2020 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 7

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft? This weekly column breaks down the best matchups to watch each week in college football.

By Charlie Campbell.
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Miami vs. Virginia; Friday, Oct. 11, 8:00 PM ET ESPN

There is a good draft matchup in this game with Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall seeing speedy Miami wide receiver Jeff Thomas. Hall struggled with the speed receivers of Florida State earlier this season, so he needs to show improvement taking on Thomas and the Hurricanes.

Colorado vs. Oregon; Friday, Oct. 11, 10:00 PM ET FS1

There are two NFL quarterback prospects going head-to-head in this game with Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Colorado’s Steven Montez. Herbert has a great skill set, and he can rip up a defense when given time, but throwing under pressure and winning against top competition are two things that Herbert can still prove he is capable of doing for pro evaluators.

Montez has a good skill set with a strong arm. He led a huge comeback against Nebraska, and it will be interesting to see if Montez can push his team to stay with Oregon. Montez has a future first-round pick to throw to in Laviska Shenault. Shenault’s status will be worth checking as the game gets closer as he has been banged and has missed time lately, including the game last Saturday.

Ducks linebacker Troy Dye, guard Shane Lemieux, center Jake Hansen and guard Calvin Throckmorton are other prospects with early-round potential from Oregon.

Oklahoma vs. Texas; Saturday, Oct. 12, 12:00 PM ABC

The Red River Rivalry will see some good pro talent on display with wide receivers being the top prospects. The better of the two is Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb. He could be a first- or second-rounder as he has good size, route-running and hands. Texas features a big receiver in Collin Johnson who has been hampered by an injury this season, so his status is worth monitoring.

Sooners linebacker Kenneth Murray has been a tackling machine during his time in Norman. The fast and physical Murray is instinctive and always around the ball. He’ll be called on to shut down the Longhorns’ rushing attack and defend dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Texas offensive tackle Sam Cosmi could be first-round pick in 2020 or 2021. He has a good skill set, but he could use some development.

Other prospects to watch from Texas include cornerback Josh Thompson, guard Parker Braun and defensive end Malcolm Roach. For Oklahoma, defensive tackle Neville Gaillimore and tight end Grant Calcaterra could compete to make pro rosters.

Florida State vs Clemson; Saturday, Oct. 12, 3:30 PM ABC

Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons could have been a contender to go in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but he returned to school and is having an excellent season to be a Thursday night pick next April. Simmons will see one of the top running back prospects for 2020 with Florida State’s Cam Akers. Akers is a dangerous runner with receiving skills. Meanwhile, Simmons is a heat-seeking missile who is very versatile. It will be great to see how these two play against each other.

Clemson has a top running back prospect of its own in speedster running back Travis Etienne. He is another early-round prospect to watch. Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is having a good year, and the Seminoles need a huge game from him to have any shot at keeping the game close versus Clemson.

Another good draft matchup in this game is Tigers cornerback A.J. Terrell taking on Seminoles wide receiver Tamorrion Terry. Terry could be a first- or second-round pick, and Terrell also has early-round ability. Hopefully, they match up against each other.

Clemson wide receivers Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers are also on pro radars, with Higgins having early-round potential. Tigers guard John Simpson and safety Tanner Muse were also on NFL teams’ preseason watch list.

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin; Saturday, Oct. 12, 3:30 PM ET ABC

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is one of the best players in college football, and he could be an early-round pick if he enters the 2020 NFL Draft. Michigan State has a lot of pro talents who were on NFL teams’ preseason watch list. The Spartans’ top prospect could be edge rusher Kenny Willekes, and his run defense will be challenged by the Badgers. Spartans linebacker Joe Bachie, defensive tackle Naquan Jones, and defensive tackle Raequan Williams are other pro prospects to watch. Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz will challenge those Michigan State tackles as Biadasz is in the running to the the top center prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke could have a hard time passing the ball against Wisconsin’ gritty defense. He needs some big games to help his draft grade.

Other Spartans prospects to watch include guard Kevin Jarvis, offensive tackle Jordan Reid, safety David Dowell, wide receiver Cody White and cornerback Josiah Scott.

Alabama vs. Texas A&M; Saturday, Oct. 12, 3:30 PM ET CBS

Alabama will probably roll Texas A&M because the Aggies’ defense is going to be overmatched by the Crimson Tide offense. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a favorite to go first-overall next April in the 2020 NFL Draft. Crismon Tide wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is also a future top-10 pick, and fellow receivers Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith have early-round potential as well. Alabama running back Najee Harris is another play-maker who will be running the ball on Sundays in a year or two.

Texas A&M has a quarterback prospect of its own in Kellen Mond. Mond has been inconsistent as a junior, but he has the skill set to start in the NFL with his throwing and running abilities. Mond is going to see a tough Alabama secondary filled with NFL talent. Crimson Tide cornerback Trevon Diggs and Crimson Tide safety Xavier McKinney are in the running to the top players at their positions in the 2020 NFL Draft. They will see some quality wideouts with Aggies wide receivers Quartney Davis and Kendrick Rogers. Rogers has been injured and limited this year.

Alabama edge defender Terrell Lewis and Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis are having good seasons, and both of them are potential first-round picks next April.

USC vs. Notre Dame; Saturday, Oct. 12, 7:30 PM ET NBC

Notre Dame has a lot of talent for the 2020 NFL Draft. In the front seven, outside linebacker Julian Okwara, defensive end Khalid Kareem, edge rusher Daelin Hayes all have early-round potential. In the Fighting Irish secondary, safety Alohi Gilman, cornerback Troy Pride and safety Jalen Elliott are pro prospects. Notre Dame wide receivers Chase Claypool and Chris Finke were also on NFL teams’ preseason watch list.

Trojans wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. will challenge Pride and the Fighting Irish secondary. Pittman is a big wideout who has played well this season despite lots of injuries to the USC quarterbacks. Another Trojans player to watch is defensive lineman Christian Rector.

Florida vs. LSU; Saturday, Oct. 12, 8:00 PM ESPN

There are a lot of great matchups in this game, but the best is Gators cornerback C.J. Henderson taking on LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Henderson has first-round ability, and Jefferson could join him as a Thursday night pick. It will be interesting to see if they matchup against each other and who gets the better of the matchup.

Jefferson has the luxury of his quarterback enjoying a breakout year. Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow is very improved as a senior and could be a mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow is going to get tested with his ability to handle pressure, as Florida has a potent pass rush led by future NFL edge rushers in Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. Both Greenard and Zuniga should get selected on the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft, so they will be tough tests for Burrow to pass in the face of a rush. Hopefully, Zuniga returns from injury.

LSU safety Grant Delpit is the top prospect in this game, and he was having a quiet 2020 season, but last week against Utah State, he came alive. Delpit will see a crop of talented Florida receivers and a future NFL tailback in Lamical Perine, who is a good pass weapon out of the backfield.

Other matchups to watch when the Gators have the ball are wide receivers Van Jefferson and Kadarius Toney taking on LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton.

Other draft prospects to watch on the Gators include cornerback Marco Wilson and linebacker David Reese.

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