I’ve got some good news and bad news for you college football fans.
The good news is, after the college football world forced my hand last week, making me talk about quarterbacks because there were only 28 games on the schedule. This week brings along with it a 44-game slate, meaning I’ve got a litany of different players to dissect. So we’re back to doing things normally, talking about players from all over the country at all different positions.
The bad news is that there are only two weeks remaining in the regular season, meaning I only have 10 new player profiles left. As conference championships and bowl games roll around we are bound to see some repeats, with perhaps a new opinion on those players as well...
But for now, we’re getting back to the old way of doing things and profiling some new players who have seen their stock skyrocket in 2020.
Before we look at those guys, let us check up on the QB’s we profiled last week.
Trevor Lawrence (#16), QB, Clemson
- Trevor Lawrence played his first game in over a month last Saturday, he predictably looked like a million bucks. He went 26-for-37 for 403 yards and a couple of touchdowns, 302 of those yards came in the first half. Clemson won 52-17. It’s too easy for the kid.
Kenny Pickett (#8), QB, Pittsburgh
- Lawrence’s opposing quarterback was Kenny Pickett, who possibly had the worst game of his life last Saturday. Pickett threw four interceptions and only completed 56.4 percent of his passes. Backup QB Joey Yellen finished the game for Pitt.
Mac Jones (#10), QB, Alabama
- I’ll admit that I had my reservations about him, but Mac Jones can flat out play. He finished the Iron Bowl with 302 yards and five touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes against a really good Auburn secondary. Mac Jones’ stock is rising.
I’m still thinking about this Mac Jones throw... pic.twitter.com/K24ADyyMdl— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 3, 2020
Kellen Mond (#11), QB, Texas A&M
- Texas A&M won last Saturday despite the absolutely horrendous performance that their QB put on. Mond completed only 32.4 percent of his passes which I didn’t even think was possible. His longest rush was 26 yards, his longest pass... 18 yards. Yoinks.
Kyle Trask (#11), QB, Florida
- Kyle Trask regained his number one weapon Kyle Pitts on Saturday and it showed. Trask wasn’t his best but still went off for 256 yards on 78 percent passing with three touchdowns. He’s been phenomenal this season.
*Weekly Disclaimer* I am not predicting that the Patriots will draft any of these players, I am just connecting the dots on who could fit in or have ties to New England.
Dazz Newsome (#5), WR, North Carolina
- Gametime: vs. Western Carolina
- Matchup: 12:00pm
- Network: ACCN
Dazz Newsome is going to be a really good NFL slot receiver. He’s got some really good straight line speed and sudden quickness that allows him to break off routes with ease. He’s extremely decisive, never second guessing himself, and seems to consistently make the right read on option routes. He’s very strong going over the middle and can take a beating when he’s there. Brings punt and kick return ability with him. His production dipped a bit in 2020 but that was primarily a result of an uptick in play from those around him.
When watching Newsome I couldn’t help but notice how well he’d fit into New England’s system. While Julian Edelman has spent time on IR, play in the slot has been much less refined and the offense has struggled because of it. We all know Edelman’s career is coming to an end here pretty soon and selecting a straight up slot receiver with tremendous upside to learn behind him in 2021 would definitely be the Patriot Way. The days of developing rookies behind veterans seem to be starting back up and this would be a really good option to keep that train going.
I’m sure Western Carolina isn’t going to be able to put up much of a fight against Newsome and the 17th ranked Tar Heels. Watching this game will be about paying attention to Newsome himself and not the competition he faces.
Zaven Collins (#23), LB, Tulsa
- Gametime: 3:30pm
- Matchup: @ Navy
- Network: ESPN2
Zaven Collins is one of those players I was referring too when I said “players who have seen their stock skyrocket in 2020.” Heading into the year I had Collins as my 10th best linebacker prospect, now he’s in my top-3. He is an extremely versatile player who can line up at any linebacker spot, off or on ball. He has necessary length and pass rush skills to play on the edge with the IQ and instinct of an off ball linebacker. He is very good at keeping an outside shoulder free and works well through traffic, he has fluid hips that will help him in his coverage drops. The biggest red flag in his game is whether or not he could fully develop into an every down player at one position.
Collins feels like a reach for the Patriots who took both Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings last season. I just wouldn’t mind seeing him be developed into the third player in that three headed monster. More than Jennings or Uche though, I think Zaven Collins fits the mold of a Dont’a Hightower type player, someone who could actually play on every down all over the second level of the defense.
The Tulsa linebackers will have their hands full when they go play Navy on Saturday. The Midshipmen run the ball 50 times a game so Collins will be in the bright lights. Most importantly, we know that Bill Belichick will be watching.
Azeez Ojulari (#13), EDGE, Georgia
- Gametime: 4:00pm
- Matchup: Vanderbilt
- Network: SECN
Azeez Ojulari rushes the passer and he rushes the passer EXTREMELY well. The unfortunate thing is, that’s all he does well. Ojulari struggles mightily in the run game and honestly doesn’t look too interested in improving.
While Ojulari has all of the makings of a player Bill Belichick would avoid, I believe he’s going to fall far in this draft. While some see him as a top-50 player I think he’s more like a top-200 player. So if he does indeed fall that far, he should be scooped up in a heartbeat. There is a *very slim* possibility you can scoop up a top-5 pass rusher in the fifth round, and that’s an opportunity you jump all over.
Ojulari has seen a flux of playing time depending on opponents, Vandy should present a team where he only sees passing downs so his skills will be on full display.
Zach Wilson (#1), QB, BYU
- Gametime: 5:30pm
- Matchup: @ Coastal Carolina
- Network: ESPNU
Zach Wilson has set the world on fire this season. BYU’s junior quarterback has put on a show with 2,724 yards and 26 touchdown passes through only nine games. He’s completed 74 percent of his passes with only two interceptions. He’s led BYU to an undefeated record while actively lobbying for more games to play so they can stake their claim in the college football playoff. He’s the darling of this 2020 season.
Again, like I said last week, I am fully on board with Cam Newton being the starter in 2021. I have also said that if the Patriots don’t want him past next season, they absolutely need to pick up the next guy this offseason. So in that line of thinking, Wilson is one of the top two options on that path.
There isn’t much more to say about Wilson than that. He and BYU got another chance to play this week against #18 Coastal Carolina. Should be fun for you folks to catch a glimpse.
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (#9), EDGE, Oregon State
- Gametime: 10:30pm
- Matchup: @ Utah
- Network: ESPN
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. is one of my favorite players in this draft class. He does just about everything you could ask of a 4-3 defensive end and does them all very well. As a rusher he uses his strength, length, and athleticism to effectively beat guards and tackles. In the run game he’s extremely disciplined and strong on the edge. He is one of the best two way defensive ends in the country.
Perhaps no team in the NFL asks more out of their defensive lineman than the Patriots. Rashed Jr. strikes me as the kind of player who would ask for even more as nothing phases him. He’s got a tremendous chip on his shoulder and is a team first player through and through. His limited production in 2020 may see him fall down some draft boards, right into the Patriots laps.
If you follow Rashed Jr. on Twitter you know that his lack of numbers has seen an increase in willingness to do whatever it takes for team success. That should be on full display on #Pac12AfterDark against Utah. Come get weird.