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NFL Draft Prospects To Watch: Week 8

South Carolina (#11) at Tennessee

Jadeveon Clowney (6’6, 274) vs. Antonio Richardson (6’6, 327)

Jadeveon Clowney entered to the 2013 season as the most hyped defensive end prospects since Mario Williams. While Clowney has put together a an underwhelming season by most standards, there is still no doubt that he is one of the best all around prospects we’ve seen in years.

On Saturday, Clowney will face one of the best and more physical tackles in the country in Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson. This will be Clowney biggest challenge this season, as Richardson is one of the few tackles who has held up against Clowney in the past. Last season, Richardson held Clowney to just three tackles and two quarterback hurries over the course of 59 minutes. However, in final minute of that ballgame, Richardson gave a costly sack that led to a fumble and ultimately a Volunteers loss.

Without question, this is one of the most exciting and most anticipated matchups of the year from an NFL draft perspective. I fully intend to be glued to this game for a full four quarters, as we’ll get a chance to see two Top 10 talents go head-to-head this weekend.

UCLA (#9 ) vs. Stanford (#13)

Brett Hundley (6’3, 327)

Brett Hundley has taken the 2012 season by storm, which resulted in not only an outstanding season, but he also managed to break several UCLA records. He’s a very elusive athlete that has quickly become one of the breakout quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class.

Hundley is a very intriguing player who possesses great arm talent and the ability to extend every play if needed. So far this season, Hundley has completed 68.1% of his passes and has throw 12 touchdowns.

Hundley and Bruins will have a tough test ahead of them when they take on a Stanford squad that was stunned by the Utah Utes last week. The Cardinal defense hasn’t been as stout as in years past. They currently allowing 3.7 yards per carry and over 256 total yards per game.

Hundley and the UCLA offense have the edge in this matchup, as most of Stanford’s defensive woes have come against teams that run the spread offense. With that in mind, expect a lot of swing passes from Hundley in order to test the Cardinals lateral mobility. This is a big game Hundley simply because if he’s able to perform at a high level, he could take a step closer to solidifying his status as first-round pick in next year’s draft.

Florida State (#5) vs. Clemson (#3)

Vic Beasley (6’2, 235) vs. Cameron Erving (6’5, 320)   

This Clemson defense has been a very pleasant surprise this season, ranking in the Top 25 in 13 statistical defensive categories. As a result, they’ve been constantly stealing headlines away from their high-powered offense.

The most improved player from this Tigers defense is DE Vic Beasley, as he leads the nation with nine sacks in just six games. Beasley is a former tight end who possesses incredible athleticism and above-average pass rushing skills. He’s a very difficult player to stop, as he has quickly learned how use his speed to disrupt all over the line of scrimmage.

Beasley will matchup against Florida State redshirt junior Cameron Erving. He is already considered to be one of the most intriguing draft eligible offensive tackle prospects. He’s has displayed great foot speed for a tackle and really excels in the running game. The big question mark in his game is his ability to pass protect against quality pass rushers. Erving has improved a good deal in this area as the season has played out, but it remains a weak point in his game that will surely come up once were in the midst of the draft process.

NFL scouts have had this marque matchup circled for awhile now as Seminoles QB Jameis Winston, a very intriguing prospect in his own right, will be on display against a very solid opponent. Beasley and Erving should benefit from the national stage, especially if they’re able to put together a solid outing from start to finish.

Auburn (#24) vs. Texas A&M (#7)

Cedric Ogbuehi (6’5, 300)

Aggies Cedric Ogbuehi has to be one of the more underrated offensive tackles in the nation, as he has already put together a really impressive season opposite of LT Jake Matthews. Another solid performance against the emerging Auburn defense will put him in a pretty good position to solidify himself as one of the best tackles in the nation by year’s end.

The Aggies offense will face an Auburn defense that has allowed 18.8 points per game. Shockingly enough, Auburn is allowing over 444 yards per game this season. The most intriguing player from the Tigers defensive unit is senior OLB Dee Ford, who leads the team in sacks. Ford is a pure pass rusher that has the size and burst to constantly pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Ogbuehi is a former guard who was moved to tackle after Luke Joeckel departed for the NFL. Ogbuehi has the ability to handle pass rushers with relative ease because of his excellent feet and long arms, along with his overall athleticism and balance. Keep an eye on the underrated Ogbuehi as his draft stock is trending upwards.

 

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