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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Oklahoma State vs. Texas; Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 PM ESPN
This game has two defensive line prospects to watch. The higher rated of the two is Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. He has sacks in each of the first three games of this season. Ogbah should be able to add to that total against Texas. The Longhorns have a tough defensive tackle in Hassan Ridgeway. He was one of the few Texas defenders who played well against California. Ridgeway is big and quick.
Tennessee vs. Florida; Saturday, Sept. 26, 3:30 PM CBS
There are some good draft matchups in this game with the best cornerback in the nation seeing his first real test of the season. Gators junior corner Vernon Hargreaves III will go against some quality young receivers with the Volunteers, including a big wideout in Marquez North and a small speedy play-maker in Pig Howard. Gators safety Keanu Neal could also be an early-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard and linebacker Antonio Morrison are draftable players as well.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee has a good corner prospect of its own in Cam Sutton. He will see one of the toughest wide receivers in the SEC with Florida’s Demarcus Robinson. After a breakout 2014 season, Robinson has been quiet in the early going. Tennessee linebacker/defensive lineman Curt Maggitt is said to be out indefinitely with a hip injury, so it sounds unlikely that he will play against Florida.
Texas A&M vs Arkansas; Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:00 PM ESPN
Texas A&M has a lot of young talent on defense that will eventually be in the NFL. The Aggies’ best player is defensive end Myles Garrett, but he isn’t eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft. Fellow defensive end Daeshon Hall is off to a good start in 2015, and his run defense will see a real test from the Razorbacks led by junior tailback Alex Collins. Collins has second-day potential, and Hall’s ability to hold up at the point of attack will be put to the test by Collins.
Arkansas junior tight end Hunter Henry is also a pro prospect. His ability to contribute to double-teams in pass protection will probably be put to the test with Hall and Garrett’s ability to terrorize quarterbacks.
UCLA vs. Arizona; Saturday, Sept. 26, 8:00 PM ABC
This game features two excellent linebacker prospects for the NFL. UCLA outside linebacker Myles Jack is coming off a big game last Saturday. He had an interception to help UCLA make a comeback over BYU. Jack is a tremendous pass defender, and his run defense should be tested by Rich Rodriguez’s offense led by sophomore running back Nick Wilson. Wilson is off to a tremendous start to the 2015 season.
There are reports out that Arizona is hoping junior linebacker Scooby Wright will be back this week. He has missed a few games after getting a minor knee procedure done to clean up some things, including a meniscus tear. This would be a quick recovery for Wright. Last year, he was a pass-rushing and run-defending force for the Wildcats.
USC vs. Arizona State; Saturday, Sept. 26, 10:30 PM ESPN
This game could be a good tape for draft evaluators. Arizona State play-making running back/wide receiver D.J. Foster could have matchups against USC outside linebacker/safety Su’a Cravens. It would be great to see if Cravens can cover and tackle Foster in space.
USC senior quarterback Cody Kessler and senior center Max Tuerk are also NFL prospects. Tuerk could be an early-rounder, while Kessler is more of a mid-round prospect.
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