Folks, one of the best football weekends of the year is upon us. New Year’s Eve will be spent watching the annual college football playoffs, the NFL has a crucial week 17 on New Year’s Day, and we top it all off on Monday with four more high quality college games.
Today I want to focus on the best players to watch who are likely heading to the NFL Draft in the College Football Playoff. There’s some very talented prospects, especially in the later game, that will be squaring off.
Let’s dig into the action! Here are your top five players to watch in the College Football Playoff!
1. CJ Stroud, Quarterback, Ohio State
CJ Stroud comes into what could possibly be his last career game at Ohio State as a prospect who has some really great traits but he also has some questions. It’s no secret that he has a great arm that can make all of the throws and he’s a good processor of the game, but his lack of athleticism could make him fall outside of the top five and possibly even into the teens in this year’s draft class.
If Stroud can come out and have a monster game against a Georgia defense that boasts two or three first rounders of their own (more on that later), it could really help his draft stock.
2. Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
Now let’s talk about one of the most fun prospects in the draft in Quentin Johnston of TCU. He’s an absolute freak who’s listed at 6’4″ but has an incredible 7.8 YAC/Rec stat this season. He is an absolute unicorn who can go up and get it but also make guys miss with 17 missed tackles forced this season. If TCU stands a chance against Michigan, it’ll be because of Quentin Johnston.
3. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Normally I am not a fan of defensive tackles going in the top half of the first round but Jalen Carter is a different monster. He is a massive 3/4 Defensive End or 4/3 defensive tackle who has shown that he has the ability to grow into a pass rusher at the next level. He eats up double teams and plays with a violence that not a lot of players play with. He has 25 pressures in 10 games this season so far with 3 sacks.
4. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Ringo is a big, physical corner, who will do best in the NFL on a team who plays in a man-press scheme. He isn’t the best cornerback in this class, but he will be a first round pick this April. He is really strong and uses his body well. He’s allowed 35 catches on 64 targets so far this season and hasn’t given up a touchdown.
5. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
This is a player who won’t be drafted in the first round but he’s one of the most interesting prospects I’ve ever watched. He’s not even the best tight end on his team, but he’s a massive 6’7″ and 265 lbs. He looks like a man playing against boys when he’s on the field. He isn’t exceptionally smooth in his movements but he has the ability to hurdle defenders and deliver the boom. He also has very good ball skills for being as large as he is.
Featured Image Credit: Maize & Blue Nation, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons