NFLDraftScout.com Prospect Notebook: Week 9
Also this week, we share our on-site observations from the Northwestern/Rutgers game, examine one of the least talked about Alabama prospects, highlight a potential future Sunday superstar and a small-school cornerback stating a big-time case to be drafted.
HERBERT MAY OPT TO PUT NFL ON HOLD: Entering the year there was strong sentiment that Oregon junior QB Justin Herbert (6-5, 225, 4.81, #10) would return for his senior year regardless of how this season played out.
Since then, Herbert has racked up 1,883 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to just five interceptions, while leading the Ducks to a 5-2 record. Along with his prototypical size, he has shown the ability to make all the throws and is an excellent athlete with the ability to improvise when needed.
However, multiple reports have continued to pop up stating that Herbert is still planning on spending another year in Eugene, which could have several ripple effects in the next two drafts.
The decision to return to school would be bad news for NFL teams in need of a signal caller in 2019 and means that Herbert would compete with sensational Alabama sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa (6-1, 219, 4.58, #1#) for the right to be the No. 1 quarterback in the 2020 draft.
Herbert currently projects to be a top five overall selection in the NFL Draft, according to the NFLDraftScout.com big board. Stay tuned!
A THORN IN THE SIDE: Northwestern senior QB Clayton Thorson (6-3, 225, 4.76, #2) was profiled earlier this season here in the Notebook as a quarterback to watch in this year's NFL Draft. While he had strung together impressive back-to-back performances in wins over Michigan State and Nebraska (828 passing yards and six touchdowns combined), on Saturday in Piscataway, the Rutgers defense proved to be a thorn in his side.
In fact, not only did Thorson fail to find any rhythm, his deep balls fluttered like butterflies and it often appeared that he had predetermined where he was going to throw before the ball was even snapped. Overall, this was a poor performance and his failure to read through progressions was highly disappointing.
While it's only one game, there could have been plenty to be gained from a positive performance with Panthers GM Marty Hurney, Vikings GM Rick Spielman and NFL consultant Joe Banner all in attendance. On this day, it appeared hard to justify thinking about Thorson as a top 100 selection.
BUGGS HAS BEEN A PEST: It's hard to fly under the radar at Alabama, but senior DE Isaiah Buggs (6-4, 292, 4.94, #49) has done just that. Playing alongside future first-round picks on a loaded Crimson Tide defense, Buggs has built an impressive resume in his own right -- one that could see him be selected extremely high in the draft.
The transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College began to emerge as a stalwart toward the latter part of last season. He has carried that momentum into his senior campaign with 24 tackles, including seven sacks.
He was once again a constant presence in the backfield against Tennessee, leading the way with a team-high seven tackles, while flashing his speed, strength and high motor. Buggs is relentless in his pursuit, constantly winds up around the football and possesses excellent size.
A native of Louisiana, he currently holds a strong early Day 2 grade and could possibly even hear his name called on Day 1.
FUTURE WATCH: Purdue true freshman WR Rondale Moore (5-9, 175, 4.38, #4) was electrifying (again) on Saturday in the Boilermakers' 49-20 romp over Ohio State.
The speedy dynamo is already being dubbed as one the school's greatest recruits of all-time and it'd be hard to disagree after he ran through, over and around the Buckeyes defense for 252 all-purpose yards. His 170 receiving yards was the fifth time he exceeded the 100-yard barrier this season.
Moore, an alumni of the same high school (Trinity) as his head coach Jeff Brohm in Kentucky, was somewhat of a recruiting gem, as he runs hard and with power (he squats 600 pounds) but is also very elusive, agile and able to cut on a dime.
There's not much that the freshman sensation can't do. Catching, running and returning kicks, this multi-purpose stud has all the makings of a future first-round pick.
SMALL SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: When you play in the FCS, in order to be recognized by NFL scouts you must dominate your level of play and possess good size. Delaware standout FS Nasir Adderley, SR (5-11, 188, 4.50, #13) passes the initial test with flying colors.
The Philadelphia native covers a tremendous amount of ground at free safety, displaying natural instincts and hard-hitting ability, along with the ability to score with the ball in his hands.
Adderley, a four-year starter, has played 40 games for the Blue Hens, registering 216 tackles, 29 pass deflections, 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles. He showed off his versatility against New Hampshire with a 92-yard kick return for a touchdown, as he trucked over a defender for one of the top college football plays of the year!
For now, his NFL future must wait until draft season to prove that his measureables stack up to some of the top FBS prospects at his position.
ETC.: Arkansas State senior QB Justice Hansen (6-3, 218, 4.86, #15) had a stellar performance on Thursday night prime time, completing 17 of 28 passes for 257 yards, with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. ... Michigan senior RB Karan Higdon (5-9, 190, 4.50, #22) continues to elevate his draft stock and had a bell-cow performance against Michigan State, running for 144 yards on 33 carries. ... Florida State senior WR Nyqwan Murray (5-11, 176, 4.50) reminded us about his solid route running and playmaking abilities with eight catches, 131 receiving yards and one touchdown in a victory over Wake Forest. ... While scouts are down on his speed, Washington senior ILB Ben Burr-Kirven (6-0, 222, 4.84, #25) has shown excellent smarts and instincts this season, leading the nation with 108 tackles in eight games.
Listen to NFLDraftScout.com analyst Ric Serritelladiscuss the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft quarterback class on CBS Sports Radio.