2020 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Week 9

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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USC vs. Colorado; Friday, Oct. 25, 9:00 PM ET ESPN 2

Colorado’s Steven Montez will get drafted next April. He has a good skill set with a strong arm, but he has struggled with consistency. This year, Montez has put together some excellent tapes and some awful ones, so he needs to play well versus the Trojans. Montez has a future first-round pick to throw to in wide receiver Laviska Shenault. Shenault has been banged up this year, but he’s a special player with a good skill set and toughness. Buffaloes teammate wideout Tony Brown is another prospect who could get drafted.

The Trojans have a future first-rounder of their own in left tackle Austin Jackson. He’s having an excellent season and has created a big buzz in the scouting community.

USC also has a receiver prospect of its own in Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman is a big wideout who has played well this season despite lots of injuries to the Trojans quarterbacks. Another USC player to watch is defensive lineman Christian Rector.

Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State; Saturday, Oct. 26, 12:00 PM SECN

Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond is developing nicely under Jimbo Fisher and will take on a defense that has some good NFL talent in Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have some talent in their front seven with edge rusher Chauncey Rivers, linebacker Errol Thompson and linebacker Willie Gay.

There are some draft matchups in this game, but the best is Bulldogs cornerback Cameron Dantzler taking on Texas A&M wide receivers Quartney Davis and Kendrick Rogers. Dantzler has second-day potential, and he could use a good tape against the Aggies.

Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill has starting potential for the NFL. Bulldogs wide receiver Stephen Guidry is big and fast, so he could challenge the Aggies’ secondary.

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State; Saturday, Oct. 26, 12:00 PM ET FOX

Ohio State has two of the top prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft in edge rusher Chase Young and cornerback Jeff Okudah. Both of them are top-10 locks and could end up going top five. They will see the Badgers’ ground game led by tail back Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin will test Young’s run defense for the next level, so this tape will be an important performance for him. Taylor will see future pros all over the Ohio State defense, so it would help him to run well against the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz will challenge the Ohio State defensive line as well. Biadasz is in the running to the the top center prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Ohio State has lot of other talent as well. Junior running back J.K. Dobbins could be a second-day pick, and wide receiver K.J. Hill could also go in the top half of the draft. Other Buckeyes prospects to watch include cornerback Shaun Wade, tight end Rashod Berry, wide receiver Austin Mack, guard Jonah Jackson, offensive tackle Thayer Munford, safety Jordan Fuller and inside linebacker Malik Harrison.

Auburn vs. LSU; Saturday, Oct. 26, 3:30 PM CBS

There is a ton of good NFL talent on display in this game. Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and LSU safety Grant Delpit could both be top-10 picks next April. Both Brown and Delpit are the best players at their positions for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Auburn needs Brown to get after LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who has led a potent Tigers offense this season. Burrow has gotten a lot of media hype, and some team sources think that he could end up being a second-day quarterback prospect similar to Derek Carr or Andy Dalton. Aside from Brown, Burrow could also see pressure from Auburn edge rushers Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson.

There is the potential for a really good draft matchup with LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson taking on Auburn cornerback Javaris Davis. Both of them have early-round ability, and it would be great to see them go against each other. LSU sophomore wideout Ja’Marr Chase will also be a tough challenge for Davis.

Delpit and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton will be tested by some talented young Auburn receivers, including sophomore Seth Williams. Delpit is going to need to contribute to the rushing defense and the dual-threat issue of Auburn quarterback Bo Nix.

Auburn also has prospects on the offensive line with PrinceTega Wanogho and right tackle Jack Driscoll. Team sources have said that Wanogho could be this draft’s Greg Little, a player with a high first-round skill set whose lack of consistency could cause him to slide in his draft grade. This will be an important tape for Wanogho, as he will see some talented young edge rushers for LSU who are prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Penn State vs. Michigan State; Saturday, Oct. 26, 3:30 PM ET ABC

This game has some good defensive talent on display for the 2020 NFL Draft. Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos will see the Spartans’ quality offensive line, led by guard Kevin Jarvis and offensive tackle Jordan Reid. Gross-Matos looks like a future first-rounder, so he will be a tough test for the Michigan State line.

Michigan State’s top prospect could be edge rusher Kenny Willekes, who is having a very good season. Linebacker Joe Bachie, defensive tackle Naquan Jones and defensive tackle Raequan Williams are other Spartans to watch who have NFL potential.

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

Other Spartans to watch include safety David Dowell, wide receiver Cody White and cornerback Josiah Scott. Nittany Lions who were on teams’ preseason draft watch list include defensive tackle Robert Windsor, cornerback John Reid and linebacker Cam Brown.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan; Saturday, Oct. 26, 7:30 PM ET ABC

Notre Dame edge rushers Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem will be a tough test for the Michigan offensive line, and they could make life hard for Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson. Patterson needs some good tapes to rise, and playing well against a tough Fighting Irish defense would help him. Notre Dame has some pro prospects in its secondary with safety Alohi Gilman, cornerback Troy Pride and safety Jalen Elliott.

Fighting Irish wide receivers Chase Claypool and Chris Finke were on NFL teams’ preseason watch list. Claypool has second-day potential for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Michigan’s defense is led by linebacker Josh Uche and safety Khaleke Hudson. Both of them received preseason projections of having the potential to be picks in the top half of the 2020 NFL Draft. Other prospects to watch in this game include Michigan guard Ben Bredeson and Michigan cornerback Lavert Hill, as they also received top-half projections. Some prospects with back-half projections include five Wolverines: safety Josh Metellus, guard Michael Onwenu, running back Chris Evans and defensive end Mike Danna.

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