This week in 7 & 5, the Alabama and Florida game saw the most impact in my eyes. And with 41 players in that game on our watchlist, no one should be surprised.
1 – Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
Rashee Rice is a big target with nice hands. He is a big play threat for the Mustangs. Rice benefits from the coverage being drawn away by Reggie Roberson. After Roberson’s injury a year ago, he became one of the go-to wide receivers for SMU. Against Louisiana Tech, Rice caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
2 – Kaiir Elam CB, Florida
Elam had a phenomenal day in coverage against the Tide. He held John Metchie III from making any big plays. Elam is a lockdown corner. He has great size and length. He got called for DPI on the second drive against Metchie but it was a crap call. Elam had three PBUs and two tackles in the game.
3 – Brenton Cox Jr., EDGE, Florida
Draft Countdown’s other managing partner, Shane P Hallam, has long been singing the praises of Brenton Cox, Jr. Against Alabama, Cox consistently pressure QB Bryce Young and was a menace in the backfield. He finished with four tackles, one sack, and one PBU against the Crimson Tide.
4 – Malik Davis, RB, Florida
Davis is the rare running back to get the best of Alabama. He averaged nearly ten yards per carry. Davis has really nice burst and balance. His one touchdown came after breaking multiple tackles. Davis finished with 96 yards on ten carries.
5 – Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
The Matt Corral hype train is full speed ahead here at Draft Countdown. The junior passer put up another ridiculous number this week. This time against a Tulane team that took Oklahoma to the limit in week one. Corral has great accuracy down the field. He makes plays off-script. Corral has a big arm. Do I wish he was a little bigger? Sure. But with all of the other top QBs struggling a little (Sam Howell this week is an exception), the door is open for someone like Matt Corral to fill that gap. If he has about 60% of the game he had against Tulane (23/31 335 yards 3 TD, 13 rushes 68 yards 4 TDs) against Alabama and Texas A&M, the hype will truly get into the stratosphere.
6 – Tyler Vrabel, OT, Boston College
The BC left tackle did a great job opening up huge running lanes for the Eagles’ running backs against Temple. The 6’5” 307-pound junior is light on his feet in pass pro. The son of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike, Tyler Vrabel does a great job pulling in open space. This was my first extended viewing of Vrabel and he will be moving up my board.
7 – Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
Brian Robinson has bided his time in Tuscaloosa and finally appears he is now the lead back. Robinson is shifty in the open field. He showed that off by nearly breaking Kaiir Elam’s ankles in space. Robinson can run it in between the tackles or he can take it wide. He is a better receiver than he gets the chance to show. Against the Gators, Robinson touched the ball 15 times for 82 yards and two scores.
1 – Jahleel Billingsley, TE, Alabama
Billingsley started the season in Nick Saban’s doghouse. He didn’t play at all against Miami in week one and didn’t have a target against Mercer. Against Florida, Billingsley gave you a glimpse, albeit brief, of his talent. He made an athletic play, taking his one catch, 26 yards into the endzone. He is on the down list because we don’t know what caused the issue with Saban and if the issue still persists. Like it or not, Nick Saban’s word carries a lot of weight in NFL circles and his opinion of Billingsley could cause him to fall down draft boards.
2 – Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
I have been a huge fan of Josh Jobe’s game and still think he is a really good player. However, against Florida, Jobe struggled on the outside containing the Florida WRs. He had multiple pass interference penalties called against him. Jobe can bounce back from this performance and I expect he will do so.
3 – Nick Starkel, QB, San Jose State
Nick Starkel was a three-star QB recruit…in the 2016 class. After initially starting games at Texas A&M, and then Arkansas, the now 6th-year senior has found a home the last few years at San Jose State. Starkel looked good at times a year and has flashed this season. Unfortunately, he was just off this week against Hawaii. Nothing was crisp in his throws, Starkel’s accuracy was way off. He completed less than 50% of his passes for 235 yards and two TDs. He also threw a pick. I don’t think Starkel was ever going to sniff the first two days of the draft. I don’t see a draftable QB at this point.
4 – Derrick Deese, TE, San Jose State
A potential byproduct of Starkel being bad this week was fewer targets for Deese. The 6’4” 235-pound tight end only saw one pass head his way. There are some who think he was never going to be an NFL tight end anyway (I am not one of those). Games like this are not going to help his cause.
5 – Phil Jurkovec, QB, Boston College
Jurkovec had a chance to rise up draft boards this fall. Unfortunately, an injury to his throwing hand, that required surgery, ended the junior’s season. I fully expect him to return to Boston College next fall.