College Football Week 7 NFL Draft prospects

nfl draft prospects

Must-watch games will always feature must-watch players. Week 7 of college football offers us a look at some great individual matchups and players hoping to improve their NFL Draft stock midway through the season.

Pitt vs. Miami

Pitt: Patrick Jones II, Edge
Miami: Bubba Bolden, S

After a slow start to the season, Pitt edge rusher Patrick Jones has shown up recently and put himself back on pace for a double-digit sack season. Jones is a traditional build for a defensive end standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in around 260 pounds. He has an excellent first step and shows a high football IQ with his ability to diagnose run plays and react to various blocking schemes being thrown at him. He’s going to need to improve his hand play at the next level, but he has some nice pass rush moves including a solid dip and rip move that has gotten him several sacks over the past couple seasons. If he can improve his hand play and add some upper body strength, Jones will likely find himself a top-100 pick in 2021.

Another Transfer U product, Bubba Bolden came to Miami early in his career from USC and has been a steadying force in the defensive backfield for the Canes. Bolden has great size at 6-foot-2, he is scheme versatile and shows play-making ability when the ball is in the air. His biggest issue thus far in his career has been availability with his transfer and an injury keeping him off the field. When he can play, Bolden is a solid tackler who gives defensive coordinators a matchup piece to play both in the box and high in coverage. With 2021 being an exceptionally deep safety class, Bolden will need to put a few more flash plays on tape if he hopes to elevate his draft stock.

Louisville vs. Notre Dame

Louisville: Javian Hawkins, RB
Notre Dame: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB

Only a redshirt sophomore, Louisville‘s Javian Hawkins has already established himself as one of the ACC’s most dangerous running backs. Hawkins’ best trait is his acceleration, which he uses to deadly effect on quick hitting runs off tackle. His acceleration, quickness and speed are all plus assets that allow him to create something out of nothing. He needs to significantly improve his vision if he hopes to be a starter at the next level especially since his size will prevent him from doing much between the tackles. Hawkins is a solid pass blocker, and his speed plays at the next level. If he does come out, he will likely be an early day three pick.

Notre Dame‘s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a modern linebacker who is slightly undersized but plays with excellent strength and speed. His short area quickness and fluidity in his hips allow him to match up nicely with tight ends and backs in both man and zone coverage concepts. He will need to show improved power in the box and ideally some ability to stack blockers, but with the game being played more and more in space, players with his size and speed combination come at a premium for defensive coordinators. If he can add some weight while maintaining his athleticism, Owusu-Koramoah could find himself rising up draft boards.

LSU vs. Florida

LSU: JaCoby Stevens, S
Florida: Kadarius Toney, WR

A holdover from last year’s team, JaCoby Stevens is the veteran leader of the LSU defense. He profiles as a box safety or even a dime linebacker at the next level with his size and tackling ability. Stevens is a tone setter with his physicality and with his receiver background, he has a unique ability to play the ball when it is in the air. He has limited athleticism that will likely relegate him to a box player at the next level, but Stevens’ football IQ and leadership alone are enough to get him drafted.

The Kyles get a lot of the attention with Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts, but do not sleep on the play making ability of Kadarius Toney. Toney has been a gadget player for the Gators the past couple of seasons and has now emerged as a legitimate receiver prospect in 2020. An explosive athlete, Toney makes his money on YAC opportunities where his quickness, speed and tackle-breaking ability make him a nightmare matchup for defenders. He is not a big guy, but he shows adequate strength and has turned into a reliable target for Trask. He needs refinement as a route runner, but a creative coach will find a way to get Toney involved at the next level as a wide receiver or even running back.

North Carolina vs. Florida State

North Carolina: Michael Carter, RB
Florida State: Asante Samuel Jr., CB

Michael Carter has been a mainstay for the Tar Heels‘ offense over the past couple seasons breaking out against Virginia Tech with 214 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Carter is never going to be a power back, but he has excellent lateral quickness and agility to make guys miss in the run game. He is a reliable receiving option out of the backfield and a willing pass blocker, which should get him looks on third down. Carter always seems to be under control with the ball in his hands and can stop on a dime. He will look to end what has been a stellar career with a 1,000-yard rushing season and ticket to the NFL Draft Combine come spring.

Like his dad, Asante Samuel Jr. is a sticky man coverage corner who looks ready to step into an NFL role. He often plays on an island for Florida State and is at his best in off-man coverage where he shows great instincts to stay connected to route stems and rarely concedes leverage. He needs to add some play strength and ball production to his film if he hopes to raise his draft stock. However, Samuel Jr.’s ability to flip his hips and run while still playing in control make him a high ceiling player at a position that has seen its fair share of misses in the draft.

Georgia vs. Alabama

Georgia: Eric Stokes, CB
Alabama: DeVonta Smith, WR

Eric Stokes is the other half of what likely is the best starting corner duo in the country for the Georgia Bulldogs. The only real knock on him comes from a lack of ball production, but otherwise he is as steady as they come at the corner position. Stokes is excellent in press coverage especially when asked to lock down a receiver one-on-one on a fade or slant rout. He has loose hips and the requisite athleticism to stay in phase and mirror receivers at any level of the field. Stokes is a physical, modern press corner who should be in the conversation for a late first or early second round pick on draft day.

We talked about Jaylen Waddle earlier in the season, but his running mate DeVonta Smith is also a huge threat and potential first round pick at wide receiver. Smith has great hands, excellent football IQ and a competitive streak that comes out whenever he is on the field. He needs to improve his play strength to get off press coverage, but his footwork on releases and route running are some of the best in the class. Smith has adequate athleticism but seems to consistently get separation and win early in his routs allowing him to generate consistent YAC if he is hit in stride. As the top senior receiver in the class, Smith will look to solidify his first-round status against the likes of Eric Stokes, Derek Stingley and some of the other top corners Alabama has yet to face this season.

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