This weekend in college football, we have three marquee match-ups that promise to be very entertaining to all who may watch. In that, we (obviously) have great prospects to watch who will be playing on Sundays as well. For those of you who think I am writing about the NFL Draft too early… I highly suggest you look at the rest of my work so far this season. I started in May, folks, and so far I’ve been pretty spot on.
That being said, here’s a quick rundown of the three games this week where we have ranked teams playing each other.
(11) Michigan Wolverines @ (13) Wisconsin Badgers
FOX 12PM ET – Wisconsin -3.5 O/U 44.5.
Wisconsin and Michigan both come off of their first bye weeks, and this promises to be an entertaining game. Michigan was almost upset last time they took the field by Army, and even struggled early against Middle Tennessee State. The offense has struggled to find it’s rhythm, and it’s painful to watch at times.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, has dominated their opposition so far. The Badger defense has yet to give up a point, while the offense has settled in nicely behind running back Jonathan Taylor. That being said, not much can be expected from Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan who is wildly inconsistent throwing the football.
(8) Auburn Tigers @ (17) Texas A&M Aggies
CBS 3:30PM ET – Texas A&M -3.5 O/U 47.5.
This will be a very good game too. Auburn already has one of the biggest statement wins in the SEC with their week one victory over Oregon, while Texas A&M struggled in week 2 with Clemson. Auburn seems to have found their quarterback in Bo Nix, the freshman who grew up wanting to be Cam Newton. While Nix hasn’t got Newton’s size, he has Newton’s smarts and quick running ability, earning the praise from SEC Network analyst Tim Tebow who said that Nix was “created by God to run Gus Malzahn’s offense.”
The Aggies quarterback struggled in their first real test, playing wildly inconsistent and unable to focus on the game. The Aggies lost their running back, Jashaun Corbin, for the year against Clemson, and will therefor need to rely on other players. It’s going to be tough for the Aggies who will have home field advantage.
(7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ (3) Georgia Bulldogs
CBS 8PM ET – Georgia -14.5 O/U 58.
The game of the week! Notre Dame and Georgia squared off two years ago in Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm’s first career start, and the Bulldogs were able to win by being more physical and running the football. That’s exactly how this game will go down.
Now that we have a general gist of the games this weekend, here are the top 5 NFL Draft prospects you need to watch in these three games:
5. S Josh Metellus, Sr, Michigan
HT- 6’0″ WT- 204 lbs
The Draft Network Rank- NR
Josh Metellus was a highly regarded safety prospect early last season. After he struggled in a few games (Ohio State, Florida) where his athleticism and speed was brought to question, Metellus’ draft stock fell, and he decided to return to Michigan for his final year to silence all of the critics.
Huge interception from Josh Metellus! Let’s go blue! pic.twitter.com/yP6C0BXh11
— Wolverine Coverage (@WolverineCorner) October 14, 2018
Metellus can often times be too aggressive and pull himself out of position, something that will hurt this Michigan defense (and his draft stock) if he isn’t disciplined against the Badgers Saturday morning. With RB Jonathan Taylor being such a big play threat thus far this season, we will be able to see a lot about Metellus’ ability to stay in position to make plays.
4. DE Julian Okwara, Sr, Notre Dame
HT- 6’5″ WT-240 lbs
The Draft Network Rank – 24
Julian Okwara became a starter last season, and he did not disappoint. The former 4 star recruit collected 8 sacks and deflected 5 passes, using his body length regularly off of the edge.
In terms of senior NFL defensive prospects, @NDFootball might have the most talent in the country. Maybe the top-rated player on the Irish D is edge player Julian Okwara (@shwaggyj). We love Okwara’s upside as a rusher. High ceiling talent. #thedraftstartsinMobile pic.twitter.com/iMnTc6YiEE
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 3, 2019
Okwara is very quick, and has a good speed rush that he uses well. He also has a good feel for when to use his power rush, getting involved with hand fights and trying to distract the tackle from his footwork. The only aspect to his game that I have to question is his run defense. I’m not sure how well he can play against the run because, well… I don’t see him make run tackles very often. This game in Georgia will tell us a lot about how well Okwara, who translates best as a 3-4 OLB, can read, react and diagnose run plays.
3. DT Derrick Brown, Sr, Auburn
HT- 6’5″ WT- 325 lbs
The Draft Network Rank– 14
I met the Mercer LT, Thomas Marchman, by chance in March of 2018. He and the Mercer team had the unfortunate event of facing both Alabama and Auburn in the same season. Naturally, I was curious to know who he had the hardest time preparing to block, as I expected him to mention Jonathan Allen or Da’Ron Payne.
Actually, Marchman said Derrick Brown. Why Derrick Brown? “His quickness at his size is insane and there was no way to practice that before the game,” Marchman told me. Honestly, he’s right.
Derrick Brown is a freak of nature pic.twitter.com/YuJCjF5BwE
— Power of Dixieland (@PwrofDixieland) September 30, 2018
At 6’5″ and 325 pounds, Derrick Brown moves like he weighs 280. Brown will probably run a forty yard dash in under 4.9 seconds when he goes to the NFL Combine. His athleticism is off of the charts. Auburn now faces their first SEC contender in Texas A&M in a must win game. Brown has a chance to be the wreaking ball on defense that destroys the Aggies season. We’re watching.
2. RB D’Andre Swift, Jr, Georgia
HT- 5’9″ WT- 215 lbs
The Draft Network Rank– 15
For some reason, people think that Notre Dame can play run defense. I remember when people thought Notre Dame had the best run defense in the nation, and they got stomped on in the National Championship game by Alabama. Anyways, sometimes, Notre Dame plays good run defense.
That probably will not be happening Saturday night. D’Andre Swift isn’t the only workhorse in the Georgia stable, he’s just the best of the group. A former 5 star recruit, Swift is everything his name suggests he would be. Explosive, versatile, and smooth. He’s effective as a receiver, and can be used as a blocker. It’ll be important for him to have a good game as he currently rides on 3 straight 100 yard rushing performances, and it would be great to see him notch his 4th against a top ten team for his NFL Draft stock.
1. RB Jonathan Taylor, Jr, Wisconsin
HT- 5’11” WT- 219 lbs
The Draft Network Rank– 28
Jonathan Taylor was already known for his rushing skill. He was 23 yards shy of being a two-time 2,000 yard rusher in his collegiate career, literally carrying the Badgers through games with his legs. Taylor has come on as a receiver in 2019, a huge bonus to his already rising draft stock.
Jonathan Taylor made a good case last week as to why he should be RB1 for the 2020 draft. Love his vision. Crazy burst and athleticism for his size. Showed he can be a 3-down back by catching 2 TDs and made some nice blocks in pass protection. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/RVmoAecyTi
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) September 5, 2019
So far this season, Taylor has scored 4 touchdowns in both of Wisconsin’s games. He currently has 3 receiving touchdowns on the year. Now that Wisconsin actually faces off against a formidable defense, we want to see this progression continue from Taylor.
Follow John Vogel on Twitter @johndavogel, and get into the NFL Draft conversation!