2015 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 6

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft? This weekly column breaks down the best matchups to watch on Saturday and what players to watch.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Arizona vs. Oregon Thursday, 10:30 ET ESPN

There could be a number of general managers from quarterback-needy teams in attendance for this game to watch Ducks signal-caller Marcus Mariota. Arizona has a scrappy team and beat Oregon last year when the Ducks were trying to get back into the National Championship with their “We Want ‘Bama” campaign. Oregon will want revenge ,and this will be a potential showcase for Mariota, who is in the running to be the first quarterback selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Another player who is in contention to be the first one selected at his position next May is Oregon senior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Ekpre-Olomu is going to see two good receivers in Wildcats senior Austin Hill and sophomore Cayleb Jones. Jones leads Arizona with 29 receptions for 475 yards and six touchdowns. Hill missed 2013 with an injury, but he has played well in 2014 with 15 receptions for 263 yards. Hill (6-3, 212) and Jones (6-3, 215) have a big size advantage over the 5-foot-9 Ekpre-Olomu. This will be an opportunity for Ekpre-Olomu to show NFL evaluators that he has the ability to defend bigger receivers.

Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher and defensive tackle Arik Armstead are worth watching as well.

Florida vs. Tennessee 12:00 ET SEC Network

This game used to be a marquee matchup that often would determine the winner of the SEC East, but both programs’ decline makes this game less of a draft must-watch. Still, Florida junior running back Matt Jones is a physical downhill runner and Tennessee’s defense led by senior middle linebacker A.J. Johnson will be out to rebound after Todd Gurley ran for 200 yards on them last week. The Gators’ offensive line has draft prospects in left tackle D.J. Humphries and right tackle Chaz Green.

On the other side of the ball, Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler is a potential first-round pick, and he had a coming out party against Tennessee last year. The Volunteers will need to slow Fowler to take advantage of the Gators’ vulnerable secondary.

Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State 12:00 ET ESPN

This game has a good matchup in the trenches. Texas A&M senior left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi is a top draft prospect, but he’s had a relatively easy schedule up to now. Chris Jones is a talented defensive lineman for the 2016 NFL Draft, while junior middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney looks like a three-down starter in the NFL as soon as next season.

Baylor vs. Texas 3:30 PM ABC

This game features some good defensive line talent in Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown and Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman. Both of them have been among the best at their positions this year. Longhorns defensive end Cedric Reed also is a draft prospect who will take on a potential early-round pick in Bears’ Spencer Drango.

Baylor signal-caller Bryce Petty will face a Texas defense that has struggled with mobile quarterbacks, so he should impress against the Longhorns. There is another good draft matchup in Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs going against Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley. The Bears have other dangerous receivers who will test Diggs.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss 3:30 PM CBS

The Crimson Tide will go against an Ole Miss team that has a lot of talent for the NFL in the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts. Alabama junior wide receiver Amari Cooper has been dominant this season and will face off against a good secondary led by Tony Connor and safety Cody Prewitt. Prewitt is a likely early-round selection next May.

Alabama star safety Landon Collins also will see good talent from Ole Miss. Wide receivers Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core should challenge Collins’ coverage skills.

In the trenches, Ole Miss sophomore defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche will take on Alabama guard Arie Kouandjio. Kouandjio needs to improve his pass rush for the NFL and going against Nkemdiche is an opportunity for Kouandjio to show that he has made improvements.

Stanford vs. Notre Dame 3:30 PM NBC

This game would have some good draft matchups if Notre Dame’s best prospects weren’t suspended. Still, Stanford senior wide receiver Ty Montgomery and junior left tackle Andrus Peat will see some quality players in the Fighting Irish defense.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has shown real improvement this season and will be put to the test by a tough Stanford defense. Cardinal cornerback Alex Carter is very good, and he figures to draw emerging Notre Dame sophomore receiver William Fuller.

LSU vs. Auburn 7:00 PM ESPN

Some pundits have touted Auburn defensive end/tackle Gabe Wright as an early-round NFL prospect, and he will go against some good LSU offensive linemen led by left tackle La’el Collins and guard Vadal Alexander. If Wright can play well against those two blockers, that could send a charge into his draft stock.

If Auburn throws the ball, a good draft matchup would be seen in wide receiver Sammie Coates going against LSU cornerback Jalen Collins and safety Jalen Mills. All three of those players have early-round skill sets, so it would be a great matchup to watch. However, Auburn struggles to pass, so one can expect the team to try to run the ball on LSU given the way Mississippi State and Wisconsin ran on LSU earlier this season.

Nebraska vs. Michigan State 8:00 PM ABC

This is the best game for draft matchups in Week 6 of the college football season. There are two good pass-rushing prospects to watch in Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun. Both have first-round potential, with Gregory being a possible top-10 pick next May. Nebraska will need Gregory to have a big game pressuring Spartans junior quarterback Connor Cook.

Cook has been emerging as a pro prospect since late in the 2013 season, and he has the potential to rise if he continues to play well. Cook has size, mobility and arm strength. If he can show the ability to make good throws with Gregory pressuring him, that will help Cook’s chances of being viewed a potential franchise quarterback for the NFL.

Nebraska senior running back Ameer Abdullah will see a tough Michigan State defense led by Calhoun, cornerback Trae Waynes and safety Kurtis Drummond. Abdullah has rumbled for over 200 yards in three of his five games this season, so Calhoun’s run defense at the point of attack is worth monitoring. If Abdullah can continue to dominate against Michigan State, his draft stock could sky rocket.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12