Games of the Week
Auburn Tigers at Clemson Tigers
When Auburn Has the Ball
Former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham has brought a lot of hope to the Tigers giving them their most complete signal caller since Cam Newton. He’ll have his hands full against a Clemson Defense that is one of the best in the nation with an athletic linebacking core and a secondary that is looking for stars to emerge.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 3, 2017
If Auburn wants to have success it will start up front with the offensive line blocking a uber talented Clemson front four. Braden Smith (#2 Guard) moved out to tackle after playing right guard the last two years and he’ll have his hands full with Clelin Ferrell (#3 Edge) who dominated the College Football Playoff last season. While inside center Austin Golson will have to deal with DT’s Dexter Lawerence (not draft eligible) and Christian Wilkins (#1 DT) who are two of the best tackles in college football.
When Clemson Has the Ball
Just because Deshaun Watson is gone, it doesn’t mean Clemson’s offense still isn’t explosive as Kelly Bryant takes over at quarterback. Clemson still has talent on the outside with Deon Cain (#5 WR), Hunter Renfrow (#8 WR) and Ray Ray Armstrong who all could be drafted in April. Looking to stop them will be the Auburn secondary that has some talent. CB Carlton Davis (#7 CB) has been used to shadow receivers but with Clemson having so many weapons he may just stay on one side. His blend of speed and quickness could allow Auburn to shut down one side it could allow the Tigers to shift coverage to the other side. Auburn could use a big game from safety Tray Matthews to cover the underneath routes and help on Renfrow who is deadly out of the slot.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) August 2, 2017
Upfront Auburn brings a strong group of defensive tackles who will be looking to control the middle and force Clemson to beat them on the outside. The player to watch is Dontavius Russell who uses his power well to shed blocks and disrupt the backfield. Rusell mainly lines up on the right side so he doesn’t get go against Tyrone Crowder who will have to deal with Byron Cowart.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 31, 2017
Oklahoma Sooners at Ohio State Buckeyes
When Oklahoma Has the Ball
While Mixon, Perine and Westbrook are gone from the potent Sooner offense, that doesn’t change much since QB Baker Mayfield is still running the show. Ohio State will have to make sure they can contain Mayfield and keep him from making plays with his feet.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 7, 2017
Mayfield’s top weapon is TE Mark Andrews (#1 TE) who often lines up in the slot as a receiver. Look for the Buckeyes to mix up their coverage on Andrews either putting undersized space linebacker Jerome Baker (#6 LB) or SS Damon Webb onto Andrews. Both players have the speed to run with Andrews but Baker has the athletic advantage over Webb. In both cases it should allow the Buckeyes prospects to show they can cover tight ends which is needed for the NFL.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 4, 2017
The other big battle will take place in the trenches. Ohio State easily has the best defensive line in the nation with four legit NFL edge players and two tackles. The two notable Sooners will be LT Orlando Brown (#11 OT) and C Erick Wren. Brown is getting a lot of early first round talk but there are legit concerns about his foot speed. But Brown is massive in size and uses his strength and length to his advantage. His lateral agility will be tested as Jayln Holmes (#12 Edge), Tyquan Lewis, Nick Bosa (not draft eligible) and Sam Hubbard will come with both speed and power. Inside Wren will have to deal with Dre’Mont Jones (#4 DL) who plays with good lateral agility making it tough to stay in front of him.
When Ohio State Has the Ball
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 17, 2017
If you’re looking for a prospect battle when the Buckeyes have the ball then look no further than the LT vs OLB match up of Jamaro Jones (#7 OT) vs Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Jones has shown the ability to slide laterally but there are some concerns about his foot speed and balance. Okoronkwo is a smaller at 6’1 245 but uses his speed to beat tackles. This should be a good test for Jones and his ability to hold up on the edge.
Additional Match Ups to Watch
Penn State TE Mike Gesicki vs Pittsburgh FS Jordan Whitehead
While Saquan Barkley is getting all the attention (and rightfully so) the best prospect battle in this game lies here. In Penn State’s spread attack, they like to get Gesicki downfield and take advantage of his ball skills. Looking to slow him down with be Pitt FS Jordan Whitehead who lines up on the short side of the field but does match up with tight ends in the slot on a regular basis. Gesicki isn’t the greatest athlete, so Whitehead should be able to be in position to make plays and will give him a great opportunity to showcase if he has the ball skills NFL teams need from their safeties.
Notre Dame Offensive line vs Georgia Defensive Line
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 31, 2017
While this game doesn’t have the same weight as the games above it does give us a big time matchup between two talented units. Notre Dame brings in one of the best offensive lines in the nation behind LG Quenton Nelson (#1 G) and LT Mike McGlinchey (#4 OT). They’ll have their hands full with a tough Georgia front seven lead by DT Trenton Thompson and NT John Atkins, not to mention outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. Both McGlinchey and Nelson are physical blockers who like to get their hands on defenders and use their strength to move them out of the way. It will be key for the Bulldogs to use their speed and explosiveness to gain the initial advantage and create chaos in the backfield.