Opt-outs have taken the first-round talents for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and South Carolina Gamecocks off the field in this year’s Gator Bowl, but both programs have plenty of depth when it comes to this NFL Draft class.
Below is a look at the top 300 players who will be suiting up tonight per NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board.
Spencer Rattler, QB (No. 7)
Career stats (four seasons): 68.7% completion, 7,361 yards, 56 TDs, 23 INTs
NMDD draft projection as of 12/29: 6th round
It’s very easy to notice the arm talent Spencer Rattler has. He has access to the entire field with plenty of zip on his throws and the ability to generate distance. Rattler is a talented thrower on the move and finds plenty of success on rollouts. For a passer that features quite the fastball, Rattler knows when to take something off his throws and use his off-speed pitches. He does well to hit rhythm throws when executing quick game. While he isn’t with an occasional misfire, Rattler has impressive moments of strong accuracy and ball placement to all levels of the field.
Antwane Wells Jr., WR (No. 3)
James Madison stats (two seasons): 116 catches, 1,852 yards, 21 TDs
South Carolina stats (one season): 63 catches, 898 yards, 5 TDs
NMDD draft projection as of 12/29: 7th round
He’s equally dangerous in catch-and-run situations as Wells is taking the top off a defense
Wells runs precise routes, showing an innate feel for setting up defensive backs to create separation.
He tracks the ball well downfield and consistently runs under long throws.
He’s a precise route runner, creating separation when used on quick outs and stop patterns in college. Wells has good stop-start ability and lateral agility.
Has good body strength to squirm out of tackles with the coordination to maneuver his frame between defenders.
Brandon Joseph, S (No. 16, game-time decision)
Career stats (four seasons): 159 total tackles (99 solo), 2.5 TFL, 10 INT, 7 PD
NMDD draft projection as of 12/29: 2nd round
Scouting report via TDN (full report)
Brandon Joseph played well beyond his experience levels during a breakout 2020 campaign with the Wildcats. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he led the team in interceptions (6) and added an additional eight passes defensed in just nine games played. He’s got tremendous ball skills and good instincts on the back end of an NFL-caliber defensive system that asks their secondary to do a lot. His zone coverage in the deep portions of the field is excellent. Northwestern implemented a lot of middle-of-the-field open coverage and showed a lot of quarters and charged Joseph with manning deep middle-of-the-field regions. It was a challenge that he answered without being conned or baited out of leverage—that is a consistent trend across both of his seasons of significant play to this point as he transitions to playing for the Irish. He’s long and fluid in transition and was even given assignments in the red area to work in the slot, such as when he blanketed Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson in the Big Ten Championship and logged a one-handed interception with a tremendous play on the ball. There’s not a lot that you should feel apprehensive about him being capable of handling in the pass game—he’s got a high football IQ and diagnoses route combinations quite well.
Jarrett Patterson, iOL (No. 55)
NMDD draft projection as of 12/29: 3rd round
Scouting report via TDN (full report)
Jarrett Patterson has a boxy build that will provide an adequate center of gravity to drop anchor against power rushes. Patterson has proven competent pulling the e-brake against bull rushers inside and not conceding excessive space into the lap of his quarterback. As far as centers go, he’s more of a stout anchor than he is finesse—he looks like he’ll be able to hold his own in one-on-ones against 1T or 0T alignments in even or odd fronts without too much trouble. I’d consider him to be functional in space. He can get outside the tackle box on the screen game with modest agility. He’s a former high-prize OT recruit, but his length looks to keep him inside at the center position with a next-level projection. Patterson illustrated effective awareness up front for the Irish as he as aged as the starting center, showing awareness of delayed blitzes, stunts, and games up front designed to pull blockers out of position.