• Zach Pratt

Zach's Draft Corner: Prospects Who Need to Improve/What to Watch

Image Credit: Jason Caldwell/Inside the Auburn Tigers

Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.

We are getting close to midseason, and conference play is in full swing. For the most part, the remaining games will hold the most weight with scouts. Players will be facing the toughest competition, and the players will be the most developed they will be before getting drafted. While some players are already excelling, I’ve chosen six players that have some obvious deficiencies that could hold them back come April. It’s not too late, though. These traits are all things that can be fixed, and with some work, these players might just do that.

Jacob Eason, QB, University of Washington

You are going to start hearing a lot of talk about Jacob Eason working his way into the first round quarterback conversation. He has all of the physical tools that you want out of a big-time NFL quarterback. You watch him play, and it is pretty obvious why Georgia wanted him to come in and be the next Matt Stafford. An injury at Georgia brought Jake Fromm into the lineup, and Fromm never gave up the position. Eason ended up transferring home, and he’s now the Seattle Matt Stafford. Against good competition like Cal, Eason has struggled, holding onto the ball too long, throwing into windows that don’t exist, and turning the ball over. Against lesser competition, he slings the ball around with ease. What he needs to do is show that the level of competition doesn’t matter if he wants to succeed. He needs to treat every team like they are Eastern Washington. If he can find that consistency, he might find himself with an invite to Las Vegas next April.

JaTarvarious Whitlow, RB, Auburn University

Whitlow is only a redshirt sophomore, so there is no rush for him to enter the draft if he wants to hang around Auburn for another year or two. Whitlow does have the talent to get drafted if he wants to enter the NFL with as limited mileage as possible, but there is one important thing that absolutely needs to stop: the fumbles. Whitlow has coughed up the ball three times in the first five games (and only 93 touches). That’s one fumble every 31 touches for those counting at home. That’s the type of fumble rate that is going to keep him from getting drafted if it continues for the whole season. If Whitlow can hold onto the ball for the rest of the season, scouts might be able to overlook the early season troubles.

Stephen Guidry, WR, Mississippi State University

Guidry has flown under the radar a little bit, but the shifty receiver has a lot to like. Off the snap and through his route, Guidry is a smooth, fluid athlete. Then the ball gets thrown, and he drops it. What’s worse, is that these drops happen at the most inopportune times and in the worst places. One drop fell right into the arms of a defender. Another would have been a touchdown in a close game. Guidry can run the prettiest routes in the world, but if he can’t finish, then he won’t be drafted. I hope that Mississippi State has a good JUGS machine, and I hope that Guidry makes it his new best friend.

Troy Dye, LB, University of Oregon

Dye has the making of a modern linebacker. He has the speed, he has the tackling ability, and he has good instincts in coverage. What’s more, if you look at the pure tackling stats, Dye is impressive. That’s why the tape is so important. Dye rarely is making these tackles behind the line of scrimmage. In fact, he’s often making them downfield, either facing lateral to or away from the line of scrimmage. When he’s looking to make a tackle, he too often lets the ball carrier come to him instead of attacking downhill. In a season without a true, elite, healthy, pure LB1, the spot could be Dye’s for the taking if he can just learn to go after the ball instead of just limiting the damage.

C.J. Henderson, CB, University of Florida

Henderson might be the most disappointing of the bunch. He was projected to be CB1 with his ability in coverage and his playmaking skills with the ball in the air. There was a worry that he was too much like Greedy Williams with his disinterest in playing physical football, and that has shown through in the first few weeks of the season. Henderson still has time, because this is just a mentality issue. If he can prove that he can change, then he might shoot right back up to CB1. Otherwise, he is going to see an even bigger fall than Greedy did.

Khaleke Hudson, S, University of Michigan

Michigan has had a pretty strong defense in recent years, and Khaleke Hudson had all of the makings of the next great Michigan safety. Somewhere along the way, Hudson just began to look lost. He is taking terrible angles on plays, he is missing tackles, and he is getting juked out of his shoes. Hudson has physical talent, but he needs to go back to the fundamentals. He looks lost out there, but all is not lost. He really needs to just take a step back and remember what got him to this point. Just maybe wait until next week instead of regaining form against my Hawkeyes.

TV Guide

The sheer amount of college games on at any given time can be completely overwhelming. Every week, in the TV Guide section of my column, I will choose the top two games at any given time slot and outline the various prospects you can watch in those games. That way, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and hit the “Previous Channel” button on your remote to toggle between games chock full of pro prospects. Here is your guide for week six (all times Eastern, rankings in parentheses).

As a reminder, we have a new format for the TV Guide this season. I’m going to list all of the draft eligible players that will impact the games themselves, meaning the lists will be pretty long. Then, I'll summarize each team by showing the players seriously in contention to be drafted at this point in time. However, it's important to know that one exceptional season can cause an impactful player to become a draftable player, so these names are still good to monitor.

Friday, October 4

University of Central Florida (18) at University of Cincinnati, 8:00 pm, ESPN


Brandon Wimbush, Senior Quarterback, #3

Greg McRae, Junior Running Back, #30

Adrian Killins, Senior Running Back, #9

Marlon Williams, Junior Wide Receiver, #6

Tre Nixon, Junior Wide Receiver, #16

Gabriel Davis, Junior Wide Receiver, #13

Trevor Elbert, Senior Tackle, #79

Josh McMullen, Senior Tackle, #60

Jake Brown, Senior Tackle, #77

Cole Schneider, Redshirt Sophomore Guard, #65

Jordan Johnson, Senior Center, #72

Brendon Hayes, Senior Defensive Tackle, #6

Malik Barrow, Junior Defensive Tackle, #95

Nate Evans, Senior Linebacker, #44

Nevelle Clarke, Senior Cornerback, #14

Brandon Moore, Junior Cornerback, #20

Richie Grant, Junior Safety, #27

Jordan Hayes, Senior Safety, #11

Antwan Collier, Junior Safety, #3

Davis has been a huge surprise for UCF this year, including a very impressive showing against the Stanford stud Paulson Adebo a few weeks ago. Schneider continues to look strong along the offensive line, and Grant and Collier have limited the amount of big plays on defense. Pitt may have ended UCF’s hopes for a third straight undefeated regular season, but UCF is still on track for another conference championship if they keep it rolling.


Desmond Ridder, Redshirt Sophomore Quarterback, #9

Michael Warren, Junior Running Back, #3

Josiah Deguara, Senior Tight End, #83

Perry Young, Senior Linebacker, #6

Bryan Wright, Senior Linebacker, #11

Cameron Jefferies, Senior Cornerback, #14

Ridder has faced some tests, and his status as a redshirt sophomore makes it unlikely that he comes out this year. However, a game against a team with the clout of UCF could put his name on the radar for the coming years. in 2020, Young and Wright are battling to hear their name called. A strong performance against a solid offense like UCF would help that quest.

University of New Mexico at San Jose State University, 10:00 pm, CBS Sports Network

New Mexico

Nobody to watch here. At all. Go out. Enjoy life. This Friday slate is not good.

San Jose State

Josh Love, Senior Quarterback, #12

Troy Kowalski, Senior Tackle, #79

Quinn Oseland, Senior Guard, #76

Ethan Aguayo, Senior Linebacker, #31

Jesse Osuna, Senior Linebacker, #11

There are players that at least make a difference here, but nobody will get drafted. Again, go enjoy your Friday night.

Saturday, October 5

Utah State University at Louisiana State University (5), 12:00 pm, SEC Network/ESPN 3

Utah State

Jordan Love, Junior Quarterback, #10

Gerold Bright, Senior Running Back, #1

Caden Anderson, Junior Defensive Tackle, #94

Tipa Galeai, Senior Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, #10

David Woodward, Junior Linebacker, #9

D.J. Williams, Senior Cornerback, #7

This is the game of the year for Jordan Love. He will not face a tougher defense this entire season, and he needs to take advantage of it if he wants to be a top-five quarterback in this class. On defense, Tipa Galeai also likely faces his toughest test of the season in an offense led by a quarterback upstart and that features a ton of speed.


Joe Burrow, Senior Quarterback, #9

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Junior Running Back, #22

Lanard Fournette, Senior Running Back, #27

Derrick Dillon, Senior Wide Receiver, #19

Dee Anderson, Senior Wide Receiver, #11

Justin Jefferson, Junior Wide Receiver, #2

Stephen Sullivan, Senior Tight End, #10

Jamal Pettigrew, Junior Tight End, #80

Thaddeus Moss, Junior Tight End, #81

Saahdiq Charles, Junior Tackle, #77

Badara Traore, Senior Tackle, #74

Adrian MaGee, Senior Guard, #73

Damian Lewis, Senior Guard, #68

Lloyd Cushenberry, Junior Center, #79

Breiden Fehoko, Senior Defensive Tackle, #91

Tyler Shelvin, Redshirt Sophomore Defensive Tackle, #72

Rashard Lawrence, Senior Defensive Tackle, #90

K'Lavon Chaisson, Redshirt Sophomore Defensive End, #18

Andre Anthony, Junior Defensive End, #46

Justin Thomas, Junior Defensive End, #93

Jacob Phillips, Junior Linebacker, #6

Patrick Queen, Junior Linebacker, #8

Michael Divinity, Senior Linebacker, #45

Kristian Fulton, Senior Cornerback, #1

Grant Delpit, Junior Safety, #7

Todd Harris, Jr., Junior Safety, #33

I told you to get on the Joe Burrow for Heisman train weeks ago, but that train has left the depot and is already halfway to New York City. Burrow has been fantastic this season, and I see no reason for that to change this week against Utah State. Charles is rising in the offensive line ranks. Adrian MaGee is a newcomer on the list after his impressive double pancake block against Vanderbilt highlighting his strength and mean stream. Edwards-Helaire is a day three running back. The defense is also completely stacked. Lawrence, Chaisson, Fulton, and Delpit are all first round picks right now, and Phillips and Queen are looking to make some headway in a weak linebacker class.

University of Iowa (14) at University of Michigan (19), 12:00 pm, FOX


Nathan Stanley, Senior Quarterback, #4

Mekhi Sargent, Junior Running Back, #10

Brady Ross, Senior Fullback, #36

Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Junioe Wide Receiver, #6

Shaun Beyer, Junior Tight End, #42

Nate Wieting, Senior Tight End, #39

Tristan Wirfs, Junior Tackle, #74

Alaric Jackson, Junior Tackle, #77

Levi Paulsen, Senior Guard, #66

Landan Paulsen, Senior Guard, #68

Brady Reiff, Senior Defensive Tackle, #91

Cedrick Lattimore, Senior Defensive Tackle, #95

Daviyon Nixon, Junior Defensive Tackle, #54

A.J. Epenesa, Junior Defensive End, #94

Chauncey Gholston, Junior Defensive End, #57

Djimon Colberts, Redshirt Sophomore Linebacker, #32

Kristian Welch, Senior Linebacker, #34

Matt Hankins, Junior Cornerback, #8

Michael Ojemudia, Senior Cornerback, #11

Geno Stone, Junior Safety, #9

As is typical with Iowa, the talent is along the lines. Wirfs and Epenesa are both potential top-ten picks in the upcoming draft, and Jackson has a chance to join them in the first round when he’s healthy. Outside of that group, Iowa just has a lot of mid- to late-round hopefuls in Stanley, Sargent, Smith-Marsette, Beyer, Nixon, Colberts, Welch, Stone. As is usual with a lot of Iowa picks, the juniors on this list are likely to return to school outside of the first round guys, so it might be another year until you see some names from this group.


Shea Patterson, Senior Quarterback, #2

Tru Wilson, Senior Running Back, #13

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Junior Wide Receiver, #9

Nico Collins, Junior Wide Receiver, #4

Tarik Black, Junior Wide Receiver, #7

Sean McKeon, Senior Tight End, #84

Nico Eubanks, Junior Tight End, #82

Ben Bredeson, Senior Guard, #74

Jon Runyan, Senior Guard, #75

Michael Onwenu, Senior Guard, #50

Michael Dwumfour, Senior Defensive Tackle, #50

Josh Uche, Senior Defensive End, #6

Kwity Paye, Junior Defensive End, #19

Khaleke Hudson, Junior Safety/Linebacker, #7

Josh Ross, Junior Linebacker, #12

Lavert Hill, Senior Cornerback, #24

Josh Metellus, Senior Safety, #14

If Michigan could find a quarterback that could reliably deliver the ball to Peoples-Jones, Collins, and Black, these prospects would be talked about a whole lot more. As it stands, they are likely on the early side of day three picks. On defense, Hill is the top prospect and will go in either the late first or early second rounds. Otherwise, Uche, Paye, Hudson, and Metellus are squarely in the day three conversation.

Auburn University (7) at University of Florida (10), 3:30 pm, CBS


Kam Martin, Senior Running Back, #9

Jay Jay Wilson, Senior Fullback, #42

JaTarvarious Whitlow, Redshirt Sophomore Running Back, #28

Will Hastings, Senior Wide Receiver, #33

Sal Cannella, Senior Tight End, #80

Jack Driscoll, Senior Tackle, #71

Prince Tega Wanogho, Senior Tackle, #76

Marquel Harrell, Senior Guard, #77

Mike Horton, Senior Guard, #64

Kaleb Kim, Senior Center, #54

Derrick Brown, Senior Defensive Tackle, #5

Nick Coe, Senior Defensive Tackle, #91

Marlon Davidson, Senior Defensive Tackle, #3

Big Kat Bryant, Junior Defensive End, #1

Javaris Davis, Senior Cornerback, #13

Noah Igbinoghene, Junior Cornerback, #4

Daniel Thomas, Senior Safety, #24

Jeremiah Dinson, Senior Safety, #20

With a freshman quarterback, Auburn is heavily focused on the run game, and they have the talent to succeed there. Martin and Whitlow are a great tandem at running back, and Wanogho and Driscoll are some of the better tackles in the class. On defense, Brown might be the first defensive tackle off the board, but the rest of the defensive line (Coe, Davidson, and Bryant) are, at worst, early day three prospects.


Lamical Perine, Running Back, Senior, #2

Josh Hammond, Wide Receiver, Senior, #10

Kadarius Toney, Wide Receiver, Junior, #1

Trevon Grimes, Wide Receiver, Redshirt Sophomore, #8

Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Senior, #12

Tyrie Cleveland, Wide Receiver, Senior, #89

Freddie Swain, Wide Receiver, Senior, #16

Lucas Krull, Tight End, Junior, #7

Kemore Gamble, Tight End, Redshirt Sophomore, #88

Stone Forsythe, Tackle, Junior, #72

Jean Delance, Guard, Junior, #56

Nick Buchanan, Center, Senior, #66

Kyree Campbell, Defensive Tackle, Junior, #55

Adam Shuler, Defensive Tackle, Senior, #88

Jabari Zuniga, Defensive End, Senior, #92

Jonathan Greenard, Defensive End, Senior, #58

David Reese, Linebacker, Senior, #4

C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Junior, #1

Marco Wilson, Cornerback, Redshirt Sophomore, #3

Donovan Stiner, Safety, Junior, #13

Brad Stewart Jr., Safety, Junior, #2

Jaewon Taylor, Safety, Senior, #29

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Florida in the guide, but they are still riding high. As usual, the cream of the crop is on defense. Zuniga looks to be one of the top edge defenders in this class, with Greenard playing a strong second fiddle on the line. In the secondary, C.J. Henderson and Donavan Stiner will both compete for first round spots. For the rest of these prospects, this season will be all about trying to work their way into the spotlight, though Perine and Cleveland are making strides.

University of Texas (11) at West Virginia University, 3:30 pm, ABC


Sam Ehlinger, Junior Quarterback, #11

Collin Johnson, Senior Wide Receiver, #9

John Burt, Senior Wide Receiver, #1

Devin Duvernay, Senior Wide Receiver, #6

Parker Braun, Senior Guard, #73

Zach Shackelford, Senior Center, #56

Gerald Wilbon, Senior Defensive Tackle, #94

Malcolm Roach, Senior Defensive Tackle, #32

Jeffrey McCulloch, Senior Linebacker, #23

Brandon Jones, Senior Safety, #19

The top prospects on this Texas team are Johnson, a giant wide receiver with sticky hands, and Jones, a rangy, playmaking safety. Ehlinger is looking more and more likely to return for another year, but he still has time to improve his stock. Braun, Shackelford, and Roach fortify the trenches for Texas, but none are breaking out just yet.

West Virginia

Austin Kendall, Junior Quarterback, #12

Kennedy McKoy, Senior Running Back, #6

Martell Pettaway, Senior Running Back, #32

George Campbell, Senior Wide Receiver, #15

Colton McKivitz, Senior Tackle, #53

VanDarius Cowan, Redshirt Sophomore Defensive End, #32

Reese Donahue, Senior Defensive End, #46

Keith Washington, Senior Cornerback, #28

Dana Holgerson left West Virginia after last season, and it looks like he got out just in time. The Mountaineers lost a lot of talent, and didn’t replace much. After a strong season last year, this year’s squad only sports McKivitz and Cowan as truly draftable prospects right now.

Michigan State University (25) at Ohio State University (4), 7:30 pm, ABC

Michigan State

Brian Lewerke, Senior Quarterback, #14

Connor Heyward, Junior Running Back, #11

Darrell Stewart, Senior Wide Receiver, #25

Cody White, Junior Wide Receiver, #7

Matt Dotson, Junior Tight End, #89

Luke Campbell, Junior Tackle, #62

Jordan Reid, Junior Tackle, #55

Tyler Higby, Senior Guard, #70

Matt Allen, Junior Center, #64

Mike Panasiuk, Senior Defensive Tackle, #72

Raequan Williams, Senior Defensive Tackle, #99

Naquan Jones, Junior Defensive Tackle, #93

Kenny Willikes, Senior Defensive End, #14

Joe Bachie, Senior Linebacker, #35

Antjuan Simmons, Junior Linebacker, #34

Josiah Scott, Junior Cornerback, #22

Josh Butler, Senior Cornerback, #19

David Dowell, Senior Safety, #6

It was only a matter of time until Sparty made its appearance on the guide, though a lot of it has to do with the matchup. Michigan State’s strength lies on defense, and mainly with Willikes and Bachie. Panasiuk, Williams, and Jones are all late round prospects on the defensive line. On offense, Lewerke has been hit or miss, but seems to be having a solid season. On the offensive line, Higby, is the best of the bunch, and the only prospect with a chance of being drafted given recent performance.

Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins, Junior Running Back, #2

Demario McCall, Junior Running Back, #30

K.J. Hill, Senior Wide Receiver, #14

Austin Mack, Senior Wide Receiver, #11

Binjimen Victor, Senior Wide Receiver, #9

Luke Farrell, Junior Tight End, #89

Rashod Berry, Senior Tight End, #13

Thayer Munford, Junior Tackle, #75

Jonah Jackson, Senior Guard, #73

Robert Landers, Senior Defensive Tackle, #67

Davon Hamilton, Senior Defensive Tackle, #53

Chase Young, Junior Defensive End, #2

Jonathon Cooper, Senior Defensive End, #18

Jashon Cornell, Senior Defensive End, #9

Malik Harrison, Senior Linebacker, #39

Pete Werner, Junior Linebacker, #20

Baron Browning, Junior Linebacker, #5

Tuf Borland, Junior Linebacker, #32

Jeffrey Okudah, Junior Cornerback, #1

Shaun Wade, Redshirt Sophomore Cornerback, #24

Damon Arnette, Senior Cornerback, #3

Jordan Fuller, Senior Safety, #4

Jahsen Wint, Junior Safety, #23

Ohio State is, by far, the fastest team in the Big Ten, and likely why they continue to dominate the conference. Dobbins is making strides to being one of the top running backs in the nation, and K.J. Hill seems to be next in the mold of Curtis Samuel and Parris Campbell. Farrell and Munford round out the offense. On defense, Okudah is making a strong case for CB1 in this class. His only question coming into the season was whether he could finish with interceptions, and he’s been successful at doing so this season. Then there’s Chase Young, who many have as the top prospect in the entire class. Landers, Harrison, Borland, and Wade are all prospects who will be drafted if they come out.

University of California at University of Oregon (13), 8:00 pm, FOX


Kekoa Crawford, Junior Wide Receiver, #11

Luc Bequette, Senior Defensive Tackle, #93

Zeandae Johnson, Senior Defensive Tackle, #44

Tevin Paul, Junior Defensive End, #96

Kuony Deng, Junior Linebacker, #8

Evan Weaver, Senior Linebacker, #89

Traveon Beck, Senior Cornerback, #22

Camryn Bynum, Junior Cornerback, #24

Ashtyn Davis, Senior Safety, #27

Jaylinn Hawkins, Senior Safety, #6

It’s a shame that Cal isn’t coming into this game undefeated, but losing your starting quarterback can do that. They hope to turn their fortune around by unleashing their fierce defense against a scary Oregon offense. Davis and Hawkins lead the way, with Paul, Weaver, and Deng being strong in their supporting roles.


Justin Herbert, Senior Quarterback, #10

C.J. Verdell, Redshirt Sophomore Running Back, #7