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NFL Draft Prospects To Watch: Week 4

Boise State vs. Fresno State

Derek Carr (6’3, 205)

Derek Carr is better known as the brother of former No. 1 overall pick QB David Carr, which probably isn’t fair considering that he’s been one of the most accurate quarterback in the country. Carr has completed over 70% of his passes along with eight TDs and just a single interception in the first two games of the season. Carr has led the Bulldogs to a No. 25 national ranking, which is something Fresno State hasn’t accomplished since 2008.

The Bulldogs face a surprising underdog in Boise State who has won seven straight games against Fresno State. The Broncos will rely on QB Joe Southwick and his precise arm, as he’s completed 73.5% of his passes. Boise State could always shift gears if Southwick is unable to get anything going and rely on RB Jay Ajayi, who’s a power back capable punishing opposing defenders.

This will certainly be a back-and-forth game, but I expect Carr to manhandle the Boise State defense from sideline to sideline, as he capable of distributing the ball in the short to intermediate passing game while occasionally making a big play down field.

Tennessee vs. Florida

Dominique Easley (6’2, 280)  vs. Antonio Richardson (6’6, 327)

Dating back to last season, former Vols OL Dallas Thomas was pushed to guard because of the emergence of Antonio Richardson, who would go on to start every game at left tackle. It’s worth noting that “Tiny” Richardson is one of the few offensive tackles to hold up against South Carolina star DE Jadeveon Clowney. Don’t be surprised if Richardson declares for the 2014 NFL Draft.

After getting torched by the Oregon Ducks a week ago, Vols tackles will have a tough matchup in Florida DT Dominique Easley. He is one of the best interior defensive lineman in the country and possesses great overall athleticism. Easley constantly shines in run defense and is a interior force that will need to be accounted for.

These are two of the players I’ll consistently have my eye on throughout the game. Look for Tennessee to seal the edge and try to run the ball off tackle.

Arkansas vs. Rutgers

WR Brandon Coleman (6’6, 220)

Senior WR Brandon Coleman is one of college football’s most dangerous and explosive threats. He possess great physical attributes, along with a great first step off the line of scrimmage. Coleman has scored 18 touchdowns in 28 career games.

The Scarlet Knights will face an Arkansas defense that averages only 12.7 points allowed per game through three weeks. Razorbacks a new HC in Bret Bielema has brought a balanced approach to this squad in the hope of making them a much diverse team than in years past.

Arkansas has to know that Rutgers’ game plan centers around Coleman. Even so, it’s never easy to shutdown a top-five receiver who’s capable beating man-to-man coverage with ease and doesn’t have any major weaknesses to exploit. If Rutgers QB Gary Nova and Coleman can establish a rhythm early on, I’d anticipate a long day for the Razorbacks secondary.

Utah State vs. USC

Chuckie Keeton (6’2, 200)

Chuckie Keeton happens to be one of the more underrated players in the country. He really has great poise for being a young QB along with outstanding intangibles and remarkable leadership abilities. In fact, on Wednesday USC HC Lane Kiffin compared Keeton to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Keeton and Utah State will have an interesting matchup this weekend as they’ll be up against a Trojans defense that ranks fourth in total defense and sixth in interceptions. With Montee Kiffin now in Dallas, USC defense is now led by Clancy Pendergast who features a 5-2 base set. Keeton could have good game against this defense, but it will likely require a clean pocket to do so.

This is a perfect opportunity for Keeton to showcase his ability and possibly boost his draft stock. Look for him to constantly scramble throughout the game to keep the Trojans defense off balance.

Dion Bailey (6’0, 205)

Dion Bailey, a redshirt junior, is one of my favorite defensive players in the college game. He’s a former linebacker who moved back to safety this season, which was his position coming out of high school. Bailey is a ballhawk with excellent coverage skills who’s capable of playing in the box.

Bailey, along with the rest of the Trojans defense, will have to face the versatile Keeton and his run-option offense. The Aggies offense managed to scored 52 and 70 points respectively in their first two games of the season. Utah State OC Kevin McGiven likes to get as many offensive weapons involved as possible, which has led to four different RB’s receiving at least 20 carries or more. It’s worth noting that USC has only allowed a total of 30 points in their first three games of the season.

This is game in which Bailey, along with teammate S’ua Cravens, coverage skills will be tested. If Bailey can continue his superb start he could raise some eyes and start climbing up draft boards.