2020 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview – Conference Championships

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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Oregon vs Utah; Friday, Dec. 6, 8:00 PM ET ABC

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will get this contest and a bowl game to impress NFL evaluators and compensate for an ugly loss to Arizona State. Herbert is going to see a tough Utah defense with quality players at every position group. Herbert needs to show that he can push his team to wins and beat some good opponents. The Utes will be a good test.

Utah’s defense is loaded with mid- and late-round picks for the 2020 NFL Draft. Utes cornerback Jaylon Johnson could be one of the most dangerous defenders who Herbert has played against this year. Johnson is a talented cover corner, but he is thin and could have issues with the strength of pro receivers. The Utah safety tandem of Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess will both be playing in the Senior Bowl.

Defensive end Bradley Anae and nose tackle Leki Foot could be mid-round picks next April. Anae is a dangerous edge rusher who would go higher if he had more physical skills for the NFL. Linebacker Francis Bernard will also play at the Senior Bowl in January.

Utah running back Zack Moss could be a second-day pick next April and has been a powerful runner with receiving ability this season. He could use one more good game due to the 2020 NFL Draft’s crowded running back class, and he will be a good test for Oregon linebacker Troy Dye, a potential mid-round pick.

Oregon’s offensive line has some good NFL prospects with guard Shane Lemieux, center Jake Hansen and guard Calvin Throckmorton. Some team sources think Lemieux could be a late-first-round or early-second-round pick next April.

Oklahoma vs. Baylor; Saturday, Dec. 7, 12:00 PM ET ABC

This game features some skill position talent for the NFL with Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and Baylor wideout Denzel Mims. Lamb is a future first-round pick, while Mims could get selected on Day 3. Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray is one of the top linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft and will get another shot at Baylor. He could go in the top half of the first round next April. Baylor defensive end James Lynch is the Bears’ top defender and could be get consideration if he enters the 2020 NFL Draft.

Georgia vs. LSU; Saturday, Dec. 7, 4:00 PM ET SEC

This game features two quarterback prospects going head-to-head with LSU’s Joe Burrow and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. After the injury to Tua Tagovailoa, Burrow is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft due to his phenomenal 2019 season. Burrow does not have a strong arm, but he is accurate, makes good decisions, has good field vision, and uses his functional mobility. Fromm has a second-day skill set, but he is a superb game manager who has been an accurate passer and excellent decision-maker throughout his collegiate career. The winning quarterback from this game will have a further boost to their reputation as a winner for the NFL.

Georgia has a NFL offensive line led by left tackle Andrew Thomas, a potential top-10 pick next April. Georgia left guard Solomon Thomas could be a late first-round or early second-round pick. The rest of the Bulldogs offensive line has early-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft.

LSU safety Grant Delpit could be a top-20 pick next April, and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton has early-round potential as well. Tigers wide receiver Justin Jefferson could be a first- or second-round pick next April. LSU defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence is another prospect to watch.

Virginia vs Clemson; Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 PM ET ABC

Clemson has a number of early-round prospects who should impress in the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers’ best prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft is outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who has had a tremendous season. Wide receiver Tee Higgins and running back Travis Etienne are other Tigers who should be early-round picks next April. Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell is another prospect to watch.

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State; Saturday, Dec. 7, 8:00 PM FOX

This game features two excellent defensive prospects for the NFL with Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. Both of them should be top-10 picks next April, and they could be some of the first non-quarterbacks drafted. Young has been one of the best players in college football this season, setting Ohio State’s single-season sack record despite a two-game suspension.

Cornerback Damon Arnette, cornerback Shaun Wade and safety Jordan Fuller are other Buckeyes who will compete on future Sundays. Wade has been dealing with an injury.

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 to watch include tight end Rashod Berry, wide receiver Austin Mack, guard Jonah Jackson and inside linebacker Malik Harrison.

Wisconsin is led by running back Jonathan Taylor. The power runner will have to have a huge game to have any shot at leading the Badgers to an upset. Badgers center Tyler Biadasz is another prospect to watch against the talented Ohio State defensive line.

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