The 2023 NFL Draft is still months in the distance, but with college football having arrived, the beginning stages of the 2023 draft process has begun. With that in mind, it is time to dive into this past week’s biggest games in the college football world, taking a look at draft prospects who improved their stock based on their performance.
Offensive line is definitely an area the Steelers need to address, and the most likely resource for the solution is indeed the draft. Concerns at cornerback and linebacker also loom large over the Pittsburgh’s head. Although we will certainly break down prospects at other positions this season as well, these will be the primary positions of emphasis, especially early in the season.
Nearly every week during the season, there are several highlight games that steal the headlines, but even when these games overshadow the rest of the college football landscape, we will not be negligent of the other games and prospects in action. Every week during the season, we will recap the previous week’s action and determine whose stock rose the most as it pertains to the NFL Draft.
As always, be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, but without further adieu, here are the highest of highs from Week 11 of college football!
Olusegun Oluwatimi | C | Michigan | 6’3”, 307 lbs
Blake Corum has been arguably the best running back in the country in 2022, but a big reason why is Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi. Oluwatimi is a transfer from Virginia who, when coming to Michigan, was heralded as an athletic lineman with schematic versatility. He has proven his supporters correct in 2022, as his work as a run blocker has been nothing short of outstanding.
Michigan offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore has helped Oluwatimi in many areas, but specifically in the area of leverage. It was another big week for Michigan in the ground game, and Oluwatimi was one of the guys leading the way. His work in pass protection has not been bad either, although developing a little more functional strength will help him anchor better. I think he should be considered as one of the top 50 prospects in this year’s draft class.
Byron Young – DL – Alabama | 6’3”, 292 lbs
The Steelers may not be in need of another 3-4 defensive end after the drafting of DeMarvin Leal, but one of the best individual performances in Week 11 came from Alabama’s Byron Young, not to be confused with the Tennessee EDGE rusher Byron Young. The Alabama standout has improved as a pass rusher in 2022, as he has now recorded 3.5 sacks this season. It may not seem like a lot, but that is more than his 2020 and 2021 totals combined. This past Saturday against Ole Miss, Young recorded 2 of those 3.5 sacks, as well as 11 tackles, 2 quarterback hurries, and 1 pass defended. With a strong finish to the season, he could very well push Day 2 territory.
Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu – OT – Oregon | 6’6”, 315 lbs
I mentioned Aumavae-Laulu earlier in the season as a player to watch, and in Week 11, he boosted his draft status by quite a bit. A nearly flawless performance on his part, Aumavae-Laulu displayed smooth footwork and great lateral movement skills. Albeit in a losing effort, Oregon ran the ball for over 300 yards in the game, and it was their ability to run not only up the middle, but also to the outside, that made their running game so effective. Aumavae-Laulu was great as a run blocker, displaying a consistent pad level and good functional strength. He is currently a mid-round prospect who could rise as the draft process unfolds.
Others Who Improved Their Stock
Dadrion Taylor-Demerson — S — Texas Tech (6 SOLO TCKL, 2 TFL, 3 PD)
Jesiah Pierre — LB — Texas Tech (7 TCKL, 6 SOLO TACKL, 2 SCK)
DeMarvion Overshown — ILB — Texas (11 TCKL, 0.5 SCK)
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson — DB — TCU (2 TCKL, 3 PD)
Jared Verse | EDGE | Florida State (4 TCKL, 1 SCK)
Alex Forsyth — C — Oregon
Sedrick Van Pran — C — Georgia
Which prospects caught your eye this past weekend? Who do you think made the biggest leap, or drop, in the draft rankings in Week 11? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!