In Week 10, the best two teams in the SEC were the best two teams in the SEC and will meet in the conference championship game, Florida got caught slippin’, and South Carolina and Auburn rallied for thrilling wins in the early games. Every week in the SEC features fun results, but the scouting takeaways were also plentiful in Week 10.
Trayveon Williams bouncing back strong
In Texas A&M’s zone scheme last year, Trayveon Williams really struggled, posting pedestrian numbers in a shared workload and failing to build on the buzz he created for himself as a freshman. But with Jimbo Fisher giving him a lead blocker and returning to a lot of gap/power principles, Williams has taken off again in his third season.
The 5-foot-9, 200-pound back ran all over Auburn’s front for 107 yards on 17 carries, scoring twice on the ground and once through the air while adding another 75 yards on five catches. He’s been much more decisive and seems far more confident with the ball in his hands as a receiver. Williams will need to test well to get scouts really excited about him, but his three-down ability should lend itself to success in the NFL regardless of where he’s selected.
Kristian Fulton might be good enough to declare
It has been an interesting three-year run for Kristian Fulton at LSU, barely appearing in his true freshman season (three games), suspended by the NCAA for his second season and then having what would have been the second year of his suspension revoked by the NCAA allowing him to play this season.
In Week 1 Fulton looked understandably rusty, but every single week since his confidence, awareness and technique have improved. He was a blanket in coverage against Ole Miss, Georgia and Mississippi State, and posted more of the same on Saturday night against Alabama. There is no tougher group of receivers to cover in the country, yet Fulton was consistently in position to contest catch points and break up passes, using his long arms and impressive athleticism to mirror-and-match to all levels of the field.
It is rare to see a player with one year of playing experience declare for the draft, but Fulton is putting together impressive tape against the best receiving groups in college football. The NFL interest may be there for him to consider the 2019 draft as a potential top 50 pick.
Drew Lock got a signature win…and he played well!
Like it or not, NFL evaluators care about signature wins, and Drew Lock hasn’t had one in his college football career – until Saturday. He made it rain on Florida’s undermanned secondary, finishing 24-32 for 250 yards and three touchdowns with zero turnovers, numbers which included a couple of dime vertical throws over the top of tight coverage.
Lock’s season has still been massively underwhelming, but NFL teams looking for improvement in Derek Dooley’s pro-style offense will be impressed with his performance.
Jarrett Stidham clears low bar
Jarrett Stidham is getting praise for a comeback win over Texas A&M, and to be fair to him, the game probably featured his finest moments from a terrible redshirt junior season. But a lot of the passes he hit were fairly simple, as has typically been the case when he’s produced.
This was one of Stidham’s best throws in his career at Auburn. Great touch and placement on a critical down. pic.twitter.com/r6mfPEDf4j
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) November 3, 2018
This throw is a good example. If this is the best we’re gonna see from Stidham, we’re in trouble. This is a 50-50 ball slightly behind his receiver that certainly gives his guy a shot to make a play, but isn’t a well-placed throw.
True freshman Seth Williams makes an unbelievable high-point grab, but a defensive back with any ball skills and awareness is competing at this catch point as well. The replays revealed the less than desirable placement of the throw and the complete ineptitude of the defender.
Jarrett Stidham 11-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-3, 200-pound, true freshman wide receiver Seth Williams pic.twitter.com/2wsQYxznsL
— Power of Dixieland (@PwrofDixieland) November 3, 2018
The problem is, this still may in fact be one of Stidham’s better throws, which illustrates just how low the bar is for a guy who was considered a first round, top 10 pick going into the season. The expectations cannot be this low for a quarterback with that type of a billing.
Mack Wilson ain’t perfect, but…
Not many linebackers can do this.
Mack Wilson WOW. This is a linebacker, folks pic.twitter.com/qLGSmA3T1s
— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) November 4, 2018
Yes, Mack Wilson has some issues with mental processing as a run defender at times, but he’s still well above average in that area with terrific range and athleticism to play in space. Most importantly, Wilson has the coverage ability and ball skills of a safety, showing matchup capabilities in man coverage or the ability to shut down throwing windows in zone like the play above.
Those skills are rare and coveted in the modern NFL. Wilson has a ceiling like that of Deion Jones or Ryan Shazier, and the NFL is going to love that. I think he’s a lock to go top 20 if he checks the expected boxes at the Combine.
-Finally got to see some A.J. Brown reps on the outside, but the results weren’t great. He didn’t have a quick plan for getting off press coverage and his lack of deep speed was exposed when asked to run a lot of vertical patterns. He’s a weird fit as a big slot in the NFL, and his athletic testing will be huge for his draft stock.
-It’s been a rough season for South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards, but Ole Miss’ secondary is the cure for many ailments. The junior reeled in four passes for 109 yards and a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch on a nine route in tight coverage. My guess is Edwards returns to school, but I know a couple of other South Carolina players are strongly leaning toward declaring, so perhaps the receiver jumps ship too.
–Vosean Joseph is a linebacker prospect whose stock has picked up some steam thanks to a ton of splash plays for Florida, but he missed some tackles Saturday and badly blew a coverage that resulted in an easy touchdown for Albert Okwuegbunam.
Speaking of which, has Ok ever scored a touchdown that wasn’t the result of a blown coverage? He has 17 in his career, and the vast majority have been completely uncontested. I might do a thread on it this week. Something to keep in mind when evaluating his production.
-Lot of buzz about Kentucky’s Josh Allen this season, and rightfully so as I believe he’s the most improved prospect in the country. But Georgia completely shut him out, holding him to just three tackles and keeping him from touching the quarterback all game long. Allen wasn’t bad, but he’s going to have to establish counter moves to keep from becoming too predictable as a pass rusher.
Yes, I know two fumbled snaps bounced right to him. Whoo-hoo.
–Derrick Brown is still inconsistent, but his peaks have been more impressive this season and he’s sustaining them for longer during game action. His sack of Kellen Mond late in Auburn’s comeback win was a huge moment that essentially involved him running over one of Texas A&M’s interior offensive linemen to strip the quarterback. He was the best player on the field for Auburn’s defense.
–Darius Slayton is a day three wide receiver prospect to keep an eye on if he tests well. His game is predicated largely on upside right now, as his routes are simple and he is inconsistent at finishing all types of catches. But his vertical ability coupled with the size to win against bigger corners and compete after the catch is enough to get excited about what he could be with better technique and attention to detail.
-If you had any remaining doubts about Quinnen Williams being a top three player in this class, Saturday night’s incredible performance against LSU should put those to bed. Williams was unblockable against one of the better groups he’ll face this season, terrorizing LSU for 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. The only time LSU slowed him down was on blatant holds. If he’s not a top five pick, I’m suing.
SEC Power Rankings
6. Mississippi State
7. Texas A&M
9. South Carolina
12. Ole Miss