2017 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 13

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.
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LSU vs. Texas A&M; Thursday, Nov. 24, 7:30 PM ESPN

With Aggies edge rusher Myles Garrett taking on LSU running back Leonard Fournette, this game features the top-two draft prospects on my big board since the very beginning of the 2017 NFL Draft process. Both players have been banged up with injuries, so it is possible that one or both will miss the game. It would be a great test for Garrett’s run defense to go against Fournette. Meanwhile, Fournette’s pass protection could be tested in his ability to effectively chip on an end would be challenged by Garrett.

There are three safety prospects in this game. LSU’s Jamal Adams looks like a future top-20 pick, and his pass coverage will be challenged by some good Texas A&M receivers, including Ricky Seals-Jones, Josh Reynolds and Christian Kirk. Aggies strong safety Justin Evans and free safety Armani Watts are early rounders as well. Evans is a senior who could be on the bubble as a Thursday night pick. If Watts enters the 2017 NFL Draft, he could go on Day 2. Fournette or the talented LSU backups will challenge their run defense. Tigers wide receivers Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre are also future NFL competitors to test the Aggies duo, but horrible quarterback play has held both receivers back throughout their collegiate careers.

LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White is an early rounder who will be called on to defend against the Aggies play-maker Kirk, who is a potential high draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. White has had issues with big wideouts, so going against Seals-Jones could be mismatch, but it also is an opportunity for White to show he has improved his ability to handle large passing weapons.

LSU center Ethan Pocic will see a tough nose tackle with Aggies’ Daylon Mack. LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith is another prospect to watch, but he left last Saturday’s game against Florida with an injury.

Arkansas vs. Missouri; Friday, Nov. 25, 2:30 PM CBS

There is a good draft matchup in the trenches here with Missouri edge rusher Charles Harris going against Arkansas left tackle Dan Skipper. Assuming Harris declares for the 2017 NFL Draft, this will be his final collegiate game as Missouri is not bowl-eligible. Harris is a speed rusher who could give Skipper some problems. Razorbacks tight end Jeremy Sprinkle is an NFL prospect who could be called on to help block Harris. Arkansas edge rusher Deatrich Wise Jr. is another prospect to watch.

Washington vs. Washington State; Friday, Nov. 25, 3:30 PM FS1

Washington has a potential first-round pick in cornerback Sidney Jones, and safety Budda Baker is an early round talent. They will be challenged by the Cougars’ passing attack, which is led by junior quarterback Luke Falk. A report from Bleacher Report said Falk was going to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, but Falk denied that, saying he hadn’t made up his mind and his inclination was more toward returning to school. Whenever Falk is in the draft, this tape will be studied closely by NFL evaluators to see how he competes against some NFL-caliber defensive backs.

Ohio State vs. Michigan; Saturday, Nov. 26, 12:00 PM ABC

The player who could be drafted the highest next April from either team is Ohio State redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker. Sources from multiple teams have said that Hooker is a stud and have graded him in the top-10. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore also has received high first-round grades, while junior cornerback Gareon Conley could also go in Round 1 as well.

Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers has received a ton of hype, but I know sources from multiple teams that have graded him well below Hooker. Wolverines cornerback Jourdan Lewis is an excellent cover corner who would be a first-round pick if he were larger. Both defenders are going to be challenged by the talented Ohio State wide receivers, including hybrid receiver/running back Curtis Samuel. Samuel is a talent who could be an early round selection if he enters the 2017 NFL Draft.

There is a good draft matchup in the trenches here with Wolverines defensive linemen Chris Wormley and defensive tackle Taco Charlton going against Ohio State guard Billy Price and center Pat Elflein. Those two Buckeyes linemen are potential Day 2 picks, while Wormley could be a first- or second-round pick. Charlton also could easily go in the first two days of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan has been a mild disappointment this season, but he should rack up lots of tackles against the Wolverines. It would also help him if he showed some pass-coverage skills against Michigan tight end Jake Butt. Butt looks like a second-day talent for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Notre Dame vs. USC; Saturday, Nov. 26, 3:30 PM NBC

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer is in the running to be the top quarterback prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft, and he will see some talent against USC. Trojans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is a dangerous play-maker who could be looking for revenge after Notre Dame’s Will Fuller beat up on him last year. Jackson also is coming off a rough game, having given up two touchdowns to UCLA.

Fighting Irish left tackle Mike McGlinchey is a potential top-20 pick, while Fighting Irish guard Quenton Nelson is also a potential first-rounder. McGlinchey might return for his senior year though.

USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and left tackle Chad Wheeler could be potential early round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. Wheeler is going against some quality defensive line talent with Notre Dame’s Jarron Jones and Isaac Rochell. Both are potential second-day picks. I think Wheeler is more of a third-day pick, but some have him going on Day 2.

Florida vs. Florida State; Saturday, Nov. 26, 8:00 PM ABC

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook will be challenged by one of the best defenses in the nation. The Gators, however, have been without linebacker Jarrad Davis, and it is unknown if he will be back to play in this game. Linebacker Alex Anzalone and safety Marcus Maye are also out for the year. Still, Gators defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is a future first-round pick whp is a force at the point of attack.

Seminoles left tackle Roderick Johnson is a potential second-day pick who will be challenged by some good Florida edge rushers. There is a good draft matchup on the other side as Gators left tackle David Sharpe is more of a right tackle or guard for the NFL, but he is a quality blocker who will be challenged to keep Florida State senior edge rusher Demarcus Walker under wraps.

Gators cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are future first-round picks. They will be charged with shutting down Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph.

UCLA vs. California; Saturday, Nov. 26, 7:00 PM ESPN2

California quarterback Davis Webb could be a second-day pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he will be challenged by Bruins junior edge rusher Takkarist McKinley. McKinley has been one of the best pass-rushers in college football this year and has early round potential if he enters the 2017 NFL Draft. UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott is another prospect to watch.

Auburn vs. Alabama; Saturday, Nov. 19, 3:30 PM CBS

This game features some good defensive talent for the NFL. Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is a future top-10 pick who has drawn comparisons to Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. Allen should have his way with Auburn. Alabama edge rusher Tim Williams, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and left tackle Cam Robinson are also future first-rounders. Inside linebacker Reuben Foster and tight end O.J. Howard could also join them on Thursday night during the 2017 NFL Draft.

Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams has a first-round skill set, but he doesn’t always play up to it. He needs a big game against Alabama. Tigers safety Johnathan Ford is a potential second-day pick who will be challenged by the Alabama offense.

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