2021 NFL Draft
Trey Sermon beasted and feasted on Northwestern saving his 2021 NFL Draft stock. Who else stood out in Conference Championship week? (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

2021 NFL Draft Stock Report: Conference Championships

The last week of the regular season of the 2020 college football season has come and gone. During conference championship week, there’s still plenty to talk about as players have impacted their 2021 NFL Draft stock.

This week we have a bunch of games to talk about. This week’s deck includes Ball State vs. Buffalo, Oregon vs. USC, Northwestern vs. Ohio State, Oklahoma vs. Iowa State, and Clemson vs. Notre Dame. Who stood out for better or worse when it comes to the 2021 NFL Draft?

Ball State vs. Buffalo

Ball State are your 2020 Mac champs. Buffalo has steam rolled all season but got punked in this one. A big reason why is because star running back Jaret Patterson was stifled. Patterson touted the rock for 18 carries that resulted in 47 yards and a score.

I’ve now seen Patterson’s two worst games of the season. This one wasn’t much fault of his own. Ball State stacked the box and dared Kyle Vantrease to beat them. However, when I didn’t watch Patterson this year, he blew up. I guess that’s just the luck of the draw.

I’m still very much in on him. I won’t have some sort of rocket scientist take here that sets me apart from the other draft analysts. You know the deal here. Patterson has a low center of gravity and is hard to see back there. Patterson has great vision and has that second gear that clicks when he’s ready to explode out of a cut.

Backup Kevin Marks again had the better day (out of the two Buffalo games I watched). You can see him here on this long touchdown run. It’s hard not to see James Starks throwbacks. Marks is a bit clunky in his running style and dropped a easy ball on 4th down. Despite the fact that Marks ran for 93 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, I wasn’t so impressed.

Oregon vs. USC

Down goes USC! Oregon won the Pac 12 31-24 over the Trojans. Let’s start with USC first.

My guy Stephen Carr didn’t have a great game. 13 carries and 40 yards of meh. Then again, he did add 40 more in the passing game and made a few great cuts. Oregon won the line of scrimmage in this one.

Amon-Ra St. Brown had an up and down game. I’ve already declared on out on St. Brown and this one doesn’t change that. He left the game early with an injury. Still, St. Brown is constantly outshined by other okay receivers on his own team which is a bad sign.

Look St. Brown had one big play. It wasn’t the best move in the world but St. Brown looks imposing and forced a defender to fall down on a big touchdown reception. The problem is he was a non-factor outside of that. Does St. Brown need cornerbacks to fall over for him to have success in the NFL?

Talanoa Hufanga looks like the most talented defensive player on the Trojans. Most of his damage in this one came in the box. The USC safety notched two sacks and two tackles for loss. The downside is that he dropped an interception and ran into the punter. Both of those plays go the other way, USC wins the game.

Hufanga looks for real, however. There’s something to be said for a guy that’s always around the football. He also has four picks in six games. I need to see more here but it’s been a great year for Hufanga.

Not a ton on Oregon here. This is the same team that lost to Oregon State which tells you all you need to know. I paid attention to Deommodore Lenoir a bunch. The Ducks suffered a bunch of opt-outs in the secondary. Lenior is one of the few incumbents from a year ago.

Lenior was second-team Pac 12 in 2019. It was a rollercoaster game. He started things off fast intercepting Kedon Slovis. He’s also the guy that fell over on the St. Brown touchdown. The combine is going to tell me everything I need to know about Lenior. A little corner with bad hip flexibility is a no go. I’ll decide once I see his feet at the combine.

Northwestern vs. Ohio State

It was a rough game for Ohio State. Squeaking out a 22-10 win over Northwestern isn’t cutting it. Justin Fields had a bit of a stinker. I also don’t care. Chris Olave missed the game because of corona. Somehow, an unlikely hero emerged for the Buckeyes.

Was there a bigger winner this weekend than Trey Sermon? The Oklahoma transfer broke a Big 10 championship game record with 331 rushing yards. He also did it on only 29 carries. Sermon put Ohio State on his back and would not let them lose.

Think about how big of a game this was for Sermon. At Oklahoma, he gets lost in the shuffle and basically is forced to transfer. Sermon picks Ohio State and starts the season behind Master Teague. Because of the shortened season, there’s less time for Sermon to fit into the program and figure it out.

This game alone might have saved Sermon three entire rounds in the draft. Physically, he sort of looks like Najee Harris and had a beautiful hurdle during the game. He carries the 6-foot-1 frame well and has wiggle to him.

I can’t stress how important this game was for him. Sermon got the keys for the first time and aced the test. Sometimes I don’t need to say much. The 331 yards speak for themselves.

Oklahoma vs. Iowa State

Brock Purdy has gotten some hype over the years as a quarterback to watch. In a Big 12 championship game, you better look like you belong. Purdy sure as hell did not. If you throw 3 picks in a game against Oklahoma, you suck. In a conference that doesn’t play defense, be better.

Charlie Kolar, the Iowa State tight end, had another solid week. Look, he’s not a world beater but at 6-foot-6, he’s a tough cover. Kolar has a basketball background and isn’t unathletic. Kolar ended the day with six receptions for 92 yards and a score.

For Oklahoma, Rhamondre Stevenson really stood out. He’s gotten more and more opportunities in 2020. Previously, I thought of Stevenson as a fullback. Now, I think he can be more of what Jaylen Samuels is to the Steelers. Run, block, and catch out of the backfield. Stevenson should be a weapon for teams.

Stevenson finished the game with 18 carries for 97 yards. He also caught the ball very well adding another four receptions for 36 yards. I think there is some Le’Ron McClain potential here. I’m curious to see what he runs now.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame

Once the 4:00 NFL games came out, I checked out. What can I say, I’m in the middle of an important fantasy run! Notre Dame didn’t show up so is this game even worth reviewing?

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