We are almost halfway through the college football season! As we inch closer to NFL Draft time, new names still have time to show NFL scouts what they are capable of doing and raise their draft stock. The third installment in my weekly series, here are the guys that stood out this past week and caught my eye (and the eyes of many other NFL Draft experts).
5. WR Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State
This is a fellow who dominated at UCLA that no one expected to see. The junior receiver has quietly produced over the past couple of years at Oregon State as the program has struggled to stay relevant. Hodgins is on pace to smash all of his career highs, and has already caught more touchdowns this season than he did the rest of his career.
Isaiah Hodgins, again!
He finds the end zone for the 7th time this season and we’ve scored on our opening drive for the fourth time this season.
— Oregon State Football News (@BeaverFBNews) October 6, 2019
UCLA was his third 100 yard receiving game of the season, a 10 catch, 123 yard performance. He was also the top target in the red zone, hauling in three scores including that beauty above this paragraph. Not only has Hodgins showed the ability to extend to make catches with an impressive catch radius, but he also creates separation and uses his 6’4″ 210 lbs frame to his advantage. I like him a lot and I can’t wait to see how he produces the rest of the season.
4. RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor performed tremendously this week against Kent State. He collected his third game of the season with four touchdowns or more, this time logging five. Taylor entered the year with some people questioning his NFL skillset and wondering if he could transition to the NFL with the league looking for the new prototype.
Heisman voters, don’t forget about Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. pic.twitter.com/ojCfF4RyZ3
— Stadium (@Stadium) October 5, 2019
With every passing week, Taylor shows that he can not only fit the prototype, but be an effective three down back. Some questioned his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but he has proven this year to be very capable of that.
3. TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
Want to talk about a guy who was borderline unstoppable this week? UCF couldn’t seem to find a way to shut down Josiah Deguara who came up with some huge catches in the Friday Night game. Good for him that so many NFL scouts were there to see him, including Senior Bowl guys. Deguara piled up 5 catches on 8 targets for 64 yards, and 3 first downs.
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Posted clip of a Ben Watson-type hustle play by Cincy TE Josiah Deguara (@JosiahD5) earlier this fall and there’s more to like about him than sheer effort. Good athlete, route runner, and contested catch ability. He could play FB in the @seniorbowl. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/xBAwEtx1lU
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 5, 2019
Deguara shows us the skillset that says he will transition over well to the next level. Not only is he a good receiver, but he is a capable blocker and can even be an H-back type in the pros.
2. LB Cale Garrett, Missouri
Cale Garrett is emerging as a serious NFL Draft prospect that could go as early as day two. He’s having a monster season, already scoring three defensive touchdowns, intercepting 3 passes and compiling 39 tackles (4 for loss). Last week against Troy, Garrett intercepted two passes, taking one to the house, and made 2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Two INT’s against Troy
Three INT’s on the season
Three Defensive Touchdowns
30 Solo Tackles
— Bradley Davis (@DdavisBradley) October 6, 2019
While he is everywhere on the field, very smart in zone coverage, and a good tackler, I still have questions about his athleticism and speed. I think his range is limited because of a lack of flat line speed, but his playing style is very much the same as Luke Kuechly’s, the all-pro linebacker for the Carolina Panthers.
1. DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Derrick Brown has been all over my columns this season, and for good reason. This week, he very well may have solidified his status as a top-five NFL Draft pick. He was the dominating force that almost singlehandedly kept Auburn alive in their game against the Florida Gators. The senior defensive tackle collected 4 tackles, a crucial sack, forced a fumble and recovered two more. His athleticism at 325 pounds is off of the charts.
BREAKING: Derrick Brown is faster than most Big 10 RBs. pic.twitter.com/Hd7qrupiPU
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) October 5, 2019
Brown is a dominating force, showing incredible athletic ability despite his size. His draft hype could reach the level that Ndamukong Suh reached back in 2010. Brown looks to be the most dominating interior defensive lineman in the class and a real difference maker.
Follow John on Twitter @johndavogel and get in the NFL Draft conversation!
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