Every weekend in college football it feels like the 2019 NFL Draft’s QB class is underperforming and the edge and interior defensive line class are destroying people. This isn’t a year to be drafting a quarterback, unless it’s Justin Herbert. Luckily, if you need disruptive defenders in the front seven, there are tons of them. Guys like Jachai Polite, Quinnen Williams, Brian Burns, and many more are going to have team’s mouths drawling; the quarterbacks not so much.
Tweet of the Week
It was another awful weekend for the 2019 NFL Draft eligible quarterbacks. Most of them struggled and with each passing week this QB class looks worse and worse. It’s still only October, but this is how my quarterback rankings currently sit.
Lotta awful QB play today so feels like a good time to tweet out my current top 5 for the 2019 NFL Draft:
1. Justin Herbert, Oregon
2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
3. Daniel Jones, Duke
4. Easton Stick, North Dakota State
5. Brett Rypien, Boise State
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) October 20, 2018
The only one of the quarterbacks in my top 5 who currently has a first-round grade is Justin Herbert and he might not even declare with more on that in a minute. Teams searching for a quarterback early are in trouble. Dwayne Haskins has flashed, but as the season has progressed his struggles have become more noticeable. It’s best for Haskins to return to Ohio State for another season.
Duke QB Daniel Jones isn’t the sexiest passer, but he’s terrific pre-snap, throws with anticipation, has impressive ball placement, and he’s a good decision maker. Like Herbert and Haskins, Jones could return to Duke for another year. Easton Stick and Brett Rypien are both Seniors, both from non-Power 5 schools, and both are flying under the radar right now. The issue is neither is a first-round talent. Both are third-round developmental starters right now.
In the News
There’s always been heavy rumours that Oregon QB Justin Herbert was more likely to return for his Sr season than go pro. Now that it looks real this QB class looks gross….
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) October 21, 2018
There’s been heavy rumors for awhile now that Oregon quarterback and consensus QB1 in the 2019 NFL Draft, Justin Herbert, was leaning towards returning for his Senior season. This week the rumors have heated up as CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported NFL agents are pessimistic that’ll he’ll declare for the draft. Obviously this is major news for the NFL Draft. It’s one of the weakest quarterback classes in years and Justin Herbert is the only sure-fire top 10 pick at the position. Teams targeting a quarterback, like the Giants, Raiders, and Dolphins, are somewhat out of luck. If Herbert and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins return to school then there might not be a first-round quarterback in the class. This will push lesser talents up the board for QB needy teams.
For Herbert it’s a risky decision. He’s by far the best quarterback in this draft class and almost a lock to be a top pick. In the 2020 NFL Draft there will likely be more potential first-round QB prospects like Tua Tagovailoa. Of course, Herbert could help his draft stock by returning. He has the physical tools and terrific ball placement that teams love, but he can improve his decision making, touch, and consistency. The big reason he wants to return to Oregon is because he loves the program. He’s from Eugene, Oregon and wants to make them a winning program again. His younger brother is also committed to Oregon as a 4-star tight end. Can’t fault the kid for loving his school, wanting to win, and play with his brother in his Senior year.
Star: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (6-5, 301 pounds)
It’s not a great offensive line class. In a league where having offensive tackles has never been more important, there’s a shortage on truly talented ones. There are a few potential first-round tackles in this class, but only one premium blocker. That’s Jonah Williams. The Alabama left tackle hasn’t been mentioned very often this season and that’s a good thing. Williams is never mentioned because he’s never making mistakes and has been consistently dominant all season long. With Alabama throwing the ball better than ever, the job Williams has done for this offense has been overshadowed by their skill players. Don’t worry, Williams will get his credit on draft day when he ends up as a top 10 pick.
The thing about Jonah Williams is that he has no big holes in his game. Their will be some questions about his length and athleticism, but his lack of both has never troubled him while taking on the best edge rushers the SEC has to offer. He’s as technically sound a left tackle as you’ll find in college football. Not only is he a technician, but he’s an SOB who plays through the whistle. NFL offensive line coaches are going to fall in love with this guy.
The attitude, the strength, and the heavy hands make him nasty as a run blocker. It’s rare to see him make a mistake on a run play. Despite the athleticism questions, Williams has no problem working up to the second level and taking on linebackers as a run blocker. In pass pro Williams hands are hard to disengage from. Once they’re on you it tends to be game over. With his stout build he has a strong anchor and can re-set it on the fly when initially beat. Some people might try to project Williams to guard because of his strengths, but this is a franchise left tackle.
Pro Comparison: Andrew Whitworth
Sleeper: Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State (6-4, 310 pounds)
It’s a straight up weak interior offensive line class, especially compared to last year’s dominant class. There aren’t many centers in this year’s group who have NFL starting potential, but quietly Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins has been a huge riser this season. Despite the Bulldogs struggles on offense Jenkins and teammate Darryl Williams have done wonders for the team’s rushing attack. Jenkins might not end up going until day three of the NFL Draft, but he looks like a potential long-term starting center.
Kylin Hill’s rushing TD: Elgton Jenkins is unreal. Good snap, pull from center (difficult), head on a swivel and comes back to find the biggest threat. He’s the reason Kylin scores. pic.twitter.com/R7Jmg7E1OX
— Brett Hudson (@Brett_Hudson) September 2, 2018
Jenkins is known as the brains behind the Bulldogs O-line, which is exactly what you want in a center and he’s more than a cerebral player. He’s a thick mean run blocker who finishes plays and has an attitude about it. The type of guy who pancakes you, let’s you know about it, then calls out and picks up the blitz to perfection on the following play. There are some knocks with athleticism and footwork. He tends to get a little messy in pass pro at times but the effort is there and he’s always looking for work. The holes in his game are fixable with NFL coaching.
Pro Comparison: Andre Gurode
Overrated: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss (6-6, 325 pounds)
There might not be a player who has hurt their stock more this season than Greg Little. The Ole Miss left tackle was supposed to battle it out with Jonah Williams to be OT1 in the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, Little has played himself out of the first-round and he’s OT5 at best now. Little is almost the anti-Jonah Williams. He’s got all the size and athleticism in the world, but he’s a technical mess and he hasn’t shown signs of getting better. In Ole Miss’ most recent game against Auburn, Little was dominated by Nick Coe. Nick Coe isn’t somewhat you want to be dominated by.
Don’t be surprised if an NFL team is willing to gamble on Little in the first-round. We’ve seen NFL teams bet on the size and athleticism of offensive tackles before but it’s risky and tends not to workout. Little has some positives. He loves to get involved in the run game and finish plays. He works up to the second level well and has strong hand use. These are positives for him as a run blocker, but in today’s NFL you don’t draft left tackles to run block. If Little can’t clean up his footwork, anchor, and bend then he’s nowhere near worth a first-round pick.
Pro Comparison: DJ Humphries
Risers and Sliders
Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama
Quinnen Williams is a freak. Such a disruptive penetrator. I'd be surprised if he's not a consensus top 3 prospect with Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver. pic.twitter.com/elbCDpp7AP
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) October 22, 2018
- It’s hard to find a Power 5 prospect that has been as consistently dominant this season as Quinnen Williams. He went from the third best prospect on the Alabama D-line at the start of the season to the consensus best player on their defense. He’s surpassed fellow defensive lineman and potential top 10 pick Raekwon Davis. The dominance of Williams continued this week against Tennessee. He was clearly the best player on the field. The power and get off he has is rare, there are time he’s engaging offensive linemen before Davis is even out of his stance. This is a top 3 prospect.
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
- No player burst onto the NFL Draft scene like Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall did this past weekend against Duke. Going up against future NFL quarterback Daniel Jones, Hall had a massive performance. He broke up three passes and intercepted another. Hall is a long press man corner that the NFL will love. At 6-1, 200 pounds he’s the ideal build on the outside. His technique in press is sound with the use of his length and quick consistent footwork. Hall has the ability to be a top 10 cornerback.
AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
- With the injury to potential first-round pick Ole Miss WR DK Metcalf, their other big named WR AJ Brown stepped up. Against Auburn Brown caught 10 passes for 155 yards and a score. He showed off smooth route running from the slot and clean footwork for a bigger pass catcher. The main concern with Brown is he’s only ever really played from the slot at Ole Miss. It’s hard to project how he will look on the outside in the pro’s. Not knowing how he fairs on the outside versus press coverage is worrisome.
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
- This tight end class just keeps getting richer. Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam was a big name entering the year, but with the struggles of Drew Lock he hasn’t had the best season. Against Memphis he went off for 159 yards and three TDs on six catches. This was the statement game for his draft stock. His size, ability after the catch, and catch radius will have teams interested in him as a potential starter at the next level. This tight end class is one of the best we’ve seen if everyone declares.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
- With DK Metcalf’s injury there are questions about whether he’ll enter the 2019 NFL Draft. If he doesn’t that leaves the WR1 spot wide-open. It’s a deep class, but other than Metcalf there’s no clear stud. JJ Arcega-Whiteside is one of the contenders to be in the top WR spot. He helped himself in Stanford’s 20-13 win over Arizona State. JJAW showed his ability downfield and understanding of how to attack a cornerback’s leverage on a 28-yard TD. He has a rare ability to post-up and win 50/50 balls while also having the athleticism to beat deeps in one-on-one coverage. If he continues to dominate, JJAW could be a first-round pick.
Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson
- There was talk before the season that Clemson has the best defensive line in the country and Christian Wilkins is a top 10 prospect. It’s not even November and both of those things have been proven to not be true. Wilkins has flashes, but he’s far from a first-round prospect. To be honest he’s closer to a fourth-round prospect than a first-round prospect. In Clemson’s dominating win over NC State, Wilkins made the fewest plays of the big names on their D-line. Sure, he’s a big athlete, but it’s rare to get consistency from him. Nobody wants to draft a guy early who disappears for long stretches of games.
Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
- If there was any life left in Brian Lewerke’s 2019 NFL Draft stock, it can now be declared dead. Lewerke was awful against Michigan. He only completed 20% of his passes and average under three yards per attempt. Lewerke was a complete mess and at this point there’s not a chance he’ll declare for the draft. He’s just such a sporadic player with no consistency with his accuracy. The flashy plays are fun where he runs around and makes a crazy sideline throw, but he hasn’t taken any steps forward this year. He seems to have regressed.
Jalen Jelks, DL, Oregon
- It’s tough to evaluate a guy like Jalen Jelks. He’s kind of like Josh Sweat last year. Jelks is playing out of position and being asked to do things that don’t showcase his skill-set. Jelks is a long freaky athlete who is stuck playing a 2-gap 5-Tech spot for Oregon. There’s no glory there. On the other hand, he’s just not making plays consistently this year. In their loss to Washington State he was handled by Andre Dillard. Jelks is will likely still end up worthy of a day two selection, but the first-round potential just doesn’t seem to be there.
Steven Montez, QB, Colorado
- For some reason Steven Montez seems to have first round hype? No idea how that happened but he’s fallen back down to earth over Colorado’s last few games. He looked terrible against Washington without Sophomore stud Laviska Shenault. There are some things to like with Montez. He’s a big strong passer with some arm talent, but he’s nowhere near a first-round pick. It would be best for Montez to return for his Senior season and show he can make improvements with accuracy, decision making, and ball placement.
Ben Banogu, EDGE, TCU
- In a big showcase game for TCU edge rusher Ben Banogu, he faltered. Taking on Oklahoma and two potential future NFL offensive tackles Banogu didn’t flash. The negatives with his game were more noticeable than the positives. He struggled to get after Kyle Murray at all and was outplayed by teammate Ty Summers. The lack of bend Banogu has was really noticeable, he’s just a stiff pass rusher. His potential as a first-round pick is likely gone and he looks more like a day two pass rusher.
Game of the Week
#9 Florida vs #7 Georgia @ (Jacksonville, FL)
Finally, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is here. Not only is this a great rivalry game with a great name and an awful band somewhat named after it, but it’s full of NFL prospects. This is a huge stage for potential top 40 prospects like Jachai Polite, Riley Ridley, and Deandre Baker. It’s easily the game of the weekend both for its prospects and because of the impact it will have on the SEC East.
Seeing how Florida’s offensive line fairs against D’Andre Walker, Tyler Clark, and Jonathan Ledbetter will have a major impact on draft stock. Another matchup to watch is Georgia CB Deandre Walker against the smooth and athletic Florida WR Van Jefferson. This could also potentially be Riley Ridley’s breakout game. He’s got top five WR ability; Georgia just needs to get him the ball more frequently. The best player in this game to watch will be Jachai Polite. Seeing him get after Jake Fromm should be a lot of fun.
|#9 Florida||#7 Georgia|
|Van Jefferson, WR||Riley Ridley, WR|
|Tyrie Cleveland, WR||Terry Godwin, WR|
|Martez Ivey, OT||Mecole Hardman, WR|
|Tyler Jordan, OG||Lamont Gaillard, C|
|Fred Johnson, OG||Isaac Nauta, TE|
|Jawaan Taylor, OT||Elijah Holyfield, RB|
|Lamical Perine, RB||Tyler Clark, IDL|
|Jordan Scarlett, RB||Jonathan Ledbetter, DL|
|Jabari Zuniga, EDGE||D’Andre Walker, EDGE|
|Jachai Polite, EDGE||Natrez Patrick, LB|
|CeCe Jefferson, EDGE||JR Reed, S|
|David Reese, LB||Deandre Baker, CB|
|Vosean Joseph, LB|
|Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, DB|
Top 10 IDL Rankings
|3||Jeffery Simmons||Mississippi State|
|5||Jerry Tillery||Notre Dame|
|6||Gerald Willis III||Miami|
|7||Dre’Mont Jones||Ohio State|
Underclassmen on the Radar
Freaky Frosh: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
- Usually, I try to avoid repeating players in the Freshman and Sophomore category, but Rondale Moore was too good in the Purdue upset of Ohio State. Moore and the Boilermakers blew out #2 Ohio State 49-20. He put up 252 total yards and two touchdowns on 18 touches. This is a dynamic star in the making for Purdue. Even with his slight size, Moore plays big. His contact balance after the catch in this game was absurd. It might not be until the 2021 NFL Draft, but Moore is going to be a polarizing prospect.
Super Sophomore: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
- Just like Moore, it was too hard to not pick Grant Delpit for this again. Like Derwin James, Delpit is a freak of nature at safety. His size, versatility, and athleticism are just so rare to find. The 2020 NFL Draft is over a year away, but Delpit already looks like a lock as a top 10 prospect. Against Mississippi State he was everywhere. He managed 10 tackles, a sack, and two INTs. On a defense full of NFL players, Delpit is the guy who stands out most.
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