2017 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 7

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2017 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.

Vanderbilt vs. Georgia; Saturday, Oct. 8, 12:00 PM SECN

This game features a future NFL linebacker in Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunnigham taking on two talented running backs. Bulldogs junior Nick Chubb has been banged up, but needs to get back on the field to avoid more durability concerns for the next level. Backup Sony Michel ran well against a good Tennessee defense, so either way, Cunningham is going to have his run defense tested.

North Carolina vs. Miami; Saturday, Oct. 15, 3:30 PM ABC

There are two quarterback prospects going head-to-head in this game. Miami junior Brad Kaaya will see a quality North Carolina secondary led by senior cornerback Des Lawrence. Kaaya needs to show consistency in order to be a high first-round pick. North Carolina junior Mitch Trubisky has been phenomenal in a lot of games this season. Miami could provide a tougher test than some of the weak defenses he has beat up on.

Alabama vs. Tennessee; Saturday, Oct. 15, 3:30 PM CBS

This game has some special front-seven defensive prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen is the top interior defensive line prospect and is a pass-rushing force. His teammates defensive end Tim Williams and outside linebacker Ryan Anderson are early rounders for the Crimson Tide who put a lot of heat on the quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnet is one of the best end prospects who is draft-eligible. This will be a huge game for him going against Alabama’s Cam Robinson. Robinson is a potential high first-rounder, so whoever gets the better of this matchup could see a major boost in their respective draft stock.

Alabama senior linebacker Reuben Foster will be tested by the Volunteers’ physical running back Jalen Hurd, slashing back Alvin Kamara and running quarterback Josh Dobbs.

This contest also has defensive back talent. Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey is a high first-rounder, while Alabama safety Eddie Jackson could be selected on Day 2. Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton has been out with an injury, but he could go on the first two days of the 2017 NFL Draft next April.

Other prospects to watch include Alabama tight end O.J. Howard and Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas; Saturday, Oct. 15, 7:00 PM ESPN

There are two tight end prospects in this game for the NFL with Rebels senior Evan Engram and Razorbacks senior Jeremy Sprinkle. Engram is a dangerous receiving weapon, while Sprinkle is more balanced as he is a bigger player who contributes more in the ground game. There are two edge rushers for the NFL in this game with Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes and Arkansas’ Deatrich Wise Jr. The Razorbacks need Wise Jr. to get after Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, a strong-armed gunslinger who can light up the scoreboard. Kelly is a potential second-day pick for the 2017 NFL Draft. Haynes will be a challenge for Arkansas left tackle Dan Skipper, who is more of a right tackle prospect for the next level.

Stanford vs Notre Dame; Saturday, Oct. 15, 7:30 PM NBC

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer had a rough game last week against N.C. State as rain from Hurricane Matthew made for terrible in-game conditions. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey had a tough night against Washington, but Notre Dame has vulnerable defense that McCaffrey could dominate. Two other future first-round picks in this game are Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quenton Nelson.

Ohio State vs. Wisconsin; Saturday, Oct. 8, 8:00 PM ABC

The Buckeyes are loaded with NFL talent. Their top prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft is redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker. He has been tremendous this season, and NFL sources are raving about Hooker. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore could be a first- or second-round pick, and the Buckeyes’ other corner Gareon Conley is a future draft pick.

The Ohio State defense will see a tough rushing attack from Wisconsin, which that will test junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan. McMillan should be up to the challenge as run defense is his strength. Badgers running back Corey Clement has flashed at times in his career, but he needs to start producing consistently.

Offensively, Ohio State has senior center Pat Elflein and guard Billy Price as potential draft picks. The Buckeyes also have a trio of wide receivers in junior Curtis Samuel, redshirt sophomore Noah Brown and senior Dontre Wilson who could be early round prospects.

Wisconsin junior linebacker T.J. Watt is having a breakout season and looks like a potential starter as an outside linebacker in the NFL. Watt is going to see a real challenge in running Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12