2018 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 11

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2018 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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Washington vs. Stanford; Friday, Nov. 10, 10:30 PM FOX

There are three future NFL running backs in this game. Stanford’s Bryce Love has been dominating the competition with his speed this year. It will be interesting to see how Love takes on Washington’s tough front seven, which is led by a potential first-round nose tackle in Vita Vea. Vea is a tremendous run defender in the middle, but Stanford is a good running team that will challenge him.

Washington’s Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman form a tough one-two punch in the Huskies’ ground game. A prospect to watch defending them is Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. Another prospect on that side of the ball is Huskies wide receiver Dante Pettis. Stanford cornerback Quenton Meeks is a NFL prospect who will be challenged by Pettis.

Michigan State vs. Ohio State; Saturday, Nov. 11, 12:00 PM ABC

Michigan State running back L.J. Scott could be a second-day pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he will see a tough defense loaded with NFL talent. Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard and Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones are both early-round talents who will have their run defense challenged. Ohio State Linebacker Jerome Baker is a potential mid-rounder, while Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward is likely to go in the first or second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Buckeyes also have first- or second-round picks in wide receiver Parris Campbell and center Billy Price.

Florida State vs. Clemson; Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 PM ABC

If you want to watch future NFL defensive starters, this is a game for you. Several Tigers, including defensive end Clelin Ferrell, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and defensive end Austin Bryant could be Thursday night picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Florida State safety Derwin James will probably get drafted higher than any of that trio as a top-10 pick. James is coming off a good game against Syracuse.

Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain has disappointed this season, but he played a lot better last week against N.C. State. Seminoles cornerback Tarvarus McFadden has a first-round skill set, but has been up and down this season. Cain will challenge McFadden with deep speed.

Clemson left tackle Mitch Hyatt has struggled this season, and he is going to see two NFL-caliber defensive ends in Josh Sweat and Brian Burns. Hyatt needs to play better to close out this season and help his draft stock.

Clemson cornerback Mark Fields is a pro prospect who could be called on to help cover Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate. While the Seminoles struggle to get him the ball, Tate is a huge wideout who presents mismatch problems.

Other prospects to watch are Florida State linebacker Matthew Thomas and Clemson linebacker Kendall Joseph.

Georgia vs. Auburn; Saturday, Nov. 11, 3:30 PM CBS

There is some good NFL talent going head-to-head in this game. Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are early-round talents who have been excellent this season. Auburn has some NFL talent on its defense, including pass-rushing linebacker Jeff Holland, but Holland’s run defense will be tested by Georgia.

Auburn’s spread offense is led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham and running back Kerryon Johnson, who are NFL prospects. Georgia has a loaded defense with early-round talents in linebacker Roquan Smith, linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis is a pro prospec,t but Georgia rarely passes the ball, so this won’t be a great game to evaluate Davis. Auburn defensive tackle Dontavius Russell, Auburn guard Braden Smith and Georgia safety Dominick Sanders are other prospects to watch.

Alabama vs. Mississippi State; Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:00 PM ESPN

Mississippi State dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will see his toughest test of the season with the Crimson Tide defense. Alabama nose tackle Da’Ron Payne is a potential first-rounder. Linebackers Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton are prospects for the 2018 NFL Draftas well. Alabama free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible top-16 pick, while strong safety Ronnie Harrison could be a first-rounder as well. Alabama cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Tony Brown are prospects as well. If Fitzgerald can do well against this defense, that would be huge for his draft stock.

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley is one of the top wideout prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. He will see a cornerback prospect in Jamal Peters. Mississippi State left tackle Martinas Rankin is another prospect to watch in this game even though the Crimson Tide don’t have elite edge rushers this season.

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