2015 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 9

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.

Texas vs. Kansas State Saturday, 12:00 ET ESPN

There is a good draft matchup in this game with Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown going against Kansas State center B.J. Finney. Brown is perhaps the best interior defensive lineman in the Big XII and could be the best test that Finney will see all season. In 2014, Brown has 4.5 sacks, 34 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, one pass batted and a forced fumble. He has early-round potential and playing well against Finney would help his draft grade.

Another matchup to watch in this game is Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett going against Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs. The speed receiver Lockett will test Diggs, and considering Diggs is very undersized, he has to show scouts that covering a small speed receiver is something he can do.

Oregon State vs. Stanford 3:30 PM ESPN2

The Stanford defense is not as tough as it has been in recent years, but the Cardinal still has some talent that will challenge Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion. He hasn’t really gotten into a groove yet this season, and he’s running out of time to make a run at improving his draft stock.

Stanford’s secondary is led by cornerback Alex Carter, and if Mannion can light up the Cardinal defense, that would be a nice rebound performance after underwhelming against Utah. Mannion has really struggled in the face of a pass rush, and Stanford will surely send a lot of blitzes his direction. This is an important game for Mannion.

On the other side of the ball, Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat has had a strong season while some other top tackle prospects have had some slumps. He should take care of business against the Beavers.

Michigan vs. Michigan State 3:30 PM ABC

Even though Michigan is a sub .500 team, there is a great draft matchup in this game with Wolverines wide receiver Devin Funchess going against Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes and safety Kurtis Drummond. NFL sources are more excited about Funchess (6-5, 230) going back to tight end, the position he played as a sophomore, but if he can get separation from Waynes that could help his argument to stay at receiver. Waynes and Drummond need to show they can handle a big, physical receiver like Funchess.

Michigan State junior quarterback Connor Cook needs to continue to show growth as a passer with improved accuracy. He can run hot and cold between making some outstanding throws and missing the routine passes. Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan and defensive end Frank Clark figure to put pressure on Cook, so the junior signal-caller needs to show the poise necessary to win in a pressured packed rivalry game.

Ole Miss vs. LSU 7:15 PM ESPN

The improvement of Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace will be put to the test by a talented LSU secondary featuring cornerback Jalen Collins and safety Jalen Mills. Wallace has played a lot better this season, but the Tigers could have the most talented secondary he’s gone against. Collins and Mills will see some dangerous young receivers from the Rebels who will go off the board in the early rounds of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.

On the other side of the ball, Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt will take on LSU’s passing offense led by sophomore Travin Dural. Dural has averaged 26 yards per catch this season, so Prewitt will need to be ready to help his cornerbacks over the top.

Arizona State vs Washington 10:45 ET ESPN

Sun Devils junior wide receiver Jaelen Strong faces his second-straight good cornerback in Washington’s Marcus Peters. Last week, Strong played well against Stanford’s Alex Carter, but Peters could be an even better test. This will be a great matchup to watch. If Peters can shut down Strong, that could go a long ways to Peters cracking the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Elsewhere, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, edge rusher Hau’Oli Kikaha and linebacker Shaq Thompson will have the challenge of shutting down Arizona State running back D.J. Foster.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12