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Zachary Gartin’s Opt-Out Round-Up 2.0

Tim Heitman -USA TODAY Sports

Written by Zachary Gartin

Twitter: @All22_Addict

So last week this intro was an introduction to what I was doing with the Opt-out Round-Up article. Now it’s going to be transitioning to a place where I put some of my thoughts on college football and draft prospects in general. It should be a fun way to gather my thoughts for you guys.

First things first, congrats Sarah Fuller for becoming the first woman to ever play in an FBS Power-5 game for Vanderbilt. And anybody who is trying to say she had no place on that field can get all the way out of this article.

Next, Jaret Patterson’s game this past weekend is absurd. 409 yards and eight touchdowns on 36 carries was simply ridiculous and shame on the coach for taking him out with less than 20 yards and one touchdown to break both the single-game yardage and touchdown records. Fantastic game from Patterson, but a big “C’mon Man” for the Buffalo head coach.

De’Vonta Smith is really freaking good and we shouldn’t overthink his size and weight moving forward. Smith consistently creates separation against some of the best corners in the country, yet people continually knock him for some reason I cannot understand. Smith should be drafted in the same range as Ja’Marr Chase, late in the first round.

We need a bigger playoff picture in college football. I want to see if Desmond Ridder (who is hashtag fun to watch) and Cincinnati can hang with Ohio State or if Zach Wilson and the Mormons in BYU can hang 30 or 40 on Notre Dame. Make College Football even crazier, add more teams to the mix and let's have some fun for 3 weeks in January and eventually crown a Group of Five school as a National Champion (I’m kidding, we all know it’s probably going to be Alabama).

Anyways, let’s get to the opt-outs, shall we?

Trey Lance (QB, NDSU)

Watched: North Dakota, UC Davis, UNI, South Dakota, James Madison, Central Arkansas

The tools Lance has are just absurd. He has an absolute cannon attached to his right shoulder and can make any throw on the field because of it. He has a smooth release and an accurate deep ball which is a blast to watch on tape. Lance is also a really good athlete and smooth runner of the ball. The biggest thing for the former Bison is his upside. Having that arm talent and athleticism packed together in a 6’3”, 225-pound frame is rare and is the reason he is a highly-touted prospect.

But even if Lance is a highly-touted prospect, he is by no means perfect. His footwork and base when throwing the football is an issue. The placement of his lead foot is very inconsistent, leading to inaccuracies in the intermediate and short passing game. He tends to be a bit slow on his reads and doesn’t have a lot of experience making full-field reads. His anticipation needs work as he is usually a “See Open, Throw Open” type of quarterback. Lance also struggles with recognizing more complicated coverages and taking advantage of defensive back leverage. Some of the recognition issues and anticipation will come with time, but the inconsistent foot placement will take a lot of time to work.

Lance reminds me of a worse Cam Newton. A talented runner with inconsistencies as a passer that are fixable with time and practice. I believe that it would be best if Lance sat for a season and got used to the speed of the NFL. The arm talent and physical ability is special and as good, if not better than the other QB’s in this draft class. I would give Trey Lance a mid-1st round grade. Bank on his upside and let him thrive once he is accustomed to the NFL.

Jevon Holland (DB, Oregon)

Watched: Auburn, Washington State, USC, Arizona State

If you need an instant impact player to finish up your defensive back group, look no further than Jevon Holland. Holland is a well-rounded player who consistently does his job and does it well. He is a solid athlete with a quick trigger downfield, good footwork, and fluid movement skills. The former Duck is sticky in man and great in underneath coverage because of his great spatial awareness, fluid hips, and very disciplined eyes. And let's not forget that he is fantastic against the run, filling holes, working through the clutter, shedding blocks, and tackling at a very high level.

Being well-rounded is good, but not having elite traits in any one area is definitely one of Holland’s flaws. He doesn’t have great top-end speed or explosiveness, which will limit his ceiling. The Oregon product doesn’t have a ton of experience in press or in deep zones, causing him to really struggle in both areas when asked to do so. I think that lack of elite speed and burst also limits his range in the deep zones.

A comp that jumped to me a while after watching Holland was Malcolm Jenkins. Both guys are used very similarly in the box and to cover slot receivers, and win more with technique and eye discipline than raw athleticism. Holland can come in and immediately impact your secondary by becoming a really good option as a box safety or a nickel corner. Holland garnered a 2nd round grade for me, and I think any team that grabs him will be able to use him right away.

Ambry Thomas (CB, Michigan)

Watched: Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Alabama

Ambry Thomas is a technically sound press-man corner who is very consistent at the line of scrimmage. He can be very physical throughout the route and is solid against the run. His footwork and hips are very good and can be very fluid at times. His zone eyes are pretty solid and he has shown an ability to make a play on the ball. While Thomas isn’t the most outstanding player on tape, but he is a guy who I think “gets it” at the line of scrimmage. He is extremely solid in press coverage.

And while he is extremely solid in press coverage, Thomas is limited by his athleticism. His long speed and acceleration are concerns and cause him to lose against faster receivers in man coverage. Thomas doesn’t have a lot of experience in off-man or zone coverage. The former Wolverine tends to take bad angles in pursuit and doesn’t have the best technique when playing off the edge against the run. His lack of twitchiness and overall athleticism definitely limit his ceiling. Thomas could also use a couple extra pounds added to his frame.

When watching his tape, I was immediately reminded of James Bradberry. Both are good at the line of scrimmage, but the lack of elite athleticism limits their ceilings. I think that Thomas could come in and contribute as a CB2 pretty quickly into the NFL because his technique at the line of scrimmage is so refined. I have him as a 4th round grade and think he would be a great pick for any team that needs immediate contributors in their secondary.

Warren Jackson (WR, Colorado State)

Watched: Boise State, Arkansas, Toledo, Wyoming, University of New Mexico

Warren Jackson is an anomaly at the WR position, and it’s really interesting to watch him play. He stands at 6’6” and weighs right around 220 pounds, but plays a bit heavier as he has consistently shown strength as a part of his game. Jackson is a monster in the red zone and at the catch point thanks to his tremendous ball skills and absurd size. He showed some build up speed during his time at Colorado State and his movement skills are pretty good for a player his size. His ability at the line of scrimmage was really surprising to me. The Colorado State receiver consistently got off of press coverage and showed some pretty good variety and strength in his press release package.

Jackson is by no means a great athlete. Jackson struggles with quickness and burst, limiting his ability to separate with athleticism. His route running is very raw. Jackson had a limited route tree in college and lacks the foot speed, hip drop and flexibility, and the creativity to separate consistently at the top of his routes. His breaks can be a tad slow due to him playing tall within his routes and he will struggle to break that habit due to him lacking flexibility. That same flexibility issue causes him to struggle a bit with low passes. Like some of the other guys in this article, Jackson could look to add about 10 pounds to his frame.

I’ve been taught to never force a comp, so you won’t see one here. I can’t really think of many players with that frame and play style in the NFL. Jackson wins with his size and strong hands at the catch point, allowing him to be a target in the red zone and on third down. While I’m not sure if Jackson will ever be a WR1 or WR2 for a team, I believe that he can carve out a role as a third or fourth receiver on a team used primarily in goalline and third-down situations. I have the Colorado State product as a 5th round grade that will take some time on the backend of a roster before making big contributions.

Paulson Adebo (CB, Stanford)

Watched: USC, UCF, Oregon, UCLA

Paulson Adebo is a fairly good athlete with a solid, long frame and good ball skills which will make him valuable to a good number of NFL teams. Adebo showed good speed and a quick trigger downfield at times. He is not afraid to be physical and has solid hand placement in jam and in coverage while showing good technique with his hands. His tackling is also really solid, as he does not miss often.

But the rest of the Stanford corners game is very rough. His eye discipline is some of the worst I’ve seen in a corner for this class, and he is almost always playing too high in his stance or within coverage. Being too high is the root of almost all of his transitional and technical problems. It causes his balance to be an issue, creates false steps, and causes him to be slow when transitioning from movement to movement. After that, his eyes are too often in the backfield causing Adebo to be late to his reads and looking in the wrong spots due to his eyes. Both of these are major issues that caused him to struggle often in 2019.

Overall, I am definitely much lower on Adebo than some others in the draft community will be. All of the issues he had in 2019 will be preyed upon by NFL wide receivers and quarterbacks. His biggest strengths (his athleticism and ball skills) are intriguing, but not nearly enough to counteract the technical issues in his game. Adebo is a project that will take at least two years to hit in the NFL. I have the former Stanford Cardinal as a 6th Round grade.



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