Our College Football Scouting Guide takes a look at the 2020 NFL Draft prospects playing in the days top games. Here we’ll highlight the best prospect in each game, best prospect battle and other notable players.
College Football Scouting Guide
#5 Utah Utes vs #13 Oregon Ducks 7:00 CST Friday on ABC
Best Prospect: Oregon QB Justin Herbert
Statistically speaking this year has been big for Justin Herbert who improved his completion percentage by nearly 10% (67.5%) while also throwing for more touchdowns and less interceptions than previously years. But if you look past the stats and turn to the film you’ll see that Herbert has been asked to throw several short passes including a lot of quick WR screens. While you cannot blame him for running the offense that he’s asked to run, we’ve only seen him drive the ball and make big time throws on a limited basis. Herbert has several of the ideal traits teams look for including size, athletic ability and a strong arm. With only the Auburn loss and some questionable interceptions against Arizona State on his resume, a big game against Utah’s defense is needed to get him back into the number one overall pick consideration.
Best Prospect Battle: Oregon Offensive Line vs Utah Defensive Line
While Justin Herbert gets the most attention, the Ducks have one of the best offensive lines in the nation. The Ducks are lead by a senior group from left guard to right tackle. Left guard Shane Lemieux is the top prospect in the group showing a good combination of size and athletic ability that allows him to to steer defenders and then get in the position to seal them off. Center Jake Hanson is a stout defender and one of the best interior linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft while right tackle Calvin Throckmorton didn’t allow a single pressure against Auburn and looks like a Day 2 pick. Utes have a talented defensive tackle duo of Leki Fotu and John Penisini. Fotu is hard to miss as he stands 6’5 327lbs and uses his size and strength to clog up running lanes but also has quick enough feet that allows him to get some penetration disrupting opposing offenses. Leki Fotu isn’t the only Ute defensive linemen getting NFL attention as defensive end Bradlee Anae has been quietly dominating for the last couple of years. Anae utilizes his quickness and burst to get an early advantage and then uses his tenacity to finish at the quarterback.
Additional Utah Prospects
The Utes have a couple of different backs that they can rely on but Zack Moss is the clear top back in the group. Moss is able to win by using good burst and quickness to get away from defenders and into running lanes. Combine that with his ability to make lateral cuts to get to open areas he’s able to reel off plenty of chunk runs. In the secondary Jaylon Johnson has the size (6’0), fluid hips, speed and ball skills to do it all. Johnson enjoyed a strong sophomore year where he had 41 tackles, 4 interceptions and 4 passes defended. He’s carried that momentum into his junior year with already 8 pass break ups. At safety Julian Blackmon is a former cornerback who has transitioned seamlessly showing his coverage skills and the ability to play the ball in the air.
Additional Oregon Prospects
The defense is pretty young but the top prospect is linebacker Troy Dye who is an instinct linebacker who’s good at taking on blocks and then shedding to make tackles. With his length and burst he has the ability to cover tight ends which is a must in today’s NFL. In the secondary the Ducks top cornerback is Deommodore Lenior who is talented play the ball in the air and uses his athletic ability to stick with receivers and be in a position to make plays on the ball.
#6 Oklahoma Sooners vs #7 Baylor Bears 11:00 CST on ABC
Best Prospect: Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb
Whether it is the Oklahoma offense or Jalen Hurts getting most of the attention, CeeDee Lamb is somehow under the radar for an elite receiver. Lamb doesn’t have elite speed but he is fast enough to work his way down the field and then is able to use his 6’4 frame and body control to be able to go up and attack the ball in the air. On short to intermediate routes Lamb understands how to use his size to shield off defenders and uses his short area burst to create enough separation and then use strong hands to secure the ball in traffic. Lamb missed the previous game against Baylor because of an injury and
Best Prospect Battle: Oklahoma C Creed Humphrey vs Baylor DT Bravvion Roy
Not only is Creed Humphrey the top interior linemen in college football as a redshirt sophomore, he might just be the best lineman in the country. Humphrey isn’t going to wow you with athletic ability but Creed does have short area burst, size (6’5 315) and has a tremendous anchor. Quietly Humphrey is able to use his lateral agility to lock onto defenders and then swing his hips around to seal off defenders and then has the anchor to sit down and just hold his spot. Against Baylor he’ll see nose tackle Bravvion Roy on a down in and out basis. Roy isn’t a dominant pass rusher but at 6’1 333 he is tightly compact who will hope to get underneath Humphrey and use his strength to get him off balance. Last time Roy faced off against Humphrey and got the better of him with a sack and 8 tackles and is looking for a repeat performance to show that he is a tackle we need to keep an eye on.
Additional Oklahoma Prospects
After a hot start to the year Jalen Hurts has come back down to earth and even made some very questionable throws in big time situations, including a terrible first half against Baylor earlier this year before leading a come from behind win. Hurts has shown to be a better passer under Lincoln Riley, but will need a strong game here if he wants a chance to go in the first round. Having CeeDee Lamb back will help. Defensively the Sooners are improved and a lot of it is because the play of defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and linebacker Kenneth Murray. Gallimore shows tremendous power at the point of attack and can use that to get into the backfield leading the Big 12 in pass rush win rate. At linebacker Murray is a tackling machine who had 155 tackles in 2018 and so far this season he’s been flying around the field and making plays laterally and in the backfield.
Additional Baylor Prospects
Under Art Briles the Bears put out a lot of receivers and while Matt Rhule’s team runs a different style of offense, they still have good receivers. The best one is Denzel Mims who has been a touchdown machine with 24 career scores so far. Mims has a prototypical skill set for a big receiver as he displays a good catching radius and the ability to go up and get the ball. But along with that Mims shows off his former track speed to get deep. In addition to Mims the Bears also have Chris Platt who instead of the big physical Mims, Platt is a true speedster. On defense one linebacker Blake Lynch is an intriguing prospect who has played both safety and linebacker in his career showing good length and speed along with the ability to be physical with pass catchers. In today’s NFL you need versatile defenders and Lynch’s skill set is perfect for today’s linebackers.
#4 Georgia Bulldogs vs #2 LSU Tigers 3:00 CST on CBS
Best Prospect: LSU S Grant Delpit
2019 hasn’t been great to Grant Delpit as he’s struggled at various points during the year after looking like one of the best players in college football during the 2018 season. At his best Delpit is a do it all safety that plays a similar game to Los Angeles Charger Derwin James in that he is big and physical but has the athletic traits to be used all over the field. However, Delpit has struggled this year in the run game taking bad angles and missing several tackles. Against Georgia and their powerful rushing attack he cannot afford to have a bad game or D’Andre Swift could end up with some big gains. While Delpit has struggled in the run game he is still showing the ability to play in coverage both in man to man situations and in zone coverage.
Best Prospect Battle: Georgia Offensive Tackles vs LSU OLB K’Lavon Chaisson
Georgia has two offensive tackles that could be first round picks when it’s all said and done. Left Tackle Andrew Thomas isn’t a flashy player but he has good recognition skills along with solid lateral agility to cut off pass rushers. If there is a weakness in Thomas’ game it’s that speed rushers can get him off the edge. On the right side Isaiah Thomas has missed two games because of an injury but if he’s able to go the 6’7 340lber is a good run blocker that uses his large frame to seal off defenders. Both Georgia tackles will see plenty of K’Lavon Chaisson who returned this season after an ACL injury kept him out all of last year but has been nicked up this year missing time with a “lower body” injury. When healthy Chaisson is a big fast athlete who can beat tackles with speed and then have the ability to bend the edge. Chaisson has shown glimpses of being a dominant pass rusher at times, but so far it’s just been flashes.
Additional LSU Prospects
The story of the Tigers this year has been their improved offense and the play of quarterback Joe Burrow. Since Joe Barry came in and modernized their passing attack Burrow has been on a record setting pace. The change in offense has allowed Burrow to be more aggressive and take shots down the field showing high end ball placement. Burrow has not only worked his way into the first round but now it seems like he’s a lock to be the number one overall pick. Burrow isn’t alone of offense as he has two talented sophomore receivers along with junior Justin Jefferson. At running back the Tigers continue to churn out NFL Draft prospects and this year is no different Clyde Edwards-Helaire has emerged as a playmaker. LSU is known as DB U and they have two potential first rounders to add to this battle. Kristian Fulton is the Tigers top cover man having success using his fluid movement skills along with good instincts to always put himself in the right spot to cover up defenders.
Additional Georgia Prospects
D’Andre Swift is an explosive runner who is able to get yards using quick cuts to get to seams and openings in the defense. His ability to put a foot down or make a strong lateral cut to elude a defender or just get to the opening. Even when defenders are able to make contact with Swift he shows good balance to stay on his feet and force defenders to have to take him to the ground. When talking about Georgia prospects you have to start with quarterback Jake Fromm who took over as the starter during his true freshman year and was able to hold off heralded prospects in Jacob Eason and Justin Fields. Fromm isn’t going to wow you with his physical skills but he’s a fighter and has enough arm strength and accuracy to make clutch throws. Fromm has talent along the offensive line in his two tackles but also at left guard Solomon Kindley who is one of the best pass blocking guards in the nation. On defense the Bulldogs have plenty of prospects including inside linebacker Monty Rice who can go sideline to sideline and rarely misses a tackle. In the secondary left cornerback Eric Stokes is a burner while Richard LeCounte is a rangy coverage safety.
#8 Wisconsin Badgers vs #1 Ohio State Buckeyes 7:00 CST on Fox
Best Prospect: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young (#1 Edge)
If you don’t know about Chase Young at this point you’re just not paying attention to college football as the Buckeye defensive end has been unblockable to the tune of 16.5 sacks and that is with missing two games because of a suspension. At 6’5 265lbs Young uses explosive speed to get to the edge and then has the agility to bend the edge to attack quarterbacks. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also very powerful and able to use speed to power to rag doll opposing tackles with bull rush and inside moves. Wisconsin junior LT Cole Van Lanen and sophomore RT Logan Bruss had their hands full with Young earlier this season when he had four sacks and two forced fumbles. After being held without a sack or tackle against Michigan Young has to be motivated to get back to his dominant ways.
Best Prospect Battle: Wisconsin OLB Zack Baun vs Ohio State tackles Thayer Munford and Branden Bowen
In the previous meeting between the teams Zack Baun was all over the field finishing with 10 tackles and a sack. The 6’3 235lbs outside linebacker uses speed and burst to beat offensive tackles either attacking the edge to bend the corner or utilizing quick moves inside to get penetration for both sacks and tackles for loss. While Justin Fields gets most of the attention for the Buckeyes offense, quietly their offensive line has turned into a strength of this team. Left tackle Thayer Munford has really taken off this year showing the size and length required for the position while being an excellent run blocker. At right tackle Branden Bowen looks like he’s finally healthy from a broken leg and at 6’7 he’s a big tackle with good length. Both tackles will have their hands full with Baun’s speed and quickness and will have to get their hands on him to slow him down.
Additional Wisconsin Prospects
Center Tyler Biadasz is a top three interior linemen prospect and is at his best when he’s able to get his strong hands onto the defender and then is able to steer defenders and seal them off with his anchor. He’ll be tested by an athletic Buckeyes defense that has two quality tackles in Davon Hamilton and Robert Landers. After rushing for 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2018, Jonathan Taylor is well on that pace again this year. Taylor uses good vision, contact balance and using enough burst and wiggle to work his way through traffic and benefits by having a stout offensive line to give him plenty of running lanes. While the Badgers have some talented weapons at receiver they’re best weapon is tight end Jake Ferguson (6’5 246) who can be a matchup nightmare for defenses because of his quickness at the stem and the ability to go up and high point the ball.
Additional Ohio State Prospects
The Buckeyes have a trio of Binjimin Victor, Austin Mack and KJ Hill are not elite receiver prospects but are all draftable prospects who have big time roles in the Buckeyes passing attack. Victor uses his straight line speed and 6’4 frame to win down the field as he’s averaging over 17 yards per catch. Austin Mack is used in more of a possession type role whereas KJ Hill’s athletic ability has been used in a variety of ways to get him the ball in space and even on fly sweeps and various other run actions. After a bit of a down year running back JK Dobbins has been able to bounce back providing the Buckeyes with a consistent runner whose able to churn out yards on a game in and out basis. Dobbins isn’t a homerun threat but he’s able to churn out yards as a crafty runner using his burst, lateral agility and balance to work his down through traffic. Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah has solid size at 6’1 but his best trait is he has effortless speed to go with fluid hips and the ability to change direction. Okudah isn’t alone in the Buckeyes secondary as Damon Arnette and Shaun Wade along with free safety Jordan Fuller all could be drafted in the middle rounds. At linebacker Malik Harrison has good size at 6’3 250lbs and help lead the Buckeyes in tackles last year while also having 8.5 tackles for loss.