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NFL Draft Watch Week 3

2021 NFL Draft Watch: Week 3 College Football Games to Watch

The college football season is underway, which means hundreds of NFL Draft prospects are polishing up their resumes week in and week out. With so many games to tune in to, it can be difficult to figure out ones have the best match-ups and are worth watching. Here at Expand The Boxscore, we’ve got you covered.

Every week during the college football season, I will list the three best match-ups in regards to the NFL Draft along with a little taste of what each prospect brings to the table.

Admittedly, with no SEC, Pac 12, and Big 10 teams on the schedule, this week’s slate of games is a little lackluster. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of games that will keep you glued to your seat.

 

(17) Miami @ (18) Louisville 

 

Without a doubt, this is the best game of the weekend. Miami has several NFL draft prospects, the most notable being tight end Brevin Jordan. Expand The Boxscore Scout Tim Lettiero feels Jordan has the potential to be a day one pick. Jordan is a freak athlete who has struggled to find consistent production in college, partially because of the inconsistent quarterback play at Miami.

However, with Houston transfer D’Eriq King under center that problem is somewhat alleviated. King is a dynamic athlete who has some room for growth as a passer, but his play-making ability is something that NFL scouts and general managers can’t ignore.

On the defensive side of the ball, edge defender Quincy Roche is the biggest name to keep an eye on. Roche has a lot to prove as a transfer from Temple, but he did show the ability to win with both speed and power in the AAC last season. Now it’s just a question of how well that translates against better competition.

Run-stuffing linebacker Zach McCloud is another player to watch, as XTB’s Scouting Director Cyril Penn currently projects him as a potential day three pick.

Louisville’s most notable draft prospect is wide receiver, Tutu Atwell. At 5’9” and 165 pounds, Atwell might lack the ideal size for the NFL but his speed is second-to-none and he can be a dangerous deep threat at the next level. XTB Scout Marcus Johnson projects the speed demon as a Day two pick.

Quarterback Micale Cunningham and running back Javain Hawkins are also worth noting, but both are likely to return to school at the end of the season.

 

Syracuse @ (25) Pittsburgh 

 

Pittsburgh edge defender Patrick Jones II might be the biggest name to keep track of from this match-up. Jones is a fleet-of-foot pass rusher who has a well-developed set of moves and is a second or third-round pick, according to Penn.

On the back end of Pitt’s defense, safety Paris Ford is the definition of a ball hawk, as he accumulated three interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2019 and already has one pick this season.

Syracuse also has an impressive secondary as safety Andre Cisco and cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu will likely hear their names called next April. Penn projects Cisco as a day two pick, citing the junior’s versatility to play either safety spot as a significant strength, but sloppy tackling form as something that could cause his draft stock to fall.

Melifonwu on the other hand will likely be a late-round pick since he lacks the change of direction skills to stay in-phase on 90-degree or more routes. However, he does have some impressive ball skills that some teams will be willing to work with.

 

Boston College @ Duke

 

This might come as a bit of a surprise, but Duke has a handful of impressive NFL draft prospects. The Blue Devils defensive line has a couple of impressive edge rushers in Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje. Rumph is projected as a second-rounder by Penn due to his ability to win as a pass rusher with speed, length, and technique from multiple alignments.

However, the redshirt junior needs to improve in coverage if he’s going to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, or add some size to his 225-pound frame to play defensive end in a 4-3 system.

Dimukeje doesn’t have as much versatility as he’s more of a 4-3 defensive end who can win with speed and athleticism off the edge. He also isn’t quite the same pedigree as Rumph, since the former projects as a day three pick by XTB Scout Sales Pinckney.

During the coming offseason, this game is certainly one that scouts will circle back to because there are some great one-on-one match-ups as Boston College has a few noteworthy offensive linemen. Offensive tackle Ben Petrula has a chance to earn himself some money this weekend if he can hold up against Rumph and Dimukeje.

Petrula currently projects as a priority free agent, largely because of his lack of footwork and agility in pass protection. However, an impressive performance against two highly touted pass rushers might catch the eye of some NFL executives.

Zion Johnson is a guard for the Eagles who is a mauling run blocker and has an impressive anchor as a pass blocker. Penn expects Johnson to fall anywhere between the end of the second round to the beginning of the third.

Finally there’s center Alec Lindstrom, whose brother Chris was Atlanta’s first-round pick two years ago. Lindstrom is an impressive zone run blocker who needs to work on his hand placement as a pass protector. Pinckney currently has him slated as a day three pick that a lot of teams who use a zone-heavy rushing attack will target.