Week 2 of college football gave the countries its first taste of high-level excitement with LSU taking down Texas 45-38. Maybe Texas isn’t back, but that was a Coach O win for the record books. The country also saw Clemson take care of business vs. Texas A&M once again, the statement win from Maryland over Syracuse, USC’s path back to glory through the air raid offense, and for the night owls… Jacob Eason failing vs. Cal. It was an eventful weekend and many 2020 NFL Draft prospects showed up big while some hurt their stock in big moments. Savor what Week 2 gave of us because Week 3 looks like it will be as entertaining as Shea Patterson vs. a service academy.
Tweet of the Week
Source: The #Bengals are waiving DE Jordan Willis. Third-round pick in 2017 was a Senior Bowl star and ran 4.53 seconds at combine. Makeover continues under new regime in Cincinnati.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 10, 2019
The Bengals cutting former third-round pick Jordan Willis might not seem like a big deal, but it creates an important conversation about testing vs. tape. Willis put up big numbers at Kansas State. In three years as a starter, he racked up 39.5 TFLs and 25.5 sacks, impressive production. But when watching the tape, it wasn’t so impressive. He was a raw athlete who relied on athleticism and had very weak hand use, Willis was a complete project. Long story short, he was a mid to late Day 3 prospect on tape. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Willis dominated with testing in the 93rd percentile or better for the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, vertical jump, and broad jump. Despite lackluster tape the Bengals took Willis 73rd overall and he lasted a little over two seasons before they cut ties. He was irrelevant to them.
The moral of the story is, testing matters, but tape matters too and both sides need to be taken into account. A poor athlete with terrific tape won’t be able to cut it in the league and neither will an elite athlete with poor tape. Of course, there are outliers from time to time, but don’t die on the hill for outliers. If there’s a guy to bang the table for then bang away, but marrying tape and testing is the most efficient way to scout. They need to be able to play the game but to play the game on the best level with freak athletes, they need to have enough athleticism themselves.
In the News
It’s no secret the Houston Texans currently have no GM. After falling flat on their faces trying to hire Patriots Director of Player Personnel, Nick Caserio, the team decided to go with no GM. Going no GM for the season essentially made head coach Bill O’Brien the man with the final say. It’s a dangerous game having the head coach also be the GM, just ask Doc Rivers. It’s the head coaches job to win now but it’s the GM’s job to get talent for now while also preparing for the future. If the person doing these things is the same person it can go to far one way or the other, especially if said person is potentially coaching for their job. It’s especially dangerous when the person in charge is only thinking about now and only thinking about one side of the ball.
Just look at the moves the Texans have made since Bill O’Brien has taken over as the non-official interim GM. They’ve traded a Pro Bowl pass rusher (Jadeveon Clowney), two first-round picks, a second-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, a second-year third-round pick (Martinas Rankin), extended Nick Martin, and cut Aaron Colvin in the second year of a four-year $34 million contract for making a mistake on Monday Night Football. Sure, they added Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Duke Johnson, and Carlos Hyde, but these are very reactionary moves to win now and improve solely their offense. Not to mention they got fleeced in the Clowney move, overpaid for Tunsil and gave him all the leverage in a contract extension, and acquired TWO running backs for assets. The bottom line is there’s a reason the head coach and general manager are different people.
Star: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
First of all, the fact that Alabama has both Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs isn’t fair. Giving a dominant college program with an elite QB arguably the two best wide receiver prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft is just nuts. Everybody knows about Jeudy and at this point, everybody probably knows about Ruggs too, he’s the fastest player in the country. Ruggs has been the Alabama deep threat since his true freshman year, but he’s so much more than just a burner. Every season at Alabama he’s gotten better and now he’s firmly a top 20 prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft. He also gets the added boost of the recent NFL love for wide receivers who win with elite speed while also being crisp route runners and YAC playmakers. Ruggs is entering the NFL at the perfect time for his skill set.
What makes Ruggs so special is how easy his speed comes. The guy doesn’t even look like he’s trying when he’s just destroying defender’s pursuit angles. Adding that type of ability to today’s wide-open NFL offenses is scary. Unlike some deep threats though, Ruggs can win off the line with his release or with his route running ability. His footwork is crisp and he’s so sudden in and out of breaks allowing for him to create separation with his route running alone. Ruggs ability to get open in a multitude of ways is why he’s a top prospect. Once the ball is in his hands he can make plays with his explosive movements and has no trouble making defenders miss in the open field. An underrated aspect of his game is his body control. It allows him to win contested-catch situations despite lacking some size.
Don’t give Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III a free release. He’s too explosive and will burn you. Alabama has a ridiculous trio of WRs for the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/XYemS8NX0u
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 9, 2019
Overall Ruggs is NFL-ready right now and can inject instant playmaking into any offense. The speed is what everybody will be buzzing about, but the fact that he’s such a complete route runner on top of that is why he’s going top 20. For NFL teams looking to add speed and creativity to their offense, Ruggs is perfect.
Sleeper: Jordan Mack, LB, Virginia
Similarly, to last year, it’s not looking like the 2020 NFL Draft will be a great linebacker class. There have already been major injuries to top talent, many of the most interesting prospects are very raw, and the group lacks depth. There likely will be few linebackers taken in the first two days of the draft. Trying to find linebackers on Day 3 with the instincts, aggressiveness, and athleticism to make plays in the NFL isn’t an easy task. Virginia quietly has themselves one of the most interesting LB prospects in the country, Jordan Mack. Mack has been overshadowed by other defensive prospects at Virginia, but the fourth-year starter has tools.
Jordan Mack flashes his instincts here. Sees the run coming and shoots the backside gap to get the TFL. Mack is one of the most underrated LBs in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/QFmZKZca9Y
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 18, 2019
Mack is a former safety who moved to LB once he got to Virginia and has been starting since he was a freshman. Although he’s not an elite athlete, he’s got the movement skills need to play LB in today’s NFL. He’s explosive coming forward and smooth moving laterally. This allows him to constantly be involved as a run defender. One of the best parts of his game is the motor. He’s constantly looking to find work. He’s got the instincts to play MIKE in the NFL and will sniff out run plays to make TFLs. At times he will get stuck on blocks and need to improve his hand use to stack and shed more consistently. Mack, like many LB prospects, needs to also work on his coverage technique. He has the tools to hold up, but just needs to be more confident when the ball is in the air.
Virginia has a very talented LB in Jordan Mack. Shows off the range and ball skills here to track the RB and breakup the pass on 3rd down. pic.twitter.com/5mCyC3rYNf
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 18, 2019
It’s a murky LB class right now, but seeing a senior like Mack with size, explosiveness, and a hot motor is encouraging. Another huge bonus for Mack and scouts is he’ll likely be a Senior Bowl invite.
Overrated: Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan
If you look back far enough there’s guaranteed to be NFL mock drafts with Shea Patterson in the first-round. There might not be a QB in the country with more false NFL Draft hype around them over the last few years. A combination of things has made Patterson so prominent in the world of college football. He was a five-star recruit, he put up big numbers as a young player at Ole Miss, there was so much coverage of his transfer, and he was touted as THE GUY for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Patterson is a fine college QB and he’s won some big games, but he’s just not an NFL prospect.
Patterson just doesn’t have the tools needed to be an NFL QB. He’s got an okay arm, but the overall accuracy is inconsistent. Ball placement is a major issue, especially deep. Early in his career, he was bailed out frequently by talented wide receivers. Maybe the biggest issue with Patterson is a lack of pocket awareness and poised. A lot of the time when the play breaks down he runs and chucks. It’s a scary formula. Last season in the Harbaugh pro-style offense he really struggled with footwork and timing. There are just far too many questions with Patterson to use draft capital on him. Best case scenario he could develop into a Brian Hoyer type.
Riser and Sliders
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
- When Joe Burrow first transferred from Ohio State to LSU before the 2018 season it provided hope to the Tigers and Coach O. LSU hasn’t had consistency at the position in years and this was a guy who could help steady them. Burrow was solid as a junior and guided them to a 10-3 record. There was hype building prior to his senior year about the strides he had taken as a passer. Jordan Palmer told the NFL Draft world to get ready for Burrow. Well, Burrow has arrived. He has firmly put himself in the QB convo for the 2020 NFL Draft thanks to his performance in LSU’s win over #9 Texas. Burrow threw for 471 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing 79% of his passes. He was fearless and poised with crisp decision making throughout the game. Burrow on multiple occasions showed his improved deep ball placement and willingness to attack downfield. If Burrow keeps it up he could be a top-five QB in the class.
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
- Technically Chase Young probably can’t rise any higher. He’s already a consensus top-three prospect, but he’s on his way to locking up that top spot. For the second straight week, Chase Young was the most disruptive defensive player in college football. Against Cincinnati, he was unblockable and ruined their offensive line every chance he could get. Young applied constant pressure and came away with 1.5 sacks. He also blocked a field goal with an easy rip move through the line. Everything looked effortless for Young. He also looks like he’s mastered the swipe move passed down to him from the Bosa brothers.
AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
- In the second-biggest game of the weekend #1 Clemson took down #12 Texas A&M 24-10. The defense of Clemson was the big story holding Texas A&M to just 3 points for the majority of the game. Despite a lack of pass rush, the Tigers shut down Kellen Mond and the credit goes to the secondary. Potential first-round CB AJ Terrell had one of the best games of his career. He kept the talented Aggie WRs quiet using length and physicality. Terrell also showed why he’s considered the best tackling CB in the class with some big-time stops. He even blitzed a few times and forced Mond into mistakes. The tools are all there for Terrell to be an early pick.
JD Spielman, WR, Nebraska
- It’s quite clear the NFL is trending toward a completely wide open speed league. Just look at the types of WRs the league has coveted lately, elite speedsters who make YAC plays and can run clean routes. Guys like Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and Hollywood Brown are all the rage. This is huge news for Nebraska WR JD Spielman. Spielman is one of the most underrated playmakers in college football. Even though Nebraska lost to Colorado, Spielman put on a show with his speed. He caught a 65-yard TD and finished with 5 receptions for 112 yards and the score. Although he’s undersized he’s got home run play ability with his explosiveness. He’s on the NFL radar, he’s also the son of Vikings GM Rick Spielman.
Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
- Ohio State is loaded with NFL Draft talent on both sides of the ball this season. There are plenty of prospects to talk about on the Buckeyes, but redshirt sophomore Shaun Wade kept flashing all kinds of ability vs. Cincinnati. Wade doesn’t have the same hype as fellow Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah, but he was also a five-star recruit out of high school. Against Cincinnati Wade was phenomenal in coverage. He’s such a smooth mover, especially for a longer CB. At one point the Buckeyes sent him on a blitz and he came away with a wonderfully violent strip-sack. Wade’s willingness as a tackler is truly underrated. He has the tools to be a top 50 pick.
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
- It went about as poorly as it could have for Kellen Mond vs. Clemson. Despite having solid protection all game, Mond couldn’t get anything going in the loss. The spotlight was on him with his draft hype growing and he fell back down to earth. Mond just didn’t seem comfortable at any point in the game and was struggling with accuracy and consistency. It didn’t help that his WRs were iffy, but Mond just looked so far away from being an NFL caliber passer. He’ll need to pick it up in SEC play to help himself. The accuracy and inconsistent mechanics/footwork are a major concern.
Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
- The LSU game was probably the most important game of Collin Johnson’s season for his draft stock. LSU is full of future NFL DBs and Johnson has had top 50 pick hype but didn’t live up to it in primetime. His biggest flaw has been his ability to separate and his route running. Throughout this game, he struggled to get open and finished with just 3 receptions for 49 yards, although he drew multiple DPI calls. Johnson has impressive size and is terrific in contested catch situations, but the inability to create separation is a major concern. He needs to improve as a route runner to supplement the lack of downfield speed.
Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
- Nobody took a beating in college football this week quite like #21 Syracuse in their 63-20 loss to Maryland. At no point was this a game and it pretty much ruined the chances of Clemson @ Syracuse meaning anything in Week 3. The worst part of the loss was the lack of playmaking from Syracuse’s best prospect, Alton Robinson. Robinson had little effect on the game and struggled to create pressure. It doesn’t help that he was flagged for being offside for the second straight week. Robinson is a technician with his hands, but lack of functional athleticism is a worry.
Jacob Eason, QB/Aaron Fuller, WR, Washington
- Cal @ Washington became the most real definition of #Pac12AfterDark. Thanks to an over two-hour delay the game didn’t end until after 4 am EST. It ended up being a weird, messy, and exciting game. Classic Pac-12. Cal upset #14 Washington on a last-second field goal. The Jacob Eason hype train may have temporarily died with this loss. Eason was off all night and couldn’t complete anything intermediate or deep. There are some clear flaws with his footwork, accuracy, and pocket awareness. It wasn’t all Eason’s fault though; his playmakers were rough. Aaron Fuller had maybe his worst collegiate game. He finished with just 3 receptions for 40 yards and dropped 3 passes. The Huskies have tons of offensive talent, but they need Eason and Fuller to step-up.
Jacob Eason struggles vs. Cal. Showed in experience here with lack of poise and pocket awareness. All the physical tools in the world, but has to keep growing mentally. pic.twitter.com/KKuBfm3ho1
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 9, 2019
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
- In LSU’s big win over Texas, their defense gave up over 500 yards of offense. Some of their best defensive playmakers struggled despite the win. One that stood out was pass rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson. Now he didn’t have an awful game, he picked up a sack and a pressure. The issue was there were clear flaws and Texas left tackle Samuel Cosmi gave him hell. Chaisson has brilliant athleticism, but his lack of power was taken advantage of by Cosmi. He was moved pretty consistently in the run game. Another issue was when Chaisson didn’t win with his athleticism or initial move he was locked down by Cosmi. It’s important that Chaisson adds weight and strength along with counter moves to reach his potential in the NFL.
Top 10 WR Rankings
|3||Henry Ruggs III||Alabama|
|4||Laviska Shenault Jr.||Colorado|
|7||KJ Hill||Ohio State|
|10||Tylan Wallace||Oklahoma State|
Game of the Week
#2 Alabama @ South Carolina
After an entertaining and eventful Week 2 in college football, get ready for a not so fun Week 3. There’s just not very many important matchups. The biggest let down of Week 3 is there are no top 25 duals. A lot of the potential good games just aren’t shaping up to be special. The “Game of the Week” is only such because of the 2020 NFL Draft prospects playing, not because it’ll be a good game. If you’re looking for sheer entertainment, then the game for you takes place Friday night in the “Cougar Bowl” aka Washington State vs. Houston. The game is at NRG Stadium (where the Texans play) and is a battle of air raid coaches with Mike Leach taking on former assistant Dana Holgorsen.
South Carolina is a 25-point dog to Alabama and the smart money says take Bama. So why watch the game? Gamecocks IDL Javon Kinlaw is a potential first-round pick and seeing him vs. this Crimson Tide OL is going to be important. Also, the Alabama D-line vs. some of the potential talent up front for South Carolina is a good way to gauge what level their talent is at this season. The best prospect matchup though will be South Carolina WR Bryan Edwards vs. Alabama CB Trevon Diggs, two potential top 100 picks.
|#2 Alabama||South Carolina|
|Jerry Jeudy, WR||Javon Kinlaw, IDL|
|Tua Tagovailoa, QB||Bryan Edwards, WR|
|Henry Ruggs III, WR||Donell Stanley, C|
|Raekwon Davis, IDL||Sadarius Hutcherson, OT|
|Trevon Diggs, CB||DJ Wonnum, EDGE|
|Alex Leatherwood, OT||TJ Brunson, LB|
|Xavier McKinney, S||Tavien Feaster, RB|
|Anfernee Jennings, EDGE||Rico Dowdle, RB|
|Terrell Lewis, EDGE|
|Shyheim Carter, DB|
|Devonta Smith, WR|
|Najee Harris, RB|
|LaBryan Ray, IDL|
|Brian Robinson Jr., RB|
|Jedrick Willis, OT|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Derek Stingley, CB, LSU
- So obviously the game everybody was watching Saturday was LSU’s huge 45-38 road win over Texas. The big storyline was the LSU offense, but their freshman CB Derek Stingley made himself known to the whole country. Stingley was the top CB recruit in the country and third overall player so it’s not surprising he’s making an impact early for LSU. Already a starter as a freshman, the moment wasn’t too big for him vs. Texas. He had no issues covering future NFL WR Collin Johnson and actually created questions about how good of a prospect Johnson really is in this class. Stingley ended up breaking up two passes and showing off rare athleticism and footwork for such a young player. Keep a lookout for him to be another first-round pick from the real DBU.
Super Sophomore: Top two QBs from the 2018 recruiting class (Trevor Lawrence, Clemson/Justin Fields, Ohio State)
- The 2018 recruiting class was loaded with talent, but Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields were the two top dogs and both happened to be QBs from Georgia. Fields got the best of Lawrence at Elite 11, but Lawrence won the National Championship as a freshman, while Fields transferred out of Georgia. Now, both are sophomores and both look like future NFL stars. Lawrence bounced back after a slow game vs. Georgia Tech to takedown #12 Texas A&M. Fields continued his dominance for Ohio State with 4 total touchdowns against Cincinnati. Both have all the tools you could hope for in a young QB. Lawrence made some incredible throws off base, his arm talent is rare. Fields is already one of the most dangerous dual-threat QBs in the country. It’s starting to look like Lawrence and Fields will be the top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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