Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – Week 7

Clayton Smarslok with his weekly college football cheat sheet…

After a very entertaining week six of the college football season where three top-10 teams found their first loss of the season, we now enter week seven that contains some of the best games at this point of the season. No… Alabama is still not playing a good team but there are still three matchups between top-17 teams to watch today. Between that and prospects building their brand for the draft, it should be an excitement filled Saturday.

Week 6 Performers

Offense: 2019 Quarterback Draft Class

Usually in this spot is a offensive player that stood out in the previous week but the poor play of the quarterbacks must be talked about after last week. Throughout the entire season, the media and fans have been looking for someone to put their name into round one conversations and it seems that Oregon’s Justin Herbert is the only one wanting to do so. With him having the week off it was up to Dwayne Haskins, Will Grier, Drew Lock, Brian Lewerke, Jarrett Stidham and others to pick up the slack. Haskins put on another Heisman type performance but there is a good chance he doesn’t even declare. The other guys on the other hand just aren’t stepping up. Most have either shown no improvements from last year, regressed or quite frankly just don’t look the part of a selection worthy of the first three rounds. Thankfully, for 15 NFL teams with one or two wins, there aren’t many teams that will be looking for a quarterback of the future.

Defense: 2019 EDGE Draft Class

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, this edge class has the looks to be the best in awhile in terms of depth and top end potential. With Nick Bosa currently healing up, the edge rushers that currently rank between second and seventh on my board, finished with at least one sack in week six. Clelin Ferrell, Oshane Ximines and Jabari Zuniga were all able to reach that minimum. Meanwhile, Montez Sweat had three sacks with one being a strip sack and then Brian Burns and Jachai Polite both finished with two sacks with a strip sack each. For teams that need the position, one obviously being the New York Jets, this is by far the best year to need one in a while.

Week 7 Players to Watch

HB Darrell Henderson, Memphis (vs. #10 UCF, 3:30pm on ABC/ESPN2)

Trying to stay away from the big games this week, here’s a player going against a team that has not lost in almost two years. Taking a look at Henderson’s stats, you would think he is a top running back in the 2019 class. In the first six games he has run for 934 yards on 79 carries to go along with 12 touchdowns. If you look at those numbers again you’ll realize he’s running for nearly 12 yard per carry. Granted he hasn’t gone against the greatest of defenses but those numbers are just nonsense. What has stood out to me is his vision, particularly in the second and third levels. His vision and his breakaway speed have helped him more than anything else throughout this season. Henderson isn’t necessarily the most elusive or have the best balance but vision may be one of the most important attributes you want out of a running back. Seeing him go against a team like UCF could be a good way to help his stock.

S Deionte Thompson, Alabama (vs. Missouri, 7:00pm on ESPN)

Alabama has yet to have a remotely competitive game this season. As annoying as that is, this means the opposing offenses have to pass early and often. Being a true center fielder in this defense, this is where Thompson gets to shine. In his first full year being a starter, it’s easy to recognize the range he possesses. His movement skills just look so easy for him as he looks so fluid in space, changing directions like it’s nothing. He has been fantastic in coverage but don’t let that fool you into thinking he is a liability against the run. Thompson is always looking to get into the action running in from the single high or wherever he is lined. Even though there is no way the Jets take him in April’s draft, Thompson will be one of the more talked about prospects that don’t play on the defensive line.

Week 7 Games to Watch

#12 LSU vs #2 Georgia (3:30pm on CBS)

This is the third week in a row LSU is in a must watch matchup. With no longer being a top five team, after a 27-19 loss against Florida last week, it doesn’t make this game what many expected in terms of implications but should still be very fun to watch. Devin White is still flying around like he is shot out of a cannon making plays all over the field. Seeing him try to keep up with Georgia running backs, Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift will be fun to watch. But don’t forget the matchup on the outside with Greedy Williams and Riley Ridley. On Georgia’s defense, keep an eye on edge rushers, Jonathan Ledbetter and D’Andre Walker. While they may not be as explosive or as good as Florida’s set of edge rushers, only recording four sacks between the two, the Gators did show that it was a recipe for the win.

#12 Michigan vs #15 Wisconsin (7:30pm on ABC)

This Big Ten showdown is filled with NFL prospects that’ll be in the league before you know it. On one side of the ball you have the best offensive line in the nation in Wisconsin, led by redshirt junior tackle David Edwards. The Badgers want to own the opposition in the trenches every week. If Rashan Gary doesn’t play, it will be a tall task for the likes of Michigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich and linebacker Devin Bush . They will need to find ways to cause any kind of disruption because with Jonathan Taylor carrying the rock for Wisconsin, a big play can happen at any moment. As far as Michigan’s offense goes, they have seen an uptick in production the past couple of weeks. Shea Patterson and Karan Higdon will need to do their job if they want to win this game.

Weekly Rankings

Top 5 OT

1. Jonah Williams, Alabama

2. David Edwards, Wisconsin

3. Dalton Risner, Kansas State

4. Greg Little, Ole Miss

5. Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia

On the Bubble: Trey Adams, Washington