We’re hitting the home stretch of the college football season — single tear forming — but there are many good games this week, with 22 of the top-25 teams in action, including four games involving two ranked teams facing each other. We didn’t feature a quarterback this week, for perhaps the first time all season, but we have two elite skill-position players and three outstanding defenders in our weekly watch of 2020 NFL draft prospects we’ll be honed in on this weekend:
Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy vs. Mississippi State
We still don’t officially know if Tua Tagovailoa will go in this one, as he’s listed as a game-time decision. That obviously carries a ton of weight when we evaluate Jeudy in this game, but the loss to LSU was a game that he’d like to have back. Even with his late touchdown and a few eye-opening routes in that one, Jeudy dropped two would-be touchdowns and three drops total.
If Tua can’t go, it will be the Mac Jones show again at QB. Jones played most of the Tennessee game and all of the Arkansas game and was hit and miss. Against the Vols, Jeudy did most of his receiving damage with Tagovailoa in the game. He also took a big hit from Tennessee LB Daniel Bituli and was shaken up. Jones was 0-for-3 targeting Jeudy in that one, but the connection got back on track the next week against Arkansas with Jeudy going for seven catches, 103 yards and two scores.
Jeudy had maybe his quietest game in his brilliant 2018 season against the Bulldogs, with six catches (on 10 targets) and none longer than 13 yards. He also had a drop on a screen pass and was forced to catch a lot of short stuff in that game with Mississippi State playing a lot of two-high zone. You can expect this coverage against Tagovailoa, but they could opt to be more daring vs. Jones.
Regardless, Jeudy could use a big game against a decent secondary just to remind everyone of how dangerous and special a prospect he is. There’s no shot whatsoever of him slipping out of the first round, and I’ll still wager dollars to doughnuts that he ends up in the top 10 — or the top half of the round at the very least.
But it’s a wonderfully deep WR class in 2020, and there could be a few teams in that range who might otherwise be convinced to pass on a wideout for another position if Jeudy turns in pedestrian production and suffers drops in bunches like he did last week. We still think it was out of character for him and not a sign of trouble, but you never can say that with certainty.