Hello faithful! The 49ers, led by Nick Mullens put on quite the show before a national audience on Thursday Night Football! The team was inspired, and played with heart and determination. While this season will likely fall short of the team’s biggest goals, they proved on Thursday night that they are not going to just give up, and play for draft positioning...In order to become a winning culture, you need to win football games...period. Even if that means sacrificing a draft spot or two. The game was significant for a couple of reasons. One, it marked the final Battle of The Bay, with the Raiders expected move to Las Vegas (This was the biggest blowout in the history of the Battle of The Bay!). Two, it might have, (though it’s too early to say) determined who will select the number one pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Speaking of the NFL Draft, we turn our attention to week 10 of the college football season. The first College Football Playoff rankings were revealed on Thursday with Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Notre Dame claiming the top 4 spots. With many teams in action, including an SEC showdown between #1 Alabama facing off against #3 LSU in Baton Rouge, this week promises to be intriguing and exciting. Josh, Greg, and Alex have provided 6 prospects to watch this week. Who are YOU excited to see in action this week? Please share and discuss in the comments below!
A.J. Brown, WR, No. 1, - Ole Miss
Height 6’1” | 225 lbs. | 40 Time: 4.50
South Carolina at Ole Miss | 9:00 a.m (PT) Saturday, November 3 | SECN
You can find one of the most dominant and consistent receivers in the nation at Ole Miss, in A.J. Brown. So far in 2018, Brown has 60 receptions for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2017 Brown had 75 receptions for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. A smooth route runner, with strong, reliable hands, Brown has a rare blend of speed and athleticism. On tape, Brown is dangerous in open space, and constantly earns yards after the reception. Brown plays with confidence, often winning battles in one-to-one matchups with defenders. Brown’s physicality and ball instincts make him one of the most reliable receivers entering this season. What was even more impressive was Brown’s ability to put up elite numbers playing on a below-average team last season.
What impresses me about Brown is his ability to create separation and create yards of the catch. Rarely does Brown drop the ball, and has some of the strongest and most reliable hands in the nation. Scouts and evaluators will also give him check marks for his frame and build. Overall, Brown has many qualities about his game that should transition at the pro level. At this time, I see Brown as a day one prospect — and most likely landing in the top 20 of the first round.
Christian Wilkins, DT, No. 42 - Clemson
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 314 | Projected 40: 4.90
Louisville at #2 Clemson | 9:00 a.m. (PT) Saturday, November 3 | ABC
The senior out of Clemson has made a big impact both on and off the field. He is the kind of player any franchise would want on their roster. Not only did he graduate early and return to Clemson for his senior season, he spent the offseason substituting inside school classrooms and being a positive role model for students of all ages. This season Wilkins has 20 tackles, with 5.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. Wilkins has good burst and speed off the snap and makes an impact and presence in the opposition’s backfield. Wilkins has a natural blend of upper and lower body strength. He is often double teamed along the line of scrimmage and makes an impact that helps his fellow defensive lineman make plays.
Wilkins has demonstrated an ability to stop the run and the pass. Wilkins can be looked at as a three down defensive lineman. On tape, more often than not, Wilkins causes disruption at the point of attack. He has demonstrated his ability to rush the passer from the inside, which looks to be his natural position as he transitions to the next level. Wilkins has demonstrated continuous growth each season at Clemson. His character and leadership traits, along with his skill set make Wilkins a first-round lock in the 2019 NFL Draft. Wilkins should hear his name called no later than the back half of the first round of next year’s draft.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, No. 38 - Iowa
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 250
No. 16 Iowa vs. Purdue | 12:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, November 3 | ESPN 2
Earlier in the collegiate season I highlighted one Iowa tight end to keep an eye on in Noah Fant. But Iowa does not disappoint with their tight ends. T.J. Hockenson may not get the same recognition as Fant, but an argument could be made Hockenson could be the better of the two. The redshirt sophomore has stepped out of the shadow of Fant and his gameplay has raised eyebrows leaving him an enticing option to take advantage of his draft value when it is time to declare. Moreover, joining another talented Iowa tight end in George Kittle will help solidify the 49ers’ tight end position.
Hockenson offers an athletic frame with a terrific combination of size, speed, athleticism, and strength. He displays fluidity in his route running, showcases excellent ball skills, very strong reliable and outstanding hands, attacks the ball at its highest point, and is an exceptional blocker (Iowa’s bread and butter). Hockenson displays outstanding awareness always finding the holes on defense and quickly squares up to make a large target for the quarterback, as well as the suddenness to separate with impressive burst from his breaks creating separation. He shows an excellent ability to block end of line at the point of attack in a three point stance using solid hand technique and leverage. Hockenson shows the agility to reach the next level and block in space with a sound base, platform, and the ability to swing his hips blocking in space whether end of line or detached. An all around complete tight end that is still growing.
Trey Adams, OT, No. 72 - Washington
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 327
UCLA vs. Oregon | 4:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday, November 3 | FOX
Although Trey Adams is not playing in this game today (out for the year), he is a prospect to keep an eye on. Adams entered the 2018 collegiate season poised to bounce back from a torn ACL on his right knee he injured during Week 7 of October 2017. The mountain of a man had huge expectations for his senior year competing as one of the top offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Adams’ return was abruptly halted with another season ending injury (back injury). Questions remain if Adams will redshirt this year returning to Oregon for 2019 or decide to officially declare at the end of the season; nonetheless, he brings tremendous size, length (long arms), quickness, and athleticism to a frame that moves around the field with impressive fluidity.
Adams is an athletically gifted bruiser with a condor-like wingspan displaying active and heavy hands jolting defenders and showing a great ability to square up opponents and initially control defenders utilizing length, solid technique, and power punch to finish opponents with speed and strength. The former high school standout on the basketball court showcases a quick first-step, fluid lateral quickness, balance, solid technique, and an impressive athletic ability to quick set easily mirroring defenders with suddenness and fluidity adjusting to movement sliding laterally and redirecting. He shows a great ability to anchor in pass protection dropping his weight and hips anchoring to engage power rushers. Moreover, Adams’ fluidity and quickness allows him to display the athletic ability to swing his hips blocking in space when reaching the second level and is adept at utilizing angles and combo blocks. The biggest concern for Adams is if he can return to pre-injury form, so medical checks will be huge for him to determine his draft value.