The big news from this weekend is the injury to Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. Official reports out of Alabama have said that he successfully had surgery on his hip, he will miss the rest of the season, and he’ll be ready to start throwing again in the spring. I’m not going to speculate yet on what this will do for his draft stock, as there are so many things that need to happen before that can be determined.
New rankings come out tonight and it will be interesting to see where Alabama lands after the injury. There weren’t any big upsets this weekend, but the dream seasons for Minnesota and Baylor have come to an end, at least from a playoffs standpoint.
While the end of the season is near, big matchups are more difficult to come by as many top teams schedule easy opponents late to prepare for conference championships. There is one huge game this weekend, however.
Due to technological issues, I was not able to release my "Fixing the Cincinnati Bengals" last Friday. I will be releasing it this Friday instead.
Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
Florida’s other edge rusher Jabari Zuniga gets most of the attention, but Greenard is also having a great season. On Saturday he racked up 6 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 1 QB hurry. Greenard was unblockable for most of the game as he was constantly making plays behind the line of scrimmage. He’s firmly in the second round now.
Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Claypool has been nothing but dominant week after week this season. He added to his illustrious stats this weekend with 7 receptions for 117 yards and 4 touchdowns. The best season of his career couldn’t have come at a better time than his senior season. Claypool is establishing himself as a fringe round 1/2 prospect.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
It hasn’t been the most ideal season for Herbert, as it’s looked like he’s taken a step back at times. But he showed just why he should be highly drafted with a great performance Saturday night. Herbert displayed his great arm talent with several perfectly placed deep balls. He has the talent to swing it down the field with the best of them, even though he hasn’t been asked to do that very often at Oregon. When it’s all said and done, Herbert will be a top 10 pick.
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Okwuegbunam has had such a disappointing season so far. He was talked about as a day 2 pick last year but decided to stay for his senior year. That decision has not worked out for him. The production isn’t there and the tape doesn’t show any development either. Okwuegbunam might continue to see a big slide in his draft stock if his production doesn’t turn around.
Essang Bassey, CB, Wake Forrest
Bassey has the tough task of covering Clemson WR Tee Higgins on Saturday, and it did not go well. Higgins was able to bully Bassey with his size and ability to box him out like a basketball player on a rebound. It highlighted the biggest concern regarding Bassey in his size and inability to overcome it through play. Bassey will most likely be viewed as a slot corner only in the NFL, locking his stock into Day 3.
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
It has been a very similar year as Okwuegbunam for Gross-Matos. He’s also had a big drop in production, having not recorded a sack in the past 6 weeks before getting one on Saturday. His tape checks out okay, but the production must pick up. I still view Gross-Matos as a first round pick, but it’s not a good sign when an edge rusher can’t produce sacks in college.
Small-School Prospect Highlight:
Rashad Robinson, CB, James Madison University
Robinson missed all of last season with a grade 3 turf toe that he suffered in fall camp. He stayed for a fifth year at JMU and he’s lived up to the hype he was receiving before last season. Robinson has great ball skills and is a willing tackler, which is huge for a potentially late-round prospect that will need to play special teams his first year in the league. Tackling at the corner position is also a big deal in today’s pass-happy and spread offense philosophy from most teams in the NFL. Robinson should get a shot somewhere around the fifth round and he’ll have a chance to start in a few years.
Top Three Games to Watch This Weekend:
1) Ohio State vs Penn State
Ohio State has completely dominated every opponent they’ve faced on their schedule. Their next few weeks are against better competition for the most part, but a playoff spot seems guaranteed with they way they’ve been playing. Edge rusher Chase Young is still the best player in this draft class despite his recent two-game suspension. Ohio State also features cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade, and Damon Arnette, linebackers Malik Harrison and Tuf Borland, running back J.K. Dobbins, wide receiver K.J. Hill, edge rusher Jonathan Cooper, and offensive lineman Thayer Munson.
Penn State was off to a great start (better than most expected) before losing to then-unbeaten Minnesota last week. With a win this week, they’ll be in the Big10 conference championship game. They’re led by edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, wide receiver K.J. Hamler, linebacker Cam Brown, defensive lineman Robert Windsor, and offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez.
2) Texas vs Baylor
Texas has really struggled this year in what was supposed to be their comeback season. Somehow they’ve fallen to 6-4 and they now face one of the best teams in the nation. Regardless, they have a handful of guys that will get drafted this year. I’ve heard quarterback Sam Ehlinger will return for his senior year, so that list boils down to receivers Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay, safety Brandon Jones, linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch, offensive lineman Zach Shackleford, defensive lineman Malcolm Roach.
Baylor is a very surprising team, undefeated after 9 games before losing a nail-biter to Oklahoma this past weekend. Head Coach Matt Rhule has the magic touch in college football, turning around program after program, and will be on the radar of NFL teams looking for a head coach after this season. Baylor’s top prospects this year are receiver Denzel Mims, defensive lineman Bravvion Roy, linebacker Clayton Johnston, and running back JaMycal Hasty.
3) Georgia vs Texas A&M
Georgia suffered an upset loss to unranked South Carolina a month ago, but a win here will put them in the SEC championship game. They’ll be a lock to make the playoffs if they win that game too. Georgia’s top prospects are quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift, offensive linemen Andrew Thomas and Solomon Kindley, safeties Richard LeCounte and J.R. Reed, defensive linemen Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester, and wide receiver Demetrius Robertson.
Texas A&M’s three losses have come from Clemson, Auburn, and Alabama. They face LSU next week and could finish with 5 losses for a team that is actually pretty good. But that’s life in the SEC; you have to be able to win some really tough games every year. They’re led by defensive lineman Justin Madubuike, linebacker Anthony Hines, quarterback Kellen Mond, and center Ryan McCollum.
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