Brawlers NFL Draft Notebook: December 1st, 2020

  • 2021 NFL Draft
  • Anthony Schwartz
  • Brennan Eagles
  • Christopher Allen
  • Jermar Jefferson
  • Josh Jobe
  • Michael Penix Jr
  • NFl Draft
  • Samual Cosmi
  • Terrace Marshall Jr
  • Trevor Lawrence
By John Vogel December 1, 2020 0 Comment
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The Brawl Network’s Senior NFL Draft Writer, John Vogel, drops his scouting notes from Thanksgiving Weekend.

Thanksgiving weekend is normally filled with college football games starting on Thursday, a full slate on Black Friday, and then again on Saturday. Due to the pandemic, it wasn’t quite as filled with football to watch. Regardless, college football managed to fill Friday and Saturday with relevant matchups across the board and give NFL Draft niches, like me, the opportunity to scout a lot of football players.

Friday, I watched three games. I started with Iowa State’s upset on the road over Texas. That game guaranteed the Cyclones nod to appear in the Big 12 Championship game. After that, I observed the Notre Dame/North Carolina game. That night, I finished with the Oregon/Oregon State game and watched the Beavers effectively eliminate the PAC-12 from playoff hopes.

Saturday, I really only focused on two games – the Iron Bowl matchup between Alabama and Auburn, and the LSU/Texas A&M game. I’ve been catching up on highlights since.

If you missed my notebook from last week, check it out here. In the meantime, here are the notes that I’ve compiled from the action this week.

Trevor Lawrence graced us with his presence again – and it was beautiful

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence took to the field for the first time in over a month – following his COVID-19 restrictions and the postponed matchup with Florida State last week. Clemson brought the hammer down on the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Tigers piled up 38 first-quarter points, and Lawrence himself appeared to be in top-level form. He made about four elite NFL level throws with incredible accuracy and placement, continuing to drown any doubts that scouts or franchises may still have. If there is a game this year that solidifies his first overall pick status, it’s this game. It might have been the best I’ve ever seen Lawrence play.

The hype surrounding Lawrence has been around since he was the nation’s top overall high school recruit entering the college scene in 2017. Many compare Lawrence to former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and believe him to be one of the most pro-ready prospects to ever come out of college. Lawrence led Clemson to the National Championship as a true freshman, taking over from Kelly Bryant five games into the season, and defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide. Last year, he lost his first collegiate game as a starting quarterback in the National Championship game against a loaded LSU Tigers roster.

Trevor Lawrence isn’t just a guy who can sling the football anywhere on the field. He’s an excellent athlete with a big body who can run effectively and gets lower than most defenders.  As a passer, he has the accuracy and arm strength to fit the ball anywhere, any place, any time.

Whoever has the first overall pick in the draft come Draft Day will be getting one of the most elite and talented prospects to ever grace a football field. He’s a future NFL superstar. The fact that he is still playing currently has to concern some scouts and executives in striking-distance because an injury could dampen his start in the NFL.

NFL agents advising prospects to opt-out this week and prepare for the NFL Draft

LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall and Texas offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi have both opted out of the remainder of their college football season as of Monday, November 30th.  Both prospects made the decision following losses over Thanksgiving weekend. LSU has a big match-up against Alabama this weekend. Texas was effectively eliminated from Big 12 Title contention.

I was told that Marshall Jr would opt out following the game against Texas A&M. He wanted to show out one last time. He’s had a phenomenal season this year, proving he can be a number one receiver. Marshall has shown excellent hands and top-end speed, I’m estimating in the 4.45 area. Cosmi has solidified himself on tape as one of the higher upside tackle prospects in this class. He’s still raw, he’s got footwork and anchor issues to work out, but he’s very promising.

It makes sense that so many prospects are making the decision to opt-out at this point of the season. In a normal year, this is the week where the CFB season comes to an end. Teams begin accepting bowl game bids. However, this is not a normal year.

Many conference games have been pushed back and rescheduled beyond this week in both the SEC and the ACC. I spoke with a few NFL agents this week. They are advising players to treat this season normally if they want to play in the NFL next year. They are advised to opt-out now, at the normal point of the year, and start getting ready for the pre-draft process.

Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson is an uncovered star

It’s amazing that we all spend so much time talking about Clemson running back Travis Ettiene and Alabama running back Najee Harris, but we so rarely ever talk about Jermar Jefferson (5’9″ 200 lbs). I’m not crazy to put Jefferson on the same level as those two guys – he’s been destroying the PAC-12 his entire career behind a vastly less-talented offensive line. As a freshman in his first-ever collegiate game, Jefferson ran for 238 yards against Ohio State and eclipsed the century mark six more times that season.

This year, in just four games, Jefferson has run for 675 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 7.4 yards-per-carry. This week, in the upset win over Oregon, Jefferson ran for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was a key member in the Oregon State victory. Jefferson has incredible field vision and possesses the quickness to work through traffic and get to the open field. Run lanes seem to come naturally to him. He’s a very squirmy runner and he’s difficult to bring down. The key though? He’s effective as a receiver. He caught 25 passes as a true freshman and is headed toward that mark this year.

Jefferson looks like the complete package. He’s exactly what NFL teams want right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the first five running backs taken off of the board in the NFL Draft (assuming he declares). Personally, I think 5’9″ and 200 pounds is about the perfect size for a running back right now. He’s got a very good chance to do amazing things at the next level.

Alabama cornerback Josh Jobe looks like a stud man-cover cornerback

During the Iron Bowl game this weekend, there was an Alabama defender who really stood out above everyone – that was Josh Jobe (6’0″ 180 lbs). I had heard Jobe’s name mentioned over the last year but never really had the chance to watch him. The times I had watched Alabama this year were on the fly. I was in Gatlinburg with friends when the Crimson Tide destroyed Georgia, and with my daughter the day they played Texas A&M. Outside of that, I hadn’t really watched the Crimson Tide play all that much this year.

Jobe is a man-to-man cover guy with the ability to hit. He’s very smart and instinctive, and such a good tackler. Jobe has no trouble getting off of blocks around the perimeter. He takes very good angles when pursuing the ball carrier. Because Jobe is a physical player, he will draw some pass interference calls. He tends to rely on lowering his shoulder to lay a hit to knock a ball carrier to the ground instead of wrapping up. Regardless, Jobe is going to be one of the first cornerbacks off of the board in the NFL Draft because of his flexibility, his run support-ability, and his overall physicality.

Other Brawlers NFL Draft Notes

  • A week after his breakout performance against Ohio State, Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr.fell victim to an injury sustained in action against Maryland. Penix tore his ACL, effectively ending his season. I think it’s safe to say that Penix will be back in school next year, making his case as a top quarterback in the 2022 class. Best wishes to Penix during his recovery.
  • Texas wide receiver Brennan Eagles (6’3″ 225 lbs) soared to new heights in action against Iowa State last week. Eagles is a big, physical receiver with freak athleticism. He dominates vertically down the field attacking the catch point. The only initial concern I have is his route running ability; he’s explosive but looks sluggish in and out of breaks, and doesn’t appear to offer much support outside of a vertical passing scheme. This may limit his draft position. However, if he ends up on the right team, he’s going to be very good.
  • Alabama edge rusher Christopher Allen (6’3″ 245 lbs) played the best game of his college career in Alabama’s biggest game of the year, the Iron Bowl matchup against Auburn. Allen showed incredible body control, using the lineman and his athleticism to twist and contort his body through the gap he is rushing. He’s also a solid run defender against the RPO, playing his contain wisely due to his quickness and excellent burst. Allen looked like a solid contributor to someone’s 3/4 defensive front. He’s got a lot of upsides, too.
  • Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (5’11” 175 lbs) is certainly a weapon who can contribute in the NFL immediately. The junior speedster is rumored to run sub 4.3 forty-yard dashes and ran track all through high school and even at Auburn. Schwartz is a miss-utilized weapon at Auburn. With his speed, he is used as mostly a slot weapon and it doesn’t appear to be in his best interest to play. Schwartz plays his best outside – winning with quick rhythm routes and deep throws. Schwartz should probably return to school one more season and solidify his tape. Though, if I were him, I’d look to play that final season outside of Auburn.
  • LSU linebacker Jabril Cox Jr (6’2″ 230 lbs) really stood out in pass coverage against the Texas A&M Aggies. The North Dakota State graduate transfer is already Senior Bowl-bound – but has taken his game to another level the last couple of weeks alongside the LSU defense. Cox was aggressive and jumping passing lanes to knock down passes. He appears to have the athleticism to cover tight ends down the field. That’s something that NFL teams need to see in modern-day linebackers. Cox looks like a good day two NFL Draft selection currently.

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