Week 8 of the college season is starting to show who the real NFL talents are versus the players who didn’t live up to expectations. As always, some players have their stock up after their performance while others have their stock down after struggles. Many names are still going under the radar who will be high draft picks.
Ed Ingram, G, LSU
Ingram has been in my Top 5 Guards for 2023 since last year, but he hadn’t really popped for most of the year. After he showcased his run blocking ability against Florida last week, the game against Mississippi showed why he is a top Guard prospect. Ingram was mauling Mississippi defenders in the run game consistently throughout the game.
With the upper body strength to pancake almost any defender in college football, Ingram is an elite run blocker. He also has the athletic ability to get to the second level showcasing that when he sprung Tyrion-Davis Price for a TD after two pancake blocks. Look for Ingram to be a high Day 2 pick in the 2022 Draft.
Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern
Joseph came into the season with plenty of hype, but Northwestern’s defense as a whole has taken a step back. Despite a brutal loss to Michigan, Joseph showcased the skillset of why he can be an NFL player. He was utilized in a variety of ways from rushing the passer (and getting a sack) to playing deep and breaking up long passes.
The 6’1, 192 pound safety switches direction pretty flawlessly and can be a versatile defensive piece in the NFL. Though he may not be the high end safety prospect once thought, Joseph is carrying the Northwestern defense on his back to try and make big plays happen.
Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina
Another week of McCall looking like an NFL QB. Though Coastal Carolina lost against App State, McCall was commanding the offense well. The stat line appears mediocre at first glance with 65.2% completion percentage and only 1 TD, but he made clutch accurate throws when it mattered. Consistently under pressure, McCall was moving around the pocket and buying time while making NFL decisions.
If McCall declares, look for him to be a Day 2 pick with some real upside as he develops the fundamentals of the position in an NFL offense.
Colin Newell, C, Iowa State
The Center position hasn’t gotten much love outside of Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, but Newell has been a central cog to the rushing success of the Cyclones. He sprung a Breece Hall TD against Oklahoma State with a great interior seal block with top notch hand placement inside. A lunch pail type of interior lineman, Newell gets a nice drive with his lower body and has been progressing as a pass blocker.
Newell isn’t overly flashy, but his technique and balance are consistent every game. Iowa State has been using him more recently pulling to the right side and letting him run block in space as well, which seems to be successful. Look for Newell to be a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick as a potential NFL starter.
Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
Williams had his best game of the season against USC flashing the NFL athleticism that makes him a desirable prospect. Notre Dame has been one of the worst rushing teams this season, but with more commitment, Williams flashed his explosive potential. He got to the outside often and hit top gear quickly using the open space to his advantage.
Williams’ best NFL asset may be his pass catching ability. USC’s LBs were always a step behind and the Irish took advantage in this game. At worst, Williams can have a pass catching role in the NFL. At best, he can be a dynamic Alvin Kamara type of RB who is a unique weapon for an offense.
Zerrick Cooper, QB, Jacksonville State
I was excited to sit down and watch Cooper against a tough Sam Houston State defense to see if he was NFL material. Unfortunately, he had a horrendous game filled with bad decisions and the inability to get away from the pass rush. He flashed athletic ability, but SHSU pressured him consistently and disguised coverages leading to bad play from all of JSU.
Cooper is athletic and flashes that on occasion. He has NFL traits in many ways, but this game left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Late in the 3rd day perhaps a team can take him and develop him. He could even see a Taysom Hill type role to come in on some red zone snaps and give a more versatile piece.
Kedon Slovis, QB, Southern Cal
Two years ago, Slovis had one of the best freshman seasons in college football. His perfect ball placement looked like it was already on an NFL level. But, compounding arm injuries and an ever changing offensive system has left him looking like a QB on the brink of getting benched.
Against Notre Dame, Slovis only had one play that really worked: Throw it up to WR Drake London. Any attempts to throw timing routes or lead receivers ended up offbase and inaccurate. Slovis struggled under pressure and couldn’t step up in the pocket to buy time and make a play. He has really fallen from grace and will need some luck to even be on an NFL roster at this point.
Names To Know
Demetrius Taylor, DL, Appalachian State
Taylor was a big reason for App State’s victory against Coastal Carolina this week. The five year starter has great size and has learned how to use it to get pressure. His ability to play low and create holes with both strength and technique is impressive. CCU didn’t have much of an answer for him forcing them to gameplan around his pressure.
Taylor’s arm length and ability to read line shifts to make an impact is pretty impressive. He flashes NFL talent and ability and needs to be on the radar. Look for Taylor to be a Day 3 pick with upside to be an NFL starter.
Tyler Beach, OT, Wisconsin
I always gravitate toward those Midwest Big 10 Offensive Linemen from places like Iowa and Wisconsin. Beach might be my favorite Badger prospect this year due to his high motor that makes opposing defenders work for every inch.
In a big game against ranked Purdue, Beach was leading the way in the Wisconsin run game. He had an excellent block with good hand placement on the Chez Mellusi rushing TD. An OT who might be better served as a Guard at the next level, Beach has those country strong traits you want in a starting lineman. Look for him to gain some steam soon and flirt with Day 2.
Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
McCollum was one of many Sam Houston State defenders who had a great game against Jacksonville State. McCollum is easily identifiable with his huge size for a CB, especially a small school one. JSU QB Zerrick Cooper learned quickly not to throw McCollum’s way as he intercepted a pass and had a big return.
The length and ability to stay physical with a WR down the field was on display in this game. He flashed some nice ball skills and got his head back to play the football throughout the game. He is an intriguing Day 3 pick with upside if he has good workout numbers.
Sam Williams, EDGE, Mississippi
The Senior pass rusher has been on an absolute tear this season recording a sack in 6 of Mississippi’s 7 games including this past week with a strip sack against LSU. Against future NFL linemen, Williams has gotten consistent pressure to make big plays in the backfield.
His strength is in his stack and shed ability to move offensive linemen into the position he wants and shedding inside or outside depending on the play. This type of technique and ability is difficult to find at the college level. If Williams name isn’t on the radar yet, he needs to be.
Chez Mellusi, RB, Wisconsin
The Clemson transfer came into Wisconsin and ran away with the starting RB job. This was apparent on Saturday against Purdue. On his touchdown run, Mellusi saw a cutback lane and immediately hit a cut to get back to top speed quickly and find a good angle to the end zone.
His toughness and vision have been outstanding. This type of between the tackles ability is valued by NFL teams to get short yardage. With the power brought to the table, Mellusi will be an NF runner at some point even if he isn’t hailed as one yet.