2015 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 11

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.
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Baylor vs Oklahoma Thursday, 12:00 ET FOX Sports 1

Oklahoma offensive tackles Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams are quality blockers up front and could be second-day draft prospects. They’ll have the task of going against the probably the best defensive lineman in the Big XII in Baylor’s Shawn Oakman. Oakman is a potential first-round pick, and his draft stock would be aided by showing that he can beat quality blockers like Thompson and Williams.

On the other side of the ball, there is a similar matchup. Baylor junior left tackle Spencer Drango is an early-round prospect, and he is going to have a tough task when it comes to blocking Oklahoma junior outside linebacker Eric Striker. The lightning-fast Striker is a dangerous edge rusher who could limit the effectiveness of Bears quarterback Bryce Petty. The senior signal-caller has had an underwhelming season as a draft prospect, if he can turn things around versus Oklahoma, that would be big for his draft stock.

Texas A&M vs. Auburn 3:30 PM CBS

Texas A&M senior left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi has been in a mid-season slump with a stretch of six sacks allowed in three games against quality opponents. After taking on Louisiana-Monroe, Ogbuehi will get tested by some speed in the Auburn front seven.

Tigers wide receivers Sammie Coates and Duke Williams could be first-round picks, and they should have their way with a weak Texas A&M secondary. Senior cornerback Deshazor Everett was torched by Alabama’a Amari Cooper, so Everett has the opportunity to right his draft stock by handling the Auburn wideouts.

West Virginia vs. Texas 3:30 PM FOX Sports 1

This game features a good draft matchup in West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White taking on Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs. Both players are seniors, and White could be the best receiver who Diggs will play all season. White started the season with a string of 100-yard games and dominant performances before being held to under 30 yards the past two weeks. Diggs is an undersized cornerback, so playing well against White would give Diggs the opportunity to show he can hold his own with big wideouts.

Notre Dame vs. Arizona State 3:30 PM ABC

This game also features a big play-making wide receiver taking on a gritty undersized cornerback. Arizona State wideout Jaelen Strong will see Notre Dame cornerback Cody Riggs. Both players have been consistently good this season, and Strong has done well against smaller cornerbacks. Riggs could use a good game versus Strong to help his draft grade crack the top 100.

UCLA vs Washington 7:00 PM FOX Sports 1

There are a lot of divided opinions about UCLA junior quarterback Brett Hundley, but a number of NFL teams have told WalterFootball.com that Hundley is overrated. He is going to see a Washington defense that has NFL talent at all levels. Cornerback Marcus Peters, outside linebacker Shaq Thompson, pass-rushing linebacker Hau’Oli Kikaha and nose tackle Danny Shelton are all potential picks in the first two rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Hundley has had a huge problem with taking sacks in his career. UCLA has a weak offensive line, so he has to know that the heat will be coming. If Hundley can’t prepare himself to get the ball out quickly this week, one will have to wonder about his game-week preparation. Kikaha leads the nation with 15.5 sacks, while Shelton is in the top 20 with 7.5 sacks. Hundley has been up-and-down this year and needs to show some consistency.

Alabama vs LSU 8:00 ET CBS

There is an excellent matchup in this game with Crimson Tide junior wide out Amari Cooper taking on LSU cornerback Jalen Collins and safety Jalen Mills. All three are future draft picks, with Cooper looking like a top-10 selection. Cooper doesn’t have size over the big LSU defensive backs, but Cooper could beat them with speed. Collins and Mills need to show that they can prevent Cooper from getting separation.

On the other side of the ball, Alabama junior safety Landon Collins has been very good this year aside from the Ole Miss game. Collins will be challenged by some talented young LSU receivers like sophomore Train Dural. The Tigers also have a deep roster of power running backs, so Collins will be needed as the eighth man in the box.

Ohio State vs Michigan State 8:00 ET ABC

Spartans junior quarterback Connor Cook has the potential to be a high first-round pick, but he needs to be more consistent. Cook can show improvement while going against some good defenders. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett has received early-round hype, while defensive back Doran Grant is another pro prospect. Cook could be harassed steadily by Ohio State star defensive end Joey Bosa. Cook needs to show NFL evaluators that he can deliver accurate passes while facing the heat from the sophomore Bosa.

Michigan State has a trio of defensive prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft in safety Kurtis Drummond, cornerback Trae Waynes and defensive end Shilique Calhoun. The Ohio State offense has been improving as the season has progressed, so the Spartan defenders should see a nice test by the skill-position players on the Buckeyes.

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