2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 4
Hey, you’re back. It’s not hard to wonder why. SmartNews already says I’m the best NFL Draft analyst on the planet so it’s no surprise you’re here. I have a great slate for you this week for the Week 4 college football notes on the 2023 NFL Draft.
On tap for this week we have Clemson vs. Wake Forest, Maryland vs. Michigan, Florida vs. Tennessee, Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, and Wisconsin vs. Ohio State. Let’s get after it!
Let’s start with DJ Uiagalelei. I just want to start with this. Something just bothers me. It just does. Nothing he ever does comes with precision. There’s just a Trey Lance oh, let me stick my head down and be a runner mode which I don’t like. Doesn’t feel like there’s a plan.
A large stretch of the game where Beaux Collins was hurt and it certainly affected the game. DJ left a lot of those 50-50 balls to Collins and he won more often than not. Not that it’s a bad thing but just never had a plan. Feels slow but also weirdly agile at times. Underrated athlete and the plus is he looks way more in shape now. I say all that to say this, I’m scared to totally give up on DJ because I just feel there’s a chance that if he figures this thing out, we have something here.
Overall, I actually think this should be considered a good performance. There are several things that stand out. The big body is a huge positive. 6-foot-4, 236. Looks way more nimble than he used to be. Tough to bring down. The 2 point conversion that realistically saved the game should be viewed as a huge positive.
This game just has to be viewed as a positive. It just has to. Still missing some precision but god there are some throws in this one. I’m talking down the field in spots only his guy can make the play. Has real horsepower on those game-changing throws. Had some beautys.
The best part is, this is what Clemson needed to win the game. Hung a big 51 spot on Wake and did it with massive throws down the field. Look, Clemson has better players but some of the throws here have to catch your attention.
Let’s not totally jump off the train here. Week 1, I thought DJ might get benched. Now? Is it out of the question he’s a first rounder? How can it be? This was a huge step forward. Need more short area accuracy. Need more adaptation skill. Need more consistency. Can we get those things?
I’m not close to done talking about Clemson because I want to mention two targets before I get to the defense. Maybe it helps that Beaux Collins was HS teammates with DJ but you can tell he’s the preferred target. Not draft eligible but looks better than Joseph Ngata. Looks better with the ball in the air. Not saying Ngata can’t make those tough catches but I’m never blown away. I think comparing Ngata to some of the Clemson receivers of the past would be a mistake. Has some size, weight, and speed components but is he actually an NFL player? Not sure. Four receptions for 84 yards in this one.
Three quick notes on Bryan Bresee, KJ Henry, and Nate Wiggins. The Bresee family suffered some bad news this week. I’m not holding anything Bresee does over him for the next three weeks. Wake Forest averaged 2.8 yards per carry in this one and it mostly has to do with Bresee. He’s a load in the middle.
On the same token, I’m not sure I loved what I saw from KJ Henry. Eight tackles and looked active but it never felt like he actually pressured the quarterback. Can make the argument the Wake Forest tackle won the battle. The athletic profile is here but when are we going to see Henry actually take over? Today would have been a good time to do so. Instead, Hartman was pretty comfortable back there and that I did not expect.
Really bad day for Nate Wiggins. I don’t have his exact coverage stats but I counted at least three pass interference calls. It’s a young Clemson secondary but that was awful. Again, he’s not draft eligible but I just had to make a note of it. I hated what I saw. Looked like a cry baby. Throwing temper tantrums towards the ref. Has no idea how to play the ball in the air. That was tough to watch. The Wake receivers didn’t look untalented (getting there next) but that was next level bad for a corner everyone has high hopes for.
If we’re being totally honest; Sam Hartman may have been the best quarterback on the field. It’s more than fair to say that. 20/29 for 337 yards and six touchdown passes. I really like Hartman. If anyone is going to be the Derek Carr of this QB class, I honestly think it’s Hartman.
It’s not an all world talent but there is something here. You have to give Hartman credit for this throws that look like lollipops but turn out to be layups. He’s got great loft on his ball. Knows exactly where he wants to put it. Ball comes out fast and on time. Feet aren’t a problem. Really over the top arm motion. Think he should have success on throws down the field. 6-foot-1 but looks like a thick 210. Way better than Jamie Newman.
Remains to be seen if Hartman returns to school but at this point, how does he not go within the first four rounds here? He can play. That’s just the truth. In fact, I’d say he’s better than Sam Howell too even if Hartman doesn’t quite have that rushing threat.
No idea where this guy is on other people’s boards but number 7 can’t play. Just god awful. Gavin Holmes his name is the Wake corner. They could have played 30 minute quarters and he still wouldn’t have been able to sniff any of these Clemson receivers. He’s terrible. Totally lost.
I’ll close the Wake section with this. Is this Jahmal Banks is starting to look interesting? Six touchdowns already on the year including two in this one. I know it’s a shaky Clemson back end but Banks deserves his credit.
6-foot-4 body that dropped 141 yards on Clemson. That matters. I’ll just say this. I need to see more. In terms of just being a pure mover, you see some Chase Claypool here but that comp, to me, is way too rich at the moment. Not nearly as easy of a mover. Needs to win in the short area to be successful. Kinda looks like a tight end. At minimum, I’ve talked about him now so credit to Banks.
Taulia Tagovailoa just isn’t as good as his older brother and I’ve kinda held firm on that opinion. He’s two inches shorter, the ball just doesn’t have the same touch and his arm strength is definitely worse too – and Tua struggles to clear the arm strength threshold. Not nearly as much in the intermediate game but you catch my drift.
Michigan is tough and Maryland put up a fight but Tagovailoa did what he was expected to do. Two bad picks, missed some throws, showed some nice touch at times but it wasn’t enough.
Wished Rakim Jarrett would have showed out more. Think he’s got a shot to be really good but was kept mostly off the score sheet (four receptions for 12 yards). Florida transfer Jacob Copeland did most of the damage with four receptions for 52 yards. I’m not quite sure what to do with Copeland but he looks, smells, and feels like a Damarcus Robinson kinda guy except probably not as fast. We’ll see but at least good on him for showing up.
This one I can include in either section but why not let it fly early. Maybe it’s time to start digging into these Maryland corners. JJ McCarthy wasn’t perfect for Michigan but he certainly wasn’t the problem either. Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Ronnie Bell and Roman Wilson are awesome because that would be a lie. They’re not close to the horses that Ohio State has. However, they’re at least respectable collegiate wide outs.
Bell and Wilson weren’t open at least 80% of the game and that number is probably low. Zero separation. Does Maryland have real corners? Can we start looking deeper into Zakorian Bennett? Can we have more information on Deonte Banks? Asking for myself.
Look, we’re doing this. You’re not going to like it but I feel really good about it when I say it. Blake Corum’s not that good. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. If Mike Hart gets you worked up, knock yourself out. Corum might be better than Hart but we’re not doing this. We’re just not.
Big game for Corum. Sure it was. 30 carries for 243 yards and two scores. What are your expectations here? I guess that’s what I’m asking. I wasn’t blown away. This is a Michigan offensive line that opened up gapping hole after gapping hole. It’s a line filled with three grad transfers and three juniors. The leader is center OLUSEGUN OLUWATIMI (cool name alert) who was a Rimington Trophy finalist for Virginia last year and looked damn good in the game.
Corum looks like a normal Big 10 running back would. I don’t see special and I’m sorry for disappointing you. We’re just not doing this. I’m tired of arguing why guys like Hassan Haskins aren’t that good. The same applies to Corum. He may be the best of the bunch but I swear if the media starts a Blake Corum agenda, I will start a war and I will win. Don’t make me do it.
I really like Ventrell Miller and Brenton Cox. Miller is a really good tackler. Not going to blow you away but for a smaller guy, he hits and that’s a great thing. I’m in on him. Cox wasn’t electric in the stat sheet but this Tennessee offense is brutal. Fast, fast, fast tempo. I liked the effort I saw. Has violent hands. He just looks angry. I’m not holding the inactivity against him on the stat sheet. But I also don’t think he’s a first rounder either. I think the bar should be better than Jabari Zuniga and I feel great about that happening.
I do think Anthony Richardson played better than that egg he laid against Kentucky. The accuracy is still all over the map. It’s more so inconsistent. Everything just leans Jacoby Brissett. You have a hard time talking me into him being another Josh Allen. If he actually gets the foot in the ground and gets to his spot, the top end can look great. There was a play in the game where he avoided a sack from like three guys ducking and leaning while also throwing a strike. It was fantastic.
Just too many times where he’s off by a mile. I mean a mile. I just don’t know if I can be behind this. It’s a long season. We need more. Here’s the truth. Anthony Richardson and Hendon Hooker showed up to the gun fight and Richardson couldn’t keep pace. That should matter.
I know we want to believe everyone is just going to develop into Jalen Hurts but I advise caution here with Hendon Hooker. If you want to talk to me that he can become another Tyler Huntley, maybe I can eat your cheese. It was a very solid performance and lowkey I love Josh Heupel. The fast tempo offense helps Hooker in more ways than one. Don’t get it twisted.
Very real game here though. 22/28 for 349 and two scores. If you watched the game, I think you would agree that it actually could have been worse. Didn’t love Hooker’s ball placement. Thought there were a few times if Hooker put the ball in a better spot that the UT player could have housed it. The touch accuracy I think is very much in doubt.
Very good athlete. Very might be strong but can certainly run. Added 112 and a touchdown on the ground as well. Certainly not a power element like Hurts. More skinny. Can we get more power?
Let’s talk Bru McCoy. I don’t always do this but I think it applies here. Don’t you always hate that sliding scale USC wide receiver thing where you hope you don’t get stabbed in the neck by another Mike Williams? Don’t you always hate how the media tries to sell you on a Tennessee wide receiver like Josh Palmer / Jauan Jennings?
I kinda like Bru McCoy but what are our expectations here? Does it kinda feel weird that he’s a USC transfer that has kinda checked that prior comps? Very good game. Five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. 6-foot-3 but are we talking Mike Evans gazelle speed cause I don’t see that. Is it insulting to say I don’t have my chances in the 5th round? Is Palmer a low bar? Sample size!
Tell you this too. Not sure I’m in on Byron Young. I see four quarterback hurries in the box score but it never felt like he dominated the game. Ok, let me put it like this. Is there rocket fuel here? Looks like he can play but what kind of athlete do we have here? I don’t see freak show and I want freak show. Will want to know this 10-yard split time.
Well, the game can be summed up like this. 14-0 and KJ Jefferson had to turn into a rotten pumpkin. Fumbles on the goal line and never moved the ball again other than quarterback runs. I haven’t brought him up for a reason. Keep it moving.
I only have interest in talking about Bumper Pool. He’s everywhere, okay? Doesn’t he kinda look like one of those Ohio State linebackers like Pete Werner who they just didn’t get for some reason? Guy makes plays. That’s all I know. What’s he going to run? That’s all I want to know right now. I hope fast but I’m not super optimistic. I hope fast.
This defense is really underrated and there is more work to do here. Chris Russell had a fantastic game and forced the infamous fumble. I also know you’re going to hate me for this but I just don’t think Max Johnson is terrible. Underrated athlete. I just can’t see how he’s a worse game manager than Mitch Trubisky. I don’t buy that he is. Everytime he starts, his team wins a lot of games. When he’s not in the lineup, the opposite is pretty much always true (TJ Finley & Haynes King).
The reality is that Texas A&M doesn’t win this game without Devon Achane. That MF is pure grease lightning. He catches the chicken in Rocky on the first try. First step and he’s gone. Like you lose him in sight watching the game. Isaiah Spiller didn’t have that juice.
Think he’s more powerful than he gets credit. I don’t want to go Chris Johnson but he might really be faster even if I don’t think he’s as good of a player. Won’t be an issue working in the passing game.
On a final sader note, Ainias Smith is done for the year. Which sucks because he was really starting to pick up momentum.
I just want to have a conversation with everyone to close out the blog. Well, two actually but the second will be my thoughts on Cade Stover.
I just want people to understand what they are seeing. Ohio State mollywhopped Wisconsin 52-21 in a game I turned off in the middle of the second quarter. We have to understand what’s going on here. We have to understand the recruiting stuff matters.
When Ohio State kills Michigan this year, don’t talk to me about how terrible Jim Harbaugh is. It’s going to happen and we have to understand what we’re seeing. I’m just telling you right now this Ohio State receiver room is on another level. Athletic freaks that can all run, track balls, and are tough. Nasty SOBs that can block and want to play. Hell, they want to play special teams.
Don’t fade them. It’s only getting more ridiculous. It’s transformed over the years. Back in the day, it was cool if Ohio State had guys like Curtis Samuel, Parris Campbell, and Ted Ginn. This is not what’s going on right now. Now Texas boy Garrett Wilson chooses you. Marvin Harrison Jr doesn’t go to Michigan. When Texas / USC etc recruit well, they keep their guys like Xavier Worthy.
Julian Fleming is their fourth guy and if nobody wants him, I’ll gladly take him. Egbuka looks like a damn cat. Their second running back Miyan Williams is absolutely one of the 5-10 best heading into this upcoming draft. Nobody should be surprised that Wilson and Chris Olave look like monsters already and if you are it’s already too late for you.
Finally, I have faded Ohio State tight ends forever. Cade Stover feels different. More so because there’s a power element. Blocking matters. Toughness matters. The hands look like they could be better but I actually think they have something here. Former linebacker that I think will figure it out.