2015 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 13

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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Minnesota vs Nebraska Saturday, 12:00 ET ESPN

If he comes out, Minnesota redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams could be the first tight end selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has 25 receptions for 373 yards (14.9 average) and seven touchdowns this season. It will be interesting to see if Williams is used to help double-team Nebraska edge rusher Randy Gregory. The junior Gregory could be a top-10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and is one of the best pass-rushers in college football. Williams could help himself to eventually achieve a first-round grade by playing well against Nebraska.

This game also features two running back prospects. Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah is a potential second-round pick, while Minnesota’s David Cobb has been superb as a senior. Cobb lacks speed, which sends him into Day 3, but he is a tough, physical runner who could be a good sleeper to keep an eye on.

Louisville vs. Notre Dame 3:30 PM NBC

This game features two good draft matchups. Notre Dame junior left tackle Ronnie Stanley (6-6, 315) will see a dangerous edge rusher in Louisville outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin has speed off the edge and the pursuit skills to chase down a mobile quarterback like Everett Golson. Mauldin could help him to a first-round grade by taking care of Stanley.

Cardinals senior wide receiver DeVante Paker will take on Notre Dame’s Cody Riggs – assuming Riggs plays. He’s been dealing with a foot injury. Still, the big receiver Parker will be a challenge for the undersized Riggs.

Colorado vs Oregon 4:30 PM Pac-12

There aren’t many pro prospects at Colorado, but junior wide receiver Nelson Spruce (6-1, 195) has been one of the most productive wideouts in the nation this year. Spruce has 99 receptions for 1,091 yards with 11 touchdowns. He will challenge Ducks senior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, a candidate to be the first corner selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Ekpre-Olomu has risen up in big games, but against some weaker opponents, he’s had some let-downs (see Washington State).

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota should have a massive performance against a weak Colorado team.

Miami vs. Virginia 7:00 ESPN2

The Hurricanes have a talented left tackle prospect in Ereck Flowers, and he’ll be facing one of the best edge rushers he’ll face all season in Virginia’s Eli Harold. Harold is a fast and physical defender, while those same attributes apply to Flowers as a blocker. If one of the two handles the other, it will help the winner to be first-round picks.

Miami also has potential early-round picks in linebacker Denzel Perryman and running back Duke Johnson. Both are having excellent seasons. Harold will have his run defense challenged by Johnson.


Trojans junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams has the potential to be the first-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He’ll be taking on a porous offensive line, so he should constantly be getting into the face of UCLA junior quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley has shown the ability to get rattled and take lots of sacks. He needs to improve on that for the NFL, and that could be illustrated if he hangs tough with Williams bearing down on him.

On the other side of the ball, Bruins outside linebacker Erik Kendricks is a speedy tackling machine. He’ll see a physical downhill running back in junior Buck Allen. Allen runs over lots of tacklers, so Kendricks will have the opportunity to show that he can handle a powerful back. UCLA defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is also a rising prospect who will have to help contain Allen while putting pressure on USC quarterback Cody Kessler.

USC junior wide receiver Nelson Agholar is also a player to keep an eye. He just had a huge performance against California.

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