College football is in full swing and therefore draft prospects are being shifted up and down draft boards across the NFL. This past week gave us a ton of close contests with several games going to overtime. The big game of the week featuring LSU vs Texas did not disappoint. Filled with draft prospects on both sides of the ball, the offenses lit up the scoreboard with LSU coming out on top.
This upcoming weekend is surprisingly baron of great matchups, however that gives you the opportunity to flip through channels and focus on certain prospects. Without further ado, here is my week two draft prospects’ recap.
1) Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
It’s a little odd to think of an LSU quarterback as a legitimate NFL draft prospect. The last time an LSU QB was drafted in the first round was in 2007 with Jamarcus Russell. Before that, you must travel all the way back to 1990 to find a QB drafted in at least the third round. But now with LSU’s new offensive philosophy in switching to a pro-style offense, the former Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow is able to shine. Burrow lit up a good Texas defense completing 31 of 39 passes for 471 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s already shooting up Heisman award odds, and he’s rising on big boards too.
2) Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Chase Young seems like one of those draft prospects that it’s just unfair that he’s still playing against college competition. He’s so massive, but also so quick with his movements. Young is a disruptive force off the edge due to that size and speed. He had 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss, and even one FG block. His traits will easily translate to the NFL.
3) Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
The other QB in that great LSU-Texas battle, Ehlinger faced a much tougher defense and still had a dominant performance. Ehlinger was one of the QBs in the 2020 draft class that had the most questions surrounding him before this season started. He answered a lot of them on Saturday. He passed for 31 of 47 with 401 yards and 4 touchdowns, while running the ball 19 times for 60 yards and one touchdown. I feel very comfortable in saying that Ehlinger is a top QB prospect in the 2020 draft class.
1) Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan
I didn’t like Patterson much last season. He had some flashes, but I was glad he went back to Michigan for his senior year to clean up his game a bit before heading to the NFL. Patterson doesn’t look any better, and without the possibility of returning to school again next year, he’s essentially off my board at this point. I don’t see how you can justify drafting a QB with such poor accuracy.
2) Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Fulton is still a first round pick for me, but he has dropped to the back end of the first round after a poor showing against Texas. This entire LSU defense got hammered by Texas and Sam Ehlinger, but Fulton came out looking the worst. He got beat deep a couple times, was flagged for a defensive pass interference, and was also very grabby to where he should’ve had a few more flags thrown on him. This is a deep CB class, which does not bode well for Fulton after this game.
3) Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt
The Ball State transfer made his first start for Vanderbilt on Saturday but was very inconsistent. From a draft standpoint, he had a really bad day. Neal had one terrible interception and was benched for a few series because of it. He struggles with the deep ball, both with accuracy and actually making the decision to throw it deep. Neal also doesn’t go through his reads well, often making the first one or two and then tucking the ball and running. His game will not translate to the NFL at this point in his abilities.
Small School Prospect Spotlight:
Jabril Cox, LB, North Dakota State University
Arguably the best defensive player and overall prospect in the FCS, Cox has been dominating for NDSU since his first season in 2017 after redshirting in 2016. He can line up all over the defense in any single game. On Saturday Cox lined up as an end, linebacker, and slot corner. He’s 6’3” and 233 pounds but can run down the field with any receiver in the slot. Cox is so good that he is expected to enter the draft early this year instead of staying for his senior year. FCS players leaving early and being a high draft pick is an extremely rare occasion, but Cox will accomplish that.
Top Three Games to Watch This Week:
1) Clemson vs Syracuse – September 14th
Clemson has dominated their first two opponents on both sides of the ball. After losing so many good players on defense to the draft last year, Clemson’s defense was expected to take a step back. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons, cornerback A.J. Terrell, defensive linemen Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams, and safety K’Von Wallace have exceled so far this season to keep Clemson’s defense near the top. Meanwhile on offense, running back Travis Etienne and Tee Higgins have largely contributed to Clemson’s high-octane offense.
Syracuse has rebuilt their program and pushed Clemson to the brink in this game last year and beat them the year before. With this game in Syracuse, I expect this game to go down to the wire again. Syracuse is led by edge rushers Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman, receiver Sean Riley, defensive lineman McKinley Williams, and quarterback Eric Dungey.
2) Alabama vs South Carolina – September 14th
Alabama hasn’t faced much of a test in their first two weeks, but South Carolina should give them more of a game. Alabama has continued to be a top offense and defense led by this year’s draft prospects in receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, edge rushers Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings, cornerback Trevon Diggs, safety Xavier McKinney, and running back Najee Harris.
South Carolina has struggled to start this season and playing Alabama this week probably won’t help. South Carolina doesn’t have as many prospects as years’ past, but defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, receiver Bryan Edwards, linebacker T.J. Brunson, and running back/fullback Kiel Pollard.
3) Iowa vs Iowa State – September 14th
This rivalry has gotten even better over the recent years as both teams have been in top 25 polls. Iowa is a one of my favorite teams to evaluate because their prospects seem to rarely bust. I anticipate the same to be true of this class with the likes of edge rusher A.J. Epenesa, offensive linemen Tristan Wirfs and Alaric Jackson, and quarterback Nate Stanley.
Iowa State had a top prospect in running back David Montgomery last season, but this year it doesn’t appear they’ll have a prospect drafted as high. They’re led by linebacker Marcel Spears Jr., defensive lineman Ray Lima, edge rusher JaQuan Bailey, and tight end Chase Allen.