Who doesn’t love college football? If you don’t, you’re a crazy person. The excitement of college football and projecting the studs into the NFL is just about as good as it gets. We’re starting to figure out who the contenders and pretenders are in the sport. This week on tap for draft scouting we have the following games; Georgia At Missouri, Texas A&M At Alabama, Stanford At Oregon, and Mississippi State At Kentucky. Which prospects stood out for better or worse when projecting towards the 2019 NFL Draft?
Georgia At Missouri
Let’s start with the home team, Missouri. The quarterback, Drew Lock, was the main attraction in this game for me. I had Lock as the top quarterback heading into this process. I have to be honest, I didn’t love what I saw but it’s really a tough game to judge. Georgia’s talent level is far greater than Missouri but Lock didn’t really ever threaten the Dawgs. 23/48, 221 yards, and an interception just isn’t cutting it. Now we did see all the tools. The quick release and big arm but the results weren’t there. His one pick was the fault of the receiver in fairness. However, I also didn’t love his body language. It just never felt like the team believed they could win or that Lock had the fire to never stop fighting. I’m not going to kill him for this performance because he faced a hell of a lot of pressure in this game as well. I would have a very hard time justifying a first round pick on Lock in a really weak quarterback class but we have a long way to go.
*Quick Note: keep an eye on Terry Beckner. I thought he was really disruptive along the defensive front for Mizzou.
Let’s talk about Georgia now. One player that I really thought had a good game was Elijah Holyfield. Georgia’s backfield has been NFL U of sorts with Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel coming in recent years. DeAndre Swift has taken the reigns as the starter now and he’s darn good but people are really overlooking Holyfield. First, how can you not love the bloodlines? This is the son of boxing legend, Evander Holyfield. How can you not automatically love the son of Evander Holyfield? The last time I actually enjoyed boxing, Holyfield was one of the guys I cared to pay attention to. When you watch Elijah run, it’s not hard to figure out that Evander is his dad. Boy is he a nasty runner. Holyfield comes in at 5-11, 216, and he looks like a stud physically.
Nice vision and cut from Elijah Holyfield. I like the way he finishes runs. The defenders knows he just tackled him. pic.twitter.com/XgCePx9sn8
— Brad McDaniel (@DFF_BMack) September 22, 2018
Holyfield’s vision, quickness, and acceleration really just jumps off the screen. Holyfield finished the game with 14 carries for 90 yards. It just always seemed like something good was going to happen when he touched the ball. This upcoming running back class seems down from the past two years and Holyfield really emerged in my opinion.
Offensively, Georgia has a lot of other skill position players to keep your eye on moving forward. How about this receiving core? Calvin Ridley’s brother, Riley, looks exactly like him. Mecole Hardman is also an electric deep threat. This team is just good!
On the defensive side of the ball, DeAndre Baker did his thing again. A 69.6 quarterback rating when Baker was targeted is downright good. He just whips out any player that he is defending and looks like a first round pick in the making. However, D’Andre Walker really had his coming out party. Walker not only had two sacks but also two fumbles as well. Walker has great size and speed. He’s perfect for 3-4 teams coming off the edge and can really play the run. Walker has been a situational pass rusher for Georgia in the past but is really becoming a star or at least showed he can be in this game as a full-time starter.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 22, 2018
Texas A&M At Alabama
What can you say? Alabama looks unbeatable at this point. I mean just take a look at the first play of the game. It was over before it ever began. The two players in this clip are the focus here but I could really pick almost anyone on this team. Quinnen Williams is dominating the middle of that defensive front. Da’Ron Payne is an afterthought at this point because Williams is a nightmare for offensive linemen. It’s too early to say because we don’t have a ton of footage on him but his hand fighting looks elite. We also have Mack Wilson. Another Alabama middle linebacker who’s going to play in the NFL. Do you need a more in-depth analysis because you shouldn’t?
Quickly on offense. Damien Harris isn’t the typical Alabama bruising running back. He looks a lot closer to Kenyan Drake. Harris can run, catch, and even play on special teams. He started his career at Bama as a return guy. Also, at this point, I don’t see how Tua Tagovailoa isn’t the first pick in 2020. I’m blown away every time I see him.
Stanford At Oregon
I don’t know how Oregon lost this game. Justin Herbert missed two throws the entire game prior to overtime. That’s the place we’re going to start. I wasn’t sold on Herbert coming into the year. I wasn’t sold on him to start this season either. I was stunned at how good he was in this game and I would be shocked if wasn’t the first pick in the draft this upcoming year.
Herbert finished the game 26/33, 346 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. The pick came in overtime when the team really started to melt down. The running back fumbled in the closing seconds of the game to give Stanford the ball. The center also messed up multiple snaps including one that flew over Herbert’s head at the one-yard line going in to score.
Back to Herbert, this guy was just flawless for 95 percent of the game. Herbert has all the tools as well. He’s accurate, throws a nice ball, throws the ball with big-time velocity, has elite size, and can even get out an move a little when he has to. Just watch this throw below. The zip on this ball isn’t just a run of the mill throw here and we saw this for the entirety of the game.
The only thing I want to see moving forward is Herbert facing pressure. I’m not up to date on offensive line prospects but I don’t think he got touched more than twice the whole game. He had at least 20 throws where he could have stood back there and waited to throw for a good 10 or 15 seconds. Outside of the center who couldn’t snap the ball, this offensive line is really talented. Obviously, it’s not Herbert’s fault but I need to see how he responds to pressure.
Shifting to Stanford, I took a look at two of their position players. JJ Arcega-Whiteside confuses me. I’ve seen his name floated around as an elite prospect but I’m not buying that stock right now. Arcega-Whiteside caught two touchdowns. One of them was a fade route where he basically boxed out a defender. That’s not a thing in the NFL. He’s also not fast at all. The good news is he is 6-foot-3 and can run routes. I’ve been wrong on Stanford wideouts before never buying into Doug Baldwin. We’ll see how this one turns out because I’m not sure he’s a polished route runner either.
We got another look at Bryce Love too. The offensive line didn’t do a great job in this one but he still managed to go for 87 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. Let me just show you what Love had to work with here. Watch Love go on this run. He didn’t even have a chance to let the lineman pull, he beat him to the punch because he had to. There’s no reason to suggest why he isn’t the top back. I’m curious what he’s going to run because my guess is that he will hit the 4.48ish range?
Mississippi State At Kentucky
Last thing. I didn’t watch a ton of this game because I tuned in while the Stanford/Oregon game was on commercial. However, every time I did, Benny Snell was breaking a long game. He broke Randall Cobb’s skill position school touchdown record. Check out his two touchdown runs. I kinda like what I see here with Benny.