2016 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 2

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2016 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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Utah State vs. Utah; Friday, Sept. 11, 9:00 PM ESPN2

The in-state rivals will have a good draft matchup with Utes senior running back Devontae Booker going against Utah State outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell. Injury ended Fackrell’s 2014 season early, but he had two sacks last week against Southern Utah. Booker was bottled up by Michigan in Week 1, so he’ll be looking to bounce back in a rivalry game.

Minnesota vs. Colorado State; Saturday, Sept. 12, 3:30 PM CBSS

There is a nice draft matchup here with Gophers cornerback Eric Murray going against Rams wide receiver Rashard Higgins. Murray had a mixed outing against TCU in Week 1 and will have to show that he can prevent separation from Higgins. Higgins had huge production as a sophomore (96-1,750-23), and it will be interesting to see how he performs against a quality corner like Murray.

Oklahoma vs. Tennessee; Saturday, Sept. 12, 6:00 PM ESPN

There are a dearth of good matchups in Week 2, but this is one of the few quality ones. Sooners senior wide receiver Sterling Shepard is a speedy play-maker, and he will be a test for Tennessee junior cornerback Cameron Sutton. Sutton is a tough, physical corner, so it will help his draft stock if he can show that he can prevent separation from a smaller fast receiver like Shepard (5-10, 193).

On the other side of the ball, there is a similar draft matchup. Tennessee has a pro prospect at receiver in junior Marquez North (6-3, 229), and he’ll go against Oklahoma’s Zach Sanchez, a potential early-round cornerback.

There also are some potential NFL linebackers in Tennessee’s Curt Maggitt and Oklahoma’s Eric Striker. Each one is a dangerous edge rusher capable of giving quarterbacks nightmares.

Oregon vs. Michigan State; Saturday, Sept. 12, 8:00 PM ABC

This will be an interesting test for Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. In Week 1 and as a junior, Cook makes some brilliant passes into tight windows, but had accuracy issues on routine completions. Against Oregon, it will be important for Cook to improve over Week 1. If he doesn’t, it could be hard for the Spartans to keep pace with the Ducks.

Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin and center Jack Allen are worth watching as well. Conklin will see an excellent test with Ducks defensive end DeForest Buckner.

Spartans senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun is an early-round pass-rushing prospect, and he will take on an athletic offensive line led by tackle Tyler Johnstone.

LSU vs. Mississippi State; Saturday, Sept. 12, 9:15 PM ESPN

This will be our first look at the LSU Tigers after having their first game canceled by inclement weather. Guard turned right tackle Vadal Alexander is going to see a tough defensive line led by Chris Jones. Alexander’s pass protection on the edge will be worth watching.

Elsewhere when the Tigers have the ball will be a good view of wide receiver Travin Dural going against Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun. The Bulldogs’ duo will need to show it can prevent Dural from getting separation.

Sources in the NFL are down on Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, but if he shows improvement as a pocket passer, he could change some minds. LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White is an early-round talent, and he will see a quality receiver in De’Runnya Wilson.

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