With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, the opportunities to impress NFL scouts and decision-makers are dwindling down. Big decisions loom for underclassmen while seniors must take advantage of every rep to leave a strong final impression with their game tape.
Let's examine five NFL Draft prospects who boosted their stock after stellar performances in Week 11.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The toast of the rising QB class is Oregon's Justin Herbert and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, but the more we talk about Herbert and Haskins, the more we keep hearing that both prospects will remain in school. With that said, someone's gotta be QB1 and Duke's Daniel Jones is making a strong case to be that guy. Whether you like him or believe he is a first-round caliber prospect, NFL scouts I've talked to rave about Jones' upside and intangibles.
In Duke’s 42-35 win over UNC, Jones accounted for a program-record 547 total yards and four touchdowns. He threw for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns while also adding 186 rushing yards.
The 547 yards of total offense were also the most ever given up by UNC, surpassing Lamar Jackson’s previous record of 525 set last year against the Heels.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Jones is a dual-threat passer that has really developed a strong vertical passing element to his game. He excels at dropping balls in the bucket and operates quick game very effectively. While he needs some work in terms of working progressions, coming off his first read and handling pressure, there is an exciting baseline of tools to work with.
Jones is the buzziest QB prospect in the nation right now and his standout performance against UNC makes it even louder.
Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
The Eagles weren't able to compete with Clemson on Saturday Night but senior defensive lineman Zach Allen was a true bright spot. His performance against Clemson encapsulated his best attributes as an NFL prospect.
It doesn’t completely show up in the box score (4 tackles, TFL, PD, 2 QBH), but Allen had an outstanding game against Clemson. He played with relentless energy and showcased his patented play strength while controlling the line of scrimmage. He’s not the most athletic of flexible player but his energy, hand usage and power at the POA is simply outstanding. He’ll be a valuable piece for an NFL defensive line.
Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech
Antoine Wesley may have only entered the season with 10 career receptions but he's been lighting up the stat sheet this year as a junior. In 10 games, Wesley has hauled in 78 receptions for 1,347 yard and 9 TDs and is among the likely finalists for the Belitnikoff Award.
Our Brad Kelly has been in our staff's ear all season long about Wesley and it's time to get serious about him as a prospect. His latest dominant performance on Saturday came against Texas where he tallied 8 receptions for 171 yards and 2 TDs including several clutch passes that put the Red Raiders in position to have a chance.
Wesley is a polished route runner that doe well to sell his route breaks and run crisp patterns. His body control is outstanding and he is finishing extremely well at the catch point. At 6-foot-5, Wesley offers tremendous length and an extended catch radius. This rising WR class has the makings of an extremely deep and talented group and Wesley further strengthens the class.
Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
The rising class of EDGE defenders is ridiculously deep and talented and Darrell Taylor's standout performance against Kentucky on Saturday will help keep him relevant.
Racking up 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 4 sacks, Taylor was a menace to the Wildcat's defense. Tallying 3 sacks against Georgia earlier this year, it his second monster performance of the season. Taylor has an impressive 7 sacks across those two games but NONE in the Vol's other 7 games. His sacks are coming in bunches but at least they are coming.
Against Kentucky, Taylor's length, burst and ability to corner were on display and that's what makes him an intriguing NFL prospect. He was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Hopefully this outing will lead to more production in Tennessee's final games as he considers his future.
Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
The Tide's 24-0 win over Mississippi State on Saturday yielded one of Bama's most modest offensive outings of the season. but the weapon who found the most production was TE Irv Smith. Enjoying an exceptional season, Smith hauled in 5 passes for 70 yards against the Bulldogs.
The more I see Smith, the more I fall in love with his upside. He has a long, muscular frame with fluid and explosive movement skills. His ball skills, hands, route running and ability to win post-catch are really exciting.
In today's NFL where spacing and creating mismatches is the name of the game, Smith offers a skill set that translates beautifully and he promises to be a hot commodity next spring.
Against MSU, Smith accounted for 43 percent of the Tide's receiving yards and has developed into one of the most dynamic tight ends in college football.