2017 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 14

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]
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Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma; Saturday, Dec. 3, 12:30 PM ESPN

Some have hyped Oklahoma State junior quarterback Mason Rudolph as a top quarterback prospect, and he is seeing a quality defense for the Big XII with Oklahoma. There should be a good draft matchup with Cowboys wide receiver James Washington going against Sooners cornerback Jordan Thomas. Oklahoma junior running back Samaje Perine could be a second-day pick if he enters the 2017 NFL Draft. Oklahoma State defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and tight end Blake Jarwin are worth watching as well.

Florida vs. Alabama; Saturday, Dec. 3, 4:00 PM CBS

This game features some great defensive talent for the NFL. Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is a future top-10 pick and has drawn comparisons to Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. Allen should have his way with Florida’s offensive line. The Gators also have a first-round defensive tackle in Caleb Brantley. He is a speedy, fast three-technique who has put together a tremendous season for Florida. Brantley could easily join Allen in the top 20 next April.

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. Florida play-making sophomore wide receiver Antonio Callaway will be a challenge for Humphrey. The Gators also have some talented young edge rushers to challenge Robinson. Florida left tackle David Sharpe is more of a right tackle or guard for the NFL, and Williams’ speed presents a mismatch. Alabama outside linebacker Ryan Anderson could be a second-day pick because he is always seems to come up with some big plays at critical times.

Gators cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are future first-round picks. They will be charged with shutting down Crimson Tide sophomore wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

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 out for the year.

Penn State vs. Wisconsin; Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:00 PM FOX

The Badgers have enjoyed a breakout season from outside linebacker T.J. Watt. He has has been an excellent edge rusher yet has also done a good job of setting the edge in run defense. Watt’s run defense is going to be tested by Penn State’s star sophomore running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley is a stud runner who looks like a high first-round talent for the 2018 NFL Draft. Badgers junior left tackle Ryan Ramczyk is also a future early round pick to keep an eye on.

Virginia Tech vs. Clemson; Saturday, Dec. 3, 8:00 PM ABC

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson generated a ton of hype by having huge performances in big games, and it is that time of year again. Sources from multiple teams have told WalterFootball.com that they have Watson graded in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Some other teams have him in the second round, while one has him as a potential early fourth-rounder. Watson needs some big performances to conclude his collegiate career to help improve his draft stock. This contest provides him a quality Virginia Tech secondary and defense to face off against.

Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, running back Wayne Gallman and tight end Jordan Leggett are all early round talents to watch. Williams could be the top wide receiver for the 2017 NFL Draft and a Thursday night candidate.

Virginia Tech has some offensive talent in tight end Bucky Hodges, wide receiver Isaiah Ford and fullback Sam Rogers. The first two could go on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, and the play-making Rogers could be a mid-round pick.

Clemson has defensive talent for the NFL as well in the form of cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and linebacker Ben Boulware.

Colorado vs. Washington; Saturday, Dec. 3, 9:00 PM FOX

Washington has three potential early round picks to watch in this game. Cornerback Sidney Jones looks like a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Wide receiver John Ross is a small speedster who has enjoyed a breakout year. Safety Budda Baker has been excellent as well. For Colorado, the top prospects to watch are senior cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and safety Tedric Thompson. Thompson has played really well as a senior with 10 passes broken up and five interceptions.

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