By Ricky Eisenbart, PSO Football Scouting Manager
Dec 01, 2019

As the NFL and college football seasons are winding down, plenty of NFL teams are paying more attention to the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. While many fans have the final weeks of the playoff race and all that follow it to look forward to, draft season is heating up early for those who’s favorite professional team is putting the final touches on a disappointing season. For those unfortunate fans, as well as NFL draft enthusiasts and college football fans alike, here are the Top Prospect Performers from Week 14 of College Football, also known as “Rivalry Week”.

The new #1 team in this week’s CFP rankings, Ohio State didn’t need any further motivation for a game against their most hated rival: #13 Michigan. Entering with the country’s 2nd-best QBR (93.5), Justin Fields carved up the Wolverine secondary with ease, averaging an absurd 21.6 yards per completion (12.1 yards per attempt). Even after injuring his knee in the 3rd quarter, Michigan defenders were chasing him all over the field to no avail, as he and JK Dobbins (more on him shortly) combined for eight touchdowns en route to a 56-27 beatdown.

After sitting behind Jake Fromm for a year at Georgia, Fields decided to transfer to Ohio State and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, turning the Buckeyes into an overnight CFP favorite. The true sophomore hasn’t disappointed in the slightest, leading them to a 12-0 record and the highest-scoring offense in the country (49.4 points per game).

He isn’t draft-eligible until 2021, but Fields has been nearly flawless in his first season as a starter, accounting for 47 total touchdowns (37 passing, 10 rushing) and just one single interception in 277 attempts. Fields isn’t necessarily the “prototype” quarterback that Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has been built up as (mainly due to his dual-threat ability and “gadget” usage as a freshman), but his arm talent isn’t far behind. More than likely, he will join Lawrence as the favorite for both the Heisman and top overall pick as the 2020 season kicks off

Projection: 2021 Top-5 Pick

Although Dobbins was featured in last week’s article, he was just that good yet again. With 260 total yards and 4 touchdowns, he completely owned Michigan’s entire defense, churning out 7.9 yards per touch on 31 carries and 2 catches. He could do no wrong, even picking up his own fumble and rumbling for 30 more yards into Wolverine territory. Each week he continues building upon one of the strongest draft profiles of any running back, and assuming Ohio State makes the College Football Playoff, he will have plenty more opportunities to show the NFL what he’s made of against the best of the best. 

Projection: 2020 1st round

Coming into the season, senior WR Collin Johnson was widely considered Texas’ best offensive weapon. Effective while on the field (82.3 ypg in 2019), he has struggled to stay healthy and has played in just 6 games this season. In Johnson’s absence, however, Devin Duvernay has stepped up massively as a go-to target for QB Sam Ehlinger. After just 70 receptions and 1,082 yards in his first 3 seasons, he currently leads FBS in receptions (103) and sits just six yards short of 1,300, good for third most in the nation. 

At 5’10” and 210 pounds, Duvernay is built to create yards after the catch. His thick, powerful legs allow him to regularly shed defensive backs and consistently take hits from linebackers over the middle. The Texas High School standout looks to dish out contact rather than absorb it, similar to a running back. He lacks length, but makes up for it with strong hands and great straight-line speed. Considering the strength he brings as a ball carrier, he surprisingly struggles against press coverage and allows himself to get knocked off his route at times. A strong Senior Bowl and Combine performance could boost his draft stock immensely, but as of right now, Duvernay looks like a safe bet to be selected no later than the end of Day 2.

Projection: 2020 2nd round

Although the Auburn defense allowed 38 points in their 2nd Iron Bowl victory over the last 3 years, they scored two touchdowns of their own and stepped up when it mattered the most in the 4th quarter (7 points allowed). Derrick Brown was relentless all game long, fighting through double-teams and showcasing his wide variety of moves, adding to an already astounding resume with 3.5 tackles for loss. 

In addition to a 6’5″, 320-pound frame, Brown possesses an unreal arsenal of rushing moves that would be just as impressive even if he were 30 pounds lighter. A matchup nightmare for any lineman, he commands a double team nearly every single play, regardless of the defensive alignment. More often than not, however, he will either break through himself or get enough upfield penetration to cause havoc in the backfield and force mistakes for his teammates to capitalize on. Strong enough to split double-teams on the interior and agile enough to perform swim and spin moves, he’s more than just an anchor that will eat up multiple blockers – Derrick Brown is an unstoppable force no matter where he lines up, no matter the situation. 

Projection: 2020 Top-15 Pick

For the sixth consecutive year, Clemson defeated South Carolina in what was a dominant performance by the Tigers’ defense. They set the tone on their first drive with an interception deep in South Carolina territory (which led to a touchdown), and never looked back. Led by junior Isaiah Simmons’ team-high 10 tackles (2 for loss, 1 sack), they held the Gamecocks to just 3 points and 174 total yards of offense.

In terms of pure talent, Isaiah Simmons is undoubtedly a top-10 prospect. The main question surrounding him, however, is what position he will play at the next level. A converted safety, he is arguably the most impressive athlete in this year’s class with a proven ability to cover the slot, play the run, and rush the passer. Simmons is the epitome of versatility, a “positionless” defender with ideal size (6’4″, 230 pounds) and athleticism to run with both tight ends and wide receivers. A creative defensive coordinator, regardless of scheme, will be able to use his many strengths to neutralize any mismatches in coverage as well as at the line of scrimmage. Assuming he finishes the season healthy and performs as expected at the Combine, Simmons should be one of the first defenders taken off the board in April.

Projection: 2020 Top-15 Pick

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