NFL Draft Prospects To Watch: Week 13

Texas A&M (#12) vs. LSU (#22)

Johnny Manziel (6’1, 210)

This could be one of Johnny Manziel’s final games before declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft. Reports from Friday indicated that Manziel will announce whether or not he’ll be returning to College Station next year before the Aggies Bowl game.

Manziel has been a must-watch player each and every week since entering the college ranks. Despite winning the Heisman Trophy last year, there appears to be some disparity among scouts regarding his style of play, production, and overall maturity.

Manziel will have a great opportunity on Saturday to quell such concerns as the Aggies will be up against LSU. It’s worth noting that the Tigers do not pose the same threat they have in recent years, as their defense has allowed a miserable 5.18 yards per play.

With this in mind, it’s hard to expect them to keep a guy like Manziel contained when he’s able to exploit opposing defenses in numerous ways. Look for this to be a long day for the LSU considering their lack of pass rush.

Zach Mettenberger (6’5, 230)

LSU is a perennially contender with National Championship aspirations. They always at the top of the recruiting class ranks, so it really seemed as though they would have much better balance between offense and defense than what they’ve shown this season.

The Tiger’s championship hopes essentially ended following a crucial loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. In fact, things have gone so poorly for LSU this year that they are in danger of falling outside of the Top 25.

QB Zach Mettenberger is one of the few bright spots of the LSU team, as he has really stepped up his game this season. More interesting than that, Mettenberger has actually transformed the Tigers into more of a high-powered offense who is capable of beating you through the air than just on the ground, as they were in years past.

Mettenberger possesses outstanding arm strength and very good accuracy. On the season, Mettenberger has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 2,773 yards to along with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Jarvis Landry (6’0, 195)

There are so many draft prospects to choose from in the matchup that I decided to add a third player to the list.

The Tigers offense also features two of the best wide receivers in college football in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Both players have displayed a great ability throughout the season, but I have been particularly impressed with Landry the last few weeks.

Landry is a very polished route-runner who can accelerate really well off the line. He is a very reliable receiver with smooth hips that allow him to get in and out of routes quite easily. Beckham Jr. seems to generate more national recognition because of his play-making ability, but Landry isn’t that far behind, as has already put together a solid highlight reel of his own this season.

This year Laundry has 63 receptions for 972 yards and eight touchdowns. Keep an eye him as the draft process unfolds. I would be surprised to see him end up as a draft steal next May.

Wisconsin (#19) vs. Minnesota (#25)

Chris Boreland (5’11, 246)

Chris Boreland wasn’t a top recruit when he committed to the University of Wisconsin, but few players have done more to improve as a player than he has in the past number of years.

Boreland is without a doubt the heart and soul of a underrated Badgers defense that has been surprisingly effective against the run allowing just 98 yards-per-game. Boreland is one of the most physical players you’ll see in the Big Ten, and although he is not the top-notch athlete, his quickness and instincts more than make up for some the concerns that scouts have.

The Badgers will face a shockingly good Golden Gophers squad that currently has an 8-2 record and is riding a four-game winning streak coming into Saturday’s game. The weakest point of this Golden Gophers unit is their passing offense as they average just 149 yards per game. The bad news doesn’t end there for Minnesota as their quarterback Phillip Nelson is even worse at home with just 129 yards-per-game at TFC Stadium.

With that being said, I expect the Wisconsin defense to step up and nullify the one dimensional Golden Gophers offense. The Badgers defense is ranked fifth in the country in points allowed with 14 points-per-game.

With just two regular season games remaining, Boreland stats are already in pretty good shape as he has 80 total tackles to go along with four sacks from the inside linebacker position.

Oregon (#5) vs. Arizona

Ka’deem Carey (5’10, 196)

Ka’deem Carey happens to be one of my favorite running backs in this draft class. Carey possesses incredible athleticism along with tremendous agility and breakaway speed.

Carey has the ability to develop in a complete back in the NFL, considering that has displayed great vision, patience and balance throughout the season. Carey currently ranks eighth in the country in total rushing yards with 1,353 and he’s averaging a very respectable 5.6 yards per attempt.

The Wildcats will face an Oregon team who is currently sitting atop the PAC-12 North division following a rather fortunate loss by Stanford last weekend.

It’s worth noting that the Ducks have one of the best defensive units in nation. Carey has a great opportunity ahead of him to make a name for himself in a nationally televised game.

Arizona State (#17) vs. UCLA (#14)

Will Sutton (6’1, 288)

The Sun Devils have really managed to a poor start to the season into a pretty good year overall. They are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak following an underwhelming 3-2 start and now control their own destiny in the Pac 12 South division. A win against second place UCLA will be enough to secure them a spot in the PAC-12 Championship.

The most notable player on this team from an NFL draft perspective is DT Will Sutton, who I see a similar player to a young version of Cullen Jenkins. This season Sutton has struggled to match his production and hype from a year ago, but that’s not to say he has been bad or anything like that.

Saturday will be a great opportunity for him to step his game with some many talent evaluators on hand to see UCLA prospects like OLB Anthony Barr and QB Brett Hundley.

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