemson barely overcomes Mack Brown’s North Carolina team. Etienne’s numbers weren’t terrible, 16 touches for 70 yards and a score, but he couldn’t break off any big plays. When Etienne isn’t able to hit the home run and wear down a defense he’s far less scary. It didn’t help that he was struggling in pass protection on top of his inconsistent running. The biggest issue with Etienne right now is his effectiveness on passing downs. It’s hard to justify a first-round RB, especially when they can’t play on key downs.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
- Everybody knows how special this 2020 WR class will be and because of that, there’s going to be impressive talent available on Day 3. Michael Pittman Jr. is one of those talents. A height-weight-speed vertical threat with a ton of raw tools, but against Washington it was clearly he’s far from a finished product. Although he did catch a 44-yard TD late in the game, he was held quiet with just 3 receptions for 22 yards outside of that big play. Pittman Jr. struggled to create separation with the talented Washington secondary and he’s a raw route runner. He looks much closer to a developmental prospect than a Day 2 talent.
AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
- In a deep corner class, AJ Terrell is often one of the first names mentioned. He’s a physical specimen and one of the best tacklers among secondary prospects. The NFL is going to love his physicality and length, but he’s raw in technique and can struggle with speed. Against North Carolina, these flaws were attacked early and Dyami Brown beat him for a 40-yard TD. He looks the part, but there are inconsistencies in his footwork and he struggles to find the ball at times. To keep himself in the first-round convo going forward he’ll need to prove he’s technically sound enough to stick with better athletes in coverage.
Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
- In some Week 5 Friday night Pac-12 After Dark action Cal was upset 24-17 at home by Arizona State. For the majority of the game the Golden Bears defense kept the Sun Devils in check, but in the fourth quarter they gave up a 15 play 75-yard TD drive that gave ASU the lead. Ashtyn Davis, the best play on Cal, struggled in the game. He didn’t make any impact plays and had some mistakes in coverage. The biggest worry with him is the missed tackles. Davis is always looking for the kill shot and it leads to misses and ASU took advantage of it in their win. He’s a clear top 100 prospect, but to reach that first-round buzz he’ll need to clean up his game.
Top 10 CB Rankings
|1||Jeffrey Okudah||Ohio State|
Game of the Week
#7 Auburn @ #10 Florida
Week 5 in college football lacked important games that would affect the top 10 in college football. Well, Week 6 is a secretly bad week, but there are important games both for the landscape of college football and for prospects. The one can’t miss game of the day takes place in the late afternoon in Gainesville, Florida when the Auburn Tigers take on the Florida Gators. Both seem like classic overrated SEC schools, but this is both their biggest tests of the season. Winner will deserve to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. In terms of 2020 NFL Draft is a massively important game that will have plenty of scouts at it to get a live look at the talent.
The top NFL Draft reason to pay attention to this game is the battle between the Auburn offensive tackles and the Florida edge rushers. Both Auburn OTs, Prince Tega Wanogho and Jack Driscoll, are going to be top 100 picks. Across from them, Florida has two potential top 100 picks of their own in Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard at EDGE. It’ll also be important for Gators CB CJ Henderson to bounce back in primetime against Auburn sophomore WR Seth Williams. On the other side of the ball, Derrick Brown and Nick Coe have a chance to take this game over with a shaky Florida O-line. This game lacks offensive talent, but there will be plenty of defensive prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft to keep an eye on.
|#7 Auburn||#10 Florida|
|Derrick Brown, IDL||CJ Henderson, CB|
|Prince Tega Wanogho, OT||Jabari Zuniga, EDGE|
|Jack Driscoll, OT||Jonathan Greenard, EDGE|
|Nick Coe, DL||Ventrell Miller, LB|
|Javaris Davis, CB||Brad Stewart Jr., DB|
|Marlon Davidson, DL||Marco Wilson, CB|
|Daniel Thomas, S||Lamical Perine, RB|
|Marquel Harrell, OG||Van Jefferson, WR|
|JaTarvious Whitlow, RB||Tyrie Cleveland, WR|
|Will Hastings, WR||Jeawon Taylor, S|
|Jeremiah Dinson, S||Nick Buchanan, C|
|Big Kat Bryant, EDGE||David Reese, LB|
|Eli Stove, WR||Josh Hammond, WR|
|Mike Horton, OG||Tommy Townsend, P|
|Kaleb Kim, C|
|Anders Carlson, K|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Cameron Williams, S, Washington
- Leave it to Washington and Jimmy Lake to find a diamond in the rough at defensive back. The program has churned out so many NFL DBs in the Chris Petersen era under Lake and it looks like they’ll have another in a few seasons. Cameron Williams, a former high school QB and three-star recruit is already playing major snaps for the Huskies. He was a huge factor in their 28-14 win over USC. Williams intercepted two passes including the game clincher with under three minutes to go and the Trojans marching. He’s lean and long with the ability to play deep or over top pass catchers. The ball skills and fluidity are impressive. A few more years under Lake and the buzz will build.
Super Sophomore: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- It’s not that long ago that Justin Fields was a new face at Ohio State competing for the starting job while his 2018 top QB recruit counterpart was locked into the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s belligerently early, but Fields has outplayed Trevor Lawrence by miles so far this season. Fields has led Ohio State to a 5-0 record and has scored 23 total touchdowns, he’s in the Heisman race. It’s not only the numbers, but it’s how he has looked. His physical tools are impressive. Fields is a natural runner with NFL arm talent. He can make every throw and his ball placement and touch improve every week. The Buckeyes have been yet to be tested, but Fields looks like he could give Lawrence a run for his money to be the top pick in 2021, much like he did at the Elite 11.
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.