Week 9 of the college football season is in the rear view mirror. It is time to take a look back at the weekend and see what prospects helped or hurt their NFL draft stock.
Talk surrounding the NFL Draft will creep more into the mainstream with the NFL and college football both past the halfway point. NFL teams with no thoughts of the playoffs are starting to look at the crop of draft-eligible players. In college football, players are rounding out who they are as prospects.
This week in college football was up and down for some prospects. There will be repeat names on this list from previous iterations. Some of these guys made themselves serious money this weekend while others floundered in spots that could have pushed them up boards.
5. Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College – Stock up
The rare occurrence of an interior offensive lineman on the list. Boston College and Miami was an ultimately lost game this weekend after a rare Friday night kickoff. That will not be the case for scouts looking at Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom. The talented four year starter showed his experience and play strength in this contest. Going against fellow future NFL draft prospect Gerald Willis, Lindstrom more than held his own. The Eagles ran for 223 rushing yards, at over four yards per carry. This is impressive in it’s own right, throw in the fact that the Hurricanes came in as a top-10 team against the run and it becomes even more so. Lindstrom is fighting for position on draft boards with a talented interior offensive line class. With more performances like this weekend’s he should hear his name called on the draft’s second day.
4. Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State – Stock down
Before the season started there were people who seriously were comparing Trace McSorley to last year’s number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. Now with the majority of the college football season past us, those comparisons look downright silly. McSorley is what he is, a talented college football quarterback leading a winning program. He is not Baker Mayfield and he is not a serious contender to be a first round quarterback. His small stature, and mediocre passing statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. McSorley wins over people with his attitude and playmaking, but do not confuse that for any type of serious NFL future.
3. Super-size wide receivers – Stock up
When NFL teams talk about WR1 they are discussing players that are big, and win all over the field. This past weekend we saw some of those types of players have tremendous games. N’Keal Harry has been mentioned on this list frequently. The 6-foot-4 playmaker from Arizona State may have had the catch of the year. He also showed his big play ability with a punt return touchdown. Harry is in the running for the top receiver taken.
It was not just Harry putting on a show. Fellow contender for WR1 come April Kelvin Harmon of N.C. State had another impressive performance against Syracuse. Despite the loss, Harmon finished with 11 catches for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Harmon is the protypical big receiver with his ability to win in jump ball scenarios. He seperates himself from the rest of the bunch with his nuanced route running and strength.
Finally three Big12 receivers fit the bill. Hakeem Butler of Iowa State does not get featured in his offense (thanks in part to RB1 David Montgomery in the backfield) but he is a legit NFL prospect. The 6-foot-6 receiver had four catches fr 148 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech. On the other side of the field, Tech’s T.J. Vasher hauled in another highlight catch. Vasher will need to test well to rise up boards but he certainly has some serious hands. Finally Texas’ Collin Johnson is another 6-foot-6 receiver who is making his mark. This week wasn’t the best statistical game for Johnson with five catches for 65 yards. However he is the type of prospect that teams can fall in love with if he runs decently at the combine.
2. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky – Stock up
It seems like every week Josh Allen’s name appears in this piece. The talented Kentucky edge is raising eye brows all season. That continued on Saturday in Kentucky’s come from behind last second win against Missouri. The biggest play came on the late sack fumble combination, one of two for Allen against the Tigers. His stat line of two sacks and 11 tackles give insight in how dominant he can be. With a big test against Georgia next week, keep an eye on Allen. Right now he is being mocked as a first round pick, a dominant performance against the Bulldogs could push that into top-10 talk.
1. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – Stock up
The 2019 crop of quarterbacks have been discussed at length in this article weekly. There are reports top quarterback prospect, Justin Herbert will stay at Oregon. That opens the door for some other prospects to sneak into the first round conversation. After five quarterbacks were taken in the first round last year, it is more clear than ever that quarterbacks will rise up boards. An expected riser this year is Duke’s Daniel Jones. This was a good week for the former two-star recruit has looked strong since coming back from injury earlier this season. Saturday he set a career high in passing with 397 yards and four touchdowns. He has the prerequistite size and arm strength teams will fall in love with. Jones will need to continue to show improvements with his accuracy and mental processing but be prepared to hear plenty of this name as the process pans out.