2021 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 7
Another week of the college football season is complete, which means it’s time for another 2021 NFL Draft stock report. Prospects flooded the field Week 7 with necessary game tape. This week’s games included SMU vs. Tulsa, BYU vs. Houston, Kentucky vs. Tennessee, Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State, and Georgia vs. Alabama. Which player stood out for better or worse as we project towards the 2021 NFL Draft?
SMU vs. Tulsa
I watched the two Friday games solely for the quarterbacks. SMU just lost their leading receiver for the season and I haven’t seen much if any of Shane Buechele since he left Texas. I see the numbers he’s putting up at SMU. Let’s see what he has.
Kids… this is why we don’t box score scout. I went into it thinking that Buechele had to be better than Sam Ehlinger based on what he’s doing. The reality is it’s probably not true. Neither is draftable.
Buechele is lucky if he turns into Case Keenum. Look, the pure numbers don’t look bad 23-37 for 384 yards and two touchdowns. It doesn’t tell even one percent of the story.
We scout for skill sets, not results. Here’s what I see. No power in the lower half. Very much just an arm thrower with below-average arm strength. On more than occasion, Buechele short-armed a throw cause he couldn’t get it there. Several balls could have been intercepted, too.
I couldn’t have been less impressed. That’s not an NFL quarterback. Buechele very much looks like a redshirt-senior who is a college legend but doesn’t belong on an NFL roster.
Side Note: I knew nothing about these brothers before the night, but maybe something is there? Just keep tabs on Phat and Duece Watts, the Tulane wide receivers. First off, great names. Second, I think they got a little something.
BYU vs. Houston
Now let’s get to the other quarterback I wanted to watch. I promise it’s a much more positive note. I might be getting carried away, but BYU’s Zach Wilson is a star.
I wouldn’t have cared if BYU lost by 30. Zach Wilson has IT. Of course, BYU won 43-26, and Wilson balled out. The BYU signal-caller finished the game 25-35 for 400 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson also showed excellent mobility rushing for an additional 40 yards.
I love this guy. First play of the game for BYU, Wilson goes out there and throws a dart for an 80-yard score.
I was blown away. It wasn’t because Wilson beat up Houston. Again, it’s the skillset. Wilson used multiple arm angles to place the ball where he wanted. If you put Mahomes on the back of his jersey, you wouldn’t have noticed. Yes, I’m getting carried away, I’m aware.
Wilson is an explosive knee bender and gets to where he wants to be in a hurry. Handling pressure is, therefore, no issue, and made several good throws under duress. The arm strength is also a significant plus. He has no problem making any throw on the field.
Did I mention he’s also deadly accurate? Wilson is completing 78.7% of his attempts. Watching this game, you can see how that’s an accurate portrayal of who he is. The man throws dimes, and they all come with plenty of zip.
I need to see more. However, I know talent when I see it. This is it right here. I see a less athletic Kyler Murray, but I need a much bigger sample size. He keeps this up, and you can bookmark him in round one.
Kentucky vs. Tennessee
Tennessee is a complete embarrassment. More like Jarrett Guarantano is embarrassing, throwing two pick-sixes. For Tennessee, I want to focus on their running backs.
Ty Chandler and Eric Gray are two running backs with some potential. I prefer Gray to Chandler, but both can play. Chandler had 12 carries for 51 yards, and Gray followed suit with 24 carries for 128 yards. Chandler might be the starter, but Gray is the better player.
Gray has so much more giddy-up to his game. He makes beautiful cuts and has promise in the passing game. The only problem Gray isn’t draft-eligible, and Chandler is. The point is, if you draft any of them, wait a year for the better Tennessee running back.
Let’s also examine Kelvin Joseph, one of the players who came up with a pick-6. Joseph is a transfer from LSU and looked impressive. Joseph struggled to get on the field with LSU but looked long and physically imposing out there for Kentucky. Just keep tabs on him.
Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State
Texas A&M dominated this game for the most part. Mike Leach is also trying to rebuild Mississippi State, so not a ton to go over there. KJ Costello got benched, but we already knew he stunk.
Again, not a ton here, but I do love cornerback Myles Jones. A year ago, he stuck Justyn Ross in his back pocket, which is no small feat. Mississippi State couldn’t get the passing game going at all. However, Jones did his part again and came up with an impressive interception.
Georgia vs. Alabama
Georgia has the best team in the country. Stetson Bennett just had to not screw it up. Well… (insert Spongebob meme of 2 hours later) Bennett screwed it up. Alabama won 41-24 in a game Georgia should have either won or been competitive in.
Zamir White had a much better showing in this one rushing for 57 yards on 11 carries. At Tennessee, White lacked explosion. Against Bama, White was much more aggressive and acted like the battering ram he should be. Count me back in depending on how high it is in the draft.
I’m not just saying this because I already have him in fantasy, but it was the James Cook breakout game. I’ve been waiting for Cook to make a play that took my breath away. Talent isn’t the question. Dalvin’s little brother did just that against Bama.
Cook had a decent showing on the ground, but he led the team in receiving yards. Cook cashed in on four receptions for 101 yards and a score. This is the James Cook I wanted to see. A lightning rod who can win.
Georgia has a ton of talented running backs, so the large sample size isn’t going to be there. That’s okay with me. Also, I’m not sure if James declares. He could easily return to school. However, he’s the type of guy who goes later in the draft than he should and has a much better pro career.
I thought Georgia won the line of scrimmage trying to run the ball. I thought the center, Trey Hill, really did his thing. Bama’s defensive line didn’t impress me. They got two sacks on great plays from Christian Barmore and Dylan Moses. Those are also by far the most talented front seven players they have.
The secondary got carved up a bit, but it’s also Alabama. Tyson Campbell got burned on a deep ball by Jaylen Waddle (who I’ll get to later), but I also think it was a great play design and miscommunication in the secondary. You can’t give a guy like Waddle a step and expect to win.
Eric Stokes got called for two questionable flags. Neither of which I thought were flags. He did get beat in the end zone by Devonta Smith (who I’ll also get to later), but you’re not going to be perfect against this group. I’m still very much in on both Georgia corners. They weren’t perfect, but they battled and held their own. Especially early in the game before garbage, Bennett kept making mistakes, forcing them back out there.
Azeez Ojulari didn’t do much outside of the first play of the game. Alex Leatherwood had a great day at left tackle. But, Ojulari has the makings of a real situational pass rusher. He flies off the edge and can get after it with an explosive first step.
Richard LeCounte had an interception on the tipped ball but didn’t think he had a fantastic day outside of it. LeCounte is a player I like as a smart, intuitive safety.
At what point do we say Mac Jones is excellent? Let’s be honest here; Mac Jones is the best Nick Saban quarterback minus Tua Tagovailoa. That’s just a fact. It was another great day for Jones, finishing the game 24-32, 417 yards, four touchdowns, one interception.
Sure, Bama has excellent weapons. He’s still a very good trigger, man. Jones throws a beautiful deep ball with great touch. Do I think he’s super twitched up with this elite arm talent? No, but the guy can play, and for some reason, will get taken after guys he’s better than. It’s not just the Bama weapons. Jones is GOOD.
Najee Harris did his thing again as the Crimson Tide bell cow. 31 carries, 152 yards, and a score. If you had to compare Harris to any Alabama backs in the past, I think Mark Ingram is the right comp. Harris is bigger than Ingram, but both have a similar running style and are underrated pass catchers.
Honestly, Harris might be better than Ingram. I guess that Harris gets drafted in the same range in that late first-round area. As Jeremy Rinaldi talked about in his article, it’s a two-horse race. Outside of maybe Travis Etienne (and that’s a maybe), nobody is going higher than Harris.
Where do I even start when trying to talk about these wide receivers? Let’s begin with DeVonta Smith. I didn’t quite know what to make of Smith before the season. He’s been more than a reliable contributor since his Freshman year. Still, Smith’s lucky if he’s 160 pounds soaking wet.
How would he show up against a very physical Georgia secondary? How do 11 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns sound? There was no issue dealing with the press and even won a contested ball over Eric Stokes for a score.
Smith is very similar to Henry Ruggs. I don’t think he’s as fast, but I think he has a more massive route tree. Forget about the size. You won’t miss it here. Smith is too talented.
Okay, now let’s get to the Alien, unicorn, whatever you want to call him. That’s what Jaylen Waddle is. We have seen a lot of deep threats in college and pro. Calling Waddle a deep threat is disrespectful. He’s not human.
There’s a very DK Metcalf element to his game. I don’t know how you cover the guy, and nobody else looks like him. Well, more like moves like him in this instance. He’s going to run a ridiculous 40 time, and nobody is better with the ball in his hands.
How do 27 yards per catch sound? Again, NOBODY DOES THAT! Six receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown. Most of which came on a 90-yard touchdown, but it happens every week. Punt return, kick returner, long touchdown; Waddle has become the Barry Bonds of the sport. He’s cranking one out of the park every game.
Two quick notes on the defensive side of the ball; Dylan Moses is very much back. Ten tackles in this one and looks back from the knee injury.
Patrick Surtain is unbelievable. There was a route where he was covering George Pickens that blew me away. Just so technically sound and has all the talent to keep up with beasts at the next level. All you have to do is watch the guy play. You quickly realize he’s the son of a former high-level NFL cornerback. He’s got it.