Scouting the 2021 NFL Draft class is going to be a challenge. Between players opting out and schools canceling games, scouting the draft is going to be tough. I’ll be honest; I’m just happy to have football back, so I did a lot of flipping back and forth instead of focus solely on one game. Let’s be glad we even get to watch college football this year.
The games on tap today include Syracuse vs. North Carolina, Duke vs. Notre Dame, Georgia Tech vs. Florida State, and Clemson vs. Wake Forest. Who stood out for better or worse in regards to the 2021 NFL Draft?
Syracuse vs North Carolina
Look, Syracuse is bad. Real bad. Tommy Devito for Cuse went 13-31 and averaged 3.6 yards per attempt. Unless your name is Chandler Jones, I probably don’t care about any of their draft prospects.
I do want to give credit to Andre Cisco who made a terrific interception.
Sam Howell was terrible yesterday, but that’s a story for another day. He’s not draft eligible. Just keep an eye on Cisco. Maybe he’s nothing outside a late-round pick. Cisco looks like someone that can play the run and knows how to play the ball in the air.
Duke vs Notre Dame
I don’t have a ton on this game either. I was hoping Notre Dame’s defense would come out with their hair on fire. That wasn’t the case. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah flashed with two tackles for loss and a sack. Outside of that, I didn’t see a big-time performance.
Ian Book isn’t an NFL quarterback, but that was obvious. He can do some things with his legs, but his accuracy isn’t going to work—no need to spend a ton of time there.
One player showed a little something and impressed me: Duke tight end, Noah Gray. Meanwhile, Notre Dame felt the loss of Chase Claypool. Gray was good enough to where I kept thinking that Gray should have been the replacement and in an Irish jersey.
Gray isn’t someone that runs a blazing 40 time, but he gets open. The Duke tight end is a big target too. 6-foot-4, 240, and powerful. He finished the game with five receptions for 68 yards. It became apparent Chase Brice prefers to throw the ball to him. He’s the only guy that even threatened the Irish, which puts him on my radar.
Georgia Tech vs Florida State
This game was a weird one. I watched maybe ten total minutes of it, but that’s okay. There was a delay because of a thunderstorm, and then it faded into the background. It didn’t matter because I only needed 10 minutes to see Asante Samuel Jr.
Samuel Jr. is what a star looks like. Samuel’s day included two pass deflections and two interceptions. Samuel isn’t a big guy at 5-foot-10, 184, but neither was his dad. Speaking of which, Asante Samuel is his dad, who was one of the best cornerbacks in football.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Florida State might be a mess but Samuel Jr is now “don’t throw the ball near that guy”. He’s the only thing that will make Florida State watchable for the rest of the year.
Clemson vs Wake Forest
I want to spend some time on Trevor Lawrence for a few reasons.
A: I won’t have to later in the season.
B: This guy is special. It’s not hard to see.
Lawrence checks in at 6-foot-6. We have seen a lot of quarterbacks be that big and struggle with accuracy. Lawrence will never have that issue. He’s such a natural athlete, and everything is easy for him. There are some things that Lawrence doesn’t get credit for.
Lawrence went 22-28 for 351 yards and a touchdown. He also added two rushing scores, which are where I wanted to start first. Lawrence is faster than you think. I’m just telling you this right now. Lawrence is going to run a good time where people look at their watches, trying to figure out if they messed up.
The other thing is Lawrence does such a great job unlocking his hips on throws getting unreal torque where others can’t. Everything is easy for the guy. Rotisserie chicken alert. Set it and forget it. Lawrence is the number one pick.
Travis Etienne had a good game too, 17 carries for 102 yards and a score. And I’m not the highest on Etienne; I wouldn’t take him in the first round. However, he does have some Alvin Kamara to him. Plus speed and breaks more tackles than you think because of incredible balance. I think the hype on him will be way too high.
To close it out, I’ll spend a few seconds on Carlos Basham. I don’t think Wake expected him to return for his senior season. He didn’t have the most fantastic game in the world but was able to record a sack in the first quarter. Basham is an exciting prospect with length and bend. Just keep tabs on him. We’ll see him at the Senior Bowl, hopefully.