Week 10 in college football wasn’t the most eventful week, but it was a slate full of entertainment and the perfect appetizer for a colossal Week 11. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party came through with a clutch Jake Fromm performance in a 24-17 Georgia win while the Pac-12 managed to not eat itself with Oregon and Utah remaining alive in conference play. Nothing topped the constant big-play palooza of Memphis’ 54-48 win over SMU the most important game of the AAC season. Sprinkle in Notre Dame and Auburn barely winning and Wake Forest announcing to the country they’re a legit threat to Clemson and it was a fun time.

Now all the talk is about the wild initial College Football Playoff rankings with #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, #3 Alabama, and #4 Penn State. Yes, you read that correctly. It doesn’t matter though at this point in the season it’s just to create buzz and they certainly did that with the rankings.

Tweet of the Week

Unfortunately, Carolina Panther’s QB Cam Newton has been placed on IR and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season. It’s not shocking news considering Newton hasn’t played since Week 2 due to a Lisfranc injury. The more fascinating side of the story is the future of Cam Newton as the Panthers franchise QB going forward. Newton has just one year left on his contract and will be due $18.6 million in 2020. It gets interesting because it’s non-guaranteed money and if the Panthers were to cut Newton they would owe him nothing. Just typing that the Panthers could cut Newton, by far the best QB in team history, at 31 feels bonkers. Never say never though and the streets are buzzing about the possibility of Newton playing somewhere else in 2020.

From an NFL Draft perspective, this is massive news. This one move by the Panthers shakes up the outlook of the 2020 NFL Draft completely. Not only could a team in need of a QB sign Newton instead of drafting one early, but the Panthers will join a large amount of teams vying for a QB in the draft. Kyle Allen has done a nice job as the Panthers backup this season, but to think he’s the future is scary. The door is wide open for them to draft one in 2020 and it will be very dependent on when they pick and which QBs declare. If they aren’t picking top 10 then it’s likely their options are Jordan Love (probably won’t declare), Jalen Hurts (an interesting fit), and Jake Fromm (yuck). As for Newton, some potential landing spots are the Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Los Angeles Chargers.

In the News

The NFL Draft is officially in the air and everybody is ready to take a big whiff of its wonderful aroma. There are few better things on this earth than the Senior Bowl. A week of practices in Mobile, Alabama with the top senior NFL Draft prospects in the country. It’s a place where NFL GMs, coaches, and scouts go to really ramp up their evaluations. Mobile is also huge for media and plenty of Draft Twitter’s finest will be there to get a better look at these prospects. Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy (a former scout for the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs) has done a terrific job growing the event and making it more social media-friendly than ever.

Senior Bowl season is here as Nagy and the rest of the staff began sending invites out this week. They’ve done a perfect job tracking the acceptances via Twitter and the list is growing fast. There’s already over 30 acceptances and some of the biggest names in college football are among the group. Of the early accepters, the four that especially stand out are Auburn’s Derrick Brown, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore and Cal’s Ashtyn Davis. Brown is already considered a first-round lock while Kinlaw, Gallimore and Davis have the tools and tape to put themselves into the first-round convo come April. The Senior Bowl is the perfect opportunity for them to separate themselves and potentially lock into the top five at their respective positions. Moral of the story, even if you’re one of the best in the class head to Mobile when Nagy comes knocking.

Acceptances:

  • Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt
  • Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
  • Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
  • Devin Dunvernay, WR, Texas
  • Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  • Kalija Lipscomb, WR, Vanderbilt
  • Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
  • Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt
  • Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU
  • Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
  • Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
  • Josh Jones, OT, Houston
  • Terence Steele, OT, Texas Tech
  • Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia
  • Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan
  • Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky
  • Hakeem Adeniji, OL, Kansas
  • Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Alex Taylor, OL, South Carolina State
  • Ben Bartch, OL, Saint John’s
  • Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
  • Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
  • Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
  • Larrell Murchison, IDL, North Carolina State
  • Jason Strowbridge, IDL, UNC
  • Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
  • Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
  • DJ Wonnum, EDGE, South Carolina
  • Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota
  • Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
  • Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
  • Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
  • Evan Weaver, LB, Cal
  • Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
  • Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern
  • AJ Green, CB, Oklahoma State
  • Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
  • Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  • Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
  • Josh Metellus, S, Michigan
  • Brian Cole, S, Mississippi State
  • K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson

Prospect Spotlight

This week for prospect spotlight it’s Senior Bowl themed because nothing is better than the Senior Bowl. They even have the best candy sponsor with Reese’s, MMMMMM.

Star: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal

One of the most noteworthy Senior Bowl accepters thus far is, of course, Cal safety Ashtyn Davis. Davis has a great story, a former walk-on who used his ability as a track and field star athlete to get to Cal. Davis is now in his third year as a starter in the Golden Bears secondary and has a chance to be the second safety off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s an elite athlete, his track and field numbers are nuts, who isn’t afraid to put his body on the line. The type of missile in the secondary every defensive coordinator will love.

Davis might be more well known for his big hits than anything else, but what really set him apart in this class is his ability in coverage. He’s going to blow up the NFL Combine because of his combo of straight-line speed and agility. With his range and explosiveness, he thrives when playing in a single-high role. He’s not a one-trick-pony though with the ability to match up one-on-one with tight ends and slot receivers. When factoring in his football IQ/instincts, you’ve got the complete safety every NFL team wants. If he can clean up missed tackles he’s going to be a stud. Not only is he one of the most aggressive players in the class, an elite athlete, and multi-year productive starter, but he’s got the intelligence to get a defense in place and put himself in the best spot to make a play.

The Senior Bowl will be a huge showcase for Davis to solidify himself as a first-round talent. Could he be this year’s Darnell Savage, a safety everybody loves on film with big athleticism and he puts it all together in Mobile to lock up a first-round spot? It sure feels plausible.

Sleeper: Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette

One of the best parts about the Senior Bowl is discovering NFL talent that hasn’t gotten the same hype as others because they’re at a smaller school. Although ULL isn’t as tiny a school as others and plays in the FBS, Robert Hunt has not received the attention he deserves. Just by accepting his invitation to the Senior Bowl he has far more people checking out his tape and realizing he’s a dude to pay attention to in this class. Hand up, I didn’t know who he was until he accepted his invitation and now he’s a draft crush of mine.

Hunt is one mean SOB on the field for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He’s a fourth-year starter who has seen time at both guard and tackle for ULL. The NFL will likely view Hunt as a guard, but he’ll have his chance to prove himself as a right tackle in Mobile if that’s what he wants, it’s where the money is these days. He’s the definition of a road grading mauler in the run game. All he wants to do is put people in the dirt and boy does he ever. Hunt is powerful at the point of attack thanks to strong hands and great leverage. He’s got the tools to be a star run blocker on the inside. In pass pro, he wins with a strong base and anchor while using his hands to lock up defenders. To stick at right tackle in the NFL he’ll need to clean up footwork.

Overall, don’t be surprised if Hunt is one of the biggest winners of Senior Bowl week. He’s going to show up with a chip on his shoulder and use that mean streak of his to get attention. There’s a real chance Hunt ends up a top 100 pick.

Overrated: Josh Jones, OT, Houston

This might be an overreaction or even more of a prediction on Josh Jones. He’s been a fast riser in the NFL Draft community and has even been projected in the first-round of some mock drafts. It’s a strong offensive tackle class and obviously one of the most important positions in football, but first-round is a little rich. Jones is a long and lean (6-7, 310 pounds) left tackle with tons of athletic potential. The type of guy that NFL teams will fall in love with for what he can be and not what he is right now. This isn’t to say he’s a poor prospect, he’s a clear Day 2 guy, but he has the makings of someone who is overdrafted.

Jones has the length, footwork, and quickness to become a big-time blindside protector in the NFL. The Senior Bowl will be the perfect place to gauge how ready he is to hit the field at the next level, but it could also be a place where teams fall in love with how body beautiful he is. The NFL has a history of overdrafting these types lately (see: Miller, Kolton and Howard, Tytus). Jones has as much upside as almost any offensive lineman in the class, but he’s far from a finished prospect. He needs to improve as a run blocker, work on playing with better bend, get more powerful at the point of attack, and a stronger anchor. The tools are there, but he’s not NFL-ready yet.

Again, Jones isn’t overrated by many right now. This is more of a prediction of what will happen after the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. Even so, he’s a legitimate freak at OT with so much raw potential. He’s going to have a ton of eyes on him in Mobile.

Risers and Sliders

Risers-

  1. Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue

  • Entering the 2019 college football season the TE class was pretty unclear. There were a handful of names, but no consensus top targets at the position. Now in November, it’s safe to say Brycen Hopkins is the guy to beat as the TE1. Hopkins is a huge mismatch down the seam and helped carry the Boilermakers to a 31-27 win over Nebraska with 8 receptions for 97 yards. His combo of size, athleticism, and body control allow him to be a big-play threat at all times. With the season he’s having and him planning to be at the Senior Bowl, there’s a good chance he secures himself as a top 60 pick.

  1. Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington

  • Speaking of TEs separating themselves, if Brycen Hopkins has locked in at TE1 to this point then Hunter Bryant is TE2. Unlike Hopkins, Bryant isn’t a classic build at TE, he’s just 6-2, 239 pounds. The former running back is more of an offensive weapon than a true TE, making wow YAC plays and creating constant separation. He was the Huskies most consistent threat in their 33-28 loss to Utah, putting up 6 receptions for 105 yards and 2 TDs. What has really boosted his stock this year is cleaning up the concentration drops and showing improved ability through traffic. In the right NFL offense Bryant will be the definition of a mismatch.

  1. Amari Henderson, CB, Wake Forest

  • One of the sneakiest good teams in the country is Wake Forest. They’re by far the second-best team in the ACC at 7-1 and have NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. Get ready for them to play Clemson on November 16, going to be a close one. In their 44-10 thumping of North Carolina State, nobody balled out more than CB Amari Henderson. Henderson was all over the field with 4 PBUs and 2 INTs, an absolutely dominant performance. He’s often overshadowed by fellow Demon Deacon CB Essang Bassey, but Henderson is going to quietly rise during the process. At 6-1, 180 pounds he’s impressive length to go with feistiness and ball skills. A guy to watch for a potential Senior Bowl invite.
  1. AAC Wide Receivers

  • With many major teams on bye in Week 10, College GameDay elected to head to Memphis for #15 SMU @ #24 Memphis and boy did they step it up in the spotlight. It was a constant back and forth until the Tigers recovered an onside kick late to seal the 54-48 win. The story of the game was Memphis senior WR Antonio Gibson. He combined for a school-record 386 total yards and 3 TDs. His teammate, junior Damonte Coxie, managed 7 receptions for 130 yards and a score. Across the field for SMU, James Proche put on a show with 13 receptions for 149 yards and a TD. Tip of the cap to Mike Norvell who has done a wonderful job developing NFL-level playmakers at Memphis. Proche is going to be one of the best slots in the 2020 NFL Draft.

  1. Juwan Johnson, WR, Oregon

  • Two seasons ago Juwan Johnson was the next NFL wide receiver at Penn State. Then last season he struggled with drops and didn’t live up to the hype. He grad transferred to Oregon where he was supposed to be the difference-maker in their WR corps, but injuries have hurt him for most the season. In the Ducks 56-24 win over USC, we finally got the Johnson we had been waiting for since 2017. He caught 7 balls for 106 yards and 3 TDs and gave Justin Herbert the big outside target he has needed for years. For Johnson to get his NFL Draft stock back he’s going to need to ball out like this consistently down the stretch and parlay it into an East-West Shrine Game or even Senior Bowl invite.

Sliders-

  1. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

  • Some terrible news out of Stillwater this week involved their star, WR Tylan Wallace. Wallace tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season. He has been one of the best WRs in the country once again this season and had a shot at the Biletnikoff. With 53 receptions for 903 yards and 8 TDs through 8 games, he was dominating. It will be fascinating to see if Wallace declares for the 2020 NFL Draft or returns to Oklahoma State for his senior season. He had played well enough to garner first-round consideration, but now he won’t be healthy for the NFL Combine and could miss all of training camp.
  1. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

  • Utah State and Jordan Love were awesome in 2018 and with expectations sky-high in 2019 they’ve been utterly disappointing. The coaching change didn’t help, but Love just hasn’t been the guy we saw in 2018 that had top 10 pick hype. In their 42-14 loss to BYU, Love threw 3 INTs and continued to show his problems with reading coverages. All the physical tools are there, but he’s so raw right now and not ready to start in the NFL. He’s now up to 12 INTs in 8 games with just 9 TDs. It’s hard to see an NFL GM be willing to take him in the first-round coming off this season. Returning for his senior season feels like the smartest option for Love. We know he can be a top tier QB, but he needs to show it for a whole season.
  1. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

  • After a quick start against Utah and a 14-3 lead, Jacob Eason looked like that potential top 10 pick much of Draft Twitter believes he will be at some point. Unfortunately for him, that point seems like it’s coming later than sooner. Eason faltered in the second half showing poor accuracy and decision making. He was twice baited into bad interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. It’s so clear he has the physical tools and a dazzling arm, but if he’s going to continue to struggle with ball placement, reading defenses, and decision making then he should return to Washington for his senior season.

  1. Larrell Murchison, IDL, North Carolina State

  • In a down year for NC State, Larrell Murchison had a chance to put on a show against Wake Forest, a game many were watching with not a lot of options at noon. Unfortunately for Murchison, he was held in check for most of the game with just 2 tackles and a TFL. He’s an undersized interior defensive lineman with impressive agility and pass rush ability, but couldn’t generate much against Wake. Murchison has intriguing tools but has been inconsistent throughout his career. The Senior Bowl is going to be a huge week for him to show that pass rush ability in one-on-ones.
  1. Michigan Wide Receivers

  • A story as old as time, Michigan can’t figure out this whole throwing the ball thing. Shea Patterson is bad, but that’s old news. What is really concerning is the lack of production from the Wolverines big three draft-eligible wide receivers. In Michigan’s 38-7 win over Maryland, Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Tarik Black combined for just 6 receptions for 92 yards. They were fairly irrelevant other than Collins hauling in a 51-yard grab. We know they have the talent to be one of the best WR corps in college football, but they’ve never done it and are far too inconsistent. Maybe, all three will return for their senior seasons and a talented QB (Shea Patterson was always overrated so an actual talented one this time) grad transfers to Ann Arbor, Jordan Love perhaps?

Top 10 QB Rankings

Rank QB School
1 Tua Tagovailoa Alabama
2 Joe Burrow LSU
3 Justin Herbert Oregon
4 Jacob Eason Washington
5 Jordan Love Utah State
6 Jalen Hurts Oklahoma
7 Jake Fromm Georgia
8 KJ Costello Stanford
9 Jamie Newman Wake Forest
10 Anthony Gordon Washington State

Game of the Week

#2 LSU @ #3 Alabama

Despite the College Football Playoff rankings wrecking this game from being #1 vs. #2, it’s oh so clearly still the game of the week. The CFP rankings are just for headlines anyway, Penn State #4? Come on now, this is silly. Anyway, LSU @ Alabama is a game everybody in North America looks forward to every year. A defensive slugfest, but this year is different. For the first time basically ever LSU has a legitimate offense with a Heisman contending QB, but so does Alabama. It’s the most anticipated games of the year, per usual, but for a hugely different reason. Of course, it’s not only about the potential first-round QBs, but there’s also plenty of NFL Draft prospects on both sides of the ball for both schools.

The first thing that will be talked about is Tua Tagovailoa vs. Joe Burrow. It’s the consensus top two QBs in the 2020 NFL Draft facing off, a true treat. Looking at the other matchups though maybe the most intriguing will be the WRs vs. the CBs. Trevon Diggs vs. Justin Jefferson and Kristian Fulton vs. Jerry Jeudy/Henry Ruggs/DeVonta Smith. That’s a bunch of potential first-round picks battling. Also, who could forget the fun of seeing Alex Leatherwood vs. K’Lavon Chaisson, two more first-round talents. On the interior of the line, Lloyd Cushenberry vs. Raekwon Davis is another blue-chip battle to watch. The talent is just insane for both sides on every level. No matter what position battle you’re watching you’re sure to see multiple top 100 picks. This is the game you cannot justify missing.

#2 LSU #3 Alabama
Joe Burrow, QB Tua Tagovailoa, QB
CLyde Edwards-Helaire, RB Najee Harris, RB
Justin Jefferson, WR Brian Robinson Jr., RB
Saahdiq Chalres, OT Jerry Jeudy, WR
Adrian Magee, OG Henry Ruggs III, WR
Damien Lewis, OG DeVonta Smith, WR
Lloyd Cushenberry, C Alex Leatherwood, OT
Rashard Lawrence, IDL Jedrick Wills Jr., OT
Breiden Fehoko, IDL Raekwon Davis, IDL
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE Anfernee Jennings, EDGE
Patrick Queen, LB Terrell Lewis, EDGE
Jacob Phillips, LB Trevon Diggs, CB
Kristian Fulton, CB Shyheim Carter, DB
Kary Vincent Jr., CB Jared Mayden, S
JaCoby Stevens, S Xavier McKinney, S
Grant Delpit, S

Underclassmen on the Radar

Freaky Frosh: Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

  • Want to hear a wild stat? There are only two quarterbacks in the country with 25 or more passing TDs, 5 or fewer interceptions, and 2,400+ passing yards. They’re Heisman favorite Joe Burrow and UNC freshman Sam Howell. Maybe if Howell hadn’t flipped from Florida State to the Tar Heels then Willie Taggart would still be employed. Luckily for Mac Brown, Howell came to UNC and has been incredible. Even in their 38-31 heartbreaking loss to Virginia, he carried the team. Howell threw for 353 yards and 4 TDs and looked like a future star. Although they’re just 4-5 this season under Brown and Howell, it’s a huge improvement on their 2-9 and 3-9 records the last two years. They have a real chance at getting bowl eligible with their freshman phenom.

Super Sophomore: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

  • Watching the Florida Gators offense isn’t always an easy Trask, I mean task. One consistent playmaker though is sophomore TE Kyle Pitts. Pitts is currently eighth in the country in receiving yards among TEs and has been the key to the Gators passing game. Even in a loss to Georgia he put up 4 receptions for 78 yards and showed off how big a mismatch he is with his size (6-6, 239 pounds) and athleticism. The Gators use him as a chess piece lining him up out wide, in the slot, in-line, and as an H-back. It’s the perfect offense to take advantage of his versatile skill set. The 2021 TE class is looking impressive early.

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Author Details
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.
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I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.

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