NFL Draft Prospects To Watch: Week 2

Week one is in the books and it was a great way to open the season. National title contenders all over the country had close games, a team lost by 84 points, and Alabama is still #1…I love the fall…

With that being said, there are still games to be played this week, but it’s gonna be ugly. This week we see some top prospects go against unfamiliar and in many cases, very beatable foes. Without further ado, lets take a look at some of this weeks players and matchups to watch:

Virginia vs Penn State

Virginia OT Oday Aboushi vs Penn State OLB Gerald Hodges

Aboushi (6’6, 315lbs.) was All-ACC last season and has all that you look for in a left tackle. This week he’ll play against one of the top linebackers in the country when he goes up against Hodges (6’2, 235lbs).

In last weeks loss to Ohio, Hodges had 11 tackles and he showed off his elite athleticism as he was the team’s primary kick returner and punt returner-even though he muffed a punt. He is developing as a pass rusher, and will be a nice matchup against Aboushi, who himself should be one of the top-five OT’s off the board in the NFL draft.

Notre Dame vs Purdue

Notre Dame RB Theo Riddick vs Purdue DT Kawann Short

In week one against Navy, Notre Dame looked unstoppable on the ground as they rushed for 293 yards. Riddick (5’11, 200lbs.) was a big part of that, as he ran for 107 and 2 rushing TD’s.

This week, however, he will have to get through a Boilermaker line that has 3 returning starters, including All-Big Ten and potential first round pick DT Kawann Short. Short (6’3, 310lbs.) had one sack in Purdue’s win last week, and managed to total 6.5 sacks to go with 10.5 tackles for loss last season. With Notre Dame’s running game looking so good last week and RB Cierre Wood being activated for this game, Short will have to control the middle of the line and get good upfield push to help prevent the Irish from running wild again.

Florida St. vs Savannah State

FSU DE Bjorn Werner vs last weeks performance against Murray St.

In FSU’s first warm up game against Murray St. last week, not only did the ‘Noles dominate their opponent in route to a 69-3 victory, but Werner (6’4, 275lbs.) showed he might be a sleeper in this years draft class. He had 4 sacks against the overmatched Racers. Can he duplicate or at least produce half of what he did last week and go into ACC play as the nation’s leading sacker? Will it matter in this game?

Tulane vs Tulsa

Tulane RB Orleans Darkwa vs Tulsa S Dexter McCoil

Last week was one to forget for both Tulane and their running backs. RB Darkwa (6’0, 215lbs.) missed the game versus Rutgers with an ankle sprain, but looks to get on the field this week. Last season was a good one for Darkwa as he ran for 13 TD’s to go along with almost 40 catches and 1,200 total yards. McCoil (6’4, 220lbs.) is coming off a great year last year as he had 80+ tackles and 6 interceptions. He is easily Tulsa’s best defender, and is coming off a 10 tackle game in a loss to Iowa St.

Florida vs Texas A&M

Florida OT Xavier Nixon vs Texas A&M OLB Sean Porter

Nixon (6’6, 310lbs.) is one of the better tackles in this year’s draft and will look to put his skills on display against A&M OLB Porter.

Porter (6’2, 230lbs.) had 80 tackles, 9.5 sacks and added 7.5 tackles for loss. A&M didn’t play a game last week because of Hurricane Issac, so it will be interesting to see how the defense responds to Florida’s new look attack. Nixon helped pave the way for the Gators to run for over 200 yards in a 27-14 opening season win against Bowling Green.

Kansas St. vs Miami(FL)

Kansas St. QB Collin Klein vs Miami LB Denzel Perryman

Kansas St. shocked the nation last season, going 10-3 and appearing in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas. The biggest reason for the success of last year was QB Collin Klein (6’5, 230lbs.), who had over 3,000 total yards on the season with 40 total touchdowns, including 27 touchdowns on the ground. In a 51-9 beating of Missouri State last week, Klein accounted for 225 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.

Perryman (6’0, 225lbs) is the next great linebacker to come out of The U. Starting only five games last season, he managed 69 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss. In a 41-32 week one win over Boston College, Perryman had seven tackles and an interception he took 41 yards for a touchdown. When these teams met last year, Kansas St. had 265 rushing yards and Klein contributed 93 of those. Can Perryman contain Klein and the K-State ground game?

Georgia vs Missouri

Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones vs Missouri QB James Franklin

After a season in which he had 70 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and an amazing 50 quarterback hits on the year, Jones (6’3, 241lbs.) is a top 10 player in next year’s draft. He leads one of the best linebacking corps in the entire nation, and will look to shut down the impressive Missouri attack lead by QB James Franklin.

Franklin (6’2, 225lbs.) is one of the most athletically gifted QB’s in the country as he ran for almost 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns to go with 2,900 passing yards and 21 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions, and this early season matchup of potential top draft picks will be a good one.

UNC vs Wake Forest

UNC G Jonathan Cooper vs Wake Forest NT Nikita Whitlock

Cooper (6’3, 305lbs) comes into this season as one of the top five guards in college football, if not the best. He is a four-year starter and a two-time All-ACC selection. Last season, he was responsible for over 40 pancake blocks and rarely gave up plays on the inside.

That might be a problem against the stocky Whitlock (5’11, 260lbs.), who is very undersized by most 3-4 nose tackle standards, but is certainly one of the more underrated players in the ACC. Despite his undersized stature, he managed 64 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss last season, good for 2nd team All-ACC honors.

Washington vs LSU

Washington QB Keith Price vs LSU S Eric Reid

In a game featuring tons of NFL talent, the most appealing matchup might be the battle between accurate quarterback and playmaking, veteran safety.

Price (6’2, 200lbs.) had a breakout season last year, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. In last weeks 21-12 win over San Diego St., Price completed 71% of his passes for 222 yards and a touchdown.

Reid (6’2, 210lbs.), is one of my favorite players in the country, and will look to lead the talented, yet inexperienced secondary against a very good passing game. While the pressure applied up front by Mingo and Montgomery will be key, what happens when the ball is in the air will be where the fun happens. In last weeks 41-14 win over North Texas, Reid had seven tackles and an interception.

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