Can you believe it? We’re halfway through the College Football Regular season. With the landscape comping into focus, it’s time to reflect on which NFL Draft prospects have been the top performers through the first six games of the year.
My choices aren’t necessarily who have been the most statistically productive or even who my top prospect is at each position from the ACC, rather those who have solidified or elevated their draft stock the most.
QB – Daniel Jones, Duke: Jones is blossoming into a highly intriguing NFL Draft prospect right before our eyes. His vertical passing ability and accuracy has grown significantly this season and so has his command of the offense. He still needs work in terms of working his progressions but Jones is an ascending talent with a bright future. His physical upside and intangibles are exceptional.
RB – Qadree Ollison, Pittsburgh: Ollision had a monster freshman season for the Panthers before fading over the last two seasons. With 596 yards and 6 touchdowns in the first 6 games of the season, Ollison has reestablished him as a workhorse back. His blend of size, vision, burst and power will lead to an NFL role.
WR – Kelvin Harmon, NC State: Arguably the best offensive prospect in the ACC, Harmon has played to his potential this season and continues to be a dominant winner at the catch point. With 534 yards in five games, Harmon leads the conference in receiving yards per game and is destined to become a first-round draft pick.
WR – Olamide Zacchaeus, Virginia: Zacchaeus continues to rewrite the Virginia record books and is emerging into and exciting slot receiver prospect. He’s vertically challenged but offers the explosive playmaking potential that will land him an NFL opportunity. Zaccheaus is averaging over 100 receiving yards per game so far this season.
TE – Tommy Sweeney, Boston College: You’re unlikely to be wowed with Sweeney’s athletic profile but he offers a balanced skill set across the board. He’s a high-effort blocker and has reliable hands that will give him a shot to provide depth in the NFL. Sweeney has 3 touchdown catches in 5 games so far this season.
OL – Garrett Bradbury, NC State: I love this dude. He’s a technician in every sense of the word that dominates as a zone blocker. His ability to take exceptional angles and work his body into positioning is highly impressive. He has an incredibly high football IQ and has the upside of an early NFL starter.
OL – Tyree St. Louis, Miami: St. Louis flipped over from right tackle to the left side this season and has performed well. He is a big, long, powerful and athletic blocker that does need some technical refinement. I thought he had some very impressive reps in Miami’s recent showdown with Florida State when matched up with Brian Burns, proving his ability to handle speed off the edge.
OL – Chris Lindstrom, Boston College: The Eagles feature a dominant rushing attack and Lindstrom is a big reason why. A four-year starter, Lindstrom creates a ton of space up front and is excellent in space. His experience at offensive tackle serves him well when pass blocking on the interior and he’s destined to be a top-75 draft pick if not higher.
OL – Terronne Prescod, NC State: Watching the Wolpack offensive line is poetic with the precise timing in the run game and consistency in pass pro. Prescod is a senior that is arguably the most consistent and balanced blocker on the Pack’s front five. He’s elevated his draft stock as much as any offensive lineman in the country so far this season.
OL – Cody Conway, Syracuse: I like Conway and he’s an underrated blocker. He’s had the most success of any offensive lineman dealing with Clemson superstar pass rusher Clelin Ferrell. He’s a smooth pass blocker that is also efficient in the run game.
EDGE – Brian Burns, Florida State: Your jaw will be on the floor watching this dude bend around corners. His blend of burst, flexibility, hand technique and pass rush variety gives him immense potential at the next level. He’s on the lighter side but this dude can affect quarterbacks. In 4 games against ACC foes this season, Burns has 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He’s in the running for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
EDGE – Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Ferrell has lived up to his billing as a top pass rusher and put the team on his back during Clemson’s tight win over Texas A&M. He has 8 tackles for loss and 6 sacks over the first 6 games of the season and is solidifying his status as a top-15 draft pick.
DT – Gerald Willis, Miami: Willis, who has climbed to No. 22 in my recently updated 2019 NFL Draft Board, has improved his draft stock as much as any player has this season. He’s up to 12.5 tackles for loss in just six games so far this season. He’s arguably been the most dynamic interior defensive lineman in the ACC so far this season.
DT – Dexter Lawrence, Clemson: Lawrence won’t wow you with his statistical production but the fact that he’s showcasing a far greater athletic skill set than he did a year ago is highly encouraging. He needs to make more splash plays the rest of the way to affirm himself as a first-round caliber prospect.
LB – Germaine Pratt, NC State: Now a full-time starter after starring in subpackages in prior years, Pratt is arguably the best linebacker in the ACC. Leading the conference in tackles/game with an average of 9.8, Pratt has been all over the field for the Wolfpack and is boosting his draft stock in the process.
LB – Ben Humphreys, Duke: Humphreys’ teammate Joe Giles-Harris garners most of the attention when it comes to the NFL but Humphreys is playing at a high level so far this season. Executing with urgency and physicality, Humphreys is firmly on my radar compared to where I considered him entering the season.
LB – Kendall Joseph, Clemson: Joseph isn’t filling up the stat sheet but he’s playing fast, physical football and showcasing excellent processing skills. I like his ability to win in space and playing into the line of scrimmage.
CB – Michael Jackson, Miami: Simply put, it’s been hard for opponents to complete passes in Jackson’s direction this season. He is playing lockdown coverage, showcasing a physical skill set with an alpha mentality. He’s a scheme-specific prospect but he can dominate in a 10×10 box and in press.
CB – Bryce Hall, Virginia: I’ve been super impressed with Hall so far this season. With 10 pass breakups and an interception in five games, Hall has showcased outstanding ball skills but I’ve been most impressed with how he is competing. In the NC State game, Hall matched up with Kelvin Harmon as good as any corner I’ve seen. As expected, Harmon made his plays but Hall was right there and exchanged physicality with one of the best receivers in the nation. Hall has been a major riser for me this season.
S – Reggie Floyd, Virginia Tech: Floyd has been outstanding this season and his production reflects his ability as a playmaker. Through 5 games, Floyd has 26 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. He’s a big and physical safety with excellent range. He’s flying under the radar but Floyd checks a lot of boxes.
S – Juan Thornhill, Virginia: Transitioning from cornerback to safety this season, Thornhill has made the switch look natural. He’s playing fast and physical against the run and showcasing excellent spacing in coverage. Proving his ability to win at safety has served his draft stock extremely well.