Prospect Preview: Missouri at (11) Florida

Last weekend the prospect preview took a look at Penn State vs. Iowa. In what was expected to be a close, defensive matchup, the intensity lived up to the billing. There were more points put up on the board then expected, but it did finish a one score game in the top 25 matchup. With a game this weekend against Michigan, the same question remains, which Penn State team will show up  

This week, Missouri will take on the Gators. Missouri sits at only 4-4, but they’ve shown that they can keep up with a bunch of very talented teams. They got steamrolled by Alabama, as has every other team this season so far. Otherwise though, they have a two point loss to South Carolina and a one point loss to Kentucky, as well as a win over Purdue and Memphis. They haven’t beaten a team as good as Florida this season, but close losses have shown that they can put themselves in a position to win games against talented teams.

Florida has one of the best two-loss resumés in the country. With Kentucky claiming a top ten spot and Georgia sitting just outside the top five, their losses are well justified. They are LSU’s sole loss this season and it could be the loss that holds the Tigers out of the playoffs should they lose to Alabama today. Florida’s offense has looked much better than expected with Franks at quarterback and Scarlett running the ball. The defense has had some stars rise to the top of draft boards over the past few weeks and they have looked impressive recently aside from the Georgia loss. 

It may be a tough matchup for Missouri, but it will be a good matchup of Florida’s defensive line against the passing attack of the Tigers. 

Qb drew lock, missouri

Lock was a four-star quarterback according to 247Sports. After some years of development, Lock has turned himself in to one of the most electrifying players in college football. He threw for an outstanding 44 touchdowns last season, which led the nation, but he is on pace to have that number fall by a substantial amount. He's a three time team captain and a preseason All-SEC First-Teamer. 

Strengths

Drew Lock is a big-armed quarterback. He has an absolute cannon and he has very prototypical height and weight for an NFL quarterback. He can get the ball downfield with ease, and he has the velocity that NFL teams will look for in their evaluations. He can move out of the pocket when plays break down, and he has the ability to make plays no matter the pressure. 

Weaknesses

Lock fits in to the classification of the big-armed upper echelon quarterback. We've seen that the NFL loves those types of players though with Josh Allen going top ten last season. Lock throws too many picks and while his stature and throwing motion is very good, his footwork needs work to be an even better pinpoint passer. 

Current Projection: Round 2

DE Jachai Polite, florida

Jachai Polite played in every game in 2016 as a true freshman, but as a backup. Last season as a sophomore, he played in seven games, starting four, prior to being ruled out for the season with injury. This season, Polite has taken over a starting spot on the defensive line, playing snaps on both edges. Polite has 7.0 sacks so far on the season and he's well on track to being an All-SEC First-Teamer. 

Strengths

Polite is an incredibly quick defensive end. He beats offensive linemen off pure speed where they struggle to even get a hand on him before he is already locked in on the quarterback. His athleticism is impossible not to notice on tape, and his speed is undeniably one of the best in college football on the defensive line. 

Weaknesses

Jachai Polite will improve significantly if he can work on his hand usage. Right now he's so fast and so quick that defensive lineman have absolutely no chance to stop him, but his hand usage is lacking in the sense where his swim move and chops aren't refined just yet. 

Current Projection: Round 1

TE albert okwuegbunam, MISSOURI

Okwuegnunam redshirted his freshman season in 2016 before breaking on to the scene as a redshirt freshman last year. He finished with nearly 500 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman-Team and the All-SEC Second-Team. This season, he's already surpassed his yardage and reception totals, but his touchdowns have fallen with Drew Lock's total. 

Strengths

Okwuegnunam is a very athletic. runner, and he creates very good separation as a receiver. It seems as though he'll be best served on a team that uses their tight ends as pure weapons rather than blockers. He is not a bad blocker by any means though, and he does manage to get his hands on pass rushes whenever the play calls for it, but he doesn't serve as a sixth offensive lineman on blocking plays. 

Weaknesses

Albert O needs to improve his blocking. He doesn't do a bad job in college, but his technique looks like it will need improvement for the next level. He also does weigh 260, but he will need to pack on some weight to buff up as well to be a more effective run blocker specifically.  

Current Projection: Round 2-3

S Chauncey gardner-johnson, FLORIDA

 

Gardner-Johnson was a four-star prospect who passed up on offers from Georgia, Miami, Alabama and Notre Dame to be a Gator. CGJ is a junior but is very likely to declare for the NFL Draft in a season where there are a bunch of good, but not elite safeties. In 2016, he won the Outback Bowl MVP, becoming only the second true freshman in Florida history to win a bowl MVP. The first was the great Emmitt Smith. 

Strengths

Gardner-Johnson is very athletic and it shows on tape. He is also very fluid in coverage and he looks comfortable in his change of direction movements. He makes plays on the ball very comfortably and his overall ability in coverage should translate to the NFL rather well. 

Weaknesses

CGJ needs to improve on his tackling. His athleticism is very good, and his ability to make plays on the ball is very obvious, but his lack of tackling ability could be a problem at the next level if it doesn't improve because he has the ability to make tons of huge plays around the line of scrimmage but instead someone else needs to make the play in the second level. 

Current Projection: Round 1-2

 

Conclusions

If Florida wants to remain in the talk for a possible New Years Six Bowl, they will need to roll over Missouri, and they probably will, but the Tigers have the offensive firepower to keep up with Florida.