It’s another week in the books of the college football season. Now that baseball season is over and the Red Sox are champs, all my attention is on football (except for the baseball offseason). Saturday was a big college slate and I have four games to talk about this week. The games include Penn State At Michigan, Georgia At Kentucky, West Virginia At Texas, and Alabama At LSU. Here we go, who stood out for better or worse in regards to the 2019 NFL Draft?
Penn State At Michigan
The three games that are first on the list was me flipping through the games. The Penn State / Michigan game got out of hand early so I really watched the first half. There’s one guy who really stood out and that is Chase Winovich. If you didn’t know any better you would have thought that Clay Matthews was back in college with the Wolverines. In the past, I had just thought that Winovich was the high energy guy next to the superstar Rashan Gary. I’m starting to think that Winovich is much more than that. Winovich plays like his long hair is constantly on fire. On 21 rushes, Winovich converted that into 7 pressures and a sack. It seemed like everytime Penn State dropped back to pass, the long-haired fella was in the backfield.
One thing you will have to watch with Winovich is having him convert to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He plays 4-3 defensive end at Michigan but I highly doubt that will fly in the NFL. Winovich, a 5th year Senior, sits around 250 which means he will probably have to stand up at the next level. It will be interesting to see how high he goes in the Draft because Gary is a lock to go in the top 15.
For the record, I don’t buy into Karan Higdon. I just don’t. He’s just another Harbaugh grinder who’s overachieving. He’s not a relevant NFL running back.
Georgia At Kentucky
This game was all about the running backs for me. However, this was another game that got out of hand early so I changed the channel well before this one ended. I think this draft class is starting to take on an interesting shape at the tailback position. I’m not sure how many guys will go in the first round but it’s turning into a class where a ton of guys are getting overlooked. We may look back and say how did this guy go in round 5?
Every team wants to find their Jordan Howard in the 5th round. Benny Snell could be one of those guys. He didn’t have a great game against a stout Georgia defense but he is such a great runner. 20 carries, 73 yards, and a touchdown doesn’t really paint the picture of how good he is. Snell has good size at 5-11 and 223. He’s also showed that he can catch the ball a little. Again, the patience just stands out with Snell and his ability to find the open hole.
Speaking of underappreciated running backs. How about Elijah Holyfield. He had another 18 carries, 115 yards, and one touchdown performance. It was the same Holyfield we have seen all year. The pure tools are off the charts. Pure athleticism, speed, and power continue to wow me. Because of the timeshare with D’Andre Swift (who will be a first round pick in 2020), I think Holyfield continues to get overlooked for all the wrong reasons. Look at the success Georgia’s backs have had in the past with Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, and Todd Gurley. Keep your eye on Holyfield because, in my mind, his stock is soaring.
Some quick notes on this game. Teams continue to refuse to throw the ball at Deandre Baker. He’s locked himself in as the first or second corner off the board in my opinion. Josh Allen, the pass rusher at Kentucky, didn’t have much of an impact. He’s been a wrecking machine all year but this Georgia offensive line is outstanding. I will make it a point of priority to watch Allen again this year.
West Virginia At Texas
I tuned into this one late so I missed a lot. What I will say is the Texas wide receiver Lil Jordan Humphrey blew me away. Humphrey caught 9 balls for 143 yards and a touchdown. I know that it is the Big 12 and points are easy to come by but Humphrey is just a playmaker. Humphrey is a huge target at 6-foot-4, 225, and can really go get it. With any tall wide out, you have to see what he’s going to run at the combine and get a sense on the route tree. But in terms of pure tools, Humphrey has it. Check out this catch.
Also for the record for those quarterback gurus out there, I don’t buy Will Grier. Once again he did something stupid getting penalized for celebrating a 2-point conversation that almost cost his team the game. He also stunk at Florida. Leave it alone. He’s not good.
Alabama At LSU
For the first time in my life, I truly believe Alabama could beat an NFL team. There’s no way you can convince me that Bama wouldn’t have a chance against the Bills with Nathan Peterman at quarterback. To shut out LSU, the 3rd ranked team in the country 29-0 is unbelievable. I could do a whole draft column on this team alone.
To single out a few top performers I have to start with Irv Smith. LSU actually did an awesome job covering Alabama’s weapons. The LSU secondary has NFL talent across the board. The best of the bunch is Grant Delpit who may be better than Jamal Adams and I’m being 100 percent serious. Irv Smith was the one guy who opened up the offense for everyone else. He could not be covered. People talked about OJ Howard like he was this all-world tight end. I can’t see any scenario how Smith doesn’t outperform Howard in the NFL. Check out this catch. This is what the Travis Kelce’s in the NFL do. 95 percent of NFL tight ends don’t move like this. He may be creeping towards the first round and I know I’m way higher than what experts are saying right now but I know I’m right here.
Again, I could spend all day here talking about the Alabama defense too. Quinnen Williams has been outstanding and totally unblockable. Today I want to focus on Mack Wilson. So many Alabama middle linebackers have been uber productive. Dont’a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, Reuben Foster, and Rashaan Evans are studs. Bama has another one in Mack Wilson. What’s more impressive is that he can really cover. Today’s NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league. Middle linebackers need to be able to cover. Well, here’s Mack Wilson. Check out the movement skills. Wilson isn’t a huge 260-pound linebacker either. He fits the 235-240 pound linebacker who can run sideline to sideline. The athletic traits to snatch this interception late in the game is beyond impressive. He’s going to be a first-round pick.