CFB week 13: Alabama ease by Auburn in the Iron Bowl

Firstly, what happened to the college football season!?! It’s practically over already.

Secondly, SDB was featured in this piece looking at a collection of draft opinions on the internet. Check it out if you want. And thanks for reading.

Notes on Auburn vs Alabama

Another day, another comfortable win for Alabama. Clemson are the only team with a realistic shot at beating them. It’d be an excellent Championship game.

This wasn’t a highlight reel for the big names today. Quinnen Williams had his quietest game in a while. He had a shared sack nullified by a face-mask penalty. He wasn’t noticeable in the first half but made some plays in the second, including a nice stunt to the outside to force Jarrett Stidham inside and into the waiting arms of another Alabama defender.

Raekwon Davis was all over the field. He didn’t have a big play to put an exclamation point on his performance but he was excellent. His motor never stopped. On one play he identified a screen and sprinted downfield to make a touchdown-saving tackle. He was active to work across the line making stops against the run. He often broke into the backfield and just missed making a big play. Davis is a fantastic talent with unique size and could easily join Williams in the top-12 of the draft.

I’ve written a few times about Christian Miller this year. He’s extremely athletic with a 124.17 score at the SPARQ combine including a near 39-inch vertical and a 4.18 short shuttle. He’s effective as a pass rusher. This year, he’s developed into a more complete player. His run defense for his size has really come along. In this game he consistently contained his side of the field and defended the run superbly. On one play he actually worked across the line to make a stop for a TFL on the opposite side. He keeps his frame clean with good hand placement and is strong enough to control the block and keep his eyes upfield.

Miller also forced an interception with a pressure on play-action, forcing a bad throw by Stidham. He’s someone to keep an eye on in the next draft. He has a place in the NFL — either as an EDGE or as a DE/LB hybrid.

Auburn’s Derrick Brown pancaked Jonah Williams with two minutes left in the first quarter, dumping him on his backside. He also had a really good rush on 3rd and 9 with just over 3 minutes left in the first half. Brown used power and quickness to pressure from the B-gap and force Tua Tagovailoa out of the pocket. The quarterback attempted to make the first down with his legs but came up a yard short. Brown plays the pass and run equally well, competes with intensity and should be a high pick next year (the top-15 is possible).

Isaiah Buggs left the field in the opening five minutes with an injury. It looked bad. An Auburn blocker tried to cut-block Buggs and his knee bent back awkwardly. He had to be helped off the field and it didn’t look good. Thankfully he returned to the game but he didn’t look anywhere close to 100%. It’s something to monitor.

I’m still not convinced Jonah Williams and Deionte Thompson are as good as everyone else is saying. Williams to me looks like a clear guard prospect with limitations. Thompson is fine. He’s physical and lays a decent hit. He’s not a rangy free safety though and he lacks the size to be an intimidating strong safety. It’s worth remembering he ran a 4.71 at his SPARQ combine. What’s special about his play? Ronnie Harrison was a late third round pick. I can’t put Thompson in round one. For me, he’s a day two pick like Harrison.


— You’ll notice in the article I linked to at the top of the piece that I’m labelled the ‘ultimate contrarian’ for, among other things, really liking Christian Wilkins. I’m not sure what the big deal is here. Wilkins is outstanding and has been for ages. He’s perfectly sized to play as a modern interior rusher. He has outstanding athleticism and will have a great combine. He’s extremely productive. He has great character. He’s a top-10 talent. Against South Carolina he had another offensive touchdown on a toss play (!!!), blew up the interior O-line with a brilliant swipe move before exploding to the QB for a big sack. Austin Bryant also had a big sack when South Carolina, for some reason, matched him up with a tight end. Bryant also had two TFL’s. Jake Bentley, the South Carolina quarterback, is a junior worth keeping an eye on next season.

— D’Andre Walker had a sack and led Georgia in tackles during their big win against Georgia Tech. For some reason nobody talks about Walker. The Senior Bowl could change that. He now has 6.5 sacks for the season (a team high) as a hyrbid DE/LB.

— Ohio State hammered Michigan to make the BIG 10 Championship game again. Devin Bush left the game with what looked like a serious thigh injury. Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary both had TFL’s while Dre’Mont Jones only recorded a QB hurry. One of last weeks highlighted players Terry McLaurin had a quiet day (one catch for 12 yards) but fellow receiver Parris Campbell — a possibly second day pick — had five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. None of Ohio State’s receivers will likely go in round one but they have a handful of players capable of forging a decent pro-career.

— I’ve got the Florida vs Florida State tape recorded and ready to watch tomorrow. Jachai Polite had a big day with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFL’s. Jabari Zuniga also collected a sack. Brian Burns had two QB hurries but didn’t record a sack or TFL.

— Boston College were well beaten by a handy Syracuse team today. Zach Allen only contributed half a sack. I have the first half recorded to watch back this week.

— Josh Allen had yet another sack for Kentucky in an easy win against Louisville. He now has 14 for the season with a Bowl game still to come.

— Jerry Tillery had a sack for Notre Dame against USC. It came on a well designed blitz that opened up the interior O-line using rushing linebackers, allowing Tillery to work to the quarterback in space.

— Devin White highlighted his top-10 credentials with a big game in the seven-overtime 74-72 contest with Texas A&M. White had a sack, four TFL’s, 17 total tackles and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. White is a fantastic talent.

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  1. Coleslaw

    Something i find really interesting is our defense is #10 but our offense is #23. Seems like that should be flipped. I think it’s mainly tied to us controlling time of possession. Definitely a good sign for fhe future

    • charlietheunicorn

      #1 Rushing attack (Yards per game).

      I suspect the pass happy NFL teams get the bloated top numbers. I can’t say the Rams or Saints aren’t balanced and very explosive teams.. so they should be top 4 or even top 2.

      I heard it mentioned on the radio that Gurley seems to be wearing a down a little bit as of late???
      Do any of you think he is getting over used and will be spent by the time the 2nd or 3rd round of playoffs appears?

  2. Zxvo3

    I agree D’Andre Walker is very underrated (which isn’t a bad thing). Other underrated players to keep any eye on are:

    LB- Khalil Hodge (Buffalo)
    DT- Daniel Wise (Kansas)
    DE- Alton Robinson (Syracuse)
    S-Darnell Savage Jr. (Maryland)
    S- Marquise Blair (Utah)

    • JJ

      Hodge is interesting. Does he have any buzz?

      • Zxvo3

        I don’t think he’s getting any buzz as of yet even though he deserves it. Very athletic and is a great tackler

  3. icb12

    LSU/ TA&M. That was fun. Game of the year IMO.

  4. LouieLouie

    Hey Rob:
    I don’t think you are a “contrarian.” We agree quite often.

    • Sea Mode

      🙂 Yeah, I’m not sure that was the best term they could have chosen, but it is certainly meant to be high praise in the scouting world, meaning Rob actually puts in the time to watch games and offer his evaluations without falling into groupthink we see so widespread during draft season.

      Either way, glad to see you and your excellent work get mentioned. And as he says, never change, Rob!

      • Rob Staton

        I’m surprised my appreciation for Christian Wilkins was given as a reason for being contrary. Wilkins is an incredible talent.

        • Sea Mode


          I also think you will easily be proven right about Jonah Williams come draft time. An easy “win” for SDB…

        • CestrianHawk

          In the UK the word ‘contrary’ has derogatory connotations, which I presume is what you’re reacting to. Reading the article, I was left with the impression that he simply meant that you have a different view to others. The piece seemed quite complimentary about the blog (as well it should be!).

          • Rob Staton

            I didn’t take offense to it. Just find it strange. I would’ve expected my take on Wilkins to be a consensus view considering how talented and high profile he is.

  5. Sea Mode

    Rob, are you still planning on going to the Senior Bowl?

    • Rob Staton

      It is less likely since I switched jobs. Not impossible but we’ll see. Have always wanted to get over there. If I can make it happen I will.

  6. clbradley17

    That would be incredible to see your detailed reviews of the practices and game during Senior Bowl week! Not sure if they allow this – would also be fantastic to see you interviewing some of the players you’ve been highlighting all year, like you did at the London game. I always look forward to the Senior Bowl reviews from Walter Football/Tony Pauline and other sites of who won the one-on-ones (no pun intended) at the practices, but it would be very special to have your set of eyes there in person to see all the match-ups and focused on breaking down the players’ positives and negatives for the Seahawks positional needs in the draft.

    • Rob Staton

      If I ever get to the Senior Bowl — here’s what my plan would be. Video interviews with players, video interviews with the best draft analysts in the business (eg Tony Pauline), daily breakdowns, a Senior Bowl diary. Anything I could do, I would do. It would be extensive. I’d probably ask my brother to come with me to do some live streaming. It would be awesome. One day this will happen.

      • clbradley17

        That would be fantastic, Rob! Hope you get there in January, or if not with the job situation this time, then in 2020. Just wondering what else is on the next 2-3 years’ similar wish list? Going to the NFL draft? Great seats at the next Seahawks Super Bowl win Feb. 2021?

        • Rob Staton

          I want to go to a draft one day, would like to do a combine. Apart from that, I’d like to go to a big SEC game (eg Alabama vs LSU). Apart from that I’m happy to take any chance to get to Seattle and watch the Seahawks.

  7. clbradley17

    Forgot about the combine. In your opinion, is the combine or senior bowl the better predictor or testing of actual talent, or is neither more important than the other? Just have to use them all together (along with game film, pro days) for the best evaluation?

    • Rob Staton

      I think in terms of evaluating players the tape and the combine go hand in hand, neither necessarily more important than the other. Either can be used as a tie breaker. Teams will have certain preferences and types too that shape who they look for.

      I love them both for different reasons. Really enjoy the Senior Bowl coverage, the 1v1 drills and the game is a lot of fun too. The combine is great because it provides that physical element to a profile and helps us shape opinions, solidify a players potential range and uncover new players to look at. Neither beats simply watching CFB though for pure enjoyment.

  8. Gohawks5151

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Naz Jones sighting. Don’t scare him away

  9. Kenny Sloth

    Not a great record in 10 am east coast games. Hope we’re prepared.

  10. Gohawks5151

    Shaquille really struggling this year. Really rookie mistakes too

    • Kenny Sloth

      Hard disagree .

      He’s flipped sides of the field, as well, so if you need something for which to forgive him, there you go.

    • 12th chuck

      I agree. at least he didn’t give up on the mcaffery run. last year, and earlier this year seems like he would give up after getting beat. But a win is a win!

    • Gohawks5151

      He is not a bad corner. But consistently beat at the catch point. Loses people on crossing routes. Generally hasn’t taken the next step. At least the effort is there

  11. John_s

    Panthers have done such an excellent job surrounding Cam with playmakers.

    McCaffery, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuels are all essentially the same type of players. They’re all versatile players who can run the ball, but also run routes and catch the ball.

  12. Sea Mode

    Let’s gooo McDougald!!!

    • Kenny Sloth

      Outside of the pick I dont think he’s had a good game at all.

      We keep getting gashed up the middle and hes nowhere to be found

  13. John_s

    Can someone teach Shaq Griffin to turn his damn head around

  14. Kenny Sloth

    McCaffery getting caught from behind as always.

    Great game from him, but hasnt he literally put the ball on the ground no less than 3 full times?

  15. Trevor

    Hawks have really missed KJ this year and week in particular covering RB in pass game and on sweeps. Week after week they struggle with he same thing. Norton needs to figure it out and make an adjustment.

    The defense just can’t get a stop. You know they are going to go down and kick the FG to win because the Hawks just can’t stop Mcaffery. Bobby should just lock in on him this drive with 3 min left.

  16. Sea Mode

    Let’s gooooo! 4th quarter magic, awesome. I’m not going to complain about taking the shot for the end zone and giving the Panthers 4 minutes instead of going for the 1st down and ending the game with an extended drive. Not gonna do it, cause we just got a HUGE win!

    Go Hawks!

  17. Trevor

    Wow what a game!

    This is a team with flaws but wow they battle and are so much fun to watch! Being a Hawks fan is fun again with this group. All the passion and none of the selfish drama.

    This could be the springboard to the playoffs.

  18. Kenny Sloth

    Wooooo!!!! We need to add defenders, but thats my kinda WIN

    So many balls on the ground and that Carson flip? Who needs a scat back?

  19. AlaskaHawk

    What a satisfying win. Wilson was superb with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Defense bent but didn’t beak. Even Moore had a touchdown. Go Hawks!

  20. peppapig

    Wilson for President!

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