The NFL regular season is coming closer and closer to that final game in week 17 and while some teams’ fan bases look to the playoffs others are looking towards those three days in April that can turn a team around. Saturday, December 19th, 2020 will feature some bowl games that will contain top prospects facing off against other top prospects, let’s take a quick deep dive into who to watch during each game that are eligible for the 2020 draft and need to keep up or change their play in order to make it:
*All Positional Rankings are my rankings*
BIG10 Championship: 4. Ohio State vs 14. Northwestern
QB Justin Fields: Fields is one of the nation’s top QBs entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Fields is currently the QB2 but has had a lot of ups and downs this season. With only having played 5 games on the year and barely any vs top talent, Fields MUST capitalize vs top ranked teams in Northwestern and the Bowl team OSU is tasked with later. Northwestern hosts the 2nd ranked scoring defense in the country and Fields will need to capitalize vs a top defense in order to keep his top five status. Watch how he performs rushing the ball with Northwestern sporting one of the nations better LB cores.
WR Chris Olave: Olave is an interesting WR in this class. He has the potential to breakout like other OSU stars in Terry McLaurin and Michael Thomas but he also has a large bust potential. Olave’s season has been very productive but similar to Fields hasn’t faced much top talent. He is lining up vs one of the better young CB in college football this week in Cameron Ruiz. Olave has the potential to feast off the young buck but Ruiz isn’t someone that easily gets pushed around. Look for Olave to get a lot of looks but also a lot of mixed coverage assignments from press to zone, how he capitalizes will be key.
G Wyatt Davis: Davis originally opted out this year but opting back in has helped improve his stock. Davis is projected round one and needs to upkeep his play if he wants to go earlier in the 1st instead of falling to the later round. Davis will be tasked with blocking a weak IDL that doesn’t upkeep pressure but is impossible to block in the run game. This is a huge test to see how Davis performs in the run game and a good game keeps his stock up, a bad game sees it plummet.
C Josh Myers: Similar to Davis, Myers is facing a weak pass rush unit inside for Northwestern, however the Northwestern LB core is elite when it comes to blitzing and disguising their assignments. Myers needs to be able to ID this in order to see his stock rise. Myers has held still as a mid second round pick but could see his stock rise into the late 1st with a strong next few weeks and combine.
DE Jonathan Cooper: Cooper likely doesn’t declare this year but he has potential to absolutely blow his stock through the roof tomorrow vs Northwestern. Cooper is a sleeper this year for me and he has so much potential to be a Maxx Crosby type player this year. Cooper has great traits and by having a good next few weeks plus a potential combine he may rise from round four into the second round.
Entire LB Core: I’m going to just loop Pete Werner, Tuf Borland, and Baron Browning into one to save some time and consistency. All three of these LBs have potential to be stud LB in the NFL. All three will be able to demonstrate their talents vs a very talented rushing offense in college. These three won’t see their stocks rise much but will be able to prevent it from falling with good games these next two weeks.
CB Shaun Wade: Wade has been awful this year, like absolutely awful. Wade needs to show that he can keep up with even mediocre talent if he doesn’t want to risk falling into the late second round. Wade is super talented from the slot but not being able to play outside is going to butcher his draft stock. Till then I don’t expect Wade to rise in mine and other analysts rankings
DE Earnest Brown IV: Brown is a very underrated pass rusher and could be someone that we could see get his name called in day three but he could be a super talented depth pass rusher in the NFL. Working off of a top T duo in the NFL could help him rise that stock up from the fourth to late third.
LB Paddy Fisher: Fisher came back to college for 2020 and that was a horrible move. His stock has not increased at all but has only stayed the same if anything it may have decreased a bit. Fisher needs to have a strong ending to the season and a strong combine in order to prevent him from falling to the sixth or seventh.
LB Blake Gallagher: Gallagher is a solid LB that likely goes undrafted but with a strong game vs Ohio State I could see him rising into the sixth or seventh round. Very smart and instinctual LB that has the ability to become a very talented ST player in the NFL.
BIG12 Championship: 6. Iowa State vs 10. Oklahoma
QB Brock Purdy: Purdy needs a good game in order to rise his stock and get looks in the second round. Purdy has a lot of raw talent and has a lot of potential but in order to actually make it in the NFL he needs to prove that he can compete with top caliber teams and defenses.
TE Charlie Kolar: In a TE class that is loaded, Kolar isn’t getting a lot of love. Kolar is a very explosive TE that has big play ability but lacks his blocking skills. Kolar could boost his stock into being a top three TE in the class with a good week. Look for Kolar to feats on the Oklahoma weak LB core.
S Duo: Lawrence White IV and Greg Eisworth II are probably the best S duo in the entire NCAA. These two are absolutely electric, they hit hard and cover well. I want to see them vs Spencer Rattler and the explosive offense of the Sooners but both of them could boost the stock enough to jump into day two conversation and have a good case to declare this season
DE Ronnie Perkins: Do I absolutely love Ronnier Perkins. Perkins is an absolute STUD at DE. He has all the tools you could be looking for in an NFL caliber DE. Unfortunately for Perkins, the 2020 Draft Class is absolutely loaded at EDGE rusher. Look for Perkins to wreak havoc on the Cyclones and if he does he has the potential to keep rising in this year’s class.
CB Tre Brown: Brown is like former Oklahoma CB Parnell Motley, no respect. Brown doesn’t get the respect he deserves and it’s sad. Brown is one of the better CB in college and has the potential to play zone and man along with ST. Brown is currently projected round five or six but with a solid week and combine he may increase that stock a lot.
ACC Championship: 2. Notre Dame vs 3. Clemson
QB Ian Book: Book is having his best season of his college career and with another win over Clemson he would make a case to get drafted and could declare. Book needs to control the game and use his arm talent along with his running game. If Book wins this game or even keeps it close and has a game to remember we could see him rise from the late sixth to the early fifth and possibly the fourth round.
TE Tommy Tremble: The best blocker in all of college football that isn’t a member of the Offensive Line. Tremble has shown the ability to do everything be it block, line up at FB, or go out wide and receive. With a strong game we could see Tremble rise to the fourth round or so as a solid TE2 to a team that already has a top TE on their roster. Look for Tremble to get used a lot and look to see how he is used.
OT Liam Eichenberg: Eichenberg is a second round pick at worst. He has the potential to rise into the late first if he keeps up the play he is at right now. Eichenberg is currently my T4 and I expect him to be a solid player in the NFL but he really needs to prove he can play vs top rushers in Henry and Thomas for me to lock him in as a first rounder.
EDGE Daelin Hayes: Hayes is the most NFL ready EDGE rusher from this year’s draft. He’s got every trait you could ask for and can defend the run well and even drop back into coverage. Hayes is likely an early day three pick but with a good end of the season we could see a jump into late day two.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: I absolutely LOVE Owusu-Koramoah. He has every trait you could ask for in an NFL LB, he’s twitchy and super quick with great instincts. He plays every part of the defense well whether it be the run or the pass. He is going round one no matter what but he has the potential to rise into the early first round, even the top 10.
QB Trevor Lawrence: I’m not going to comment about this really. Lawrence is the best player I have ever scouted and is just well just that. Next prospect please.
HB Travis Etienne: Similar to TLaw he has so much talent but does have one concern, is he Trevor Lawrence’s scapegoat? Last time vs Notre Dame he had zero impact, granted with a freshman QB but if Etienne can’t get it going vs Notre Dame for a second time we could see a dip in his stock, and not a small one a big drop from day one to day two.
EDGE Xavier Thomas: Thomas is going to be a good rusher in the NFL should he declare. He’s raw, and very raw but he has a lot of skills that a team needs to see in him and wait for him to put together. If Thomas can get it going in rotation with KJ Henry vs Liam Eichenberg he will for sure be drafted by a team that needs EDGE rusher help. Look for Thomas to either drastically improve his stock or ruin in in one game.
CB Derion Kendrick: Kendrick is like a lightswitch, when he’s on he’s elite and when he’s off it’s embarrassing to watch. Kendrick needs to be able to lock up two Notre Dame WR’s that aren’t elite talents. Kendrick is raw and likely declares but he needs to put more tape on film in order for him to not drop down the board due to lack of consistency.
SEC Championship: 1. Alabama vs 7. Florida
QB Mac Jones: Jones is having a Hiesman worthy season and could see his name called day one but in order for that to happen he has to keep up with what he is doing. Jones needs to show his arm talent and ability to create plays vs a talented Florida defense. If Jones keeps up his play he will no doubt go late first round to a team needing a QB to sit behind a veteran.
HB Najee Harris: Not much to say here other than if Harris has a good game and Etienne has a poor game we could see Harris become the undisputed HB1 of the class. The only thing Harris could do to ruin his stock is getting hurt, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
WR DeVonta Smith: Smith is playing out of his mind. Ja’Mar Chase is still my WR1 but if Smith keeps up his play don’t be surprised if he ends up being the first WR drafted. Smith is electric in every aspect of his game and likely is the best Alabama WR out of the two drafted last year and the two that will be drafted this year. Look for Smith to feast on “Shoe” Wilson for Florida, however if he gets shut down that will raise concerns.
Left OL: T Alex Leatherwood, G Deonte Brown, and C Landon Dickerson will all be day two picks at the worst. If Leatherwood keeps up his play he should lock in his spot as a round one pick. Meanwhile, Brown and Dickerson need to show the ability to play well in the pass game. Lastly, Dickerson needs to show more consistency at C before a team can risk picking him higher than the third round. I’m excited to see what this group does vs a solid Florida DL and look for all of them to be absolutely game wreckers tomorrow night.
DT Christian Barmore: Barmore is on the verge of becoming a first round lock. With a solid performance vs the Gators, Barmore will lock it in and we should see him climb up boards rapidly. Look for Barmore to have the best game of his career tomorrow night showing why he should be a top pick this year.
LB Dylan Moses: Moses has been horrible this year. He was a top 20 pick last year and has fallen out of the first round. Moses needs to show he is the same player he was last year if he wants to even get a chance at a late first round pick. I like Moses but he’s my LB5 right now and rapidly falling. Look for Moses to try and get his game back on track tomorrow.
CB Patrick Surtain: Surtain is fighting with Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley to be the CB1 in this year’s class. Farley is currently my CB1 with Surtain not far behind. If Surtain has a game tomorrow locking down Florida’s star WR Kadarius Toney I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing him as the CB1 undisputed.
QB Kyle Trask: Similar to Mac Jones, Trask needs to have a good game in order to get first round talk. I like Trask in the second round and I think he will be a good QB in the NFL but he has a real chance to show out vs an elite Alabama defense. He’s coming off a poor game vs LSU and a bounceback upset win over Alabama would skyrocket his stock. Look for Trask to either play insanely well or flop hard.
WR Kadarius Toney: Similar to Trask we need to see Toney have himself a game vs Patrick Surtain. Toney has a lot of raw talent and can be one of the better WR in this class. He is currently going round three but with a solid game vs one of the nation’s best CBs, Toney could see his stock rise to the second round.
TE Kyle Pitts: Not much to say here other than I just want to see Pitts keep wrecking havoc vs a solid Alabama defense. Pitts is a rare specimen at TE and is someone that will get a lot of different opponents trying to line up against him to see if they can even limit him. Look for Pitts to absolutely destroy this Alabama defense.
DT Tedarrell Slaton: Slaton is a late first rounder as of right now. He gets a good matchup vs both G Deonte Brown and C Landon Dickerson. If Slaton can make plays in the run and the pass game we could see him get a lot of first round talk more than just a simple very late pick. Watch out for the big man tomorrow, if he has a good game Florida may have a shot on defense.
LB Jeremiah Moon: Moon is a very talented pass rusher but is very inconsistent. We need to see him play consistent and keep up applying pressure to Mac Jones and set the edge on the run. I hope Moon can play well and I hope he has a game vs the Tide and keeps his stock on the rise.
CB Marco Wilson: As long as he doesn’t throw a shoe this game, Wilson could see himself drastically improve his stock by covering a super talented WR in DeVonta Smith. Wilson needs to make up for his embarrassment vs LSU and by even remotely shutting down or completely neutralizing Smith, his stock will skyrocket.
AAC Championship: 9. Cincinnati vs 23. Tulsa
QB Desmond Ridder: Ridder is likely going back to Cincinnati for another year but if he chooses to declare a win over Tulsa could see his stock take a bit of a rise into the mid 3rd round from the late third round. I want to see Ridder be more consistent and show more talent then he currently is showing. Ridder has a lot of potential but needs to show it or he is going to be a Josh Rosen type player in the NFL. Watch for Ridder to try and make big plays but also could become too risky and hurt his stock.
LB Zaven Collins: Collins is an amazing LB and is rising up my board so fast. He’s gone from the third round to mid first round. If Collins continues to have great games and show that he can cover, pass rush, and defend the run he will be one of the first three LB taken in this year’s draft without a question. Look for Collins to make plays all over the field vs Cincinnati Saturday.
Mountain West Championship: 24. San Jose State vs Boise State