Monday Movers | Dawgs on Top, Stroud for Heisman & CFP Stalemate

2023 NFL Draft Preview DraftID Podcast

Levis Levels with the Dawgs

As hot of a take as this may sound like, I thought Levis had a decent showing against UGA and a bounce-back game after looking horrible against Vandy. The Bulldogs ended up winning the game 16-6, but Levis had the Wildcats down 10 in FG range before Matt Ruffolo missed a 38 yarder that would have cut the lead to one possession with 4:17 left. Levis made several ill-advised throws throughout the game, but also stood tall and showed off many NFL-worthy passes. As unpopular as Levis has become to draft fans, his name is still valued highly around the league according to many sources familiar with NFL front offices.

The Georgia defense continues to show off week after week and this is starting to look like a group where we will see another 5-7 guys drafted. Safety Christopher Smith continues to be the alpha of the secondary and put on another strong performance on tape. CB Kelee Ringo had another impressive interception, which he returned for 45 yards. On offense, it was RB Kenny McIntosh who the Bulldogs leaned on this week. He took his 19 carries for 145 yards and a TD. The Wildcats held QB Stetson Bennett to just 13 completions for 116 yards.

Buckeyes Stay Unbeaten

Despite a quiet day from QB CJ Stroud, the Ohio State Buckeyes were able to put up 43 points in their victory over the Maryland Terps. Stroud finished the day 18/30 for 241 yards and 1 TD. Those are not necessary Heisman worthy stats, but on a Saturday where many offenses struggled, Stroud prevailed to stay unbeaten. The thing I continue to see with Stroud is that he doesn’t make many mistakes, even in the games where he is “off”. His numbers weren’t great against the Terps, but his tape was. He was throwing dot after dot and processing the defense with ease throughout the game. Despite a 68 yard day from WR Marvin Harrison Jr., he had one of the best catches of the year on a outside shoulder, one-handed sideline catch that was called for defensive PI. I truly believe he will be a top 3 pick in the draft next year and the highest drafted non QB. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba sat out of this game, which is starting to get a bit concerning. I understand that hamstrings are tricky, but he has now missed the majority of the season and Stroud hasn’t skipped a beat. Is JSN still a legitimate 1st round receiver or is it just media hype?

Michigan Struggles as Cakewalk Comes to an End

The Michigan offense failed to get much going against Illinois before bad turned to worse with a knee injury to RB Blake Corum. Luckily, the injury doesn’t seem to be season ending, as Michigan faces Ohio State this weekend and is in desperate need of a healthy backfield. Corum has been the most talented RB in the nation and has turned into an early day 2 candidate for the draft. Despite missing a chunk of the game, he still took his 18 carries for 108 yards and 1 TD. Michigan was also missing RB Donovan Edwards for this game, but it seems likely that they will have both backs healthy this weekend to face the Buckeyes.

Frogs Don’t Croak

Despite facing adversity, the TCU Horned Frogs pulled off the 1 point victory thanks to a fire drill field goal to knock off the Baylor Bears as time expired. QB Max Duggan was able to rally the troops despite losing both breakout NFL Draft stars RB Kendre Miller and WR Quentin Johnston. Duggan may not be receiving much hype, but the 4 year starter has shown off a legitimate skillset in these pressure moments and has looked great for stretches this season. I would be surprised if Duggan makes it through the late rounds of the draft without hearing his name called. Kendre Miller’s hand injury appears to be small and Johnston has battled against injuries all season, so I expect to see both back down the stretch.

Rattler Gets His Venom Back; Hooker back to the Streets

In the most shocking game of the season, the 6-4 South Carolina Gamecocks upset the #5 Tennessee Vols on Saturday in a 63-38 blowout where QB Hendon Hooker unfortunately tore his ACL. South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler, who once was seen as a big time prospect, had the best game of his career with 438 yards and 6 TD passes. Despite the leap in production and high caliber tools, I still do not classify Rattler as much of a draft riser. He has always had the tools, but lacked the intangibles and a big time outing against a horrible defense really doesn’t move the needle much for me. Hooker, who I had as a late Day 2 QB headed into the week, may now have fallen down most draft boards. A severe ACL injury is a big time blow to a QB that turns 25 in January and despite the storybook season, Hooker never necessarily had the traits that knock your socks off. WR Cedric Tillman had his best game of the season with a pair of TDs…the forgotten 1st round prospect was starting to get back into a groove but now will play with Joe Milton III down the stretch.

McBride Encapsulated as Tigers Stay Hot

Entering this game, UAB RB DeWayne McBride was on a 16 game streak with over 95 yards rushing, but the dominant LSU Tigers held the back to just 34 yards on Saturday. That is the second lowest game of his career, and the lowest since October 3, 2020 when he ran for 31 yards on 2 carries. McBride is one of the biggest sleepers in the draft, but showed not only that he was human, but also the strength of this elite LSU defense. LSU’s Harold Perkins has been one of the best defensive players in the country and is looking like a future top 5 pick despite being just 18 years old. CB Mekhi Garner had another great game and this time allowed 0 receptions on 4 targets.

Addison Aids Trojans in Close W

USC WR Jordan Addison has been dealing with leg injuries all season, but looked back to being healthy this week. The junior receiver took 11 receptions for 178 yards and 1 TD in the 48-45 victory over rival UCLA. UCLA RB Zach Charbonnette was held off the scoresheet for the first time since week 2, but still salvaged 95 yards on 19 carries. UCLA WR Jake Bobo once again led the Bruins, but was limited to just 76 yards.

Sackless Bama Shuts Out ASUN

The Alabama Crimson Tide looked far from dominant against ASUN’s Austin Peay, but they were able to get the 34-0 shutout. Bryce Young looked surgical as he sliced through the defense and completed 18 of his 24 attempts for 221 yards and 2 TDs. What was most surprising was the lack of pass rush for the Tide, as they were unable to get a single sack on 33 dropbacks. WR Jermaine Burton, who has been a bit of a letdown since transferring from UGA, had 128 yards and a pair of TDs. Not only were they his first TDs of the season, but it was also his first 100 yard game. Burton lacks the explosiveness of a game changing NFL prospect, but likely is going to be a mid-to-late round pick following his multi-year starting stint with two powerhouses.

DJ Gets his Swagger Back

Despite falling the Notre Dame a few weeks back, Clemson has done everything they can to claw back into the CFP race as one of the top 1 loss teams. QB DJ Uiagalelei seems to be back in the grove, as he threw for 227 yards and ran for 89. The junior QB still has a huge decision to make following this season, as he probably currently sits as a mid-round draft pick despite having another two years of eligibility. If the Tigers somehow lock down a CFP spot, maybe DJ can win some teams over in big moments down the stretch…but for now he may be wise to return for another year of growth.

Ducks Don’t Quack

The #12 Oregon Ducks were in a dangerous spot following a close loss last week to Washington, but were able to narrowly beat the #10 Utah Utes at home, 20-17. QB Bo Nix was a game-time decision following an ankle injury, but played and had a very mediocre performance. Due to the injury, he was a non-factor in the run game which took a significant toll on his production…something that all scouts clearly saw. Now the question boils down to, “Is Nix a legitimate dual threat in the NFL…and if not, where does he grade out?”. It reminds me a lot of Matt Corral last year and I think the two are very similar prospects. When you took the running ability from Corral, he was completely shut down and his rushing upside didn’t necessarily translate to the next level. Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez had another lockdown performance and is trending as a 1st round prospect. On the other side, Utah CB Clark Phillips III had another boom & bust performance…on his 6 targets he allowed 2 catches for 1 TD and 1 INT.

My CFP Rankings Ahead of Tuesday:

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan

4. TCU

5. LSU

6. USC

7. Clemson

8. Alabama

My Heisman Rankings:

1. CJ Stroud

2. Caleb Williams

3. Blake Corum

4. Bo Nix

5. Max Duggan

Best of the Rest

QB Drake Maye actually looked human in UNCs loss to Georgia Tech…despite the loss they are still locked into the ACC Championship game. QB Caleb Williams is probably now locked into an invite to New York for the Heisman Ceremony along with CJ Stroud and Blake Corum. QB Jaren Hall had his biggest game of the season with 456 yards and 5 TDs. Houston QB Clayton Tune has been a fun prospect to watch this season and continues to dominate. QB Anthony Richardson continues to shown great signs of improvement throughout the year. I believe he firmly belongs in the top 4 QBs of this year’s class. RB Bijan Robinson continues to ball out and is the best RB in the country. RB Mohamed Ibrahim is a vet who has battled significant injuries throughout his career and turns 25 before his rookie season, but he is a late round pick that will immediately help out in an NFL rotation. Arkansas RB Raheim Sanders is going to be in contention for RB1 next year. Tulsa WR Keylon Stokes is a guy I have mentioned many times this season…despite being on the smaller end and coming from an air raid program, his film is great and he has the speed to contribute in the NFL. Listen out for Stokes as a potential day 2 prospect.

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