Nick Bosa is gone but Ohio State still has a dominant player on the defensive line, Dre’Mont Jones, who figures to be a first round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
The college football season is on the verge of wrapping up. For fans of the NFL draft, the season is just beginning. Senior Bowl and other All-Star games are sending invites to prospects and the conference championship games are just around the corner.
Before you know it the bowl games will be a memory and we can all look forward to the draft for these players. There are still critical games to watch and evaluate, including Week 12’s slate. This may not have been an overly dramatic or eventful Saturday but it did give more insight into some of the draftable player’s overall games. This is how they fared, for good or bad, this past weekend.
6. Wisconsin’s offensive lineman – Stock up
This may be a bit of a cop-out but the Wisconsin Badgers offensive line as a whole needs to get mentioned this week. The entire group may be playing on Sunday’s soon. After seeing the group pave the way for sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor’s 321 yard performance, their stock is rising. Center Tyler Biadasz leads the group and will be mentioned as the top interior offensive lineman in the country. Tackle David Edwards will get first round consideration as well. Finally guards Michael Deiter and Beau Benzschawel are both prospects who should hear their names called on Day 2 or 3. This group is dominant and the Purdue defense was no match.
5. Alohi Gillman, S, Notre Dame – Stock up
Like Wisconsin’s offensive line, this section could be dedicated to every draftable prospect on the talented Notre Dame defense. The Fighting Irish held Syracuse to a mere 3 points in what was widely viewed as an upset in the making. Notre Dame’s defense was having none of that talk and was led by an impressive performance from free safety Alohi Gillman. He finished with 8 tackles and two interceptions. He does not have the name recognition as defensive backfield mate Julian Love or linebacker Te’Von Coney but Gillman is an NFL level talent. Games like this that show he is a diverse player only add to a talented safety class entering the NFL in 2019.
4. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – Stock down
We could all see this one coming. A week after topping this list with a 500+ passing performance, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones saw his stock take a big hit Saturday. His toughest test of the season was always going to be the Clemson defense. This game will be discussed at length during his draft evaluation. The Tigers held the big play prospect to under 200 yards passing and zero touchdowns. Of course Duke’s talent level pales in comparison to Clemson’s but we all wanted more from Jones. He will get a ton of buzz in the draft but there needs to be serious development before Jones can be discussed as a future NFL starter.
3. Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
There are times during Ohio State’s near-loss Saturday that the Buckeyes defense looked completely lost. They allowed the Terps freshman running back Anthony McFarland gash their defense for almost 300 yards. Now all of that cannot fall on a few players but the Buckeyes have NFL talent on the defensive line. Losing Nick Bosa hurt the team’s strength but they still feature future NFL players Dre’Mont Jones, Robert Landers as draftable prospects. They also feature Chase Young who will be a top-50 pick when he is eligible and declares. It is Jones in particular who had to see his stock take a hit. Despite being disruptive at times, the snap-to-snap production was not there. Built in the mold of the prototypical NFL 3-technique Jones will find success at the NFL. However on Saturday he was not able to stop the dominant Maryland ground game and his stock took a hit.
2. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State – Stock up
Despite the loss, this weekend proved one thing, Hakeem Butler is a monster. The big wide receiver was facing the Big 12’s best corners at Texas (that’s not saying much in that conference). Texas features Kris Boyd, who will get top-50 buzz as a long rangy corner. Despite the tough matchup and terrible quarterback play Butler finished with almost 100 yards on 6 catches. Mind you that is on a day where his quarterback completed only ten passes! Butler also did this without the threat of David Montgomery who was suspended for the first half.
A quick aside to give the Texas Longhorns’ big receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey some props. He is a player in the same mold as Butler who caught a big touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Ehlinger and finished with 86 yards. Both he and fellow receiver Collin Johnson are draft eligible and will face big decisions in a few months. For now, the two super-sized players are preparing for
1. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri – Stock up
Don’t look now but we may have a quarterback stepping up to steal the QB1 spot for the 2019 draft. With reports out of Oregon that Justin Herbert will stay, and Dwayne Haskins being up-and-down, there is a chance Drew Lock is cementing himself atop the quarterback draft chart. Lock has strung together three performance worthy of a top quarterback. The Missouri signal caller helped the Tigers dismantle Tennessee on the road Saturday. A week prior Lock threw two interceptions but is showing a better awareness and accuracy, his two biggest weaknesses entering the season. If he can continue his hot streak it will go a long way in scouts minds. Lock will still need to answer questions surrounding his bad performances against his best competition but his improvement is encouraging in such a down quarterback class.