Sunday scouting notes from CFB week 11

November 20th, 2022 | Written by Rob Staton

With no Seahawks game this weekend I’m doing my write-up early. A quick note — I will still be jumping on a live stream later with Robbie Williams after the Broncos vs Raiders game. We’ll discuss Seattle’s updated draft position, my horizontal board, the options for the Seahawks in the draft and a lot more. Do join us.

Firstly, injuries — the most notable being Hendon Hooker’s serious looking knee injury. It was non-contact — which makes you think ACL — and he was writhing in pain. There’s been no official confirmation yet but it looks like his season — and college career — is over. It’s a sad end for a player who has enjoyed a productive 2022 campaign.

It will also significantly impact his draft stock. Sudden projections of Hooker in round one were wide of the mark and unwarranted. However, he was a worthy flier in the middle rounds. Now he could, potentially, be out until mid-way through his rookie season where he’ll be 25-years-old.

It’s incredibly unfortunate for Hooker but his health and age will work against him now and seriously impact where he goes in the draft.

Clemson’s Bryan Bresee and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson also didn’t play due to injury. Wilson was carted off with a suspected ankle problem a week ago so he could miss the rest of the year. Bresee has missed time due to kidney issues this season and he was held out of the Tigers’ stroll in the park against Miami with strep throat.

Finally, Calijah Kancey left Pittsburgh’s win against Duke with a shoulder injury. Pitt’s Head Coach said he was ‘OK’ after the game so fingers crossed he isn’t done for the year. Michigan running back Blake Corum also exited against Illinois with a knee injury.

The Georgia vs Kentucky game was a lot closer than expected. Given the way UK’s season has collapsed, this had the makings of a blow-out. If it wasn’t for the Wildcats’ defense it might’ve been — they played their best game of the year to repel Georgia multiple times, including some key fourth down stops. But it was to Kentucky’s credit that they stuck in there.

Will Levis will come out of the game with his reputation enhanced, despite a so-so stat-line. Yes he had another interception — although I have no idea what the play-design was on the pick. If you want to have a receiver run a route in behind the corner and ahead of the safety, you have to have a decoy to lure the cornerback out of position. Kentucky didn’t — which meant Kelee Ringo could squat on the receiver and make an easy interception. Rich Scangarello is under increasing pressure in Kentucky and it’s not hard to see why with moments like this.

Apart from that, Levis did his best to try and support the defense with almost no help — which has become UK’s calling card this year.

He had a superb 31-yard throw from deep inside his own end zone. UK started with a bad decision to fair catch on virtually their own goal line on the opening kick off. Then the O-line had a false start on 3rd down. Levis, with bodies around him in the end zone, lobbed a perfect pass to the right sideline. He showed wonderful loft and placement for a big-time completion vs Kelee Ringo.

Kentucky got to half-way on that really encouraging opening drive powered by the passing game. They then ran twice on 3rd/4th and 1 and didn’t convert.

A receiver had an enormous, horrible drop on 3rd and 4 with the score at 16-0. It went straight through his hands.

Levis led a 99-yard scoring drive against the Georgia defense to drag Kentucky back into the game. Not many quarterbacks can say that. They got the ball back at 16-6 and Levis again led them into field goal range only for the kicker to boot it 20 yards wide of the posts after a terrible snap.

This has been mission impossible all year. People are comparing Levis to quarterbacks in the PAC-12 with all day to throw against powderpuff opponents, with superior supporting casts in half-field, one-read schemes that are well-oiled and prolific. Levis is helping prop up one of the weaker SEC teams, competing against the likes of Georgia and Tennessee. He has been battered all year and is playing through turf toe and an injured shoulder.

Look what Georgia did to the one PAC-12 opponent they’ve faced this season for a comparison.

Teams are going to view Levis through a projection lens not a ‘he must perform and dominate at Kentucky’ lens and will consider his situation and supporting cast. He’s played behind one of the worst lines in college football all year, for a struggling play-caller with no receivers or tight ends to speak of.

I suspect he improved his stock yesterday and regardless of what others might say — he almost certainly won’t get out of the top-five picks and will remain a big contender to go first overall.

Generally I thought Georgia played in second gear. They never really felt threatened, even though it was a competitive game. Jalen Carter, for example, made some nice plays lining up as a five-technique to help against the run. He didn’t have a typical big splash in the passing game though. They only gained one sack on a day when I think most people expected four or five.

I mocked Kenny McIntosh to Seattle in round three earlier in the week and he showed why. He’s far more than a great pass-catching running back. He is tough, physical and shifty with great size. He had 19 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. There are a handful of really good runners eligible for 2023 and McIntosh is right up there.

Anthony Richardson and Florida suffered defeat to Vanderbilt (which is not an issue — Vandy have been playing their arses off for weeks and Clark Lea is doing a heck of a job). Richardson made some wonderful throws downfield — including a perfect 35-yard bomb on 4th and 7. Touch, accuracy, placement — it was all there.

On another play with 11:50 left in the third quarter, Richardson threw an unreal pass from the 38-yard line for 20-yards on an absolute dime into good coverage, putting it in the only spot his receiver could make a play by the left sideline. It was a stunning throw — again with ideal velocity and touch.

He then followed up with a touchdown on the drive that showed off what makes him special. Countless times this year I’ve seen defenders draped all over Richardson (or hitting him) but because he is so big and strong, he doesn’t go down and is somehow still able to get a throw away. He did so here, in the red zone, for a score. Brilliant.

It happened again for his interception. He was literally being tackled by two players in the pocket, he stayed on his feet defying physics and still got a throw away to his receiver. Somehow, against all the odds, the receiver makes the catch but doesn’t complete the process. As he hits the turf the ball squirts out of his grasp, loops into the air and is picked off. It’s incredibly unfortunate and Richardson doesn’t deserve to have that interception marked against him. As we’ve been saying all season — not all picks are equal.

He had a long bomb downfield for a touchdown (again, releasing his pass while being hit). His third score came on a good release by the receiver on a red zone route. He finished 25/42 passing for 400 yards with three scores.

Richardson now has 23 total touchdowns and eight picks for the season. His talent level is through the roof and I’ll say it again — don’t count him out for the #1 overall pick as this process develops.

I felt sorry for Ventrell Miller in this game. Once again, the Florida linebacker left everything out on the field in a tremendous, largely unsupported performance on defense. With 11:55 left in the game he delivered an enormous hit in the open field. On review he was ejected for targeting — although I’m not sure it’d even be flagged in the NFL. He finished with 11 tackles in the game and was visibly emotional after the ejection. He misses half of his final game vs Florida State which is a real shame for a heroic figure for the Gators. I really hope the Seahawks consider him in the draft.

For Clemson, Trenton Simpson returned after a weeks absence and finally made some plays — recording two sacks against hopeless Miami. He was still largely on the periphery of the game with the superb Jeremiah Trotter (who isn’t eligible for the draft) really excelling once again. He is a complete linebacker — dominating at the LOS, brilliant in coverage. He will be a high pick in 2024. Back to Simpson — his first sack was a nice read/react when the coverage held the QB in the pocket. He showed a good closing burst to get to the passer. Simpson’s second sack was an unblocked blitz off the edge that led to a fumble. Both plays happened late in the game — he appeared to be spelled quite a lot early on and didn’t seem to be on the field much.

Myles Murphy had a better game setting the edge, winning with a combination of a strong arm and speed. K.J. Henry recorded another sack too. Frankly though, it was men against boys vs Miami and I didn’t feel we learnt too much from the experience of a game that was one of the most boring and routine we’ve seen this season. I will say though that I’m a big fan of Clemson left tackle Jordan McFadden. He reminds me a bit of Isaiah Wynn. He’s so natural in his drops, he locks on and controls and he has plenty of power. I love the way he stays in control of his feet once he engages a block and retains balance. I think he’s a tremendous option to kick inside to guard at the next level. Don’t be shocked if he ends up in the top-50.

All season I’ve been saying that a lot of NFL teams (most?) will grade Texas running back Bijan Robinson as the best player in the draft. For some reason draft media can’t differentiate from talent and grading and their own personal preferences over positional value. Any big board that doesn’t have Robinson in the top three, frankly, isn’t worth reading. He had 243 yards on just 25 carries against Kansas with four touchdowns. He is a superstar in the making and will likely be taken in the top-10, despite his position.

Alabama safety Brian Branch had a nice interception against Austin Peay. He read the play well and dropped into the right zone to be in position to make the play. It was similar to Kam Chancellor’s pick in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers — just further downfield. Branch also had a TFL. He’s not my favourite safety in the class (more on that in a moment) but it’s increasingly likely he’ll go in round one as a silky-smooth versatile defensive back who can cover the slot and either safety position.

Boise State’s JL Skinner is my favourite safety. He’s known for his thunderous hitting and size but he had two interceptions right at the end of the game vs Wyoming (a 20-17 win). It was a crazy ending (see below). Skinner now has four picks for the season. I get a feeling he will be firmly be on Seattle’s radar. Don’t be surprised if they prioritise taking him.

Spencer Rattler had the best game of his career by a mile for South Carolina against Tennessee. Going into the game he had eight touchdowns and nine interceptions for the season. In this game alone he had six touchdowns and zero turnovers. Where has this been for the last two years?

What a tease. This was a ‘first overall’ type display. He threw with a quick release to all areas of the field. He was reading the defense properly. He showed off arm strength and timing. He moved around to extend plays and made smart decisions. He completed 30/37 for 438 yards. He was majestic, magical. He looked like Patrick Mahomes.

It’s hard to know what to make of Rattler. He has so much talent but when things go wrong he looks hopeless. I gave him an UDFA grade on my board but after this, how can you not bump him up at least into day three based on potential alone?

It was good to see Cedric Tillman out there again for Tennessee. He had a wonderful 1v1 catch on a fade in the red zone on fourth down — beating talented cornerback Cam Smith. He is a classy big target who, if he tests well, could find a home in the top-45.

I wanted to end by talking about Utah’s tight end Dalton Kincaid. He had an unreal block to spring a jet sweep to the outside for a touchdown against Oregon. He consistently shows great hands and he can bail out bad throws. Kincaid has superb body control. I don’t know how he’ll test but for me, there aren’t many better players in college football in terms of week-to-week performance. How he performs at the combine will be big but I think NFL teams will love what he brings to the table.

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105 Responses to “Sunday scouting notes from CFB week 11”

  1. Lukas says:

    Not mentioned in this article but could you maybe give a few thoughts on John Michael Schmitz? I saw he was the highest graded center on your board, but you stated that all the good centers are not really the Seahawks type. He also has a wrestling background like Blythe, but obviously it takes more than that to succeed in the NFL.

  2. Sam says:

    Nice work. Do you think RG will be a priority for Seahawks with Gabe Jackson’s retirement looming ? Why didn’t you include a RG in your mock ?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think it will be a priority. This scheme is adept at fitting guys in

      • Julian L says:

        Getting bookend Tackles in one draft was great drafting from Seattle in 2022, and they’re on the way to building one of the most competitive lines in the NFL, but they need to finish the job in 2023. It gives teams an attacking advantage to have a strong offensive line, look at Kansas City and Philadelphia, and conversely the Rams, their O line has really struggled this year, and so has the team.

        Garrett Bradbury would be a good fit and a long term solution at Center. Whilst in this years draft there isn’t the Center that matches the more athletic, lighter type of player the Seahawks have moved to in this position, Garrett Bradbury in free agency certainly matches that profile. As a guess, after an improved 4th season in Minnesota, his market price will be in a range just above that of the Rams Brian Allan and Ben Jones of the Tennessee Titans at around $8 million APY. You’ll essentially be exchanging this contract with that of Gabe Jackson.

        Gabe Jackson is getting much lesser snaps (and grades) this year and isn’t going to be the future on the team. He should be cut at the end of the year with a $6.5 million cap saving.

        At this stage, with one year left on his Rookie deal, Damien Lewis isn’t going to be moved back to Right Guard, and more recently his Left Guard play has improved. Phil Haynes is a nice backup for both sides and I hope can be brought back on something like his current deal.

        To set up the longer term in the Right Guard position, the team should be looking at a player in the draft who can levitate the line to another level. It’s not enough just to fit ‘guys’ in. The draft is loaded with large, competitive, talented Centers, that could well adapt to playing Right Guard in an outside zone based scheme the Seahawks like. They’d also offer cover at Center if needed, no more Kyle Fuller. Some of these guys won’t be there, but I think a 3rd round pick on one of Michael Schmitz, Van Pram, Avila, Stromberg, Oluwatimi (who made an excellent block in space for Blake Corum this weekend) to continue the exciting development of the Seahawks offensive line, would be a very positive move.

        Double dipping on Day 3 for perhaps a Tackle convert to play Left Guard potentially from 2024 wouldn’t be a bad move to make either.

        Come on Seattle, you’ve made a great start on the Rebuild with the Offensive Line. Finish the job.

  3. Peter says:

    Rob thanks for this.

    I regularly like to look at other mocks to see how others perceive players.

    Yahoo and walter football both have Levis lasting to 14 and 12 respectively. If he were to naturally get to Seattle’s first pick via tge broncos surely that would be the pick?

    Yahoo at least put on their thinking caps and put Richardson at five to Detroit. My good friends at Walter (lord what is going on with that website) I believe it was the secondary writer didn’t even have Richardson in the first two rounds.

    I’m increasingly siding with Blitzy and yourself that I think Richardson is the first qb taken. Hope not. One, I hope Seattle can get him. Two, not sure going to a place like Carolina or Houston and playing day one is the best for him or those perennially faltering franchises.

    In the second round for the hawks I’m still very much on the Charbonet train. And now McIntosh as well. Love to see two backs on the field for rotation as well as disguise what the offense does.

    Dalton Kincaid is interesting. Hard to tell his speed since a quick look at a highlight reel is weird bailing out his qb catches mixed with some solid plays.

    Don’t want to sound too critical but I’m getting pretty far away from Breese. You have coworkers in some trades like this who are forever dealing with one thing or another. Not saying any of it is his fault. Just wondering if you’re looking at someone for a variety of reasons who never plays enough to justify his value.

    • cha says:

      The PFN Mock Simulator made some updates to their rankings. Some seem to make sense. Others, not so much.

      Richardson leap-frogged Levis and is #8. Levis dropped one spot to #16.

      Olu Fashanu (7), Quentin Johnston (5) rocketed up the board.

      Tyree Wilson (50’s to #19) too

      Calijah Kancey dropped to #44

      SDB’s identified by Rob Mazi Smith and Ji’Ayir Brown have moved from unknown (300’s) to top 100 ish.

      Bo Nix and Penix Jr moved into the top 100 ish, Tyler Van Dyke has been moved out of first round range to #223.

  4. Jabroni-DC says:

    Anyone know what has to happen for the Huskies to reach the PAC 12 title game?
    Every article I see states that they are ‘alive’ with no details.
    Seattle times
    Everett Herald
    ESPN
    Yahoo
    I know they need to beat WSU & Oregon needs to lose to the Beavers. Is there more?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Think UCLA need to lose too?

      • Jabroni-DC says:

        Not very likely vs CAL. Bummer

      • teejmo says:

        Nope – Washington’s only got two conference losses, while UCLA’s got three.

        • teejmo says:

          Of course, because it’s the Pac 12, they have to make it as convoluted as possible – somehow UCLA losing to Cal increases UW chances. I guess because that would make Oregon St, whom the Huskies beat, the next best team in the standings, and for some reason that’s important.

        • Jabroni-DC says:

          That’s true. Utah is the only other team that could end with 2 conference losses. So if UW, Utah & Oregon end in a 3 way tie…
          Something happens.

      • Elmer says:

        Since Utah and UCLA lost this weekend, I think it’s just up to Oregon State to beat the Ducks. Provided, of course, that the Huskies win the Apple Cup game.

        • Jabroni-DC says:

          In a 3 way tie between Utah, Oregon & Washington there is no head-to-head available that separates team so it goes to winning percentage vs common opponents. Those would include OSU, UCLA, WSU, AZ, Stanford & Colorado. All 3 teams stand at 5-1 which again does not break the tie. Now it gets fun.
          “ Next is the record against the next highest placed common opponent in the conference standings proceeding through the full standings, followed by the combined winning percentage in conference games of Pac-12 opponents.

          The SportSource Analytics team rating score metric and coin toss follow in a multi-team scenario as well.”
          That’s where UCLA comes into the picture. They are #5 in the conference. Oregon beat them, Utah & Washington lost to them. But OSU is tied with UCLA record wise across the board so…
          Quite convoluted.

  5. Jabroni-DC says:

    If I were putting odds on the most likely player in this draft to end up a Seahawk it would be JL Skinner.

  6. Romeo A57 says:

    The Raiders!

    Silver and Black!

    Let’s go Raiders!

    • Peter says:

      Stoked for a high pick but in no universe am I rooting for the raiders.

      Sure the broncos can handle dropping this game all on their own w/o cheering on an old time hated opponent from back when.

    • Julian L says:

      Will be routing for the Raiders today. I won’t be around for the Live stream afterwards unfortunatley, I live in France, so have another hour on the UK, so with a 6.30am alarm, I can’t be up that late.
      Will look forward to listening tomorrow.

  7. Spectator says:

    Watched the Michigan vs Ill game. Have you checked out chase Brown yet? I came away impressed.

  8. clbradley17 says:

    https://twitter.com/PFF/status/1593246504332177415/photo/1

    This is pretty awesome over halfway through the season.

  9. JimQ says:

    Minnesota RB-Mohamed Ibrahim had a good game, his team rode him like a mule in their 13-10 loss to Iowa. Ibrahim had 39 carries for 263 (6.74-ypc) yards and 1-TD. Ibrahim now leads FCS in the following categories: #1 in rushing TD’s (19), #1 in yards per game (152.4), #2 in rushing yards (1524, 5.5-ypc) & #2 in att./game (28.09) – Looks like a real RB workhorse to me. Note: Chase Brown has just a few more yards as the current #1 in rushing yards per game, he is looking very good as well. IMO- both should be moving up in rankings.

  10. Forrest says:

    Could Jeff Saturday win coach of the year?

  11. Big Mike says:

    Put a fork in the Rams. If their season wasn’t done before today it is now.
    Please don’t lose to this version of them Pete

  12. Romeo A57 says:

    The most Jets finish ever. Hold NE offense to 3 points and find a way to lose.

    I hope the Rams find a few more games to win to finish with more wins against the Broncos; hopefully none are against the Seahawks.

  13. Palatypus says:

    Looks like Russ might have decided to play good today.

  14. Ukhawk says:

    💯 Skinner is defo hawk material

    Hope we target BAMFs like Skinner all the way thru the draft

    Was ingrained your last 2 rounder incl Wilson, Kancey, Skinner & McIntosh as well as some of the guys highlighted on your board like Mazi Smith, T Wheat, Charbonnet, Byron Young, Mingo etc

    Would love a shit at Richardson, Levis and even a flyer on TVD if he declares and falls.

  15. Trevor says:

    Raiders / Broncos is god awful football. Wow those are two bad teams. If the Hawks can’t beat the Raiders next week they have no business being a playoff team. They should be watching this game and licking thier chops.

    • Palatypus says:

      The Bronco defense is fun to watch. They have at least three sacks today, so Derek is getting a taste of what it was like to be his older brother. But every time I watch the Bronco offense I think the same three things. The receivers are slow. The skill position players have hands of stone. And the offensive line commits a lot of penalties.

  16. Troy D says:

    I almost wonder if Rattler wouldnt be better off going to XFL if that league were to persist.

  17. BoiseSeahawk says:

    Yea I got to see JL Skinner play in Boise against BYU a few weeks back.

    I originally bought tickets thinking I’d be looking at a potential QB for Seattle in Jaren Hall but JL Skinner stood out on the field. He had another impressive pick that game. He’s a big dude too, if he could add another 10 lbs. and play at Kam’s weight (not that he’s a comp… he is more of a ballhawk than a tone-setter) hopefully he could better emulate Kam’s style of play more so than Blair ever could if we pick him.

  18. Palatypus says:

    Isn’t it just a perennial part of the NFL that the Minnesota Vikings look like the best team in the league and then just completely implode this time of year?

  19. Romeo A57 says:

    Dallas is just teeing off on Cousins. I am not certain he will survive this game. This Cowboys team is looking scary.

  20. Sea Mode says:

    Aaand the Raiders have tied the game with 6 minutes to go… Let’s “ride”…

  21. cha says:

    I think everyone that is above Denver in the draft order (that played today) lost.

  22. Sea Mode says:

    Yeeeeaaaahhh! Busted play and Adams walks into the end zone. Broncos lose!!!

  23. Peppapig says:

    Oh yes!!!

  24. Romeo A57 says:

    Thanks LV!

  25. Henry Taylor says:

    RAIIIDERRRRS!!!

  26. Ukhawk says:

    😂 Raiders win!!

  27. Robbie says:

    LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. ShowMeYourHawk says:

    Poor, poor Denver………. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    For real though, Russ may not live to see the end of that extension he signed. He’s got to have some lingering injury or something. It’s kind of incredible how fast he’s fallen off….

  29. Big Mike says:

    Now feel free to play like shit next week Raiders

  30. TomLPDX says:

    Sweet!

  31. Robbie says:

    Tankathon has the Hawks picking 5th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. SoCal12 says:

    Broncos losing to this Raiders team has given me the biggest fattest hit of hopium for Top 5.

  33. Sea Mode says:

    Once again, scoring 18 points would have won the game for the Broncos… 🤷‍♂️

  34. mantis says:

    If they can’t beat the Raiders when they are at home they may not win another game

  35. Sea Mode says:

    Uh oh, looks like we can pen in an L to the Jets week 17…

    https://twitter.com/NFLonFOX/status/1594455305324109825

  36. JimQ says:

    RE: RW & the Bronco’s:
    IIRC, RW didn’t start (much if any) at all in the 3-game preseason. I assume their new NFL coach didn’t want him to get injured after signing his mega deal. RW on a new team, in a different division, with less knowledge of the opposition, with a new system, a new stadium, new teammates, etc. would seem to have needed to play significantly in those preseason games as he’s generally been a slow starter that got much better by mid-season. Just another nail in the coffin of the Bronco’s now seemingly poor choice for a coach?

  37. clbradley17 says:

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1594485587683479553

    What is this? He must have hung out with JA “the Peacock” too much and it rubbed off on him. The rest of the team is stretching while he slowly spins with his arms out in a “bask in my greatness” pose, and a photographer (his own?) documents it all. While having his worst season, this is the epitome of out of touch self-delusion and narcissism.

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