Almost very two leap years, Alabama and South Carolina play during the regular season. Thus, I hit YouTube with the hope of being able to watch the two of the top three rated CBs (ALA’s Patrick Surtain II and SC’s Jaycee Horn) in the 2021 NFL Draft pool in the same game and it just so happened that the two teams played in South Carolina in 2019.
It’s one thing to watch the highlight video of the game —- and quite another to watch the play by play video, which is linked for you here:
Note: if you really want to trust your own eyes and challenge yourself, watch at least the first half of this tape. There are no commercials. It doesn’t take too long.
The players whom I tried to focus in on:
2 —- CB Patrick Surtian
32 —- LB Dylan Moses
58 —- DT Christian Barmore
22 —- RB Najee Harris
6 —-WR DeVonta Smith
17 —- WR Jaylen Waddle
65 —- G Deonte Brown
69 —- C Landon Dickerson
70 —- T Alex Leatherwood
87 —- TE Miller Forristall
(Current NFL players who played in this game: QB Tua T., WR J. Jeudy, CB T. Diggs, WR H. Ruggs, T J. Wills, DT R. Davis)
1 —- CB Jaycee Horn
13 —- WR Shi Smith
24 —- CB Israel Mukuamu
50 —- LT Sadarius Hutcherson
53 —- LB Ernest Jones
(Current NFL players who played in this game: DT J. Kinlaw, RB Tavien Feaster — * recently signed by ARI* —, WR B. Edwards)
South Carolina HC Will Muschamp (a Nick Saban disciple) said before the game that in order to have a chance his Gamecoacks needed big games from DT Kinlaw, LB Jones and CB Horn. Muschamp challenged his players by telling them, “if you want to show the NFL you can play, the Alabama game tape is the best way.”
I had not watched this game previously and had no idea of what to expect.
Here were my impressions:
2 —- CB Patrick Surtian —- not as physical versus the run and in tackling as I anticipated. I’ve seen him stack and wrap before, but not much in this game. Missed a few tackles early where he came in too high, but settled down and registered 8 tackles (6 solo) on the day. In coverage, as customary, he prefers to trail his man and face guard. He has a uncanny way of stripping or knocking passes out from his man even when he doesn’t look back for the ball. His hand placements are clever (was taught well by his dad), as he maintains contact, but rarely gets called for PI. As a result he is super sticky and a PBU waiting to happen.
32 —- LB Dylan Moses —- didn’t see him and he does not appear in the box score.
58 —- DT Christian Barmore —- was in deep rotation and didn't flash, although he had 1 QB pressure.
22 —- RB Najee Harris —- as it turned out, this was, much to my delight, Najee’s breakout game as a receiver out of the backfield. He scored the 1st Bama TD on a fake sweep where he continued on a swing pass up the sideline, was wide open, caught the ball, made one defender miss and scored. His 2nd TD on a 4th and 3 play in the first half was a thing of utter beauty —- and shades of the outstaning receiving plays he made during the 2020 playoffs. Rather than describe it, you should see it for yourself. Rushing: 7/36/5.1. Receiving: 5/87/17.4/2 TD.
6 —-WR DeVonta Smith —- was basically unstoppable (8/136/17.0/2 TD), per usual, routinely beating Horn and Mukuamu.
17 —- WR Jaylen Waddle —- only one catch for 12 yards, but had a nice 17 yard punt return.
87 —- TE Miller Forristall —- pretty good looking H-back/TE at 6-5, 244. Works hard on blocks and moved well on his routes. In this game, he only had 1 catch for 7 yards.
1 —- CB Jaycee Horn —- not sure why he didn’t try to press DeVonta Smith more, as he way too often gave up far too much cushion, which Smith and crew easily exploited. He made three good plays in the game: (1) an ankle tackle on Najee Harris where he run blitzed inside from the perimeter; (2) a slant pass to Smith that he poked out of Smith’s hands for an incompletion as Smith was tucking the ball in; (3) a near interception in the end zone where he left his man to get to the back of the end zone to almost pick off the pass. The rest of the game tape was not good for Horn as he repeatedly ran away from tackles (finished with 1 tackle, 1 pass breakup, one PI and 0 interceptions) and quit on a few plays, like on Henry Ruggs’ slant pass that Riggs took all the way to the house, crossing over to Horn’s side of the field. Horn had coverage on his man, but when Ruggs was breaking across the middle, Horn was very late to react, then Horn took a couple half-speed steps in Ruggs’ direction and then just quit, electing not to try to chase him. Funny, but when I clicked on Horn’s highlight tape to remind myself how good he is in other games, they had the three decent plays vs. Alabama in there, as if he showed up well in that game. The opposite was true. I bet this game was wakeup call and a motivator, but the fact that it is questionable whether Horn is interested or invested in tackling (corroborating the descriptions in scouting reports as “inconsistent as a tackler in the run game”) could potentially jeopardize his status as a potential first round pick.
13 —- WR Shi Smith —- he is an under-rated slot WR in an upcoming draft that is very deep at WR. Smith scored a superb post pass TD where he was sandwiched by two defenders. His line on the game was very good: 6/ 90/ 15.0/1 TD. What also stood out is that he is an excellent gunner and return man on STs.
24 —- CB Israel Mukuamu —- played very physical (8 tackles, 5 solo) and made a good red zone play versus DeVonta Smith by pinching him to the sideline on a fade pass, that Smith managed to catch but could not tap a foot into the end zone. At 6’4” and 212 pounds, Mukuamu is an impressive prospect.
50 —- LT Sadarius Hutcherson —- played LT in this game, but projects inside to guard in the NFL. He has good feet for a man 6-3, 321.
53 —- LB Ernest Jones —- led the Gamecocks in tackles with 9 (6 solo) with 2 TFLs.
- in my opinion, CB Patrick Surtain II is in a class all by himself in this draft. He aced his pro day, running in the 4.4s while showing superior ability in the CB drills. The game tapes justify Surtain’s workout performance. He looks like a lock to be a top 15 pick, most likely to be tabbed by the Cowboys at #10, which is fitting because in some ways Patrick Surtain reminds me of Byron Jones.
- I believe that because of the excellent CB depth in the draft that it’s possible that Jaycee Horn and Caleb Farley could slide into the last third of Round 1 or into Round 2, because of teams like the Cardinals who are high on quite a few of the other top CB prospects in this draft.
- In Farley’s case, it’s going to be a real risk for a team to draft him in Round 1, in light of his ACL injury, his 1 year conversion to CB (albeit highly successful at Virginia Tech) and his current back injury which has not enabled him to run and perform CB drills for scouts.
- It continues to be my hope and dream to see a Cardinals’ defense where all 11 players take a special pride in their tackling, individually and as a group. I’ve been calling this the Tillman Test. The rule being that once a handoff, or pitch or pass is tossed, the man with the ball becomes “everybody’s man.”
- As for the Alabama playmakers, DaVonta Smith is imo the clear #2 WR prospect in the draft and, depending on the team and their style of offense, Smith might be on a par with Ja’Marr Chase. Did you know that DaVonta Smith caught more TDs than Jerry Jeudy and Jaylon Waddle combined?
- DaVonta Smith carrer: 235 catches —- 3,965 yards —- 16.9 ave. —- 46 TDs
- Jerry Jeudy career: 159 catches —- 2,742 yards —- 17.2 ave. —- 26 TDs
- Jaylen Waddle career: 106 catches —- 1,999 yards —- 18.9 ave. —- 17 TDs
- Ja’Marr Chase career: 107 catches —- 2,093 yards —- 19.6 ave. —- 23 TDs
- There are four players in this draft whom I would be fascinated to see the Cardinals try to trade up for: (1) TE Kyle Fitts; (2) WR DaVonta Smith; (3) WR Ja’Marr Chase; (4) LB Micah Parsons. Not sure what compensation it would take (at what spots in the first 10 picks), but, man, all four of these prospects are very special and are worth making phone calls to other GMs ahead of the Cardinals in the draft.
- Najee Harris’ all-around skills as a rusher and receiver are special. Same for Travis Etienne. I would take Harris or Etienne at #16 over Jaylen Waddle, Jaycee Horn or Caleb Farley. I think they offer the team greater star power and durability.
- If the Cardinals could only choose from players in the 2019 Alabama vs. South Carolina game in this year’s draft, here’s how I would mock it: (with Lindy’s player comps, ESPN rankings, position and overall)
16. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama (Todd Gurley, LAR/ATL/UFA. ESPN #1 RB, #21 overall)
49. Alex Leatherwood, G/T, Alabama (Jason Spriggs, CHI. ESPN #2 G, #59 overall)
160. Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina (Demarcus Ayers, NE/PIT/UFA. ESPN #15 WR, #86 overall)
223. Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina (Joejuan Williams, NE. ESPN #26 CB, #172 overall)
243. Ernest Jones, LB, South Carolina (Blake Martinez, NYG. ESPN #10 ILB, #127 overall)
247. Sadarius Hutcherson, G, South Carolina (ESPN #22 G, #277 overall)
CFA: Miller Forristall, TE, Alabama
- Steve Keim was in attendance at South Carolina’s Pro Day and obviously RB Tavien Feaster who was working out there on an invite caught Keim’s eye when he ran a 4.43. Feaster spent 3 years at Clemson and one year at South Carolina (knowing he would once again be behind Travis Etienne) (plus spent tryout and/or practice squad time with JAC, NYG and DET). Feaster was a 5 star college recruit and Mr. Football (top recruit) his senior year of high school in South Carolina.
Jaycee Horn’s workout numbers at his pro day were very impressive. According to SC Gamecocks Sports:
▪ Horn was measured just over 6-foot tall and 205 pounds Wednesday and registered a 41 1/2-inch vertical leap and had an 11-foot, 1-inch broad jump. Horn’s 40-yard dash time was 4.37 according to a release sent out by South Carolina. Only five players had a better vertical jump than Horn’s at the 2020 NFL Combine, the last time it was held before COVID-19. Horn also benched 225 pounds 19 times.
- Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-football/article250165980.html#storylink=cpy
- Play of the Game: (4th and 3, Bama up 17-10, 2nd Quarter)