News & Analysis

Top 10 performances from 2021 NFL Draft prospects in Week 14

Nov 2, 2019; Stillwater, OK, USA; TCU Horned Frogs safety Trevon Moehrig (7) turns to run after an interception during the fourth quarter of the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated TCU 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Even with yet another depleted slate, we saw some big performances from some of the top prospects in college football. A number of the guys below are likely to end up in the first round in 2020, while some that aren’t are still PFF favorites. Let’s kick off the list with PFF’s top-ranked safety after Week 14 of the 2020 college football season.

1. S Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Moehrig has all but solidified his status as the top safety in the 2021 draft class at this point. After he led all safeties with 12 pass breakups in 2019, his eight pass breakups once again beat out everyone in college football. His pass breakup this past weekend versus Oklahoma State on a corner route when playing quarters was one of the best plays I’ve seen from a safety all season.

Having a slot receiver with a free release bearing down on you like that is about as difficult an assignment as it gets at the position, and Moerhig defended it perfectly. With his size, athleticism and production, expect Moehrig to go in the first round.

2. DI Christian Barmore, Alabama

It’s not a strong defensive tackle class, and Barmore hasn’t exactly been the dominant force we’d hoped to see, but the flashes of talent like this past weekend are still high-level.

He notched four pressures against LSU to bring his total to 23 on the season on 205 pass-rushing snaps for an 89.6 pass-rushing grade. The thing is, we still really haven’t seen much of him on 565 career snaps. Barmore has played 50-plus snaps in just one game this season. I think that will change come playoff time, as Barmore should get a chance to showcase his talents on the biggest stage.

3. WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

This is proving to be a weekly occurrence for the Alabama wide receiver. That’s no fluke, however, as Smith is in the midst of an all-time season. After eight catches for 231 yards and three more scores this past week against LSU, Smith is averaging 8.9 catches, 145 yards, and 1.7 scores per game.

If he continues that through the national championship game, Smith will blow Ja’Marr Chase’s 2019 numbers out of the water. That’s special.

4. QB Brock Purdy, Iowa State

Purdy has taken his licks over the course of his junior campaign, but he showed up against West Virginia ready to deal Saturday. He went 20-of-23 for 247 yards and three scores — and one of those incompletions was a drop. It wasn’t only his arm that did the talking. Purdy showed he deserves to be considered a dual-threat signal-caller.

Still, Purdy seems unlikely to declare after a disappointing season. Don’t get it twisted, though — Purdy is a much better prospect than his numbers suggest and is never going to put up big stats with the talent around him in Iowa State’s offense.

5. QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Yes, some of the windows Jones made throws into were egregiously large against LSU on Saturday. He still put the ball where it needed to be and in stride, even when that was the case.

The tools are about as unimpressive as it gets. He’s not particularly mobile, and those deep balls aren’t really on a line. That being said, he’s not making mistakes and he’s not taking negative plays. He didn’t take a sack for the fourth time in nine games and didn’t have a turnover-worthy play.

6. OT Abraham Lucas, Washington State

Lucas has pretty much picked up where he left off from last season through three games this year. Against USC on Sunday night, he didn’t allow a single pressure on 48 pass-blocking snaps.

He’s allowed only one pressure on 136 pass-blocking snaps in three games this year. Lucas is far more stout than former Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard, although he’s a similar project in the run game. Whether it was Mike Leach or current head coach Nick Rolovich, the run game has been treated as an afterthought during Lucas’ time with the Cougars.

7. EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami (FL)

When Roche has your number, good luck. Against Duke this past weekend, he racked up eight pressures on only 22 pass-rushing snaps.

Roche's dominance against Duke, however, brings up one of the most worrying parts about his profile. He’s feasted on bad tackles over the course of his college career but has consistently failed to show up against quality ones. Just the week prior, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw held him to only one pressure on 42 pass-rushing snaps. For an undersized rusher, that’s a concern.

8. LB Micah McFadden, Indiana

McFadden has made plays all over the field in back-to-back weeks. After a 90.2 overall grade against Maryland in Week 13, he put up an 88.3 overall grade against Wisconsin this past week. He’s been one of the best blitzing linebackers in college football this season and had four pressures, including two sacks, on Saturday.

Only a junior, McFadden is unlikely to declare, but he’s certainly putting his name on the map for NFL evaluators.

9. S Bubba Bolden, Miami (FL)

My how far Bolden has come since injuring his ankle after celebrating an interception last season. Bolden had a career-high 87.1 overall grade against Duke this past weekend. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound redshirt junior showed off his elite closing ability in space, racking up three stops in coverage. Bolden’s combination of length and athleticism will be highly coveted at the next level, as he could sneak into Day 2 with more performances like that.

10. DI Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

Garrett is quite easily one of the biggest risers in all of college football this year. After only 405 career snaps in his first three seasons at Ohio State, Garrett already has a 91.3 overall grade on 159 snaps this season for the Buckeyes. His touchdown off his own batted pass was obviously the highlight of the day, but he was consistently disruptive against Michigan State.

Garrett’s upper body strength flashes on tape on each play as he tosses offensive linemen to the side with ease. He’s a player we hope to see against some better offensive lines in the near future.

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