It was a wild weekend of football, maybe more do in the NFL than in college. I released a new Big Board on Friday, and now I’m heading towards writing a new Mock Draft. We’ve played 13 games for each team in the NFL now, and the draft order is just barely starting to take shape.
The Jets had an all-time head scratching play that keeps them in the pole position to land Trevor Lawrence. They almost got some breathing room from the Jaguars, who lost in OT to the Vikings. At the other end, the playoff picture is becoming more and more clear.
Speaking of playoffs, Alabama will certainly be first as long as they win the SEC. Notre Dame appears to be second as long as they beat Clemson in the ACC championship game. If not, Clemson will likely be third with Ohio State in second as long as they win out, which seems likely. The 4th spot is extremely intriguing. This could come in the form of an upset conference champion, meaning the top 3 may shake up. My guess at this point: Florida loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, meaning Texas A&M will sneak in as the 4th seed, with either Clemson or Notre Dame losing to one another.
Week 13 Prospect Highlights:
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
USC played Sunday, but St. Brown took full advantage of the 45 minute window before the afternoon NFL games and Sunday Night Football. In just the first quarter, St. Brown had 4 catches for 34 yards and 4 touchdowns! It was a simply dominant 15 minutes for him. He finished the game with 7 receptions for 65 yards and 4 touchdowns, but USC didn’t really have to pass much after the first quarter. Also, these weren’t wide-open throws where St. Brown walked into the end zone. The first touchdown featured him Boeing out the corner on a goal line slant like a basketball player getting the ball in the post. The second and fourth touchdowns were nearly identical in that St. Brown caught a 50-50 ball over the defender while falling to the ground. His third touchdown was the easiest and a shovel pass end-around, but he showed off his speed to get to the pylon. I fell in love with Michael Pittman Jr. at USC last year, and I’m starting to get the same feeling with St. Brown this year.
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame
Book has had some up and down performances through this collegiate career, but this season just keeps producing up performances for him. He’s stared down and beat every defense he’s faced so far, the latest example coming from a beat down of lowly Syracuse. Book threw for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns on a 65% completion rate. He’s entered Heisman talks, and he’s also entered some serious NFL Draft talks. I don’t expect him to be drafted in the first two rounds as a potential franchise-saving QB, but I do think he can come in as a late Day Two or early Day Three pick and be a great backup until he gets his shot. He has a lot of great tools that if he gets that shot, he can be an NFL starter some day.
Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
I’ve mentioned Roche a couple of times n previous weeks, but he deserves another mention after his performance against Duke. He finished the game with 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Miami held Duke scoreless, and Roche is a big reason why. Roche transferred from Temple this offseason to display his talents on a more national stage. His production hadn’t been on the same level this season, but this game against Duke reminded everyone of who he can be. With Roche’s upside, I think he can see him as a top 50 pick in the Spring.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
I just can’t not write about Smith at this point. I really try to make these articles as diverse as possible and not repeat prospects, but I don’t think there is a single prospect in the country who has helped themselves more than Smith had this season. He went off again on Saturday, piling up 8 receptions, 231 yards, and 3 touchdowns. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase seemed like a lock to be the first wide receiver taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, but with the season that Smith is having, I’m not so sure now. Smith also has to compete with his Alabama running mate Jaylen Waddle, but Henry Ruggs III was the first receiver to be taken last year over his fellow Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy, as well as Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. Could we see a very similar outcome in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Just like Smith, another week, another dominant performance from Trask. His stats are very impressive from Saturday, 4 touchdowns and 433 yards on a crazy 71% completion rate. But let’s just talk about him as a prospect. His mobility is highly concerning. Would it have been concerning 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago? Most likely not. But we have entered a different era in the NFL: quarterbacks have to be able to move. They don’t need to be like Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, or Kyler Murray. But they do need to have just enough to escape the pass rush and run for a first down if it’s there. Trask has a phenomenal arm, high IQ, and he reads the field very well. 5 years ago Trask might have been considered the best QB prospect in this draft (this is hyperbole; Trevor Lawrence is Trask with legs), but without mobility, Trask looks like a second round pick that embarrasses everyone in a few years when he wins NFL MVP.