As we get deeper and deeper into the college football season it is becoming more and more clear who the top prospects will be in the 2017 NFL draft. Obviously there will always be surprises but at least for the most part the guys who will likely be chosen in high rounds of next year’s draft have separated from the rest of the pack.
This article will look at a few of the top games from this past Saturday and highlight performances from some of the top prospects in those games. So with that said let’s get this going…
#6 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama
A top 25 showdown between two teams from the SEC is almost always sure to have its fair share of NFL draft prospects. This game was no exception. Both teams have prospects who will end up being chosen very highly in next year’s draft, and will likely make the teams who draft them very happy. The teams had prospects who played well in this game but one side had more than the other. The final score of this game was 33-14 in the favor of Alabama. Here are some of the notable prospects from each side and how they fared in this match-up:
- DE/3-4 Outside Linebacker Myles Garrett, Junior, 6’5” 262 (Pictured above): Myles Garrett is a beast. He is considered by most to be one of top overall prospects for next years draft. The edge rusher has been battling a high ankle sprain in recent weeks but he still managed to make an impact on this game. While he didn’t record a sack, he had 7 tackles (3 solo) and 3.5 tackles for loss. There were a few plays where Garrett’s explosiveness jumped off of the screen. His performance in this game will keep Garrett near the top of the list of draft prospects. Pass-rushers are extremely valuable in the NFL and Garrett is looking like he is on his way to becoming a difference maker for the team that selects him.
- Safety Justin Evans, Senior, 6’0” 195: Evans is considered to be a second or third day prospect. His performance in this game was decent, not great but not awful either. The stat sheet for Evans looks better than it really is. He had 4 tackles, all solo, and an interception. The interception came at an end of the half hail mary attempt by Alabama so it didn’t really have any impact on the game. This performance won’t help Evans jump up any draft boards, he will remain a day 2 draft prospect.
- DE Daeshon Hall, Senior, 6’5” 260: Hall is another guy who is considered at this point to be a day two prospect. Like Evans, Hall didn’t really help himself in this game. He recorded 6 tackles (4 solo) and a half of a tackle for loss. The senior will remain a day 2 draft prospect.
- DT/ 3-4 DE Jonathan Allen, Senior, 6’3” 291: Allen is an early to mid first round prospect and he showed why in this game. His stat line was 6 tackles (3 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 4 quarterback hurries. Because of his blend of strength and explosiveness, Allen gave Texas A&M headaches in this game. This performance solidified Allen’s place near the top of the board of draft prospects and maybe even increase his stock a bit. Allen will remain the top interior defensive lineman prospect in the draft.
- CB Marlon Humphrey, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’1” 196: Humphrey, a mid first round prospect, performed well in this game. He recorded 3 tackles, all solo, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection, and an interception. The interception came in the second quarter, on the play Humphrey did a very good job of baiting Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight into making the throw to his receiver. When the ball came Humphrey made the play. Humphrey will stand pat as one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2017 NFL draft.
- ILB Reuben Foster, Senior, 6’1” 240 (Pictured Above): Reuben Foster may have had the best performance of any of the draft prospects in this game. He is considered a mid to late first round prospect. In this game Foster seemed to make the tackle on the ball-carrier every time Texas A&M tried to run the football. The senior racked up 12 tackles (8 solo) and half of a tackle for loss. Foster will remain the top inside linebacker prospect and he will keep his reputation as a dominant run stopper.
- TE O.J. Howard, Senior, 6’6” 251: Howard is the best tight end prospect in the 2017 draft class and had a solid showing in this game. The senior grabbed 8 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Whenever Alabama needed some yards for a first-down, or to get into field goal range, Howard was the guy they would look for to make the play. NFL teams love to have a tight end that they can count on to make tough catches in the red zone and short yardage situation and Howard will fill that role well. Because of his position, he will likely be a late first or early second round choice in the draft.
- Safety Eddie Jackson, Senior, 6’0” 194: Coming into the game Jackson was a late first to early second round safety prospect. Unfortunately Jackson suffered a fractured leg and will miss the remainder of the season. Hopefully he will be able to heal before the combine and Alabama’s pro day so that he can show NFL teams that he will be fine going forward.
#19 Utah at UCLA
Unless you happen to be a defensive coordinator for one of these two teams, this game was a fun one to watch. There was plenty of offense to go around. The final score was Utah 52- UCLA 45. These teams don’t have a ton of draft prospects but there are some guys who played well enough to maybe make teams think a little harder about their value as draft prospects.
Utah has a few players that are considered to be pretty good prospects in next year’s draft. Unfortunately a lot of them such as DT Lowell Lotulelel (brother of NFL DT Star Lotulelel), and safety Marcus Williams missed this game for various reasons. But Utah had one prospect who performed very well and has an interesting story.
- RB Joe Williams, Senior, 5’11” 205: Williams had an outstanding game against UCLA. He exploded with 29 carries for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns. He wasn’t really on the NFL radar before this game but he will be now. The crazy thing is that this is Williams’ first game back from a brief 4-game retirement. Williams struggled during Utah’s offseason practices and during the teams first game of the year, deciding that he no longer wanted to play football. However, during the four games that Williams missed, Utah suffered multiple injuries at the running back position and asked Williams to rejoin the team. Obviously, Williams agreed to return and it looks like his four games away from the team re-energized the senior running back. If Williams can continue to play well he could wind up suiting up for an NFL team next season.
- DE Takkarist McKinley, Senior, 6’2” 258 (Pictured Above): McKinley entered the game as a potential fourth round prospect. He may have helped himself climb the draft boards a bit with his performance in this one. He had 6 tackles, all solo, 3 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss. A game like that will catch peoples attention. He could end up becoming more of a late second or early third round pick after this break out game.
- DT Eddie Vanderdoes, Redshirt Junior, 6’2” 305: Vanderdoes is a potential fourth or fifth round prospect and that likely won’t change after his performance in this game. His stat line was 1 tackle and a half of a sack. It wasn’t a very good performance but logging a half of a sack may have kept his draft stock right where it was.
#23 Ole Miss at #25 LSU
This was the second top 25 battle between two SEC teams this week. Like the last one, this also had a number of draft prospects. The final score was LSU 38- Ole Miss 21. Let’s look at performances from some of the prospects.
- QB Chad Kelly, Senior, 6’2” 224 (Pictured Above): Chad Kelly was considered a second round prospect entering this game. He is known as a strong-arm quarterback who has the physical tools needed to be an NFL QB but is not a great decision maker. He didn’t help himself in this game. He completed 19 0f his 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, he also had 2 interceptions. Kelly’s inconsistency and the fact that he turns the football over will scare NFL teams. Going forward he will probably be more of a fourth or fifth round draft prospect.
- OLB Marquis Haynes, Junior, 6’2” 222: Haynes entering this game was projected to be drafted somewhere in the second round. His performance in this game will likely keep him there. He has 3 tackles (1 solo), 1 sack, and 1 fumble recovery.
- TE Evan Engram, Senior, 6’3” 227: Engram was projected to be a second round prospect. This game will most likely hurt his stock. He only had 3 receptions for 15 yards.
- RB Leonard Fournette, Junior, 6’1” 230 (Pictured Above): Fournette is the top RB in this draft class. He has been struggling with injuries for most of this season. He busted out in this contest however with 16 carries for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fournette’s stock has taken a slight hit as of late because he has been slowed down with injuries but after this game, his stock is as high as it has ever been. He could end up being a top 5 pick in the 2017 draft.
- Safety Jamal Adams, Junior, 6’0” 211: Adams is one of the highest rated defensive back prospects in the 2017 draft. He was projected to be a mid first round pick before this game and that won’t change with his performance. He had 5 tackles and a half of a tackle for loss, and played a role in shutting down Ole Miss TE Evan Engram. Not a great performance by any means, but he did his job.
- DT Davon Godchaux, Junior, 6’4” 293: Entering this game Godchaux was projected as a fourth or fifth round prospect. That may change after this game as he logged 9 tackles and a sack. That is a huge stat line from a defensive tackle. Going forward he might be more of a second or third round prospect.
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