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2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 7

2023 NFL Draft
Hendon Hooker was the star of the week but what does it really mean? Check out more in the week 7 2023 NFL Draft stock report notes. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

2023 NFL Draft Stock Report: Week 7

What a Saturday. I don’t even know how to properly do it justice. We have a lot to cover in the 2023 NFL Draft Stock Report for Week 7. As if it wasn’t obvious already, this week we’re covering – Penn State vs. Michigan, Alabama vs. Tennessee, and USC vs. Utah. That’s right. The three big hitters and we call it a day. What do you say?

Penn State

Pretty easy to diagnose what happened here. Michigan won the battle up front and ran it down Penn State’s throat. At the end of the day, JJ McCarthy just has way more juice than Sean Clifford. As soon as Michigan started using the QB spy and took away Clifford’s running ability, the game was quite literally over.

Do we even have any real standouts? The D-line group led by PJ Mustifer got bullied. It’s just the way it is. This proud defense got a 40 burger hung on them while giving up 418 yards on the group. I know other people have spent time on their front seven but I’m not totally surprised. To me, Joey Porter is that dude, and Abdul Carter will be that dude. Everything else is a giant mystery that may or may not amount to anything relevant. I think that just about does it for Penn State.

Michigan

I’m probably going to sound like a broken record. I will be reiterating a lot of thoughts I’ve shared on Michigan already. You don’t rush for 418 yards with a bad offensive line. It just doesn’t happen. Michigan’s center continues to look really good.

I am still team Donovan Edwards (not draft eligible) over Blake Corum. Edwards just has more juice. Obviously, wasn’t a bad day for Corum (28 carries for 166 yards and two scores). He’s just a bowling ball. Not sure how fast. Has some wiggle. Just screams Big 10 mediocre back. I’m sorry, but that’s what I see. Don’t think the Penn State game changes anything here. Corum can make plays but if what are the expectations? You think this is a starting NFL back? That’s not in the cards.

I continue to be a fan of this Mike Morris. 3-4 defensive linemen just don’t grow on trees and Morris looks the part. I’m telling you, there is some Calias Campbell here. That comp is obviously a little too rich but this guy can play and he’s a house to deal with. 6-foot-6, 292 and causes havoc. His height is also a weapon and deflected a pass in this one. Need to see more but Morris for sure on the watch list moving forward.

Alabama

Down goes Alabama! I can’t say I’m totally surprised. I bet Tennessee +7 this week and just felt like it was a go either way game that would come down to the wire. AND… it did. In fact, Bama should have won by 3 but Bill O’Brien has poo for brains and didn’t burn the clock.

Let’s start with Bryce Young who returned to the lineup after his shoulder injury. I’m sure he wasn’t 100% but it was still a hell of a performance. 35/52 for 455 yards and two scores surely can’t be viewed as a bad thing.

I’m in on Young. I have him as the number one pick next year if the draft was held tomorrow. Trust me, I get the concerns. He’s small and now has shown durability concerns. The pure arm strength isn’t an A. All that being said, he’s just magic. Makes plays out of nothing constantly. There was even a play that he somehow avoided six sacks and created a pass interence call in the end zone to save the drive.

When you watch Young, the best way to describe it is that he’s just a damn good point guard.

Is this stuff transferable at the NFL level? That’s a question mark but I don’t see how it changes anything. The traits are there. He’s so good at just simply reading the field and making decisions. He doesn’t have the arm of Aaron Rodgers but I’ve compared him to having that ability to stay light on his field and just be a magic improvsier. That right there is what I think sets Young a part from the class.

Can we just call him the magic improviser? Read and react. That’s Bryce Young to a T. His instincts are just so good that I just fail to see how he fails. Maybe the pure upside is a question given the fact that he doesn’t have Herbert or Allen arm talent.

Nobody is going to like this but I think we have another Tua on our hands. Before you flip out, Tua is good. I’m sorry you don’t have to like it but it’s true. Go look at the Dolphins without him. There is value in finding an elite distributor and you’re going to win a lot of games with this guy as your quarterback.

Young simply checks the most boxes. Accurate, poised, mobility, and that special something you can’t explain. If we’re being totally honest; if you swapped quarterbacks, Tennessee wins by more. It’s just a reality. Young is QB1 in 2023 unless we see some major drop off or CJ Stroud gains an extra gear.

I am ready to apologize to one guy on the Alabama team. This is called the information process for a reason. Jahmyr Gibbs has some nice tools but I questioned how good of an inside runner he was. Was this just a third down back? I’m not sure we should get our panties in a bunch but that was a wow performance.

Gibbs’ draft stock has to go up. Gary Danielson used the Alvin Kamara comp on Saturday. I don’t want to jump the gun there but I think he may have a point. Gibbs isn’t just light on his feet. There’s a suddenness to his game. Totally in control. Knows when to go slow in order to go fast. I’m telling you, what we just saw was something.

To me, I saw some really important things to where I can say to myself, yes, this is something that’s better than Kenny McIntosh. Mostly the broken tackle ability. Gibbs isn’t a super big back probably a tick under 200. Still the cuts are unreal and he can avoid would be tacklers. I think we have seen Gibbs’ game go up a tick over the last two weeks. 103 yards on 24 carries in this one. Oh, add in three touchdowns too. Of course, that passing game element continues to stick. Stock up. Way up.

Alabama only has one reliable wide receiver and he’s not draft eligible. Cameron Latu is somehow a really important piece of the offense. Not sure he’s a world beater but it has to mean something he led the team in receiving yards (90 and a score).

Reminds me a lot of the two bum tight ends the Patriots drafted in Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi. To take a guy like Latu in the third round seems crazy but I don’t doubt that this guy can make a roster unlike those latter two examples. Looks like he can catch. Fast enough to find space and run. Wouldn’t mind having him as my second or third tight end in a complimentary role.

Two Alabama defenders I want to talk quickly about. DeMarcco Hellams and Henry To’oto’o had great days. I’ve viewed Hellams as a hard hitting safety guy that may not hit his potential if the ball skills aren’t there. When I say that, I mean he might just be a fast undersized linebacker. Hellams has struggled with injuries but 2022 was supposed to be his year.

Led the team with 10 tackles and came away with this interception.

Ok, maybe great day is strong considering Hendon Hooker tore the secondary to shreds. Kool-Aid man is the most talented guy they have back there. However, I felt it was important that Hellams showed off those ball skills. And… I still think he might be a linebacker.

Just quickly on To’oto’o. More so than anything I think he can run better than he gets credit for. It’s not game changing speed but I think it will come in at a time better than Manti Teo and that’s what matters. Eight tackles in this one. Is around the ball a lot. Also, is a sure tackler. Bunch of times Hooker got in the open field and the To man prevented it from being a total bust in the run game. I know he’s on the older side but I think there is actually some talent here that can play at the next level.

Tennessee

Expectations. Can we talk about what expectations mean to you and how they relate to Hendon Hooker? Can we talk about the things we saw Saturday and why it’s important to not go cream yourself.

Can Hendon Hooker play? Yes, I think it’s fair to say that, at this point. Is he as good as Josh Heupel makes him look? God, no. On the day, Hooker went 21/30 for 385 yards, five touchdowns, one pick, and a lost fumble.

Some positives – Hooker can throw a nice deep ball. Has the juice to get it to the target. Is it always on the dot accurate? No. For sure not. This offense creates a lot of easy home runs and Hooker hits them. Credit where credit is due.

Mobility is also there. Hooker is going to pick up first downs with his legs and in today’s NFL, that matters. Not small either. A good 6-foot-4. Maybe on the thiner side but we’re grasping at straws at that point.

Let’s get back to the conversation at hand. Are you okay with a bigger version of Tyrod Taylor? I think that’s probably what you’re getting. We’re talking about someone who will be 26 by next January. He’s a man playing against boys. We have already seen his peak. Not saying that isn’t good enough or isn’t draft worthy. You just better not get your heart broken here because it will happen if you’re not careful.

Big day for Jalin Hyatt. To be totally honest; wasn’t on the radar at all. Cedric Tillman and Bru McCoy came into the season as the guys. Who knew there was this little lightning rod Hyatt? Never had more than 276 yards in a season coming into the year. Ended the game against Bama with 207 yards scoring a touchdown on five of his six catches.

I don’t know what that was but it was eye-popping. Maybe there is an underground Will Fuller on display at Tennessee? The sample size remains small but it’s hard to ignore what we saw. Need more but obviously… WOW is the only way to describe that.

Real quick on Byron Young. This is starting to become a trend and I tried to warn you. I don’t want to hear the excuses. How can this guy be an all world pass rusher and every time I watch Tennessee it’s someone else making the play on defense? Basically invisible again in this one. This time against a real offensive line. Might be an All-SEC guy but when does he ever pop off the screen and announce he’s him? I can’t recall a time yet this year. Foot better be on the gas soon because I can’t imagine how he’s not losing steam.

USC

Like Jordan Addison the more I see him. Swag meter is off the charts. Runs like a gazelle. An easy seven catch, 106 yards, and a touchdown day. Looked like a walk in the park for him. Guy is good. That’s all I know.

Utah

Is it concerning at all that Dalton Kincaid put up 16 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown? It’s something for the sole fact that Brant Kuithe is a player I thought put himself on the map. Now? Can just anybody step into that spot? Is Kincaid just good himself? Is USC’s defense just that putrid? Happy to break your brain to end the post.

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