#11 Miami Hurricanes vs Florida State Seminoles
Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, FL
Score: #11 Miami (24), Florida State (20)
1. Tarvarus McFadden is still an elite CB prospect
The wide receiver-cornerback matchup of the week was undoubtedly Ahmmon Richards going up against Tarvarus McFadden on Saturday. While Richards is not draft-eligible, he is widely regarded as the top wide receiver prospect in the 2019 class. On the other hand, McFadden has been put in the upper echelon of top draft-eligible cornerback prospects since the beginning of the season.
Something had to give. In this contest, McFadden absolutely smothered Richards, especially at the LOS where he was able to consistently stifle and disrupt Richards’ rhythm with his length. At the catch point, whether at the hip or the high point, McFadden’s timing and length again played a huge factor as to why he had a spectacular outing.
Some may say he was a bit grabby, but that is just the physical nature that McFadden plays with. He was not getting his hands on his receivers because he got beat or guessed like Iman Marshall and Jordan Thomas. This was the Tarvarus McFadden that I compared to Xavier Rhodes I have been waiting for all season.
2. Mark Walton’s injury could mean a return to Miami for senior season
Before this game, Walton was one of my favorite draft-eligible running backs, despite not getting the national hype he deserved. However, this game was just one to throw away for Miami’s talented junior. On 12 carries, he rushed for just 25 yards, averaging a pedestrian 2.1 yards per carry mark. In addition, he did not do anything in the passing game, something he must show consistently to be a contributor at the next level.
Putting the performance aside, Walton suffered a knee injury in the game that will indeed knock him out for the duration of the season. In a strong, deep running back class, I’m not sure it would be wise for Walton to declare with such question marks. A return for his senior season can only help erase this uncertainty.
3. When healthy, Josh Sweat is a legitimate EDGE prospect and difference-making pass rusher
Florida State’s Josh Sweat will in all likelihood not be a high draft pick because of his vast injury history that will take him off draft boards, but there is no denying his talent level as a pass rusher.
This reminds me of the Carl Lawson situation where teams will dock him because of this uncertainty to play past the first contract. However, Sweat is 6’5, 250 with unreal bend and closing speed off of the edge for a pass rusher his size. In addition, he uses this length and quickness to also serve as a force in the run game. He could be a yearly double-digit sack guy at the next level, and a team with conviction could hit the lottery if they decide to pull the trigger.
4. Kendrick Norton and Derrick Nnadi make noise as potential one-techniques at the next level
Derrick Nnadi is the more proven player with his production, experience and notoriety, but Miami’s Kendrick Norton is also a legitimate defensive tackle prospect. Both players are run stuffers in the middle who offer some initial quickness off of the snap to disrupt as a interior pass rusher. These players won in different ways though in this contest.
Nnadi was the driving force behind Florida State stuffing Mark Walton in the run game, but for Norton, it was his pass rush production in this contest that separated him from the pack. Keep an eye on these two as we move forward in the season.
5. Derwin James is an all-world athlete, but remains a limited safety prospect
– There is no denying James’ talent and athleticism, as he could be considered one of the nation’s most exciting players to watch on the defensive side of the ball. However, he still has a lot of work to do in the back end before he can be relied upon at free safety, as I explained in my debut 2018 NFL Draft PvP piece.
There was a play on a double-twins look where James was the centerfielder, but shaded to the side opposite of Miami’s two best receivers, Ahmmon Richards and Braxton Berrios.
The subsequent result was Berrios scoring on a fade route. This kind of lack of situational awareness happens too often with James, and he thinks he can make up for it with his all-world athleticism. As of right now, he cannot be trusted as a deep middle player. He needs to be playing forward so a team can highlight his strengths, not his weaknesses.